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While you may only mop your floors and steam your carpets every so often, there's no escaping the need for regular vacuuming. Dust, dirt, and debris can collect in all the areas of your home, and it's important to suck up those materials before they become too troublesome, or before completing a deep clean. That's where upright vacuums come in. Bulkier in design, this style of vacuum is made for whole-home cleaning, and is often characterized by its spacious dust bin and suction power. If you have used this more traditional style of vacuum before, you know it's pushed from behind and often accompanied by a cord.
To find the very best upright vacuums, we purchased 28 vacuums from a variety of brands and put them to the test in The Lab for 16 hours. (Eight of these vacs were upright.) To start, we did a timed setup of each product. We then tested effectiveness by putting hair, popcorn kernels, and Cheerios on four types of flooring, and noting how many passes it took each vacuum to pick up the materials. After, we brought them through a living room obstacle course to see how they would navigate a low couch or coffee table in your home. Other models were tested in our homes, and brought through a multitude of real-world scenarios. Truthfully, an upright vacuum may not be ideal for a space that's limited on storage or surfaces to clean. Some excel on hard floors, while others are made for high-pile rugs, so you'll want to consider what you're vacuuming before picking out a model, too.
However, if you do opt for an upright vacuum, you can rely on it to provide a good clean for years to come. Robyn Pook, co-founder of Mint Cleaning, recommends finding a vac with an assortment of attachments so you can clean a variety of surfaces in your space. You'll also want to consider the overall size, cleaning path width, and weight of your pick.
Ahead, the best upright vacuums on the market, according to our testing.
Best Overall: Shark NV151 Navigator Swivel Pro Complete Upright Vacuum
Multiple surface settings
Doesn't transfer surfaces well
The Shark Navigator Swivel Pro Complete Upright Vacuum boasts powerful suction at a volume barely louder than a purr. While it's slightly bulky and takes a little elbow grease to lift it from a concrete floor to a carpet, this upright vacuum is our top pick because it's effective on all surfaces. It performed best on the hardwood and low-pile carpet during our lab testing, but also picked up all the materials in its path in just a few passes on the other surfaces, too. Scoring 5 stars for effectiveness by our testers, it's truly hard to beat this vacuum's suction, which you can change thanks to its multiple settings.
The Swivel Pro has a 25-foot power cord, so you shouldn't have to use multiple outlets to clean a single room. We also like that it has a 12-inch cleaning path, an extendable hose that can reach up to 11 feet in any direction, and three handy attachments: a crevice tool, an upholstery tool, and a pet brush. Plus, it has a built-in HEPA filter with seam-seal technology. It can suck up and trap dust, pollen, and allergens from your air. Our tester also gave its emptying process a 5-star rating because it's simple and won't make a mess near your trash can. While this pick had difficult slipping under low-sitting furniture, it was ultimately comfortable and rewarding, especially given its lower price tag.
Dimensions: 45.5 x 12 x 9.5 inches | Weight: 15 pounds | Cord Length: 25 feet | Battery Life: Not applicable | Bin Volume: 2.2 quarts | Cleaning Path Width: 12 inches | Compatible Floor Type: Hardwood, carpet, laminate, and tile
Best Budget: Dirt Devil Endura Reach Bagless Upright Vacuum Cleaner
Spacious dust bin
Suitable for high-pile carpet
Instructions are a bit unclear
For households that are sticking to a budget, we highly recommend the Dirt Devil Endura Reach Upright Vacuum Cleaner. Our tester called this vacuum "fairly powerful," noting that it picked up the materials in about three passes across all surfaces. While it was quite noisy when doing so, the testing team said the noise level matched the power of the vacuum, before giving it a 4-star rating for cleaning effectiveness. Notably, this vacuum also proved to be lightweight—weighing just 9 pounds—which made it very easy to push around.
Now, the location of the dust bin makes for slightly awkward turning. However, this vac has a washable, reusable filter, and comes with attachments such as a crevice tool and dusting brush, so you can clean every nook and cranny of your home. The instructions are a bit unclear, so it took our tester around five minutes to assemble this vac, which led to a 3.5-star rating for setup. The 1.6-quart dust bin can collect a lot at once, though, making this pick efficient, in addition to affordable.
