When it comes to vacuum cleaning your house, different sorts of vacuum cleaners tend to fit well with specific tasks.
For example, if you happen to own a wet and dry vacuum, it may work wonders on a hard surface, but not so much on carpets and area rugs. Also, certain areas require your vacuum cleaner head to be shaped a certain way, otherwise you won’t be able to reach some of the awkwardly-position spots. (Corners and those areas underneath the furniture sure spring to mind.)
So, to get the most cleaning done using a vacuum cleaner, your best bet would be to either: 1) get a model with plenty of attachments that can be used on different surfaces, or 2) get several vacuum cleaners – each dedicated to a different surface.
Of course, the latter option would certainly be the more expensive one, and considering the fact that there are many models currently on the market that boast the ability to be used in several different ways, chances are – you’ll probably be able to find some vacuum cleaner that will be able to do it all for you.
One of the areas that many homeowners seem to struggle with when it comes to maintenance and vacuum cleaning, in particular, would be the stairs. Since they are quite small and at times awkwardly shaped (if you have a spiral staircase, for example), getting a vacuum cleaner to reach the area can be difficult and at times an impossible task.
So, in this article, we’ve decided to help you out with this issue. We’ve assembled a list of sixteen best vacuum cleaner models for cleaning a bunch of stairs, so you can have some room to find the best model for your needs, so to speak. Also, we’ve organized a short buyer’s guide to help out some of the inexperienced first-time buyers out there. In the end, there’s a Q&A section, where we’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions on this topic.
Right then, folks, without further ado, here’s the lot.
A Brief Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose Vacuum for Stairs?
Cordless vs. Corded
Although the choice between cordless and corded vacuum cleaners is mostly an individual one, because both of these types of vacuum cleaners can do a decent enough job of cleaning your house, when it comes to stairs, the cordless ones can perhaps be a better option.
The thing is, if you have a large staircase with plenty of steps, you may not be able to reach all of it at once due to the shortness of the cord. So, you may have to re-plug the vacuum cleaner during the cleaning session itself, which may be annoying. With cordless models, on the other hand, all you have to do is charge them up before use and then carry them around wherever you like.
Again, not a huge difference, but it can still be useful.
Bagged vs. Bagless
This parameter doesn’t necessarily have a lot to do with the fact you’re cleaning a bunch of stairs, but it’s still an important thing to look into before buying a vacuum cleaner. The question of whether to buy a bagged or bagless vacuum cleaner is one that gets brought up a lot for different discussions when it comes to the effectiveness of vacuum cleaners.
Namely, the most important thing to understand when this matter is in question is that both bagged and bagless vacuum cleaners perform excellently. There’s no real difference in the power or other cleaning parameters between a bagged or a bagless model. That said, some arguments highlight the difference between these two.
The cost tends to be the most important one because bagged models tend to be more expensive than their bagless counterparts – mostly because you have to buy new bags all the time. Also, there’s the question of convenience, where bagged models win because emptying up a canister vacuum cleaner can be messy.
Regardless of the sort of surface, you’re vacuuming, the question of filtration is always an important one to take into consideration before buying a vacuum cleaner. (Especially if you own pets.)
So, when buying a brand new vacuum, make sure to find a model with a multi-leveled filtration, because those models will be able to catch the largest amount of dirt, dust, and allergens. Generally speaking, any vacuum cleaner model with a HEPA filter will do the trick.
HEPA filters have already proven their effectiveness, so many manufacturers of these cleaning contraptions tend to install these types of filters in their new models.
As we’ve mentioned already, vacuum cleaner accessories make a lot of difference when it comes to tackling different surfaces. Of course, a vacuum cleaner itself is just a thing that sucks the air in, but with a well-made nozzle or a brush, it can turn into a floor-cleaning machine par excellence.
So, if you have several different surfaces in your house – some carpeted, some tile, and some parquet, for example, make sure to buy a model that offers you plenty of accessories you can stick to the front of your vacuum cleaner. These will help you neutralize all kinds of messes. (A brush can take care of a tough stain on your carpet, for example. A mop head can polish your tile floor, etc.)
