Best Vacuum for Stairs – How to Choose the Best Portable Vac for Cleaning Stairs

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Nothing can be quite as painful as cleaning the stairs without using any available stairs vacuum as a homeowner. With little space to move about, they can be tough to get around using conventional vacuums. Also, with people running up and down every two seconds, stairs tend to accumulate a lot of debris and dirt that can be hard to eliminate.

For this reason, you’ll want a special kind of machine that can get through the corners but is still light enough to carry up and down the staircase. And nothing does this better than stair vacuums.

While you may be tempted to clean your stairs with your regular upright vacuum cleaner, not only is it a real pain lugging it from step to step, but it’s also dangerous. Did you know that over a million Americans fall down the stairs every year? The last thing you want to do is anything to increase that risk!

Vacuums for stairs are specially designed for an effective vacuum cleaning process that’s comfortable and stress-free.

They are now more compact and lightweight than ever, with slender profiles that allow them to maneuver through small spaces. They also come with various attachments that can either be removed or attached depending on particular situations. The only thing that could be better was if they finally came up with a robot vacuum that could go upstairs and not just avoid falling down them!

With this in mind, we have gone ahead and done our research and compiled for you the top best vacuum for stairs that you will get out there today.

Related: How to Clean Stairs Tips & Cleaning Guide

2021 Top Vacuums for Stairs Price Comparison

Before we get to our featured vacuums for cleaning stairs, let’s first take a quick peek at how they compare in terms of cost. Since Amazon is a good indicator of average price across the net (plus they often have great sales), we used their price tag for our comparison – updated daily!

When we put together this table, the products were in order from high to low. However, because prices often change, especially if a discount or promotion is running, the order may differ.

Best Vacuum Cleaners for Stairs Reviews 2021

For our top picks, we chose to feature vacuum cleaners in the moderate to low price range, rather than higher end models. One of the reasons for this was because weight was a key factor in our choices. Many of the more advanced vacuum cleaners tend to be uprights, which can be more cumbersome when vacuuming stairs. Because of this, many homeowners often get a second vacuum for tasks like this where they need more portability.

However, if you are looking for an upright vacuum cleaner with more features, such as anti-hair wrap technology, we recommend taking a look at the Shark APEX DuoClean Upright Vacuum AZ1002, which features Zero-M technology and a Powered Lift-Away hand vacuum. Or, for a slightly higher price, consider the Shark AZ2002 Vertex DuoClean PowerFins Upright Vacuum with the latest Shark technology.

So, with that all said, it’s time to learn why these vacuum cleaners made our list.

Shark Navigator Lift-Away Deluxe Upright Vacuum Review

Now the Shark Navigator NV360 is not your ordinary stair vacuum. As an upright vacuum, our number one machine stands tall enough, so you get to enjoy the vacuuming experience without the need to bend over when cleaning those hard to reach corners of the staircase. 

The unit features special anti-allergen seal technology combined with a HEPA FILTER that traps 99% of allergens and dust inside the vacuum. The HEPA filter facilitates cleaner indoor air quality. It is also effortless to use, specially made such that the canister detaches at the press of a button for when you want to clean those hard-to-reach areas.

Besides its impressive filter technology, the Shark Navigator Lift-Away Deluxe NV360 also incorporates swivel steering, which allows for excellent maneuvering and control around your staircases and furniture. It has a larger capacity dust cap than most other portable vacuums, too, so you get to clean for extended periods without interruption.

Also included in the package are an upholstery tool and a 5.5-inch crevice tool for those hard to reach areas.

Related: Shark Apex Duoclean Zero-M AZ1002 Full Review

Shark Navigator Lift Away Deluxe Pros and Cons

What We Like…
  • Upright design allows for comfort and ease of use
  • Has a large capacity for uninterrupted cleaning
  • Comes with crevice and upholstery tools for a more comfortable experience
  • Swivel steering for easy maneuvering
What Could Be Better…
  • A little heavier than other smaller units (weighs 125 pounds)
  • Some users claim the emptying process is not as easy as advertised

BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser Cordless Hand Vacuum Review

If you are looking for something light to get rid of those pet hairs and small messes popping up all over your stairs, then look no further than the BISSELL Pet Eraser Lithium-Ion Cordless Hand Vacuum. The machine is quite literally ‘handy,’ featuring an ergonomic design that allows you to operate efficiently with one hand.

