Best Vacuum for Stairs – Time and Energy Saving Models [2019]

Best Vacuum for Stairs – Time and Energy Saving Models [2019]

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Multi-level homes are beautiful as well as functional. You get extra space and rooms to make your home more functional. Multi-story homes can even incorporate some of the most beautiful and useful architectural features like solar panels, wrap-around decks, multi-story windows, and regal curving staircases. But all those stairs are a dirt and dust trap.

You've probably noticed that your stairs start to show the dirt and dust sooner than any other space in your home. If you have pets, you've become accustomed to flying fur collecting on the banister and in the corners of every step.

Vacuuming can quickly return your stairs to pristine condition but lugging a heavy vacuum up and down the stairs is a painful chore. If you have a lot of stairs in your home, it's important to have a lightweight ergonomic vacuum designed for stairs or even a separate handheld vacuum.

We’ve done the research and put together a list of the best vacuums for stairs. These vacuums will save you time and energy, making cleaning your stairs less of a chore.

The Best Stair-Approved Vacuums for a Cleaner Home

1. Dyson V8 Animal Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner

Dyson V8 Animal Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner

Dyson has developed a reputation as industry leaders as producers of powerful, lightweight, easy to use vacuums. This stick vacuum doesn’t disappoint.

The V8 Stick vacuum is lightweight enough that you can use it on your stairs as is, or it easily converts into an equally powerful handheld vacuum.

It’s also a great choice for homes with a lot of small-particle dust and debris, including pet hair and allergens. Dyson includes a whole machine HEPA approved filtration system. The air leaving your vacuum is dust-free.

The filtration is effective enough that the air leaving this vacuum is cleaner than the rest of the air in your home.

Stiff nylon bristles help lift tricky ground-in dirt and hair. Plus, you can get additional power with the Max power setting.

Since this is a cordless vacuum you also won’t have to worry about tripping hazards while you’re vacuuming your stairs.

However, that does mean that you need to consistently charge your vacuum before you use it. The Dyson V8 runs for 25-40 minutes depending on which tools and settings you use most often. That’s enough runtime for even the largest homes, as long as you stay on top of your vacuuming.

But, you probably won’t be able to vacuum every room in your home all at once. It works better to vacuum a room or two at a time and break up the work over several hours or days through the week.

What We Like:

  • Cordless function avoids tripping hazards
  • Handheld mode for ease of use on stairs and furniture
  • Longer tools reach walls and ceilings
  • Whole machine filter cleans your air and traps common allergens
  • Easy to empty canister, no need to vacuum bags

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Only 7 minutes runtime in max power mode
  • Maximum of 40-minute run-time on a single charge.

2. Bissel Zing Bagless Cannister Vacuum

As a slightly different design option, Bissel’s Zing Cannister Vacuum doesn’t convert to a handheld, but it’s follow-behind design still makes cleaning your stairs quick and easy.

The vacuum itself is stored in the back portion of the vacuum, which is wheeled to follow along behind you as you work. The flexible hose that connects the vacuum head to the motor and canister is easily long enough to throw over your shoulder, and the vacuum follows easily. No heavy pulling.

This vacuum also has a multi-surface head. Instead of switching between different modes to vacuum tile and hardwood flooring and then a different tool for rugs and carpeting, you can use the same vacuum head for every surface in your home.

The long vacuum stick makes it easy to get into hard to reach places, including touch corners and pulling cobwebs off high ceilings.

Plus, this design is lightweight enough to be easy on your shoulders and back while you vacuum your stairs. A convenient handle on the cannister also makes this a convenient vacuum to move between the different floors of your home.

Making cleaning easier will help you vacuum more often, creating a cleaner space and preventing damage to your home.

What We Like:

  • Cannister design means no vacuum bags needed
  • Easy to empty canister protects your hands from dirt and debris
  • Lightweight vacuum head is easy to maneuver into tight spaces and use on stairs
  • Multi-surface vacuum head is safe and effective throughout the different flooring of your home
  • Auto cord re-wind prevents tangling
  • Comes with a dust and corner tool for added versatility
  • Total vacuum weight under 8 lbs.

