Best Handheld Vacuum - Top 5 Cleanest Review for Nov. 2017
Last Updated: 2nd November, 2017
The Best Handheld Vacuum (Corded or Cordless) – Top 5 Cleanest Review for Nov. 2017
Moving into a new home or apartment usually requires buying the major appliances you’ll need for daily life and maintenance. And a powerful vacuum cleaner is certainly one of the tools you’ll want to have in your home on day one.
A smaller, handheld vacuum doesn’t immediately make it onto most peoples’ list, though. You’re more likely to realize that you need a smaller unit only when you’re wrestling with your shiny new, monstrous Dyson or Hoover, simply trying to clean some spilled cereal or tracked-in dirt.
Take your time and read the handheld vacuum buying guide information just below. Alternatively, skip ahead by clicking on the following link, to see which models made it onto the best handheld vacuum top 5 list.
The Utility of Handheld Vacuums
Handheld models are naturally invaluable for small, everyday cleaning jobs, but the versatility of the best handheld vacuums also allows you to easily take care of many medium-sized tasks both in and out of the home. And if you haven’t used a portable vacuum in recent years, you’d be surprised at how advanced the technology has become.
Sure, you can still buy tiny vacuums similar to the Dust Busters that first came out 40 years ago. But there are also models with amazing suction that can rival many upright or canister models, along with flexible hoses and helpful attachments which can get into spaces like car seats, window sills and tight corners that bigger vacuums can’t handle.
The Groom+Style team has rigorously reviewed all of the handheld models on the market and determined the five best currently available. We’ll get to our honor roll after some quick tips on making your decision.
Get the Right Handheld Vacuum for the Jobs You’ll Be Doing
The first choice you’ll face is whether to buy a corded or cordless model.
If you plan on using the unit mostly in one area like a workspace or kitchen, a corded vacuum will provide continuous cleaning power without the need to stop and recharge the battery periodically. You’ll want a long power cord, though, so you’re not constantly moving from outlet to outlet.
Cordless handhelds are extremely convenient when you plan to take them around the house, into the garage and outside to clean out the car. Be aware, though, that most will only run for ten or twenty minutes per charge.
When choosing a cordless handheld vacuum, pay close attention not only to the amount of running time you get with one charge but how long each recharge will take. A lithium-ion battery will last longer and charge faster but may make the vacuum more expensive than one with a NiCad battery.
Also consider the weight of your cordless handheld, since carrying a heavy model from place to place can quickly become a chore.
Additional Factors to Consider
The power of the unit isn’t as big a factor as you might expect. Most of the best handheld vacuums will be rated between 18 and 20 volts giving them lots of suction, but even lesser models rated around 15 volts are more than adequate for most jobs.
A bigger concern should be the size of the dirt container because smaller handheld models (most of which have bagless collection cups) must be emptied and cleaned more frequently than standard vacuums.
Another key factor: the accessories that come with the product. Crevice tools and upholstery brushes are common and important, but you may want specialized extras like motorized brushes for carpets or pet-hair attachments which are an enormous help if Fluffy sheds a lot.
Extendable hoses are also great for reaching tight spots or high areas. And you can find wet/dry handheld models if they fit your needs.
Finally, consider the filter. Some vacuums require replacements that are much more expensive than others, and you might want to invest in a model that has a HEPA filter which can remove allergens and dust mites as you vacuum.
Here’s our best handheld vacuum top 5 list. Let’s clean up.
Black & Decker BDH2020FLFH MAX Lithium Flex Vacuum. Click on the photo to see the Price on Amazon.
This is about as far from the old-school Dust Buster as you can get. It’s a pretty large cordless unit and is shaped like more like a canister vacuum, so you can’t just grab it in the palm of one hand; you’ll likely need both of them.
However, at 20 volts it’s a lot more powerful, it’s extremely flexible and it comes with a terrific assortment of accessories. Even better, it’s a lot lighter than our Groom+Style reviewers feared at first glance – and much less expensive than the relatively-comparable Dyson model we’ll get to shortly.
The review team liked the BDH2020FLFH most because of its versatility. This handheld comes with a four-foot long flexible hose, a nozzle and brush tool, a crevice tool, a pet hair brush and a pivoting floor head for an attachable stick. The combination allows you to easily clean high, clean low, clean corners, clean Fluffy’s hair and even use the stick to mimic a more traditional vacuum.