It is light, too, so you can easily carry it around to just about anywhere, yet despite its portable size, the Bissell still has a dirt cup capacity of 0.7 liters, which is large enough to hold a pretty decent amount of dirt. The bin is easy to empty and has a triple-level filtration, so the performance is flawless on all cleaning jobs.

But that’s not even the best part; with every unit, you get a set of specialized tools, including a motorized brush tool, crevice, and upholstery tool that you can attach to get to those tight corners. Also, with every purchase, the right people at Bissell donate 5 dollars to save pets.

The Bissell cordless vacuums operate using a 14 V lithium-ion battery, powerful enough to support powered cleaning. Once done, plug it in the charger port and refill the juice, ready for the next cleaning.

BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser Hand Vacuum Pros and Cons

What We Like…
  • Small, lightweight and easily portable
  • Affordable price
  • Powerful suction for its size and price
  • Comes with specialized tools to optimize the job
What Could Be Better…
  • You have to buy the whole assembly to replace a single paper replacement filter
  • The battery takes long to charge

BLACK+DECKER Max Flex Hand Vacuum with Pet Hair Brush Review

The BLACK+DECKER 20V Max Flex Handheld Vacuum is made with a broader reach capacity in mind. With a hose that stretches 4 feet long, this baby quickly covers every nook and cranny of your home, including the corners of your ceiling.

It also has in place a dustbowl with the capacity of 20.6 ounces, making it relatively larger than your average handheld vacuum, perfect for any large scale cleaning.

The BLACK+DECKER also prides itself on having one of the most potent suction power you’ll find of up to 24 AW. It further backs this up with a fade-free power option when you want to switch it down or up. Its bowl is easy to empty, and you can easily wash the filter after use.

Despite its bulky appearance, the BLACK+DECKER only weighs 3.2 pounds. It has a 3 stage filtration system that firmly holds all the debris and dirt from escaping and comes with a pet hair brush to get rid of those stubborn pet hairs.

Black and Decker Max Flex Handheld Vacuum Pros and Cons

What We Like…
  • Easy to dump the vacuumed content.
  • Conveniently positioned charging unit
  • Has a pet hair attachment which works
  • Hose stretches out nicely far
What Could Be Better…
  • The pet hair tool can’t be attached to the machine
  • Some users claim the battery is hard to find a replacement

Dirt Devil Plus Pro Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner Review

If you are working on a budget, this next unit, the Dirt Devil Plus Cordless Hand Vacuum Cleaner, is here to offer you a way to clear up your stairs at an affordable price. The unit, with its small compact, is designed to deal with all the small messes as efficiently as possible. The size also makes it suitable for working the edges and corners on your stairs.

This vacuum by Dirt Devil is cordless, so it is quite flexible. It works using a 16-volt lithium battery that can charge up to 2 times faster than its competitors. It also has a power indicator in place so you can quickly know when it is time to recharge.

Another handy thing about this is the quick flip crevice tool, which is designed to get debris hiding in tight corners. The Dirt Devil Plus comes with a powerful turbo tool which you can attach when you want to clean your upholstery and stairs faster. Once sucked in, the dirt is collected in a little dirt cup, which is also made intuitively easy to empty once you complete the job.

Dirt Devil Plus Cordless Vacuum Pros and Cons

What We Like…
  • Affordable price
  • Compact and easy to maneuver
  • Quick charging time
What Could Be Better…
  • Some users claim that the battery drains quite fast
  • Misses a wall mount/base option

Eureka NES210 Blaze 3-in-1 Swivel Stick Vacuum Review

The Eureka NES210 Blaze 3-in-1 Swivel Lightweight Vacuum Cleaner was made for the smart user in mind. With its 3-in-1 design, you get to customize your vacuum according to your needs. This includes an attachment stick that lets you extend it when you need a more extended reach or simply detach it for when you need a shorter scope.

The little machine is also pretty aesthetically appealing, and for the price, you won’t find a better deal out there. Despite its small size, the vacuum still has quite the suction power. It uses a 2 amp motor that packs enough punch to pick up all the suit, pollen, and debris while its washable filtration system works to capture the debris in the air to improve the air quality.

