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To help you find and purchase the best upright vacuum for your home and cleaning preferences, we spent over 17 hours testing 20 different vacuums. As we vacuumed our floors with each product, we measured performance, maneuverability, and overall design. We also tested each vacuum on its ability to clean a variety of different surfaces and floor types so you can be sure to get the most comprehensive clean.
After our testing, we chose the Shark Rotator Professional NV501 for our top pick spot. This powerful bagless upright Shark vacuum features a unique and versatile Lift-Away design, reliable HEPA filtration, and plenty of flexible accessories. It’s also designed well and able to tackle tough pet hair. Keep reading below to learn more about the Shark Rotator and see how it stacks up against the best vacuum cleaner.
Award: Top Pick
WHY WE LIKE IT: With premium pet tools and powerful suction capabilities, the Shark Rotator Professional NV501 is the best vacuum cleaner for pet hair that we’ve tested to date. It also includes a unique Lift-Away design that makes it into a virtual handheld vacuum.
The Shark Rotator Professional Lift-Away vacuum cleaner features a unique Lift-Away design that allows you to detach the canister and clean it more easily above the floor, which makes you want to compare canister vs upright vacuums. You don’t see this very often on upright vacuums, but it’s a super useful feature to have available, especially if you need more versatility in your vacuum cleaner to get into hard-to-reach spaces. It’s also designed with Shark’s proprietary Rotator Technology, which makes the vacuum easier to maneuver around your home while you clean.
The Shark NV501 isn’t just designed well, it also cleans really well on carpets, rugs, bare floors, and more. With a HEPA filtration system and 1.3-quart dust cup capacity, you’ll achieve a more comprehensive clean without needing to empty the dust cup too often. We were also pleased with how lightweight this vacuum cleaner was, as well as how quietly it operated. The Shark also comes with a wide variety of cleaning accessories, including a pet brush for picking up pet hair more easily. The Rotator also offers a few more advanced accessories than the Shark Navigator. We were extra impressed with this pet brush because of how well it picked up pet hair and dander, especially when compared to the competition. Compare it to the best Dyson vacuum.
Award: Honorable Mention
WHY WE LIKE IT: The Bissell Cleanview 2486 features OnePass and Scatter Free technology for quick, easy, and comprehensive suctioning power that doesn’t require multiple passes over the same spot. With this kind of power and a variety of accessories, this model is the best vacuum cleaner for home applications.
If you’re running a busy household, the last thing you want to do is spend hours vacuuming up all the leftovers using the Bissell Cleanview upright bagless 2252. That’s where the Bissell Cleanview 2486 upright vacuum cleaner comes into play. With its proprietary OnePass technology, the Bissell vacuum picks up most debris in a single pass, saving you time and effort. OnePass is made possible with powerful suctioning capabilities and a unique brush design, which also plays into Bissell’s Scatter Free technology to eliminate debris from flying everywhere as you’re vacuuming hard floors.
The overall design of the Bissell Cleanview is lightweight and sturdy. It features an impressive 1-liter dirt tank capacity, which is more than enough to clean most of your house without needing to constantly empty the tank. The hose is detachable, as well, and can be used with the variety of cleaning accessories included with the vacuum, although we found the hose to be a little too short for our liking. Fortunately, this downside is easily overlooked with everything else Cleanview has to offer. All in all, with such quick and comprehensive cleaning functionality, this option is the best vacuum for home use that we tested. If you want a more hands-off approach, try the best robot vacuum. Or, try the best steam vacuum cleaners, if you’d prefer a hands-on approach to cleaning your house.
Award: Best Quality
WHY WE LIKE IT: The Dyson Ball Animal 2 is high-tech, incredibly powerful, and super easy to use and maneuver around your home, which is why it earned our best quality award. It’s also got a 5 warranty and HEPA filtration, to boot.
The Dyson Ball Animal 2 is one of the most high-tech vacuums on our list, with a super unique and involved “radial root cyclone” design. The entire cyclone assembly is designed to maximize suctioning power, which is apparent while you vacuum. The Animal 2 had one of the most powerful suctioning that we tested. Another unique design aspect of this upright vacuum cleaner is where it gets its namesake. The ball assembly on the bottom of the vacuum is created for more precise maneuvering. All you need to do is turn your wrist, and the ball assembly will do the rest for you. This is especially impressive, considering just how difficult it can be to turn most modern-day vacuums.
The Dyson Ball Animal 2 also features a complete HEPA filtration system that traps allergens and bacteria, so they aren’t released back into the home each time you vacuum. Overall performance was great with this vacuum, but it performed especially well with larger debris and pet hair. You’ll get a few different accessories with the Dyson vacuum cleaner, along with an excellent 5-year warranty, which is one of the longest we found. If we could change one thing about the vacuum, it would be to make it lighter weight. All the high-tech functionality included here makes for a heavy vacuum, weighing in at around 17 pounds. Many regard Dyson to be the best vacuum cleaner brand. The best canister vacuum will give you an idea of what brands are offering. If the power cord is getting in the way, check out the best stick vacuum, and if you have tile surfaces, consider the best stick vacuum for tile floors.