This isn’t the most powerful handheld on the market, but it’s in the upper echelon, with the cyclonic dust collection mechanism preventing dirt from accumulating on the filter too quickly, plus a three-stage filter.
Great dirt collection comes with a price, though; you’ll find the paper filter needs frequent cleaning and replacement, but the filters are very reasonably priced.
You’ll get about 15 minutes of vacuuming time with this Black and Decker model, and a charge of the lithium-ion battery takes about four hours, well within the parameters of the best handheld vacuums on our list. It’s rather noisy, definitely louder than your upright vacuum, but not objectionable for short vacuuming tasks.
You can pay a lot more for a little more suction and a filter that doesn’t need to be cleaned quite as often, but why would you?
The BDH2020FLFH will suck up almost anything you need it to (and is great for pet hair), and it’s a terrific value that will extract dirt from even the tightest spaces.
Facts and figures on the Black & Decker BDH2020FLFH MAX Lithium Flex Vacuum:
Peak power: 20V
Battery: Lithium-ion, rechargeable
Run/charge time: 15 minutes/four hours
Dust capacity: 0.1 gallons
Accessories: Flexible hose, nozzle and brush tool, crevice tool, pet hair brush, stick with pivoting floor head
Dyson V6 Trigger Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner. Click on the photo to see the Price on Amazon.
You don’t need Groom+Style experts to tell you that the Dyson option is the most expensive on our list. You also don’t need us to tell you that it’s top-of-the-line and worth every penny if you are going to give your handheld vacuum a real workout.
The 100-watt V6 Trigger is powered by a Dyson digital motor which provides great suction; what makes this model unique, though, is that it uses the company’s famous two-tier cyclone collection system with a total of 15 cyclones arranged for increased airflow – the key to effective dust collection.
This handheld normally runs for about 20 minutes on a charge (and takes 3½ hours to recharge) but has a “max power” mode for tougher jobs that gives you six minutes of maximum power for tough jobs.
The V6 looks more like a Star Trek weapon (or a stylish hand drill with a small gumball machine in the middle) than a vacuum. You hold it in one hand to operate the trigger, which only activates the lithium-ion battery when you actually need it and is great for saving battery power.
The oddly-shaped tool at the end of the handheld unit functions as both a regular head and a nozzle that can fit into tight squeezes. (A similar model, the Dyson V6 Car and Boat comes with extra attachments and an upholstery tool.)
It may sound unwieldy, but this handheld is ergonomically designed and comfortable to use. The hygienic dust bin is easy to empty, too.
The Dyson V6 Trigger is almost twice the price of the Black & Decker, and while it may not provide exactly twice the performance, it comes close.
It could be more handheld vacuum than you need, but as with all of their products, Dyson doesn’t disappoint.
Details for the Dyson V6 Trigger Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner:
Eureka EasyClean Corded Hand-Held Vacuum 71B. Click on the photo to see the Price on Amazon.
The Groom+Style review team finds corded handheld vacuums to be something of a pain to use because we keep getting the cord tangled. Maybe we’re just not coordinated enough.
But many people prefer a corded model for use in their kitchen or workshop, and this unit from Eureka does the job extremely well, at a very low price compared to the cordless models we’ve discussed so far on our list of the top 5 best handheld vacuums.
A pair of motors (one for suction and one for the attached revolving brush) totaling 5.5 amps provide the power for the 71B, and it sucks up dirt almost as well as the Black & Decker and Dyson – including stubborn pet hair.
It has amazing reach as well, thanks to the 20-foot power cord and the long stretchy hose that’s much like the hose on an upright model.
The motorized brush we mentioned works equally well on carpets and bare floors (but needs frequent cleaning), and it has an on-off switch so you maintain control over the way the EasyClean picks up dirt.
Perhaps the coolest feature, though, is the “Riser Visor” nozzle cover that is normally in the down position for flat areas but flips up for easy cleaning of vertical surfaces like stair risers. There’s also a crevice tool for nooks and crannies, an easy to empty dust cup and a washable, not-too-expensive-to-replace filter.
Eureka’s 71B is a little heavier than cordless models and isn’t for everyone. But it’s powerful, inexpensive and can do almost anything the pricier handheld vacuums on our list can do.
