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The 5 Best Handheld Vacuums - Fall 2022 Reviews

Best Handheld Vacuums

Handheld vacuums are a great option if you're looking to clean small spills around the home. They're lightweight and portable, and due to their small size, they're handy when tackling more difficult or uneven terrain like inside your car or on your stairs. Some stick or canister vacuums also have a handheld configuration, making them even more versatile if you need to clean larger areas. Unfortunately, handheld vacuums tend to have small dirt compartments. If they're cordless, they may also have a shorter continuous battery life than non-handheld vacuums.

We've tested over 120 vacuum cleaners, and below are our recommendations for the best handheld vacuums to buy. These picks are selected based on their performance on different surfaces and their feature set, battery life, and price. For more options, see our lists of the best lightweight vacuums, the best vacuums for stairs, the best car vacuums, the best Dyson vacuums, and the best cordless vacuums.

  1. Best Handheld Vacuum

    The best handheld vacuum we've tested is the Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+. This compact vacuum does an excellent job dealing with fine and large debris on carpets and rugs and performs very well on bare surfaces. Its lightweight construction and compact design make it easy to pick up and carry wherever you may need or store it in a cupboard or closet. It has a fairly large dirt compartment for a handheld vacuum, so it doesn't need emptying as often as some alternatives. It feels well-built and has an easy-to-maintain design that incurs few recurring costs. In terms of attachments, it comes with a miniature turbo brush, though it isn't very effective in removing pet hair from upholstery.

    Unfortunately, this vacuum has a very short battery life, as you can only expect roughly 10 minutes of runtime on a single charge. There's no way of adjusting its suction power, which would help conserve battery life when sucking up very lightweight debris. It also lacks an allergen-trapping HEPA filter and does a terrible job of sealing in fine particles, so it isn't the best option if you suffer from allergies.

    See our review

  2. Best Budget Handheld Vacuum

    The best cordless handheld vacuum at a budget-friendly price that we've tested is the Wyze Handheld Vacuum. Despite its highly affordable price point, this vacuum does a fantastic job of cleaning pet hair on flat, even surfaces like shelves or countertops, as well as low and high-pile rugs. It can also deal with most solid debris, though it isn't the best for dealing with bulky material, which can get stuck at the entry to its dustbin. Its allergen-trapping HEPA filter is another rare feature for a vacuum at this price point and is reasonably effective in helping seal in any fine particles like pollen or pet dander. Its compact, lightweight design makes it easy to store in a cupboard or closet and carry to wherever you may need it.

    Unlike many other larger handheld vacuums, there's no miniature turbo brush attachment included in the box, which would make it a little easier to spot-clean carpets or rugs. Thankfully, a few other helpful attachments are included, like an extension hose to provide a bit of additional reach. Unsurprisingly given its small size, its dirt compartment is tiny, so you'll need to empty it very frequently.

    See our review

  3. Best Premium Handheld Vacuum

    On the opposite end of the scale, if you don't mind blowing the budget on a handheld vacuum with a few more quality-of-life features, the iRobot H1 could be worth considering. While it's substantially pricier than the Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+ and doesn't perform as well on bare floors or carpeting, it does offer a few advantages. Its two-stage filtration system makes it far better at trapping fine allergens than the Shark. Its maximum battery life of about 25 minutes is considerably longer, giving you more time to deal with small messes. It's also easier to maintain, but it has two filters that need periodic replacing, resulting in higher ownership costs.

    Build quality is good, and it comes with a charging station that can be mounted to your wall, giving you easy access to your vacuum whenever you need it. It's on the bigger, heavier side for a handheld vacuum, with a noticeably bulkier, heavier design than the Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+, but is still light enough to be carried around without too much trouble. It comes with a turbo brush attachment that's very effective in dealing with pet hair on fabric surfaces, as well as a dedicated straight-suction upholstery tool, a clip-on hard-bristle brush, and a crevice tool for cleaning tight spots.

    See our review

  4. Best Handheld Shop Vacuum

    For those looking for a shop vac, the best cordless handheld vacuum we've tested is the RYOBI 18V One+ 3 Gal. Project Wet/Dry. It's considerably smaller than most full-size shop vacuums, enabling you to store it under a workbench or on a shelf. Its handheld-only form factor can make it a little unwieldy to carry around as its dustbin fills up with debris. Despite its compact size, it offers strong performance, as it easily sucks up debris on concrete floors or lifts away material embedded deeply within rug fibers. It's remarkably effective when dealing with liquid spills, but remove its filter first. It also has a dedicated blower mode to clear away lightweight material, though its airflow isn't especially strong.

