Aug 29, 2023
9 Best Upright Vacuum Cleaners of 2023
Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed's editors. Purchases made through the links below may earn us and our publishing partners a commission. Prices were accurate at the time this
Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed's editors. Purchases made through the links below may earn us and our publishing partners a commission. Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
Reviewed's mission is to help you buy the best stuff and get the most out of what you already own. Our team of product experts thoroughly vet every product we recommend to help you cut through the clutter and find what you need.
The Sebo X7 boasts some of the best filtration on the market. Read More
This powerful upright vacuum offers an unparalleled cleaning performance, but the trade-off is its heavy weight. Read More
Between the swivel joint in the brush head and the detachable canister, the Shark Navigator Lift-Away is a fine choice for small apartments. Read More
The Shark Apex is a workhorse of a vacuum. It has powerful suction and plenty of features, but it's loud and heavy. Read More
The Oreck XL2100RHS is a basic lightweight vacuum that was easy to lift and to maneuver under furniture. Read More
Updated May 2, 2023
What’s the best vacuum cleaner? There’s no simple answer to that question. It depends on a number of factors, including floor types, living situation, and, of course, budget.
People shopping for vacuums will find what seems like an endless number of options: uprights, cordless vacuums, robot vacs, canister models. Each has its own set of advantages.
With upright vacuum cleaners, the best models are powerful cleaning machines that work well on both carpeting and bare floors. They also should be easy to maneuver, a breeze to store, and come with a number of attachments that make cleaning easier.
Over the years, we’ve tested and reviewed hundreds of vacuum cleaners. We turned our expertise to finding the best upright vacuum on the market right now, and the Sebo X7 Automatic (available at Sebo) emerged as our top pick after testing. Although expensive, it’s a fantastic upright that’s excellent for anyone suffering from allergies or dealing with pet dander.
If the Sebo X7 isn’t in your budget, we tested models from top brands like Dyson, Hoover, Shark, among others, at a number of different price points to find the best vacuum for you.
The Sebo X7 has some of the best filtration on the market.
In the vacuum world, Sebo is known for its filtration. Their X7 model has three layers of filter. The first is the premotor S-class filter, which is rated on par with HEPA. (You can also buy HEPA filters for the X7, too.)
After the air passes through the motor, it goes into the three-layered bag, which captures particulates. Finally, the electrostatic filter in the exhaust, similar to what you’d find in many air purifiers, helps to eliminate odors. The total package is a filtration system similar to what you’d find at a hospital.
Between its suction power and its filtration, the Sebo X7 can help your fight against pet hair, dander, or odors building up in your home. That power makes up for a lack of swivel steering. The powerful suction and weak steering makes the X7 sort of like a tank.
During carpet testing, it picked up 39% of the testing dirt per pass. Anything above 33% is a win for us, since it’s common practice to go over an area of carpet at least three times before moving on to the next patch.
Read our full review of the Sebo Automatic X7.
Difficult to maneuver
Dyson has a look that's one-of-a-kind.
The Dyson Animal 2 is the most powerful vacuum on this list. During carpet testing, it removed an average of 76.3% of the detritus we laid out for it in a single pass. The Animal 2 is also our highest rated bagless unit. It also has a washable filter, adding to its low-maintenance style.
We tested the Total Package version of the Animal 2, which comes with five attachments and a tote bag to carry them. After spending a week with this bagless upright vacuum, we appreciate its tons of features, but it’s cumbersome to use. The unit itself tips the scales at 17.6 pounds, and with no solid handle on the back, it’s tough to lug up the stairs. Also, the massive ball joint on the Animal 2 makes it difficult to clean under furniture.
Read our full review of the Dyson Animal 2.
The Shark NV352 is an affordable upright that can transform into a wheel-less canister.
Shark vacuums are well-loved online, and the Shark Navigator NV352 lives up to its thousands of good reviews in our lab.The Navigator is lighter than other Shark models, including the Apex. This makes it easy to maneuver around furniture and lug upstairs.
During testing, the Navigator picked up around 38% of the dirt we laid out for it, so be prepared to go over an area at least three times before it’s clean. These results are fairly weak compared to other vacuums in this price range. However, the Navigator makes up for it in its features and warranty.