Dimensions: 10 x 11 x 42.5 inches | Weight: 9 pounds | Cord Length: 20 feet | Battery Life: Not applicable | Bin Volume: 1.6 quarts | Cleaning Path Width: 11 inches | Compatible Floor Type: Hardwood, high-pile carpet, laminate, and tile
Best Splurge: Dyson Ball Multi Floor 2 Upright Vacuum Cleaner
Easy to maneuver
Extra-long power cord
Not ideal for high-pile carpet
Fluff and hair gets stuck in canister
Dyson vacuums are typically on the expensive side, and the Dyson Ball Multi Floor 2 Upright Vacuum is no exception. However, it is a solid investment, as this vacuum features a self-adjusting cleaning head that works notably well on hardwood, vinyl, laminate, tile, carpet, rugs, and more. Plus, the ball feature lowers this upright vacuum's center of gravity, making it all the more stable and easy to maneuver. We also appreciate that it uses HEPA filtration to capture allergens. As for attachments, you'll receive a stair tool, a combo tool, and an extension wand for the hose.
We didn't test this pick at The Lab, but our home tester noted that the assembly process does require a bit of help from the detailed instructions. While they skipped out on the manual, they did note that it's a lot easier to follow along with it and read through the safety guidelines, too. They were most impressed with its ability to pick up cat hair, but did recommend that you keep an eye on the dust bin to ensure it doesn't fill up too much. Debris got wedged in with the filter system and became a bit hard to remove.
Dimensions: 42 x 15.6 x 13.4 inches | Weight: 15.6 pounds | Cord Length: 31 feet | Battery Life: Not applicable | Bin Volume: 2 quarts | Cleaning Path Width: 13.4 inches | Compatible Floor Type: Hardwood, tile, laminate, vinyl, and carpet
"The transparent dirt canister contains Dyson’s signature cyclone assembly (Advanced Radial Root Cyclone technology, to be exact), organized radially around a washable filter. The design directs airflow in a way that maximizes suction and also, importantly, looks like an upturned futuristic bundt cake pan."—Joy Merrifield, Product Tester
Best for Carpet: Shark Navigator DLX Upright Professional Vacuum
Assembly process is a bit complex
Looking for something designed specifically for carpeting and rugs? Your best bet is the Shark Navigator DLX, which performed well on medium and high-pile carpets during our testing. Even though its heavier than others, at 18.6 pounds, our tester noted that it was able to pick up both the hair and cereal in three passes or less. In addition, it was easy to maneuver around obstacles like a coffee table, thanks to the swiveling floor head that rotates almost 180 degrees. Our tester ultimately gave it a 4-star rating for its effectiveness, and a 4.5-star rating for its maneuverability.
This upright vacuum also removes allergens from the air with a HEPA filter. We also like that it comes with an upholstery attachment, crevice tool, motorized floor nozzle, and wand for the hose that extends as far as 11 feet. Shark's Navigator series is known for having a long list of included attachments and it's certainly an addition that makes this vacuum a great value. Just be aware: the assembly process for this vac is a bit complex. It took our tester four minutes to complete because the pieces don't click into place and you need a screwdriver (which is not provided) to connect them tightly. This gave the setup process a 3.5-star rating.
Dimensions: 47 x 11.5 x 9.5 inches | Weight: 18.6 pounds | Cord Length: 25 feet | Battery Life: Not applicable | Bin Volume: 3.5 quarts | Cleaning Path Width: 9.25 inches | Compatible Floor Type: Carpet, hardwood, and tile
Best for Hardwood: Hoover UH71250 WindTunnel 2 Whole House Rewind Upright Vacuum
Easy to control
Not flexible at all
Making your hardwood floors sparkle can be a multi-step process. However, you can start with scooping up small and large debris with the Hoover WindTunnel 2 Whole House Rewind Upright Vacuum Cleaner. It was given a 5-star rating for effectiveness by our tester, because it easily sucked up all materials in just a pass or two. While it was extremely loud in the process, leading to a 1-star rating for noise level, the vac also was very easy to empty and control. Now, some of this is due to the lack of flexibility this pick has. It is not as maneuverable as others, and could even be described as stiff.