More info on the Eureka EasyClean Corded Hand-Held Vacuum, 71B:
This is an extremely good cordless handheld vacuum. Unfortunately, it’s priced somewhere between the Black & Decker and Dyson, so it falls lower in our rankings because we’re not sure the price is completely justified.
However, the Groom+Style team agrees that we’d all be happy to have the Bissell 1985 in our home.
Powered by a fade-free (meaning it doesn’t slowly lose power as you use it) 22-volt lithium-ion battery, this unit has terrific suction that compares well to the top vacuums on our list.
What our reviewers really liked was the well-designed crevice tool, dusting brush and powered brush roller that make it easy to clean just about anywhere and pick up just about anything including pet hair.
What they didn’t like as much was the relatively-short extension hose which requires you to bend over to use the Bissell for most applications, and the fact that it’s heavier than most competitors. The short recharging time is another big plus.
The 1985 Multi Cordless may be somewhat overpriced, but it’s a great cordless handheld model that is definitely worth your consideration, particularly if you can find it on sale.
Looking closer at the Bissell 1985 Multi Cordless Hand Vacuum:
DirtTamer Supreme V2400 Cordless Wet: Dry Hand Vac. Click on the photo to see the Price on Amazon.
We wanted to include one wet/dry model on our list of the top 5 best handheld vacuums, and the DirtTamer Supreme is our choice. It is slightly “underpowered” in our view at 12 volts, and the battery is lead-acid instead of lithium-ion.
But there are positives to compensate. There’s a three-stage HEPA filter that does an excellent job of removing contaminants as it cleans up, and the Groom+Style team found that the lower power rating doesn’t really prevent this unit from cleaning up just about everything it comes across, including liquid messes. (If you want more power, the company’s Ultima V2510 is rated at 14.4 volts, but we didn’t think it made a major difference.)
The accessories are great: a long extendable wand, an upholstery brush and a squeegee for wet use.
The DirtTamer Supreme’s charging time is long and its runtime is short, and the lead-acid batter makes it quite heavy. The key is performance, though, and this is the best wet/dry handheld vacuum you can find at a reasonable price.
Looking closer at the DirtTamer Supreme V2400 Cordless Wet/Dry Hand Vac:
The Black & Decker CHV1410L vacuum is designed with a rotating, slim nozzle that targets dirt in tight spaces. Black & Decker claims 50-percent more reach than the previous dustbuster designs, which makes for less bending and better accessibility. The CHV1410L features its “smart charge” technology, which uses up to 50% less energy, to go with its Lithium-Ion battery. This handheld vacuum comes with brush and crevice tool accessories which are located on-board the unit so that there are no loose items to misplace.
Pro & Cons
Groom+Style found that the battery performance of the Black & Decker CHV1410L was long-lasting and quick recharging, which is obviously a key requirement for any cordless, handheld vacuum. The unit is very powerful and has amazing suction. This vacuum features an extended piece on the end, which is great for getting to those hard-to-reach places around the home. This bag less vacuum has a plastic filter and is incredibly easy to clean and empty. Other pros revolved around the accessions that come with this handheld, including the flip-up brush and rotating nozzle. It is also incredible value for money.
The Black & Decker Platinum BDH2000FL is a cordless, compact and lightweight handheld vacuum that features a four-foot flexible hose that easily reaches high places and tight spaces, which makes it especially useful on stairs and in your car. There is no battery memory on this unit, so the battery has a long life and can hold a charge for up to eighteen months. The battery charges only when necessary as it is Energy Star Smart Charge approved. The BDH2000FL has a high-performance motor which powers its strong, long-lasting suction. This vacuum also comes with a pet hair cleaning tool designed to pick up those pesky pet hairs. Black & Decker also boasts of the three-stage filtration system which prevents dust and debris from escaping for clean air exhaust. It’s also good for hardwood floors.
Pro & Cons
The long run-time per charge (~18 minutes) is a big selling point for this vacuum as are the great attachments that come with the unit, in particular the crevice tool, pet hair tool, and flip-out brush. The flexible hose comes in handy when you’re trying to get into tight spaces, like in a car. The suction on this handheld device is exceptional. Other pros include its lightweight design, good quality plastics, and washable filter.
