To help you find and purchase the best upright vacuum for your home and cleaning preferences, we spent over 17 hours testing 20 different vacuums. As we vacuumed our floors with each product, we measured performance, maneuverability and overall design. We also tested each vacuum on its ability to clean a variety of different surfaces so you can be sure to get the most comprehensive clean.
After our testing, we chose the Shark Rotator Professional NV501 for our top pick spot. This powerful bagless upright vacuum features a unique and versatile Lift-Away design, reliable HEPA filtration and plenty of flexible accessories. It’s also designed well and able to tackle tough pet hair. Keep reading below to learn more about the Shark Rotator and the other best upright vacuums we included on our list.
- 1 Top 6 Best Upright Vacuums Compared
- 1.1 #1 Shark Rotator Professional NV501 – Top Pick
- 1.2 #2 Bissell Cleanview 2486 – Honorable Mention
- 1.3 #3 Dyson Ball Animal 2 – Best Quality
- 1.4 #4 Eureka PowerSpeed NEU182A – Best Budget
- 1.5 #5 Oreck Commercial U2000RB1 – Best Commercial Grade
- 1.6 #6 Soniclean Soft Carpet – Best for Carpet
- 1.7 How We Decided
- 2 Upright Vacuum Buying Guide
Top 6 Best Upright Vacuums Compared
#1 Shark Rotator Professional NV501 – Top PickWHY WE LIKE IT: With premium pet tools and powerful suction capabilities, the Shark Rotator Professional NV501 is the best vacuum cleaner for pet hair that we’ve tested to date. It also includes a unique Lift-Away design that makes it into a virtual handheld.
The Shark Rotator Professional Lift-Away vacuum cleaner features a unique Lift-Away design that allows you to detach the canister and clean more easily above floor. You don’t see this very often on upright vacuums, but it’s a super useful feature to have available, especially if you need more versatility in your vacuum cleaner to get into hard-to-reach spaces. It’s also designed with Shark’s proprietary Rotator Technology, which makes the vacuum easier to maneuver around your home while you clean.
The Shark NV501 isn’t just designed well, it also cleans really well. With a HEPA filtration system and 1.3 quart dust cup capacity, you’ll achieve a more comprehensive clean without needing to empty the dust cup too often. We were also pleased with how lightweight this vacuum cleaner was, as well as how quietly it operated. The Shark also comes with a wide variety of cleaning accessories, including a pet brush for picking up pet hair more easily. We were extra impressed with this pet brush because of how well it picked up pet hair and dander, especially when compared to the competition. Compare it to the best Dyson vacuum.
#2 Bissell Cleanview 2486 – Honorable MentionWHY WE LIKE IT: The Bissell Cleanview 2486 features OnePass and Scatter Free technology for quick, easy and comprehensive suctioning power that doesn’t require multiple passes over the same spot. With this kind of power and a variety of accessories, this model is the best vacuum cleaner for home applications.
If you’re running a busy household, the last thing you want to do is spend hours vacuuming up all the leftovers. That’s where the Bissell Cleanview 2486 upright vacuum cleaners comes into play. With its proprietary OnePass technology, the Bissell vacuum picks up most debris in a single pass, saving you time and effort. OnePass is made possible with powerful suctioning capabilities and a unique brush design, which also plays into the Bissell’s Scatter Free technology to eliminate debris from flying everywhere as you’re vacuuming hard floors.
The overall design of the Bissell Cleanview is lightweight and sturdy. It features an impressive 1 liter dirt tank capacity, which is more than enough to clean most of your house without needing to constantly empty the tank. The hose is detachable, as well, and can be used with the variety of cleaning accessories included with the vacuum, although we found the hose to be a little too short for our liking. Fortunately, this downside is easily overlooked with everything else the Cleanview has to offer. All in all, with such quick and comprehensive cleaning functionality, this option is the best vacuum for home use that we tested. If you want a more hands-off approach, try the best robot vacuum.
#3 Dyson Ball Animal 2 – Best QualityWHY WE LIKE IT: The Dyson Ball Animal 2 is high-tech, incredibly powerful and super easy to use and maneuver around your home, which is why it earned our best quality award. It’s also got a 5 warranty and HEPA filteration, to boot.
