Best Vacuum for Stairs According to Cleaning Experts

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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Vacuuming the stairs will make them look good and extend the lifespan of runners and carpeting. However, the need to move down and up with the tight spacing can make it difficult to clean the stairs. The best vacuum for stairs can make it easier for you to clean plenty of debris and dust caught up on the stairs.

While doing your search for a vacuum cleaner, you might find that some vacuums are better than others when it comes to cleaning your stairs effectively. Since the stairs are high traffic areas, they may easily get dirty, especially for pet owners. For this reason, it is important to invest in a good vacuum cleaner that will work well on your stairs.

However, with the range of options available in the market, it can be challenging to find one that works best for you. To help you find a model that will not only help you clean but also reduce your chances of falling and backaches, we have a review of the five best vacuums for stairs. Keep reading also to know the features to consider when buying the best vacuum for stairs.

5 Best Vacuums for Stairs

1. Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional Upright Vacuum

Shark NV356E Navigator Lift-Away Professional Upright...
  • LIFT-AWAY FUNCTIONALITY: lift away the detachable pod and easily...
  • ANTI-ALLERGEN COMPLETE SEAL: Works with a HEPA filter to trap...
  • BRUSHROLL SHUTOFF: Instantly switch from more maneuverability on...
  • PERFECT FOR PET OWNERS: Picks up pet hair and loose debris....
  • SWIVEL STEERING: Easily maneuver your vacuum in and out of tight...

The Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional Vacuum, the best vacuum for stairs, boasts a super-strong suction that is great for cleaning carpeted surfaces. At 1200 wats, it comes with a spinning brush which one can easily turn off if you're looking for gentler cleaning on hardwood floors. It features an advanced swivel steering that makes manoeuvrability easy when the vacuum is used as an upright.

It comes with a 7.5-pound canister that can be detached and carried by one hand as you move up and down the stairs. This vacuum device also has a crevice tool attachment that helps to reach tight corners. It features an integrated HEPA filter that will trap allergens and dust in the vacuum to ensure cleaner indoor air quality.

With a weight of about 12.5 pounds, it comes with an extra-large dust cup that will ensure plenty of cleaning time before the need to empty arises. You get a strong and durable vacuum with a great filtration system and a big dirt bin to ensure you reach every possible spot for a reasonable price.


  • Easy to assemble
  • Affordable
  • Powerful suction
  • It has the brush roll-on/off controls
  • Lightweight and has a lift-away feature
  • High-capacity dust cup
  • Not too loud


  • The extension hose is short but okay when using the lift away feature.

2. BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser Lithium-Ion Cordless Hand Vacuum

Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Lithium Ion Cordless Hand...
  • Buy Bissell, save pets; Bissell will donate 5 dollars for each...
  • Remove more embedded dirt and pet hair with a motorized brush...
  • 14V lithium ion battery for lithium powered cleaning; Dirt cup...
  • Large, easy to empty dirt bin to help get rid of pet hair easily....
  • Set of specialized pet tools includes: Motorized brush tool,...

If you live with pets, you understand the struggle to keep up with fur all over the house. Fortunately, the BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser Lithium-Ion Cordless Hand Vacuum. This pet hair eraser hand vacuum features a motorized brush tool that helps deep clean the surface of the stairs and an upholstery tool that is gentle enough.

It also features a crevice tool that helps clean up the small spaces in between the stairs. Although it only has a 17 minutes run time, several users have reviewed that they never had a problem with the battery dying when vacuuming stairs. It comes with a large and easy-to-clean dust bin that won't need emptying when vacuuming.

The cordless vacuum is super lightweight and comes with multiple attachments to help clean the cracks and corners. It is a small handheld device that runs on batteries which means there is no power cord to limit your manoeuvrability on the stairs.


  • Cordless for easy manoeuvrability
  • A large dust bin
  • Comes with excellent attachments
  • Features a multi-stage filtration system
  • Helps clean out the pet hair
  • Easy to use
  • Compact vac


  • Not very sturdy

3. Eureka RapidClean Pro Lightweight Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner

Eureka RapidClean Pro Lightweight Cordless Vacuum...
  • Efficient Cordless Cleaning: Powered by the latest motor...
  • 40 Minutes Long Lasting Runtime: Up to 40 min of fade-free...
  • Easy Rest Feature: Need to take a break. The specially designed...
  • Under Furniture Reach: We moved the dust cup to the front so you...
  • LED Headlights: Bright beams light the way so you can see dust...

