Best Upright Vacuum In The UK

best upright vacuum

If you’re searching for the best upright vacuum cleaner, which I’m guessing you are since you’ve landed on our best upright vacuum post, you’re obviously already convinced of the value of the good old upright, so I’m probably preaching to the converted.

The fact of the matter, though, is that not being sucked in (pun intended, you’re welcome) by the hype and refusing to follow the increasing percentage of the population who’re enticed away from the more traditional uprights and cylinder vacuums and towards the latest, sleekest, lightest and most expensivist (no that’s not a word, but it should be) vacuum cleaner, is a smart move, especially if you don’t actually need the features of the likes of the latest cordless Dyson or Shark vacuums.

I think the latest vacuum cleaners are a lot like smart phones in this regard. Do you remember the days when phones were phones?

Now phones are so much more than phones, they’re all sorts, and they’re great at most of the things they do. For example, they’re more powerful than most average laptops and desktop computers, their cameras are better than a lot of high end cameras, the apps they run are more powerful than many hugely expensive software programs. 

Very impressive, but not all that impressive when you forget all the other stuff and just focus on how they perform as phones, given that none of them are much better in that regard than the old bricks we used to cart around!

I actually think the most difficult thing to do on most smartphones is to make a flipping phone call ;-). What if all you want is a phone? Well, good luck with that.

Some vacuum cleaners and some brands in particular, cough: DYSON: cough, have gone off into smartphone territory with vacuum cleaners, and a huge number of consumers have followed. There are people who must have the latest, shiniest Dyson cordless stick when it’s released just as there are people who wait with bated breath to discover what the latest Apple phone is going to be so they can drop several hundred pounds or even a grand or more on the latest model because of course it’s sooooo much better than the model that was the best only 24 months back.

Similarly to how the latest, most expensive smartphones are usually no better than they ever have been, the latest and most eye-wateringly priced hoovers these days are actually no better where it matters: suction power and overall cleaning performance, than the much more affordable upright vacuum cleaners and cylinder hoovers. 

In fact, in some cases, just as some of the best and most new-fangled smartphones seem to be less impressive as phones as the old-school brick mobile phones were, the latest and most popular space-aged vacuum cleaners (some of which are similarly priced to the latest smartphones) are actually quite a bit less impressive simply as vacuum cleaners.

The latest most expensive cordless stick vacuum will often boast that it’s as powerful as an upright for example, and you’d hope it would be for two or three times the price, but when you look into it in more detail you’ll usually find this is only the case for a relatively short amount of time, simply because of how thirsty the motor is at that power level and therefore how quickly the battery ends up being drained.

Anyway, as I said I’m probably preaching to the converted, you’re probably nodding in agreement, you know that going for an upright vacuum cleaner is a smart move which is why you’re researching the best upright vacuum cleaner. So I’ll stop ranting on about the merits of uprights, and I’ll get to the real value of this post, which is to discuss what we believe to be among the best upright vacuum cleaners in 2023 and to help you to navigate your way through the minefield of all these different options.

Here are the best upright vacuum cleaners in the UK:

Shark IZ400UK / IZ400UKT & IZ420UKT Cordless Vacuum Cleaner

Shark just keep getting better and better with their ethos of continuous improvement and the “Stratos” range is no exception.

Compared to previous models this comes with extra powerful suction, anti-hair wrap plus, Anti-odour technology and the best suction power ever from a Shark vacuum cleaner. There are 3 options, single battery no pet tool (IZ400UK), single battery with pet tool (IZ400UKT) and twin battery with pet tool (IZ420UKT)

This is on top of the usual things like Duo clean flexology and a motorised pet tool. Who needs Dyson when you can get a hoover this good? See below for the full review or check out the pricing.



