If I’ve taught you anything, it’s that you can never have too many cleaning tools in your arsenal.
There is no one tool that does everything, so it’s important to have specialized tools to fill in the gaps.
When it comes to hoovering, there are some jobs that require a good small vacuum, like a portable, handheld that can get the spots that a full-sized vacuum can’t.
If you were looking for a small but full-size vacuum check out my article on the Best Cylinder Vacuums.
In this article I will cover some of the best small vacuums that can elevate your cleaning game.
Don’t have time to read the full article? Check out this list of the top spots by category of what I think are the best handheld vacuums. All conveniently available on Amazon.
- Vax H85-GA-B10 Gator Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner
Most Popular Small Vacuum – What makes this handheld vacuum a best seller on Amazon.co.uk? Read the full review to find out!
- Oypla Maxi Vac Handheld Cleaner
Best Cheap Small Vacuum – Ignore the funny name and funnier look of this budget handheld vacuum and you will be rewarded with a smart little hoover.
- BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser, Cordless Handheld Vacuum
Best Small Vacuum for Pet Hair – Pet hair is no match for this small vacuum due to its powerful motor and rotating brush nozzle.
- BLACK+DECKER 10.8 V Lithium-Ion Flexi Vacuum
Best Small Vacuum for Cars – A flexible hose and powerful motor makes this the ideal small vacuum to use to clean your car.
Before we delve into the list of the best small, portable vacuums, here is a short buying guide on the advantages and disadvantages of using a small vacuum.
The best vacuum is the one that solves your specific problems, so the more you know the pros and cons of each model, the better your chance of picking the right one for you.
Advantages of Using a Small Vacuum Cleaner
Before we get into the reasons to use a small vacuum, I’ll remind you that a tool like this is to be used in conjunction with a regular vacuum. No handheld vacuum will replace your hoover.
Sure, you could clean your entire house with a small, portable vacuum, but why would you? You can also wash your entire kitchen floor with a toothbrush. So, use your small vacuum wisely and the way it is meant to be used.
Size and Weight
The most obvious benefit to using a small vacuum like a handheld one is that they are small and lightweight. This means that for a quick cleanup you don’t have to dig out your vacuum from the closet. For a spot clean you can keep your portable vacuum within reach and ready to go at a moment’s notice.
When your child or pet makes a small mess, you can handle it in minutes. Or, keep one in your garage to clean up your car. Or, the garage itself.
Have a workbench where you do some handy work that can leave small messes? What about a sewing room? Anything that leaves a mess behind but not a big enough area to justify taking out the big guns is a perfect spot to have a small vacuum.
You can spend more than you would on a traditional vacuum for some of the high-end handheld vacuums, but you really don’t need to. You can get a small vacuum with many attachments that work really well without spending much money.
They also tend to last a long time since they are typically used for only a few minutes at a time. Thus, you get good value on top of a low price for some very good small vacuums.
Besides the low price, you save money by not needing to replace your full-sized vacuum when you need to do some jobs that it isn’t capable of.
For example, if you have an upright vacuum that doesn’t have a hose but find yourself needing to clean your upholstery, you can simply buy a small vacuum with a crevice tool and use that when you have some hard to reach areas.
Asking your kids to help with cleaning up around the house and then asking them to handle a large heavy vacuum may not encourage them to chip in.
Having a small vacuum that is easy enough for kids to use means they will actually enjoy cleaning up. A small vacuum is fun for kids to use which means that chore time is not also a chore for the parents trying to convince their kids to help out.
Going back to the points already made regarding size, weight and price, it makes it a very good way for the elderly to keep their home clean without needing to always use a big heavy hoover.
Disadvantages of Using a Small Vacuum
It should be obvious, but still worth pointing out is the fact that with small size comes small capacity. The dustbin won’t be too big so you will be emptying it frequently if you use it a lot.
This isn’t a factor across the board with all small vacuums, but in many cases, there just isn’t much suction power in these handheld models. Since you are usually cleaning small spills, power probably isn’t going to be an issue.
But, if you feel like your small cleanups still require some heavy lifting, then pay close attention to the wattage of the motor as well as suction power.
Short battery life
Most handheld vacuums are cordless and don’t have a long battery. This is highly dependant on the model, of course. .
If your clean up requires more than 15 minutes, then you will need to carefully read the runtime listed for that model.
Or, alternately, get a corded model. Which then means needing to be near a socket which defeats some of the versatility of using a handheld vacuum.