The effectiveness of a vacuum cleaner has everything to do with how powerful its motor is. The more suction power a vacuum cleaner motor has, the more dirt and dust particles it will be able to pick up from the floor you’re cleaning. The power rating of a vacuum cleaner is often expressed in Amps, but you can often find some models where the manufacturers decided to highlight their suction power – which is measured in air watts.
Either way, look for a model with a powerful motor, (and preferably multiple speeds), so you can choose how much of it you need to get the job done.
Best Vacuum Cleaner for Stairs – A List of Products
1) Shark – Navigator Lift-Away Professional
Here’s a great solution for a person who has to take care of multiple surfaces, while still fancying to concentrate the majority of their cleaning efforts on staircases, in particular. So, while this model looks like pretty much any model out there, here’s the deal – it comes with several attachments that facilitate the cleaning process of a variety of different surfaces.
For example, the lift-away function of this Shark model enables you to quickly and easily empty the canister, by simply pushing one button. Also, this lift-away mechanic allows you to carry the canister along with its motor (so, essentially the most important parts of the vacuum cleaner) wherever you want in your house. This, of course, also means you can access staircases fairly easily, too. On top of this, this model also boasts excellent filtration thanks to the fact that the folks at Shark built in a mighty HEPA filter in this particular model.
- Clever lift-away design
- Comes with a powerful HEPA filter
- A fairly long, 30-foot cord
- Lightweight design
- Complete seal technology
- Some users reported issues with the warranty
- Not optimal weight distribution (it can topple if you just attempt to make it stand on its own)
2) Bissell – Cleanview Deluxe Corded Handheld Vacuum
Are you looking for a small, easy-to-handle, and interesting-looking cleaning contraption you can use on many surfaces? Well, this Cleanview model from Bissell can be an excellent solution for you. Thanks to its compact build, you can rest assured that you will be able to reach every itsy bitsy nook ‘n’ cranny in your house without getting tired during a routine vacuuming session.
This model is handheld and there’s a big handle on its top that enables you to handle this vacuum cleaner with precision and ease. Also, if need be, you can attach a hose to this little thing – and so make it a sort of canister vacuum cleaner. This is achieved using a special attachment onto which you then can attach the hose itself.
Together with these two, there’s also the power cord, which gives you some 18 feet to work with. The cup is also quite easy to empty, and the filtration is on point, too – so you don’t need to worry about allergies.
- Lightweight compact design
- A powerful, 4-Amp motor
- Curved carrying handle
- Multi-level filtration
- 1-year limited warranty
- Some users were dissatisfied with the instruction manuals
- The power cord could have been longer
3) EUREKA – Mighty Mite Corded Canister Vacuum Cleaner
Representing a special breed of rough ‘n’ ready canister vacuum cleaners that were used with equal success even as far as sixty years back, this EUREKA Mighty Mite corded canister vacuum cleaner represents the perfect cleaning contraption for everyday household cleaning tasks. (Of course, the design of this model is a modern-day one, not from sixty years ago.)
When it comes to the situations in which you can use this model, several of them assert themselves as particularly useful. For example, other than the regular vacuum cleaner job that this thing does, there’s also the blower port on this model. You can use it to blow the leaves or sawdust from off your workshop floor, for example. Or you can blow away some leaves from your front porch. (As long as they’re not wet. That could make them tough to get rid of.)
- Can be used as a blower, too
- Comes with several attachments (deluxe floor brush, bare-floor nozzle)
- Automatic shut off feature
- Power-touch handle
- Lightweight design
- Some users reported that the hose is made out of cheap plastic
- Some users reported a gradual loss of suction after using it for a while
4) Shark – Rotator Professional Upright Corded Bagless Vacuum
If you fancy the lift-away function from that model a couple of entries up, then you’re going to love this one, as well. (Because it comes from Shark – the same company that made that model up there, too.) So, the lift-away deal is pretty much the same as with the vacuum cleaner we’ve described above. Push a button, remove the canister and then use the canister + the motor part as a de facto handheld vacuum cleaner.
