Best Handheld Vacuum For Stairs in 2017

Vacuuming the house is something we all have to do – it might not be fun, but these days it can be done quickly and easily with any decent vacuum cleaner. Then you come to the stairs. Vacuuming the stairs can be difficult and frustrating with a regular vacuum. Lugging the heavy device up and down the stairs can be a real hassle. However, using a handheld vacuum cleaner makes this potentially tiresome task easier and quicker. This article aims to help you choose the best handheld vacuum for stairs for your needs. When buying a new handheld vacuum, there are a number of factors to consider. You only want the one that’s best for you.

How to Choose the Best Handheld Vacuum for Stairs

Battery Life

The first thing to consider is how long your new handheld vacuum is going to run for. This essentially boils down to two choices – do you buy a corded or cordless vacuum? A corded vacuum will never run out of power half way through the job – it will keep going as long as you need it to. However, you still run the risk of not being able to reach everywhere you want to go if the cable is not long enough. Consider whether your electricity sockets are in accessible places near the stairs or not. A cordless vacuum will never leave you wondering whether you will be able to reach the middle of the stairs, as it runs from a rechargeable battery. However, most cordless vacuums only have a limited battery life (generally between 15 and 30 minutes). If you need a longer lasting vacuum, perhaps consider whether a corded vacuum is a better choice for you.


Another aspect to consider is whether your vacuum offers all that you need it to. Consider whether the vacuum offers attachments to suit your particular needs. If you have a pet which drops hair, a special attachment to pick up the hair might be useful. Equally, if your home has a lot of nooks and crannies, attachments which allow you to reach into small gaps would make the job easier. The selection of tools and brushes a vacuum comes with can make or break your decision to purchase it.


Consider the design of the vacuum – some are designed so that the power switch has to be held on constantly in order to work. If you have any issues with dexterity, or simply don’t like the sound of needing to hold a button down for ten minutes, then a differently designed vacuum might be best for you. Another factor to consider is the weight of the device. One of the reasons people use handheld vacuums on the stairs is to save themselves from having to carry their main vacuum up and down. While handheld vacuums are likely to be much lighter than a traditional one, they can still weigh up to more than 2kg. If you would prefer a lighter vacuum, make sure to check out the weight of the product before purchase.


Most handheld vacuum cleaners have a limited waste collection capacity. If the amount of dust you can collect is of particular importance to you, look out for the vacuum’s capacity. If the vacuum has a higher capacity, you’ll be able to keep on cleaning for longer than a vacuum with a smaller capacity. Handheld vacuums generally have a capacity of around half a litre – in comparison with a traditional vacuum’s capacity of around 10 times as much (5.0 litres).

Types of Stairs

Different vacuums will perform better on different kinds of stairs. Whether you have carpeted or bare wood stairs can make a difference to the performance of your handheld vacuum. Wooden stairs need a softer head, or an attachment to soften the head. Without a soft cleaner head, you run the risk of scratching and damaging the stairs, so take care to check what kind of heads the vacuum comes with. Carpeted stairs pose a different set of challenges to the vacuum, needing a deeper cleaning head. You need an attachment which will be able to agitate the fibres of the carpet to pick out dust and hairs from it.


Finally, there is the issue of price. Different vacuum cleaners inevitably cost different amounts. While most come within the $50 -90 range, there are outliers on either side. If price is the most important aspect for you to consider, then it is of course worth shopping around for offers and deals to find the vacuum that is most suitable for you.

Product Reviews

Shark Rocket Corded Hand Vac

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Powerful Suction: This vacuum has a particularly powerful suction. Most reviewers noted that the vacuum did not lost suction, and easily picked up all the dirt and dust you would expect it to on the stairs.

Light Weight: The vacuum weighs 3.7 lbs, or 1.6kg, making it roughly in the middle of typical handheld vacuum weights.

Attachments: The vacuum comes with a special ‘TruePet Motorized Brush Accessory’, which is specifically designed to pick up pet hairs and dirt from deep within carpets, stairs and furniture. Many people have noted the effectiveness of the pet attachment in capturing shed hairs.

Easy release dirt disposal: Dust is released and the vacuum emptied with a single button press.


Corded: This is a corded handheld vacuum. The cord is an impressive 15 ft (4.5m) long, but for some stairs this may not be enough. It also limits the range the vacuum can be used at for other tasks.

Attachments: While the special pet attachment is well rated, the crevice attachments and lack of a particular soft attachment mark this vacuum down for some. This vacuum might not be the best for cleaning some bare wood stairs, without purchasing an extra nozzle.