Award: Best Budget
WHY WE LIKE IT: The Eureka PowerSpeed NEU182A offers a ton of functionality and power in an incredibly affordable package. It also features a lightweight, yet durable design that’s easy to maneuver around as you vacuum.
If you’re looking for a solid upright vacuum without needing to spend an arm and a leg, look no further than the Eureka PowerSpeed. This bagless upright vacuum cleaner offers overall powerful suctioning capabilities to clean up most messes with ease in your house. While it’s not as powerful as some of the other vacuums on our list, it’s still powerful enough for most jobs. What helps most in this department are the 5 different brush roll height settings, which allow you to be more versatile across a variety of different surfaces. Moreover, you’ll have additional options with a high-end multi-surface vacuum.
Just like the Eureka PowerSpeed lightweight upright and the Eureka PowerSpeed lite, the Eureka PowerSpeed NEU182A is also designed well. For starters, it only weighs 10 pounds, making it one of the lightest options on our list. This lightweight design makes it easier to store, carry and maneuver around the house. We were also impressed with its 1-liter dust cup and onboard accessory storage for the different hose attachments that come with the vacuum. We wish the extendable hose tool was attached a little higher on the vacuum body to prevent tipping over while using it, but this is a small thing to worry about in light of everything else the Eureka upright vacuum cleaner does well. If you have pets, consider the best pet vacuums.
Award: Best Commercial Grade
WHY WE LIKE IT: The Oreck Commercial U2000RB1 upright vacuum is made for extended periods of use, and its super durable design reflects that purpose. This is the simplest vacuum we included on the list, but it’s also the most durable.
The Oreck Commercial U2000RB1 vacuum cleaner was designed to be a workhouse that can clean large areas over hours of constant use without wearing out. This much is apparent in its overly simple design that is decidedly lacking in extra bells and whistles. With an excellent Endurolife belt, you can rest assured that this vacuum won’t wear out for a long time. It also features a cogged V-belt to prevent slippage and an internal circuit breaker to protect the motor from burning out in the case of jams or clogs.
When it comes to overall performance, this Oreck commercial upright vacuum did well in all of our tests. It features a powerful brush roll that can spin at 6,500 RPM and that features a double helix brush design for better debris movement. It can also switch between different floor types automatically, so you don’t have to worry about manual adjustment. During our testing, the Oreck did struggle a little bit on plush carpets, so if you need to vacuum thicker carpet types, plan on the vacuum requiring a little more effort to push around. By contrast, if you have more hardwood, check out the best vacuum for hardwood floors.
Award: Best for Carpet
WHY WE LIKE IT: The Soniclean Soft Carpet is the best vacuum cleaner for carpets on our list because of its unique and powerful sonic carpet cleaning functionality. It’s also built well and includes a HEPA filter for better filtration.
The best feature about the Soniclean Soft Carpet upright vacuum cleaner is where it gets its name from. While this vacuum still has a standard brush roll like most other vacuums, it also includes a unique sonic bar. The prices for this vacuum are high, but its design feature produces over 200 vibrations per second while turned on, which then loosens the debris and dirt that has embedded itself in your carpet. The brush roll and suction then pick up the loose particles to give the best clean for carpets. The brush roll itself also features ultra-soft bristles that won’t damage your carpet, even over extended periods of use.
The Soniclean also features a hospital-grade HEPA filtration system which is even better for cleaning carpets and not allowing those allergens back into your home. Carpets can store tons of allergens, so this filtration system is particularly helpful. Note that the Soniclean vacuum doesn’t include a detachable hose or extra accessories because it’s made specifically for cleaning carpets. However, since this is the best vacuum cleaner for carpets on our list, these downsides aren’t that much to worry about. Some prefer the best robot vacuum and mop, while others prefer the best handheld vacuum.
As we tested each upright vacuum that we purchased, we looked primarily for options that excelled at cleaning. The best upright vacuums can easily remove dirt from any kind of flooring material, no matter how embedded it is in the carpet or how large in size it is. A vacuum that can’t pick up dirt is of no use to anyone.
We also measured the vacuums on the overall user-friendliness. One of the main considerations of user-friendliness is how easy it is to maneuver the vacuum around your house. Our top picks are easy to push and pull, as well as move around corners and into tight spots, like our write-up of the Bissell 3624 SpotClean professional portable review. We also looked at things like operating controls and removing and replacing dirt canisters. This is slightly different than a bagged canister, as you’ll read about in our Bissell Zing bagged canister 4122 review.
Finally, we took into account weight and overall construction and design. If you spend money on a home appliance that you’re going to use likely every single day, you’ll want to be sure it can actually last you longer than a year or two. You’ll also want to buy a vacuum that you can easily handle with useful accessories such as crevice tools and additional brush heads. If you purchase an option that’s just too heavy, it’s going to become more of an inconvenience than anything else.