Upright vacuums have a lot of advantages over their cylinder or canister counterparts. They tend to perform better on carpets, their larger head ensuring much better surface area coverage. They typically hold a lot more dust and usually require no bag, making emptying them a simpler task, not to mention more cost effective too.
They usually have more attachments and brushes too. Even if you’ve decided an upright is the way to go, it can be difficult to find the best upright vacuum cleaner for your requirements, which is why we’ve written this guide to make your options clearer.
We will start by looking at the four main types of uprights and highlight each one’s main features, then go into more detail with some summarized upright vacuum cleaner reviews. You can also compare all our 10 best upright vacs in our comparison table here.
The Different Types of Upright Vacuum Cleaners
So what would be the best upright vacuum cleaner for you? They tend to fall into four broad categories, although some vacuums could fit into more than one group depending on their design and the features they have.
Cordless Upright Vacs
A cordless vacuum instantly frees the user from having to think about cord length and socket location – you can take these models practically anywhere. Though they’re generally not as powerful as their corded counterpart, the convenience of them makes them ideal for large areas, or rooms that may not have sockets available.
Many cordless upright vacs also have a detachable cordless handheld vacuum too, which is perfect for hoovering vehicles. Don’t forget to look out for the most important component of this type of vac – battery life (which you can compare in our comparison table here) – when researching the best upright hoovers, so you know how long you can use it before it needs recharging.
Upright Stick Vacuums
These vacuum cleaners are usually (but not always) cordless too. Lightweight and having a slimmer profile, they’re ideal for more awkward areas such as staircases, these nippy appliances come in handy for quick clean-ups. Their slim design makes storing them away a doddle and because they don’t weigh much, stick vacuums are easy for both younger and older members of the family to use.
Lift Out Upright Vacs
Lift out (also known as lift off) vacuums have all the benefits of a classic upright, but have the useful option of being able to remove the cylinder from the main unit. This means that staircases are much easier to clean, as are higher up places in your home and inside vehicles.
If you’re looking for the coverage and power of a more traditional vacuum but would like the convenience of an easy to lift model, then a lift out may be the best upright hoover for you.
Upright Pet Vacs
If you have cats, dogs or any other furry creatures living in your home, then a pet vac is definitely worth considering. As well as not looking and smelling very pleasant, pet hair can aggravate allergies so removing it from your home is important.
These vacs are designed specifically for this purpose, using specialised brush heads and attachments to target pet hair, dust and dander on all floor types and furniture.
Our Top 10 Best Upright Vacuum Cleaners Reviewed
10. Vax H85AC21B Air
- Extremely Versatile 2-in-1 – A cordless stick vac and a handheld vac in one fantastic unit
- Weighs Only 3.4kg – Effortlessly move this super lightweight Vax around your home
- Deep Cleaning – Its WindTunnel2 technology utilizes two suction channels which focuses on deep down cleaning of carpets
The Vax H85AC21B Air is an attractive slimline vacuum that will certainly make your life much easier. Not only is it one of the lightest models on our list, it also steers well around furniture and has headlights so you can see exactly where you’re cleaning.
It scores highly on hard floors and dry spillages, and the 20 minute battery life is usually more than enough time for a quick spruce up when visitors are coming over. Users report that staircases are easy to hoover even with the main unit. It weighs so little and is the perfect size for the job.
The built in handheld vac is much applauded and makes sure you don’t miss any areas that are harder to reach. A nippy little number with no cumbersome cord, the Vax Air Cordless Switch is a firm favourite with users.
Users Love: The ease and speed of use.
9. Morphy Richards 732000
- Space Saver – The handle collapses for compact storage
- Quick Charging – Ready to use again in approximately 3-4 hours
- Multi-Purpose 2-in-1 – Both handheld and upright cleaning plus various attachments will make every job a breeze
Another featherweight cleaner without a cord to tie you down, this Morphy Richards 2-in-1 is full of features that will make vacuuming less of a chore. The swivelling head zips around your home and performs well on all surfaces, and comes with a detachable handheld vac to get in to those out of the way places.
It makes very little noise, which is great for households with young children or nervous pets. It can be stored discreetly in relatively small spaces thanks to the folding handle, so there is no need for your vacuum to take up all the room in the utility cupboard!
Users Love: The quiet running volume, the quick charge time and the handheld option.
