15 Best Handheld Vacuums (Review) in 2021
It doesn’t matter if you’ve got a house, an apartment, or are staying – temporarily of course – in your car, nobody likes vacuuming. Unless you want your home to do its best impression of a low-budget Wild West flick, you don’t really have a choice. Even so, they’re large, they’re loud, they’re cumbersome, and what’s the deal with those cords? It’s the 21st Century, we shouldn’t have to jump between sockets so we can clean the house. Oh yeah, it is the 21st Century, and we don’t have to do that. The best handheld vacuums are here to take the challenges out of everyone’s third least-favorite chore.
There’s a lot to love about these mini vacuums. They’re lightweight, portable, compact, and they can attack and conquer those hard-to-reach areas much better than your noisy old vacuum ever could. Everyone deserves a clean home, so why not treat yourself? First to reading what we’ve got for you, and then to a handheld vacuum to call your own.
The Best Handheld Vacuum
Lightweight, compact, and budget-friendly, the Black and Decker dust buster is about to become your new best friend when it comes to quick and efficient cleaning jobs around the home. Let’s face it, you probably don’t always have the time or energy to get out the upright cleaning, and for instances like these, the dust buster works like a dream.
There’s a charging base that allows you to easily take the vacuum on and off whenever needed, and the long-life Lithium battery can hold a charge for up to 18 months. There’s also a battery sensor with LED lights to conveniently let you know how much charge you have left, so you never run the risk of being caught short halfway up the stairs. With a four-hour fast charging base, you can take a break and go back to cleaning later that day if needed.
What we really think you’ll appreciate about this model though, is the strong and powerful cyclonic action that also assists with filtering allergens and dust microbes from your home. The operating nozzle is slim and also rotates so it can be used in difficult to reach locations and with it’s bagless, translucent bowl design, when the vacuum is full, simply take it over to the dustbin and remove and empty the washable bowl. Lightweight to handle but with strong suction, this is the perfect portable solution for picking up last-minute dirt and debris. One negative though, it is a little bit noisy and emits quite a high pitched sound. You may also be interested in some of the best mop buckets from our list, so check them out.
4-hour fast charging base
Easily fits into tight spaces with slim nozzle design
See-through, easy to remove, washable dust bowl
Equipped with smart charge technology for cleaning efficiency
- Weight2.6 pounds
The Bissell AeroSlim 29869 is the perfect handheld vacuum cleaner for quickly cleaning work surfaces and furniture. When you’re trying to get the house clean, there’s nothing more frustrating than lugging around a heavy vacuum cleaner to clean hard-to-reach areas. That’s where this awesome little machine comes in. It’s powered by a 7.2V lithium-ion battery that provides up to 12 minutes of continuous cleaning. That means you don’t have to worry about trailing wires behind you – just pick up the Bissell AeroSlim 29869 and get to work.
As you’d expect from a Bissell vacuum cleaner, it provides powerful suction. Of course, it’s not going to compete with a full-sized vacuum but it has no trouble picking up pet hair or crumbs. It comes with a clever two-in-one attachment that works as a crevice tool and a dusting brush. We also love the fact that it charges using a USB outlet, so you can keep it in your car to keep it clean. For more cool products that will help you keep your home spotless, check out our selection of the best floor polishers.
Powered by 7.2V lithium-ion battery
12 minutes of battery life
Two-in-one (crevice tool and dusting brush)
- Weight1.9 pounds
If you’re looking for something with more power and longer battery life, the Moosoo Handheld Vacuum is perfect. It has an impressive 9X2500mAh battery that can provide over 20 minutes of continuous use. That might not sound like much but it’s better than most handheld vacuum cleaners on the market. However, the best thing about this vacuum is the power. The suction is rated at an amazing 12,000pa, which means no debris or dust will be left behind. You can lower the power to 7,000pa if you want to prolong the battery life. The vacuum comes with a charging dock and a car charger. Plus, you get a multi-surface pet tool and a duster crevice tool.
Up to 21 minutes use
Two power modes
Charging dock and car charger
Multi-surface pet tool and duster crevice tool
- Weight1.1 pounds
This Shark ION W1 Handheld Vacuum is an effective – and really kind of cool looking – option for those who need a little more power in their vacuuming endeavors. The high-speed brushless motor helps deliver suction you never thought possible, while also preventing a buildup of hair and debris that plagues many brush-full vacuums. It’s also lightweight, making it marvelously practical for using all over the house, and into the car if needed, giving you the maneuverability to clean every area.
