Canister vs. Upright Vacuum | Which Is Better for Your Needs, or Should You Have Both? and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

A hoover is an electric machine used to clean surfaces such as floors, carpets, furniture, etc., by suctioning the dust and dirt. The choice of vacuum will depend on availability, personal preference, usage, and budget. Most households used the upright models in the past but progressively changed to the canister vacuums.

There are many types of vacuums, including stick and handheld ones, but we shall focus on canister vs. upright ones for this article. Read on to find out which of the two kinds of hoover suits you best. We hope the information below will help you make an informed choice.

Which Type of Vacuum is Better? Canister vs. Upright

To answer this question, we shall look at various pros and cons of both the upright vacuums and the canister vacuums based on the following parameters. However, let us first define the two vacuums.

Upright Vacuum Cleaner

The upright vacuum cleaner has the powerhead, the motor, the dustbags, and the filter, all built-in one unit

Canister Vacuum Cleaner

A canister vacuum cleaner, also known as a cylinder vacuum, has a flexible plastic hose that attaches the powerhead to a wheeled body and a vacuum wand. The canister vacuum contains the filter dust bags and the main motor. 



Pros and cons


Canister vacuums cost slightly higher at $50 to $ 1,300 than upright vacuums, which retail between $ 50 and $1,000.

Suction Power

Canister vacuums have more suction power compared to the upright. Especially those with an extra engine in the powerhead, making them more suitable for cleaning bare floors. Some vacuums have the suction reverse function, which is an added advantage. You can use it to blow away dust. You are more likely to find this feature in a canister vacuum.


Unlike the upright models, which you have to push forward as a whole throughout your cleaning, the canister vacuums’ design allows it to sit stationary while you clean across the room. It feels lighter because you only move around with the wand and the head. 

On the flip side, if you have to move it from one room to another, the canister unit is bulkier than the upright vacuum. However, most upright vacuums are lighter in weight compared to canisters. 

Design and Maneuverability

The canister-style vacuums are easy to operate. They can easily access tight spots and hard-to-reach corners due to their small head. The upright vacuums can not access tight corners, raised surfaces such as stairs and upholstery. Unlike the upright vacuum, most canisters come with retractable cords reducing the risk of tripping over and hurting yourself, though you can check out the cordless vacuums, too.

A man vacuuming a carpet with a dyson


Excessive noise is dangerous to your health. Manufacturers have progressively tried to develop technologies that will provide better sound insulation. However, vacuums are generally noisy; it is therefore in your best interest to choose one with the minor noise possible. 

An average vacuum puts out 70 decibels of noise. The least noisy upright vacuum puts out 70 decibels, while an average canister vacuum will put out 60-65 decibels.


If you have back pains, the canister vacuum is not for you; as with most canisters, you will keep bending over to make adjustments. While, with the upright vacuum, you can easily control the transition from a carpet to a bare floor using your foot.


Uprights are more efficient for plush carpet cleaning since they have motorized brushes, unlike canisters. However, over time, manufacturers have included mechanized brushes, upholstery brushes, and crevice nozzles on the canisters to improve their versatility.


The upright vacuums’ design makes them easy to store since they are all compact. The wand and the hose in the canisters make it hard to keep in a small space. You will have to disassemble it to fit better into a small space.

Dyson vacuum

The Best Upright and Canister Vacuums

Some of the best and most popular canister vacuums include:

  • The Kenmore 400 series. 

Though pricey, this canister vacuum comes bagged and has two motors, which means more power. It also has a large brush head and a high-efficiency particulate air(HEPA) filter.

  • The Bissell Hard Floor Expert Deluxe. 

This canister vacuum arguably offers the best value for money. It is an inexpensive, lightweight vacuum easy to maneuver, and has several attachments.

  • The Bissell Hard Floor Expert Multi-Cyclonic. 

Though slightly more expensive than the Deluxe, this canister vacuum is more powerful and has a larger dirt tank.

  • The Dyson Ball Multi Floor Canister Vacuum.

