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Amazon Basics Upright Vacuum – It’s Cheap, but is it GOOD?

Amazon Basics has entered the vacuum cleaner market with the Amazon Basics Upright. Their first offering is essentially a clone of one of the cheapest vacuums on the market, the Bissell PowerForce Helix 2112. We bought one and put it through a series of tests to see how it performed.

Amazon Basics Upright Review

Verdict

The Amazon Basics Upright vacuum is a very inexpensive vacuum cleaner. We found it to be lightweight and good at removing fine dirt and debris on low pile carpet. But, it’s lack of performance on hard floors and with handling larger debris left us suggesting slightly more expensive alternatives.

There are a few redeeming qualities with the Amazon Basics upright vacuum, and we do think that some people in some situations will be happy with this purchase. 

But, we also believe that a lot of people will buy this vacuum because of its incredibly low price and not realize that it really won’t work for their home. 

So in this review, we’ll talk about who this vacuum would be good for, who it will not be suitable for, and why.

Upright Vacuum Resources

Clone of Another Cheap Vacuum

As we mentioned, the Amazon Basics upright is a clone of one of the cheapest vacuums on the market, the Bissell PowerForce Helix. 

Amazon Basics Upright and the Vacuum it is a Clone of
Amazon Basics Upright (left) and the vacuum we believe it is is clone of. © Vacuum Wars

It has almost identical components like the handle, the brushes, the hoses, the attachments, and the floor head design. 

Really, the main thing that’s different is the dustbin design, where the Amazon Basics has a bigger capacity. They have the same basic motor, and they come with the same basic tool set, which is a small upholstery tool and a crevice tool.

The Good

Low Price

The first pro we’ll mention for the Amazon Basics is its price.

We believe it’s safe to say that their idea was to make the cheapest possible vacuum, and they may have succeeded in that goal.

Amazon Basics Upright Review
The Amazon Basics Upright we purchased for this review. © Vacuum Wars

Weight

Another pro for the Amazon Basics Upright is its weight.

At only 8.4 pounds, it is extremely light. For example, the average weight of over 400 upright vacuums that we have data for is 14 and a half pounds. So the Amazon Basics is not quite half that weight, but close.

The Amazon Basics Upright is Very Light
The Amazon Basics Upright is lighter than most upright we’ve tested. © Vacuum Wars

While we think that the Amazon Basics’ first attempt at a vacuum was a miss, we do have some alternative suggestions depending on your needs. 

Fine Debris Pickup on Low Pile Carpet

Another pro is its performance on specific surfaces.

We Tested Fine Medium and Large Debris Pickup - Amazon Basics Upright
We tested debris pickup with fine, medium and large debris. © Vacuum Wars

It’s decent at pickup of fine dirt and debris on short to medium pile carpets. So if you have mostly low pile carpets in your home and you want to spend the least amount of money possible, the Amazon Basics upright might work for you.

However, that’s where the good stuff ends.

The Bad

Hard Floor Debris Pickup

The big negative thing for us is its function on hard floors.

Testing Debris Pickup on Hard Flooring - Amazon Basics Upright
Testing debris pickup on hard flooring. © Vacuum Wars

Despite them saying that it can be used for some hard floors, we would argue that it really can’t. Just like the Power Force Helix from which it was cloned, it does not have a brush roll shut off switch or a squeegee on the bottom of the floor head. 

So it basically scatters debris on hard floors, which is exactly the opposite of what you would want it to do.

Medium Debris Pickup on Carpet

It’s also not very efficient on carpets.

It doesn’t have an adjustable height, and the gates are pretty low, so it snow plows even medium-sized debris on carpets, which is significantly below average.

The Amazon Basics Upright performing our Carpet Deep Clean Test
The Amazon Basics Upright performing our Carpet Deep Clean Test. © Vacuum Wars

Carpet Deep Clean Test

On our carpet deep clean test, where we see how good it is at picking up deeply embedded dirt, it scored about the same as the Bissell Power Force Helix. This is about average for this price range but below average in general.

Filtration

Its filtration was basically non-existent, which is typical in this price range, but it is one of the reasons we don’t like to recommend cheap vacuums.

Real World Testing the Amazon Basics Upright
Real world testing the Amazon Basics Upright. © Vacuum Wars

Alternative Suggestions

While we think that the Amazon Basics’ first attempt at a vacuum was a miss, we do have some alternative suggestions depending on your needs. 

Bissell CleanView Swivel Pet

If your house has a mix of hard floors and carpets, the cheapest we can recommend is the Bissell CleanView Swivel Pet 2252 (review, Amazon). It’s slightly more expensive but offers way more value

Alternative

Bissell Cleanview Swivel Pet

Bissell CleanView SwivelPet 2252
Alternative

Kenmore Featherlite Lift-Up

Kenmore FeatherLite Lift-Up DU4080 Upright Vacuum

Kenmore Featherlite Lift-Up

If you’re concerned about filtration, you’ll have to spend a bit more than the Bissell CleanView. So the next step up that we would recommend is the Kenmore Featherlite Lift-Up (review, Amazon). 

We recently reviewed the Featherlite Lift-Up and were incredibly impressed. We consider it one of the very best vacuums for the money.

Our Conclusion

To recap, the Amazon Basics Upright is not good at all for hard floors, and it’s really not that great for carpets. Though it is very cheap and very light, we have high hopes for the Amazon Basics brand in the future, but this first offering was a missed opportunity in our opinion.

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