5 Best Upright Vacuum Cleaner Reviews of 2017

Written by James Hall | 0 Comments| Last Updated: April 15, 2017

Budget
Zanussi ZAN2000A Zanussi ZAN2000A
  • Power: 1100W
  • Dust Capacity: 2 litres
  • Filter: Washable
  • Price: £
  • Very powerful yet available for a budget price.
SEBO Automatic X1.1 SEBO Automatic X1.1 ECO
  • Power: 1100W
  • Dust Capacity: 5.3 litre
  • Filter: S-Class
  • Price: £££
  • Powerful, straightforward and great filtration. Our #1 upright.
Vax U84-Al-Pe Vax U84-Al-Pe
  • Power: 800W
  • Dust Capacity: 1.5 litres
  • Filter: HEPA
  • Price: ££
  • Turbo tool for pet hair and lift-away cylinder for stairs.
Dyson DC40 Multi Floor Ball Dyson DC40 Multi Floor
  • Power: 1100W
  • Dust Capacity: 1.6 litres
  • Filter: Washable
  • Price: £££
  • Root cyclone technology and ball design. A powerful vacuum.

 

Upright vacuum cleaners are probably the most popular type of vacuum in the UK – and for good reason. They are powerful and versatile, while being available for very reasonable prices.

A downside to this popularity is that there are literally hundreds of uprights available – which can make it hard to choose. Many appear to have similar features, yet the prices vary wildly. That’s why we’ve created listings of the best upright vacuum cleaners in this section: to help you make an informed decision depending on your personal requirements and budget.

Intro to Upright Vacuums

So what makes upright vacuums, or upright hoovers as they are known in the UK, so popular? The best uprights combine high suction power with an ability to quickly clean large carpets. They have powerful brushes to stir up and remove dirt and hair from the carpet, and also tend to have a reasonably large dust capacity (although often not as large as cylinders).

In addition, there has been a trend in recent years towards adding advanced features to upright vacuums. Brands such as Dyson, Bosch, Vax and many more have been forced to innovate, largely due to increased competition and new power regulations, by adding settings and features that wouldn’t have been available just a few years ago. These include an off switch for the brush (for cleaning hard floors), dirt sensors and wider cleaning paths.

That doesn’t mean an upright vacuum is always the best choice though. If you need to easily clean stairs and under furniture, the separated nature of a cylinder vacuum is more convenient. Cordless vacuums, many of which are still technically uprights but with reduced power and no cord, also trump standard uprights in terms of convenience and manoeuvrability.

Aside from the type of vacuum, you should consider a variety of other factors, such as the filtration system, included tools and whether the vacuum comes with a warranty. It’s also vital to research the brand before you buy – some are known for high-quality, reliable vacuums. Others are not!

We want to help you find the best upright for your budget, which is why we’ve listed our top five rated models below. Further down this page you’ll also find a full guide to choosing an upright, including factors such as price, suction power and many more. We also have an entire section of upright vacuum reviews, so if you’ve got your eye on a particular model try searching for it using the search bar above.

Editor’s Note: This section is about the best mains-powered models. If you are looking for a cordless vacuum, check out our cordless section instead.

SpotlessVacuum.co.uk's Top Upright Vacuums

5 Best Uprights of 2017 – Which Models Made Our List?

Vax U84-AL-Pe Review1. Vax U84-Al-Pe Air Lift Steerable Pet

The Vax U84-Al-Pe Air Lift Steerable Pets name might be a bit of a mouthful, but it’s an excellent model that provides great value for money. It comes with a HEPA filter to prevent dirt and dust escaping into the air, an easy-to-manoeuvre design, and the ability to easily clean both stairs and ceilings via the hose.

One of the best features of the U84-Al-Pe is the Turbo Tool. This is a powerful attachment to the hose that combines a fast brush with excellent suction, making it effective at getting rid of pet hair from furniture and other surfaces.

The Vax U84-Al-Pe Air Lift has received high ratings from many buyers on shopping sites. One reviewer writes that it looks “really smart in silver and pale blue” and that the suction power is “phenomenal.” Another reviewer writes that she loves how versatile the vacuum is, as it can be used on upholstery, carpets, hard floors, stairs and ceilings with its attachments.

Overall, the U84-Al-Pe is one of the best upright vacuum cleaner models in its price range. While we would have liked to have seen an automatic retracting cord, this is a minor complaint compared to the versatility of the model. Click here to read our full review.