This lightweight vacuum also features an 18’’ power cord that users claim, is long enough to get the job done without having to hop to outlet after outlet. To sweeten the deal even further, the Eureka also employs its signature swivel steering for more efficient cleaning and maneuverability.

Eureka Blaze Stick Vacuum Pros and Cons

What We Like…
  • Affordable price
  • Convenient 3-in-1 design
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Great suction power
What Could Be Better…
  • Requires the use of a cord
  • Small in size (which does make it easier on stairs, but doesn’t hold much dirt)

Best Vacuum for Stairs Buying Guide

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Stairs can be a headache to clean since most have a limited space to move around. Apart from understanding the science behind a vacuum cleaner, it can also be hectic to land the perfect appliance to meet your cleaning needs.

Let’s explore various things you need to know about vacuums for stairs that will contribute significantly to your purchasing decision.

Related: How to Choose the Best Carpet Cleaner

Types of Vacuum for Stairs

Much as they perform almost the same function, vacuums for stairs come in different types. Each type features its unique design that will enhance your vacuuming experience to a certain extent. We shall look at some of them below to help you settle on the best one for your particular situation.

Upright Vacs

Upright vacuum cleaners are generally more upright with a taller height when compared to other vacuums. With these, you won’t need to keep bending when using them, making them especially suitable for long hours of vacuuming. The downside with uprights is that they are usually lean on the heavier side, so carrying them up the staircase can be a hassle. This makes them unsuitable for the elderly or people who have health problems.

Upright vacuums are also a little unstable, so you have to be careful that they don’t topple or fall off the stairs. However, if this is your ideal choice of vacuum, you are advised to consider your machine’s weight carefully. Try and settle for the most lightweight one you can find. Also, please take a look at the length of its hose. Here, you’ll want something long enough to cover the staircase without having to carry the vacuum with you every two steps.

Stick Vacs

Stick vacuums are usually smaller, more compact, and lightweight than upright vacuums, making them perfect for stairs. The most modern models or sticks are battery-powered, so you can carry them by hand without worrying about dragging along long cables. Well, despite stick vacuums being cordless, these units today are still able to deliver incredible quality suction power that is enough to rival even the corded vacuums.

When choosing a stick vacuum for your staircase, make sure that it is sturdy and lightweight enough to clean effectively. Most of these stick vacuum models can be easily held by a hand, making them exceptionally versatile in vacuuming staircases.

Handheld Vacuums

As the name handheld suggests, they are tiny little vacuums that you can hold and manage in one hand. Their whole bodies are one piece, making them easy to use on stairs. They are mostly cordless and don’t have hoses. With this, you can quickly point them towards any section of your staircase. The handheld vacuums are also defined by the lightweight nature that allows them to be used by literally anybody, from children to the elderly.

Compared to sticks, handhelds are ideally less powerful; however, you can find some equipped with certain features like high-capacity batteries, motorized brush rolls, and efficient airflow systems, which increase their optimal efficiency potential.

Canister Vacs

We recommend a canister vacuum for true-house cleaning, including the stairs. Canister vacuums are more powerful and have stronger airflow. For this reason, they work more effectively on a wider variety of surfaces. They also work well on high-traffic staircases where a lot of people pass. However, a canister vacuum is quite bulky and would need a lot of effort to carry it up a staircase. You’ll also need to plug them into an outlet, which might mean even more bulk.

If you find a canister vacuum ideal for you, you may want to consider a model that includes a few attachments, like a long hose for easy navigation and a long power cable on the canister vacuum to reach the power outlet easily.

Factors To Consider When Choosing A Stair Vacuum

How to Clean Stairs with Carpets | Housewife Glam Life

Other than the type of vacuum, there are a few different factors that will make the process more comfortable and practical. With these, you get to achieve good spotless results you want without using too much effort.

Ease Of Use: Why Filtered And Bagless Is The Way To Go!

There are a couple of things that can make your user experience just a little bit easier when cleaning stairs or vacuuming in general. And after prolonged use, you’ll find that it can mean all the difference in the world. The first is precisely how easy the vacuum is to empty and clean.

Sure, the process of vacuuming might be smooth and fun for some people, but no one likes the process of emptying all the dust and debris particles. For this, you’ll want to ensure that your unit of choice facilitates this in the easiest way possible.

The very best vacuums will usually have a simple clip or button, which lets all the dust to fall out and into a bin. On the other hand, some need you to remove the dust cup itself. Check for a design that lets you do this without allowing the dust out into the air.

