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The Best Upright Vacuum

Last updated on August 18, 2023
Best Upright Vacuum

Our Review Process

Don't Waste Your Money is focused on helping you make the best purchasing decision. Our team of experts spends hundreds of hours analyzing, testing, and researching products so you don't have to. Learn more.

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Our Picks For The Top Upright Vacuums

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Product Overview
Key Takeaway
 Top Pick

Kenmore HEPA Filter No Touch Bag Upright Vacuum

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Kenmore

HEPA Filter No Touch Bag Upright Vacuum

Keep your home clean and free of allergens using this high-quality upright vacuum. It comes with a built-in HEPA filter, as well as several attachments that will help you remove everything from dirt to pet hair. The canister even lifts up to make it a cinch to clean your stairs.

Overall Take

Multiple Color OptionsIf you're looking for a stylish upright vacuum, you'll find this one comes in a choice of red, purple or rose gold.

 Runner Up

Black + Decker BDASP103 Airswivel Pet Upright Vacuum

Black + Decker

Airswivel Pet Upright Vacuum

This upright vacuum's attractive features begin with an ergonomic handle. You're hands won't fatigue, even if you clean the entire house in one shot. Swivel steering, a large dust cup and reusable filters also make this vacuum an ideal choice.

Overall Take

Washable FiltersWith a weight of just 8 pounds, you won't have any trouble moving this vacuum from one room to another.

 Best Low Effort

Hoover MAXLife Allergen Sealing Pet Vacuum

Hoover

MAXLife Allergen Sealing Pet Vacuum

This low-maintenance pet vacuum is design with a 30-foot cord, multiple attachments for collecting pet hair in even the tightest of spaces, and has a washable HEPA filter designed for long-term use.

Overall Take

Easy cleaningFor a pet vacuum that requires easy cleaning and low maintenance.

 We Also Like

Shark Navigator Lift-Away Swivel Steering Upright Vacuum

Lift-Away Swivel Steering Upright Vacuum

This upright vacuum is the top overall recommended pick because of its reasonable price point and multiple tools, including two sizes of crevice tools. The removable handle doubles as an extension wand. It's also extremely efficient at removing any embedded dirt and dust from the floor.

Overall Take

Lots of ToolsWith tons of tools and an extension wand, this upright vacuum can get dirt in all those tiny crevices and corners.

Buying Guide

Whether you have wall-to-wall carpet, original hardwood or a combination of flooring throughout your home, having a vacuum cleaner is a necessity. Upright vacuum cleaners have become much more commonplace than canister vacs in American homes, and with good reason.

Unlike canister vacuums, uprights have the motor and the suction head on the same unit. You push the vacuum in front of you rather than dragging a canister behind while maneuvering a long hose.

While the basic look of upright vacuums hasn’t changed much over time, today’s vacuum cleaners are sleek, modern and come in an array of designs and colors.

Upright vacuums are typically more affordable than canister vacs. They clean thick rugs and carpets efficiently, thanks to their motorized brushes. They also transition between different types of flooring easily; you can usually control the movements from room to room with your foot on the pedal.

You can avoid a backache that sometimes occurs when using a canister vacuum or a broom and dustpan, as an upright vacuum does not require much bending or stooping. The wide cleaning brushes of upright vacuums typically clean floors faster than canister vacuum as well.

In addition, many upright vacuums are lightweight, especially when compared to canister vacuums. If you plan to use a single vacuum throughout your home, an upright cleaner can save time and strain. This is especially true if you have multiple levels in your home.

Most upright vacuums include attachments. These additional tools connect easily to the vacuum hose, which pops on and off of the unit. The attachments provide many of the benefits of a canister vacuum, such as the ability to clean high or hard to reach places. You can use attachments to clean ceiling fans, walls, blinds, upholstery and baseboards.  You can also obtain special attachments that allow you to clean behind or beneath appliances, such as refrigerators or dryers.

Upright vacuums can be easy to clean and maintain. Rinsing filters and emptying canisters or bags takes minimal time and effort. Although it might be tedious at times, removing hair or other obstructions from the roller brush is not terribly difficult.

Storage is simple. You can tuck an upright vacuum cleaner into a closet or corner in virtually any room in your home.

What to Look For

  • A primary factor to consider when shopping for an upright vacuum cleaner is the type of flooring on which you intend to use it. Some vacuums work best on deep carpet; others are designed for thin rugs and bare flooring. Several models are made to clean an array of floor types. In addition, if you cannot turn off the roller brush of a vacuum cleaner, it might not be suitable for hardwood flooring.
  • If you opt for a vacuum cleaner that is capable of cleaning multiple types of flooring, look into what you must do to adjust the pile type or floor setting. For some upright vacuums, you must bend down to use an inconvenient or hard-to-reach dial make these adjustments. For others, the switch is on the handle or even automatic.
  • Considering the overall ease of use of a vacuum is also important. Is the vacuum corded or cordless? Where is the on and off switch? How much does the vacuum cleaner weigh? How wide is the brush? How easy is the vacuum to maneuver around or under furnishings?
  • Some brands and models of upright vacuums have features that help to remove allergens from the home, such as multiple filters and airtight canisters. If you or a loved one suffer from asthma, severe allergies or other respiratory issues, this type of vacuum might be the best choice.
  • Think about what you might want to clean with the vacuum aside from floors. Look for a vacuum cleaner that includes or has the option to add attachments for the areas that you require most.
  • Pet hair can be problematic for some upright vacuums. Other models, like the Hoover WindTunnel T Series, are designed to clean up fur, fuzz and other animal-related messes with ease. If you have a cat, dog or another four-footed family member, a vacuum cleaner designed for pet owners could save you time and money in the long run.
  • Upright vacuums can be difficult to maneuver around severe corners or winding flights of stairs. Considering the weight and maneuverability of a vacuum cleaner as well as your home’s design can be helpful when determining which vac is best for you.
  • Consider whether you want to replace bags and/or filters regularly. A bagged vacuum might contain more dust and allergens but will also require more attention and additional costs. Bagless vacuums with washable filters tend to be more convenient and lower maintenance.
  • Of course, your budget is a primary deciding factor as well. Purchasing the best vacuum you can while staying within your means is a good rule of thumb.

More to Explore

The first mechanical carpet sweeper was invented by Daniel Hess in 1860. The innovation had rotating brushes, not unlike those in today’s upright vacuum cleaners. Prior to this invention, housewives, servants and even children had to hang rugs outside and beat the dust and dirt out of them. This was typically a weekly chore. By the turn of the 20th century, an English engineer named H. Cecil Booth created an engine-driven carpet cleaner. The machine was pulled on a cart throughout the streets of London, and the operator would drag a 100-foot hose into buildings to vacuum the floors. In 1907, an Ohio janitor named Murray Spangler made his own, smaller version of Booth’s machine. William H. Hoover purchased the rights to Spangler’s vacuum and the Hoover Vacuum Cleaner Company was born. Hoover vacuum cleaners have been sold around the world ever since. In fact, many people in England refer to vacuuming as “hoovering.”

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