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Upright and canister vacuum cleaners have been here for a very long time.

They have served different families with their long list of advantages. Upright vacuum cleaners are preferred by those who want a single-piece equipment. The canister vacuum cleaner, on the other hand, has become more popular recently because of versatility. Now, if you are going to ask which one is better, the answer would depend on you.

Some people would say that choosing between an upright and a canister vacuum cleaner should be a no-brainer. Both types are equally good (though this would also somehow depend on the brand) and final decision would depend on the user’s preference and special needs.

To help you decide which one would suit you best, we are going to explain every single detail of both the upright and canister vacuum cleaners. We will dissect each one and give you a thorough list of their advantages and disadvantages. From this, you can then freely decide which one of these two most common vacuum cleaners would suit you best.

The Upright Vacuum Cleaner

An upright vacuum cleaner is the vertical single equipment that you see everywhere. It features a vertical dustbin which is thought to be great for cleaning carpeted floors. It usually has powerful brushes and high dust capacity which makes it possible for a user to reduce the frequency of his/her cleaning schedule.

This also has a hose that comes in various lengths and a larger head than the other vacuum cleaners which in turn makes it suitable for those with large areas as it covers more surfaces. As a result, the cleaning time becomes shorter.

Being the most widespread type of vacuum cleaner, customers might find this the cheaper option. In addition, they are mostly ergonomically designed. But again, this would depend on the brand that you are getting.

Some say that an upright vacuum cleaner is not exactly helpful in hard-to-reach areas but then there now are brands that offer more versatile upright vacuum cleaners. To better inform you, here is a quick list of the advantages and disadvantages of an upright vacuum cleaner:


  • Convenient especially the self-propelled models
  • Some now come with a longer hose and/or telescoping hoses and more attachments
  • Cleans not just the floor but upholstery as well
  • Cleans even furniture corners through the use of attachments
  • Simple foot switch for transitioning from carpet to bare floors
  • Larger cleaner bags which holds more debris
  • Easier to empty
  • Generally cheaper
  • Easy to store
  • Wider cleaning path


  • Technically not able to reach tight spaces unless with the help of an attachment

  • Bulky and heavy making it hard to carry up and down the stairs
  • Difficult to drag around
  • Rarely have good sound insulation, therefore, noisier
  • Hose is somewhat stiff (choose a good hose or a replacement hose)
  • Less maneuverable especially if working around tricky furniture
  • Absence of a retractable electrical cord
  • Features a beater bar which some say can damage Persian rugs
  • Design not suitable for those with allergies


The Canister Vacuum Cleaner

This design has become more popular recently as more and more customers find it extremely helpful.

Another reason why the sales of canister vacuum cleaners have soared up high would be the increasing number of people with different cases of allergies. Hence, the use of any ordinary vacuum cleaner is not recommended.

A canister vacuum cleaner is also most suitable for houses with many hard-to-move furniture and complicated corners. It can easily reach those areas without having to resort to crazy angles that could even put a strain in your back.

To further enlighten you, here are the advantages and disadvantages of having a canister vacuum cleaner.


  • Usually comes with HEPA-sealed systems which work great for those who have allergies
  • Powerful motor system with heavy-duty capability

  • Offers better reach because of the head flexibility
  • More flexible and longer hose
  • Better suction and flow rate
  • Easy to operate
  • Considered the best type of vacuum cleaner for hardwood floors and/or other hard wood surfaces
  • More maneuverable
  • Compact and lightweight making them easy to carry around even up and down the stairs
  • Easy to store
  • More silent because of good canister sound insulation
  • Often comes with retractable cords
  • Can be equipped with a variety of tools including upholstery brush, crevice nozzle, and even mechanized brush
  • More versatile


  • The actual canister is behind the user which can be awkward for some (at least in the first few tries)

  • Requires lifting over thresholds
  • Assembly required before operation
  • Bending over required which could be a problem for those with back problems

With all these being said, upright vacuum cleaner would be recommended for those who are on a tight budget, needs just the basic cleaning features, and do not suffer from allergies. However, if you or anyone of your family suffers from allergies, then that would be the clearest sign for you to choose a canister vacuum cleaner instead or look for an upright vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter. Get the best reviews and advice on!