While the vacuum market may be much more varied than it once was, there’s a reason that the first popular home vacuums were upright vacuums: They’re so easy to use! You’ll walk along with an upright and the length of the power cords have a typical standard that will allow you to vacuum from room to room without needing to change the plug’s location. For a carpeted home, an upright is an invaluable appliance (and some uprights are just as valuable for your hard floors). If you’re considering getting one, but don’t know where to look, here is an excellent place to start.
We reviewed dozens of upright vacuums to identify the best of the best. We found the best cordless and the best bagless. We looked at why cords and bags still have a place in some homes and which of those are the top in their field. We’ve identified multi-floor upright vacuums and those best for your pets. No matter what you need your upright for, we have one that is up to the task.
The further we delved into upright vacuums, the more obvious it became that there was one vacuum to stand out among its peers. The Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional will meet all the needs of your home with its versatile attachments and the power it utilizes makes the clean as thorough as possible.
In This Article
The 5 Top-Rated Upright Vacuums for 2019
|Best Overall Upright Vacuum||Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional||4.2|
|Best Multi-Floor Upright Vacuum||Eureka PowerSpeed Lite Upright Vacuum||4.2|
|Best Budget Upright Vacuum||Black & Decker AIRSWIVEL Upright Vacuum||3.8|
|Best Bagless Upright Vacuum||Bissell Cleanview Upright Bagless Vacuum Cleaner||4.2|
|Best Upright Vacuum for Pet Hair||Shark APEX Upright Vacuum with DuoClean||4.3|
*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change
Best Overall Upright Vacuum: Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional
The Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional will assemble easily directly from the box. You simply push the portable lift-away canister into the base, place the extension wand into the back of the canister, then add in the handle and you’re ready to go! It comes standard with a HEPA filter that will remove 99.9% of your home’s most common allergens and an Anti-Allergen Complete Seal that makes sure that they won’t leak through the machine and flow back into your home unbeknownst to you.
The brush roll is perfect for your carpeted floor, whether it be a shallow utility carpet or a plush one and for your hardwood floors, the brush roll turns off to make vacuuming that type of flooring just as easy. You can lift away the canister from the upright vacuum base to make this a vacuum you can take with you and the flexible hose handle transitions into a long-reaching nozzle for high up places.
There’s no denying this vacuum’s appeal – nearly 10,000 customers on Amazon have reviewed it and awarded it an impressive overall rating of 4.2 stars. There wasn’t even a question on what would be our pick for Best Overall Upright Vacuum, and after taking a look, you’ll absolutely feel the same.
Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional Key Features:
- Reusable and washable HEPA and felt filters
- 30′ power cord
- Lightweight – 13.7 lbs
Best Multi-Floor Upright Vacuum: Eureka PowerSpeed Lite Upright Vacuum
The Eureka PowerSpeed Lite Upright Vacuum uses 980-watts of power to give you the power you need to ensure the dust, and debris are all removed thoroughly from your home, making it a healthier environment for your family. The dynamic motor and brush roll will remove even the most stubborn dirt while the attachments will make sure that the more specialized jobs, like upholstery, under furniture and in between cushions, are taking care of just as meticulously.
The base has 5 height adjustments to make transitioning from one floor type to another a simple process and by allowing you to do that, it means you can use this one vacuum effectively on each and every type of floor in your home. It also includes a 4.1 liter bagless dust cup that makes it a breeze to dump so you can get back to the job at hand.
With right around 1,500 customer reviews on Amazon, earning it an overall rating of 4.2 stars, there’s no wonder we singled it out for our top five upright vacuums.
Eureka PowerSpeed Lite Upright Vacuum Key Features:
- Lightweight; 10 lbs
- 12.6″ wide brush roll
- On board storage of 3 accessory tools
Best Budget Upright Vacuum: Black & Decker AIRSWIVEL Upright Vacuum
The Black & Decker AIRSWIVEL Upright Vacuum is one that will ensure your home gets clean without a lot of extra fuss. Assembly is easy, operation is a cinch, and no one needs any training on either. The powerful suction ensures each pass of its swivel head gets just what it’s meant to without any extra passes required.
You’ll easily be able to transition to a “canister” type of use by removing the flexible hose and accessing more difficult to reach places while the included attachments make each specific task as easy as pushing and pulling the upright. It’s a compact designed upright that will store easily and though it’s less than nine pounds, it still packs plenty of power.
With a respectable overall rating of 3.8 stars on Amazon given by over 1,200 customer reviews, this upright definitely seems like a good candidate for your upright choice. But if you’re on a budget, the temptation of its price tag – just under $50 – is going to make it far too appealing to overlook.
Black & Decker AIRSWIVEL Upright Vacuum Key Features:
- Lightweight; 8.8 lbs
- 2 L dust cup capacity
- 3 accessory attachments included
Best Bagless Upright Vacuum: Bissell Cleanview Upright Bagless Vacuum Cleaner
The Bissell Cleanview Upright Bagless Vacuum Cleaner boasts a “One Pass” technology that means it will pick up the dirt and debris from your floors in one single swipe. You’ll avoid repeating your paths and you won’t need to worry about whether or not that one sweep got the job done; it will! It will work on low pile flooring, hard wood, and even plush carpets, so you can really use the full length of its twenty-five foot power cord to vacuum even more without stopping.
The large capacity dust cup will allow you to vacuum several rooms before dumping and the easy empty button will allow you to dump the contents directly from the bottom of the canister to your trash without getting your hands the least bit dirty. Its lightweight design will allow you to move it from room to room without wearing yourself out, as well.
With well over 3,000 customer reviews and an overall rating of 4.2 stars on Amazon, this upright vacuum is one you won’t regret purchasing. In fact, it’s statistically likely you’ll be one of the thousands of satisfied customers, just as the 79% of those who’ve purchased from Amazon alone.
Bissell Cleanview Upright Bagless Vacuum Cleaner Key Features:
- Multi-level filtration and washable filter
- Automatic cord rewind
- Turbo Brush Tool agitator included
Best Upright Vacuum for Pet Hair: Shark APEX Upright Vacuum with DuoClean
The Shark APEX Upright Vacuum with DuoClean uses a dual brush roll system (the DuoClean) that will deep-clean your carpets and act to polish your hard flooring, too. The lift-away canister allows you to take the vacuum with you from room to room and the extending flexible hose will extend your reach even further than the thirty foot power cord would allow.
The Zero-M self-cleaning brush roll is named such because of the preventative barrier on each brush row that stops hair from wrapping along the roll and clogging the vacuum or making it less efficient. For a pet owner, that’s an incredibly useful design addition; and you can remove the head from the base to attach it to the flexible hose, as well. Additionally, there is a Pet Power Brush that gives you an even more detailed clean that will attack your pet’s hair and remove it from upholstery, furniture, and more.
There are over 600 customer reviews on Amazon, so you can take confidence in the accuracy of this vacuum’s overall rating. And considering the rating is a spectacular 4.3 stars, this is one pet vacuum you wont want to miss.
Shark APEX Upright Vacuum with DuoClean Key Features:
- Includes three additional accessory tools
- 2 color options
- Advanced anti allergen complete seal technology and HEPA filter
Who Should Buy an Upright Vacuum
If you’re in the market for a vacuum, you will probably want to start your search by looking for a high quality upright vacuum. It’s an ergonomically efficient method to push and pull a vacuum over your carpets to ensure you’re sweeping the dirt and debris into your vacuum without bending over, or contorting your body in any way. You may not be able to get all types of flooring or all fabrics in your home, but when you’re thinking of the upright vacuum, remember that for a home with carpet of any kind, an upright is still the easiest way to get it clean. They’re primarily corded, meaning you won’t ever run out of power, and if you have a large home that requires more than just a 20 minute touch up, then that’s a big perk. Wall-to-wall carpets, despite all the advancements in vacuum technology, are still best cleaned by an upright vacuum.
Keep in mind one very tempting feature of most uprights these days: they don’t have to stay upright. In fact, the vast majority of upright vacuums sold currently are designed with a built-in hose feature. It may not lift away and act as a canister (though many do), but it will often have a flexible hose to allow you to get more than just your carpets clean. The design intention for an upright vacuum has always been to satisfy your home’s needs and as technology advances, there are tools to automatically remove dirt and debris from our hard wood floors and upholstery as well as prevent us from moving furniture in order to vacuum under it. An upright will incorporate all this new technology, as best it is able, to make sucking up your home’s dirt easier – no matter the surface.