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Cord may become a tripping hazard in tight spaces and on the stairs
  • No handheld function
  • No high-powered mode or suction variability

3. Shark Pet Perfect II Cordless Handheld Vacuum

As the first entirely handheld vacuum on our list, the Shark Pet Perfect II is specifically designed for pet hair, stairs, furniture, and other hard to reach spaces that require a little extra attention.

At under 5 lbs. this vacuum is easy to use on even the largest staircases. It protects your back and shoulders from muscle strain and unhealthy twisting while still giving you the suction power you need.

Unlike many handheld vacuums and stair tools, the Pet Perfect II still has a rotating brush head to help lift pet hair, dirt, and other stubborn carpet messes so that your carpets look and feel cleaner all the time.

Or, for hardwood stairs or the tops of bookshelves and other delicate spaces you can switch it to a suction-only mode that won’t scratch or wear out your finish.

The included filter is washable, which means you don’t need to spend as much money replacing the internal filter. It’s isn’t machine washable, however. You need to wash the filter by hand, which may mean exposure to more allergens and dust than disposable filter systems.

But, having a washable internal filter and a rechargeable battery both work to make this an eco-friendly vacuum design.

What We Like:

  • Extremely lightweight, handheld design
  • Powerful suction
  • Washable filter (eco-friendly)
  • Rechargeable battery
  • Both a suction only, and a rotating brush mode available
  • Perfect for stairs and furniture
  • Easily handles pet hair and other tricky messes

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Handheld only, you’ll still need a traditional vacuum
  • Some customers report problems with the customer service department for this vacuum
  • Washable Filter (dust and allergen exposure)

4. Black and Decker 20V Max Flex Cordless Stick Vacuum

This is another canister, follow behind stick vacuum. Black and Decker has designed this vacuum for maximum flexibility.

It has a fairly small footprint for both the vacuum and the charging base. It’s easy to store this vacuum in an out of the way closet as long as you have access to an outlet.

Like the Bissel Zing, Black and decker's canister vacuum follows easily behind you as you move between different rooms and areas of your home.

The lithium battery also guarantees that the vacuum will stay just as powerful during the last minute of its battery power as when you first start it on a full charge.

Unfortunately, this vacuum does have a conservative run time. It’s only rated for about 20 minutes of continuous use, although some users do report that it continues working much longer than the rated time.

However, overall the lightweight design and high suction power make this a perfect choice for a multi-level home with lots of stairs.

What We Like:

  • Rechargeable high-power lithium battery
  • Cordless function eliminates tripping hazard and extends your functional reach
  • Additional pet hair brush perfect for furniture and stairs
  • Lightweight stick vacuum design
  • Washable filter (eco-friendly)

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Only rated for 20 minutes of continuous use
  • Washable Filter (dust and allergen exposure)

5. Hoover Pet Max Complete Bagless Vacuum Cleaner

The Hoover Pet Max Complete is one of the most traditional vacuums on this list. It's an upright canister vacuum with additional hoses and tools for added versatility.

But, it’s lightweight design, high capacity, and long reach make it a perfect fit for homes with a lot of stairs that need special vacuuming attention.

Plus, like many of the vacuums on our list, it’s more than up to the additional challenge of a pet-filled home.

In addition to the traditional vacuum, the Hoover Pet Max comes with a handheld brush perfect for your stairs and furniture. In addition to being a smaller and easily maneuverable piece of equipment, it also has the suction to deep-clean your furniture and carpeting.

It’s also designed with the tools you need to reach your ceiling and the tops of ceiling fans with ease. This one vacuum is set up to meet all your household vacuuming needs.

What We Like:

  • Versatile all in one design
  • Highly effective filtration system eliminated 97% of pet dander and household allergens
  • 2.5L dirt and dust capacity so you don’t have to empty the vacuum as often
  • 4 levels of floor height adjustment

What We Didn’t Like:

  • 17 lbs. vacuum is heavier than average.

6. Tineco A10 Hero Cordless Vacuum 2 in 1

Tineco’s 2 in 1 stick vacuum is probably the best option on our list for anyone concerned about the weight of the vacuum. At under 3 lbs, this vacuum is comfortable for users with back, shoulder, wrist, and elbow problems. It’s approximately the same weight as a quart of water.