For those cleaning sessions where you want to use the canister together with the rest of this vacuum cleaner, though, you can rest assured that the maneuvering this thing about won’t be a pain in the neck. Thanks to swivel steering that the Shark folks bothered to install in this model, handling this cleaner will feel easy and intuitive. Plus, you’ll be able to reach awkwardly-positioned areas quite quickly.
- Lift-away option
- HEPA filtration technology
- Swivel steering
- Comes with a hose
- LED headlights for easy maneuvering below and around furniture
- Extra-large dust cup
- Some users reported problems with the main drive belt
- Some users complained about poor customer service
5) Bissell – Zing Canister Vacuum
With a name such as ‘Zing’, you know that the manufacturers went for a compact and zippy cleaning contraption that can do its job efficiently in no time at all. Of course, its small size doesn’t mean that this cleaner doesn’t pack a powerful cleaning punch, so to speak.
Namely, the folks at Bissell packed a mighty 10-Amp motor into a small body, so that you can tackle any mess head-on, without worrying that your vacuum cleaner won’t have enough power to see the cleaning task at hand through.
Other than its powerful suction and the fact that it can be used on multiple surfaces, this Zing model also boasts another great feature – the automatic cord rewind option, which ensures you won’t have to rewind the rather long cord manually. Also, there are different attachments you can use such as the telescopic wand – in case you need to increase the reach of this model.
- Can clean multiple surfaces
- The 10-Amp power rating of the motor
- Automatic cord rewind
- Telescopic wand
- Full bag indicator
- Variable suction control
- The telescoping wand does not lock into the rest of this vacuum cleaner
- Some users have reported a certain burning rubber smell when running this vacuum cleaner
6) Dyson – V8 Absolute Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner
Representing the stick vacuum cleaner class, this Dyson V8 model is more than capable of cleaning thoroughly a range of different surfaces. Thanks to its powerful and versatile brush, this thing can get the dust and dirt particles from carpet fibers, as well as pick up pieces of dog food from a hard floor, for example.
What makes this model, in particular, so good for stairs and other awkwardly-positioned spots around your house would be its small size and the fact that it’s cordless. This enables you to carry it everywhere with you and do the work you need to do without having to re-plug this thing every time you enter a different room.
When it comes to the power output of this model, it’s closely related to its running time. (Because it runs on batteries.) So, if you’re using this vacuum cleaner without its motorized attachment, you can enjoy some 40 minutes or so of use, without having to ‘refuel’ it. If, on the other hand, you are using the motorized attachment, too, the running time will be decreased – because the unit will require more power to run it.
- Cord-free design
- Lightweight and easy to maneuver
- 40 minutes of running time without the motorized tool
- Instant release trigger
- HEPA filtration
- Washable filter
- Some users have reported the battery losing its power over time
- The charging time can be long (about 3 and a half hours)
7) Tineco – A10 Hero Cordless Vacuum 2-in-1
Another cheeky-looking stick model comes from the Tineco company. Similarly to Dyson’s product above, this model is also a cordless one and it features a relatively lightweight design enabling you to use it wherever you feel like and maneuver with it easily.
One of the interesting things about this model would be that it comes with a noiseless motor, which ensures you will be able to use it without causing your neighbors to call in the task force to stop you from destroying their eardrums whenever you venture to clean your carpet.
The battery itself will allow you from 10-25 minutes of running time, depending on what features you’re using during your cleaning session. The more power you’re using during your cleaning session, the less time you will have to use it. (Due to battery-related limitations, of course.)
- Comes with a 350-Watt brushless motor
- Noiseless suction
- Can work as a stick or a handheld vacuum cleaner
- 4-stage filtration system
- LED power brush
- Crevice tool
- 2-in-1 dusting brush
- Short running time
- Some users have complained about the battery life
8) Holife – Handheld Vacuum Cordless Hand Vacuum Cleaner
If you need a small, easy-to-carry, but also a powerful vacuum cleaner, this model from Holife can be just what you’ve been looking for. Thanks to its compact build and a large, ergonomic handle, you can rest assured that you’ll be able to carry this thing whenever you feel like and handle it with ease.
