Upright vacuums are the preferred cleaning solution for most homes across the country. They are efficient and powerful on most surfaces, and with the accessories included you can practically use them anywhere.
And what’s even better, is their ability to stand upright with no support. This is a great advantage that applies to most models, and what it basically means is that you can easily stow it away in a cabinet or similar storage area.
The range of upright vacuums spand from compact bagless models to large bagged models and anything in between. So what are your best options?
Our top pick is the Shark Navigator Lift-Away NV352 upright vacuum. It’s reliable, durable, and comes with a lot of useful features. For more options in different categories, see our list below.
Top performing upright vacuums in review
In an effort to uncover the market of upright vacuums, we researched and reviewed more than 100 models in a collaboration with our sister site Reviuu.com.
For the sake of identifying the best upright vacuums on the market, we considered the following criteria:
- Suction power
- Ease of use
According to our research, the above factors are the ones most people consider when shopping for a new upright vacuum.
Best overall: Shark Navigator Lift-Away NV352
Shark Navigator Lift-Away NV352
- Reliable, durable design
- Detachable canister
- Lightweight – only 12.5 pounds
What we like: The Shark Navigator Lift-Away NV352 has been on the market for a good amount of time already, which to us serves as a proof that it’s durable, reliable, and efficient.
We believe the design is what sets it apart, especially from newer models. It doesn’t feature a ton of bells and whistles, which in return keeps the price at a reasonable level, but what it also means is that you’ll get great performance without investing a fortune.
Besides the overall performance across bare floors and carpets, we believe this is the best upright vacuum because of the detachable Lift-Away canister design. With this feature you can simply detach the canister and motor from the base of the vacuum, and carry it while vacuuming your stairs, blinds, your car, and more.
According to Wirecutter, after four years of running, this upright vacuum remains their favorite pick:
This reliable, effective, easy-to-use, and reasonably priced bagless upright vacuum cleaner will work well for most people in most homes.Liam McCabe, Wirecutter
Trade-offs: We do agree with buyers that the power cord is in an inconvenient place. It enters at the bottom of the canister, meaning that we have to somehow attach it to the handle or else we’ll step on it. Both the power cord and the hose could also be a little longer, but these issues aren’t really dealbreakers for us.
Best on a budget: Eureka PowerSpeed NEU182A
Eureka PowerSpeed NEU182A
- User friendly design
- Quite powerful
- Great capacity – 0.7 gallons
What we like: The Eureka PowerSpeed is the best upright vacuum within the affordable price range. Despite its low price you get powerful suction and an overall user friendly design, and it weighs only 10 pounds.
We appreciate the tools included too, as they enable you to vacuum anything from your furniture to crevices, blinds, cabinets and foot panels. It works well on bare floors and carpeted floors, and the capacity of the dirt bin is generous.
Weighing in at just 10 pounds it’s among the lighter upright vacuums that are easy to maneuver with.
All in all, a great affordable choice.
Here’s what Sage McHugh of The Spruce has to say about it:
Aside from the terrible noise, the Eureka Powerspeed Base is a top performer. It’s lightweight, easy to operate, and has outstanding suction power.Sage McHugh, The Spruce
And we couldn’t agree more. It’s a great, reasonably priced upright vacuum, that does its job extremely well.
Trade-offs: Although definitely not a dealbreaker, the noise level can be quite unbearable if the vacuum is used for longer periods at a time. It can also be a little stubborn to push across a carpeted floor, simply because the vacuum sucks the front downwards. It doesn’t balance very well either, so it might take a little time to get it standing still in an upright position.
Best high-end: Dyson Ball Animal
What we like: For bare floors as well as medium to low pile carpets, you just can’t go wrong with a Dyson upright vacuum. It’s very well engineered overall, and the design grants you the ability to maneuver it easily across most surfaces.
With any Dyson vacuum you get an extensive range of accessories as well as the option to buy additional useful accessories online, and this is actually what we think makes it even better than other upright vacuums within the same price range.
The Dyson Ball Animal Upright vacuum comes with a motorized brush tool that you can use for your furniture, and it removes pet hair easily with no effort on your side.
Also worth noting is the amazing dirt bin and filtration. It collects dust and dirt and retains it inside the bin, without clogging the filter. Simply empty the dirt bin when it’s full, and there’s nothing else needed.
