Top 5 Best Vacuum for Stairs

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Woman vacuums stairs

While technically all vacuum cleaners can clean corners and stairs, they aren’t exactly designed for that purpose. After all, stairs are entirely different from flat surfaces.

To elaborate, they tend to get dirty much faster due to the heavy foot traffic. In addition, with too many nooks and crannies, stairs are difficult for canister bagged vacuums to clean. So, people often dread vacuuming stairs, which leads to them getting dirty even quicker.

And carpeted stairs are even worse because they trap all kinds of dust. Add a pet or two to the equation, and vacuuming stairs becomes even more dreadful because it’s hard to catch all the hair pets leave behind.

That’s why we’re here. While we’ve spent decades lugging canister vacuums behind us, we don’t have to anymore. There are plenty of new vacuum cleaners that serve this purpose. So, if you want a thorough list of the best vacuum for stairs, keep on reading the article.

Our Top Picks

ProductTypeWeightBagged
Black+Decker Dustbuster HHVK515JP07Cordless2.6 lbsNo
Bissel Pet Hair EraserCordless4.4 lbsNo
Bissel Cleanview Deluxe 47R51Corded4.65 lbsNo
Oreck Commercial XL Pro 5Corded5 lbsYes
Shark Rocket HV292Corded3.7 lbsNo

Why You Need to Buy a Vacuum Cleaner for Stairs

Lightweight

You need to get a cleaner that’s meant for cleaning stairs. One of the most essential qualities in the best vacuums for stairs is being lightweight so that you can carry them with ease.

Otherwise, the canister vacuum may have strong suction power and do wonders for bare floors. In addition, its long hose helps you get into some narrow areas with ease.

Some may consider it the ideal choice for cleaning the whole house. However, it’s pretty inconvenient to drag it around and bend over whenever you want to turn it on or off. Plus, carrying it along with you to vacuum stairs or multiple floors is frustrating and near impossible.

Compact

Whether it’s upright, stick, or handheld, any stair vacuum is more compact than a canister one, no questions asked. And it has a very small footprint, making it easier to store or leave by the wall without obstructing anything.

Even better, a stair vacuum will be easier to maneuver, and you can use it to get into those tight corners that a canister vacuum can’t reach because of its bulkiness. Finally, a stair vacuum won’t bump into objects the way that canister vacuums do.

Versatility

One of the best qualities of handheld and upright vacuum cleaners is their versatility. You can use them for vacuuming stairs, furniture, tight corners, and across different surface types. Also, they come with plenty of attachments and brushes that enable one portable device to do wonders that the best canister vacuum wouldn’t even dream of doing.

The 5 Best Vacuum for Stairs in 2021

Now that you know why getting a vacuum that’s meant for cleaning stairs is necessary, let’s get into the top vacuums for stairs on the market. So, you can read each review and decide for yourself which one fits your stair vacuuming needs the most.

1. Black+Decker Dustbuster HHVK515JP07 – Best Overall

BLACK+DECKER Dustbuster Handheld Vacuum for Pets, Cordless, AdvancedClean+, Gray (HHVK515JP07)
  • Cleans Hair, Dirt & Debris From High Traffic Areas
  • Cleans unwanted messes from on top of, around and under furniture
  • Vacuums Hair & Debris from Carpeted Stairs
  • Anti- tangle rubber bristles motorized to lift stubborn pet hair
  • Extra long crevice tool - Clean hard to reach areas with less effort

If you don’t have enough time to go through the whole article and want to know what’s arguably the number one vacuum for stairs among all options, it’s the Black+Decker Dustbuster HHVK515JP07.

Starting with the design, it’s pleasing to the eye. The gray body and purple dirt compartment and head are far from the boring-looking vacuums we used to have. More importantly, it’s the most lightweight item on our list, which is excellent when you want to vacuum stairs. Since it’s a cordless vacuum, you have a good range of motion.

