Best Upright Vacuums
For Carpets and Hardwood Floors We’ve Got You Covered
Did you know that your home’s carpet acts as a filter?
Depending on how much of it is covered with carpet, it is the largest filter inside your house.
It traps allergens such as dust, soil, dead skin, pet hair and all other nasty stuff.
And what do you do to maintain a filter?
Clean them up regularly right?
That’s why homes with carpet need to be deep cleaned at least once a week to keep dirt and allergens from piling up.
This is where an upright vacuum comes in and we’ll cover 5 of the best uprights at different price points and various degrees of versatility.
Don’t worry the uprights featured here aren’t the traditional machines of the 1960’s that only work on floors and nothing else.
You’ll see features in some models that transform them from an upright to a canister vacuum with a press of a button. Cool isn’t it?
Can be used on
|Nooks & Crannies|
180 air watts
1.2 dry quarts (up to fill line)
3.0 dry quarts (max)
|Brush roll on/off|
Hard Floor Genie with one microfiber pad
TruePet Mini Motorized Brush
11" Crevice Tool
Pet Upholstery Tool
5" crevice tool
24" crevice tool
Pet hair power brush
Tangle-free turbine tool
Carbon fiber soft dusting brush
Reach under tool
How to choose an upright?
Over the last 5 years or so manufacturers have been actively seeking ways to one-up the other and have come up with insane features that improve maneuverability and reach but still retaining cleaning performance one should expect from an upright.
Of course when you think about innovation the first brand that comes to mind would be a Dyson but surprisingly they have been beaten out by Shark as I’ll explain later as I detail why I ranked the different vacuums as such.
What are the things you should consider?
- Price – First and foremost, you should always set a budget because upright vacuums will vary in price point. You can buy one for as low as $60 to as high as $600 and the features will vary. Once you’ve set a budget, it will be easier for you to settle on a model depending on the features it has.
- Does Your Home Have Wall to Wall Carpeting? – If your home has wall to wall carpeting, you’ll need to opt for a model that has a motorized brush (along with a separate motor that powers it) because without one, the machine won’t be able to deep clean dirt trapped underneath strands of carpet. In short, it’ll only be cleaning surface dirt.
- How Big Is Your Home? – If you live in a larger home obviously a cordless vacuum isn’t as practical as it will only be able to clean a small portion before power gets cut off. For larger homes, you’ll need to choose something with a long power cord and a long hose and extension wand to clean not just floors but also above the floor surfaces like ceiling vents and ceiling fans. Owners of small homes may opt for something more sleek and lightweight for easier storage.
- Do you have any pets? – Pet hair can be tough to keep up with and depending on the number of dogs you have in your home, you may want to pick something up with a tool that will help you clean of pet fur not just on floors but also on upholstery. Some models like the Dyson Cinetic and the Shark Navigator Powered Lift Away have the tools to handle this task. The later will be a few hundred dollars cheaper so choose one that will fit your budget.
Our Pick: Shark Navigator Powered Lift Away (NV752)
I think Shark has produced a winner with the Navigator Powered Lift Away. Here’s why, not only will this product allow you to convert from an upright to a canister but it also gives you the option to use the main powered brush roll.
This feature alone gives it unparalleled versatility in terms of what you can clean.
The powered lift-away feature basically allows users to remove the bulky dirt canister from the main body which frees up a lot of space so that you can clean tough to reach areas like spaces under furniture or chairs.
Watch this video to see what I mean…
I forgot to mention that it comes with a pod where you can place the bulky pod and use the extension wand plus the main motorized head to clean carpeted surfaces underneath large furniture like beds.
This is like a Dyson V6 that’s on steroids. This feature alone is worth the price of this product.
But you’ll get more than that.
It also comes with a mini-motorized pet hair tool that does great in cleaning stubborn pet hair making this one of the best (bagless) upright vacuums to clean pet hair…
You’ll notice that it was able to pick up all the cat hair in one or two passes which is pretty remarkable for an air powered tool.
One trouble I had with cleaning dust on hard floor surfaces is the lack of visibility.
This vacuum comes with LED lights both on the main tool and also the handle that greatly helps tracking dust bunnies on hardwood or on upholstery.
This is just one of the many reasons why you should consider this as your main home cleaner.
The great thing with the Shark is that it isn’t as expensive as a Dyson.
You’ll get the same suction power plus a whole lot more versatility for a few hundred dollars less. Have I convinced you already? Well you’ll have to read the whole review to see how this does in detail.
Budget Lift Away: Shark Navigator Lift-Away
If the Navigator Powered Lift Away is still too expensive for your taste, here’s another option. It gives you the same Lift Away feature but minus the option of using the main motorized floor tool so it will not be as versatile as the Powered Lift Away.
But it will give you the same cleaning versatility in terms of the ability to clean stairs and various types of upholstery with the mini motorized tool attachment.
It still comes with the similar attachments like the crevice and dusting brush to go along with the extension wand and mini-motorized tool
It also comes with HEPA filtration but since this is a bag-less vacuum you will still be exposed to the dust when you empty this.
The power cord is slightly shorter at just 25 feet versus the 30 feet of the Powered Lift Away so this would be a better fit for smaller homes.
All this will equate to a price of just under $170 which is a bargain if you ask me because it still comes with the same 5 year warranty. Pick this up if budget is your primary concern because it still has the same power and offers around 80% of the versatility.
Is This The Best Bagged Upright? Kenmore 31150 Elite
This is a big downside for bagless uprights because even with HEPA fitted models, you are still exposed to allergens when you empty it.