The Dyson Ball Animal 2 is one of the most high-tech vacuums on our list, with a super unique and involved “radial root cyclone” design. The entire cyclone assembly is designed to maximize suctioning power, which is apparent while you vacuum. The Animal 2 had one of the most powerful suctioning that we tested. Another unique design aspect of this upright vacuum cleaner is where it gets its namesake. The ball assembly on the bottom of the vacuum is created for more precise maneuvering. All you need to do is turn your wrist, and the ball assembly will do the rest for you. This is especially impressive considering just how difficult it can be to turn most modern-day vacuums.
The Dyson Ball Animal 2 also features a complete HEPA filtration system that traps allergens and bacteria so they aren’t released back into the home each time you vacuum. Overall performance was great with this vacuum, but it performed especially well with larger debris and pet hair. You’ll get a few different accessories with the Dyson vacuum cleaner, along with an excellent 5 year warranty, which is one of the longest we found. If we could change one thing about the vacuum, it would be to make it lighter weight. All the high-tech functionality included here makes for a heavy vacuum, weighing in at around 17 pounds. Many regard Dyson to be the best vacuum cleaner brand. The best canister vacuum will give you an idea of what brands are offering.
#4 Eureka PowerSpeed NEU182A – Best BudgetWHY WE LIKE IT: The Eureka PowerSpeed NEU182A offers a ton of functionality and power in an incredibly affordable package. It also features a lightweight, yet durable design that’s easy to maneuver around as you vacuum.
If you’re looking for a solid upright vacuum without needing to spend an arm and a leg, look no further than the Eureka PowerSpeed. This bagless upright vacuum cleaner offers overall powerful suctioning capabilities to clean up most messes with ease in your house. While it’s not as powerful as some of the other vacuums on our list, it’s still powerful enough for most jobs. What helps most in this department are the 5 different brush roll height settings, which allow you to be more versatile across a variety of different surfaces.
The Eureka PowerSpeed is also designed well. For starters, it only weighs 10 pounds, making it one of the lightest options on our list. This lightweight design makes it easier to store, carry and maneuver around the house. We were also impressed with its 1 liter dust cup and onboard accessory storage for the different hose attachments that come with the vacuum. We wish the extendable hose was attached a little higher on the vacuum body to prevent tipping over while using it, but this is a small thing to worry about in light of everything else the Eureka upright vacuum cleaner does well. If you have pets, consider the best pet vacuums.
#5 Oreck Commercial U2000RB1 – Best Commercial GradeWHY WE LIKE IT: The Oreck Commercial U2000RB1 upright vacuum is made for extended periods of use and its super durable design reflects that purpose. This is the simplest vacuum we included on the list, but it’s also the most durable.
The Oreck Commercial U2000RB1 vacuum cleaner was designed to be a workhouse that can clean large areas over hours of constant use without wearing out. This much is apparent in its overly simple design that is decidedly lacking in extra bells and whistles. With an excellent Endurolife belt, you can rest assured that this vacuum won’t wear out for a long time. It also features a cogged V-belt to prevent slippage and an internal circuit breaker to protect the motor from burning out in the case of jams or clogs.
When it comes to overall performance, this Oreck commercial upright vacuum did well in all of our tests. It features a powerful brush roll that can spin at 6,500 RPM and that features a double helix brush design for better debris movement. It can also switch between different floor types automatically so you don’t have to worry about manual adjustment. During our testing, the Oreck did struggle a little bit on plush carpets, so if you need to vacuum thicker carpet types, plan on the vacuum requiring a little more effort to push around. By contrast, if you have more hardwood, check out the best vacuum for hardwood floors.
#6 Soniclean Soft Carpet – Best for CarpetWHY WE LIKE IT: The Soniclean Soft Carpet is the best vacuum cleaner for carpet on our list because of its unique and powerful sonic carpet cleaning functionality. It’s also built well and includes a HEPA filter for better filtration.
The best feature about the Soniclean Soft Carpet upright vacuum cleaner is where it gets its name from. While this vacuum still has a standard brush roll like most other vacuums, it also includes a unique sonic bar. This design feature produces over 200 vibrations per second while turned on, which then loosen the debris and dirt that has embedded itself in your carpet. The brush roll and suction then pick up the loose particles to give the best clean for carpets. The brush roll itself also features ultra-soft bristles that won’t damage your carpet, even over extended periods of use.
