Vacuuming the stairs isn’t an easy job. Do you find it a struggle to get into all the nooks and crannies? On top of the tight spots, carrying a heavy machine doesn’t make the job any easier.
If you’ve ever tried to use an upright vacuum on the stairs, you know how much of a hassle it can be. Reaching the entire floor surface is hard enough without dealing with the dust on the railings.
But don’t give up just yet. We’re on a mission to make cleaning your stairs a breeze by helping you the find the absolute best vacuum for stairs.
Which Vacuum Is Best for Stairs?
Figuring out the best type is a personal choice. You might be loving your new handheld cordless device, while your neighbor swears by her corded canister.
The type of flooring you have also plays a huge role. Many households have carpeted stairs, and these require a much deeper clean compared to uncovered floors. Then we have hardwood, which is incredibly sensitive to scratches. Hardwood certainly can’t take the same beaters and brushes as carpets.
How your staircase is built is another consideration. Curved stairs can be even more complicated since they will have several tight areas. Large steps, on the other hand, require a bigger vacuum head so you can do more in one go.
Features of the Best Stair Vacuums
All vacuums can be used on stairs. However, some will make the job more difficult than it needs to be. We’ve made a list of a few characteristics that make a vacuum suitable for this type of cleaning.
The size of the vacuum plays a significant role in determining how easily you can get the job done. Vacuuming stairs often means you have to carry your vac up or down the steps. This can take a toll on your back.
Therefore, a lightweight model is the best way to go. But what you might think of as lightweight could be considered heavy by another.
So, we suggest choosing a vacuum that weighs under 10 pounds. This is a comfortable weight for most people. A compact vac is easier to carry around and it will also fit better on the steps.
2. Mobility and Ease-Of-Use
Even if your new vacuum is light, it can still be awkward if you have to contort your body to reach the corners. Look for one with a comfortable handle so you can get a good grip. Some vacuums will even use rubber to prevent slips.
Shoulder straps are another smart feature you’ll find in some models. And a telescopic wand can make it a breeze to reach multiple steps from one position.
It’s also useful to consider how you will empty and clean the vacuum. This is probably one of the most dreaded chores. Bagless vacuums have a dust bin that has to be emptied every so often depending on the size. On some models, this can be a messy job.
It’s easy to find vacuums that allow you to remove the dust bin, which is helpful if it’s closed. An open tray can spread dirt and debris back into the air.
Some newer model vacuums have a point-and-shoot feature. It ejects the contents deep into the garbage can, so you won’t have to deal with a dust cloud.
Bagged vacuums will (obviously) use bags, and they need to be changed regularly. But these are cleaner since you remove it and throw it away. It’s also more suitable for families dealing with allergies (1). Unfortunately, this can become expensive in the long run since you have to buy new bags.
Most vacuums come with a filter which require cleaning as well. Plus, some are disposable, which can be a problem since it’s not always to find a replacement.
Ideally, you should look for one with a washable filter. These are simple to remove and only require a quick wash or even just a tap to clean.
3. Useful Features to Save Time
In addition to a telescopic wand and shoulder straps, other useful features can save you time. A bendable hose can help you to reach further into the tight corners. Also, a swivel feature makes it easier to move around furniture.
If your vacuum is bagless, look for a large cup capacity. The more your bin can hold, the longer you can go without stopping. Having to empty it while cleaning is definitely a time-waster.
Cord length is also an important consideration. A shorter one will mean you’d have to stop more often to switch outlets. This can be a great inconvenience since there usually aren’t many around staircases.
4. Included Attachments
To effectively clean the stairs, you’ll need the right equipment. Vacuums usually come with various attachments suited for different tasks.
It can be challenging to get a broad brush into the deep corners, for instance. Therefore, a crevice attachment is a valuable tool. These are generally pointed at the end, making them a perfect fit.
If you have carpet, you’ll need a brush to get a deep clean. A regular one can do the job, but if you have a thick rug, we highly recommend a motorized brush. This can get deep into the fibers and remove fine dust and debris.
You can also find vacuums with specialized attachments. Bissell’s smart rubber nozzle works great at conquering pet hair. Other products might have a wide head which is useful for the stairs and floor.
Before deciding on a vacuum, however, think about what you need. Consider if it will be used for other areas apart from the stairs. A small handheld, for example, won’t be useful if you have lots of floor space to clean.
5. Suction Power
Suction is a crucial factor — you naturally want to go with the highest power. Many manufacturers give their vacuums a rating, usually in amps or volts. However, you shouldn’t base your decision solely on that number.
Lots of things can affect the power output, such as the material used to build the vacuum. So, it’s essential to read reviews and learn how other consumers feel about the model.
