When most people think of a vacuum cleaner the first thing that comes to mind is an upright. It is the classic design with a long neck and handle, wheels attached to the back, and a spinning brush roll for picking up embedded dirt. There is a good reason why it has largely remained unchanged in appearance…it’s built for heavy duty cleaning of carpets.
While the look hasn’t changed much over the years, the overall performance sure has. Today’s uprights have a lot of technology built in, making them ideal machines for a variety of floor types. Navigating the many brands and models can be a bit overwhelming so here is a rundown of what to look for when choosing one. We’ll also recommend a few popular cleaners that won’t set you back too much, providing a good balance between quality and cost.
Filtration Is Very Important
Filtration is one of the areas that has seen the biggest improvement over the years. HEPA filters are the best choice for removing microscopic allergens like dust mites, pet dander, and mold spores from the environment before they can enter your body. It is not uncommon to find a vacuum cleaner that is rated to remove more than 99% of all allergens down to 0.3 microns in size (or smaller) before the air is expelled back into your home. In fact, you only want to consider an upright if it has this rating if you are going to be using it for any kind of carpeting at all.
Suction Power Is Key To Performance
When it comes time to pull deeply embedded dirt and pet hair out of your thick (high pile) carpets, power is a necessity. The brush roll will need to spin at a high rate but the air will also need to be forcefully pulled up into the pathways. It all starts with a powerful motor that can generate enough force to do this, but it also has to work in conjunction with the filter mentioned above. If the filters become clogged then it can degrade the performance of the machine. You need to find a highly rated model that can maintain the same suction for extended periods of time.
Specialized Attachments For All Applications
The modern household has many types of flooring and other surfaces that need the occasional vacuuming. If you are going to spend your money on a new vacuum cleaner then you need to make sure it can tackle everything you need in your ENTIRE home. Specialized attachments like a crevice tool and dusting brush can reach in tight spaces to get the dust that you just wouldn’t be able to by hand. You can also find some uprights with handheld, powered turbine tools that almost work like mini vacuums to remove pet hair from just about any surface. These work great on furniture, bedding, or anyplace where a full sized machine would be overkill. Make sure you look carefully at what onboard attachments come with any new brand you purchase.
Lighter Weight Without Sacrificing Power
Today’s manufacturers are always trying to make their vacuum cleaners lighter, but not at the expense of performance. Specialized plastic and carbon fiber components can be found on most uprights which makes them extremely light when compared to older offerings. If you look at a model like the SEBO X4 you will see exactly this. It is a high performing upright that is much lighter and more nimble than what you probably remember your parents using as you were growing up. Lightweight also makes it more maneuverable and easier to carry up a flight of stairs.
Quality And Price
Ideally you want to find a brand that stands behind their cleaners with a multi year warranty. Try to read online reviews from other consumers, paying special attention to how the vacuum you are researching holds up over time. Typically the more expensive brands will last longer but you can find many mid-priced models that will give you years of trouble free cleaning. Your budget will tell you how much of a balance you need to strike between price and quality.
Our Top Recommended Bagless Upright
The Dyson Ball Animal is one of the most popular bagless uprights you can buy today. The dirt pulling power is immense as it has their patented Radial Root Cyclone™ technology, which channels the air through with such force and flow that no dust can settle inside. The suction stays constant as the dirt chamber fills up. This is the main reason why they get such good reviews from their customers…Dyson can clean with the best of them.
Here are some of the main highlights of the Animal:
- Self adjusting cleaner head works great on a variety of floor heights to provide a constant seal between the vacuum and the surface
- Lifetime washable HEPA filter removes virtually all allergens from the indoor environment
- The Ball lets you maneuver it around furniture with the simple twist of your wrist
- Extendable hose and wand quickly release from the machine to reach up entire flights of stairs, earning them a recommendation from the UK Royal College of Chiropractors
- Tangle free turbine tool and multi-angle dusting brush highlight the handy attachments for quickly cleaning up pet hair
It’s easy to see why the Dyson Animal is one of the top selling machines today. Click here to read more and check current pricing at our recommended online supplier.
A Solid Bagged Cleaner
The Hoover Windtunnel Max is our highest recommended bagged upright as it provides tremendous value for your money. Outfitted with their Windtunnel 3™ technology, it will create 3 different channels of air suction to remove embedded dirt from the thickest of carpets. The direction of airflow keeps the debris from scattering away so it can be quickly pulled up into the collection bag. And even though it is one of the best performing vacuum cleaners, it is also one of the cheapest. But there is much more to the Windtunnel:
- 7 floor settings can handle high pile carpeting to bare floors
- Clean-Drop dirt bags have a one touch release so it goes right into the trash…you never have to touch any of the filth!
- On/off switch for the brushroll makes it easy to transition from room to room
- 30 foot electric cord gives you enough reach for the largest of rooms
- Typical accessories include a dusting brush, crevice tool, and an air powered hand tool that works well on upholstery and stairs
For more specifications and online consumer reviews and ratings, click here to visit our favorite ecommerce store.
The Best Ultra Lightweight Upright
If a lightweight cleaning machine is what you are looking for, then the Shark Navigator Light is our top choice. Weighing in at a mere 10.6 pounds it is one of the lightest upright vacuums you will find. Small and compact, it is easy to store and even easier to use. While you won’t want to use it for a large home with heavy carpets, it is ideal for medium sized homes with or without pets. The filtration isn’t on par with the more expensive whole HEPA models like the Dyson and Hoover above, but it isn’t designed to compete with them.
Some of the main features of the Light Navigator include:
- A combination crevice/dusting brush and an upholstery attachment to keep your furniture free from crumbs and other small debris
- Large capacity bagless collection bin holds almost a quart
- Brush roll shutoff lets you turn off the beater bar for those delicate hard floors like wood, laminate, and tile
- Their “Never Lose Suction” technology keeps the cleaner running at peak performance for extended periods
- Very low maintenance in terms of cost and time to keep it operating like new
If you would like to learn more about this popular lightweight Shark, click here to check online pricing and current shipping options.