Best Vacuum For Stairs Reviews - The Best Vacuum Cleaners For Stairs

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10 best vacuums for stairs, from handheld to stick models

10 Best Vacuums For Stairs, From Handheld to Stick Models

Cleaning stairs is usually a pain in the neck, especially if a staircase is covered with carpet. Regular full-size vacuums usually fail to get the job done as they are not designed for tight areas with a lot of steps. That’s why you’ll need one of the best vacuums for stairs below to deal with this tricky task, some of which can be used as a vacuum for other floors in your house as well.

Best Vacuums For Stairs

In a Hurry? The test winner after 27 hrs of research

BLACK+DECKER Max Flex - The Best Overall

Why is it better?

≫ Portable and lightweight

≫ Both handheld and canister-style modes

≫ Several attachments for different types of debris

≫ Great suction level

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BLACK+DECKER Max Flex - The Best Overall

Rating
93
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Filtration
94%
Maneuverability
94%
Durability
93%
Features
92%
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Shark Rocket Ultra-Light - Runner-up

Rating
95
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Filtration
97%
Maneuverability
95%
Durability
94%
Features
93%
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Eureka EasyClean - The Budget Choice

Rating
98
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Filtration
98%
Maneuverability
97%
Durability
98%
Features
98%
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Roomie Tec 2-in-1 - Best Cordless Vacuum For Stairs

Rating
97
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Filtration
98%
Maneuverability
97%
Durability
96%
Features
95%
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Shark ION - Best Lightweight Vacuum For Stairs

Rating
95
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Filtration
96%
Maneuverability
95%
Durability
95%
Features
93%
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Shark Navigator Lift-Away Deluxe NV360 - Best Upright Vacuum For Stairs

Rating
96
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Filtration
98%
Maneuverability
96%
Durability
95%
Features
95%
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Dyson V7 Trigger - Best Handheld Vacuum For Carpeted Stairs

Rating
94
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Filtration
97%
Maneuverability
94%
Durability
93%
Features
92%
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Bissell Pet Hair Eraser - Best Vacuum For Stairs and Pet Hair

Rating
93
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Filtration
96%
Maneuverability
94%
Durability
93%
Features
90%
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Shark Rocket Complete HV382 - Best Vacuum For Stairs and Hardwood Floors

Rating
94
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Filtration
97%
Maneuverability
95%
Durability
93%
Features
91%
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BLACK+DECKER Dustbuster - Best Small Vacuum For Stairs

Rating
95
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Filtration
95%
Maneuverability
95%
Durability
94%
Features
94%

BLACK+DECKER Max Flex - The Best Overall

93%
Filtration
94%
Maneuverability
94%
Durability
93%
Features
92%
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Pros:

 Portable and lightweight

≫ Both handheld and canister-style modes

≫ Several attachments for different types of debris

≫ Great suction level

Cons:

 Not suitable for all types of carpets

≫ Small dirt capacity

≫ Noisy

The BLACK+DECKER Max Flex is one of the most popular handheld vacuums sold on Amazon, due to its versatility and powerful suction despite its small size. If you intend to perform only small vacuuming jobs like cleaning stairs, sofas, and car seats, it may work better than any big canister or upright you have ever owned before.

The Max Flex has a weight of just 3.2 pounds, which is much easier to hold than a bulky canister, especially when carrying it up and down staircases. This mini vacuum comes with a pet hair removal brush, a 4-foot hose, a crevice tool, a 2-in-1 nozzle, and a charging base. The entire machine is still easy to handle even with the extension hose attached. You don't need to bend your body too much, like when you clean stairs with a regular full-size vacuum.

While BLACK+DECKER has gone with a portable design for this cordless vacuum, it's still a powerful machine. With a 24 AW suction power, it can pick up small debris and dirt pieces on both bare and carpeted stairs. During the whole runtime, this suction doesn't slow down or fade like a lot of cordless models, mainly thanks to the lithium-ion battery. It's true that the BLACK+DECKER Max Flex still can't go head-to-head against powerful canisters or uprights, but this is still enough for typical dirt, sand, or food messes.

Just remember that if your high-pile carpet is in a high-traffic area, the result may disappoint you. With no agitator head like full-size vacuums, it may leave behind some dirt deep-rooted in the fibers. As dirt buildup in the filter may reduce the efficiency of the motor and bring down the suction level, so you should remove the filter, clean and wash it (if necessary) to get rid of those blockages.

The handle has a brilliant design that will fit into your hand, providing a nice grip to help you hold it comfortably while vacuuming. The center of gravity of the Max Flex is just right below this handle, so you can maneuver the vacuum easily without much effort. Its appearance might make you think of it as an awkward and clunky machine, but this BLACK+DECKER model is actually one of the most maneuverable handhelds you can ask for.

