Top 5 Best Vacuum Cleaners for Stairs

Best Vacuum Cleaner for Stairs

Staircases are often the most heavily trafficked areas of the house, and lots of dust and dirt accumulate on each step throughout the day. This makes it necessary to clean the stairs frequently, which usually means getting into awkward positions and trying to handle a vacuum and/or broom, while balancing on the stairs.

You might be surprised by how much dust and dirt your stairs are collecting, and this is carried throughout the house every day. Dirt might also end up deteriorating a wooden stair case quicker than expected, which is why you’d always want to stay on top of things when it comes to cleaning of your staircase.

Cleaning your staircases properly requires a compact and practical vacuum. In this article we’ll go through some of the best models available on the market.

TL;DR: These are our top picks:

Dyson V7 Animal – Best Vacuum for Carpeted Stairs

Dirt Cup Capacity0.14 gallons
Battery Run Time30 minutes
Detachable Hand VacuumYes
Tools StorageExternal
Weight5.3 lbs

Pros: Dyson V7 Animal is among the cheaper stick vacuums, and therefore very suitable as a secondary vacuum for stairs, cars, boats, RV’s, etc. It comes with some useful accessories as well, making it more versatile than most vacuums. It is also cordless, so you can easily carry it up the stairs and vacuum everywhere.

Cons: Although it’s considered an entry-level model, the price is still relatively high. It doesn’t come with a soft brush tool, and the bristle brush tool for carpets. The battery needs to recharge after just a few minutes of use on its highest setting, so you’ll have to keep it plugged in constantly, while it isn’t being used.

Our verdict: Dyson is among the top range of vacuums, and this model will definitely do a great job on most staircases. It is a fully fledged vacuum as well, so it is even capable of replacing your regular vacuum completely. Since this is an Animal-model, is has accessories included specifically to do in-depth cleaning of carpets and upholstery, so if you have pets and want an efficient for the purpose of removing pet hair, this is definitely a great choice.

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Dyson V11 Torque Drive – Best Upgrade Pick for Carpeted Stairs

Dirt Cup Capacity0.2 gallons
Battery Run Time60 minutes
Detachable Hand VacuumYes
Tools StorageExternal
Weight6.68 lbs

Pros: Dyson V11 Torque Drive is a highly technologically advanced vacuum, great for stairs and many other purposes. It is advertised as a complete solution for any house, and the large amount of accessories definitely make it one of the most versatile vacuums on the market. It works well on all kinds of stairs, and it packs enough battery power to run for extensive amounts of time.

Cons: One of its biggest deal breakers is the price. This is definitely among the most expensive stick vacuums out there. The battery is built into the bottom of the handle, so you can’t remove it and/or replace it with a fully charged spare battery.

Our verdict: Dyson V11 Torque Drive is the ultimate stick vacuum, one of the most-wanted gadgets in its category, and one of the most luxurious choices for sure. It isn’t cheap though, but users and experts are generally very excited about it anyway. If you want to splurge and are seeking a complete solution for cleaning around the house, this is definitely worth considering.

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Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away TruePet – Best All-In-One Vacuum for Stairs

Dirt Cup Capacity0.38 gallons
Cord Length30 feet
Detachable CanisterYes
Tools StorageOnboard
Weight16.7 lbs

Pros: This is an upright vacuum, but with a detachable canister, which makes it a great choice for cleaning on stairs and anywhere else around the house. It comes with a range of useful accessories for many purposes, e.g. upholstery tool, crevice tool, and a mini motorized brush, so it works well on both carpeted stairs, wooden stairs and anything in between.

Cons: The nature of its design requires you to use both hands while vacuuming the stairs: One carrying the canister, and one hand holding the handle. It is corded, which means you’ll have to plug it in every time you want to use it. It’s also relatively expensive.

Our verdict: The Shark vacuum is definitely among the top choices for stairs, and it’s packed with useful features from top to bottom. It is a complete vacuum cleaner capable of cleaning the entire house, but also with the ability to detach the canister if you’re going places where the floor tool and regular handle aren’t needed. It is corded though, and the 30 foot cord needs to be manually unwound and rewound before and after each use. On the other hand, this means you don’t have to recharge any batteries after use, and it’s always ready to go as long as there’s a power outlet nearby.

