If you have a home with one or more flights of stairs then you undoubtedly know two things: they are a very high traffic area and they are not easy to keep clean. It doesn’t matter if they are carpeted or wood, stairs will collect dirt on a regular basis. And if you have pets living in your house you will be dealing with the occasional napping animal on one of the steps. This is fine except for the fact that pet hair and dander will be left behind and over time they will collect and build up. It’s important to have a strategy for cleaning your stairway, and a great place to start is with the right vacuum cleaner for the job.
Before comparing our 4 recommended stair vacuums we should go over the qualities you want to look for when choosing the best brand and model. Here is a quick rundown of the features and why they are important:
- Portable Design – The first feature to look for is portability since you will be moving around quite a bit when using it. Obviously there are different ways to accomplish this but ultimately you need a vacuum that is easy to move around the different levels of your home.
- Lightweight – This goes hand in hand with the first feature listed above. You need a cleaner that is light so you can pick it up with almost no effort. Your main focus will be on getting the stairs free from dirt so you need something that is on the lighter side.
- Stair Attachment – Unless you are using a fully portable or handheld vacuum then you must have an attachment for the extension hose or wand. Trying to use a full sized machine on a stair effectively is almost impossible, but with the right tool it can be quick and easy. Fortunately most vacuums come with one or more attachments that fit this criteria.
- Ample Suction Power – Good suction is only important for carpeted stairways but if this describes your home then you will want a machine with a good amount of power. It’s really the only way to pull embedded dirt up since you will likely be using a smaller vacuum or attachment. You won’t have the benefit of pushing the spinning brushes down into the fibers like you would on a full sized heavier model.
Our Top Recommended Cordless Vacuum
The Dyson V10 series are cordless, handheld vacuums that have a lot of versatility for cleaning a variety of surfaces around your home. They have all the features mentioned above plus some additional ones like multiple configurations and long lasting lithium ion batteries. These batteries provide long life on a full charge, upwards of 45 minutes, so you can not only tackle your stairs but many other surfaces as well. Operate it with the extension wand in ‘lightweight upright’ mode or in handheld mode depending on what you are looking to clean.
The power is provided by a unique digital pulse motor that spins the internal cyclones at more than 125,000 revolutions per minute, which is an increase over their V8 models. The result is much more power than you would expect from a cordless model. It won’t matter if the surface is carpet, wood, tile, or laminate the dirt will have no chance of escaping.
Full HEPA filtration comes standard and is just as good as you would expect from a Dyson. It is rated to trap and fully remove more than 99% of the smallest of allergens like dust mites and pet dander from the air. This is especially important for those who suffer from asthma or indoor allergies. And let’s face it, stairs are surfaces where dust and dirt particles seem to gather.
Other features include a docking station, ‘Max’ power modes, and a variety of attachments including one with spinning brushes. The versatility and power of the V10 series make it one of the best choices for vacuuming stairs on a regular basis.
- The 7 cell lithium ion battery pack puts out tremendous power to the digital motor. You can clean carpets just as good as hard floors.
- HEPA filtration comes included which is not common on other cordless models. It is also one of the best rated filters in the bagless category.
- Hygienic dirt chamber emptying keeps all of the dust from landing on your skin.
- No excuse to not have removable batteries for easier charging and replacement.
- Battery runtime is not that great on the maximum suction settings.
Where should you go for the best online pricing today? Click here for that and more from our most recommended supplier, amazon.com. You can compare many makes and models side by side.
The Best Upright For Vacuuming Stairs
The Shark ION P50 is our top upright choice for cleaning your stairs. It is far from your typical upright, however, as it is fully cord-free while still putting out enough power for deep cleaning carpets. It’s amazing to see just how capable this cordless vacuum is at entire household cleaning (including stairs). The technology has advanced so quickly that it seems within a few short years electric cords will be a thing of the past in the vacuum cleaner industry.
The P50 also comes with Shark’s unique Powered Lift Away feature. It is technically an upright but also can be operated as a handheld canister (3 different modes). You can use standard upright mode for the majority of floor cleaning, powered ‘lift away’ for reaching under and around various items, and canister mode for many ‘above the floor’ applications including stairs. What makes the Shark a great choice is the option to lift the canister body off so you can carry it around. This means you won’t have to carry the full vacuum up and down the steps but only a much lighter part.
This video shows these distinct modes of operation:
Other features include fingertip controls for suction power, swivel steering in upright mode, LED lighting for those dark spaces, and a variety of attachments for just about any surface you can think of. Fully sealed HEPA filtration traps those microscopic allergens inside and keeps them there so you can breathe easier inside your home. And another great quality of this model is the low price as compared to the competition. It is one of the most affordable full sized cordless vacuums you will find today.