The translucent dirt bowl of the Max Flex is both removable and washable. You don't need to constantly keep an eye on the dirt level: just a quick look will tell you whether it's time to empty the dust. This is much easier to get done than other vacuums. Just unlock and twist it off before holding it over a trash can. No dirty hands or dirt dumped on the floor.

   ➜ RELATED: Bissell Spot Clean Pro Review - An Excellent Portable Vacuum Cleaner For Carpet Spots And Stains

Verdict: The BLACK+DECKER Max Flex is a great choice if you want a versatile model for your stairs. You can use it in both handheld and canister modes. The vacuum has a good suction given its size and comes with convenient floor attachments, so you don't need to bend over to clean your stairs.

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Shark Rocket Ultra-Light - Runner-up

95%
Filtration
97%
Maneuverability
95%
Durability
94%
Features
93%
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Pros:

 Solid build quality

≫ Motorized brush for carpeted stairs and deep cleaning

≫ Washable filters

≫ Powerful suction

Cons:

 Some may find it too heavy for a handheld

≫ No HEPA filters

While the BLACK+DECKER vacuum is indeed an amazing choice, its limited runtime is also something for users to consider. If you want a similar handheld with great performance while giving you no concern about runtime, a corded model like the Shark Rocket Ultra-Light is what you should look at. It's a popular choice for those who want to vacuum their stairs, cars, RVs, and homes in general.

The Rocket Ultra-Light comes with two pre-motor filters (one felt, one foam). They are rinsable and easy to access when you need to clean them. The ideal time to do this is once per month, according to the official recommendation from Shark. The post-motor filter is also rinsable and can work for a full year before requiring a cleanup. I only wish Shark had included a HEPA filter in this handheld. If anyone from your family suffers from allergies or asthma, it'd be a nice feature to have.

The 0.41-quart dust canister is fairly average for a handheld vacuum, not too small but not big either. You can empty it easily by pressing a button on the bottom door. Many vacuums use this simple design as it has proved effective. But like most bagless vacuums, sometimes you need to stick your hand into this canister to pull out debris that gets stuck.

Some users are fine with the length of the power cable, while others are not. Whether you feel that it’s too short or too long will depend on your expectations, cleaning needs, and how the power outlets are arranged in your home. Some folks had to use an extension cord because this 15-foot power cord is not long enough to cover their staircases. Shark itself says in the manual that it doesn't recommend the use of an extension cord but doesn't explain why.

The same impression applies to the weight of the Shark Rocket Ultra-Light. Some find it fairly light, while others say it's too bulky for them. This is probably because of the attachments they use as this vacuum does become heavier with the motorized tool, which has its own motor.

However, all users seem to be satisfied with the suction power this handheld vacuum offers. The motorized tool is a major selling point as it makes the Rocket Ultra-Light a great tool on carpeted stairs and upholstery in general. It can do deep cleaning and pick up pet hair pretty well. This motorized brush roll is something that many handheld vacuums are not equipped with, making the Rocket Ultra-Light a rare breed in its category.

As power can't get transmitted through the hose, you must attach the motorized brush directly to the main machine, not the end of that hose. However, you attach the non-motorized tools - dusting brush tool and crevice tool - to the hose.

   ➜ RELATED: Shark Rocket Zero-M Review: What Is This Ultra-Light Vacuum Best For?

Verdict: The Shark Rocket Ultra-Light is a great corded handheld vacuum that has an impressive performance when dealing with carpeted stairs. It’s the best vacuum for stairs if you don't have to worry about switching power outlets while vacuuming.

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Eureka EasyClean - The Budget Choice

98%
Filtration
98%
Maneuverability
97%
Durability
98%
Features
98%
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Pros:

 Affordable

≫ Lightweight

≫ Highly maneuverable

≫ Effective with spills and small messes

≫ Easy to use

Cons:

≫ Not for bigger messes

≫ The dust bin may get messy while emptying

You don't need to spend a fortune for a specialised vacuum for stairs. With a model like the EasyClean from Eureka, you will have a decent handheld to freshen up the staircases in your home without breaking the bank.

The design of this vacuum is sophisticated yet simple at the same time. As Eureka boasts on its Amazon product page, this is a lightweight machine with a weight of under 5 pounds. The length of the main body is 16 inches while the cleaning path has a width of 6 inches. Carrying this vacuum up and down the stairs will not be an issue, even for teenagers and elderly people.

The handle is easy to grip, so gliding this handheld over stairs or sofas should not be an issue. But you may find maneuvering it on flat floors a bit awkward, and doing so for a whole regular floor with a handheld like this is not recommended.

This compact design of the Eureka EasyClean is also a great joy to use when you need to clean a small spill that doesn't require a regular full-size model. The vacuum can pick up small messes quickly thanks to both the rotating brush head and the hose. However, this portable size does come with some disadvantages. It's not very effective with larger messes that need more than just a quick pass.

Eureka equipped this handheld with a standard suction power you may already have seen on their other models. The EasyClean uses two motors to drive debris and air into the machine: one to operate the brush head and one to provide suction. Together, this dual-motor system produces a power of 5.5 AMP.

