Vacuums have seen a lot of technological advancements over the past 100 years, and the upright design has been tried and true. In addition to being less expensive, on average, than canister models, upright vacuums are usually less fuss, easier to store, and more powerful than other designs. On an upright vacuum, the motor is connected directly to brush head so there is little loss of energy between the power source and the brush. Resultingly, uprights usually perform better on carpets due to their powerful brush array. These vacuums also have wider cleaning paths, and wider paths mean that you get more cleaning done in less time. Upright vacuums can be heavier than canisters since all of their internal components are built on top of one relatively small wheelbase. However, this weight can also give it a smooth glide across your floors, similar to how a heavy car can have a smoother ride. Most users also find the upright design to be more convenient since all of the important components are built into the unit. Storing uprights is generally easier and they have fewer accessories to keep track of, plus there is usually a convenient accessory caddy built right into the frame. The compact, simple design of upright vacuums appeals to a very broad consumer base. It’s great for users with limited storage space and people with back problems who might have difficulty bending down to the level of a canister. For more on the pros and cons of uprights versus canisters check out: “Vacuums: Canister vs. Traditional Upright – Which is Better for You?”
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Hard Surface Floors
The primary deciding factors for finding the right vacuum for your home involve flooring. If you have mostly hard surface floors in your home, like tile or hardwood, it’s important to shop for models that will be most effective on your those particular surfaces. One thing to look for when shopping for a new upright vacuum for hard surfaces is a bare floor setting. The bare floor setting stops the spinning of the brush head and operates the vacuum on suction only. The spinning brush can scatter dust and debris across the floor when cleaning hard surfaces and it can even damage some hard surface floors, so having the ability to turn off the brush head is important and it’s something that you should look for specifically on any prospective purchases. Uprights also include accessories such as wands and crevice tools that allow you to get into all the nooks and crannies of your home, so don’t worry about your functionality being limited due to the large square brush head that the upright design features.
This is the category where uprights really stand above the competition. On upright vacuums the motor is attached directly to the brush head, giving it superior power and the ability to utilize the motor’s full capacity with little energy loss. The added power to the brush head is increased even further by the weight of the motor and other components that are sitting on top of it pushing it down further into carpets, giving them a deep and thorough clean. Canister models answer to your carpet cleaning needs is often an attachment with spinning brush heads that connect to the end of the hose and while some of these accessories can be quite advanced they can not, on average, match up to the cleaning capabilities of an upright with a directly connected motor and brush head. If your home has mostly carpeted floors an upright vacuum generally gives you cleaning functionality that is more appropriate for your home.
Corded or Cordless
This question is answered mostly by your budget. Battery technology is improving rapidly and battery powered vacuums have become comparable in power to corded models, but cordless uprights that are fit to be your home’s primary vacuum usually come with a hefty price tag. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide just how much value a cordless vacuum has to you and whether or not you are willing to pay the price. Though cordless vacuums can generally be more convenient, they may not be the best option for larger homes. Some cordless models have run times as little as 30 minutes so cleaning an entire multi-story home could require several recharges and can end up being very time-consuming. Be sure to take all of your circumstances into consideration when deciding between corded or cordless.
To Bag or Not To Bag
Bagless models are often more convenient, but they can be kind of a mess when you try to empty the dustbin. Bagged models have the obvious inconvenience of having to maintain a supply of bags and, depending on the model and manufacturer, that can be a real annoyance to keep track of. It’s more economical to have a bagless model and you’ll also be lessening your carbon footprint by not tearing through a supply of disposable dust bags, so if you can deal with the extra mess of a reusable dustbin it’s probably best to opt for bagless.
Depending on where you live you may have tight storage constraints. Uprights can be a great choice when space is an issue. Its stand up design allows you to easily fit it in a closet or stand it up in the corner of the room. However, uprights have a rigid body and they can be quite heavy so if your storage space is in a cabinet or cupboard you may have issues storing it.
If you live in a home with stairs and you want to keep things simple by having only one vacuum in the house a simple, light-weight upright is probably the best option for your home. The upright has the power and cleaning functionality to handle your whole home, and the lightweight frame and available stair attachment make cleaning the stairs a cinch.
