Many bagging uprights, also known as bagged uprights, have high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters, which are certified to capture more than 99 percent of dust particles. HEPA is the highest level of filtration available for vacuums and is recommended for people who have asthma and allergies. However, some models with other types of filters also do a very good job of controlling dust emissions. Bagless vacuums may also have filters; however, several sources, including ConsumerReports.org, point out that you'll still be exposed to some dust when you empty the dustbin. Therefore, if you are sensitive to dust, a bagging vacuum may be the better choice. On the downside, you will need to purchase compatible vacuum bags.
Among bagging upright vacs, the Hoover Tempo Widepath U5140-900 (*Est. $80) is the clear standout in both professional and user reviews. This inexpensive model weighs 16 pounds, a fairly low weight for an upright. According to one leading consumer review publication, it performs very well on both carpets and bare floors. The vacuum does not include a true HEPA filter, but reviewers say its dust emissions are extremely low. It is noisier than some vacuums, however, and it has no shut-off switch for the brushroll.
Owners are very happy with this vacuum's performance, particularly considering the price. In more than 2,400 reviews posted to Amazon.com -- far more than any other vacuum receives -- the Tempo Widepath earns an aggregate score of 4 out of 5 stars. It earns similar ratings from over 400 users at Walmart.com and smaller numbers at BestBuy.com, Sears.com and Kohls.com. Users say this vacuum offers great suction and is so easy to push that it almost feels self-propelled, although some add that it does not work as well on bare floors (because there's no shut-off for the brushroll). We also saw complaints about the vacuum's noise level and short, awkward hose. Nonetheless, most reviewers seem to consider it a very good value.
Even lighter in weight is the Hoover Platinum Bagged Upright with Canister UH30010COM (*Est. $230). This two-piece set includes a simple bagging vacuum with no accessories, paired with a separate small canister vacuum that can be used for vacuuming furniture, stairs, curtains or even light fixtures. Because the canister and tools are separate, the upright is very light, weighing only 12.5 pounds. It also includes a HEPA filter and a full-bag indicator.
In professional tests, this vacuum does an excellent job of picking up pet hair and digging up embedded dirt from carpet. Editors at the Good Housekeeping Research Institute note that this model is easy to maneuver, but they find the vacuum noisy, and they dislike the rotating brush, which cannot be switched off and causes this model to scatter dirt on bare floors. (Despite this, another review found it to perform very well on bare floors.)
The Hoover Platinum vacuum has more than 800 owner reviews at Amazon.com and about 75 at BestBuy.com, most of them very enthusiastic. More than 265 owners contribute to a near-perfect average rating (4.7 stars out of 5) on Walmart.com. Reviewers praise the model's light weight, maneuverability and powerful suction. Features such as the HEPA filter and long 35-foot cord are also appreciated, and several owners point out the convenient fingertip controls. Users are divided about the separate canister vacuum: Some say its carrying strap makes it handy and easy to tote around, while others complain that it's awkward. There are also complaints that it's noisy.
Even with these drawbacks, however, the Hoover Platinum Bagged UH30010COM earns average scores ranging between 4 and 4.5 stars out of 5 across all sites. Note that you can get the upright vacuum without the canister as the Hoover Platinum Collection Lightweight Bagged Upright UH30010 (*Est. $180), but the upright-only version is less common in stores.
The Eureka Boss SmartVac 4870MZ/SZ also earns good scores in both owner and professional reviews. This upright vacuum is sold under two model numbers: the Eureka Boss SmartVac 4870MZ (*Est. $140) and the Eureka Boss SmartVac 4870SZ (*Est. $140). The only difference between the two is that the 4870SZ is marketed specifically to pet owners, uses an odor-control bag and has a brush attachment designed to pick up pet hair. The 4870MZ, on the other hand, features a slightly different brush design and uses a high-filtration bag.
Otherwise, the two are identical in both form and function. Both have a HEPA filter, 30-foot cord, 15-inch cleaning path and run on a 12-amp motor. Attachments include a crevice tool, upholstery nozzle and dusting brush. The two differ slightly in weight, however, with the 4870SZ weighing in at 24.4 pounds, while the 4870MZ weighs 25.6 pounds.
