Lightweight vacuum cleaner for stairs

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  • At $300, the Airsign HEPA Vacuum is an effective, affordable alternative to higher-priced canister vacuums.
  • With its sleek, compact design, it could easily be mistaken for a carry-on and is just as easy to store.
  • I love that it’s so light that I can carry it with one hand as I clean the stairs in my four-story house.

As a reporter who has road-tested more than 25 vacuums from uprights to sticks to robots, I’ve turned the cold shoulder on many of the vacuums that collect dust in my basement. Many machines are either too heavy to carry up and down the stairs in my four-story house, not powerful enough to clean up after three kids and a dog, or too complicated with countless moving parts and pieces.

I didn’t expect much from the Airsign HEPA Vacuum, a modest canister vacuum I was recently gifted. But I quickly realized that I had discovered a vacuum cleaner that is easily moved from room to room and from floor to floor. Created by a design school graduate, this minimalist style vacuum cleaner is the opposite of heavy and flimsy and could easily be mistaken for a carry-on. (No surprise, its inventor, Joseph Guerra, used to design for Away, the travel accessories company.)

Below, read more about why this affordable vacuum didn’t end up in my basement vacuum graveyard.

I can easily carry the broom up and down my stairs with one hand — it’s so light.

On the left, a person uses the brush attachment to sweep the side of a staircase.  on the right, a person uses the Airsign HEPA vacuum head attachment on a staircase.

An ergonomic hose handle makes the Airsign easy to maneuver.

Colleen Sullivan/Insider

At 10.8 pounds, the Airsign 1,200 watt weighs less than my Shih Tzu puppy, is quieter than most standard vacuums, and at 40″ x 10″ x 15.75″ is small enough to fit in the tiny my closet

The vacuum sells for $275 if you buy into the luggage subscription plan (where four bags and a HEPA filter are sent to you every six months for $35), or $295 if you don’t. There is a two-year warranty on the motor, hose, floor head, power cord, wheels, stick and built-in aluminum handle.

The unit has three tools: a flat head, a bristle brush and a crevice tool. Tools are easy to install and remove.

On the left, a brush component is applied to a lampshade.  on the right, three Airsign HEPA vacuum attachments are displayed on the floor, including the head attachment, the brush attachment, and a crevice tool.

Airsign keeps things simple with just three attachments.

Colleen Sullivan/Insider

The manufacturer has removed all the unnecessary parts that make vacuum cleaners confusing and often expensive. There is a head attachment that I use on my floors and stairs. a nylon brush that is ideal for curtains, lampshades and stair treads and risers. and a crevice device, which works in small, tight spaces. The tools attach to a lightweight aluminum extendable wand, making it easy to clean a stairwell without even having to climb the stairs.

Operation is simple with only 3 buttons to operate the unit, including a suction control button.

A person points to one of the three buttons on the Airsign HEPA vacuum canister.

There’s a button to turn it on/off, one to increase the suction, and one to pull the 18-foot cord.

Colleen Sullivan/Insider

I especially appreciate the suction knob, which has three power level settings. I put it on high when I’m dealing with larger amounts of dirt, use the medium setting for basic cleaning, and turn it back to the lowest setting for delicate tasks like wiping down lampshades or books.

With the vacuum head attached, the Airsign HEPA Vacuum excels on hardwood and tile floors thanks to its powerful suction, and its extra-long bristles make it ideal for low-pile carpets. Hair, dust, balls, sand and cat litter are easily captured whether they remain on the floor, walls, baseboards, curtains or wallpaper.

This vacuum has a 4-layer filtration system that includes a HEPA filter to capture suspended particles.

A person is shown removing the HEPA filter from the Airsign vacuum canister.

The filters are easily accessible, as is the bag, which has a pull tab that seals the bag to trap any debris during removal. There’s also a fullness meter that indicates when it’s time to change the bag.

Colleen Sullivan/Insider

The system is sealed to prevent particle escape and incorporates a four-layer filtration system that includes a dust bag, a medical-grade HEPA-14 filter, a pre-motor filter (as a second line of defense to prevent dust from entering the motor), and a carbon filter to clean the air while vacuuming.

The unit is so small that it can be stored under a bed or in a tiny closet.

At left, the HEPA Airsign vacuum is shown on the floor with the crevice tool attached.  on the right, a person is shown placing the Airsign canister under a bed.

The rectangular shape allows for less wasted space compared to the more curvilinear forms of other vacuums.

Colleen Sullivan/Insider

In addition, the winding cable lives inside the unit, making this machine even more compact and reducing the possibility of twisting in the cable over time.

The commitment of this vacuum to the environment is truly impressive.

The Airsign HEPA Vacuum has 20% recycled plastic in the injection molding, recycled aluminum in all metal parts, and compostable and biodegradable bags. Made with very little glue or paint. There is no overcasting (with the exception of the wheels) and almost all packaging is made from recyclable cardboard and molded wood pulp, with the exception of a foam bag to prevent scratches during shipping.

No vacuum is perfect, and this has a few minor drawbacks to consider.

The Airsign may have trimmed down the suction parts a bit too much, especially for pet owners with hair-filled sofas or people with plush carpets, as it doesn’t come with a rotating brush head. Fortunately, compatible spin brush accessories are easy to order online (Splinova Miele Turbo Head Cleaner, $29.99).

My other minor concerns are being addressed by the company — I noticed a strong chemical smell when I opened my box and was told by the manufacturer that they are considering building in extra time so the materials are better aerated during production. I also wish it would come in a color other than black and I’m told there will be a color announcement in the near future.

The bottom line

If you’re looking for an attractive, lightweight vacuum cleaner that’s easy to store and operate, this is it. Due to its size, this vacuum cleaner is ideal for people who live in tight spaces such as apartments, dormitories or small houses where there is not much storage space. It wouldn’t even be an eyesore if you had to leave it out in a corner. But those who live in large houses will also benefit, as it is light and portable, making it easy to move from room to room.

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