handheld vacuum for stairs

What is the best Handheld Vacuum For Stairs? There are some cleaning jobs that we tend to leave until last because they seem like hard work and the effort of cleaning and vacuuming the stairs, especially carpeted stairs, can seem like a chore unless with have the right tool for the job. There are many vacuum cleaners around that promise a great performance in this tricky area by providing a combination of features such as a light, portable body, a powerful motor, the ability to handle multiple surfaces, the flexibility and reach to get into crevices and plenty of accessories for dealing with pet hair and upholstery. The following corded and cordless stair vacuums are considered to be among the best this year because of their combination of these features and buyer satisfaction.

handheld vacuum for stairs

1. Shark Rocket Corded Hand Vac

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​The last of the corded models to consider here comes from a different manufacturer and brings a completely different style and shape. The problem with handheld models like the Eureka ones above is that even though they are designed to be compact enough for storage, they are not the smallest around and the Shark Rocket Corded Hand Vac shows us just how small and convenient these sorts of vacuum cleaners for carpeted stairs can be.

 This machine promises to be ultra lightweight to ensure that it is portable – something that is aided by the 15ft cord – and there is very little to it aside from the motor, canister, handle and “extended reach stretch” hose.

​It may be small but it still promises a tough clean and the motor really makes a difference. This is one of those “never loses suction” models and this strength comes in handy when picking up dirt and pet hair from carpets using the TruePet motorized brush. In addition to this brush, the vacuum also comes with a dusting brush and crevice tool which means that this portable model really does have potential in lots of different spaces and on different surfaces.

2. BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser Cordless Vac

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​There are many powerful cordless models around that ensure that going away from mains power does not mean a decline in power or the intensity of the clean. Another Bissell model that is worth considering when looking for a suitable stair vac that can easily pick up pet hair is the Bissell Pet Hair eraser hand vac.

There is the promise of a strong lithium-ion battery that won’t fade and a light, manageable shape but there are some important differences to the cleaning head and brushes that highlight its potential on stubborn hair in carpets.

​There is a selection of attachments available with this product – the crevice tool, the dusting brush, the power head brush-roll and the pet upholstery tool. The former gives users the chance to get into tight corners, the latter has three blades for greater speed and efficiency across the carpet and the dusting brush provides a more delicate action on vulnerable surfaces when a tough brush may cause damage. With all of this, and the LED battery status indicator, this ergonomic, capable little device should make short work of the mess left behind by pets.

3. Shark ION W1 Handheld Vacuum

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​While there are clearly plenty of great vacuum cleaners out there that can handle the job with a big cord trailing behind them, some consumers will much prefer the convenience of something that is cordless as there are fewer concerns about portability.

The Shark ION W1 hand vac is a small, streamlined option, with the added benefit of weighing just 1.4 lbs, that takes away the mains power source but promises to still provide great power and suction with its high speed brushless motor design and ability to clean any surface with the multi-surface cleaning tool.

​As a result, the model is designed to be the ideal option for cleaning carpeted stairs and upholstery. This multi surface tool is a great way of lifting hairs and dirt from fabrics to ensure that the process is much quicker and easier for the user but there are other tools that can add some versatility to the clean, such as the crevice tool that gets deep into the creases of car seat ans sofas to collect every last crumb. Once the job is completed, the design of the device means that buyers can easily empty out all the dirt and debris and there is also a reusable filter that can be rinsed off.

4. Eureka 71A /72B / 71 C Easy Clean Handheld Vacuum

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​Another model from Eureka that makes great uses of a small, compact design and a great reach is the Eureka Easy Clean Vacuum. There are a lot of similarities here with with the RapidClean model because it has the extended reach from the hose, a long cord to trail up the stairs and the motor is only slightly less powerful at 5.5amps.

This should mean that the device has a comparable cleaning power and performance on different surfaces, and there are the same great promises about multi-surface cleaning, but there are also additional features that should add to the experience.