The Eureka Boss SmartVac earns a best buy recommendation from one consumer testing organization, receiving high marks for performance on bare floors and good scores for carpet cleaning and airflow. Editors at Good Housekeeping also give the Eureka Boss SmartVac an "A" rating, and owner-written reviews are mostly positive; more than 500 owners contribute to an average rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 on Amazon.com. Overall, both owners and professional reviewers agree that the Eureka Boss SmartVac has powerful suction and performs well on all types of flooring surfaces.
Opinions are split on the noise level of this machine; one professional testing organization gives it a good score for noise, while Good Housekeeping editors call the motor "loud." The downside is that it has many plastic parts, and some owners complain that they break easily. Despite the high average ratings, we found some reports of torn hoses, broken wheels and foot pedals. It's also heavy (about 25 pounds), leading some owners to say it can be hard to maneuver, but editors at Good Housekeeping point out that it's sturdy enough that it won't tip over when using the hose. Still, the general consensus is that the Eureka Boss SmartVac is a good value. It's backed by a two-year limited warranty.
At the top end of the cost spectrum, Miele vacuum cleaners offer superior cleaning performance, great emissions control and luxury features. Miele is mainly known for its canister vacuums, but we found excellent reviews for the upright Miele S7580 Bolero (*Est. $800). At 22 pounds, this vacuum is heavier than most uprights, but Miele's patented SwivelNeck mechanism makes it fairly easy to maneuver around and under furniture. The Bolero also offers a host of other features: two-stage HEPA filtration, adjustable suction, automatic height adjustment for switching between carpets and bare floors, an on/off switch for the brushroll, an LED headlight, a 12-foot hose and an extra-long 39-foot cord. The Miele S7580 Bolero comes in black, but the red S7580 Tango and the silver S7580 Swing have identical features.
In professional tests, the Miele S7580 Bolero performs well on all floor surfaces and has very low emissions. It is also quieter than most upright vacuums and does an excellent job at vacuuming pet hair. Editors from one consumer testing organization evaluate the U.K. version of this vacuum, the Miele S7580 Autocare, which is identical to the U.S. product carrying the same model number. Editors say it feels a little heavy during use but praise its brush and nozzle attachments, which are conveniently stored in the back of the unit. The Good Housekeeping Research Institute awards it an A, praising its great maneuverability and superior allergen filtration.
The Miele S7580 Bolero isn't sold at most of the online retail sites we consulted, so it's hard to find user reviews. It is a top pick at AllergyBuyersClub.com, a retail site that specializes in high-end vacuums. The three different versions of the S7580 receive about 30 reviews in total at Amazon.com, with an average rating of around 4.5 stars out of 5. Owners praise the vacuum's power, maneuverability, quietness and durable construction, though a few complain about its weight. We also saw a couple of reports of breakdowns and warnings that Miele will not honor its warranty if the product is not purchased through an authorized dealer (a category that does not include Amazon.com).
Another Miele model, the Miele S7280 Jazz (*Est. $550), has nearly all the same features as the more expensive S7580. The only feature it lacks is the automatic power setting, which automatically adjusts the level of suction to the surface being cleaned. In professional tests, the Miele S7280 performs nearly as well as its more expensive cousin, though its airflow through attachments is not quite as strong.
We did not find many owner reviews for this model, but it earns generally positive comments from just over 20 users between Amazon.com, Epinions.com and AllergyBuyersClub.com. Users praise the vacuum's maneuverability, solid build and whisper-quiet operation. Several reviews mention its weight and the high cost of replacement bags, but these seem to be drawbacks most users are prepared to live with. The Miele S7280 Jazz comes in yellow, or red as the S7280 Salsa.
Are the Miele upright vacuums really worth the extra $500 to $700 more over a Hoover vac? While the Miele models receive good overall feedback in reviews, we found more recommendations for the more affordable Hoover Platinum Bagged Upright with Canister UH30010COM (*Est. $230).