This affordable bagless upright vacuum cleaner comes with four cleaning attachments, including a 2-foot-long crevice tool for hard-to-reach spots. It’s also backed by a five-year warranty, one of the best in the industry.Read our full review of the Shark Navigator NV352.
Can transform into a pseudo-canister vac
Average dirt pickup
Difficult to use
We think most people will fall in love with the Shark Apex AZ1002
Like the name suggests, Shark’s Apex AZ1002 is the company’s top-of-the-line model. Its DuoClean feature lets it easily clean on both carpet and hardwood floors. The Apex scored almost flawlessly on our debris tests. On linoleum, regular carpet, and shag carpet, this vacuum picked up uncooked rice, macaroni, and pet hair better than vacuums that cost hundreds more.
The Apex comes with a crevice tool, an upholstery tool, and a motorized brush head. Normally, we’d consider that a paltry spread for a Shark vacuum. However, the versatility of its motorized brush roll makes up for it. It's thin enough to slip between cushions, but powerful enough to get the job done.
Finally, the Apex excelled at our carpet cleaning tests, landing in the upper third of all the vacuums we’ve ever tested. On average, the Apex picked up 54% of the dirt we laid out for it, the best score of any Shark uprights on the market.
LED lights on the brush head
The Oreck XL2100RHS is a basic-but-solid floor cleaner. Its hyper-focused design includes no attachments or hoses to clean countertops or curtains. At just over 10 pounds, it’s easy to lift onto and up the stairs. Its 5-inch profile is low enough to fit under most beds and some couches.
During cleaning tests, the Oreck picked up 30.25% of the testing dirt per pass. Normally, this is lower than what we like to see, but the XL2100RHS is so light that we think it’s powerful for its size.
Powerful for size
The Dyson Ball Multifloor 2 upright vacuum marks a crossroads between the company’s cordless and full-sized efforts. It weighs about 10% less than the Dyson Ball Animal 2 upright, but it’s also about 10% less powerful.
The Multifloor 2 picked up around 64% of the testing dirt we laid out for it, which is well above average, but it lagged behind more powerful Dyson models like the Dyson Animal 2. Still, it’s a great value. You get Dyson’s engineering and attention to detail at a relatively affordable price.
Lightweight for an upright
Weak suction for a Dyson
As one of the oldest, most influential brands, there are places where people just say “hoover” instead of “vacuum.” The Hoover WindTunnel 2 Whole House Rewind perfectly illustrates why.
At 18 pounds, it’s one of the heaviest vacuums we’ve ever tested. In exchange for all the weight, you get a powerful vacuum. In testing, the Rewind picked up 50% of our dirt mixture in a single pass.
We also found its namesake rewind function to be useful. At a tap of a foot lever, the cord automatically retracts into the unit, making storage a cinch.
The Shark NV752 TruePet is a crowd-pleaser. It picked up around 52% of the dirt we laid out for it during testing, placing it in the upper third of vacuums we’ve tested. Vacuums in the top tier pick up around 70%.
Given its name, you might assume that this Shark vacuum would do a great job on pet hair, and you’d be right. While testing pet hair specifically, the NV752’s main brush head and the motorized attachment both excelled. Its ability to handle animal issues made the NV752 our favorite vacuum for pet hair.
This vacuum does more than deal with pet hair, though. The NV752’s Lift-Away feature turns the upright into a canister vacuum without wheels, allowing you to more easily clean stairs and under furniture.
Picks up 52% of dirt in a single pass
Excels at picking up cat and dog hair
Makes it easy to clean stairs and under furniture
None that we could find
The Bissell 22543 CleanView Swivel Rewind Pet is for animal lovers. It’s a pretty good entry-level upright that will last a long time. Its cord can tackle just about any room and automatically rewind afterward. Also, Bissell donates a portion of the proceeds from every purchase of this unit to animal shelters.
When we tested its cleaning ability, the Rewind Pet picked up 41.25% of the dirt per pass. It also impressed us with its edge-to-edge cleaning, providing suction all along its brush head.
Automatically retracting cord
Easy to maneuver around furniture
Lacks powerful suction
I’m Jon Chan, Reviewed’s senior lab technician. It’s my job to test and write about products ranging from coolers to laundry detergents, but my real expertise comes from more than a decade testing all types of vacuums, from robot vacuums to uprights and everything in between. Along with my colleague Kyle Hamilton, we tested all the vacuums in this guide.