When all was said and done, our tester gave the vacuum a 1-star rating for maneuverability because its floor head doesn't swivel, and it's too bulky to navigate under a low-sitting coffee table or couch. Plus, it needed to be lifted up when transitioning from the concrete to the carpet. However, despite these flaws, our tester still recommends it because of its impressive suction power. If you reside in a condo complex or apartment, you just may want to vacuum during the day so you don't wake anyone up.
Dimensions: 44.5 x 13.5 x 13 inches | Weight: 16 pounds | Cord Length: 25 feet | Battery Life: Not applicable | Bin Volume: 1.36 quarts | Cleaning Path Width: 13.5 inches | Compatible Floor Type: Hardwood and carpet
Best for Pet Hair: BISSELL CleanView Swivel Pet Rewind Upright Vacuum 2256
Wide cleaning path
Dust bin makes it less flexible
Got fur babies at home? We highly recommend the Bissell CleanView Swivel Pet Rewind Vacuum. While our testers said it took over 10 minutes to assemble this upright vacuum, they gave it a 4-star rating for its cleaning effectiveness on hard floors and carpet, a 4-star rating for its maneuverability, and a 4-star rating for its for overall value. They noted that it picked up all the materials in just a few passes, and just struggled a bit on the medium-pile carpet. While the dust bin prevented the vacuum from slipping under low-sitting furniture, emptying the vacuum could be done with one hand.
In addition to effortlessly sucking up dirt, dust, crumbs, and animal fur, it calls on a multi-level filtration system to trap dander and pollen. We also appreciate that this vacuum comes with a corner tool, turbo eraser, and other special attachments for picking up even the smallest, finest strands of pet hair. You'll ultimately find that the wide cleaning path, at 13.5 inches, also helps you complete more cleaning with every session, and that the suction power is hard to beat.
Dimensions: 13 x 14 x 46 inches | Weight: 13.65 pounds | Cord Length: 27 feet | Battery Life: Not applicable | Bin Volume: 1 quart | Cleaning Path Width: 13.5 inches | Compatible Floor Type: Carpet, hardwood, tile, laminate, and vinyl
Best Wet-Dry: Tineco Floor One S3 Cordless Floor Cleaner
Smart sensor technology
Designed for only hard floors
If you're in the market for a cleaning tool that makes your life easier, opt for a cordless wet-dry vacuum that completes two cleaning tasks at once, like the Tineco Floor One S3. While it's not ideal for high-pile carpets and rugs, our testers awarded this upright vac a 5-star rating for effectiveness on hard floors. It was tested on low, medium, and high-pile carpets in The Lab. We ultimately confirmed that this vacuum truly is only designed for hard floors. Trouble totally ensued the moment this pick hit carpet, as our team received a lot of error messages.
However, on the hardwood, this vacuum was a total pleasure to use. Our tester noted that you can easily have a conversation while it's running because it's so quiet. In addition, the Floor One S3 features smart sensor technology that detects wet and dry messes on your floor, and then adjusts suction accordingly. While it's more expensive than others, it can run for 35 minutes on a full charge, which will also make an afternoon of cleaning more streamlined.
Dimensions: 11.3 x 10 x 43.3 inches | Weight: 17.64 pounds | Cord Length: Not applicable | Battery Life: 35 minutes | Bin Volume: 0.6 quarts | Cleaning Path Width: 10 inches | Compatible Floor Type: Hardwood, tile, laminate, and vinyl
Our number one pick is the Shark Navigator Swivel Pro Complete, an impressive upright vacuum boasting powerful suction on all flooring materials, plus a large canister, HEPA filtration, and quiet operation (view at The Home Depot). However, the powerful, lightweight, and versatile Dirt Devil Endura Reach (view at Amazon) is an excellent option for folks on a budget.
How We Tested the Upright Vacuums
We tested 28 vacuums in The Lab in Industry City, Brooklyn, during our 16-hour vacuum test—eight of which were upright vacuums. To start, we unboxed each product and took notes on its setup process, as well as the clarity of the instruction manual. Next, we evaluated effectiveness by testing the picks on hardwood and three types of carpeted surfaces. We spilled measured amounts of hair, popcorn kernels, and Cheerios on the surfaces, and noted how many passes were needed to clean them up. In addition, we noted during this test how well each vacuum moved.