The Eureka EasyClean comes with three accessories: a crevice tool, a roller brush head, and an 18-inch suction hose. The brush head can be attached to the head of the machine near the filter, while the rear is where you can find the cord wrap. Thanks to this 20-foot cord and 18-inch suction hose, the EasyClean can stretch to 3 times its initial length.

The head of this handheld has a "Riser Visor" system that is specifically designed for vacuuming upholstery and stairs. By concentrating the suction for better efficiency, this plastic visor can pivot down, allowing you to vacuum both vertical (seatbacks or stair rises) and horizontal surfaces (stair steps).

Despite its relatively affordable price tag, you will have a hard time finding a more user-friendly handheld vacuum than this machine. The single button on this machine can toggle multiple functions, including power (on and off), surface (hardwood and carpet), and dust bin release.

The Eureka EasyClean can suck up both small and big debris into this dust bin, including dust, allergens, and dirt.  Emptying is easy to do with the button. However, as the filter already takes up a huge space inside the dustbin, debris may get stuck in the filter, and then things get messy.

Verdict: The Eureka EasyClean is affordable, lightweight, and easy to use. It's a well-built handheld that can work well with small messes on your stairs and furniture.

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Roomie Tec 2-in-1 - Best Cordless Vacuum For Stairs

97%
Filtration
98%
Maneuverability
97%
Durability
96%
Features
95%
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Pros:

 Versatile, with both stick and handheld modes

≫ Lightweight

≫ Affordable

≫ Dual motor system

Cons:

 No HEPA filter

≫ Only one attachment is included

≫ Small dirt bin

If your home is fairly small and you don't want to purchase an additional vacuum just for stairs, a versatile model is a must to keep your house eternally clean. A high-end machine from Shark or Dyson will get the job done, but a cheaper cordless vacuum like the Roomie Tec 2-in-1 is also worth  consideration.

If you still find the default stick style too bulky, you can transform this vacuum into a handheld vacuum for those hard-to-reach areas, such as under your furniture. This is the ideal choice if you need to do some quick cleanup on your staircases and prefer something portable. The downside of this portability is that we can't expect a big dirt bin inside the machine. It can hold up only 0.5 dry quarts, making it a poor choice for a big house.

Despite being a smaller name in the vacuum industry, Roombie has its own advanced technology and features  to compete against more established brands. For example, the Roomie Tec comes with a dual motor instead of the single design on many vacuums. While one motor is already enough for most cases, the extra motor brings many advantages for the Roomie Tec.

Each motor in this system handles a different responsibility, therefore having less work to do and leading to a longer lifespan. There is one motor to produce suction while the other operates the brush roll. This is why it has a suction of up to 6.5 KPA on the Turbo mode, making it work best on carpeted stairs. This versatile vacuum can clean other types of flooring in addition to stairs, including carpets and hardwood floors. 

Besides the powerful Turbo mode, you might want to consider the Eco mode for regular cleaning. With a lower suction that is still enough for typical debris, you will have a much longer runtime without compromising the performance too much, especially on bare flooring.

Verdict: The Roomie Tec 2-in-1 is a versatile machine that can handle stairs and other small areas pretty well. As long as you don't live in a big house, this cordless vacuum will keep your living areas clean without any hassle.

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Shark ION - Best Lightweight Vacuum For Stairs

95%
Filtration
96%
Maneuverability
95%
Durability
95%
Features
93%
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Pros:

≫ Sleek design

≫ Lightweight and portable

≫ Easy to use

≫ Decent suction power

≫ Effective with pet hair

Cons:

 No HEPA filter

≫ Can't do deep cleaning

≫ Not suitable for large debris

≫ Loud

Most handhelds are already lighter than regular full-size vacuums, but the Shark ION is just on another level. This portable machine has an appearance of a stylish and sleek tube during and looks even better in its charging base on your countertop. And the best part is that despite its tiny size, the Shark ION still produces an impressive performance on stairs.

With a weight of just 1.4 pounds, it's one of the lightest vacuums I've ever reviewed, making it easy on your wrist. You can access both the canister release button and the power button on the handle with your thumb. This intuitive design makes the Shark ION easier to use, even for someone who has never used a handheld vacuum before.

Many people with small hands have complained that the handle was a bit bulky for them. Other than that, it provides a good grip and still feels comfortable over a long period of vacuuming.

The Shark ION comes with only two accessories: a multi-surface tool and a duster crevice tool. The former is also known as the Multi-Surface Pet tool, as you can use it to pick up large debris and pet hair on most types of surfaces. The duster crevice tool, on the other hand, is made for upholstery and carpeted stairs. The charging dock that comes with the Shark ION has built-in storage for both of them.