Our testing dirt mixture contains grains of various sizes.
When testing vacuum cleaners, we consider each unit’s ability to clean up four types of messes: piles of pet hair, grains of rice, uncooked macaroni, and our “homemade” dirt, which is made from sieved sand and baby powder.
We evaluate each vacuum’s performance on different floor types: on swaths of carpet (high-pile carpet and low-pile carpet) and on a linoleum floor surface. We also judge a vacuum on its ability to clean dirt and dust bunnies under furniture.
There’s more to a vacuum than how much dirt it picks up, however, so we also consider noise level, attachments, cord length, weight, dirt capacity, warranty, mobility, battery life (for cordless models), and overall user experience.
When shopping for a new vacuum, you should think about how you’re going to use it.
For instance, someone with a cat or dog at home may want to buy a vacuum cleaner that specializes in pet hair while someone who spends a lot of time in their vehicle might want to invest in a handheld vacuum.
When it comes to uprights, there are a number of things to consider.
It’s essential that your vacuum is compatible with your flooring types. Upright vacuums tend to be best at cleaning carpets and can do a good job on bare floors. If you have hardwood floors throughout your home, you may want to consider a cordless vacuum with a soft roller or a canister vacuum.
While cordless vacuum cleaners are convenient, they are limited by battery life. Canister vacuums can be more difficult to store, but they generally do a better job on bare floors than uprights.
Many people wonder whether they should get a bagged vacuum cleaner or go with a bagless model. That really depends on what you prefer, but there are some differences to be aware of.
Bagged vacuum cleaners: Based on our lab testing, bag vacuums tend to have more raw power than bagless models. Typically, they offer better filtration and dust management. However, they can develop a bad odor because they get emptied less frequently.
Bagless vacuum cleaners: These vacuum cleaners often are more maneuverable than their bagged counterparts. For optimal performance, the dust cups of these vacuum cleaners should be emptied as soon as they get to the maximum fill level. Exceeding that level will likely mean less suction power. Empty a bagless upright with care to limit the amount of dirt that gets back into the air.
More attachments mean more versatility with your vacuum. However, you don’t want to pay for attachments that you will never use.
With the upright vacuums that we tested, a dusting brush and crevice tool are fairly common attachments, but they aren’t universally included. Some manufacturers have different packages available so you can tailor what attachments come with your vacuum.
How much you have to spend on a vacuum will impact what features you’re able to get—and how powerful your cleaning machine will be.
With vacuums that cost less than $100, every extra dollar you spend usually means more suction power. In this price range, you should be prepared for the bare minimum of attachments.
People who spend $100 to $300 will start to see a greater level of usability with their vacuum—more attachments, improved maneuverability, better warranties.
Anything above $300 enters the premium market. With these vacuums, you should expect brush heads that won’t scratch flooring, designs that won’t tip over, and powerful motors that can tackle all types of carpet—from low-pile to ultra-plush.
Senior Manager of Lab Operations
Jonathan Chan currently serves as the Lab Manager at Reviewed. If you clean with it, it's likely that Jon oversees its testing. Since joining the Reviewed in 2012, Jon has helped launch the company's efforts in reviewing laptops, vacuums, and outdoor gear. He thinks he's a pretty big deal. In the pursuit of data, he's plunged his hands into freezing cold water, consented to be literally dragged through the mud, and watched paint dry. Jon demands you have a nice day.
Our team is here for one purpose: to help you buy the best stuff and love what you own. Our writers, editors, and lab technicians obsess over the products we cover to make sure you're confident and satisfied. Have a different opinion about something we recommend? Email us and we'll compare notes.Sebo X7 AutomaticWeight:Dirt container:Power cord length:Read our full review of the Sebo Automatic X7.Weight:Dirt container:Power cord length:Read our full review of the Dyson Animal 2.Weight:Dirt container:Power cord length:Read our full review of the Shark Navigator NV352.Weight:Dirt container:Power cord length:Weight:Dirt container:Power cord length:Weight:Dirt container:Power cord length:Weight:Dirt container:Power cord length:Weight:Dirt container:Power cord length:Weight:Dirt container:Power cord length:Bagged vacuum cleaners:Bagless vacuum cleaners: