There’s no substitute for an upright vacuum if you’re looking for the most efficient all-round cleaning solution.
We present the result of extensive testing which led us to choose 5 of the strongest uprights for a range of budgets.
We’ll get straight down to business with the reviews before giving you a brief guide to getting the best vac the easy way.
Top Upright Vacuum Cleaner
Pretty much every list of the most dependable and high-performing upright vacs features the classic Bissell 9595A CleanView and with just cause.
Bissell has a solid reputation for producing top-notch vacuum cleaners at a very reasonable price and the 9595A is a great example of a budget vacuum with anything but budget level performance.
Efficiency is order of the day thanks to Bissell’s proprietary OnePass Technology. A combination of super-strong suction and a neat brush design means you can dispatch even stubborn grime without needing to keep going back and forth. The multiple cyclones and capable motor makes sure the suction won’t let you down when you need it most. This multi-cyclonic system also nicely separates and grades the dirt and debris so your filter will last longer into the bargain.
Thinking of filters, although it’s not HEPA-rated, Bissell’s multi-level filtration is more than fit for purpose. The filter is easily washable and you should replace it every few months for best results.
One of the usual drawbacks of upright vacuums is their weight. Bissell has sidestepped this issue with the CleanView tipping the scales at a mere 15 pounds without sacrificing power. It’s extremely agile and you’ll be able to vacuum for extended periods without straining yourself.
You’ll get more power still thanks to the corded nature of the Bissell but, at 25 feet long, you won’t be too restricted when you’re cleaning.
While bagless vacuums are generally not recommended if you suffer from asthmas, allergies or other sensitivities, the dirt cup on the Bissell is a cinch to empty without spewing dust back in your face. The container is also large enough that you won’t need to keep breaking off to ditch the contents.
You’ll get all the accessories you need thrown in which is an unexpected touch with a vacuum in this price range. The standard crevice tool helps you clean in tight spots while the dusting brush ensures a fine finish to your vacuuming. The nifty turbo brush tool comes into its own for upholstery, cleaning the stairs and blitzing your furniture. You’ll be able to take care of all your above-floor cleaning with the extension wand. On-board storage means you won’t be scrabbling around looking for your attachments when you need them.
You can choose from a range of bundles so you can get rid of carpet stains, eliminate odors and deodorize your floors so roll with the option that best suits your needs.
If you’re in any doubt about buying the 9595A, the excellent 2-year limited warranty should remove it and prompt you into investing in this first-class upright vacuum.
Hoover Anniversary WindTunnel Self-Propelled
Since bringing the first upright vacuum cleaner to market back in 1908, Hoover has become an industry legend and dominates the upright segment of the market to this day.
This self-propelled Anniversary edition of the WindTunnel is currently available at a steep discount so act quickly to pick up the steal of the century.
Hoover’s patented WindTunnel technology, for which this vacuum is named, helps ensure that all ingrained debris is lifted up while you won’t get a face full of dust or fine particles strewn all over the carpet as you clean. To prevent you needing to make multiple passes needlessly, a sensor displays a green light when the surface is scoured clean.
Weighing 20 pounds, this potent upright might not be the lightest vacuum out there but Hoover has compensated by making the WindTunnel self-propelled. Whatever direction you’re moving in, moving this vac couldn’t be simpler.
If you or anyone in your family is sensitive to airborne pathogens and allergens, the HEP-filter is one more reason to invest in the Hoover. To qualify for a HEPA-rating a filter needs to remove 99.97% of all particles down to a size of 0.3 microns. Kiss goodbye to allergy flare-ups and say hello to crisp, fresh air.
Cleaning in basements or other gloomy spaces can be frustrating. Have you got rid of all the dirt or should you give it another once-over? Whether you’re in a dark area or vacuuming under your sofa and chairs, the Hoover headlight makes sure you won’t miss a spot.
Accessories are in line with most uprights. You’ll get the de rigeur crevice tool and dusting brush along with an upholstery tool. Apply the finishing touches with an air powered hand device so your whole house stays spotless.
If you need some extra reach, a pair of interlocking extension wands are a superb addition. Edge cleaning bristles let you clean flush to the walls while an anti-scuff bumper makes certain you won’t leave any damage behind as you do so.
All the guesswork is taken out of when to change the bag thanks to an indicator showing you when it’s time to swap it out. You will need to factor in the ongoing expense of bags but you’ll be repaid by an allergen-free home.
At 29 feet long, the power cord affords you ample freedom of movement.
Hoover back this vacuum with an outstanding 3-year warranty meaning you’ll have no concerns about costly repairs.
Check out the Hoover WindTunnel today and you’ll see why Brits refer to any vacuum, regardless of brand, as a hoover. It really is an exceptional upright worth a place on any shortlist.
