The 6 Best Upright Vacuums to Buy For Your Home in 2018

UPDATED APRIL 2018 | BY KATE APPLESON

A powerful and reliable upright vacuum cleaner is a necessity for keeping your home feeling tidy and fresh, but the options can be overwhelming. Do you need the most powerful suction system on the market, the ease of a cordless lightweight model, or special extensions to clean up pet hair?  Are you looking for the best of the best, or do you want the most value?  

Upright vacuum cleaners come in a dizzying array of shapes, features and prices, so we've done the legwork to make your search simple.  Our favorite upright vacuum options of 2017 all have thousands of satisfied buyers and distinct prices and features for your specific needs.

Prices have dropped significantly for Black Friday today, with the biggest deals we've ever seen available on our Best on the Market, Runner-up, and Best Lightweight Upright picks below.

Best On the Market: Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional (NV356E)

 
 

The versatile and lightweight Shark Navigator is our best overall pick due to its unparalleled combination of high-end suction power and flexibility at a reasonable mid-range price.

The Shark Navigator is a 2 in 1 bagless upright model that is easy to handle. It has powerful cleaning suction but is lightweight enough to come in at just under 14 pounds. With just the push of a button it detaches into a light canister vacuum with a long hose for cleaning hard to reach areas above surface-level.

The Shark Navigator isn't just our top pick - it is the most popular upright on the market.  In addition to its 2 in 1 flexibility and suction power, owners rave about the Anti-Allergen seal system that actually keeps dust in, which many only vacuums only claim to do.

Several loyal Dyson users were shocked by how much more effectively the Navigator's system kept dirt particles from going airborne.

At significantly less than more famous high-end models that it outperforms, the Shark Navigator is our best overall upright vacuum of 2017.  Check Amazon Price >>

Runner-up, Best on the Market / Best for Pet Owners: Dyson Ball 2 Multi-Floor Upright

 Photo by Best Home Labs

Photo by Best Home Labs

While it's the most expensive vacuum on our list, Dyson's Ball Animal 2 Upright is our best pick for pet owners, and an admirable runner-up to the Shark Navigator if cost is no object.

The flagship Ball Animal 2 Upright is ergonomically designed around a sleek rotating ball and twisting multi-grip handle, making it practically fun to clean and steer into difficult corners.  It boasts Dyson's heralded suction strength - Dyson claims this is the most powerful model on the market - and its cleaner head self-adjusts to any floor to create tight suction on all surfaces. 

For owners with furry friends, the Ball Animal 2's cleaner head has been upgraded to resist jamming from excessive pet hair.  It comes with a powerful tangle-free turbine tool that is fantastic at removing pet hair from upholstery.

Head to head, we prefer the Ball Animal 2 for pet owners due to the durability and design efficiency of the turbine tool, and the improved anti-jamming cleaner head.  We'll still take the Shark Navigator's sealed HEPA anti-allergy filtration system over the Ball Animal 2's, which multiple reviewers say doesn't seal the dust off as well. 

Like most Dyson products, you won't go wrong with the futuristic Ball Animal 2 Upright, which is backed by a 5-year warranty and will perform admirably.  Buyers without pets will still want to consider the Shark Navigator due to it's friendlier price point and best-in-class dust-sealing system, but the Ball 2 Animal is our favorite pick for pet owners. Check Amazon Price >>

Best Value: Bissell 9595A Vacuum with One-Pass Technology 

High-tech extensions can be helpful, but the important feature of any upright vacuum is its cleaning power across surfaces. 

Coming in at a budget price, the Bissell 9595A is an incredibly powerful cleaning package and an easy choice for our best value selection.

The Bissell 9595A's cleaning strength is fueled by its multi-cyclonic system, which creates a mini-tornado effect in the canister that sucks up dirt and debris while simultaneously separating it so the filters stay clean.

The 9595A features Bissell's OnePass Technology, which deploys a special brush design to thrust deeper into carpet on the roll's first turn and lift more dirt away.

Owners love the Bissell 9595A, which is one of the top-selling vacuums on the market and widely praised for its performance and affordable price.  A few have complained about the shorter than average cord, which is 25 feet when it could be 30, and a hard to reach on/off switch.  We'll happily accept those small design weaknesses for a vacuum so effective at such a low price.  Check Amazon Price >>

Best Bagged Upright: Oreck Commercial Bagged Vacuum XL2100RHS8

Bagged upright vacuums have fallen out of fashion due to the necessity of regularly replacing the bags, but they consistently beat bagless uprights in sealing in dust to protect children and allergy sufferers.

The Oreck Commercial XL is our favorite bagged vacuum model. It not only effectively traps dust and pollen that bagless uprights can't - only the Shark Navigator's Anti-Allergen system can compete - but it also cleans like a high-powered commercial-level vacuum.

The XL's high-speed brush rotates at 6,500 RPM, which combines with strong suction to make it excellent for carpet and rugs. It's very easy to maneuver at 8 pounds and has a slim profile, but to gain that ease of use Oreck dropped the hose extension and attachments, making the XL a one-trick upright. 

Buyers looking for more varied features should consider our best overall or value picks, but if allergy prevention is key the Oreck XL may be right for you. Check Amazon Price >>

Best Lightweight Upright: Shark Rocket Ultra-Light Upright

The Shark Rocket Ultra-Light Upright is our favorite lightweight stick vacuum on the market due to its terrific combination of suction power, versatile attachments and a reasonable mid-range price.  It is a very good buy for small homes with uncarpeted floors.

The Shark Rocket is under 8 pounds but boasts terrific cleaning strength and maneuverability.  It easily releases its floor cleaning head to convert into a hand vacuum with various attachments for cleaning ceilings and upholstery, and also has a floor dusting attachment for swiffering.

The Shark Rocket is a reliable and convenient cleaning solution for hard floors and small apartments.  Its dirt canister is too small for cleaning serious carpets and larger homes, and the fact that most of the weight sits at the top of the wand may make it heavy to hold for longer cleans.  If you're cleaning a smaller space that's mostly uncarpeted, however, it's an excellent choice. Check Amazon Price >>

Best Cordless Upright: Hoover Air Cordless Bagless Upright w/ 20V Lithium Ion (BH50140)

Effective cordless upright vacuums have long been more of a false promise than a reality, as they don't have the cleaning power and battery life to match their freeing convenience. The Hoover Air Cordless Upright makes a serious effort to change that.

The full-size Hoover Air Cordless comes with two durable LithiumLife batteries that you can swap out during a long vacuuming run, combining for an average of 50 minutes of cordless cleaning.  It uses cyclonic WindTunnel 3 Technology to create 3 layers of suction to remove deep grime. We're thrilled with the suction for a cordless, though it still doesn't compete with the electric cleaning power of any of our top picks.  

The Hoover Air Cordless comes with all the right surface accessories and attachments, plus a washable filter and a unique headlight feature to make it easy to see dirt.  It's light and slim at under 10 pounds and and easy to maneuver too.  But owners agree that it just doesn't match the suction of a top corded upright, especially when using its attachment hose.  

If you're set on cordless freedom in a large home or a tidy small apartment, the Hoover Air is the best of a set of imperfect choices, but for the price we would choose unplugging and replugging the Shark Navigator a few times any day of the week.  Check Amazon Price >>


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