Best Upright Vacuums of 2019

The House Method team tested a variety of upright vacuums and rated them on a range of factors including suction power, maneuverability, noise, mobility, and more. Read our full review here.

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Upright vacuums are the traditional models you think of when you think: vacuum cleaner. As the most tried and true version of vacuums, it’s also the most popular and manufactured. With multiple upright vacuum cleaners available today, the House Method team put a few through a strict set of suction, maneuverability, and surface tests to identify the best products available.

Best upright vacuums

Conclusion
Pros
Cons
Best product

Dyson Ball Multi Floor 2

Conclusion

As one of the most powerful upright vacuums, the Dyson Ball Multi Floor 2 steals the show as the best upright vacuum available.

Pros

Featuring Radial Root Cyclone technology, this upright captures microscopic dust and other fine particles. It also comes with a self-adjusting cleaner head, HEPA filtration, and ball technology for easy maneuverability.

Cons

Though it’s easy to maneuver, the ball design makes it hard to clean under low-set furniture.

Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Upright

Conclusion

This no-nonsense pet vacuum is specifically designed to make cleaning up after pets a breeze.

Pros

The tangle-free brushroll is great at picking up pet hair. This upright also features a SmartSeal Allergen System with Febreze that eliminates pet odors.

Cons

It struggles to pick up fine debris on carpet. Weighing in at 18 pounds, it’s also one of the largest and heaviest upright vacuums we tested.

Best value

Shark Rotator Professional Lift-Away Upright

Conclusion

The best upright vacuum for those who suffer from asthma or allergies.

Pros

It features an XL-capacity dust cup, ergonomic handles for easy gripping, and a HEPA filter for trapping allergens and dust inside the vacuum. It also comes with advanced swivel steering for excellent control and maneuverability.

Cons

The vacuum is a little top heavy and may fall over when standing upright.

Hoover WindTunnel T-Series Rewind Plus

Conclusion

This upright vacuum does a great job at picking up pet hair on carpets and is also a great option for those who suffer from allergies.

Pros

HEPA filtration catches the smallest dust mites, allergens, and dirt particles. The Hoover also has built-in storage for all of its accessories.

Cons

This upright can’t be used on hard floors since the brushroll can’t be turned off. It’s one of the louder upright vacuums we tested.

Shark Navigator Lift-Away NV360

Conclusion

Equipped with 1200 watts of power, this traditional upright has enough suction power to remove even the toughest dirt.

Pros

It comes with a HEPA filter and Anti-Allergen Complete Seal Technology, trapping dust, dirt, and allergens inside the vacuum. It has a large dust canister for extended cleaning.

Cons

It has a shorter cord compared to other Shark upright vacuums and may topple over when standing upright due to its lightweight design.

Dyson Ball Multi Floor 2

Perhaps the best upright vacuum on the market, the Dyson Ball Multi Floor 2 features strong suction on all types of floors and ball technology that allows it to turn on a dime. Its self-adjusting cleaner head and HEPA filtration are just two of many features that give you a great overall cleaning experience.

Design

This upright vacuum has a sleek, honey-gold color. It’s one of the lighter uprights we tested, weighing 15.6 pounds, making it great for those who want a vacuum that’s easy to transport around the house. This vacuum cleaner also features an on/off brushroll setting that allows you to stop the brush from rotating when you’re cleaning hard floors.

How this vacuum cleans

This upright vacuum uses Radial Root Cyclone technology and HEPA filtration to capture microscopic dust and allergens. Paired with a motorized brush bar, the vacuum’s self-adjusting cleaner head automatically raises and lowers to seal in suction across all flooring types. It also has a longer cord length, allowing you to clean large areas of your home at once.

Usability

This Dyson is able to move on low-pile carpet, high-pile carpet, and hard floors without getting stuck. Because of its lightweight design, it’s also easy to move up and down stairs.