This handheld uses a 10.8V lithium-ion battery, which takes about 2.5 hours for a full charge. There is no extension cord that can be attached to the machine, and you can only recharge it by placing it into the charging dock. Once the charging starts, a blue LED light will slowly pulse to indicate that the vacuum is charging normally. This light will become static and dim once the Shark ION has been charged fully. There are also other status codes this LED light can display (read the manual to learn more about them).

The Shark ION has only one power setting, which can run for about 10 minutes before the battery gets depleted. It may become uncomfortably warm while running, an issue that even Shark has acknowledged. You should stop the vacuum and let it cool down if this happens.

The suction power produced in part by  the high-speed brushless motor gives it an impressive performance. The Shark ION can handle both mid-size and small debris on carpet surfaces pretty well and does a surprisingly good job with pet hair. However, this vacuum doesn't have an opening for too big debris, and deep cleaning is not its strongest suit, as there is no motorized brush roll built-in.

You can access and clean the filter of the Shark ION easily by opening the dust canister before pushing the filter forward. Shark recommends that you clean it at least once a month. Since the filter gets dirty quickly as well, you should also tap it occasionally to get rid of loose dirt.

Verdict: The Shark ION is one of the lightest handheld vacuums you can find on the market, making it the best vacuum for stairs if you prefer the most portable tool your money can buy. Despite its size, it offers a decent performance in those areas.
 

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Shark Navigator Lift-Away Deluxe NV360 - Best Upright Vacuum For Stairs

96%
Filtration
98%
Maneuverability
96%
Durability
95%
Features
95%
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Pros:

 Powerful suction

≫ Reasonably priced

≫ Versatile with Lift-Away

≫ Work with both carpeted and bare floors

Cons:

≫ A bit bulky and heavy

The Shark NV360 is one of the most reasonably priced upright vacuums you can get that does a great job on stairs. It is equipped with many advanced features and is one of the best vacuum cleaners from Shark that can work on both bare and carpeted surfaces.

The Lift-Away feature, one of the most notable things that set Shark vacuums apart from products of other manufacturers, also exists in the Shark NV360. This unique design allows users to detach the motor and dust canister assembly from the main machine. They can then carry the canister with one hand and use the wand or hose with the other hand. By utilizing this brilliant approach, the NV360 has a superior versatility, particularly if you want to clean your stairs, get around and under your furniture, or do overhead cleaning. Basically, the Lift-Away feature allows you to clean any area - an impossible thing to do with a regular upright vacuum.

Switching this feature on is simple: just push the wand release button or the handle release button, then press another button near the canister, and the entire assembly will lift up and detach itself from the vacuum.

The catch of this design is that, to make this Lift-Away design possible, Shark had  to make the vacuum a bit heavier and bulkier than a regular upright. Some users also have some complaints about the difficulties in getting under their furniture because of the high profile of the NV360.

This is a bagless model with 3 rinsable filters (2 pre-motor and 1 post-motor). You can find the pre-motor filters (1 felt and 1 foam) below the canister. You can rinse them in lukewarm or cold water to clean them until they are no longer dirty and dark. Then leave them completely dry before attaching them back into the machine. This removes the need to buy replacement filters and keeps the cost down in the long run. You should clean these pre-motor filters every 3 months, according to Shark's recommendation.

The post-motor filter, on the other hand, is located behind the front grill of the machine. You should tap it lightly to remove loose dirt occasionally, and just like the pre-motor filters, rinse it in lukewarm or cold water - a great way to make sure it's clean and doesn't block the airflow. Shark says that you should clean it after 2 years.

The post-motor-filter is a HEPA filter, while the entire filtration system uses the Anti-Allergen Complete Seal Technology. This design makes sure the vacuum is securely sealed, and no unfiltered air can escape and go back into your home.

Verdict: Shark Navigator Lift Away Deluxe NV360 is an amazing machine that comes with many advanced features from premium vacuums. The best part is that you can use it on your other flooring in addition to the stairs in your home.

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Dyson V7 Trigger - Best Handheld Vacuum For Carpeted Stairs

94%
Filtration
97%
Maneuverability
94%
Durability
93%
Features
92%
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Pros:

 Lightweight

≫ Powerful suction

≫ Both motorized and non-motorized tools are included

≫ Two power settings

Cons:

 Short run time on

≫ Max mode More expensive than most handhelds

With its infamous look, the Dyson V7 Trigger is made for quick cleanups inside cars and around the home, including carpeted stairs and furniture. It's an easy-to-use and lightweight handheld that can deliver an admirable performance for a machine of its size.

In the box there you’ll find  a manual, a warranty card, three accessories, and a charging unit beside the main vacuum. The three tools included in the box are a crevice tool, a combination tool (both non-motorized), and a mini motorized tool. They can click into place with a satisfying sound. As this is a cord-free machine, there is no need to worry about electrical outlets. You can just pick it up from your closet and start vacuuming right away.