See full review of the Shark IZ400 / IZ400UKT / IZ420UKT Cordless Vacuum Cleaner


Shark ICZ160 & ICZ300 Cordless Vacuum Cleaner

This may well 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 that’s if you vary the power as required. If you keep it on full power the whole time then expect to get more like 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 20 minutes is going to be more than enough. There is also a twin battery version if you just love hoovering and want to vacuum for more than an hour at a time, each to their own & all that!

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/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 also 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 Shark’s smart “Duo Clean” feature which involves having two brushes instead of the usual single brush roller, and this makes it just as powerful for carpets and for hard floors. 

Shark keep delivering new features, and not just “for the sake of it” features, but really usable and practical features, one of these being their Anti Hair Wrap technology that this also features. Hands up if you enjoy trying to remove hair that is wrapped around the brush roller on your hoover. No one has their hand up, and no I’ve not hacked thousands of webcams ;-), but this is a thankless task, one that I’m fairly sure no one looks forward to having to do. 

It’s a simple feature, but the best inventions usually are, and it basically uses a sharp comb to continually comb the roller and cut hair into small chunks that are then simply hoovered up. 

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-around excellent cleaning performance, and they’re usually more affordable than Dyson, but still, there are a lot of people who consider Shark vacuums to be a bit on the steep side.

This isn’t just about affordability, it’s justifiability too. You may well be able to afford the required cost of a Shark or even a Dyson, but you may just think that spending that kind of money on a vacuum cleaner, which after all simply picks up muck, is lunacy. 

So if this is you, how do you find a hoover that will deliver similar performance and reliability to premium brands but at a much less daft price? Going for a Vax vacuum cleaner is one route towards this goal, they’re a very well known brand, of course, and they are known for producing great products at more affordable prices. 

The Vax Air Lift Steerable Upright vacuum cleaner comes very close to the much more expensive brands in terms of functionality and power, at a fraction of the cost. 

This is a corded vacuum cleaner, so it won’t be for you if you’ve decided that you do need cordless, which you may do if you have few available plug sockets or if your sockets are low and regularly bending down to plug & unplug is the bane of your life. 

For people who don’t have a particular aversion to plug sockets, this one does have 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 sofas, stairs, the car the yacht, the tree house, and so on.

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’re someone who’s really not bothered about going cordless, but you want to invest in among the best corded upright vacuum cleaners, then this range from Shark is a great option. 

This range includes the  NZ801 / NZ850 and the PZ1000 models. 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, but if you’re motivated by the lack of trips to empty the container, for instance you live in a particularly large home, or you live in an apartment where trips to the bins is a bit of an excursion, then the PZ1000 may be for you.

These corded upright vacuums have an 8 metre long power cord, and come with the usual popular Shark features including powered lift away, Duoclean, and Anti Hair Wrap. So if you don’t mind a cable 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






Vax Evolve Cordless Upright Vacuum Cleaner

As I mentioned earlier, buying a Vax vacuum cleaner is a great way to get good performance and reliability from a trusted brand without parting with too much of your hard-earned money. This is another hoover from Vax that really punches above its weight class, and it’s releases like this that are really putting this brand back in the spotlight as one of the vacuum cleaner brands to take notice of, after spending a while on the ropes, continuing with the boxing metaphor, having somewhat being lost in the crowd for a while among other popular hoover brands.

It’s quite easy to fall fowl of the old buy right or buy twice rule when buying a cordless vacuum cleaner, as there are so many temptingly cheap seemingly great cordless cleaners many of which turn out not to be so great and not cheap at all when people end up having to chalk that decision down to experience and buy something more reliable.

OK this isn’t the cheapest cordless upright, but you get a fair amount of change back from £200 which does make it a very affordable option comparatively speaking, and there’s a lot of cleaning performance and reliability for this price, which includes a 3 year manufacturers warranty when registered online. 

You don’t get some of the fancy frills or the same cupboard full of bits and bobs that you might get with a much more expensive option, and it doesn’t quite impress as much in terms of suction power as the latest Dyson, but to be honest that is less impressive anyway when you take into account that you need to keep the boost trigger button depressed in order to clean on that mode, and that you’ll only get 20 minutes or so of cleaning usually on full power. 