Accessories

The Dyson Ball Multi Floor 2 comes with an attached hose, an instant release wand, a combination tool, and a stair tool.

  • Instant release wand—This accessory releases in one smooth action from its holster and allows you to spot clean difficult areas like ceiling vents or on top of fan blades.
  • Combination tool—This tool provides flexible cleaning for hard-to-reach spaces like behind furniture or along baseboards.
  • Stair tool—Designed to effectively remove pet hair, dirt, and other debris from your stairs, this tool is perfect for those who want to give their home a more precise clean.

Our recommendation

If you want the best upright vacuum on the market, go for the Dyson Ball Multi Floor 2.

Get a more in-depth look at the Dyson Ball Multi Floor 2

Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Upright

The Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Upright is a no-nonsense pet vacuum that specializes in cleaning up after pets. It features a tangle-free brushroll and comes with a SmartSeal Allergen System for removing pet odors.

Design

This bright green upright vacuum is one of the only vacuums that has a cyclonic spooling system—this patented, internal-hair management system traps and separates hair and dirt, spooling the hair together for a hands-free emptying process. Another design element worth noting is the LED-Lit crevice tool that uncovers hidden dirt while vacuuming.

How this vacuum cleans

Created with pet owners in mind, this upright Bissell is engineered to remove embedded pet fur from all types of flooring, carpeting, and upholstery. Using SuctionChannel Technology, this Bissell vacuum cleaner creates a direct suction path with powerful, edge-to-edge cleaning to maximize pickup of pet hair and debris.

Usability

The Bissell Pet Hair Eraser is incredibly easy to use. Before cleaning a surface, select the type of surface you’ll be cleaning. There are four different options you can choose from:

  1. Bare floor
  2. Low carpet
  3. Premium soft carpet
  4. High carpet

After choosing the surface, push the head of the vacuum down with your foot and start your cleaning session. We found the Bissell upright vacuum extremely easy to control on hard floors and low-pile carpets. Note: there’s a bit of resistance when pulling the vacuum back on high-pile carpet.

Accessories

The Bissell Pet Hair Eraser comes with an LED light crevice tool and a Pet TurboEraser tool.

Our recommendation

The Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Upright is an overall good vacuum for cleaning up pet hair, but we wouldn’t recommend it as an all-around vacuum for cleaning your entire home.

Get a more in-depth look at the Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Upright

Shark Rotator Professional Lift-Away Upright

Advanced swivel steering, a detachable canister for portable cleaning, and HEPA filtration that traps dust and allergens are just a few of the features that make the Shark Rotator one of the best upright vacuums on the market.

Design

This upright vacuum cleaner has one of the most modern designs. It has swivel steering for added maneuverability and LED lights on the cleaner head. It also has an extra large dust cup, allowing you to clean your home with fewer emptying interruptions.

How this vacuum cleans

Comparable to the Dyson Ball Multi Floor 2, the Shark Rotator has strong suction power that can pick up small and large debris on carpets and hard floors. It also features Anti-Allergen Complete Seal Technology and HEPA filtration that seals in 99.97% of dust and allergens.

In addition to its upright mode, this upright vacuum has a Lift-Away cleaning mode that turns the machine into a portable canister vacuum, allowing you to target smaller spaces you wouldn’t have reached with an upright.

Usability

With advanced swivel steering, this upright vacuum is easy to move around and under furniture. Unlike the Dyson Ball Multi Floor 2, the Shark Rotator doesn’t have a ball that obstructs its ability to get under low-set furniture, making it a better option for those who want this cleaning capability.

Accessories

The Shark Rotator comes with a crevice tool, a dusting brush, a straight suction floor nozzle, and a wide upholstery tool.

  • Crevice tool—This 12-inch tool is great for reaching cracks and crevices.
  • Dusting brush—Meant for cleaning delicate surfaces (like window blinds or drapes), this brush can also be used to clean upholstery.
  • Straight suction floor nozzle—This tool is designed to pick up stubborn debris on carpets and hard floors.
  • Wide upholstery tool—It removes pet hair and dust from upholstery and other fabrics.

