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The Best Handheld Vacuums for Clean Up on the Go

Corey Majeau

Handheld vacuums offer great convenience as you can transport them easier and clean out tighter spaces and crevices. They are also a great idea for people who don’t have a lot of space or the budget to buy a larger vacuum. Handheld vacuums are a great addition to your cleaning supplies and will be your best friend when you need to clean and quickly.

We’ll go through some of our best picks for handheld vacuums, along with what you should know before you buy them.

1. BLACK+DECKER Dust Buster – Editor's Choice

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  • Price: $54 – $63
  • Warranty: 2-year warranty, replacements, and repairs
  • Best Feature: Slim nozzle for hard-to-reach areas
  • Power: Cordless, 16V ion-lithium battery
  • Weight: 3.53 pounds

2. Bissell Pet Hair Eraser

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  • Price: $72 – $104
  • Warranty: 1 Year
  • Best Feature: Made especially for pet hair
  • Power: Cordless, 14V lithium-ion
  • Weight: 3 pounds

3. Bissell 1782 Pet Hair Eraser

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  • Price: $60 – $80
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Best Feature: Easy Maintenance and Use
  • Power: NiMH battery 14.4V Cordless
  • Weight: 3 pounds

4. Whall Handheld Vacuum

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  • Price: $50 – $60
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Best Feature: LED bright lights
  • Power: 6000PA and 8000PA
  • Weight: 2.2 pounds

5. THISWORX Car Vacuum Cleaner

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  • Price: $38 – $50
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Best Feature: Corded design and AUX outlet
  • Power: 16ft Corded 12V AUX outlet
  • Weight: 2.4 pounds

6. Shark CH951 Cordless Handheld Vacuum UltraCyclone Pet Pro Plus

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  • Price: $100 – $120
  • Warranty: 2 years
  • Best Feature: Self-Cleaning Pet Power Brush
  • Power: Cordless Lithium-ion Battery 80 watts
  • Weight: 2.8 pounds

7. BLACK + DECKER 20V Max Flex Handheld Vacuum with Pet Hairbrush

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  • Price: $130 – $180
  • Warranty: 2 years
  • Best Feature: Four-foot flexible hose
  • Power: Cordless battery-powered lithium 20V
  • Weight: 3.2 pounds

8. BLACK + DECKER Handheld Vacuum

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  • Price: $80 – $100
  • Warranty: 2 years
  • Best Feature: Heavy-duty performance
  • Power: Cordless Battery-powered lithium 20V
  • Weight: 4.24 pounds

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Best Hand-Held Vacuums

1. BLACK+DECKER Dust Buster – Editor's Choice

Highlights

  • Price: $54 – $63
  • Warranty: 2-year warranty, replacements, and repairs
  • Best Feature: Slim nozzle for hard-to-reach areas
  • Power: Cordless, 16V ion-lithium battery
  • Weight: 3.53 pounds

Pros

  • Ergonomic Design
  • Lightweight and Portable
  • Transparent Dirt Bowl
  • Rotating Slim Nozzle

Cons

  • Begins to lose charge over time

The first option comes from BLACK + DECKER, who are known for their high durability performing appliances. The dust buster was made to handle messes quickly and efficiently. It’s best used on carpets, removing hair, fur, dirt, dust, and debris from textured surfaces.

The design is ergonomic, and the structure allows it to be portable and lightweight, so you won’t strain your arm or wrist while using it. The on-board extension allows you to reach lower spaces without bending over so much.

It comes with a rotating slim nozzle that can help you reach tight spaces and a flip-up brush for general dusting and vacuuming upholstery. The motor uses cyclonic action, which allows for greater suction strength.

The vacuum has a cordless design with a lithium-ion battery which can last well over 30 minutes when fully charged. The dirt bowl is removable for easier washing and disposal and does not require a bag.

2. Bissell Pet Hair Eraser – Runner Up

Highlights

  • Price: $72 – $104
  • Warranty: 1 Year
  • Best Feature: Made especially for pet hair
  • Power: Cordless, 14V lithium-ion
  • Weight: 3 pounds

Pros

  • Removable dirt bin
  • Triple level filtration
  • Various tool heads

Cons

  • Shorter lifespan the more frequently used

This handheld vacuum from Bissell is the best option if you have pets at home. With triple-level filtration, the vacuum will be sure to catch everything that’s on the floor and on your furniture. It can even be used safely on upholstery to ensure there is no pet hair anywhere in your home.

