The Best Upright Vacuum for Stairs

stick vacuum shark navigator
stick vacuum shark navigator

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The beauty of having an upright vacuum cleaner is the natural feeling it has when being used. It’s almost like a dance – moving and flowing with the cleaner as you pass through some of the most highly transited areas of your house. They are very convenient, reliable, and practical. However, we’ve all had the dreaded task of using one to clean a long flight of stairs.

Certain vacuum cleaners maximize the benefits of an upright vacuum cleaner, while also having features that make it easy and simple to clean stairs with. We’re going to look at the best upright vacuum for stairs.

How To Choose The Best Upright Vacuum For Stairs

We’re looking for a vacuum that can basically do two things: clean the house and clean the stairs. Typically, a traditional upright vacuum would be the best solution for your house, and a small handheld vacuum would work best for the stairs. But, if you only want to purchase one vacuum for both tasks, you need an upright vacuum that can handle well on the stairs.


Walking up and down a flight of stairs constantly is a good enough workout for the average person. Trying to properly clean a flight of stairs while carrying a 20 pound vacuum is near impossible for some people. This leads to individuals neglecting their staircase at home, leaving much dirt at the corners and edges of a highly walked area.

When shopping for a vacuum to clean your stairs, the first thing to consider is the weight. You want to aim for a vacuum that is less than 15 pounds. Anything heavier than that would probably give you a sore back by the end of the chore.


Does the vacuum have a detachable hose? Multiple tools? Adjustable brush height? These are only some of the questions that you need to ask yourself when looking for an upright vacuum.

One of the most important things to consider is the way the machine moves. While some of them are great and curve smoothly with a “flick-of-the-wrist”, others need to be near-tilted to move 20 degrees in any direction.

When thinking about buying a vacuum cleaner for a small space such as the staircase, an upright vacuum cleaner that can move easily will save you headaches in the future. There is nothing worse than trying to move the vacuum and hitting a wall where you can chip the paint. Even worse, you could damage the vacuum itself.

​Suction Power

The floor surface of the stairs is probably the most walked on surface in the entire house.  One goes from up and down very often, given that the bedrooms are usually on the upper level while the kitchen and living room are on the lower level. This invites a lot of dirt from the outside and surrounding areas to collect on the stairs at a much higher level than any other part of the house.

The higher suction power that the vacuum cleaner has, the cleaner the surface being vacuumed will be. There are machines with some very fancy brushes, but without suction you are literally just moving dirt around.

Our Picks For The Best Upright Vacuum Cleaners for Stairs

The best upright vacuum cleaner for stairs is both lightweight and powerful. It combines the versatility of an upright vacuum cleaner with the convenience of a handheld vacuum. Let’s look at our top three picks.

Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional

Up first is the very sleek and powerful ​Shark Navigator Lift-Away Upright Vacuum. This bag-less vacuum cleaner weighs in at just shy of 14 pounds, and it comes packed with accessories such as a crevice tool and hardwood floor attachment. It works with any type of flooring surface – hardwood, tile, and carpet.


  • 14 lbs
  • 30 ft cord
  • 2 in 1 vacuum
  • Hypo-Allergenic HEPA filter
  • Narrow brush design
  • Bagless

One of the best features of this machine is the “lift-away” feature, which allows the user to press a button and turn it into a portable vacuum cleaner. The canister and detachable hose come off the upright vacuum’s brushes to allow a more portable, yet powerful cleaning machine. This makes it the perfect machine for capturing dust particles in those sharp corners on the staircase.

One of our favorite features is the HEPA filter, which removes the dust, dander, and allergens from the air.


This machine is on the heavier side of the other vacuum cleaners we’ve reviewed. While 14 pounds may not be a lot for some, other users may have a hard time moving it up and down the stairs. That is something to consider, give that the “lift-away” feature may be comfortable only to some.

​Why Buy?

Shark Navigator Lift-Away is the perfect vacuum to capture dust particles on sharp corners and tight spaces.

Hoover Vacuum Cleaner Air Steerable Wind Tunnel

Next, we have the very functional ​Hoover Vacuum Cleaner Air Steerable WindTunnel Bagless Lightweight Corded Upright. This upright vacuum cleaner has a handle that allows you to steer the brush with very minimal effort. This is key to move the machine through circular staircases that might be difficult to reach.

Additionally, its three channels of suction give it a high-power status in the vacuum world. For areas such as a staircase, this is the optimal machine for very dusty steps.


  • 13 lbs
  • 30 ft cord
  • Detachable Hose with crevice tool
  • Hypo-Allergenic HEPA filter
  • Multi-Floor brush roll
  • Bagless

One major advantage of this vacuum is the standard 5-year warranty that Hoover provides at the time of purchase. This not only shows the company that the company has in their product, but the amount of effort they must have put into it. There’s nothing worse than having a vacuum cleaner break down on you, but with this machine that wont be a problem.


This Hoover also comes with a HEPA filter, just like the Shark Navigator. Hoover adds in several additional tools, such as a 2 in 1 crevice tool.

​Why Buy?

Powerful, lightweight, and affordable - Hoover brings a powerful combination.

Dirt Devil Razor Pet Steerable Bagless Upright Vacuum

This super-slim ​Dirt Devil Razor Pet Steerable Bagless Upright Vacuum​ caught our attention for a couple of reasons. First of all, it has a very nice and powerful brush can you can see-through while it’s cleaning. This really tingles our “oddly-satisfying” cleaning glands when thinking about seeing all that dust getting sucked away.


  • 11 lbs
  • 25 ft cord
  • 10 ft Extended Hose
  • Swivel brush design
  • Powered Stair/Upholstery Tool
  • Bagless

Additionally, it comes with a couple of small tools to reach tiny corners and spaces like those found in staircases. The powered stair and upholstery tool works really well in tight spaces.

The best thing about this cleaner is the powered tool that has an actual “mini-brush” you can use with your hands to clean the stairs. This is perfect to move those dirt particles which have become one with the carpet. You can use this tool to deep-clean your stairs, and keep them clean longer.


​This is the lightest weight upright vacuum for stairs that makes our list. If weight is a concern, this Dirt Devil is your best bet.

​Why Buy?

Powerful, lightweight, and affordable - Dirt Devil Razor is a great investment for deep cleaning.

Our Picks for the Best Upright Vacuum for Stairs




Best Upright Vacuum for Stairs



Now that you have seen a couple of different styles, you know what to look for when searching for the best upright vacuum cleaner for stairs. Some of the things you might want to consider is how much weight you can carry comfortably, and how wide your steps are. Knowing these things will aid you in your search for a great vacuum cleaner for your stairs.

About the Author Allen Michael

Allen Michael is the Founder and Editor of Home Viable, a website that he started to provide readers with tips on home efficiency and automation. He draws on his engineering background combined with his family-of-four experiences for his articles.

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