When you’re looking for a new vacuum, you’ll be confronted with myriad choices straight off the bat…
A stick is lightweight and nimble and a handheld even more so although both come with limitations in terms of cleaning capability.
Canisters are somewhat unwieldy while robotic vacuums are expensive and tend to polarize opinion.
- Top 10 Best Multi-Surface Vacuum Cleaners
- Top 10 Best Cordless and Rechargeable Vacuum Cleaners
- Top 10 Best Handheld Vacuum Cleaners
Today, our core focus is on the classic, no-nonsense upright vacuum, the ultimate workhorse and packing all the power you need to clean the whole house.
We tested a broad spread of uprights and we boiled these down into the best 13 across a range of categories. We’ve got a batch of vacuums ideal if you have pets at home and a range of weights and sizes to cater for all requirements.
We tried to include a solid cross-section of price-points so there’s something for everyone regardless of budget. We’ll get straight down to business now with our reviews before we finish up with some basic advice to make your buying decision quicker and easier.
By the end of today, you’ll be in the position to choose the best upright vacuum for your needs without too much time or trouble.
Table of Contents
I. Top 13 Best Upright Vacuums
1. Our #1 Pick: Shark Rotator TruePet (NV752)
If you’re looking for a capable and powerful upright and don’t mind a little extra bulk, the classic Shark Upright Rotator TruePet variant touches several pain points in fine style.
Firstly and as the name makes abundantly clear, if you’ve get pets in the house you can see off all hair and dander leaving your carpets and wooden floors spotless. A motorized brush and combination pet tool give you everything you need to make this happen.
The Rotator deals equally well with carpeting or hard floors so is a great ally in homes with mixed flooring.
Filtration is first-class with whole-machine HEPA including Shark’s proprietary Anti-Allergen Complete Seal Technology. Whatever the nature of your sensitivities, the Rotator will keep the air in your home free of pathogens and contaminants. Breathe easier while enjoying immaculate floors with little effort required.
- Range of pet tools makes this ideal for animal owners demanding a spotless house
- True multi-surface cleaning with Hard Floor Hero to buff up bare floors a treat
- HEPA-filtration with patented Complete Seal Technology so perfect for anyone with allergies or asthma
- Fairly heavyweight unit at 15 pounds
2. The Best Upright Vacuum For Pet Hair: Dyson Ball 2 Animal
While no Dyson is cheap, if you act quickly you can pick up the Ball 2 Animal at an aggressive discount. Is it any good, though?
In a word, yes. HEPA-filtration extends throughout the vacuum so all air that enters is channeled into the S-Class filter and you won’t get tiny particles belched back into the atmosphere.
This is a multi-surface cleaner and the head adjusts itself automatically eliminating the need to fuss around with a brush roll. Give your carpets a deep clean but don’t worry about scratching up your precious wooden flooring.
Radial Root Cyclone Technology maximizes suction while keeping those minute pathogens out of your atmosphere. Emptying the dustbin is as simple as pushing a button so you won’t get the mess that bagless vacuums can generate when it’s time to ditch the contents in the trashcan.
For a powerful and versatile upright designed to see of pet hair and the ingrained messes left behind by your animals, the Ball 2 is unbeatable.
- Whole-machine HEPA-filtration to keep all contaminants safely wicked away
- Simple, push-button emptying of dirt cup so you won’t get a face full of dust
- Class-leading suction for even the most stubborn messes
- Not the most maneuverable machine due to heavyweight nature although slightly mitigated by ball steering
3. The Best Lightweight: Oreck Magnesium Bagged Upright
Oreck don’t make cheap vacuums but in return for your considerable investment you’ll get all the raw power you’d expect from an upright without the usual bulk.
Weighing less than 8 pounds and with a low-slung design ideal for accessing awkward spots, the Magnesium is ideal if you struggle with heavier loads.
Filtration is impeccable with the inner bag coming HEPA-rated and the sealed system ensuring none of those contaminants seep out into the air around you.
The single helix rollerbrush revolves at a staggering 7000 RPM at the top end. You can tweak the speed with ease using ergonomic fingertip controls.
The SlimSwivel design allows you to get under the furniture with ease and that lightweight form makes getting up and down the stairs a cinch. If you don’t want to compromise the power delivered by a corded upright but you don’t fancy the usual sizeable hulk, the Oreck Magnesium solves that issue head-on.
