Upright VS Canister Vacuum Cleaner- Which one is more suitable for you?

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In case you can’t decide which style of vacuum cleaner best suits your needs, here is our quick look at the pros and cons of Upright vs Canister Vacuum Cleaner to help you make the right decision for you and your home.

The Canister Vacuum Cleaner

Canister Vacuum cleaner – Pro’s

Canister vacuum cleaners tend to be smaller than the uprights, typically in height and sometimes only half as tall making them easier to move around the room and store when not in use. Maneuverability is questionable for some consumers and I will address this when looking at the negatives. For similar performance, canister vacuums tend to be lighter too.

Canister Vacumm cleaner

One big advantage that canister vacuums do have over the competition is the hose, they do come in different lengths depending on the cleaner but they are very useful for cleaning all types of surfaces such as upholstery, blinds, bookshelves, and car interiors for example. They also get into the hard to reach places that the upright cannot.

Another pro I really like is that all the tools you need are on the vacuum itself, in one easy and convenient place and obviously move with you from room to room. The tools you can expect to have on board include a dusting brush for dusting lampshades and corners, a crevice brush for doing the edges of flooring, and a utility tool that is generally used on upholstery. As I say this makes it very convenient and you don’t have to go back to your closet to pick up whatever tools you made need otherwise.

One clear distinction between Upright VS Canister Vacuum Cleaner is that the motor in the canister is much more powerful than the motor in the upright, even the smallest of canister vacuum cleaners will have a more powerful suction than most upright cleaners. Therefore if you’re planning to clean more than just your carpets or hardwood floors then you’d be better off with a canister vacuum cleaner.

Canister Vacuum cleaner – Cons

Life’s a drag with a canister vacuum cleaner, literally. What tends to happen when a consumer owns one of these is that as you move around the floor the cleaner is dragged or pulled behind you which can have 2 impacts. Firstly the impact on other furniture in your home which has the potential of marking or scratching it and secondly the impact on the hose. Both of these, what I consider minor issues are easy to avoid or control. Basically, you wouldn’t purposely hit an upright into your furniture so why anyone would do it with a canister is beyond me, just be careful and there will be no issue. With the second issue, I have only put this in my article as I have read this a few times, personally, I’ve never had any problems so I guess the message is again, just be careful.

Much more of an issue for some people is the constant bending over unless you purchase an appliance with a long hose of course but generally speaking due to their nature they will be considerably more bending over when using a canister vacuum compared to an upright.

One other con is that the heads are generally not as sophisticated as those on an upright and if you have different floor types, carpets, and hardwood floors, then it is more than likely that you are going to have to change the heads as you move from one room to the next. A small inconvenience yet still one, but additionally if you purchase a canister vacuum cleaner then you’re going to have to make sure that it can be used on the floor types you have.

The Upright Vacuum Cleaner

Upright vacuum cleaner – Pro’s

Looking at the pro’s for the upright I’ll start with the one that I’ve just been talking about which is transitioning. Uprights tend to have an easy transition between the beater head, used on carpets and rugs, and suction used on plain or hardwood floors. Most models like the Stick Vacuum cleaner have a switch located on the suction head too which makes for a smooth transition by changing from one type to the other with your foot.

upright vacuum cleaner

Another pro for this cleaner is the fact that it is upright meaning that you will have to do less bending over while cleaning. Of course, while using a hose attachment there will not be too much difference between the two.

The motor on an upright cleaner is actually pulling air in faster, it doesn’t pull as hard but because the air is very fast this also turns the revolving brushes very fast too, and hence for carpets usually uprights are better.

Upright vacuum cleaner – Cons

As you can see these cleaners tend not to be as easily maneuverable as the canister cleaners especially if you want to clean in those hard to reach places. Most of the time they are heavier or just harder to manage too especially if you have stairs or different floors to clean. Of course, as already mentioned, not all upright cleaners are big and bulky and weigh about the same as a small elephant. Some are actually very light and sleek and many times it comes down to a choice between tall and thin or short and wide.

It actually is an easy decision when you look at the pros and cons, the choice largely depends on whether you just want to clean floor areas or other areas too such as upholstery or car interiors. And how many obstacles are in your way as well as how and where your cleaner will be stored?

Another option that many people choose is to have a larger vacuum cleaner as their main cleaner and have a smaller, much lighter one for quick tidy-ups or to deal with spills.

Another thing is that the waste disposal varies on most appliances in design, size, or shape so is neither a pro or con for either cleaner but just comes down to your choice is – with a bag or without.


As you can tell the choice boils down to just a few factors and it is now your choice. The last thing to mention before you go in search of the best vacuum cleaner is the price.

Traditionally consumers would have paid out a lot more for an upright vacuum however the playing field has leveled somewhat in recent years and you can now easily find equality in price and performance from either model so don’t have any pre-conceptions and choose a model based on what you now know.

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