Important Features to Consider
An upright vacuum should do several things well. Here’s what to consider when selecting an upright vacuum cleaner for your home:
- Weight. Some types of vacuums will require a lighter weight by the very nature of their design. Handheld vacuums, for example, can’t be held in your hand for long if they weigh too much. Canister vacuums don’t really need to limit their weight too much because they are, by and large, stationary while you use the flexible and long hose. An upright vacuum, however, is on neither of these extremes. That means you’ll want to consider the weight, but you won’t be limited by that one feature. You will need to move the vacuum, it’s true, but you will rely on the wheels to assist you and you can temper the weight more easily in an upright than other types. Other features, including self-propelling wheels (which are rare but amazing when they work) or a high quality handle if you have multiple levels in your home will make the weight less of a burden. For the home with only one level, the weight may not bother you one bit. But keep in mind that no matter what you initially think about your own ambition, a heavy vacuum will undoubtedly be used less.
- Bagged or Bagless. Your bagged/bagless preference is very likely going to be a bit more complicated than you initially think. A bag costs money, and over time a bagless can absolutely save you money. Bagless vacuums will also tend to be less hands on, making you dirty your hands less than would be required for changing the dirt bags out. However, a bagless vacuum that is freely dumped into your trash can (particularly a trash can without a lid), will be more likely to release the tiny dust and dirt particles back into the air. For a home with sensitivities to allergies, a bagless may be the worse option. Additionally, the bagless vacuums tend to have smaller dust cups and will often require more frequent dumping. You may need to dump a dust cup several times before you’d need to change the bag even once, so convenience and your preferences will come into play on that decision.
- Corded or Cordless. For the most part, upright vacuums are going to be corded. You may be able to find the odd battery-operated upright vacuum, but keep in mind that with the convenience of not being tied to a wall plug, comes a pretty big liability: You are going to have a time limit. If you enjoy racing through your vacuuming, or have an incredibly small home, then a battery can be a big win. But for a cordless upright that’s meant to do your whole home, you may need to do different rooms on different days. Uprights tend to have a bit stronger suction and use a bit more power than the handhelds that are usually cordless, so while those handhelds may be able to do your whole home on one charge, a powerful upright will very likely not be able to do so.
- Functional Attachments. As we’ve mentioned, the possibility of accessory tools on an upright vacuum is high. For that reason, you’ll very likely be able to find a vacuum that gives you the tools you need without ever needing to purchase any additional attachments, or vacuums. However, consider how much use you’ll really get from these accessory tools before you opt for the more expensive “set” that includes everything you could ever need. If you have wall-to-wall carpet, you won’t need to stress the hardwood attachments and for those homes without a pet, a pet brush is a waste of storage space. Likewise, you won’t want to buy a vacuum for your multi-pet home that doesn’t come, or can’t later be updated, with a pet nozzle to minimize the pet hair in your home.
- Cord Length. The cord length of an upright vacuum will very likely be the longest of any vacuum on the market, as it is the one most intended to vacuum your whole house. Realistically, you won’t be able to reach all your home with one single plug, but you will probably be able to reach a few rooms before you need to stop and change your power source. However, you’ll want to make sure you’re checking the length before you click “Buy.” Anything under twenty feet will probably become bothersome to frequently change.
- Wet/Dry. While you may not have a lot of success finding a wet/dry vacuum by name, you may have better success searching for a “shampooer/vacuum” instead. They may have a few attachments and a hose option to allow you to shampoo and vacuum your furniture, but for the most part you’ll be shampooing and vacuuming the carpet with its upright function. For the purpose of full disclosure, this is not an option you’ll want to use day-to-day. Not only is it heavy and hard to maneuver, it’s quite a bit more expensive. However, to properly clean your carpets, you will need to occasionally shampoo or steam clean them. If you’re not interested in paying the astronomical fees of having a company professionally do this, then you’re left with accepting a shorter life for your carpet or buying your own shampooer. And if you’re getting one function in an upright, it’s always nice to have the other, as well.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an upright vacuum and what does it do?
