10 Best Vacuums for Stairs in 2023 – Reviews & Top Picks
The stairs are one of the hardest areas of the home to vacuum. They’re too shallow for most upright vacuums to fit and, for now at least, robot vacuums are completely out of the question. This means that the ideal vacuum for this area is one that is lightweight enough to carry up and down and has a smaller head attachment that can be used on the backs and the main platform sections of the stairs.
A cordless option can be beneficial because it negates the need to stretch a wire or have to change sockets halfway through the process. Handheld vacuums are potentially great for stairs but don’t really have too many other potential uses.
Below, you will find reviews of 10 of the best vacuums for stairs, taking these factors into consideration and also looking at price and suction power.
A Quick Glance at Our Favorites of 2023
|Best Overall||Shark Vertex Pro Powered Cordless Vacuum||
|Best Value||Bissell Featherweight Stick Bagless Vacuum||
|Premium Choice||Dyson V11 Cordless Handheld Vacuum||
|Dyson V8 Animal Cordless Stick Vacuum||
|Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Cordless Hand Vacuum||
The 10 Best Vacuums for Stairs
1. Shark Vertex Pro Powered Cordless Vacuum – Best Overall
The Shark Vertex Pro Powered Lift-Away Cordless Vacuum is cordless, which means that you aren’t restricted by power cord length and outlet distance. It is also relatively light and, while it is in an upright vacuum, it has a compact lightweight design that means it is possible to use on stairs. You can also use the powered lift-away system to remove the pod, leaving you with a stick vacuum that allows easy access to the stairs.
The Shark Vertex Pro is about average in terms of price, but it offers up to 60 minutes of runtime from a single charge, and it has the IQ display which shows the amount of runtime left and a display on suction performance which can prove a good indicator of when the cleaner needs emptying. As well as being lightweight, compact, and convenient, the vacuum has a HEPA filter and reasonable suction power, making it the best available vacuum for stairs. However, it is a little lacking in power when it comes to trying to tackle pet hair.
2. Bissell Featherweight Stick Bagless Vacuum – Best Value
The Bissell Featherweight Stick Bagless Vacuum has just about everything you want from a vacuum for stairs. It is very lightweight, weighing just 3 pounds. It can convert from a stick to a handheld, so you can choose according to your preference, and it is really cheap. It has a 0.6-liter dust capacity and is a bagless vacuum so you don’t have to buy or dispose of used bags.
While it is a great option and its low-cost and lightweight design make it our pick as the best vacuum for stairs for the money, it is somewhat limited in its applications. The 15-foot cord is quite short and means you will be unlikely to be able to finish all the stairs in one go. And while the suction is OK, it won’t do a good job of cleaning the whole house. If you want a separate vacuum for the stairs or one that is available for very little money, it is a very handy choice and it can be used for emergency clean-ups, too.
3. Dyson V11 Cordless Handheld Vacuum – Premium Choice
The Dyson V11 Torque Drive Cordless Handheld Portable Vacuum Cleaner comes at the other extreme of the price scale and is the most expensive on this list, but this stick vacuum cleaner weighs only a fraction more than the Bissell Featherweight above. It has a head that automatically detects the floor type it is currently cleaning and adapts accordingly, and it has a maximum runtime of 60 minutes.
Dyson claims that it has 40% more suction power than the previous model, too, and it does a good job of picking up pet hair and cleaning various surface types, while its automatic surface detection saves you the effort of working out the best mode. The bagless design holds 0.76 liters of dust, which will fill quite quickly because the extra suction means that the V11 picks up everything.
4. Dyson V8 Animal Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner
The Dyson V8 Animal Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner is a slightly older and less equipped model than the V11 above but is also available for around half the price. The stick cleaner is cordless, and it can convert from a stick cleaner to a handheld according to which mode you prefer for stair cleaning duties. It does have good suction power, offers a hygienic bin emptying system that negates the need to touch the dirt, and it is relatively lightweight.
However, it only has a 0.6-liter dust capacity, which could do with being a bit more spacious. And although Dyson claims a 40-minute maximum runtime, if you use it on the max setting, you will only get an 8-minute clean from a full, 4-hour charge.
5. Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Cordless Hand Vacuum
The Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Cordless Hand Vacuum is a true handheld. It is a lightweight cleaner, weighing just 3 pounds, and although it isn’t the cheapest on the list, it isn’t far from it.
Despite being handheld, it has a 0.7-liter dust capacity, and the head has a motorized dust tool that works to get into the pile of the carpet and lift dirt out of the fibers, making it effective for cleaning up pet hairs and ground in dirt. So, it would be useful for emergency spot cleaning too, although handhelds are not a good choice for general cleaning.
The Bissell only has a 14-minute runtime, though, which means you might have to do your stairs in multiple sittings, depending on how quick you are and how many stairs you have. There are some complaints, though. For example, there are noticeable static shocks from the machine when you press the power button which can be a little concerning.
6. Dyson Cyclone V10 Animal Cord-Free Stick Vacuum
The Dyson Cyclone V10 Animal Cord-Free Stick Vacuum Cleaner is another powerful stick vacuum from Dyson. It has three power modes, so you can choose according to the level of dirt you have, and at the lowest setting, the V10 will run for up to an hour before it needs recharging, which is impressive. Be aware that if you use the soft roller, you will only get around 40 minutes of runtime, and with the torque drive cleaner, which is good for getting pet hair and stubborn ground in dirt, you will likely only get 20 minutes of runtime.
