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Published Sep. 29, 2021

Cleaning carpets and hard floors can be a tedious chore, but the best vacuums make the job a little easier. Upright vacuums are a household favorite for their space-saving and powerful design. These handy cleaners usually have more suction power than a stick or robot vacuum, but are less cumbersome and bulky than their canister counterparts.  

The best upright vacuums are easy to maneuver, reliable, and have excellent cleaning power to suck dust, pet hair, and dirt from carpets or hard flooring. They keep all the grime they sweep up contained, leaving both your floors and the air in your home cleaner. Read on for the features to look for in the best upright vacuum, as well as discover which pick is best for your floors.

How We Picked the Best Upright Vacuums 

Best Overall: Shark S2 Navigator Lift-Away Professional Upright Vacuum 

Whole Home Cleaning

With HEPA filtration and a Lift-Away pod design, this versatile vacuum can leave almost every surface in your house dust- and dirt-free.

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Why It Made The Cut: A brush roll shutoff and Lift-Away pod design makes this vacuum suitable for cleaning your home from top to bottom. 

Specs:

  • Dimensions: 14.96 inches x 11.4 inches x 45.5 inches
  • Weight: 13.7 pounds
  • Bagged/Bagless: Bagless

Pros: 

  • Optional brush roll
  • HEPA filtration 
  • Lift-Away pod to tackle above-floor cleaning 

Cons: 

  • Narrow vacuuming path

Tackle floors and more with this versatile vacuum from Shark. This vacuum features a brush roll that can be switched on or off, depending on if you’re cleaning hard floors or carpets. A swivel-steering head to zoom around furniture and obstacles, plus variable suction control to adjust to different flooring types and cleaning jobs makes this vacuum adaptable. Weighing in at 13.7 pounds, this vacuum won’t be too heavy to maneuver around the home. 

This vacuum can tackle above-floor messes too: the Lift-Away pod completely detaches from the vacuum, giving you the freedom to clean surfaces without lugging the whole machine around. The pod has a 5-foot hose to clean stairs, walls, ledges, and furniture, and it comes with a pet hair Power Brush and a crevice tool to help tidy these spaces. 

Beyond being multi-purpose, this handy vacuum is also an excellent cleaner. It features a complete anti-allergen seal, using HEPA filtration to trap over 99.9 percent of dust and allergens. A 2.2-quart bagless dust cup keeps dirt, hair, and grime well-contained. 

Best Value: Hoover Windtunnel Max Capacity Upright Vacuum Cleaner

Affordable and Adjustable

Five height adjustments, a brush roll, and an extension wand help this economical vacuum clean your home for an affordable price.

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Why It Made The Cut: This vacuum offers great value for an affordable cost, with an extension wand and optional height adjustment levels to tackle different types of carpets and hard floors.

Specs:

  • Dimensions: 13 inches x 13.5 inches x 44.5 inches
  • Weight: 16.1 pounds
  • Bagged/Bagless: Bagless

Pros: 

  • 12-foot extension wand
  • Vacuum head features five height adjustment levels
  • ScatterGuard design prevents debris scatter on hard floors

Cons: 

  • Large vacuum head won’t fit under low furniture 

With the Hoover Windtunnel Max Capacity Upright Vacuum, you can tidy your home without breaking the bank. This vacuum is cost-friendly while keeping a range of convenient features for a better clean. 

To clean all floors from hardwood to plush carpets, the vacuum head features five height-adjustable levels. The brush roll helps to agitate and lift dirt when used on carpet, while the ScatterGuard technology keeps debris contained when vacuuming on hard floors. 

A 12-foot extension wand helps to clean furniture, stairs, upholstery, and curtains. This vacuum also comes with a crevice tool, dusting brush, and multi-purpose tool for above-floor cleaning jobs. 

Although this vacuum does not have a true HEPA filter, it does feature multi-cyclonic filtration. The filtering system traps dirt, dust, and pet hair to keep it out of the air, all without losing suction power. Debris is trapped in the bagless 1.5-liter dust cup, that’s simple to empty with the touch of a button.

Best Cordless: Hoover ONEPWR Evolve Pet Cordless Upright Vacuum 

Lightweight and Portable

With a 35-minute run time and a portable 8.2-pound build, this upright vacuum is made for convenient cleaning.

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Why It Made The Cut: This slim upright vacuum squeezes the excellent suction power of an upright vacuum into a lightweight and cordless design. 