So if you want one of the best cordless upright vacuum cleaners on the market without getting into the silly money category, the Vax Evolve is one well worth putting on the list.



See the full review of the Vax Evolve Cordless Upright Vacuum Cleanert vacuum cleaner


Gtech AirRam MK2 Cordless Upright Vacuum Cleaner

I know what you’re thinking, this looks like a kids push along hoover, the type that use to have little balls bouncing around inside as it moved around, but you can’t always judge a book by its cover! To be fair I think this is an over-used and often incorrect saying, because in all honesty you quite often can judge a book by its cover, but not always!

Let’s be honest, we were all just as shocked as Simon Cowell when Susan Boyle started singing, no one was expecting that – and you may have a similar shock when you first use this, to discover that it’s made by G-tech, and not Fisher-Price. This is a durable lightweight and surprisingly capable cordless vacuum cleaner for the price and the particularly unassuming look. 

The lack of bells and whistles in the form of digital displays and various buttons is probably the main things that give this vacuum cleaner such an unassuming, almost toy-like appearance, but it’s this lack of bits and bobs that make it so simple to use.

You really couldn’t ask for a more simple to operate vacuum cleaner, all you have is an on/off button, so if you’re familiar with turning on a kettle and a light switch (I’m sure you’re not reading this in the dark while drinking a cup of cold water) you’ll be more than capable of operating the Gtech AirRam MK2. Thanks to the old-school foot operated on/off switch on the base, though, you’ll probably want to use your foot for this, and if you can also turn the lights on with your feet (I could do that up to my late teens) that’s impressive. 

It requires very little effort to operate, either. Weighing in at just 3.2kg it’s the lightest premium upright vacuum cleaner we’ve come across so far. It literally glides across the floor with only a couple of fingers required to control the direction, due to the powerful motorised brush head which propels it forward. 

It has more than enough grunt to deal with the muck produced within most homes, the motorized brush head makes it a great hoover for pet owners, you’ll get around 40 mins of cleaning time from one charge, which is impressive for a cordless hoover at this price, it’ll move seamlessly across different floor types, so overall a very good option for the more cost conscious.




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


Shark HZ500 Corded Stick Vacuum Cleaner

This is what’s referred to as a stick vacuum cleaner, and no this isn’t because it’s used for vacuuming sticks. I mean you could, if that’s what you want to do, who am I to judge? But the stick reference is of course related to the appearance of these kinds of hoovers, because… actually come to think of it, they really don’t look like sticks at all.

Hmm, anyway, I suppose it’s because the majority of the unit is the wand part of the vacuum, and the motor and battery unit usually isn’t much bigger than the “stick” part. Sticks are among the most popular kind of vacuum cleaners these days, and they’re usually at the higher end of the price range, however this is a corded stick from Shark, not a cordless, the difference is that it’s a lot more affordable than it’s cordless cousins, and comes with more sustained high power. 

In other words, while the cordless versions are very cleverly designed to be able to deliver similar overall cleaning power with a battery instead of a mains plug, the corded versions will give you unlimited cleaning power, while cleaning at max power with cordless vacuums usually greatly limits your hoovering session length, which is a bad thing for those who really love to spend time hoovering. 

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 the brilliant Anti Hair Wrap feature, the Duo Clean feature which means it’ll do a great job on hard floors as well as carpets, the pet tool accessory which is great if you have cats or dogs, and the Flexology wand which “bends because you won’t be able to get back up again” – and I know that’s not actually the slogan for this feature, but it would be quite appropriate in my case, although it’s nothing the numerous visits to a chiropractor won’t resolve, hopefully!.



See full review of the Shark HZ500 Corded Stick Vacuum Cleaner

What’s the best floor surface for Upright Vacuums?

