Best Upright Vacuum In The UK

best upright vacuum

Upright vacuum cleaners have been around for decades. They remain a very popular type of hoover to this day because the head of the best upright vacuum cleaners contain a brush that spins round and digs deep into the fibres of your carpet for a deep clean every time.

They work well on hard floor as well but if you mainly have carpeted flooring then an upright vacuum cleaner gets the vote over a cylinder vacuum cleaner because cylinder hoovers don’t have a brush built into the head of the cleaner.

They used to all be the same with a long handle and a big brush head at the bottom with a cord and a plug and that made it pretty easy to choose one that suited you and your home.

Nowadays there are all sorts of shapes and sizes and some are corded and some are cordless.

Some have bags and others are bagless. Some have a thick central wand with a large dust container and some have a “stick” central wand with a smaller dust container at the top.

Some are very simple and are plug and go and some look like aliens and morph into all sorts of wonderful shapes and sizes and some allow you to remove the central part of the cleaner and lift it away for easy cleaning of stairs, the car and other areas of your home.

We have some of all of the above in our breakdown of the best upright vacuum and we will help you to navigate your way through the minefield of different options you have open to you.

Our main focus when reviewing all of the different types of upright hoovers is the balance between quality and value.

The most expensive upright vacuum cleaners that are available on the market are missing from our list not because they are bad.

The opposite is in fact true. The really expensive hoovers tend to be excellent but when you look at the amount of money you have to pay, we just don’t believe they are worth it.

Our suggestions below deliver excellent cleaning performance but in some cases are hundreds of pounds cheaper than the most expensive options in the market.

The number one most important thing is that you buy a hoover that is right for your particular needs in your particular home.

If you live on your own or with one other person in a small flat and you take your shoes off when you come in then the last thing you need is a top of the range Dyson because something at half the price will do a great job of making your home sparkling clean.

If however you live in a large five bedroom house with cats and dogs and children running through the house then you will need to go for something super powerful that can deal with lots of dust and dirt.

Most people will fall somewhere in between and so we have selected the best upright vacuum cleaners that cover every eventuality regardless of the type of home you live in.

Here are the best upright vacuum cleaners in the UK:

Shark ICZ160 & ICZ300 Cordless Vacuum Cleaner

This could be the best vacuum cleaner out there bar none. The flexibility, convenience and cleaning power combined with a very reasonable price for the performance it delivers all rolls into a magnificent cleaning machine.

It’s a cordless upright so you get the ultimate convenience with no cords and nothing to plug in. They say the battery will last for up to 50 minutes with the ICZ160 and 60 mins with the ICZ300 but thats if you vary the power you use it on. If you keep it on full power the whole time then expect to get 20 minutes of continuous use.

Full power is really powerful though and the medium setting will normally be fine for most surfaces and depending on the size of your home you may never hoover for longer than 20 minutes anyway so you can always keep it on full power if you want. There is also a twin battery version if you just love hoovering and want to vacuum for more than an hour at a time.

The model with a “T” on the end means it comes with a pet tool as well that’s well worth having if you have any furry friends in your home. The pet tool comes with a motorised brush so it works like a smaller version of the main brush head and is great for stairs and sofas.

One of the best things about this vacuum cleaner is the flexibility of the powered lift away option that allows you to separate the central unit from the main unit for ultra-easy cleaning  across your entire home.

You also get duo clean so with the click of one button you can switch seamlessly between carpet and hard floor.

Shark keeps getting better and better and this model also includes anti hair wrap technology so no more pet or human hair will ever get tangled in the brush roller again. A brilliant addition that just makes it even easier to use.

An altogether outstanding vacuum cleaner priced really well for the quality it delivers.





See full review of the Shark ICZ160 & ICZ300 Cordless Vacuum Cleaner


Vax Air Lift Steerable Upright Vacuum Cleaner

Shark vacuum cleaners are brilliant and deliver all-round excellent cleaning performance but not everyone wants to spend that kind of money. How do you find something that performs as close as possible to the premium brands but at a much lower price? The Vax Air Lift Steerable Upright vacuum cleaner comes very close at a rock bottom price for a hoover with this level of functionality and power.

People tend to get carried away with the importance of having a cordless hoover because although it is convenient you do pay a significant premium for cordless vacuums. 

Although this one is corded Vax have built in a very generous 10 metre cord so you won’t need to change over the plug socket very often at all and that means you get full power all of the time for as long as you want.

The suction power is very strong and it also comes with a lift away function that allows you to detach the central cylinder from the main unit and easily clean sofa’s, stairs the car and more.

The accessory tools are stored on the cleaner for easy access and it comes with a good 1.5 litre waste container ensuring you can go a good few cleans before emptying.

See the full review of the Vax Air Lift upright vacuum cleaner




Shark NZ801 / NZ850 / PZ1000 Corded Upright Vacuum Cleaner

If you don’t want to concern yourself with batteries and charging and you want the best but you also want to keep the price down as low as possible then this range from Shark is an excellent choice.

