Best Vacuums for Stairs in 2021: Buying Guide

When it comes to the areas of a house that must be vacuumed, stairs are by far the most difficult. Components like the tread, risers, nosing, skirt boards and balusters come together to create corners, edges and awkward crevices where dust, dirt, hair and debris all too easily find their way.

Best Stair Vacuum Guide

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Getting into these nooks and crannies can feel like an insurmountable task. There is also the issue of climbing, which is exhausting when you have to drag a vacuum cleaner up and down a flight of stairs while you bend and stoop to clean every corner and edge of the staircase.

While your trusty upright vacuum serves you well for general vacuuming purposes, this type of vacuum can be inefficient and cumbersome to use on stairs if it isn’t optimized for portability.

Our Recommended Vacuums to Clean your Stairs in 2021

8) Shark Rocket DuoClean HV382 Vacuum Review

Thanks to its versatility, you can tackle more chores than just the stairs. This Shark HV382 DuoClean Rocket Corded Ultralight Upright transforms to a handheld vacuum with just a button press, so you can clean your floors, stairs, furniture and blinds. It’s also incredibly lightweight. As an upright vacuum with the 8.5-inch-wide floor nozzle attached, it weighs 9.9 pounds.

In handheld mode, its weight is only 4.6 pounds. You also get the benefit of an extra-long 30-foot power cord, a lifetime warranty and an integrated handle.

Shark Rocket DuoClean HV382

Going from upright to handheld is a breeze. Simply push the button on the wand to remove the handheld portion or press the pedal on the floor nozzle with your foot to use the extension tube with the handheld vacuum for extra reach, which comes in handy for stair cleaning. Shark includes a slide-on TruePet motorized brush that gets deep into carpet fibers and lifts clingy pet hair from hard surfaces.

The duster-crevice attachment stored on the vacuum allows you to remove debris from edges and corners as a crevice tool or push the brush part down to suction around the balusters of your staircase. To make sure you don’t miss a single speck of dirt, the hand vac is equipped with an LED light.

When you use the vacuum as an upright, you can clean all types of floors. The Rocket DuoClean’s floor nozzle has a dual-brush setup. The hard-bristle brush roll lifts dirt and debris from carpets, and the soft brush roll collects larger particles while it lightly buffs your hard floors.

Shark Rocket DuoClean HV382 Review

Maneuvering the vacuum in upright mode is easy since the floor nozzle is designed to swivel and has a pair of headlights. When you’re finished vacuuming, hang the vacuum on the wall mount to save floor space.

All the hair, dirt, dust and debris suctioned by the Rocket DuoClean must pass through a double-layer pre-motor filter before it enters the dust cup, which can hold 0.91 quarts of dry particles. Dust and particles that don’t get caught by the foam and felt filters or dust cup must go through the post-motor filter, drastically reducing the release of dust from the vent.

In order to empty the dust cup, squeeze the release buttons to completely remove it or press the empty-cup button to dump its contents while the cup is still attached to the handheld vacuum.

Shark HV382 Rocket DuoClean Ultra-Light Corded...
  • Duoclean technology: Dual brushroll system deep cleans carpets and directly engages floors for a polished...
  • Ultra lightweight it converts into a 4.5 pounds handheld vacuum for versatile above floor cleaning.
  • Brushroll garage for easy access to the brushroll for maintenance.

7) Shark Rocket Corded Hand Vacuum HV292

The Shark Rocket Corded Hand Vac (HV292) is a large-capacity handheld vacuum that feels feather-light in your hand. Weighing just 3.7 pounds, this vacuum is perfect for anyone who suffers from mobility problems. To enhance its portability, the vacuum is equipped with a looped handle that features a textured grip to prevent your palm from slipping during prolonged use.

Shark Rocket Corded Hand Vac HV292 Review

Inside of this handheld vacuum, there is a powerful 400-watt motor, which gives you lasting suction from start to finish. With the 1-year warranty from SharkNinja, you can use this vacuum as often as you want and have coverage if a part prematurely fails.

