Handheld Vacuum

For the times when you need to quickly clean up a spill or get rid of a dust bunny, a handheld vacuum is quite, well, handy. Instead of lugging your full-size vacuum out of the closet, a hand vac is lightweight, easily portable, and small enough to clean the crevices between furniture. They’re also ideal for cleaning your car’s interior. Of course, not all handheld vacuums are created equal. Some are better for pet hair, some have a better selection of attachments, some boast lengthy battery lives,
Check Amazon Price

Power Share

Portable Vacuum Cleaner

AeroSlim

Lithium Ion Cordless Handheld Vacuum

Pet Hair

Eraser Hand Vacuum

HomeVac

H11 Cordless Handheld Vacuum

AdvancedClean

Pet Hand Vacuum

Best Handheld Vacuum 2021

Handheld vacuums can go where bigger vacuums can’t. They make it easy to ferret out crumbs from between couch cushions, or dirt from under car seats. We’ve looked at 165 different hand vacuums over more than 100 hours of research and testing since 2013, and we think the Black+Decker 20V Max Lithium Pivot BDH2000PL is the best hand vacuum for most people.

Power Share Portable Vacuum Cleaner

Not your typical handheld vac, the WORX model has a unique compact, boxy shape; a removable battery that fits into other WORX tools; and a top handle. Its crevice and brush tools store right on it, and a built-in flexible hose reaches four feet. 

A top performer in our cleaning tests, this model easily picked up all the debris and pet hair we put down, even without using the max power setting. The hose makes it easy to reach into tight spaces, and it ran for 23 minutes at standard power on one charge. Although it’s a little heavier than other handheld vacuums, you don’t need to hold it up to use it.

PROS

  • Rinsable HEPA filter
  • Three-year warranty
  • Quiet

CONS

  • Some pet hair clung to the brush attachment in testing

AeroSlim Lithium Ion Cordless Handheld Vacuum

Ideal for quick pick-ups on hard surfaces, the compact and lightweight Aeroslim with its combo crevice tool and soft brush accessory is great for taking care of crumbs on your laptop, in your car, or in between the sofa cushions. The storage stand with its built-in cap holds the vacuum upright, and holds the accessory tool too, so it’s always where you need it. It has a washable filter, and charges via a USB port.

PROS

  • Compact
  • Washable filter

CONS

  • Small dust cup
  • Short charging cable

Pet Hair Eraser Hand Vacuum

The nubby rubber nozzle of thiswell-priced little (less than 4-pound) vacuum was made for those annoying pet hairs. It flexes and contours around chair arms and stair treads to get every last piece. For dry spills on bare floors (like kitty litter), remove the rubber tip and extend the wide, built-in crevice tool for quick pick-up. Even though it’s not cordless, the power cord is 16-feet long for great reach.

PROS

  • Great for pet hair
  • Charges via any micro-USB port

CONS

  • Not for narrow, hard-to-reach spots
  • Short run time

HomeVac H11 Cordless Handheld Vacuum

Don’t let the Eufy’s slim shape fool you. About the size of a wine bottle (but lightweight, at just over one pound), this sleek handheld vacuum is full-featured. It includes a crevice/brush tool, a washable filter and a cap that lets it stand upright for storage or charging – standing on a bookshelf, you’d never know it was a vacuum. 

Small but mighty, the Eufy rivaled bigger models for cleaning ability. A soft grip makes it comfortable to hold. It runs quietly for up to 13 minutes, and lights alert you when the battery needs charging.

PROS

  • Lightweight
  • Washable filter

CONS

  • Small dust cup

AdvancedClean+ Pet Hand Vacuum

With Black+Decker’s motorized mini brush attachment, there’s nowhere pet hair can hide. An extra-long pullout crevice tool and the extra-large bottom-emptying dust bin make cleaning up after pets even easier. 

No surprise, the Black+Decker aced our pet-hair-pickup test and did well with other messes too – even without using the boost power setting – although some sand scattered on hard flooring. The filter is washable, and we like that the vacuum stands upright on end for charging or storage. Using the standard setting, it ran for 32 minutes on a charge.

 With its automatic humidity control, it is able to adjust to changes in weather and temperature automatically. It also has a bypass damper the allows you to conserve water, energy, and correspondingly costs, in the long run.

PROS

  • Large dust cup
  • Quiet

CONS

  • Side vents blow light debris out of the cleaning path

What to Look for in a Handheld Vacuum

 

Weight

Because you have to carry handheld vacuums around to use them, it’s important to check how much they weigh. Some lighter options clock in at just a few pounds, making them easy for anyone to handle, but some larger units with hoses and attachments can be bulkier and heavier — not great for kids or those with physical limitations.

Runtime

A lot of handheld vacuums are cordless, so they run on battery power. Of course, these products don’t have infinite runtime — on average, one charge will provide around 20 minutes of suction. If you plan to use your handheld vacuum for longer than this, you may want to look for a corded model, which isn’t as portable but doesn’t have the same time limitations.

Hose and attachments

If you have a particular use in mind for your handheld vacuum—like cleaning your car or removing pet hair from furniture—you may want to consider a model that comes with a hose, special attachments, or both. A hose will help you get into more cracks and crevices, and pet hair/upholstery attachments will help you get the job done in less time. However, keep in mind that these features often make the vacuum heavier.

FAQs

How do I clean a handheld vacuum?

You’ll first need to empty your handheld vacuum, which will entail either removing and throwing away its dust bag or releasing its dust cup into the trash. From there, you can wipe out remaining dust from the vacuum’s interior with a microfiber cloth. Refer to your model’s manual to see whether you can disassemble it further and use soap and water to clean it. Some handheld vacuum manufacturers advise against washing their units and, instead, sticking with wiping them down or rinsing them. If you can get your handheld vacuum’s parts wet, allow time for them to dry before reassembling.

How often should I clean a handheld vacuum?

It’s important to empty your handheld vacuum before it reaches or exceed maximum capacity (allowing it to run with a full bag or cup will inhibit its performance), so keep an eye on its dust levels after big cleanups. You can perform a light maintenance check on your model as frequently as once a month, while you should deeply clean it every six to 12 months, depending on how heavily you use it.

How long do handheld vacuums work?

Generally speaking, your handheld vacuum should last for several years. How much you use it and the scale of the messes you use it on will determine its exact lifespan. When you notice a decline in performance, check to make sure your handheld vacuum’s bag or dust cup is empty, its filter is cleaned, and its battery doesn’t need replacing. Emptying, cleaning, and maintaining your unit will extend its life.

Why Trust The Spruce?

This article was written by Sara Coughlin, a freelance writer and The Spruce’s small appliances expert. From canister models to dustbusters, she’s researched what it takes for a vacuum to stand out in a vast and broad market—and what to look for in up-and-coming models.