Upright Vacuum vs Canister Vacuum: It’s All About Comfort
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Upright Vacuum vs Canister Vacuum: It’s All About Comfort

Updated: November 12, 2019

When choosing a vacuum cleaner, the upright vacuum vs. canister vacuum comparison is one you will often find yourself making.

Upright vacuums are very common, but at present, many households are choosing canister vacuums for their everyday cleaning needs.

Vacuum cleaners are essential home appliances that make housecleaning a less tiring job. They clean a lot more efficiently than the usual age-old brooms and brushes.

Whether its dust, dirt, or pet hair, a vacuum cleaner can suck it all up by way of its powerful suction mechanism. It will leave your house clean and fresh.

Choosing between an upright vacuum and a canister vacuum can be difficult. Each type of vacuum cleaner comes with its own set of pros and cons that leave potential buyers confused.

What Is an Upright Vacuum?

An upright vacuum is a traditional vacuum cleaner – the one that has a handle on top. An upright vacuum cleaner is the most commonly found vacuum cleaner type in households.

The suction head and the motor of an upright vacuum cleaner are part of a single block.

There is a central compartment that holds the dust and debris after it has been picked up by the suction head. The user grasps the vacuum from the handle on the top and moves it manually around their home.

The compartment that holds the debris may either be transparent or opaque. Usually, this compartment is clear in bagless vacuum cleaners to let the user know when it needs emptying.

Upright vacuum cleaners clean efficiently. Although they are noisier, their efficiency still makes them a preferred choice for many.

Pros of Upright Vacuums

Upright vacuums are associated with many pros, which is why they are the most commonly used type of vacuum cleaner.

  • Upright vacuums are suitable for homes that have thick carpets. The motorized brushes of an upright vacuum cleaner ensure thorough cleaning of thick carpets.
  • Motor powered brushes (rotating beater brushes) provide a combination of sweeping and agitation that cleans dirt even if it is trapped deep in the fibers of the carpet.
  • Upright vacuums are an ideal choice if you have both carpet and wood flooring in your home. The settings of an upright vacuum cleaner can be changed if you are continuously transitioning between carpet and wood.
  • Since an upright vacuum is rigid, you don’t have to bend to move the vacuum cleaner around. It ensures that you don’t have to put any unnecessary stress on your back.
  • The dust bag compartment of an upright vacuum cleaner is easier to remove and empty as compared to a canister vacuum cleaner. That’s because it does not involve any disassembling of parts.
  • The cleaning path of an upright vacuum is wider, which allows you to clean your home quicker than you would with a canister vacuum cleaner.

Cons of Upright Vacuums

With so many pros, you cannot just assume that there will be no cons. The cons of upright vacuums are as follows.

  • Upright vacuum cleaners are not suitable for homes that have hard floors, including hardwood, tile, or laminated surfaces.
  • The rotating brush of an upright vacuum can damage the hard flooring that you have installed in your home.
  • Upright vacuums are noisier than canister vacuums because they have less space around the motor for insulation.
  • Upright vacuums are heavier than canister vacuums, which makes moving them around a bit difficult.
  • It is difficult to carry an upright vacuum around multi-story homes.
  • Cleaning the stairs with an upright vacuum cleaner is quite challenging.
  • If you have a small space, it is difficult to reach into corners with an upright vacuum.

What Is a Canister Vacuum?

A canister vacuum is different from an upright vacuum in terms of design. It consists of a canister on wheels that contains the motor and the dust bag.

The dust bag holds the debris, dust, and dirt after the vacuum cleaner has picked it. A flexible hose connects the canister to a wand. The wand is usually a rigid tube.

The vacuum head is at the end of the rigid wand. The user holds the end of the wand that is joined to the flexible hose and moves it around the area that needs cleaning.

Although upright vacuums are the most commonly used types of vacuum cleaners, the sales of canister vacuum cleaners have outpaced those of upright vacuums in recent years.

Pros of Canister Vacuums

There are many reasons why canister vacuums are gaining so much popularity. Some of the advantages of canister vacuums are as follows.

  • There are no limitations on the size of the motor. If you are looking for a powerful vacuum cleaner, you can opt for a full-sized vacuum cleaner with a big motor.
  • Canister vacuum cleaners have a better flow rate and suction.
  • They are lightweight, and thus, they are easier to move around your home.
  • The best canister vacuums have castor wheels that not only protect the floor but also makes less noise while you’re moving the vacuum cleaner around.
  • The suction head of a canister vacuum is located on a flexible hose which provides better maneuverability.
  • It can be used to clean fabrics and furniture due to the ease of motion it provides.
  • Although the motor of a canister vacuum cleaner is more powerful, it is still quieter than that of an upright vacuum cleaner.
  • In the battle of bagged vs. bagless vacuum cleaners, a bagged vacuum cleaner is quieter than a bagless one.
  • A canister vacuum allows you to replace the suction head with different tools that provide more cleaning options.
  • Canister vacuums are the best choice for homes with low-pile carpets and hard flooring. The best canister vacuum for hardwood floors on the market will ensure that your hardwood floor is protected from the harshness of the cleaning brushes.

The best canister vacuum is one that has considerable suction power, is lightweight, less noisy, and one that does not damage the floor. Canister vacuum cleaners give users all the reasons to switch from upright vacuum cleaners.

Cons of Canister Vacuums

Although canister vacuums have a lot of pros, there are some cons associated with them as well.

  • Canister vacuums are not as easy and convenient to store as upright vacuums. The flexible hose takes up a lot of space, and all the parts of the vacuum cleaner have to be separated before storage.
  • They can be stored easily only once disassembled, which is an inconvenience in itself.
  • The flexible hose and the wand are in front of you while the canister is behind you which makes handling a canister vacuum cleaner a bit more difficult. Unlike an upright vacuum cleaner, which is always in front of you.
  • A canister vacuum cleaner is usually dragged behind you, so if you are not careful enough, you may end up bumping into furniture. You could also accidentally pull the canister into your feet, which would be very painful.
  • Most of the time, you have to bend while using a canister vacuum cleaner. Hence, these vacuum cleaners are not suitable for you if you suffer from back problems.

Bagged and Bagless Vacuum Cleaners

You can find both upright and canister vacuums with or without a bag. You should make the bagged vs. bagless vacuum comparison before buying any vacuum cleaner.

A bag vs. bagless vacuum for allergies is a comparison anyone with allergies should make as they are more sensitive to dust and dirt. The best vacuum cleaner for them is one that keeps the dust and dirt contained.

Bagged vacuum cleaners are more suitable for such people because the dust bag keeps all the dust and dirt enclosed in a closed space where it can’t get out.

For people who own pets, a bag vs. bagless vacuum for pet hair is an important consideration. Homes that have pets have pet hair scattered all around. This hair can cause allergies in the long run.

A bagged canister vacuum is the best vacuum for pet hair and hardwood floors and carpets. Such vacuum cleaners make a better choice as they can store the pet hair efficiently and keep it away from you.

Although bagged vacuum cleaners are better for people with allergies and pets, bagless vacuum cleaners come with numerous benefits as well.

  • As bagless vacuum cleaners do not have any bags to hold the dust and dirt, you don’t have to buy new bags now and then. It makes bagless vacuum cleaners less expensive in the long run.
  • Bagless vacuum cleaners are an ideal choice for eco-conscious individuals as you don’t have to throw away anything extra with the dirt. You can discard the dust and dirt in your compost bin.
  • Bagless vacuums come with clear chambers, so you know when it is time to empty the chamber. Unlike a bagged vacuum cleaner, a full bag does not compromise the performance of this type of vacuum.

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