Trade-offs: One disadvantage of this neat, modern design is that it doesn’t allow for onboard storage of accessories. This is actually a general issue with Dyson vacuums, but fortunately something they’re slowly starting to address on their vacuums nowadays.
Because it has a motorized bristle brush on its base, it doesn’t do too well in high pile carpets where it managed to get itself stuck on multiple occasions.
Best cordless: Shark ION P50 Powered Lift-Away
Shark ION P50 Powered Lift-Away
- Extremely versatile design
- Interchangeable battery
- Detachable canister
What we like: Shark has really stepped up their game lately, when it comes to cordless upright vacuums. Although they haven’t marketed their cordless vacuums for as long as Dyson and other brands, they’ve obviously listened to buyer’s feedback and addressed some of the general flaws of cordless vacuums with the main issue being battery runtime.
So, in order to resolve this issue and offer people additional runtime, Shark designed a removable battery pack that you can interchange with a fully charged one instead of having to wait for your only battery to recharge.
Besides the interchangeable battery, we also love the design with the canister and motor located just above the base. Although it weighs 12 pounds it feels a lot lighter which is great.
Trade-offs: Because of the design, this upright vacuum doesn’t stand well on its own. It isn’t very stable, and even a soft pull at the cord would probably make it fall. It also has two motorized brushes underneath, one bristle brush for carpet and a soft brush for bare floors. The problem with this is that the bristle brush is always on, and this isn’t great when vacuuming delicate wooden floors that are prone to scratching.
Best for bare floors: Shark Navigator DLX
What we like: The Shark Navigator DLX is a high-performance bestseller, and it’s priced extremely well for what it is. It does very well on most hard surfaces, and also manages to clean most carpets too. Although it isn’t an upright vacuum dedicated for pet hair, it does surprisingly well on this too.
According to TechGearLab, the Shark Navigator DLX is a great upright vacuum:
The Shark Navigator Deluxe is a great vacuum at an even better price. It performed well across the board and retails for less than half the cost of every model that beat it.David Wise and Austin Palmer, TechGearLab
We wholeheartedly agree with them. The Shark Navigator DLX/Deluxe is a great choice for bare floors in particular, and it also comes with a few useful accessories too.
What we also appreciate on this upright vacuum is the large dust bin capacity as well as the 25-foot power cord, long hose and pet hair power brush that enable you to suck away most dust, dirt and hair.
Trade-offs: As it’s the case with other upright vacuums too, this model doesn’t offer onboard storage for the accessories. So you’ll have to leave the tools somewhere else, which in some cases is convenient because you either have to keep them in your pockets or run back and forth to get them. Some buyers wished the cord was a bit longer too, but for us it wasn’t a big issue.
Best for pet hair: Hoover MAXLife Pro Pet Swivel
Hoover MAXLife Pro Pet Swivel
- Removes hair from any area you can think of
- 30-foot cord is longer than most vacuums
- Powerful brush roll for deep cleaning
What we like: The Hoover MAXLife Pro Pet Swivel upright vacuum offers a ton of useful features for pet owners. Not only does it feature a sealed allergen system with a HEPA filter, but it also offers extended flexibility for cleaning of any surface around your house.
One particular feature that sets this upright vacuum apart from other models, is the extreme reach of up to 13 feet above the floor. This means that you can reach any area up or down, in order to remove any pet hair, dust, cob webs, and more.
What we also truly appreciate about the Hoover upright vacuum is the motorized brush roll as well as built-in LED lights. With this combo you can easily agitate your carpets in order to loosen hair and dirt before sucking it away, and the LED lights gives you a clear view of any surface.
Not only do we think this is truly the best upright vacuum for pet hair, but multiple buyers express their positive opinions on this vacuum across multiple online stores such as Amazon, Walmart, and more.
Also read: The Best Bagless Upright Vacuum for Pet Hair
Trade-offs: One minor disadvantage of having a vacuum with a powerful suction, long reach and a high capacity, is the weight. Unfortunately you can’t have it all, and some buyers seem to think that it’s a bit heavy. We don’t think the extra weight does a big difference though, but if you’re planning on hauling it up and down a staircase each day you should probably consider other models before buying.
Best bagged: Oreck Commercial XL2100RHS
Oreck Commercial XL2100RHS
- Extremely powerful upright vacuum
- Lightweight – only 9 pounds
- Built in USA
What we like: If you’re a fan of American made products like us, the Oreck Commercial XL2100RHS will leave you pleasantly surprised. It’s built in USA, and this model has already proven it’s worth for years.
