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The 5 Best Upright Vacuums - Summer 2022 Reviews

Best Upright Vacuums

While upright vacuums are designed to primarily excel in cleaning large spaces, they can be versatile tools in any household. They're easy to use, and their distinct, bulky shape generally allows for a bigger dirt compartment, which can be beneficial if you have a big mess to clean. They're also quite good for cleaning up carpet as they can clear most pet hair and debris without too much of a problem. However, upright vacuums can be heavier than stick or canister models, making them a bit less portable and maneuverable, particularly on stairs or other, more narrow areas.

We've tested over 120 vacuum cleaners, and below are our recommendations for the best upright vacuum cleaners. These picks were selected not only based on their performance but also their design, feature set, and price. For more buying recommendations, look at our lists of the best vacuums for carpets, the best vacuums for high-pile carpet, and the best vacuums.

  1. Best Upright Vacuum

    The best upright vacuum we've tested is the Dyson Ball Animal 3 Extra. This bagless upright vacuum delivers exceptional overall cleaning performance on a variety of surface types, ranging from bare floor to low and high-pile carpet. Its floorhead has three distinct surface settings, so you can quickly alter its suction force to suit different surface types on the fly. The floorhead also features a series of plastic vanes that are very effective in helping reduce the chances of hair getting tangled within the mechanism. You can turn off the brushroll to avoid sending debris scattering around. The vacuum's power cord is very long, so you shouldn't have to swap outlets when cleaning larger areas.

    You can clean hard-to-reach areas with its hose and wand, though it's important for the vacuum to be positioned upright for suction to be directed that way. It comes with a pretty wide assortment of attachments, like a dedicated pet grooming tool, a miniature turbo brush for cleaning upholstered surfaces, and a soft-bristle brush for cleaning delicate surfaces. That said, this is still a somewhat heavy, bulky vacuum, and parts of its mainly plastic construction feel somewhat fragile.

    See our review

  2. Best Upper Mid-Range Upright Vacuum

    The Shark Rotator Lift-Away ADV is a very solid option if you're looking for something slightly more affordable than the Dyson Ball Animal 3 Extra. This bagless upright vacuum delivers outstanding performance on bare floors and does a very good job dealing with debris on low and high-pile carpet, though not quite to the same extent as the pricier Dyson, which exerts a stronger suction force through its floorhead and is also better able to draw away debris wedged in shallow cracks and crevices. However, unlike the Dyson, it has a 'Lift-Away' design that allows you to pick up and carry its canister body separately from its floorhead, making it much easier to clean on top of shelves and furniture. It has a couple of attachments like a miniature turbo brush and a hard bristle brush for dealing with stuck-on dirt and debris.

    This vacuum features an adjustable suction control switch and two different surface modes that change the speed of its brushroll, allowing you to adapt to a multitude of surfaces quite quickly. Unfortunately, while the primary brushroll is advertised as self-cleaning, it isn't designed to be removed, making it much harder to cut away any tangled hair. It also has quite a few parts that need regular cleaning, but thankfully, they're easy to access for the most part. Some components feel a little flimsy, like its clear plastic dirt compartment.

    See our review

  3. Best Mid-Range Upright Vacuum

    The Kenmore Intuition Bagged is the best mid-range upright vacuum that we've tested. It doesn't perform quite as well on carpeted surfaces as pricier models like the Dyson Ball Animal 3 Extra, and it incurs higher costs of ownership than bagless alternatives like the Shark Rotator Lift-Away ADV due to the disposable nature of its filters and dirtbag. However, its dirtbag seals in fine particles and can be released from its compartment with the press of a latch, meaning that you don't need to worry about releasing a plume of dust and debris when emptying it. This vacuum delivers impressive overall performance on low and high-pile carpets and does a superb job of cleaning bare floors, though it does struggle slightly with pet hair on this kind of surface.

    Similar to Shark's lineup of 'Lift-Away' upright vacuums, you can disconnect its canister from its floorhead and carry it around, making it easier to clean hard-to-reach areas with its wand. It also has a pivoting floorhead, so you can maneuver around obstacles when used as an upright with less difficulty. Unfortunately, it lacks a brushroll height adjustment feature, so it can sometimes have trouble climbing over low-lying obstructions. Its bulky design can also make it tricky to clean under tables and chairs.

    See our review

  4. Best Budget Upright Vacuum

    If you're looking for an upright vacuum at a budget-friendly price, consider the BISSELL PowerForce Helix. While this vacuum doesn't feel nearly as robust as pricier models like the Kenmore Intuition Bagged and does a much worse job of sealing in fine allergens, it still manages to perform very well on carpeted surfaces. Its five-level brushroll height adjustment feature is exceedingly rare for a vacuum at this price point and allows you to adapt to a variety of different floor types if you're having trouble pushing it around on uneven surface types, though there's no brushroll off switch, so you should be careful when cleaning around obstructions like rug tassels, which can get caught in its floorhead quite easily.

    This vacuum's mainly plastic construction makes it very lightweight for a vacuum of this type, though this does come at the cost of durability. It feels quite fragile in places, with a structure that creaks and flexes while in use. Thankfully, it's fairly easy to take apart and reassemble, though be aware that you'll need to remove a couple of screws to pull out its brushroll, making it a bit of a nuisance to clear away any tangled hair.