With this vacuum, you get 15 feet’ worth of power cord, which is a sufficient length for staircase cleaning. When vacuuming a straight staircase, you won’t have to stop in the middle of cleaning to plug in the cord to another outlet. One attachment that you’ll probably use often is the wide dusting brush. When you utilize the click-in-place flexible hose with this attachment, you can extend your reach several additional feet.

Shark Rocket Corded Hand Vac HV292

There is also a crevice tool that measures 12 inches long, so you don’t have to hunch over to vacuum stair edges and corners. Like the DuoClean at number 10 on this list, the Shark Rocked Hand Vacuum comes with a TruePet motorized brush, which makes vacuuming pet hair and stair treads quick and easy.

On this handheld vacuum, there is a 0.42-quart collection cup, eliminating the hassle of changing messy dust bags. You don’t have to remove the cup to dump the contents. Instead, just press the button to open the swing-hinge lid, and the dirt and debris drop straight into your garbage can.

Accessing the filters is also a problem-free process. At the top of the Shark HV292 Rocket Corded Hand Vac, there is a hatch that lifts open to reveal the dual-layer pre-motor filters, which you only need to rinse once per month.

Shark Rocket Ultra-Light with TruePet Mini...
  • 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.

6) Homasy Handheld Vacuum

This sleek cordless handheld vacuum from Homasy gives you the ability to suction dry particles on bare and carpeted areas as well as wet messes on hard surfaces. This means you can use this vacuum to clean up your toddler’s juice spills and those pesky Cheerios he loves to scatter.

Homasy Hand Vacuum Review

With a weight of 3.3 pounds, you won’t get tired carrying it around while you suction dirt and debris on your stairs, and its D-shaped handle offers an ergonomic grip. For peace of mind, Homasy provides warranty coverage on this handheld vac for 12 months, and the company lets you return the vacuum for a refund in the first 30 days after purchase – no questions asked.

Thanks to its strong motor, the vacuum gives you 6,000 pascals of pressure at a rate of 18 liters per second; therefore, the hand vacuum can handle stubborn debris such as pet hair and cat litter. With its cyclone-type suction, you get consistent suction no matter how much charge is left on the battery. Even though the motor is powerful, it’s surrounded by sound-dampening material that tempers the noise to a conversation level of fewer than 78 decibels.

Inside of this vacuum cleaner, there is a 14.8-volt battery that lasts for a full 30 minutes between charges. This integrated lithium-ion battery also charges fast. On a 0-percent charge, the battery takes about 4 hours to replenish itself, which is a great charge time compared to many handheld vacuums that take 5 or even 6 hours to recharge.

When the battery is done charging, the indicator light turns from red to green, so you don’t have to guess how much time is left.

The way the charger is configured allows the handheld vacuuum to sit vertically on the dock to maximize the space on your table or counter.

You can utilize the vacuum’s lengthy operating time and powerful suction with or without its slide-on attachments. It comes with a brush nozzle, which works great for cleaning carpeted stairs. There is also a crevice tool that is narrowly tapered for efficient corner and edge vacuuming.

As you clean, it’s easy to control the power switch with your fingertip. When you’re done, push the release button to empty the 0.6-liter dust cup or wash the filter. To quickly suck up small pools of liquids, simply push the rubber jar into the vacuum’s nozzle.

Homasy Portable Handheld Vacuum Cleaner Cordless,...
  • 【POWERFUL SUCTION FOR DEEP CLEANING】 HOLIFE handheld vacuum with 90W turbine motor & dual filtration...
  • 【WASHABLE & REUSABLE STAINLESS-STEEL FILTER】 Thanks to a stainless-steel filter, you can relieve yourself...

5) Shark IONFlex 2x DuoClean Cordless Vacuum IF251

The third Shark vacuum on our list is packed full of innovative features to streamline all your vacuuming chores. By pressing the wand-release button on the Shark IONFlex 2x DuoClean Cordless Vacuum IF251, this cordless, convertible vacuum cleaner goes from a sturdy upright to a compact handheld vacuum that collects debris in a 0.3-quart cup.

Shark IONFlex 2x DuoClean Cordless Vacuum IF251 Review

When in its upright configuration, you can tote it by the convenient carrying handle, and the rubber-covered built-in handle helps you maintain your grip when in handheld mode. In its entirety, the vacuum cleaner weighs 8.7 pounds, so you won’t struggle under its weight.

