7 Best Vacuums for Stairs of 2019

If you’ve got lots of stairs in your home, vacuuming can be a real pain. Bulky machines that don’t clean risers or sit properly on treads can turn a chore into a nightmare.

Fortunately, help is at hand! We’ve found seven of the best vacuum cleaners for stairs. Here we take you through their specifications and set out the questions to ask yourself before you make your choice.

At a Glance: Top 7 Vacuums for Stairs

The Best Vacuum for Stairs of 2019

1.  Shark NV356E  Our Top Pick 

best stair vacuum

image: Shark

At first glance, the NV356E looks like an ordinary upright vacuum cleaner. But appearances can be deceptive.

One push of a button and the canister lifts away from the rest of the cleaner. The cord is attached to the base, so the result is a cord-free and completely portable unit. And it reduces the weight from 13.7 pounds in upright mode, to about 8 pounds when hand-held.

There’s a handle on the top of the canister. That makes it easy to hold with one hand, whilst using the other to push the floorhead. That’s on a hose, rather than a tube, with a plastic handle on the top.

You’ll need to get down fairly low to use it. The easiest position is placing one knee on the stair below the one you’re vacuuming and turning sideways. The floorhead is fairly narrow, so it’s easy to maneuver over the treads.

Allergy sufferers will be pleased to hear that this vacuum comes with a HEPA filter. That will capture over 99% of dust and dirt particles. The result is cleaner air and fewer coughs, sniffles and streaming eyes.

The HEPA filter can be washed and dried to maintain peak performance. It’s not a job you’ll have to do often: once every two years or so will suffice. There are another two filters too. Wash those every three months or so for the best results.

There’s a brush roll to lift dust from deep carpets. But if you have loop pile or other delicate finishes, you can turn it off. It works just as well on bare floors too.

The cord is a generous 30 feet long. If you’re using it as a standard upright cleaner, that will give you plenty of reach.

So is there anything not to like?

Well, even in hand-held mode, this is heavier than the other cleaners on our list. And the hose is fairly short. There’s no give, so you’ll need to kneel or bend as you vacuum those stairs.

And if you want to use the cleaner in upright mode with wand or other accessories - beware. It’s not well balanced, and the slightest tug will have it toppling over.

What We Like

  • Canister lifts out easily at the touch of a button for cordless cleaning
  • HEPA filter is great at capturing dust and dirt
  • Option to use as a standard upright cleaner too

What We Don't Like

  • At 8 pounds in hand-held mode, it’s quite heavy
  • It has a tendency to topple over when it’s upright

2. BLACK+DECKER BDH2000PLA  Budget Pick 

If you’re looking for an economical vacuum cleaner for your stairs, Black+Decker’s BDH2000L should make your shortlist.

This space-age looking gadget uses lithium batteries to power its 20 Volt motor. The result is a cleaner with bags of suction. It’s four times stronger than Black+Decker’s most popular handheld vac. That does come at a price, though – it’s pretty loud.

The battery life is longer than other Black+Decker options too – but it’s still limited. You’ll get about 10 minutes of runtime before it starts to fade. Expect it to drain completely within another minute.

That should be enough time for your stairs or car. But don’t expect to be able to do very much more until you’ve recharged the battery. That will take about three and a half hours. The cleaner sits easily and securely on the charging stand, but it can’t be wall-mounted.

You’ll have the option of two different power settings with this cleaner. Boost the power at the touch of a button to deal with stubborn dust and dirt. It picks up pet hair very effectively too. But it won’t work with liquid spills.

There’s an extra long crevice tool to help get into awkward spots. And the dust container is among the largest of any handheld vac, with a capacity of 750 milliliters. That means you’ll be able to go longer without emptying it out.

And when it is time to empty it, it’s easy to do. There’s a single button to open the container, and you won’t have to get your hands dirty.

Just be careful where you press. The button is right next to the power switch. So get it wrong, and you’ll dump the contents all over your freshly vacuumed floor!