There are three accessory tools that come with this vacuum: a motorized brush tool, an upholstery tool, and a crevice tool so every surface accessible or not can be thoroughly cleaned. This model is cordless, with a lithium-ion battery so you can carry it around anywhere you need it to go, even your car. The battery is long-lasting, so you can clean until the whole house shines!

3. Bissell 1782 Pet Hair Eraser – Best for Light Use

Highlights

  • Price: $60 – $80
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Best Feature: Easy Maintenance and Use
  • Power: NiMH battery 14.4V Cordless
  • Weight: 3 pounds

Pros

  • Easy-to-empty dirtbag
  • Three different tools for thorough cleaning
  • Cordless design easily transportable
  • Specially made for pet hair

Cons

  • Comparatively shorter battery life

The second Bissell handheld vacuum cleaner is once again targeted at pet owners who have to frequently clean up after their pets. The Pet Eraser helps remove pet hairs from soft and hard surfaces. The brush remains gentle on the softer surfaces to prevent damage.

It is cordless with a battery-powered motor. The motorized foot helps provide a powerful suction that can suck up all of the hair, along with other debris and dust. It comes with a crevice tool that can help you reach hard-to-access areas and a telescoping extension wand that lets you reach further. This vacuum doesn’t use bags but has a dirt bin which can make disposal easier.

4. Whall Handheld Vacuum – Best Bargain

Highlights

  • Price: $50 – $60
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Best Feature: LED bright lights
  • Power: 6000PA and 8000PA
  • Weight: 2.2 pounds

Pros

  • Non-woven fabric filter and dust buster filter
  • Quick charge and long battery life
  • Wall mount available
  • LED Lights for visibility
  • Two suction modes

Cons

  • Used products have been re-shipped before

This vacuum is a versatile model which can be used anywhere in your home, indoors and outdoors. The body has an LED light engraved in its structure so you can see when you’re cleaning tight crevices and corners. It is battery-powered and can be swapped from two different power levels of 6000PA and 8000PA.

You can also clean quietly with this vacuum since it doesn’t stir up as much noise as other handheld ones. It comes with a crevice nozzle, a hairbrush, a water absorption nozzle, a filter, and an adapter. The filter is made from woven fabric and can be cleaned with water. The dust buster filter is used to keep dust away from clogging the motor.

It has a quick charge, is temperature protected to prevent overheating, and has short circuit protection as well. The charge time for a full charge is four to five hours long, and it works consistently for 20 to 30 minutes of vacuuming. For easier storage, it comes with a wall-mount so you can place it wherever is most convenient.

5. THISWORX Car Vacuum Cleaner – Best for Vehicles

Highlights

  • Price: $38 – $50
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Best Feature: Corded design and AUX outlet
  • Power: 16ft Corded 12V AUX outlet
  • Weight: 2.4 pounds

Pros

  • Comes with accessories for car maintenance
  • Cyclonic strong suction
  • Corded design for longer cleans
  • 3 attachment heads for versatile cleaning

Cons

  • Lighter suction levels

This vacuum cleaner from THISWORX is specifically made for cleaning cars. They are not the easiest to clean, since there is a lot of soft material, hard surfaces, and crevices to be found in the front and backs seats. This vacuum is made to properly overcome all of these obstacles for the best performance.

The design structure is ergonomic and stylish, with a cyclonic force suction that pulls in ashes, dust, dirt, and food spills no matter the size. Three attachments come with this vacuum for better cleaning: a flathead, an extendable, and a brush nozzle. There is also a carry bag, a brush for cleaning the vacuum, and a filter replacement.

The filter can be hand-washed for longer and better performance. This is the only corded model on our list and for good reason. Since there is no telling when your car is going to need cleaning, this vacuum has a 12V AUX outlet, so you can connect it directly to your car. It has a 16 ft cord which will easily let you move around the car and clean every spot.

