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The 4 Best Handheld Vacuums - Summer 2024 Reviews

Updated Jun 20, 2024 at 03:17 pm
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 150 vacuum cleaners, and below are our recommendations for the best portable vacuums with a handheld design 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 model excels at clearing away solid debris on bare surfaces like countertops, shelves, tile, and hardwood floors. It's also powerful enough to draw out debris from rugs and carpets. While it's on the larger side for a handheld, it's still small enough to stow away in most cupboards and closets. Its dirt compartment is quite large, so you won't need to empty it after every spot-cleaning job. The CH951 variant of this vacuum comes bundled with a crevice tool, a hard-bristle brush, and a miniature turbo brush with a self-cleaning brushroll for cleaning upholstered surfaces. Unfortunately, the mini turbo brush tool isn't all that practical: it's pretty bulky and does a poor job of dealing with pet hair, so you're better off using the hard bristle brush to deal with strands of hair on furniture.

    The vacuum's 10-minute battery life is poor, even by the low standards of other handheld vacuums, so you'll need to work fast when cleaning larger messes. Even worse, the battery isn't user-replaceable, so you can't swap in a new pack if the old one doesn't hold a charge as well as it used to. It also does a terrible job of sealing in particles like pet dander or dust, with fine particles easily escaping from its exhaust.

    See our review

  2. Best Budget Handheld Vacuum

    The Black+Decker 16V MAX dustbuster Cordless Hand Vacuum is the best cordless handheld vacuum at a budget-friendly price point that we've tested. It doesn't feel as sturdy as the Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+ build-wise and is a little bulkier, but it has a few advantages aside from its lower price tag, like its dustbin, which is even bigger. The Black+Decker's replacement filters are also less expensive than those for the Shark. It excels when it comes to sucking up debris on hard surfaces like countertops or hardwood floors, and it does a good job of dealing with debris in cracks and crevices, thanks to a built-in crevice tool.

    Unfortunately, the selection of attachments is very limited, with only the aforementioned slide-out crevice tool and a flip-out hard-bristle brush; there's no upholstery tool or miniature turbo brush to make cleaning fabric furniture easier. It can only run for a little over 10 minutes on a single charge, which is short, even by the standards of other handheld models. Worse yet, it takes over three hours to recharge. Like the Shark, the manufacturer didn't design its battery for removal and replacement either. If the original battery's performance degrades over time, you can't easily swap in a new pack.

    See our review

  3. Best Compact Handheld Vacuum

    If you prioritize portability above all else, the BISSELL AeroSlim/TurboSlim is among the best cordless handheld vacuums we've tested. It's a different type of handheld vacuum, compared to something like the Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+ or the Black+Decker 16V MAX dustbuster Cordless Hand Vacuum, with a very compact body a little smaller than a two-liter bottle of soda. That small form factor makes it easy to carry around or stow away when not in use, but its design has downsides. It has a small, weak suction motor that struggles to lift heavier debris away. It also has a tiny dirt compartment that fills quickly. Bulky debris can also clog its suction nozzle, and debris can fall out of the dustbin and back out the suction inlet if you overfill it. However, it's ideal for quick cleanups of small, lightweight debris on hard surfaces like countertops, shelves, or even tile and hardwood floors.

    It can run for about 15 minutes on a single charge, which is normal for a vacuum of this size and intended use. While there's no wide-aperture upholstery nozzle or miniature turbo brush tool for cleaning larger fabric surfaces, this vacuum comes with a crevice tool you can use to extend your reach in tight spots. It also comes with a slide-on soft-bristle brush for cleaning dust off delicate surfaces. Unfortunately, recharging via its included USB adapter takes over three hours, so you'll be waiting for a while if you need to clean up more than one large mess. Also, its battery isn't replaceable, limiting the overall lifespan of the device.

    See our review

  4. Best Handheld Vacuum For Allergies

    If you suffer from allergies and want a more effective vacuum for sealing fine particles like dust or pet dander, check out the Shark WANDVAC. Compared to the Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+ and most other handheld vacuums, it has a pretty tiny dirt compartment, so you'll be emptying its dustbin at the end of almost every cleaning session. However, it does a much better job sealing in allergens with the standard filter, which isn't even HEPA-rated. If you want to increase its filtration performance even further, several third-party manufacturers sell compatible HEPA-rated filters. It's also only slightly larger than the highly compact BISSELL AeroSlim/TurboSlim, making it a cinch to stow away in a drawer or cupboard when not in use. It's best to go for the WV201 variant over the cheaper WV200 variant, as the former comes bundled with a low-profile charging dock with room for its two included attachments, so you won't have to find another place to tuck them away when you don't need them.

    While there's no miniature turbo brush for cleaning carpeted or fabric surfaces, the included straight suction upholstery tool is still effective in dealing with messes on furniture. Unfortunately, the Shark's battery performance is poor, even for a handheld vacuum, as it can only run for about 10 minutes on a full charge. Like many other handheld vacuums, the battery isn't removable, so you can't swap in a freshly charged pack when it runs out of power or buy a replacement battery if the original can no longer hold a charge.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Black+Decker dustbuster AdvancedClean+ Pet: The Black+Decker dustbuster AdvancedClean+ Pet is a cordless handheld vacuum with superior battery performance to the Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+ and has a larger dirt compartment. However, it feels less well-built and doesn't perform as well on any surface type. See our review
  • Wyze Handheld Vacuum: The Wyze Handheld Vacuum is a great option if you're looking for a compact handheld, as it offers a relatively lengthy 30-minute runtime and has a HEPA filter. Unfortunately, its availability tends to be slightly sporadic compared to our top picks. In addition, like the BISSELL AeroSlim/TurboSlim, it has difficulty dealing with bulky debris. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. Jun 20, 2024: Small text edits for clarity. No change in recommendations.

  2. Mar 25, 2024: We've confirmed all our recommendations for their continued relevance, stock availability, and pricing.

  3. Feb 26, 2024: Verified that all main picks are still available and represent the best fit for user needs.

  4. Feb 02, 2024: Removed the iRobot H1 from the Notable Mentions due to current product availability.

  5. Jan 04, 2024: Minor in-text modifications to further clarify product details.

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 on 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.