The best upright vacuum cleaners

An in-depth guide to the best upright vacuum cleaners both cord and cordless for every budget and household


by Ellen Kinsey |

An upright vacuum cleaner may not be as high-tech and lightweight as cordless stick vacuum cleaners, but there are still plenty of reasons you might want to choose this appliance. They can stand alone without being supported and are typically more powerful and sometimes more flexible than stick cleaners.

These cleaning appliances usually have powered roller brush heads or dust collection bags and are primarily mains powered. However, we have seen a wide range of upright vacuum cleaners being released on the market with many of the same features as cordless vacuums for a smaller price tag.

What to consider when buying an upright vacuum cleaner

Pros: The most traditional and popular choice, upright vacuums, are ideal for giving carpets a good deep clean. They're easy to store and use with bagged and bagless options to choose from. Plus, they are generally less expensive than cordless battery-powered vacuums.

Cons: Generally heavier than other types of vacuums, these can be a bit of a nightmare to transport up and down the stairs and don't always give you the flexibility to get into the tight nooks and crannies without using the additional brush heads and tools.

Storage: If you only have a small home find an appropriate vacuum for your space; some upright vacuum cleaners are quite clunky and heavy. However, there are many slim and lightweight options on the market too.

Filtration system: HEPA filters (high-efficiency particulate air) are the most effective filtration system and remove over 99 per cent of bacteria. If you have pets or have allergies, then this a HEPA filter is essential.

Related: The best vacuum cleaners according to real reviews

Cord or cordless: Just as you imagine. One has no cord and is powered by a battery and the other plugs into the mains. This is totally down to your preference.

Dust capacity: If you dislike emptying the bag, make finding a model with a large dust capacity a priority so you won’t have to unload frequently.

So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at the best upright vacuum cleaners for all budgets and requirements from brands such as Shark, Hoover, Dyson and more.

The best upright vacuum cleaners 2022

Shark Upright Vacuum Cleaner NV601UKT 

Best upright vacuum with Mrs Hinch approval
SHARK Lift-Away with TruePet NV612UKT Upright Bagless Vacuum Cleaner - Purple

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The Shark NV601UKT comes with Lift-Away technology that doubles up as a handheld and upright vacuum cleaner. If you are looking for a powerful appliance that is excellent for reaching hard-to-clean spots, this vacuum has superior suction power. Plus, the Pet Power Brush is great for those with pets, too and can easily remove embedded hair from upholstery.  

Scoring an impressive 4.7 out of five stars on Amazon, this vacuum is the same model that Mrs Hinch uses - so you can be sure this is one of the best. It is lightweight and versatile, and as it's corded, you don't need to worry about battery life, but you will have enough leeway with an 8m cord. Complete with plenty of extra tools, a 4-Stage HEPA Filtration system, and an easy to work surface switching method, it's a great all-rounder. 

Key Specifications: 
Power: 750w 
Weight: 6.2kg 
Bin capacity: 1.65 litres 
Noise level: 80dB 
Capacity: 0.83 litres. 
Product contents: Shark Lift-Away with TruePet NV612UKT Upright Bagless Vacuum Cleaner, a crevice tool, multi-surface tool and pet tool. 

Review: "Shark is the best because the suction is excellent, not too light or heavy (perfect weight), compact and great design, easy to use, few tool attachments for different floors. Overall very happy, would buy again. 5 Stars, thank you, Shark company and staff."

Dyson Ball Animal 2 Bagless Upright Vacuum Cleaner 

Dyson Ball Animal 2 Bagless Upright Vacuum Cleaner

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The Dyson Ball Animal 2 is one of the best, most powerful upright vacuums on the market and can navigate around furniture at ease with Dyson Ball technology. It is perfect for manoeuvring around tight spaces and for vacuuming pesky pet hair and stubborn dirt. 

