Best Handheld Vacuum for Stairs: Your Complete Guide

best handheld vacuum for stairs

If you are remotely like me, just the thought of vacuuming your stairwell makes you sweat. As a nanny right out of college, part of my job description was cleaning and maintaining the house. I could handle dusting the furniture, picking up the toys, and wiping down the countertops. Lugging the family’s 20-pound vacuum cleaner up and down the steps only to struggle to get into every nook and cranny was another story. I needed the best handheld vacuum for stairs, and what I had to work with was falling short.

When you need to tackle the daunting chore of vacuuming your stairwell, you need a tool that is right for the job. The best handheld vacuum for stairs is one that is lightweight, versatile, and easy to maneuver. It helps if it is easy to empty and has some unique features that make cleaning just a bit simpler. There are many options, but it is possible to narrow your search down to the best on the market. Before you know it, you’ll be gliding down your steps with ease, with the best handheld vacuum for stairs in tow.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Handheld Vacuum for Stairs

Woman with handheld vacuum cleaning on sofa

In your search for the best handheld vacuum for stairs, there are many things to consider. You may think that in general, all vacuums are created equal, but that is not always the case. And, even if you have purchased the best handheld vacuum for stairs, it might not have the specific qualities to meet your needs. Considering the weight, durability, and cost of each model may help you to narrow your search. This will provide you with the best handheld vacuum for stairs that will serve you for many years.

Vacuum weight and portability

One of the first considerations when searching for the best handheld vacuum for stairs should be weight. No one wants to lug a heavy vacuum cleaner up and down a flight of stairs. The good news is that we found some of the best handheld vacuum cleaners, and none of them weigh more than a few pounds.

Cord vs. cordless

Another consideration is the choice of a corded vacuum versus a cordless model. While many people are fans of cordless rechargeable models, they may not have the battery life necessary for your whole cleaning job. You don’t want to make it halfway up the stairwell only to have your vacuum’s power fizzle out. In that case, a corded model may be your best choice. You will want to consider the length of the cord and your available electrical outlets. That way, you know the cord will stretch easily and comfortably while you vacuum your stairs.

Easy to empty

A vacuum that is easy to empty after cleaning is ideal. Many new models have easy-to-empty dust cups and canisters. While there are still vacuums with bags, a lot of these models are a thing of the past. No longer will you go to change your vacuum bag only to realize you don’t have a replacement. The best handheld vacuum for stairs will be simple to empty.

Extra features

Many of the models on this list of the best handheld vacuum for stairs also include additional features to make your job even easier. Some have motorized brushes ideal for removing pet hair, dust, and allergens from carpet and upholstery. Others have a special crevice tool designed to reach in all the corners and cracks of every stair.

Cost

The cost for the best handheld vacuum for stairs can range from $20 all the way to a professional grade tool for $200. Considering how important having a quality vacuum is, you may be willing to spend more money to get the best one. However, you may be delighted to find that even some affordably priced models are competent tools for cleaning the stairs. This gives you more freedom to choose based on the best features and not solely on price.

How We Reviewed the Best Handheld Vacuum for Stairs

To offer a quality unbiased opinion, we selected a variety of the most popular and highly rated handheld vacuums on Amazon. We read their descriptions, checked their specifications, and reviewed manufacturer's claims. Then we read through countless verified customer reviews.

Our Top Handheld Vacuums for Stairs

Our research resulted in the compilation of a list of our picks for the best handheld vacuum for stairs. Each model has hundreds of satisfied customer reviews as well as many quality features. We hope this helps you discover which will work best for your needs.

4.5 out 5 stars

Shark Rocket Ultra-Light with TruePet Mini Motorized Brush and 15-foot Power Cord Hand Vacuum (HV292), Maroon
  • Portable and ultra-lightweight. Less than 4 pounds in total
  • True Pet Motorized Brush for handheld deep cleaning
  • Easy-to-empty dust cup. No bag needed and empties with the touch of a button.
  • 15-foot-long power cord You never have to recharge, while giving you freedom to clean the whole room.
  • Powerful cleaning from start to finish.Amperage (amps):3.4

This product from Shark is one of the best handheld vacuum for stairs models. It is portable and lightweight, being only 4 pounds in total. It has an easy-to-empty dust cup and powerful suction. A 15-foot-long power cord means you never have to recharge it. The motorized brush attachment is designed to remove pet hair and dirt easily. It costs $85 to $150 and has an average Amazon rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Shark Rocket Ultra-Light with TruePet Mini Motorized Brush and 15-foot Power Cord Hand Vacuum (HV292), Maroon

Customers love this product. Many say it is worth the price. It has strong suction and works very well on carpeted stairs. The handle is well-designed and easy to maneuver into tight spaces. It has an angled brush head that reaches well into tight spaces. It comes with many easy-to-change attachments that are very helpful. The 15-foot cord length seems to be long enough to complete an entire staircase efficiently. However, the cord does not retract and has to wrap around the vacuum, which was a complaint from some.

