Corded or cordless? Hardwood floors or carpets? Bagged or bagless? Variable suction power or constant? Manual height adjustment or automatic?
These are some of the questions you have to answer if you’re really looking for the best upright vacuums of 2020. Otherwise, if you are one of those people who want an upright vacuum – but who don’t know what they want in it – you might not be able to land the best vacuum for your needs.
Don’t think you have the stomach to answer all those questions?
Then you’ve arrived at the right place. After careful review, research and deliberations, we’ve selected the ten best upright vacuums of 2020. Not stopping at that, we have also included an upright vacuum buying guide in this review.
Best Upright Vacuum Comparison Chart 2021
Shark NV356E Upright Vacuum
Bissell 9595A Bagless Upright Vacuum
Dyson Ball Animal 2 Upright Vacuum
Hoover UH70120 Upright Vacuum
Shark NV752 Upright Vacuum
Oreck LW1500RS Upright Vacuum
Eureka NEU182A Upright Vacuum
Best Upright Vacuum Cleaner On the Market of 2021
1. Best Overall: Shark NV356E Upright Vacuum
- Dust cup capacity 2.2 quarts; Lift away; Press a button to lift the canister away and easily clean hard to reach areas
- Anti-allergen complete seal technology plus a HEPA filter; Traps 99.9 percent of dust and allergens inside the vacuum
- Powerful and lightweight; Portable and versatile at 13.7 pounds
Whether you want to clean a hardwood floor, stairs or a thick carpet, the Shark NV356E is a high-end vacuum whose features, suction power and maneuverability makes it a must-have for all types of surfaces. Though its astronomical price tag might end up blowing a hole in your pocket.
The Shark NV356E comes with a Never Loses Suction Technology which provides it with fade-free power. If that wasn’t enough, you can even control the suction power of this model. Just tighten the collar encapsulating its handle, and you can increase/decrease the power at will.
Additionally, the NV356E has an Anti-Allergen Complete Seal Technology which prevents the capture of dust and debris from escaping. It also has a HEPA filtration system to prevent flare-ups of allergies and make the air around you breathable.
What’s more, Shark has provided the NV356E with two features to make it ultra-maneuverable. The first of those is its swivel steering to let you effortlessly maneuver this model around furniture and corners. A 30-foot long cord, meanwhile, saves you the trouble of switching outlets during cleaning.
Since it is a lift-away cleaner, you can remove the canister from the NV356’s base and use it as a handheld model as well. Underneath the cleaner is a couple of smooth-gliding wheels that won’t leave any scratches while cleaning hardwood floors.
Equally impressive is the number (and utility) of attachments that accompany this model. You get a pair of microfiber pads for cleaning carpets and a hard-floor attachment for picking dirt off bare floors. Also present is a crevice tool, a Pet Power Brush, and a brush roll for cleaning carpets.
Still, despite all of its brilliant features – and the Shark NV356E has a lot of them – it’s hard for us to justify the astronomical price tag of this model. That’s the only negative point which we noted might deter people from getting this high-end vacuum cleaner from the market.
What We Like
- Effective on all types of floor
- Never Loses Suction Technology
- Swivel steering and brush roll
- Anti-Allergen Complete Seal
What We Don’t Like
2. Best Upright Vacuum for Pet Hair: Shark NV752
- Powered Lift-Away: extended reach for stairs and more
- Shark's original full-sized powered lift-away. The canister detaches to deep-clean hard-to-reach areas while still delivering power to keep the brushroll spinning
- Anti-allergen complete seal technology and a HEPA filter trap dust and allergens inside the vacuum
Go through the buying guide, and you’ll see a list of attachments that makes a vacuum best for pet hair. Come back, and you’ll see (almost) all those features in the Shark NV752. That’s one of the reasons why it’s the best upright vacuum for pet hair on the market.
In case you were wondering, three features of the NV752 makes it our top choice for those dealing with pet hair. First, it comes with a TruePet Motorized brush whose soft bristles and contoured nozzle allows it to effortlessly pick-up featherweight substances like pet dander.
Second, its HEPA filtration system provides relief to people who suffer from pet-dander related allergies. Then there is its Anti-Allergen Complete Seal Technology. You can count on this technology to not let any captured pollutants come out – thereby ensuring the breathability of your indoor air.
Fortunately, the effectiveness of this model won’t end once it’s done picking up pet hair. It has a motorized brush roll whose soft bristles and agitating action makes this cleaner doubly effective when cleaning carpets. You also get a high-pile setting for thick rugs and a low-pile setting for lean carpets.
