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In the market for a new upright vacuum? It’s hard to find the perfect one when there are so many options available. But the trick is to first identify the features you need (and the ones you want) from a vacuum, which will help you narrow down your choices. Perhaps you’re looking for the best quality upright vacuum at the most affordable price. Or maybe you’re willing to spend a little extra for some additional bells and whistles. There are great options for both. And whether you’re in need of something that will help you in your fight to banish allergens and get rid of pet hair, or you’re looking for something lightweight and cordless that will be easy to take up and down stairs, plenty of great vacuums are available that will cover your specific needs.
Below, see our picks for some of the best upright vacuums on the market today.
This vacuum from Shark wins the top spot for upright vacuums thanks to its reasonable price, quality performance, and smart design. Not only is it an upright vacuum, but you can also detach the canister to clean hard-to-reach areas. The appliance also comes with Anti-Allergen Complete Seal Technology and a HEPA filter, which means it traps 99.9 percent of dust and allergens inside the vacuum—great for people who suffer from allergies. It features a Dust-Away hard floor attachment as well as two washable microfiber pads. Not only does it pick up large debris from the floors, but also small particles of dust. And finally, it’s a lightweight machine, weighing in at 13.7 pounds, making it easy to tote around the house and up the stairs during your cleaning sprees.
There are a few cons such as how easily it tips over, poor edge cleaning, and the fact that there is no light which makes it hard to vacuum in dark spaces. But overall, it’s a quality machine for the price.
"One of the vacuum’s biggest advantages is its high-capacity dust cup—an impressive 2.2 dry quarts—which is almost double the capacity of other Navigator Lift-Away models."—Sage McHugh, Product Tester
If you don’t want to be tied down to a cord, consider a strong cordless stick vacuum like this one from Hoover. One of the worries of cordless vacuums is the battery life, but this one features an 18-volt, lithium-ion battery which runs on average around 20 minutes after a full charge, according to one customer. It’s great to have on hand for quick pickups, especially if you live in a small apartment. It’s not as bulky as others, so that’s a plus when it comes to storage as well. Crucially, it cleans well and is easy to use—two very important things in a vacuum.
"This stick vacuum isn’t the most powerful tool ever, but it does a sufficient job of picking up dirt, hair, and other debris from both hardwood floors and low-pile carpet."—Camryn Rabideau, Product Tester
Not willing to spend a lot of money on a vacuum right now? No problem. You can still find a good one for a low price. This corded one from Bissell is a great option. A number one seller in its category, the 15-pound upright has a powerful suction and innovative brush design that helps it pick up more debris on the first pass. It also comes with a TurboBrush tool that works well for stairs, furniture, and upholstered items. The dirt tank is easy to empty and the foam tank filter is washable.
It's easy to use and gets the job done well, especially for the price, though it's likely best for a home that would only require light cleaning (in other words, not a heavy-trafficked office.)
"Considering its low price, the Bissell CleanView Bagless Vacuum performs admirably. Many of our past vacuums have failed when it came to sucking up debris in corners and along walls, but with the Bissell’s OnePass technology, we were able to pick up most things without using the hose."—Rebekah Joan, Product Tester
Have a little furry monster in your home wreaking havoc on your floors and furniture with its hair? No problem, especially when you have a quality vacuum like this one from Hoover. Made specifically for pet hair, it features an air-powered pet hand tool to easily remove pet hair from floors as well as a pet upholstery tool to get those little strands and fur balls off your furniture. It also comes with a 12-inch extension wand and a crevice tool for hard-to-reach-to spots. The vacuum weighs less than 18 pounds and has a folding handle which makes it great for small storage spaces. A 25-foot cord can be retracted neatly inside thanks to the Cord Rewind feature. And there’s a five-position carpet height adjustment for all your flooring needs.
The WindTunnel sucks well and is easy to clean, and while it’s not silent, it’s pretty quiet when in use.
If you’re wanting to invest in a more expensive vacuum, consider this one from Oreck. It’s got some pretty nice features that will make vacuuming seem less like a chore. Because it’s so powerful, it moves easily, feeling more like it’s self-propelled. You can also really get under beds and other furniture since it can lie virtually flat. There’s also a HEPA inner bag that captures at least 99.97 percent of particles in the air. Whether you have long pile carpet or wood floors, this vacuum will do a great job and is worth the extra money.
While it’s a bagged vacuum, it’s super easy to change the bag thanks to a feature that prevents dust from being spilled out. It's also lightweight (a little over seven pounds) and easy for people to use — even those with arthritis.
A bestseller in its category, this classic bagged Oreck is an all-around good buy thanks to its powerful, high speed performance and cleaning power. It features a 12-inch wide cleaning path, and an automatic floor adjustment enables it to move between carpet and bare surfaces without you having to change any settings as you clean. It also features a handle that has received Ease-of-Use Commendation from the Arthritis Foundation. The appliance is lightweight at 8.2 pounds.
Bags vs. bagless In recent years, bagless upright vacuum cleaners have become increasingly popular. With these models, you skip the hassle of buying and replacing vacuum bags, but the downside is that some collection bins can be messy to empty and, over time, some fine particles get trapped in the mechanism of the vacuum, impeding performance and suction. A vacuum with a fresh bag will offer excellent suction and cleaning power but will require periodic replacement. If you have a larger home or heavy-duty vacuuming needs, take note of the size of the bag to find a model that won’t need replacement every time you fire it up.
Weight Consider how much weight you’re willing and able to push around when vacuuming. Upright vacuums typically weigh somewhere between 13 and 18 pounds, but there are some lightweight models that weigh as little as 8 pounds. If you have arthritis or will need to carry your vacuum up and down stairs, you may want to go with a vacuum that weighs less.
Accessories The main attraction is a vacuum’s ability to suck up dirt and debris through the floorhead, but handy accessories can target everything from pet hair to couch crumbs. Think about your routine cleaning needs and choose an upright vacuum with accessories to match. Items like an upholstery brush, pet-hair attachment, and crevice tool can make it much easier to clean hard-to-reach places.