The additional tools that come with it also contribute to excellent cleaning results, giving you total control over the dust in your home, The ION charging dock is compact enough to slot anywhere you like, without taking up space that could be used to a foosball table, or something else that’s super cool. It’s also much quieter than you’d imagine, especially considering how much power is contained within.
High-speed brushless motor
Lightweight construction for easy cleaning and maneuverability
Additional crevice tools help clean hard-to-reach areas
ION charging dock allows for fast access
- Weight1.4 pounds
Slim design allows for easy storage
Filter cup is easily blocked
With its unique design, this Black and Decker option is compact, lightweight, and portable, yet it provides plenty of power and flexibility thanks to a long 1.5-meter flexible hose. If you want to get into tight spots around your home without having to purchase a secondary vacuum cleaner, this could be the ideal choice for you. It’s also excellent when it comes to valeting the car. The long extension hose means that you can clean from the floor to the ceiling without the usual stresses and strains.
It’s packed with technological features, including an ECO setting which allows the battery to conveniently charge quicker plus the charging mechanism automatically switches off when a full charge has been achieved. With a triple filtration system too, you can be sure that no dirt and debris gets left behind. It even makes picking up pet hair a breeze. The handle is ergonomically designed for operator comfort, and the dust collector is conveniently placed to the side, so it’s easy to open and empty without creating any fuss or mess. With a 17 ox capacity washable bowl as well as filter than can also be effortlessly removed for cleaning, this really is a multi-functional and user-friendly choice.
Various additional attachments are included with your purchase so whether you are cleaning wood, tile, carpets, floors, ceilings or removing pet hair, this compact, lightweight, powerful yet portable vacuums cleaner can take care of the lot.
Fitted with a powerful, fast-charging 20V MAX Lithium battery
Includes stick Vac floor extension as well as separate pet hair brush
4ft flexible hose extension easily cleans from carpets to ceilings
Generous 17 Oz capacity dust receptacle which can be washed
Intense cyclonic action and powerful suction
- Weight2.56 ounces
If you’re searching for a new portable and cordless vacuum cleaner to be your mini domestic helper around the home, perfectly tackling those problematic to manage dust-busting jobs, then the VacLife is well worth checking it. With powerful action and three different nozzle attachments, you can easily keep on top of your car and home, ensuring they remain dust, dirt, and pet hair free. It can even be used for both wet and dry cleaning conditions and because it’s cordless, can conveniently go anywhere. Even dust at the back of the sofa has nowhere to hide.
Intuitively designed to feature a stainless steel HEPA filter which is both removable, washable and durable, there’s also a detachable dust cup for quick and easy rubbish removal. The filter can be washed up to 500 times before needing to be replaced.
Fitted with super bright LED lights, you can cleverly clean in dimly lit conditions, so no nook or cranny of your home stands a chance of not being anything other than spotless! There’s a long-lasting rechargeable battery that will provide 30-minutes continuous use with a full charge taking anywhere from 3-4 hours which is pretty standard for these kinds of appliances.
Strong and powerful suction picks up dust, hair as well as liquids
Clean your house on just one single charge
Supplied with a series of useful attachments including a rubber tool to protect glass
Extension hose can be used to clean all areas of your home
LED light for cleaning dark and dimly lit spaces
- Weight1.94 pounds
‘Hold up, I thought we were over corded vacuums?’ Not at all, it’s the troublesome 3 foot tall vacuums we’re over, and you’ll be surprised at how convenient this Dirt Devil Scorpion Quick Flip Corded Hand Vacuum will be for you or any of your dustier-than-normal friends. For one, you can vacuum for as long as you like, which can’t be said about cordless, and the 16-foot power cord gives you enough range of movement for it to feel you’re working with cordless, anyway.
If you do a lot of cleaning – whether that’s due to obsession, kids, or pets, this handheld vacuum cleaner is a great choice to keep the house spic and span. The integrated Quick Flip Crevice Tool gives you easy access to places you never knew dirt could get, making it an excellent option for smaller living spaces such as apartments or college dorms. Plus, it’s called the Dust Devil Scorpion, and we’re not sure there’s anything that can make a vacuum sound cooler.
16 foot power cord
Integrated Quick Flip Crevice Tool
3-Year limited warranty
- BrandDirt Devil
- Weight4.5 pounds
7 amp motor gives plenty of power
Offering a massive 40 minutes total run time, it’s no surprise the Dyson V8 Absolute Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner is our choice for the premium handheld vacuum on the market. It offers everything you’d need from a vacuum cleaner – classic or contemporary – and brings a powerful suction, hassle-free operation, and fade-free power into you home.
