Top 10 Best Handheld Vacuum Cleaners Comparison

Convenient and powerful hand vacs to easily hoover on the go.

Top 10 Best Handheld Vacuum Cleaners

When bits or dust, dirt and debris are not worth bringing out the full sized vacuum, you need the convenience of a handheld vacuum that’s easy to carry around and suck up the mess. A good balance of suction power, battery performance and practicality is ideal, so here are 10 of the best handheld vacuum cleaners  that fit the criteria. You can also read our summarized reviews on the following models.

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Black & Decker
Pivot Titanium

Black & Decker
Flexi Titanium


Black & Decker
27 Wh

Gator Pet

Black & Decker

Black & Decker
21.6 Wh

Black & Decker
Flexi PD1420LP


Black & Decker

Our Rating
4.8 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Our Rating
SummaryExtra powerful hand vac with a compact folding design.Quick charge and long run times with a large dirt capacity.The most versatile hand vac, being capable of extremely powerful bursts of hoovering.The most powerful Dustbuster combined with battery, filter & floor sensor for smart cleaning.Picks up pet hair with great efficiency thanks to an electric motored brush head.Designed for hoovering cars, the triple action filtration ensures better performance.Lightweight and cyclonic action with an improve battery for more efficient hoovering.Versatile, all-round hand vac that charges fast and runs long.Designed to easily clean upholstery, tricky corners of stairs and car interiors.Miniature hand vac that includes 14 tools for all areas and purposes around the home.Summary
Cord LengthN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A5 metresN/AN/A6 metres6 metresCord Length
Air Watts35 aw25 aw28 aw (100 on Boost)35 awN/AN/A25 awN/AN/A1911 ltr/min airflowAir Watts
Battery18V Lithium Ion18V Lithium Ion22.2V Nickel Manganese Cobalt / Li-Ion27 Wh Lithium Ion18V NiMHN/A21.6 Wh Lithium Ion14.4V Lithium IonN/AN/ABattery
Charge Time< 4 hrs< 4 hrs3.5 hrs6 hrs12 hrsN/A5 hrs4 hrs (16 hr first charge)N/AN/ACharge Time
Run Time10 - 15 mins15 - 20 mins20 mins (6 on Boost)16 mins20 minsN/A15 mins15-25 minsN/AN/ARun Time
Capacity440 ml600 ml400 ml500 ml300 ml500 ml500 ml560 ml600 ml370 mlCapacity
• Integrated crevice tool & brush
• Charging base
• 2 in 1 nozzle/flip out upholstery brush
• Charging cable
• Motorized Cleaner Head
• Low Pro Cleaner Head
• Combination Tool
• Aluminium Wand
• Wall Mountable Dock
• Integrated crevice tool & brush
• Charging base
• Built-in crevice tool
• Powered brush roll
• 4 ft. hose
• Crevice tool & brush
Integrated crevice tool & brush• 1.5m integrated hose
• Crevice tool & brush
• Long crevice tool
• Pet hair tool
• Charging base
• Built-in motor driven brush roll
• Stretch hose
• Crevice tool
14 x vacuum toolsAccessories/
DimensionsN/A25 X 42 X 23 cm121.4 x 20.8 x 25 cm43.8 x 18 x 13 cm9.5 x 32 x 14 cm15 x 27 x 30 cm43 x 17.2 x 13.4 cmN/A18 x 20 x 40 cmN/ADimensions
Weight2.3 kg1.48 kg2 kg1.1 kg1.8 kg1.9 kg1 kg2.3 kg2.6 kg2 kgWeight
Warranty2 years2 years2 years2 years1 year2 years2 years2 years1 year1 yearWarranty