Unlike handheld vacuums that are too weak for the job, this cordless vacuum is four times more powerful than previous models, enabling it to catch pet hair, clean car interiors, vacuum furniture, and handle carpeted stairs. Thanks to having two different speeds, you can boost the suction power with a button.

In addition, its head is motorized with anti-tangle rubber bristles to pick up pet hair more effectively. Plus, instead of coming with a crevice tool attachment, it has its own extra long built-in crevice tool that you can pull out whenever you need it.

It also has a large dirt compartment that’s transparent so that you can tell when to empty it. Moreover, all you need to do is press the one-touch button to empty the compartment without touching the dirt. Furthermore, the cordless vacuum comes with washable filters. However, if there’s one thing that we don’t like about this excellent vacuum, It’s the short battery life.

Pros:

  • One button for easy cleanup
  • Extra long built-in crevice tool and motorized brush’s head
  • Filters can be washed
  • Has two speeds
  • Powerful suction power
  • Most lightweight on the list
  • Large dirt compartment

Cons:

  • Not the longest battery life

Our Take

The Black+Decker HHVK515JP07 is our top choice, thanks to its excellent cleaning power, versatility, large capacity, and being lightweight.

2. Bissell Pet Hair Eraser – Best for Pet-Owners

BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser Lithium Ion Cordless Hand Vacuum, Purple
  • Buy Bissell, save pets; Bissell will donate 5 dollars for each pet hair eraser Li Ion purchase, upon activation
  • Remove more embedded dirt and pet hair with a motorized brush tool and lithium ion battery
  • 14V lithium ion battery for lithium powered cleaning; Dirt cup capacity: 0.7 Litres
  • Large, easy to empty dirt bin to help get rid of pet hair easily. Triple level filtration to help improve cleaning performance
  • Set of specialized pet tools includes: Motorized brush tool, upholstery tool, and crevice tool

Pet owners know the struggle: with great fluffiness comes great responsibility. And the Bissell Pet Hair Eraser is an excellent choice for households with pets and stairs. That’s because our canines and felines love to leave their marks all over the place, which mainly comes in the form of pet hair, dander, and cat litter.

To start with, our second pick comes with multiple attachments for extra versatility. Its motorized brush attachment pulls out all kinds of dirt, allergens, pet hair, and dander from carpeted surfaces. The head is large enough for significant coverage.

And like our top choice, the Bissell Pet Hair Eraser looks sleek. The cordless handheld vacuum has a purple body and black handle and brush. The dirt compartment is transparent for you to know when to clean it.

While this bagless model doesn’t look like the most powerful stair tool with such portability, it proves that looks are deceiving. Its strong suction power helps it clean miscellaneous home messes. From carpeted stairs to car seats, this lightweight cordless vacuum can do it all.

In addition, the crevice tool helps you reach deep into tight corners and folds. Finally, the upholstery tool is excellent for vacuuming furniture and soft surfaces to eliminate fur that buries itself into everything.

Fortunately, the dirt compartment is large enough to vacuum plenty of carpeted surfaces before you need to clean it. And cleanup is easy too, thanks to the release button. You’ll find three filters when you open it, making the vacuum more efficient than most vacuum cleaners. So, wash the filters, and put them back again.

For a cordless vacuum, it performs quietly. It’s also pretty affordable, which is hard to find. However, the only downside is its short battery life.

Pros:

  • Upholstery tool, crevice tool, and motorized head
  • Large dirt compartment
  • Triple filtration that you can wash
  • One button for easy cleanup
  • Relatively affordable
  • Quiet performance

Cons:

  • Short battery life

Our Take

The Bissell Pet Hair Eraser is a no-brainer if you have a pet since it has triple filtration, a crevice tool attachment, a motorized brush, and a large dirt compartment.