What We Like

  • Excellent suction and great for picking up pet hair
  • Generous 750 milliliter dust container
  • Easy to empty without getting your hands dirty

What We Don't Like

  • The position of the button for emptying the dust container isn’t ideal
  • It’s pretty loud

3. SOWTECH 2 in 1 Vacuum

stairs vacuum cleaner

SOWTECH’s 2 in 1 vacuum aims to bridge the gap between handheld cleaners and uprights. It comes with a long wand and floorhead, so you can use it on your floors without bending over. Take off the wand and its compact dimensions mean it works well on stairs.

At 3.3 pounds, it’s one of the lightest cleaners on our list. It’s completely cordless too. The combination makes it incredibly easy to use.

The filter here is made of stainless steel. SOWTECH claim it has advantages over HEPA filters because of its longer life. It’s certainly easy to clean – just run it under a tap and leave it to dry. There’s no scrubbing away with toothbrushes required here.

The filter size is about the same as standard HEPA filters, capturing dust and microbes as small as 0.3 microns. In practice, that means it should trap 99.97% of the dirt and dust on your floors.

The battery life here is a real bonus. It has a runtime of 40 minutes, giving you plenty of time for your cleaning.

It comes with a whole bunch of attachments too. As well as the standard floorhead, there’s a smaller square brush, great for stairs and upholstery. There’s also a mattress tool, crevice tool and two extension pipes for flexibility.

And if you need to pick up larger debris – cat litter, for example – just remove the attachments. You’ll be left with a generous opening to suck up the mess.

It’s designed with noise reduction technology too. It operates at just 75 decibels – quiet enough to avoid disturbing your neighbors or sleeping children.

So far, so good, but there are a few limitations to be aware of.

The battery power here is good, but you won’t get the same suction as a corded cleaner. If you’ve got thick carpets, it won’t be the right choice. It’s also awkward to use on rugs, with a tendency to lift the fabric rather than glide smoothly over it.

Its 2 in 1 design does mean there are some compromises over a regular upright too. Some people have found the wands aren’t quite long enough to use comfortably. And the steering isn’t as light as conventional uprights either.

But if you’re looking for a corded cleaner, flexible machine that’s quiet to use, this could be the one for you.

What We Like

  • Stainless steel filter will last a lifetime
  • Wide range of attachments, including a mattress tool and square brush
  • Quiet operation

What We Don't Like

  • Not great on rugs or thick carpets
  • The steering in upright mode is a little clunky

4. EUREKA 71B

best handheld vacuum for carpeted stairs

image: Eureka

EUREKA’s 71B vacuum cleaner comes in a bright yellow finish that makes it stand out from the crowd. But is its performance as distinctive as its appearance?

Well, it uses two motors for a start. One powers the vacuum, and the second powers the beater brush. The brush motor isn’t the most powerful, though. It doesn’t take a lot of hair to catch in the brushes and stop it in its tracks.

More positively, it will cope with both hard floors and carpets and rugs. And it’s possible to turn off the beater brush to protect more delicate surfaces.

At 20 by 12 by 10 inches, this is a pretty compact machine as vacuum cleaners go. There’s still more bulk here than with other handheld models, though, and that’s reflected in the weight. The 71B weighs in at just south of five pounds.

This is a corded model, and the cord is 20 feet long. It’s fine for a single flight of stairs. If you have more than one flight to do, though, you’ll probably find you need to move the plug.

On the plus side, the shape allows you to clean treads and risers easily. It uses what EUREKA call a “riser visor” system that moves the position of the brushes from vertical to horizontal. It also concentrates the suction and cleans vertical surfaces simply and effectively.

There aren’t many attachments here, so this isn’t the most versatile cleaner out there. But if you’re looking for a machine that handles stairs well, it’s one of the top contenders.