According to J D Power, this canister vacuum is the best buy. It was rated the best in 2015 and 2017. It has a large tank, a mighty motor, and has large wheels.

While all brands manufacture upright vacuums, here are some of the best in the market:

  • The Bissell 9595A

Although bagless, it is powerful, lightweight, and has a Turbo brush tool suitable for cleaning car interiors and upholsteries.

  • The Hoover T-Series WindTunnel Rewind 

This vacuum is an advancement of the Bissell 9595A. It has a retractable cord, an 8-foot hose ideal for raised surfaces, a HEPA filter, and you can adjust up to 5 positions.

  • The Dyson Ball Multi Floor 2

This upright is arguably the best in the market. You can steer it in whichever direction due to its ball design. It has a high-efficiency particulate air filter, which is allergy-friendly. It is also cheaper compared to other high-end canisters.

Woman vacuuming a carpet with a dyson

How to Pick Canister and Upright Vacuum Cleaners

With so many options available in the market, you could get overwhelmed with the manufacturers’ marketing information. You have to cut through all manufacturers’ data to make the best choice. 

We want to make it a bit easier for you by breaking down the factors that make a good vacuum in much simpler terms. Below are some of the features you have to consider when buying a vacuum, from most important to least important.

Bare Minimum Features 

  • Dyson vacuum in the roomSuction power. It may be difficult to quickly identify a vacuum with excellent suction because different manufacturers use different units. For a more straightforward interpretation, you must understand these units. 

Low suction strength does not mean the vacuum will not pick up dust. It simply means upright vacuums will have difficulty sucking dirt from fabric surfaces such as thick carpets. Therefore, you can compromise a bit on suction strength if you want your vacuum to clean hardwood floors exclusively.

  • Price. There are many vacuums to choose from based on cost. While you may be on a tight budget, it is also essential to consider a vacuum that gives you the best value.
  • Filtration System. If you suffer from a dust allergy, you have to choose a vacuum with an excellent filter. An efficient filter traps allergens and microscopic dust particles. HEPA filters are the best as they filter 99.97% of the particles.
  • Brand. Avoid unpopular brands which are often cheap but offer less value. Go for reputable brands which you are sure will give you maximum performance. You will get information and reviews on the internet on most brands, then make your choice. 
  • Warranty. Choose a vacuum that offers an extended warranty period; this means that the company has faith in its product cleaning performance.
  • Weight. Go for relatively light vacuums. It will reduce the risk of back pains and also ease maneuverability. 
  • Accessories. Look out for add-on accessories that make life easier for you—for instance, the crevice tool, the motorized pet hair tool, the upholstery brush, etc.
  • Dust Bin Capacity. The surface area and the amount of dust the vacuum should pick will determine the bin size. The larger the size, the better.

vacuum-cleaner on the carpet

Are Canister Vacuums Better for Pets?

Pets tend to shed a lot of furs and sometimes accidentally soil the carpets or the floor. An excellent vacuum for pets can suck up hair and spoils effectively. It should generally provide an all-around clean environment for the pets, free from fur, dust, and dirt.

Canister vacuum cleaners are ideal for pets since they are flexible enough to clean on furniture, under the sofas, and other tight spaces where the pets could go. Canister vacuums also have a powerful suction ability, good enough to suck up all the fur, carpet fibers, and dirt from the carpets.

In Conclusion

Vacuums should make your life easier by saving your time and money while giving you a cleaner job compared to doing the cleaning manually. There are a variety of vacuum cleaners. There are different brands, designs, and functionalities. Your choice of a hoover will mainly depend on your spending limit, the functionality of the hoover, and the type of surface for which it is intended.

A good hoover should be reasonably priced, contain necessary accessories, have a good filter and an excellent sized bin, and have great suction power. It should also be a reputable brand and offer a relatively good warranty. It should be light and easy to operate. Large vacuum cleaners are used for industrial cleaning, and smaller ones are used domestically or for light cleaning. An average household or apartment vacuum will employ 500 to 3000 watts of energy. If you are a pet owner, remember to get a hoover that cleans the hard-to-reach areas.


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