Home Improvement

The Comparison Between Upright and Canister Vacuum Cleaners

When choosing a vacuum cleaner for domestic needs one of the major decisions you have to take is to pick the right style of cleaner either upright or canister vacuum.

Upright vacuum cleaners are more commonly used in US and UK; whereas most people in Europe rely on canister vacuum cleaners for their cleaning needs. Well, among the two types of cleaners, what are the differences between them and which is more suitable for you?

Choosing one style over the other can have its pros and cons, but one can make up for the disadvantages with additional attachments. In the end, your choice for the right style becomes a matter of personal preference.

Following are some of the points to consider before you decide on which type of cleaner to get – the comparison between canister and upright vacuums.

1.      The Type of Flooring and Vacuum Cleaner’s Performance

Upright vacuum cleaners are considered to be better for carpeted floor, while canister vacuums are generally preferred for hardwood or tiled floors.  If the beater brushes in uprights can be switched off and the canister vacuum provides a turbo brush attachment, then both styles are suitable for all types of flooring.

The upright models not only rely on the suction of the vacuum, but also have brush rollers and beater bars, which make them suitable to agitate the dirt out of carpets. It also makes them more effective to remove pet hair. However, on sensitive carpeting or hard flooring the moving brushes can be damaging. Many newer models of upright vacuum cleaners come with switches to turn off the brushes making them capable of multi-floor house cleaning.

Canister vacuums originally did not have moving brushes which made them less effective for carpeting, but suitable for bare floors. But today canister models come with brush rollers attachment for efficient cleaning on carpeted floors as well.

2.      Which One is More Maneuverable for you?

Canister style cleaners are generally lighter in weight and have better reach including above floors cleaning. Upright models are usually easier to steer.

Canister vacuums have their cleaning head attached at the end of a hose. Since the hose is longer, one can cover a wider radius standing in one place with canisters. Also the hose is great for cleaning under the furniture, in narrower areas, and for cleaning upholstery as well.  Canisters are usually lighter in weight making it easier for you to clean the stairs and carry them from floor to floor. However, dragging the canister around can be difficult for some people.

Upright vacuums rely on the suction provided at the base of the structure for cleaning. They are unsuitable for cleaning under the furniture and in narrower spaces, but the more recent models provide attachments for this purpose. They are usually heavier making them less suitable for homes with stairs. Nonetheless, uprights are easier to steer, one can complete his cleaning chore without bending. They also have larger cleaning path, allowing faster clean in some cases.

3.      Storing the Two Styles of Cleaners

It is easier to store upright vacuum cleaners because they have more stable structures. The space that required to store the upright also less compare to canister.

On the other hand, canister vacuum cleanerscan provide difficulty in storage because the hose is unstable and cannot stand on its own.  Also, uprights are more compact so they occupy less storage area.


While selecting a most suitable vacuum cleaner for your home cleaning needs, consider the area of the house and then see whether you require a medium, small or a large size vacuum. You also need to calculate the amount of carpet in the house.  If the house is fully carpeted then it’s recommended to get an upright model.

As you also see both the upright and canister vacuums have their own usage, pros and cons. I would suggest you get a canister vac if your house is mostly hard floors. On the other hand, the upright model is more suitable if you have more carpeted floors.

Remember that it doesn’t make sense to buy a vacuum cleaner that is not powerful enough or short cord. Hope that this comparison between the two traditional vacuums will help you know the differences and which type to choose for your needs.