    While the 4.0 Ah battery that you can bundle with the vacuum only provides about 15 minutes of runtime, you can easily swap in a new battery pack from any other RYOBI ONE+ tools or appliances in your home, including cordless drills, work lights, or reciprocating saws.

    See our review

  5. Best Corded Handheld Vacuum

    If you'd prefer not to worry about running out of charge while cleaning, the BISSELL Featherweight Stick 2033 is the best portable vacuum with a power cord that we've tested. You can use this basic vacuum as an upright if desired, but by removing its stick handle and floorhead, it becomes a remarkably lightweight handheld vacuum that's lighter than most other cordless handheld models, like the Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+. Performance on flat surfaces like countertops or shelves is superb, and it does a fantastic job of clearing away pet hair on both bare floors and low or high-pile rugs. Unfortunately, its suction motor isn't particularly strong, and it lacks a turbo brush attachment to provide some level of surface agitation, so it has a hard time dealing with other kinds of debris embedded deep within carpet fibers or in cracks and crevices.

    The vacuum's simple design makes it remarkably easy to maintain. Since it doesn't use disposable dirtbags and features washable, reusable filters, recurring costs are virtually nonexistent. Unfortunately, it only comes with a crevice tool for tackling debris in tight corners, and there are no brush attachments for cleaning more delicate surfaces. Its power cord is also very short, so you'll probably need to swap outlets when cleaning larger areas.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Black+Decker dustbuster AdvancedClean+ Pet: The Black+Decker dustbuster AdvancedClean+ Pet is a cordless handheld vacuum that offers superior battery performance to the Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+ and has a larger dirt compartment. It feels less well-built and doesn't perform as well on any surface type. See our review
  • Black+Decker dustbuster CHV1410L: The Black+Decker dustbuster CHV1410L is a budget-friendly handheld vacuum with a much larger dirt compartment than the Wyze Handheld Vacuum and struggles less with bulky debris. However, it also has a shorter battery life, isn't as portable, and doesn't have a HEPA filter. See our review
  • Shark ION W1 WANDVAC: The Shark ION W1 WANDVAC is a compact handheld vacuum with an onboard HEPA filter, unlike the Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+, which allows it to filter out fine allergens more effectively. However, it has a much smaller dirt compartment that holds very little debris and doesn't come with a turbo brush attachment, which would make it much easier to clean upholstered surfaces. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. Aug 10, 2022: Removed 'Best Stick/Handheld Vacuum' pick category and removed Dyson Humdinger due to current availability. Added iRobot H1 as 'Best Premium Handheld Vacuum'. Added BISSELL Featherweight Stick 2033 as 'Best Corded Handheld Vacuum' pick.

  2. Jun 15, 2022: Article restructuring to better align with user expectations. Recategorized Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+ as 'Best Handheld Vacuum' pick. Recategorized Wyze Handheld Vacuum as 'Best Budget Handheld Vacuum' pick. Moved Black+Decker dustbuster CHV1410L and Shark ION W1 WANDVAC to Notable Mentions. Removed Shark Vertex Lightweight Cordless, Miele Triflex HX1, Dyson V15 Detect, and Shark Rocket Pet Pro with MultiFlex IZ163H from Notable Mentions.

  3. May 12, 2022: Replaced Hoover ONEPWR Cordless Hand Vacuum with Black+Decker dustbuster CHV1410L as 'Best Handheld Vacuum For Bare Floors' pick.

  4. Apr 13, 2022: Article restructuring to align with test bench update. Replaced Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+ with Shark ION W1 WANDVAC as new 'Best Handheld Vacuum For Pet Hair' pick. Recategorized Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+ as new 'Best Handheld Vacuum For Carpet' pick. Removed BISSELL AeroSlim and Dyson Micro 1.5kg from recommendations.

  5. Mar 11, 2022: Replaced Dyson Micro 1.5kg with Wyze Cordless Vacuum as 'Best Stick/Handheld Vacuum' pick. Recategorized Dyson Micro 1.5kg as 'More Portable Alternative' pick. Moved Shark Rocket Pet Pro with MultiFlex IZ163H to Notable Mentions.

All Reviews

Our recommendations are based on what we think are currently the best portable vacuums to buy. We don't just base our results on overall performance, but also factors like availability, price, and reader feedback.

If you would like to do the work of choosing yourself, here is the list of all our handheld vacuum reviews. Be careful not to get too caught up in the details. While no vacuum is perfect for every use, most are good enough to please almost everyone, and the differences are often not noticeable unless you really look for them.