​Like the previous model, there is a simple switch to flick the brush roll between carpet and hardfloor modes for a more suitable approach depending on the surface but there is also a visor to the front that can be flipped up to clean at better angles and a washable filter. This means that it should be much easier for users to pick up the dirt and hair from vertical areas, like sofa cushions and the edges of the steps, because there is no longer the need to hold the vacuum at an awkward angle. The model numbers 71A/ 72B and 71C stand for the the colors Sunflower Yellow, Red and Blue respectively.

5. Eureka RapidClean Handheld Step Vacuum – NOT AVAILABLE

​Because the job of cleaning hair and dirt off of carpeted stairs can often be a tricky one requiring plenty of power, many of the best vacuum cleaners for this area are corded models for a reliable, ongoing source of power to the powerful motor. The Eureka RapidClean Step Vacuum is a hand held model that is designed to not only be easy to use in those difficult areas – with the 25ft cord, 3ft hose and tools to reach up high and into crevices – but also be both reliable and gentle on the stairs.

​There are two distinct cleaning options with this model and the simple flick of a switch lets users change from a brush for hard floors to one for carpets depending on the surface. The power of the 6 amp motor means that all the embedded dirt and hair should be lifted with plenty of force but there is also a gentle feel to this device in the use of soft wheels that won’t cause damage. It seems that this handy bagless model is something that can be used with confidence across the house, on stairs or upholstery, and it even stores away neatly due to its compact shape.

Things to Consider When Buying a Vacuum Cleaner

Things to Consider When Buying a Vacuum Cleaner

The old vacuum cleaner has “bitten the dust” and you need a replacement.  One quick look online is all it takes to realize that choosing a new machine might be more challenging than you thought. It’s easy to get caught up in the “latest and greatest” when perusing vacuums online or in magazines and end up with a machine that is either too much or not enough, or just doesn’t fit your needs.

We’ve put together a few questions for consideration to help focus your search efforts before purchasing that new vacuum cleaner. Maybe you’ve already thought about some of these, so please use the following list to quickly navigate to the concerns most important to you.

What Flooring Types Do I Have?

Upright and Canister Vacuums on Multi-floorsProbably the most obvious consideration is whether you have mainly carpeting, hard floors, or a fairly even combination of both. Generally speaking, for homes with a lot of carpeting, especially in large areas, an upright vacuum cleaner is a good choice. However, if your personal preference tends toward canister style vacuums, there are quite a few excellent choices available. You will want to be sure that it has a floor nozzle with a motorized brushroll and height adjustment options for various pile carpets.

If you love hardwood or tile flooring with a few rugs here and there, or enjoy low-pile carpeting, a canister style vacuum is a great option. Using a specialized floor brush, these are usually very maneuverable for working quickly around and underneath furniture. Some are equipped with combination floor tools that easily switch to effectively clean scatter rugs. For true canister vacuum lovers, there are machines that feature high quality motorized floor nozzles that can effectively handle deep-pile carpets.

Most people have a combination of both carpeting and hard floors. At this point, style preference will be your guide. However, be sure to check for convenience features such as on/off brushroll control, height adjustment, and suction control. Be sure to note whether the brushroll is air-powered or electrically powered as this affects the effectiveness of deep-pile carpet cleaning.

Do I Need to Control Allergens?

This is a key question to consider since we spend, on average, about 90% of our time indoors where pollutants can be 2 to 5 times higher than typical outdoor concentrations. This is especially important to ponder if you or someone in your family has asthma or allergies. A vacuum cleaner that provides HEPA filtration can be an important contributor to improving your indoor air quality. HEPA filters capture particulate matter down to 0.3 microns so that the exhausted air is actually cleaner than what was sucked into the vacuum. There are also machines that include some level of charcoal filtration to help control odors—great for pet owners.

An additional consideration is a vacuum that not only uses HEPA filters but does so in a completely sealed system. This means that there is virtually no leakage of air through the housing or fittings of the machine and all air (along with pollutants) is forced through the filtration system, leaving your indoor air allergen free. See this article for more information about allergies and vacuums.