Some devices will lose suction power over time. This might be due to the dust bin or bag being full. However, other vacuums may simply become significantly less efficient as they get older.
The Best Vacuums for Stairs Reviews of 2020
Now that we know more about what to look for, it’s time to reveal our favorites. We’ve looked through loads of products and gathered expert advice to bring you the best vacuums for stairs.
1. Shark Rocket Ultra-Light Hand Vacuum
If you need a vacuum to tackle your carpeted stairs, this is an excellent choice. The Shark Rocket comes with a variety of attachments to accommodate the task ahead.
It’s lightweight and has a comfortable handle for an easy grip. The cord is only 15 feet long, which should be just enough for smaller staircases.
The dust bin is also large, meaning you won’t have to empty it halfway through the job. It’s easy to maintain the vacuum since the container can be cleaned and the filter is reusable.
Why We Love It
Includes a Number of Attachments
Despite its small size, this Shark Rocket can do a lot. The 12-inch crevice tool is excellent for getting rid of dust and debris hiding in deep corners.
You get a dusting brush that is gentle on hard surfaces. There’s also an extended-reach stretch hose which is excellent for reaching those difficult places. A major plus is the fact that you can connect any tool to the hose, making them extremely versatile.
The attachments make this machine a customer favorite. They make the vacuum effective on any surface from carpets to hardwood floors.
Excellent for Pet Families
If you’re a family with pets, you know the struggle of getting rid of fine hair from sofas and carpets. The Shark Rocket is a dream come true for pet parents. It comes with a TruePet motorized brush — the perfect tool to tackle the stubborn fur.
A common concern with brushes is that hair can get stuck. However, you can easily use scissors to cut it free when this happens.
Easy-To-Clean Dust Bin
The dust bin holds 0.42 quarts. While not the biggest, it’s excellent for such a compact vacuum. The maximum-fill line is conveniently marked, so you don’t have to guess when it needs to be emptied.
Simply dump the contents and then rinse it with warm water. Then, let it dry before placing it back into the vacuum.
The Shark Rocket comes with several filters. It has two pre-motor filters on top of the vacuum. You can wash the foam and felt screens using tap water – just remember to allow them to air-dry completely.
Shark recommends the pre-filters be washed once a month. You can also tap them clean in between washes if needed.
The post-motor filter is at the back of the vacuum. This only needs to be washed once a year.
Keep In Mind
Cord Doesn’t Retract
Unfortunately, the cord doesn’t retract on its own — this means you’ll have to wind it up manually. Several customers find this inconvenient when they want to finish up quickly.
The cord is also quite short, measuring only 15 feet. If you have a long staircase, it might not be able to reach without an extension cord.
|Item weight||3.7 pounds|
|Cord length||15 feet|
2. BISSELL Cordless Vacuum Pet Hair Eraser
Families with pets often have to deal with shedding hair. This can end up covering the couch and making the carpets look slightly fluffy. Getting rid of this furry problem requires the right equipment.
The Bissell Pet Hair Eraser was specially designed for the task. It’s a small handheld device that runs on batteries. There’s no cord to limit you, and you can use it on the stairs as well as in the car.
The Pet Hair Eraser comes with a large dust bin to hold all the fur. It also comes with several useful attachments.
Why We Love It
The Pet Eraser comes with an upholstery tool — perfect for soft surfaces such as the couch or mattress. The long crevice tool is great at getting deep into the corners of the stairs.
You also get a motorized brush specifically designed to get rid of fine pet hair. It moves smoothly over carpeted floors and stairs. Plus, the size lets you cover a bigger area in one go.
Another excellent addition is the crevice tool. Stairs have lots of tight places that need cleaning, and this helps to get the job done.
You can take the Pet Hair Eraser anywhere you need. It runs on batteries and therefore isn’t limited by a cord.
The 14V lithium-ion battery is ideal for cordless vacs because it’s lightweight and has a long life. It gives this vacuum cleaner up to 17 minutes of runtime
Many users note that they actually get more than 17 minutes. Some report a full 30 minutes of low suction cleaning.
Large Dust Bin
The dust bin can hold around 0.73 quarts (0.69 liters). It’s easy to remove and empty – just lift the lid and dump the contents in the garbage. You can wash it whenever needed.
Families with pets often have to deal with allergies or irritation from shedding hair. So, it’s crucial to remove it from your carpets, especially if you have a crawling baby.
The Pet Hair Eraser comes with a triple level filtration that gets rid of the smallest dust particles. This is excellent at eliminating minor allergens before they cause trouble.
