If your home has carpets, curtains, and upholstery, as any furnished home typically has, you need a good vacuum cleaner to ensure you can keep your home dust-free. There are several options out in the market but a traditional upright hoover is most likely to give you the most power and efficiency.
Being upright is not the only criteria, however. The vacuum cleaner should also have other features that make it a worthy buy. You need to take into account weight, filtration, versatility, etc. before making a decision.
The following are some upright hoovers I came across during my research which seemed to show the most promise. All five have their own unique features and qualifications but only one of them can emerge a winner in your eyes and mine.
Below I have elaborated on the unique features of each product as well as described the factors you must consider before making a decision. Read on to find the best upright vacuum in the UK.
Top Rated Upright Vacuum Cleaners 2020
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Shark NV801UK DuoClean Powered
Vax U90-MA-RE Air Reach
Dyson 455665 Light Ball
Shark NV601UK Lift-Away
Gtech AR29 AirRam Mk2
Shark DuoClean Powered Lift-Away – Best Upright Overall
The Shark DuoClean Powered Lift-Away is an easy, convenient and efficient vacuum cleaner that allows you to go from one room to another with complete ease and without stopping to change settings. It works just as well on carpeted surfaces as it does on the hard floor and does not lose suction when you glide it from one surface to another.
It comes with various handy onboard tools which make the cleaning process all the more efficient. It also has a lightweight, detachable component which converts into a handheld hoover so you can target dust on areas like the stairs or table tops with greater ease. It also offers HEPA filtration so you can breathe cleaner, healthier air with each vacuum. The following are some of the features I thought seemed useful:
- DuoClean Technology: The vacuum cleaner has two unique and efficient brush rolls that work well on hard floors and carpeted surfaces alike. The soft brush roll is meant for hard floors, targeting stubborn, stuck-on dirt, while the bristle bar removes dirt from deep within carpet fibres. The two brushes can work simultaneously, which means you can go from one surface to another, without needing to change settings or switch heads.
- Triple Particle Cleaning: The vacuum cleaner can also remove three kinds of dirt. Small and large messes can be picked up easily, as well as stubborn dirt that has been gathering layers.
- Lift-Away: This traditional upright vacuum can easily be converted into a handheld hoover. With just a click of a button, you have better control of manoeuvering the machine. Enjoy the freedom of the portable vacuum and take it around the house to get your cleaning done. It allows you to tackle narrow spaces, where the upright vacuum in its entirety may not be able to go.
- Powered Lift-Away: The Powered Lift-Away technology takes matters a notch further by according power directly to the brush roll so it can rotate, even without suction. Other hoovers rely solely on the suction but the handheld vacuum has independent power in its brush head to get all the dirt that you need to get your hands on.
- Corners and Heights: Whether it’s an awkward corner on the floor or a hard-to-reach height above, the wand can provide an all-round cleaning. With the extended wand, you can perform above-the-floor cleaning with ease so that you can clean high curtains and light fittings hassle-free. The vacuum cleaner also comes with useful accessories like the dusting and crevice tool, to ensure you get a versatile clean.
- Filter: The hoover employs HEPA filtration which protects you from allergens in the air. Its anti-allergen, complete seal technology promises to capture and seal 99.9% of fine dust particles and will not let it back into the air via the exhaust.
- Easy to Use: The vacuum cleaner has a convenient, swivel steering technology which allows it to move with ease. There are also LED lights which can illuminate dust, even if it is hiding away in dark crevices.
Dyson Ball Multi Floor – Best Dyson Upright
The Dyson Light Ball Multi Floor is a powerful, upright vacuum cleaner that is just the budget cleaner you need to give your home a cleanliness makeover. It’s the least expensive of the ones I have picked out for you and has several useful features despite the low price. It’s a bagless, corded vacuum cleaner but with enough give so you can clean vast expanses in the room without needing to stop and change the power outlet — the power cord is long and accommodative enough.
It comes with several useful onboard tools that make cleaning all the more efficient and thorough. You can empty out the dust container easily and do not need to keep buying and replacing the bags constantly. It’s also flexible enough to get to awkward crevices and high curtains alike. The following are some of the features that you may find useful:
- Ball™ Technology: The main components of the hoover are placed securely in a ball-shaped vessel, which reduces the machine’s centre of gravity and ensures stability as you clean. The Dyson ball also provides the vacuum cleaner with a flexible axis to turn on.
- Self-Adjusting Cleaner Head: The self-adjusting cleaner head maintains and seals in suction. The cleaner head’s height is automatically adjusted to seal in suction, regardless of the kind of surface you’re cleaning.
- Easy to Store: It stands upright and can be stored anywhere in your home, without any trouble. It’s compact in size and has a handle that can be retracted, in case you need to make extra space.
- Easy to Empty: The dust container is bagless and can be emptied easily, with just one click of a button. You don’t even have to come in contact with the dirt. Just one click and it can be released into a dustbin. Since it is bagless, you don’t have to worry about buying extra bags.
- Lifetime Filter: The filter is washable and can be reused for a lifetime. You don’t have to bother with replacing the filter. Simply remove, wash and reuse.
- Tools: The vacuum head comes with a dusting brush, which is great for cleaning delicate surfaces. It also has a quick release stair tool and a quick release combination tool, for reaching tricky crevices and underneath low lying furniture.
Vax Air Reach U90-MA-Re – Best Budget Upright
The Vax Air Reach U90-MA-Re is a lightweight, full-size vacuum cleaner that employs multi-cyclonic technology to get the job done. It’s extremely powerful and while it is classed as a traditional upright, it is a lot lighter than other models. It doesn’t require a huge amount of effort to carry around, and the long cord and hose ensure you don’t have to keep changing power sockets.
It has a compact design that takes up minimum storage space. It also provides HEPA filtration, perfect for allergy sufferers. There are several useful onboard tools, which make the cleaning process more thorough. The Vax is without a doubt one of the best upright vacuums I came across and is also the cheapest on this list.
- Multi-cyclonic: The multi-cyclonic technology allows the machine to not only create greater airflow and propel power but also allows multiple levels of filtration to ensure that every surface it touches is truly cleaned. There’s also a 3-in-1 tool that includes a crevice, upholstery and dusting tool, which ensures every cleanliness aspect of your home is addressed.
- No Loss of Suction: Whether you’re going from carpeted floors to hard floors or vice versa, the Vax U90-MA-Re will not lose suction. You can be sure the vacuum cleaner will have the same power as you glide it between different surfaces and you will not need to stop and change settings or heads. It is rated A for all – hard floor pick-up performance, carpet pick-up performance and energy performance.
- Lightweight: At 4.9 kgs, the vacuum cleaner is considerably lighter when compared to other full-size, upright cleaners. It can be carried around easily, even if you have multiple levels in your home. Despite its light weight though, it is powerful and has a dustbin capacity of 1.5 litres.
- HEPA Filtration: The vacuum cleaner employs HEPA filtration, which means even fine dust particles, which may otherwise be missed by other vacuum cleaners, will be pulled in by this Vax model. The filter is strong and sensitive enough that it not only pulls in the finer dust particles but also ensures it doesn’t get away through the exhaust.
Shark Lift-Away NV601UK
Shark has another entry in this list, with the NV601UK Lift-Away providing power and versatility. It doesn’t have the powered brush roll that the more expensive NV801UK has, but with a cheaper price, it is worth the compromise. You still get the same features and benefits of a Shark upright, just with fewer bells and whistles.
The lift-away canister is the main selling point of the NV601UK, allowing you to convert the vacuum into an easy to use portable cleaner. Along with the swivel steering, Anti-Allergen Complete Seal, and the LED lights, the Shark NV601UK is a fantastic cleaning powerhouse, at a price you will struggle to match for a similar upright with the same features.
- Lift-Away technology: The NV601UK comes with Shark’s patented Lift-Away technology. This allows you to remove the canister from the body of the vacuum, essentially converting it into a portable cleaner. This is extremely useful for cleaning stairs and high areas, where an upright vacuum would normally struggle.
- Anti-Allergen filtration: If you suffer from allergies, the Anti-Allergen Complete Seal technology will be a great benefit to you. The filtration system in this upright vacuum is sealed, meaning everything that you vacuum up stays inside the machine and doesn’t get released back into the air. The HEPA filter captures 99.9% of smaller particles, ensuring the air you breathe is free from allergens.
- LED lights: The addition of LED lights on a vacuum cleaner may seem like a pointless gimmick, but it’s not until you see them in action that you realise how handy they are. Whether you are cleaning a dimly lit room, under furniture, or just in the corner of a room, the lights allow you to see if you have missed any dust or dirt.