    See our review

  5. Best Cordless Upright Vacuum

    The Shark Cordless Vertex Pro Powered Lift-Away is a solid option if you're looking for an upright but don't want to deal with the hassle of a power cord. Its cordless design allows you to clean areas far from any power outlets, even when compared to the Dyson Ball Animal 3 Extra, with its long operating range of nearly 40 feet, but this comes at the cost of runtime. You can expect a maximum of 40 minutes of runtime when using it in its upright configuration, though you can drain its battery in as little as 10 minutes if you use it continuously in its high-power 'Boost' mode, so it's better suited to cleaning smaller areas. It's very similar to the now-discontinued Shark ION P50 Upright in design, with a 'Lift-Away' alternative configuration that allows you to pick up and carry its canister body separately from its floorhead.

    This vacuum delivers exceptional performance on bare floors and does a great job dealing with pet hair and various other kinds of solid debris on low and high-pile carpets, with minimal loss in suction performance as its dustbin fills. It's lighter and more maneuverable than most conventional uprights, though its lack of a brushroll off switch can cause it to get stuck on rug tassels and shag-pile carpeting. Its primary brushroll also isn't removable and tends to attract a lot of pet hair, despite its advertised "Self-Cleaning" design, making it quite hard to clean properly.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Dyson Ball Animal 2: The Dyson Ball Animal 2 is a corded bagless upright vacuum that clears a remarkable amount of debris on carpeted floors. However, its strong suction force can make it very difficult to maneuver on this surface type and can even cause it to drag around some rugs. The newer Dyson Ball Animal 3 Extra uses a different floorhead design that makes it a little easier to maneuver on carpets. See our review
  • Shark APEX Upright Vacuum : The Shark APEX Upright Vacuum is similar in design to the Shark Rotator Lift-Away ADV and comes with a slightly bigger dirt compartment, but its increase in performance is negligible and does little to justify its higher price. See our review
  • Hoover WindTunnel Tempo Bagged : The Hoover WindTunnel Tempo Bagged is a bagged mid-range upright vacuum that offers five levels of head height adjustment, unlike the Kenmore Intuition Bagged. However, it's heavier, less maneuverable, and doesn't perform quite as well on any surface type. See our review
  • Hoover ONEPWR Evolve Pet: The Hoover ONEPWR Evolve Pet is a relatively compact, lightweight cordless upright vacuum powered by a removable, rechargeable battery pack. It delivers impressive performance on bare floors and high-pile carpet, but does a terrible job of sealing in fine particles and has a shorter battery life than pricier models like the Shark Cordless Vertex Pro Powered Lift-Away. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. Aug 04, 2022: Replaced Shark Rotator Lift-Away ADV with Dyson Ball Animal 3 Extra as 'Best Upright Vacuum' pick. Recategorized Shark Rotator Lift-Away ADV as 'Best Upper Mid-Range Upright Vacuum' pick. Recategorized Kenmore Intuition Bagged as 'Best Mid-Range Upright Vacuum'. Replaced Hoover WindTunnel Tempo Bagged with BISSELL PowerForce Helix as 'Best Budget Upright Vacuum' pick. Moved Hoover WindTunnel Tempo Bagged and Shark APEX Upright Vacuum to Notable Mentions.

  2. Jun 15, 2022: Article restructuring to better align with user expectations. Recategorized Shark Rotator Lift-Away ADV as 'Best Upright Vacuum'. Recategorized Kenmore Intuition Bagged as 'Best Bagged Upright Vacuum'. Replaced Eureka FloorRover Elite NEU360 with Shark APEX Upright Vacuum as 'Best Upright Vacuum For Pet Hair' pick. Added BISSELL PowerForce Helix and Hoover ONEPWR Evolve Pet to Notable Mentions.

  3. May 12, 2022: Verified that all main picks still represent the best option for user needs and expectations. Added Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away to Notable Mentions.

  4. Apr 13, 2022: Substantial article restructuring to align with test bench update. Recategorized Shark Rotator Lift-Away ADV as 'Best Corded Upright Vacuum' pick. Recategorized Eureka FloorRover Elite NEU360 as new 'Best Upright Vacuum For Pet Hair' pick. Added Shark Cordless Vertex Pro Powered Lift-Away as new 'Best Cordless Upright Vacuum' pick. Removed Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away Upright from recommendations. Added Shark APEX Upright Vacuum to Notable Mentions.

  5. Mar 10, 2022: Ensured all main picks are still available and represent the best option for user needs and expectations.

All Reviews

Our recommendations are based on what we think are currently the best upright vacuum cleaners. We don't just base our results on overall performance, but also factors like availability, price, and reader feedback, so it isn't as though there's a single best vacuum cleaner for carpets to suit all needs.

If you would like to do the work of choosing yourself, here is the list of all our upright vacuum reviews. Be careful not to get too caught up in the details. While no vacuum is perfect for every use, most are good enough to please almost everyone, and the differences are often not noticeable unless you really look for them.