Thanks to innovations in design and build materials, vacuum cleaners have become lighter over time. A lightweight machine can help reduce the strain on your body as you clean, and it can be easier to take with you up and down a flight of stairs. It should have both a low total weight as well as a manageable weight in your hand. However, to improve their portability while lowering their weight, many of these vacuums tend to be very plasticky, and their build quality can suffer as a result.
We've tested over 95 vacuum cleaners, and below are our recommendations for the best lightweight vacuum cleaners to buy. These picks were selected not only based on their weight but also their performance on different types of surfaces, feature set, battery life, and price. If you're looking for more vacuums, check out our recommendations for the best cordless vacuums, the best cordless stick vacuums, and the best cordless vacuums for pet hair.
Of all the handheld vacuum cleaners we've tested, the best lightweight vacuum is the Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+. It's a cordless model that's incredibly portable thanks to its compact, lightweight design. It feels well-built and comfortable to use, and it's a great option for spot cleaning smaller messes. It's also easy to maintain, with just a couple of parts that need regular cleaning and only one recurring cost.
It does a fantastic job cleaning pet hair from any surface type, and it picks up larger debris like cereal and rice as well as smaller debris like sand and baking soda with ease, though finer debris may cling to the outside of the vacuum's dirt compartment. It comes with a few tools and brushes, including a turbo brush to easily clean hair from fabric-covered surfaces and a crevice tool for tight corners.
Unfortunately, this vacuum has a very limited battery life, lasting approximately 10 minutes, though this can vary with real-world conditions. It also has a mediocre dirt compartment, so you may have to empty it more frequently, and it lacks a fill line to let you know when to empty it. Still, this is one of the best handheld vacuums we've tested, thanks to its lightweight design and excellent performance on various surfaces.
If you want a handheld vacuum that's even more portable, check out the Wyze Handheld Vacuum. It's not as effective as the Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+ is at picking up various kinds of debris across surface types. However, it's even smaller and more lightweight, making it just a bit more maneuverable and easier to carry around. It has adjustable suction settings, which means it has a greater max battery life, which can last roughly anywhere from 10 to over 30 minutes depending on your usage habits and which power setting you choose. It has a HEPA filter to reduce allergens and comes with various attachments to help you reach corners or tackle stubborn messes. However, its dirt compartment has a very small capacity, so you have to empty it frequently.
Get the Shark if you prioritize better overall performance, but consider the Wyze if portability and longer battery life are bigger concerns.
The Dyson V8 Animal is the best lightweight vacuum with a stick design that we've tested. This cordless model has a slim design that makes it easy to maneuver around furniture, and it can quickly change into a handheld configuration so you can clean your car or stairs. It doesn't feel very heavy in your hand and comes with a carrying handle, making it very portable.
It delivers outstanding performance on bare floors, where it easily picks up pet hair and most debris, and it's also great on high-pile and low-pile carpets. The dirt compartment is somewhat small, but the vacuum doesn't lose suction as it fills up. It doesn't use a dirtbag, and its pre-filter and HEPA filter are both washable, so it should incur practically no recurring costs. Several tools and brushes are included as well, like an extension wand to increase your reach and a soft bristle brush for cleaning delicate objects like lampshades.
Unfortunately, it doesn't have the best battery life, as it's possible to drain the battery in under 10 minutes using the 'MAX' power mode, and it takes more than four hours to recharge. In its most battery-efficient mode, it can supply up to roughly 40 minutes of continuous cleaning. Because of its versatile performance and maneuverable design, this is one of the best cordless stick vacuums we've tested.
If you're looking for an even lighter portable cordless stick/handheld vacuum, consider the Dyson Micro 1.5kg. Unlike the Dyson V8 Animal, it isn't meant for cleaning carpets because of the primary vacuum head's soft brushrolls, but it weighs notably less, making it even easier to maneuver. It also delivers exceptional performance on bare floors, where it easily cleans pet hair and small and bulky debris like rice or cereal. In addition, while its maximum battery life of roughly half an hour is shorter than that of the V8, it charges notably faster. It comes with a reasonably wide range of tools and accessories, including a secondary crevice tool with an LED light to help you see in dark corners and a motorized turbo brush. Unfortunately, the vacuum's dustbin feels somewhat flimsy and needs frequent emptying because of its small capacity.
