With such a wide variety of vacuums to choose from on the web, finding the right vacuum cleaner to keep your stairs dirt-free and to suit your cleaning routine can feel like a daunting task. So, we simplified the process for you. In this Best Vacuum for Stairs guide, we’ve compiled a detailed breakdown of the pros, the cons, and the stats of some of the best-selling, highest-rated vacuum cleaners on the market.
We hope this guide provides you with all the necessary details you’ll need to make an informed decision on purchasing the best vacuum cleaner for your stairs, house, car, or outdoor spaces.
- Full Replacement or Refund at ANY TIME
- Lightest model
- Great accessories
Let’s jump right in!
|MOOSOO Cordless Vacuum Cleaner 17Kpa
|Shark Cordless Pet Perfect Lithium-Ion (LV801)
|BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser Lithium Ion Cordless
|Hikeren Handheld Vacuum Wet/Dry
|BLACK+DECKER Dustbuster (CHV1410L)
|Tineco A11 Hero+ Cordless
List of the Best Vacuum Cleaners for Stairs
- Bissell Handheld Cordless Vacuum 2390A
- Shark Cordless Ion LV801
- Hikeren Wet/Dry Vac H-305
- Black and Decker Dustbuster CHV1410L
- Tineco A11 Hero+
- Moosoo Cordless K17
These were our top picks:
1. BISSELL Cordless Vacuum – Handheld Cordless 2390A
This handheld vacuum is cordless and fairly lightweight at 4.25 pounds. It is specially designed to remove pet hair and dirt on hard or soft surfaces with a motorized brush. The vacuum includes two easily detachable add-ons: an upholstery brush for soft surfaces and a crevice tool for hard-to-reach places. It uses a rechargeable 14V lithium ion battery and can run for up to 17 minutes at a time.
The dust bin is easily removable and large. The triple level filtration system ensures optimal cleaning performance.
- Dimensions: 4.5 x 16 x 5 inches
- Weight: 4.25 pounds
- 4 Lithium batteries required (included)
- Charger is included
- 3 detachable add-ons for convenient clean ups on any surface
- Relatively long battery life (can run up to 17 minutes at a time)
- Limited One-year Warranty
The only thing I didn’t like was how long it took the unit to charge afterwards. It was over six hours before it was fully charged.
2. Shark Cordless Ion LV801 – Pet Perfect Handheld
The Shark Cordless Pet Perfect Ion (LV801) Handheld Vacuum works by using twister suction technology giving it optimal suction capabilities. The portable, ultra lightweight design only weighs 2.48lbs with a sturdy handgrip for easy use. The vacuum includes two detachable pieces: a motorized brush to remove dirt and pet hair from carpets, car seats, and upholstery, and a crevice piece helps reach tight nooks and hard-to-reach areas.
The dust cup is easy to remove and clean, and holds up to 0.43 dry quarts of dust and debris.
- Dimensions: 6.35 x 4.78 x 15.47 inches
- Weight: 2.48lbs
- 1 Lithium ion battery required (included)
- Lightweight and portable
- Two add-on pieces (a motorized brush for soft surfaces and a crevice piece for tight nooks)
- Limited One year warranty
I loved the motorized brush attachment for cleaning my carpeted stairs. It did an excellent job picking up virtually everything.
I also found that the crevice tool was excellent in cleaning out between the seats in my car. It reached into a lot of places (and I was finally able to clean out some of the junk that fell between the seat and the door).
3. Hikeren Handheld Vacuum H-305 – Wet and Dry
This compact handheld vacuum comes with 3 multi-purpose attachments: a crevice nozzle for nooks and crannies, a dusting brush for carpets and hair, and a soft tube for liquid spills. The cordless, portable design makes it easy to clean stairs and hard to reach crevices. It takes 3-4 hours to obtain a full charge, but the vacuum can run for up to 30 minutes while in use.
It is ultra-lightweight, weighing just 2 pounds and is the best option for ease of handling.
Best of all, if something happens to the unit, Hikeren offers a refund or replacement at any time! That eliminated my concerns about battery replacement.
- Dimensions: 13.2 x 4.2 x 5.5 in
- Weight: 2 lbs
- Charge time: 3-4 hours
- Working time: 30 minutes
- Ultralight weight, cordless, portable, handheld
- 1 Lithium battery required (included)
- Can clean wet or dry messes
It picked up normal dirt and pet hair, and the crevice tool worked perfectly for the edges of the stairs against the wall.
4. BLACK+DECKER Dustbuster CHV1410L – Dustbuster Handheld Vacuum
This handheld, lightweight vacuum uses Smart Charge technology to consume 50% less energy while charging. The contents of the bagless dustbin are easy to empty and clean, and are translucent in color, making it easy to see when it is full and needs to be emptied. The 16 volt Lithium powered Dust Buster offers strong suction technology.
