We Tested the Best Upright Vacuums of 2023, by PEOPLE
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We Tested the Best Upright Vacuums of 2023, by PEOPLE

Mar 14, 2023

The Shark Navigator Lift-Away Deluxe is the winner

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When it comes to keeping your home spick and span, you really can't go wrong with a traditional upright vacuum. This type of vacuum is known for its incredible suction power, large dust bin, and longevity. According to cleaning expert Hailey Becnel, an upright vacuum is generally easy to maneuver, endlessly versatile, and usually cost-effective. Plus, you don't have to worry about the battery dying mid-clean since upright vacuums are usually corded.

To determine which upright vacs live up to their claims, we tested 15 models firsthand. We made several messes on carpet, tile, and hardwood to see which upright vacuums could clean them up quickly, and then we took them home to test them out in our daily lives. We found the best bagged and bagless models, as well as the best upright vacuums to suck up pet hair and more.

These are the best upright vacuums PEOPLE Tested, including several options under $150.


Effective on all surfaces

HEPA filter

Large, easy-to-empty canister

Helpful attachments

Not ideal for stairs

Harder to push on carpet

The Shark Navigator Deluxe was a dream from the moment it came out of the box. This upright vacuum was super easy to assemble — the instructions were straightforward, and there were only three parts to click together. This vacuum performed remarkably well on all flooring surfaces (including hard floors, grouted tile, and carpet), effortlessly sucking up all the debris and hair in one or two passes.

It also transitioned smoothly between surfaces and was easy to maneuver under furniture and around sharp corners. That said, it was slightly harder to push on high-pile carpet and a little cumbersome on stairs, but this is often the case with upright vacuums.

Vacuuming upholstered furniture was a breeze with the pet brush and crevice tool. Thanks to the built-in HEPA filter, the Shark Navigator Deluxe also traps and removes dust, pollen, dander, and other allergens from your indoor hair.

The noise level was about average — not excessively loud, but also not ideal for holding a conversation. We found emptying the dirt canister to be easy enough. It detaches without a fuss and empties without making another mess. Considering the powerful suction, user-friendly design, and overall versatility, we think this vacuum is fairly priced and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to anyone in the market for an upright model.

Price at Time of Publish: $185 (orig. $219.99)

Dimensions: 45.5 x 15 x 11.5 inches | Dirt Cup Size: 3.4 liters | Cord Length: 25 feet | Attachments: Pet brush, duster, crevice tool, long-reach hose, floor brush nozzle


Great value

Good suction power

On-unit attachment storage

Not ideal for high-pile carpet

Slightly cumbersome

On a budget? The Hart Pro is an excellent choice. Though a couple of parts were wedged tightly into styrofoam, this vacuum was easy enough to assemble and set up. It had good suction power and moved pretty effortlessly on most surfaces. While it took a bit more elbow grease to roll it back and forth over high-pile carpet, it still picked up almost all the debris and hair in just a few passes.

We thought the Hart Pro transitioned well across different surfaces and was generally easy to maneuver. But at over 17 pounds, it's on the heavier side for an upright model. This makes it slightly cumbersome, especially when using it on stairs. Still, the cord length was plenty long, and the on-unit storage was really handy when swapping out the attachments. All in all, this vacuum cleaner is an incredible value. For this much suction power at only $100, we recommend it without hesitation.

Price at Time of Publish: $99 (orig. $129)

Dimensions: Not listed | Dirt Cup Size: Not listed | Cord Length: Not listed | Attachments: Crevice tool, pet upholstery tool


Easy to set up

Useful attachments

Works well on stairs

Very loud

Somewhat bulky

Becnel says lightweight models are ideal, like the Shark Rotator, which weighs just over 14 pounds. This upright vacuum was incredibly simple to set up — we didn't even need to look at the instructions to figure out how the parts snapped together. Though it's not as compact as others we tried, which makes it harder to reach under furniture, we found it generally easy to maneuver. And the attachments worked well for cleaning hard-to-reach areas.

The Shark Rotator sucked up everything in its path on all flooring surfaces and even stairs. It's very loud, though, so don't expect to be able to hold conversations while it's running. The dirt cup is larger than most (nearly 4 liters) and a piece of cake to empty. This vacuum also has a HEPA filter to help clean your indoor air. While we wouldn't call it budget-friendly, we think the price tag is reasonable, considering the high-quality, efficient design.

