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The problem with most vacuums is that they’re made just to clean floors. If you live in a home with more than one story, then the best vacuum for stairs comes in handy.
These machines make it possible to clean each of the steps thoroughly. This not only includes the flat area that people step on but also the edges and vertical section that are harder to get clean. Also a number of our picks have the capability of cleaning stairs that have carpeting.
As you read the reviews, you’ll need to make a decision on what type of vacuum you prefer to use. Not only on your stairs but also the rest of your home.
Our picks cover upright vacuums with hose attachments for stairs, canisters that are easier to carry up steps and hand vacuums for those who already have a big vacuum.
Best Upright Vacuums for Stairs
More costly than the Bissell CleanView, this Shark Navigator Lift-Away puts your money to work by making stair case cleaning more convenient. The reason it makes our best vacuum for stairs reviews is that it has an innovative lift away canister feature.
What makes the canister body that detaches from this upright vacuum special is that it has excellent suction power. The power matches that of regular canister models and upright vacuums, not the weaker stick suctions.
The canister also comes with a hose extension and a floor attachment. If you own pets or have carpeting on your stairs, the Pet Hair Power Brush attachment does a great job.
This device runs on a 1200 watt motor and a long 30 ft. power cord. The length of the cord makes it easy to go up and down entire flights of stairs without worrying about having to re-plugging for power.
Its overall power, easy lift away canister, plus the ability to clean multiple floors in the rest of the home make this our top pick for upright vacuum cleaners for stairs.
Like all upright vacuums, this is not ideal for stair cleaning. However, because it has an extension hose attached to it you’ll be able to clean the steps without having to carry the device up each step.
The hose comes with a number of accessory tools including a crevice tool, extension wand and a TurboBrush Tool that can be added to the end of the hose. The TurboBrush tool is particularly helpful with stair steps specially if you have carpeting on them.
The machine isn’t heavy at 15 lbs. which makes it still practical enough to use with staircases that have lots of steps, though not ideal.
This machine is a good option for stairs if you want something that is inexpensive and primarily be used to clean your floors, both hard surfaces and carpeting.
Best Stick Vacuum for Stairs
Best Vacuum for Carpeted Stairs: For homeowners who have carpeting on their stairs this is our top pick. It is more of an investment compared to the other devices due to its cost. But, its power and versatility make it worthwhile.
This device does a great job on carpeted surfaces as well as bare floors. So unlike the handheld units above, you can use this machine to clean the rest of your home, including the walls, ceilings and even your car’s flooring and upholstery.
The Dyson V6 comes in a lightweight upright form but you can remove the long tube and floor attachment.
Doing do lets you use the V6 as a handheld device. You can use either when cleaning stairs, though we recommend using the stick version with the pole.
This lets you stand while pointing the nozzle on the surface. The nozzle is equipped with a motorized brush roll which assist by loosening the particles from the carpet fibers.
The one other advantage of this V6 over other stick vacuums is its top end power. It is equipped with a stronger motor which results is more suction power.
Best Canister Vacuums for Stairs
Best Vacuum for Stairs: Barely beating the Shark Navigator Lift Away Professional is this canister vacuum. Choosing between the two is really a toss up, but if you want to get technical about it, it all comes down to preference.
This is a cheaper device compared to the Navigator above. It is also more compact overall. As far as stairs are concerned, we like this more for its convenience. It gives you the option of carrying the canister while you go up stairs or leave it on the ground floor or one of the higher steps as you clean.
This relieves you of having to carry something as you clean. And all you need to do is control the hose and extension wand when cleaning.
When choosing between the two however, do consider more than just your stair cleaning tasks. After all, you’ll be using it for your living room, kitchen and maybe even garage. So picking between them comes down more to choosing a canister or an upright cleaner with a canister option.
Canister Vacuum for Stairs: Made with German engineering, the Miele C1 Olympus is designed for use on low pile carpets, hard floors and area rugs. It does very well with stairs and comes with a switch that allows you to adjust the suction power.
The unit is surprisingly quiet given that it has a powerful motor. It comes with a floor brush that attaches to the telescopic want. Together with the cord, you get a 29.5 feet reach. At the foot of the nozzle, there is a switch that allows you to transition between hard floors and carpets. This makes it easy to clean different areas of the home .
The unit is well built and made to be durable. It also comes with superior air filtration so none of the dust that has been collected into the machine comes back out into what you or your family breathes.
For cleaning, the device comes with an upholstery tool, a crevice nozzle and a dust brush. This helps give you more options when you want to clean above floor areas.
Those who are set on a canister vacuum for stair cleaning, may also opt for a more compact, less expensive model. And by less expensive we mean cheap. The Eureka canister vac above is quite inexpensive. But, if you’re on a tight budget, this one’s even cheaper.
This device is bagless, so you don’t have the need to buy or replace vacuum bags like in the Eureka Mighty Mite above. It uses an easy to remove and empty dirt container instead.
This device is very compact and lightweight, making it ideal for stairs since you won’t have to carry anything heavy. The hose and extension also make going through the flat steps easy. You can choose to sit on the stairs as you clean or let the pole do the work while you stand.
The Bissell Zing is rated to clean both hard floors as well as carpet. We’ve noticed however that it does very well on hard floors, including wood, but only average on carpet. This makes it an okay choice if you have carpeting on stairs since it only covers a small area. But should your home have bigger areas with carpeting we prefer you choose the Shark Lift Away above.
Best Handheld Vacuum for Stairs
Cordless Handheld Vacuum: If you don’t like the limitation of the power cords, then this cordless unit may be a better fit for your needs. The device runs on a 20 volt lithium ion battery. This gives it a good run time as well as consistent power even as the charge gets depleted.
We like this device compared to other Black+Decker handheld products because it offers more power. This lets you get to the dirt and particles that have embedded themselves into the carpeting. Compared to the other units, you’ll notice that this doesn’t have as long or as slim a nose. Instead it has a wide broad nozzle.
The big and wide nozzle allows it to pick up more particles as well as cover more space so you can clean your staircase quicker.
We also like that its pivoting head allows it to get to angles in the stairs that the straight nosed vacuums can’t get to.
If you already own or like your current vacuum, but it isn’t suited for cleaning stairs, buying another big machine may not be the most practical thing. In that situation we recommend going for handheld.
This Eureka EasyClean does very well for both plain stairs as well as stairs with carpeting. Its flat, broad nozzle makes it more practical than the long nosed nozzles of most hand vacs. This lets you run the cleaning path over the area instead of trying to cover all the sections of the steps using a zig zagging motion.
Under the translucent front visor, the device also has a motorized brush roller. The brush’s bristles allow it to be very effective for carpeted surfaces, even on stairs. This lets you pick up more debris from carpeted stairs. It also does very well in picking up pet hair.
The one final feature we like about this machine for stairs is it has a built in stretch hose. The hose lets you get into those small, tight corners and edges at the base of each step.
Making Your Choice
There are a lot of options above. But for you, you’ll need to decide on the features. Do you need a small device to complement the main vacuum you already have. Or, are you purchasing one that will also be used to clean the rest of the floors.