- Combination of outstanding firepower in a slimline, lightweight form factor
- HEPA inner bag with Saniseal Docking System so all those microscopic dust mites and airborne pathogens are neatly sucked away from harm
- Bag designed to resist jamming keeping maintenance to a minimum
- Absolutely not a budget upright vacuum
4. SharkNinja Upright Canister (NV70)
Shark’s gold and silver NV70 is one of the lesser-known models in their broad and deep range but why have we chosen it as our best bagless upright?
Well, one of the inbuilt snags with bagless models is the often risibly small dirt cups. The capacity of the Shark gives you more than enough space to accommodate the dust and debris from whole-house cleaning.
When it comes to emptying the container, do so at by hitting the button and jettisoning the contents directly into the trash.
You can dance from carpeting to hard flooring and simply activate or deactivate the brushroll accordingly. This gives you sufficient suction to get rid of ingrained filth in your carpets but the delicacy to clean bare floors without damaging them.
For a bagless upright with class-leading capacity and plenty of oomph, the Shark NV70 is a stealth option well worth your further investigation.
- Oversized dust container lets you get more done without hitting the trashcan
- Although corded, you’ll get a full 30 feet of cable giving you ample freedom of movement along with top-notch power delivery
- Nimble and maneuverable despite being pretty bulky
- Despite being described as lightweight, this vac weighs 15 pounds so don’t fall for the marketing hype
See Also: Top 10 Best Easy-to-Push Vacuum Cleaners
5. Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional
Shark’s Navigator is a stone-cold classic and offers you all the power of an upright with the added advantage of a handheld canister that lifts away at the push of a button.
Multi-stage filtration includes a HEPA-rated component. In tandem with Shark’s Anti-Allergen Complete Seal Technology, even the tiniest airborne particles will be no match for the formidable Navigator.
Be warned this vac is a heavyweight beast. At over 19 pounds, you won’t be dragging it up and down the stairs too easily. Then again, with that detachable canister up your sleeve, you won’t need to!
Despite not being the slimmest or lightest vacuum on the block, you’ll navigate as easily as the name suggests as long as you’re happy holding a more substantial unit.
- Detachable canister enhancing value and functionality both
- Multiple filters include a post-motor HEPA-rated variant and they’re all washable so no more expensive replacements
- Addition of Shark’s patented sealed system ensures allergy sufferers can breathe easily
- Extremely heavy nudging 20 pounds so make sure you’re comfortable with that weight
6. Hoover Linx Signature
While corded vacuums undoubtedly hit home hard on the performance front, they’re sorely limited in terms of movement. You’ll always be tethered to a power outlet even if the cord is long enough (which is often not the case).
The Hoover Linx Signature is our standout favorite if you want to sidestep this restriction and cut the cord.
Hoover don’t quote run times which is inexcusable as it’s the most important thing you need to know with a cordless. During our testing, we returned anywhere between 20 and 25 minutes on a single charge so you should have no problem getting your clean-up done in a single session.
The smart charger gives the 18-volt lithium ion battery a boost when required so takes the guesswork out of this element.
For an agile and capable addition to your cleaning arsenal giving you the freedom to clean anywhere without being restrained by a power cord, the Hoover Linx is a beast.
- Smart charger and all the benefits of cordless convenience
- Patented WindTunnel technology means the Linx doesn’t stiff you on the suction side of things
- Ergonomic controls and battery gauge housed where you need them on the handle
- A few complaints about clogging
See Also: Top 15 Best Hepa Filter Vacuum Cleaners
7. Soniclean Soft Carpet Cleaner Upright Vacuum
Looking lean and mean, the Soniclean Soft Carpet Cleaner is a vacuum with a difference…
Expressly designed to work effectively on softer carpets, as the name makes perfectly clear, this is a specialized vac rather than a generalist so ideal for anyone with an abundance of this type of carpeting at home.
The adjustable vents and outstanding wheels enable you to dance over softer carpet without getting bogged down.
Hospital-grade HEPA-filtration is unimpeachable. If anyone in your house is afflicted with allergies or asthma, they’ll be in safe hands and suffer from less irritation with the Soniclean in the house.