What We Like

  • Clever design makes cleaning stair risers a breeze
  • Can be used on hard floors, carpets and rugs
  • Decent level of suction

What We Don't Like

  • The brush motor lacks power
  • Limited accessories

5. VonHaus Cordless 2 in 1 Stick Handheld Vacuum Cleaner

VonHaus vacuum cleaner for stairs

image: VonHaus

Heavier than some of the models on our list, this cleaner from VonHaus puts its extra weight to good use. It comes with a wand that’s long enough to allow it to be a credible option for cleaning your floors. And remove the wand and you’re left with a powerful handheld model that’s great for stairs.

We’ve already mentioned the weight, so let’s deal with that first. It weighs in a 6.8 pounds with all its bells and whistles. You don’t to be a powerlifter to use it, but you’ll feel the effort after a while.

It’s a cordless model, so you won’t in any case be able to use it indefinitely without recharging the battery. This is a lithium battery, and it will give you a respectable half an hour or so of runtime.

The charging dock is wall-mountable – handy, as the cleaner won’t stand upright on its own. Expect it to take about four and a half hours to fully charge. A useful feature is the LED that illuminates when charging is complete.

It comes with a HEPA filter that’s great at capturing tiny dust and dirt particles. If you have allergies or share your home with someone who does, it’s a good option.

It will work on either hard surfaces or carpet, and uses cyclonic technology to create strong suction. It also comes with a brush for floors and a crevice tool. The latter includes both a nozzle and a brush to help deal with different cleaning challenges.

One thing to bear in mind is that the dust canister here isn’t the biggest. It has a capacity of just half a liter, meaning this is really best for cleaning smaller spaces.

What We Like

  • HEPA filter traps dust and allergens
  • Can be used on floors and stairs
  • Cyclonic technology gives good suction

What We Don't Like

  • Fairly heavy
  • The dust canister is on the small side

6. Dyson V7

dyson V7 car+boat vacuum cleaner for stairs

image: Dyson

Dyson’s nifty little V7 is designed for cleaning smaller spaces like cars and boats. But it works just as well on stairs.

There’s no cord here, but Dyson claim the V7 is the most powerful handheld vacuum on the market. The battery will run for up to 30 minutes without fading. And it comes with a battery charger that you can plug in in the car.

It weighs just under four pounds and comes with a range of different accessories. A motorized head works brilliantly on stairs and will lift out ground-in dirt and hair. There’s also an extendable hose for reaching into awkward spots. It’s flexible though, so you’ll need to hold it as you work.

Lastly, there’s a combination tool – essentially a brush that’s useful for dusting surfaces like table tops or dashboards.

There are some niggles with this one, though.

The main one is that suction suffers if you use it with a wide mouthed nozzle. There’s a turbo function that will boost the power, but it does take a real toll on the battery.

We’ve also heard variable reports on the battery life. Some people have experienced difficulties with the battery lasting for ever shorter periods of time. For others, annoyingly short battery life has improved with more charges.

Overall then a good – and good-looking – cleaner. But don’t rely on it for major cleaning jobs.

What We Like

  • Motorized head is great at picking up dust and hair, including on stairs
  • Lightweight and cordless design is easy to use
  • Great for cleaning small spaces

What We Don't Like

  • Battery life isn’t as consistent or reliable as we’d like
  • The suction suffers when you’re using a wide-mouthed nozzle

7. Homasy Portable Handheld Vacuum Cleaner

homasy vacuum cleaner for stairs

image: Homasy

If you’re looking for a lighter weight option, consider this handheld cleaner from Homasy. This is strictly for vacuuming in awkward nooks and crannies. You’ll need something bigger for cleaning your floors, but this is exceptionally easy to use on stairs.

It weighs just over three pounds, so it’s light enough even for anyone with arthritis or painful hands. And it’s designed to be used at an angle of 65 degrees, making it easy on your wrist.