Upright vacuum cleaners were originally developed when carpets were the most prominent floor surface in most homes, and hard floors, certainly wooden floors were relatively rare, so it’s no surprise then that Uprights tend to be better for carpets. This is mainly due to the spinning brush roller on uprights that digs deeply into the fibres of carpets to hunt down all of the hiding dust and allergens.

Having said that, many of the best upright vacuum cleaners these days are equally efficient on hard floors, this is certainly the case with Shark upright vacuum cleaners, which have the “duo clean” technology which ensure that they do just as good a job on hard floors as carpets, they’ll even give hard floors a polish for you as you’re going along, thanks to the soft brush roller which works in conjunction with the brush roller.

Are Upright Vacuums good if you have pets?

Upright vacuums were developed at a time when most homes had mainly carpets, and when pets were just as prevalent as they are these days, so one of the key requirements of upright vacuum cleaners was to keep homes clean of all unwanted debris and muck, including pet hair. 

What really makes uprights no match for pet hair, is the powered brush rollers on the head of the vacuum cleaner. In fact, what you’ll see on other types of vacuum cleaners is that there will be a pet hair accessory which you’ll usually have to pay for separately unless you’re buying a bundle that comes with this tool. This tool is made to deliver the pet hair hoovering power of the motorised brush that you would get by standard with an upright.

How much do you need to spend on an upright vacuum cleaner?

This will mainly depend on whether you can cope with a power cord or whether you need cordless. If you don’t need to go cordless then you won’t have to spend as much money, although it’s worth noting that usually, spending anything less than £100 on a vacuum cleaner is often going to be false economy and may invoke the use of the old “buy right or buy twice” addage.

If you’re not allergic to power cables, then around £100-£200 is more than likely going to be more than enough to invest, while if you need cordless, around £200-£300 is probably a reasonable budget for among the best upright hoovers without getting into the silly money territory.

Size of the waste container

It’s worth keeping in mind that there are varying waste container sizes, and where Shark are concerned you usually have options within the same range to choose what size bin you need. It’s important to make a decision about how large a waste container you need, so that you don’t end up with too small a waste bin on your hoover. 

Just consider how often you want to be emptying the container. For example, if you’re happy to empty indoors, and you live in a modest sized home, then the waste container probably isn’t going to be all that important. If you live in a large home with many rooms, you may find that too small a waste container becomes a real pain in the proverbial if it leads to having to pause hoovering to empty the container. 

Also if you live in an apartment building and you don’t want to be emptying the hoover indoors (which may be the case if you have allergies, as allergens can be released back into the home when you do this), then again, choosing a vacuum with a petit waste container may be a decision that causes you constant annoyance.

The amount of power

You’re always going to get more power with a corded vacuum cleaner. Well, I say “always”, perhaps not, we may enter an era where battery power is hugely upgraded. I’m surprised we’re not there already, actually.

You would have thought that in a time when we all know that the way we live has been causing real damage to the environment, that significant ground will have been covered in the effectiveness of batteries. But when it comes to the power they’re capable of delivering, how often they need recharging and how long it takes to recharge, it does seem that we’ve not moved very far within the past decade or so. 

So for the moment, at least, you get a lot more power with corded, than with cordless. Those at the leading edge of vacuuming technology, namely Hoover and Shark have done a great job when it comes to cordless vacuums being able to compete with corded for overall power, but the main issue is how long the battery will last on a single charge at the higher power settings. This is the main reason that the more premium cordless vacuum cleaners are so expensive, the batteries that these kinds of vacuums need can cost as much as, or even more than some very capable corded vacuum cleaners.

For most households, the cordless vacuum cleaners we’ve discussed within this post will be powerful enough and the batteries will last long enough, but if you have a particularly large and busy home that tends to need a lot of hoovering, you may find that you need to look towards the latest Sharks and Dysons if you need cordless.


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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