The handheld vacuum is 13.4 inches long and 10.2 inches wide, making it compact and easy to maneuver on the stairs. Thanks to SharkNinja’s 5-year limited warranty, you will get years of use out of this convertible vacuum cleaner.

With the Multi-Flex wand, vacuuming under your furniture is a breeze. This wand bends in the middle while cleaning and even lets you fold the vacuum in half when you’re storing it. You can also detach it along with the handheld vacuum for staircase cleaning and other non-floor vacuuming tasks. It comes with three attachments, including an anti-allergen brush for removing fine dust from hard objects and getting into narrow spots.

The pet multi-tool is perfect for picking up hair on fabric, and there is a duster-crevice combo attachment, which makes light work of vacuuming the edges and corners of your staircase.

Even the brush roll configuration is designed to be versatile. The floor head contains two brushes – one hard-bristled brush that deep cleans carpeted areas and one soft rolling brush that sweeps up debris on hard surfaces. With Shark’s Smart Response technology, you can change the brush roll’s speed and the suction’s strength with just the touch of a button.

You also get cordless convenience that gives you free range of motion. However, Shark takes the concept of battery-operated vacuuming one step further with its ION Power Pack System. There are two rechargeable lithium-ion batteries as well as a charging dock, so you can charge one battery while you use the other.

This system doubles the vacuum’s run time to approximately 40 minutes. The charging time is rather impressive too, taking just 3.5 hours to go from 0 to 100 percent. Want to buy the innovative Shark IF251 IONFlex 2x DuoClean Cordless Vacuum_ Go ahead and check out the link below.

Shark IONFlex 2X DuoClean Cordless Ultra-Light...
  • Hassle-free runtime
  • 2X ION Power Pack System
  • MultiFLEX Technology folds over for compact, free-standing storage and provides flexible reach to get under...

Shark IONFlex 2x DuoClean Cordless Vacuum IF251 Full Review

4) BLACK+DECKER CHV1410L 16V Cordless Lithium Hand Vacuum

From its size to the way it sits on the charging cradle, there is nothing about the BLACK+DECKER CHV1410L 16V Cordless Lithium Hand Vacuum that is bulky or cumbersome. This 15.2-watt handheld vac weighs right at 2.6 pounds, so it’s more than lightweight enough for vacuuming a staircase. It’s also slender with a length of 17.2 inches and a width of 5.5 inches.

BLACK+DECKER CHV1410L 16V Cordless Lithium Hand Vacuum Review

The vacuum features a looped handle that makes holding the vacuum a pleasure. With the integration of cyclonic suction, lifting fine dust and heavy dirt is no problem. You also get a 2-year limited warranty from Black & Decker.

While its nozzle is slim just like quite a few handheld vacuums, this hand vac’s nozzle does something that other models cannot do – it rotates. By pushing the rotation button at the base of the nozzle, you can make the nozzle spin, which is fantastic for cleaning the corners where the treads and risers meet on your staircase.

Keeping up with the two attachments is easy. The hinged brush is connected to the nozzle, and all you need to do to pull out the extending crevice tool within the nozzle is lift the brush.

Black & Decker put a lot of thought into the battery they chose to power this vacuum. Thanks to the inclusion of a 16-volt battery, you get suction that doesn’t waver and lasts for 15 minutes per charge cycle, which takes just 4 hours. In contrast to nickel-metal hydride batteries, this lithium-ion battery doesn’t have that annoying memory effect that reduces the battery’s charge capacity over time.


Plus, the small, circular charging dock allows the handheld vac to sit diagonally on the charger at the perfect grab-and-go angle. When the battery is fully charged, the charger immediately turns off to protect the battery’s lifespan.

Like the rest of the BLACK+DECKER CHV1410L 16V Cordless Lithium Hand Vacuum, the dust cup is designed to be user-friendly. It’s made of translucent, durable plastic, so you can see how full it is at a glance.

