Best Upright Vacuum Cleaner 2021 Reviews: Expert Picks

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Short on time? These are the top picks for the best upright vacuum cleaner:
Best Filtration System Vacuum

Shark APEX Upright Vacuum Cleaner

  • Dual brush roll system
  • Excellent filtration
  • Large dust cup size
Best Value For Price Vacuum

Hoover MAXLife Pro Pet Vacuum Cleaner

  • Excellent suction
  • Durable performance
  • Super affordable

Did you know that the vacuum cleaner market is expected to grow around 3.2% annually?  Considering the demand, it can be hard to find the perfect one when there are so many options available. The key is to first identify the features you need from a vacuum, which will help narrow down your choices.

As far as vacuums go, cordless sticks and robot vacuums are convenient, but the best upright vacuum cleaners clean better and last longer. To help you find the best one available, we’ve narrowed it down to the top 5 picks just for you. By the end of this post, you should be able to buy the right one for your home.

Comparison Table

Dyson Ball Animal 2 Total Clean

Shark APEX Upright Vacuum Cleaner

Dyson Ball Animal 2

Shark Rotator NV501 Vacuum Cleaner

Hoover MAXLife Pro Pet Vacuum Cleaner

How to Choose the Best Upright Vacuum Cleaner

When it comes to choosing the best upright vacuum cleaner, there are several traits that separate them from the good ones. The addition of several features can be the difference between a clean home and a dirty one. With that said, these are the most important factors to consider:

1. Strong Cleaning Performance

A strong cleaning performance is arguably one of, if not the most, important factors when choosing the best upright vacuum cleaner. The most crucial factor is airflow, which comes from a powerful motor that creates a lot of suction, combined with an efficient intake path. Suction power is important too.

Higher suction power allows the vacuum to pick up heavier particles, like glass shards or sand. However, suction alone is not very effective at cleaning thick surfaces, so you need a brush roll to agitate something thick, like carpet fibers. The above features combine to deliver strong cleaning performance.

2. Filtration Effectiveness

Equally important with cleaning performance is filtration effectiveness. While some would argue that HEPA filters are not necessary, we beg to differ. A HEPA filtration system can remove 99.97 percent or more of airborne particles of 0.3 micron in diameter and can be useful for people with severe allergies and asthma.

It’s important to note, however, that the rest of the vacuum cleaner needs to be tightly sealed, too. If the gaskets around the HEPA filter aren’t perfectly tight, the filter itself is pointless. You don’t have to worry about controlling particle emissions, as our picks are excellent at keeping harmful particles at bay.

3. Corded Vacuum Model

For this best upright vacuum cleaners list, we’ve decided to go for corded models only. While the portable design of cordless vacuums makes them convenient, their small dust capacity and the battery limitations may not be suitable for all homes. Based on pure performance, corded vacuums are simply better.   

Additionally, we've found only a few cordless models that can match the cleaning power of corded vacuum cleaners. The best plug-in vacuum cleaners are almost always stronger cleaners than most other vacuum types. Best of all, corded vacuums have unlimited run time, perfect for homes of all sizes.

4. Excellent Durability

Last but not least, it’s important to invest in a vacuum cleaner made by reputable brands. We favored longer warranties, as well as brands with good customer service and products known for having a long lifespan. After all, you wouldn’t want to see your investment break down after a month or two now, would you?

The hallmark of an excellent product lies in its durability. There are only a handful of brands that are known to produce long-lasting vacuum cleaners, and we’ve included only the best products from so many available. Rest assured, you can have peace of mind knowing that your investment will not disappoint you.

Best Upright Vacuum Cleaner Reviews

1. Dyson Ball Animal 2 Total Clean

Our number one pick as the best upright vacuum cleaner goes to the Dyson Ball Animal 2 Total Clean Upright Vacuum Cleaner. This upright vacuum cleaner went through our rigorous testing and passed them with flying colors. Here are the key features that make the Dyson Ball Animal 2 our ultimate selection:

  • Superior Suction Power - tested and marketed as the strongest suction of any vacuum
  • Excellent Filtration - certified by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America
  • Self-Adjusting Cleaner Head - seals in suction and drives deep into carpet fibers
  • Extra Tools Included - six extra tools included for a total cleaning solution

What we like about this upright vacuum: Pardon us for raving about this vacuum so early on this list, but we’ve got to say, this upright vacuum is simply excellent. Not only is it extremely versatile, but it’s also very reliable as well. After all, it’s ranked number one in customer satisfaction for upright vacuums.

