We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
Nowadays, a vacuum cleaner is a must-have. You'll find at least one in just about every home, apartment, and office building you see.
Modern vacuum cleaners offer a plethora of helpful attachments and features that allow you to access even the tightest corners. The market is flooded with vacuum cleaners of all sizes and varieties.
In this review, we will focus on upright vacuum cleaners.
We analyzed hundreds of different models of upright vacuums and scrutinized some of the best in our BestReviews test lab. We're dedicated to writing the most honest and unbiased reviews out there. We never accept free products from manufacturers. Instead, we buy products off of store shelves, test them in our labs, consult experts, and examine feedback from product owners.
Our ultimate goal: to become your go-to source for trustworthy product recommendations whenever you’re faced with a buying decision.
Please read on to learn about our four favorite vacuum cleaners and what they could do for you.
Simply put, you want a vacuum cleaner that can pick up debris the first time around and doesn't require you to repeat the same area of carpet multiple times. When it comes to performance, most consumers look for a number usually associated with the amps or watts and believe that the higher the number, the better it must be. We can assure you that this is not necessarily the case. Amps and watts simply refer to the motor’s electrical current. The overall performance will depend on multiple factors, including the suction power and the amount of airflow the unit produces.
If you have the right filters and tools, using a vacuum for dusting is a good use of the technology, as this method puts less dust in the air than a feather duster, etc. It can reduce resettling dust over time.
Do you have to move the furniture in order to reach the carpet underneath? How easy is it to get to those hard-to-reach corners? If you have to carry the vacuum upstairs, does it take a lot of brawn power? Weight and maneuverability come into play when assessing how easy a vacuum is to handle.
These are the little “extras” that may help influence your buying decision. Features may include variables like the length of the cord, tank capacity, height adjustability, and the addition of a brush for upholstery cleaning.
Allen Rathey is a cleaning expert who promotes healthier indoor spaces. He is past-president of the Housekeeping Channel and the Healthy House Institute, and principal of the Healthy Facilities Institute (HFI) culminating more than 30 years of experience in making indoor places cleaner. He has been tapped as an expert by the New York Times, Real Simple, U.S. News & World Report, and other national media.
There are some really good models that cost under $100, while mediocre ones can cost upwards of $500. Keep in mind that a more expensive model does not necessarily translate to a better product. The models at the higher end of the price scale often come with some sort of patented technology or extra attachments. However, if you just want a vacuum cleaner for basic household cleaning, a high quality but low cost option may suffice.
With its patented OnePass technology, the BISSELL CleanView delivers intense suction power using state-of-the-art cyclonic technology. Cyclonic separation creates a high speed rotating vortex that removes and isolates large particles from the air. The filtration system of the BISSELL can also remove most indoor allergens known to trigger perennial allergies. One user we surveyed noted that when used on tile and hardwood surfaces, bigger pieces of debris may get sucked up only to get thrown out from the back end. However, we weren't able to reproduce this issue, and the majority of owners who have used the machine for years did not find this to be a problem either.
In terms of raw suction power, the Hoover WindTunnel is a definite standout. The remarkable power output comes from its use of multi-cyclonic core technology which ensures that the unit never loses suction. Furthermore, the cleaning head is fitted with Hoover’s patented WindTunnel technology for a supercharge that can loosen even the most deeply lodged dirt and debris. The WindTunnel, however, may not be the best for use on hardwood floors. Some owners have pointed out the lack of a shutoff switch for the brush roll, and the spinning brush could also potentially leave behind small scuffs and scratches.
Some customers complained that the Shark Navigator's brush head was too small. If you live in tight quarters, however, this could actually be beneficial.
Like most contemporary vacuum models, the Shark Navigator Lift-Away utilizes cyclonic technology for removing surface debris as well as embedded dirt not visible to the naked eye. This vacuum uses sealed vacuum technology combined with HEPA filtration to remove and hold 99.99% of allergens and prevents them from being released back into the air.
The Dyson Ball Multi Floor uses a patented Radial Root Cyclone system, which is like no other in its class. Its reconfigured air channels help preserve air pressure and reduce turbulence. This enables the inner cyclones to extract more microscopic debris and particles, thus making it more efficient at removing dust, dirt, and allergens. One “vacuum connoisseur” we talked to said that her carpet felt fluffier in texture after using the Dyson for the first time and that the machine surpassed an industrial grade vacuum cleaner she had previously owned.
The BISSELL CleanView weighs in at 15.1 pounds, and comes in second in terms of lightest vacuum cleaners out of our pick of the best four products in the market. It has five height adjustment settings, at par witht those offered by the others, and in keeping with expectations from a product of this standard. However, user reviews suggest it could definitely be quieter.
At 16.5 pounds, the Hoover WindTunnel isn’t the lightest vacuum, although the weight difference compared to other models is negligible. Also, the five height adjustment settings make it a breeze to clean all flooring types with efficiency and ease.
Considering the power output of the Hoover WindTunnel T-Series Rewind Plus, it is surprisingly quiet.
