The Best Upright Vacuums for Cleaning Your Home

A good vacuum is an essential tool for keeping your home dust and dirt free.

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Best Upright Vacuum

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A quality vacuum cleaner keeps your house clean by removing dirt and debris from floors, furniture, and stairs.

The large, tilt-and-push design of an upright vacuum is perhaps one of the most traditional types of vacuums, useful for a variety of surfaces including carpet and hardwood floors. Despite their typically larger silhouette, most upright vacuums are relatively lightweight, easy to move around, and easy to store because they stand up on their own. The best upright vacuums even come with features including powerful suction and an array of cleaning accessories.

Keep reading for advice for choosing among the best upright vacuums, then get cleaning with one of the following top picks.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Shark Rotator Professional Upright Vacuum
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Eureka NEU182A PowerSpeed Bagless Upright Vacuum
  3. UPGRADE PICK: Dyson Upright Vacuum Cleaner, Ball Animal 2
  4. BEST CORDLESS: Hoover BH50020PC Linx Signature Stick Cordless Vacuum
  5. BEST FOR PET HAIR: BISSELL Cleanview Swivel Pet Upright Bagless Vacuum
  6. BEST BAGGED: Oreck Commercial XL2100RHS Upright Vacuum
  7. BEST WITH SWIVEL HEAD: Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional NV356E
Best Upright Vacuum

Photo: amazon.com

Types of Upright Vacuums

Upright vacuums come with or without bags, and there are pros and cons to each type. Here are the main differences between bagged and bagless upright vacuums.

Bagged

Bagged vacuums are powerful and provide great suction, but the bags must be replaced periodically. If you vacuum frequently or have a large home, look for a vacuum with a large bag, so you won’t need to replace it after each use.

Bagless

Bagless vacuums eliminate the need for buying and replacing vacuum bags. However, emptying the canister can create a mess as dust and particles can get into the air. After prolonged use, tiny particles can also get trapped inside the vacuum and diminish the vacuum’s performance.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Upright Vacuum

From design and function to your individual cleaning needs, here are some important features and benefits to look for when choosing the best upright vacuum.

Home Size

The size of your home may determine the best upright vacuum for you. Vacuums with large bags are good for vacuuming large homes because you don’t need to replace the bags as often. A cordless vacuum or a vacuum with a long cord is also a good choice for a large house because you won’t need to constantly unplug it as you move throughout your home.

Corded vs. Cordless

Vacuums are available with or without cords. Corded vacuums are less portable than cordless models, but they are usually more powerful and have higher amperage ratings. When choosing a vacuum, consider where the nearest outlet is and make sure the cord is long enough to reach. Vacuums with extended cords let you cover more floor space without moving the plug. Retractable cords offer additional convenience and a tidy storage solution because the cord winds into the vacuum with the press of a button.

Cordless vacuums allow you to move freely throughout the house without worrying about where the nearest outlet is. Cordless vacuums with high volts are usually more powerful and can operate longer before needing to be recharged. Most cordless vacuums use one of the following types of batteries: lead-acid, nickel cadmium (NiCd), nickel-metal hydride (NiMH), or lithium-ion/lithium-ion polymer. Rechargeable batteries have a lifespan, meaning they can only withstand a set amount of charging cycles. This varies by battery type and ranges from 500 to 1,000 cycles. Cordless vacuums usually run for 15 to 40 minutes before requiring a recharge.

Motor

The motor is the central component of a vacuum cleaner. It creates airflow by connecting to a fan that sends air through the vacuum’s bag or filtration system and out the exhaust port. The motor strength, combined with other factors such as watts, amps, and voltage, determines the vacuum’s performance and suction power.

Air Flow and Filtration

Air flow, measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM), determines the vacuum’s cleaning ability. Vacuums with higher airflow can pick up more dirt and dust. Airflow takes into consideration the motor’s power along with the resistance of the bag and filter system.