There is the NZ801 / NZ850 and the PZ1000. The only difference between the 3 of them is the size of the waste container so if you have a large home and you want to empty the waste container as little as possible then the PZ1000 has a huge 1.6 litre capacity. Most homes will be fine with either the NZ801 with 0.83 litres and the NZ850 1.3 litres

You get all the features of Sharks top-end cordless vacuum’s but at a lower price because it comes with a cord and you have to plug it in. The 8-metre cord is super long and eliminates the need for annoying regular plug changes.

You get powered lift away, duo clean soft and hard brushes for both hard and carpeted flooring, powered lift away and anti hair wrap technology. 

If you don’t mind a cord and you want a premium brand without the premium price then this is an outstanding vacuum cleaner.

This short video shows how the powered lift away and duo clean feature works:

See full review of the Shark NZ801 / NZ850 / PZ1000 Corded Upright Vacuum Cleaner






Shark AZ910 & AZ950 Corded Upright Vacuum Cleaner

Similar in specification to the NZ801UK above it comes with all the same features such as duo clean technology for seamless cleaning on both hard flooring and carpet, anti-hair wrap technology and powered lift away.

Available with or without a pet accessory tool so you don’t need to buy one if you don’t have pets you also get the option of an extra-large waste container (1.65 litres) on the AZ950 range which ensures less frequent emptying into the bin no matter how big your home.

This is a real workhorse of a vacuum cleaner that is made specifically for medium to large homes that require regular large cleans.



See the full review of the Shark AZ910 & AZ950 corded upright vacuum cleaner


Gtech AirRam MK2 Cordless Upright Vacuum Cleaner

If you just want a hoover that has really good suction power and it does exactly what it says on the tin without any digital displays or multiple buttons to press or trying to get it to change shape then the Gtech AirRam Mk2 is an updated version of a good old fashioned hoover.

There are no cords and you’ll get 40 minutes of cleaning time on each full charge. Its incredibly light at 3.2kg and it so light that when you turn it on you it pretty much glides across the floor surface on its own with just a couple of fingers required to control the direction.

If you have issues with lifting things then this will solve that as the lightest premium upright that we have tested. For a vacuum cleaner, it can be described as a lightweight but it definitely has heavyweight cleaning power.



See the full review of the Gtech AirRam Mk2 cordless vacuum cleaner 


Shark HZ500 Corded Stick Vacuum Cleaner

Stick vacuum cleaners are becoming more popular as they offer great flexibility without compromising on performance and the HZ500 is no exception. 

With one click you can remove the main floorhead and attach the crevice tool to reach up to the ceiling or remove the central stick wand entirely and convert it into a handheld with one click to do the car, sofa’s or any above-floor surfaces.

It comes with unlimited very strong suction power and the long 8 metre cable makes the fact you have to plug it into the wall no problem not to mention that being corded saves a lot of money compared to cordless without compromising on features.

It still comes with all that Shark has to offer with anti-hair wrap, duo clean and a pet tool accessory if you need it.



See full review of the Shark HZ500 Corded Stick Vacuum Cleaner

What’s the best floor surface for Upright Vacuum’s?

Carpets are the best surface to use an upright vacuum cleaner on. It’s not just the suction power that you benefit from but also the spinning brush that sits inside the head of the cleaner.

As the brush rotates it will pull out any dirt that is trapped in the carpet fibres and move it toward the suction port and into the waste container.

If you have mainly hard floor then look for one that has a dual head like Sharks “Duo Clean” that allows you to switch away from the spinning brush head to a soft roller with the press of a single button.

Are Upright Vacuums good if you have pets?

Uprights are perfect for pets because of the brush roller on the vacuums head.

Pet hair can get trapped in carpet and the brush will agitate it so that it will loosen from around the carpet fibres and into the suction port.

Keep a lookout for a pet tool accessory as well that will help get rid of all pet hair above floor level.

How much do you need to spend?

It’s not really worth spending under £100 because it’s a false economy. At that price level you will mostly get a poor level of suction and a brush that is not very strong or powerful.

If you are able to spend between £100 and £300 then you can find a quality hoover that will deliver on performance.

Size of the waste container

Depending on the size of your house you need to check out the size of the waste container to make sure you’re not emptying it every 5 minutes.

The sizes do vary a lot so if you live in a large home that accumulates a lot of dirt or even a small home and you don’t want to empty the waste container after every clean then go for a larger size container.

The amount of power

Cordless upright vacuums may be convenient but on maximum power they still only give you a short time window for the best suction.

You also pay a premium for the battery which you don’t need to if you go for a corded model. Because of that, as long as you don’t mind plugging your cleaner in you get the best value for money with corded cleaners and you never have to worry about the power dying because the battery ran out.

You can also keep corded models on maximum power the whole time whereas with cordless you will find yourself keeping them on medium or low power modes to preserve battery life and that reduces overall suction power.


Gone are the days when a vacuum cleaner weighs more than you do. Most upright vacuums these days are pretty light but if you are going to be carrying it up and down the stairs on a regular basis then you can get some really good ones that weigh under 5kg which will make it very manageable for pretty much anyone.

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