Upright vacuums are often heavier, can hold more dust and typically have a smaller reach than cylinders, so you might end up swapping plug sockets more often. Uprights also have a motorised brush bar, or electrobrush, in the floor head (the bit that makes contact with the floor that the dust is sucked up through) which works well to pick up hair - important for pet owners.
- Good at picking up pet hair
- Easier to store than cylinders (as there’s no tube to wrap round the vac)
- Can cover large areas of floor quickly
- Can often hold more dust than cylinders
- Can be noisy
- Heavier than cylinder vacs
- More difficult to use on stairs
Cylinder vacuums are lighter and more compact than uprights – but you might be surprised to find out they typically have larger motors, making them less energy efficient. The design and weight of cylinders often makes them better suited to cleaning the stairs, getting into hard-to-reach places, and better at picking up the dust right next to the skirting board, reducing the need to use the small attachments.
Cylinder vacs are sometimes supplied with full size turbo brushes (different to mini turbo tools, see below) to help clean carpets and pick up pet hair, which can add to the price. But Which? tests show these turbo brushes are not always as effective as the standard floor head. Our tests always reveal which is better, so always check our review to find out if it’s worth paying extra for turbo brushes.
- Lighter and more compact than upright vacuum cleaners
- Better for tackling stairs, upholstery, under furniture and hard-to-reach areas
- Usually quieter
- The hose section can be difficult to store tidily
- Generally not as good at picking up pet hair
- Can be more difficult to control and manoeuvre
- Tend to have larger motors than uprights, making them less efficient