We love our pets, but any pet parent will tell you that cleaning up after our furry friends is often a labor of love. Certain types of pets can set off allergies with their fur or even just their dander. The shedding can get out of control if you don’t stay on top of it, but if you don’t have the right tools for the job pet hair can be extremely frustrating and borderline impossible to get out. Upright vacuums have a remedy for our ails us yet again, their powerful brush heads enable them to pull the hair out of the carpet with ease. Look for models that boast to be pet-friendly or have special features built-in to enhance pet hair collection. Some things to look out for are included attachments for cleaning upholstery and furniture. Some models even have specialized brush systems designed to capture pet hair and prevent it from tangling up the brush rotors.
A Vacuum is powered by a motor that forces air out as exhaust, the resulting suction from the displaced air is what pulls air into the vacuum. Air is recycled through the vacuum so, if the vacuum doesn’t filter the air it exhausts, small particles can get aggressively recirculated into the air. These small particles of dust and debris can induce major indoor allergy woes. To avoid this, look for models that feature a sealed design, as unfiltered air won’t be able to escape through gaps in the enclosure, and a HEPA filter that removes allergy-inducing particles from the air.
Breaking news: Vacuums are Noisy! Unfortunately, this is an old story. Although significant improvements have been made in the past few years, the fact remains that vacuums are loud appliances. While noise may seem like a relatively unimportant attribute to take into consideration it makes a big difference. If your vacuum is very noisy or bothersome you are going to be reluctant to use it. Make sure you purchase a vacuum with a noise level you can tolerate.
Some vacuums have adjustable suction settings. These features can be indispensable when it comes to cleaning delicate surfaces that you may not want to damage. It can also be used on things that are difficult to clean with very high suction such as drapes that will get sucked in and clog the vacuum if the suction is set to high. Look for models with adjustable suction to give you the flexibility to clean every surface in your home.
Is your home a complicated place to clean? Do you have cleaning obstacles like ceiling fans or high ceiling? If so you are going to need a versatile vacuum with a large arsenal of specialized attachments and accessories. Think about your particular cleaning challenges and the corresponding accessory to address it. For example, if you have suede furniture and a small dog you should look for a vacuum that includes and upholstery cleaning tool that can pick up pet hair. If you have a ceiling fan or high ceilings you need to reach you’re going to need an extending wand.
Adjustable suction settings, as mentioned earlier, are also a feature that gives you a lot of versatility with cleaning difficult surfaces. Another feature to consider is the length of the cord, some models feature extended cords with lengths up to 35 feet for maximum range.
When researching vacuums you should pay attention to the weight. A lightweight vacuum makes cleaning easier and less tiring. It’s especially important if you live in a large or multi-story since you’ll have to cover a lot of ground or carry it up and down stairs.
Categorical Buying Guide:
Larger Homes, Multiple Stories
If you have a larger home or one that has multiple floors you’re going to want to look for a versatile, lightweight upright with an extended cord that can clean your entire home without running out of batteries. Also look for attachments like extenders that reach and clean high corners and ceilings, or stair cleaning accessories to make cleaning the surfaces of stairs even easier.
For pet owners, you should be looking for a model with a specialized pet hair attachment for getting stubborn fur off your carpets and upholstery. Additionally, you may find certain models that have enhancements to the brush head for more effective removal of fur from carpets.
Air quality is always a concern for indoor allergy sufferers. The dust and debris kicked up by vacuuming can be extremely irritating for anyone in your home who has indoor allergies. To mitigate this, look for vacuums with a HEPA Filter that will filter out microscopic debris from the air exhaust and give you better air quality in your home. It’s a good idea for everybody to look for a HEPA filter but it’s very important to have a vacuum equipped with one if you or anyone in your home has sensitivities to indoor allergies.
For more on the pros and cons of upright and canister vacuums, be sure to check out “Vacuums: Canister vs. Traditional Upright – Which is Better for You?”
For more information about the best canister vacuum we picked out, please check out “Best Canister Vacuum”