Best Handheld Vacuums 2019

The House Method team tested a variety of handheld vacuums and rated them on a range of factors including suction power, maneuverability, noise, mobility, and more. Read our full review here.

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Our House Method Reviews team brought the top-rated handheld vacuums into our Research Lab and measured suction power, noise, maneuverability, and much more. We compared thousands of hand vacuum reviews from verified customers and chose four of the best handheld vacuums on the market.

Best handheld vacuums

Conclusion
Pros
Cons
Best product

Dyson V7 Car+Boat

Conclusion

Providing up to 30 minutes of fade-free suction, the Dyson V7 Car+Boat has the strongest suction of any other cordless vacuum.

Pros

Featuring hygienic bin emptying, this vacuum lets you empty the contents without touching any debris. It also comes with seven accessories, more than any other handheld vacuum.

Cons

Because of its small size, it should be used for spot cleaning instead of larger cleaning jobs. It has a long charge time and a short run time.

Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Handheld

Conclusion

This cordless vacuum is convenient and versatile, cleaning wherever your pet goes.

Pros

It has a motorized foot that provides powerful suction for a deeper clean and a lightweight, compact design for quick pickups and easy storage.

Cons

This handheld has a long charging time and no extension hose.

Best value

Dirt Devil Scorpion Quick Flip Corded

Conclusion

This corded handheld vacuum is one of the lightest and most affordable vacuums available.

Pros

This Dirt Devil vacuum picks up dust and small particles extremely well and can be emptied within seconds. It also has a 16-foot power cord, allowing you to clean medium-sized rooms in one go-around.

Cons

It can be loud when in use.

Black+Decker 16-Volt Lithium Cordless

Conclusion

This Amazon bestseller features cyclonic technology and a lithium-ion battery for a powerful clean and longer run time. It’s the #1 choice for most homes.

Pros

Its SmartCharge Technology uses 50% less energy than other dustbusters and holds a charge for up to 18 months. Its rotating slim nozzle reaches tight spaces under and around furniture.

Cons

The charging stand doesn’t mount to the wall and the battery has an average lifespan of about 3 years.

Dyson V7 Car+Boat

This Dyson vacuum can clean your vehicle and your home with its powerful suction, long run time, and multitude of accessories.

Design

The Dyson V7 Car+Boat has a small, compact design that allows you to reach cracks and crevices with ease. Some other important design features include hygienic bin emptying and a 2 Tier Radial cyclone system.

How this vacuum cleans

Powered by the Dyson digital motor V7, the Dyson V7 Car+Boat handheld vacuum is one of the best Dyson vacuums on the market. It can capture fine dust, dirt, and debris all over your home and vehicle with its 15 cyclones, generating powerful g-forces to suck dust out of the air and into its dust bin. This Dyson vacuum also has an extended battery life of 30 minutes.

Usability

A lightweight design paired with a long battery life make this one of the easiest handheld vacuums to use. You won’t be able to use this car vacuum while it’s charging, so make sure it has a decent charge before you start your cleaning job.

Accessories

This handheld vacuum comes with a quick release extension hose, a mini soft dusting brush, a crevice tool, a charger, a mini motorized tool, a combination tool, and a stubborn dirt brush. It also comes with a car power adapter.

  • Quick release extension hose—This accessory flexes and extends to reach under car seats and along the sides of your car.
  • Mini soft dusting brush—This tool gently lifts dust from window screens and hard surfaces.
  • Crevice tool—Designed for precise cleaning around edges and in narrow gaps, the crevice tool is great for those hard-to-reach messes.
  • Car charger—This comes in handy when you need to recharge the battery during cleaning.
  • Mini motorized tool—This accessory has 3,290 stiff bristles which maximize the amount of dirt that’s agitated and sucked into the bin. The head pivots to maintain consistent suction across upholstery, mattresses, and car interiors.
  • Combination tool—Whenever you want to switch between hard and carpeted surfaces, this tool allows you to do so with ease.
  • Stubborn dirt brush—Dislodge dried dirt with this tool’s soft bristles. It’s perfect for cleaning car upholstery or floor mats.

Our recommendation

This is the best handheld vacuum for those who want an exceptionally deep clean in their vehicle and home.

Get a more in-depth look at the Dyson V7 Car+Boat

Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Handheld

If you’re tired of pet hair covering every inch of your home, opt for the Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Handheld. This vacuum has a dual-layered filtration system and a fine mesh filter that prevents pet hair and dust from clogging up the system.