The Hoover Platinum LINX BH50030 is a compact, lightweight, cordless handheld vacuum that excels at cleaning up pet hair around all areas of the home. It features a Pet Upholstery Tool that offers a three blade design for pet hair pick-up. The Platinum LINX vacuum offers a Lithium-Ion interchangeable battery that provides fade free power, with a 25-degree pivot design nozzle for easy maneuverability. Hoover also boasts of its Deluxe Dusting Brush with dual rows of gentle bristles that quickly allow you to dust delicate surfaces.
Pro & Cons
Several customers praised the vacuum’s Lithium-ion battery, which is both powerful and long-lasting. In terms of pet hair, the unit’s power brush attachment was also a big selling point, as the attachment itself is motorized which works great on removing pet hair from furniture; this feature was pointed out by a lot of customers and appears to be the single biggest selling point. Several reviewers also remarked on the vacuum’s versatility, making it easy to get into tough-to-reach areas, and noting how well it works on stairs and in cars as well. Other pros of the Platinum LINX vacuum include it being very easy to empty and clean, its compact design, and that the battery is removable for when its time to charge .
There were some things that customers did not like about the Platinum LINX vacuum. The Platinum LINX is a bit pricey for a handheld vacuum. Some reviewers noted that the vacuum sometimes struggled on carpeting, and the crevice tool needs to be handled carefully.
The Dirt Devil Scorpion Quick Flip is powered by a 7 amp motor that is able to pick up pebbles, sand, dirt, and other debris that many other vacuums leave behind. It comes with a quick flip crevice tool that cleans tight spaces between couch cushions and car seats. All dirt and debris that are suctioned by its flexible hose, dusting brush, or crevice tool is transported into a bag-less dirt disposal that is easy to remove, dump and use once more. The Quick Flip comes with a 16-foot power cord as well.
Pro & Cons
Several reviewers noted that what makes the suction successful and clean is that the vacuum is equipped with an F5 filter that can either be washed in the washer or sink. The Quick Flip comes with a sixteen foot power cord for when you do not want to charge it, which was a big selling point for many customers. The power cord is easy to wrap around and use inside the home. The vacuum is powered by a motor that runs on seven amps and weighs only three pounds, so it’s easy to carry for a quick clean up, which is essential when shopping for a handheld vacuum
A few other users wrote that for its minuscule size, the Quick Flip can become quite noisy when it’s in use. Another customer noted that the accessory bag that comes with the vacuum is too small to hold it.
The Dyson DC34 has a powerful digital motor that is designed so that there is no suction loss anywhere in the vacuuming process. The motors, unlike other vacuums, do not rely on carbon brushes, so there are no carbon dust emissions. The DC34 is a light weight vacuum that only weighs three pounds. For messes that are difficult to clean with an ordinary vacuum, the DC34 has a dual power mode between fifteen minutes (28 air watts) of high suction, or six minutes (65 air watts) of higher suction if needed.
Pro & Cons
Customers enjoyed many features of the DC34. The product comes with accessories for effective cleaning such as the combination brush, crevice tool, and wide debris nozzle that is able to remove dirt no matter the location. Reviewers were also impressed with the powerful 22.2-volt Lithium-ion battery that easily charges for reuse. The DC34 stands out from its competitors in that it does not require a bag as debris and dirt move into a bin – press the button to release the dirt, and simply reuse.
What did customers not like about the DC34? Well, to begin with, it is on the expensive side for a handheld vacuum. Other than price, a few reviewers noted that the DC34 cannot operate while being charged.
The Dyson DC44 stands at twenty-eight inches and weighs only ten pounds. The product features a digital motor that is three times more powerful than conventional motors. The vacuum contains a nickel manganese cobalt battery that allows for quick recharge, so it’s ready for use and operates long enough for the job’s completion. Dyson boasts of the DC44’s motorized floor tool with carbon fiber brushes, which work great on hard floors.
Pro & Cons
Customers raved about the carbon fiber brushes and brush cleaners, which are meant to enhance the cleaning process. The DC44’s “Root Cyclone” technology also drew praise, as it spins air at an incredibly high speed into a bin, as being a bag-less unit means having no loss of suction or mess. Other pros include a detachable long-reach wand that allows for cleaning those hard-to-reach places and a “boost mode” that gives an option either twenty minutes of constant suction or eight minutes of higher suction.