If you want to clean hardwood surfaces, the NV752’s Main Floor Tool will do just that without leaving any scratches behind. You can even clean stairs with this model as its “Lift-Away” feature allows you to press a single button to convert this model into a stair-loving canister vacuum.
On top of everything else, you get fingertip controls to switch effortlessly between carpets and bare floors. Also present is a pair of LED lights to ensure that you don’t miss any dirt – and there is a dynamic swivel steering too to let you easily maneuver around obstacles standing in your way.
Unfortunately, when it comes to its cord length, there was nothing to impress us. When you compare it with other models in the review, it becomes clear that the 25-foot cord of this model is the shortest. So you might have to switch outlets when cleaning a large-size room using this unit.
If you are interested in the shark vacuum, you can read our post: Best shark Vacuum
What We Like
- A magnet for pet hair
- Fingertip controls
- Number of useful attachments
- HEPA filtration
What We Don’t Like
- Cord length is relatively short
3. Best Budget: Bissell 9595A Upright Vacuum
- Fast and easy cleaning in a lightweight vacuum with powerful suction and innovative brush design that cleans more on the initial pass
- Innovative brush design rotates down into the carpet to clean more on the initial pass
- Cyclonic System for long lasting, powerful suction. Bag Type : Bagless
For those of you who want a vacuum which weighs lightly on your pocket – but doesn’t want to compromise on features – the Bissell 9595A offers a good value for your money.
Available in four color patterns, the Bissell 9595A has a micro-cyclonic suction system which provides this bagless vacuum with consistent suction power. So you can rely on this model to clean thick carpets, rugs and pet hair.
When cleaning bare floors, this model lets you manually adjust its height to complement the cleaning requirements of the same. It also has a Turbo Brush tool which you can use on stairs, upholstery, furniture and in your car.
In addition to its price tag, one more thing about this model which makes it economical is the reusability of its features. For one, it has a bagless design, so there’s no need to buy replacement bags in the future. Its filter, meanwhile, is washable – so you can keep on using it provided you keep it in good condition.
Fortunately, you can’t guess the meager price of this model by looking at the list of attachments in its package. Apart from the above mentioned Turbo Brush tool, it comes with an extension wand to let you capture dirt both low and high.
Next comes its dusting brush whose soft bristles gently brush dust away from curtains, lampshades and more. You also get a crevice tool to rid the nooks and crannies of your house of dirt and debris. A 25-foot long power cord is also on offer to provide you with an extended cleaning reach.
Finally, as you might guess, some cost-cutting measures have been employed to keep the price of this model down. For instance, it is one of the few models on the market which doesn’t come with a HEPA filtration system. That means that people with dust allergies might want to look elsewhere.
What We Like
- Lightweight and powerful
- Washable filter and large-capacity dirt cup
- Long-reach power cord
What We Don’t Like
- No HEPA filter
4. Best for Hardwood Floors: Dyson Ball Animal 2
- Capacity (volume): .55 gallon; Strongest suction of any vacuum; Even more power for tough tasks
- Self-adjusting cleaner head seals in suction across carpet, wood, vinyl, and tile floors
- Tangle free turbine tool, stair tool, combination tool included
Even though Dyson has announced that it will only be manufacturing cordless vacuums from now on, the corded Dyson Ball Animal 2 – with its mammoth cord reach of 50ft. – will continue to make sure to serve those of you who aren’t yet ready to ditch the wire.
In terms of performance, not many features of the Dyson Ball Animal 2 can rival its self-adjusting cleaner head. Capable of adjusting its height every-time the vacuum encounters a new surface, this feature allows you to clean multiple surfaces without any stopovers.
Furthermore, the whole-machine HEPA filtration system of this model means that even when you’re emptying its dirtbag, you won’t be exposed to pollutants. It also rids the sucked air of any dander or debris, thereby improving the quality of your indoor air.
Complementing the filtration system is the hygienic dirt ejection mechanism of this unit. With this mechanism, you can empty the vacuum with one press of a button. Also, since it makes sure that the vacuum empties sideways, no dust will be coming at your face.
Next comes its tangle-free turbine tool whose extra-soft fibers allow you to use it for removing pet hair, cleaning upholstery and carpets. It also provides a stair tool which does what the name implies. Equally effective is its combo tool which you can use for both cleaning as well as dusting purposes.
Then there is its swiveling head using which you can easily maneuver the Animal 2 around corners. Throw into the mix the relatively low profile of this model – and the carbon fiber turbine head, and it will effortlessly clean low-lying areas.
Lastly, although we didn’t find many faults with its performance, the assembling of this model is extremely difficult. That is because the instruction manual which accompanies this model isn’t very helpful. So you might have to scour the internet for some actionable instructions regarding its assembly.