Despite its small size, this vacuum cleaner is more than capable of sorting out all sorts of messes, mostly thanks to its powerful 90-100-Watt motor. This combination of a small frame and a powerful motor makes this handheld vacuum cleaner a great choice for car owners who would like to be able to clean the interior of their four-wheelers quickly and easily.
In the department of versatility, this unit would score fairly highly because it comes with three different attachments you can use for different cleaning tasks. There’s the crevice tool, the dusting brush, as well as the liquid nozzle you can use to tackle spills.
- Powerful, 90-100-Watt motor
- Comes with a multi-layered filter
- Crevice tool
- Dusting brush
- Liquid nozzle
- Small build
- 12-month worry-free warranty
- The filter can get clogged relatively quickly
- Some users said that this unit was not useful for pet-related messes
9) VonHaus – 2-in-1 Stick & Handheld Vacuum Cleaner
Boasting the pretty useful ability to switch from a handheld to an upright vacuum cleaner, this model from VonHaus can be just the thing you need in case you have multiple different surfaces in your house to take care of. The way you switch between these modes is via an extension tube, which you can either use or remove – depending on what sort of cleaning session you fancy organizing for yourself.
When it comes to the dust container, there’s the 1.3-liter tank, allowing you to accumulate, well, 1.3 liters worth of dust, grime, and other pollutants from off the floor – so you can clean for quite a long time, in case you have a low amount of mess on your floor.
Once the dust canister has been filled to the brim (or whenever you feel like you should empty it), all you need to do is simply to detach it from its slot and chuck its foul contents into a trash pail. After that, pop the thing back on the main part of the vacuum cleaner and you can continue with your work.
- 130 Watts of suction power
- Can be used with an extension tube
- 3-liter dust tank
- 5-foot power cord (with quick release function)
- Comes with a shoulder strap
- Some users have complained about the bottom part of the vacuum cleaner falling out
- Some users reported issues with overheating
10) BLACK + DECKER – MAX Handheld Vacuum
Futuristic-looking, boasting a powerful motor, as well an ergonomic handle, this Black & Decker vacuum cleaner can be a great solution for a user who needs a lightweight but powerful cleaning contraption for their house.
Thanks to the unique design solution the folks at Black and Decker came up with, this model has got a pivoting suction head, so you can use it to reach certain spots you otherwise would not be able to. In the department of suction, this thing fares quite well – mostly thanks to its small but plucky 35-Watt motor, which can do wonders for a variety of different cleaning tasks.
In the department of filtration, this model scores highly, too. It has three stages so that no harmful chemicals or dust particles can slip through and end up reintroduced into the area you just vacuum cleaned.
- Attractive design
- Compact build
- Comes with a pivoting nozzle
- High-performance motor
- 3-stage filtration system
- Washable dirt bowl
- Some users have complained about this model spitting up the stuff it’s just vacuumed
- Some users have complained about poor suction power
11) Holife – Handheld Cordless Vacuum Cleaner
Need a small vacuum cleaner to quickly take care of your car seats, those small pieces of carpet on your stairs, or some other type of tough-to-reach environment? Well, if the answer is ‘yes’, this model can be your perfect weapon of choice.
With a weight of only about 1.5 kg (or 3.30 pounds), this Holife handheld model is easy to carry around, so you won’t need to worry about getting tired from using it – even if you have decreased physical strength or some sort of injury. This small weight, as well as the compact size, makes it easy to use this unit on a variety of different surfaces. Car seats and awkwardly-shaped staircases spring to mind as some of the venues where this model can be of most use.
When it comes to its filtration, the small but powerful HEPA filter this model has got inbuilt takes care of 99% of all allergens and pollutants that can become a threat to your health if they make it past the vacuum cleaner exhaust.
- Lightweight build
- Easy to use
- Comes with a wide variety of attachments
- A powerful and thorough HEPA filter
- Wall charger
- Lithium-ion battery
- The battery could be a bit stronger
- Some users have complained that the suction isn’t as good with some of the attachments on
12) BLACK + DECKER – Flex Cordless Stick Vacuum
Here we have another Black & Decker vacuum cleaner model that can do wonders for all kinds of messes including those located on one or more of the steps on your staircase. So, yes, it can be used successfully for removing stains from stairs, as well as any other surface.