An upright vacuum cleaner is a machine which you’ll leave on the ground and use a handle to push and pull it over your floors, utilizing its wheels to minimize the effort needed. You’ll plug it into the wall and travel as far as the cord will allow. Once engaged with a power button, and as you run the vacuum over your floors, the motor will create a suction, essentially sweeping up dirt, debris, and dust from your floors. An upright is the traditional style of vacuum and will very likely be the first type of vacuum you encounter both in your search and in your own consideration. It has an ergonomic feel that won’t have you straining to operate it and most recently, it has been adapted in its design to often use additional tools and attachments to make the suction more versatile. You’ll be able to find a wide variety of upright vacuums that will clean much more than just the carpets it was originally designed for roughly a hundred years ago.
Which is better: canister or upright vacuum?
Which vacuum is better for your home is entirely dependent on your need. When you’re making your decision, it’s worth noting that both types of vacuums can handle the task of the other. That is, a canister will often have a wide nozzle brush attachment to allow it to vacuum in a similar fashion to an upright. An upright will frequently feature a hose attachment that will let you use the vacuum to reach higher places and formerly canister-specific areas. While you may appreciate the versatility now displayed in both types of vacuums, remember that the canister will likely still better at those “odd” places and the upright is likely going to still be better with the carpets. There are exceptions to these rules, but if you want a broad statement of what’s best for what task, there it is.
For wall-to-wall carpet, an upright is simply unbeatable. The push and pull is ergonomic to make your work more comfortable and it will allow you full control of the vacuum while also giving you plenty of range. You’ll most often be able to take your upright to several rooms without moving it while the canister will be more bulky and will usually only allow you to vacuum one room at a time before you need to relocate the plug and the bigger machine. You can use many uprights for the same tasks as you would a canister with a lift away design or flexible hose system, but the suction may be less efficient through the hose than it is the upright function.
How powerful should a vacuum cleaner be?
No matter what wattage you select in your upright vacuum, it’s important that you bear in mind that the higher wattage does not necessarily mean the vacuum is more powerful. The wattage it uses will cover all the working mechanisms and not just the suction. So consider all the pieces and parts that need powered by the electricity that is coming into your vacuum and you’ll be able to see how a higher wattage does not mean a higher suction power. As a rule, a corded upright vacuum will typically range in power from 1,000 to 2,000 watts – which will be likely be more than sufficient for cleaning your home. (Cordless will utilize much lower power, and as such, is very often less apt to perform as well as a corded vacuum.) You’ll need to consider the amps used as well, but the majority of vacuums will operate with approximately 12-amps; primarily because the standard American home operates with circuit breakers rated to 15 amps or less.
Despite the wattage listed on the vacuum, what will really matter in determining the power is how efficient it is. You’ll need a vacuum that doesn’t have air leaks and has an efficient design to prevent a waste of its power. The only way to determine that without trying it, is to read up on the reviews and the ratings. (And this article is an excellent starting place.)
Is bagless vacuum cleaner better?
Which vacuum is better for your home is dependent on more than whether it’s bagged or bagless, but even when considering only that one feature, there are discrepancies in what each person values as better. A bagged vacuum will likely be better for a family who has a member with allergies because it won’t release dust and debris back into the air when it’s dumped. However, you can mitigate that risk by dumping it into an outdoor trash can and if you don’t have anyone in the family who’s particularly sensitive, then the minimal dust released won’t be a game changer for you. The bags will hold more dust and dirt, so you’ll also want to keep in mind how much more often you’ll be breaking your vacuuming time up to dump the cup. You will prevent your own hands from getting dirty with a bagless, though, so you’ll need to weight your priorities on that one, too.
Even the matter of overall cost isn’t as simple as what’s “best.” A bagless vacuum cleaner may not be a definite better vacuum but it will very probably be a less expensive vacuum in the long run – but only provided your initial investment is a smart one. You will save money on bags for a bagless, but the filtering normally accomplished by the bags themselves is very often mitigated for a bagless by the use of effective filters. While that’s a smart and necessary design, the problem is that unless you’re careful to buy a vacuum with washable and reusable filters, you could need to buy filters as often as you would have bought bags; and bags are generally far less expensive than filters. You can find a high quality vacuum that will only require you wash the filters periodically, but you will want to weight the inconvenience of that and compare your hands-on need on the filter in contrast to the hands-on need for a dirt bag.