How Often Do I Vacuum?

Robotic Vacuum Being ProgrammedSomething you may not have thought about, the frequency of your cleaning schedule can be impacted by the ease or difficulty of storing and accessing your vacuum. For those folks who shed their shoes the minute they hit the door, walking on floors that quickly accumulate pet fur, crumbs, and tracked-in dirt or sand, daily vacuuming is standard operating procedure. In that case, a vacuum that is difficult to access and use quickly can make this routine a real chore. Consider a robotic vacuum that can be scheduled to clean while you’re at work or running errands so you return to grit-free floors, really nice if you frequently bring home company.

If your debris tends to concentrate in specific areas, a stick vacuum is a champ at quickly taking care of daily messes whether on hard floors or carpets, as well as effectively handling more extensive weekly cleaning. There are also light-weight uprights and compact canisters with parking features that make them easy to store and use at a moment’s notice.

How Many Levels are in My Home?

Stick Vacuum Being Carried UpstairsIn other words, how many stairs do you have to carry your vacuum up and down? There are many maneuverable, light-weight cordless vacuums that have great suction power and long run times that can handle multiple floor types. There are also lightweight vacuums in both upright and canister styles that make transporting them between floors easy.

An additional thought is the type of flooring on each level. While it sounds crazy, sometimes more than one vacuum is a very good idea. If you have a main floor that really benefits from a machine that can handle a variety of floor types, your upper floor may only require a vacuum best for carpets or hard floors. Or, the reverse may be true. In either case, consider purchasing a smaller stick vacuum for the space best suited for it, and save yourself grueling trips up and down stairs with your larger machine.

What Additional Surfaces will I be Cleaning?

Vacuum Cleaner Tool AssortmentIf you like vacuuming away all the accumulated dust from furniture, curtains, moldings, and baseboards instead of dusting, you’ll want a vacuum that includes a variety of accessory tools. Most include at least a combination brush and crevice tool, while others have additional floor nozzles, an upholstery tool, and specialized accessories for specific types of cleaning. If you own pets, or have a lot of stairs, consider a vacuum that includes a mini-motorized tool for easy cleaning. Some offer an even wider variety of specialized tools and extension wands which you can purchase separately as you need them.

How Much Noise Can I Stand?

Given the technology, if you will, of vacuums, there is a certain amount of expected sound generated during use. Typically, the larger and more heavy-duty the machine for the job, the louder it is. For homes, and for office spaces where a quieter sound level is desired, there are vacuums that have been designed with insulated motor housings as well as newer low-noise motors for quieter operation. Some can run as lows as 47 dB at maximum power while still delivering 120 CFM. Vacuum manufacturers such as NaceCareMiele, and Sebo have recently redesigned some of their machines for quieter operation. Check specifications for your selection before buying.

How Much Maintenance is Required?

This is a question that really depends on your definition of “a lot” and how tedious different kinds of maintenance are for you. Bagless vacuums don’t have bags that need to be changed, but dust bins still need to be emptied and washed periodically, especially if your home includes allergy-sufferers. Any vacuum with a HEPA filter will need that filter to be replaced when necessary, depending on individual home environments. The same is true for any other type of filter unless it is specified as a washable filter.

Vacuum Cleaner Maintenance

Brushrolls will collect pet fur, hair, threads and other debris and will need to be cleaned to maintain top operating capabilities. Ease of access to it should be a consideration. For quality vacuums that last for years, sometimes accessory tools like dusting brushes may need to be replaced. Check to see if these are available for purchase either at retail or from the manufacturer.

The Main Vacuum Types

There are five primary shapes of vacuum cleaners, each performing a slightly different function, although some combine those forms in order to provide more bang for your buck. Being aware of the expectations you have of your vacuum cleaner can help you more intelligently and decisively pick one of the following.