We love the six additional extra tools for complete cleaning. Personally, we are big fans of versatility because you can get so much cleaning done with just one tool. Whether you want to clean high ceilings, reach for dirt under the furniture, or polish hard floors, the Dyson Ball Animal 2 Total Clean can get the job done.

Included in the Dyson Ball Animal 2 Total Clean are additional cleaning tools for different purposes.

What about its cleaning performance: When it comes to deep cleaning, this upright vacuum is outstanding across all floor types. With its advanced self-adjusting cleaner head, it automatically adjusts between carpets and hard floors, sealing in suction across all floors to tackle your toughest cleaning tasks.

Moreover, when it comes to filtration effectiveness, the Dyson Ball Animal 2 Total Clean is certified by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Its whole-machine filtration ensures that allergens and bacteria are trapped inside the machine, not expelled back into the air, making it ideal for parents and pet-owners.

What we don’t like about this upright vacuum: To be completely honest with you, there’s nothing we don’t like about the Dyson Ball Animal 2 Total Clean. There’s plenty of reasons why this upright vacuum made it to the top of our list. We love it, our community loves it, and we think that you’ll love it too!

Final Verdict: If you want to buy the best upright vacuum cleaner, choose the Dyson Ball Animal 2 Total Clean. In terms of value, it comes with six extra tools and a tool bag for removing fine dirt from hard-to-reach places. And to top it all off, you can enjoy Dyson's free 5 year warranty that includes parts and labor.

2. Shark APEX Upright Vacuum Cleaner

Coming in at a close second for the best upright vacuum cleaner is the Shark APEX Upright Vacuum Cleaner. The Shark brand needs no introduction in the vacuum cleaner industry as its one of the top names available. What makes Shark APEX Upright Vacuum Cleaner number two? These are its key features:

  • DuoClean Technology - dual brushroll cleans carpets and floors for a polished look
  • Excellent Filtration - advanced anti-allergen complete seal technology plus HEPA filter
  • Generous Capacity - gathers more dust and dirt with 1.5 quarts of dust cup capacity
  • Self-Cleaning Brushroll - reduced hair entanglement due to Shark’s unique design

What we like about this upright vacuum: The Shark APEX Upright Vacuum Cleaner is an innovative vacuum cleaner. What do we mean by innovative? To start, we think that DuoClean technology is excellent. This dual brushroll system packs a punch to clean both floors and carpets efficiently. 

We think that the best feature of this vacuum cleaner, however, is the detachable canister. This makes vacuuming stairs and hard-to-reach places 10x easier. Sure, you could buy a smaller handheld, but it’s nice knowing that the Shark APEX Upright Vacuum Cleaner is versatile enough to clean different areas.

What about its cleaning performance: When it comes to cleaning performance, the DuoClean technology is designed to grab large particles, pull in piles, and directly engage hard floors for a beautiful, polished look. You can find two brushes in the APEX, one bristle brush and one soft brush. Both combine to clean superbly.

On top of the amazing DuoClean technology, the HEPA filtration system works great to filter the smallest of fine dust particles. Additionally, the self-cleaning brushroll technology can help reduce annoying hair entanglement that everyone wants to avoid taking care of. Oh, and don't forget its long 30 feet cord length.

What we don’t like about this chair: The biggest challenge for new users is getting used to the swivel mechanism. At first use, you may feel like moving forward is easy, but pulling back requires a bit of effort. If you have used vacuums that swivel before, you will have no problems with the Shark APEX Cleaner.

Final Verdict: Overall, the Shark APEX Upright Vacuum Cleaner has exceeded all our expectations in terms of quality as one of the best upright vacuum cleaners. You’ll be happy to have bought this upright vacuum because this might be one of the best versatile models you will own in a very long time.

3. Dyson Ball Animal 2

For number three on our list, we go back to the Dyson brand. This time, we include the original Dyson Ball Animal into our list. With the original Radial Cyclone Technology, this upright vacuum provides superior suction power. Here are the key features of the Dyson Ball Animal 2 Upright Vacuum Cleaner:

  • Superior Suction Power - tested and marketed as the strongest suction of any vacuum
  • Excellent Filtration - certified by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America
  • Self-Adjusting Cleaner Head - seals in suction and drives deep into carpet fibers
  • Easy Bin Emptying - just push the button to release and no need to touch the dirt

What we like about this upright vacuum: Just like the top pick on number one, this Dyson Ball Animal 2 is powered by the same superior suction capabilities, making it ideal for parents and pet owners. In fact, both the original and Total Clean version is advertised as having the most powerful suction available.