3. Bissell Cleanview Deluxe 47R51 – Budget Pick

Bissell Cleanview Deluxe Corded Handheld Vacuum, 47R51
  • Dirt cup capacity - 0.78 liters. A powerful and convenient way to clean your home and car
  • Flexible rubber nozzle great for removing dirt and hair on upholstery, stairs, and in cars
  • Specialty cleaning attachments—includes hose, crevice tool, and wide mouth tool
  • Clean farther with the 18-ft. power cord
  • Easy to empty bagless vacuum cleaner

Many homeowners are tired of how overpriced vacuum cleaners have become, which is why we’ve picked the Bissell Cleanview Deluxe 47R51. This option keeps your stairs clean and your wallet full. After all, it’s hard to beat the price, especially when it comes with such a fantastic vacuum.

Starting with the appearance, the vacuum itself is very compact to the point that young children could use it. Its handheld design is perfect for cleaning stairs, nooks, and crannies. Plus, the corded vacuum has an 18-foot cord length, enabling you to get far from the power source.

Since there’s no reliance on battery life, this bagless model packs a serious punch. So, whether you’re vacuuming furniture, carpeted surfaces, stairs, or cars, it’ll show you why it’s one of the best vacuums out there.

And you may wonder how it can clean everything so well, and the answer is attachments. Its main head is a flexible rubber nozzle that’ll help suck anything. In addition, it comes with a wide-mouth tool that works best on large areas and gets the job done in no time.

Also, if you want to clean the edges, the crevice nozzle will get you there. Moreover, the hose will get to hard-to-reach areas.

Another advantage that gives this model the edge over other vacuum cleaners is the incredibly large dirt chamber. It’s so easy to clean as well. So, you can wash the filters effortlessly.

That being said, the motor is a little bit loud. If that’s something you can overlook, then the vacuum is perfect for you.

Pros:

  • The most affordable item on the list
  • Extra powerful
  • 18-foot cord length for distant cleaning
  • Incredibly large dirt compartment
  • Wide mouth tool, crevice tool, and hose

Cons:

  • Motor’s loud performance

Our Take

The Bissell Cleanview Deluxe 47R51 is one of the most affordable vacuum cleaners for stairs. Still, it comes with attachments that make it versatile, and it puts cordless vacuums to shame.

4. Oreck Commercial XL Pro 5 – Best Commercial Grade

Sale
ORECK COMMERCIAL XL Pro 5 Super Compact Canister Bagged Vacuum Cleaner with Attachments, Lightweight Carriable Portable Professional Grade, 5 Pounds 30-Foot Long Cord, BB900-DGR, Black
  • LIGHTWEIGHT: Weighing only 5 pounds, carry it by hand or over your shoulder with the carrying strap
  • EXTENDED CLEANING REACH: Use the stretch hose to easily clean above-floor and in-between for detailed cleaning where vacuums cannot reach
  • EFFORTLESS USE: 30 ft. long power cord wraps around the bottom of the vac to stay out of your way, while a 5 ft. slinky hose lets you put suction right where you need it
  • DISPOSABLE BAG/FILTER: 1.25 quart bag and rear exhaust filter for hassle-free cleaning
  • WHAT'S INCLUDED: Accessory pack includes a telescopic wand, upholstery tool, dusting brush, floor cleaning nozzle with hard floor and carpet settings, crevice tool, a universal adaptor, and a detachable accessory caddy

The commercial grade Oreck Commercial XL Pro 5 is the vacuum for you if you feel like most portable vacuums aren’t powerful enough for what you need them to do. It provides the power of a canister vacuum and the portability of a handheld one.

To elaborate, its corded design allows it to be as powerful as it can be. Thanks to the high vortex motor, this vacuum is the strongest, cleaning stairs, molding, curtains, bookshelves, light fixtures, the dirtiest carpet at home, and anything else.

Moreover, it comes with the largest tool set that makes other vacuum cleaners look like toys. The upholstery attachment helps you clean all soft surfaces. Furthermore, the soft dusting brush won’t scratch the lampshades and curtains. And the crevice tool enables you to reach deep into the carpet and clean between folds.

Also, this heavy-duty vacuum comes with the largest dust compartment on the list so that you can clean a lot before you have to empty the vacuum itself. And it uses disposable replacement bags and filters.