Price at Time of Publish: $247.44 (orig. $299.99)

Dimensions: 46 x 12 x 12 inches | Dirt Cup Size: 3.8 liters | Cord Length: 30 feet | Attachments: Dusting brush, pet brush, wide pet tool, straight suction nozzle


Good at removing hair

HEPA filter

Lightweight and quiet

Hard-to-reach power button

Not as effective on hard floors

Got pets at home? The Shark Navigator Swivel Pro might be your best bet. This vacuum took about seven minutes to set up — the process would have been quicker if the parts weren't individually wrapped in plastic. It did a great job picking up hair and other types of debris, including coffee grounds and rice. While it wasn't as effective on hard floors, it worked like a champ on both low- and high-pile carpet. And the attachments made removing hair from upholstery a breeze.

This vacuum also has a HEPA filter, which helps capture pet dander, dust, pollen, and other allergens from your air. Weighing just over 13 pounds, the Swivel Pro is one of the lightest options we tried. It's also notably quiet, so it probably won't disrupt others talking or watching TV in the same room. We didn't like the location of the power button, as you have to bend down to turn it on and off, but considering the overall performance and feature-rich design, we think the price is right on point.

Price at Time of Publish: $192.85

Dimensions: 45.5 x 12 x 9.5 inches | Dirt Cup Size: 3.8 liters | Cord Length: 25 feet | Attachments: Crevice tool, dust brush, turbo brush


Several useful tools

Convenient handheld attachment

Removes airborne allergens

Not ideal for stairs

Hair gets stuck in filter

We also liked the Kenmore AllergenSeal Vacuum. As the name suggests, it leans on a HEPA filter to remove dust, dander, pollen, and other allergens from the air you breathe. This upright vacuum did an excellent job cleaning hard floors, grouted tile, and carpet. Though the main brush roll was hard to maneuver on stairs, the "Lift-Up" handheld attachment makes it more doable.

It comes with several other useful attachments, too. We loved how well the upholstery and crevice tools worked for cleaning furniture, and the pet tool is perfect for picking up hair. There's also a dusting brush and a combination tool that removes dust, hair, and other debris from hard-to-reach places. This vacuum has a long 30-foot power cord and a decent-sized dirt cup. Emptying the canister is pretty easy, but hair can get caught in the filter, and you may have to get your hands dirty to dislodge it. All things considered, this is an effective mid-range vacuum cleaner that gets the job done.

Price at Time of Publish: $139.99 (orig. $149.99)

Dimensions: 45.5 x 11 x 10.5 inches | Dirt Cup Size: 2 liters | Cord Length: 30 feet | Attachments: Combination tool, upholstery tool, crevice tool, pet tool, dusting brush


Reasonably priced

Easy setup

Mess-free emptying

No HEPA filter

Not ideal for stairs

If you have tile floors at home, we recommend the Bissell CleanView Swivel Rewind. This vacuum took almost no time to set up — all you have to do is pop on the handle. It performed really well on hard floors, particularly grouted tile, removing all the debris and hair during our tests. It also did a decent job cleaning medium-pile rugs and carpets. While it's easy to maneuver on flat surfaces, it's somewhat heavy compared to a stick vac, which makes it a little harder to move up and down stairs.

The CleanView Swivel is about average in terms of noise level, and emptying the dirt canister is an easy, mess-free process. Bear in mind this vacuum cleaner doesn't have a HEPA filter. But considering the simple setup process and all-around effective design, we think the lower-than-average price tag makes it worth buying.

Price at Time of Publish: $135.09 (orig. $175.09)

Dimensions: 46 x 14 x 13 inches | Dirt Cup Size: 1 liter | Cord Length: 27 feet | Attachments: Dusting brush, crevice tool, motorized brush

People / Rachel Marek


Powerful suction

Easy to maneuver

HEPA filter

Can convert to a handheld vac


Somewhat loud

This upright Shark vacuum is extremely powerful and easy to use. With just four pieces to connect and straightforward instructions, the Shark Vertex took under five minutes to set up. This upright vacuum was exceptionally good at picking up all types of debris, though larger pieces like dried rice required a second pass. It worked well on multiple types of flooring (though it struggled a bit on grouted tile) and transitioned smoothly between surfaces.

The pet and crevice tools came in handy when picking up hair and vacuuming upholstery. You can also detach the base and use it as a handheld vacuum to clean shelves, countertops, curtains, or furniture. This vacuum is pretty loud, which isn't really surprising, considering the powerful motor. We found it easy to maneuver, thanks to the long power cord, pivoting head, and smooth, self-propelled roller. It also has a large dirt canister and a built-in HEPA filter for removing dust and dander from your indoor air.