What We Like
- 30’ retractable cord
- Useful attachments for hardwood floors
- Hygienic dirt ejection mechanism
- Self-adjusting cleaner head
What We Don’t Like
- Difficult to assemble
5. Best Upright Vacuum for Carpet: Hoover UH70120
- WINDTUNNEL TECHNOLOGY: Creates suction to lift and remove surface debris and deeply embedded dirt
- HEPA MEDIA FILTER: Traps 99.7 percent of dirt, dust and pollens down to 0.3 microns
- ROOM TO ROOM CLEANING: 5 Height Adjustments to go from deep carpet to hard floors and 25 foot retractable cord
Available at a reasonable price, the Hoover UH70120 is a safe bet for homes which have carpets or pets. Though we aren’t as confident about the ability of this vacuum to maneuver around corners, the reason for which we have explained later.
First things first, the UH70120 is a true HEPA vacuum on the market, which means you can rely on its specialized filter to catch even the smallest allergens, dust mites and other pollutants. Allergy sufferers might not like the fact that it is bagless, though, which means it can create a cloud of dust when emptying.
While you’re doing the cleaning, the dual-cyclonic technology of this model prevents clogging and keeps suction power consistent even as the dirt tank fills up. Consequently, this technology plays a crucial role in this model’s ability to pick-up embedded dirt from thick surfaces i.e. carpets.
Additionally, this model has a 5-point height adjustment mechanism to deal with different types of floors. Right next to it is a red indicator light that alerts you when it’s time to wash the vacuum’s filter. And the best thing about both these features? They are located on the handle, so you won’t have to bend.
The 8-feet long vacuum hose of this model comes pretty handily as it allows you to reach tall surfaces such as tops of shelves and picture frames. It also has a holder to keep the hose securely in its place, unlike other vacuums whose hoses continuously swivel.
All the attachments that come in its package are stored on the unit itself: an upholstery tool, a pet hairbrush, a nozzle, and a wand. The retractable cord is supported by a cord clip that keeps it out of the way while you’re using the cleaner.
On the flip side, we had some trouble while maneuvering this unit around corners. Maybe that’s because of the fact that it doesn’t come with a swiveling head. Or maybe that’s because it leans slightly on the heavier side. No matter what the reason, this unit isn’t ultra-maneuverable.
What We Like
- 5-point height adjustment
- 8-foot long hose
- LED indicator light
- True HEPA filtration system
What We Don’t Like
- Not easy to maneuver around corners
6. Best Bagged Upright Vacuum: Oreck LW1500RS
- SLIM SWIVEL DESIGN: Enables you to turn on a dime and lies virtually flat so you can easily maneuver around and reach under furniture.
- LIGHTWEIGHT: Weighing in at less than 8 pounds this vacuum cleaner weighs about the same as a gallon of milk.
- HEPA FILTER: Features a 5-layer HEPA filter that locks in 99. 97% of particles and seals in the dust when you throw it away.
The Oreck LW1500RS is a lightweight bagged vacuum which punches above its weight by offering an automatic cord rewind mechanism. That feature of this unit is one of the biggest reasons why this model gets a nod from our experts.
First things first, the fact that the Oreck LW1500RS has a flat-to-floor profile means it will allow you to easily reach under furniture by reclining close to the floor. It comes with a 30-foot long cord and has a soft-top so as to protect any surface which it might bump against from damage.
Located on top of this model’s handle is a Power Switch using which you can alternate between its two speeds as you move from hard surfaces to carpets. The higher speed tends to work better on carpets, as using it on bare floors might only scatter dirt.
You also get a direct suction motor which doesn’t have any tubes and instead throws the dirt straight into the bag. The front of the machine has wide-grooves so as to ensure consistent airflow without any blockage. These grooves also help when you switch from a bare floor to a thick rug.
Moreover, this model has a SlimSwivel design which makes it nimble enough to easily maneuver around corners and furniture. It also boasts New Edge brushes which clean side-ways to rid your baseboards and edges of dirt.
To make sure you don’t miss a speck of dirt, it has LED lights to illuminate your cleaning path. A magnetic sensor is also there to stop the brush roll the moment it detects a jam. And to keep your indoor air clean, its Saniseal dust bag snaps into place to seal everything it contains.
In contrast to other upright vacuums on the market in this review, the Oreck LW1500RS doesn’t offer any onboard attachments. Their absence might end up compromising the performance of this model when cleaning upholstery, curtains and other hard-to-reach areas.