- Powerful suction: It goes without saying that a Shark vacuum has powerful suction, and the NV601UK is no different. With strong suction on carpets and hard floors, this upright vacuum doesn’t suffer from loss of suction even when using the lift-away canister.
- Useful tools and accessories: Along with the lift-away function and an 8-metre power cable, the Shark NV601UK has a number of useful tools. The upholstery tool is great for cleaning upholstery and is excellent for giving your car a clean. The 2-in-1 duster crevice tool is good for cleaning hard to reach areas, and the duster can be used on furniture and delicate surfaces. When you combine the tools with the lift-away canister, there really is nowhere in your home that can’t be cleaned.
Gtech Mk2 AirRam – Best Cordless Upright
The original Gtech AirRam was released in 2012, and it proved to be a game-changer in the upright vacuum space. It was marketed as an upright vacuum, but it had the versatility and convenience of a cordless stick vacuum. A number of years later, Gtech launched an improved version of the vacuum, the Gtech AirRam Mk2.
The AirRam Mk2 has a number of improvements over the old version. For starters, there is an improved suction system that allows easier pick up of small and large debris. There is also a 40-minute battery life, an intelligent new dirt bin, and easier manoeuvrability thanks to the lightweight design. Like the original model, the lack of attachments means that it probably won’t replace your main vacuum, but it makes a decent back-up you can use for convenience.
- Improved Battery Life: The Gtech AirRam Mk2 gives you up to 40 minutes of cleaning time from the 22V Lithium-ion battery. This is a decent time for a cordless, with only the latest Dyson and Shark lasting longer. And they are more than double the price of this upright vacuum. The Gtech battery also charges in 4 hours from flat, which is about average for a cordless cleaner. There is also a handy LED display so you know exactly how much battery life is left.
- Lightweight Design: This vacuum from Gtech weighs in at only 3.2Kgs, which is much lighter than most upright vacuums. It is designed more like a cordless stick vacuum though, so if you compare it to the most popular vacuums in this category then it is slightly heavier. This vacuum is designed for cleaning floors only, so you won’t be lifting it up high, meaning the weight becomes insignificant.
Easy Empty Bin: The dirt bin has been improved on this updated model, with Gtech claiming the AirRam’s 0.8-litre bin can hold up to 2.4 litres of compressed dirt and debris. The dirt bin is located in the vacuum base, and it is simple to empty. Once the bin is removed from the base, there is a slider mechanism that pushes all of the dirt out of the canister. This is as mess-free as possible and ensures that there are no clouds of dust filling the room.
Why Should You Buy An Upright Vacuum?
Upright vacuums are one of the most popular styles of vacuum cleaner in the UK, but why are uprights so popular? For a start, the best upright vacuums are versatile, have high suction power, and can be very cost-effective.
Upright vacuums work best on carpeted floors, but they can also do a good job on hard floors such as wood and tile. Because there are so many uprights to choose from, you have to ensure that the one you pick is up to the job.
There are huge variations between different models of upright, although most of them have similar features. Some uprights will be great at picking up pet hair on hard floors but will struggle to lift hair out of the carpet fibres. Others will excel at carpet cleaning while being useless on laminate floors. The key is to do your research and go with a vacuum that meets your requirements.
Upright vacuums can be a cost-effective solution to cleaning your home. While the latest cordless vacuums can set you back as much as £500, some of the best upright vacuums are in the £200 – £300 range. Of course, there are uprights that cost less than that, but you have to ensure the cheaper models will work with your flooring situation.
Another reason why upright vacuums are so popular is that they are versatile. Most models that are produced now are easy to steer, and they can be manoeuvred around and under furniture. If you have stairs, you may want to opt for one of the “lift-away” uprights, where the canister detaches from the base which allows you to clean more freely.
When Should You Not Buy An Upright Vacuum?
As mentioned above, modern upright vacuum cleaners are a lot more versatile than they used to be. With that said, they do generally tend to work better on carpets. If most of your home is covered with hard flooring, or you have minimal carpet in your home, an upright vacuum may not be the best option for you.
Uprights are also heavier than most other vacuum variations, so if you have mobility issues or you need a lighter vacuum then a cylinder or stick vacuum will be more suitable.
Stairs are notoriously troublesome to an upright vacuum, the weight and size make it hard to clean stairs properly. If you have stairs and have set your mind on an upright vacuum, then it would be wise to purchase a model that has a lift-away feature. This allows the canister to be removed from the base of the upright, and you can carry that up the stairs as you clean.
Read More: What is the best vacuum for stairs?
What to Look For In an Upright Vacuum
As mentioned above, upright vacuums vary greatly between different models. There are many different aspects and features that you need to think about before choosing the best one.
This will all come down to your budget, but upright vacuums are available in a variety of price ranges. Models from the top brands, such as Dyson or Shark, can cost you upwards of £300 due to the technology and feature set. That’s not to say that these vacuums will be the best for your situation, so you still have to do your research.
On the other side of the spectrum, there are upright vacuums that you can get for around the £100 mark. Some of these models will perform just as well as more expensive ones, and while they may not have all of the features or be as powerful, they can still do a good job if you are on a budget.
It is important for you to set a budget. How much are you willing to spend on a vacuum cleaner? Is there something that is attractive but outside your price range? Ask yourself what the extra features are that make it more expensive than the ones in your budget. Then ask yourself how useful it is for you personally. These are questions you must ponder over to decide your budget.
Also, keep in mind how frequently you’re going to be using the vacuum cleaner. If it is only going to be brought out of storage once a month, is it worth spending a lot of money? By taking into consideration all these factors, you can set a budget that suits you. Fixing a budget will also help to narrow down your search.
With new regulations from the EU coming into force in September 2017, all vacuum cleaners that are sold in the EU must have a maximum power of 900W. While this may seem that it will cause a reduction in suction power, it’s not really been the case.
Power in Watts and suction power are really two different things. Power in Watts is how much energy a vacuum uses, and the higher the power of the motor the more energy it will use. Suction power, while reliant on the motor power, can be achieved in other ways. Dyson leads the way in suction power technology, with straight-line design and cyclonic suction just two of the ways they have got around the regulations.
When looking at upright vacuums it’s important to remember higher power does not always mean higher suction power. It’s wise to read reviews and do research to see what vacuums really have good suction power.
An upright vacuum with a good filtration system is essential if you or anyone in your home suffer from dust or pet allergies. Many of the cheaper vacuums don’t have sealed systems which mean the dust and dirt you suck up gets expelled back into the room.
Upright vacuums with the best filtration systems will capture 99% of all allergens, making your home much more tolerable to allergy sufferers. The worst performers will only capture 10%, and will actually throw the dust on your floor into the air, creating a much worse environment than it was to start with.
HEPA filters will capture most allergens, so look for a model that has one. Some HEPA filters can’t be washed, so they will need to be replaced depending on how often you vacuum. Most uprights have several filters, and if they can be washed this will prolong the life of the vacuum and save you money in the long run.
HEPA filters are perfectly suited for household members who are prone to allergies. At least 99% of fine dust particles and allergens are pulled in by these filters and held so they cannot go back out into the air you’re breathing.
The Dyson Light Ball Multi Floor has a lifetime filter, which means you can reuse the same filter for as long as you need to. It can be detached easily, washed and then reused. There are no more extra costs to replace the filter every year. For as long as you use the hoover, the same filter will work for you.
Bagged Or Bagless
One of the main points to consider when looking for an upright is whether to get a bagged or bagless vacuum. There isn’t much difference in performance between the two, ease of use will be the main aspect of your choice.
Bagless uprights are becoming more popular, mainly due to the ease of emptying and lower cost compared to bagged models. Bagged vacuums tend to be better at sealing in the dirt and dust, so if you have a severe dust allergy you should always go for a bagged vacuum.
Bagged vacuums have a higher lifetime cost, due to the need to buy replacement bags.
Upright vacuums are not known for their lightweight properties, so before you buy one ensure that the weight will be manageable. There are some models of uprights that are lighter; again you need to make sure you check which one is right for you.
One of the main problems with an upright is cleaning the stairs. If the vacuum is too heavy it will be impossible to manoeuvre and carry up a flight of stairs. This problem can be solved by buying an upright that has a lift-away canister.
At 3.2kgs, the Gtech AirRam is the lightest vacuum cleaner from the ones listed, while the Vax Air Reach is under 5 kgs. Despite their lightweight, however, they are just as powerful as the others.