The Shark Navigator Lift-Away weighs just 14 pounds, making it a true lightweight in its class. Its swivel steering also makes it a breeze to navigate through tight corners and maneuver under furniture with a turn of the wrist. While some owners noticed that the parts felt a little flimsy and “cheap” as if they were easily breakable, they quickly realized that this was not the case and that they were simply not use to handling such a lightweight vacuum.
The Dyson Ball weighs 17 pounds, making it the heaviest model in its class. While the extra bulk will be negligible for most, it may be noticeable for more petite individuals. The Dyson, however, does utilize ball technology in place of standard wheels. The balls are made from glass-reinforced polypropylene, which makes the unit easily maneuverable with a small twist of the wrist. A few owners complained that the unit is prone to tipping over in its upright position due to the ball technology, but we didn't find this to be much of an issue once you get used to properly balancing the machine.
Upright vacuums are powerful, but they can be unwieldy. For cleaning your stairs and car mats, a handheld vacuum might be the better choice.
The BISSELL CleanView is a bagless vacuum, meaning that it comes with a clear dirt tank, sparing you the expense of replacement bags. With its bottom-open system, the dirt tank can easily be emptied with the simple press of a finger. Several owners we surveyed commented on the ease of emptying the tank and expressed relief at not having to worry about replacing bags or switching out filters.
The Hoover WindTunnel is noted for its cord rewind feature which enables the 25 ft. cord to be retracted into the unit with the tap of a pedal. This feature was frequently mentioned by users who found it convenient not having to wrap the cord around the vacuum the old-fashion way. It also uses a HEPA filter, which is useful for trapping allergens.
Vacuums with reusable filters can save you money in upkeep costs. The Hoover Wind Tunnel offers this feature.
The Shark Navigator Lift-Away features an ergonomic handle with a Lift-Away canister attachment that is useful for removing those cobwebs from the door frame or ceiling corners. Additional attachments include a crevice tool and a turbo pet power brush for effectively cleaning those hard-to-reach areas and removing pet hair lodged in the carpet. One owner, however, did express dismay at the short length of the hose and that the vacuum tips over with even a slight tug.
Vacuum cleaners are often sold on bells and whistles, but particles in vs. particles out are the key metrics.
One of the neat features of the Dyson Ball is its self-adjusting base plate, which automatically adjusts its cleaner head in order to optimize suction power and reduce air leaks. It also has a Tangle-free Turbine tool with integrated brushes and counter-rotating heads for removing pet hair in carpet and upholstery. A huge majority of pet owners give the Dyson rave reviews for its ability to extract pet hair from carpet.
Plug equipment directly into an approved power source. Plugging one adaptor into another may not have overcurrent protection and could cause electrical injury and fire.
Costing a very affordable $79, the BISSELL CleanView may easily be overlooked as inferior to its more pricey counterparts. But don't let the price fool you. Several owners we surveyed compared the BISSELL to more expensive models they had previously owned and said the BISSELL performed just as well if not better. This machine is one of the top models for anyone looking to buy a vacuum without having to pay triple digit prices.
At $83, the Hoover WindTunnel is certainly at the lower end of the price spectrum. While there are other models that feature cyclonic technology, the Hoover offers it at an agreeable price without compromising on performance. Most owners find this machine to be a tremendous deal given the powerful suction it delivers.
With a price tag of $179, the Shark Navigator Lift-Away falls roughly in the midpoint price range. For the price, you do get a vacuum cleaner that comes with plenty of attachments, which may be useful for special cleaning tasks such as removing tufts of fur from a pet dog, for example. One owner we talked to was very impressed that the Shark Navigator performed at the same level as a previous Oreck and Dyson model that he owned, both of which cost more than $400.
At a cost of $569, the Dyson Ball is certainly one of the most expensive models on the market. However, for this price you are paying for a vacuum that uses tried-and-tested, patented cyclone and ball technology that is unlike others in its category. Several owners we surveyed confidently defended their decision to purchase this machine, saying that its durability and longevity actually ended up saving them money in the long run.
If you can overlook the hefty price tag, then the Dyson Ball is the best vacuum cleaner available on the market today. Its features, such as cyclonic action and ball swivel technology, are not uncommon; yet, the manufacturers at Dyson took pre-existing concepts and refined them for an incredibly improved user experience.
There is simply no other machine on the market that will deliver the same level of performance, durability, optionality, and user friendliness as the Dyson.
This vacuum cleaner, without question, earns our highest recommendation.
The manufacturers at Dyson took pre-existing concepts and refined them for a newly improved user experience.
If your budget is a huge factor, we recommend going for the BISSELL CleanView. This is simply one of the top model vacuum cleaners that you can find within the double digit price range.
With a unique base brush system, washable filter, and the TurboBrush tool, the BISSELL CleanView is proof that you don’t need to invest in an expensive vacuum cleaner to deliver impressive cleaning results.
BISSEL CleanView is the best value on the market, and it earns our recommendation as the Best Bang for Your Buck.
At BestReviews, we purchase every product we review with our own funds. We never accept anything from product manufacturers. Our goal is to be 100% objective in our analysis, and we do not want to run the risk of being swayed by products provided at no cost.