What We Like
- Automatic cord rewind mechanism
- 30-foot long cord
- Flat-to-floor profile
- HEPA filter and power switch
What We Don’t Like
- Has no attachments in its package
7. Best Lightweight: Eureka NEU182A
- Powerful vacuum cleaner: The dynamic motor and brushroll can lift stubborn and heavy debris. Plus, the 12. 6” wide nozzle cleans more with a quickness.
- 10 lbs. lightweight upright vacuum: The EurekaPowerSpeed is pretty lightweight and easy to maneuver. Designed for whole home clean.
- 5 height adjustment: It works well on carpets, shag rug, hard floors etc. Smooth wheels ensures hardwood floors won’t sustain scratches or gouges.
Weighing in at around 10 pounds, the Eureka NEU182A is one of those upright vacuums which offer a rare combination of lightweight and high dirt capacity. Add into the mix its wide cleaning path of 12.6’’, and this model makes a decent case to be your next vacuum cleaner.
With its PowerSpeed cleaning system, the NEU182A doesn’t only provide the necessary airflow to pick up the most stubborn dirt particles – but it also prevents the vacuumed dirt from troubling the filter, thereby maintaining constant suction at all times.
Further enhancing the cleaning ability of this cleaner is its powered brush roll. It agitates and forces out the dirt embedded within the carpets to make it easy for the cleaning nozzle to pick it up. And that too with this model requiring only 8amps to run, making incredibly power efficient.
To make sure that there isn’t any confusion while you’re using this model, its height-adjustment dial has clear labeling. You can turn this dial to clean medium pile carpets, plush carpets, high-pile rugs, shag rugs, and bare floors.
Unlike most upright bagless vacuums on the market, the Eureka NEU182A is a cinch to assemble. All you have to do is to snap on its quick release handle, secure the hose, and fix the hose connector. That’s it; you can now begin cleaning!
On top of everything else, every tool which accompanies this model is stored right on-board. These attachments include a 7’’ crevice tool, an upholstery tool and a dusting brush. There’s a quick-release handle too if you want to do some above-floor cleaning.
In case you were wondering, there’s a reason why we didn’t say anything about the washable filter of this model: it isn’t HEPA.
What We Like
- Extra-wide cleaning path
- All tools on board
- 5 height adjustment settings
- Easy to assemble
What We Don’t Like
- No HEPA filter
Best Upright Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide
It may look simple, but choosing the best upright vacuum requires cognizance with its features. Hence the reason why you need to go through this section – to know which features separate the best models from the riffraff.
What Are the Benefits of an Upright Vacuum?
Following are the advantages you can expect from an upright vacuum:
1. Usage Suitability
Dyson Ball Animal 2
A major reason why most people choose upright vacuums is because of their design. Such vacuums have a tall structure which contains not only the suction head but also the motor. As a result of their tall build, you won’t have to bend your back when cleaning with upright vacuums.
This claim can be confirmed by looking at the above mentioned image – where even the smallest upright vacuum stands north of 32 inches. So by not bending your back while cleaning, you won’t encounter back problems in the long term – which is a common occurrence with people who use canister vacuums.
In contrast to, say, canister vacuums, most upright vacuums on the market offer an added benefit of convertibility. That means that if you have got an upright handheld vacuum, you can easily convert it to a stick vacuum just by the flick of a switch.
And how does its convertibility benefits you? By increasing the range of surfaces you can clean with this vacuum. For instance, if you have a handheld upright vacuum, you can use it to clean sofas, bed sheets and chairs. A stick upright vacuum, on the contrary, lets you clean stairs, crevices, and curtains.
3. Motorized Brush
Provided you have carpets in your home, you might be aware of the effort which is required to thoroughly vacuum them. That difficulty arises because carpets have fibers which trap the dirt in their interwoven layers. It leaves no chance for an average vacuum to suck dirt from the carpet’s innermost layers.
That’s why you need a motorized brush. Most upright vacuums on the market have this attachment which agitates the carpet before cleaning it. That agitation, in turn, forces the carpet’s fibers to loosen their grip on dust particles. As a result, when these dust particles come on the surface, the vacuum easily picks them up.
4. Wider Cleaning Path
Cleaning Path Width(in)
Dyson Ball Animal 2
If you want to cover more area in less time, it’s imperative that you invest in a model like the Hoover UH70120 which are offering a wider cleaning path. Without decreasing their suction power, such models increase the size of their mouth – thereby allowing it to suck more amounts of dirt in less time.
Bagged or Bagless upright vacuum?
Regardless of the type of vacuum cleaner, you might be looking for, you have to make a decision between bagless and bagged models. Both of them have their own plus points and limitations, so it’s your preference which will have a final say in this matter.
