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The Best Upright Vacuums

Feb. 2, 2016
Product Comparisons, Shopping
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We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.

Based on 7,882 analyzed reviews

NerdWallet Shopping’s rankings of the best upright vacuums are based on our analysis of the opinions of experts and shoppers like you.

Picking a vacuum isn’t easy. We researched some of the most popular models on the market to make your decision less confusing. To narrow down the field, we looked at expert opinions from review sites such as The Sweethome, CNET and Good Housekeeping. Next, we analyzed user reviews to see what shoppers were saying about the various attributes of each vacuum.

We recognize that consumers look for different qualities in vacuums, so we ranked users’ observations on multiple features of top models, including their performance on carpet and hard surfaces.

Our analysis

Our rankings range from a low of 1 to a high of 10. Here’s how we devised them:

Overall score: The overall score reflects reviewers’ satisfaction with each vacuum in 10 categories, including how well it cleans across various surfaces, ease of use, durability and noise.

How well it cleans: This score reflects reviewers’ satisfaction with the vacuum’s performance on carpet and hard floors, including hardwood, bare, tile and vinyl. It also considers their satisfaction with the vacuum’s ability to clean up pet hair and debris.

Ease of use: This score reflects reviewers’ satisfaction with the vacuum’s ability to maneuver, including its weight and cord length; the process of emptying or cleaning it out; and whether it was considered easy to operate.

Here are our top upright vacuums ranked in order of overall score.

The vacuums

1. Oreck Insight

Whether you care most about a vacuum’s performance, ease of use, noise level or weight, the Oreck Insight will come out on top in nearly every category.


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Oreck Insight

  • Overall score: 9.60
  • How well it cleans: 9.8
  • Ease of use: 9.6

Buyers Like

  • Performs well on carpet, bare floors and stairs
  • Lightweight and easy to maneuver
  • Low noise level during operation

Buyers Dislike

  • Doesn’t pick up all pet hair

Read our full Oreck Insight review

2. Shark Rotator NV752

With positive reviews for performance, styling and maneuverability, the Shark Rotator NV752 vacuum’s strong suit is just about everything.


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Shark Rotator NV752

  • Overall score: 9.50
  • How well it cleans: 9.6
  • Ease of use: 8.8

Buyers Like

  • Performs well on carpet, bare floors and stairs
  • Picks up pet hair
  • Easy to clean

Buyers Dislike

  • Relatively heavy

Read our full Shark Rotator NV752 review

3. Dyson DC65 Animal

The DC65 Animal vacuum from Dyson earns high marks from users across a variety of categories, including performance on floors, maneuverability and ease of cleaning.


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Dyson DC65 Animal

  • Overall score: 9.19
  • How well it cleans: 9.4
  • Ease of use: 8.7

Buyers Like

  • Performs well on bare floors
  • Durable
  • Easy to maneuver

Buyers Dislike

  • Relatively heavy
  • Can be noisy during operation

Read our full Dyson DC65 Animal review

4. Oreck Commercial XL2100RHS

The Oreck Commercial XL2100RHS excels at its job, while also making the consumer’s job simple with its easy-to-clean design and easy-to-maneuver functionality.


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Oreck Commercial XL2100RHS

  • Overall score: 9.15
  • How well it cleans: 9.5
  • Ease of use: 9.3

Buyers Like

  • Performs well on bare floors and stairs
  • Lightweight and easy to maneuver
  • Easy to clean

Buyers Dislike

  • Relatively noisy during operation
  • Doesn’t perform well on carpet

5. Hoover WindTunnel Air UH72400

Lightweight and ideal for use on flooring, the Hoover WindTunnel Air UH72400 is a perfect upright vacuum choice for apartment dwellers.


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Hoover WindTunnel Air UH72400

  • Overall score: 9.10
  • How well it cleans: 9.1
  • Ease of use: 8.9

Buyers Like

  • Performs well on bare floors
  • Lightweight and easy to use
  • Easy to clean

Buyers Dislike

  • Doesn’t perform well on stairs
  • Customer service complaints

Read our full Hoover WindTunnel Air UH72400 review

6. Miele S7260 Cat and Dog

Users love the Miele S7260 Cat and Dog for its efficient pet hair pickup and strong suction across several floor types.