Specs: 

  • Dimensions: 9.5 inches x 11 inches x 44 inches
  • Weight: 8.2 pounds
  • Bagged/Bagless: Bagless

Pros: 

  • Easily portable 
  • Lightweight
  • 35-minute run time

Cons: 

  • Lacks detachable vacuum hose
  • Does not include extra cleaning accessories

The Hoover ONEPWR Evolve Pet combines the power of an upright vacuum with the convenience of a stick vacuum to create a cleaning powerhouse. This slim cordless pick features Hoover’s Power Vortex Suction to ensure it picks up dirt and grime from all flooring. 

An antimicrobial brush roll helps it remove dust, dirt, and embedded pet hair from carpets. The carpet roll can be turned on or off with the touch of a button to transition across different flooring types. To keep dust contained, the vacuum features a bagless dust cup and Hoover’s multi-cyclonic filtration system. 

After charging for 3 to 4 hours, this vacuum can run for 35 minutes, a relatively standard runtime for cordless vacuums. While it might not tackle a large house in one go, this vacuum is excellent for apartments or for cleaning smaller messes. You’ll never feel tethered to a cord, and since it’s so slim, it’s also easy to store. 

Weighing in at 8.2 pounds, this vacuum is very lightweight for an upright vacuum. The slight build makes it a great choice for carrying from floor to floor and vacuuming stairs. Just one caveat: since this vacuum lacks a detachable hose, it’s only suitable for cleaning floors. 

Best for Allergies: Dyson Ball Animal 2 Upright Vacuum Cleaner

Traps Allergens

This vacuum features whole-machine filtration, using HEPA filters to ensure that dust, dander, and allergens stay trapped in the vacuum.

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Why It Made The Cut: This powerful vacuum is Certified Asthma and Allergy Friendly, which means it’s tested to leave the floors and the air in your home cleaner after each use. 

Specs:

  • Dimensions: 15.35 inches x 13.39 inches x 42.13 inches
  • Weight: 17.4 pounds
  • Bagged/Bagless: Bagless

Pros: 

  • Whole-machine HEPA filtration
  • Swivel Ball technology
  • Certified Asthma and Allergy Friendly

Cons: 

  • Heavier than most upright vacuums 

Carpets, rugs, and even hard flooring can collect allergens like dust, pet dander, and pollen. A good vacuum will suck up and trap these allergens, cleaning these surfaces without releasing allergens into the air.

The Dyson Ball Animal 2 Upright Vacuum Cleaner features strong suction to pick up dirt and allergens from hard floors and carpets. Once inside, the whole-machine HEPA filtration system keeps allergens trapped. Don’t just take Dyson’s word for it; this vacuum is also certified” Asthma and Allergy Friendly” by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. 

Besides its allergen-trapping design, this vacuum is engineered to clean up after pets. A self-adjusting head and motorized brush roll head agitates deep into carpets to pick up animal hair and dirt, and lifts off the ground to gently clean hard floors. Dyson’s Swivel Ball steering technology and narrow head lets this vacuum easily maneuver around furniture and obstacles. 

An extendable wand and long-reach hose helps to clean under furniture and up high. Pair the wand with one of three included attachments for a full home clean; this vacuum includes a combination tool, stair tool, and pet hair remover. Once you’ve deep cleaned your space, the bagless dust cup is easy to empty with the touch of a button. 

Best for Pet Hair: BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser Turbo Plus 

Nix Fur and Dander

With a sealed allergen system, tangle-free brush roll, and pet-friendly accessories, this vacuum is made to tackle pet hair from every surface.

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Why It Made The Cut: A tangle-free motorized brush roll and fur-lifting accessories make this vacuum an excellent choice for getting rid of stubborn pet hair. 

Specs: 

  • Dimensions: 13 inches x 15.75 inches x 44.5 inches
  • Weight: 13.75 pounds
  • Bagged/Bagless: Bagless

Pros 

  • Tangle-free brush roll
  • Specialized pet accessories 
  • Hands-free emptying

Cons

  • Lacks HEPA filtration 

Stubborn pet hair can make your carpets and furniture fuzzier than you’d like—and worst of all, embedded fur can be a pain to remove. The BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser Turbo Plus includes a range of features to dislodge pet hair and whisk it away. 

This vacuum features a swivel steering head, so you can vacuum around the couch, under the table, or in any of Fido’s favorite spots. A tangle-free on/off brush roll helps to dislodge fur from carpets, without creating a mess in the vacuum. Although this vacuum doesn’t use HEPA filters, it does have a sealed system to keep pet hair contained and allergies at bay. 

