Buying Guide for Upright Vacuums

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What is an Upright Vacuum?

A cleaning solution in the form of a cleaning head with a handle and dust collection bag or canister is sold as an upright vacuum. Such machines generally use a rotating brush bar to draw dirt and waste.

They are the most popular type of vacuum cleaner in the UK for their user-friendliness & effectiveness on every type of floor like hardwood, carpet, stairs & tiles. They are available in many forms like lightweight, corded, cordless, 2-in-1 etc.

Are Upright Vacuum Cleaners Better?

They are popular because of their easy-to-use and cost-effective nature. Several models utilize motorized brush bar that provides effective cleaning on thick carpets and rugs.

Some other points that make an upright better than a cylinder or handheld:

  • These vacuums come with a footswitch for a smooth transition between carpets and hard floors. There are upward variants that automatically change their cleaning style without your interference.
  • You do not have to bend your back during regular floor cleaning. So, even if you are dealing with a bad back, you can use a lightweight cleaner.
  • Such cleaners have better and broader cleaning path
  • Several models also come with onboard storage for attachments.

Upright vs Cylinder Vacuum- Which Should I Choose?

It depends upon your personal preferences. Both variants have their benefits; however, in recent times where technology is bridging the gap and giving us versatile products, there are fewer differences that need to be mentioned here.

Choose an Upright Vacuum If:

  • You own a large house and have mostly carpet floors. These vacs come with a broader floor head when compared to cylinder vacuums.
  • There is less number low profile furniture in your house. If it has a floor head that pivots and swivels, then it will not cause restrictions. However, if the vacuum or its floorhead can be only moved forward and backward, you will not be able to clean the areas under a low-profile bed in an efficient manner.
  • You have thick rugs or carpets in a high-traffic area

Choose Cylinder Vacuum If:

  • You have a small or medium-sized house as it has a comparatively narrow cleaning head.
  • There are lots of places under and around the furniture that you have to clean. Cylinder vacuums are lightweight and are easy to move around
  • You have mixed flooring in your house

Things To Consider When Buying

Upright vacuum cleaners are available in a variety of shapes and sizes, which makes it tough for you to choose the best model. An upright is suitable for a large house with carpeted floors but might not be effective on hard floors. Today, we will discuss some of the key factors that will help you in making the right selection.

Which Brand is Best?

Multiple brands manufacture upright hoovers. Bissell, Dyson, and Shark are some of the leaders in this industry, while there are several less-known brands like Dirt Devil, Eureka, and Oreck.

We recommend that you should invest in a hoover that comes from a reputable brand. Shark and Dyson produce high-quality vacuums and also provide competitive after-sales support. It’s the reason why we suggest you should buy from

  • Shark: Shark is one of the leading vacuum cleaner manufacturers in the UK. The best-selling brand that primarily focuses on quality vacuums at affordable prices. The price range varies between £100 to £350. Shark is famous to offer high-quality products at a reasonable expense. For instance, NV601UKT is one of the best-selling models from Shark.
  • Dyson: Dyson vacuums are trendy, and innovative and provide you with excellent cleaning results. It’s a well-known brand in the UK that has cleaners available between £200 to £600. Dyson vacuums are comparatively expensive, but you will not mind the price tag due to their sheer power and ability to draw all the waste particles including pet hair.
  • Bissell: The brand sells some of the best vacuum cleaners, generally available between £50 to £290. Some of the Bissell hoovers are available with the Lift-Away feature, wherein you can also use them as a handheld. Whether you need a one-stop cleaning solution for the carpets, hard floors or pet hair, Bissell has something for you.

Weight: Upright vacuums tend to be heavy. Try a product that has the right balance of features and heft. Cordless options give you extra freedom, but the battery packs also add some weight. Corded vacuums with long power could beneficial. However, it might be difficult to use a mains-powered vacuum in all areas.

Choose a lightweight cleaning machine, especially if you have a lot of stairs to maintain. Some of the models easily convert into a handheld. Hence, you can easily distribute their weight when you need to clean the steps or your car. Bissell NV601UKT has a Lift-Away feature that instantly converts it into a portable vacuum.

Applications: The next consideration is the surfaces or areas you will clean. If most of your house has carpeted floors, then try a vacuum with a roller brush and high suction power. Fiber manipulation and proper airflow are also important when you are cleaning carpets. For example, Shark NV601UKT comes with a power brush attachment that can easily remove dirt or pet hair from carpets.

Hard floor vacuums are somewhat different from hard cleaners. If your house mostly has hard floors, then choose a cleaner with high suction power that never scatters dust particles. Shark NV601UK is an ideal option here. If you want to clean the ceiling or other above-head areas, then a hybrid vacuum might be suitable. NV601UK is also suitable for cleaning above-head areas because of its low weight and Lift-Away mechanism.

Power Source: All the traditional vacuums use mains power to operate, because of their heavy build and the energy required to draw all the dust particles. The power cable’s length varies according to the make and model, but the maximum is 25 feet. An extended power cable is mostly a better choice, but sometimes the extra wire might be a trouble to handle.