Releasing it is a cinch thanks to the fingertip cup release button located next to the equally easy-to-operate power button. By pressing the side nozzle release buttons, you can quickly remove the washable filter and plastic pre-filter any time you need to clean them.

BLACK+DECKER dustbuster Handheld Vacuum, Cordless,...
  • Lithium Ion for long battery life and outstanding performance; Always ready holds a charge for upto 18 months
  • Long life, Lightweight, and no memory effect.Suction Power 15.2 AW; Dustbowl Capacity: 20.6 ounces
  • Smart Charge Technology uses upto 50 percent less energy,air Watts: 15.2 Watts, Voltage: 16V MAX

3) BLACK+DECKER BDH2020FLFH MAX Lithium Flex Vacuum

With its stick vacuum attachment and powerful battery, this is one of Black & Decker’s most innovative, efficient handheld vacuum cleaners to date. Plus, it’s extremely compact, weighing just 3.2 pounds and standing only 6.5 inches high. Inside this small hand vac is a smooth-running motor that produces 24 air watts of cyclonic suction.

BLACK+DECKER BDH2020FLFH MAX Lithium Flex Vacuum Review

You can count on the BLACK+DECKER BDH2020FLFH MAX Lithium Flex Vacuum to help you keep your house clean because it’s backed by a 2-year manufacturer’s warranty.

At the center of this vacuum’s unique design, the swivel-head stick vac attachment lets you quickly go from handheld to floor vacuum in moments. This tool even has a brush roll foot pedal to turn on the brush for carpet vacuuming and turn it off for hard floor cleaning. However, for your staircase, you’ll use the 4-foot flexible hose while in handheld mode.

As you carry the vacuum cleaner by the top curved handle, you can slide on the long crevice tool for stair edge cleaning or the rubber pet-hair brush for removing clingy pet hair from the treads and risers.

There is also a flip-up dust brush that is highly adept at working around balusters. When not in use, the carrying handle acts as a convenient storage compartment for the hose.


You won’t get frustrated by weak battery power. The MAX Lithium Flex contains a 20-volt lithium-ion battery to give you suction that lasts an entire charge cycle. With a 20-minute run time and no-fade suction, you can tackle your staircase and other intensive chores.

Thanks to the battery’s 4-hour charge time, you don’t have to wait long to use the hand vac again. As a bonus, the charger offers a place for you to store the vacuum’s attachments.

The BLACK+DECKER BDH2020FLFH MAX Lithium Flex Vacuum also boasts an excellent filtration system. Both the inner pleated filter and outer plastic pre-filter are reusable, and they work together to trap large and small particles, including fine dust. With the vacuum’s cyclonic action, most of the dirt and dust enters the easy-open 18.9-ounce debris container, prolonging the life of the filters.

  • CORDLESS, PORTABLE, & ULTRA COMPACT - 20V MAX* Lithium Hand Vac with stick vac floor extension and pet brush.
  • FOUR FOOT FLEXIBLE HOSE - Clean floor to ceiling.
  • WASHABLE BOWL AND FILTER - Easy-to-clean 17 oz. capacity dirt bowl.

2) Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Hand Vacuum

The name of this handheld vacuum for stairs pretty much describes what it is. The Pet Hair Eraser is a vacuum cleaner designed for pet owners. The main cleaning tool has a motorized brush that digs deep into upholstery and carpet fibers to remove every strand of fur and hair with each pass.

BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser Lithium Ion Cordless Hand Vacuum
BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser Lithium Ion Cordless Hand Vacuum

The Pet Hair Eraser is powered by a 14V Li-Ion battery that delivers up to 17 minutes of cleaning time per charge. Every last bit of dust and strand of hair gets stored inside of a 0.7-liter dust bin that’s easy to detach and empty. The 3-stage filtration system ensures maximum cleaning efficiency with minimal spillage.

BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser Lithium Ion Cordless Hand...
  • Buy Bissell, save pets; Bissell will donate 5 dollars for each pet hair eraser Li Ion purchase, upon...
  • 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

1) Dyson V11 Torque Drive

If you want the best vacuum cleaner around, Dyson models should be the first to consider. The V11 Torque Drive is a stick vacuum cleaner that uses a 7-cell Li-Ion battery pack. A fully-charged pack provides as much as 60 minutes of cleaning—more than enough to vacuum entire staircases.

