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Best Upright Vacuums

Updated April 2018
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. Read more
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 58 Models Considered
  • 38 Hours Researched
  • 2 Experts Interviewed
  • 208 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for upright vacuums

    Last Updated April 2018

    There are many vacuums to choose from out there – so many, it can be overwhelming when it comes time to select a new unit for your home. A good vacuum should be able to suck up all the dust, debris, and pet hair in your home and ensure allergens are not released back into the air. Whether you’re a homeowner with furry pets or none at all, the BestReviews team is here to help! We’ve researched countless upright vacuum models to bring you this thorough buying guide.

    Our guide can help you with your search for an upright vacuum, so you can find the model that not only suits your needs but also fits your budget. Below, you’ll find helpful information on features to look for in a vacuum, along with the pros and cons of various vacuum types. When you’re finished reading, we encourage you to scroll back to the top of the page to discover our top five upright vacuum product selections.

    Have a lot of furniture you need to clean under? Make sure your selected vacuum can clear your furniture or, at the very least, has some kind of attachment for hard-to-reach areas.

    Types of vacuums

    In addition to the standard upright vacuum, there are several other types of vacuums available for purchase. Each has its pros and cons.

    Canister vacuums are made up of a main body with separate head and hose components. Because the canister remains on the ground while you vacuum, all you need to contend with is the lightweight hose portion with the vacuum cleaning head. Canister vacuums are a good option for those with reduced upper body strength, and are an excellent option for cleaning hard-to-reach areas, like window coverings and stairwells. They are a bit tougher to store because of their size, and while the hose and head portions are lightweight, you still need to lug the unit with you from room to room as you vacuum.

    Your top priority should be finding the vacuum that provides the highest level of suction in your price range.

    Stick vacuums are perfect for small spaces but are less powerful than uprights because they often use batteries for power. They’re light and easy to maneuver, but they are not a good choice for heavily carpeted homes, nor are they suitable for homes with pets and/or people with severe allergies.

    Handheld vacuums are a great option for cleaning the tough-to-reach areas in a home. They’re lightweight and can clean virtually anywhere since they’re usually fairly compact. You can find both cordless and corded handhelds, and because of their size, they’re easy to put away when the task of cleaning is complete. They’re not as powerful, though, and they need to be emptied much more often than uprights.

    Robot vacuum cleaners are convenient because they clean on their own. However, they sometimes get stuck under furniture and pass right by areas that have not yet been vacuumed.


    Sucked up an iPhone charger and broke the belt in your vacuum? Don’t worry, parts like these are often replaceable.

    Staff  | BestReviews

    Advantages of upright vacuums

    There are some advantages to choosing an upright vacuum for your home cleaning needs over any other kind of vacuuming device.

    • More powerful suction

    • Wide design allows units to suck up more dust and debris at once than other types of vacuums

    • Suitable for various surfaces, from hardwood floors to high-pile carpet

    • Comfortable to use, since there’s no need to bend down when vacuuming

    Multi-Surface Vacuuming

    A lightweight upright vacuum with plenty of features that make it suitable for use on multiple surfaces. The head of the vacuum adjusts according to your flooring type to achieve the best degree of suction, and the ball design makes it easy to rotate and steer the vacuum, even in awkwardly shaped spaces. One downside is that the included attachments just aren’t on par, quality-wise, with the vacuum itself.

    Upright vacuum features

    When deciding which upright vacuum model to purchase, don’t forget to consider the following features and functions.

    Size, weight, maneuverability

    Choose a vacuum that you feel comfortable pushing around the house. A unit that’s too heavy may be difficult to move, and it could put undue stress on the body. Not to mention, it will make the task of cleaning seem more daunting than it should be. An upright vacuum should be easy to push, and it should have a comfortable handle. It should glide smoothly over surfaces, and you should not have to struggle to move it around. Users should also make sure that they’re capable of transporting the vacuum up and down stairs. Size matters, especially when it comes time to store the vacuum. If you have limited storage space, make sure your selected model fits inside your cleaning supply closet – or wherever you plan to put it when not in use.


    If you have a home with hardwood floors, opt for a vacuum with a removable brush attachment. Brushes are suitable for cleaning carpets, but they can scratch and damage hardwood floors.

    Staff  | BestReviews


    Vacuum noise is measured in decibels. To find out if a vacuum is at the noisier end of the spectrum, check to see its listed decibel level. Don’t expect most vacuums to be super quiet, though. Nearly all upright models will produce some kind of noise.

    Cord length

    What kind of space are you working with? Will the cord length of your potential vacuum be long enough that you don’t need to switch outlets constantly? Thankfully, most upright vacuums have long cords, so you don’t have to worry about struggling to move furniture to gain access to inconvenient outlets to clean the other side of a room.


    Most vacuums have some kind of cord storage solution. Some cords can be wrapped around the vacuum, while other models have retractable ones.