This model from Dyson is designed with pet owners in mind, and the varying suction control delivers three modes to get rid of dirt. It features a motorised floorhead for deep-cleaning carpets, and the product contains a pet tool, a slim cleaner head (for getting underneath furniture) and telescopic extension tools. The power lead is just over 10 metres and has a decent size dust bin with 1.8 litres. 

Key Specifications: 
Power: 28 kWh 
Weight: 7.3kg 
Capacity: 1.8 litres. 
Noise level: 80dB 
Cord length: 10.8 m 
Product contents: Dyson Ball Animal 2 Upright Bagless Vacuum Cleaner, stair tool, combination tool, tangle-free turbine and carbon fibre turbine tool. 

Review: "It feels robust and sturdy. I like that I can carry more onboard tools with it; again, this was a function of the older machines not present on, the newer models. The pivoting wand tool and mini floor cleaner tool are really nifty features which bring added functionality and ease of use. So far, I am really in love with my new machine. I would also like to add that I have found Dyson's customer service and guarantee in their products second to none, and it's another reason why I would choose Dyson over other brands."

Hoover Breeze Evo TH31BO01 Bagless Upright Vacuum Cleaner 

Best budget upright vacuum cleaner under £100
Hoover Breeze Evo TH31BO01 Bagless Upright Vacuum Cleaner

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The Hoover Breeze Evo TH31BO01 Upright Bagless Vacuum Cleaner is the best budget option on the list, pricing under £100. It has a hose that stretches to 4.5 metres, making it easy to clean stairs without moving the vacuum up each step. It is agile, has plenty of suction, and has an adjustable bar to work on carpets and hard floors. It has a three-litre capacity and no problem emptying out dust.  

This Hoover also includes a long crevice tool, extension tube and a 2-in-1 dusting and upholstery tool to help tick off cleaning tasks all over your home. Plus, the 7m cable length lets you reach further without unplugging. 

Key Specifications: 
Power: 850W 
Weight: 6.4 kg 
Dust capacity: 3L 
Noise level: Not listed 
Cord length: 7m 
Product contents: Hoover Breeze Evo TH31BO01 Upright Bagless Vacuum Cleaner, 2-in-1 dusting brush/furniture nozzle, long crevice, extension tube and instruction manual. 

Review: "This Hoover is powerful. It has lots of suction and is very versatile. The bin is so big that you really don't realise how much dirt you've sucked out of the carpet until you've finished. The hose is extremely long, although I'll hardly use it as I have a small cordless, too. The cable is very long, so I hardly have to stop to change sockets."

Dyson Small Ball Allergy Bagless Upright Vacuum Cleaner 

Best upright vacuum cleaner for allergies
Dyson Small Ball Allergy Bagless Upright Vacuum Cleaner

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This vacuum's distinctive Dyson ball design makes it easier to manoeuvre than most upright cleaners. It has an adjustable brush head that works across different floor types and a motor in the brush bar, which helps you get deep into carpets to get rid of stubborn dirt and dust - making it the perfect upright vacuum cleaner for allergy sufferers. 

The Small Ball Allergy is significantly less expensive than some of Dyson's top of the range cordless vacuums. It has three suction functions; you can also use the four-metre hose and smaller attachments to clean in hard-to-reach spots. 

Key Specifications: 
Power: 700W 
Weight: 6.9kg 
Dust capacity: 1.2L 
Noise level: 80dB 
Cord length: 9.4m 
Product contents: Dyson Small Ball Allergy Bagless Upright Vacuum Cleaner mattress nozzle, crevice nozzle, upholstery nozzle and dusting brush. 

Review: "This model is versatile and light compared to my previous Dyson. I went for the small ball allergy version. It is lightweight, but very powerful! It's so versatile and easy to use."

Shark Cordless Upright Vacuum Cleaner ICZ300UKT 

The best cordless upright vacuum
Shark Cordless Upright Vacuum Cleaner

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Most upright vacuum cleaners are corded, but if you are looking for a cordless model with the convenience of a cordless stick and the power of an upright vacuum cleaner, this is the one for you. A rechargeable battery powers it, so you don't have to worry about trailing cables or replugging while you clean. 