Our recommendation

If you suffer from asthma or allergies and want an upright vacuum that’s more affordable than a Dyson, we recommend going with the Shark Rotator.

Get a more in-depth look at the Shark Rotator

Hoover WindTunnel T-Series Rewind Plus

This lightweight upright provides consistent suction across all flooring types and has a permanent HEPA filter that traps 99.97% of dirt, dust, and allergens. Its ergonomic design and plethora of accessories make it one of the best vacuum cleaners available.

Design

This bagless upright vacuum has a sleek, green design, a 25-foot retractable power cord, and a no-scuff bumper that protects furniture as you clean your home. The vacuum also features a performance indicator that alerts you of any mechanical/technical issues the machine is experiencing. One of our favorite design features is the large dust cup that comes with this vacuum—it holds 0.65 gallons and can be easily removed for simple emptying.

How this vacuum cleans

Using WindTunnel Technology, this vacuum lifts and removes surface debris and deeply embedded dirt through one suction channel.

Usability

The D-shaped handle allows you to easily maneuver the device and the eight-inch stretch hose provides extra reach for high spaces. Using the foot-activated pedal release, you can change the vacuuming angle, and you can adjust the height of the brushroll by choosing among five different surface settings.

Accessories

The Hoover WindTunnel T-Series comes with an extension wand, a crevice tool, an upholstery/dusting brush, and a powered hand tool. It also comes with an eight-inch stretch hose for above-floor cleaning.

Our recommendation

If you want an upright vacuum that features multiple cleaning accessories, we recommend going for the Hoover WindTunnel.

Buy the Hoover WindTunnel T-Series Rewind Plus

Shark Navigator Lift-Away NV360

This Shark upright vacuum is an incredibly powerful vacuum cleaner that keeps hard floors and carpets looking great. With bagless technology and a 120V motor, you’ll enjoy fade-free suction and a more thorough cleaning.

Design

Covered in navy blue accents, this upright vacuum cleaner weighs slightly less than the Shark Rotator and has a 25-foot power cord instead of a 30-foot cord. It has a cleaning path of 9.25 inches and swivel steering for effortless maneuverability. Perhaps one of its greatest features is its Lift-Away technology that allows the upright to be transformed into a portable canister.

How this vacuum cleans

This upright vacuum cleans in an upright mode and a Lift-Away mode. It also has a brushroll capability for powerful carpet and bare floor cleaning.

Usability

Most upright vacuums can be bulky and awkward to push on carpet, but this Shark vacuum is easy to move on any type of flooring. Its Lift-Away mode also makes it a great option for people who want a two-in-one vacuum.

Accessories

The Shark Navigator comes with a dusting brush, a crevice tool, an air-driven pet brush, and an appliance wand.

  • Dusting brush—This tool is great for cleaning delicate surfaces, like window blinds and curtains, and upholstery.
  • Crevice tool—Perfect for reaching tight spaces, this tool will give your home a more in-depth clean.
  • Air-driven pet brush—If you have pets, this tool is a lifesaver. It picks up pet hair and debris and deep cleans dander on all surfaces.
  • Appliance wand—This accessory extends your vacuum’s reach and provides better under-furniture access.

Our recommendation

If you want a traditional vacuum cleaner that gets the job done, we recommend going with the Shark Navigator.

Get a more in-depth look at the Shark Navigator

Check out more vacuum cleaner reviews:

Our pick

Overall, we believe the best upright vacuum is the Dyson Ball Multi Floor 2. With unbeatable suction power, excellent maneuverability, and an array of cleaning tools, this upright is a great choice for those who want a reliable vacuum for entire-home cleaning.

Best upright vacuum for each floor type

If you’re looking for an upright vacuum, chances are you’re looking for a machine that can tackle all the floors in your house. If you have all hardwoods, you probably don’t want an upright that specializes in cleaning carpets and vice versa. Here are our top vacuum picks based on the type of flooring you have in your house.