Overview:

  • Price Range: ££
  • Power: 800W
  • Weight: 6kg
  • Dust Capacity: 1.5 litres
  • Filter Type: HEPA

Key Features:

  • Powerful suction means the U84-Al-Pe is great for cleaning pet hair.
  • The lightweight cylinder lifts away from the casing for cleaning stairs or your car.
  • Turbo Tool, complete with motorised brush, for cleaning up pet hair.

View Price

Zanussi ZAN2000A Review2. Zanussi ZAN2000A AirSpeed Lite

The Zanussi ZAN2000A AirSpeed Lite is a popular model with a 2 litre dust capacity. It’s a relatively cheap upright vacuum cleaner compared to the Vax listed above, with an RRP of £69.99, yet has still achieved a B rating for both energy efficiency and carpet dust pick up.

According to Zanussi, the ZAN2000A is built with “multi cyclonic” technology. This stops the filters becoming clogged as often, which means the vacuum can provide greater suction power between cleans. The Zanussi ZAN2000A is also a bagless model for extra convenience.

Reviews have been very positive for the Zanussi ZAN2000A, with hundreds of buyers awarding it four or five stars on shopping sites (at the time of writing in March 2016). Many reviewers praise the lightweight design of the Zanussi, along with the excellent suction considering the low price.

If you’re looking for a budget upright with the power to rival more expensive options, the Zanussi ZAN2000A could be an excellent choice. There are some downsides, such as the weaker suction through the hose and worrying reports of damage to vinyl flooring, but for basic carpet cleaning it’s one of the best cheap uprights around. For more information, click for our review of the Zanussi ZAN2000A.

Overview:

  • Price Range: £
  • Power: 1100W
  • Weight: 4.1kg
  • Dust Capacity: 2 litres
  • Filter Type: Washable

Key Features:

  • Excellent suction power for such a reasonably priced upright.
  • Washable filter to save money buying new filters.
  • Amongst the best lightweight corded uprights at just 4.1kg.

View Price

Dyson DC40 Multi Floor Ball Vacuum Cleaner Review3. Dyson DC40 Multi Floor

Dyson is certainly a brand that needs no introduction, and the DC40 is one of their flagship upright vacuums (even though Dyson have released many newer models, we’ve yet to be convinced they are better than the DC40). It’s a powerful model with “Root Cyclone” technology to prevent suction loss, ball technology for extra manoeuvrability and a lightweight design.

As the name suggests, the DC40 is built to be used on any floor – including hard floors and carpet.  This is due to the cleaner head which automatically adjusts depending on the type of floor you’re cleaning. Other features include an “instant release” wand that easily stretches to multiple times its initial length, a variety of tools (including stair tool) and a five year warranty for parts and labour.

Reviews of the Dyson DC40 have been positive, with reviewers praising the easy manoeuvrability due to the ball design. Other positive comments include that the dust container is easy to remove and the model provides strong suction power.

The Dyson DC40 Multi-Floor isn’t a cheap model – in fact it’s the most expensive on this list. However, it’s a powerful, lightweight vacuum with a number of advanced features, which is why it’s so highly rated. Click here to read our full review of the DC40.

Overview:

  • Price Range: £££
  • Power: 1100W
  • Weight: 7kg
  • Dust Capacity: 1.6 litres
  • Filter Type: Washable

Key Features:

  • Powerful model with Root Cyclone technology to prevent loss of suction.
  • “Ball” design for easy turning and extra manoeuvrability.
  • 5 year warranty for parts and labour.

View Price

SEBO Automatic X1.1 Review4. SEBO Automatic X1.1 ECO

The SEBO X1.1 ECO might not look as advanced as models such as Dyson DC40 – but don’t let that fool you. This is a powerful cleaner with excellent filtration that’s received very high ratings from buyers on shopping sites.

In terms of features, the SEBO comes with a 1100W motor. This works in synergy with a system that monitors and adjusts the brush to ensure reliable cleaning results.

Other features include an integrated wand for extra reach, long cable (so you won’t have to keep switching plug sockets) and reliable drive belts that are designed to last the vacuum’s lifetime. It also has an S-Class filter, for greater filtration of small particles, which is important if you suffer from a dust allergy or asthma.

As we mentioned, the SEBO Automatic X1.1 has proved to be a hit amongst buyers. Positive comments from buyers include that the air feels fresh after cleaning due to the filtration system and that the suction power is excellent.  One buyer even writes that it’s “by far the easiest vacuum cleaner I have ever used.”

The SEBO Automatic X1.1 isn’t a cheap model, and it doesn’t come with many advanced features. Despite this, it’s simple to use and provides a reliable, efficient clean. So if you’re looking for a model that takes the complexity out of cleaning, the SEBO could be a great option. Click here to read our full review.