As for aesthetics, you can tell that this vacuum is different. While other options on the list look sleek and modern, this one looks like something out of a workshop or a garage. It comes with its own strap, so you can carry it on your shoulder, Ghostbuster-style. As a corded model, it comes with the longest cord length, leaving 30 feet of freedom.

However, its impeccable quality comes with a price. It’s pretty expensive. In addition, it’s heavy compared to other items on the list, so it won’t be appropriate for all spaces. Nevertheless, we have to note that it managed to have the lightest weight for a canister vacuum.

Pros:

  • 30-foot cord length for distant cleaning
  • Largest dirt compartment on the list
  • The largest number of attachments, including a dust brush
  • Powerful high vortex motor for strong suction

Cons:

  • Relatively expensive
  • Not lightweight

Our Take

The Oreck Commercial XL Pro 5 is one of the best vacuums that target large-scale and commercial use. With seven attachments and a 30-foot cord, it combines the best of canister and handheld vacuums.

5. Shark Rocket HV292 – Best Corded

Shark Rocket Corded Ultra-Light Hand Vacuum with TruePet Mini Motorized Brush and, 15-Foot Power, Maroon
  • Portable and ultra-lightweight. Less than 4 pounds in total
  • True Pet Motorized Brush for handheld deep cleaning
  • Easy-to-empty dust cup. No bag needed and empties with the touch of a button.
  • 15-foot-long power cord You never have to recharge, while giving you freedom to clean the whole room.
  • Powerful cleaning from start to finish.Amperage (amps):3.4

One of our favorites is the Shark Rocket HV292. This is the ideal choice for homeowners who prefer the flexibility of a cordless vacuum but are still looking for the power that only corded vacuums can provide.

To illustrate, it reminds you of why corded models are the coolest. Its 400W strong suction can clean up everything, from food crumbs to bare floors.

While it looks like most handheld vacuums in terms of design, the Shark Rocket HV292 has a unique maroon color. More importantly, it’s incredibly lightweight to the point that children and teens can use it effortlessly.

Needless to say, we won’t recommend a handheld vacuum without its own attachments. The 12-inch crevice tool attachment gives you access to the tiniest places, while the dusting brush is pretty easy on hard surfaces.

Also, the motorized brush gets rid of all the debris, pet hair, and allergens. In addition, the extended-reach stretch hose connects the tools to get them even further.

Not to mention, the Shark Rocket comes with removable, washable, and reusable filters, which makes it cost-effective if you’re on a budget.

However, the Shark Rocket HV292 has its disadvantages. For example, the cord isn’t retractable, so you’ll have to wind it up yourself. And the 15-foot cord is relatively short, but it’s long enough to cover most stairs. Finally, it’s a bit noisy, but it isn’t unbearable.

Pros:

  • Incredibly lightweight
  • Crevice tool, dusting brush, stretch hose, and motorized brush
  • Reusable filters
  • Powerful 400W performance

Cons:

  • The cord doesn’t retract
  • 15-foot cord length isn’t the longest on the list
  • Noisy performance

Our Take

The Shark Rocket HV292 is everything that you expect a bagless corded unit to be: lightweight, powerful, and versatile.

Factors to Consider When Buying a Vacuum for Stairs

Before making any decision, no matter how seemingly small, it’s better to become familiar with the different features and qualities of a product. Here are the most important ones to consider so that you can determine the best vacuums for stairs.

Type

Upright Vacuum

As the name suggests, upright vacuums stand up on their own. Unlike the traditional vacuum cleaner, an upright one has the handle, dirt compartment, and cleaning head all in one body. The upright vacuum is considered a relatively affordable popular alternative to the bulky canister.

Its biggest advantage is how easy it is to store. Plus, it has excellent suction power, making it perfect for carpeted stairs. The majority of upright vacuums also have a motorized brush head, which is great for catching pet hair and dirt. Even better, upright vacuums last a long time.

