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The 5 Best Vacuums For Stairs - Spring 2024 Reviews

Updated Mar 15, 2024 at 01:56 pm
Best Vacuum For Stairs

Stairs can be hard to clean if your vacuum has a bulky design or a short power cord or hose, as these design elements impact your ability to efficiently clean tight, narrow spaces. If you're cleaning a staircase, an ideal vacuum should be lightweight, easily portable, and maneuverable. It should also be able to get into tight corners and have a long enough range to reach the top or bottom of your staircase.

We've tested over 140 vacuum cleaners, and below are our recommendations for the best vacuums for cleaning stairs. We chose these picks based on their performance on different types of surfaces, designs, and prices. For more options, see our lists of the best lightweight vacuums, the best cordless vacuums, and the best cordless stick vacuums.


  1. Best Vacuum For Stairs

    The best vacuum for stairs we've tested is the Dyson V12 Detect Slim. At under 5.5 pounds, this cordless stick vacuum is lighter than most full-size stick vacuums, making it a cinch to carry up and down long flights of stairs, and you can quickly convert it into a handheld configuration to better clean tight spots. It's well-suited to cleaning various floor types since it includes a soft roller for better debris pickup on bare surfaces like vinyl or hardwood. It also comes with a multi-surface floorhead that you can use on carpeted stairs. Like the pricier, heavier Dyson V15 Detect, its soft roller has a built-in laser light to help you see fine debris on hard surfaces, and the vacuum can automatically increase its suction power on carpets or when it detects a heavy concentration of debris.

    However, the flip side of this vacuum's compact design is its tiny dustbin, which needs regular emptying. If that's a concern, the Samsung Jet 90 Complete is a great comparably priced alternative that delivers broadly similar debris pickup performance and has a dustbin with roughly three times the overall debris capacity. Unfortunately, it's heavier than the Dyson and lacks an automatic power adjustment system.

    See our review

  2. Best Mid-Range Vacuum For Stairs

    If you want to spend less on a vacuum for cleaning stairs, the LG CordZero A9 Kompressor (A925KSM) is a fantastic option. At just under six pounds, it's heavier than the Dyson V12 Detect Slim, but it's still light enough to easily carry up and down long flights of stairs without causing you much fatigue. This A925KSM variant comes with a handy assortment of tools, including a 2-in-1 combination tool and a crevice tool for tackling messes in tight corners on stair steps. It also comes with a second battery, which is great for longer cleaning sessions. This variant also uses LG's unique 'Kompressor' feature, which allows you to press down on debris inside the dirt compartment using an external lever to make room for more debris as you clean.

    Unfortunately, unlike the V12, it doesn't have an automatic power adjustment system that would allow it to automatically adapt to different floor types or an onboard particle sensor. There's also no onboard wand clip for storing its tools, so you'll need to carry around whatever tools you need to clean your stairs by hand.

    See our review

  3. Best Budget Vacuum For Stairs

    If you're on a budget, the Samsung Jet 60 is among the best vacuums for stairs we've tested. While it has a shorter battery life than the LG CordZero A9 and doesn't perform quite as well on bare surfaces, like hardwood, it still has plenty to offer. For one, at just a little over five pounds, it's even lighter than the LG, so you won't have much difficulty carrying it up and down long flights of stairs. Its top-mounted dustbin has a larger capacity than the LG's dirt compartment.

    However, unlike the LG, this vacuum doesn't have a telescopic wand, so you might have trouble finding a height that works for you. If you want a similarly priced vacuum with a telescopic wand and a longer battery life, the Tineco PURE ONE X is a solid choice that can run for about 70 minutes. However, unlike the Samsung model, its battery isn't removable or replaceable, and this vacuum feels slightly more cheaply built.

    See our review

  4. Best Handheld Vacuum For Stairs

    If you don't need a full-size cordless vacuum like the Samsung Jet 60, the Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+ is the best handheld vacuum for stairs we've tested. It's very lightweight, making it a cinch to carry up and down stairs, and is small enough to be stowed away under a shelf or in a closet when not in use. However, it's only meant for short clean-ups, as its battery runs dry in only a bit over 10 minutes, which is on the shorter end of the scale, even for a handheld model. It comes with a crevice tool to help better clean debris stuck in cracks and a miniature motorized turbo brush, though it's worth noting that this tool has a hard time clearing away shorter strands of pet hair.