Bissell Cleanview Deluxe Corded Handheld Vacuum

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Size: This vacuum is near universally described as being impressively small for its power. At only 10x5x8 inches (25x12x20cm), this is one of the smaller handheld vacuums available.

Power: Although the vacuum is small, it does not lack in suction. Most reviewers noted that the vacuum was more than adequate for cleaning all kinds of surfaces, including carpets and nooks and crannies on the stairs.

Options: This vacuum comes with several extra nozzles and attachments to make cleaning the stairs easier – from an extra wide head to a narrow crevice nozzle.


Filter: This vacuum has a filtration system, which filters the particles entering the waste collector, and prevents the potentially allergy causing particles from escaping. While this sounds good, in practice people have noted that the filter tends to get dirty and choked up with dust very easily, requiring regular cleaning.

Black+Decker BDH2000PL MAX lithium Pivot Vacuum

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Battery life: This is a corded handheld vacuum, so it needs to have a good battery life. Reviewers generally found this vacuum to last easily long enough to complete any tasks they needed it to, with its long lasting lithium battery standing up well to the task.

Design: This vacuum has a particularly impressive and innovative design, with a pivoting and moveable nozzle. There was consensus that this design feature was particularly useful in reaching out of the way places, and in the context of stair cleaning especially useful in reaching crevices.

Power: This a very powerful handheld vacuum, capable of collecting most types of dirt and dust which are likely to be discovered.


Breakable: Despite most reviews agreeing that this vaccum is effective at picking up dirt and mess, there were also frequent complaints that the vacuum is prone to breaking. Of particularly frequent complaint were the connectors that keep the dust collector in place.

Filtration – which there is a filter system in place on this vacuum, it appears to have some issues with design, particularly with regards to allowing in dust. This can be easily cleaned and repaired, but this may be an issue for some.

Eureka EasyCleanCorded Handheld Vacuum 71B

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Reach: This handheld vacuum is corded, but it comes with a particularly long cord, at 20ft (6m). This will likely be long enough to reach up and down any stairs, making this vacuum practical for many.

Attachments: The vacuum comes with an extendable stretching hose, making it useful for reaching to difficult places. It also comes with a crevice tool, and a specially designed nozzle cover. This cover is meant to make cleaning stairs in particular easier, and many reviewers agreed that the design was helpful in cleaning stair risers.


Weight: Perhaps the most common complaint from reviewers was that the vacuum is rather heavy for a supposedly portable, handheld device. The vacuum weighs nearly 5lbs (2.1 kg), which is significantly more than most on this list.

Noise: The vacuum is also rather noisy, particularly in comparison to the others on the list. This may not be an issue for you personally, but it is something to consider if you value quietness.

Hoover Air Cordless Bagless Handheld BH52160PC

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Accessories: The vacuum comes with a selection of alternative heads and nozzles, which make it more versatile than some of its competitors. These include a ‘Turbo Tool’ – a kind of broad head suitable for the main steps of the stairs, a crevice tool for the more difficult to reach places, and an intermediate between the two. Also included is a spinning brush head to clean fabrics.

Versatility: The vacuum is advertised as particularly versatile, and this seems to be the case. It is considered equally as useful on hard floor stairs as it is on carpeted stairs, which answers one of the flaws of some of the other vacuums on the list.


Breakable: As with the Black + Decker vacuum, this model has some reported issues with breaking. It was reported that it is in particular the plastic pegs which keep the dust collector in place which are more likely to break. The manufacturers do offer a warranty though, which might be a solution to this persistent problem.

Our Best Handheld Vacuum for Stairs Is…

The vacuum that is right for you is perhaps not the perfect one for someone else. The most important thing to consider is which choice best matches your particular needs for the product. The best way to be satisfied with a product is to choose the one that is the best for you. However, it is possible to draw conclusions on which of these 5 handheld vacuums is most likely to match the needs of the average person.

In my opinion, that is the first vacuum, the Shark Rocket Corded Hand Vac. This vacuum seems to meet the most important criteria: It is powerful, and capable of all the suction you are likely to need to clean any stairs; It is lighter than many of its competitors, making it impressively portable, and it is well designed so that it is easy to dispose of the collected waste. It is also suitable for all kinds of stairs, although extra attachments may make it more suitable for any particularities to your staircase.

Finally, the vacuum is supplied with extra tools to aid in cleaning up pet hair, and is said to be equally effective with all different kinds of mess and dirt. Choose your handheld vacuum based on the factors which matter to you most, but it is my opinion that you are most likely to be satisfied with the Shark Rocket.