If you don’t care about fancy design and tons of features but just want a reliable upright vacuum, this is for you.
It performs extremely well on most surfaces, which was also confirmed by Derek Hales over on ModernCastle, who recommends this model for office use as well as home use if there aren’t too many high pile carpeted areas.
What we also appreciated about this model, was how lightweight it actually is. It doesn’t require a lot of power to maneuver, and because of the 35-foot power cord you get an amazing reach.
Trade-offs: According to some unhappy buyers, the Oreck company isn’t what it used to be. We found a few design flaws on this model too, but to us they aren’t dealbreakers at all. One thing we miss is a better connection points between the hose and the interior bag. It’s also on the loud side, especially in comparison to newer models.
Best lightweight: Bissell Featherweight 2033
Bissell Featherweight 2033
- Stands upright despite its compact design
- Works surprisingly well on hard floors
- Very lightweight – only 3 pounds
What we like: Weighing in a just under 3 pounds, the Bissell Featherweight 2033 is a pleasant upright vacuum for those in need of compact, lightweight cleaning tool that won’t break the bank.
With an extremely reasonable price and great basic features, this upright vacuum is a great choice for spot cleaning, stairs cleaning, and most types of hard floors.
Granted, it isn’t a suitable choice for a large house, but it works very well for the attic, small second floor, the garage, and perhaps a small studio apartment.
Although it’s a small upright vacuum, it does actually stand on its own. With the cord neatly wrapped, it doesn’t require much space to store inside a cabinet.
Trade-offs: For some people, this upright vacuum is just too small. It might not be the best one either, because it’s main purpose is to clean up small messes. We’d wish it had a longer cord too, but in all honesty we don’t feel like we could ask for much within this extremely reasonable price range.
Best for stairs: MOOSOO LT450
What we like: The MOOSOO LT450 is a small, 4-in-1 upright vacuum that works for multiple purposes. First and foremost it does well on stairs, and because it weighs under 4 pounds it’s still extremely lightweight.
There’s a large dust bin with transparent walls included, which makes it easy for you to see if it’s full or not. With just a few clicks you can transform the upright vacuum into a small handheld vacuum, and the hose included enables you to reach underneath your furniture and under the car seats as well.
We honestly think it works perfectly for any kinds of stairs, and with the 16.4-foot power cord you’ll have no issues reaching all the way to the top before running out of cord.
Trade-offs: Because it’s a cheap upright vacuum, we wouldn’t expect it to last for a long time. It does feel a bit cheap (which it is), and the suction could be a little bit better.
Pros and cons of upright vacuums
Upright vacuums are great for many purposes, but what are they not so great at? We’ve gone across different scenarios with the upright vacuums and held them against other types of vacuum cleaners — see our general thoughts below:
- Works very well on carpeted floors
The upright vacuum usually has some sort of powered brush head, that agitates the carpet and loosens dirt and debris for an easier and more thorough cleaning.
- Easy to handle
Because of the design, all you have to do is grab the handle and push the vacuum ahead of you. There’s no wands and handles that need to be attached first, it’s simply a matter of plugging it in and you’re ready to go.
Upright vacuums come with a vast choice of features, making them useful for almost any scenario you can think of. Most have a detachable hose for crevice tools, brush tools and similar, so while you’re cleaning the floors you can grab the hose and vacuum the couch and bed as well.
- No bags required
Most upright vacuums are bagless, so you don’t have to worry about getting replacement bags all the time. Just empty the container once it gets full, and you’re all set.
- Somewhat bulky to drag around
If your house has lots of narrow and small spaces, the upright vacuum is probably not the best option. A cordless stick vacuum could work better, or a canister vacuum.
- Can only be used inside your house
Because most upright vacuums are corded, you can’t bring it outside elsewhere unless there’s a power outlet, and the limited reach means that you can’t just grab it and vacuum your car. Check out recommended vacuums for car interior cleaning instead.
- Doesn’t work well on stairs
Again, because of the bulky design, most upright vacuums are not very useful on stairs. Most stairs have some kind of carpeting on them, and if that’s the case in your house, you could instead choose one of the best vacuums for carpeted stairs.
In an upright vacuum vs. stick vacuum scenario, the upright vacuum definitely wins on performance and versatility, whereas the stick vacuum wins on portability and ease of use.