Read More: Shark vacuum UK reviews
The larger the dust capacity of a vacuum, the more dirt can fit in, which means you will have to empty it less often. This is more of a convenience issue for bagless vacuums. If you have a large area to clean and a small dust capacity, you may be emptying the canister several times per cleaning session.
Some bagged uprights lose suction when the bag gets fuller. This is another thing to consider, as changing a half-full bag will increase the cost of running the vacuum. If the bags are small, you will also be changing them more regularly. Bagged vacuums with larger bags are better if you have a large house.
Pets / Allergies
If you have cats or dogs, it’s best to look for an upright that is specifically designed for picking up pet hair. Some models will be useless for pet hair, while others will have a motorised tool that lifts hair from the carpet or furniture. If you have pets that shed a lot, this should be your number one consideration otherwise you will be left feeling frustrated.
If anyone in your house suffers from allergies, make sure the vacuum you choose has a good filtration system. HEPA filters are the standard, and most uprights will have one apart from the cheapest. You should always use a bagged upright if there is a severe allergy sufferer living with you.
The points above should help you when it comes to choosing the best upright vacuum, however, there are also other considerations when it comes to making your choice.
Although there are models that do well on hard floors, upright vacuums tend to work best on carpets. If you have mostly wooden or laminate floor in your home, you need to make sure that the upright vacuum you are buying does an excellent job on hard floors.
All vacuum cleaner are noisy, there is just no getting away from that fact. Some vacuums, however, are slightly quieter than others. If you have a baby that sleeps throughout the day, or you don’t want to annoy your neighbours while cleaning, then you should opt for a quieter model.
It’s also worth noting that there are certain vacuums that variable power switches. Lower power will emit less noise, but you have to make sure your cleaning will not be compromised by less suction.
Upright vacuums can come with a variety of tools and accessories. When looking at upright vacuums, you have to decide which tools are necessary for your needs. Some of the tools included are:
- Crevice tool for hard to reach areas
- Stair tool for cleaning stairs
- Motorised tools for easily dealing with pet hair
- Dusting brush for hard floors
- Extendable wand for reaching high areas
- Upholstery brushes for cleaning furniture and upholstery
The size of the vacuum may or may not be important to you. Smaller uprights will be easier to use and store, but they may require more emptying of the canister or bag.
The hose length will determine how far you clean, and whether you can clean hard to reach areas. Models with an extendable hose will have a further reach than others.
The operating radius is generally defined as the length of the cord and the length of the hose. The cord length is important as this will determine how much you can clean before you have to find another power socket. Some of the best uprights have an operating radius of 30 metres.
It doesn’t matter how much a vacuum costs or how good the reviews are, electrical items will at some point develop faults.
When you buy a vacuum, especially if you spend a large amount on it, make sure it comes with an extended warranty. A warranty means if your vacuum develops a fault, it will be repaired or replaced free of charge. Warranties generally run from 1 – 3 years, with the option to extend it up to 10 years.
General Buying Considerations
What I’ve elaborated on above are the features and specialities of the three upright vacuum cleaners that stood out the most for me during the course of my research. Having gone over all the features, you are now in a better position to make a decision. But, arriving at an informed decision also requires some deliberations on your end. What are the things you need to consider? You can go over the details of each product and see if they meet the points in your checklist.
Some generic questions you can ask yourself while making a purchase are:
- What are your requirements? Every individual has their own specific needs that a vacuum cleaner must fulfil. What may work for someone else may not work for you, even if the cleaner is a versatile one. You need to set the criteria for what your specific needs are — do you have delicate upholstery or carpets that need special care? Do you have pets that shed a lot of hair? Are there alcoves in high places that need frequent dusting?
- How far can it go? If the vacuum cleaner is corded, you need to see how long the power cord is and how far it can go before you have to unplug it and find a closer power outlet. If it is cordless, you will need to assess how good the battery life is and how long the run time is.
- Is the cleaner bagged or bagless? There are pros and cons to both. With a bagged vacuum cleaner, all the dust is sealed and you will not need to be exposed to it, even when you’re cleaning the dust container out. With a bagless upright vacuum cleaner, you can release the dust into a dustbin directly and don’t have to keep investing in new bags.
- Are you prone to allergies? A vacuum cleaner needs to have an effective filter so it ensures even fine dust particles are pulled in. It’s even better if the vacuum cleaner has anti-bacterial or HEPA filtration. It will ensure the air around you is clean and healthy, even if you don’t have allergies to worry about.