Upright vacuums come with filters to prevent dust and other allergens from getting into the air. While regular filters are fine for most people, high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters are designed to remove nearly 100 percent of airborne particles and can be useful for those who suffer from severe allergies or asthma. Vacuums with normal filters may have higher airflow ratings because they do not have as much resistance as those with HEPA filters. Some filters are reusable and washable, but they can still clog up over time, meaning they eventually will need to be replaced.

Maneuverability

When shopping for a vacuum, look for one that is easy to move around, especially if you need to carry it up and down the stairs. Factors that impact maneuverability include weight, handle, wheels, and swivel head. The average weight of an upright vacuum is between 13 and 18 pounds, but some lightweight models can weigh as little as 8 pounds. Vacuums with swivel heads are easiest to maneuver around furniture and other obstacles. Some also come with adjustable height options, so you can raise or lower the head of the vacuum to accommodate different floor surfaces. Vacuums with smooth wheels prevent scratches when vacuuming hardwood floors.

Noise Level

The noise level of a vacuum cleaner is measured in decibels (dB). All vacuums generate noise, but some are quieter than others. If you are looking for a quiet vacuum cleaner, stick to vacuums under 80 dB.

Bag Capacity

Bag capacity measures how much dirt and debris a vacuum cleaner can hold before the bag needs to be replaced. Vacuums with larger bag capacity offer better airflow, which means better cleaning. Vacuums with smaller bag capacity need to be replaced more frequently.

Accessories

Some upright vacuums come with accessories for more specific cleaning needs. These include tools and attachments such as brushes that specialize in picking up pet hair and cleaning under couch cushions. Keep this in mind when choosing the best vacuum for your household.

Our Top Picks

Upright vacuums come in many different styles including corded, cordless, bagged, and bagless. While they each have their own features and conveniences, these are some of the best upright vacuums in a variety of categories.

Best Overall

Best Upright Vacuum Shark
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This powerful but lightweight corded vacuum packs maneuverability and allergy protection into one package. It weighs 15.5 pounds, has a 1.3-quart dust cup capacity, and a hand vacuum for cleaning stairs and areas above the floor. This vacuum cleaner also has a HEPA filter and an anti-allergen seal technology that traps in dust and allergens. The enhanced swivel steering makes it easier to vacuum hard-to-reach places and navigate around furniture or other obstacles. This vacuum comes with useful cleaning accessories, including a dusting brush, 12-inch crevice tool, upholstery tool, wand for overhead cleaning, and LED lights on the floor nozzle to reveal hidden debris. It has a 25-foot electrical cord and an 8.4-foot hose, so it can cover a lot of floorspace before you have to unplug and move it.

Best Bang For The Buck

Best Upright Vacuum Eureka
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With a dynamic motor, brushroll, and 12.6-inch wide nozzle, this powerful vacuum can lift away dirt and debris in a wide area thanks to its 25-foot cord and 7-foot hose. It weighs only 10 pounds and is easy to maneuver around the house. There are five height adjustments to accommodate surfaces ranging from high pile carpet to hardwood floors. The smooth wheels are designed to prevent scratches on hardwood.

The extra-large dust cup can hold up to 4.1 liters of dirt and debris before needing to be emptied, and the filter is washable. The vacuum features a quick-release handle for cleaning surfaces higher than floors and comes with three cleaning accessories, including a 7-inch crevice tool, upholstery tool, and dusting brush, which are conveniently stored within the vacuum. This vacuum can remove pet hair, clean your car, freshen up your curtains, and more.

Upgrade Pick

Best Upright Vacuum Dyson
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Dyson’s Ball Animal 2 is a primo vacuum with powerful suction, a cleaner head that automatically raises and lowers to accommodate different floors, and radial root cyclone technology that captures microscopic dust. It has a super-long, 31-foot cord and a hose reach of 40 feet, so you could conceivably clean an entire small to mid-size house without unplugging and moving the Dyson. That long-reach hose makes it easy to clean up high on curtains or shelves and down low under furniture too.

This 17.4-pound vacuum comes with a motorized brush bar for deep cleaning and a tangle-free turbine tool for removing pet hair off of carpet and upholstery. Whole-machine filtration traps allergens and bacteria inside the vacuum without releasing them into the house. Simply press a button to release dirt from the vacuum’s bin without making a mess.

