Which Vacuum Cleaner Is Better: Upright, Canister, Robotic or Stick?

Housework is something most of us would rather not deal with. However, like Ikechukwu Izuakor said, “Neatness and cleanliness is not a function of how rich or poor you are but that of mentality and principle.” Vacuum cleaners are a big part of keeping our surroundings tidy and dust-free. Fortunately, there is a large variety to choose from.

Upright Vacuums

upright vacuum cleaner

This type of vacuum is among the earliest most common. It is a popular model that comes with a tilt and pushes design. One of the reasons it is so loved is because it is very adaptable. It has powerful suction for deep-cleaning carpets. Some models offer adjustable brush rolls to accommodate different rug thicknesses. The brush rolls can even be turned off to clean bare floors. It comes with a variety of attachments that make cleaning corners, upholstery, and even curtains a breeze.


  • The single-unit design makes it easy to push from one room to another with just one hand. There is no need to carry a bulky canister or having to bend over.
  • They are easy to store as they stand on their own. Some models even have wall mounts, so floor space is not taken up.
  • The large-sized head means large spaces can be vacuumed within minutes.
  • They are available in bagless models or with built-in receptacles which can be detached easily for emptying.


  • Compared to canister vacuums, upright tend to be nosier. Their design makes it inherently hard to soften the sound of the motor.
  • They tend to be bulky, weighing in at twenty pounds or more. They don’t need to be picked off the ground too often, but they do feel cumbersome after continuous vacuuming.
  • Cleaning corners and reaching behind furniture is more difficult with upright vacuums. Also, carrying them up or down the stairs is difficult with their big head.
  • Most uprights do not have retractable cords. They have hooks around which the cord is wrapped. There are more chances of tangling or tripping with this arrangement.

Canister Vacuums

canister vacuum

The canister vacuum cleaners come with a tank that rests on the floor with a hose attached. Generally, the tank sits on wheels for easier maneuvering. They are great for accessing tight corners and stairs. Being low lying, they are easier to move around. However, it also requires that you bend over more frequently. They come with more attachments than upright vacuums.


  • Overall, vacuum cleaners tend to be loud. The good news is that the canister vacuum is quieter. Most uprights tend to be around 70 decibels. That is approximately the noise created when flushing a toilet. Canister vacuums average closer to 60 decibels. While this may not seem like much, you have to understand that this scale is logarithmic. Meaning, a 76 dB device is twice as loud as 73 dB, and 70 dB is half as loud as 73 dB.
  • Canister vacuums also tend to weigh less than upright models. The actual weight difference may not be that much. The fact is that you only work with the hose while the bulk of the weight stays on the floor. This makes them feel much lighter.
  • Almost every canister vacuum has a retractable cord. This offers a tidier appearance, and there is nothing to trip over.
  • They have more sucking power compared to upright models. This makes them great for cleaning bare floors, although they are very good for carpets too.


  • Canister vacuums are equipped with a long hose, so the canister does not move much. While this is great, when it comes to reaching tight spots, the storage of two pieces becomes an issue. The two pieces require more space compared to the upright. Also, rolling the canister from one room to the next is a bit tricky.
  • The disjointed design is bulky and cumbersome.

Robotic Vacuums

robotic vacuum

A robotic vacuum cleaner is a motorized, disc-shaped unit that sweeps carpets and floors without human involvement. It makes use of a computer and sensors that aid the device from falling down the stairs and bumping into things. Higher-end models also have sensors that can map rooms. The most basic models come with controls that can be programmed to run according to a schedule. The more expensive models can be controlled with your smartphone apps or even voice commands.


  • The scheduled cleaning is a big bonus. You can program your unit to run while you are away and come back to a clean house.
  • Being only a few inches thick, it can reach places that otherwise do not get cleaned. This includes areas such as under the bed, cabinets, or sofa.
  • Many models can be programmed to spot clean an area. If you spill something, it will tidy it up for you.
  • Some models do double duty; they not only sweep but can be programmed to mop also.


  • Small objects like toys or socks get stuck in the vacuum. While this happens with conventional vacuums also, the problem is that you are not around to set things right. This means you must make sure everything is off the floor if you plan to run your robotic vacuum cleaner.
  • These are small units, so it follows that their dirt collection canister will also be small. That means it has to be emptied frequently, especially if you have to deal with loads of pet hair.
  • The noise level is about the same as that of a canister vacuum cleaner. However, it is slower. It takes more time to clean a room compared to if you used the conventional vacuum.
  • They are not cheap. The top of the line models run about one thousand dollars. This is not that much more compared to a good-quality canister vacuum. The problem is that it does not replace the old-fashioned vacuums. You still need to keep that around as the robotic will reach all spots. You will still need to use your old-fashioned vacuum, although not as frequently.

Stick Vacuums (Handheld Vacuums)

handhold vacuum cleaner

A stick vacuum is a compact version of the traditional vacuums. Being lightweight, they are easier to use than their full-blown cousin and ideal for smaller spaces. They employ a rotating brush and mild suction to collect debris into a bag or an attached bin. Their heads are compact, making them easy to maneuver around things. They are ideal for quick, light cleaning in places like the kitchen or bathroom floors. They have no additional attachments; the single slim unit cleans carpets as well as floors. Corded and battery-operated models are available.


  • Stick vacuums are lightweight, which makes them easy to grab for quick cleanups. They are the perfect cleaning tool for the frail or people who can’t do the heavy lifting.
  • They are convenient when it comes to light cleaning of the whole house. Their versatility means you can easily use them to clean bedrooms or bathrooms with equal efficiency. There is no need to drag heavy, cumbersome conventional vacuums every time.
  • Stick vacuums are the quietest of all the different types of vacuums available. Just the noise from larger machines tires you out when you are using them. This is not the case with these models.
  • They require very little storage space. Being compact, they can be stored in any nook.


  • Being small, compact units’ means they have less power. So you don’t get the same deep cleaning that is possible with larger vacuums. Also, cleaning large rooms can be an exhausting prospect.
  • Stick vacuums typically run on battery power. This limits their running time. A lot of the batteries run out quickly.
  • They come with tiny dustbins. Cleaning large spaces means they will have to be emptied before you are done cleaning.

Features to consider

Bagged Vs. Bag-less

A bag-less vacuum is a money-saving option as there is no need to spend money repeatedly purchasing bag replacements. However, the dust collection bins require filters which require cleaning and periodic replacements. Replacing with HEPA filters can become costly. Also, emptying the collection bin is messy and releases lots of tiny dust particles into the air.

Suction Power

How hard the vacuum can suck in debris is important. The amount of power is determined by the capacity of the motor. The motor power is given in Air Watts. Full-sized machines have the suction power of 100 to 200 Air Watts. Keep in mind, if dealing with lots of pet hair, then high suction power is useless without a pet hair brush roll.

Bin Capacity

the size of the debris collection compartment is another vital factor. If the bin is too small, then you will be emptying it frequently. This will slow down your cleaning. On the other hand, if it is too big and you don’t empty it for a long time, it will give off unpleasant odors.

Noise Level

A machine with a noise level of 60dB means you can use it even if someone is sleeping without disturbance. Most full-sized vacuums reach noise levels of 65dB to 75dB. The less the suction power of a vacuum, the less the noise it will make.

Air Filtration

If people in your household suffer from allergies or asthma then the air filtration system of your vacuum becomes vital. The basic foam filters can be washed and reused. Real HEPA filters remove 99.97% of the particles that are as small as 0.3 microns However true HEPA filters which are charcoal activated tend to be disposable.

Affiliate Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases from Amazon.com.
Copyright © 2023 OKShop.Com – All rights reserved.