6. Shark CH951 Cordless Handheld Vacuum UltraCyclone Pet Pro Plus – Most Versatile

Highlights

  • Price: $100 – $120
  • Warranty: 2 years
  • Best Feature: Self-Cleaning Pet Power Brush
  • Power: Cordless Lithium-ion Battery 80 watts
  • Weight: 2.8 pounds

Pros

  • CleahTouch hands-free disposal
  • Long-lasting filter and motor life
  • Self-cleaning detachable Pet Power Brush

Cons

  • Comparatively small brush size

This is a pricier model, but it does come with its benefits. Living in a full house with pets and children, a mess of dirt, debris, and hair is not uncommon at all. This handheld vacuum from Shark was made to conquer all of these messes.

You get two power modes to choose from when cleaning, with strong suction action and a long-lasting washable filter. The Pet Power Brush, the specialty item of this vacuum, is self-cleaning and detachable. It can safely clean the floor, upholstery, and its own brush roll to prevent collected hair from tangling up.

The XL dust cup collects all of the debris from your clean and the CleanTouch dirt ejector lets you get rid of it all with the touch of a button! It’s completely hands-off! It also comes with a tool for crevices and a scrubbing brush for internal and external cleaning.

7. BLACK + DECKER 20V Max Flex Handheld Vacuum with Pet Hairbrush – Best for Heavy Use

Highlights

  • Price: $130 – $180
  • Warranty: 2 years
  • Best Feature: Four-foot flexible hose
  • Power: Cordless battery-powered lithium 20V
  • Weight: 3.2 pounds

Pros

  • Four-foot flexible hose
  • Quick charging and longer performance
  • Inclusive pet brush

Cons

  • On the heavier side for a handheld vacuum

This vacuum from BLACK + DECKER was made to handle heavier jobs. Cleaning your home up and down with its four-foot flexible hose is a breeze. It’s also a great choice for people who are short on storage space in their homes since this is a much smaller model in comparison to traditional vacuums.

It’s battery-powered, meaning there is no hassle of trailing cords behind the machine while you’re working. You can use it anywhere you want to. The dirt bowl and filter are both removable and washable for easier maintenance and longer useful life.

The battery is quick-charging, so you can get a good half-hour’s worth of cleaning out of a full charge. This model also comes with a pet brush to clean up pet hair from around your home.

8. BLACK + DECKER Handheld Vacuum – Honorable Mention

Highlights

  • Price: $80 – $100
  • Warranty: 2 years
  • Best Feature: Heavy-duty performance
  • Power: Cordless Battery-powered lithium 20V
  • Weight: 4.24 pounds

Pros

  • Crevice and slim tool
  • Removable dust bowl
  • Washable pre-filter and main filter

Cons

  • Heavy handheld vacuum

The last pick comes from BLACK + DECKER’s Handheld Cordless Vacuum. With a lithium-ion battery, you don’t have to worry about any cords or power outlets located in your home. You can clean with this model anywhere you want.

The dust bowl can hold up to 500ml which helps it make cleaning in one go easier. You can use it for furniture, carpets, upholstery, your car, to clean pet hair, it’s universal! Both the pre-filter and main filter are removable and washable, so you don’t have to worry about replacements for quite some time.

There are two tools that come with this model: a crevice tool for tighter spaces and a slim tool to help get cracks and corners. On a full charge, you get a decent 12 minutes of cleaning time completely uninterrupted.

You may want to check out: Best Smart Vacuum

What is a Handheld Vacuum?

Handheld vacuums are the miniature counterparts to larger, traditional vacuums or even smart vacuums. They are used for the same purpose, only this time they’re more convenient, lightweight, and portable. It’s got a compact size so you can store it comfortably and is less of a hassle to take out when you need it.

How Powerful is a Handheld Vacuum?

When you’re measuring the power of your handheld vacuum, there are two measurements you need to be aware of. The first one is the standard voltage. A strong vacuum will be between 14 – 16 volts. The second measurement is the industry-standard measurement of air watts, which represents the suction power. Good handheld vacuums should have at least 15 air watts.

What Can You Clean with a Hand-Held Vacuum?