    Bag or no bag

    Upright vacuums are available in either bagged or bagless options. In bagged units, the bags contain the dirt and keep it from going back into your home’s environment when you empty the vacuum. The downside? You’ll need to replace and purchase new bags every so often, which is an extra cost to think about.

    Bagless units are more convenient in that you don’t need to worry about having bags on hand to use your vacuum; canisters on these units are very easy to empty. When emptying a bagless vacuum, however, dust and debris are more likely to spill or escape back into the air accidentally. It’s easier to see when a bagless vacuum is full, but some bagged models feature indicators to let you know they need to be emptied.

    Filter type

    Upright vacuums all come equipped with some kind of filter to trap allergens and keep them from flying back into the air. For households with pets or occupants with respiratory issues, HEPA filters are the Rolls Royce of filters, since they’re able to trap nearly 100% of airborne dust and allergens. When selecting an upright vacuum, it’s also important to consider whether the unit’s filter is reusable and if it can be washed. You might also check to see how much replacement filters for a particular model cost. Keep in mind that even reusable filters clog up over time and cannot be reused anymore.


    Clean or replace your vacuum cleaner’s filters often to ensure your vacuum is always working efficiently.

    Staff  | BestReviews


    Some vacuums come with accessories and attachments that increase the usefulness and versatility of the unit. The number of accessories a vacuum comes with shouldn’t be your sole reason for buying it, but attachments like rods, upholstery brushes, hard floor cleaners, and dusting attachments can add value to a device.


    While there are plenty of basic upright vacuum models available for under $100, for more powerful suction and filtering you should expect to pay over $200. Pricier models usually come with more attachments, are lightweight (despite the power they provide), and feature more efficient filters.

    Powerful Suction

    An affordable, bag-free, upright vacuum that features powerful suction to get at dust and debris in a single pass. It’s easy to maneuver, and users find it suitable for picking up pet hair. The canister is easy to remove and empty, and the long cord makes it easy to vacuum a large room without interruptions. It is, however, less durable than some pricier models.

    Vacuuming tips

    A vacuum can make your life infinitely easier. Unlike a broom and dustpan, it’s far less likely that dust and allergens will escape back into the air during cleaning. Vacuuming is usually a quicker process than sweeping, and a vacuum can help you to clean places that are harder to reach. Here are a few pointers to help you use your vacuum more efficiently.

    • Don’t let things get overly soiled in the first place. Remove shoes in the home, wipe pet paws before they come in from outdoors, and sweep up large spills and messes as soon as they occur.

    • Don’t just go over an area once. To really get your floors clean, you’ll need to pass the vacuum over an area a few times to pick up all that sneaky dust and debris.


    When cleaning your vacuum’s filter, wait until it’s completely dry before putting it back inside the vacuum to avoid mold growth and nasty smells.

    Staff  | BestReviews
    • Vacuuming more often can actually make the task a lot easier. If you wait to vacuum until your house is filled with visible pet hair and dust, chances are that passing the vacuum will take a larger chunk of time, and you may need to empty the vacuum multiple times.

    • Don’t leave dirt inside your vacuum. Empty it frequently. A full canister will make vacuuming less efficient.

    • Do a quick check to move obstacles out of the way before vacuuming, and pick up anything that might accidentally get sucked into your device.

    • Dust before you vacuum so you can be sure you’re picking up every last bit of dirt.

    Washed or replaced your filter, emptied the canister, but your vacuum still won’t pick anything up? It may be time to replace it.


    Q. My vacuum is fairly new but seems to be losing suction. What’s going on?
    Your filter may need to be replaced or washed. Most upright vacuum filters can easily be accessed. You’ll know just by looking at the filter if it’s time to swap it out or clean it.

    Q. How can I tell whether a vacuum will provide enough suction for my needs?
    Check the wattage of the vacuum you’re eyeing. Most upright vacuums should provide at least 1000 watts to pick up dirt effectively. ​​​​​​​

    A robot vacuum is an excellent option for the busy homeowner, but you’ll likely need to pass an upright vacuum once in awhile to ensure your floors are thoroughly cleaned.

    Q. I have allergies, so I want a vacuum that can keep dust bunnies at bay. What should I look for?
    Anyone with allergies should opt for a vacuum with a high-quality filter, such as a HEPA filter. A bagged model may also be a good choice, since it’ll be more effective at keeping dust from being released back into your home.

    Q. I have two big hairy dogs that shed a lot. What should I look for in an upright vacuum?
    To minimize the incidence of allergens in your home, choose a model with a quality filter. Look for vacuums marketed as “pet vacuums.” They will often provide stronger suction than other models. ​​​​​​​

    The team that worked on this review
    • Alice
      Web Producer
    • Amos
      Director of Photography
    • Devangana
      Web Producer
    • Jeff
    • Melissa
      Senior Editor
    • Steph