Overview:

  • Price Range: £££
  • Power: 1100W
  • Weight: 7kg
  • Filter Type: S-Class

Key Features:

  • Simple design with powerful suction.
  • Excellent filtration system for reduced allergens.
  • Computer-monitored brush height for more efficient cleaning

View Price

Vax U90-MA-Re Air Reach5. Vax U90-MA-Re Air Reach

The U90-MA-Re is a close cousin of the Vax U84-AL-Pe, but is different enough to warrant its own place on this list. With a simple design, excellent performance and relatively low price tag, it’s also one of the best selling vacuums on the market at the moment.

Let’s start with the features. The U90-MA-Re Air Reach is built with multi-cyclonic technology for consistent suction as the dirt canister fills up. It comes with a long cord and hose, allowing you to clean a radius of up to 14 metres, along with several tools.

One advantage over the U84-AL-Pe is that it’s lighter. Weighing 4.9kg, it just about makes it into our lightweight category. It’s also slightly cheaper than its heavier cousin. Other features include a 1.5 litre dust capacity, powered TurboTool for picking up pet hair from upholstery and an A rating for both hardfloor and carpet pick-up

As we mentioned, the U90-MA-Re has proven to be a wildly popular model and is one of the best-sellers in its category on many shopping sites. Reviewers praise its suction power, excellent value for money and relatively lightweight design compared to other bulky uprights.

If you’re looking for a simple upright vacuum that’s great for pets and is available for a reasonable price, the Vax U90-MA-Re is a great option. It’s a “no-frills” vacuum that provides great value – which is why it’s one of our top recommendations. Click here to read our full review.

Overview:

  • Price Range: ££
  • Power: 820W
  • Weight: 4.9kg
  • Filter Type: HEPA

Key Features:

  • Strong suction for a reasonable price
  • TurboTool for pet hair
  • HEPA filter

View Price

How to Choose an Upright Model

We’ve listed the four models which, in our opinion, are amongst the best upright vacuum cleaners on the market at the moment. While we don’t believe you can go far wrong with any of these models, it’s always a good idea to understand the underlying features, so you can get the best one for your requirements. Here’s an overview of what you need to look for.

Price and Requirements

At SpotlessVacuum.co.uk, we think there is no such thing as the best upright vacuum. Instead, there are a group of excellent models, but the right choice depends on what you need.

So think carefully about your requirements. Do you have a dog or cat that sheds a lot? Then you should look for a model with the strength and brush design to cope with pet hair. Does your home have low furniture and stairs? A lightweight and manoeuvrable upright, preferably with a low head profile, is probably the best option.

Here’s a selection of questions that might help you uncover what you need from your vacuum cleaner:

  • Does you or anyone in your household have difficulty lifting heavy objects?
  • How large is your house?
  • Do you own pets? How much hair do they shed? Are they allowed on the sofas?
  • Does anyone in your home suffer from a dust allergy?
  • How often do you usually vacuum to keep the house looking tidy?
  • Is your home mainly carpet or hard floors? Do you have any vinyl flooring?
  • If you have lots of carpets, how thick is the pile?
  • Is a quiet vacuum cleaner important to you?
  • How much money are you able to spend?

Once you answer to these questions, you’ll be in a much better position to choose the right model from the list above. We’ve also provided more information below about how to use this information.

But if you’re still not sure what you need after answering these questions – don’t worry! We’ll go into the different decisions shortly.

Similarly, the right vacuum also depends on your budget. Some uprights, such as the DC40, have an RRP of over £300 due to their proprietary technology, long warranty and excellent performance. Others are available for considerably less. But price is not always an indicator of quality – there are some great upright models available that come close to matching more expensive models, yet for a fraction of the price. On the other hand, cheap upright vacuum cleaners rarely provide the performance required.

Suction Power

The power of a vacuum is how much energy it uses in Watts. This is correlated to suction power, but is not the same. In other words, a higher motor power does not always equal greater suction. This is a common mistake made when buying an upright cleaner.

Suction power is arguably the most important factor when choosing an upright model. While uprights often have motorised brushes for getting dirt and dust up from carpets, stronger suction power naturally means more dirt is removed (although uprights don’t rely on suction power as much as cylinder vacuums).

You should also be aware that since 2014, all vacuums imported into the EU must have a maximum power of 1600W. Fortunately, this doesn’t mean all newer vacuums have a reduced suction power. Instead, it’s forced brands such as Vax and Bosch to innovate when it comes to getting more suction power. There has also been an announcement that the maximum wattage will be reduced to 900W in 2017 – so it’ll be interesting to see whether suction power can be maintained. If you’re concerned about this power reduction, it might be a good idea to buy a vacuum before this new regulation comes into play.