Reviewers generally noted two common complaints with the DC44. The first is that the dump cup is small and fills up quickly, requiring users to chronically empty and clean. The second is that for the price it’s one of the most expensive handheld vacuums on the market.
The Eureka EasyClean 71B vacuum is powered by a strong 5.5 amp motor and includes a stretch hose that is good for cleaning cars, upholstery, and stairs. This vacuum actually has two motors — one that powers the revolving brush, and a second motor for suction. The 71B includes an onboard crevice tool and the “Riser Visor” which comes in handy for carpeted stairs. Other features include a bagless filter and a clear dust cup that easily cleans. The unit weighs only five pounds and comes with a 20-foot cord that wraps for easy storage.
Pro & Cons
Reviewers highlighted how big of a punch the Eureka EasyClean 71B packs at such a small size — the suction on this unit is impressive for a handheld vacuum. Several customers noted how efficient this vacuum performs on stairs, and at picking up those hard-to-target pet hairs. The “Riser Visor” is a unique feature that many customers appreciated as well. Of course, the lightweight design and small size of this vacuum is a huge selling point, as it is easy to carry around from room, and it can be stored almost anywhere.
A few customers noted that the Eureka EasyClean 71B vacuum can be a bit noisy when it is in use. Even at five pounds, some users thought this unit was a bit on the heavier side for a handheld unit.
The Black & Decker Platinum PHV1810 is a cordless, handheld vacuum that has 18 volts of power and a high-performance motor with cyclonic action. It includes an on-board brush and an extendable crevice tool so that there are no loose accessories. Its innovative design allows it to fold in half for easy storage, and its easy maneuverability makes it a perfect car vacuum. Other features include a removable, washable dirt bowl and filters, and a LED charging indicator light.
Pro & Cons
Many customers loved this unit’s nozzle, which has a wide range of motions and pivots for use at many different angles, which comes in handy when using it in your car as well. It’s also great for picking up dog hair, cat litter, and any crumbs that the kids may have left laying around. Several users noted that the design feature which allows the vacuum to fold in half came in handy quite a bit when it was time to store the unit. Other pros include that it’s pretty quiet for a handheld vacuum, it works very well on upholstery, and it’s extremely easy to clean.
Some noted that the filter is a little difficult to access, as you must remove the chute and canister to get to it. Others noted that the battery life could be longer.
The FHV1200 comes with a four-foot flexible hose that can easily extend to reach those hard-to-reach places, whether on top of cabinets, under the couch cushions, or under a car mat. It features a three-stage filtration system with cyclonic action that spins dirt away and into an empty dirt canister. The cyclonic action also prevents dust and debris from escaping, so the only air exhaust is clean. Other equipment that comes with the product to assist cleaning is a long crevice tool, a brushing tool, and pet hair cleaning tool.
Pro & Cons
Some customers were impressed by the FHV1200’s high performance motor, which produces a strong suction. Three words seemed to sum up how most felt about the FHV1200 — small, light, and powerful. Other reviewers loved that the filter is easily washable and dishwasher-safe. After you are done with the vacuum it can be stored in a its handy storage caddy, along with its accessories, which several users found to be quite useful
There are, however, a few cons that a few other customers pointed out with product. The first is that the brush wears out quickly. The second is that replacement filters are costly at $10. And the third is that it has a relatively long recharge time compared to its competitors.
The Dirt Devil Accucharge features an energy star qualified battery charger that results in a longer battery life, always an important factor in a handheld vacuum. The vacuum’s charger replenishes energy two times faster than its competitors, the reason being that it contains AccuCharge technology. The AccuCharge technology of the product uses seventy percent less energy, despite using fifteen volts of suction power to suck up dirt and debris.
Pro & Cons
Users noted that dirt and debris that is sucked through the mouth of the vacuum cyclones away from the F4 filter and into a transparent bag-less bin that dumps directly into the trash for easy and quick reuse. At three pounds, the vacuum is easy to carry from room to room while holding to complete cleaning jobs on stairs. The Dirt Devil comes with a quick flip crevice tool that reaches intricate spaces on both the floor and above-ground – air vents, baseboards, and small spaces.
Some customers felt that the wall mount could be improved on this unit — the wall mount stays put on the wall, but there is no click that proves that it is secure to the mount. Another drawback noted by reviewers is that the product is quite a bit noisy for such a small sized vacuum.