With the buying guide for small vacuums out of the way, let’s dive into the list of the best by category.
Most Popular Small Vacuum
- Lightweight at 1.2kg
- Powerful 10.8 V battery
- One touch easy empty canister
- Crevice tool
- Good price
- 15 minute battery life
- No brush attachment
Expanding their line up of excellent vacuums, Vax has managed to secure the top spot for most popular handheld vacuum on Amazon.co.uk.
Though the price is right, I don’t think it solely comes down to being a cheap handheld vacuum as the reason for its popularity. It wouldn’t hold onto the top spot for long if it didn’t clean as well as its peers.
There are a few things that make this very convenient, which means that you will be likely to use it often. For one the crevice tool is attached and slides out of the nozzle, so you don’t have to look for it before you use it.
The bin is easy to open and empty with just the press of a button. It is very lightweight and compact.
The motor is powered by a hefty 10V battery. Which is actually a higher voltage than many cordless stick vacuums. Suction remains consistent across many hours of use. Though, if suction does start to slow it’s usually because the filter needs to be washed. Luckily it is a washable filter.
The powerful motor means that this is a great handheld vacuum for stairs. Stairs could be considered a bigger job than your typical spot clean and needs a bit more power than most can give. The Vax handheld does as good a job as any vacuum when it comes to cleaning them up.
The battery runtime is 15 minutes. There are other handhelds available with longer run times, but also some with shorter. Though this is listed as a con, it may not be according to your needs.
15 minutes is usually more than enough time to make a quick spot clean. If you use the small vacuum frequently in a clean as you go manner, then you may not ever run the battery down to zero.
The low price tag means you can pick up a couple of these to have handy where you need it. Keep one in the kitchen and one in the garage for instance.
Runner Up for Most Popular Small Vacuum
Upright Stick Vacuum Cleaner
- 600 watt motor
- HEPA filter
- Lightweight at 2.5kg
- Includes crevice tool and two brush heads
- Very loud
- Not great on carpets
This next small vacuum is the second most popular on Amazon.co.uk. Though it is a stick vacuum that doubles as a handheld, I believe the reverse is true. It really shines as a handheld that can also be used as a regular vacuum in the form of a stick.
As a regular vacuum, it is not great on carpets, even though it has a rather powerful motor for its size. I would, then, recommend this as a handheld first that can also do bigger jobs when needed.
It is corded, though, so keep that in mind.
As a handheld vacuum you get a lot of suction power from a small package. And with a crevice tool and two brush attachments, it is very convenient for just about any kind of detail work. One of the brushes has a hose attachment which really helps to get it into tight areas.
A HEPA filter makes it great for allergy sufferers and it is so lightweight that it is perfect for the elderly.
The price also makes this very attractive since it is multi-use. It can clean up an entire room if need be, which is not the case with other handheld vacuums.
Best Cheap Small Vacuum
Maxi Vac Handheld Cleaner
- Lightweight at 1kg
- Powerful 600 watt motor
- Brush and crevice attachment
- Shoulder strap included
- Not cordless
This is a funny looking small vacuum with an even stranger name. It’s not a household name like you see with many handheld vacuums, but that is the beauty of Amazon.co.uk. There you can find many diamonds in the rough, like this powerful small vacuum.
It functions similarly to a traditional vacuum in some ways. The nozzle can either be a brush, to beat up the dirt below the surface of a small carpet, for instance, or a crevice tool to get into some tough spaces.
I really love the ergonomic pistol grip with trigger button. It is incredibly lightweight so does quick work of any small job.
It has a powerful motor considering how small and light it is. That is mainly due to the fact that it is not battery powered. You will need to be connected to the mains to use this.
However, that means that it can pack a serious punch suction wise. That is the shortcoming of many cordless vacuum varieties that rely on batteries. Some are just not strong enough.
The downside to the cord, is the length. It is only 3 meters long. Which means you are relegated to small jobs near a socket, like in a kitchen or bathroom.
Overall, I think it’s a smart little vacuum that does what it is supposed to do. It can clean little spills or get into the tight crevices of a sofa. As long as you’re near a socket, it makes quick work of cleaning your car. If you are on a limited budget, you have to take the good with the bad, sometimes.
Runner Up for Best Cheap Small Vacuum
HandiMate Small Vacuum
- Very lightweight under 1 kg
- 6V battery
- .4 litre easy to empty canister
- Very quiet 50 dB
- Only 10 minute run time