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The 6 Best Upright Vacuums - Winter 2022 Reviews

Updated
Best Upright Vacuums
109 Vacuums Tested
  • Store-bought vacuums; no cherry-picked units
  • Easily comparable results
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Learn more about our approach to product reviews here.

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 on other, more narrow areas.

We've tested over 105 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 For Bare Floors: Shark Rotator Lift-Away ADV

    8.5
    Bare Floor
    7.3
    Low-Pile Carpet
    7.7
    High-Pile Carpet
    7.8
    Pets
    7.8
    Stairs
    7.8
    Cars
    Vacuum Type
    Upright/Handheld
    Bagless
    Yes
    Cordless
    No
    Anti-Allergy Filter (HEPA)
    Yes

    The best upright vacuum for bare floors that we've tested is the Shark Rotator Lift-Away ADV. This upright vacuum offers superb performance on bare, even surfaces like linoleum or hardwood, where it easily cleans a wide variety of debris, ranging from pet hair to bulky material like cereal. Its twin-brushroll vacuum head has a fluffy roller that you can remove to clean stuck-on debris more easily and another that uses angled plastic fins to reduce the risk of hair wraps.

    This vacuum's bagless design and washable, reusable pre-motor and allergen-trapping HEPA filters result in low recurring costs. It also feels decently sturdy and is easy to disassemble or reassemble. Its 'Lift-Away' function allows you to unlatch the canister and carry it around while holding its wand in your hand, which helps deal with messes on furniture or shelves. Its power cord is fairly long, so you shouldn't need to swap outlets even when cleaning larger spaces.

    Unfortunately, its vacuum hose is short, which could be a nuisance when trying to clean messes on high-up shelves or in hard-to-reach spots. There are also quite a few parts that need regular cleaning. Also, its bulky dirt compartment can get in the way when trying to clean under tables or chairs, while rug tassels can occasionally get stuck in its main vacuum head. Otherwise, its exceptional bare floor performance and allergen-trapping HEPA filter make it one of the best HEPA vacuums that we've tested.

    See our review

  2. Bagged Alternative: Kenmore Intuition Bagged

    Vacuum Type
    Upright
    Bagless
    No
    Cordless
    No
    Anti-Allergy Filter (HEPA)
    Yes

    If you prioritize the cleaner means of dirt disposal that come with a bagged vacuum, consider the Kenmore Intuition Bagged. It does incur higher recurring costs than the Shark Rotator Lift-Away ADV, but since it uses a dirtbag, you shouldn't need to worry about a plume of dust releasing when emptying it. Thanks to its onboard HEPA filter, it should also be effective in trapping allergens as you clean. This vacuum does a superb job of cleaning bare floors, though it does struggle slightly more with pet hair on this kind of surface. You can disconnect its canister from its main body and carry it around, making it easier to clean hard-to-reach areas. It comes with a motorized turbo brush, a combination upholstery cleaner/crevice tool/dusting brush, and a hard bristle brush. Unfortunately, it lacks a surface height adjustment feature, so it can sometimes have trouble climbing over some low-lying obstructions. Its bulky design can also make it tricky to clean under tables and chairs.

    Get the Shark if you want a vacuum that incurs virtually no recurring costs, but consider the Kenmore if you want the superior filtration performance that comes with a bagged vacuum.

    See our review

  3. Best Upright Vacuum For Carpet: Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away Upright

    7.7
    Bare Floor
    8.0
    Low-Pile Carpet
    7.8
    High-Pile Carpet
    7.2
    Pets
    7.7
    Stairs
    7.8
    Cars
    Vacuum Type
    Upright/Handheld
    Bagless
    Yes
    Cordless
    No
    Anti-Allergy Filter (HEPA)
    Yes

    The best upright vacuum for carpets we've tested is the Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away Upright. This upright vacuum has a bagless design and washable pre-motor and allergen-trapping HEPA filters, so recurring costs shouldn't be much of a concern. Its 'Lift-Away' construction lets you pick up and carry its canister independently of its upright portion, allowing you to clean hard-to-reach areas with its wand and hose. There are quite a few attachments included in the box, like a turbo brush and a dedicated upholstery tool.

    This vacuum does an excellent job of sucking up pet hair and various kinds of large and fine debris on low and high-pile carpet. You shouldn't notice a significant loss in suction performance as its dustbin fills up, either. Performance on bare floors is also impressive, though pet hair can get stuck in its floorhead when its brushroll isn't spinning. There are three different surface level settings and a suction slider, enabling you to adapt to many different floor types on the fly.

    Due to this vacuum's bulky front-mounted dustbin, it can be tricky to maneuver in tight spaces. In addition, while it feels decently well-built overall, its clear plastic dustbin is somewhat fragile. Still, if you're looking for an upright vacuum that delivers amazing performance on carpets, this is a great choice, and it's also one of the best bagless vacuums that we've tested.