Not only does it clean the house, it also cleans the air within the house. The HEPA Filtration system captures allergens present in your dust and keeps them to discard all while releasing the cleanest air you’ve ever breathed back out. It’s a little on the pricey side, but this is justified, especially considering its ability to clean any surface, and can suck out dirt and dust trapped deep in carpet like no vacuum cleaner before it.
We never thought we’d get excited about vacuum cleaners, but unless this is merely showing our age, it’s absolutely a vacuum that has all the tools for the cleanest house on the block. Our handy guide to the best smart home devices features more great products like this.
Powerful suction with hassle-free operation
Offers up to 40 minutes run time
HEPA Filtration releases clean air and capture allergens
Fade free power with direct drive cleaner head
- Weight5.75 pounds
Capture dirt and dust from hardwood floor
Max power mode
Convenient docking station to charge and store
Pricey considering it isn’t as portable as other products
Our top pick for the greatest handheld vacuums of all time (or at least this year) is the mighty BLACK+DECKER MAX Pivot. BLACK+DECKER are perhaps more well-known for their tools, but this beast brings all the rugged energy you’d expect from drills and saws and adapts them perfectly into a useful, portable, and highly powerful machine that’s determined to ensure your home is free from dust and debris.
The pivoting nozzle helps make reaching cracks and crevices the easiest thing you’ll do this week, while the cyclonic action ensures it maintains the highest power throughout your clean. For easy access, you can mount the charger to the wall and grab it like a knight defending his castle whenever dust accumulates. Sure, it’s a little noisy, but at least you’ll let everyone know you’re cleaning on your own terms, so ditch the Dust Buster, and see what else the world has in store. Be sure to also check out our list of the best robotic vacuum cleaners for more great items like this.
Strong suction with fade-free power
Exclusive pivoting nozzle
3 stage filtration system
Cyclonic action spins dust and debris away from filter to maintain power
- Weight3.8 pounds
Easy to clean
Crevice tool and brush
Cordless design makes it portable
Despite looking a little closer to the designs of old, this Eureka Blaze 3-in-1 Swivel Stick Vacuum Cleaner is very much a part of the future push for better vacuums and better lives. It comes with a built-in crevice tool that slots comfortably into corners, gaps, and cracks, while the signature swivel capability ensures you can move freely – even with an 18 foot cord – throughout your home and suck up every bit of dust in the place.
There’s more to it than this though. The capture nozzle helps suck up larger pieces of dirt and debris with ease. This makes it the perfect vacuum for hard floors, large area rugs, and low pile carpets. Much like the Dyson Absolute (but for 1/11th of the price) its filtration system cleans the air as you vacuum, while the large dust cup means you can vacuum for longer and not need to concern yourself with emptying in the middle of a deep clean. For more similar products check out our guide to the best wet/dry vacuums.
3-in-1 design with built-in crevice tool
Signature Swivel design ensures maneuverability
Capture nozzle easily sucks up larger debris
18 foot power cord gives range of movement
- Weight4 pounds
Powerful 2 amp motor
Easily stored anywhere in the house
High-pitched noise when in operation
Our next pick for the best hand vacuum is the BLACK+DECKER Compact Cordless Hand Vacuum, which is a light-duty vacuum you can take anywhere in the world with you. It’s a great choice for quick cleans throughout the day, especially if the thought of a long and intense clean makes you want to run away never look back, and you can charge it easily in between with a handy wall mount.
Unlike some smaller vacuums, the suction is consistent throughout, whether you’re cleaning for ten seconds or ten minutes, and the see-through dirtbag gives you a great at-a-glance indicator of when it’s filling up. You’ll also be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to clean, considering vacuums of this size are usually the opposite. The only thing we would change is you’ll never know the lack of a charge indicator, but that’s just because we’re prone to bouts of forgetfulness, we’re sure you’ll get by fine. Love this product? Check out our review of the best robotic window cleaners for our top picks.
Washable bowl and filter for easy cleaning
Wall mount charger and storage solution included
Translucent dirtbag keeps you up to date on fill level
Lightweight and portable design for quick and easy use
- Weight2.15 pounds
Consistent suction over run time
Reaches and cleans small surfaces easily
No light to show charge status
Another pet vacuum is this Shark Pet-Perfect Cordless Bagless Portable Hand Vacuum. Coming at you with twister suction technology, it goes above and beyond to drag every hair and fragment of dirt from your favorite sofa right in time for when the relatives come over. There’s also a crevice tool to help with those troublesome corners and gaps behind the sofa, while the detachable motorized pet brush is an excellent addition to help you go over everything one last time for cleaning perfection.
