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 115 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+. This compact cordless vacuum can be easily carried around to spot-clean most hard-to-reach areas and is small enough to be stored in most cupboards or closets. It feels well-built and has a simple design that incurs few recurring costs.
This vacuum delivers remarkable performance on bare floors as well as low and high-pile carpet, easily cleaning pet hair and various types of solid debris. It comes with a crevice tool to deal with messes in tight corners and a turbo brush attachment with a self-cleaning brushroll for easier cleaning of upholstered surfaces.
Unfortunately, this vacuum's battery life is very short, as you can only expect roughly 10 minutes of runtime on a single charge. You can't adjust its suction power either, which would help conserve battery life. Unlike alternatives like the Dyson Humdinger, it also lacks a HEPA filter and does a terrible job of sealing in fine particles, so it might not be the best choice if you suffer from allergies. Otherwise, its compact size, affordable price point, and strong performance make it one of the best vacuums under $100 that we've tested.
If you want a handheld vacuum that's even more portable, check out the Wyze Handheld Vacuum. Unlike the Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+, it struggles with sucking up very bulky debris and doesn't come with a miniature turbo brush, but it's notably smaller and lighter. It comes with a few more tools and accessories, including an extension hose to help you clean hard-to-reach areas and a dedicated upholstery tool. It offers superior battery performance, as you can expect a maximum of half an hour of runtime when using it in its default suction power mode. However, running it in its 'Max' power mode drops its battery life to roughly 10 minutes. Performance on low and high-pile carpet is very good, though you may need to make another pass to fully clean very fine debris. It feels well-built and doesn't have very many parts that need regular cleaning. Unfortunately, its dustbin is very small and consequently needs frequent emptying.
Get the Shark if you want a handheld vacuum that offers superior overall performance and has a larger dustbin, but consider the Wyze if you want longer battery life and an allergen-trapping HEPA filter.
The Samsung Jet 70 Pet is the best lightweight stick vacuum we've tested. This cordless stick vacuum doesn't weigh very much compared to many other alternatives and is impressively easy to carry from room to room. It's also easy to maneuver, even in tight, cluttered areas. It also features a five-stage filtration system and is very effective at capturing fine particles.
Performance on bare floors is superb, as it can easily clean away pet hair as well as small and bulky material on flat, even surfaces. It's also remarkably effective when dealing with messes on high-pile carpets and does an excellent job of sucking up debris on low-pile carpet. You can expect upwards of 50 minutes of runtime in its most energy-efficient configuration. Unfortunately, you'll have to work quickly when vacuuming stubborn debris in its high-power 'MAX' mode, which can drain its battery in a little over five minutes.
While this vacuum feels reasonably well-built overall, it does have a few weak points, like the clear plastic dustbin and the top cover of its floorhead. There's also no way of adjusting its brushroll height or stopping its rotation, so you need to be careful when cleaning around loose obstructions like rug tassels. Otherwise, it's a great option if you're looking for a lightweight stick vacuum, and it ranks among the best cordless vacuums that we've tested.
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. Still, if you're looking for an affordable vacuum that's easy to pick up and carry, this is a good choice.
The best lightweight vacuum at a budget-friendly price that we've tested is the Wyze Cordless Vacuum. It's lighter than most other pricier cordless stick vacuums, like the Shark Vertex Pro, making it very easy to maneuver in tight spaces or carry wherever you may need it. You can also swap between its three different suction power modes by tapping on the LED touchscreen at the back of its body.
Unusually for a vacuum at this price point, it has an onboard HEPA filter to help trap allergens as you clean. It also delivers great overall performance on low and high-pile carpets and rugs. It does a fantastic job of dealing with pet hair and small debris on bare floors too, but bulky debris can get stuck at the entry of its dustbin or get scattered around by its brushroll. It can run for almost an hour in its most energy-efficient mode, but using it in its most powerful 'TURBO' mode drastically reduces its battery life.
Unfortunately, some parts of this vacuum's mainly plastic construction feel a little fragile, like the clear plastic that makes up its dustbin and top plate of its floorhead. It also doesn't come with a miniature turbo brush for cleaning upholstered surfaces when using it as a handheld vacuum, though you can buy a turbo brush from the manufacturer's website at an additional cost. Overall, if you're looking for a well-rounded stick vacuum at a budget-friendly price, it's a very good option.
May 03, 2022: Replaced Dyson V8 Animal with Samsung Jet 70 Pet as 'Best Lightweight Stick Vacuum' pick. Removed Dyson Micro 1.5 kg due to current availability. Added Dyson V8 Animal to Notable Mentions.
Mar 07, 2022: Ensured all main picks are available and represent the best option for user needs and expectations.
Feb 02, 2022: Verified that all main picks are still available and are aligned with user needs and expectations.
Jan 07, 2022: Ensured that all main picks are still available and represent the best choice for their given category.
Dec 09, 2021: Replaced Black+Decker dustbuster AdvancedClean+ Pet with Wyze Cordless Vacuum as 'Best Budget Lightweight Vacuum' category pick. Added Black+Decker dustbuster AdvancedClean+ Pet to Notable Mentions.
Our recommendations above are based on what we think are currently the best lightweight vacuum cleaners. 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.