Filtration

Many people suffer from dust allergies. These can be made worse if a vacuum allows particles to leak from its canister or bag. Low quality vacuums often eject allergens via exhaust air if not filtered correctly.

According to Which.co.uk, the best vacuum cleaners, in terms of filtration and dust retention, remove more than 99% of tiny allergens. The worst models only remove 10%, which means a huge amount are released back into the air. Dust retention isn’t solely based on the filter, but a HEPA or S-Class filter will go a long way to preventing allergens escaping. We’ve written an article about HEPA filters here.

It’s also important to check whether an upright’s vacuum filter is washable. Non-washable filters need to be replaced after a certain amount of time, which can add to the lifetime cost of the machine. Cheap upright vacuum cleaners tend to have standard, non-washable filters which can be costly in the long run.

Bagged or Bagless

Most of the best uprights are bagless, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore bagged machines. There really isn’t any difference in cleaning power, so the main differences are related to ease of use. A bagless upright vacuum cleaner is usually more convenient, but dust tends to escape much more easily when emptying. Bagged upright vacuum cleaners, on the other hand, are often cheaper, but lack the convenience and force you to buy new bags.

As a general rule, bagless upright vacuum cleaners should be avoided if someone in your household suffers from a severe dust allergy.

Dust Capacity

The larger the dust capacity, the less often you’ll need to empty the canister or change the bag. For bagless vacuums, this is purely a matter of convenience. But for bagged vacuums, smaller capacities force you to use more bags, which increases the lifetime cost of the machine.

Additionally, some bagged upright vacuums gradually lose suction as their bag fills up. This can make it difficult to use the full capacity of the bag if you want to maximise suction power.

If you have a big house, you’ll probably want to choose a model with a larger capacity. It can be frustrating to empty a vacuum multiple times in a single cleaning session. This isn’t so important for smaller homes.

Other Considerations

  • Weight. Lugging a heavy upright up and down stairs can be a pain, so it’s important to choose a lightweight model – especially if you struggle with heavy appliances.
  • Pet Hair. Some vacuums excel at picking up pet hair, which is vital if your dog or cat sheds a lot. Many pet vacuums also come with a motorised tool for getting hair off sofas and other furniture, which can save a lot of time.
  • Floor Type. Just because a vacuum is effective at picking up dust and dirt from hard floors doesn’t mean it will cope with carpets (and vice versa). Make sure you choose a vacuum that’s best on the type of floor you have in your home.
  • Size. Closely related to weight is size. A small upright vacuum cleaner may not be able to hold as much dust and dirt, but will be easier to carry around the home.
  • Hose length. The hose is a vital part of an upright – especially for cleaning stairs and other hard-to-reach places.
  • Operating Radius. If you don’t have many plug sockets in your home, or are just fed up of switching every time you change room, the operating radius is important. This is loosely defined as the length of the cord plus the length of the hose. However, the cord length is more important as it sets how much of your home can be properly cleaned from a single socket.
  • Noise. Vacuum cleaners are loud – there’s no getting around that. But some are considerably louder than others. The Bosch BGS5SIL2GB, for example, has a noise rating of just 66dB (although it’s not an upright), while some vacuums are 85dB or more. If you have a baby, pets that are scared of loud noises or just want a quieter cleaning session, a quiet vacuum could be a good option.
  • Accessories. There are a variety of accessories provided with upright vacuums, from turbo heads to upholstery brushes. While most of these aren’t essential, it’s a good idea to think about which accessories would make your cleaning more efficient or less stressful. Powered accessories are especially important when buying upright pet vacuum cleaners, as they are designed to get hair out of upholstery.
  • Warranty. Even the best model could suffer from technical problems – especially as vacuums become more advanced and computerised. For this reason, look for models with a long warranty for both parts and labour.

Conclusion

Upright vacuum cleaners are a great option for home cleaning – especially if your house or flat has lots of carpeted floor space. They are powerful, easy to use and come with a range of accessories for versatile cleaning.

It’s important to understand your requirements. Factors such as your budget, whether you have pets, the type of flooring in your home and whether you suffer from allergies can all affect the best choice.

If we had to choose a single upright to recommend, a good starting point would be the Vax U84-Al-Pe Air Lift. It generates a lot of suction power and has an excellent Turbo Tool – all for a very reasonable price. You can view the latest prices and offers here.

A-Z of In-Depth Upright Vacuum Cleaner Reviews

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