However, upright vacuums are considered heavier and louder than handheld and stick vacuums. Plus, the cleaning head of an upright vacuum is significantly wider than that of a stick vacuum, so it’s mostly recommended for a large surface and thick carpeting.

Stick Vacuum

Many people are ditching their traditional vacuum for a cordless stick vacuum, so what’s the reason? Well, stick vacuums are most known for their slim design and impressively quiet performance.

So, if you have limited space and want a vacuum cleaner that makes the best of it, a stick vacuum would be perfect. Also, like its upright counterpart, the stick vacuum cleaner can easily catch pet hair if you have a charmingly fluffy cat or two.

Moreover, the stick vacuum is usually cordless, giving you total freedom in movement on stairs. The stick vacuum is also versatile because you can attach and detach its part, turning it into a handheld vacuum.

However, the stick vacuum usually has a small dust cup that requires frequent emptying. Also, it doesn’t have the highest suction power, meaning that it’s more suited for hardwood floors and low pile carpeting.

Handheld Vacuum

The handheld vacuum is perfect for cleaning stairs. It’s the most lightweight type of vacuum cleaners, meaning that it’s the easiest to carry around the house and stairs and to store wherever you like.

A cordless handheld vacuum would come in handy when you just want to spot-clean and conduct smaller cleaning tasks, sparing you from having to pull a whole canister behind you. 

More importantly, it covers hard-to-reach areas and tight spaces that a bigger vacuum would probably dent floors and bump into objects to clean. So, if you have any items stuck in hard-to-reach corners, a cordless handheld vacuum will get the job done.

Also, the handheld vacuum is easy to maintain because most models are bagless, making emptying the vacuum much less messy.

Nonetheless, the handheld vacuum is, on average, more expensive than other types, which is the price-to-pay for extreme freedom of movement while you vacuum stairs.

Filtration

Filtration is essential whenever you’re dealing with dirt and dust. And the best vacuums for stairs have a HEPA filter that traps up to 99.97% of allergens as small as 0.3 microns. So, a stair vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter is a no-brainer for people with allergies. This kind of filter is disposable, so you’ll have to replace it after a certain period.

However, if HEPA vacuums are too expensive for you, consider washable filters. A washable filter will save you money in the long run.

Cordless vs. Corded

Cordless

A cordless vacuum has no cord limiting its movement. Instead of relying on your home’s power, a cordless model entirely depends on a battery, a Lithium-ion battery, in particular. Each cordless model comes with its own charger or charging base.

Since cordless vacuums are battery-powered, it’s essential to know their battery life and whether it’s long enough or will bring your cleaning to a halt. So, the Lithium-ion battery of the best cord-free model dies after 40 minutes on a single charge. Of course, the charging time also matters. Nonetheless, the cordless model is more likely to be expensive.

Corded

Corded vacuums are known for being powerful because they’re plugged into your home’s power source. They’re far more reliable in cleaning a large surface area. A corded vacuum is the ideal machine to deep clean with because it has enough suction power for thorough cleaning.

If you’re looking to buy a corded vacuum, it’s crucial to know the cord length to know how much area of movement the machine provides you with.

Which Is Better, a Bagged or Bagless Vacuum Cleaner?

Many people wonder why there are bagged and bagless models of vacuum cleaners, whether that makes a difference, and which are better. Well, it depends on whether you prioritize maintenance or not.

Bagged

Bagged vacuums are old school models that have been around for decades. They’re nostalgic of the canister vacuums we’ve had throughout generations.

They’re considered an ideal choice for someone who deep cleans frequently or vacuums large areas on a common basis. If you live in a villa or a larger house with huge stairs, a bagged option may be better. And bagged models are so efficient because they utilize HEPA filters, thus trapping more dirt and dust particles.

More importantly, if allergens affect you significantly, a bagged vacuum is better because you won’t have to deal with the dirt directly. Instead, you’ll take the bag out of the vacuum and simply throw it away.

As great as these vacuums are, they have their downsides. Bagged models tend to be bulky and heavy when compared to their bagless counterparts. Plus, buying bags every time you throw one away means you spend more money than you may have anticipated.

