Upright vacuums are the most popular type of vacuum cleaner used in American homes, and many of them contain a high-efficiency particulate air filter. HEPA is more than a buzzword used by manufacturers to boost sales. Especially for allergy sufferers and immunocompromised individuals, uprights with a HEPA filter offer undeniable health benefits.
In this guide, we explore HEPA uprights by answering the most common questions that people have about upright vacuums and HEPA filters. Additionally, you’ll get some helpful troubleshooting tips as well as a list of the most important features to consider when comparison shopping.
Overwhelmed by the number of HEPA upright vacuums that are available? That’s understandable – The market is practically flooded with them. To save you time, we scoured the internet and reviewed 15 of the best HEPA uprights that we found.
Our Recommended Uprights with HEPA Filter in 2023
Our list starts with our recommended uprights with HEPA filter. On the bottom of the page you will find the remaining recommended upright vacuum cleaners.
11) Shark Upright & Canister Upright Vacuum (NV70)
Its gold hue is definitely an eye-catcher, but there’s much more to the sealed-system SharkNinja upright than its metallic color.
Both of the supporting filters and the belt are designed to last for a lifetime. There is a suction-control slider that reduces the airflow when you’re vacuuming delicate material, and the dust cup can hold 2.9 quarts of debris.
Swivel steering and a looped handle make it easy to navigate the HEPA upright. With a 6-foot-long hose and a 30-foot cord, you can reach every corner of your home. The 15.4-pound upright even has a manual brushroll shutoff switch to use when cleaning hard floors.
- Anti-Allergen Complete Seal Technology captures and holds over 99.9% of dust and allergens...
- Swivel Steering - lightweight & maneuverable
10) Soniclean Soft Carpet Upright Vacuum SFC-7000
The black-and-gold combo gives this Soniclean upright a luxe look.
It boasts a high-grade HEPA filter that’s housed inside a zippered body and the ability to loosen debris via rapid sonic vibrations. There are two levels of suction strength from which to choose and a compartment for adding a scented fragrance pod.
If you have expensive area rugs, the soft nylon bristles on the wooden brushroll won’t damage them. Features like large rubber wheels, adjustable vents, flat reclining and a 35-foot cord make it a breeze to navigate the 10.5-pound upright. Indicators on the vacuum let you know when it’s time to change the bag or remove an obstruction from the brushroll.
- Developed with the leading global manufacturer of premium carpet. Designed to easily and...
- The only vacuum to use patented SONIC CARPET CLEANING TECHNOLOGY. The sonic bar on the...
9) ProTeam ProForce 1500XP Bagged Upright Vacuum
With its 50-foot-long yellow safety cord, 3.25-quart micro-filter bag and 15-inch-wide floor head, the quadruple-filtered ProForce 1500XP is ideal for large homes, salons and even B&Bs. The vacuum reclines to the floor, and the nozzle is only 2.5 inches tall. Large rubber wheels make for smooth movements, and a separate motor controls the brushroll.
Need extra reach? You got it. The hose extends 5 feet, and the wand gives you two more feet. The upright also comes with a crevice tool and an upholstery/dust-brush combo, both of which can be stored on the vacuum.
- DUAL-MOTOR SYSTEM - Never worry about losing suction again; ProTeam professional upright...
- BREATHE BETTER AIR - Four Level Advanced Filtration with HEPA media filter improves Indoor...
8) Shark Rotator Professional Upright (NV501)
The Shark Rotator Professional is a great upright vac for homes that require a lot of upkeep. A pivoting floor head illuminates dark corners with its LED headlights, and the nozzle itself cleans along a 13-inch path. Its HEPA filter sits inside a sealed system, and the dust cup is huge, with a capacity of 3.1 quarts.
When cleaning your hardwoods or tile, you can opt to turn off the brushroll or use the hard-floor attachment. The extra-long hose extends to 8.4 feet, and the upright comes with a power brush that easily lifts animal hair. This upright also turns into a handheld vac when you lift the pod off the vacuum.
- LIFT-AWAY FUNCTIONALITY: Detachable pod for cleaning under furniture or detach the nozzle...