One legitimate complaint centers on suction power. Despite the intense vibration helping to disturb stubborn debris, suction is slightly underwhelming so think closely about the type of messes you commonly deal with.
If your primary goal is to gently clean softer, deeper carpet, we’d strongly recommend this unit. If, on the other hand, you’re looking for a multipurpose vacuum, the Soniclean is not the best solution.
- Vibrates at high velocity to help further agitate ingrained grime and promote a spotless finish
- Sleek, showstopping good looks rare in a vacuum
- Front wheels enhance mobility delightfully
- Some disgruntled customers complaining about lack of suction power
8. Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Upright Vacuum
Bissell has a hard-won reputation for delivering first-class vacuums at third-class prices. The Pet Hair Eraser is a powerful and highly capable vacuum at the upper end of the range. As such, it’s not cheap but it’s certainly exceedingly strong value for money. Why is that?
If you’ve got pets at home, you’ll need no telling they can leave the house looking devastated. Hair and dander everywhere can be murder to clean up effectively but you’ll get a bunch of tools on the Bissell to streamline that job. The brushroll is tangle-resistant, too. This means you won’t be forced to unpick hair wrapped around when you’re done. Impart the finishing touches with the pet tools included.
Rated at 8.5 amps, the wide 12-inch cleaning path allows you to churn through your vacuuming in no time. Suction is exceptional and you’ll see off both larger debris and finer particles with minimal effort.
- Multiple configurations available so something for everyone
- Series of highly effective pet tools make this vacuum tailor-made for animal owners
- Broad cleaning and powerful suction so get more done in less time
- Vague and incomplete warranty coverage might let you down when you least expect it
9. Oreck Commercial XL Upright Vacuum
Coming in at a cut-throat price for an Oreck, this commercially-rated model is lightweight with no compromise whatsoever in terms of performance.
A scant 8 pounds, this vacuum is designed to appeal to anyone who has issues with their hands when cleaning. Rated by the Arthritis Foundation, controls are all highly ergonomic and you won’t need to fiddle with the brushroll when you glide from carpets to hard flooring.
Despite this slimline dimensions, suction is potent and debris is channeled toward the inlet at a brisk 6500 RPM.
Although a bagged vacuum, innovative and intelligent design ensures you won’t lose power while the bag fills up and you won’t need to empty it prematurely either.
Low-slung and able to slide under furniture, the side bristles guarantee a close clean tight up to the baseboards.
- Weighs a mere 8 pounds while still packing a remarkable punch
- Comes recommended by Arthritis Foundation so ideal if you struggle with your hands when vacuuming
- No need to manipulate brushroll when switching surfaces
- Design not to everyone’s taste
10. Eureka PowerSpeed Bagless Upright
If you fancy an upright vacuum but you’re not happy with big, bulky units, the PowerSpeed occupies a dinky footprint and tips the scales at just 12 pounds so you’ve got no need to compromise maneuverability in the quest for performance.
A bagless model, you’ll get none of the hassle or expense of replacing bags while emptying is streamlined so you won’t end up choking on dust when you ditch the dirt cup. The capacity is over 2 liters so you’ll get all your vacuuming done in a single session without needing to empty it out mid-flow.
Although corded, with a 25-foot cable, you’ll get more than enough freedom to navigate. A retractable cord takes all the tedium out of manually winding it in once you’re done.
A wide array of tools come with onboard storage so you’ll minimize the chance of misplacing them while ensuring everything is close to hand when you need it.
- Simple dial to adjust height settings so you’ve got all surfaces covered and cleaning optimized
- Comes in 4 striking colorways so looks great as well as delivering fully in terms of cleaning power
- Weighs just over 12 pounds so lightweight for an upright
- Reasonably loud so make sure this doesn’t present a problem
11. Bissell Cleanview Swivel Pet Upright
As we edge toward the end of our best upright vacuum reviews, we’ve got another Bissell in the form of the Cleanview, another pet-centric model that also performs admirably across the board.
The Bissell is remarkably inexpensive but the trade-off is slightly questionable build quality. Some degree of compromise is to be expected in vacuums costing less than a Benjamin so you need to make your own mind up here.
The triple-action brushroll is designed to make light work of pet hair and dander whatever the surface.
Swivel steering allows you to glide around the room with ease while the low-profile design makes it simple to clean up flush to the baseboards with no area left untouched.