There’s no cord to worry about here. The 1000 Watt motor is powered by four lithium batteries. They’ll give 30 minutes of cleaning time before needing to be recharged. That’s plenty long enough for the tallest flight of stairs.

The batteries are long-lasting too. They’ll cycle up to 500 times with a lifetime of up to five years. Homasy say this is three times the life of other models. You won’t have to drain them completely before charging them up again either.

homasy vacuum for stairs reviews

If you do drain the batteries, though, be prepared to wait before you can use the cleaner again. You’ll need between three and five hours to fully recharge them.

There’s good strong suction, and you’ll get a decent capacity dust container for a machine of this size too. It will hold up to 600ml of dust, dirt and debris. That, of course, means you’ll have to empty it less frequently.

And its diminutive size doesn’t mean you’ll go short of bells and whistles. It comes with three different attachments: a crevice tool, brush tool, and even a rubber jar tool to mop up liquids.

You’ll also get the charging base, two washable filters and a brush for cleaning the nozzle included in the package. It comes with a three-year warranty too.

One downside is that this isn’t as easy to empty as some models. You’ll need to get your hand in the dirt to help it on its way. And don’t leave the cleaner charging indefinitely – you’ll damage the battery if you do.

What We Like

  • Great battery life and runtime
  • Excellent suction and will suck up liquid spills too
  • Plenty of accessories and a generous dust cup

What We Don't Like

  • You’ll need to use your fingers to empty it completely
  • Don’t leave it charging indefinitely or you’ll damage the battery

Best Vacuum For  Stairs Buying Guide

If you’re still not sure which is the best vacuum for you, read on! Our buying guide will take you through the features to consider before you make your final choice.

How much flexibility do you need

All the vacuum cleaners on our list will handle stairs with ease. But is that all you need it to do?

If you’ve already got a standard cleaner for your floors, the answer may be “yes”. If that’s the case, it can be worth compromising on performance in other areas for a brilliant stair-cleaning experience.

We love the EUREKA 71B’s clever approach to cleaning risers, for example. But it’s not a practical option for floors.

If you’re looking for something with more versatility, consider a 2 in 1 design. The carpets, SOWTECH and VonHaus models on our list will all handle floors as well as stairs.

And check out the accessories too. A crevice tool is a great addition for helping get into nooks and crannies. And brush attachments will make short work of dusting.

Corded or cordless

Don’t immediately dismiss the option of a corded cleaner. Yes, you may have to keep an eye on the cord as you work. But you will get reliable power for as long as you need it. And you won’t have to worry about a battery dying half-way up your stairs!

The Shark gives you the benefit of a corded cleaner with the versatility of a cordless machine. Lift out the canister and you’re suddenly cord-free.

Cordless cleaners offer the ultimate in portability, but there can be some compromise on suction power. That may not matter if your stairs are uncarpeted. But if you’ve got thicker carpets, not all will be up to the challenge.

How well will it work with you

The results will depend both on the cleaner’s specifications and how well it suits you as the person operating it.

With most of these machines, you’ll be holding the full weight as you vacuum the stairs. That makes it particularly important to check how heavy they are before you buy. Make sure you’ll be able to lift it comfortably.

It’s also important to check the position of buttons and nozzles. Can you reach them easily? Is the nozzle long enough to use without having to bend too far? Or short enough not to be awkward to maneuver?

And check out the noise levels too. If you’re going to be vacuuming when children are in bed, a quieter motor is essential.

Let’s go shopping

That brings us to the end of our round up of seven of the best vacuum cleaners for stairs. We hope you’ve found one that’s right for you!

Our favorite is the Shark NV356E. Its innovative design gives you the best of both worlds: a corded, powerful floor cleaner, and a lightweight handheld vacuum that’s great on stairs.

And if you’re looking for an economical option, the Black+Decker BDH2000L is an excellent choice. It combines powerful suction with a generous dust container that’s easy to empty too.

Whichever one you choose, it’s finally time for hassle-free stair cleaning.

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