Best Upright Vacuum 2020 – Buyer’s Guide

Upright vacuum cleaners are the traditional model. They are the classic choice for anyone who needs a product which can cover all areas.

Many are fabulous at picking up the everyday dirt and crumbs which end up on your flooring, and they also feature attachments which make cleaning the stairs, upholstery, higher surfaces and in the corners of the room easier too. They are usually the most powerful option, and this makes them great for families or pet owners who need to use their vacuum cleaner daily.

The majority will clean various floor types, whether you have wooden floors or carpets. Ideal if you have a range of surfaces throughout your home. They’re all corded, but most modern options are easy to transport throughout the home and won’t leave you too tethered to the plug socket.

There are quite a few out there which aren’t worth the bother, however. So before you buy, check out our reviews of the best upright vacuum cleaners available to buy online at the moment.

The Best Upright Vacuum Cleaners – Our Top Picks

IMAGE PRODUCT DETAILS
Dyson Lightball Multifloor
  • Power: 700W
  • Capacity: 1.6L
  • Cord Length: 9.4m
  • Weight: 6.9kg
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Shark DuoClean Powered Lift-Away TruePet AZ910UKT
  • Power: 750W
  • Capacity: 0.99L
  • Cord Length: 8m
  • Weight: 7kg
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Vax UCPMSHV1 Air Lift Steerable Pet Max
  • Bagless
  • Cable Length: 10m
  • Dimensions: 112 x 30 x 24cm
  • Attachments: Turbo Tool, 3-in-1 tool, Fur & Fluff tool
  • Floor Types: Carpets, hard floor
  • Filter: Standard
  • Capacity: 1.5L
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Best Upright Vacuums

Dyson Lightball Multifloor

Dyson is still one of the biggest leaders in the vacuum industry despite tough competition these days, and this Lightball takes their innovative technology and transforms it into one of their easiest ever vacuums to use.

Their clever Ball technology makes it simple to move around the floor, as you won’t have to pause and struggle to get it around corners or under tables. You can also clean up high, thanks to the quick release wand which can be detached in seconds. So next time you spot a cobweb in the corner, you won’t have to go out of your way to get it gone.

It is bagless so there is little extra to buy for it. A cable of 9.4m long should allow you to travel a good distance before you have to adjust, and a dust emission class rating of A means the debris is well trapped before emptying, which is great for anyone with allergies. The hygienic bin emptying also helps, as you just press a button and the job is done.

And a selling point for anyone who frequently has to untangle hairs from the brush bar – the Tangle Free Turbine uses counter rotating heads, so there is no bar for the hairs to wrap around. No more nagging the person with long hair any more.

Specifications

  • Power: 700W
  • Capacity: 1.6L
  • Cord Length: 9.4m
  • Weight: 6.9kg

We like

  • Very easy to move around
  • Tangle-free brushbar technology
  • Bagless
  • Easy to empty

We dislike

  • A little heavy - taking it up the stairs could be a strain

Final Verdict

One of the best-selling Dysons, and still going strong after a good few years. Plus, it is a pretty good price for a model from this brand. No wonder it has glowing reviews across the board

Shark DuoClean Powered Lift-Away TruePet AZ910UKT

Perfect for anyone with pets or allergies, this DuoClean has the ability to pick up 99.9% of particles and keep them in the vacuum until emptying, for a truly clean home.

The brush bristle head works to get deep into the carpets, no matter how deep the pile is, so you can fully remove the dirt and dust which is worn down and you usually can’t get to. If you’re on a hard floor, then the soft roller head will both remove dirt and leave them polished.

The DuoClean models work by drawing in dirt with the brush heads, as opposed to just relying on suction alone like with so many of the other vacuums out there.

Vacuums can often be hard to move around the house. With the swivel motion of this model, it is easy to manoeuvre around the home and around furniture, so you don’t have to move everything out of the way. There are LED lights to help you spot all the dusty areas even in corners and underneath furniture. 

The Anti Hair Wrap technology also makes it a great vacuum for pet owners. It allows for simple removal of long hair, short hair and pet hairs. On top of that, the Anti-Allergen Complete Seal rounds out this best seller by trapping 99.9% of the dust and allergens inside the vacuum. The last thing you want is for the dust be released back into the air you breathe!

