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, and some weigh practically... nothing, making them easy for anyone to use. Below, we rounded up the best handheld vacuums on the market so you can easily find the best one for you.
What we love about this handheld vacuum is the fact that the battery can hold a charge for up to 18 months when not being used. So, even if you forget to put it on the charger, it’ll still be ready to go whenever you need it. And if you do want to store it on the charging station, it won’t hurt the battery—it automatically shuts off when it’s fully charged, which helps extend the battery life.
A translucent dust bin that makes it easier to see when it’s time to empty—plus, you can tell just how... much dirt and debris the vacuum is sucking up. The slim nozzle which extends and rotates to get to hard-to-reach places, and the general power of the little machine are a few other points in this model’s favor. Some customers have complained about the bright charging light and how loud the machine is, but if you can look past those factors, it’s solid choice for most households.
A number one bestseller in its category, this handheld vacuum is a solid choice, and comes in under the $30 mark. Whether you don’t want to spend a ton on an additional appliance, or you’re looking for one to the dorms with your first-year college student, look no further. This little red machine gets the job done and customers have raved about its power—“This is the most powerful little vacuum I've ever had,” one reviewer wrote.
It has an easy-to-empty cup and smart crevice tool. The only... drawback with this model is that it is tethered to a cord, which limits its mobility. You won’t be able to vacuum out your car with it, unless you have a serious extension cord. But for most uses, the 16-foot, built-in cord should work just fine. We also like that it weighs less than four pounds (not having a battery cuts down on overall weight) making it light enough for anyone to use.
Speaking of lightweight, we found a quality cordless, handheld vacuum that only weighs three pounds. But it’s not a lightweight in terms of cleaning power. It’s strong enough to pick up lots of pet hair and tackles other messes around the house, too.
One reviewer said it’s even great for cleaning out other devices—like the filter on your upright vacuum. Another said it works better than the larger vacuums on the stairs. And the upholstery tool helps clean softer surfaces that might attract and... hold on to more hair and dust. While some customers have said it’s not as powerful as its corded counterparts, if you’re looking for a light cordless device that will get the job done, this is your machine.
If you share your home with a furry friend, you’ll definitely want a handheld vacuum. It’s the easiest way to make sure you don’t have a layer of pet hair all over your furniture. This model from Bissell (which is similar to our best lightweight recommendation) has a couple of key features that make it the best at tackling all the fur your pets leave behind.
First, it the specialized rubber nozzle brushes upholstery to attract pet hair and help remove it from the furniture. The nozzle is flexible... to conform to the contours of your sofa and stairs so no hair gets left behind. The other nozzle is best for harder surfaces and sucking up crumbs or debris. Second, the filtration system makes sure that any allergens from your pet’s hair are trapped in the vacuum.
The corded model is relatively light at only four pounds and has a 16-foot cord to reach most spaces in your home. Reviewers point out that this model really is best on furniture, and doesn’t handle hard wood floors nearly as well.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
While cordless vacuums do have their advantages, corded ones are usually more powerful, plus you never have to worry that the battery has run out of juice when you have a mess to clean up. This Eureka EasyClean vacuum is a great option if you prefer a corded model. Its 20-foot power cable makes it easy to reach all over the house. Plus, the vacuum has an attached hose with a crevice tool that extends its reach even farther, and tackles those hard-to-reach places in your home.
One of our favorite... features is what Eurkea calls the “Riser Visor” nozzle, which flips direction to face straight forward and clean the riser portion of your carpeted stairs or the front and back panels on your upholstered furniture. No more having to tackle those spaces awkwardly with a vacuum attachment.
The majority of users were happy with this model’s power and suction. However, one of the biggest complaints is that the vacuum—weighing in at seven pounds—is on the heavy side for a handheld vacuum. But at least you’ll get a workout while your clean.
Some people prefer bagless vacuums because they’re easier to clean out and can save you money in the long run on replacement bags. However, if you suffer from allergies, you might want to consider a vacuum with a bag since they’re better at trapping the dust and other allergens that reside in your home.
Handheld bagged vacuums, while less common, are still available. This Dirt Devil has incredibly powerful suction (one reviewer even said they wished they could find an affordable upright with this... kind of power), and a revolving brush that gives your carpet and upholstery a deep clean. Other pros include a 20-foot power cord and two speeds for optimal cleaning.
One thing many reviewers caution is that this model is pretty loud when it’s on the higher speed. But with most small pick-up jobs lasting only a few minutes at most, it’s probably not a deal breaker for many consumers.
Buyers who don’t mind spending more for a powerful, fully featured handheld vacuum will want to look at the Dyson V6 Trigger Cordless Handheld. This vacuum boasts powerful suction, a “max power” mode for especially tough cleanup, one-touch emptying and a lightweight, ergonomic design that’s just 3.4 pounds.
The Dyson V6 can run about 20 minutes on one charge, and the instant-release trigger means power is only used for cleaning – there is no battery drain. Most owners say power and suction are... just as good as advertised, and they recommend the Dyson for quick jobs around the house as well as cleaning out the car. One thing reviewers don’t like? The bin is relatively small, which means more frequent emptying; others say their models have a hard time holding a charge. It comes with a crevice-cleaning tool that’s ideal for sucking dirt and grime from tough spots, and other attachments such as dusting and dirt brushes are available separately.
Looking for a simple hand vacuum that can be transformed into something more? The secret lies within the attachments, and this BLACK+DECKER machine has some of the best around. The compact cordless unit has a flexible plastic hose built in that extends its reach up to four feet. It also comes with a rubberized brush for picking up pet hair, a flip-up dusting brush, a crevice tool, and even a stick attachment to clean the floor. With all those add-ons, you might just be able to replace your... upright vacuum with this model.
When not in use all those attachments have a home in the charging station, making it easy to keep things organized. While some customers have said that the suction isn’t the most powerful compared to other handhelds, it’s a great device if you’re looking for oen that can convert into a stick vac.
Disclosure: At The Spruce, our expert writers are committed to researching and writing thoughtful and editorially independent reviews of the best products for your life and your family. If you like what we do, you can support us through our chosen links, which earn us a commission. Learn more about our review process.