The difference between the Total Clean edition, however, is that this Dyson Ball Animal 2 original edition does not come with six additional cleaning tools. The extra tools are designed to help you clean different areas and surfaces, hence the name, Total Clean. Nevertheless, both models suck dirt superbly. 

What about its cleaning performance: Just like the Total Clean model, the Dyson Ball Animal 2 is excellent in terms of flexibility. It has an advanced self-adjusting cleaner head that automatically adjusts between carpets and hard floors, and a long-reach hose to clean ceilings and under furniture smoothly.

When it comes to filtration effectiveness, the Dyson Ball Animal 2 is also certified by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Additionally, we like the hygienic bin emptying system. If you want to empty the dustbin, simply push the button to release, without having to touch any of the dirt. Now that’s easy!

What we don’t like about this upright vacuum: One drawback to this original version is that it does not come with the six additional cleaning tools (which include mattress tool, stair tool, reach-under tool, and many others) for a more complete cleaning. If you want the complete version, get the Total Clean edition.

Final Verdict: Just like the Total Clean edition, you can enjoy Dyson's free 5 year warranty that includes parts and labor. If you don’t need all the bells and whistles, and want to own an upright vacuum cleaner simply based on its superior suction power, buy the Dyson Ball Animal 2. It is simply outstanding.

4. Shark Rotator NV501 Vacuum Cleaner

So, what’s on number four? This time we go back to the vacuum brand that is near and dear to our hearts. The Shark Rotator NV501 Vacuum Cleaner is our pick as one of the best upright vacuums due to its lightweight design and excellent maneuverability. These are the key features of the Shark Rotator NV501:

  • Powerful and Portable - powerful suction inside a lightweight and portable design
  • Excellent Filtration - advanced anti-allergen complete seal technology plus HEPA filter
  • Generous Capacity - gathers more dust and dirt with 1.3 quarts of dust cup capacity
  • Lightweight and Quiet - ultra lightweight design and quiet operation for easy cleaning

What we like about this upright vacuum: Our first impression about the Shark Rotator NV501 is how lightweight and portable this vacuum is. It’s no surprise that this is one of the most popular upright vacuums in the market today. Moreover, for something so light, it can carry up to 1.3 quarts of dust at a time.

When it comes to maneuvering, this vacuum is as easy as it can be. Thanks to Shark’s rotator technology, you can have full control of steering the vacuum around furniture and other obstacles. You can also easily clean floors, stairs, and even high ceilings. All in all, it is optimized for easy maneuverability.

What about its cleaning performance: A HEPA filter is equally important as suction power, and this Shark Rotator vacuum did not disappoint. Not only does it capture tiny particles well, but it’s ultra lightweight. But don't let its lightweight appearance fool you, as it can suck the heck out of most surfaces easily.

In fact, one user in our community had a 4-year old child who broke a glass cup in the bathroom. After picking up the big shards, she used the Shark Rotator NV501 to suck the tiny shards. The result was nothing short of spectacular, as every tiny glass shard was picked up by this Shark vacuum effectively.

What we don’t like about this upright vacuum: It’s hard to hate on something so functional like this product. However, one drawback (if you can even call it one) is that the dust cup capacity is only 1.3 quarts. You can find bigger dust cups. Then again, for something so lightweight, it’s hard to complain.

Final Verdict: Anyone would be proud to have the Shark Rotator NV501 Upright Vacuum Cleaner to be their trusty home companion, particularly because of its excellent maneuverability and lightweight design. And to top it all off, you’ll be surprised that this excellent vacuum is available at an affordable price.

5. Hoover MAXLife Pro Pet Swivel Vacuum Cleaner

Last but not least, the Hoover MAXLife Pro Pet Swivel Vacuum Cleaner makes it into our list for being the best value for its price upright vacuum cleaner. It is one of the most underrated options due to its value. In addition to its budget-friendly price, here are the key features of the Hoover MAXLife Pro Pet:

  • Durable Performance - the enhanced MAXLife System delivers longer lasting suction
  • Excellent Filtration - HEPA filter captures and contains 99% of dust and allergens
  • All-Surface Cleaning - steer around furniture and tight spaces on carpet and hard floors
  • Large Dirt Cup - a large and easy empty dirt cup means less trips to the trash

What we like about this upright vacuum: For our final entry, we have a new brand taking center stage. The Hoover brand is well-known among pet owners and this model is no exception. Built to easily get to all the dirty places, this powerful vacuum steers effortlessly, delivering powerful cleaning on every floor type.