Specifications

  • Power: 750W
  • Capacity: 0.99L
  • Cord Length: 8m
  • Weight: 7kg

+ Downloads

SHARK DuoClean Powered Lift-Away TruePet Anti Hair Wrap AZ910UKT

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We like

  • Powerful suction
  • Lift away function
  • Great for pet hair
  • Anti-Allergen Complete Seal

We dislike

  • Can be hard to push against high pile carpets

Final Verdict

Making cleaning and vacuuming so much easier, the DuoClean is well worth the money and makes what was once a huge chore pretty much effortless

Dyson Ball Animal 2 Upright Bagless Vacuum Cleaner

Quieter, more energy efficient and more compact than most previous Dyson uprights, this is a great choice if you’re a fan of the brand but don’t want to risk moving over to their new cordless varieties.

Because it uses ball technology, it is easy to steer around furniture and bend low to get under tables and beds. No more going back and forward – just turn the wrist to change direction.

The Radial Root Cyclone technology is designed with allergy sufferers in mind, too. The most minute of allergens will be sucked up and kept in the vacuum until it is emptied, so you can live a bit more comfortably.

There are three suction variations, so you can take care of even the most ground-in dirt. From pet hairs to dust which has discoloured your carpets, it will grab most of what others simply can’t.

You can switch to a handheld mode when you spot dust on the ceiling or need to tackle the stairs. With a choice of extra fittings, you can get pet hair, into the corners and under the sofa all done, too. There is also the option to buy an extra toolkit which may come in handy for the car.

Removing the hose is a bit tricky and stiff, and because of the back wheels and rather awkward handle it can be a little difficult to get going at first. Once you get used to it though, it’ll be a machine which gives great results.

Specifications

  • Power: 700W
  • Noise level: 80 dB
  • Energy rating: A
  • Capacity: 1.8L
  • Cord Length: 10.8 m
  • Bag: No
  • Accessories: Stair tool, Combination tool, Tangle free turbine, Carbon fibre turbine tool

We like

  • Choice of three suction levels
  • Extra attachments

We dislike

  • Difficult to push on maximum suction on high pile carpets
  • Attachments are quite stiff

Final Verdict

Easy to manoeuvre and the power we know and love from Dyson but with a more modern twist - great if you’re not moving away from upright models anytime soon.

Shark DuoClean Powered Lift-Away AX950UKT

If you’re in dire need of a vacuum cleaner which can tackle your hard floors, carpeted floors, stairs and hard to reach areas all in one swoop, then a Shark vacuum is the choice for you.

DuoClean technology and the extra large cleaning bristles mean that you can change to a different floor type with ease. All without changing the settings or level it sits at. The brush rolls makes direct contact with floors, and during our tests, we saw that it picked up every little bit of dirt without us having to lift a finger.

We also loved the large dust collection cup, which offers up to 50% more space than other rival machines. Which essentially means you can carry on for longer before needing to empty. It also means there are no bags or other equipment involved – just empty and go.

When you need to give the stairs a once-over, simply detach this canister from the main body of the machine. Power is always delivered to the rotating brush head, so you aren’t relying on power alone as with other machine brands. There’s a crevice tool and a hair removal tool as well, for those corners or the dog hair on the sofa.

For a vacuum which can tackle absolutely every area of your home, it is a great price. Certainly a lot more efficient than having one for the carpet, one for the stairs and car and one for high up places. The suction power far outweighs a lot of others on the market too.

Specifications

  • Power: 750W
  • Capacity: 1.6L
  • Cord Length: 8m
  • Weight: 8kg

+ Downloads

SHARK DuoClean Powered Lift-Away AX950UKT Upright Bagless Vacuum Cleaner User Manual

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We like

  • Ease of switching between floor types
  • Can reach under chairs/bed/sofa and stairs
  • Deep pile carpet setting
  • Large capacity dust collection

We dislike

  • Heavy when carried altogether

Final Verdict

Safe to say it is a winner in our eyes. A product which far outweighs rivals in most areas

Sebo Automatic X7 Excel ePower

Sebo cylinder vacuums are very popular amongst those trying to tackle pet hair and allergens, so we were excited to try this upright which is great for anyone who prefers a vacuum of this type.

As it uses Sebo ultra-bags, which are virtually tear-proof and contain electrostatically charged microfibres to filter dust from the air without causing clogging, every little bit of what you’re trying to get rid of can be gone. They are also well sealed so it can’t come out when you’re changing it.

It automatically adjusts the brush head height as you move from carpet to hard floor so you can move seamlessly without stopping and starting, and without having to manually change settings or press buttons.

Any blockages will stop the vacuum in its tracks, so you can get what has accidentally been picked up before it is lost in the bag forever. This will also prevent any damage being caused. A wand will reach up to higher places, and it is a generous length too so you should comfortably be able to get up to the ceiling.