Other Upright Vacuums We Reviewed
We looked at 20 other upright vacuum cleaners. Even though they didn’t make our 5 best upright vacuums list, they’re the best of the rest and each is still a great option for your home. The information you’ll need to compare each one is included with the listing.
- Bagged Upright Vacuums
- Bagless Upright Vacuums
Bagged Upright Vacuums
This is an upright vacuum that will offer a 3-stage filtration system to make it incredibly helpful for an allergy-sensitive home.
- 13″ cleaning path
- 10 amp motor
- 30′ power cord
With three air channels to lift and remove dirt and debris from your floors, this upright vacuum can help you maintain a clean home.
- 5-position height adjustments
- Extreme recline handle for under tables, beds, etc
- 35′ power cord
This beltless, bagged upright vacuum is an ideal selection if you frequently transition from carpets to hard woods in your home.
- 13.75″ cleaning path
- Triple HEPA filtration system
- 35′ power cord
With HEPA filtration to complement the air clean sealed system, this is an excellent choice for an asthmatic or allergen-fighting family.
- Adjustable suction -4 setting rotary dial
- Swivel neck
With a swivel steering, you’ll easily be able to vacuum around corners and into tight places.
- 30′ power cord
- Lightweight; under 10 lbs
- 3-year warranty
This upright will be all-too easy to maneuver with a weight of only 8.2 pounds.
- 40′ power cord
- Non-marring bumpers; side edge brushes
- 9″ vacuum path
With a multi-surface design, you can transition from hard flooring to plush carpet without any loss in capability.
- 5-layer HEPA filtration
- Auto shut-off to prevent brush roll jamming
- Lightweight; less than 8 lbs
The included accessory tools that boost this upright vacuum’s functionality are easily stored on board with an attachment quick draw.
- 15″ cleaning path
- HEPA filtration
- Quiet operation
This upright vacuum adjusts in height to accommodate your low pile or plush carpeting.
- 18 quart bag capacity
- Lightweight; 12 lbs
- 30′ power cord
With an adjustable venting system, this upright vacuum will use an EZ-push to make it glide over your floors with minimal effort on your part.
- Direct-air para-magnetic motor offers superior suction
- 200 sonic vibrations per minute for a deep clean
- Soft nylon brushes are gentle on carpet
This tough upright vacuum is made with a durable polypropylene and aluminum design to make it stand up to its competitors with ease.
- Dual fan suction technology
- Lightweight; 8 lbs
- HEPA filtration
Bagless Upright Vacuums
Dirt Devil Endura Max XL Upright Vacuum Cleaner
This upright vacuum has a easy-empty dirt cup with a large capacity to make the time you spend emptying it minimal.
- 3 additional accessory tools on board storage
- 12′ flexible hose attachment
- 4 levels of height adjustment
With an automatic height adjuster, this vacuum will transition from each of your floor types with no problems whatsoever.
- Swivel head for under furniture and around corners
- 3 additional accessory tools
- 10′ flexible hose and extender
This upright is the vacuum that made bagless popular and drove the competition to make it as effective as it is today.
- Instant release wand
- Self-adjusting cleaner head
- 30′ power cord
With LED lights on the head and a 25-foot power cord, you’ll easily be able to take this vacuum into the dark corners in each and every room of your home.
- 3 on board accessory tools
- 2 color options
- Light weight; 10 lbs
With a swivel steering and a large wheeled design you’ll easily push and pull this upright wherever you need to go.
- LED headlights
- 2.6 liter dust cup capacity
- 4 on board accessory tools
With an auto-rewind cord feature, you’ll be able to put your vacuum back away without needing to bend over and spend your energy wrapping all 25-feet of the power cord.
- HEPA filtration system
- 5 height adjustments
- Includes 4 accessory tools
The brush roll of this upright vacuum’s head includes an on/off button to make it effective at vacuuming carpets and hard floor surfaces.
- HEPA filtration system
- 13 cyclones for powerful suction
- 25′ power cord
This compact upright vacuum allows you to operate all its powerful suction without the expected weight; it’s only 14.5 pounds
- HEPA filtration
- LED headlights
- Extendable under appliance wand included
With a HEPA filtration system and an anti-allergen complete seal, this is incredibly effective at ridding your home of 99.9% of the most common allergens.
- 2.9 liter dust cup capacity
- Brush roll shut off
- Lightweight; 15.2 lbs