The lithium-ion battery of the V7 Trigger is referred to by Dyson as "Fade-Free Power.” This means the battery can maintain its power throughout the vacuuming session until it's completely exhausted. This stable suction is much better than when your vacuum begins slowing down as the power level of the battery gets lower.

The Dyson V7 Trigger has two power settings: Low and Max, which generates 21 and 100 AW of suction, respectively. The maximum suction is almost on  par with the V7 stick models, while the power-saving setting allows you to run the vacuum for a longer period. Just slide the toggle on the handle back and forth if you want to switch between those two modes. The actual run time of the V7 Trigger depends on which power setting and attachment you're using. The Max mode and motorized tool will drain the battery faster.

The dust canister has a capacity of 0.15 gallons, which you can empty by using the "Hygienic Dirt Ejector.” This is a new addition to the V7 that I've seen on the V6 series. Many users like this unique mechanism as it makes emptying the dust canister easier to do. The filtration system of the Dyson V7 Trigger is pretty straightforward. The post-motor filter is rinsable and can last for the entire lifespan of the vacuum. You can locate and pull it out easily for a cleanup.

For loose, big debris on carpeted stairs, you should not use the motorized tool as it may scatter the debris all over the place. The combination tool is a much better choice in this case and can pick up all those debris easily, even when the V7 Trigger is set to Low power mode.

As one of the best vacuum cleaners for carpeted stairs, this vacuum also performs well with pets on medium-pile carpets with the motorized tool attached. It has no issue getting rid of pet hair from the carpets, but the brush roll of this motorized tool may get tangled with the collected hair. So you may need to clean it regularly if you're an owner of pets that shed constantly.

   ➜ RELATED: Dyson V7 Reviews - The Best Choice For Portable Vacuum Cleaning

Verdict: The Dyson V7 Trigger is a great handheld vacuum that can clean both regular debris and pet hair on carpeted stairs, thanks to the motorized tool and strong suction power.

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Bissell Pet Hair Eraser - Best Vacuum For Stairs and Pet Hair

93%
Filtration
96%
Maneuverability
94%
Durability
93%
Features
90%
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Pros:

 Great performance with pet hair on stairs

≫ Quiet operation

≫ Lightweight

≫ Easy to use

Cons:

 Long charging time

≫ No storage space for attachments

This is a handheld that is designed specifically with pet owners in mind. The Bissell Pet Hair Eraser is equipped with multiple tools, one of which does an exceptional job of removing pet hair from upholstery and carpeted stairs. The three attachments included are the upholstery tool, the crevice tool, and the motorized brush tool.

   ➜ RELATED: Looking For The Best Bissell Vacuum? Here’s A Complete Review Of 20 Bissell’s

This motorized tool is the reason behind the Pet Hair Eraser's ability to quickly pull up pet hair from stairs. It has a separate motor to drive the brush roll instead of using the suction provided by the vacuum, which can bog down the brush roll easily. Many users have praised the performance of this motorized tool when dealing with pet hair in addition to kitty litter or birdseed. They also loved the fact that this vacuum isn't too noisy during operation, given its powerful suction.

This machine uses a 14.4V nickel-metal hydride battery, which takes about 5 hours for a full recharge. The charger is included in the box, and there is a red light on the machine that will indicate when it's charging. However, this charger doesn’t have any storage/holder base, and there is no place for the attachments either.

The run time of the Pet Hair Eraser is a mixed bag. Some users don't feel it's enough for them, while others do. But most of them agree that the charging time is too long and wish to have a second battery that can be swapped into the vacuum when they need to vacuum immediately.

The Bissell Pet Hair Eraser has a basic 2-stage filtration system with no HEPA filter. You can also empty the 0.6-quart dust cup easily by pressing the release button on the vacuum.

Verdict: Despite its flaws, the Bissell Pet Hair Eraser is still a good choice if your stairs are full of pet hair and you need an effective tool to deal with it.

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Shark Rocket Complete HV382 - Best Vacuum For Stairs and Hardwood Floors

94%
Filtration
97%
Maneuverability
95%
Durability
93%
Features
91%
BEST OFFER FOR TODAY
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Pros:

 Dual brush roll design

≫ Suitable for both carpets and bare floors

≫ Strong suction

≫ Multiple tools included

≫ Washable filters

Cons:

 No HEPA filter

≫ Can't stand on its own

The Shark Rocket Complete HV382 is a unique vacuum, having many characteristics of both upright and stick vacuums. This gives it an edge over other models when users need a vacuum for both hardwood floors and stairs.

Right after unboxing, you will see an interesting cleaning head. It has two motorized roller brushes: a main, stiffer brush roll and a smaller, softer one. Shark calls this dual brush roll design "DuoClean", a new feature that can remove all kinds of debris on multiple surface types without damaging them.

On carpeted stairs, the main brushroll will pull out small, deep-rooted dirt while the soft brushroll will soak up larger debris. On the other hand, the debris collected by the softer brush roll will be accelerated by the main brush roll along the suction channel when you clean bare floors.