The machine is lightweight, weighing 2.6lbs. The cyclonic action helps keep the filter clean, requiring less frequent clean-up than rivaling models. Sleek, easy-to-hold design.
- Dimensions: 17.2 x 5.5 x 7.8 inches
- Weight: 2.6 pounds
- 1 Lithium ion battery required (included)
- Reusable, washable filters and easy to empty dust bin
- Compact, convenient charging base
- 2 year limited warranty
- Sleek, lightweight, portable design
The biggest drawback to this unit was the fact that the battery is not replaceable.
5. Tineco A11 Hero+ – Cordless Vacuum
I included this stick-style vacuum cleaner because it is convertible to a handheld which is perfect for stairs. It is cordless and lightweight and utilizes a strong suction HEPA filter.
The vacuum comes with three different accessories: a 2-in-1 dusting brush, a wide soft brush for hard or soft surfaces, and a crevice tool for hard to reach places. Depending on which attachment is used, it doubles as a handheld lightweight vacuum, or as a traditional stick-style vacuum.
The filter system is easy to clean and I did not notice any dust particles in the air when using the vacuum.
- Dimensions: 10.4 x 11.2 x 43.7 inches
- Weight: 5.5lbs
- 2 Lithium ion batteries included, rechargable
- Large dust bin
- 3 attachments and wall mount charger included
- Max power mode for heavy duty suction
My favorite thing about this vacuum is the detachment feature. In fact, I was able to get rid of my handheld dustbuster and my full sized vacuum with this unit. And I definitely like having to keep FEWER things in my home.
The wall mounted charging station was great to keep everything organized and up off of the floor.
6. Moosoo Cordless K17 – Vacuum Cleaner
MOOSOO cordless vacuum cleaner is a cordless stick vacuum with a brushless motor. The two power modes, standard and max, provide strong suction and high performance cleaning on hardwood, carpet, and tile floors. The HEPA filter mechanism captures 99.99% of microscopic dust. The filter is washable and should ideally be replaced every 2-3 months.
A dual action motorized floor-head utilizes both stiff and soft bristles integrated together on one roller and works on all surfaces. The detachable battery takes 4 hours to fully charge and can run continuously for 15 minutes on max mode or 30 minutes in standard mode.
- Dimensions: 49.2 x 10.8 x 9.4 inches
- Weight: 2.84lbs
- Brushless motor technology with high-power suction
- 30 min battery life while in use
- Three attachments included: crevice nozzle, 2-in-1 square brush, 2-in-1 cleaning brush
This is another detachable vacuum that is great for stairs. The small size and great suction (on high) made cleaning my stairs very easy.
I did not have to go over the carpeting too many times. It isn’t as powerful as a Dyson, but it is significantly less expensive and is an outstanding value
How Did We Evaluate The Vacuums?
Weight and Mobility
Lighter weight vacuums offer the benefits of easier grip and the ability to use for longer amounts of time. Heavier weight vacuums are bulkier but sometimes offer heavier-duty cleaning capabilities. Handheld vacuums are generally lightweight and easy to maneuver. Out of the handheld vacuums we evaluated, the Hikeren weighs the lightest at just 2lbs, and the stick-style cordless MOOSOO is an ultralight 2.84lbs.
The lighter handheld vacuums were also excellent for people with limited mobility and have difficulty with heavier machines. How many times have you managed a large vacuum pulling the hose up the stairs as you clean them? These hand held options work just as good without the hassle!
Corded vacuums run by being plugged into an electrical socket while in use. I excluded all of those from these options as I felt it was potentially unsafe to be handling cords while on the stairs. It just isn’t worth the risk when inexpensive and effective options are available.
Cordless vacuums are typically powered by rechargeable Lithium ion batteries. Depending on the design and model, batteries are either detachable and plugged into a charging unit, or the entire vacuum will sit in a charging unit to gain charge.
All of the vacuums in our evaluation run off of rechargeable Lithium ion batteries, and the majority of them have batteries that are detachable.
Ease of Cleaning/Repairs
It is crucial to look into how easy a product is to maintain/repair before purchasing it. For example, some vacuums are built without detachable batteries, meaning that if the battery fails, then it cannot be replaced and the entire vacuum must be replaced.
The majority of the vacuums in our guide are bagless with washable components and replaceable or washable filters, which is the optimal set-up for easy maintenance and repairs.
Brush Attachment Options for Different Types of Floors
Most vacuums, particularly cordless, stick, and handheld vacuums, will come with various attachment pieces for added versatility. The most common add on pieces are: crevice tools for reaching tight nooks and crannies, and motorized soft brushes for carpeted surfaces.
All of the vacuums in our evaluation include between 2-3 add on pieces for extra versatility.