Best Cordless

Best Upright Vacuum Hoover
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This 10-pound cordless vacuum is portable and lightweight with a lithium-ion battery that fully charges in just three hours, which is much faster than the 8- to 16-hour charge time for most NI-CD batteries. The battery can be recharged hundreds of times before needing to be replaced. The Hoover has a multi-floor, electronic brush roll that can clean carpet and hardwood floors. This vacuum has WindTunnel technology, meaning it creates channels of suction that can remove dust at the surface level and pick up deeply embedded dirt too. This bagged vacuum has a low profile that makes it easy to clean underneath furniture.

Best For Pet Hair

Best Upright Vacuum BISSELL
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This vacuum cleaner is specially designed to remove pet hair from floors and furniture. It features both an edge-to-edge brush roll that removes deeply embedded hair, as well as scatter-free technology, which enables it to suck up hair from hardwood floors instead of blowing it around in a cloud like some vacuums. The Bissell also has specialized tools for targeting pet hair, including a pet hair corner tool that gets animal hair from the corners of floors and sofas and a Pet TurboEraser tool that pulls hair out of high pile carpet.

Swivel steering allows for easy maneuverability, while the easy-empty dirt bin makes it simple to dump the 1-liter capacity dirt cup. This bagless corded vacuum cleaner has a multi-cyclonic suction system for extended performance and a multi-level filtration system to trap dust and debris. It weighs just under 18 pounds, has a 27-foot cord and a 6-foot extended hose length.

Best Bagged

Best Upright Vacuum Oreck
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This corded vacuum cleaner comes with extra-large bags that can hold a lot of dirt, reducing the number of trips to the trash bin. The vacuum lays flat making it easier to clean underneath furniture and comes with bumpers to prevent scratches on walls. The 35-foot-long cord allows you to move throughout the house without needing to unplug the vacuum cleaner. This vacuum is suitable for use on a variety of surfaces and has a microsweep feature, so you can switch between floor types without adjustments. It weighs just 9 pounds, making it easy to maneuver.

Best Swivel Head

Best Upright Vacuum Navigator
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The Shark Navigator Lift-Away Pro is a powerful corded vacuum with advanced swivel-steering that makes it easier to clean around furniture. Use this vacuum to deep-clean carpets, or switch to the hard floor mode for multi-surface cleaning. The lift-away function is designed for cleaning furniture and stairs, and the 5-foot hose helps you reach overhead areas. This vacuum cleaner comes with an extra-large dust cup and sealed filtration system that captures nearly all dust and allergens. Cleaning accessories include a pet power brush and crevice tool, both of which conveniently store on board the vacuum. The vacuum weighs 13.7 pounds and has a 30-foot cord, so you won’t have to map out electrical outlets before you clean the house.

FAQs About Your New Upright Vacuum

Here is some more information to help you choose the best upright vacuum cleaner for you.

Q. How does an upright vacuum work?

Upright vacuums contain a motor that creates air flow and a rotating brush that lifts dirt off the floor. The air flows from the cleaning head (or tool) through the vacuum cleaner into the bag (or filtration system) and out the exhaust port. The suction created by this air flow sucks up dirt and debris.

Q. Do you need a vacuum with HEPA filters?

While regular filters are fine for most people, HEPA filters, which are designed to remove 99.97 percent or more of airborne particles of 0.3 micron in diameter, can be useful for those who suffer from severe allergies or asthma.

Q. Are cordless upright vacuums less powerful?

Cordless upright vacuums tend to be less powerful than their corded counterparts. But, as cordless vacuums are easier to maneuver, they can be a good choice for vacuuming stairs, drapes, or other places that can be hard to reach with a corded vacuum.

Q. How long do upright vacuum cleaners last?

Upright vacuum cleaners can last for about eight years, but the lifespan varies based on brand, model, and usage. You can extend the longevity of your vacuum by emptying the bag when it’s full and regularly replacing the filter.