Many vacuum cleaners are excellent for cleaning your home.
But are they great for your stairs?
There is nothing like a freshly vacuumed home. While big, open floor spaces can be easy to clean, stairs can be tricky creatures to keep spotless. This is further complicated when it comes to big, heavy vacuum cleaners. Lugging a big vacuum up and down stairs can be difficult to do for many people.
It can put you in a risky position if you aren’t too steady on your feet. Large vacuum heads don’t always work well along narrow stair treads. This is where vacuum-friendly stairs come into play.
These are light, easy-use machines that have long enough cords to hit a flight of stairs without tangling and that can clean the small tread surfaces completely and with ease.
We have looked into some of the best-selling vacuum cleaners out there and pulled our favorite ten candidates in the contest for the best vacuum for stairs. Read on and discover our favorites.
Choose one of these, and your stairwell will never look cleaner!
The 20-foot cord is one of the longest in this category of vacuums, so there is some impressive reach for this little guy when heading up and down a set of stairs
The Black & Decker Max Lithium Flex Vacuum with Stick is a great compromise model between the stability of a stick when not wanting to hold something heavy and squat down while doing stairs, yet the portability to get furniture, cars, and under places without the clunkiness of a stick
With almost 20 feet of range, you can pull almost 1.3 liters of dust, pet hair, and food crumbs off of the surfaces
The Dirt Devil M08230REDis a great machine for cleaning small, complicated surfaces. From stairs to cars to furniture, the 25-foot cord offers a lot of range
Hoover Air Cordless is a great cordless vac that means no tripping on the stairs. It offers some power, but not that of a full vacuum when it comes to deep cleans
If you’re looking for a handheld vac that brings you back to the design of the pioneering dustbuster variety, the Hoover Air Cordless 20V Lithium Ion Bagless Hand Vacuum Cleaner does just that
The Eufy HomeVac Lightweight Cordless Upright-Style Vacuum Cleaner is a great upright that is actually cordless and rechargeable. It offers a powerful Lithium-ion charge system at 2200 mAh
How We Tested the Best Vacuum for Stairs
- It is a look at how thousands of vacuums performed and not just one. This saves us from believing that a one-off manufacturing problem is a design flaw and finding problems that are relatively common.
- Many reviews are from owners who have had their machines for a year or more. We get an idea of longevity and post-warranty problems.
- We get a spectrum of customer review comments and get to see how well a company stands behind their product.
- We can look through negative reviews and remove trolls, one-offs, and user error problems to provide you a more accurate look at the good and the bad. Conversely, we can remove paid product hype and focus more on constructive positive reviews.
Overall, we believe that this gives you the most honest look at how these vacuums will perform in your home on the first day, as well as years later.
Nothing wrong with that!
How to Choose the Best Canister Vacuum
Canister vacs are a style that has a dirt-holding cup that can be emptied, rather than a bag. All of our top ten are canister vacuum designs. There are a few things to consider about canister vacuums when choosing one:
- Pay attention to the filter. Bagged vacuums have a built-in filter in the form of the bag. Do you need HEPA level filtration? Do you want a washable filter? This is often a personal choice but it can be very inconvenient if you don’t have the style that you want.
- How big is your canister? This will determine how often you have to empty it.
- Is it easy to empty your canister without making a mess?
- Can you see your full canister? Is there a light to indicate you need to empty it?
Knowing these things ahead of time can help you to make the right choice in canister vacuum.
What other features do vacuums have that I should pay attention to?
When it comes to cleaning stairs, you need to consider a few things as well to get the best choice for you.
- Power: How much suction do you need? If you really want a lot of power, you should go for a corded vacuum with a lot of amps or even a central vacuum system. If you really want a cordless, you will be sacrificing some of that power or you will have a shorter vacuum time.
- Range: If you’ve opted for a corded vacuum because of the power factor, be sure that you have one with a long enough range for your stairs.
- Stability: Can you handle the weight of the vacuum in your hands? Do you want to stand and be supported by a stick or would you rather be deep in the stair treads with a handheld while on your knees? Consider this when choosing your ideal style. If you’re not sure or if it changes based on whether you’re spot cleaning or deep cleaning, then consider a hybrid that offers the best of both.
- Surface type: The powerful pet hair versions are great for carpet (way better than anything else) but they don’t work well on hardwood because the return air tends to blow all dust nearby up in the air. Know what you’re going to clean and choose a vacuum rated for carpet or stairs. If you want one that has the best of both, hose attachments keep the return blower far from the floor for just that reason.
- Capacity: This was said last time, but should be repeated. How many times do you want to empty the container? If it matters, go big. If weight matters more, go small.
- Filters: Keep your filter to the specifications you need. Always make sure there is a HEPA level of the filter if you’re trying to combat dust or mold allergies.
Care and Maintenance
Most vacuums are pretty easy to care for. Keep the cord tangle free and store in a secure area. If you have a rechargable unit, read the instructions about whether to let the battery run all the way down before charging or not. It can extend the life of the battery.
Containers can be emptied and washed and so can filters. Paper filters cannot be washed but must be replaced on occasion.
Most warranties are limited and come in one-year or more increments. They tend to cover manufacturer defects. Read the individual warranty to see exactly what it does and does not cover. Operator error is not covered unless you have a no-questions-asked return policy.
Some stores and credit card companies will allow you to purchase (or use as a benefit) the second warranty on any purchase made with their establishment. Look to see if your credit card has this benefit, and when you are comparing locations from which to purchase the item, see what the return policies are and if they offer extended warranties. The same rules apply– get a good idea of what is covered and what is not.
Better safe than sorry!
The biggest difference is more power for a corded and unlimited use time versus limited range and the risk of getting furniture and people tangled in cords.
These all function a little bit differently in how the air moves to make suction. Turbo tries to get a little more power out of an engine. Cyclonic offers a lot of power but there is a lot of air that must blow out to compensate, which can blow dust to the side of the vacuum pretty easily.
This filter goes to 2 microns to get the smallest particles from the air. This means cleaner air and fewer allergens. This is important in households with dust and mold allergies.
So what IS the best vacuum for stairs?
There are a few categories that these vacuums fall into that are pretty specific that can affect your favorite vacuum. Do you need something that extracts a lot of hair from wall-to-wall carpeting? If so, you will want a cyclonic, corded vacuum that is handheld with a rubber tip. Do you have hardwood or tile stairs? If yes, then avoid these cyclonics and go with a stick vacuum. The same is true if you need the support of the stick and are not physically comfortable squatting on your hands and knees to vacuum stairs with a handheld. Do you want a lot of power? Go with a corded. Versatility? Go with a cordless.
Because there are so many different things to make the perfect vacuum perfect, our favorite strives to create the best of most of these worlds and to make an all-around excellent vacuum that is good on carpeted pet-hair-covered surfaces as well as cars, furniture, and under your toddler’s high chair. Because of this, our favorite vacuum choice was:
This as, in our opinion, the best compromise between all of the different choices. It is cordless but offers a powerful battery system that keeps the vacuum level strong and lasts a long time. It’s versatile because you can use those same batteries with your 20V Li-ion power tools, meaning more vacuum time if you switch out with the leaf blower in the garage.
The stick/handheld option means that every kind of vacuuming is covered. While the stick is great for covering hardwood and avoiding a cyclonic return, the hose attachment supports a motorized pet hair head for carpeted areas that need extra love. We believe that this makes it the best overall choice for the biggest number of people. And the 5-year warranty means that this should be one of the longest-lasting vacuums in the bunch.
Great! What was your favorite? Do you have one of these? Leave your comments below.