The Eureka RapidClean Pro Lightweight Cordless is another great vacuum that is great for use on stairs. Measuring at only 5.6 pounds, this cordless stick vacuum is ready to manoeuvre up and down the stairs, both in smooth and carpeted stairs. It uses a lithium-ion battery that will offer you up to 40 minutes of cleaning option.

The max power option on the vacuum will allow you to increase the suction for a stronger cleaning. Like some cordless stick vacuums, this one will also convert to a handheld vacuum that people can use with the crevice tool attachment to access the corners. You also get an Easy Rest nook which allows you to prop the vacuum up on furniture and furniture.

This bagless device has a dust cup located on the front which means that the vacuum can easily lay down flat to clean under furniture and on the stair treads without the container blocking it. It features a swivel head to ensure easy manoeuvring even in tight spaces. The LED lights ensure the debris and dust are visible for thorough cleaning.


  • Great for hard flooring and carpets
  • Lightweight
  • It can be used as a stick vac or a handheld vac
  • Easy to manoeuvre
  • Reasonable price
  • Easy to empty the bin
  • Comes with headlights


  • The battery and replacement filters may be difficult to find.

4. Dyson V11 Torque Drive Cordless Vacuum Cleaner

Dyson V11 Torque Drive Cordless Vacuum Cleaner, Blue
  • Dyson's most intelligent, powerful cordless vacuum. Twice the...
  • Dyson technology helps create a cleaner, healthier home - Our...
  • Engineered for whole-home, deep cleaning. Suction power, run time...
  • Intelligently optimizes suction and run time across all floor...
  • Up to 60 minutes of run time. Engineered for larger homes with...

Dyson is a well-known brand in the industry when it comes to vacuum cleaners, with the Dyson V11 Torque Drive Cordless Vacuum Cleaner being the most powerful. It comes with plenty of accessories, such as a crevice tool to help reach the difficult areas and a mini motorized head. The design is lightweight enough to make carrying it up and down the stairs effortless.

The Dyson V11 Torque Drive Vacuum Cleaner will automatically adjust its suction power between three settings: boost, eco, and auto. This is based on the floor surface, which means you can move between the different floor types without manually adjusting it.

Its battery life is also exceptionally great, where it can last up to 60 minutes with a single charge. Using the LCD screen, you can easily check how much battery is left. It has a powerful motor that can tackle dirt or mess on hardwood stairs, couches, and carpets. The large bin means that you don't have to keep tempting the bin while vacuuming.


  • Great battery life or run times
  • Powerful and quiet
  • LCD control panel
  • Great for both carpet cleaning and bare floors
  • Easy to manoeuvre and maintain
  • Auto power mode
  • Great filtration system
  • A large dust canister


  • Heavy
  • Longer recharging time

5. BLACK+DECKER Dustbuster Handheld Vacuum

BLACK+DECKER dustbuster QuickClean Cordless Handheld...
  • MULTI-SURFACE USE – Removes hair, dirt, and debris from...
  • LIGHTWEIGHT AND PORTABLE – Easy to carry and maneuver, even in...
  • MOTORIZED HEAD – Nylon bristles help you power through dirt and...
  • STRONG SUCTION – Cordless hand vacuum delivers up to 2x more...
  • EASY-VIEW DIRT BOWL –Translucent, bagless dirt bowl empties...

The BLACK+DECKER dustbuster Handheld Vacuum is a great vacuum cleaner and one of the best handheld vacuums that are effective on stairs. This is because it comes with a motorized brush that helps in carpeted stairs and has double the suction power compared to other previous models. This cordless handheld vacuum will also work great for cars and couches.

With the lithium-ion battery, this dustbuster handheld vacuum can hold the charge for 18 months and will give you four hours of cleaning time. It features an ample bagless bowl capacity and a translucent canister that allows you to see when the bowl gets full. It is also easy to remove and can be washed in the sink.

This vacuum comes with a slim nozzle that rotates at 180 degrees, allowing easy cleaning of the stairs. It also features a pull-out crevice tool that helps to remove debris in hard-to-reach areas like tight corners. Weighing at 2.6 pounds only, it is lightweight and easy to manoeuvre during stair cleaning.