Now, on the topic of its appearance, let’s just say that it looks like a weird technological insect that can be amended with a wide variety of attachments to be even more effective for different cleaning tasks. For example, there’s a special crevice tool for reaching those tight spots you would otherwise be unable to get to. If you have pets and it’s shedding season, the pet hair brush extension can be the perfect weapon of choice for getting rid of the old fur.
Also, these attachments can come in handy when it comes to taking care of a flight of stairs. The crevice tool, in particular, can be a lifesaver for vacuuming up that awkward spot where the one-step ends and another begins. (Also, it would work on other angled surfaces.)
- Cordless and lightweight design
- Comes with a 4-foot long flexible hose
- 3-Stage Filtration
- Washable bowl
- Pet hairbrush
- Crevice tool
- The filter can get clogged occasionally
- Some users have reported relatively poor suction
13) VonHaus – 2-in-1 Stick Handheld Vacuum Cleaner
Another model from the VonHaus company comes in the shape of this powerful 2-in-1 handheld vacuum cleaner, which can be used as a normal handheld model if you so fancy it. The thing is, thanks to the clever design solution from the VonHaus folks, this model can be used as either an upright vacuum cleaner or a handheld one – depending on what sort of contraption you need at any given moment.
For example, for larger areas like carpets, wooden floors, or some other sort of regular floor assortment, you can use the upright version of this thing. On the other hand, if you need to reach some awkwardly positioned area, and an upright vacuum cleaner doesn’t seem like a decent enough solution – then you may want to switch to the handheld version of this thing.
As far as attachments go, this model comes with a bunch of them you can use for various cleaning tasks. For example, there’s the crevice tool, the brush attachment, as well as a hose adaptor – so you can rest assured you’re well covered when it comes to the secondary equipment.
- Powerful, 130-Watt motor
- Can be used as either an upright vacuum cleaner or a handheld model
- 3-liter dust tank
- 5-foot quick-release power cord
- Comes with plenty of attachments
- Extension tube
- Some users have complained about low-quality plastic parts
- Some users have reported problems with overheating
14) Hoover – Air Cordless 20V Lithium-Ion Bagless Hand Vacuum Cleaner
With the appearance of a torpedo, a bagless and cordless design, this curious-looking vacuum cleaner from Hoover can be just the sort of contraption that can complement your home’s cleaning arsenal. This entire contraption weighs less than 4 pounds, which is an excellent number because this is a handheld model.
Other than the standard bagless design of this handheld vacuum cleaner, there are a couple of extra attachments involved with it, too. For example, there’s the powered turbo attachment, which can help you clean out stairs and various pieces of furniture. Then there’s also the crevice tool, which you can use to access some of the tougher-to-reach areas around your house or in your car. (This attachment can also be useful for cleaning out stairs because it works well on the edges and other hard-to-reach portions of the staircase.)
The dust cap, although not too spacious, will take in as much as 0.7 liters of dust and other pollutants, so you can rest assured that you won’t have to clean out the trash from it every five minutes.
- Futuristic design
- Reusable easy rinse filter
- Turbo tool
- 2-year product warranty
- Some users have reported problems with the plastic clamp part
- The battery can take a while to charge up
15) Shark – Rocket Ultra-Light with True Pet Mini Motorized Brush
Weighing in at less than 4 pounds total, this Shark model represents a small but tough vacuuming contraption that can do wonders for a variety of cleaning tasks. Thanks to its motorized pet brush, you can easily take care of all pet-related messes. Also, the dust cup on this model is fairly easy to clean.
All you need to do is push a button, which detaches the canister from the rest of this cleaner and then empty the canister over a trash can. After you’ve completed this part of the cleaning process, all you need to do to continue using the vacuum cleaner is simply pop it back on and that’s it.
As far as the reach of this model is in question, this thing comes with a 15-foot long power cord, so you’ll have some distance to work with in case you have a larger house.
