There's no bigger pain than cleaning the stairs, especially when they're covered in thick carpet. Unless, of course, you have one of the best vacuums for carpeted stairs, which are designed with just this sort of tricky task in mind. When shopping around, there are several things you'll want to look for.
First, you'll want a vacuum that's lightweight and compact. A heavy vacuum cleaner will be a hassle to carry up and down the stairs, and a bulky design will be hard to maneuver. The best vacuums for stairs will have a slender profile that doesn't weigh too much. If it has a removable component to use on stairs, that's even better.
Next, you'll need the cord to be long enough to extend up the whole flight of stairs without having to switch outlets midway up. A 15-foot cord should be long enough for most homes. If you really hate the hassle of the cord, or just don't have an outlet near your staircase, consider a cordless vacuum — just remember that the tradeoff is having to keep it charged.
Finally, you'll want features like a strong motor, smooth-rolling wheels, and allergen-free filters that are easy to change. And if it has special attachments that work well on the stairs, that's a huge plus, too.
To help you in your quest to find the perfect stair-cleaning machine, I've put together a list of the best vacuum cleaners for carpeted stairs. Take a look, and prepare for life to get much easier.
1. The Best Upright Vacuum
Cord length: 25 feet
Includes: Pet power brush, dusting brush, and crevice tool
What's great about it: This SharkNinja vacuum cleaner, which is already extremely lightweight for an upright vacuum, features a removable canister that functions as a handheld cleaner. Just press a button and it pops right out. This makes it exceptionally convenient for use on stairs (or anywhere else you want to carry it). On top of that, it has a special attachment head designed specifically for steps that works great on carpet. This versatile cleaner also has easy, swivel steering and a HEPA filter that tackles 99.9 percent of allergens.
What fans say: "It's light enough for me to carry up and down the stairs, the canister lifts off of the base and makes vacuuming carpeted stairs a breeze, and it's easy to keep clean. This one comes with better attachments than the older version and the suction is just as good! They are not loud, they pick up all of the pet hair, and the don't clog!!"
2. The Best Cordless Vacuum
Cord length: No cord
Includes: Crevice nozzle, charging base, and AC power adapter
What's great about it: If you hate dragging a cord around or just don't have enough accessible outlets, this convertible cordless vacuum cleaner is the way to go. It's super lightweight and has strong suction that works wonderfully on pet hair and deeply embedded dirt, according to Amazon reviewers. The convenient two-in-one design lets you convert it from an upright into a handheld, making it even easier to use to navigate steps (or even take out to your car). The powerful 2200 milliamps per hour battery lasts more than 20 minutes on one charge. Other great features include smooth-rolling rubber wheels and handy LED corner lights to help you see under furniture.
What fans say: "I love the versatility and different ways it can be used, the varying power intensities, the attachments, and even the design of the charging base. So light weight, vacuuming the stairs is a breeze. Battery life is great, I use it for a solid 15 minutes without any waning in power."
3. The Best Handheld
Cord length: 15 feet
Includes: Crevice tool, dusting brush, motorized brush, and extended-reach stretch hose
What's great about it: Constructed with an ultra-portable design, this lightweight handheld vacuum cleaner handles effortlessly on stairs. A great option if you don't have the storage for a full-sized vacuum, the whole thing weighs less than 4 pounds, and it comes with a motorized brush that lifts pet hair, dirt, sand, grime, and other debris from even the thickest carpet. Wheel-free due to the handheld design, it features a powerful motor, a 15-foot-long cord, and an easy-off dust cup rather than an allergy-ridden bag.
What fans say: "I got this primarily for our carpeted stairs, which have a hairy blanket within a couple of days of hands-and-knees cleaning. This little beauty gets 90% of the cat hair (we have six) up on the first pass and the remaining 10% on the second. It now takes about a tenth of the time to deep clean the stairs. This is also great for getting the area adjacent to the baseboards nice and clean, which can't be done with a regular vacuum. Great product!"
4. The Best Budget Option
Cord length: 16 feet
Includes: Carpet/upholstery nozzle and hard surface nozzle
What's great about it: For those on a budget, this affordable handheld vacuum cleaner offers an effective way to clean your stairs at very little cost. For under 30 bucks, it's made with a multi-layer filtration system and a motor that other reviewers say is strong for its size. With more than 7,000 reviews on Amazon and a 4.4. star rating, it comes with distinct two nozzles — one for hard surfaces and one for dense carpet. The only drawback is that, unlike some mini-handhelds, this one has a cord; however, for the price, you really can't beat it.
What fans say: "I first used it on my stairs. The cord was long enough that I didn't have to unplug it and find a new outlet to complete my task. Worked great on my low-pile carpet, picking up pet hair, litter and other detritus of day-to-day carpeted stair use. Today I tried it on the upholstery. I have a grey cat that prefers a particular chair of my dining set. Just a few swipes with this Bissell product and I knew I had a winner."
5. The Best For Spot-Cleaning
Cord length: 15 feet
Includes: 3-inch "tough-stain" brush attachment
What's great about it: This compact vacuum cleaner is one part vacuum, one part carpet shampooer. It's designed to spot-clean your carpet after spills or tackle small areas that are especially dirty. This tiny cleaner is super lightweight with a compact tank that's easy to remove and fill. The 3-inch tough-stain tool helps scrub extra-grimy spots, and it's perfect for cleaning steps. The machine has a strong motor, smooth wheels, and a sleek design that's easy to store.
What fans say: "Absolutely amazing!!! We bought this mainly to use on our stairs and couches because the other carpet cleaning machine is too big. My husband and I love it ... It works so well that we ended up just cleaning our whole living room with it because it works better than our current machine."
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