Despite the lightweight design, it’s still a versatile machine with high suction. You can also quickly convert from a full-size stick vacuum to a smaller precision handheld perfect for stairs and furniture.

While this vacuum doesn’t come with some of the extras and accessories standard with other vacuums, it’s still perfect for most household surfaces and areas.

Plus, the detachable battery pack makes storage and charging simple. If half an hour of continuous runtime isn’t enough for your home, this vacuum design gives you the option of purchasing a second battery pack so you can continue cleaning for longer periods.

What We Like:

  • Both a stick vacuum and a handheld vacuum
  • Powerful enough for most dirt and debris
  • Removable battery for easy charging
  • Extremely lightweight design
  • 4-stage air filter traps allergens and other air contaminants

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Few additional accessories
  • Fairly short runtime on a single charge

7. Shark Rocket HV292 True Pet Handheld Vacuum

This is the second handheld vacuum we've featured from Shark. There's a reason for the extra attention. Their handheld vacuums are some of the more powerful, and versatile, available on the market right now.

This version has a few differences compared with the Pet Perfect II. While both are great for handling pet hair and general dust and dirt, the Rocket is better for overall detailing and cleaning in tight spaces.

It’s also a corded vacuum. While the extra attention to detail and small spaces is particularly helpful on big staircases, the cord can be a bit of a tripping hazard.

However, being a corded vacuum means you don't need to worry about losing battery power in the middle of deep cleaning your stairs. You can even tackle multiple staircases, as well as vacuuming and detailing furniture and other spaces, all in a single day.

What We Like:

  • Corded power is perfect for large homes with lots of stairs
  • Lightweight and easy to use
  • Perfect for pet hair and other difficult messes
  • Multiple tools perfect for different types of cleaning

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Cord can be a tripping hazard
  • Relatively small dust cup

8. ONSON Hand Vacuum Cleaner

The ONSON handheld vacuum cleaner is a great option if you’re looking for a vacuum that helps keep your stairs cleaner and serves other purposes as well.

With powerful suction and several different tool heads, the ONSON vacuum is also perfect for cars, furniture, and even the tight corners of campers and RV’s.

The dust cup filter is also fully washable, cutting down on extra expenses.

The brush tool also helps lift dirt and debris out of carpet, fabric, and the tight spaces inside your car.

What We Like:

  • Versatile enough for all the small spaces in your home and car
  • Powerful suction
  • Fully washable dust cup filter
  • Cordless
  • Additional brush tool included

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Only 20 minutes of runtime
  • Dust cup is fairly small and needs to be emptied often.

9. Eureka Easy Clean Lightweight Handheld Vacuum Cleaner

Another handheld option, the Eureka stands out from the pack thanks to two motors, a long cord, and power more like a traditional vacuum than a handheld.

The design of this vacuum does make it slightly less useful for getting into tough spaces and corners, but it makes up for the lack in deep cleaning ability.

Even with 2 motors, one for the brush and one maintaining proper suction, this vacuum is still under 5 lbs. making it a lightweight option for stairs.

It's also perfect for longer staircases or curved staircases. The long 20 ft cord makes reaching across large spaces easy.

What We Like:

  • Long cord for consistent power
  • Double motor design guarantees consistent performance
  • Beater brush makes picking up pet hair and tricky messes easy
  • Larger than average dust cup for a handheld vacuum

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Doesn’t fit well into small spaces
  • Cord may become a tripping hazard across the floor or stairs

Final Thoughts

We've selected 8 of the best vacuums for stairs, but you need to think about which vacuum is going to best suit your home and needs. Think carefully about whether you'd prefer a battery-powered or a corded vacuum. How willing are you to wait for your battery to charge?

Are you looking for a supplemental vacuum to handle your stairs and other tricky spaces? Or are you more interested in a total-package vacuum that happens to be good at handling stairs?

Be thinking about cost as well. While handheld vacuums are usually cheaper, they can’t vacuum your whole home. Some of the additional cost of a full-size vacuum should be considered part of the cost of a handheld since you’ll need both if you opt for a handheld version.

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