- ANTI-ALLERGEN COMPLETE SEAL TECHNOLOGY: Works with a HEPA filter to trap dust and...
7) Dyson Ball Multi Floor 2 Upright Vacuum
Next on the list the Dyson Ball Multi Floor 2. Turning and pivoting is a breeze thanks to the 15-pound Multi Floor 2’s rotating ball joint. With its lifetime filter, you’ll save money over the years since you don’t have to buy new filters. You’ll never have to worry about airborne dust – The upright’s radial root cyclones and whole-machine HEPA expertly separate and trap dust particles.
An auto-adjusting floor head means excellent suction on carpets and bare floors. Virtually no corner of your home is out of reach with this Dyson Upright Vacuum. Between the power cord and instant-release wand, your cleaning area maxes out at 40 feet. Onboard storage is available for the stair tool and combo crevice-brush tool.
- Self adjusting cleaner head seals in suction across carpet, wood, vinyl, and tile floors
- Dyson technology helps create a cleaner, healthier home - Our vacuums and purifiers are...
6) Hoover UH70120 T-Series WindTunnel Rewind Plus Upright Vacuum
Its mint green color appeals to the style-conscious consumer, and its three-part HEPA system helps those who are concerned about air quality.
From bare floor to plush carpet, the knob on the floor nozzle lets you choose among five suction heights. A protective bumper keeps your furniture and walls mark-free.
When it’s time to rinse the secondary filters, the indicator on the upright will let you know. The foot pedal on the nozzle retracts the power cord without having to strain your back.
Hoover didn’t skimp on accessories – The WindTunnel Rewind Plus comes with five tools, including an air-powered brush.
- Windtunnel technology: Creates suction to lift and remove surface debris and deeply...
- HEPA media filter: Traps 99.7 percent of dirt, dust and pollens down to 0.3 microns
5) Hoover WindTunnel 2 Whole House Rewind Upright Vacuum UH71250
Dogs and cats are messy creatures. Luckily, the WindTunnel 2 produces two suction streams via its multi-cyclonic technology, pulling debris into the 1.29-liter dirt cup.
The brushroll-off switch is a convenient foot pedal on the nozzle, which also has a knob-style floor-height adjuster. You’ll appreciate the odor-reducing ability of the carbon layer on the rinsable HEPA filter.
The conveniences extend to the retractable 25-foot cord – no more manual winding. The Pet Turbo tool helps your furniture look its best while the crevice tool cleans in tight areas.
Hoover also includes a pivoting dusting brush and a wand that provide 16 feet’ worth of above-head reach.
- HASSLE-FREE CORD REWIND: 25 feet power cord automatically retracts in seconds so you never...
- DEEP CLEANING POWER: WindTunnel 2 Technology creates 2 channels of suction to lift and...
4) Shark APEX AZ1002 DuoClean with Self-Cleaning Brushroll Lift-Away Upright Vacuum
There’s some impressive technology inside this espresso-brown sealed-HEPA upright from Shark.
An integrated comb separates hair from the bristled brushroll, cleaning itself as you vacuum. There is also a soft brushroll for hard-floor care, and both brushrolls are accessible by removing the door on top of the 11.5-inch nozzle.
On the D-shaped handle, fingertip selectors allow you to choose among three suction speeds. With the touch of another button, you can remove the 1.5-quart pod to tackle non-floor jobs with the motorized pet tool or crevice wand.
The LED lights on the handle and the nozzle help you see whether in floor mode or lift-away mode, and the 30-foot-long cord gives you plenty of slack.
- SELF-CLEANING BRUSHROLL: The vacuum that deep-cleans now cleans itself. Engineered for...
- DUOCLEAN TECHNOLOGY: Dual-brushroll system deep-cleans carpets and directly engages floors...
3) Shark NV352 Navigator Lift Away Upright Vacuum
This lovely lavender Navigator model is one of Shark’s simpler Lift-Away versions, but it’s no bare-bones upright.