8. Bosch BCH625KTGB Athlet
- Impressive 1 Hour Run Time – This means less charging and it won’t run out of power when you need it most
- Adjustable Performance – It saves energy for simple tasks and gives you a boost for tougher jobs by offering 3 performance levels
- Optimize Performance – an LED indicator light lets you know when the filter needs a clean, so it’s always working at its best
- Easy cleaning brush roll which can be removed completely from the head
The award-winning Athlet is a feature-packed thing of beauty – it’s a powerful cordless stick vacuum with attitude. Everything has been well thought out to make it as user-friendly as possible, from the LED that tells you when a filter clean is due, to the fact that it is totally free-standing, making storage a cinch.
It’s supplied with an array of attachments for every eventuality, including a shoulder strap for easier carrying and interchangeable nozzles so no crevice or corner will be missed whilst hoovering.
A big selling point of this vacuum is that it can run for an impressive 60 minutes on a full charge, the best battery life of any cordless upright on our list. You can be sure that it’s not going to run out of power halfway through a job.
Straightforward to keep clean and maintain due to its removable brush roll and filter change indicator, it really does have everything going for it. The Athlet is a strong all-rounder and makes a strong case for the best upright vacuum cleaner if price wasn’t a factor.
Users Love: Being able to switch between settings depending on the floor surface, the long battery life and discreet charger.
7. Dyson DC50 Multi Floor Compact
- Famous Dyson Ball Technology – Designed for easier turning and steering
- Convenient and Hygienic Emptying – The dirt empties from the bottom of the container rather so it’s a lot easier to empty by hovering it over a bin.
- 5 Year Guarantee – For long-term peace of mind
The Dyson brand undoubtedly needs no introduction, having been at the pinnacle of vacuum innovation for a number of years. The DC50 Multi Floor uses the revolutionary Ball technology, enabling responsive, smooth and effortless handling.
Its carbon fibre brushes automatically adjust to the floor type, so you know you’re getting optimum performance without having to change any settings yourself. Simple to empty, you just press a button and the dust drops straight into the bin.
It’s a more expensive model than most on our list, but with the 5 year guarantee and the Dyson promise that no suction will be lost over time, it will be seen by many as worth paying for. An excellent vacuum with many strings to its bow, this would be a worthy addition to any home.
Users Love: The easy way of emptying the dirt canister and powerful suction power.
6. Vax Air Pet U87-MA-Pe
- Energy Efficient Eco Technology – Saves you money whilst still providing efficient suction power
- Lifts pet hairs with ease with the TurboTool
- Hygienic HEPA filters traps more dust for a fresher home environment
- 6 Year Guarantee
As much as we love our pets, it can take a lot of work to clean up after them. The Vax Air Pet is designed to make our lives much easier and our homes much more pleasant too. It has a large dust capacity of 1.5 litres which is much needed for storing all the hair and dirt it can pick up.
It includes the brilliant handheld TurboTool for more concentrated cleaning on stairs, upholstery and embedded dirt, while a slimline design ensures the unit is simple to push around each room to get where you need to be. It’s easy to empty and to maintain the filters and its sheer power is something to behold.
Users Love: The vast amount of pet hair it picks up, its ultra strong suction and particularly its performance on carpets.
5. Zanussi ZAN2000A AirSpeed Lite
- Adjustable Brush Dial – Suits any types of floor, especially hard floors and carpets
- Huge 2 litre dust capacity means emptying is kept to a minimum
- Super Lightweight – Weighing only 3.8kg which makes it one of the lightest uprights
- Excellent Value – One of the least expensive upright vacs on the market which makes it ideal for the budget conscious.
The Zanussi ZAN2000A AirSpeed Lite is a corded upright vac, but with a generous 7 metre length there is plenty of room to manoevure.
The AirSpeed Light is suitably named as it’s much easier to lift than the old style vacuums, so stairs are not so much of a chore.
On-board tools provide fantastic cleaning when it comes to upholstery and getting into tight corners, you simply them on to the attached hose. An easy-to-use dial lets you select the perfect brush height for your floors and carpets. This is a popular choice for those who are on a budget but don’t want to compromise on versatility and ease of use.
Users Love: The brilliant value for money, lightweight use and adjustable dial.
4. Vax U90-MA-Re Air Reach
- Good 1.5 Litre Dirt Capacity – Meaning less time emptying
- Hugely Long Reach – Combining a 10 power cord and 3.6 metre hose
- Picks up pet hair easily from stairs, upholstery and carpets with its TurboTool
The best-selling Air Reach is the perfect model for users who want to get every corner of their home quickly and easily. It’s a compact upright with all the performance but weighs up to a third less than full size models. It can cover a large area thanks to the long cord and a hose that stretches, so the inconvenience of having to plug and unplug at the wall is a thing of the past.