There is a debate over whether this vacuum is lightweight, but a majority of customers think it is. A few others complained about the small canister that requires emptying often and a lack of suction. However, they seem to be a tiny minority, as most customers love this vacuum, especially for stairs.

4.4 out 5 stars

Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Handheld Vacuum, Corded, 33A1
  • Surface Type: upholstery, auto, stairs, Power Rating: 4 amps
  • Filtration: multi layer filtration, The Bissell hand vac uses the Cyclonic Cleaning System
  • 16 feet Power cord. Cleans stairs, upholstery and hard surfaces. Dirt Cup Capacity:0.78 L
  • Specialized rubber nozzle attracts hair and pulls out dirt on areas such as stairs and upholstery
  • Includes two specially designed nozzles

This 5-pound lightweight handheld vacuum is designed to clean carpets, rugs, stairs, and upholstery. It has a turbo brush tool specifically for cleaning stairs. There is also a hose attachment and a wide mouth attachment to tackle other household cleaning jobs. There are two models: one with a 16-foot cord and one with an 18-foot cord. This model is Amazon’s choice for “stair vacuum cleaner.” It costs $25 to $50 and has an average Amazon rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars.

Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Handheld Vacuum, Corded, 33A1

Customers love how powerful this vacuum is on pet hair. Many customers posted picture testimonials revealing just how great this vacuum is for removing pet hair from carpet and upholstery. The main complaint is the side-facing vents, which blow debris and dirt away from the vacuum, especially on uncarpeted surfaces. This makes it an excellent vacuum for your carpeted stairs, or even your car. It may not be the best choice for all-around home maintenance, especially if your home has a lot of hardwood or tiled flooring.

4.5 out 5 stars

BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser Lithium Ion Cordless Hand Vacuum, Purple
  • Buy BISSELL, save pets; BISSELL will donate 5 dollars for each pet hair eraser Li Ion purchase, upon activation
  • Remove more embedded dirt and pet hair with a motorized brush tool and lithium ion battery
  • 14V lithium ion battery for lithium powered cleaning; Dirt Cup Capacity: 0.7 Litres
  • Large, easy to empty dirt bin to help get rid of pet hair easily. Triple level filtration to help improve cleaning performance
  • Set of specialized pet tools includes: motorized brush tool, upholstery tool, and crevice tool

This vacuum is also from Bissell, but it is their cordless model that uses a lithium-ion battery. It weighs 4 pounds and has a 14.4-volt lithium ion battery. The manufacturer claims it can run up to 17 minutes. There is a motorized brush, triple level filtration, and specialized upholstery and crevice tools included. It costs $40 to $60 and has an average Amazon rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars.

BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser Lithium Ion Cordless Hand Vacuum, Purple

Many customers loved this vacuum and remarked that it works very well on pet hair and carpeted stairs. Few had issues with the runtime, and some even commented that it ran for 30 minutes or more. Others noted that 17 minutes gives you plenty of time to complete a lot of vacuuming. It is easy to clean and empty. Customer complaints stem from this vacuum’s lack of suction power. Many of the same critical reviews also remarked that it does not work as well on pet hair as it should. They noted there are many vacuums better suited for the job.

4.3 out 5 stars

Bissell Zing Bagged Canister Vacuum, Maroon, 4122 - Corded
  • Dirt cup capacity - 2 liters bag capacity. Portable, Multi-Surface Cleaning
  • Powerful suction gets the dirt high and low--great for bare floors, rugs and above-floor cleaning
  • Easily go from cleaning carpets to hard floors with the flip of a switch
  • Automatic cord rewind for quick cord storage with the push of a button
  • Includes: Telescoping Wand, Automatic Cord Rewind, Variable Suction Control, Full Bag Indicator

This vacuum from Bissell is the only bagged option on this list. We chose it as an option for those who do not like the mess and hassle of emptying a bagless vacuum. This handheld vacuum is compact and easy to maneuver around furniture and up steps. More substantial than some of the other options on this list at 7.5 pounds, this may not be the best handheld vacuum for stairs. It has a 15-foot power cord that retracts for easy clean-up. This vacuum goes quickly from carpets to hard floors with the flip of a switch, which is great for stairs that have runners. It costs $30 to $50 and has an average Amazon rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars.