The Soniclean also features a hospital-grade HEPA filtration system which is even better for cleaning carpets and not allowing those allergens back into your home. Carpets can store tons of allergens, so this filtration system is particularly helpful. Note that the Soniclean vacuum doesn’t include a detachable hose or extra accessories because it’s made specifically for cleaning carpets. However, since this is the best vacuum cleaner for carpet on our list, these downsides aren’t that much to worry about. Some prefer the best robot vacuum and mop, while others prefer the best handheld vacuum.
How We Decided
As we tested each upright vacuum that we purchased, we looked primarily for options that excelled at cleaning. The best upright vacuums can easily remove dirt from any kind of flooring material, no matter how embedded it is in carpet or how large in size it is. A vacuum that can’t pick up dirt is of no use to anyone.
We also measured the vacuums on the overall user friendliness. One of the main considerations with user friendliness is how easy it is to maneuver the vacuum around your house. Our top picks are easy to push and pull, as well as move around corners and into tight spots. We also looked at things like operating controls and removing and replacing dirt canisters.
Finally, we took into account weight and overall construction and design. If you spend money on a home appliance that you’re going to use likely every single day, you’ll want to be sure it can actually last you longer than a year or two. You’ll also want to buy a vacuum that you can easily handle. If you purchase an option that’s just too heavy, it’s going to become more of an inconvenience than anything else.
Upright Vacuum Buying Guide
The Most Important Features to Consider
- Bag vs. Bagless
When it comes to containing dust, dirt and pet hair, upright vacuums offer two separate approaches: bag and bagless designs. Upright vacuums with bags are better at containing the dust and dirt you vacuum up, which is good for people with allergies or who want to ensure dust particles aren’t escaping back into the air. However, buying and replacing bags on a regular basis can get annoying and expensive after a while. Bagless upright vacuums are much more convenient. Simply detach the container unit to empty the dirt from the vacuum and replace it after. We favored bagless upright vacuums over models with bags, but there are still plenty of really good bag options, some of which we included on our list above.
- Corded vs. Cordless
A recent addition to the world of upright vacuums is the option to choose the power source that gives your vacuum the juice it needs to give you a comprehensive cleaning experience. Corded upright vacuums are the traditional approach and are still the most common options available on the market today. They often can give your vacuum more power, which means strong suction overall and better performance on thicker carpets. On the other hand, cordless vacuums are more portable and convenient. As the battery drains, though, you can lose suction power. At Gadget Review, we preferred corded upright vacuums over cordless because of the sheer difference in suction power that we found during testing.
- Multi-surface Options
A vacuum doesn’t do you any good if it can only clean one type of surface. The best upright vacuums can clean both carpeted and flat, smooth surfaces. Look for an option that includes a brush roll option that can be easily turned on and off as you switch between different flooring types.
- Detachable Hose and Accessories
The best upright vacuums also improve their versatility with a detachable vacuum hose and additional accessories that you can use to clean in any situation. Consider what you’ll be using your vacuum for in your home in order to determine the best kinds of accessories you’ll need. Some of the most common accessories include things like crevice tools, dusting brushes, pet hair tools and more.
- Are upright vacuums better than canister vacuums?
Like most consumer products, there are pros and cons to different kinds of vacuum cleaners. Canister vacuums are becoming more popular today, but they still have a lot of competition from upright vacuums. Canister vacuums tend to be more powerful and maneuverable than upright vacuums, but they’re also more expensive and harder to store.
- How long do upright vacuums last?
Upright vacuums have an average lifespan of around 8 years. However, this lifespan is based on average usage and assumes that you are taking good care of your vacuum. If you use it a lot more than is typically expected or don’t take care of the product, then you can expect that lifespan to decrease.
- How do upright vacuum cleaners work?
At their simplest level, upright vacuums rely on an internal electric motor to spin a fan that sucks air in to capture particles within a bag or canister. Of course, most upright vacuums include a lot more than just a fan, motor and canister. There are exhaust ports for proper air flow, brush rolls to capture larger debris and filters to clean the air as it passes through the vacuum.
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