Dyson V11 Torque Drive
Dyson V11 Torque Drive

The shining feature of the V11 Torque Drive is its digital motor. The tool’s main body notifies users about remaining battery power, maintenance issues, as well as displays which mode is currently activated (low, medium, high). This stick vac also features a unique DLS system that automatically switches to high gear when vacuuming carpets.

Dyson V11 Torque Drive Cordless Vacuum Cleaner,...
  • Dyson's most intelligent, powerful cordless vacuum. Twice the suction of any cordless vacuum.
  • Dyson technology helps create a cleaner, healthier home - Our vacuums and purifiers are scientifically proven...
  • Engineered for whole-home, deep cleaning. Suction power, run time and tools designed to deep clean your whole...

Vacuum for Stairs Buying Guide

Cordless Is Safer But Corded Can Work Too

The debate between cordless and corded has gone on for years. Usually, deciding between a corded or a cordless vacuum is a matter of personal preference. However, for vacuuming stairs, a cordless vacuum is safer because there’s no cord causing a tripping hazard. Plus, you won’t have to deal with running out of slack halfway up the stairs.

best vacuum for stairs

Although there is a cord with which to contend, you don’t have to scratch off corded vacuums from your shortlist. The key to finding a workable corded vacuum cleaner is getting one with a long enough power cord. Regardless, don’t discount cordless vacuums for their suction power. Modern cordless vacuums rival corded ones in terms of suction strength.

A Vacuum You Can Carry Comfortably

Perhaps one of the most important aspects of choosing a vacuum is getting one you can maneuver easily. Make sure the vacuum is lightweight enough for you to lift. Most people can manage to tote 10 pounds or less up and down a staircase. However, those who have chronic joint pain may want to go a little lighter.

Don’t forget the handle. Avoid any vacuum with a handle that contorts or strains your wrist. Handles that are looped or D-shaped are the most comfortable. The gun-grip style of handle is also ergonomic. All the controls it has, such as the power or variable-suction button, should be within easy access.

Hard or Carpeted Stairs

Hard-surface stairs and carpeted stairs don’t require the same level of vacuuming power. Vacuums without a brushroll work well for stairs covered in hardwood. The same rule applies to tiled stairs. Suction alone is sufficient for these surfaces. A bristled brushroll could scratch hardwood and tile; however, a vacuum with a soft roller is perfectly fine.

best vacuum for stairs and hardwood floors

For stairs covered in carpet, straight suction won’t clean them, and a soft roller can’t penetrate below the surface of the carpet’s fibers. Only a brushroll with hard bristles can reach lift all the dirt from your carpet. If you have pets, a brushroll-equipped vacuum cleaner is a must-have.

Attachment Tools for Detailed Vacuuming

No matter the flooring on your stairs, there are at least two attachments you’ll need – a crevice tool and a flexible hose. The crevice tool is a tapered wand with an angled or a flat edge. This wand will get rid of all the dirt that settles on the wall and riser edges of each tread.

Cleaning in between the balusters is tricky. A crevice wand alone won’t be able to reach all the awkward spots because it can’t bend. However, if you attach the crevice tool to a flexible hose, you’ll be able to vacuum around the balusters without hurting your wrist or leaving debris behind.

You also need a brush attachment. For hard floors, a non-motorized brush with stationary bristles will attract dust and pet hair. If there is a low-pile runner on the stairs, a non-motorized brush is a gentle yet effective choice. To vacuum fully carpeted stairs, the brush attachment should have a rotating bristled roller – often called a motorized brush.

Types of Vacuums You Can Use on Stairs

With the exception of a robo vac, any type of vacuum is a conceivable choice. Stick vacuums reign supreme for use on staircases. Canister vacs are another great choice. However, you can make an upright or a handheld vacuum work too. A central vacuum is also an option. Of course, all types have their pros and cons.

best corded handheld vacuum for stairs

Stick Vacuums for Stairs

Stick vacuums are the most popular choice because they are all lightweight. They are also smaller in terms of width, making them easy to maneuver on a staircase. If you want more versatility from your stick vac, there are many models that transform into a handheld that you can use for quick spot cleaning.