It’s lightweight and portable and comes at and excellent price considering how advanced it is compared to other vacuums on the market. Much like the Bissell, you don’t have to use it solely for pet hair, and this versatility make sit a great mid-range option for a quick and effective clean that shouldn’t take up too much time. However, due to its bagless design, it’s not as easy to clean as other models, but we suppose we can always pawn that off onto the kids. They’ve got to earn their pocket money someway. Make sure you also check our guide to the best upright vacuums.
Twister suction technology
Detachable motorized pet brush
Crevice tool included for hard-to-reach areas
Lightweight and portable design for multiple uses
- Weight2.48 pounds
Ideal for small messes and shed pet hair
Fast charging with long charge
Versatile cleaning options with included tools
More difficult to clean compared to other models
Our final handheld vacuum cleaner is from the brand that many consider having started it all. The Hoover Impulse Cordless Stick comes complete with excellent suction and fade-free power, while also being easy to carry, steer, and operate. It’s grab and go convenience means you’ll never use a vacuum this useful, and contributes to hassle-free cleaning, no matter how big of a job you’re facing.
Many have commented on the multi-floor cleaning ability, capable of making hardwood, carpet, rug, and tile look just like new after the Impulse is finished with it. The removable handle makes those hard-to-reach areas not so hard any longer, while additional attachments maximize your vacuuming options. There’s also a replacement filter, something you don’t get with other brands, but keep a careful eye on the dust bag, there are reports of a poor connection, and you don’t want dust filling the room immediately after a deep clean.
Grab and Go cordless convenience ensures hassle-free cleaning
Easy to carry and steer
Multi-floor cleaning ability
Removable handheld for crevices
- Weight5.6 pounds
Excellent suction with fade-free power
Extra filter included
Multiple attachments for cleaning versatility
Weak dust bag connection
You wanted a small vacuum cleaner and you’ve got a small vacuum cleaner. The Dyson V7 Cord-Free Vacuum is the perfect addition to home, car, and boat, and the solution to keeping them clean from dust, dirt and barnacles. With it, you’ll get accessories to maximize your vacuuming, including car tools, a combination tool, and extension hose, in addition to a car charger, many of which are compatible with previous and future models.
Offering up to 30 minutes of fade-free cleaning, it’s the most powerful handheld vacuum of this size on the market, giving you 100 Air Watts of suction power. There’s also a built in hygienic dirt ejector, meaning there’s no need to replace the filter, as the vacuum does it all for you. It doesn’t charge as quickly as we’d like, but as long as you keep up to date with its charge level, this shouldn’t be too much of an issue too often.
High powered motor revolves at 110,000 RPM
Trigger vacuum provides 30-minutes fade-free suction
Hygienic dirt ejector removes dirt and debris in one single action
Capable of capturing microscopic dust as small as 0.5 microns
A versatile range of tool attachments included
- Weight3.77 pounds
No need to replace filter
Compact and light design
Stronger than it looks
A cordless vacuum solves the pet hair problem that has shed and settled around your house overnight. This Bissell Pet Hair Handheld Cordless Vacuum is specifically designed to help keep your home hair-free and not have you wake up coughing out hairballs in the middle of the night. The included pet tools make this possible and means removing Mr. Fuzzy’s fur from the sofa, rug, or carpet is simple and straightforward. It seems pet hair has finally met its match.
The motorized tool brush digs deep to remove both pet hair and ground-in dirt, while the triple filtration system keeps cleaning performance at an optimum level, preventing blockage and maintaining power. You can use it for more than just pet hair, so we won’t think you’re weird for using this without a pet – at least not one with fur, anyway. As an extra incentive for purchase, Bissell will donate up to $10 to pet charities with every order. Just sayin’. And of you want to have a neat and clean garden, check out our guide to the best robot lawn mowers.
14V powerful Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery
17-minutes continuous run time
See-through, large and easy to remove dust collection chamber
Full set of specialized pet tools included
Convenient cordless, handheld technology
- Weight4.25 pounds
Bissell donates up to $10 with every product purchase
Excellent suction power
Cleans more than just pet hair
Long charging time for short run time
Handheld Vacuum Buying Guide & FAQs
How We Chose Our Selection of Handheld Vacuums
So, we found all the dust we could, dumped it around the office, and then did a sweepstake on all the varieties of handheld vacuums available. This proved to be too much fun, and too large of a job, and so didn’t achieve the desired results. To make up for this, we focused on the main selling points of each product.
Brands - Growing up, your house may have been a Dyson, a Hoover, or some unknown brand that scattered more dust than it collected. Brands are popular for a reason. It means their business model is sound, that they know what they’re doing, you know you can trust them, but we don’t want to overbear you with our love of just one brand. Instead, we found a wide range of great brands that make equally great products. We’ll let you decide from there.