Best upright vacuum for hard floors

The Dyson Ball Multi Floor 2, Shark Navigator, and Shark Rotator all passed our hard floor suction test with perfect scores. However, the Dyson has a special feature that allows the brushroll to be turned off when vacuuming on hard floors to prevent the device from creating scuff marks.

Best upright vacuum for high-pile carpets

The Shark Rotator is the best upright vacuum for high-pile carpets. It has a brushroll setting that picks up all types of debris on high-pile carpet with ease.

Best upright vacuum for low-pile carpets

For the majority of vacuums we tested, low-pile carpet proved to be the most difficult test—but not for the Shark Navigator. It earned a perfect score. The Navigator easily picked up all four substances in a single pass.

Why choose an upright vacuum

Upright vacuums are designed for entire-home cleaning. Unlike handheld and stick vacuums that have limited battery life and small dust canisters, upright vacuums are built with endurance to allow you to clean several rooms without stopping to recharge batteries or empty out dust containers.

Upright vacuums are great for people who want a product that can deliver powerful suction or for those who have pets and need to frequently vacuum up fur and other debris. A good upright vacuum should have incredible suction power and the ability to clean all types of surfaces—not just carpet. It should also have a big enough dust canister to hold all of the debris collected during a single cleaning job and a good filtration system that prevents dust and other microscopic particles from being flung back into the air.

Why choose an upright vacuum over a canister vacuum?

Canister vacuums anchor you to their stationed positions, limiting your vacuum reach. They  also typically require a vacuum head change when switching between surfaces. Upright vacuums, on the other hand, typically have long power cords that allow you to move more freely when vacuuming and have one vacuum head for all surfaces. The convenience, durability, and powerful suction of upright vacuums make them a popular choice for household cleaning.

8 factors to consider before buying an upright vacuum

Assembly

These durable vacuums are built to last, so don’t let a few minutes of assembly deter you from choosing a good upright vacuum. That being said, none of our top four upright vacuums are difficult to install, but one stands out as having the simplest installation. The Dyson Ball Multi Floor 2 can be assembled in four easy steps, making it the best upright vacuum to assemble.

Weight

Upright vacuums are generally a lot heavier and bulkier than other types of vacuums. Most uprights weigh between 12 and 15 pounds, but some can be as heavy as 18 pounds. If you have a multi-level home, look for a vacuum that’s easy to carry up and down stairs. If you have arthritis, look for an upright with ergonomic handles that are comfortable for gripping (like the Hoover WindTunnel T-Series Rewind Plus). You’re going to want a vacuum that you feel comfortable pushing around the whole house.

Size

Size is also important when thinking about where you want to store the vacuum. If you have a small utility closet, you don’t want a large, bulky vacuum cleaner. Instead, you may want to opt for an upright with a space-saving design. The Dyson Small Ball Multi Floor is similar to the Dyson Ball Multi Floor 2 but has a smaller, compact design that allows for easier storage.

Bag vs. bagless

Vacuum bags store all of the dirt and debris picked up by the vacuum and prevent the contents from circulating back into your air. With a bagged vacuum, you’ll have to buy new bags and replace them after every clean. Note: the cost of vacuum bags will add up over time.

With a bagless vacuum, you get to enjoy the convenience of dumping the contents from the dust cup into the trash can. The one downside to having a bagless vacuum is that when you empty the dust cup, some of the collected debris particles can escape into the air, making it a less viable option for those who suffer from allergies.

HEPA filter

For households with pets or allergy sufferers, upright vacuums with a HEPA filter are preferred. These filters can trap almost 100% of airborne particles.

Noise

Most upright vacuums will be noisy, but some are definitely quieter than others. Check the decibel level of your upright vacuum in the product specifications to determine which one falls in your desired noise range. Note: the average noise level of an upright vacuum is between 78 and 80 decibels.