Bagless

Bagless vacuum cleaners are relatively newer to the game. Having been around since the 80s, bagless models are the best vacuums for smaller households and tinier stairs. But, if there isn’t much to clean, why get a vacuum with a bag that’ll probably be unnecessarily big? 

In addition, bagless models are transparent, so you can tell when the dust compartment needs to be cleaned with one look.

Even better, these models generate less waste because you don’t have to dispose of removable bags every time you clean the vacuum. Instead, all you need to do is empty the dirt compartment itself, making the bagless vacuum more eco-friendly. Furthermore, bagless units tend to look more aesthetically pleasing if that’s something that you care about.

That being said, no type of vacuums is absolutely perfect, so bagless models come with their share of disadvantages. For example, whenever you empty the dirt compartment of a bagless vacuum, you release some of the particles you’ve just vacuumed back into the air, which means that you could inhale them yourself.

So, if you suffer from allergies, it’s best to avoid bagless vacuums or have someone else empty them.

What Is the Easiest Way to Vacuum Stairs?

The easiest, most effective way to vacuum stairs is to begin from the top and carefully make your way down.

So, start vacuuming stairs with the crevice tool attachment to get into the details, such as edges, corners, skirting, banisters, and so on. The reason you should start there is that dirt and debris often accumulate in these tiny spaces and go mostly unnoticed.

Then, switch to the wider main attachment, and vacuum the treads themselves. Don’t forget the risers. And if the stairs are carpeted, take your time with each step. This way, all the dirt and debris are cleaned.

FAQs

Are Cordless Vacuums Good for Stairs?

Yes, they are. Their small size, lightweight design, and portability enable you to lift and move them with ease. Also, they’re made for easy maneuvering, which you especially need for a surface with so many tight corners and hard-to-reach areas.

What Is the Best Vacuum to Use on Carpeted Stairs?

The Oreck Commercial XL Pro 5 is an excellent choice for cleaning carpeted stairs. The difference between a carpet and a bare floor is that the first requires high power. Stairs also need more heavy-duty performance than a flat surface. The XL Pro 5 is the corded man for the job.

Are Expensive Vacuums Worth It?

The fact is that the quality of a vacuum cleaner isn’t always judged correctly based on its price tag. So, the norm is that high-end vacuum cleaners will have optimum performance, feature numerous features, and have multiple uses. Still, some expensive ones aren’t any better than budget models, so do your research to evaluate whether a model is worth its price.

What Is a HEPA Filter?

A HEPA filter, also known as a high-efficiency particulate arrestance filter, is an air filter used in HVAC systems and vacuum cleaners to trap 99.97% of pollen, dust, mold, and bacteria, and all other airborne particles that are as small as 0.3 microns.

How Often Should You Vacuum Your Stairs?

The frequency by which you should vacuum your stairs depends on how heavy the foot traffic on the stairs is. It also depends on how many people live in the household, how many pets do, and whether the stairs are carpeted. However, a general rule of thumb is to clean the stairs once or twice a week to ensure that they remain spotless.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are plenty of factors that affect how we choose and judge our vacuums. And there are so many questions to ask and features to consider, so it may seem hard to choose. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the best vacuum for stairs. Here’s a recap if you want us to jog your memory.

Firstly, the Black+Decker HHVK515JP07 takes the top spot because it has it all: ideal weight, excellent suction power, handy attachments, and a large dirt compartment.

Next, we have the Bissell Pet Hair Eraser, which is specifically made for people with pets. The multi-step filtration and multiple attachments do the job. Not to mention, it has an attachment for crevice tools, a motorized brush, and a large dirt compartment.

And if you’re on a budget, we’ve got you, as you can still clean your stairs with the Bissell Cleanview Deluxe 47R51. It’s corded, which gives it extra power. Plus, its cord gives you all the space you need. And finally, it has a huge dirt compartment, and it’s very low maintenance. So, with so many excellent options out there, we hope you’ve found your best vacuum for stairs.

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