- Lightweight design (under 4 pounds)
- Motorized pet brush
- Ergonomic handle
- 15-feet long power cord
- Comes with a stretch hose (for extended reach)
- Easy-to-empty dust cup
- No cord windup feature
- No shoulder strap
5 Tips for Vacuuming Stairs
Use a Handheld Model
One of the biggest troubles with cleaning up (and especially vacuum-cleaning) a staircase would be the hauling of the vacuum cleaner across the steps and constantly having to move it up and down as you go.
So, to make this part of the vacuuming job easier, more efficient, and more comfortable, using a handheld model can be of great use. Since these models tend to be considerably lighter and more versatile than their upright counterparts, you’ll have no trouble using them on your stairs wherever you go.
Use a Cordless Model
This would be another suggestion in the department of convenience, so to speak.
Namely, vacuum cleaners that get their power from batteries rather than from your power source in your house will be easier to use on stairs, because you won’t have the cord to trip up over as you go up and down.
Start with Corners
Stairs are, generally speaking, fairly tough to vacuum cleaners, but possibly the trickiest part of vacuuming a flight of stairs would be the corners. This is an area where dust and other debris can get stuck and so picking them up can get quite annoying and tough to do.
So, when vacuuming stairs, it’s always a good idea to simply start with the corners and then collapse your cleaning efforts toward the middle, so to speak. (Oh, and also – you might need a special sort of attachment for corners in case you can’t reach it with a regular vacuum head.)
Try to Find a Lightweight Model
Carrying a heavy vacuum cleaner up and down a flight of stairs can be quite taxing on your stamina unless you rather fancy working out and cleaning at the same time. So, to be able to easily clean your stairs and don’t end up with sore muscles in the process, consider getting a lightweight vacuum cleaner model.
There are plenty of these vacuum cleaner models currently on the market, so you won’t have any trouble finding one that would suit your needs.
Switch Between Narrower and Wider Attachments
… so you can get to every nook and cranny of your staircase with ease. To be able to clean your stair thoroughly, you’ll need to use different attachments. (You’ll need at least two, in fact.)
A narrow one for reaching angles and corners, and then a wider one, for the main part of a step. Generally speaking, most vacuum cleaner models, whether handheld or canister, will have some sort of crevice tool or narrow attachment you can use for this purpose.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How Do You Clean A Carpet on Stairs?
The same way you clean a carpet when it’s on a flat surface.
The only difference is in the shape of the cleaning surface, which is angular in the case of a carpet on stairs. So, to be able to clean your carpet on a flight of stairs easily, make sure to have some specialized attachments prepared – like a crevice tool or some other sort of nozzle.
Do You Think Strong Suction Power is Required for a Stair Vacuum?
The answer to this question would probably be a ‘yes’.
The thing is, cleaning stairs can get tough if your vacuum cleaner is not strong enough to suck in the debris from a tight place or an awkwardly positioned corner. So, to ensure you’ll be able to pick up all the debris from your staircase, make sure you have a powerful vacuum cleaner, to begin with.
Which Type of Vacuum is Best for Stairs? Handheld, Upright, or Canister?
Out of these three, a handheld vacuum cleaner would probably carry the title of the best option for cleaning stairs.
Thanks to its small size and lightweight build, carrying a handheld model up and down a flight of stairs will not be as difficult as hauling a heavy vacuum cleaner down the same route.
Do Robot Vacuums Work on Stairs?
Most of them don’t yet.
Robot vacuums are designed to zip about flat surfaces and to avoid obstacles. Since stairs are elevated from the floor level, robot vacuums can climb them or descend a flight of stairs, so they won’t work on stairs at all. If you set them to go toward stairs, most vacuums won’t even go because their sensors will tell them to stay put as soon as they encounter an obstacle or a lack of ground.
All in all, many vacuum cleaner models can be successfully used for cleaning stairs. The only matters you need to pay attention to would be the attachments you get with each vacuum cleaner, how well can it run on different surfaces, and how difficult is it to move about. We hope this article helped you find the perfect vacuum cleaner for your stairs and we wish you a hassle-free purchase and swift shipping.