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 Vacuums
BLACK+DECKER MAX Lithium Pivot Handheld Vacuum
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
Dirt Devil Scorpion Quick Flip Corded Handheld Vacuum
‘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
Dyson V8 Absolute Cordless Stick Handheld Vacuum
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.
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
Eureka Blaze 3-in-1 Swivel Stick Handheld Vacuum
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.
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
BLACK+DECKER Compact Cordless Lithium Wet/Dry Handheld Vacuum
Our pick for the best hand vacuum for value 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
Dyson V7 Car+Boat Cord-Free Handheld Vacuum
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.
Cord-free system allows for straightforward, simple cleaning
Car charger, mini motorized tool, extension hose, and combination tool included
Offers up to 30 minutes of fade-free action
Hygienic dirt ejector
- Weight3.77 pounds
No need to replace filter
Compact and light design
Stronger than it looks
Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Lithium Ion Handheld Vacuum
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.
Motorized brush tool helps remove pet hair and ground-in dirt
Triple-level filtration system
Large and easy-to-empty dirtbag
Specialized pet tools included
- 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
Shark Pet-Perfect Cordless Bagless Portable Handheld Vacuum
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.
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
Shark ION W1 Handheld Vacuum
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
Hoover Impulse Cordless Stick Handheld Vacuum
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
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