It also has a 0.76-liter dust cup capacity and a HEPA filter to remove allergens down to 0.3 microns. This is a hybrid model, so by removing the stick, you can turn the V10 into a handheld and you still enjoy the same dust cup capacity and runtime.
This is an expensive stick cleaner, but it does have some good features that make it a worthy vacuum for use on stairs and that can be used for other areas of the house, too.
7. Shark CH951 Cordless Handheld Vacuum
The Shark CH951 Cordless Handheld Vacuum UltraCyclone Pet Pro Plus is one of the lightest vacuums on this list, weighing less than 3 pounds. Despite that, it has an extra large dust cup, although that is only by Shark handheld standards. It will hold up to 0.5 liters, which isn’t as impressive as the XL label makes it sound.
Its UltraCyclone does an admirable job of picking up pet hair and makes quick work of dust, but it needs to because runtime is only just over 10 minutes, which means that you might have to recharge before finishing off the stairs. It comes with a decent selection of heads, and you can empty the dust cup without having to touch the dust at all making it a hygienic option. It is a little more expensive than some of the other dedicated handhelds on the list, however.
8. Samsung Jet 90 Stick Cordless Lightweight Vacuum Cleaner
The Samsung Jet 90 Stick Cordless Lightweight Vacuum Cleaner is an expensive stick cleaner, but it does have some very good features that make the cost worth it, if you can justify the expenditure. The stick of the stick vacuum is telescopic and can extend from around 3–4 feet and it comes with a good variety of heads that offer maneuverability and good cleaning functions. The machine has a large 0.8-liter capacity dust cup, too, and the five-stage filtration system means that the Jet 90 removes allergens and small dust particles from the air.
It is a reasonably lightweight machine, weighing just over 6 pounds, and boasts a 60-minute runtime with a dual charging station so that you can buy and use a secondary battery to extend your runtime further, although obviously at the extra cost of buying a second battery.
However, as with many of these devices, you will only get that full runtime in the lowest setting. At the highest setting, you will be lucky to get 15 minutes of use before having to recharge and, while the stand is a good feature, it can be awkward to find the space for it, especially if you don’t want to show off your Samsung stick cleaner.
9. Black+Decker Dustbuster Cordless Handheld Vacuum
The Black+Decker Dustbuster QuickClean Cordless Handheld Vacuum is an ultra-lightweight and highly portable handheld vacuum. It weighs 1.4 pounds, which is half the weight of the next lightest model on our list. It has a crevice tool that will get into tight spaces, like the corners of stairs. It has a dust cup capacity of approximately 0.4 liters and a 30-minute runtime.
However, this cleaner isn’t really designed to clean the full stairs. It lacks the suction power to pick up pet hairs, but it is really light and portable and is suitable for emergency clean-ups on a few stairs without having to get anything larger out to clear up the mess. It also comes with a wall mount charger so that you can leave the cleaner charging between uses and it is always ready for the next spot cleaning emergency. It is a really cheap option for infrequent users.
If you’re looking for a dedicated stairs vacuum, then an upright likely isn’t your best option because it isn’t portable or lightweight enough to be convenient. However, if you want a vacuum that can be used for multiple purposes including cleaning the stairs, then a reasonably light upright with a long hose and detachable pod can be beneficial.
The Shark Navigator Lift-Away Upright Vacuum has a 2-liter dust bin capacity, which is one benefit of an upright, and it weighs just under 14 pounds, which is considerably more than a handheld or stick vacuum but not too bad for an upright. It is a corded vacuum, which means you don’t have to worry about runtime or charging and it does a good job picking up pet hair and ground-in dirt.
However, the Shark Navigator is heavy to lift up and down the stairs, but it doesn’t do as well with pet hairs as some of the more premium options.
Buyer’s Guide: Selecting the Best Vacuum for Stairs
Vacuuming the stairs is difficult. Or it can be if you don’t have the right vacuum for the job. The right vacuum obviously has to have the suction power to pick up all the dust, dirt, debris, and pet hair that gathers, but it should also be lightweight enough that it is easy to carry up and down the stairs. It should either have no cord or one that is long enough to easily reach both ends of the staircase. Below are some of the key features to look for when choosing the best vacuum for stairs.
Although robot vacuums are out of the question for cleaning the stairs, that still leaves plenty of alternatives:
What to Look For
As well as the suction power and cleaning capability, you should consider the following features when shopping around.
The best vacuum for stairs needs to be lightweight, portable, and have good suction power and cleaning features. While compiling the reviews above, we found the Shark Cordless Vertex Pro+ cordless upright to be portable enough to deal with stairs and powerful enough to be able to clean other rooms and surfaces, while being available for a reasonable price. The Bissell Featherweight Stick Vacuum weighs just 3 pounds and is even more portable, while also being cordless. It is really cheap and a great choice for those that are looking for a vacuum solely for the stairs or for limited additional uses.
Featured Image Credit: Hermann, Pixabay