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Choosing A Canister Or Upright Vacuum Cleaner

Date Added: February 08, 2017 02:38:11 AM
When it comes time to buy a new vacuum you will likely be faced with the choice of deciding between a canister or an upright, at least if you are considering a full sized model. Both have their advantages and perform best under certain cleaning circumstances. The first step in deciding on the right vacuum cleaner for your home is to look at the positive features of each and contrast them with the negative ones. This will give you a complete picture to hopefully point you in the right direction.

Canister Positives

Canister vacuums have a unique design in that the motor and filters reside in a small, compact housing that has the suction hose attached to it. There are wheels underneath the main body of the vacuum, allowing you to easily pull and maneuver it around furniture in your home. Some of the positive qualities include the ease of pushing since the head is lightweight (most of the weight is behind you), the attachments tend to be more robust and able to handle multiple types of surfaces, the lower profile fits under furniture easier, and the design is perfect for smoother floors. Also, many canister cleaners come with a retractable cord that is hidden inside when not in use. This is a good way to keep the clutter down during storage.


One of the negative qualities of the higher end canister vacuum cleaners like the ones sold by Miele is they tend to cost more than comparable uprights. There are more materials used during construction and more size to them. Also, it can be a little awkward using it at first as you are pulling the unit around behind you but this doesn't take long to get used to. And since they tend to weigh more it can be more difficult carrying between different floors in your home.

Upright Positives
The upright is the most recognized type of vacuum, and the one most widely used today. It has many positives including more size for the dust bag (or more capacity), easy to use in large and open areas as they tend to have a wider cleaning path for more coverage, and the higher end models tend to be ultra lightweight without sacrificing suction power. The deep cleaning ability is second to none since most of the weight sits over the brushroll. When the brushes are pushed down into the carpet while simultaneously spinning at a high rate, virtually all of the embedded dirt is agitated and pulled up into the cleaner. Uprights really shine on thicker or high piled carpeting.

The full sized upright is not very good at getting underneath furniture since it cannot go as flat as the canister. Also, they tend to not be as maneuverable since the wheels go in a straight line (though the Dyson Ball is an exception). If you aren't careful when using it on hard floors you can damage them, should you forget to turn off the brushroll. You also won't get as many cleaning attachments on an upright as you will on a comparable canister, and the onboard storage can sometimes be underwhelming at best.

Final Thoughts

By understanding the main differences between these two types you can feel confident in buying the right vacuum cleaner for your home. It basically comes down to the type of flooring and personal preferences. Some people prefer the traditional look and feel of the upright while others are drawn to the versatility of the canister.