Keep In Mind
Long Charge and Short Life
Because this is a cordless vacuum, you rely on the runtime of the battery. It will give you about 17 minutes to get the cleaning done. Unfortunately, this isn’t enough for bigger homes with more to cover.
Several customers have said that the charging time was too long compared to the runtime. However, they still thought the vacuum was worth it since it performed very well.
|Item weight||4.54 pounds|
|Manufacturer||BISSELL Homecare Inc.|
|Batteries||4 lithium-ion batteries are included|
3. Shark Rotator with Lift-Away Hand Vacuum
If you’re not into the idea of having multiple vacuums, you could benefit from a two-in-one. The Shark Rotator is an upright bagless vacuum with the option of converting it to a handheld.
You can use it anywhere in the house to clean floors, sofas, and stairs. It has an active filter that seals allergens inside.
The Shark Rotator was designed to make cleaning easier with added features such as LED lights. It’s a heavy device, but it’s strong and durable.
You also get a few attachments to make vacuuming the stairs easier. One is specialized in digging deep into carpets.
Why We Love It
With the click of a button, you can remove the canister and use the vacuum as a handheld. This makes it simple to take up and down the stairs as you won’t have to drag a heavy machine.
Simply attach the long crevice tool or the power brush to remove fine dust hiding between the balusters. The cord is a whopping 25 feet long. This will give you even more freedom as you clean your way up or down the stairs.
The Lift-Away feature is without a doubt one of our favorites. It converts a heavier vacuum into one that is lightweight and easy to carry.
Great for Families with Pets
Dealing with loose hair everywhere can be annoying. This is especially important if you have family members sensitive to allergens.
The Shark Rotator comes with a Pet Power Brush designed to dig deep into carpets and get out even the finest hair. As a welcome bonus, it works well on flat surfaces as well.
It picks up pet hair even better than some more expensive vacuums. We love how narrow the brush is – it easily fits between chair legs and underneath sofas.
Families dealing with allergies knows the massive difference a good vacuum can make. Fine dust and pet hair are often triggers, but you don’t have to live with them.
The Shark Rotator comes with a HEPA filter that captures 99.9 percent of dust and debris. It traps everything inside the XL dust bin. It’s then easy to empty, which is always a plus.
We absolutely love the powerful LED headlights attached to the wide nozzle. As you know, it can sometimes be difficult to see underneath furniture, or even on a poorly lit staircase. These lights can help you see every little dust particle and strand of pet hair, so nothing gets left behind.
Vacuums can often feel stiff, and you can quickly find yourself with sore wrists. But the swivel steering on this one makes it a breeze to move around furniture and tight corners. You won’t have to lift tables and chairs to get a good clean.
Keep In Mind
Dust Bin Creates Dust
The filter and dust bin are excellent at capturing debris and pet hair. However, some users have had problems when emptying it. It reportedly spreads dust back into the air if you’re not careful. So, take extra care when you’re dumping the contents, to prevent this.
|Item weight||15.5 pounds|
|Cord length||25 feet|
4. Homasy Powerful Cyclonic Handheld Vacuum Cleaner
Living with young children, you get used to seeing spilled milk or juice — it’s all part of parenting. However, you sometimes can’t help but cringe when you think of how difficult these can be to clean.
This small handheld vacuum from Homasy might be just the solution. It can clean up dry and wet messes. This saves you from having to mop them up with a bunch of paper towels.
Literally, no more crying over spilled milk!
There’s a small but powerful 100-watt motor that gives really good suction power. It’s lightweight and has a smart handle that is extremely comfortable to hold.
The vacuum runs on batteries and is therefore cordless. While it’s not ideal for big vacuuming jobs, it’s perfect for the stairs and smaller areas. And as we said, it’s great for cleaning up spills.
Why We Love It
The vacuum comes with three attachments to suit the surface you’re cleaning. One of our favorites is the rubber jar — you can use it to suck up ½ a cup of liquid (118 ml). Then, once it’s full, you can simply pour the contents into the sink.
The second attachment is a brush that effectively cleans surfaces such as carpets, mattresses and sofas. Finally, the third is a crevice tool. This long tube provides a strong suction that attracts every particle it encounters.
After three to five hours of charging time, you get about 30 minutes of full cleaning power. This is an impressive result considering that it’s a small handheld vacuum cleaner.
The vacuum has a lithium-ion battery with a 2200mAh capacity. A great thing about this battery is that it has no memory. That means you can charge it even if it isn’t fully drained. Doing this with other batteries can damage and shorten their lifespan.
Vacuuming isn’t a job to do when everyone’s asleep, but that doesn’t mean you should settle for a loud device. This vacuum has a low operation mode, with a sound level of 78 decibels. It’s ideal for families with young kids who take naps, or those with pets who are sensitive to noise.