The ICZ300UK comes with a dusting brush, an upholstery tool, a crevice tool, and an additional motorised anti-hair-wrap pet tool, which will help you get pet hair out of upholstery. It has a removable battery with 60 minutes of runtime charges in a separate dock. It has a small 0.6-litre dust collection bin, but this is what you can expect from stick models.  

Key specifications
Power: 450W 
Weight: 6.2kg 
Dust capacity: 0.6L 
Noise level: 80dB 
Cord length: Cordless 
Product contents: Shark Cordless Upright Vacuum Cleaner ICZ300UKT, battery, battery charger pod, charger, dusting brush, wide upholstery tool, 20cm crevice tool, and an anti-hair wrap pet tool.  

Review: "I had been reluctant to join the shark hype, but this vacuum is genuinely amazing. This model is a cross between a stick vacuum and a standard vacuum, the charge lasts me around 40 minutes of continued use, but that includes using the boast function on the stairs carpet. Great to keep on top of pet hair; this limits the time required for a big clean; little and often is my new motto! The suction power is amazing, and being wireless, it is so easy to use."

Hoover Upright Vacuum cleaner, HU500SBH 

The best value upright vacuum
Hoover Upright Vacuum cleaner

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This powerhouse vacuum cleaner has a stretchy extension 4.5m tube for connection to the hand tool, which is excellent for cleaning a full flight of stairs. This Hoover upright model has LED headlights on the head, which ensures you can see where to collect all the dust and dirt with its impressive suction. 

This Hoover automatically detects the type of floor and modifies the suction power and brush bar speed for optimal performance on all floor types. Ideal for allergy sufferers, it comes with an H13 HEPA filter to trap allergens and purify the air. 
Key specifications
Power: 700W 
Weight: 6.5kg 
Dust capacity: 1.5L 
Noise level: 80dB 
Cord length: 10meters 
Product contents: Hoover Upright Vacuum cleaner, a hose, 2in1 crevice tool, dusting brush, long crevice tool, extension tube and adjustable handle. 

Review: "I absolutely love this Hoover. Having had Dyson vacuums since they first came out, I wanted a change as I found that Dyson seemed to lack power, even though I maintained well, cleaning filters, etc. I chose this Hoover after lots of research and I'm so glad I did. The suction is fantastic, and I cannot believe the amount of fluff and dust/grit that is coming from my carpets, which looked lovely and clean. Overall, I highly recommend; this is the best Hoover I have owned in over 38 years."

Is an upright vacuum more powerful than a stick vacuum?

Upright vacuums are powerhouses when it comes to suction power. Unlike traditional vacuums, a stick vacuum doesn't have a bag to trap debris. Instead, it uses a dirt cup or canister that has to be emptied between uses, so it has less power as there is less space to store.

Are upright vacuum cleaners heavy?

Modern upright vacuums are now much lighter and more manoeuvrable than they used to be, so you can forget about lugging a heavy appliance up the stairs. One thing to note is that most upright vacuum cleaners are quite big. As they are usually chunkier than stick vacuums, they will occupy valuable cupboard space so perhaps opt for a cordless stick vacuum as they are easier to stow away.

Related: The best carpet cleaner to use if you have pets

Are upright vacuum cleaners suitable for hard flooring?

Yes, most models now come fitted with brush head technology and are suitable for all types of flooring.

Are upright vacuum cleaners suitable for allergy sufferers?

Some upright vacuums have HEPA filters that remove at least 99 per cent of dust particles that pass through them, which are a key differentiator for allergy suffers.

Ellen Kinsey is a Commercial Content Writer for WhatsTheBest, and also writes for Yours, Mother&Baby, Heat, Closer and Empire. She has a passion for cooking, media, and women's health.

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