Many vacuum cleaners are excellent for cleaning your home.
But are they great for your stairs?
There is nothing like a freshly vacuumed home. While big, open floor spaces can be easy to clean, stairs can be tricky creatures to keep spotless. This is further complicated when it comes to big, heavy vacuum cleaners. Lugging a big vacuum up and down stairs can be difficult to do for many people.
It can put you in a risky position if you aren’t too steady on your feet. Large vacuum heads don’t always work well along narrow stair treads. This is where vacuum-friendly stairs come into play.
These are light, easy-use machines that have long enough cords to hit a flight of stairs without tangling and that can clean the small tread surfaces completely and with ease.
We have looked into some of the best-selling vacuum cleaners out there and pulled our favorite ten candidates in the contest for the best vacuum for stairs. Read on and discover our favorites.
Choose one of these, and your stairwell will never look cleaner!
Eureka EasyClean Corded Hand-Held Vacuum
What’s little, yellow, and sucks in the best way possible?
The Eureka EasyClean Corded Hand-Held Vacuum, that’s what. At just under five pounds, it’s easy to use with one hand. It’s been raved about by users who have four and five pets, which is an impressive statement.
It offers an innovative tip that can be lifted to work around stair contours and a double motor system with a spinning brush to lift hair and a suction motor to pull it into the washable cup system. On-board filters keep the air return dust-free, and the bagless design means no hunting for new bags before use.
The 20-foot cord is one of the longest in this category of vacuums, so there is some impressive reach for this little guy when heading up and down a set of stairs. At just under 5 pounds, it’s light, too.
- 5.5 Amp power
- Double motor design- one for the roller, a second for suction
- 20-foot cord
- Brush roll system toggles on/off
- Riser Viser system designed especially for carpeted stairs
- 4.8 pounds
- Crevice tool attached to the body of the tool for convenient access
- Cord wraps securely around the handle for easy storage
- Onboard filter
- Bagless design includes washable dust cup
- 1-year warranty
This little guy is perfect for stairs. Hands down.
This is not a household vacuum, but when it comes to vacuums that have a special use, this is one that is ideal for stairs. It works great for pet hair, it’s easy to clean out, and you don’t have to buy bags for it. Overall, Eureka Easy Clean is a pretty great vacuum cleaner.
Nothing wrong with that! And guess what else we have for you!
- Great for pet hair
- Light for stairs
- More than 4,000 five-star reviews online
- Onboard crevice tool means no hunting for accessories when you need them
- Corded design means no stopping to recharge the vacuum
- The filter cannot be washed and is not easy to clean
- May overheat if used with a dirty filter
- Corded design means you are limited to using it in places with access to an outlet
Eureka EasyClean Hand-held Vacuum Cleaner
Video about Eureka EasyClean Hand-held Vacuum Cleaner
BLACK+DECKER BDH2020FLFH MAX Lithium Flex Vacuum with Stick
The Black & Decker Max Lithium Flex Vacuum with Stick is a great compromise model between the stability of a stick when not wanting to hold something heavy and squat down while doing stairs, yet the portability to get furniture, cars, and under places without the clunkiness of a stick.
This 20V cordless Lithium-ion battery is the same one that Black and Decker uses on their many powerful cordless tools. This means that you know you’re getting consistent, fade-free power and that you can always go switch out with your husband’s circular saw in the garage if your battery dies before you’re done.
Wow, isn’t that convenient?!
- 3-stage filter system for dust-free air
- Pet hair brush attachment included
- Runs on 12V Lithium-ion battery that is the same that is used with Black and Decker power tools
- Comes with charging station
- 6.8 pounds
- Choose between handheld shop vac hose version and stick vacuum attachment
- Comes with 4-foot flexible hose, crevice tool, charging base, and washable filter.
A powerful cordless combo vac that offers one of the best all-around combo designs!
This is definitely a powerful vacuum with a powerful battery design and a large canister. Almost none of the typical complaints about how a vacuum works is seen in this particular model, probably because Black and Decker is used to making machines that last a long time on their batteries and that require a lot of power.
