Uprights and cylinders are some of the most common and familiar sights in homes for decades.

In fact, the first ever Hoover was an upright followed only a few years later by the cylinder. Due to their longevity in the market, uprights and cylinders are among the most popular vacuum cleaners in the UK and Europe. Every home needs a vacuum but which type?

What is the difference between the two and which one is best for you?

What are the main features of an upright vacuum cleaner?

The most obvious feature of an upright vacuum cleaner is that it stands upright whereas a cylinder is on the floor. Upright vacuum cleaners are used in front of you and pushed forward with a handle. Our latest Hoover uprights feature a steerable floorhead to make it easy to turn corners and move around furniture or other obstacles in your home. Despite their larger size compared to a cylinder, uprights can be surprisingly light and agile; our latest model - The HU300 Upright 300 - weighs as little as 4.94kg and is our lightest, steerable upright Hoover vacuum ever*.

Uprights are typically corded and plug into the mains for constant power and don't need to be charged up. We have designed our cords to be long (up 10m in the 500 reach models), along with a long stretch hose (up to 4.5m) for maximum coverage from the same power outlet. This makes them great for large spaces and avoids you having to interrupt the cleaning too often to change to a different power socket.

All of our Upright models use multi-cyclonic technology which separates the dust and keeps it away from the filter to keep them performing at their best and help the filter stay cleaner for longer. In addition, HEPA filters are common in uprights, which helps to trap particles and purify the air that is released back into your home.

Thanks to a robust frame, uprights typically have several tools on board to cater for above-floor cleaning tasks and hard to reach areas such as alcoves and cabinets. Using the stretch hose and upholstery tool an upright can easily clean the inside of a car, your sofa and much more.

What are the main features of a cylinder vacuum cleaner?

Cylinder vacuum cleaners are compact, have great manoeuvrability, large capacities and powerful suction. This makes them great all-rounders which can be used in a wide range of cleaning scenarios. The biggest feature of a cylinder vacuum cleaner is its high portability and ease of use due to the body being on the floor with only the hose in your hand - this is a great benefit for the elderly or people with mobility issues. Despite having a compact body, cylinder vacuum cleaners have large capacities to hold the dirt and dust - 5L and 3.5L in the bagged models and 1.8L for the bagless. This is considerably higher than upright models which means fewer trips to empty the bin during a deep clean of the home. However, the larger capacities are bagged so bear in mind that bagless cylinders are a pretty similar capacity to uprights.

There are plenty of tools included with Hoover cylinder vacuums which include a crevice tool, dusting brush, pet hair remover and for Telios cylinder models a furniture nozzle. This makes them extremely versatile and capable for a wide range of cleaning jobs around the house. As Cylinders are so compact in size, they tend to have two or three basic tools stored onboard, the Pets brush needs to be stored elsewhere.

Should I choose an upright or cylinder vacuum cleaner?


The power of cylinders and uprights are comparable - cylinders wattage range from 500W-800W with Uprights between 700W-850W. Modern vacuum cleaners have been designed to work efficiently using less power than their predecessors from 5+ years ago, so it’s best not to make a comparison based on wattage.

Floor type cleaning

Both an upright vacuum cleaner and a cylinder are capable of cleaning different floor types: an Upright usually has a button to switch on the rotating brush for deep cleaning carpets. Cylinders don’t have the rotating brush, but they will typically have a multi-purpose head which can be used on any floor type. Some come with a second head that you can switch to for special surfaces, e.g. a Parquet head to clean delicate floors without scratching. Uprights and cylinders are able to tackle hard floors, thick carpets, stairs and low furniture. Both are capable of getting to hard to reach areas and cleaning various types of carpet pile on the floor and stairs.


The technology in an upright vacuum cleaner vs. cylinder vacuum cleaners comparison can play a part in which is the best vacuum cleaner for your needs. Our Hoover Uprights use multi-cyclonic technology along with a H13 HEPA filter to separate the dirt into a bagless storage bin and trap particles. Uprights are great for those looking for the most modern solutions to clean without the cost and hassle of having to replace bags. We also offer a bagless cylinder in the Hoover range which is the Optimum Power. Offering a hybrid of modern technologies of being bagless with classic cylinder design, Optimum Power also comes equipped with a H13 HEPA filter.

Overall, Hoover offer the latest technologies in both uprights and cylinders and the preference comes from the design itself.


Uprights can be noisier than cylinders, due to the rotating brush in the floorhead. However even within cylinders, the noise level varies hugely, which is why we designed our ultra-quiet Telios Extra model. The Telios cylinder vacuum cleaner produces just 64dBA of noise which is 50% quieter than standard cleaners and is equivalent to a normal conversation.  If low noise is important to you then the Telios cylinder is the best choice.


Our bagged cylinder cleaners have larger capacities whereas our uprights are more convenient to empty thanks to a one-touch system. The best dust storage system is entirely down to user preference and how you prefer to get rid of all the dust and dirt you have collected.


In terms of weight, a cylinder vacuum cleaner is lighter than an upright, although the new Upright 300 closes that gap considerably. However, what should be considered when making an upright vs cylinder vacuum comparison is that a cylinder is on the floor and needs to be pulled whereas an upright is in your hands and needs to be pushed. There is an exception to this with the H-Lift upright which can be lifted away from the main unit.


Whether it's a Hoover upright or cylinder you choose you'll get plenty of tools included, such as a dusting brush, crevice tool, extension tube for the upright vacuum cleaners as well as a pets mini turbo brush for the pets models. Cylinders get a crevice tool, dusting brush and a pet hair remover as standard and a furniture nozzle in the Telios model.


There is a clear difference between these types of vacuum in terms of reach as the uprights have a combined reach from the long hose and power cord of up to 15m whereas the cylinders have a maximum reach of 10m. This makes the uprights a better choice for those who need the extra reach for cleaning cars, high ceilings and furniture or if the home is lacking several power outlets.

Final comments

When it comes down to it, vacuum cleaners of all shapes and sizes all have one purpose which is to clean the home. Each have their pros and cons but ultimately it comes down to the design and which design fits your needs and taste. Here's a final rundown of these vacuum cleaners’ strengths:

Hoover Upright vacuums

  • Uses multi-cyclonic technology with no loss of suction
  • Agile and steerable cleaning head
  • HEPA filter
  • Bagless
  • Easy to empty
  • Auto floor sensor (500 Plus)
  • Great for hard floors, cleaning stairs and carpets

Hoover Cylinder vacuums

  • Compact design and easy to store
  • Large capacity
  • Ultra-quiet (Telios)
  • Lightweight & sits on the floor during use
  • Variable power (some models)
  • Retractable power cable
  • Bagged or bagless models available
  • Can be used on hard floors, carpets and stairs

*Upright 300 combining a net weight of 4.94 Kg excluding tools and power cord, with an 80 degrees floor head swivel range.