Upright Vacuums

The roar of the vacuum is the triumphant call of all that is clean and tidy. It announces your intention to tidy up your home, no matter how many times the cord attempts to tourniquet your legs or the self-propulsion backs over your toes.

Uprights are the most popular type of vacuum on the market. In general, they are less expensive than cylinder vacuums, although a few models may run into the hundreds of pounds in price. uprights are definitely the champions when it comes to vacuuming carpets. Some models are built for heavy-duty use, but there are also lightweight styles good for a quick clean that are easy to use and manoeuvre.

There are a few main characteristics to consider, including whether you want a bagging or bagless model and what special features you need the most from  your vacuum.

Bag or Bagless?

Bagging Vacuums

  • Pros
    • Cleanup is easy; just remove the bag and put in a new one.
    • Good for people with allergies who might be sensitive to vacuum dust.
  • Cons
    • You have to keep buying bags; all the money and extra waste start to add up.
    • Unless you have a "bag full" light, it can be hard to tell when the bag is full (except that the vacuum won't work as well).

Bagless Vacuums

  • Pros
    • Easy to see when it's full -- usually have a clear cannister.
    • Less waste, and no need to keep buying bags.
  • Cons
    • Can be messy to empty. Look for one that empties from the bottom to make it a little easier.
    • Dust released during emptying could be bad for people with serious allergies.

Important Features

Look for the following in any vacuum:

  • The Filter
    • HEPA is the way to go if you have serious allergies.
    • Unless your allergies are severe, you'll probably be ok with most vacuums; filter technology has improved significantly in the past few years.
  • Hard Floor Attachments
    • If you plan to use your upright on hard floors, make sure it has a revolving brushroll with an on/off switch.
  • Long Cords and Hoses
    • The longer the better for both of these.
    • Longer cords mean fewer times that you'll have to change outlets to reach another part of the room.
    • Longer hoses will make it easier to clean hard-to-reach places, like the tops of cabinets and under furniture.
    • Cords should be at least nine metres long and hoses at least two metres long.

Other Features

  • Tools and Attachments
    • If you have many different surfaces to clean, such as furniture, high places, and drapes, you might want a vacuum with a number of special attachments.
    • Standards include crevice and upholstery tools as well as a telescoping tube.
  • Location of Hose
    • Look for a vacuum with the hose attached as low on the body as possible. This will help prevent the vacuum tipping over when you use an attachment.
  • Full Bag Indicator
    • Takes the guesswork out of changing the bag, if you opt for a bagging model.
  • Self Propulsion
    • Self-propelled models make pushing and pulling less difficult.
    • On the other hand, self-propelled vacuums also tend to be heavier.
  • Clean/Dirty Indicator
    • This indicates whether the vacuum is still sucking up any dirt, not whether the carpet itself is still dirty or not.
    • It sounds good, but it's not really as useful as it claims to be. Don't get suckered into getting a vacuum just because of this feature.
  • Manual Pile Height Adjustment
    • Sometimes you'll want to set this yourself for best results while cleaning.

Roomba, Vacuum of the Future

Roomba  is a series of robot vacuums from iRobot that cleans your floors while you do whatever else you want to do. The models on the market mainly differ by features and included extras.


  • Its slim design can get under furniture without any trouble.
  • Lets you do something else while your carpets get vacuumed.
  • It's a robot. Don't you want a robot?


  • Generally good for light cleaning, but won't deep clean your carpets. In addition, it has some trouble with walls and corners.
    • You'll want to keep your trusty upright or cannister vac around somewhere.
  • Smallish capacity means more frequent emptyings.
  • Needs to recharge after three medium-sized rooms, and takes 45 minutes to do one room.

Electrolux also makes a robot vacuum, the Trilobite , which costs nearly £900, but it hasn't received as much good press as the Roomba.

Related Products

Cannister Vacuums 

Handheld Vacuums 

Vacuum Bags 

Ear Protection 

Carpet Freshener