The Kenmore Elite is one of the best performing upright vacuums based on consumer reviews and it comes fitted with a bag that protects users from exposure to allergy triggering allergens.
Thanks to its 3D inducer motor, Kenmore claims that this machine produces as much as 3 times more power than other upright cleaners, this technology also eliminates the need for a drive belt.
This allowed the engineers at Kenmore to widen the brush roll and give consumers one less maintenance task (which is belt replacement).
Suction is top notched so much that some consumers said this was borderline unusable when cleaning throw rugs because it wanted to suck up the whole rug.
I don’t know about you but I’d like my vacuum to have strong suction than weak suction. To address the issue above there is a hack that will allow you to adjust the suction so you can use this on area rugs.
If you’re home has wall to wall carpet, this vacuum will be a great tool for keep those areas clean. It doesn’t matter if it’s low pile or plush, it will be able to do the job thanks to the 4 position height adjustment.
It also comes fitted with LED headlights to help you track dusty areas and helps with general visibility.
The dirt sensor tracks areas with dirt but it doesn’t work as well as advertised.
Since this machine is bulky, you won’t be able to use this to clean deep into areas under furniture.
There is no swivel steering so maneuverability takes a hit.
It does come with a hose, extension wand and a mini-motorized tool so you can use this to clean pet hair off upholstery but the short 6 foot hose limits the reach.
The biggest issue for me would be the short warranty of just one year. Whereas other manufacturers offer at least a 5 year warranty for their uprights, Kenmore only offers a one year warranty which is a bit baffling to me since they are relying on their rock solid reputation for sales.
Another Budget Option: Electrolux Precision Brushroll
But there is a brands like Shark and Electrolux that produce quality products at competitive price points.
They also back their products up with long warranties to give you extra peace of mind that the dollars you spend will last you years.
The Electrolux Precision Brushroll, is another model that you should have to look at when it comes to upright vacuums.
It has one unique feature that will help away one of the most tedious tasks of owning a brush roll equipped cleaner – cutting off rolled up hair.
Yes, thanks to the brush roll cleaning feature that cuts and then sucks away any hair or debris stuck there, you don’t need to get down on your knees to clean it off yourself.
The height adjustment also allows you to adjust the clearance just in case you want to clean larger bits of debris like crushed biscuits.
It also comes with a decently long flexible hose along with two attachments – the versatool and brush tool that allows it to clean upholstery, stairs and vents.
The best part about this product is the price, at just a little over $220. You’ll get a versatile vacuum cleaner that will clean bare floor and carpet as well as upholstery. A pretty good deal at the price point, plus you’ll get a long 5 year warranty.
Filter-less: Dyson Cinetic Big Ball
The Cinetic is the latest in Dyson’s upright product line and the innovation that they are introducing is the cleaning system that doesn’t require a pre-motor filter thanks to the so-called Dyson cinetic science.
Basically cinetic science Dyson’s fancy term they use to describe the oscillating tips that 350 times per second to prevent the buildup of fine dust.
To put it in layman’s terms these tips shake the dust particles as it enters the dirt bin so that it doesn’t build up in one area, engineers say that this is similar to pouring baking soda over a sieve. When you don’t shake the sieve, there will be buildup of baking soda so you’ll need to shake it in order to dislodge any build up.
But what Dyson didn’t clearly tell you is that this machine has a post motor HEPA filter that you still need to clean on occasion…
Actually there are two of them.
You’ll notice that the part inside the ball is really filthy, and Dyson’s claim of the no loss of suction isn’t really accurate.
But if you look at the videos on how it performed on carpet and hardwood, this machine is capable of cleaning dirt and a lot of it.
Kode1996 may have opened a whole can of worms with this discover and hopefully Dyson address this soon.
I still included this in the top 5 mainly because of the filter-less innovation but it is far from perfect.
In terms of cleaning performance, this vacuum does perform but the cinetic science filter-less system looks very good on paper but in reality it doesn’t really filter out every last bit of allergen that goes through it.
Based on a video review I saw in YouTube (look at the video above), dust particles still goes through the filtration system and sits inside the ball where the motor and HEPA filters are housed.
So this vacuum really isn’t filter-less as Dyson claims. The high price point makes it hard to rank this any higher.
Are There Any Cordless Options?
Many have tried but failed to deliver. There are two models that come close (both are manufactured by Hoover) and will work great for people looking for a spot cleaning tool to clean high traffic areas.
Remember that these products will not compare to
Hoover Air Cordless and Air Cordless Lift
The Air Cordless Lift combines two products – an upright and a canister into one neat package that doesn’t require any cords.
This means more dirt capacity than traditional stick vacuums that have smaller bin capacities and the versatility to be used on stairs, upholstery, inside the car and any tight area.
Another thing that separates the Hoover from other cordless vacuums is the run time.
Thanks to the two 20-volt lithium ion batteries, this cleaner will give you 50 minutes of run time from the two batteries combined which is more than enough for any spot cleaning task.
In terms of cleaning performance, it has performed better than the DC44 on carpet…
Other than that it also has a wider cleaning path – this will mean less back and forth passes since it covers more area.
The downside to this though is the suction power. It still will not match their corded counterparts in terms of pure suction power.
Also the limited run time will not allow you to clean a medium to large house, especially if it has wall to wall carpeting.
Another option would be the Hoover Air Cordless. This is similar to the Air Cordless Lift but it doesn’t have the lift feature that converts it to a canister vacuum. Run time and cleaning performance are still the same.
There you have it, the vacuums I just presented to you are six options you have that would fit your specific budget and need. Just in case I missed something or you have any suggestions on how I could improve the list here, feel free to comment about it below.