Reading customer reviews on products before purchasing gives specific insight into specific issues or triumphs that real-life users have encountered with products, so as a rule of thumb, it’s always a good idea to browse the user reviews before making a purchase.
We only chose to evaluate products that were rated 4.3 stars or higher on Amazon.
Vacuums range in price greatly depending on numerous factors, such as design, build, quality, and other criteria.
Difference Between Upright, Stick, Cannister, or Handheld Vacuums
While it may seem that the traditional, corded, wide-bodied upright vacuum is slowly becoming obsolete, there are some advantages to upright vacuums that sleeker, modern vacuums just don’t offer. Their heavy-weighted designs make clean-ups, particularly on carpet and hardwood floors, a breeze, as they tend to cover more ground in less time. They are typically cumbersome though, and the cord attachment makes the cleaning process more burdensome with lacking portability. Because of their heavy, bulky design, upright vacuums aren’t ideal for stairs on smaller surfaces, but for larger areas with large surface areas that need to be cleaned.
The stick vacuum is the upright vacuum’s sleek, hip cousin. These vacuums offer a versatile, lightweight design with a variety of attachments. Stick vacuums usually either come with retractable cords, or with a charging base. Because of their portable, lightweight design and attachment pieces, they are possibly some of the best types of vacuum cleaners for cleaning stairs.
The less noisy cousin of the upright vacuum, canister vacuums work by linking a hose to a canister unit which contains the filter and dust bags. It typically has wheels for mobility. These vacuums are typically best for cleaning large surfaces and floors as they are less likely to disperse debris while cleaning than most other vacuum types. Canister vacuums usually come with a few attachment pieces for cleaning smaller surface areas. Larger staircases are not easily cleaned with canister vacuums because the bulky canister unit cannot easily be dragged up the stairs.
Don’t be fooled by their compact sizes, handheld vacuums are powerful little suckers, literally! Some handheld vacuums double as stick vacuums with stick-style attachments, making their abilities to clean extra versatile. The only drawback is that their dustbins are typically smaller and need to be emptied out more frequently, but most handheld vacuum designs make this step a breeze. Because of their portable nature and ability to clean hard-to-reach crevices, they are excellent for cleaning stairs.
Central vacuum systems are semi-permanent vacuum installments which involve placing tubing inside of the walls of a house connected to a remote utility unit. They typically operate by a power switch located on the handle and can be installed anywhere throughout a home. The hose tends to be detachable and can attach and detach to different points throughout a home, thus eliminating the need to drag a heavy vacuum around. Since different attachments can be used on the hose, central vacuums can make stair cleaning a breeze, especially if installed near staircases.
Bagged or Bagless?
Buying a bagless vacuum can cut down on the cost and pain of having to purchase and install new bags, but also require more frequent filter cleaning and replacing. Bagged vacuums tend to hold dirt and debris more effectively. Pet owners might be better off buying bagged vacuums, as the filters in bagless vacuums tend to clog easier from dust and pet hair.
Many newer vacuum models, including robotic, stick, and handheld versions, are bagless for the sake of ease and practicality. Bagless vacuums grant users the convenience of simply emptying the dirt chamber and continuing on with cleaning rather than having to switch out a new bag entirely.
Corded or Cordless
Corded vacuums, while typically bulkier than their cordless relatives, offer increased suction power due to their high electrical input. Since they are not reliant on batteries or charge for their power, they can stay in use for as long as needed. They also tend to be less expensive than cordless vacuums. The cords however can present restrictions to movement and inconveniences due to the added bulkiness. They can also be dangerous and cause tripping or accidents.
Cordless vacuums tend to be less bulky, less heavy, more compact, and more versatile. Since they are not reliant on a connected power source while in use, they can be used freely and with greater reach in any place so long as they have a charge. Greater convenience is offered since they do not take as much time to unpack and are great for quick cleanups. The biggest drawbacks of cordless vacuums are their limited battery lives and high price tags. Some cordless vacuums will require spare batteries or will need to have batteries replaced occasionally.
Frequently Asked Questions:
For all of the vacuums we evaluated, batteries can be replaced (except for the BLACK + DECKER dustbuster which requires replacing the entire vacuum when the battery completely dies).
Depending on the vacuum size, voltage, and the time it takes to charge each vacuum (typically between 3-4 hours to obtain a full charge), the run time of each battery lasts between 10-50 minutes.
What Maintenance is Required?
The main maintenance required for all of the vacuums we evaluated is regular washing of the filters. Washing filters at least every 3-4 uses prevents them from clogging and getting destroyed and generally keeps the vacuum in good condition. Filters will need to be replaced a few times per year.
What Stair Surface?
Depending on the vacuum, different attachments can be used to optimize stair cleaning. For carpet stairs, motorized brushes for soft surfaces help remove pet hairs and ingrained dirt. Smaller nozzles help clean the tight angles on stair cases.