Canister Vacuum Vs Upright – Which is More Suitable For You?

Last updated on February 19th, 2023

Upright or Canister VacuumEver wondered why the vacuum in our homes does not work as it should? It is because most people did not know much about the types of vacuums that suit best their home requirements and individual needs.

We have two most common types of vacuums and which are upright and canister vacs. What are the differences, pros, and cons between the two types of vacuums? Do you pick out your vacuum just by looks, color, etc, and do you pick out upright because you don’t like to bend down, or canister because you find uprights too cumbersome?

If at all true in your case, then you need to look closer at what you are getting into! Look into lists of the best upright cleaners, the best canister model, as well as vacuum cleaner reviews by consumers.

This article will let you discover the difference between a canister vacuum Vs. upright vac, and hopefully you will know which cleaner is best suitable for your home needs.


Canister Vacuum Cleaners – The Pros and Cons

Canister vacuum pros and cons

A canister is a vacuum unit where it has wheels on it for easy dragging. A hose is a connection to the vacuum unit and then a wand is attached and finally the cleaning nozzle. By simply dragging the wheeled body, cleaning can be made through the carpets but is best on bare floors, under the furniture, drapes, and stairs. And finding the best canister vacuum is easy, so you should understand the product you want to choose clearly before picking it.


  • Canister vacs are usually lesser in weight compared to upright ones by we can clean the stairs and do the above floors cleaning easier since it is handy and portable.
  • Because of its design lightweight features, it is simple to clean areas like under the tables, furniture, and drapes.
  • When using this vacuum, it is not much tiring (even elderly people can use it) since it is easy to operate by simply holding the wand, not the entire unit.
  • It is more silent (quieter) because of good sound insulation compared to upright (but it depends on the model).
  • It is best on hard or bare floors because of better suction and flow rate which gives faster cleaning.  If the canister vac has retractable cords it does not require a bigger storage area.


It takes time to assemble the vacuum because there are accessories that need to be connected which makes it impractical to use. Consistent bending will take place when cleaning and to most people, it is uncomfortable and stressful. Back pains and pain in the lower ankle will most likely be experienced because of bending and dragging the vacuum.

The hose and the wand can be a problem; they require a storage area because they are bulkier. In terms of price, the canister model is slightly more expensive than the upright vacuum but in terms of quality, they are equal.


Upright Vacuum Cleaners – The Pros and Cons

Upright vacuum pros and cons

The upright vacuum works in a way that the person using it should push the vacuum in front of her. The user can thrust the forward or backward the vacuum without bending since it’s almost up to the waistline that the user can grip the handle of the vacuum.

The motor and the suction head both can be found in the body of the vacuum making it movable at all times when used. This kind of vacuum is good for houses, offices, and hotels whose floors are covered mostly with carpets.


  • It covers greater floor area faster because of a wider cleaning path and hence saves time and energy.
  • It works best on carpets and rugs because of the motorized brushes it cleans deep and easily absorb hair.
  • With present innovations, the hose can reach 15 feet which can be used when cleaning stairs or ceilings. The design of the upright prevents the user from bending if the hose attachment is not being used.
  • There is not much preparation required when using an upright vacuum, it is also easy to set aside after use since there are not many accessories that need to be detached.
  • Upright tends to be less expensive (but it depends on the model) than a canister vacuum.
  • And lastly, switching from cleaning bare floors to carpets can be controlled easily with just the touch of a button using your foot.


The upright vacuum is heavier and tends to be avoided use if there are a lot of stairs since it is hard to carry. It cannot also clean hard-to-reach places, under furniture, or corners if a long hose is not provided. It is noisier because of poor sound insulation.


Canister Vs. Upright Vacuums Comparison

upright vs canister vacuums comparison

After you know the pros and cons of both vacuum types, the following are the four main considerations for whether to get a canister or upright for your daily cleaning needs:

  • Floor Type
  • Vacuum Weight Vs. Maneuverability
  • Storage
  • Cost (Affordability)


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

Upright vacuum cleaners are considered to be better for carpeted floors, while canister machines are generally preferred for hardwood or tiled floors. If the beater brushes in uprights can be switched off and the canister model provides a powerhead, 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. Check out the best pet hair vacuums.

However, on sensitive carpeting or hard flooring, the moving brushes can be damaging. Many newer models of upright vacuums come with switches to turn off the brushes making them capable of multi-floor cleaning.


Canister vacuum cleaners 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 attachments for efficient cleaning on carpeted floors as well.

Because canister vacs are equipped with a hose or extension wand, it’s easier to use them for floor and stair cleaning. Most of the models also come with useful attachments to ease your cleaning jobs either at home or in commercial areas. Check out the recommended canisters for commercial use.


2.) Which One is More Maneuverable for you?

Canister-style cleaners are generally lighter and have better reach. Upright models are usually easier to steer.

Canister vacuum cleaners have their cleaning head attached to 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, above-floor cleaning like a curtain, ceiling fans, etc, 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 vacuum cleaners 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. See our editor’s picks on the best vacuum for stairs.

Nonetheless, uprights are easier to steer, and one can complete his cleaning chore without bending. They also have a larger cleaning path, allowing faster cleaning in some cases.


3.) Storing the Two Styles of Vacuum Cleaners

Storing a cleaner is not an issue if you have a big house but for a small apartment, it’s another consideration before getting a cleaner.

It is easier to store upright vacuums because they have more stable and small structures. Also, uprights are more compact so they occupy less storage area.

On the other hand, canister cleaners can provide difficulty in storage because the hose is unstable and cannot stand on its own.


4.) How Much are You Willing to Spend?

There are so many brands and models of either upright or canister vacs available in the market with different pricing. Generally, the more expensive cleaner it’s more reliable and always better.

You can spend $50 to $1000 for both types of vacuum. However, if you are willing to spend $400 to get a new cleaner, the $400 of your investment will get a better upright vac than a canister/cylinder.

See the best cheap canisters for under $100! and the top 5 models under $300.

canister vacuums vs upright vacuums


Which Vacuum is Right for You?

When deciding on the right vacuum, you have to consider the setup of your home.

  • The type of flooring? Mainly hard floors or do you have a floor with carpets?
  • Do you have stairs to clean?
  • Another thing is health issues.  Do you have health problems like back pains? Does the weight of the vacuum bother your health?

One best thing to do is to canvass for the different models, remember what your house requires, and does it fit with your personal choice and physical capabilities. By understanding the main differences between these two types you can feel confident in buying the right vacuum cleaner for your home.

Also, with the Internet at our fingertips, it is now much simpler to research before we purchase: research articles and sites for terms like “buy upright vacuum” or “best canister vacuum” and spare the time to study carefully before making your selection.

Alternatively, you also can go to the nearest local vacuum store to take a look!

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