Get the V8 if you're looking for a more versatile stick vacuum, but consider the Micro if you only need to clean bare floors and prioritize maneuverability and portability.
Of all the vacuums we've tested, the BISSELL Featherweight Stick 2033 is the best lightweight vacuum cleaner for elderly users since it places such little weight in the hand while in use. This corded upright feels incredibly lightweight, making it easy to maneuver even in tight, cluttered spaces. It has a simple bagless design that's very easy to maintain and incurs virtually no recurring costs.
You can easily reconfigure this vacuum into a handheld for cleaning under, around, and on top of counters and furniture. It also comes with a crevice tool to help you clean tight spots. It does a fantastic job of sucking up pet hair on a wide variety of surface types. It also easily sucks up small debris like rice on bare floors, and it's effective in dealing with bulky material like cereal when its dustbin is empty.
However, suction performance drops drastically as its tiny dustbin fills up, to the point where it's incapable of picking up bulky debris like cereal once it reaches more than half capacity. It does a mediocre job of clearing debris from high-pile carpet and feels quite flimsy in places too. Still, if you're looking for an affordable vacuum that's easy to pick up and carry, this is a good choice.
The Black+Decker dustbuster AdvancedClean+ Pet is the best lightweight vacuum in the budget category that we've tested. This handheld cordless vacuum is lightweight and small enough to be easily stored in a cupboard or closet. Despite its compact size, it has a relatively large dustbin that shouldn't need emptying too often.
This vacuum does a fantastic job cleaning pet hair and various kinds of debris, like rice or cereal, from bare floors. It does a good job on low and high-pile carpets too, but you may need to make another pass to fully clean fine debris like baking soda. It has a built-in extension wand/crevice cleaner and comes with a turbo brush for cleaning messes on fabric-lined surfaces. Its maximum battery life of almost 30 minutes should also be more than sufficient for most spot-cleaning tasks, though this can vary in the real world.
Unfortunately, this vacuum feels rather cheaply built in places, particularly small internal components like the dustbin door hinge. Also, it lacks a HEPA filter to trap allergens as you clean, which could be disappointing if you have a heavily shedding pet. Recurring costs are also somewhat high as a result of its disposable primary filter and plastic pre-filter. Still, if you're looking for a versatile, affordable lightweight vacuum, this is a good choice.
Oct 13, 2021: Verified accuracy and availability of picks; no change to recommendations.
Sep 17, 2021: Moved BISSELL Featherweight Stick 2033 to 'Best Lightweight Vacuum For Elderly Users' pick category to better reflect the needs of user demographics. Added new 'More Maneuverable Alternative' pick. Removed 'Best Lightweight Upright Vacuum' pick due to inferior performance compared to Dyson V8 Animal. Added Shark Wandvac System WS620, Dyson Omni-Glide, and Dyson Humdinger to Notable Mentions.
Aug 20, 2021: Replaced HoLife HM036E with Black+Decker dustbuster AdvancedClean+ Pet as 'Best Budget Lightweight Vacuum' due to current availability.
Jun 23, 2021: Replaced Shark ION W1 WANDVAC with Wyze Handheld Vacuum as 'More Portable Alternative' pick. Added Shark ION W1 WANDVAC and iRobot H1 to Notable Mentions.
Apr 27, 2021: Replaced the BISSELL Adapt Ion Pet with the Shark Wandvac System WS620 as the pick in the 'Best Upright' category. Replaced the BISSELL Aeroslim with the BISSELL Featherweight Stick 2033 as an 'Upright Alternative' to the HoLife HM036E in the 'Best Budget' category.
Our recommendations above are based on what we think are currently the best lightweight vacuums. 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 lightweight 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.