Accessories

When choosing the best upright vacuum, consider what accessories you’ll need to clean different areas around the house that a regular vacuum head can’t get to. If you’re in need of strong suction for cleaning narrow crevices, like in between your car seats and on the wall trim behind your bed frame, the Shark Rotator has you covered. Its 12-inch crevice tool is designed to reach those small areas that most upright vacuums can’t get to.

If you love the Bissell tangle-free turbine head but are looking for a smaller option, the Dyson Small Ball is your best bet. The Small Ball includes a tangle-free turbine tool and a stair tool that are both ideal for cleaning carpeted stairs, which usually collect loads of pet and human hair. The Dyson Ball Multi Floor 2 also includes a stair tool and a combination tool with a built-in dusting brush for cleaning awkward surfaces like window sills and curtains.

The upright vacuum with the most impressive accessories is the Hoover T-Series WindTunnel Rewind Plus. It comes with five different accessories for cleaning floors, upholstery, and tight spaces.

Warranty

To ensure you’re receiving a reliable vacuum, look for one that comes with a long, competitive warranty. In general, Shark vacuums will come with a five-year limited warranty while Dysons will come with a two-year limited warranty.

Vacuum care and maintenance

Before purchasing a vacuum cleaner, you’ll want to consider how much maintenance is necessary to keep the filter in top shape. Does the filter have to be washed every month? Do you have to replace the filter frequently? Make sure you understand the filter maintenance before buying your upright vacuum.

With the exception of cleaning the filters and ensuring the dust canisters are emptied before they reach their max fill line, these upright vacuums don’t require much upkeep. The Dyson Ball Multi Floor 2 and the Bissell Pet Hair Eraser come with washable filters that should be washed monthly. Requiring a bit more maintenance (but at less frequent intervals) are the Sharks. It’s recommended that you clean the Shark Rotator’s pre-motor filter kit (both the felt and foam filter) every three months and the post-motor filter once a year. The Navigator’s pre-motor filter kit should be cleaned every three months, but the post-motor HEPA filter can wait a year to be cleaned.

If you want an upright vacuum with minimal maintenance, opt for one that has a large dust bin and reusable, washable filters.

Frequently asked questions

Which upright vacuum cleaner is the best?

The best upright vacuum cleaner is the Dyson Ball Multi Floor 2. Its powerful suction allows it to effectively remove any mess put in front of it on any type of surface. It also does an incredible job at removing pet hair and has smooth maneuverability.

Which upright vacuum is best for carpets?

The Hoover WindTunnel T-Series Rewind Plus is the best upright vacuum for carpets. With WindTunnel Technology, this vacuum produces consistent suction, lifting and removing surface debris and deeply embedded dirt. It also has HEPA filtration that traps almost 100% of dirt, dust, and pollen.

Which upright vacuum is best for pets?

With its impressive set of cleaning attachments and accessories, the Bissell Pet Hair Eraser is the best upright vacuum for pet hair removal.

Which upright vacuum has the best suction?

The upright vacuum with the best suction is the Dyson Ball Multi Floor 2. When we tested this vacuum in our lab, it passed with flying colors, picking up any substance put before it (Cheerios, kitty litter, coffee grounds, and pet hair). It also had no problem removing these substances from low-pile carpet, high-pile carpet, and hard floors.

What vacuum brand is the best?

There are plenty of high-quality vacuum brands, but we believe that Dysons are unbeatable. With their sleek design, Ball Technology, and strong suction power, they are some of the best vacuums on the market. However, they are one of the most expensive vacuum brands. If you want a more affordable vacuum brand, go with Shark or Hoover—they have vacuums that are just as powerful—if not more powerful—than Dysons.

About the author

Kealia is a staff writer and social media coordinator for House Method. She writes for a variety of beats, including home inspiration (her favorite), real estate, and home wellness.


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