It features a hard-floor and a brushroll-shutoff setting you can use when you lift off the pod in handheld mode or vacuum your hardwoods. The slim nozzle swivels and a curved handle prevents hand fatigue.
It’s also lightweight at 12.5 pounds, and the smooth wheels won’t mark delicate floors. Thanks to the bottom-release door on the 3-quart cup, your hands won’t get dirty. The HEPA filter and the belt you don’t have to replace.
Shark provides three attachments, including a pet upholstery tool, to meet all your detailed-cleaning needs.
- Lift-Away: Lift Away the detachable pod and easily clean, above-floor areas like stairs...
- Anti-Allergen Complete Seal Technology and a HEPA filter trap dust and allergens inside...
2) Shark NV356E S2 Navigator Lift-Away Professional Upright Vacuum
The 13.7-pound Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional is worth the investment.
Due to filters that won’t give out and a belt that won’t break, it’s a long-term money-saver.
The completely sealed filtration system keeps the air around you healthy, and the brushroll toggle-switch makes it safe to use the swiveling upright on hard floors. If you have drapes or delicate area rugs, the suction-reducing collar lets you clean those safely.
With the lift-away pod, the three above-floor attachments and the 30-foot cord, you can reach areas that other uprights can’t access.
The canister can hold 4.4 quarts of debris, making it possible to vacuum your entire home without stopping to dump it.
- LIFT-AWAY: Lift away the pod to clean under furniture. Or detach the nozzle to clean above...
- ANTI-ALLERGEN COMPLETE SEAL: Works with a HEPA filter to trap 99.9% of dust and allergens...
1) Shark ZU561 Navigator Lift-Away
Another Shark Lift-Away makes our list not only for its ability to transform into a handheld vacuum but also for the vacuum’s ability to clean its own brushroll. This Shark ZU561 model has a sealed HEPA system and reusable filters.
When the 2.2-quart pod is in lift-away mode, you can use the upholstery tool or duster/crevice combo for detailed cleaning.
Weighing 13.4 pounds, you’ll have no trouble pushing and rolling the vacuum cleaner. The 12-inch-wide floor head covers a lot of floor in a single pass, and it swivels, lending to its navigability. The cord measures 25 feet, and the handle is affixed with an anti-electrostatic strip.
- Self-cleaning brushroll for powerful pet hair pickup with no hair wrap.
- Use as an upright vacuum for powerful floor and carpet cleaning. Or for more portability,...
What Makes Upright Vacuums Better Than Other Kinds of Vacuum Cleaners?
Uprights aren’t necessarily better than other vacuum cleaners, but they do have distinct advantages. Canister vacuums tend to topple in motion as you drag them behind you, making upright vacuums easier to move.
While uprights are heavier than stick and handheld vacuums, uprights produce more suction. Plus, upright vacuums are the only type of vacuum besides canister vacuums that are equipped with a brush roll.
I’m an Allergy Sufferer. How Frequently Should I Vacuum?
As you know, keeping dust, dander and other allergens out of the air can improve your quality of life. If you suffer from allergies but usually have your symptoms under control, vacuuming twice per week should be fine.
If you have trouble managing your symptoms, you may need to vacuum every other day – This frequency applies to high-traffic areas too.
Do Beltless Vacuums Actually Work?
Beltless vacuums are an emerging trend in the world of upright vacuum cleaners. Belt-free uprights are sometimes called direct-drive uprights, which means the vacuum’s motor is the sole component that rotates the brushroll.
Although belt-equipped vacuums are still the majority, beltless models are highly capable of lifting debris.
How Do I know If the Vacuum I Buy Will Have Strong Suction?
When you read a vacuum cleaner’s specs, you’ll see measurements like amps, watts, CFM and airwatts. For determining suction strength, the only measurements you need to be concerned with are the cubic feet per minute or the airwatts.
The amps and watts simply tell you how much electrical current the upright consumes.
Both airwatts and CFM describe the vacuum cleaner’s suction power. However, the CFM rate will give you a more accurate measurement in terms of suction. Airwatts are actually a measurement of fluid flow.
