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Upright Vacuum vs Canister Vacuum: What to Pick?

When shopping for a vacuum cleaner, two options are very prominent: upright vacuum cleaners and canister vacuum cleaners. These two types are available in from different manufacturers and across different price ranges so you really can’t base your decision on price differences or the manufacturer.

Canister Vacuum vs Upright Vacuum

You will need to find a better reason why you want to go with one option or the other. When it comes to getting the job done, these two different types of vacuum cleaners are pretty similar. You can find powerful models on either side that will do a decent cleaning job whether you have hardwood floors or thick demanding carpets.

In this article with are going to look at the similarities and differences between these two types of vacuum cleaners so that you can make a more informed choice when you set out to buy.

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Canister Vacuum Cleaners

The canister vacuum cleaner comes with the following three main parts:

· Suction head
· Wand and hose
· Vacuum unit, also known as the canister

Upright Vacuum versus Canister Vacuum


The canister vacuum cleaner comes with its fair share of strengths. For starters, since you only need to move the suction head to the parts of your floor that need to be vacuumed, the device is relatively easier to maneuver. You can clean the stairs, under the bed and behind furniture with relative ease because you only need to move the wand and the suction head when doing the actual cleaning.

Another great strength is the fact that canister vacuums are generally more powerful than upright vacuum cleaners. This is because there is no major space limitation in the design hence they can offer stronger suction and a higher flow rate. This means faster cleaning and better dirt removal even if you are vacuuming thick carpets.

Canister vacuums are also more silent in operation when compared to upright vacuums. This is because their motors are housed in a separate unit, which gives more room for better sound insulation. Most of these vacuums produce between 60-65 decibels which is acceptable for vacuum cleaners.

You also get more options when it comes to accessories. From crevice nozzles to upholstery brushes and even mechanized brushes, you can achieve much more than just vacuuming floors with a canister vacuum cleaner.

Upright Vacuum


Let’s take a look and the other side of canister vacuum cleaners. Unlike the upright vacuum cleaner, this one has more parts involved. The suction head which is what you move around when cleaning is connected to the canister – which houses the motor that is the source of the vacuum – through the hose.

This means that as you clean your floor, you will need to move both the canister with the motor and the suction head with the brushes. For some people, this can be too much of a bother because of the need to keep bending now and then to reach the canister.

Storage can also turn out to be a bit of an issue because you might need to disassemble some parts to save space.

Canister Vacuum| Recommended

Upright Vacuum Cleaners

These vacuum cleaners are compact with the motor and suction head all in the same unit that you push in front of you to vacuum. This design has been in use for a long time, and many people have come to know and love it.

Canister Vacuum


Upright vacuums also have their fair share of strengths. For starters, they are easy to use. No complex assembly instructions to follow. Just plug it in, and you are ready to go. You will also not need to move multiple components around the house when cleaning. Everything is in one compact unit that is easy to move around.

Another big benefit is seen after you have finished vacuuming and it is time for storage. You will not need to worry about disassembly for storage. Just unplug the unit, coil the cable and place it as it is in a closet or on a corner of your house.

These devices also have wide cleaning paths. Hence they are great when you need to vacuum large areas. These wide cleaning paths will enable you to clean a large area in fewer passes. As a result, you will get the job done faster and easier.

Upright Vacuum vs Canister Vacuum


The biggest weakness of upright vacuum cleaners is the noise. Owing to design limitations, manufacturers have to fit everything into a compact unit that is easy to move around. As a result, these devices tend to be noisier than canister vacuum cleaners.

Another problem is the weight. When compared to moving a canister vacuum wand, an upright vacuum cleaner will be more difficult to drag back and forth. This is because you will need to move the entire unit, which includes the motor and filters.

Maneuverability is also a challenge if you need to clean tight spaces. Since the vacuum cleaner comes as a compact unit, you could have problems getting to hard-to-reach parts of your house. However, some modern models have a small hose that make it easy for you to reach some of these areas.

Canister Vacuum versus Upright Vacuum


When it comes to performance, both these vacuums will deliver a decent cleaning job for most surfaces. The difference will come if your home has stairs and other hard-to-reach areas in which case you would be best advised to go with a canister.

However, if you have back problems and don’t want to keep bending all the time, and upright vacuum cleaner will be your best choice. So it all boils down to your personal preference and the layout of your home.

Our Recommended Upright Vacuums

Our Pick The Bissell 2252 CleanView gives you the outstanding performance you’d expect from an expert floor care company at a great price. It has specialized pet tools and features, so you know it’s designed for homes with pets.

Budget Pick The Eureka Airspeed NEU100 is an affordable, lightweight, and good upright vacuum for cleaning small apartments. With a 10.5-inch wide cleaning path, it gets the job done quickly.

Best of the Best The Bissell 2998 is a well-balanced, convertible, bagless upright vacuum intended as a cleaning solution for larger homes and apartments.

Check Latest Price >

If you have any questions or comments, please add them below in the comment section. Similarly, please let us know if you spot any mistakes or omissions. Thanks!

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Last Update: 2024-06-23 | Affiliate links/Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

About the author

Hi I’m Alex, founder of HouseholdMe.com and I’d like to say thank you for dropping by. Like most of you, the first thing I look at before buying something online is reviews or buying guides. By reading what other people say will help me gauge whether or not a product is good or not.  I am trying to help people find answers, solve problems, and get inspired.

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