Here's a full comparison of canister vs. upright vacuum cleaners.

Most vacuum cleaners are labeled to make it easier for customers to distinguish one from another.

A good example of this is canister and upright vacuums. It's easy to guess how each of them looks just from reading their names.

Uprights are stationary, remaining in an upright position when they're not in use.

But canister vacuums are the same, yet the name applies to only a section of the vacuum's body.

Both canister and upright vacuums come with unique characteristics, making them both great options.

Sure, you'll have to do more homework on the brand selling them. But the first part of getting a vacuum starts here.

Canister and upright vacuums are some of the most popular but the reasons for this aren't the same.

If you're looking for a comparison of canister vs. upright vacuums, keep reading.

Regular Upright vs. Canister Vacuums

Upright vacuums were made to keep the person operating in a position that requires them to do little bending over. Posture is key to not feeling exhausted when you're done vacuuming the floor.

If you stay in a neutral position where you're not forced to slouch forward as you clean, it'll help immensely in avoiding you from getting back pain later.

You remain standing and can push the unit with one hand, gently passing it through hallways, past furniture, underneath tables.

You don't have to use it in an upright position.

Vacuums usually have a foot paddle that you press down with your feet to manipulate its head.

When this is done, the rear part of the vacuums where the debris container is leading in your direction.

The stance that you end up in is very similar to you walking a dog outside, without the pulling and licking, of course.

A canister vacuum is different from an upright vacuum. Although they both have wheels and roll, canisters have a large part that's entirely sectioned off from the head.

The best way to describe it if you've never seen one is that it resembles a long-necked dinosaur or a giraffe. The head does connect through a hose attachment.

The attachment is usually removable, helping you to adjust the reach level for better conformity to the area that requires cleaning attention.

Canister vacuums are known for having great suction and a simplistic but bulky design.

It's sort of a combination of a traditional vacuum with a large tub-like body and the wall mount units with long extension tubes.

They're often used by professional cleaners since the suction is sufficiently strong enough to pick up dirt that more compact vacuums have a hard time getting up.

Upright and canister vacuums aren't always the same in size, either. Some units are the biggest and others are quite small. Some have wired connections or are cordless.

However, more canisters need AC power than uprights do.

Each is easy to clean and maintain, but storage might trouble you, particularly with the canister.

Because of the long neck and robust body that sits close to the floor, you'll have to ensure that wherever you put it has enough space to keep it from getting damaged from too many other items in its way.

But with an upright vacuum, you could probably hang it up on the wall if you wanted.

When wall space isn't an option, there's always the floor. Uprights have much smaller profiles and dimensions total than canisters.

In most situations, you could put it in the closets. And today's upright today's have automatic spooling power cables that reduce the risk of you getting wires tangled.

And since the wire isn't exposed with this feature, it may last longer without the rubber coating getting brittle.

Suction Power

Everyone wants a vacuum cleaner with great suction power. Here is what you can expect from a canister and an upright when it comes to sections.

To be clear, canister vacuums win over uprights in suction. While it might not seem like much at first, the body and shape of the canister have a lot to do with this strength.

Yes, the motor is the primary benefactor, but the shape lends it a huge boost in power.

Canister vacuums are similar in suction to the vacuums used at car washes.

They're so strong, you could have trouble when attempting to clean a rug with the device.

In this hypothetical, the rug would get stuck to the head and require that you pull it off at a force that's greater than the suction.

Upright vacuums have good suction too but are more dependent on the motor for added strength.

The smaller the space for a motor, the smaller room it has to create pressure that's good enough for suction to ramp up to high levels.

The suction of your typical upright is 2000 to 3000 mAh, while canisters can go to 5,000 mAh or much higher.

Upright also makes use of brushes to help for a more effective vacuum. Canister models have brushes, too, but many also don't. When this is provided, a brush head might be separate from the primary head.

The suction of canister vacuum is best when used on carpets without loose fabric material, hard floors, and upholstery of all kinds.

If you've never used one before, the suction might even scare you with how strong it is.

Use an upright to vacuum more sensitive carpets that need cleaning, but in a way that's capable of sucking up all the dirt.

The best upright models can do this and not leave your carpets and rugs with the appearance of an incomplete vacuuming job.