Design

This vacuum weighs only 3.75 pounds and has a new and improved motorized brushroll. Its black and green cordless design is a Bissell signature and it’s one of the more modern-looking handhelds on the market.

How this vacuum cleans

Using a dual-action filtration system, this tiny vacuum powers through the toughest dirt and embedded hair. It has a brushroll that has its own motor, which means better cleaning and agitation on carpets and furniture.

Usability

This dustbuster is relatively easy to use, but it has a short run time and long charge time. Expect to charge this handheld for at least five hours to get a 15-minute charge.

Accessories

This Bissell vacuum comes with a motorized brush, a crevice tool, and an upholstery tool.

  • Motorized brush—This tool helps remove embedded pet hair and debris from carpets and hard floors.
  • Crevice tool—This accessory helps clean hard-to-reach areas and tight spaces.
  • Upholstery tool—It cleans soft surfaces and furniture by attracting more pet hair.

Our recommendation

If you want a basic, cordless handheld vacuum that cleans up pet hair from floors and furniture, this is the best handheld vacuum for you.

Buy the Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Handheld

Dirt Devil Scorpion Quick Flip Corded

This red handheld vacuum cleaner is great for pickups in your house and vehicle. It’s a corded vacuum, so you may be limited to cleaning one area at a time, but its lightweight design makes up for this design flaw.

Design

Like other handheld vacuums, this Dirt Devil vacuum weighs less than four pounds and features a bagless design for easy emptying. It has a 16-foot power cord that gives you the ability to clean medium-sized rooms without having to stop and plug the cord into another outlet, but it’s still more limiting than a cordless vacuum.

How this vacuum cleans

This vacuum cleaner comes with a powerful 7-amp motor that picks up tough messes like sand and pebbles.

Usability

Because of this vacuum’s lightweight design, it’s relatively easy to hold while cleaning and maneuver into tight spaces. The cord slightly limits where you can clean, but as long as you have an outlet nearby, you should be good to go.

Accessories

The Dirt Devil Scorpion comes with a QuickFlip crevice tool, a dusting brush, a sliding brush, and an upholstery tool. The crevice tool is ideal for reaching in between couch cushions, the dusting brush is great for cleaning curtains and blinds, the sliding brush cleans hard floors, and the upholstery tool is great for removing pet hair and other debris from furniture.

Our recommendation

We recommend the Dirt Devil Scorpion Quick Flip Corded for people who want an affordable handheld vacuum that can clean inside their car, shed, or home.

Buy the Dirt Devil Scorpion Quick Flip Corded Handheld

Black+Decker 16-Volt Lithium Cordless

This handheld vacuum has one of the longest charges of any other vacuum—18 months—and features cyclonic technology and a lithium-ion battery for a powerful clean.

Design

A narrow cleaning head allows your vacuuming job to be more precise and a translucent, bagless dirt bowl allows you to see when it’s time to empty the contents.

How this vacuum cleans

This handheld features Smart Charge Technology that uses up to 50% less energy while cleaning. It also uses cyclonic action to help keep the filter clean and power strong. Because it’s able to hold a charge for 18 months, this Black+Decker vacuum is ready to pick up small messes year after year.

Usability

Similar to the other hand vacuums, this machine is incredibly easy to use and excels in maneuvering in tight, narrow spaces.

Accessories

This vacuum cleaner comes with a flip-up dusting brush and an extendable crevice tool. The dusting brush is ideal for cleaning upholstery, stairs, and window blinds. The crevice tool can help you reach narrow corners in your vehicle and home.

Our recommendation

If you want a handheld vacuum that can reach narrow crevices, opt for the Black+Decker 16-Volt Lithium Cordless Vacuum.

Buy the Black+Decker 16-Volt Lithium Cordless Vacuum

Our pick

We believe the Dyson V7 Car+Boat is the best handheld vacuum on the market because it has a small, compact design that allows you to reach cracks and crevices with ease, in addition to two power modes that let you target tough messes and perform day-to-day cleaning. It’s a two-in-one home and car vacuum, perfect for cleaning any mess you have. Another main reason why we believe this Dyson vacuum is the best handheld is because it comes with seven accessories and cleaning tools—this is more than any other handheld vacuum we reviewed.

Why choose a handheld vacuum?

Unlike upright or canister vacuums that have big, bulky designs, handheld vacuums are built to let you easily clean tight spaces or spot clean messes. They’re versatile and portable—two strong reasons why you might choose to buy a handheld vacuum cleaner over a traditional vacuum cleaner. They’re also a more affordable option than traditional vacuums.