Cordless versions are getting popular after each passing season because of their lightweight and bagless nature. A vacuum without any connecting cable simply means that you can use it virtually anywhere. But, once it runs out of charge, you need a power outlet to give it some life. Shark IZ201UK is a great option with 40 minutes of runtime.

Accessories and Tools: Vacuum cleaners are inbuilt with a primary cleaning head that you can easily adjust to using between carpets and hard floors. Some of the premium models automatically adjust according to the surface. However, you cannot clean the sofa, corners, or your car using such a floorhead. It’s the reason why you should select an option that includes additional attachments. Something like a turbo brush or mini motorized brush bar that’s useful in the removal of pet hair from carpets. Similarly, there is a crevice tool to clean corners and hard-to-reach spaces.

Sound level: Some of the hoovers can cause a ruckus, especially if it’s powerful. While some of the others are surprisingly quiet and do not even disturb sleeping kids or pets. If you don’t want to muddle your family members, then choose a vacuum that’s low on noise. A quiet machine gives you a pleasant and irritation-free vacuuming experience.

Filtration: A large number of uprights claims to trap even the smallest dust particles that try to escape through the machine. It’s the best feature if you are suffering from asthma or any other airborne allergy. HEPA filters are the best. You can always try any other filter, especially if you are not allergic.

Bagged vs. Bagless: With a bagless vacuum, you don’t have to invest in replacement bags. It’s a cost-saving feature, but not favorable for allergy sufferers. A vacuum without a waste bag generally has low dust storage, so you might need to empty them frequently. Moreover, the dirt can also escape back into the air while emptying its dust canister.

On the other hand, bagged vacuums have better waste storage capacity. Dirt and dust are all contained inside the waste bag. If you want to stay safe from allergens, then there are branded waste bags with an added filtration layer.

Once you complete the house cleaning, you simply have to throw an entire bag. So, the dust cannot make its way back to your house. You need to constantly invest in dust bags to enjoy these features, which can add to the operational cost. If you have a habit to forget, then at times you might not be able to use the vacuum, because you missed the waste bags.

Talking about performance, bagged vacuums are more effective on carpets when we compare them with the bagless versions. So, try a bagged cleaner if you live in a house with carpeted floors.

How We Ranked the Best Vacuums?

While choosing the best vacuum, we always look for the best features that are worth your investment. If you are purchasing one of these devices for household cleaning, then we should also consider the operational cost. Let’s talk more about the factors that we consider while ranking the best upright vacuums.

Maintenance/Recurring Costs: Bagged vacuums seek replacement bags frequently. It’s not a big investment, but you have to keep them in stock always. Filter replacement is another recurring cost, which is uncountable in case the vacuum has a washable and reusable filter. So, you should also consider these two points while choosing a hoover.

Cleaning Range: Whether it’s a vacuum or any other power tool, it requires some sort of energy to operate. Corded hoover provides you with unlimited supply and a powerful battery gives you ample of time to clear all the dust in an area. The cleaning range is another point to consider. Otherwise, there can be situations wherein you have to stop the cleaning process only because the vacuum is out of power.

Consumer Reviews: If you want to know the reality about any of the products, check the user reviews. Read the feedback left by existing users of a particular vacuum to know about its weaknesses and strengths.

Value: Browse some of the best vacuums and you will notice that they are available in wide price ranges. Keep in mind that a high price tag never guarantees high performance. So, choose a product based on its build quality, suction power, included accessories, ease of use and cleaning features. Select a product that can fulfill all your cleaning requirements without surpassing the set budget.

Do you need a Special Vacuum for Pets?

Any vacuum will work for pet owners. You will notice some of the models especially promoted as an expert in removing pet hair and dander. However, you will be surprised to know that there is nothing special in these variants.

A “pet” friendly vacuum comes with a motorized brush tool to take out the hair from upholstery. It’s not a big deal, because many of the non-pet-friendly vacuums comprise the same attachment. So, there is no need to look for uprights that are specially made for your four-legged family members.

Do you need a vacuum with HEPA filters?

HEPA filters can remove 99.97 percent of dust and airborne particles up to 0.3 microns in diameter. It’s the reason why these filters are suitable for individuals suffering from asthma or any other allergy. On the other hand, any of the filters are good for users without any such trouble.

In any of the conditions, HEPA filters cannot make sure 100 percent removal of dust particles. The filter can block only one exit point. But, what if the vacuum is not sealed tightly? Or if the gasket around the filter is not tight.

A bagless vacuum will anyways release some amount of dust when you empty it. If you are really worried about airborne particles, then make sure you are investing in a high-quality cleaner that’s sealed overall and also has HEPA filtration.

About Mosabbir

As the Executive Director of Houzhold's Home Care and Cleaning department, Mosabbir brings over 12 years of experience as a consumer products expert to the table. He utilises his advanced analytical skills and writing expertise in appliances, cleaning, and housekeeping products to provide valuable cleaning and home care advice for Houzhold. Mosabbir also holds a Masters degree in business management, which enables him to oversee the department efficiently while producing insightful content for the company.