The bigger the engine, the easier it'll be for a vacuum to get up dirt and move with a high mAh. Canisters have the space for a bigger engine.

Therefore, you get a faster, more reliable suction with the. Upright vacs have much smaller motors, so the kind of debris you can expect to pick up will be loose rather than condensed.


What design do you like on vacuum cleaners the most? The design that you want can tell you what sort of cleaner is best for your home. People have their preferences.

Some like handheld vacuums that are very compact and travel-sized. But some vacuums are preferred in a much larger size.

There are even cleaners that can be installed in a basement, with pipes running through a home's drywall for linking to a hose attachment.

Comparing an upright to a compact in this area is needed. The designs are both in-demand and have numerous brands building them. As stated before, there are good and bad.

Have you thought about which design suits you the most?

If upright, you can remain in a comfortable position due to the read design of their handles.

Most functions on an upright are located near the handle. When needing to change a settling or a position, you can manipulate the machine without falling over backward, forwards, or getting a case of unavoidable back pain.

Canister vacuums are a little less posture-friendly than upright pieces. The advantage of uprights lies in its one-hand operation.

When you're moving the vacuum to cleaning spots you want to take care of, you'll have to pick it up by the handle. This is usually located somewhere on the vacuum's main body.

While lifting the main body, move the head and long handle it's connected with toward the area you want to clean.

Many canister vacs have wheels to help reduce the all-hands lifting, but you'll have to do it at some point.

Furthermore, wheels will only take you so far before they get tangled with the cord.

When vacuuming in place with high floors, you'll see how effortlessly the canister sucks up dirt into the small cracks and crevices of your ceilings, fans, and window frames.


Canister vacs are usually lighter than uprights. Exceptions are easy to find, so your own anecdotal shopping experience could turn up models that are the entire opposite.

But the weight changes have very small margins between them. Canisters are bulky in appearance, but light.

That doesn't take away the fact that you sometimes must hold two pieces of the vacuum for it to move from place to place.

You'll enjoy such a vacuum best when you have it positioned on the floor in one spot. That way, there's no spooling, lifting, or pulling of the cords.

If your place has stairways and confined corners, the shape of a canister is beneficial, but hardly a difference when using an upright that comes with plenty of accessories.


Think about the number of times that you've seen an upright vacuum being displayed at a store.

You're bound to run into one. During the holidays and beyond, there's no limit to the number of stores that want you to see their upright vacuums.

Even online, you can type in the word vacuum and will likely be treated with multiple photos of great-looking upright designs. But why is this?

Upright vacuums dominate the vacuum industry. When people think of vacuum, they're probably the first type thought of, even for people that don't own one.

At such an abundance, you can get an upright design form almost anywhere. The availability of these over canister vacuums is clear to see.

What's not so clear are their price points. Because there are high and low-priced vacuums made by different brands, you can get one at a very cheap price, or pay a large sum for a higher-shelf pick.

But not so fast. uprights are easy to find and made by many companies, even manufacturers that aren't known for building vacuums may have a model that was built somewhere in their history, or even now.

The lack of scarcity in uprights calls for them to be sold at a budget that fits more people than a canister. Canisters may cost more as a result of the great suction power they're known for.


Every vacuum cleaner has a little dust bin located somewhere on the machine. For canisters, you'll find it on the body.

On uprights, this is usually below the stems that are connected to the handle, or immediately above the head.

Without it, you simply couldn't vacuum anything. Most dust bins for newer vacuums are larger and more refined than older models.

Many are pressurized and can store dirt and debris without it going back out into the air that you breathe.

Sometimes, a dust bin is made to hold even damp material. But for the average canister and upright vacuum, you'll probably be limited to dry debris.

The dust bin on uprights is usually smaller than canisters, but not by a large amount. If a canister can hold 500 ml of dirt, the standard upright model would be listed as about 20% less capacity. But like every aspect of canisters and uprights, this too isn't canon.

Dust bins on upright vacuums can have some nice features that might not be given to your average canister. One is more of a choice for bagged and bagless models.

Upright vacuums fit bags great when the product is made to use them. But bags fewer dust bins are all good for when you're trying to vacuum in a hurry.


Filters allow vacuums to act as air fresheners in a literal sense.