Oreck Commercial XL Commercial
If you’re on the hunt for a reasonably priced upright from a brand you can trust that’s rugged enough for commercial cleaning jobs while also great for home use, you can’t beat Oreck.
Considering the raw power you’ll get with the Commercial XL, it seems incredible it weighs in at only 8 pounds. You’ll be able to throw the Oreck around for extended periods without fatigue setting in, ideal for commercial cleaning jobs or larger homes.
Another very user-friendly touch with the XL is the Helping Hand handle certified by the Arthritis Foundation. Even if you struggle gripping things, you’ll still be able to enjoy an immaculate house without any pain or strain.
The Oreck excels for homes with mixed flooring which, let’s face it, is becoming the norm these days. With automatic floor adjustment, there’s no fiddling around and you can get the most effective clean whatever the surface. You’ll get more powerful suction to see off any lingering grime from your carpets while you’ll get a gentler setting for hard flooring.
The brush roll spins at an incredible 6500RPM. The pair of helical brushes push all debris, large or small, efficiently toward the inlet. You’ll be able to work swiftly, too, thanks to the generous 12-inch cleaning path.
While corded vacuums generally deliver more grunt, they also often come with the cable cut far too close for comfort. There’s no such nonsense with the Oreck and the 35-foot cord serves up ample room for unfettered movement without constantly swapping power outlets.
The top-fill bag is a neat design trick which ensures power remains consistent even as the bag starts to fill up. This not only gives you superior cleaning results but saves you money since you won’t need to prematurely replace the bag. With some bagged vacuums, you can get little more than half a bag full before needing to change it. The Oreck puts paid to this.
Since it’s engineered with commercial cleaning projects in mind, Oreck make sure that furniture doesn’t get scuffed and scratched in the quest for hygiene. It’s innovative low-slung aspect means you can sling it underneath chairs and couches with ease. Bumpers are expressly designed not to cause any damage if they collide with furniture or baseboards.
You’ll get a 1-year limited warranty to complete the package with this attractive, hard-hitting upright vacuum. Check out the Oreck today and you won’t be disappointed.
Dyson Ball Multi Floor 2
It goes unsaid that Dyson don’t offer cheap vacuums but, in return for a stiff price tag, you’ll get a cleaning experience second to none. We could easily review 5 different Dysons for this article but we always try to offer something for every budget.
The whole machine HEPA-filtration is outstanding news for anyone with allergies. All fine particles and irritants are safely secured inside rather than belched back out through the exhaust to soil your air quality.
One of the flaws with bagless vacuums is that emptying the dirt cup can be less than hygienic. All you need to do here is hit a button and the contents eject into the trash without you coming into contact with any allergens.
19 radial cyclones are set out in 2 tiers to max out cleaning efficiency by boosting airflow and making certain that all fine dust is trapped to give you show-house freshness every time.
Dyson’s pioneering Ball technology means that although you get the raw power of a 17-pound upright, maneuverability doesn’t take a hit. You’ll be able to get into tight spots and the vacuum feels a lot lighter than it actually is. The retractable handle also saves space when it’s time to stash the Dyson away.
You’ll be able to harness the extending cable, hose and wand to reach almost 50 feet in total so, whether you need to get under the furniture or clean up on high, everything is within your grasp with the Dyson.
From carpets to hard flooring, the Ball takes everything in its stride. The cleaner head self-levels to give optimum performance whatever the floor surface.
Dyson’s class-leading 5-year warranty is the cherry on top and takes all the headache out of deciding whether or not to invest in the Ball. Do so and you’ll get a first-rate upright that will last for years. If the Dyson is a little too expensive for your taste, we’d recommend any of the 4 other uprights we’ve reviewed instead. We’re not to here to nudge you in the direction of anything you can’t afford but to make sure you get the best vac for your requirements.
Shark consistently develops cutting-edge vacuums without the eye-popping price tag of a Dyson or Miele and one of their very best uprights is the cost-effective Navigator Lift-Away Professional.
You’ll get a truly multi-purpose cleaning solution since there’s a detachable canister that comes away at the press of a button. Switch from the awesome power of an upright to a much nimbler little unit and take care of all your cleaning needs whether it’s a large room, up and down the stairs or in any awkward nooks and crannies.
HEPA-filtration guarantees a top-notch clean while also keeping airborne contaminants out of your house and safely trapped inside the vacuum. A sound HEPA filter is useless if the vacuum is not airtight and Shark’s system is completely sealed ensuring nothing escapes.
The dirt container is substantial and easy to empty out hygienically by simply hitting a button.
To rigorously clean carpets, an effective brush roll is key and the Navigator won’t let you down in this regard. Thing is, when you switch to cleaning bare floors, this same brush roll can leave scratches and scuff marks everywhere. Just flick the button to disable the beater bar and you’ll be able to give your wooden floors the attention they deserve without inflicting any damage. There’s a neat little hard floor attachment to finish the job in style.