At 8.4 kg, it is creeping up towards the heavy side. But a 10 metre power cord will ensure you don’t have to continually re-plug it around the room, and the filter and bag type ensure it is one of the best upright vacuums for allergy sufferers. As long as you keep on top of replacing the bags, the build ensures you can have this appliance for years to come – other reviewers have stated theirs is going strong 10+ years after purchase.

Specifications

  • Bag
  • Capacity: 5.3L
  • Cable Length: 10 m
  • Dimensions: 78 x 24 x 35 cm
  • Attachments: Crevice & Upholstery Nozzle
  • Floor Types: Carpet, hard floor
  • Filter: S-Class

We like

  • Style - a nice retro 70’s look
  • Automatic height adjustment between floor types
  • Hose is easy to remove and refit
  • Huge capacity

We dislike

  • Hard to carry up stairs
  • No soft brush attachment

Final Verdict

Powerful cleaning and keeps everything secure and away from the atmosphere until the bag is in the bin

Shark DuoClean True Pet Powered Lift-Away NV801UKT

You get two innovative cleaning systems with this SHARK NV801UKT, so the maximum amount of dirt possible can be removed with less effort from you.

DuoClean Technology ensures all surface types can be taken care of without the need to remove heads or change the height of the floorhead manually. This is down to the two inbuilt brush rolls. The Lift-Away feature allows you to convert the upright cleaner into a handheld machine to tackle the stairs, furniture, curtains and high areas.

Unlike other vacuums with this feature, the power is still driven directly to the rotating brush roll rather than just relying on suction alone. Also included is an upholstery tool and a long 2-in-1 duster crevice tool, for all those hard to reach areas.

The Complete Seal Technology ensures that any allergens the appliance has lifted remain inside the vacuum. Perfect for those who suffer from allergies or have pets. Talking of pets, there’s a motorised brush included which will pick up any stubborn hairs. You no longer have to worry if your four-legged friend decides to have a nap on the sofa and ignore your pleas to get down.

It is also light, so won’t be cumbersome to carry up and down the stairs. Bathrooms, bedrooms and even the actual shower grime can all be sorted in a sweep.

With swivel steering, it is easy to manoeuvre around without having to move your furniture to accommodate. There are LED lights along the base of the machine which illuminate any dark areas, such as under furniture. Great for ensuring you don’t leave any dust behind.

Specifications

  • Power: 750W
  • Capacity: 1.1L
  • Cord Length: 8m
  • Weight: 6.5kg

+ Downloads

SHARK DuoClean NV801UKT user manual

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We like

  • Handheld conversion ability
  • LED lights
  • Incredible suction power

We dislike

  • Can be hard work on deep pile carpets
  • Loud

Final Verdict

An impressive upright cleaner which is fully adaptable to clean all areas of your home

Vax UCPMSHV1 Air Lift Steerable Pet Max

It may look as though it isn’t up to much, but on the inside this vacuum boasts loads of technology and power to help with your cleaning tasks.

There is a fabulous choice of attachments which come with the item. The dedicated turbo tool can help remove stubborn dirt and pet hair from softer surfaces and upholstery around your home. It also includes a 3-in-1 (dusting brush, crevice and upholstery tool)

As you’d imagine for a product with the word ‘pet’ in the title, you also get an extra Fur & Fluff tool to tackle extra stubborn pet hair. So if Bo sleeps on your bed at night but you can’t be dealing with the amount of hair left behind anymore, a quick once-over with this attachment will help to make the sheets look like he was never there.

To make things easier, the bin lifts away from the main body so you can use it as a handheld for the car or stairs without taking the whole thing with you. This makes it a good alternative to the (much more expensive) Shark LiftAway models.

The pivot head makes it nice and easy to steer around even tight corners, so if you often find it difficult to make the journey from the side of the sofa to the front past the coffee table and round to the other side without lifting up your current vacuum, it can all be done in one move with the Vax Air Lift Pet.

It is 6.2 kg, so not extreme if you have to cart it up and down the stairs. It is also officially rated A for pick-up quality, across both carpets and hard flooring. The 10m cable gives it an overall cleaning reach of 11m, and 1.5L collection bin will help you clean for longer without stopping.

Specifications

  • Bagless
  • Cable Length: 10m
  • Dimensions: 112 x 30 x 24cm
  • Attachments: Turbo Tool, 3-in-1 tool, Fur & Fluff tool
  • Floor Types: Carpets, hard floor
  • Filter: Standard
  • Capacity: 1.5L

We like

  • Good suction
  • Great on deep pile carpets
  • Easy to use as a handheld alternative

We dislike

  • On the noisier side

Final Verdict

Brilliant accessory tools and brilliant at picking up dust, dirt and pet hair too. You will no doubt see a huge difference on the first use

Shark DuoClean with Flexology HV390UK

Love the shape and build of cordless vacuums but are disappointed that they don’t give you the run time you need? Maybe the idea of having to keep on top of charging it up is too much for you to fit in to your day?