These vacuums come in corded and cordless versions. Cordless stick vacs are more convenient, and they seem to be the current stick vac trend. Although they usually don’t produce as much suction as full-sized uprights and canisters, their suction is anything but weak.

Canister Vacuums for Stairs

Canister vacuums produce plenty of suction to lift dirt from carpeted stairs. You can get a canister vac with or without a bagged dirt-collection system. Since the pole is attached to a flexible hose, you don’t have to tote the canister up each step as you vacuum.

While canister vacuums on wheels offer incredible under and around-furniture cleaning action, they aren’t the best choice for steps. Wheeled canister vacs tend to be too bulky to fit on a step, and it’s difficult to keep them stationary on a staircase. Although you’ll have to pick up the canister, wheel-free models are slimmer and more stable.

Backpack vacuum cleaners are a spinoff of the canister vacuum. As their name suggests, you carry the housing on your back by securing the straps to your shoulders, chest and torso. The appeal of a backpack vacuum is that it leaves both hands free. While some weigh almost 20 pounds, there are many half that size.

Stair Vacuum Cleaner Reviews

Upright Vacuums for Stairs

Uprights are the old traditional standby. They generate strong suction, and you can use an upright to vacuum almost any type of flooring. As with canister vacs, uprights are an excellent whole-house vacuum, but not all models are suitable for stairs.

If you decide to buy an upright vacuum, make sure it’s lightweight – 12 pounds or under. A slim space-saver will have a small enough floor nozzle to fit on a step without hanging over the side. A few manufacturers produce uprights with a lift-off canister that make staircase vacuuming much less of a hassle.

Handheld Vacuums for Stairs

If weight is a big concern, you won’t find a lighter vacuum than a handheld model, which ranges from 3 to 5 pounds. Since they’re much smaller than any other vacuum, maneuvering one is no problem. You’ll have to bend over to use it, so those who have mobility issues may want to pass on a hand vac.

When picking out a hand vac, look for one with an ergonomic handle because it will take you longer to clean the stairs than if you were to use a larger vacuum. You’ll need one with a crevice attachment to vacuum along the stair edges and a lithium-ion battery or a power cord to get reliable suction.

best handheld vacuum for stairs and pet hair

Central Vacuums for Stairs

Stick, canister, upright and handheld vacuum cleaners are all portable. For people who live in two-story and multi-story homes, toting a vacuum cleaner up and down the stairs eventually becomes cumbersome. However, central vacuums provide a fixed alternative, and they last for about 20 years.

You don’t have to strain your back because you’ll only carry a hose attached to a wall receptacle. Plus, there are no cords to plug in or batteries to recharge. The majority of vacuum hoses stretch to 30 feet, which is more than long enough for cleaning stairs, and you can get a crevice attachment to fit it.


Staircases are one the most high-traffic areas of the home. However, they usually don’t get enough attention because cleaning them is tedious and time-consuming. No matter how well-kept the rest of your home looks, a neglected staircase detracts from the home’s overall cleanliness.

With the right vacuum, you can streamline this chore. However, use the wrong vacuum, and the task becomes something you dread. If you’ve already begun your stair vacuum search, you undoubtedly have a few questions.

What Style of Vacuum Is the Best for Cleaning Stairs?

Many people have a standard upright vacuum cleaner in their home. Unless the upright is extremely lightweight, carrying it up and down the stairs can prove problematic. If you choose to use an upright for staircase vacuuming, make sure the floor head is small enough to sit on the treads; otherwise, it will tumble down the stairs.

A stick vacuum is a great alternative to the upright since stick vacs have a slimmer profile. Either way, the vacuum will need attachments to get the job done.

On the other end of the spectrum, there is the canister vacuum. With a canister vac, you have the ability to roll the vacuum over the floors in your house while still getting the portability you need to lift and carry the vacuum up those pesky stairs. These vacuums usually come with an array of attachments and a long hose to make detailing easier. A more compact choice is the handheld vacuum.