The dust container empties out from the bottom and you won’t end up leaving more mess than you cleaned up behind you.
As long as you’re prepared for the fact this vacuum won’t keep going for a decade, we’d strongly recommend the Cleanview for any pet owner looking for a bargain basement vacuum that’s not a hunk of junk.
- Exceptional price/performance ratio
- Several configurations available including one with a hand vacuum and another with a Febreze filter
- Complete edge-to-edge cleaning for a spotless finish
- Some snags with lifespan but you need to keep your expectations reasonable in this budget price band
12. Dirt Devil Razor Pet Bagless Upright
With our penultimate upright, Dirt Devil’s Razor is slightly different in terms of looks.
Swivel steering allows you to twist the Razor around just about any obstacle without breaking your stride. You’ll benefit from No Loss of Suction so the vacuum keeps on delivering power throughout the cleaning cycle.
There’s a removable wand giving you some valuable extra reach. This also comes in handy for cleaning down below or above floor and works a treat on furniture and drapery, too.
A ruthlessly efficient pet tool named TURBOCLAW makes a great opponent for the hair, dander and spilled food your cats and dogs leave in their wake.
Dirt Devil makes potent and agile vacuums and this upright is no exception. If you’re looking for a versatile performer, pop the Razor on your shortlist.
- Commanding aesthetics make a real statement
- Washable, reusable filters are robust and effective although not HEPA-rated
- Equally capable on carpets and hard flooring
- Pipe connecting handle to motor is flimsy plastic
13. Hoover PowerDrive Pet Bagless
Rounding out our hunt for the best upright vacuum, we’ve got another Hoover in the guise of the PowerDrive.
Another top-grade vacuum if you’ve got pets in the house, you’ll get a suite of tools to complement powerful suction meaning a hair-filled home will be a thing of the past.
When you move from carpeting to hard floors, simply deactivate the brushroll at the push of a button and you’ll protect your parquet from getting scratched or scuffed. Activate it again to get all the suction you need to efficiently suck all the dirt from your carpets or rugs.
The quick-release wand gives you an additional 13 feet of reach and simplifies above-floor cleaning
Priced keenly and presently available slightly discounted, investing in this Hoover will ensure your home stays spotless despite the best efforts of your pets!
- Selection of effective pet tools to cope with even stubborn messes
- Substantial dirt container holds all the debris from a whole-house clean with room to spare
- Tech-laden vacuum that also looks great
- A few reported issues with quality control meaning you should check the contents of your package carefully upon arrival
II. What to Look for in an Upright Vacuum Cleaner
Rather than rehashing a generic best vacuum buying guide, we’ll laser in purely on the factors relevant to uprights.
Keep these elements firmly in mind and you’ll get the right vac for the job with very little effort.
Bagged or Bagless?
As with all aspects involving a straight choice, both bagged and bagless vacuums come with their own upside and drawbacks.
- Bagged Uprights: With a bagged vacuum, all dirt and debris are safely contained in a sealed unit. If you have any allergies or asthma, emptying out a bagged vac is generally less irritating. One serious downside is the need to constantly buy replacement bags, though. The cost of this can mount over time and it’s worsened since you really need to replace the bags long before they’re actually full or performance and suction start to take a downward turn
- Bagless Uprights: The majority of modern uprights are bagless. You’ll get no ongoing expenses of replacement bags nor the inconvenience of needing to source them or remember to buy them. The issue of emptying the dirt cup is something most manufacturers have addressed. While you might get some minor blowback of dust, the vast bulk feature push-button emptying which is a breeze. Consider capacity and make sure this is enough to gel with your cleaning needs. The last thing you want is to be stopping midway through to empty an undersized dirt cup
Corded or Cordless?
As with the bagged vs bagless conundrum, there’s no right or wrong answer when you’re choosing between a corded or cordless upright. All that counts is what’s right for you.