Comfortable Working Angle
A common problem with handheld vacuums is the working angle. Many are awkward to hold, which often ends up in a sore wrist. But you can operate the Homasy at a 65-degree angle.
This means that it’s not only extremely lightweight at less than 4 pounds, but is also comfortable to handle.
Keep In Mind
Difficult to Open
The filter needs to be rinsed regularly – this should be done with tap water only. However, it’s sometimes a bit difficult to get the filter out.
The instructions are not the clearest, so it can be confusing. To remove the filter, you have to first pull out the cover that holds it in place.
|Item weight||3.26 pounds|
5. Dustbuster Cordless Vacuum by BLACK+DECKER
Quicker cleanup sessions don’t require a heavy, bulky machine to get the job done. This Black and Decker model is extremely lightweight but very powerful.
It has a smart design and a convenient handle that allows for a solid, comfortable grip. We also love that it’s cordless and runs on a lithium-ion battery.
The vacuum comes with a translucent dust bag that is easy to empty and clean. If you have pets, you probably know that crunchy feeling when you step on food or cat litter. The Dustbuster is perfect for this job, and the strong suction will remove any leftovers in a snap.
Why We Love It
Smart Charge Technology
The lithium-ion battery has a long life. It will also hold its charge for up to 18 months when not in use. This makes the vacuum ready to use at any moment.
The charger is designed with a Smart Charge Technology that uses 50 percent less energy. The vacuum comes with a charging station — a small stand that the device rests on.
It’s essential to remember, though, to never leave the vacuum on the charger for an extended time. Overcharging the battery can kill it or reduce its runtime.
Washable Dust Bin
The Dustbuster comes with a see-through dirt bowl that can hold up to 20.6 ounces of dirt. It’s easily disconnected by pushing a button, and you can wash it whenever needed.
The dust bin is also not difficult to remove for cleaning, which is always a plus. Some vacuums seem to make this overly complicated – but not this one. You can also take out the filters to wash them with tap water.
With most vacuums, when you need to change between tools you first have to stop and attach them to the unit. But, with this model, they are all built in. This means you can quickly and easily switch between the regular nozzle, crevice tool, and a small brush.
The crevice tool is extendable and snaps into place when pulled out. The small brush is quickly flipped up or down to use as you need it.
Strong Suction for a Small Device
You get a lot of power when operating this vacuum. It may not be equal to larger canister vacuums, but it’s quite impressive for such a light device.
It’s definitely more than enough for cleaning your stairs and taking care of small messes around the house.
Keep In Mind
Awkward Charging Base
The charging base looks like a small plate. But when you place the vacuum on top of it, there’s nothing to click into place. Some customers find this to be a bit awkward and are concerned about how easily it might tip over.
There is, however, a blue light that goes on to indicate the vacuum is charging.
|Item weight||2.6 pounds|
6. Hoover Lightweight Backpack Vacuum Cleaner
Having a large house with lots to cover can quickly feel like mission impossible — especially with more than one staircase. But Hoover might just have the answer to your prayers.
This backpack vacuum is a robust device that – as the name explains – you can place on your back.
It comes with a comfortable harness so you can carry it for long periods without getting sore. It’s intended for professional use, but who says we aren’t pros at home? You can easily definitely use it for regular cleaning around the house.
This Hoover comes with several attachments and has an incredibly long cord. It’s also reasonably light compared to how powerful it is.
Why We Love It
Backpacks are convenient to carry. However, they can sometimes do more harm than good if the weight isn’t distributed correctly. The harness on this machine was designed by chiropractors to reduce strain on your back and shoulders.
It gives you so much more freedom since you don’t have to drag a bulky canister around. The vacuum also has a 48-foot power cord — an incredibly impressive length. You can move between rooms or even up the stairs without having to switch between different power outlets.
You get a variety of attachments to suit the job. The crevice tool is 6 inches long, making it excellent to reach the deep corners of the stairs. There’s also a 2-inch dusting brush which is great at getting to those hard-to-reach places between the balusters.
To effectively clean the steps or floor, you get an 11-inch turbo floor tool. It quickly sucks up dust and debris from carpets as well as hard flooring. The 4-inch upholstery tool is designed to clean off dirt and hair from sofas and mattresses without damage.
Being able to vacuum without disturbing the whole neighborhood shouldn’t be too much to ask for. Thankfully, this model has a very quiet operation. This makes it a good fit for families with small children or pets.
Effective Filter and Dust Bin
The Hoover comes with a hypercone filter that consists of a HEPA media. It gives the vacuum a consistent air flow without clogging up, even after continuous use.