It is heavier than other models, but the stick makes up for that in a lot of cases. Overall, this is a great choice for almost everyone.
- Can share a charging base and switch batteries with Black and Decker 20V Lithium Ion power tools
- Excellent for small cleanups and outlasts most other vacuum designs
- Easy to use and to switch attachments
- Lasts up to an hour on a single battery charge
- Large debris container can go a long way between dump times
- Can be loud like a shop vac
- Bagless container can be messy to dump and should be done directly over a waste receptacle
- Floor stick attachment is powerful on hardwood but you need to use the pet attachment to get carpet well
Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Handheld Vacuum
The Bissell Pet Hair Eraser has some great features that are excellent for pulling hair out of cloth. It sucks via a cyclonic design. The vacuum dispels air out of the sides, which makes it not the best choice if you have hardwood stairs that you are cleaning for dust, as it will spread it. But this same airflow can help to lift hair and dust from upholstery and carpet and increase the amount that is picked up.
If you have a pet hair problem, the extra suction provided by the flexible rubber tip that contours to the stair surface plus the static drawing power of the rubber make this a beast of a cleaner.
Great for pet hair!
- Great for stairs, cars, and upholstery
- 4 amps of power
- Cyclonic cleaning design
- Multilayer filtration system
- 16-foot power cord
- Rubber nozzle draws hair and dust with static electricity and can be compressed to contour around stairs and into corners
- Comes with two nozzle designs
- 1-year limited warranty
An excellent spot cleaner– but not a whole house vacuum.
Black & Decker Max Lithium Flex Vacuum is a great cleaner for doing the stairs, your car, or another location exclusively. It works best on carpet and upholstery, but not as well on hardwood because the side vents tend to blow things away from the vacuum. The rubber tip makes it one of the strongest machines to pull embedded hair from places.
A pet owner’s dream!
- Rubber tips do a great job pulling hair out of fabric and carpet
- Multilayer filter is great for pulling dust out of the air
- Easy to use and light to hold
- Corded design means never having to recharge
- This is not a good vacuum for hardwood surfaces
- Corded design means you are limited to a 16-foot range
Shark Rocket Corded Hand Vac
This little three-in-one offers a highly innovative design that comes with a flex hose attachment. With the Shark Rocket Corded Hand Vac, you can put the body down and work it like a spot cleaning canister vac or put the heads directly on the body and clean like a spot vac.
The vertical handle can take some time getting used to holding, and some users find it a bit awkward. However, the versatility of tips for different surfaces makes this one of the best multipurpose vac designs on the market today.
And just look at these features!
- 15-foot corded range
- Comes with three attachment heads: crevice tool, passive squeegee head, and motorized pet hair head
- Bagless dust cup design makes it easy to empty without running out of replacement bags
- Great for spot cleaning, stairs, cars, and upholstery
- Handheld motor with tube and head like a canister vac
- 400 Watts
- 3.7 pounds
This little shark is a predator when it comes to dirty stairways.
Shark Rocket Corded Hand Vac is a great choice if you have some mixed-material stairs, or if you want something that does the crumbs under the table, your car, your stairs, and your furniture with equal success.
The power of the vac is not as high as some of the other contenders out there, but if you need a medium-level vac that is all-purpose, this is an excellent option.
One of the best in the all-around category.
- Your choice of attachment heads
- Pet head means double motor with spin brush and suction for extra power
- Stretch hose adds extra reach for long stairwells and allows you to put the vacuum body down and make it even lighter
- Dust cup means no hunting for new vacuum bags
- Reusable filters are washable, which means no replacement costs at all with this machine
- Corded design means no waiting for a recharge
- Can be awkward to handle
- Suction level is not as high as some other vacuum types
VonHaus 600W 2-in-1 Corded Upright Stick & Handheld Vacuum Cleaner with HEPA Filtration
If you need a stick vacuum with handheld capabilities, the VonHaus 600W 2-in-1 Corded Upright Stick is one of the best options on the market. With almost 20 feet of range, you can pull almost 1.3 liters of dust, pet hair, and food crumbs off of the surfaces. Or, pull it off and use it completely cordlessly.