Bagged Upright Vacuum Cleaners
As you can see with the Oreck LW1500RS, bagged vacuum cleaners store dust they have captured from the outside, before sealing it in a cloth section. Due to this mechanism, these vacuums require less maintenance and have bigger capacities to store dirt.
What’s more, in contrast to what some people believe, you don’t have to repeatedly inspect the bag to check whether or not it is full. Instead, modern upright cleaners come with an LED light to let you know when the bag needs emptying.
However, bagged vacuum cleaners on the market also have their fair share of limitations. Most of them do not provide a washable bag so you’d have to spend repeatedly on a replacement. Also, with the increase in dust inside the bag, most vacuums witness a decrease in their suction power.
Bagless Upright Vacuum Cleaners
In case you don’t want a vacuum which asks you to spend repeatedly on replacement bags, you might go bagless. Such vacuums – like the Shark NV356E – have washable filters to ensure that you can use the same filter for years.
Unfortunately, when it comes to their drawbacks, bagless vacuums have the entire vacuum expert community united against them. Some experts – like the US-based Consumer Reports – blame their dumping mechanism for aggravating asthma and allergies.
Others – like the Australian group Choice – warns that you’re more likely to inhale dirt if you continuously dump a bagless vacuum’s dirt filter. Still, if you’re enamored by the features of a bagless vacuum, make sure it offers sideway dumping and has a dirtbag that won’t get your hands dirty when cleaning.
If you are interested in the bagless vacuum, you can read our post: Best Bagless Vacuum
Do You Need a Good Upright Vacuum for Pet Hair?
To answer this question, you need to understand that it is the attachments that accompany an upright vacuum that makes it good (or bad) for pet hair. Therefore, if you’re choosing your vacuum specifically for this purpose, make sure it comes with the following attachments:
brush roll / Roll brush
Available in the package of the Shark NV752 – whose DuoClean and TruePet technology makes it a must-have for pet owners – a brush roll is needed if you have carpets in your home.
To remove pet hair, a brush roll agitates the carpet to loosen the grip of its fibers over pet hair. Once the pet hair is freed, the vacuum easily picks them up.
When it comes to dogs, most people are allergic to dander – the dead skin which they shed occasionally. So if you want to be on the safe side, you want a vacuum that won’t let out the pollutants in the form of exhaust air after it has captured them.
That’s exactly what HEPA filters do as they work the captured air through a fine mesh of interwoven fibers to ensure that they cannot escape, thereby providing allergy relief.
Since pet hairs are featherweight, any ordinary wand or nozzle can’t pick them due to their lightness. What you need, therefore, is a soft contoured nozzle which could easily pick them up.
Otherwise, if you go in for an ordinary nozzle, it will just move over the fine pet hair without picking them up.
Automatic Sealing Mechanism
If you want to be doubly careful, get yourself a vacuum which offers an automatic sealing mechanism. Such an arrangement complements a model’s HEPA filter by not letting the allergens escape even when you’re emptying the dirtbag.
Do You Need a Lightweight Upright Vacuum?
The answer to this question depends on your preferences and what you want to do with your model. Though there are some benefits which only a lightweight model could provide:
Easy to maneuver
First things first, it goes without saying that when it comes to maneuverability, upright vacuums lag behind their canister counterparts. So if you want ultra-maneuverability, go for canisters.
However, if you are still after an upright vacuum – but want it to be easy to maneuver too – go for the Oreck LW15000RS. A bagged vacuum weighs a paltry 7.7 pounds and is therefore as maneuverable as any upright model could be.
Easy to store
Since lightweight vacuums are mostly small – like the ultra-compact Eureka NEU182A bagless – they don’t require much storage space and are therefore easy to store.
So if you want a vacuum which could easily fit in a small shelf, under your bed or in a corner, go for a lightweight upright vacuum from the market.
Though not the case with all upright vacuums, some of them keep their weight low by going cordless. They have rechargeable batteries which last somewhere between 10 minutes and half-an-hour. So you end up saving in terms of your electricity bill.
Would you ever carry anything in your luggage which weighs a ton? Neither do us. Even if you aren’t planning on going somewhere soon, the portability of a lightweight vacuum would help you in your home.
How? By making it a cinch to lug around your unit for some fast vacuuming. You can also carry such vacuums effortlessly up the stairs and even the elderly in your home could use them with ease.
Whether you came here looking for a budget upright vacuum on the market, one which is easy to maneuver or one which offers the best of everything, our review has got you covered. You can see that we also included a buying guide to help you make an informed decision. Still, if you feel that we have missed something, please use the comments box to let us know.