Dirtbuster, dustbuster, furbuster....something
June 7, 2021 5:07 AM   Subscribe

Can anyone recommend a hand-held vacuum for super furry stairs?

Looking to get something that isn't going to hurt my arm as I use it, and will suck up the detritus from four pets enthusiastically. Our stairs are often gross, because it's the pits to vacuum them.

I think it needs a brush mechanism, not just a suck mechanism but I don't want a full size regular vac with attachments.

Plug in is ok if it has a long cord, otherwise a rechargeable. We already have the Shark but it isn't up to this hairy, hairy challenge.
posted by A Terrible Llama to Home & Garden (13 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I have a handheld Dirt Devil (I think it is called "red devil") that has a pretty effective beater brush and a long cord. (NOTE: I don't know if it is effective on pet hair).

I don't know whether it will hurt your arm as you use it as it is ... somewhat heavy and the motor does apply some torque to the handle as you hold it.
posted by gauche at 5:41 AM on June 7, 2021

If the carpet on your stairs has an even moderate pile, then a cordless won't work reliably; the pile will get wedged and the beater bar will stall out. You'll need a corded vac for anything other than a very short pile.

If cordless is still on the table, you can get refurbed Dysons from the manufacturer for pretty good prices. I'm not sure I'd recommend any other brand for functionality and ease of use. Our hand-held Dyson is still going strong after 10 years of unkind use.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:46 AM on June 7, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: You need a carpet rake. It'll get right into the corners. It's sweaty work but unquestionably works the best.

Then just use a shop vac or whatever to schlup up the big piles of hair you find.
posted by phunniemee at 5:55 AM on June 7, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I have a Dirt Devil Classic, which has a long cord and a beater bar and I have two cats and a fluffy dog and the vacuum does good work on the stairs (I bought it specifically to vacuum the stairs). The dust reservoir fills up with hair quickly so I carry along a little trash can to empty it into as I go. I've had mine for 5 years and I've only had to change the filters so far. Disassembly to remove stuff wrapped around the beater requires a screwdriver but is otherwise pretty simple.
posted by AzraelBrown at 6:17 AM on June 7, 2021

Do you have the pet hair attachment for the shark? I have a Shark duo and I tackle our hairy stairs with that in hand held mode with the pet hair attachments and it deals very well with our ancient carpet plus two extremely sheddy cats. It does need to be on a full charge before I even attempt the stairs though. (I feel like my life would be easier if I could just vacuum the cats with the pet hair attachment, tbh but they are not interested and prefer to coat my house in their fur instead.)

When I haven't done it for awhile (because it still sucks) I do go over the carpet with a rubber brush first but that is awkward because it's full size and I have open but carpeted stairs.
posted by halcyonday at 6:22 AM on June 7, 2021 [1 favorite]

Dyson cordless ftw for me. But use with the long extension or fur will blow around before it’s vacuumed up.

Also what halcyonday day said, the rubber brush will help a ton, especially defurring if it’s gotten really matted into the carpet. One of my dyson attachments has a rubber blade in it, and I believe it’s for a similar purpose- great at hair. Though again, if it’s bad, you’ll need the rubber brush.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 6:30 AM on June 7, 2021

Dyson Animal is an amazing, though expensive cordless. It gets up all the animal fur in my house, and even gets it out of my car when the fur seems to have embedded into the seats.
posted by momochan at 7:11 AM on June 7, 2021 [2 favorites]

We have this cordless (and a second battery, which has made it pretty whole-house friendly) and have been very pleased with the results. The rotating brush is more of a rubber squeegee, which is actually perfect for pet hair, and it is powered, and you can attach it to the short extension tube for a sort of dustbuster-length device if you want. It fills quickly, is my only complaint, but I just carry a small wastebasket (with a takeout chopstick in it, to swirl around the filter and snag the bulk of the contents out) around with me as I work.

It's really light, for which I am very grateful. I am prone to tennis elbow in my dominant arm and this does not trigger it, and when I am having trouble I can still maneuver it pretty well with my unskilled arm.

On stairs I might still do a first pass with a carpet rake to fluff up the stomped-down fur, though.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:42 AM on June 7, 2021

I used the Pet Hair Eraser from Bissell on my carpeted steps weekly until the rubber attachment split and I haven't yet replaced it. I really liked it and I'm sure I'll get around to seeing if I can order the part when I get sick of lugging my big vacuum over to the stairs to do the job.
It's specialized to be great with pet hair (which it is), but don't think it would be good for general vacuuming. It comes with a 16 ft cord, which was more than long enough for my single story steps.
posted by newpotato at 10:21 AM on June 7, 2021 [1 favorite]

Your question inspired me to look for the rubber attachment, and they sell it on the bissell website for $10, so thank you for providing the nudge to make vacuuming the stairs easier.
posted by newpotato at 11:24 AM on June 7, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I wear a pair of heavy duty rubber gloves and just run my hands over my carpeted stairs and I am shocked at the fur piles that they collect that the vacuum didn’t get!
posted by zepheria at 3:02 PM on June 7, 2021 [1 favorite]

I resisted Dyson for a long time. Now that I have a V10, I am stunned by how good it is and how much more dog hair it can pull out of a carpet than my canister Miele. The only disappointment is the short battery life.

I will be buying the Dyson Outsize with two interchangeable batteries in the near future and probably station, relegate, the V10 to the upstairs where the battery will probably go the distance.
posted by bz at 3:57 PM on June 7, 2021 [1 favorite]

I was recently looking for the same thing and ended up with the BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser Lithium Ion Hand Vacuum.

I don't think it's quite as good as mom's old Dirt Devil hand vac from the 90s, but the brush works well on my carpeted cat furry stairs and the furry cat hammock, and it's lightweight.
posted by bananana at 6:55 PM on June 7, 2021

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