This is known to be super powerful (almost on par with commercial vacuums), and as some reviewers put it, “like a jet engine on a stick.” One of the most functionally versatile choices on our list, this little home tool is easy on the wallet and tough on dirt.
An excellent choice.
- 600 Watt stick vacuum design
- 130 Watts of air suction power
- Can morph into a handheld design
- Extension tip offers a longer range of cleaning
- 1.2 Liter capacity for dust cup
- Double filtration system with HEPA and sponge filters
- Great for multiple surface types, both hard and soft
- 19.5-foot power cord has a quick-release design for cordless capabilities
- Shoulder strap for easy carrying
- Crevice tool and brush attachments
Great for hard surfaces and all-around cleaning. Not the best pet hair in carpet vac out there, however.
If you’ve got hardwood or tile, this is a great choice. VonHaus 600W 2-in-1 Corded Upright Stick can do the whole house and your car in a snap. It offers several different attachment choices with an easy shoulder strap to keep it light while using it up and down a set of stairs. In a word, an awesome vacuum for both hardwood floors and carpets.
A strong, versatile contender for anyone with a dusty, hard surface home.
- Can be both a stick vacuum and a handheld
- One of the most powerful engines on a vacuum
- Telescoping handle adds to reach on the stick vac
- One of the few that can spot clean and do the whole house
- Won’t pick up large pieces, just smaller ones
- Doesn’t have a spin brush option for pet hair in fabric or carpet
VonHaus 600W 2-in-1 Corded Upright Stick & Handheld Vacuum Cleaner
Video about VonHaus 600W 2-in-1 Corded Upright Stick & Handheld Vacuum Cleaner
Dirt Devil M08230RED
The Dirt Devil M08230REDis a great machine for cleaning small, complicated surfaces. From stairs to cars to furniture, the 25-foot cord offers a lot of range.
The spin brush turns on and off to make it easier to handle. This is a great choice with the power and capability to get a lot of pet hair off of animal beds, kitty towers, stairs, and more. The corded design means a more powerful motor and more time without waiting to recharge, so this is an excellent option if you want to blitz clean.
Bottom line: A powerful little piece of machinery that is excellent for any messes.
- The rolling brush can be turned on and off with the flick of a switch.
- 25-foot cord offers extensive reach
- Wheels are soft to prevent scratching and nicking on hard floors
- 6 Amp motor is powerful for good cleaning
- Bagless dust cup keeps you from needing to buy replacements.
A powerful little handheld with a long range- but some limitations.
Dirt Devil M08230RED is a good little handheld choice to clean with, one 6-inch swath at a time. It is especially powerful when it comes to pet hair, but not so good for big expenses. It cleans stairs well, both hard and carpeted versions.
However, the flip-down visor needs a bit of a gentle touch, so be careful. This is an older model, but a favorite on the market. Look for it used and find a bargain.
You’ve got to like that!
- Great for pet hair and cat litter
- Corded design for extra power
- Bagless design with easy-empty dust cup
- On/off rolling brush design
- Corded design limits you to a 25-foot range
- Flip-down visor won’t stay down if you push too hard on it while cleaning
Hoover Air Cordless Series 20V Lithium Ion Bagless Upright Vacuum Cleaner
One of the biggest problems with cordless vacs is that you often have to choose between time and power to get this convenience. The 20V lithium battery attachment on the Hoover Air Cordless Series 20V Lithium Ion Bagless Upright Vacuum Cleaner.
- 20V Lithium battery– powerful enough to run cordless power tools– offers 50 minutes of battery life
- Three channels of power and patented Windtunnel 3 Technology
- Stick vacuum design weighs in at under 10 pounds
- Dust cup empties and filter is washable
- 9.9 pounds
- 5-year limited warranty
- LED lighting system to see under dark beds, corners, and furniture
- Includes extra filter, dust/crevice tool, hard floor roller, and pivoting dusting tool
- Pivoting steering mechanism
A great way to bring cordless power tool capabilities into the world of home cordless vacs- one of the most powerful cordless vacs on the market.