    See our review

  4. Cheaper Alternative: Eureka FloorRover Elite NEU630

    Vacuum Type
    Upright
    Bagless
    Yes
    Cordless
    No
    Anti-Allergy Filter (HEPA)
    Yes

    If you're looking to spend less on an upright vacuum for cleaning carpets, consider the Eureka FloorRover Elite NEU360. Unlike the Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away Upright, you can't pick up and carry its canister to clean tighter spots more easily, but it's notably less expensive. It also delivers similarly excellent performance on high-pile carpets, though it struggles slightly more when dealing with larger debris on low-pile carpet. You can't change its brushroll height, but it does have a brushroll on/off switch to prevent the floorhead from getting caught on rug tassels or scratching bare floors, and its suction force can be adjusted using the 'Suction Control' setting in its hose. Thanks to its lack of a dirtbag and washable allergen-trapping HEPA filter, recurring costs shouldn't be a major issue either. Unfortunately, it feels less sturdy, with a predominantly hard plastic body that creaks and wobbles while in use, and its dustbin could crack if you were to drop it. It also can be a bit of a hassle to maneuver in tight areas since its bulky dustbin gets in the way when vacuuming under tables and chairs.

    Get the Shark if you're looking for an upright that performs better on low-pile carpet, but consider the Eureka if you're looking to save some money.

    See our review

  5. Best Budget Upright Vacuum: BISSELL PowerForce Helix

    6.8
    Bare Floor
    7.7
    Low-Pile Carpet
    7.6
    High-Pile Carpet
    8.7
    Pets
    5.5
    Stairs
    6.5
    Cars
    Vacuum Type
    Upright
    Bagless
    Yes
    Cordless
    No
    Anti-Allergy Filter (HEPA)
    No

    The best budget upright vacuum we've tested is the BISSELL PowerForce Helix. This budget-friendly bagless upright vacuum easily clears pet hair as well as most small and large debris on bare floors and low or high-pile carpet. Suction performance also remains consistent even as its large dirt compartment fills up.

    This vacuum's bagless design helps keep recurring costs low, though you do still need to replace its pre-motor filter every six to eight months. If you're having a hard time pushing the vacuum on some surfaces, there are five levels of floorhead height adjustment. You can also clean hard-to-reach areas with its hose. It comes with a hard-bristle brush for dislodging stuck-on dirt and a crevice tool for cleaning hard-to-reach areas.

    Unfortunately, while this vacuum doesn't weigh very much, it can still be a hassle to maneuver due to its bulky design and lack of a rotating floorhead. There's no brushroll on/off switch either, so the vacuum can sometimes get stuck on rug tassels and other loose obstructions. In addition, the vacuum itself feels quite flimsy, particularly its clear plastic dustbin. Still, its affordable price point and strong performance make it a solid option for value-conscious buyers.

    See our review

  6. Bagged Alternative: Hoover WindTunnel Tempo Bagged

    Vacuum Type
    Upright
    Bagless
    No
    Cordless
    No
    Anti-Allergy Filter (HEPA)
    No

    If you're looking for a budget-friendly upright vacuum with a bagged design, consider the Hoover WindTunnel T-Series Bagged. This upright vacuum is heavier than the BISSELL PowerForce Helix and incurs higher recurring costs, but its use of a dirtbag should result in superior air filtration performance, easier maintenance, and a cleaner means of debris disposal. It does a better job cleaning debris on bare floors, though it struggles more with fine and large debris on carpeted surfaces. Thankfully, it has a brushroll on/off switch, so you shouldn't need to worry about its floorhead getting stuck on rug tassels or other obstructions. You can detach its hose from its body to clean tight spots, and it comes with a mini turbo brush, a combination hard-bristle brush/upholstery tool, and a crevice tool. Its long power cord should also allow you to clean large areas without swapping power outlets. Unfortunately, this vacuum doesn't have a pivoting floorhead, making it somewhat tricky to maneuver in tight spaces.

    Get the BISSELL if you're looking for a lighter vacuum that incurs lower recurring costs, but consider the Hoover if you want an easier-to-maintain upright.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Shark APEX Upright Vacuum : The Shark APEX Upright Vacuum is slightly easier to maneuver than the Shark Rotator Lift-Away ADV, but it has more parts that require periodic cleaning and doesn't perform as well on bare floors or high-pile carpet. See our review
  • 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. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. Jan 13, 2022: Verified that all main picks are still available and represent the best option for their given category.

  2. Dec 15, 2021: Replaced 'Alternative With A Handheld Configuration' with Hoover WindTunnel Tempo Bagged as new 'Bagged Alternative' pick.

  3. Nov 19, 2021: Replaced Eureka FloorRover Elite NEU360 with Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away Upright as 'Best Upright Vacuum For Carpet' pick. Re-categorized Eureka FloorRover Elite NEU360 as 'Cheaper Alternative' pick.

  4. Oct 22, 2021: Replaced Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away Upright with Eureka FloorRover Elite NEU630 as 'Best Upright Vacuum For Carpet' due to current availability. Removed Shark ION P50 and Miele Dynamic U1 PowerLine from Notable Mentions due to current availability.

  5. Sep 24, 2021: Added new 'Bagged Alternative' and 'Cheaper Alternative' category picks.

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.

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