Like most upright models, this vacuum is pretty lightweight at 9.4 pounds, making it highly maneuverable and easy to adjust the nozzle direction. However, it may still tire you out over a long period of time.

You can convert the Shark Rocket Complete HV382 into a handheld unit for stairs or floor cleaning. In this mode, the attachments fit either on the extension wand or the end of the handheld unit. But this vacuum can't stand on its own if you don't remove the handheld part. This makes storage a bit challenging: you may need a wall-mount or lean it against a wall. At least this lack of the ability to stand upright doesn't affect its usability much during vacuuming unless you want to take a break or pause.

The best way to vacuum stairs is to have the right accessories, and the NV382 comes with plenty of those. This includes a dusting brush, a duster crevice tool, an upholstery tool, an under-appliance wand, and a TruePet mini-motorized brush. All of them are friction fit, except the motorized brush. They fit securely onto the vacuum and give no signal that any of them might fall off during vacuuming.

This Shark vacuum has three modes: high-pile carpets, bare floors, and off. When you switch between the two ON modes, the suction power is still the same. The only change is speed of the brushroll, which is lower on the bare surface mode in order not to damage your delicate floors.

   ➜ RELATED: What Is The Best Shark Vacuum On The Market? 9 Best Shark Vacuums Reviews

Verdict: The Shark Rocket Complete NV382 comes with a handheld mode that will transform itself into a portable vacuum for areas like stairs. It also has great performance on hardwood floors thanks to the DuoClean technology.

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BLACK+DECKER Dustbuster - Best Small Vacuum For Stairs

95%
Filtration
95%
Maneuverability
95%
Durability
94%
Features
94%
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Pros:

 Built-in nozzle extension

≫ Reliable

≫ Short charging time

≫ Good suction strength

Cons:

≫ Not replaceable battery

The Dustbuster from BLACK+DECKER is not a new name on the market. In fact, it's one of the first names many have in mind when they think of handheld vacuums. Over the years, it has set a great example of how portable vacuums can still deliver admiral cleaning capabilities despite their size. And its newest version, CHV1410L, is no exception.

This new variant uses lithium-ion batteries instead of NiCd ones found in older products in the Dustbuster series. This feature has many advantages, such as higher energy density and immunity to both memory effect and idle discharging. This newer technology makes sure that the Dustbuster maintains the same suction level until it runs out of power.

This BLACK+DECKER handheld is also equipped with the Smart Charge technology, which reduces the amount of energy used and prolongs battery life. The company recommends users to return the vacuum back to the charger after each use. A full charge can provide a vacuum session of about 10 minutes - an acceptable duration for a small vacuum.

There are two filters in the Dustbuster: a Quick Clean Filter and a Pre Filter. Both of which are washable with soap and warm water. It's recommended to replace them after 6-9 months for better filtering performance.

The rotating nozzle on the front allows the vacuum to target debris and dirt in a small area. This nozzle also comes with a built-in brush tool and a crevice tool. The 20.6-ounce dust canister is removable for emptying and washing. Since it's translucent, you will know when to do so although the Dustbuster has no indicator for this.

Verdict: The new BLACK+DECKER Dustbuster has lived up to my expectation and continued to be one of the best handhelds you can buy for stairs.

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How to Choose The Best Vacuum For Stairs

There are many things in a vacuum you should weigh up before making your purchase. Some capabilities and features of some models can make your cleaning task highly effective, more comfortable, and less tedious.

Handheld, Canister, Stick, or Upright?

First things first, vacuum cleaners come in various designs, and not every one of them will work well with stairs. Handheld, stick, canister, and upright vacuums all have their own strong points and drawbacks, and you should also take into account whether you want to use them on other flooring beside your home's stairs.

Handhelds

These portable machines are the easiest to use in confined spaces like stairs. Cordless handhelds don't have any long hoses or cords, and users can access any area of a staircase. They are lightweight and easy to use for anyone, from your kids to the elderly. Thanks to their lightweight designs, handhelds also make stairway cleaning significantly faster.

Handhelds are convenient to use on stairs

Handhelds are convenient to use on stairs

A common issue about handheld vacuums compared to similar choices like cordless sticks is their weaker suction power, which is the result of the limited capacity of built-in batteries. But many recent models have come with higher-capacity batteries, motorized brush rolls, and more efficient airflow. All those improvements have made modern handheld vacuums impressively powerful given their small size.

It's easy to find a handheld that is almost on par with a cordless stick in terms of raw suction power nowadays, but this doesn't mean you should go for it. An energy-hungry machine means a shorter battery life while it's not always necessary for all debris. Choose a good balance between suction power and runtime when looking for a handheld vacuum.

Canisters

This type of vacuum is extremely popular and with good reason. With strong airflow and suction power, canisters have proved to be very effective on many types of surfaces. But this advantage alone is not enough for staircases, although they are high-traffic areas that need efficient cleaning. Since canister models are also often bulky machines that require a lot of effort to move them up along a stairway, they're not the first choice if you want a convenient vacuum for stairs. And I still haven't talked about the power cords that you may need to put up with when cleaning in a small area like that.