Essentially, Hoover Air Cordless is a great cordless vac that means no tripping on the stairs. It offers some power, but not that of a full vacuum when it comes to deep cleans. If you want something that is light and has a stick style so you needn’t stoop when cleaning stairs, this is an excellent option for you, provided you’re not trying to clean a lot of matted fur from a carpeted stairwell.
An excellent choice if you want to clean your stairs while standing upright and you don’t want to trip over a cord.
- 50 minutes of powerful battery life
- Multiple heads to clean and dust
- Pivoting head to make it easy to clean stairs and other surfaces
- LED lighting lets you see the dust bunnies under sofas, etc.
- 5-year warranty is one of the best in the industry
- Charge the included second battery while using the first for almost continuous use
- Dust collector size means it must be emptied multiple times during a cleaning
- Good for a quick clean, but won’t replace a standard corded vacuum for a whole-house deep clean
- Roller brush needs to be periodically cleaned of longer hair
Hoover Air Cordless Series 20V Lithium Ion Bagless Upright Vacuum Cleaner
Video about Hoover Air Cordless Series 20V Lithium Ion Bagless Upright Vacuum Cleaner
Bissell Cleanview Deluxe Corded Handheld Vacuum
Bissell Cleanview is one of the smallest and lightest choices on the list, and it is excellent for stairs, for cars, and for targeting all of the spots that your animals love the most. The easy-view dust cup is protected by a washable double filter and easy to empty without making a mess.
The 15-foot cord range can be extended by the 3-foot shop vac hose attachment. The rubber tip means more hair is drawn by static and better suction can be achieved by squishing the tip to your floor or stair tread.
A powerful spot cleaner with a lot of promise.
- 4 Amp corded motor
- Power switch on curved carrying handle
- Multi-level filtration
- Easy-empty dust cup is clear so you can see when it needs emptying
- Rubber contour nozzle squishes for better vacuum seal and attracts hair with static electricity
- 1-year limited warranty
- Small size, at 10 x 5 x 8 inches
- 18-foot power cord
- Wide-mouth, crevice, and hose adapter tools are included
- 4.7 pounds
A powerful little pet hair cleaner, not great for hardwood surfaces.
Most stair and spot cleaners are not designed to replace your whole-house vacuum. Bissell Cleanview is one example of that. If you need a powerful, light, convenient tool that picks up pet hair like a madman, this is a great tool for you.
If you need it to also pick endless amounts of toddler crumbs from beneath the table on a tile floor, you will want to choose another model. This is well-designed to do what it does, but it doesn’t try to be what it’s not.
Pet owners will love it, so will carpet owners with dusty stairs.
- Rubber tip for extra suction and static drawing power
- Easy-empty dust cup
- Powerful 4 Amp motor means great suction
- Small and light, easy to carry
- 18 feet of vacuuming range when cord and 3-foot hose extension are both used
- More than 90 percent of reviews are 4 and 5-star
- Air blows out of the side, which makes it hard to clean hardwood or tile with this vacuum
- Loud motor has bothered some users
- Not the right power setup to adapt to a 12V car battery
Hoover Air Cordless 20V Lithium Ion Bagless Hand Vacuum Cleaner
Combine that with the 20V Lithium battery that is used in many power tools, and you no longer need to choose between time and suction power in a cordless handheld machine.
- 20V Lithium-ion battery powered
- Fade-free battery technology won’t give reduced power as the battery loses charge
- Lightweight at 3.9 pounds
- Clear design lets you see the easy-empty dirt cup
- Washable filter is endlessly reusable
- Turbo suction motor adds power to pick up stubborn, embedded hair
A powerful little spot cleaner with a classic design.
If you liked the way that a dustbuster felt in your hands back in the day, but you didn’t like the power level that it had to offer, Hoover is a great solution. This little guy has ten times the power and the battery life with the familiar shape and use.
