Upright or Canister Vacuum Cleaner?

Finding the right vacuum cleaner for your home can feel like a difficult task. A vacuum is an important investment and it’s important to choose the vacuum that will work best for you. Purchasing a vacuum that doesn’t fit with your needs and lifestyle can turn cleaning the house into a real chore. Luckily, the experts at Superior Vacuums are here to help.

A common question we get from our customers shopping for a vacuum is if we recommend a canister or upright vacuum. Each type of vacuum cleaner has its benefits and disadvantages, so our recommendations are always based on our customer’s needs.

Canister Vacuums

First let’s go over canister vacuums. This is a longstanding design and a popular go-to for many.

Canister Vacuums – Positives

Vacuums like the Miele C1 Compact Vacuum Cleaner are very portable and light while maintaining strong cleaning power. You can find canister vacuums that weigh under 10 pounds, with most of the weight in the canister low to the ground. This means reduced strain on your arms and back when vacuuming as the arm and brush is lightweight. Canister vacuums are well suited to cleaning stairs due to the separate handle and hose.

Most canister vacuums have more powerful motors than their upright counterparts. This is due to having a separate unit to house the motor in. A stronger motor will provide better suction power and effective leaner. Even compact canister vacuums like the Miele C1 mentioned above have 1200-watt motors.


Canister vacuums are quieter in comparison to upright vacuums. With the motor contained in a separate unit, there is generally better sound insulation due to the extra space. Generally, canister vacuums produce between 60-65 decibels of noise. Most upright vacuums produce noise in excess of 75 decibels, and usually much higher.

Retractable Cord

While a retractable cord is available on some upright models, you will find them all nearly all canister vacuums.  Not only does this provide convenience, it is also safer too!

Canister Vacuums - Negatives


While lightweight to handle, canister vacuums are low to ground which means bending to turn on and off. If you need to get into a corner, it means more bending. If you have back problems, it may be worth considering an upright vacuum.


With these types of vacuums, you will have a canister to lug around the house. If your home is mainly hardwood or tile it won’t be an issue, but it’s something to consider if you have all carpets. Another consideration is scuffs on the walls, the canister housing may bang into corners or furniture if you’re not careful.


Canister vacuums won’t tuck into your closet as easy an upright, so this is another consideration. The canisters are low to the ground but will take up a larger footprint. Also, most of these vacuums come with a host of attachments which will require more storage space.

After weighing the pros and cons and deciding if this type of vacuum is right for you, please visit our store to browse our canister vacuum selection.

Upright Vacuums

Now let’s move onto upright vacuums and go over some of their pros and cons. We will also make some mention of stick vacuums but will leave the details to a future article.

Upright Vacuums - Positives


Getting the motivation to clean your house comes easier if you have simple to use tools. Upright vacuums are very easy to use, just plug in and you are ready to start cleaning. Many upright and stick vacuums come with attachments that are easy to swap out in a pinch.


Upright vacuums can easily be stored in a closet or corner and won’t take up as much room as a canister vacuum. Some lightweight options like stick vacuums even come with mounting systems or could be hung with a sturdy hook.


Most vacuums you see at general home stores are bagless, this makes emptying them a breeze. Superior Vacuums carries a range of both bagged and bagless upright vacuums depending on your needs. Stick vacuums are generally bagless and manufacturers have made them simple to use.

Large Areas

Upright vacuums are great for cleaning large areas. They have greater mobility due to the one piece and will need less bending than a canister vacuum. The wide design of an upright vacuums means larger surface area and that large room could take a few less passes with the vacuum. A heavy-duty beater bar will make them even more effective on carpet.

Upright Vacuums – Negative


As alluded to in the previous section, upright vacuums can be quite loud as they have a unibody design. Manufacturers can’t muffle the sound as effectively as there is generally less room for insulation. There are quiet upright vacuums on the market, so if you are looking for one specifically please contact us at Superior Vacuums!


While very mobile, pushing an upright vacuum can become tiring after sustained use. If this could be an issue, opt for a lighter weight upright vacuum that is under 10 pounds. You could also opt for a stick vacuum like the Dyson V7 Cord-Free Vacuum.


If you have a complicated floorplan with lots of corners and nooks, and upright vacuum may not be the best choice. It can also be difficult to get under and behind furniture, even with the use of attachments. Stairs are also another consideration, cleaning stairs with an upright vacuum can be quite difficult and you will have to carry all the weight up at once.

If you feel this is the right type of vacuum for you, feel free to check out the selection of upright vacuums in our store.

Which Vacuum is Right for Me?

That wraps up this article covering upright and canister vacuums from Superior Vacuums. Neither option is the wrong choice, it all depends your needs. A great option is pairing a stick vacuum with a canister vacuum, so you have heavy duty cleaning and quick pickups covered.

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