If one is outfitted to your vacuum, you'll get benefits like cleaner air, fewer pollutants going into your lungs, and a reduced population of mite populations that you can't see.

On top of that, the pollen count outside would never reach equilibrium in your indoor space.

Filters can even pick up cigarette smoke, making them strongly recommended for people that smoke or burn incense.

Upright vacuums tend to have more units built with HEPA filters. But there are canister vacuums with the same feature.

They're placed on upright models for their being more abundant, and a trend that customers want to have equipped in their purchased vacuums.

HEPA filters, when added to canisters, do a brilliant job of eliminating bad particulates by sucking up the dirty matter in a highly pressurized chamber where nothing can be released from.

Canisters can sometimes hold more material than an upright vac can. In this comparison, the HEPA filters in the canister's interior hold a higher advantage since they could last longer before needing to be cleaned.


Read up on the warranty of your favorite vacuum brands, and you'll quickly take note of a pattern. It seems that the warranty period changes according to the kind of machine that's bought.

Some vacuum brands have warrants that extend to all their products across the board, having no differences in time.

But many do and are plainly stated for a vacuum brand's customers when so.

Vacuums are built to last for certain periods of time. An upright might be built to last longer than a canister, and vice versa.

There are too many variables and differences in brands and models within them to make a judgment on whether canisters or uprights have a better warranty.

Since upright vacuums are made by more companies, the length of warrant provided to them might be shorter than the duration granted to canister vacs.

For vacuum retailers with a good warranty, you could get between a year and five years on either type.

An extended warranty is also a possibility, which is usually shown on the manufacturer's web page.


Look into these appealing features to help you pick your next floor cleaner:

Canister vacuums

  • Keeps the noise level low - Canister vacs don't make as loud of a racket as your standard upright model will produce. The motors are powerful and emit approximately 60 to 70 decibels of sound. This is equivalent to the sound of you cooking food in a microwave. Some models can get loud, however. Even low decided canister vacuums may emit a loud hum as they age, especially when the units haven't been properly cleaned out in a while.
  • Good weight and easy to handle - As previously mentioned, canister vacuums are bulkier than upright vacs, but weigh slightly less on average. Some upright hybrids that have the stick handle are significantly less in weight.
  • Can reach difficult spots for cleaning - The long extended handle on a canister vacuum is meant for in locations where you've had a hard time reaching with other vacuums before. You can remove the head and replace it with a crevice tool and get all the dirt out of your ceiling corners.
  • Good cord length that spools itself - With the press of a button, many canister vacs will automatically retract the cord without you needing to roll up anything. This is a time saver preventing those annoying tangled wires on your old vacuum cleaner from ever bothering you again.
  • Excellent suction - The suction power of your vacuum is very important. With a canister motor, your floors will look beautiful once the job is complete. These models have suction that professional cleaners would be envious of.

Upright vacuums

  • Cheaper models to find - An upright vacuum cleaner can be had for people on a tight budget or those that can afford the latest and greatest that the vacuum world has to offer. They're sold anywhere vacuums are sold, solid models with a price tag that's very different from the standard canister unit.
  • Handling is simple - Canister vacuums are familiar to more people given that they're made in such high numbers. Figuring out how to use one doesn't require special skill to do. They're easier to pick up and move around than a canister, which performs best when left stationary in one spot.
  • Comfortable posture when cleaning - The posture you have while vacuuming shows how well you'll feel after vacuuming is done. Your posture when using a canister vacuum would be noticeably worse than an upright model. With the latter, you're moving the vacuum with your arms, rather than with the weight of your body in an attempt to maneuver the head and attachments.
  • The vacuum head is big - With a larger vacuum head on upright models, you can cover more area in one pass than you can with a typical canister.
  • Storage is simple - Uprights can be hung from a hook or left on the floor in an upright stance. They're much easier than canisters to put away. Their dimensions are smaller and accessories are usually stored on the vacuum machine, sometimes inconspicuously inside of its body.

Final Verdict

For the average floor clean, an upright vacuum is suggested. They're priced great and built by many brands, But consider vacuums have superb suction strength and make little noise when picking up debris.

If you're unsure of which to pick and are looking for a good deal, find a good upright that's good in quality. But if you're in the money for something new, great motor power, a canister machine can revolutionize the way you tidy up your residence.

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