What is the Difference between a Power Brush and a Turbo Brush?
They are often used interchangeably, but a power brush is different from a turbo brush. A power brush relies on electricity from a motor to spin. On the other hand, a turbo brush operates off air movement.
This makes a power brush better able to lift pet hair and clean high-pile carpeting in fewer passes than a turbo brush.
HEPA Filter FAQs
What Is a HEPA Filter?
Made of fibrous material, a high-efficiency particulate air filter is a filter that’s able to capture 99.97 percent of allergens as small as 0.3 microns. A micron is one-millionth of a meter. Particles that are 0.3 microns or larger include most bacteria, dust, dander and pollen.
For a filter to be considered a true-HEPA filter, it must meet the Department of Energy’s specifications.
What Are the Health Benefits of Vacuuming With a HEPA Upright?
When you vacuum with a well-maintained HEPA upright vacuum, you can improve your respiratory function. Most of the allergens on your carpet will get trapped by the HEPA filter, and only a minute number will be released into the air.
If you suffer from a chronic respiratory illness, you’ll probably experience fewer symptoms. To maximize the health benefits of using a HEPA upright, you must vacuum the floors and maintain the upright regularly.
What Is a Sealed HEPA Upright Vacuum?
Some upright vacuums have a sealed HEPA filtration system. A sealed system is tested to ensure no air can leak from the hose or housing. Low-quality uprights are usually unsealed.
Although the seams in an unsealed system may be so small that the air leak is nearly undetectable, these vacuum cleaners simply don’t produce the suction power that sealed-system uprights do.
How Long Does a HEPA Filter Last?
There is no hard-and-fast rule for how often you should change a HEPA filter, but you should always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines. Some disposable HEPA filters last about 3 to 4 months while others are efficient for 9 to 12 months.
Several premium-brand uprights contain a forever HEPA filter that you can clean and reuse throughout the life of the vacuum.
Is a HEPA Filter Alone Enough to Trap Pollutants?
In a word, yes. However, a high-end upright will have a post-motor and/or a pre-motor filter in addition to a HEPA filter. The post-motor filter catches the few stray particles that slip by the HEPA filter.
The pre-motor filter traps large particles that can clog the vacuum and reduce the HEPA filter’s efficiency.
Are HEPA-Type Filters Efficient?
To a degree, HEPA-type filters are efficient, but they don’t match the filtration level of HEPA media.
A HEPA-type filter capture almost 1 percent fewer allergens than a true-HEPA filter. HEPA-type filters are also limited to trapping 2-micron particles.
Why Do Some Manufacturers Use HEPA-Type Filters If They’re Less Efficient?
HEPA-type filters cost less money than true-HEPA filters. For the consumer, the cost difference is minor. When you’re producing thousands of vacuum cleaners, the savings add up. If you’re an allergy sufferer, stick with a true-HEPA upright vacuum.
Those who are overall healthy can get away with using an upright that has a HEPA-type filter if they so choose.
Bag and Canister FAQs
Should I Buy a Bagless Upright or One With a Bag?
When bagless vacuums were new, the answer would have been unequivocally in favor of a bagged upright. Today, there is no clear winner as most bagless vacuums have a canister that opens from the bottom, greatly cutting down on dust plumes.
Select models even have a shooter-style button that pushes out dirt with force, which minimizes the release of dust further.
Isn’t Checking and Changing a Bag Messy?
Basic paper bags can leave your hands covered in dust and dirt despite your best efforts to prevent it. If you decide that you want to buy a bagged upright HEPA vacuum, make sure the bag style is one that seals tightly around the inlet.
To prevent sediment from escaping and your vacuum from clogging, don’t wait until you see dirt peeking out of the bag. Instead, change the bag when it’s two-thirds to three-fourths full.
If I Buy a Bagged Upright, How Often Will I Need to Change the Bag?
You may need to change your vacuum cleaner bag as often as once a month or as few as once every three months. The frequency depends on the amount of foot traffic and the number of pets in your house.
Carpets with a high pile or loose fibers tend to shorten the time between bag changes.