Hoover has done a great job improving on a classic. Just be aware of long charging times and plan your use around this. That said, a long charging time also means a long amount of use, so there is some benefit in this little turbo-powered wonder.
A great little vac for spot cleans and quick stair jobs.
- One of the most powerful portable vacuums on the market
- Power attachment with rolling brush and extra motor for pet hair is super powerful
- Light and easy to use
- Long-lasting battery
- Reusable dirt cup and filter means no buying bags or filters
- Long (9-12 hour) recharge cycle
- No wall mount option
- Some problems with customer service
Eufy HomeVac Lightweight Cordless Upright-Style Vacuum Cleaner
The Eufy HomeVac Lightweight Cordless Upright-Style Vacuum Cleaner is a great upright that is actually cordless and rechargeable. It offers a powerful Lithium-ion charge system at 2200 mAh.
If your stairs are endless and you need a bigger vacuum path to clean them effectively, this may be the choice for you. At almost a liter of dust holding capacity, you can clean quite a bit before you need to recharge or empty, making this a great choice for efficient cleaning.
And check out the technical specs!
- 2200 mAh Li-ion battery is large and powerful.
- HEPA-style filter makes it an ideal vacuum for allergies.
- The combination of cyclonic vacuum and electric rolling brush give two levels of suction power.
- 5.8 pounds
- Comes with power adapter, instruction manual, wall-mount system and mounting accessories
If you want a vacuum that works like a regular floor vac, this is the choice for you.
Eufy HomeVac has a lot of the portable convenience of a cordless but without the smaller attachments that are great for hitting crevices and irregularly shaped stair treads.
It’s a powerful everyday vac that won’t do a deep clean but can get a lot of your surfaces in between your deep clean times. Though the bagless design means you don’t need to purchase bags, you will need to buy another battery about once a year, at around $30.
If this is the kind of vac you need, an excellent choice.
- Cordless, light, and powerful enough to do a good job
- Convenient wall-mount system for easy storage while recharging
- Front light makes it easy to see where you’re cleaning
- Quieter engine than some other vacuums in this class
- Soft parts are easy on hardwood and don’t scuff
- Battery has about a 1-year life before a new one is needed
- Filter can be tough to clean
How We Tested the Best Vacuum for Stairs
- It is a look at how thousands of vacuums performed and not just one. This saves us from believing that a one-off manufacturing problem is a design flaw and finding problems that are relatively common.
- Many reviews are from owners who have had their machines for a year or more. We get an idea of longevity and post-warranty problems.
- We get a spectrum of customer review comments and get to see how well a company stands behind their product.
- We can look through negative reviews and remove trolls, one-offs, and user error problems to provide you a more accurate look at the good and the bad. Conversely, we can remove paid product hype and focus more on constructive positive reviews.
Overall, we believe that this gives you the most honest look at how these vacuums will perform in your home on the first day, as well as years later.
Nothing wrong with that!
How to Choose the Best Canister Vacuum
Canister vacs are a style that has a dirt-holding cup that can be emptied, rather than a bag. All of our top ten are canister vacuum designs. There are a few things to consider about canister vacuums when choosing one:
- Pay attention to the filter. Bagged vacuums have a built-in filter in the form of the bag. Do you need HEPA level filtration? Do you want a washable filter? This is often a personal choice but it can be very inconvenient if you don’t have the style that you want.
- How big is your canister? This will determine how often you have to empty it.
- Is it easy to empty your canister without making a mess?
- Can you see your full canister? Is there a light to indicate you need to empty it?
Knowing these things ahead of time can help you to make the right choice in canister vacuum.
What other features do vacuums have that I should pay attention to?
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When it comes to cleaning stairs, you need to consider a few things as well to get the best choice for you.
- Power: How much suction do you need? If you really want a lot of power, you should go for a corded vacuum with a lot of amps or even a central vacuum system. If you really want a cordless, you will be sacrificing some of that power or you will have a shorter vacuum time.