You can still use a canister to vacuum stairs

You can still use a canister to vacuum stairs

If you still prefer a canister vacuum, at least go for a machine that has the necessary attachments for stair cleaning. They usually consist of an additional hose to provide adequate length so you can vacuum every stair without moving a lot. If there aren't many power outlets along your stairs, a long power cord is also a must.

Sticks

Compared to canister vacuums, stick models are usually more compact and lighter, making them more suitable for stairs. A lot of modern sticks use batteries as their power source, and this means you won't need to worry about changing outlets or tangled power cords. Like handheld vacuums, advancements in battery technology have helped produce many powerful cordless sticks that can actually go head-to-head against corded models.

A stick vacuum for stairs should be lightweight and have a sturdy build. It'd also be great if you could buy a stick that can be converted into a handheld since it's more maneuverable to use on staircases.

Uprights

People love uprights mainly because of their height, which makes vacuuming more comfortable. You can operate an upright vacuum for long hours without having to bend your back - a great feature for those who suffer from back pain. While this is something we all love to have when cleaning a staircase, uprights are also heavy and difficult to carry between stairs. On top of that, they can topple and fall off your stairs easily.

A long extension hose will make vacuum stairs easier

A long extension hose will make vacuum stairs easier

Look at the weight of an upright if you want to buy it to clean the stairs in your house. Go for a lightweight model with a long hose, which means you won't have to move it up and down the stairs too many times.

Central vacuum system

As a separate vacuum cleaner is noisy and bulky and requires you to drag it around, a central built-in vacuum system is also a great option you can consider. They offer much stronger suction while making less noise and being more convenient to use on areas like stairs. However, these integrated systems usually have an exorbitant initial cost to install, and for short-term renters, this kind of permanent fixture is of course, out of the question.

Corded or Cordless?

Corded vacuums usually benefit from a stronger suction power thanks to the uninterrupted power source, but you should also not ignore the convenience cordless models bring. Comfort and better maneuverability is crucial in small areas such as stairways, and many cordless vacuums nowadays also have strong airflow to handle even carpeted surfaces. 

Corded vacuums, whether it's a canister, upright, or stick model, all require a long cable in order to operate in a large area. This limits the operation range of those vacuums, which is a huge drawback on a long stairway. They are also often bulky machines that make vacuuming on stairs more challenging than it should be.

A corded model may limit your cleaning area

A corded model may limit your cleaning area

That's why if you have only stairs with bare flooring, a regular cordless model with necessary accessories and features should be your first priority. You can carry it pretty much anywhere, thanks to the fact that there is no power cable to hold you back. If you intend to use a single vacuum for all flooring in your house, a cordless stick is a decent alternative. Just make sure that it has enough suction, runtime, and dirt bin capacity to get the job done.

Bagless or Bagged?

While the method of holding collected dirt and debris doesn't have a big impact on the ability to vacuum, it matters a lot if you want to maintain your machine properly. Bagged models require you to replace the old bags with new ones - a cost that can add up quickly in the long run. That's why bagless vacuums are the obvious choice if you want to avoid that expense.

However, this type of vacuum has its own downsides too. Compared to bagged vacuums, bagless models usually have a smaller capacity, and you will need to empty the dirt bin after each use. If you have a lot of rooms to cover with plenty of high-traffic areas, this is something you should think about.

Only choose a vacuum that has a big enough dirt bin for your stairs (and other floorings if you want to use a single vacuum for your entire house.) You can guess this value based on the amount of dirt you often pick up during a typical vacuuming session. If you plan to have pets or kids in the future, a redundancy of dirt bin capacity should be considered.

Emptying a bagless vacuum

Emptying a bagless vacuum

Effectiveness

The best vacuum cleaners for stairs should work well with all kinds of surfaces you want to clean. For example, a carpeted floor needs a powerful machine that can go into the fibers and suck up debris deep-rooted in there. That's why suction power is the most important factor in this kind of surface, including carpeted stairs. Most vacuum manufacturers show the suction level of their vacuums for carpets for this reason.

However, some still don't clearly indicate this specification. In this case, you can rely on the wattage of the motor to guess the level of suction if this is a corded vacuum. For handhelds and cordless sticks, runtime and battery capacity is what could give you an idea of how powerful the machine is.

In addition to suction power, vacuum cleaners should also have a spinning brush roll to clean effectively on some surfaces. This is particularly true if you have a stairway that is carpeted through its entire length. A motorized brush will work wonders on a high-traffic stairway. A lot of stick vacuums have this, making them a good choice for your carpeted stairs.

Some hard-to-reach areas require special features from a vacuum cleaner. A canister, for example, should come with a long extension hose and other attachments such as crevice tools to get into those tight areas.  Sometimes they are included in the box, but you may also have to buy them separately from the manufacturer.

