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The handheld vacuum fills a unique cleaning niche and allow you to clean those tough to reach places with ease.
Better still, if you choose to go with a cordless model that’s powered by a rechargeable battery, you can take it with you anywhere—allowing you to clean out your car, your desk or anywhere else you need a quick, thorough vacuuming.
Still, don’t let their small size fool you, as despite being quite little and lightweight, the good handheld vacuums can really suck.
Any decent handheld should feature a high voltage motor that provides exceptional cleaning strength in a small, compact package. Nonetheless, the corded models do tend to be a bit more powerful than their cordless counterparts.
The size of a handheld vacuum makes them perfect for cleaning stairs, behind or underneath tough to move furniture, car seats and vacuuming up pet hair off any and all surfaces.
Better yet, if you have a handheld vacuum nearby, you’ll never again have to drag out your bulky cylinder or upright vacuum to take care of small spills.
This is especially true if you choose one of the many handheld models that can take care of both dry and wet vacuuming jobs. All in all, handhelds are super handy, portable and really something no home should be without.
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This review guide was last updated in Sep 2019 We haven't added any new models or reviews this month.
Top Rated Handheld Vacuum Comparison Table
Handheld Vacuum Buyers Guide
When You Shouldn’t Buy a Handheld Vacuum
The only situation where you should not buy a handheld vacuum cleaner is if it is going to be the sole vacuum in your home. They are great for small areas and surfaces, such as picking up cereal spills, but they don’t have the capacity to deal with large areas.
Plus, they have less power than a standard vacuum cleaner, and so you won’t find that it picks as much up from your floors as you might expect.
Additionally, the charge does not tend to last as long as a regular cordless vacuum cleaner, so it wouldn’t be able to deal with your entire home.
How Much Do You Need to Spend?
The great thing about handheld vacuum cleaners is that they tend to be very inexpensive, and so they can be slotted into most budgets comfortably.
You will find that you can spend as little as £20 for a handy little model that will clean your car or desk, and all the way up to £100 for something more powerful – like cleaning your stairs. It depends on what you need, but expect to spend an average of around £50 on something that’s reasonable quality.
Main Types of Handheld Vacuum
These are the basic handheld vacuum cleaners. The amount of power that they have can vary from model to model, and a lot of it depends on which one you buy and what you need it for.
They are great for cleaning up small messes and spillages, as well as ensuring that you have the chance to tidy up your home quickly before work or when you just don’t feel like doing a full vacuum. Some of these will come with attachments, but not all.
Handheld Pet Vacuum
These are much like any other handheld vacuum cleaner, but they do tend to be a little more powerful so that you can pick up pet hair and keep things tidy.
Plus, they often have extra attachments so that you can reach tight areas and pick up a little extra fluff. They do make for great devices for touch-ups before guests arrive.
Car and Upholstery Handheld
These do often come with attachments that have been specially designed to deal with the interior of a car, and they come at a range of prices.
Often, there is a crevice tool to get right into the corners of your car. Plus, they work excellently on your furniture inside your home – which is perfect for those who have pets that shed a lot and want to try and keep their furniture tidy.
What Key Features to Look For
The price is one of the most important features that you are going to be looking at, and once you have determined your budget, it will be much easier to decide which handheld vacuum to go for.
Below, we have broken the prices down into brackets to help you better decide.
Cheap: under £20
- These are incredibly affordable, and they tend to be best suited to cleaning up work surfaces, your desk, and also grabbing debris (like crumbs) from your furniture. Don't expect a deep clean with these.
Budget: under £50
- The models in this price range are great for a range of uses, from cleaning the stairs to getting the upholstery in your car looking amazing.
They tend to be better suited to the latter job as they may not always have enough power for things like carpeted stairs.
Mid-Range: under £100
- This bracket usually has a nice selection of models for use around the home and in your car.
The power levels tend to be excellent, and you will find that they do a good job of removing debris and dirt from your house.
High-End: over £100
- These are usually the best handheld models on the market, and they are often perfect for picking up pet hair and larger pieces of debris from your home. In most cases these also tend to be 2-in-1 types such as a stick vacuums, or more powerful types ideal for car interiors.
Battery Life/Run Time
Suction and power are very important aspects of any vacuum cleaner, and you will want to find a handheld model that is able to handle your floors efficiently.
The amount you spend can often dictate the level of power that you can expect, but you may find yourself pleasantly surprised. Pick something with enough strength to clear all the debris on your floors quickly and efficiently.
You could just go with a corded model and doing so would give you more power but less flexibility. Personally the only time I would go corded is if it was specifically used on the stairs or if it was for the car which isn't something I tackle on a daily basis.
Leading on from this, if going cordless the recharge period is also important.
The majority of handheld vacuum cleaners will only need a couple of hours on charge before the battery is full again, and some may have a boost mode where they can offer a few minutes of power after a 30-minute charge period.
Regardless, it should not take long for the machine to charge, and it’s something you should remember to look at before you buy.
Suction and power are also key elements of any vacuum cleaner, including the handheld models.
Whether you are using it to clean the stairs or just pick up debris from your desk or car, you need something that has good suction and power so that nothing is left behind.
If going cordless look for at least 15V, although power isn't entirely related to voltage, in general anything under this won't be amazing in terms of suction power.
Air Watts are generally the indicator on how much power a cordless vacuum has, however not all manufacturers publish this figure. Personally 15 air watts would be a my recommendation at a minimum.
Models with Cyclonic technology are generally considered to be the most powerful but only expect this on higher ticket models.
If you are worried that too much weight will cause strain to your arm and hand, or you suffer with a condition such as carpal tunnel, make sure you pay close attention to ensure that the handheld vacuum cleaner you are selecting is going to be light enough for you to handle.