Price at Time of Publish: $335.99

Dimensions: 46.5 x 15 x 12 inches | Dirt Cup Size: 3.8 liters | Cord Length: 30 feet | Attachments: Pet tool, dust brush, pet power brush


Works well on medium- and high-pile

Easy to push

Convenient handheld attachment

Small dirt cup


If you have wall-to-wall carpeting at home, go with the Shark Apex. This vacuum was easy to assemble, though unboxing and removing the plastic from the individually wrapped parts took some time. There are three settings for different flooring types, which you'll have to change before moving it onto a new surface. It worked well enough on hard floors but performed best on carpet, especially medium- and high-pile.

Not only that, but the Apex was easy to maneuver, pushing back and forth with minimal effort. The handheld "Lift-Away" attachment was useful for cleaning stairs, and the crevice tool helped us remove debris from furniture upholstery. One thing to note is that the dirt canister is on the smaller side for an upright model, but it's still big enough to get you through a single vacuuming session. Other than that, the price is a bit steep, but it might be worth the investment if you're looking for an effective solution for cleaning a high-pile carpet or rug.

Price at Time of Publish: $380.56 (orig. $449.99)

Dimensions: 46 x 12 x 11 inches | Dirt Cup Size: 0.8 liters | Cord Length: 30 feet | Attachments: Crevice tool, upholstery tool


Easy-to-change bags

HEPA filter

Extra-long power cord

Screwdriver required for setup

Heavier than average

For those who prefer traditional bagged over bagless designs, we recommend the Kenmore Floor Care Elite. This vacuum took about 10 minutes to set up because it calls for a Phillips screwdriver to attach the parts. But once we had it assembled, we were impressed with the overall design. It has two modes (floor and carpet) and did a good job of picking up virtually all the debris during our tests, including dried rice grains and hair. (The hair got caught in the rotator brush, but it was easy enough to remove with scissors.) It also has a HEPA filter that helps eliminate allergens from your air.

The Kenmore Floor Care Elite moves around with ease and has an extra-long 35-foot power cord. Instead of a reusable canister, this upright vacuum uses disposable bags. While changing them out is a simple process, we should note it's an added expense, as you have to keep more on hand. Weighing over 21 pounds, this is one of the heavier vacuums we tested, so it's not the best for cleaning stairs. But in the end, we were satisfied with its performance and think it's reasonably priced.

Price at Time of Publish: $319.99

Dimensions: 46 x 14 x 14 inches | Dirt Cup Size: N/A | Cord Length: 35 feet | Attachments: Dust brush, crevice tool, bare floor tool, extension wand

People / Rachel Marek


Powerful suction on hard floors and carpet

Extra-long power cord

Five-year warranty

Confusing setup

Somewhat heavy

If you're open to investing in a higher-end model, Dyson is the way to go. The setup process for the Ball Animal 3 Extra was, unfortunately, not very straightforward. The directions have pictures showing how everything connects, but without written instructions, it just wasn't intuitive, but once you get this upright vacuum assembled, you'll be impressed. This powerhouse appliance does excellent work on both hard floors and carpets — effortlessly picking up dirt, coffee grounds, dry cereal, and hair — and transitioning smoothly between surfaces.

This vacuum has an extra-long 35-foot power cord. It maneuvers well into corners and around furniture, and the attachments help you get into small nooks and crannies. That said, it's pretty heavy, which makes it hard to move up and down stairs. The noise level is about average — not quiet but also not deafeningly loud. Though the price is undoubtedly steep, you can count on Dyson for reliable quality, plus it's backed by a five-year warranty.

Price at Time of Publish: $399.99 (orig. $499.99)

Dimensions: 42 x 15.5 x 11 inches | Dirt Cup Size: 2.1 liters | Cord Length: 35 feet | Attachments: Combination tool, stair tool, turbine tool, grooming tool

Upright vacuums are the most common type of vacuum cleaner due to their versatility and reliable suction power. As the name suggests, they stand upright and are operated from a handle on the top.

Cordless stick vacuums (which we also tested) stand upright, but they're usually much slimmer and lighter than traditional upright vacuums. This makes stick vacuums easy to maneuver and handy for accessing hard-to-reach areas. The main downside to cordless stick vacuums is that they run on batteries, so you have to recharge them after about 20 minutes of use.

Most of today's upright vacuums are bagless, meaning they have a removable canister you empty each time it fills up with dirt. With a bagged model, you can easily replace the dust bags when they fill up. But since you have to keep extras on hand, it's an added expense and somewhat wasteful because you throw out the used bags.

"Most upright vacuums come with an assortment of attachments for upholstery and small crevices," says Becnel. For instance, the Kenmore AllergenSeal Lift-Up Upright Vacuum includes a combination tool, upholstery tool, crevice tool, pet tool, and dusting brush. These interchangeable pieces make it easy to access hard-to-reach areas and clean surfaces other than floors, like furniture upholstery, curtains, or car interiors.