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Miele S7260 Cat and Dog

  • Overall score: 8.94
  • How well it cleans: 9.6
  • Ease of use: 7.6

Buyers Like

  • Picks up pet hair
  • Low noise level during operation
  • Performs well on carpet and bare floors

Buyers Dislike

  • Relatively heavy
  • Can be difficult to clean

7. Miele Jazz S7280

Based on its cleaning performance track record, the Miele Jazz S7280 is an ideal fit in single-story homes with carpet or bare floors.


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Miele Jazz S7280

  • Overall score: 8.78
  • How well it cleans: 9.6
  • Ease of use: 7.7

Buyers Like

  • Performs well on carpet and bare floors
  • Picks up pet hair
  • Easy to maneuver

Buyers Dislike

  • Doesn’t perform well on stairs
  • Can be difficult to clean

Read our full Miele Jazz S7280 review

8. Hoover WindTunnel Pet UH70935

It’s all in the name with the Hoover WindTunnel Pet UH70935, an upright vacuum capable of cleaning up pet hair from carpet, bare floors and stairs alike.


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Hoover WindTunnel Pet UH70935

  • Overall score: 8.74
  • How well it cleans: 9.7
  • Ease of use: 7.7

Buyers Like

  • Performs well on carpet, bare floors and stairs
  • Picks up pet hair

Buyers Dislike

  • Relatively heavy and can be difficult to maneuver

Read our full Hoover WindTunnel Pet UH70935 review

9. Dyson DC65 Multi Floor

Consumers choose the Dyson DC65 Multi Floor for a durable device that can tackle flat surfaces and stairs alike.


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Dyson DC65 Multifloor

  • Overall score: 8.71
  • How well it cleans: 9.2
  • Ease of use: 7.7

Buyers Like

  • Performs well on stairs
  • Easy to clean
  • Durable

Buyers Dislike

  • Can be noisy during operation
  • Can be difficult to maneuver

10. Shark NV501

Users praise the Shark NV501 for its lightweight, portable and easy-to-use design.


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Shark NV501

  • Overall score: 8.69
  • How well it cleans: 8.8
  • Ease of use: 8.8

Buyers Like

  • Lightweight and portable
  • Low noise level during operation

Buyers Dislike

  • Customer service complaints

Upright vacuum buying guide

Upright vacuums are arguably the most popular vacuum type. These traditional, all-in-one devices contain their motor and suction head in one freestanding design and are best suited for around-the-house cleaning. But although most upright vacuums look just about the same, they don’t all perform the same.

When buying an upright vacuum, these are the top things you should keep in mind:

Surface type
Is your home mostly carpeted? Does your lower level feature hardwood flooring? Do you have stairs? Before you settle on a vacuum, make note of the types of surfaces you’ll need your new device to clean.

Certain models boast their strongest suction on carpets, while others are strong performers on hard floors as well. To seamlessly transition between surfaces, look for a model with an on/off brush roll feature.

Bagged or bagless
Part of owning a vacuum is maintaining it, so before you pick a model, think about which maintenance method you prefer. Your options are either a bagged or bagless vacuum.

Upright models with bags are easy to clean, since you only need to replace the bag. However, they come with the extra cost of replacement bags. Bagless versions, on the other hand, don’t require bags, but emptying their dirt bins can get messy.

Portability
It’s important to take a quick look at a vacuum’s product specifications before you buy. In particular, look at the vacuum’s weight, and test it out if you can. Remember that you’ll be toting it around your home, so you don’t want something that’s too heavy, especially if you’ll be trundling it up and down stairs. Additionally, note the vacuum’s dimensions (height, width and so on); you don’t want to purchase a product that you won’t have room to store.

Also related to the product’s portability, take its power cord length into account. If the cord is too short, it might not be able to reach across your largest rooms.

Extras
Depending on how much you’re willing to spend, you can get an upright vacuum that’s loaded with extras. More advanced models include everything from headlights for vacuuming in dark areas to retractable power cords that eliminate the usual work of winding or unwinding. Before you make a purchase, look for these features and cross-compare extras across the different models you’re considering.

Tools
Finally, look for a vacuum with bonus tools. Some models include nozzles, brushes, attachments, filters, bags or other accessories with purchase. These are usually designed to help you clean those nooks and crannies that the vacuum’s head may be unable to reach. And if you’re a pet owner, you’ll usually be able to find some vacuums that boast pet-specific on-board tools.

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Courtney Jespersen is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: courtney@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @courtneynerd.