At House Method, we understand the importance of keeping your house clean and wanting a simple way to achieve this goal. That’s why we tested and reviewed the best handheld vacuums on the market to make your purchasing decision easier.

Corded vs. cordless handheld vacuums

Corded handheld vacuums need to be plugged into an outlet. Before buying a corded vacuum, make sure you have enough centrally located outlets in your house to support your cleaning. Otherwise, you should find a handheld vac with a long cord so you’re not tethered too close to the wall. Because corded vacuums are powered directly from a wall outlet, they tend to have stronger suction than cordless vacuums.

Cordless vacuums are portable and convenient for quick chores and maneuvering around tight, narrow spaces. Not only are they great for spot cleaning small messes, but they’re also an ideal choice for cleaning your vehicle. Some high-end models have powerful batteries that can provide 30 to 40 minutes of continuous suction power.

What to look for in a handheld vacuum

Weight

To generate maximum power and performance, many cordless handheld vacuums include a heavy battery pack. The trade-off for extra power is additional weight. Some cordless vacuums can weigh up to five pounds while others weigh much less. If you know your hand gets tired after holding heavy objects for an extended period, or you suffer from arthritis, opt for a lighter handheld vacuum that doesn’t sacrifice performance. We recommend the Bissell Pet Hair Eraser—it weighs 3.75 pounds and packs a powerful punch.

Accessories

Though handheld vacuums are meant for cleaning smaller messes, they can provide a more comprehensive clean with the right accessories. Look for a handheld vac that comes with a dusting brush, a crevice tool, and a pet or upholstery tool. A dusting brush is great for cleaning delicate surfaces like a keyboard or window blinds, a crevice tool can help you clean hard-to-reach spaces like under your couch or around air vents, and a pet or upholstery tool can help remove pet hair and other embedded debris from carpets, furniture, and car seats.

Battery life

If you go for a cordless handheld vacuum, be sure to consider battery life. The best handheld vacuum will have a long battery life and short charge time. The Dyson V7 Car+Boat, for example, has a charge that can last for up to 30 minutes.

Dust bin capacity

Since handheld vacuums are small, they’re going to have a smaller dust cup capacity than upright vacuums or canisters. Check the product specifications before buying a handheld vac to determine how large the dust cup is. Most dust cups will hold around 0.3 liters of debris—not large enough to clean the whole house in a single sweep.

Emptying the vacuum

Since the dust cup capacity of a handheld vacuum is smaller than most, you’ll have to empty the vacuum more frequently. Some handheld vacuums let you empty the contents of the dust cup with a single click while others will require you to manually remove the dust cup from its holster and empty the contents into a trash can.

Dry vs. wet functionality

A handheld vacuum with dry capabilities is great for picking up dust, crumbs, and other dry messes, but there are some instances that will require you to suck up dry and wet substances (think: a bowl of cereal that’s fallen on the floor). In these instances, a dry/wet vac will be your best friend. Some characteristics to note about dry/wet vacs are that they may be more expensive than regular handheld vacuums, they may require more maintenance (it’s recommended that you empty the storage bin after each use to avoid maintenance issues), and they are slightly more expensive than their dry counterparts.

Price

The price of handheld vacuums will vary based on the brand, the suction power, and the accessories included. A basic, corded handheld vacuum can range anywhere between $25 and $50—this type of vacuum may not include the most elaborate accessories, but it will get the job done. A dry/wet handheld vac could cost more than $50 for its dual functionality and versatility. For higher-end models from Dyson or BLACK + DECKER, you can expect to pay upwards of $60 or more.

Frequently asked questions

What is the best handheld vacuum cleaner?

We believe the best handheld vacuum cleaner is the Dyson V7 Car+Boat. It has some of the strongest suction power among handhelds, comes with a multitude of cleaning accessories, and has a long run time of 30 minutes, making it easy to clean your home or vehicle during a single job.

What is the best handheld vacuum for stairs?

The best handheld vacuum for stairs is the Black+Decker 16-Volt Lithium Cordless Vacuum. With a slim, rotating nozzle, a long battery life, and fade-free suction, this vacuum is no match for carpeted or hard stairs.

What is the best handheld vacuum for pet hair?

The best handheld vacuum for pet hair is the BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser. This cordless vacuum is specifically designed to target pet hair and remove it from all types of surfaces. Not to mention, it’s one of the more affordable handheld vacuums on the market.

About the author

Kealia is a staff writer and social media coordinator for House Method. She writes for a variety of beats, including home inspiration (her favorite), real estate, and home wellness.


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