On average handheld vacs start around 1.5KG.
The controls for a handheld vacuum tend to be quite simple, but there is a reason you will want to carefully consider this feature.
While most will have a simple switch to turn it on, there are quite a few that require you to hold the power button down for the duration of your cleaning session. This generally isn't an issue with a handheld a you are using for such a small amount of time.
Wet & Dry
There are a good number of handheld vacuum cleaners that have wet/dry functionality, and this means that they can not only pick up dry debris, but they are also able to clean up wet spills from your carpet, furniture, or the interior of your car.
This is an incredibly useful feature, and it’s certainly one to consider when you go to buy. Especially if you have kids or are prone to knocking your coffee or glass of wine over.
You might also want to keep the bin capacity and ease of emptying in mind. Handheld vacuum cleaners do tend to have a smaller capacity overall, but there are models with bigger or smaller canisters than others. Again with this type of machine its not generally a major consideration.
The ease of emptying is also important to think about, as it can be pretty frustrating if you end up with a canister that is really tricky and messy to tip out. This would be a stronger consideration for allergy sufferers where keeping dust to a minimum is key.
Tools / Attachments
Handheld vacuum cleaners can also come with attachments, or you can buy them separately.
The selection does not tend to be as large as that of a standard vacuum, but you will often find that you can purchase little kits for cleaning cars (upholstery tools for the seats, and crevice tools), as well as attachments for use inside the home.
Crevice tools are the most popular, and these help you to reach all of the little corners in your home so that you can remove dirt and debris with ease, and are also very useful in the car.
There is also the extension wand that can provide you with a little more reach for high up places like the ceiling, and other tall areas, but if this is important, look more towards a stick vacuum or lift away upright such as a Shark
Sometimes, you can pick up a pet tool to help you out with the stairs, but this isn’t particularly common.
Black+Decker 10.8 V Lithium-Ion Dustbuster
Probably one of the best budget vacuum cleaners on the market, this dust buster from Black and Decker might be just what your home needs when you’re looking for a quick spruce up. Have a look and see for yourself.
Lightweight and cordless, this little dust buster makes the perfect companion for those who need to undertake a quick and efficient cleaning task before guests arrive or just to touch up the house.
It has a base charger for easy and convenient charging, allowing you to take it off and put it on charge with minimal thought and effort
It has a battery sensor, where LED lights will let you know how much charge is left and when it needs to be returned to its port.
The filter sensor also lets you know when the filter needs to be changed, so you won’t suddenly find your allergies triggered by dust and other microbes. With cyclonic suction, you can expect quite a bit of power from this little machine.
The Not So Good
It is very loud, and the noise is quite high pitched. You also have to turn on the high-power mode in order to switch it off, which adds hassle to your cleaning routine.
This dust buster is lightweight, cordless, and easy to use, despite the little niggle when it comes to turning it off. While it can be quite noisy, it still does a great job of picking up dust and debris – which is perfect for a last minute once over or just keeping on top of things in your home.
With a battery and filter sensor, you will always know what your dust buster needs in order to fully function.
Q: How many volts is this Black and Decker Dustbuster model?
A: The dust buster is 10.8 volts dc from an internal lithium battery. The charger provides 14vdc at 400ma to the dust buster via the base.
Q: Can you buy replacement filters for the Black and Decker Dustbuster model?
A: No need to the filters are washable so this means you will never have to replace them.
HoLife Rechargeable Hand Held
If you are looking for something that is reliable and affordable, then this could be the vacuum cleaner for you.
Take a look at the reviews below and see if this is enough to get your home squeaky clean.
This cordless vacuum cleaner has powerful cyclonic suction thanks to the 90W motor that has been installed.
As a result, it also provides up to 45-minutes of optimal cleaning power on a single charge, so nothing will get in your way. It has two power settings, ensuring that you can get your carpets perfectly clean without too much hassle.
It has also been designed to quickly convert into a handheld model, allowing you to clean your stairs efficiently, as well as other hard to reach areas of the home.
It has a great filtration system that makes it great for those who suffer from allergies and asthma, and the headlights couples with the swivel stick mean that no corner of your home will go untouched.
The Not So Good
A number of customers feel like the runtime is quite short when compared to other brands of cordless vacuum cleaner, and that it is not the same as the advertised amount.
While there are those who feel that this cordless vacuum is lacking in the charge department, it does come at an incredibly low price that can fit into just about any budget.
With powerful suction and cyclonic technology, your home will be left looking (and feeling) clean by the time you are done. Plus, it allows you to clean even the hardest to reach areas of your home. A great model at an excellent price.
Q: On The Holife Handheald Model do you need to hold the switch down to use this hoover or can you just switch it on/off?
A: No you can just simply switch it on and off so it is easier to use for longer periods of times.
Q: It seems that Amazon are suggesting to start by buying bag filters for this Holife model … isn't this bagless?
A: It is bagless but contains a small washable filter which is what amazon are suggesting to buy. Although you are supplied with two spare to start with.
Have a questions? Ask in the comments below
Have a questions? Ask in the comments below
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To Conclude - Best Handheld Vacuum Cleaner
Whether it’s the size, design, power or price, your choice of handheld vacuum cleaners really depends on you. While we can provide you with our recommendations and expert advice and we must say that the models in this best list are all great options, your needs and requirements will still dictate what type of vacuum you need to get.
Should you need further advice or if you have any other details to add, please do not hesitate to leave a comment below. We’ll try our best to get back to you as soon as possible. Please do check this site regularly for updates.
Gemma Tyler is a freelance journalist with 15 years of experience writing for consumer publications. She has tested and reviewed a wide range of household items from vacuum cleaners to washing machines and dehumidifiers to steam irons. Her attention to detail and exhaustive testing certainly makes her an expert in her field.