- How heavy is it? A lightweight vacuum cleaner is ideal but it should also be just as powerful and effective. If you find a vacuum cleaner that is light but also efficient, you don’t need to think twice. But this does not always happen. You also need to consider storage. The heavier and more cumbersome the vacuum cleaner is, the harder it may be to store it.
- Can your neighbours hear you vacuuming too? If the vacuum cleaner is only noise and no power, it is not a great option. Of course, when vacuum cleaners create suction, they will make noise. But if you can find a quieter alternative which is just as effective when it comes to cleaning, that is the best option.
Those were some generic questions but you may also be looking for some specific tips. The following are some of the specific factors you may want to consider before buying a vacuum cleaner:
What Is It Good For?
Vacuum cleaners have several uses when it comes to cleanliness. But how useful are the uses to you specifically? A decent vacuum cleaner should serve at least the following common purposes:
- Corners and Crevices: Any decent vacuum cleaner should at least be able to reach dingy corners and crevices, which often gather dust but are hard to clean by hand. The brush head of the vacuum cleaner should either be versatile enough on its own to reach these corners or the cleaner should have suitable onboard tools to target dust and dirt accumulated in awkward crevices.
- Carpets and Floor: A good vacuum cleaner should be versatile enough to work on any surface, whether it is the hard floor or a carpeted surface. It should be able to glide from carpet to hard floor, without losing power or suction. You should not need to stop cleaning to change the setting or change heads on the vacuum cleaner. It is also useful to have a motorised brush head to clean carpets effectively.
- Under Low-Lying Furniture: The vacuum cleaner’s wand should be flexible enough to even reach underneath low lying furniture. It is often hard to clean under the sofa or the bed with a long handle. Either the vacuum cleaner’s wand should bend to that degree or it could also be useful if it converts to a handheld vacuum to give you more room to manoeuvre.
- Above the Floor: It is not just flat floor surfaces that will require cleaning in your home. There are surfaces above the floor too, like high curtains, light fittings, which need frequent cleaning. The vacuum cleaner, ideally, should have a quick-release extension to get to higher surfaces.
- Filter: The vacuum cleaner should have a decent filter, even if it’s not a HEPA filter. It should not allow dust particles to come back into the air you’re breathing after they have already been vacuumed. Often, dust particles escape back into the air through the exhaust. Even if it’s not a certified anti-allergen filter, it should meet at least a basic standard of filtration.
Read More: Handheld vacuum cleaner UK reviews
What Does It Do Differently?
All of the vacuum cleaners listed above have some or other unique feature. But some features may be more useful to you than others. Take a look at the specific, unique features of the products and then you can decide which suits you the best:
The Shark DuoClean Powered Lift-Away has a convenient LED light in the vacuum head, which ensures even the elusive dust particles that are hiding in dark corners are illuminated. Whether it’s pet hair, stubborn dirt or fine dust, nothing can get away when the powerful LED light comes on.
The Dyson Light Ball Multi Floor hoover employs a unique Ball™ Technology that centres the device and allows it to be powerful yet stable. All the core components of the machine are placed in this ball-shaped vessel, which gives the vacuum cleaner a flexible axis to turn on and manoeuvre easily.
The Shark DuoClean has an incredible detachable canister that can be converted into a handheld vacuum. What takes it a notch further is the power lift-away feature which allows the brush head on the portable device to rotate on its own. Most other upright vacuums rely solely on suction for power but the brush head on this one has its independent source of power. This is a great tool for removing pet hair.
Having assessed all the factors, it is safe to say I am going to make an informed choice now. From what I have read so far and from my research, I am inclined to suggest that the Shark DuoClean Powered Lift-Away is a great product and comes out on top. It is a versatile product with multiple onboard tools that tackle different kinds of surfaces well. It offers the protection of a HEPA filter, so you know the air you’re breathing once the vacuum cleaner is done doing its job is clean and sanitised.
But perhaps the biggest selling point of this hoover is its Lift-Away option. The detachable, lightweight device which becomes a handheld vacuum is a great feature and allows you the freedom to clean how you like. The machine works great not only as an upright vacuum cleaner but also offers you the option of using a handheld device in case the bulk of an upright vacuum cleaner does not suffice. So for all of these factors, my vote for the best upright vacuum goes to the Shark DuoClean Powered Lift-Away.