As well as the hard floor tool, you’ll also get a dusting brush, a brace of crevice tools, a pet hair brush and a couple of microfiber pads. For a vacuum at this price point, that’s a great little package of accessories.
The upright weighs 12.5 pounds and the canister pod 7.5 pounds but this bulk is offset by swivel steering to increase maneuverability without compromising power.
The 25-foot cord is just about fit for purpose while the cleaning width of 9 ¼ inches could be better but still allows for effective cleaning. These are the only very minor gripes with what is otherwise a top-tier upright vacuum fit to grace an cleaning arsenal.
Now you have 5 outstanding options up your sleeve, what you do you need to think about when you’re on the trail of a powerful upright?
Brief Buying Guide
Rather than go on at length, we’ll briefly summarize 8 key points to consider when looking for an upright:
- Bagged or Bagless?
- Corded or Cordless?
Bagged or Bagless?
There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to the type of bag or dirt container but you should think about your own needs and buy accordingly…
Bagged vacuums are ideal for anyone with allergies. Emptying the sealed bag is simple and hygienic. You’ll generally get stronger suction with bagged vacuums too but they are not without their downsides. You’ll need to think about the ongoing expense of replacement bags and they are not great for the environment.
Bagless vacuums are easy to empty but check that the process doesn’t end up blowing dirt and dust back in your face. Although you won’t need to buy keep changing the bag, you often need to replace filters more frequently with bagless vacs.
Check out our full bagged vs bagless article here for a more detailed breakdown of the pros and cons of each type.
Corded or Cordless?
Corded vacs normally offer more power but come with the obvious restriction of requiring a power outlet at all times along with the fact the cord on these vacuums is frequently a little too short for comfort.
Cordless vacuums are much more convenient in terms of maneuverability. On the flipside, you’ll only get a short-ish run time from most models and then you’ll need to think about charging time.
We explore the corded vs cordless issue in more depth here.
Whether you opt for a bagged or bagless vacuum, capacity occupies a different degree of importance for everyone.
If you have a huge house or you are cleaning for commercial purposes, you’ll want to look for something that doesn’t have you heading to the trashcan or inserting a new bag every half-hour.
If, on the other hand, you live in a small apartment, capacity is probably much less of a concern.
Manufacturers are sometimes rather economical with the truth so be sure to read plenty of user reviews to check up on the accuracy of their claims.
Not all uprights are created equal. Some are hulking appliances that are a real struggle to move around. Others offer comparable power but with a much more compact footprint.
The main issue with the physical dimensions of your upright is the storage issue. Think carefully about the space you have available for stashing your cleaning appliances. If you only have a tiny closet, it’s senseless to lash out on a bulky upright that’s going to be awkward to store.
The rigidity of uprights means storage is more problematic than if you’re dealing with a stick or a canister so give the size of your intended vacuum proper consideration.
Where size mainly relates to storage, the weight of the vacuum you have in mind is also crucial.
If you plan to clean a split level home and you only have one vacuum, it doesn’t make sense to buy a huge unit that will be a pain to lug up and down stairs.
Often, sheer weight can be counterbalanced by a slick steering system so look at the overall package rather than obsessing purely on the poundage.
As with most aspects of your buying decision, laser in on what works best for you rather than seeking a one-size-fits-all solution and you’ll end up with an effective vacuum rather than an expensive mistake.
If you’re angling toward a corded vacuum, pay close attention to the length of the power cable so you don’t end up sold short. Think about the configuration and layout of power outlets in your home and make sure there’s adequate reach.
Factor in your above-floor cleaning and look out for uprights that come with a detachable canister vacuum or at least extension wands so you won’t end up bemoaning the lack of maneuverability while looking at stray spots of grime.
The range of accessories and attachments varies considerably from brand to brand and from model to model.
As always, double down on what you need not what looks flashy or tempting on the ad.
The only core essentials for a spotless finish are a crevice tool for difficult corners and a dusting brush or upholstery brush.
Pet owners would be advised to look for some form of motorized brush that helps zap up rogue hair and dander.
Last but not least, price should be a factor but certainly not the determining factor.
Think about overall value for money rather than the bottom line. Elements like ongoing running costs – think bags and filter – along with expected lifespan are just as important as the price tag.
Our only strict advice is never spend more than you can comfortably afford but buy the best upright you can in line with your budget and it will give you many years of service.
We very much hope you’ve found this guide to upright vacuums has helped you on your way to expanding your cleaning arsenal.
Drop us a line any time if you have any questions or feedback at all. We’re always more than happy to help.
Now go and get that house cleaned!