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Some messes in life call for a full-sized, heavy-duty vacuum. But others, like the crumbs between your couch cushions or the dirt on the floor of your car, require a more lightweight and portable handheld vacuum. These little appliances have come a long way from the countertop dustbusters of your childhood, and they can range from super high-end models to affordable, reliable pieces of gear to keep nearby for quick cleanups.
What Are the Best Handheld Vacuums?
Whether you’re cleaning car seats or needing to vacuum up a small spill, handheld vacuums make these jobs a little easier. Here are the things we look for in a reliable handheld vacuum for spot cleaning and tidying up around the house and beyond.
Power: We don’t expect a handheld appliance to come with the same cleaning power as a full-sized model, but portable vacuums should still be capable of reliable spot cleaning on both hard surfaces and carpets while still being small and lightweight enough to be easily moved.
Pet Hair: Some of our favorite models come with special attachments and nozzles designed to pick up pet hair, which is one of the main reasons you’d need a handheld vacuum to begin with.
Size: The lighter and slimmer the vacuum the easier it will be to use — and the more likely you’ll be to actually use it. The one thing to consider with these small models is that the smaller it is, the smaller the dustbin may be, so you’ll have to empty the debris out more often.
Versatility: The shape of the nozzle is also important in terms of the vacuum’s versatility, and whether it is capable of reaching awkward corners and out-of-the-way spots like under a carseat.
1. Black+Decker Dustbuster Handheld Vacuum
The bestselling Black+Decker handheld vacuum regularly tops ranking lists, and for good reason. It’s remarkably effective at picking up debris and pet hair on both hard and soft surfaces, in addition to a decent no-fade runtime and a fast four-hour charging time. The filter fits snugly and is easy to remove. Instead of detachable attachments, it has a crevice tool and built-in, pop-out brush. It’s great for keeping your car free of dirt, as well as small cleanups in your kitchen or around the house.
2. Bissell Pet Hair Eraser
Our pick for pet owners is this Bissell vac, which can easily pick up fur thanks to the well-designed rubber nozzle, which attracts and pulls hair from a range of corners and surface contours on furniture and spots that might be especially difficult to reach with other vacuums. While not cordless, it includes a lengthy 16-foot cord is plenty long enough for most uses.
3. Shark WV201 WANDVAC Handheld Vacuum
Of our handheld vacuum picks, the Shark is the slimmest, lightest, and most space-efficient — with a charging base that includes spots to store all the attachments. Though small, it still boasts powerful suction power, particularly on hard surfaces, while the slender nozzle makes it easier to reach awkward spots that can be tricky to clean, especially in your car.
4. Worx WX030L 20V Power Share Cordless Cube Vac
The Worx looks more like a smaller version of a standard vacuum than it does a dustbuster, with a retractable hose rather than a nozzle. This means you’re not handling the appliance one-handed, and you can access more tight corners than other portable vacuums. We also like that it comes in a cordless design, with seriously impressive suction power, while still small enough to carry in your backpack.