Although you can’t use a hand vac to clean your floors, these vacuums are easy to use on the stairs. If you just can’t decide, there are also convertible vacuums that go from upright or stick to handheld or canister, giving you the best of both worlds.

Best Vacuum For Stairs: Buying Guide

Are Cordless Vacuums All They’re Cracked up to Be?

Essentially, yes. Battery-operated vacuums do not restrict your cleaning radius. Unlike corded vacuums, you don’t have to be within reach of an electrical outlet to use a cordless vacuum. However, you shouldn’t discount the corded kind. If you buy a vacuum with a long enough power cord, you’ll still get all the reach you need from one electrical outlet to vacuum your stairs.

Since cordless vacuums run off battery power, you can only vacuum for as long as the battery stays charged. When buying a cordless vac, you want to make sure the battery has enough juice to make it through an entire staircase cleaning.

Look for vacuums with a lithium-ion battery as opposed to a nickel-metal hydride battery because lithium-ion batteries have the lasting power that the nickel-metal version doesn’t have.

What Attachments Are Necessary for Stair Vacuuming?

Almost every vacuum cleaner comes with two basic attachments – a dusting brush and a crevice tool. You’ll need both to get into the corners and edges on your stairs. Some brushes are triangular shaped for full corner cleaning while others are wide to cover more surface in one pass, which is helpful for vacuuming treads and risers.

As far as any attachment goes, the longer it is, the easier vacuuming will be on your back. Tools like flexible hoses and sliding wands extend your reach too.

Is a Trigger Switch More Convenient Than a Power Button?

There are two types of on-off switches that vacuum manufacturers put in their products. Some vacuum cleaners have a traditional power button. Whether you push it, slide it or rock it, operating the power button is a straightforward process. However, a power button can quickly become aggravating if it isn’t located in a convenient place.

Since staircase vacuuming requires you to carry the vacuum in one hand, you’ll need the power button to be within reach of your fingertips, not somewhere that forces you to let go of the hose or attachment and use the other hand.

A trigger switch eliminates the issue of placement because these switches are always built into the handle, allowing you to squeeze it to run the vacuum and simply let it go to stop the vacuum. Of course, if you have small hands, carpal tunnel syndrome or arthritic joints, a trigger switch may not be the best option.

Vacuum Stairs and Cases

Does a Brush Roll Clean Better Than Straight Suction?

The answer to this question depends on the strength of the suction and the material used to cover the stairs. A vacuum cleaner with cyclonic suction and no brush roll can certainly give your stairs a thorough cleaning.

If you’re going the cordless route, you’ll need one with a high-powered battery to give you the necessary suction for vacuuming carpeted surfaces. Otherwise, a brush roll is ideal for cleaning deep into carpet fibers.

In terms of hardwood or laminate wood stairs, you can get away with using a straight-suction vacuum.

In fact, you’ll never have to worry about tough bristles scratching the steps. However, there are vacuum cleaners with soft brush rolls that preserve the integrity of hard-surface steps. Some brush roll vacuums even have two brush rolls to tackle all surfaces while others allow you to turn the brush roll on and off with the flip of a switch.

Is There a Better Way to Vacuum the Stairs?

Even with a vacuum designed specifically for staircase upkeep, the vacuum cleaner alone can’t streamline the vacuuming process if you don’t take the most efficient approach. How should you tackle this chore? Before you pull out your vacuum, you have to clear the steps.

This means picking up the shoes, toys and other random items your children haphazardly left behind on the staircase as well as that basket of laundry you’ve been meaning to put away for the past two days. You don’t want to risk clogging your vacuum with a stray sock or action figure.

Top 12 Best Vacuum For Stairs

Once the vacuum is out and ready to go, you should start where debris accumulate the most – the edges, corners and around the balusters. This is when attachments like a crevice tool come in handy. Work your way up the stairs from the bottom step, focusing on the corners and where the risers and tread meet. Then, vacuum around the circumference of each baluster as you walk back down to the bottom step.

After you put the detailing tool away, you can point your attention toward the risers and tread, vacuuming from riser to tread to riser as you walk up the stairs one more time. Of course, it’s easier to execute these instructions if you have the right type of vacuum cleaner.