Here, Shark have given us the answer. On the outside, it looks like a cordless model, but it actually gives you the convenience of a corded upright too thanks to there not being a battery in sight. You even get the wall mount which can keep it safe in storage and away from the floor for a clutter-free look.

Shark’s famous DuoClean technology helps you move from carpet to hard floor with no manual changes, and you can use the same head too. Thanks to the bristle and soft brush roll which work together, all dust and dirt from virtually any type of flooring is lifted. This makes it more effective than just using a brush bar, especially on wood floors.

The flexi-wand helps you get under low-lying sofas and coffee tables without having to move it out of the way. It can also convert into a handheld, so if you want to tackle the stairs or clean the sofa without being tethered by the tube, you don’t need to buy a separate device.

Suction is so good that it almost pulls itself along, which can make it hard to shift on high pile carpets and rugs but as it is less bulky than traditional uprights, it does take a bit of the arm strain out. Still, we would definitely say it is mainly a vacuum for hard floors and flat carpets.

It still has a couple of the downsides of a cordless stick vacuum though. The bin capacity is under 1L, and this can make it a little tiresome with the amount of emptying you need to do. Cord storage is also a little clumsy, as you’d imagine with a build which isn’t really designed to hold a cable. Still, it has the best of both worlds if the capacity doesn’t bother you.

Specifications

  • Bagless
  • Capacity: 0.99L
  • Cable Length: 10 m
  • Dimensions: 118 x 26 x 34 cm
  • Attachments: 14 cm crevice tool, Dusting brush
  • Floor Types: Carpet, hard floor
  • Filter: Foam and HEPA filter

We like

  • Easy steer technology
  • Large 11.8 m operating radius
  • Lightweight

We dislike

  • Small dust capacity

Final Verdict

A perfect balance between corded and cordless, and one of the more affordable Shark vacuums around too

Vax Mach Air Revive UCA2GEV1

A great budget pick if you want to spend under £100, but still tackle the everyday dirt which ends up on your carpets without you even realising.

You get a handy 3-in-1 accessory tool, which is a soft dusting brush, crevice tool and upholstery fitting in one. If you are someone who always loses fittings and can’t keep up with storing them all separately, a quick slide or flip of this tool will ensure you are ready for the task at hand. There is a place to store it when you’re vacuuming as normal.

Since it is lightweight at only 5kg, it is one of the easier to carry up stairs or move from room to room without pushing. This makes it ideal if you want something which can tackle every level of your home, and if you need to lift it up to reach ceilings or light fittings.

A telescopic tube should reach most of the distance, however. There is also an easy-clean brush bar, so if you often pick up a lot of hair or fibres off your carpet which can become tangled around the bar, you can easily get rid of it so no problems occur.

It has a large collection bin too, so you can vacuum for longer without having to un-attach the compartment and cart it to your waste bin. You get a washable filter, so you don’t have to worry about changing it every few months no matter how much grime you pick up.

A quick push of a button will help you switch from carpet to hard floor by hiding the brush bar. We would say it does work best on carpets, but only if they are short pile as it can become difficult to push otherwise due to the high suction. Reach is also limited using the hose. Otherwise, all fabulous for the price.

Specifications

  • Bagless
  • Capacity: 1.5 L
  • Cable Length: 8 m
  • Dimensions: 110 x 30.5 x 31 cm
  • Attachments: 3-in-1 tool
  • Floor Types: Carpets, hard floors, laminate, tile
  • Filter: Washable

We like

  • 3-in-1 tool for ease
  • Brush bar can manually be hidden
  • Nice and light

We dislike

  • Telescopic hose is shorter than we’d like

Final Verdict

Easy to use, empty and carry if necessary. And there is a lot more suction than you’d imagine at this cost

Hoover Whirlwind WR71WR01

Taking our ‘best budget upright vacuum cleaner’ title is this Hoover Whirlwind.

Attachment-wise, you get a 2-in-1 crevice and brush tool. Just push the lever down, and the brush can slide up or down the crevice tube. When not in use, a handy storage area will keep it safe in one place.

The filter is washable, so you can keep it nice and clean without having to replace it, which will help with effectiveness. It is also an EPA filter which, while not as good as HEPA, still tackles allergens and lifts dust well.

It is best for carpets over hard floors, but can tackle both. In terms of carpets, lighter materials are best as it can struggle with deep pile and is hard to push. But it is easy to carry up stairs or move around thanks to the lightweight build.