It has a different mode for carpets and another for hard floors. and together with its cyclonic technology, it is always working hard to make your house as dust free as possible. Its popularity speaks for itself as this is a wonderful upright at a very reasonable price. With a 6 year warranty to boot, the Vax U90-MA-Re Air Reach is certainly worth its weight.
Users Love: The extra long reach and the ease of movement.
3. GTech AirRam MK2
- Low Profile Head – Makes it easier to hoover underneath furniture
- No Bag or Cylinder – Dirt is compacted for mess-free disposal
- Energy Efficient – Only consumes 100 watts of energy whilst still delivering good performance
Extremely popular and highly recommended by consumers, the Gtech AirRam features a unique futuristic design and striking technology, which explains why it has so many faithful fans.
You can even interact with its on-board computer via USB which will tell you information about energy usage and even how many calories you have burned by using it!
Granted, this has little to do with how powerful the unit is, but is interesting nonetheless.
Even more impressive is that the Gtech AirRam is a cordless stick vacuum that can match the performance of its plugged in cousins. When laid flat it reaches under furniture with no fuss, so there is no need to move that heavy sofa to clean beneath it.
The AirRam collects dirt in a unique way – everything it picks up is pressed into a small bale which makes emptying it a breeze. It gives 40 minutes of cordless power from one charge and it is exceptionally energy efficient too, only using a tiny 100 watts of electricity. This is a good investment that promises to change the way you vacuum your home – truly being one of the best upright hoovers in regards to innovation.
Users Love: Its energy efficient operation and innovative technology.
2. Bosch BCH6PETGB Athlet Animal
- High Powered and Long Performance – It can hoover up to 27 litres per second and run for up to 60 minutes straight.
- Designed for optimum pet hair removal with a high powered brush and 3 level performance control.
- Easy and Convenient Cleaning – An LED light indicator tells you when the filter needs changing, and a removable brush roll allows you to easily maintain its efficiency.
Above, we reviewed another Bosch Athlet, but this alternative model sets its focus firmly on multiple pet owners who need extra power. It has all the excellent features of the previous model, such as the long 60 minute battery life, filter sensor, 3 adjustable levels of performance a super lightweight 3.3kg build.
But what sets the Bosch BCH6PETGB Athlet Animal apart is it provides more versatility through a host of functional accessories will aid you with any job you throw at it. This includes a XXL crevice and upholstery nozzles, and a car cleaning nozzle.
The Athlet Animal has a specifically designed nozzle that actively removes pet hair and a Pro-Animal brush that will ensure that no fur is left behind. Again, it is easy to clean and does a thorough job on all types of surfaces. It’s another fantastic all-rounder that is the best cordless upright stick vacuum we’ve come across thus far.
Users Love: The powerful suction, long run times, easy maintenance and decent accessories.
1. Vax U84-AL-Pe Air Lift Steerable Pet
- Removable Lift Out Cylinder makes it easy to hoover stairs and above floors
- Easy to steer around obstacles thanks to its dual axis function
- TurboTool attachment designed to attack embedded dirt and pick up pet hairs with relative ease
- Extra long reach due to its 10 metre power cord and 1.65 metre hose
We’ve chose the Vax U84-AL-Pe Air Lift Steerable Pet to be the best upright vacuum cleaners especially for pet owners and large home owners. It cannot be understated how useful the lift off function of the Air Lift is.
You can effortlessly take the full power of the unit to trickier places such as stairs and above furniture. While it’s not the lightest upright at 6.2kg, its lift off base combats this issue.
The Air Lift promises exceptional performance with minimal dust emissions, and also scores highly for energy efficiency. It’s a well thought-out product with added bonuses for homes with pets – the TurboTool targets hair with its strong bristles and no matter how much fur it picks up, it will never lose suction due to its advanced cyclone design.
Users Love: Its extra long reach, powerful and efficient suction, and the practicality of the removable cylinder.
Remember, you can make a quicker informed decision on buying an upright vacuum cleaner by comparing the specifications of the above best models side-by-side in our comparison table here.
You may also be interested in reading the following:
- An upright vac user guide by Currys
- Vax upright vacuum cleaner guides by the manufacturer themselves