  • Hand-held vacuums are great for pet owners who have to deal with continuous shedding. Since there is always going to be the issue of pet hair, having a smaller, easier-to-use vacuum handy is a great idea. It can reach tight corners and crevices that regular vacuums would miss out on.
  • Upholstery, pillows, and carpets are surfaces that get dirtier quicker, and they’re not the easiest surfaces to clean. This is where a hand-held vacuum can come in handy. You can clean these surfaces sooner and quicker with a more convenient vacuum.
  • Handheld vacuums are a great solution for cleaning your car. Since you can’t bring the vacuum outside, nor can you fit it into the tight interior of the car, having a hand-held model is a great alternative that allows you to thoroughly clean your car.

What to Look for in a Hand-Held Vacuum?

Handheld vacuums are an appliance on their own, separate from traditional vacuums.

— Suction

The suction of the vacuum is important since stronger means better. It’ll suck up more and keep your spaces clean of dust, debris, and dirt. The way to measure suction is through air watts, as mentioned before. The very least the air watt measurement should be is 15 air watts, with anything above this being more than passable.

— Bags vs Bagless Vacuum

Another option when using a vacuum is whether you use a bag or not to store the contents. A bag makes it easier to clean out the dirt after vacuuming but is an additional expense and can be tedious to use since you have to clean it out after every use.

A bagless vacuum will have a removable container that you can clean out with water and occasionally soap. This can be easier for some people since there is no additional expense and you can remove the collected debris quicker.

— Hoses

These are the tubes that you can use to transmit the vacuum’s suction power through the machine. Another type of hose is vacuum lines or vacuum tubing which are essentially smaller and thinner hoses. These help you access different corners, nooks, and crannies with greater ease.

Be sure to look out for the various hoses that your vacuum comes with or is compatible with. Since these are the smaller versions, it’s not as likely that you’ll have many accessories to use with your vacuum.

— Convenience

This is extremely important for a handheld vacuum since the entire purpose of it is to be easier to use.

The compact size is ideal since you have to carry the vacuum around single-handedly to clean up messes. It should also be lightweight to prevent you from straining your arm.

The best solution for power is a cordless vacuum since this means complete portability. You may not like the shorter lifespan, however, so it’s also worth looking into long corded vacuums as well.

The product which you invest in should be easily accessible, meaning it’s available often on the market. This can help you purchase replacement parts and filters easier when needed. Buying an outdated model or limited-time offer may result in a useless vacuum once you have to purchase replacement parts.

— Warranty

The warranty for any appliance should be around 1 to 2 years long to cover any accidental faults or manufacturing defects. Products with a warranty are available for repairs and replacements and sometimes return with a full refund. It’s always safer to buy something with a warranty.

— Corded vs Cordless

The power source for a handheld vacuum can be either battery-powered or corded. A battery-powered vacuum can be taken anywhere throughout your home but will work for a shorter period of time. A corded vacuum cleaner will work for as long as you want it to, but there is the restriction on how far you can take it and where you can access a power outlet.

Final Verdict

Handheld vacuums are a great investment since they help you access harder-to-reach areas and make cleaning a breeze. You’ve probably had days where you hold off cleaning around the house simply because of how big and loud and clunky your traditional vacuum is.

With a hand-held one, the troubles are gone and what would have been held off until you can’t wait anymore is cleaned within minutes because of your convenient handheld vacuum. If you’re looking for something a little different, try our picks for the best robot vacuums!

You may want to read: Best Robot Vacuums

How Do You Clean a Hand-Held Vacuum?

Cleaning any vacuum takes some time since it becomes the central station for all of your home’s dirt and dust. The supplies you need to clean your vacuum are:

  • A small brush and some pipe cleaners to collect the dust from all of the corners and crevices of your vacuum.
  • A damp cloth to wipe away dirt stains, grime, and general gunk from your vacuum.
  • A sponge for more serious cleaning involves using soap and cleaning agents to completely clean out your vacuum, in this case, you’ll also need a dry towel to dry the vacuum afterward.
  • Scissors are also useful since they allow you to cut the tangles and bigger objects stuck in the vacuum.

When you’re cleaning your vacuum, clean it in a well-ventilated room or better yet outside. Make sure that you have open space to break apart the removable pieces of the vacuum and clean them one by one. Ensure there’s no dirt or dust collected in any of the joints and be extra thorough when cleaning the dirt bowl (where dirt is collected) since this is where grime and dust build up the most.

Photo credit: sebra/Shutterstock; Den Rozhnovsky/Shutterstock