Reviews - Yeah, many people say they don’t listen to reviews, that they want to form their own opinions, and following the crowd is for losers. Problem is, these people also waste a lot of money on the wrong products and always end up going back to the best-reviewed products, anyway.
We love reviews, they’re perfect for identifying the little things in products you might not notice if casually perusing product descriptions, and they’re more honest, too.
Price - You’d not expect handheld vacuums to be too expensive, but some are. This is a reflection on their features and their quality and if you can afford it, then why not spend it? However, we also know vacuums over $100 are out of some people’s budgets. We’ve selected a range of prices to ensure we’ve found something for everyone.
Weight - If you’re carrying around a vacuum cleaner, you want it to be light enough so you don’t get worn out before you’ve even cleaned the first room. As a handheld cleaner, the weight is directly related to its portability, and if you can’t lift it easily with one hand, you can’t really consider that handheld, can you?
Features To Look For In Handheld Vacuums
Different people have different needs, and what works for some may not work for you. Before getting your hands on a new handheld vacuum, you must first consider what are the key features you need, and whether the vacuum you have your eye on meets these needs.
Corded Vs Cordless - The great debate among vacuum enthusiasts - if there’s such a thing - is whether corded or cordless models are better. They both have their benefits, but they both have their disadvantages.
Corded - Powered by the mains, the corded vacuum will never run out of battery, meaning you can clean for as long as you need to without having to stop to recharge. They also come with more power than their cordless counterparts, due to having a consistent power source throughout.
However, it’s not all good times. A corded handheld vacuum also means you won’t have the freedom a cordless model can offer. It's challenging to get around the house and position it the way you need to get to those hard to reach areas
Cordless - It feels like almost everything is or can be cordless in the modern world, so why not vacuums too? Cordless handheld vacuums give you complete freedom, allowing you to get high into ceiling corners, and low under the sofa. They’re more portable, and the lack of a cord makes them more manageable.
They do run on batteries, though, and these batteries will run down and require charging. This can drastically reduce your vacuuming time (which you may not consider a bad thing) while also affect their power, as cordless vacuums are less powerful than corded.
Capacity - The amount of dust and debris your handheld vacuum can hold isn’t a complete deal breaking feature, but it’s always something that’s good to know when purchasing. A small capacity dirtbag means you;ll need to empty it more frequently, and it could also lead to the filter getting blocked, which would disrupt the effectiveness of the suction and ruin the efficiency of your vacuum until you clean it.
Power - The more power the better, right? However, more power often means more noise, and with cordless vacuums, you could run the battery down quicker if you go full power every time. The size of the battery - and therefore the amount of power it has - can also contribute to the vacuum being heavier than you’d like.
Extendable Hoses - Extendable hoses are a great add-on for your handheld vacuum cleaner. They operate just like your the hoses on your standard vacuum, and can help you reach high ceilings or under the sofa without having to risk your life balancing on a ladder, nor putting your back out trying to move the sofa out of the way. Some vacuums will come with the extendable hose built in to the vacuum whereas others will offer them as additional accessories. Speaking of which...
Attachable Heads - We all know you can’t use the same head for all kinds of vacuuming. There are tight spaces, corners, cracks and others that require specialized heads. A handheld vacuum with these additional features included will make your cleaning much easier.
Handheld Vacuum FAQs
Q: What is the best handheld vacuum for pet hair?
A: We couldn’t tell you which is the best for pet hair, but there are vacuums that are designed specifically for removing pet hair from your carpets, sofas, rugs, and floors. If you have over one or two pets, then you’ll need something with enough power to deal with the amount of cleaning you will do. For this, a corded vacuum may be your best bet.
Q: How often should you vacuum hardwood?
Hardwood is easier to clean and less prone to absorbing hair and dirt as carpet or rugs, so you need not vacuum these as often as you would fabric-coated floors in the home. You might notice, though, that dust, hair and other debris gets struck around the skirting board and in corners, so take care to vacuum these areas out as often as possible to prevent buildup.
Q: Does vacuuming hurt carpet?
A: Regular vacuuming is actually credited for increasing the life of your carpet. While there has been a belief there’s such a thing as vacuuming too much, keeping your carpet free from dirt, dust and debris building up and collecting together does much more good than harm.
To ensure your carpet lasts as long as possible, be sure to vacuum high-traffic areas of the home such and entrance ways and around doors as frequently as necessary. If you want to keep a schedule, try to vacuum at least twice a week. We know that sounds like overkill, but carpets can be expensive, whereas a quick vacuum here and there will only take a couple of minutes.
- Find Out If Vacuuming Every Day Damages Carpets - The Spruce