The HEPA filter removes up to 99.97 percent of particles as small as 0.3 microns. It’s an effective way to get rid of common allergens such as dust mites, pollen, and pet hair. So, this is a great vacuum cleaner for your home if your family suffers from allergies.
You can monitor the dust bin through the transparent dome lid. It can hold up to 6.4 quarts. We love that you insert either a reusable cloth liner or a disposable bag in the container. This allows you to choose whichever one you find most efficient.
Keep In Mind
Not For Quick Jobs
This is not the vacuum to turn to for those in-between, quick jobs. For instance, if you notice some crumbs on the floor, you can’t just rip it out. It takes a while to get it on and get started.
However, when you need to clean bigger areas at once, this is without a doubt an excellent choice. It might be helpful, therefore, to keep a small handheld vac on hand as well, for those smaller messes.
|Item weight||9.2 pounds|
|Cord length||48 feet|
7. Eureka 3-in-1 Swivel Lightweight Vacuum Cleaner
Having a single vacuum that can be used for the whole house can save you money. This model from Eureka can be customized to fit your needs. You can use it as a stick vacuum for larger rooms, then convert it into a handheld to clean the stairs.
The Eureka has a few smart features that improve its efficiency. These include swivel steering and a wide nozzle.
It also comes with an 18-inch power cord. This isn’t the longest we’ve seen, but it’s enough to give you some freedom of movement.
Why We Love It
Signature Swivel Steering
The swivel steering makes it easy to maneuver around furniture without having to stop to move chairs and tables. It moves smoothly and easily with minimum effort on your part.
The Eureka is a lightweight machine, coming in at just under 4 pounds. It’s easy to carry around, which makes it especially handy for use on stairs.
Picks up Large Debris
Many vacuums struggle to pick up larger pieces of debris and often end up just pushing them around. The Eureka has a unique wide nozzle with plenty of room to suck everything up. Pet owners find this very useful as it can pick up food debris without it getting stuck.
You can use the stick vacuum to clean larger floor areas of the house. It has a comfortable height to fit most people.
Then, when you need to move on to the stairs, you can remove the stick and use it as a handheld. It’s compact and light to carry.
Simply attach the wide nozzle for extra suction on the broad steps. Or you can connect the crevice tool to get into the corners of the stairs. It’s also great for cleaning furniture.
Easy to Assemble
The vacuum is easy to assemble straight out of the box. All you have to do is attach the stick to the canister, and it’s ready to be used. This ease of assembly is certainly a plus when other vacuums can be quite tricky.
Keep In Mind
Not Good For Carpets
While the vacuum works extremely well on hard floors, it’s not quite as effective on carpets. For lower pile rugs this shouldn’t be a problem. But if you have a house full of deep carpets, this might not be the ideal choice.
|Item weight||3.97 pounds|
|Cord length||18 feet|
|Dimensions||6 x 10 x 44 inches|
|Shark Rocket||Attachments||3.7 lbs||SharkNinja||N/A||15 ft|
|BISSELL Eraser||Pets||4.54 lbs||BISSELL Homecare Inc.||Lithium-ion||N/A|
|Shark Rotator||Floors & Stairs||15.5 lbs||SharkNinja||N/A||25 ft|
|Homasy Cyclone||Wet & Dry Messes||3.26 lbs||Homasy||Lithium-ion||N/A|
|Hoover Backpack||Professional Vacuum||9.2 lbs||Hoover||N/A||48 ft|
|Eureka Swivel||Budget Pick||3.97 lbs||Midea||N/A||18 ft|
Tips to Make Vacuuming Stairs Easier
Vacuuming stairs isn’t an easy task, but there are ways to make the job a little less tedious.
Clear the Stairs
Before getting started, it’s important to clear everything out of the way. Having to pick up toys and fallen laundry while trying to vacuum can be frustrating. You might suck up a piece of Lego, or a misplaced sock could get stuck in the vacuum.
Start in the Corner
It doesn’t matter if you take on the stairs from the top or the bottom. In either case, we recommend beginning where the dust accumulates the most — in the corners and around the balusters. Doing these areas usually requires an attachment, such as the crevice tool.
One Step at a Time
Cleaning the stairs isn’t an easy task, but having the right equipment can make a big difference. Ideally, you want something that’s both lightweight and relatively small. Having to drag a heavy canister up and down can take its toll.
Our pick as the best vacuum for stairs is the Shark Rocket Ultra-Light Hand Vacuum. It’s a light handheld vac that comes with a variety of attachments to suit most any cleaning need.
How do you keep your stairs dust and dirt free? Leave a comment below and share your tips.