Personally, we like the MAXLife technology as it delivers longer lasting suction without regular filter maintenance. The benefit of the MAXLife System is that not only does it clean with strong suction, but it also performs like new for 3X longer as well. When it comes to durability, this vacuum is hard to beat.

What about its cleaning performance: For such an affordable vacuum, the Hoover MAXLife Pro Pet Vacuum offers one of the best suction performance in the business. The expertly designed cleaner head steers around furniture and into tight spaces on carpet and hard floors, leaving no stubborn mess behind.

Personally, we were amazed at the power of this Hoover vacuum. It picked up so much hair and dirt within the first few minutes. Additionally, the pet tool attachment was outstanding in getting stubborn hair that sticks to fabric. It certainly works like magic for the insanely low price! No wonder it’s popular on Amazon.

What we don’t like about this upright vacuum: This is one of those products that we have trouble finding what we hate about it. Not only is it affordable, but it’s fitted with enough features to provide all the essentials. It’s sleek, it’s powerful, it’s functional, and it’s not pricey. What more can you ask for?

Final Verdict: When it comes to the best value for its price, the Hoover MAXLife Pro Pet Swivel Vacuum is hard to beat. Many pet owners rave about this wonderful cleaning machine due to its sleek design and superior suction. You’ll be surprised that this amazing vacuum is sold at a ridiculously low price point.

Best Upright Vacuum Cleaner Honorable Mention

Bissell Cleanview Swivel Rewind Vacuum Cleaner

Kudos to the Bissell Cleanview Swivel Rewind Vacuum Cleaner for almost making it into the top 5 of the best upright vacuum cleaners. It’s a functional upright vacuum fitted that has both lightweight design and easy maneuverability. After all, there’s a reason why many compare the Bissell and Shark brands often

One other thing that impressed us is the edge-to-edge cleaning. When running this vacuum parallel to and along the wall, it sucked every bit of debris. Soft brushes stick out on each side of the brush roller head, pushing dirt away from the baseboard so that the vacuum can suck them up. Good feature and well executed.

As far as features go, it’s lightweight and maneuverable. It has a ball swivel-like action like a Dyson, which allows you to turn the vacuum head with the twist of your wrist. However, it has some glide resistance on plush carpet (but not on hard floors). Not that we dislike the vacuum. Just an observation.

The only concern we have about this vacuum is the absence of a HEPA filtration system. Compared to other Bissell models, the SmarSeal Allergen System is not available in this vacuum. While the Bissell Cleanview can boast its cleaning prowess, it is not suitable for pet owners and allergy sufferers.  

To summarize, the Bissell Cleanview Swivel Rewind is a reliable vacuum cleaner, mainly due to its low price. However, the absence of HEPA filtration, which is a key requirement, hinders this vacuum from reaching a higher position on this list. Not to say this is a bad upright vacuum, it’s just not complete.

Final Verdict

It’s been fun for our team to carefully research and test the best upright vacuum cleaners. We know first-hand how important it is to choose the right tools when cleaning a house. A clean house guarantees both a healthy family and happy pets as well. With that said, here’s a recap of our comprehensive list.

The best upright vacuum cleaner is the Dyson Ball Animal 2 Total Clean. If you want to own the best of the best, this vacuum is it. Built with superior suction technology, it is also well-equipped with different cleaning tools for an all-around complete cleaning. Buy this one if you want the number one vacuum. 

If you’re looking for the best filtration effectiveness, then the Shark APEX Upright Vacuum Cleaner is your best bet. On top of the DuoClean technology, the HEPA filtration system works great to filter fine dust particles. Moreover, the self-cleaning brushroll technology saves you time and effort.

However, if budget is your number one priority, then buy the Hoover MAXLife Pro Pet Swivel Vacuum Cleaner. Don’t let the cheap price fool you, as it ticks all of our boxes when it comes to looking for the best upright vacuum cleaner. After all, there are plenty of good reasons why many rave about this product.

We hope you find value in our post. We hope you can find the best tools to clean your house effectively and efficiently. After all, achieving a clean and comfortable home is about finding the right tools to help you do your job with the least effort possible. Here’s to an amazing day at your beautiful house. 🙂

See also: Vacuum Cleaners