The vacuum should have appropriate tools for surfaces such as carpeted stairs

The vacuum should have appropriate tools for surfaces such as carpeted stairs

Some other small features can also make your cleaning less challenging. Pet owners should look for a machine with anti-tangle ability, and if you want to use a single vacuum for different areas in your house, an all-around model is a necessity.

Usability

Vacuuming stairs is in a different category compared to cleaning regular flat flooring. On top of the stair noses, treads, and risers, there is also the burden of lifting a heavy machine up and down the staircase. These differences require a model that is designed with such a cleaning environment in mind. The most notable properties of a vacuum that determine its usability are probably its size and weight. No one wants to be out of breath even before they are halfway through their cleaning session, all due to a heavy, bulky vacuum.

Some manufacturers have also come up with many designs and technologies to make modern vacuums more maneuverable. For example, a lot of stick and upright vacuums have a swiveling body, meaning you can turn the cleaning head around more freely while vacuuming. Go for at least a 180-degree swivel if you want to maneuver between and under your furniture easier. A vacuum for stairs should also have smooth movement. A set of well-made wheels will help you move your vacuum effortlessly in those areas.

No matter which kind of vacuum you want to settle with - upright, canister, stick, or vacuum, it's always nicer to have an ergonomic handle. A poorly designed handle may make your wrist and hand feel numb and tired after just a few steps. A lot of vacuums have a carry handle for better portability, so you may have a look at them.

The final thing you should never ignore is the controls on the vacuum cleaner. The best vacuum for stairs should have them arranged in a way you can easily access. Many models have common controls like power buttons on the handle, allowing users to trigger basic functionality on the go without touching the main body of the vacuum. Foot-operated levers are also a common solution to make controlling a vacuum more comfortable and quicker.

Filtration system

While more and more manufacturers have equipped their vacuums with HEPA filters, most models on the market still come with standard ones. With those vacuums, users couldn't benefit from the superior capabilities and performance of HEPA filters, especially if they suffer from inhaling allergens or there are kids around. This is mainly because of the more expensive cost of the advanced HEPA filters.

Filter replacements

Filter replacements Via: Amazon

Pick a vacuum with HEPA filters when possible even if no one in your family has allergic conditions as they can trap more tiny particles and create allergen-free air. Some vacuums have washable filters, which are also a preferable option. You can clean and reuse them again, reducing the need to buy extra filters for your vacuum.

Durability and Warranty

This is a small consideration but should never be ignored. Some reputable manufacturers can make more expensive but also more durable vacuums that can last for a long time. A good vacuum for stairs should also come with a longer warranty, which gives peace of mind in case it malfunctions.

Conclusion

Special areas in your house need a different solution for cleaning, such as the best vacuums for stairs above. They are all designed to maneuver between tight spaces with a lot of steps on stairways while still giving an impressive performance. If you still don't know for sure what kind of vacuum you prefer, the BLACK+DECKER Max Flex is a good start as a tool to clean up your stairs regularly.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

  • 01. What if my stairs are carpeted?
  • Make sure your vacuum can go into the fibers of carpet to pull out the stuck dirt and debris. Prefer models that have rotating brush rolls or motorized tools.

  • 02. What should I buy if I only want to clean stairs??
  • A handheld is the perfect solution in this case. It offers the best portability and maneuverability you can find among all kinds of vacuum cleaners.

  • 03. What is the best vacuum for stairs: cordless or corded?
  • If you don't have many electrical outlets available along your stairs, a cordless will be a better option. Just remember to check if its run time is enough to cover your stairs.

  • 04. Is a HEPA filter necessary?
  • Filtration systems in modern vacuums will already do a good job of capturing dirt and tiny particles in the air. But if any member of your family suffers from allergic conditions, a HEPA filter will be preferable.

  • 05. Can I use a stick vacuum to clean my stairs?
  • Yes, sticks are usually compact and lightweight, making them a great choice for stairs. Just make sure to buy a model that you can carry up and down the stairways without getting tired quickly.

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If you own pets and your carpet lies in a heavy traffic area, it may collect so much dirt and pet hair between the fibers that even a good vacuum cleaner fails to get rid of them completely. This is when a carpet cleaner, or a carpet shampooer, like the Hoover Power Scrub Deluxe, can come in handy.

By William Cawley | Apr 13, 2021
Joseph  French
At TheKingLive, we take the highest responsibility in the quality of our content. All the reviews are neutral and honest; therefore, you can rest assured about their integrity. When visiting the website, if you need to be even more informed and sure about what you want to buy, you can read Joseph French’s articles. Joseph is one of our leading writers at TheKingLive, who writes reviews about every product you can think of being around your house. He has been devoting his time to get high-quality experiences and knowledge about home and garden improvement products and do-it-yourself advice to deliver the most delicate content in every article published to our readers.

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