Upright Vacuum Cleaner Reviews

To help consumers make the most informed decision, Canstar Blue takes a look at some vacuum cleaners that don’t suck.

*Overall satisfaction is an individual rating and not a combined total of all ratings. Brands with equal overall satisfaction ratings are listed in alphabetical order.
Canstar Blue research finalised in June 2016, published in July 2016.

See our Ratings Methodology.

2016 Award for upright vacuum cleaners

Most Satisfied Customers | Dyson

Canstar Blue can reveal that Dyson has received the Canstar Blue award for most satisfied customers – Upright vacuum cleaners. Though Dyson topped the table, previous winner – Shark was not far behind, receiving a 5-star rating in value for money and effectiveness – two important criteria.

Vacuuming is one of those tasks we begrudgingly accept we have to do. While 44% of vacuum cleaner owners claim they vacuum more than once a week, over a quarter (28%) admit it’s their least favourite chore. With that said, there’s no denying how amazing a freshly vacuumed floor looks and feels.

There are a number of vacuum cleaner models – the most popular ones being the upright and barrel (or canister) vacuums. While these models have certain advantages and disadvantages, either is a perfectly viable option depending on your needs.

Upright vacuum cleaners

These vacuum cleaners are comprised of a standing vacuum rod with a bag or canister attached. Upright vacuum cleaners stand up straight which makes vacuuming an absolute breeze – no need to bend over or drag a bulky unit behind.

The vacuum cleaner industry has witnessed incredible leaps in innovative technologies in recent years – especially when it comes to uprights. New models boast extreme suction power and are even available as cordless. But don’t let this distract you from who is truly offering a value product.

After surveying upright vacuum cleaner owners, Canstar Blue can reveal that Dyson has received the Canstar Blue award for most satisfied customers – Upright vacuum cleaners. Though Dyson topped the table, previous winner – Shark was not far behind, receiving a 5-star rating in value for money and effectiveness – two important criteria.

Frequently Asked Questions

Basically, a vacuum cleaner has four critical parts: An intake port, back-end motor, high-speed rotating fan and a dust bag/container.

  1. An electrical charge powers the motor, rotating the fan.
  2. The rotation of this fan creates a pressure differential where the pressure level drops behind the fan.
  3. This change in pressure creates suction. Dust particles and small items are sucked up past the fan, through a filter and are caught in the vacuum cleaner’s bag or canister.

This is the general idea of how vacuum cleaners work. However, some vacuums will operate slightly differently and offer a range of settings to maximise its effectiveness across a number of surfaces.

While barrel vacuum cleaners tend to be the more popular choice for New Zealand consumers, it can’t accurately be said that barrel cleaners are any better than upright cleaners or vice versa. The type you choose will be entirely a matter of preference and will also depend on what best suits your vacuuming needs. With that said, here are the pros and cons of barrel and upright vacuum cleaners.

Upright vacuum cleaners

Pros Cons
Easily manoeuvrable on floors Hard to use on furniture or vehicles
Some cordless models No adjustable nozzles
More compact, making it easier to store Usually noisier

Price: $300-$800*

Barrel vacuum cleaners

Pros Cons
Powerful suction More cumbersome for floor cleaning than upright models
Come in a range of sizes for most budgets Harder to store due to hose and barrel
Interchangeable nozzles for different circumstances Involves bending over, which can be a problem if you have back pains

Price: $150-$900*

*Please note that pricing data is correct at time of writing. Please confirm current pricing directly with retailer

If a barrel or upright vacuum cleaner doesn’t quite suit your needs, here are a few others to be aware of.

Robot vacuum cleaners

These vacuum cleaners do the vacuuming for you! It’s no wonder they’re growing in popularity. Most models will automatically clean the room at regular intervals or at specified times. Some have inbuilt movement patterns for different levels of cleaning while the more expensive models have sensor technology which lets it map out the room for the most thorough of cleans.

The downside to these models is that their size means they have a lower suction capacity and battery life. They are also restricted to flat surfaces and their round shape makes it difficult for them to clean corners.

Prices for quality robotic vacuum cleaners begin at around $500 and can cost up to $2,000.

Handheld vacuum cleaners

Handheld vacuum cleaners are small-portable cleaners which are ideal for cleaning cars, furniture, hard to reach places, or localised messes. They are not as powerful as full-size vacuum cleaners and as such, are no real replacement for a traditional upright or barrel vacuum. With that said, they do come in handy, particularly for those with infrequent or undemanding cleaning.

Handheld vacuum cleaners are quite affordable and can be purchased anywhere around $20-$200.

Wet and dry vacuum cleaners

If you’re running a business or you’re just very serious about your vacuuming, then a wet and dry vacuum cleaner is the go-to. These vacuum cleaners are a lot more powerful than conventional household models and include features that separate wet and dry mess.

These vacuum cleaners have serious power, so they come with a serious price tag. Prices start at around $500 but it’s common to see them costing well into the thousands.

Canstar Blue commissioned I-view to survey 2,500 New Zealand consumers across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have purchased a vacuum cleaner in the last 3 years – in this case, 327 New Zealanders who bought an upright model, and 635 who purchased a barrel model.

Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then alphabetically. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.

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