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Vacuum Cleaner Buyers Guide: Canister Vacuums vs Upright Vacuums

Choosing: Canister vs Upright

The choice between a canister vacuum cleaner or upright vacuum cleaner might be personal preference, there are differences between the two types. Read the vacuum cleaner pluses and minuses below and choose the best vacuum cleaner type for your home or office.

We offer a great selection of the best HEPA vacuum cleaners from top brands such as Miele, Sebo, and Maytag. Our category winner for canister vacuums is the Miele Complete C3 Brilliant and for uprights, the Miele Dynamic U1 AutoEco Vacuum. The Sebo X4 Extra upright has been a long time customer favorite. See our vacuum cleaner comparison chart to compare features, reviews and prices on all of our vacuum models.

Miele S8990 Uniq canister vacuum cleaners
Canister Vacuum Cleaners
Sebo X4 Upright Vacuum Cleaners
Upright Vacuum Cleaners
Plus (+)
  • Best suction power for carpets
  • Flexible hose - gives great range of motion versatility
  • Easier to Push - with the lightweight head as opposed to pushing the entire vacuum cleaner
  • Great at getting under furniture - head has lower profile
  • Self-retracting electrical cord - often on a lot of models
  • Easier and lighter to carry - up and down stairs or anywhere else
  • Best for vacuuming stairs - a canister vacuum cleaner will often have a tool specially for stairs
  • Easy to swap out on-board tools for convenience and for cleaning special surfaces
  • Best for allergy sufferers due to their design and their sealed HEPA systems are available
Plus (+)
  • Great for large areas - An upright vacuum cleaner is easy to use for hallways and large open carpet areas
  • The vacuum cleaner is in front of you - less chance of tripping over the vacuum, which some people prefer
  • Usually have larger vacuum bags - which require less changing
  • Hose usually are included - on most upright vacuum cleaner models for greater versatility with attachments
Minus (-)
  • Dragging Canister - usually behind you as you pull which some people find awkward
  • Smaller Wheels - Canister vacuums often require lifting over thresholds
  • Changing Vacuum Heads - can sometimes be a problem and require changing brushes when going from carpet to bare floor (This is not true of a canister vacuum cleaner with extra turbo head or straight suction.)
Minus (-)
  • Included hose is usually short and inflexible - can cause the vacuum cleaner to tip over
  • Getting under furniture is usually not very easy (with some notable exceptions)
  • Harder and Less maneuverable - around furniture or tight turns
  • Unusual to find retractable electrical cord
  • Usually not easy to vacuum stairs
  • Heavier - than a lot of canister vacuums
  • Hard to carry - upright vacuum cleaner is usually more difficult to carry up and down stairs
  • Less Tool Options - does not have as many specialty vacuum cleaner tools for dusting crevices, upholstery and others
  • Beater bar eats things - Can damage edges and parts of throw rugs
  • Not designed to allergy sufferers