If you’re on the fence about whether to buy a canister vacuum cleaner or an upright model, hopefully we can help.  Both canister vacuums and upright vacuums have their pros and cons.  It’s up to you to decide what is most important to you in a vacuum cleaner.

Canister Vacuums v. Uprights


Canister vacuums have highly maneuverable wands that make it easier to vacuum under low furniture like coffee tables, couches, and chairs.  Uprights on the other hand often can’t bend flat enough to fit under couches.  Even if they do bend enough, their vacuum heads are so large and bulky they will only fit in the largest of spaces beneath furniture.Miele S2121 Olympus Canister Vacuum Cleaner Wand View

Some newer upright models have longer hoses and attachments which make it easier to reach under furniture and into corners, much like canisters.  One criticism of uprights has been that the brush roll rotation can cause debris to be kicked up when attempting to vacuum bare floors.  Newer models solve this problem with variable-speed brush rolls and height adjustment.


This is a tough area of comparison.  Canisters have traditionally been easier to use on stairs because they already have the hose length to reach.  Uprights have more recently been incorporating an accessory port with hoses to help with stairs.  Unfortunately hose lengths vary and depending on the number of stairs uprights can still have trouble with reach.  If you have stairs, carefully compare hose lengths to make sure they reach.

Miele S2121 Olympus Canister Vacuum Cleaner Canister ViewWeight and Ease-of-Use

Canister vacuum cleaners have become very compact and lightweight in recent years and that makes them easy to carry up and down stairs or around the house.  The bulk of the weight of a canister vacuum cleaner is in the canister itself freeing the wand to be very lightweight and easy even if it is motorized.  Being lightweight, wands are easy to push over bare floors and low pile carpeting.  Upright vacuums have all their weight spread vertically from the vacuum head to the handle.  This makes them more difficult to push over floors and more difficult to transport around the house and between levels.

Canister detractors will say that it seems to take more energy to pull the canister behind them than to push an upright in front of them.  Canisters can also run into furniture and you if you’re not careful when pulling the canister unlike uprights which are completely in front of you.


Self-propelled models of upright vacuum cleaners are available to make pushing and pulling them across floors even easier.

Canisters force you to bend over to reach their controls while uprights typically have finger-operated controls in the handle or foot-operated controls on their base.  In either case, you usually don’t have to bend over to change functions of an upright.

Miele S2121 Olympus Vacuum Video


Canisters are compact and easy to store standing on end and do not interfere in closets with hanging clothes like uprights can.  Uprights only require one piece to be stored and may take up less overall space.

You can buy both canisters and uprights with retractable cords if that is a feature you like in vacuums.

Floor Types

You can expect separate heads for bare floors and carpets to come along with a canister vacuum cleaner.  That means when you switch between floor types, you will have to change the head.  Uprights on the other hand are designed to be adjustable, sometimes automatically, between floor types.


You can expect a quality canister vacuum will usually cost more than the equivalent upright vacuum.


Think you might like an upright vacuum instead of a canister?  Learn more about some great uprights in our articles: 


Uprights are very popular with their no-loss-of-suction capability and bagless operation.  If you want something less bulky and easier to maneuver, a canister vacuum cleaner may be what you need.

In any case, this article is about canister vacuum cleaners.  We did the research and found what we think is the best canister vacuum and maybe even the best vacuum cleaner for the money.  Read on to see if you agree with our pick!

Canister Vacuum Cleaner: Best Lightweight Vacuum

Miele S2121 Olympus Canister Vacuum Cleaner

Miele S2121 Olympus Canister Vacuum Cleaner Full ViewMiele is well-known in the vacuum industry for their high quality and performance.  A Miele vacuum canister deliver powerful cleaning ability in compact, lightweight canister unit.  Their S2 series features variable power settings that allow it to adjust to virtually any cleaning situation.  All-in-all this is a great hardwood floor, bare floor, and low pile carpeting vacuum.  Take a look at all of its great features.


  • Very stylish modern canister in Lotus White
  • Exceptionally lightweight canister body
  • XXL Handle provides convenient and ergonomic use simplifying your vacuuming experience and reducing fatigue
  • Six distinct power settings accessed with a front-mounted rotary dial allow you to vary vacuum power as needed
  • FiberTeQ floor tool ideal easily transitions from carpet to bare flooring with a flip of the toggle switch
  • VarioClip with Three Onboard Accessories including a dusting brush, upholstery tool and crevice nozzle, provide handy access for optimal cleaning for any task
  • High quality telescopic, stainless steel wand delivers a superior operating radius of 29.5 feet
  • Auto-Seal Closing FilterBag Miele vacuum bags immediately lock dirt, dust, and allergens inside when the FilterBag is removed
  • Long auto-Rewind electrical cord provides outstanding reach and reduces outlet switching during cleaning
  • Three accessories are included with the Miele Olympus S2121:
  • Dusting brush
  • Upholstery tool


  • Lightweight and easy to maneuver
  • Powerful suction
  • Very quiet operation
  • Easily reaches under furniture


  • Head does not have brush roll for deeper pile carpets
  • Plastic shell does not feel durable
  • Vacuum bags are expensive
  • Pricey

Miele S2121 Olympus Canister Vacuum Cleaner Review


Canister Vacuum Cleaner Comparison Chart

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As always, thanks for reading our vacuum cleaner post!  We sincerely hope that it has provided you with valuable information that helps you choose the best canister vacuum cleaner for your needs!

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