Top Features | Best Handheld Vacuums

  • Our Rating – This is based on our own research in product testing and user feedback. Clicking on each product takes you to the product page where you can read customer reviews on the product you’re interested in.
  • Best Value / Top Rated – Products that we consider to excel in a certain area such as value for money, reputation or technology have been given one of our aforementioned labels of recognition.
  • Air Watts – This directly relates to the suction power of the handheld vacuum. The higher the amount of air watts, the more suction power it has.
  • Battery Type – The majority of cordless vacuums will either use Nickel Cadmium (NiCad) or Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) batteries, with the latter proving to be better when it comes to charging abilities and lifespan.
  • Charge Time – How long does it take for the cordless handheld vacuum to reach its full charge? Certain models require an initial prolonged charging period straight out the box and subsequent charges will be a lot shorter.
  • Run Time – This is based on consistent non-stop use on a full charge.
  • Price – If you want to know the price of any of the models, just click on the Buy Now button or Check Price and you’ll be redirected to the product page. The reason we don’t put prices is because they constantly change and there are so many sellers offering different prices.

Looking for something a bit more powerful? Then take a look at our best upright vacuums and our best cylinder vacuums, both of which have their own advantages when it comes to vacuuming.

How to Buy the Best Handheld Vacuum Cleaner

With such an information overload, it is no longer possible to assess a particular model’s suitability based simply on the basis of power ratings but many other features and details need to be taken into account.

The purpose of this guide is to help the buyer to see past the hype and determine exactly what these machines are really capable of and determining which is the best handheld vacuum cleaner for a particular situation.

Cordless or Corded?

One of the great advantages of handheld vacuum cleaners is their portability and most are powered by rechargeable batteries. These completely mobile devices are therefore ideal for dealing with quick spills or small cleaning jobs even those out of doors such as cleaning out the car.

You must be remember however that battery powered vacuum cleaners have a limited running time which is typically around 10-20 minutes. After this, the batteries will require recharging for several hours.

This is no problem for light use but does of course mean that such machines are not capable of replacing the main domestic vacuum cleaner for full house cleaning.

As a general rule, cordless powered machines also tend to be less powerful than the mains powered equivalents, although some can offer impressive levels of suction power.

Mains powered handhelds lose some of their instant accessibility as the lead needs unwinding and plugging in and their physical range is of course limited by the lead length so it is essential to ensure that the lead is of an adequate length.

Suction Power

In very general terms, more power equates to better cleaning but when dealing with handheld vacuum cleaners things are a little more complex.

Firstly for mains powered machines, it is customary to quote power in terms of motor wattage whereas rechargeable battery powered cleaners often quote suction power.

Although it is difficult to compare the two directly, mains powered cleaners are usually more powerful.

High suction power, whilst desirable, does not automatically mean better cleaning and many of the best brands go to great lengths to ensure that optimum air velocities are maintained at all stages.

Greater power can also result in greater weight and in the weight-conscious world of the handheld, a delicate balance is needed between weight, size and power. The best-selling handheld vacuum cleaners tend to be the ones that have got the balance right.

Black and Decker Handheld Vacuum Cleaner
A Black & Decker handheld vacuum charging – this model has a lithium ion battery, which is popular for its ability to hold a charge and long life span.

Type of Battery

It used to be the case that many cordless handheld vacuums were outright terrible in terms of its ability to hold a charge. The power would either fade quickly even after a full charge, the suction power would diminish towards the end of the charge, or it’ll completely die out after a number of uses.

This was often the case with NiCad batteries but fortunately, most of the best handheld vacuum cleaners now integrate Li-Ion batteries that holds a charge much better and has a longer life span.

Comfort and Ergonomics

If you have hand or wrist problems, then the ergonomics of a handheld vacuum is especially important for a comfortable vacuuming experience. This boils down to three things – weight, size and design.

Obviously a powerful handheld vacuum cleaner will require a powerful motor and some of the most advanced models provide plenty of power while still keeping the weight and size minimal.

A well designed model ensures that it’s easy to hold and manoeuvre around without feeling strain on your hands and wrists. If the weight distribution is pretty even throughout the unit, then it should be comfortable, though it’s best to actually get a hold of each vacuum to see how it actually feels in your hand.

Noise Levels

One of the annoying things about vacuums is that the majority of them are noisy. Although a hand vac is not as loud as a full sized vac, they can still be heard through walls.

