Best Vacuum for Hardwood and Carpeted Stairs

Like hardwood floors, the steps in your home can be a challenge for many vacuums.

If you’re looking for one that performs well on stairs with hardwood or other hard floor material, there are a few important qualities to keep an eye out for.

It’s important to look for a lighter, thinner model for tackling the stairs. A heavy or bulky machine can be cumbersome—even dangerous—to maneuver up and down a staircase.

A narrow vacuum head also allows you to cover the entire surface area of the stairs, reaching all the nooks and crannies that traditional models miss.

You’ll also want to make sure that it has a long power cord, or no cord at all. This saves you the trouble of being forced to switch electrical outlets halfway up the steps.

If it uses a hose, that hose should be at least three feet long and come with a crevice tool for reaching tricky spots.

We took a hard look at some of the best and most popular canister models on the market today to determine which models perform well on both hardwood floors and staircases. By weighing their strengths against their weakness, we determined which models have the right qualities for both of these challenging surfaces.

After combing through product reviews, customer ratings, and expert opinions, we ended up with one model as our best choice – Miele Compact C1 Pure Suction Canister Vacuum.

Miele Compact C1 Pure Suction Canister Vacuum Review


This Miele Pure Suction is a sleek, high-performance 1200-watt, 6-stage rotary dial power setting canister model that makes light work of hardwood floors and stairs.

Canister models are a good choice if you’re looking for a primary, full-sized machine that also does well on the stairs. A good canister model will be able to handle the entire floor space of your home, not just the steps.

Our favorite canister model for tackling hardwood stairs is the Miele Pure Suction, and we’re not alone in our love for this model. Consumers and experts alike praise the Miele line.

The brand is well-known for sleek design, high-end components, and top shelf performance. Miele’s C1 Pure Suction continues that tradition, while still managing to retain a mid-range price point.

This is a bagged canister model that’s surprisingly lightweight for a full-sized model and it comes with Miele AirClean filter.

The attractive, sleek white body of the machine glides smoothly along on three casters, allowing for a tight turn radius and improved mobility.

The telescoping wand and hose of this canister model provide improved reach, allowing users to access difficult areas like high shelving, ceilings, and (of course) the stairs. Between the wand, hose, and electrical cord, the Pure Suction has a cleaning radius of almost 30 ft. from the outlet.

This model includes an array of useful attachments: a multi-floor tool (for rugs and hard floors), a dusting brush, a crevice tool, and an upholstery brush. The dusting, crevice and upholstery attachment can all be stored onboard the body of the machine for easy access.


Like other Miele models, the Compact C1 Pure Suction has earned many fans for its sleek, minimalistic appearance and design. Though it’s a very light machine, it still has a substantial feel, and the smooth edges, high-quality components and quiet operation give off an air of luxury.

Unlike other Miele models, however, the Pure Suction doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to own. It’s one of Miele’s least expensive models, sitting comfortably in the lower end of the mid-range price bracket.

The Compact C1 Pure Suction truly shines on hardwood and other hard surfaces, though also it performs well on area rugs and other low-pile carpeting. The multi-floor head is designed to switch between floor types quickly and easily with the flick of a switch.

Though it’s quieter than most vacuums, the Miele Pure Suction also produces the powerful suction necessarily to extract dirt and dust from nooks and crannies in hardwood floors. It also features a knob that allows users to adjust the suction level to accommodate more delicate surfaces.

The extendable wand and lightweight body are the two features that make this a great choice for the stairs. What’s also great is that, the suction of this model is evenly distributed across the head (unlike most models, which are strongest at the center of the head and weak at the edges), making it easy to extract debris from corners in a single pass.


Though the Miele Compact C1 Pure Suction is great for homes with hardwood, low-pile carpets and other firm surfaces, it delivers weak results on high-pile carpet. It lacks the beater brush roll necessary to dislodge particles from deep in the carpet. So this isn’t the best option for homeowners who have a high-pile carpeting in their home.

One common complaint with this model was its little short electrical cord. The cord is only 18 feet long, and homeowners with larger rooms may have to purchase an extension cord. The long wand does give the cleaner substantial reach, but many users were still forced to switch outlets between rooms.

Some shoppers may also be reluctant to purchase a bagged model with so many bagless alternatives on the market. Replacement bags aren’t very expensive, but they do add a minor extra cost to your cleaning budget.


The well-built, sleek Miele Compact C1 Pure Suction is a strong choice for a primary vacuum that can also make light work of cleaning your staircase. With powerful suction, an extendable wand, and a lightweight body, this model is our top choice for cleaning hardwood floors and stairs. There were many reviewers who asserted that the Pure Suction actually made cleaning fun, and it’s easy to see why. The smooth maneuverability and quiet (yet powerful) operation have a distinctly high-end feel.

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