Bissell Zing Bagged Canister Vacuum, Maroon, 4122 - Corded

Customers love that it has amazingly powerful suction. Many also like the adjustable suction, which makes this vacuum both powerful and versatile. It is sturdy and easy to maneuver. Even the bags are large enough to last a few months. Customers who complained mentioned that the floor attachment included with this vacuum is useless. It often falls off, and many people had to buy a separate attachment to use this vacuum. Others noted that it is best for hard floors and not ideal for carpet.

4.2 out 5 stars

Shark Cordless Pet Perfect Lithium-Ion (LV801) Handheld Vacuum, Black
  • A powerful cordless handheld vacuum with a lithium-ion battery, convenient for all cleaning surfaces
  • Twister suction technology, giving it strong suction power
  • Detachable motorized pet brush removes pet hair and ground-in dirt from upholstery, carpets, car mats, seats, and more
  • The crevice tool is used for hard-to-reach areas, a motorized brush for embedded messes, and a direct suction option for easy cleaning on any surface
  • Lightweight and portable, it's the perfect vacuum for your home, boat, RV, or car.The dust cup holds 0.43 dry quarts up to the Max Fill line

Another model from Shark, this is one of the best handheld vacuums for stairs. It is a cordless vacuum with a lithium-ion battery. This model has a detachable motorized pet brush that is great for removing pet hair and ground-in dirt from carpet and upholstery. It also has a crevice tool for hard-to-reach places. This handheld vacuum is lightweight, weighing in at less than 3 pounds. It costs $40 to $70 and has an average Amazon rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars.

Shark Cordless Pet Perfect Lithium-Ion (LV801) Handheld Vacuum, Black

Customers had lots of praise for this little cordless vacuum. They mentioned that it charges fast and keeps a charge longer than many comparable models. It has strong suction and is great for getting at the dirt in hard-to-reach places. Disappointed customers did not like how often you have to empty the canister while cleaning. Also, others noted that the battery only lasts 10 to 15 minutes, although customers seem to disagree about this. Overall, even with mixed reviews, this product seems to perform favorably for most.

4.1 out 5 stars

Dyson V7 Trigger Cord-Free Handheld Vacuum Cleaner
  • Capacity (volume) - .15 gallon; Cord free; Hassle free; No cord to unravel, plug in, drag around and restrict your reach; You can quickly and easily clean when you need to
  • Tools included: mini motorized tool, combination tool, crevice tool
  • Powered by Dyson digital motor V7; The most powerful handheld vacuum; Up to 30 minutes of fade free suction; With fade free lithium ion batteries, suction starts strong and stays strong
  • HYGIENIC dirt ejector; Hygienically drive out trapped dust and debris in single action; There's no need to touch the dirt
  • 2 year Warranty. Dyson Free 2 year Warranty covers parts and labor

For many, Dyson is the holy grail of vacuum brands. This handheld model is no exception. It is cordless, and its lithium-ion battery keeps a charge for 30 minutes. It has a hygienic dirt ejector for easy clean-out. Also included is a mini motorized tool for pet hair and ground-in dirt, an extension hose, and a car charger. It weighs about 4 pounds. It costs $180 to $300 and has an average Amazon rating of 4.1 out of 5 stars.

Dyson V7 Trigger Cord-Free Handheld Vacuum Cleaner

Customers love the long battery life of this cordless model. It has excellent suction power and works well with pet hair and ground-in dirt. With the ability to remove dirt easily on a variety of surfaces, this is a contender as the best handheld vacuum for stairs. One customer mentioned he could clean the entire staircase in just two minutes. Disappointed customers remarked that for the high price tag, they expected more. Many noted that at high-power, the battery life is very short, lasting only 5 to 10 minutes. Some even had it die after only a few months of use, which is a huge disappointment for such an expensive product.

4.1 out 5 stars

BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Handheld Vacuum, Cordless, Grey (BDH2000PL)
  • Dustbowl capacity 15 ounces; Lithium Technology for strong suction and fade free power
  • Exclusive pivoting nozzle means huge power in a compact size
  • A high performance motor provides superior suction capability
  • The cyclonic action spins dust and debris away from the filter keeping suction power strong
  • 3 stage filtration system. Charge only at ambient temperatures between 50°F (10°C) and 104°F (40°C)

This model from Black + Decker is cordless, with a unique pivoting nozzle for a lot of power and versatility. It has strong suction and an excellent filtration system. Compact and lightweight, this model weighs only 3.78 pounds. It has a built-in crevice tool, and the pivoting mechanism is ideal for vacuuming in tight places, like your staircase. It costs $45 to $80 and has an average Amazon rating of 4.1 out of 5 stars.

BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Handheld Vacuum, Cordless, Grey (BDH2000PL)

Customers love the strong suction of this vacuum. It has a lot of power and can suck up nearly anything in its path. Just be sure to clean the filter and empty the dirt compartment regularly. It is compact and easy to carry around the house to use in small space on small messes. It also has a great warranty. This vacuum got its fair share of complaints as well. Many people had the battery implode, although the manufacturer claims they have resolved this issue. Others noted the poor filter design that makes it hard to empty and the short battery life.