- Range: If you’ve opted for a corded vacuum because of the power factor, be sure that you have one with a long enough range for your stairs.
- Stability: Can you handle the weight of the vacuum in your hands? Do you want to stand and be supported by a stick or would you rather be deep in the stair treads with a handheld while on your knees? Consider this when choosing your ideal style. If you’re not sure or if it changes based on whether you’re spot cleaning or deep cleaning, then consider a hybrid that offers the best of both.
- Surface type: The powerful pet hair versions are great for carpet (way better than anything else) but they don’t work well on hardwood because the return air tends to blow all dust nearby up in the air. Know what you’re going to clean and choose a vacuum rated for carpet or stairs. If you want one that has the best of both, hose attachments keep the return blower far from the floor for just that reason.
- Capacity: This was said last time, but should be repeated. How many times do you want to empty the container? If it matters, go big. If weight matters more, go small.
- Filters: Keep your filter to the specifications you need. Always make sure there is a HEPA level of the filter if you’re trying to combat dust or mold allergies.
Care and Maintenance
Most vacuums are pretty easy to care for. Keep the cord tangle free and store in a secure area. If you have a rechargable unit, read the instructions about whether to let the battery run all the way down before charging or not. It can extend the life of the battery.
Containers can be emptied and washed and so can filters. Paper filters cannot be washed but must be replaced on occasion.
Most warranties are limited and come in one-year or more increments. They tend to cover manufacturer defects. Read the individual warranty to see exactly what it does and does not cover. Operator error is not covered unless you have a no-questions-asked return policy.
Some stores and credit card companies will allow you to purchase (or use as a benefit) the second warranty on any purchase made with their establishment. Look to see if your credit card has this benefit, and when you are comparing locations from which to purchase the item, see what the return policies are and if they offer extended warranties. The same rules apply– get a good idea of what is covered and what is not.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What's the difference between a corded and a cordless vacuum?
The biggest difference is more power for a corded and unlimited use time versus limited range and the risk of getting furniture and people tangled in cords.
What about the different vacuum systems like cyclonic and turbo?
These all function a little bit differently in how the air moves to make suction. Turbo tries to get a little more power out of an engine. Cyclonic offers a lot of power but there is a lot of air that must blow out to compensate, which can blow dust to the side of the vacuum pretty easily.
What is a HEPA filter?
This filter goes to 2 microns to get the smallest particles from the air. This means cleaner air and fewer allergens. This is important in households with dust and mold allergies.
So what IS the best vacuum for stairs?
There are a few categories that these vacuums fall into that are pretty specific that can affect your favorite vacuum. Do you need something that extracts a lot of hair from wall-to-wall carpeting? If so, you will want a cyclonic, corded vacuum that is handheld with a rubber tip. Do you have hardwood or tile stairs? If yes, then avoid these cyclonics and go with a stick vacuum. The same is true if you need the support of the stick and are not physically comfortable squatting on your hands and knees to vacuum stairs with a handheld. Do you want a lot of power? Go with a corded. Versatility? Go with a cordless.
Because there are so many different things to make the perfect vacuum perfect, our favorite strives to create the best of most of these worlds and to make an all-around excellent vacuum that is good on carpeted pet-hair-covered surfaces as well as cars, furniture, and under your toddler's high chair. Because of this, our favorite vacuum choice was:
This as, in our opinion, the best compromise between all of the different choices. It is cordless but offers a powerful battery system that keeps the vacuum level strong and lasts a long time. It's versatile because you can use those same batteries with your 20V Li-ion power tools, meaning more vacuum time if you switch out with the leaf blower in the garage.
The stick/handheld option means that every kind of vacuuming is covered. While the stick is great for covering hardwood and avoiding a cyclonic return, the hose attachment supports a motorized pet hair head for carpeted areas that need extra love. We believe that this makes it the best overall choice for the biggest number of people. And the 5-year warranty means that this should be one of the longest-lasting vacuums in the bunch.
Great! What was your favorite? Do you have one of these? Leave your comments below.