Unfortunately, manufacturers provide very little information on the noise levels emitted by a particular model, so if noise is a major factor for you, then it’s wise to read some reviews to see what users are saying. If it’s extremely noisy, most certainly that will be mentioned several times by other users.

Dyson DC34 Pet Handheld Vacuum
The Dyson DC34 Animal is a handheld vacuum designed to pick up pet hair as well as other dirt and debris.

Specialised Models For Pet Hair

Most manufacturers offer versions designated as being designed to deal with pet hairs and there is no doubt that most pet-owning users will use their handheld vacuum cleaners to pick up pet hairs.

There are not any significant differences from other powerful handheld vacuum cleaners other than a specialised head attachment designed to pick up pet hair more efficiently.

Dust Bags and Filters

In theory any vacuum cleaner is a very basic device which simply sucks in air and dirt and blows out clean air, leaving the dirt behind.

The earliest vacuum cleaners simply used fabric bags, later replaced by porous paper bags and more recently using a cyclonic airflow system along with a high efficiency particulate air filter (HEPA) which provides health benefits.

Few, if any, modern handheld vacuum cleaners will contain dust bags and most simply have a removable plastic dust receptacle.

Everything about these little cleaners is designed to keep them as portable as possible and so the dust storage container is invariably small and will usually need emptying after each use. These little machines soon become blocked and the filters need frequent cleaning.

Attachments and Accessories

We are all used to the idea of vacuum cleaner attachment tools but many people are surprised to find that even the diminutive handhelds need a few extras. The most common and probably most useful attachment is the crevice attachment to get into small spaces.

Many cleaners have brush attachments, some of which are powered. Extension poles help with reaching ceilings and other difficult areas. A few models can even be used as upright stick vacuum cleaners, such as some Dyson handheld vacuums.

Cleaning Staircases

Cleaning staircases is often cited as being one of the main reasons for buying a handheld vacuum cleaner and it must be said that almost all models should prove easier to use than traditional full-size vacuum cleaners.

Some models rely on a fixed nozzle intake whereas others may feature a rotating brush, commonly described as “turbo” regardless of how it is actually powered.

Although the brush system may offer some advantages in terms of refreshing carpet pile or fabric nap, many users find the fixed nozzle better at getting into corners. Many models provide crevice-nozzle attachments.

Staircase cleaning should be fairly quick operation so operational running time and battery life should be of little consequence in most small houses. Those with multiple staircases would be best advised to consider a mains-powered model.

Value For Money

Handheld vacuum cleaners come in a vast range of prices from the suspiciously cheap to the reassuringly expensive but potential buyers are advised to examine the benefits of different priced models such as the very capable Black and Decker handheld vacuum cleaners, through to the highly regarded GTech models and premium branded Dyson handhelds.

Although paying a premium price is not a guarantee that a particular model will be suitable, very cheap examples are likely to prove to be a false economy.

If the cleaner is being bought for a specific use e.g. regularly used for liquid spillages, then obviously the correct type of machine must be purchased. Once the choice of machine has been narrowed down to a few suitable models, it is then possible to begin the search for the best possible deal.

Benefits of a Handheld Vacuum Cleaner

The handheld vacuum cleaner is here to stay and this is one device that every home needs.

  • The main benefits are convenience and ease of use. Having a handheld at the ready means that the chore of getting out the main heavyweight vacuum cleaner is not always necessary.
  • The light weight and maneuverability makes it ideal for use by the elderly or infirm and everyone else for that matter!
  • Although it may serve as the sole cleaner in a small flat, in most cases, it will be used as an additional vacuum cleaner to reach the parts other cleaners cannot reach.
  • Many are ideal for quick car cleaning and staircases.

Probably the main reason for dissatisfaction is when purchasers fail to appreciate its limitations. This is not an alternative but an additional vacuum cleaner.

Our handheld vacuum reviews will help you make an informed decision, so it’s well worthwhile putting in the effort to determine which is the very best handheld vacuum cleaner for your needs.

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