1. Handheld

Handheld vacuums are perfect for getting those painfully hard-to-reach areas that desperately need a cleaning. The most common example for use is in vacuuming cars, since, as the name suggests, this model can be held in only one hand. Its versatility makes it a dream for suctioning up dirt and debris in a variety of tight places, but it would not serve well for general flooring cleaning, which would take a long time to clean with a handheld. This type of vacuum cleaner comes in all sorts of different forms with equally different price tags.

2. Canister

Canister vacuum cleaners are a happy medium between the upright model and the stick model. They are powerful like the upright cleaners, but feature a slender frame, like the stick cleaners. In this case, a separate canister is attached to a long wand which can be used to maintain not only carpeted areas but also bare flooring as well. This style of vacuum cleaner tends to be one of the most expensive options, given its technologically-forward and multi-functional design.

3. Upright

These cleaners are perhaps the most popular and sought-after forms of vacuum cleaners. When you imagine a vacuum cleaner or see one advertised in media, the image you picture is probably that of an upright machine. These models provide the most powerful clean-up for your house, and offer the comforting benefit of usually easy-to-understand functions and accessories, since most people have used an upright vacuum cleaner at least once in their lifetime. Most models provide settings that allow these vacuum cleaners to be used not only on carpeted surfaces but also bare floors.

4. Stick

While perhaps the least powerful of the vacuum models, stick vacuums have a knack for getting into narrow places and doing a tremendous job on hardwood floors, area rugs and light carpeting. This type of vacuum features a long stick-like handle and a slender construction. The slimness of this model makes it a perfect addition to any closet space, as it tucks neatly into most corners after its purpose has been served.

5. Autonomous / Robot

Robot vacuum cleaners have gained a lot of popularity in recent years, mainly due to the fact that they require little effort on your end. These vacuums are able to roam freely around your home, sucking up any small mess in its way. They not only save you time, but they are also able to reach places that larger vacuums wouldn’t be able to, such as under the couch. One main drawback of robot vacuums is that they typically come at a steep price.

Vacuum Cleaners

Location, Location, Location

Do you have primarily hardwood floors throughout your house? Are these floors covered with area rugs, or are they bare? Is your home filled with wall-to-wall carpeting? These are considerations you must make before taking the leap and purchasing your very own vacuum cleaner.

Bare Floors:

If you have bare floors, you’re better off with models that provide a number of attachments and which don’t have quite as much heft as some of the others. Using a regular upright vacuum on flooring like hardwood poses a number of problems, which includes scratching your smooth and coveted floors and being counterproductive by scattering debris across their surfaces. Some upright vacuums do provide settings that function better on non-carpeted areas, but for the most part your best bet would be with a model like the canister vacuum, which can also take care of your area rugs if you have any. These vacuums usually come with a bare-floor brush, which makes keeping your floors squeaky clean and scratch-free a piece of cake.


On the other hand, if you have wall-to-wall carpeting, it’s definitely worth considering a model with different advantages than a vacuum cleaner suited for hardwood flooring and tiling. You won’t need to worry about scratching the surface of your carpet, and in fact, you’ll want something powerful that pulls up all the lingering debris from the carpet strands. In this instance, an upright cleaner is a great way to go. There are all sorts of extra conveniences that upright vacuums have recently come out with, including a dirt sensor which makes sure you get that last speck of grime.

Know the layout of your flooring and what sorts of surfaces you’ll be dealing with to ensure your needs will be met with your new vacuum cleaner.

To Bag or Not To Bag

The general consensus is that, whether you have a bagged vacuum or a bagless vacuum, your house will be clean either way (as long as you keep using it). However, there are a few small differences that may make or break your decision to buy one or the other.


If you or any of your family members are sensitive to allergens or have asthma, the bagged vacuum is probably more for you. Dust exposure is minimized when the bag is emptied and most bags are guaranteed to trap all but .03% of the dust and pollen in your carpeting. You do have to replace the bags on a regular basis, although these are typically available at most supermarkets.


If you are environmentally-minded and prefer to not have to deal with replacing bags, the bagless vacuum is more for you. These vacuums usually have a see-through canister which gives you perfect access to seeing how full the vacuum is, which can help you determine when you need to empty it out.

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