4 out 5 stars

ROOMIE TEC Cordless Vacuum Cleaner, 2 in 1 Handheld Vacuum, High-Power 2200mAh Li-ion Rechargeable Battery, with Corner Lighting and Upright Charging Base
  • 2-in-1 Cordless Vacuum -- easily switch upright stick vacuum to handheld vacuum at the touch of a button and tackle trodden-in dirt, dust and debris on furniture, soft furnishings, stairs and car interiors
  • Powerful Suction -- 2x individual high power motors provides excellent dust pick-up ability on carpet, floor and tile.
  • Long Lasting Battery -- 2200mAh Lithium battery with up to 23 minutes of uninterrupted cleaning - from just one charge.
  • 6 LED Corner Lighting -- provides excellent lighting under your furnitures.
  • What You Get -- Roomie "Vincent" cordless vacuum, charging base, AC power adapter, multi-function crevice nozzle, and our instruction manual.

This vacuum from Roomie Tec is a 2-in-1 cordless vacuum that switches from an upright stick vacuum to a handheld vacuum. This brand promises continuous cleaning power for 23 minutes. The handheld vacuum piece weighs a light 2.1 pounds. It costs $90 to $100 and has an average Amazon rating of 4.0 out of 5 stars.

ROOMIE TEC Cordless Vacuum Cleaner, 2 in 1 Handheld Vacuum, High-Power 2200mAh Li-ion Rechargeable Battery, with Corner Lighting and Upright Charging Base

Customers love how lightweight and easy to use this vacuum is. The battery lasts long enough for many customers to clean several rooms. This vacuum did an excellent job in the little crevices of places like steps and car seats. Some customers complained that the canister was a bit tricky to empty and that it could be hard to align with the filter. Furthermore, others mentioned that the handheld part worked well, but the upright stick vacuum did not have good suction. Also, this vacuum is not ideal for high pile carpet.

Making the Right Choice for the Best Handheld Vacuum for Stairs

Product

Details

Rating

Price

Shark Rocket Handheld Vacuum (HV292)
  • Portable and lightweight
  • Easy-to-empty dust cup and powerful suction
  • 15-foot-long power cord
  • Motorized brush attachment
  • Well-designed handle
  • Angled brush
  • Easy-to-change attachments

4.5 out of 5.0

Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Corded Handheld Vacuum 33A1B
  • Upholstery, auto, and stairs surfaces
  • Multi-layer filtration
  • Cyclonic Cleaning System
  • 16-foot power cord
  • Specialized rubber nozzle

4.4 out of 5.0

Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Lithium-Ion Cordless Pet Hand Vacuum 2390
  • 14.4-volt Lithium-ion battery
  • Motorized brush
  • Triple level filtration
  • Specialized upholstery and crevice tools

4.5 out of 5.0

Bissell Zing Bagged Canister Vacuum 4122
  • Portable, multi-surface cleaning
  • Powerful suction
  • Automatic cord rewind
  • Telescoping wand, automatic cord rewind, variable suction control, full bag indicator
  • 15-foot power cord

4.3 out of 5.0

Shark Cordless Pet Perfect XL Lithium-Ion Handheld Vacuum (LV901)
  • Powerful cordless handheld vacuum with a lithium-ion battery
  • Twister suction technology
  • Detachable motorized pet brush
  • Motorized brush, crevice tool, and direct suction

4.2 out of 5.0

Dyson V7 Trigger Pro Vacuum
  • Cord-free
  • Mini motorized tool, combination tool, crevice tool
  • 30 minutes of fade-free suction
  • Dyson digital motor V7
  • Hygienic dirt ejector
  • 2 year warranty

4.1 out of 5.0

20V MAX Lithium Pivot Vac (BDH2000PL)
  • Lithium Technology
  • Pivoting nozzle
  • High performance motor with superior suction capability
  • Wide mouth design
  • 3-stage filtration system

4.1 out of 5.0

Vincent Cordless Vacuum Cleaner
  • 2-in-1 cordless vacuum
  • 2x individual high power motors for suction
  • 6 LED corner lighting
  • Multi-function crevice nozzle

4.0 out of 5.0

Any of the models we highlighted are great for stairs. If you are looking for a great cordless vacuum, this Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Lithium-Ion Hand Vacuum would be our choice. The best handheld vacuum for stairs with a cord belongs to the highly rated Shark Rocket Corded Hand Vacuum. Whichever model you select to suit your needs and price range, you are sure to be vacuuming up a storm in no time!

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