    Unfortunately, this vacuum also does a terrible job of sealing fine particles, so it isn't a good option if you suffer from allergies. Consider the Shark WANDVAC if that's a priority, although the WANDVAC also has a short battery life. Its dirt compartment is much smaller than the UltraCyclone's, so you'll have to empty it often.

    See our review

  5. Best Corded Vacuum For Stairs

    If you find yourself cleaning larger areas besides your stairs and want a corded canister model, the SEBO Airbelt D4 Premium is among the best vacuum cleaners for stairs we've tested. It's a bulky, heavy machine and less portable than a cordless stick vacuum like the Dyson V12 Detect Slim. That said, you also won't have to worry about running out of charge part way through a cleaning session. Besides, this vacuum has a long operating range of roughly 50 feet, allowing you to clean long staircases without swapping power outlets and easily clean hard-to-reach spots after you've propped it upright on a stairstep.

    Build quality is fantastic, with a canister body made of dense plastic and a cloth bumper running along the outside of its body that can prevent your walls from getting scuffed up. There's an onboard storage compartment for its three included tools at the back of the canister body, so you can grab or stow them away without interrupting your cleaning session, though they are inaccessible when the vacuum canister is placed upright.

    Performance on flat surfaces like hardwood or linoleum is exceptional, and the vacuum is quite effective in dealing with debris on carpeted stairs, even with a fairly basic straight-suction floorhead. You can easily change its suction power via a handle-mounted rocker switch, allowing you to adapt to different surfaces. Unfortunately, it's heavy and rather bulky. Want something smaller, lighter, and cheaper? The Miele Classic C1 is worth a look, even if it does have a much shorter power cord.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Dyson V15 Detect: The Dyson V15 Detect is a cordless stick/handheld vacuum that's a great alternative to the Dyson V12 Detect Slim. It has a more powerful suction motor, making it one of the best vacuums for carpeted stairs we've tested. That said, it's heavier and much pricier. See our review
  • Black+Decker 16V MAX dustbuster Cordless Hand Vacuum: The Black+Decker dustbuster Hand Vacuum is a cordless handheld with a relatively spacious dirt compartment and outstanding performance on bare floors. It struggles quite a bit on carpeted surfaces compared to the Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+. See our review
  • Airsign HEPA Vacuum: The Airsign HEPA Vacuum is a corded bagged canister vacuum that represents a good alternative to the SEBO Airbelt D4 Premium for something smaller, lighter, and cheaper. However, it doesn't feel as sturdy and has a much shorter range. See our review
  • Miele Triflex HX2 Pro/Cat & Dog: The Miele Triflex HX2 is a premium cordless vacuum that can be reconfigured as a stick, upright, or handheld vacuum, allowing you to quickly find an ergonomic setup that suits cleaning stairs. That said, it's considerably heavier than the Dyson V12 Detect Slim. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. Mar 15, 2024: Added the Miele Triflex HX2 to the Notable Mentions.

  2. Jan 16, 2024: Removed Samsung Jet 70 from the Notable Mentions due to current availability.

  3. Nov 16, 2023: Article restructuring due to current product pricing. Removed the 'Best Upper Mid-Range Vacuum For Stairs' category. Recategorized Samsung Jet 60 as the 'Best Budget Vacuum For Stairs' pick. Added LG CordZero A9 Kompressor (A925KSM) as the new 'Best Mid-Range Vacuum For Stairs' pick.

  4. Sep 15, 2023: Ensured all main picks are still available and represent the best option for user needs.

  5. Jul 18, 2023: Replaced JASHEN V16 with Shark Pet Cordless (IX141) as 'Best Budget Vacuum For Stairs' pick due to current availability.

All Reviews

Our recommendations are based on what we think are currently the best vacuums for cleaning stairs. We don't just base our results on overall performance, but also on factors like availability, price, and reader feedback.

If you would like to do the work of choosing yourself, here is the list of all our vacuum reviews, ranked by their performance on stairs. Be careful not to get too caught up in the details. While no vacuum is perfect for every use, most are good enough to please almost everyone, and the differences are often not noticeable unless you really look for them.