  • Has a strong suction
  • An easy to wash dust bin
  • Extra tools included
  • Uses a smart charge technology that uses fifty percent less energy
  • Comes with nylon bristles to help remove dirt and debris
  • Has a charge light indicator


  • It has an awkward charging base that might easily tip over

Factors to Consider Before Getting the Best Vacuum for Stairs

1. Types of Vacuums

During your search, you might come across the different types of vacuum cleaners, including;

a). Stick Vacuum

The stick vacuums are compact and lightweight, which makes them a great choice for the stairs. Most of them are battery powered so you won't have to worry about tangling cables or the cable length. Some of these stick vacuums can also be converted to a handheld vacuum for smaller cleaning tasks.

b). Handheld Vacuum

A handheld vacuum is the easiest to manoeuvre because of its compact size and is cordless when it comes to manoeuvrability. They are also very light and can be used by anyone in the family. Although not all models are powerful, most modern ones are equipped with an efficient airflow system, a motorized brush roll, and high-capacity batteries to pick up all the debris.

c). Upright Vacuums

Unlike the handheld vacuums, you won't have to bend while using the vacuum, which means you can vacuum for long hours. However, these models can be quite heavy and may topple over when moving down the stairs. Although they are lightweight with great cord length, they may not be the best option for older people and people with health problems.

d). Canister Vacuum

The canister vacuums boast a strong airflow and effectiveness on different types of surfaces, including a high traffic staircase. However, they are bulky, require a power outlet to operate and require much effort to manoeuvre around the stairs. For a canister vacuum, you need to consider getting a model that comes with a hose that has great length, especially if the outlet is quite far.

2. Bagged or Bagless

When it comes to getting the debris from the vacuum, you will get two options: bagged or bagless. Bagged models will require you to buy replacement bags and exchange them once they are full. These bags accommodate the debris with little to no chance of the dirt, allergens, and dust escaping to the air. One of the main advantages of the bagged vacuums is the higher capacity which comes in handy for high traffic areas, especially houses with children and pets.

However, if you want to avoid the cost incurred when replacing the bags, you may opt for the bagless models. The dirt will collect in the bin or cup but may release the allergens into the air. Moreover, the cups on the bagless models are smaller, which means the bin may require frequent emptying.

3. Corded or Cordless Vacuum Cleaner

Vacuums with cords can be a challenge when it comes to cleaning the staircase. On the other hand, cordless vacuums are easy to use because they won't require a power outlet and can easily be carried up and down the stairs. Most battery cordless models will last from 15 minutes to 45 minutes. To ensure the battery doesn't run out while vacuuming stairs, it is important to ensure it has a battery life of at least 25 minutes.

On the other hand, a corded vacuum has better suction power and higher capacity, which is a great choice for carpeted areas. It is crucial to consider corded vacuums with longer and retractable cord. A 15-foot cord should be long enough to get to the top of the stairs in most homes.

4. Suction Power

If you have smooth surfaces like hardwood or tile and area rugs, you will most likely not need a lot of suction, unlike homes with high pile rugs and large areas of carpeting. The suction power is what gives your vacuum to remove the deep-set debris. With a corded vacuum, the higher the Air Watts(AW), the more powerful it is.

5. Ease of Use and Effectiveness

You don't want to get a vacuum that will make you feel tired even before you finish half the stairs. One can't compare cleaning stairs to vacuuming flat surfaces. The vacuum you choose should match the surface you want to clean, whether carpeted stairs, hardwood, or tiled floors. Either way, the best vacuum for stairs needs to be powerful to remove debris from deep into the fibres.

6. Filtration

When it comes to filtration, you can choose between the HEPA filter or the standard ones. With HEPA filtration, people with allergic reactions can use the vacuum without worrying about inhaling allergens. However, vacuum cleaners with HEPA filters tend to be more expensive. Some of them have washable and reusable filters, which makes the maintenance of a stair vacuum easy.

7. Attachments and Accessories

Although many vacuum cleaners have a completely different style, your new vacuum may include extra attachments for cleaning stairs. These attachments include crevice tools for hard-to-reach corners, a brush attachment for carpeted stairs, and a pet hair brush if you want a dog or cat. For uncarpeted stairs and hardwood surfaces, attachments like the flat wide tool with short bristles will come in handy. A dusting brush is also great for blinds, furniture, and lampshades because it won't scratch the surfaces.

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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