Dyson Canister Vs Upright Vacuum: BIG BALL - Pros & Cons & Which to Go For?

Struggling to figure out whether a Dyson upright or canister is the way to go for you?

No sweat. Hopefully after reading this little comparison I’ve drawn up after going through a similar debate myself, you will  be a bit clearer over which one is right for you.


Struggling to figure out whether a Dyson upright or canister is the way to go for you?


No sweat. Hopefully after reading this little comparison I’ve drawn up after going through a similar debate myself, you will  be a bit clearer over which one is right for you.


Of course there are so many different ranges of both Dyson uprights and cylinder vacuum cleaners both in terms of size (Big Ball vs Small Ball) as well as different versions of each (Animal Vs Absolute) but we’ll address that all in good time. For the sake of easy comparison, I’m going to do a direct comparison between the Dyson Big Ball cinetic vacuums the Animal upright and cylinder version - which are pretty much considered the best of each.


With this though, a lot of the features and advantages an upright and cylinder have over one another can be taken across other models too. Just make sure you are comparing the right size of vacuum - there’s pretty much three sizes: small ball, ball and big ball. Of course you might even want to consider the rather fabulous Dyson V6 or V8 too, to help with supplement cleaning if needed (the V8 can should be able to handle a small to medium sized house all by itself though).


That all being said, let’s get right into the comparison.


Suction Power


On the whole across the Dyson series the measurement of suction power is the number of air watts and throughout the models the Cylinder has packed a whole lot more than the upright counterpart. Plus, there’s no difference here too. The Big Ball upright cinetic packs 180 Air Watts as opposed to the Cylinder’s huge 230AW.


Ease of Use


This one is all about preference. Some people just prefer to use an upright when vacuuming and some just prefer to use the cylinder - however, both are integrated with Dyson’s clever and “improved” ball technology. If you haven’t used it before, it’s takes a little getting used to, but you will soon wonder how you ever coped without it - given that it pretty much allows you to turn the vacuum on a dime.




What I will say though is with the Dyson cylinder vacuums that have the ball integrated, they do have the added advantage of getting back up after being toppled over that traditional canisters don’t really offer. Personally, I don’t really like the vacuum following behind me, where they seem to bash into things left right and centre, I’m probably not using it quite right but a upright is just more intuitive to me - plus they seem to get caught up in the cords a lot more often.


Cleaner Heads


The cleaner head for the upright is obviously integrated into the actual vacuum itself whereas with the cylinder vacuum it’s on the extension part. Now because of this actual “cleaning” is probably a little easier with the cylinder as it is more maneuverable in and out of chair legs as well as having a flatter profile so cleaning underneath sofas and beds will be easier too.

With the Dyson canister you get a “fibre turbine floor tool” that basically is a high powered cleaner head that’s designed for use on both hard floors as well as soft floors that pick up even the finest particles of dust as well as the tough stuck in dirt.


The cleaner head on the upright is arguably by the looks of things a little more sophisticated in that it “self adjusts” to the floor type to create a better seal and hence can suck more dirt and grime from the given floor type (raises for soft flooring and lowers for hard flooring). Apparently, it also offers 20% more suction from the brush bar power to suck up even more dirt and grime from your floors compared to other previous Dyson uprights.




What is a distinct average with using a Dyson vacuum over most other makes is the sophisticated and unique technology that goes into these vacuum cleaners, means ultimately less maintenance on your part. Specifically with these models it’s the advanced “Dyson cinetic science”. Basically it is a range of 35/36 “high frequency oscillating tips” that is remcoing the dust that clogs up other vacuums here’s how it works:




In all it basically two basically two distinct benefits i) the vacuum is bagless, which means less crouching down (particularly with the cylinder vacuum) and general messing about and ii) they don’t require filters as they operate with highly efficient cyclones that act like “whole-machine filtration” so there aren’t any filters that need cleaning, washing and replacing (even less crouching down).


Certified by the asthma & allergy foundation.


Overall Reach


With the uprights you will tend to find that they have a much greater reach than the cylinder based vacuums as well. Here, for example the cord length is 10.8m on the upright where it is just 6.6 m. Then there’s also a huge difference with the actual max reach, this is to do with the rather handy telescopic hose as well as the wand extension - it offers 15.25m in total compared to the cylinder that provides 4.5m less at 10.75m. If you’ve got a smaller house with lower ceilings it might not be as much of a deal, but for some it is something certainly worth considering.


All the cleaning parts are made for convenience though like quick release buttons to swap tools in and out - extension wand for the cylinder that extends right up to 1.25m as well as an articulated crank for great control “in all directions”.




You’ll generally there is a slight difference in the bin capacity too. Although, it’s not like you will be visiting the bin to empty if often, the upright offers a rather beefy 2.18 L bin capacity compared to 1.6L with the cylinder (which has actually been improved by 33% over its predecessor) but also for me the upright is way easier to actually empty. Less reaching and crouching down and works with a quick easy eject as well.




Now, if you are particularly short on storage space (although if you are buying the big ball versions of these vacuum cleaners these are designed for big houses), it might be worth considering the base sizes from which they stand right. The canister vacuum is actually just 39.9 x 30.8 cm (relative to other powerful cylinder vacuums, this pretty compact) compared to the Dyson upright that actually takes more floor space at 43.8 x 34 cm. In the past the other way used to be true.




I mean let’s face it if you are buying a Dyson vacuum, you know you are going to spending some money. Based on the Animal versions you are going to be looking at the region of $600 for the upright and $550 for the canister, so it is 50 bucks in favour of the canister vacuum.


You can compare different versions such as Allergy + Animal and so on, but all that refers to is the colour of the vacuum and what tools, accessories & attachments you get with it. When you are spending in excess of $500 for a vacuum though, $50 probably isn’t going to sway you to one over the other if you have sort of got your mind made up by now.


Note: All information (including specifications was taken from Dyson directly)


Which one to go for the Dyson Upright or the Cylinder vacuum?


To me, it’s all a matter of preference on how you like to use a vacuum cleaner. Personally, I’ve been always been using uprights and so “right here” would be the one for me. There’s less bending down, I’ve got a better overall max reach, a larger bin capacity and to me they just make more sense.


I can see the use of a canister vacuum though where the cleaner head is a little more nimble and you get under sofas and in out of chair legs a little easier, along with a slightly more powerful suction capability (although they are both that good, I doubt the difference would be even noticeable to the naked eye anyhow).


I’d be interested to know your thoughts, which dyson vacuum are you going to go with: canister or upright?