- Corded Uprights: A corded vacuum will, almost without exception, deliver superior suction and overall power. This comes at the cost of being tethered to a power outlet at all times. The most critical thing to look for with corded vacuums is the length of the power cable. We’d recommend disregarding any vacuum with a cord shorter than 20 feet unless you’ve got a particularly small apartment. You simply won’t have enough freedom of movement and you’ll frequently need to switch outlets if you’re cleaning a larger space. For bigger rooms, corded vacuums don’t make such a smart choice. If, however, raw suction power is your primary motivator, there’s no substitute for a corded upright
- Cordless Uprights: Cordless vacuums give you a great deal of maneuverability and you can take them anywhere. You’ll need to think about battery run time and make sure this is sufficient for the cleaning you have in mind. Look, too, at the length of time it takes to recharge. While lithium-ion batteries perform far more strongly than the older nickel-cadmium batteries, they’ll still degrade over time just like your cell phone battery. Check to see if you can replace the battery or whether you’ll need to buy a new vacuum. The drag with cordless vacs is that you won’t get the same degree of power or suction whatever claims are made by the manufacturer
Think about whether you’d prefer washable and reusable filters or whether you’d like the ease of something disposable. If you angle toward the latter, factor the cost of replacements into your budgeting.
HEPA-rated filters will get rid of at least 99.97% of all particles down to a size of 0.3 microns. What does this means in plain English, though?
Well, if anyone in your household has an allergy or asthma, tiny airborne contaminants and pathogens will irritate them intensely. A regular filter in a vacuum isn’t cut out to deal with these minute particles effectively and they are belched back out into the air.
With a true HEPA filter, all the mites, dust and dander will be safely contained within the system leaving anyone with sensitivities to breathe a sigh of relief.
It’s also worth doubling down to make sure the vacuum has a completely sealed environment that channels everything through the filter with no air and particles able to escape. Different manufacturers have patented different systems all targeting this same issue so make sure you cover all bases if you’re looking to protect someone with allergies.
We’ll round out with 5 of the most frequently asked questions relating to upright vacuums.
III. Upright Vacuum FAQs
1) What surface does an upright vacuum work best on?
Despite the ability of most uprights to clean hard floors, they work best on carpets. The powerful suction is ideal for sucking up stubborn and ingrained messes from the fibers of carpets. Uprights also work well on rugs as long as they are not too deep. That said, most uprights do also work on bare flooring but you need to take the following pointer on board…
2) Why is it important to deactivate the brushroll if I’m cleaning wooden floors?
If you don’t deactivate the brushroll – usually easy to do by simply pressing a button – you’re highly likely to scratch and scuff your wooden flooring. Make sue you don’t forget to do this if you’re cleaning homes with mixed surfaces.
3) What is considered lightweight for an upright vacuum?
There’s no fixed guide but with uprights weighing up to 20 pounds, we’d suggest that any upright model weighing between 12 pounds and 15 pounds could legitimately be termed lightweight for this class. You should think about how you feel maneuvering heavy objects and also think about your intended usage.
4) Do uprights work well with pet hair?
They certainly do. The suction power means you’ll have no problem sucking up both hair and dander. Many specialized pet-centered uprights also come with a suite of attachments to eliminate hair from upholstery, furniture, bedding and drapery so you’ll get a perfect finish. You should also check that the model you’re considering doesn’t have a brushroll where hair gets tangled. To this end, if you’ve got pets at home, it’s well worth looking for an upright specifically designed with this in mind. Buying a standard vacuum, you’ll likely run into problems.
5) What is Complete Seal Technology?
While it comes under different names, the concept is the same. All air entering the vacuum is directly pushed toward the filter with none escaping. This ensures no fine particles end up in the atmosphere. This sealed system complements HEPA-filtration perfectly for a highly efficient remedy against airborne pollutants.
Well, we trust by now you’ve assembled a shortlist with a selection of suitable uprights you could add to your cleaning arsenal.
Uprights don’t all need to be cumbersome and unwieldy as many of the more slimline and lighter models we presented today conclusively prove.
If you’ve got animals at home, we’d suggest you opt for one of the vacs designed with pets in mind. Alongside powerful suction, these come with the tools you need to supply the finishing touches to your cleaning.
For allergy-sufferers, look out for HEPA-filtration.
Always pay attention to maneuverability and dimensions so you can be sure you’re not biting off more than you can chew.
If you keep these simple pointers in mind and stick with one of the 13 uprights on our list, you’re guaranteed to make your cleaning easier and more pleasurable without needing to spend a fortune.
Don’t forget to bookmark The Prince LA and come back soon. As always, we’re vigorously testing the next batch of household products and we’ll be delighted to serve up our findings early next week.