Also, you should ensure that your vacuum has a filter. In some instances, the filter will be replaceable, and the replacements might be hard to find. What will be ideal is a vacuum that has a washable filter. These will only need you to remove them and wash them out.

Another major factor in ease of use is whether the vacuum has a bag or is bagless. For people with allergies, one needs to tap into the benefits of a bagless vacuum design since there will be a minimal dust collection.  However, the units with bags are also efficient in making sure that no dust escapes. So if you have any allergies to dust, you might want to consider such.

Attachments: For Smoothness and Efficiency!

Attachments are significant in handheld vacuum cleaners. Since you’ll likely be cleaning hard to reach areas, you must get as many attachments as possible. This includes a brush, which is suitable for cleaning carpets. The brush is what gets deep into the fibers and helps get rid of all the debris and dust. Check that the brush is motorized for extra power.  You can also consider a crevice tool, made especially small and pointed to get through to the corner areas of the staircase.

Other special attachments also include ingenious rubber nozzles, which are suitable for pet hair, and full mouth nozzles that are good for sucking debris on hard surfaces or even on hardwood floors and hardwood stairs. Ideally, when looking at attachments, you have to keep in mind what you will be using the vacuum for, and then get what is most appropriate for the task.

Do Pet Hair Vacuum Attachments Work? |  Rendall’s Certified Cleaning Services

Reach: Corded vs. Cordless

The reach mostly applies to corded vacuums or vacuums with hoses, whereby the length of the cord can limit how far you can reach. For this reason, you should check on the vacuum’s specification sheet and find out just how long it stretches out. You’ll want to settle for a machine that goes as far out as possible so at to reach the power outlet comfortably.

On the other hand, you have another easier option of getting a cordless vacuum and eliminating the whole issue of reach. Since these models don’t need wires, they can be used practically anywhere. The only thing you’ll need to do is keep them charged. For cordless vacuums, you must ensure that the batteries are of good quality, so they provide enough power for suction and so that they last through a more extended cleaning session.

vacuumed clean carpeted stairs
With the right vacuum, your carpeted stairs will look as clean as when they were new!

So, there you have it.

Safe to say, cleaning any floor type or the stairs doesn’t have to be a hustle anymore. With the right vacuum cleaner, it can be a comfortable, fun experience as well.

That said, for the optimal vacuum stairs experience, you should consider some of the critical factors above before selecting one to ensure that it is ideal for you. Additionally, check that the vacuum cleaner has a good quality filtration system, so dust and allergens don’t escape back into the air.

And if you have uncarpeted stairs, you may also want to consider getting a lightweight stick or steam mop with changeable pads to make that job easier too.

Alternatively, you may want to check out the BISSELL Crosswave Pet Pro All in One Wet Dry Vacuum Cleaner and Mop for hard floor surface and area rugs which also works great on stairs!

FAQs On Vacuums For Stairs

If you still have any questions lingering, we’ve gone ahead and answered some of the frequently asked questions regarding vacuum for stairs so you can get the best possible experience.

What Is The Best Vacuum For Stairs?

Ideally, the best type of vacuum for stairs will be one that is light enough to carry up and down the stairs. It should also be cordless so you can use it anywhere, with a couple of attachments to get to the hard to reach areas. That said, any of our recommended selections above lives up to these characteristics. The BLACK+DECKER 20V Max Flex Handheld does this exceptionally well. It is handy, with a lengthy stretch, and also has one of the best suctions you can get in a cordless vacuum.

Can You Use Any Kind Of Vacuum In Stairs?

The short answer is yes. However, the process is going to be quite tricky with a conventional vacuum. Instead, you want to get a special vacuum for stairs. They feature compact sizes and come with special attachments and crevice tools that allow them to get to those hard to reach areas of your stairs. Most of them are also lightweight and cordless so that you can carry them around with you up and down the stairs.

How To Use A Vacuum On Carpeted Stairs

For carpeted stairs, you’ll need a cordless vacuum with powerful suction. Start by first using the vacuum to suck up the dust and debris on the carpet. Then proceed by giving each of your stairs a nice scrub using shampoo until it’s clean. Afterward, dry the rug using absorbent towels to get rid of any excess water. Once dry, you can vacuum again to ensure that it is entirely dirt free.

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