Best Cheap Upright Vacuum
Published on By Raechel Conover
Bissell CleanView with OnePass 9595 Review
From $80 Best
Pros: This bagless model has suction that rivals the performance of higher-priced uprights and a proprietary brush that rotates deep into carpets, giving them a fresh, clean look. Users say it runs quietly and they like the assortment of attachments, including a turbobrush. Maintenance is easy with a bottom-empty dirt tank and washable filter.
Cons: The multi-level filtration system may not be sufficient for people with allergies or asthma. A power switch located near ground level requires bending over. A 25-foot power cord and 6-foot hose limit the vacuum's reach.
Takeaway: Consumers who want to rejuvenate their carpets -- and keep them that way -- will be well satisfied with the Bissell CleanView with OnePass.
Hoover WindTunnel T-Series Pet Bagged Upright UH30310 Review
From $116 Best
Pros: Users rave about the suction, saying this vacuum tackles pet hair and dander like no other. Some report carpets looking shades lighter after a single pass. A HEPA carbon filter eliminates airborne particulates and pet odors, and the bag is a cinch to change. The air-powered hand tool and upholstery tool are designed for pet hair. The 30-foot cord and 12-foot stretch hose provide extensive reach.
Cons: Some users say the 2.9-liter bag seems small. The pet attachments are superfluous for people who don't have pets. Color options are limited.
Takeaway: The Hoover Windtunnel T-Series Pet Bagged Upright is the best of the bagged vacuum options, especially for pet owners.
Dirt Devil Dynamite Plus Bagless Upright M084650 Review
From $49 Good
Pros: Light weight (less than 11 pounds) and a relatively narrow cleaning path make this model particularly well suited to smaller homes and furniture-stuffed rooms. Storage is easy with a retractable handle, and the HEPA filter keeps the exhaust clean. Many happy users report five years or more of trouble-free vacuuming, even with pets.
Cons: A 4-foot hose may prove limiting to some, and several users gripe about loud noise. A few comments about poor hose and tool suction surface in reviews. The 7-amp motor is weaker than those found on larger, heavier uprights.
Takeaway: Convenient and effective, the Dirt Devil Dynamite Plus Bagless Upright lives up to its billing: it's a surprisingly competent, compact vacuum that lasts.
Hoover Tempo WidePath Bagged Upright U5140900 Review
From $72 Good
Pros: Ease of use and a modest price tag earn this model hundreds of 4- and 5-star reviews. Powerful suction and a motorized brushroll attack dirt and debris on any type of flooring. Two extension wands and tools for upholstery, crevices, and dusting prove handy. The bag acts as a filter, trapping dust and pollen, and complements separate filters that can be rinsed and reused.
Cons: Some plastic parts appear flimsy. Some users report that the 6-foot hose is stiff and hard to use.
Takeaway: The Hoover Tempo WidePath Bagged Upright will please consumers looking to save a buck without sacrificing performance.
Eureka AirSpeed Unlimited Rewind Bagless Upright AS3030A Review
From $99 Good
Pros: Features like soft wheels, automatic cord rewind, an on-off switch for the brushroll, and easy transition between carpet and bare floors earn this upright high praise from users. They say the suction is plenty strong and doesn't flag. A washable dust cup and high-efficiency allergen filter complete the picture. The three-year warranty exceeds the norm.
Cons: A few reviewers report problems with the belt and a sticky brush roller, and some say this model's lifespan is disappointingly short.
Takeaway: The Eureka AirSpeed Unlimited Rewind Bagless Upright is a solid choice at a reasonable price.
Where to buy
Dirt Devil Vigor Cyclonic Pet Bagless Upright UD70222 Review
From $60 Think Twice
Pros: The 10-foot reach of the stretch hose is a selling point for this corded upright with a 14-inch cleaning path. The same could be said for the pet hair turbo tool, rinsable HEPA filter, and odor-management carbon filter. And the price is cheap, to boot.
Cons: The Dirt Devil Vigor earns demerits from reviewers due to problems with overheating and parts (like the hose) falling off while in use. Reports also surface about clogging, frequent tipping, and a very short lifespan.
Takeaway: Performance and build-quality issues raise a few red flags. Despite the low cost of the Dirt Devil Vigor, there are better buys for the money.
Where to buy
Choosing a Cheap Upright Vacuum Cleaner
The selection of upright vacuum cleaners is vast, with prices ranging from $50 to $1,000 and above. The good news for budget-minded consumers is that a simple yet efficient model capable of picking up pet hair, embedded dirt in carpets, debris on hard floors, and all of the preceding from furniture, moldings, and window frames can be had for less than $150. We've done the research and read the reviews to pick the best of the bunch -- from bagged and bagless uprights to cordless stick vacuums and even a model that does double duty as a hand vac.
The cheap-vacuum-cleaner segment is populated by well-known brand names such as Bissell, Hoover, Dirt Devil, Eureka, and Black & Decker. Shark, Kenmore, and Oreck occupy a middle ground in terms of price, and popular higher-end labels include Dyson, Miele, and Kirby. Upscale models generally outflank less costly vacuums with more powerful suction, more robust technology, and more complex air filtration systems. They do a better job cleaning carpets with deep pile and picking up debris with less scatter. And they're stacked with more features and accessories. The Kirby Avalir, for example, sells for $1,600 and boasts a multi-surface shampoo system and tile and grout scrubber, and can function as an air pump, among other feats.
Bagged vs. Bagless Upright Vacuums.The choice between a vacuum with a disposable bag and a bagless model with a dirt cup (or canister) is personal. The key difference is the extra layer of protection against escaping dust and dirt that a closed bag provides when changing it out. Experts also say bagged vacuums do a better job deep-cleaning carpets and rugs than bagless models do. The best one we found is the Hoover WindTunnel T-Series Pet Bagged Upright UH30310(starting at $116), followed by the Hoover Tempo WidePath Bagged Upright U5140900 (starting at $72).
Proponents of the bagless variety counter that bagged vacuums are less eco-friendly because of the never-ending stream of filled bags going into landfills. The budget model that wins best-in-class is the Bissell CleanView With OnePass 9595 (starting at $80). Two models earn a second-best finish: the Dirt Devil Dynamite Plus Bagless Upright M084650 (starting at $49) and the Eureka AirSpeed Unlimited Rewind Bagless Upright AS3030A (starting at $99). One bagless vacuum derided by reviewers for build and performance issues is the Dirt Devil Vigor Cyclonic Pet Bagless Upright UD70222 (starting at $60).
Cordless Stick Vacuums.Cordless stick vacuums are a subset of the upright segment. These bagless models are much lighter than corded uprights. They're engineered for small jobs, like daily sweeps of a tile or hardwood floor, a quick once-over for rugs, or simple cleanup behind shedding pets. Some stick models are combo units featuring a detachable hand-held powered component. Users swear by the convenience and ease of use, although they gripe about batteries that run out of juice quickly, often in 15 minutes or less.
Cordless vacs generally tend to be slightly more costly than their upright counterparts but they range across price points. We identified three entry-level models worth a look: the Hoover Linx Signature BH50020 (starting at $120), the Shark Navigator Freestyle SV1106 (starting at $80), and the Hoover Air Cordless 2-in-1 Stick & Handheld Vacuum BH52100 (starting at $103).
Upright Vacuum Cleaner Reviews: What We Considered
Even among budget-priced upright vacuums, the assortment of product features and accessories is far from shabby. The offerings vary by model and make, and the best package for the price depends largely on individual needs; that is, the size of a home, its furnishings, and the number and age of occupants, pets included. Given such diversity, we set relatively flexible criteria in terms of specifications. What we did insist on, though, was exemplary cleaning performance. We also looked at weight, which affects ease of use; the filtration system, which has health implications; the cleaning path and cord length; the type of accessories; and the warranty.
In researching our picks, we favored upright vacuum cleaner reviews from experts such as home website The Spruce, CNET, Good Housekeeping, The Sweethome, and Consumer Reports, where the appliances are put through rigorous testing. These sources are familiar with many different models and adept at spotting the best of the best -- even in the budget range. In addition, we read scores of consumer reviews on sites including Amazon, Walmart, Sears, Target, Best Buy, Home Depot, and manufacturers' web pages for firsthand feedback.
Cleaning Performance.An upright vacuum's cleaning performance obviously is the key factor in determining the worth of this basic household appliance. It's one thing to say a given model suctions up whatever lies in its path, but we wanted details. For example, experts at The Spruce found that the 12-amp motor on the Bissell CleanView With OnePass Technology combines with a unique brush design to pick up debris on any surface and pull up dirt from deep within a carpet in one pass.
Users of the Hoover WindTunnel T-Series UH30310 praise its ability to eliminate pet hair, dander, and odors. One review posted on Amazon says this Hoover handily surpasses a higher-priced Dyson. Shoppers who like everything about this model but the bag might also consider the Hoover WindTunnel T-Series Pet Rewind Bagless UH70210 (starting at $117). It's similar in features (and in consumer ratings), but its cord, which retracts, is slightly shorter and it weighs a bit more.
The Dirt Devil Dynamite Plus Bagless Upright runs on just 7 amps, but users don't find its performance lacking. Although more amps imply more electrical power, experts at The Spruce say that doesn't necessarily translate to better suction or better cleaning ability. Still, many posit that this compact corded upright is best suited for light-duty cleaning jobs and small apartments. It's designed to change height automatically when switching between surfaces. This feature is not, however, a favorite with many users, and experts say the manual adjustment on the other models we researched is more effective when cleaning carpets. Most of the corded uprights we researched offer five height levels to accommodate different types of carpets and floor surfaces.
Cleaning Path.Why does this matter? Because the wider the path, the fewer "sweeps" across the floor. Anyone who needs to vacuum large expanses of carpeted or bare floors might prefer the Hoover Tempo WidePath U5140900, with a floor nozzle that clears a 15-inch swath. Narrower nozzles are easier to maneuver around smaller rooms or those crowded with furniture. The Dirt Devil Dynamite Plus is the slimmest on our list, cutting an 11-inch swath. The nozzles on cordless stick uprights extend 10 or 11 inches across.
Filtration System.Air sucked into a vacuum cleaner alongside dirt and dust should be filtered for health reasons before being expelled. The gold standard is a HEPA filter, which traps more than 99.97 percent of dust, bacteria, pollen, and other nasty particles and is especially recommended for folks with asthma or who are sensitive to allergens. HEPA filters, or the alternative S-Class exhaust filters, are almost always found on high-end vacuums. Among the budget models we researched, the Hoover WindTunnel T-Series UH30310, Dirt Devil Dynamite Plus, and Dirt Devil Vigor Cyclonic feature primary HEPA filters.
Other filter arrangements are common on this household appliance. The Eureka AirSpeed Unlimited Rewind Bagless contains a high-efficiency allergen filter while the Hoover Tempo Widepath uses a rinsable filter and incorporates allergen media in the bag. Multi-level filtration sometimes shows up in the budget category as well: The bagless Hoover WindTunnel T-Series UH70210 uses a rinsable filter plus a secondary HEPA filter; the cordless Hoover Linx Signature couples standard filtration with a secondary allergen filter.
Carbon filters for odor management are integrated with the primary HEPA filter on the Hoover WindTunnel T-Series UH30310 and UH70210, and on the Dirt Devil Vigor Cyclonic Pet Bagless Upright.
Vacuums designed for homes with pets often incorporate filters to treat odors. One such model that didn't make our primary list of picks but may be worth a look for pet owners dealing with serious smell issues is the Bissell Powerlifter Pet Rewind Vacuum 1792 (starting at $119). This bagless upright boasts a unique multi-level Febreze filtration system, a feature that works amazingly well, according to reviews posted on Walmart.com, even with five pets. With an 8-amp motor, this model might seem a tad underpowered for a pet-centric vacuum -- a view shared by some reviewers who report it's useless on pet hair -- but the vast majority of reviews, including those posted by pet owners, are highly favorable. One owner of two German shepherds writes that the Bissell Powerlifter outperforms a costlier pet-specific model.
Note: On any vacuum, keeping the filter clean is critical. Follow the manufacturer's recommendations for cleaning frequency.
Weight.Twenty years ago, most vacuum cleaners were bulky beasts that weighed 30 to 40 pounds. These days consumers can find high-performing uprights weighing less than 20 pounds. Among our picks, the Dirt Devil Dynamite Plus Bagless Upright is the featherweight champ at 10.75 pounds, a specification that earns raves from users who appreciate the ease of carting it up and down stairs.
Those looking for something even less cumbersome might consider the 9-pound Oreck U2000R-1 Commercial Upright Vacuum (starting at $170). This no-frills model narrowly misses our list based on price, and many consumers might not think it's made for homes, but user reviews suggest it makes short -- and light -- work of all manner of vacuuming chores. The cordless stick vacuums we looked at weigh 10 pounds or less.
The bagged and pet-friendly Hoover WindTunnel T-Series UH30310, despite its 15.9-pound heft, claims advocates who say it's basically self-propelled and pulls back with little effort, although some find it a bear on stairs. Many users say that in the case of the Dirt Devil Vigor Cyclonic, light weight (approx. 12 pounds) is actually a drawback, because the vacuum is prone to falling over when the hose is pulled.
Cord Length.The length of the power cord is often an afterthought that users come to regret. Depending on the area to be vacuumed, 5 feet of cord can mean the difference between efficiency and frustration. The longer the cord, the greater the reach and the fewer outlet changes. All our picks feature a cord at least 25 feet long. The cord on the Oreck professional model measures a whopping 40 feet -- long enough to snake through multiple rooms of a house.
The full reach of most uprights actually is longer due to the hose and extension wand. All our top picks come with a wand. Cord rewind is a welcome extra. Among the vacuums we researched, the Bissell Powerlifter Pet Rewind, Eureka AirSpeed Unlimited Rewind, and Hoover WindTunnel T-Series UH70210 offer this feature.
Users of cordless stick vacuums can go about their business unimpeded by tangled cords or the location of outlets.
Accessories.Most corded uprights come with at least one or two attachments -- typically a crevice tool and dusting brush. Some go above and beyond. In addition to pet upholstery tools, the Hoover WindTunnel T-Series UH30310 and UH70210 both provide a special air-powered pet hand tool armed with rotating rubber flaps that lift pet hair and suck it in, an accessory that users extol. On Amazon, countless reviewers say it pulls difficult-to-remove pet hair off furniture, and it's also good on stairs. The Bissell Powerlifter Pet Rewind includes similar attachments. The Dirt Devil Vigor Cyclonic Pet Bagless Upright UD70222 comes with a pet hair turbo tool, but user reviews note that the vacuum can be hard to work with: In addition to its tendency to fall over, this model has issues with loss of suction in the attachments and parts that don't stay attached, as well as overheating.
The Bissell CleanView and Eureka AirSpeed come with turbo tools for stairs and upholstered furniture. The Hoover Tempo WidePath includes two extension wands in addition to the two standard tools and an upholstery attachment. The Oreck U2000R-1 Commercial Upright Vacuum is bare bones, with no accessories at all. Among the cordless models mentioned here, only the Hoover Air 2-in-1 comes with a crevice tool. It can also switch from an upright to a portable hand vac.
Ease of Emptying.The bagless uprights we researched feature designs that make it easy to empty the dirt trap and minimize mess. The Bissell CleanView With OnePass, for example, features a container that empties from the bottom, and the cup on the Shark Navigator Freestyle cordless stick model empties from top or bottom. Some reviewers, however, gripe about the deft maneuvering required to dump dirt sucked up by the Hoover WindTunnel T-Series UH70210.
The ability of bagged vacuums to keep collected debris contained when it comes time to dispose of the dirt is noted often in reviews of models like the Hoover WindTunnel T-Series UH30310. One user reports having tried several bagless vacuums to no avail, as they always allowed pet hair to escape when emptying the canister. And consumers certainly don't have to worry about these flyaways with the Oreck U2000R-1 Commercial Upright, which touts a proprietary Saniseal bag that automatically closes before being removed. The bag is also extra-large, which means it needs to be replaced less often.
Aside from some grousing about dirt cups being too small, our recommended cordless uprights don't get dinged for messy encounters with full containers, even cups loaded with pet hair.
Warranty.Complaints about limited durability are rare, but not unheard of, for the upright vacuums we researched. Still, a warranty is important. The most generous limited warranty -- five years -- accompanies the Bissell Powerlifter Pet Rewind vacuum. The Eureka AirSpeed Unlimited is backed by a three-year warranty. One or two years is the norm for the other models discussed in this buying guide. That said, while the Oreck U2000R-1 Commercial Upright claims only a one-year warranty, many purchasers say its durability speaks to its intent for hard use. One review on Amazon tells of a vacuum that lasted more than 10 years while cleaning six to seven homes a week.
Additional Products We Considered
Eureka 4870MZ Boss SmartVac Review
With a wide 15-inch cleaning path and long 30-foot power cord, this powerful bagged upright earns high marks from users for ease of use and cleaning power despite its 21.5-pound heft.
The combination of performance and features is cause for enthusiastic endorsements in Eureka 4870MZ Boss SmartVac reviews. At sites such as Walmart users commend the strong suction power and its ability to make short work of dust and dirt on carpeted surfaces and hard floors; one user reports it nearly lifted up a pair of reading glasses. Pet hair and dander disappear into its maw, as does the aftermath of a project in a basement workshop, assert Eureka 4870MZ Boss SmartVac reviews at Overstock. Many users admit to being serial buyers of this model and conferring one on family members as a gift; one reviewer tells of keeping a unit on each floor of her two-story house. The bagged design also garners favorable comments, many from users who have switched from bagless models. The variety of attachments and features, like the motorized brush roll with an on/off switch, foot controls, and long power cord, likewise draw approving nods.
But perfect the Eureka 4870MZ Boss SmartVac (starting at $140, Amazon) is not. Several reviews grouse about comparatively weak suction in the hose, which some say renders the stair attachment ineffective. And a fair share of users complains about the model's bulk even though the 4870MZ Boss SmartVac is frequently described as being self-propelled. It 21.5-pound mass is just too heavy to lug up and down stairs, according to some reviewers, and others good-naturedly say it gives you quite a strength-training workout.
The Eureka 4870MZ Boss SmartVac is a bagged upright vacuum with a HEPA filtration system and 12-amp motor. It cleans a 15-inch path and features a 30-foot power cord, which is the longest among the models we researched. The hose length isn't specified but the product description claims it extends five times its resting length. Onboard tools include a nested extension wand, crevice tool, dusting brush, and a Power Paw designed for stair risers and the backs of upholstered chairs. There is also a headlight on the base and nine height settings. The Eureka 4870MZ Boss SmartVac carries a one-year warranty.
Despite sitting near the top of the cheap price range, the Eureka 4870MZ Boss SmartVac is an excellent value. Sure, it's heavier than others but the features and performance compensate, especially when vacuuming large expanses of territory.
Where to buy
Hoover WindTunnel T-Series Pet Rewind Bagless UH70210 Review
Pros: This is a bagless version of the Hoover Windtunnel T-Series UH30310, one of our top picks. Accessories like an air-powered hand tool and upholstery tool with rubber blades, along with a carbon filter, call out to pet owners who applaud this vacuum's ability to scrape up matted pet hair and control odors. Multi-level filtration, including a rinsable filter and secondary HEPA filter, automatic cord rewind, and no-scuff bumper add value. Users say the powerful suction revives pet-trodden carpets.
Cons: The dirt canister takes some finagling to empty, according to users. The 8-foot stretch hose seems stiff to some, and the unit is heavier than other top budget upright vacs.
Takeaway: This Hoover WindTunnel T-Series Pet Rewind bagless model should suit households plagued with seriously bad pet-hair days.
Where to buy
Bissell Powerlifter Pet Rewind 1792 Review
Pros: Automatic rewind for the 27-foot cord impresses reviewers, as does the suction -- so much so that some report needing to empty the dirt cup several times on first use. A Febreze filter that helps eliminate odors appeals to pet owners, who also appreciate pet-centric cleaning accessories. This is a quiet machine that comes with an unusually long five-year warranty.
Cons: This model made its debut in the fall of 2016 and has garnered only a few dozen reviews to date, making it impossible to fully assess performance. Some users say the dirt cup is hard to open and must be shut just so.
Takeaway: Useful accessories for pet owners and good first impressions might induce some shoppers to give the new bagless Bissell Powerlifter Pet Rewind a whirl.
Where to buy
Oreck U2000R-1 Commercial Upright Review
Pros: Ease of use is the calling card for this commercial upright. It weighs about 9 pounds, features an unusually large dirt-collection bag that serves as a filter, and is designed to snuggle up close to baseboards and scoot under furniture. The 40-foot power cord is the longest among the budget models we researched, and the Arthritis Foundation of America has commended the ergonomic handle. Reviewers award points for powerful suction.
Cons: User reviews are somewhat limited, perhaps because the Oreck U2000R-1 is billed as a commercial machine, although it's fine for home use. On-board attachments are nonexistent, and the price is highest of any model featured here.
Takeaway: Consumers seeking a lightweight, no-frills, user-friendly vacuum won't be disappointed with the Oreck U2000R-1.
Where to buy
Hoover Linx Signature BH50020 Review
Pros: A secondary allergen filter coupled with a standard rinsable filter might provide respite to the allergy-prone. An on/off brushroll for carpets and bare floors, an indicator light for the 18-volt lithium-ion battery, a reclining handle, and Hoover's WindTunnel technology are compelling features. Hundreds of users deem this model a powerhouse.
Cons: Using the brushroll drains the battery quickly, according to reviewers, and some grouse about easily clogged rollers. A few complain about inadequate suction.
Takeaway: A tad pricey for a cordless model, the Hoover Linx Signature nonetheless delivers strong performance in a solid package.
Where to buy
Hoover Air Cordless 2-in-1 Stick & Handheld BH52100 Review
Pros: A removable hand-held vacuum ups the convenience factor for this cordless stick model. The electronic brushroll switches for hard or carpeted surfaces, and LED lights brighten the way. Other user-friendly features include a rinsable filter, light weight (6.9 pounds), and swivel steering. Reviews say this stick vacuum performs better on bare floors than on carpets but assign high value to the 2-in-1 design.
Cons: The 20-volt lithium-ion battery takes nine hours to charge. Reviewers hedge their assessments about the suction (not enough) and overall build quality.
Takeaway: For some consumers, the versatility of the Hoover Air Cordless 2-in-1 Stick & Handheld Vacuum may outweigh its real and perceived shortcomings.