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Canister vs Upright Vacuum

Tyler Lacoma Profile image

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Updated February 6, 2023

When it comes to choosing the best robot vacuum and mop, or you’re trying to decide between a leading canister vacuum vs. an upright vacuum, there are plenty of options. If you don’t know which of these top-rated vacuums would work best for you, let’s take a look at some of the primary differences between a canister and an upright vacuum. There are 3 main factors when determining which of these two vacuum types will be right for you; power, weight, and capacity. We will also look at how they compare when it comes to noise level and ease of usage. So keep reading below to see how each compares in these categories.


A high-end upright vacuum will always have more power than a canister vacuum. The suction power focuses on the floor, where you always need it. You won’t lose suction when using the hose, and the rotating brush roll will dig deep to remove dust and dirt from the carpet. For another vacuum with similar power, you’ll want to read our high-end Shark vacuum list.

Newer upright vacuum models have no loss of suction technology that can offer more cleaning head power with fewer clogged filters. You will always enjoy the raw power you need without worrying about losing suction every time you use it or having to use a dusting brush.

Canister vacuums are still powerful enough to clean your house, but they’ll never have as much sucking power. They’re convenient for a lot of bare floors like hardwood floors, but don’t offer the rotating brush for a deep carpet cleaner.


Uprights vary in weight, with some as little as two pounds and some as much as thirty pounds. They also vary a lot in size and design, which can contribute a lot to the weight. Where this matters a lot is if you’re going to be vacuuming large areas or carrying them up and down flights of stairs. Speaking of weight, you can determine which one is lighter for you by comparing stick vacuums vs upright vacuums before making a decision.

Cleaning the stairs themselves can be very difficult with an upright vacuum unless you have a very long hose or the perfect attachments.

A canister vacuum is made to move around, like the one you’ll read about in our Koblenz vacuum review. These machines tend to be lighter, and they can reach hard-to-access places much more accessible than an upright vacuum. However, you’ll find yourself bending more to do it, and some people find it hard to vacuum while having to pull a canister along behind them.


Upright vacuums have limited space. Poor design can make this even worse, meaning you have a less powerful motor and less dust cup space. However, newer upright vacuums are designed more efficiently than older upright vacuums.

Canister vacuums have a large amount of space and need to be emptied less frequently. Minimizing how frequently you empty the dustbin means you’re buying a bigger vacuum because you need it to hold more, which comes with its own set of problems. For instance, it can add to the weight and decrease maneuverability.


Upright vacuums tend to be noisier overall than canister vacuums. They offer more power, but you’re a lot closer to the noise, too. If you’re going for quiet operation, canister vacuums are the better tool.

Ease of Use

If you have wall-to-wall carpeting, an upright vacuum is the way to go. Its powerful suction allows you to clean the carpet and remove dirt and debris thoroughly. While a canister vacuum seems to offer more maneuverability in tight spaces, newer upright models with a cinetic big ball offer a tighter turn radius and make it easier.

However, a canister vacuum is much lighter. When you only have to worry about wand weight, there’s no contest. Canister vacuums are great for smaller homes or bare surfaces because you do still have to consider rolling the canister along behind you.

Brady Meyers Profile image