- DuoClean™ powerhead features two distinct brush rolls: one for carpets and another for smooth surfaces. It can handle large debris and still attract the smallest of dust particles.
- 3 different operating modes: upright, stick, and handheld. You can use any of these modes while still vacuuming under maximum suction power.
- Removable battery is easy to charge and lets you have a spare to swap out as needed.
- The P50 will stand up by un-aided when not in use. No need to stand it against a wall like most other cordless vacuums.
- As a full upright it is a little bit heavier than you would expect but for stairs you would be using it in one of the other (lighter) configurations.
- It could come standard with more tools for cleaning additional surfaces.
Where can you learn more about it and read consumer reviews? Click here to visit our favorite website for additional information including pricing and detailed specifications.
Our Favorite Lightweight Canister
The Miele C2 Compact is a lightweight canister vacuum from one of the best known brands in the industry today. They call it their ‘Compact’ because it is smaller in size and can be put away in tight spaces. This small size helps for this application too as it is easy to carry and has a very lightweight design. Moving the C2 around your home is easily accomplished by just about anybody, including up and down multiple flights of stairs. The 4 wheels rotate easily as it slides across all types of surfaces.
Not only do you get multiple floor attachments but you also have smaller tools for furniture, curtains, and stairs. This model is more of a complete household cleaning choice so if you are looking to buy one vacuum that can do everything, the Miele is an excellent choice. Fully sealed HEPA filtration, multiple suction levels, and a 7 year warranty are just some of the features that make it a popular option with homeowners.
Every Miele vacuum is put through the equivalent of 20 years of typical use to make sure it will hold up in the long run. That’s really what you get when you spend the extra money on a machine like the C2. It does cost more than some of the bargain level brands but when you add up the cost of ownership over time, a higher quality model always ends up costing less. With minimal maintenance you can expect a decade or more from the C2.
- Very lightweight for a decent sized canister (under 20 lbs.) along with compact size makes it easy to carry up and down the different levels in your home.
- Relatively quiet during operation, especially when compared to other full sized vacuums.
- XL floor brush is wider than their standard attachment so you can cover more area during each pass.
- Combo carpet/floor tool actually does an adequate job on low pile carpeting and area rugs.
- Somewhat expensive for a bare floor only machine.
- Bags can be pricey depending on where you buy them, Miele could include more with your initial purchase.
Where can you learn more about it and compare it to other canister vacuums? For more information including reviews and pricing, click here to visit our recommended internet store.
Our Best Rated Handheld Vacuum For Stairs
The Dyson V7 Trigger has all the power you would need from a handheld vacuum, complete with a very compact and portable frame. It weighs around 3.5 pounds which makes it the lightest model in our list here. This is an important feature for carrying it up and down multiple steps and when you couple the distinct ergonomic design you get a hand vac that can be used for extended periods without tiring. It’s called ‘The Trigger’ because the trigger and handle are located in an easy to hold position, even when you are bending at unusual angles.
One thing Dyson boasts about with the V7 is power! They claim it has the strongest suction of any handheld vacuum cleaner sold today. The specs on the digital motor are impressive indeed and top anything we have tested to date. The lithium ion batteries spin the motor at upwards of 107,000 RPMs when used on the Max setting. This is comparable to some of their larger uprights that are built for whole household cleaning. It’s easy to see that the V7 makes quick work of any carpeted stairs, leaving no dust particles behind.
The internal airways have a lot of technology as well. The patented 2 tier Radial™ design of the internal cyclones push a lot of G force into the air to completely separate the dust from the air, leaving nothing behind to clog the filters. You are left with clean exhaust traveling back into your home as well as less maintenance on the post motor filter.
Other features include a mini motorized attachment for removing pet hair from carpet fibers and upholstery, a combination tool for dust mites, and a crevice tool for stair edges. The battery is rated for about 30 minutes of fade-free power which is more than adequate for an entire flight of stairs.
- The power is more extreme than any other handheld which is important for carpeted areas, not so much for bare surfaces.
- It is light and ergonomically designed which will save your wrist if you have to use it for extended cleaning sessions.
- One button hygienic emptying system keeps the dirt particles away from your skin (and nose).
- Filtration is excellent and the overall design makes clogging a thing of the past. This is what hampered early generations of bagless vacuums.
- MAX mode is awesome but drains the battery much quicker than regular mode.
- No removable battery! Dyson needs to have removable batteries in future models so you can keep one charged at all times, even while using another.
Where can you get current pricing and availability? Click here to visit our recommended online supplier to read consumer reviews and compare it to other brands.