After, we challenged the vacuums' maneuverability by running them through a living room–inspired obstacle course, noting how well they navigated tight areas and transitioned from smooth floors to carpeting. To wrap the test, we noted the ease of emptying the bag or bin and the noise level of each pick. At-home product testers rated other upright models on the same attributes after using them in their living spaces. Our editors took all of this consistently applied testing data from at-home testing and lab testing and boiled it down to the seven upright vacuums we believe are the best.
What to Look for in an Upright Vacuum
Compatible floor type
Perhaps the most important consideration when choosing an upright vacuum is floor compatibility. You want to make sure your product will work on the surfaces in your space, whether they be hard floors, carpeting, laminate, or tile. While most will work on all surfaces, some vacs are more suitable for certain materials. In particular, there are vacuums that struggle on carpets and area rugs or are only designed for hardwood, since they also work as a mop. You'll want to carefully read the product description and specifications for your pick, and reference the hands-on testing we've done in The Lab. While a product may be advertised as suitable for hardwood and high-pile carpet alike, testing will show you where the vacuum really shines.
When browsing options, also pay attention to the weight of a vacuum. Upright models are typically between 13 and 18 pounds, though lighter and heavier options aren't unheard of. Heavier vacuums are often more powerful, but they can be cumbersome. You may have trouble carrying them up the stairs or from room to room. Lighter models are easy to maneuver and are useful for cleaning stairs, shelves, curtains, and other hard-to-reach surfaces, in comparison, but may have smaller dust bins or weaker suction.
According to Pook, "making sure you have the proper attachments" when buying a vacuum is super essential. The most common attachments include upholstery brushes, pet hair tools, crevice tools, stair tools, and extension wands. They help your product to be more effective at cleaning the hard-to-reach areas of your home, or the places where fur and dust collect. Pook says you can use these gadgets to clean everything from baseboards and toilets to bed frames and windowsills: "We love a vacuum with smaller attachments for these areas."
In addition, Pook explains that you should always suck up dirt and debris before a deep clean. "For example, before cleaning the fridge, we always vacuum first to rid it from debris. This makes it way easier to actually clean!" You can pick up this debris efficiently if you have a variety of attachments on hand.
When do I need to replace an upright vacuum?
Upright vacuums last for about eight years. Heavy or improper use, or a lack of maintenance, will most likely shorten that lifespan, while regular care and upkeep may extend it. Your model of choice may come with a warranty that covers repairs, and taking advantage of that coverage will also help ensure your machine runs for a long time.
How do I clean an upright vacuum?
Start by emptying your vacuum's dust cup or changing out its dust bag. Next, wipe out the interior with a dry microfiber cloth. For some picks, that's all you can safely do. However, others can be cleaned out using soap and water, as well. Check your user manual to confirm what's best for your model.
In addition, check the floor head and wheels for hair wrap, which you might need to cut out with a pair of scissors or a seam ripper. If you use water to clean your vacuum, allow all of its part to air dry completely before reassembling.
What affects an upright vacuum's suction power?
You can get a sense of your new upright vacuum's suction power by how many fans and filters it has, whether its cleaner head features rotating brushes (which help dredge up embedded dirt), and how much airflow it promises. More fans and filters, as well as increased air flow, will help your vacuum suck up more debris in each pass.
Why Trust The Spruce?
Theresa Holland is a freelance copyeditor and commerce writer specializing in home improvement and lifestyle topics. She's written for The Spruce since 2019—where she covers cleaning products, appliances, furniture, and textiles. For this roundup, she referenced testing data from The Lab and reviews. She scoured the product specifications, researched flooring compatibility, and considered dozens of upright vacuums, ultimately choosing models that stood out in terms of maneuverability, ease of use, filtration, and effectiveness. For more insight, she spoke with Robyn Pook, co-founder of Mint Cleaning.
Marisa Casciano is a senior commerce editor for The Spruce, and was in The Lab for the entirety of our vacuum test. She has firsthand knowledge of how our vacuum tests were both developed and performed, as well as where each product excelled or fell short. She considered new and improved technology, practicality, and real-life cleaning situations when selecting the vacuums to test. She also scoured brand and retailer websites, and considered price, verified customer reviews, features, and design.