Fur tends to find its way around the home, so this vacuum includes an extended reach wand to vacuum up high. The vacuum includes an LED Crevice Tool, Pet TurboEraser Tool, and Pet Dusting Brush to help with these tasks. Once the bagless vacuum is full, use the hands-free emptying feature to empty the dust cup—Bissell’s Cyclonic Pet Hair Spooling system eliminates tangles so there’s no need to touch the fur and dirt inside.

Methodology 

A good vacuum can be one of the most expensive cleaning companions in your home, so it’s important to invest in a good pick. Through product research, and with consumer reviews and our own experience in mind, we sought out effective, reliable, and easy-to-use vacuums. We narrowed down our top picks from over 30 upright vacuum options, paying attention to crucial features like cleaning power, filtration, ease of use, and included accessories. 

The vacuums on this list are tailored to powerful everyday cleaning, made to pick up dust, dirt, pet hair, and allergens. We chose vacuums from reputable brands to ensure excellent suction power. To make certain the vacuums truly clean, we only included vacuums with reliable filtration systems. Most vacuums on this list also feature multi-floor settings for cleaning homes from top to bottom.

Since upright vacuums are designed as one piece, they can be hard to squeeze into corners or use on stairs. To combat this drawback, we chose upright vacuums that are easy to maneuver. We prioritized choices with detachable hoses to clean into cracks and crevices, and that include extra accessories, so you get more bang for your buck. 

Things to Consider Before Buying an Upright Vacuum

With so many vacuum types, brands, and extra features to consider, choosing a new vacuum can feel overwhelming. When shopping for a new upright vacuum, consider the vacuum’s cleaning power, ease of use features, and any extra accessories. 

Cleaning Power

Suction power isn’t much of a concern when it comes to upright vacuums. Their bulkier build means they can fit a sizable motor (especially compared to stick, handheld, and robot vacuums), making them one of the most powerful vacuum types, usually behind canister vacuums. 

When it comes to cleaning power, one factor to consider is your floor surfaces. Vacuums can include motorized brush rolls, as well as different settings for hard floors, standard carpets, and high-pile carpets. Look for a suitable vacuum for your flooring type to get the best clean. 

A well-sealed vacuum cleaner is a must for a truly cleaner home. Leaky vacuums will let dust, dirt, and allergens back into the air. To guarantee cleaner air, consider a vacuum with a filtration system. HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filtration is generally considered the gold standard, since it traps 99.97 percent of airborne particles with a size of 0.3 microns. These filters keep common allergens like dust, pollen, pet dander, and mold spores contained. 

Ease of Use

A good upright vacuum should have a smooth-rolling head that is easy to maneuver. Even so, one drawback of upright vacuums is they can be difficult to get into small spaces and can be too bulky to clean small surfaces like stairs. Most upright vacuums will include a detachable hose feature so you can clean hard-to-reach spots. Vacuum weight also affects maneuverability. If you need to carry the vacuum up and down stairs or have wrist or hand mobility concerns, consider a lighter model. 

Most upright vacuums are corded, but a few cordless options are available. Cordless options need recharging, but they are easily portable since there’s no need to tether to an outlet or deal with tangled cords. 

Upright vacuums come in bagged or bagless versions, with bagless options being more common. Bagged upright vacuums siphon the dirt into a bag, which needs to be switched out for a new bag once full. Bagless vacuums have a dust cup or canister that empties right into the trash. A bagless vacuum is cheap and easy to maintain, but you will be exposed to the debris inside during emptying. With either option, consider the vacuum capacity and how easy it is to change or empty the vacuum. 

Accessories and Tools

Upright vacuums can include a variety of accessories and tools to make cleaning simpler. Beater brushes, upholstery and crevice attachments, and pet hair accessories can help clean more surfaces in your home.

FAQs 

Q: What are the benefits of upright vacuums?

Upright vacuums are one of the most powerful vacuum types with a wide head that is excellent for vacuuming larger areas, especially carpets. Since they are all one piece, they can be easier to maneuver and store than canister vacuums. 

Q: How long do upright vacuums last?

In general, vacuums last for around eight years. Proper use and maintenance can make your vacuum perform better during its lifespan.

Q: How often should you replace your vacuum filter? 

It’s best to follow the manufacturer’s directions when it comes to replacing or cleaning vacuum filters. Most vacuums need filter maintenance once every three to six months.

Final Thoughts

The Shark S2 Navigator Lift-Away Professional Upright Vacuum is an extremely versatile choice that’s worth the modest investment. It features an on/off brush roll, HEPA filtration, and a Lift-Away pod to clean hard floors, carpets, and above-ground surfaces.

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