As you’d imagine from a cheaper vacuum model, it lacks some of the selling points of those at double the price and over. The power cable flex is only 5m long for a start, which is fine for a smaller home but not the best for big open spaces. You also only get the brush and crevice, so there is no upholstery or Turbo tool, but this is fine for everyday tasks.

But on a more positive side, the capacity is 2.5L which is actually double some of those twice the price. So this means that is you have a preference of capacity over cord length, it is a fine balance to take.

Specifications

  • Bagless
  • Capacity: 2.5L
  • Cable Length: 5 m
  • Dimensions: 108 x 30 x 30cm
  • Attachments: 2-in-1
  • Floor Types: Carpet, hard floor
  • Filter: Washable EPA

We like

  • Nice and quiet
  • Lightweight
  • Washable filter and easy to get to

We dislike

  • Difficult to push forward on heavy carpet
  • Short power flex
  • Dust can come out of dust box when you are using the extension hose

Final Verdict

At just over £50, it is an affordable answer to tackling your dust without breaking the bank

Upright Vacuum Buying Guide

What To Look For In An Upright Vacuum Cleaner

Power Cord Length

Cordless appliances are without a doubt the most convenient, but aren’t quite up to scratch yet. So if you need a corded upright instead, get one which will reach around the room without you having to constantly plug and unplug the cable, or be restricted as to where you can reach

Weight

If you are going to just use the upright vacuum on one floor of your home, then weight isn’t a massive issue. But if you will have to take it upstairs, or use it to clean the stairs, then you’re going to have to lift it. Whilst many of the best upright vacuum cleaners are on the heavier side due to their power, many have dedicated ways of helping you tackle the stairs or higher surfaces without having to carry the entire appliance with you

Adjustable Brush Bar

The majority can now do this automatically, but if you have different floor types (such as a deep pile carpet, a short carpet and wood flooring), you will want a vacuum which can handle all surfaces. Buy a model which can adjust, or you can easily switch manually

Attachments

You can tackle other areas as well as the floor with an upright, but ensure you have the tools for the job first. You may wish to buy a model with a crevice tool for getting into corners or the car, a brush tool for the sofa, or a rotating head for an even deeper and targeted fabric clean

Dust Capacity

Whether it be the size of the best bag or the canister, you want a vacuum which can handle more than one session of cleaning before needing emptied. You don’t necessarily need to go too overboard though, as all vacuums need frequent emptying to ensure they perform at their best

Bagged Or Bagless?

Whilst bagless models are the most innovative, there are still bagged models on the market. These are usually found in the best vacuums for allergens and pet hair, but are getting rarer with uprights. Each has their pros and cons, however:

Bagged

  • Great for allergies as the dust is contained within the bag and can’t escape
  • Keeps the vacuum cleaner as there is no chamber to clean out
  • Easy to empty – just throw it in your waste disposal
  • The bag will need to be replaced periodically, which means continuous running costs
  • Some bags aren’t that widely available – check before you buy
  • Difficult to see when the bag is full. The vacuum will not pick up as well, but it could prevent you from diagnosing other issues if you just think it is the bag

Bagless

  • No further costs of replacement bags – just empty and clean the chamber out every so often
  • Less waste as the dust alone is thrown away, so great if you want to keep paper use to a minimum
  • You can see when the canister is full. There will be a maximum guide on the side, so the vacuum is always working to its optimum
  • Can be hard to empty. If you suffer from allergies or don’t want the dust going everywhere again, get a model which is rated highly for easy dust removal

Price

You can grab an upright vacuum for around £50, but it is probably going to be on the more basic side. This would be fine for anyone who doesn’t need a powerful daily clean, or anyone with short pile carpets.

Most of the best upright vacuums will retail about £100, and some even reach up to £400 if you want an all-singing-all-dancing model, but think about what you really need for your home before you splash out and go overboard.

FAQ’s

Which Is The Best Upright Vacuum Cleaner For Pet Hair?

We have reviewed some vacuums which stand out for how well they pick up pet hair. They will often have the best power levels, and effective brushes which work down into the fibres of your carpet. They’ll also likely have good attachments, which will help you out when Fido has slept on the sofa whilst you were at work.

Names such as Shark and Dyson have dedicated animal hair models.

Are Upright Vacuums Good For Allergy Sufferers?

Uprights often have the best suction power, especially if they are higher-end, so can often lift up to 99% of dust and dirt which is great if you need to get rid of it all.

Beware of the dust collection type and filter however. Bagged models will contain it all better, and you should ideally buy a HEPA filtered model or one approved by Allergy UK.