Many upright vacuums have built-in HEPA filters, like the Shark Navigator Lift-Away Deluxe Upright Vacuum. "These are so important because they capture such a large amount of allergens in your home," says Becnel.

HEPA stands for "high-efficiency particulate air." As the EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) explains, these filters trap over 99.9 percent of dust, dander, pollen, mold, bacteria, and other microscopic particles floating around your indoor air.

The best time to buy an upright vacuum is in the spring. Manufacturers run sales in line with consumers' "spring cleaning" spirit, and they often need to get rid of their current inventory to make room for new releases, which usually come out in June.

You'll also likely see discounts on upright vacuums during the holidays (spanning from Thanksgiving through New Year's Day), particularly on or around Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Additionally, many vacuum brands have sales on other bank holidays, including Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day.

According to our tests, the Shark Vertex Powered Lift-Away Vacuum is the easiest upright model to push, even on medium- and high-pile carpet. We also found the Bissell CleanView Swivel Rewind Pet Reach Vacuum Cleaner easy to maneuver on flat surfaces, though it was a little cumbersome when cleaning stairs.

In our tests, we found the Shark Navigator Lift-Away Deluxe Upright Vacuum to have the most powerful suction. It quickly and effortlessly sucks up all types of debris in one or two passes. The Dyson Ball Animal 3 Extra also has impressive suction power, though it's a more expensive option.

This is ultimately a matter of preference. Upright vacuums are generally more powerful, and since they usually plug into a wall, you can use them as long as you need to without worrying about the battery dying. Stick vacuums, on the other hand, are slimmer and lighter-weight, making them more portable and a little easier to maneuver. But most only run for about 20 minutes before needing to be recharged.

After researching today's best upright vacuums, we selected 15 of the highest-rated models to try firsthand. Upon unboxing them, we timed how long it took to assemble each vacuum. After weighing them, we switched them on and used a decibel reader to measure the noise output.

Next, we ran the vacuums on various flooring surfaces (including grouted tile, hard floors, and carpet with different pile heights), as well as on furniture and stairs. They were evaluated for how quickly and effectively they picked up various debris, such as hair, dirt, coffee grounds, and rice. We noted how easy they were to push, lift, and move around tight corners. Finally, we tried out all the attachments and emptied the dirt cups or changed the bags.

The upright vacuums were awarded a score for ease of setup, noise level, effectiveness, maneuverability, portability, ease of emptying, and value. With effectiveness accounting for roughly half the total score, those with the highest ratings were selected for this roundup.

In compiling this list of best upright vacuum cleaners, freelance writer and editor Theresa Holland drew on the experiences of our team of product testers, countless online user reviews, and an interview with cleaning expert Hailey Becnel.

We created the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval to help you find the very best products for your life. We use our unique methodology to test products in three labs across the country and with our network of home testers to determine their effectiveness, durability, ease of use, and so much more. Based on the results, we rate and recommend products so you can find the right one for your needs.

But we don't stop there: We also regularly re-review the categories in which we've awarded the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval — because the best product of today might not be the best of tomorrow. And by the way, companies can never buy our recommendation: Their products must earn it, fair and square.

In short, PEOPLE Tested provides recommendations you can trust — every day, every purchase.


Price at Time of Publish: $185 (orig. $219.99) Dimensions: Dirt Cup Size: Cord Length: Attachments: Price at Time of Publish: $99 (orig. $129) Dimensions: Dirt Cup Size: Cord Length: Attachments: Price at Time of Publish: $247.44 (orig. $299.99) Dimensions: Dirt Cup Size: Cord Length: Attachments: Price at Time of Publish: $192.85 Dimensions: Dirt Cup Size: Cord Length: Attachments: Price at Time of Publish: $139.99 (orig. $149.99) Dimensions: Dirt Cup Size: Cord Length: Attachments: Price at Time of Publish: $135.09 (orig. $175.09) Dimensions: Dirt Cup Size: Cord Length: Attachments: Price at Time of Publish: $335.99 Dimensions: Dirt Cup Size: Cord Length: Attachments: Price at Time of Publish: $380.56 (orig. $449.99) Dimensions: Dirt Cup Size: Cord Length: Attachments: Price at Time of Publish: $319.99 Dimensions: Dirt Cup Size: Cord Length: Attachments: Price at Time of Publish: $399.99 (orig. $499.99) Dimensions: Dirt Cup Size: Cord Length: Attachments: