11 best upright vacuum cleaners

Hoovering is nobody’s favourite task, but the right machine can make all the difference. We bust the dust

Although they can be noisier and heavier than their cylinder counterparts, upright vacuum cleaners tend to be quicker at covering large floor areas and better at picking up tough mess such as pet hair. They’re also easier to store, as well as being a saviour if you have a bad back.

When buying, make sure your vacuum cleaner will fit in the storage space you’ve allocated and, if you need to use it both downstairs and upstairs, check it’s not too heavy for you to carry up the stairs. Ensure the reach, which can vary from six to 15 metres, is long enough for your needs, and perhaps consider a cordless one so you don’t have to think about plugs at all. Remember some upright vacuum cleaners are better on certain floor types than others, too.

1. Dyson DC41 Mk2 Animal: £450, John Lewis

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The 2011 version of this vacuum was good, but this is even better, using 30 percent less energy and with 20 percent more power. It’s noisy, but worth it for its brilliance at sucking up dust, particularly on floorboards. Tight corners pose no problem and it’s easy to empty the dust container.

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2. Vax Air Base U88-AM-Be, £120, amazon

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This is a bargain for such a powerful vacuum cleaner. It works well on all surfaces and clears up pet hair, fine dust and pollen particles, so great for allergy-sufferers. The cable is on the short side, so you’ll need to do a lot of plugging and unplugging if you’re cleaning the whole home.

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3. SEBO Automatic X4 Pet Eco, £310, John Lewis

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If stubborn pet hair is your problem this has a clever button for a boost of pile-lifting power. The extra-long hose is great for stair cleaning, as is the stair and upholstery turbo brush, and it has a long cable so you don’t have to change power sockets all the time. Better on carpets than floorboards.

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4. Miele Dynamic U1: £370, John Lewis


The premium German brand has been making outstanding vacuum cleaners since 1927 and this is no exception, providing amazing suction on all surfaces and getting into tricky corners with ease. It also prompts you to change the filter after a year to keep it working at maximum capacity.

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5. Black and Decker 32.4V, £120, amazon


If you’re not quite ready to leave the world of cylinder vacuums just yet, this cordless one has a lift-out handheld section, as well as a pet tool for removing stubborn hair from furniture. It’s also quiet, light, slim for easy storage and works on all surfaces.

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6. Vax Air Cordless Lift: £210, John Lewis

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Another cordless machine, this is light, easy to use and lasts for up to an hour on a full battery, which is longer than most. There’s a cylinder you can lift out to get to tricky spots, such as shelves, stairs and inside the car, and there’s also a handy LED headlight to make sure you don’t miss any spots.

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7. Dyson DC40 Multi Floor: £210, John Lewis

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This isn’t the quietest machine, but it is really easy to manoeuvre round tight corners and under low furniture thanks to the ball mechanism and gives exceptional results on both carpets and floorboards. If you suffer from allergies, this is a superb choice for getting rid of small particles.

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8. SEBO Felix Pet Eco: £272, John Lewis

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The new ‘eco’ version of an old pet-owners’ favourite from Sebo, this has a satisfyingly retro look and a flexible neck designed to get into awkward places such as kitchen cupboard overhang, though it’s a bit clunky for stairs. There’s a long reach and it works on all floors.

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9. Hoover Vision Reach Bagless Pet Upright Vacuum: £100, Sonic Direct


The Hoover brand has become synonymous with vacuuming and for good reason. Great on all floors, it’s particularly efficient at removing pet hair and the handle is adjustable to your height and doubles up as a removable nozzle for corners and above-head cleaning. It’s got a reach of 15 metres, too.

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10. GTech AirRAM: £200, GTech

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This wireless machine is just as effective on carpet and laminate as a corded vacuum cleaner (though it struggles with dust between floorboards) and has a run time of 40 minutes, as well as being light and easier to manoeuvre. It’s a little noisy, so best not used while the TV is on or late at night.

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11. Bissell Multireach Ion Plus: £150, amazon


This is a cordless stick vacuum cleaner, with a removable hand-held part and extension wand in case you need extra flexibility. It’s nice and light, as well as powerful and has a 40 minute run time. A good alternative to the traditional, heavy corded upright cleaners, it’s the kind of thing you find yourself using daily, although frustratingly, the filter needs washing fairly frequently.

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If you can afford it, the new Dyson DC41 Mk2 Animal is an incredible machine, effortlessly ridding your home of dust, dirt and allergens. For a more purse-friendly option, we love the Vax Air Base, while the Vax Air Cordless Lift is the best mid-range option.


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