How Do I Know If the Belt Needs to Be Changed?
With the exception of upright vacuums that have a permanent belt, you’ll need to change your vacuum’s belt when it’s worn or broken. If you notice a lot of vibration or a loud, whining noise when you vacuum, the culprit may be the belt. Another symptom is that your vacuum spits out debris it just suctioned.
Visibly inspecting the belt will tell you for sure if the belt is damaged. If the belt has snapped, the brush roll won’t spin. To catch and change the belt before it breaks, check it once a month to see if it’s cracked.
I Just Changed the Belt a Few Months Ago. Why Is It Broken Again?
It’s impossible to prevent hair and string from winding around the brushroll. Accumulated hair and fibers on a brushroll will strain the belt, causing it to break prematurely.
Luckily, it’s easy to prevent this problem by getting in the habit of snipping off hair and string with a pair of scissors.
The Belt Is Fine. What Else Could be Causing a Loss of Suction?
Poor suction is not always related to a bad belt. In fact, a loss of suction is often caused by a clogged vacuum cleaner. After you’ve ruled out the belt, shine a light in the hose and check your vacuum for blockages.
Don’t forget to change the bag if it’s full. For bagless uprights, remove any packed debris from the top of the canister.
Why Does My Vacuum Cleaner Stink?
Whether it smells like burnt hair or stale funk, the odor from a stinky vacuum is unpleasant. These odors are typically caused by a motor that has overheated. You can stop the motor from overheating by solving the root problem, which may be a hair-covered brushroll, a full bag/bin, a clog or a combination of those three issues.
Don’t forget to push the reset button if your upright has one.
HEPA Upright Buyer’s Guide
Ready to get a HEPA upright vacuum of your own? We tell you what features to look for in this buyer’s guide.
The HEPA Filter
Above all else, make sure you’re getting a quality HEPA filter. Specs that list this filter as a “HEPA-type” or “HEPA-like” filter mean the vacuum won’t have the allergen-eliminating performance you need. If you don’t want to spend money on replacements, there are plenty of uprights with reusable HEPA filters.
The Number of Secondary Filters
Vacuums with a pre-filter will prevent clogs and suction reduction. A carbon filter will neutralize odors, which is a must-have for pet owners, and a post-motor filter offers extra allergen-trapping assurance. When it comes to secondary filters, we say the more, the merrier.
If you have a one-story home or a lot of upper-body strength, the weight of the vacuum cleaner won’t matter. For everyone else, a lightweight model is their best bet. Stick to a model that weighs under 20 pounds. However, if you have stairs, a 15-pound (or lighter) model is better.
A regular bristled brushroll is fine for standard residential carpet. To thoroughly clean high-pile carpet, a long-bristled brushroll is a better choice. For hard-surface floors, you’ll need an upright that lets you stop the brushroll from spinning. Some models are equipped with a second brushroll just for bare floors.
If you go the bag route, the bag should tightly contain the debris within it. A lot of vacuum bags have either a manual or automatic sealing mechanism. To prevent clogs that occur when you unknowingly vacuum with a full bag, consider an upright with a bag-change indicator.
If you prefer a bagless model, look for a vacuum with a see-through cup, so you know when it’s time to empty it. Nobody wants to breathe in dust or get dirt on their hands. Instead of a canister that you have to flip and dump, buy an upright with a canister that opens from the bottom.
A long power cord can make outlet switching an aggravation of the past. If the rooms in your house are small, the length of the cord won’t matter, and you can get away with one that’s shorter than 25 feet.
The Floor Head
Manufacturers pack a lot of features into the floor head beyond the brushroll and suction inlet. Some have headlights, and many floor heads can swivel. If there are different types of flooring in your home, you’ll definitely want an adjustable-height head.
The handle is an often-overlooked feature. However, the handle’s design can make a difference in terms of hand fatigue. Ergonomics are key here. A well-made vacuum handle will be angled, looped or D-shaped. Those that are cushioned or curved to fit your palm provide extra comfort.
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Last Update: 2023-03-23 | Affiliate links/Images from Amazon Product Advertising API