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VonHaus 2-in-1 Budget Friendly Stick Vacuum for Stairs

Dirt Cup Capacity0.34 gallons
Cord Length19.5 feet
Detachable Hand VacuumYes
Tools StorageExternal
Weight6.2 lbs

Pros: Despite its very low price, the VonHaus vacuum is great for many things besides keeping the stairs clean. It comes with a detachable handle and floor tool, and it has a few useful accessories that will help you when cleaning the stairs. It is also a lightweight and compact vacuum, with a higher capacity than other models in its range.

Cons: It is a cheap vacuum, and some elements seem a bit flimsy. The design is rather impractical due to the location of the power button and canister, which makes it a bit clumsy to operate. It is also a bit loud.

Our verdict: The VonHaus vacuum is both budget friendly and efficient, which makes it a great choice for those seeking a basic secondary vacuum for stairs and other simple tasks around the house. It does its job well, but is probably best used on hard floors.

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Bissell Pet Hair Eraser 33A1 – Best Compact Hand Vacuum for Stairs

Dirt Cup Capacity0.21 gallons
Cord Length16 feet
Tools StorageExternal
Weight5 lbs

Pros: This vacuum is compact and easy to use, especially on carpeted stairs. It has a few accessories that are useful for pet hair, but it also comes with a small crevice tool as well. The location of its handle makes it a compact and light model, which packs unlimited power due to its corded design.

Cons: There has definitely been some cost cutting going on here. They could easily put a battery in it instead of the long cord, which makes it relatively impractical.

Our verdict: This is a great little budget friendly vacuum, and a great choice for a single staircase. It works well around the house too, and it advertised as an add-on to households with pets. It is definitely worth considering, if you don’t want to spend too much, and need a simple vacuum for stairs and other small tasks around the house.

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How to Choose the Best Vacuum for Stairs

Choosing the best vacuum for stairs isn’t just about finding the cheapest and lightest one available at your local store. You have to do a bit of research, in order to find the perfect vacuum for your stairs.

Here’s a quick guide to finding the best vacuum for stairs:

Your Needs

Before even considering whether or not you should buy a vacuum dedicated to cleaning your stairs, you need to determine what your needs are.

These are important things to have in mind, before choosing a vacuum that suits your needs:

  • How often do you want to vacuum?
  • Do you have pets?
  • Do you have kids?
  • Is your house a “shoes on”/”shoes off”-zone?
  • Do you have more than one staircase to clean?

If your answers are “yes” to all or most of these questions, you’ll probably need one of the high performance vacuums mentioned above, and a small budget friendly vacuum might not suffice.

Size and Weight

The lighter, the better. Some vacuums can be incredibly heavy and bulky, and you’ll get a workout by moving it around the house. You should definitely consider buying a vacuum as light as possible, as it is then easier to carry up or down the stairs.


The best vacuums for stairs are either stick vacuums or hand vacuums, but some upright vacuums feature a detachable canister as well. No matter what you choose, you should go for a handy vacuum that are easily carried – this includes most (if not all) stick vacuums, but also hand vacuums and some upright vacuums.

Ease of Use

Some vacuums require more than one step in order to empty the dust bin, while others eject the contents from pulling a lever or pushing a button. You can also get vacuums with filters that are easy to rinse and replace, where other vacuums require a few steps of disassembly, in order to access the filter.

The easier it is to use the vacuum on a daily basis, the quicker you’ll get to move on to other things.

Always choose a vacuum that’s as easy to use as possible, which is easiest done by checking these features:

  • Emptying the dust bin
  • Cleaning the filters
  • Attaching/detaching accessories

These elements will usually determine whether or not the vacuum is easy to use.


Most vacuums come with some sort of crevice tool and brush tool, but this isn’t always enough. If you have carpets and pets, you’d want a motorized brush as well. The motorized brush pushes the carpets fibres aside so that you can get in between them, and pick up hair, dust, dirt and debris easily.

If you have hard floors, this is what you want at minimum:

  • Soft rolling brush / hard floor tool
  • Crevice tool
  • Brush tool

If you have carpets and/or pets, this is what you want at minimum:

  • Soft rolling brush / hard floor tool
  • Bristle brush roller
  • Crevice tool
  • Motorized upholstery tool


The best vacuums for stairs are cordless, but if you want a corded vacuum, it should have at least 16 feet of cord to reach most stairs. Otherwise you should consider buying a retractable extension cord, to keep everything well organized.

You can get vacuums with a cord longer than 30 feet, but you should always have in mind that you have to reel it back in after each use.

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