Best Vacuum For Stairs Guide

Related Post: Best Wet-Dry Handheld Vacuum Cleaners

What Is the Perfect Vacuum for Cleaning Stairs?

The answer to this question is partly subjective. You may feel like a handheld vacuum is the most comfortable, convenient option while your neighbor down the street simply can’t live without her canister vacuum. The answer also depends on the type of staircase in your home.

Are the stairs covered in laminate wood, carpet or hardwood with a runner? How are they configured? Curved and spiral staircases are more challenging to vacuum than straight, winder or half-landing staircases.

There are some general characteristics that make a vacuum cleaner well-suited for staircase cleaning.


Like any vigorous household chore, vacuuming is a great way to fit in a little bit of exercise into your busy day. Regardless, the act of toting a vacuum up and down the stairs shouldn’t feel like an Olympic weightlifting event. You definitely want to look for a lightweight model.

However, what one person considers light may be too heavy to another. Again, the ideal weight comes down to your personal comfort level.

Stair Vacuum

Usually, a vacuum cleaner under 10 pounds is typically a safe bet because the time it takes to clean a staircase can feel twice as long with a heavy vacuum in your hand. Another facet to keep in mind is the measurements. How long, wide and deep is the vacuum? Is it bulky or slim? It’s always easier to carry a compact vacuum cleaner than a big one.


You can have a vacuum that’s as light as a feather, but that only gets you so far if it forces you to contort your body while you struggle to keep your grip as you attempt to clean corners and edges. Look at the handle. Is it made to fit comfortably in your hand? Does it have rubber or textured surface to help you hang onto it?

Some vacuum cleaners are even equipped with a shoulder strap for additional support. There are also vacuums with a telescopic wand that prevents post-vacuuming back and joint aches.

Best Stair Vacuum


Besides the previously mentioned telescopic wand that allows you to clean more steps without moving, there are other features that can save you time. A flexible hose can also allow you reach further. Plus, it can bend, so you can thoroughly suction the debris around the balusters without making awkward movements. If the vacuum cleaner is a bagless model, pay attention to the dust cup’s capacity.

The bigger the cup, the fewer number of times you’ll need to empty it while vacuuming. Another feature to look at is the vacuum’s power cord. A 12-foot cord will have you pausing your cleaning session to switch electrical outlets, which is a time waster. Conversely, a battery-powered vacuum cleaner should offer a sufficient run time between charges, so you can clean the entire staircase in one fell swoop.


No matter what type of vacuum cleaner you use to clean your stairs, you will need at least one attachment tool to get the job done. If you have a vacuum with a multi-tool that combines more than one tool in a single attachment, that is even better.

However, what matters more is how the attachment connects and detaches from the vacuum cleaner. Can you push it on and pull it off, or is there a button to press that releases it? Most importantly, is there a storage compartment on the vacuum? You want the attachments to be on hand at all times.

Best Vacuum Cleaners for Stairs


The suction system is crucial. If you have pets that shed hair or children who track dirt and crumbs, you absolutely need a vacuum cleaner with strong, unwavering suction. The suction power will determine how many passes it takes to lift fur and debris.

Ideally, you want to suck up every piece of dirt and hair in one pass. To enhance a vacuum’s pick-up ability, manufacturers often add a brush roll, which lifts dirt and debris and sweeps them into the suction inlet. Some brush rolls are designed to attract hair while others are made to prevent marking hard surfaces.

Vacuums for Stairs: Recap

You have a wide array of options available for stair vacuuming. Stick vacuums are lightweight wonders, especially stick-handheld combos. Canister, upright and backpack vacuums offer full-powered suction strength. Handheld vacs are small enough to use anywhere, and central vacuums relieve you of carrying a vacuum cleaner altogether.

No matter the type of vacuum or whether it’s corded or cordless, make sure its weight is manageable and its handle is comfortable. Unless it’s a handheld, canister or central vacuum, it should be able to fit on the stairs. You’ll need a hose and a crevice tool, and a brushroll is a must-have for carpeted steps.

stair vacuum

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Last update on 2021-03-04 / Most affiliate links and/or Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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