The CNET Appliances team endured hours of prolonged vacuuming to bring you this list of reviewed upright models. Sure, our arms are tired, but it was worth it because we ended up with a lot of data and buying recommendations for anyone out there on the hunt for a new, luxury vacuum.
Some of the results surprised us. For example, the design of the Dyson DC41 Animal Complete and the Dyson DC50 Animal left us a bit cold. Also, the $200 Shark Rotator Pro Lift-Away vacuum we threw into the mix for a budget comparison did as well as the $500 DC50. So, scroll through the models we've reviewed so far and keep checking back -- we'll be adding more as soon as our arms heal.
First, the good news. The Dyson DC41 Animal Complete was a standout in our performance tests, yielding particularly impressive results when it came time to clean up pet hair. The bad news? It isn't designed nearly as well as you'd expect from a brand like Dyson. The wand lacks a handle, the locking mechanism requires you to yank the vacuum to pull it out of a standing position, and when it comes time to put it back up, the DC41 falls flat. Literally. For a steeper-than-steep price of $649, we expected better.
This $499 vacuum boasts all of the design aesthetics that have made Dyson a household name. A cyclonic vacuum, it uses high-speed suction to collect debris into a clear, plastic dust bin. It comes with three attachments, such as the tangle-free Turbine tool. The DC50 utilizes Dyson's patented roller-ball technology for easy maneuvering. It performed well in most of our tests but wasn't a top contender in the group.
This upright vacuum cleaner sits squarely in the midprice range. For your $309.99 you get a very capable machine with features that you won't always find on more expensive models. You can adjust the height of your vacuum to accommodate different types of debris and the brush-roll clean function will pull trapped particles from your brush to your vacuum bin for easy disposal. Also, the construction and design is top-notch -- no flimsy bits and pieces here. That's why this Electrolux feels quite, well, luxe.
Oreck's newest vacuum is a distinct departure from the stark, utilitarian designs it's been championing for decades. We say this is a good thing. The Oreck Touch looks great, feels great, and performs great -- so much so that it gave the top-of-the-line Dyson DC41 Animal Complete a serious run for its money in our vacuum tests. At a price of $399 -- $250 less than the DC41 -- this reinvented classic was easily one of our favorite high-end vacuums.
This budget vac costs $200 and it performs as well as (if not better than) the $499 Dyson DC50 Animal. So even though it's a much less expensive model, it can compete with the best of 'em. It's also a very adaptable machine that comes with a lot of attachments and other useful accessories. Best of all, you can transition from upright to canister mode with ease. Anyone looking for a cheaper option that can still get the job done should give the Shark a close look.
Want to see what else is out there? Check our always-current list of the best vacuum cleaners we've tested.