Welcome back! Once again the Appliance Hunter has been out hunting for the very best appliances this time searching for the Best Handheld Vacuum Cleaners…
And what a journey it has been!
After more vacuum cleaner tests I came back to update this article in 2023 including the latest models of the Dustbuster.
Check out the table below for a summary of the top picks and to click through and order yours today, or click through the Price & Review links in the reviews below that.
Top 5 Best Handheld Vacuum Cleaners
- Top Choice – Shark HandVac Cordless Hand Vacuum Cleaner [CH950UKT] Pet Model
- Best for pet hair – BISSELL Pet Hair EraserCordless Handheld Vacuum
- Best for stairs – BLACK+DECKER 27Wh Dustbuster Hand Vacuum
- Best under £50 – Vax GatorCordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner
- Best for car cleaning – Black + Decker 12v Flexi Auto DustbusterHand Vacuum
1. Top Choice – Shark HandVac Cordless Hand Vacuum Cleaner [CH950UKT] Pet Model
- 2 year guarantee
- Great for stairs, pets, and cars
- Easy empty
- Very powerful
- 3 accessories
- Only 10 minute run time
- No docking station
This is an awesome little vacuum cleaner, the pet hair brush is great even if you don’t have pet hair to deal with because it gives a really deep clean of fabric furniture. Plus you get a dusting tool and a crevice tool to get right in and about the stairs.
Shark are consistently my favourite vacuums and what I use day to day at home so it’s no surprise their handheld model is top of this list.
Now you only get 10 minutes of run time on a charge, but the suction is insane so that’s the trade-off, you get a super deep clean for 10 minutes then it needs to charge for a few hours, so it’s best used for spot cleaning. And you’ll find you don’t notice the 10 minutes once you’re into a routine.
The filter is washable so you can keep the cleaning power, and the dust is a one-button hands free empty.
That’s about all there is to it, if you want a powerful handheld vacuum at a great price then this is it, plus you get a 2-year warranty.
2. Best For Pet hair – BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser Cordless Handheld Vacuum
- Motorised Head For Deeper Clean
- 15 Minute Battery Life
- Air Filter
- 5 hour Charge Time
- A Bit Pricey
The special Eraserhead on this Bissell handheld vacuum makes it perfect for pet hair.
It’s a motorised pet tool that vibrates back and forth which dislodges pet hair from the ground and sucks it up!
Good if you want to get pet hair off of your furniture, upholstery or even the stairs and your car.
It’s also got a nice 15-minute runtime so plenty of time to do what you need it too.
It’s also got a filter built into that takes any allergens out of the air while you’re vacuuming. So it leaves the air fresh after you’ve finished.
It’s on the pricier side but unless you want to fork out hundreds for a Dyson this is the best way to deal with pet hair using a handheld vacuum.
Overall, a great handheld vacuum for pet hair, the motorised pet tool lets you get a deep clean on furniture and carpet.
3. Best for Stairs – BLACK + DECKER BHHV320B-GB, Hand Vacuum
Brand: BLACK + DECKER
- 20-minute run time
- Easily washable filter and dust chamber
- Crevice tool is great for stairs
- Lightweight and comfortable
- Wall mounting is a little tricky
- Quite noisy on high speed
This is the latest model of the Dustbuster from Black and Decker. It’s not a huge upgrade on the older model but I do like the improvements they’ve made. Starting with an improvement of 4 minutes on the run time. Which is a 25% increase on the previous DVJ325BF-GB.
It’s just that little extra time that means if you forget to charge it you can still use it for a few different jobs before it runs out of charge.
You’ve also now got the flat bottom which allows you to stand it upright and you even get a little more suction power for a deeper clean of carpeted stairs. The crevice tool also makes it a great choice for stairs so you can get right into the back of each step and get all the dust sucked up.
It’s great not just for the stairs of course. This is an ideal choice for cleaning up your car and of course any small messes that end up in the kitchen. Fortunately for me I tend to sweep crumbs off counters for the dog to eat but if you don’t have a furry floor vacuum the dust buster is a great substitute.
It doesn’t quite have the suction power of the Shark at the top spot but it’s definitely a close second on that front.
An ideal choice of handheld vacuum cleaner, perfect for any job around the house you might have.
4. Best under £50 – Vax Gator Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner
- 15 Minute Run Time
- Easy Empty
- 12 Hour Charge Time
The Vax Gator Handheld Vac is just simple, straightforward and easy to use. It’s got reasonable suction and is easy to empty. You just open its mouth (like an alligator’s no less!) and all the contents slide out into the big.
The big downside is that it takes a huge 12 hours to fully charge from flat. So it’s not one you can use in a hurry if you forget to charge it but apart from that, it’s good.
And that’s the charge time from flat not from short use.
The reason I like it for stairs is it’s very lightweight but the mouth extends out into a crevice nozzle to get right into the corners of your stairs which is where hair can build up and easily get missed by a bigger vacuum. Perfect for those hard to reach areas, plus its ease of use is unrivalled, just pick it up, turn it on and go, then with the click of a button you can empty it too.
It’s a good one to leave out in the docking station in the kitchen for quick clean up of spills, just take it out and vacuum down around your kids (or your partner) whenever they start getting crumbs everywhere.
Overall, it’s the budget model so you’re never going to get the best but for less than £50 it gets the job done! It’s the best choice under £50 that’s also cordless if that’s what you need.
5. Best Handheld Vacuum For Car – Black + Decker 12v Flexi Auto Dustbuster
Brand: Black + Decker
Type: Corded Car Charger
- Charges From Car Cigarette Lighter
- Cord Easily Reaches the Whole Car
- Stores In The Car Easily
- Can Only Use It In The Car
This is a nice handheld vacuum for the car but it is exactly that, a handheld vacuum only for the car because it charges from the cigarette lighter.
But it did feature at the top of our list of the best car vacuums so it is good at what it does.
It’s nice and easy to empty and has really good suction as well, there’s a more powerful version but it’s quite a bit more expensive for how much extra power you get.
The really good thing is that the power cable is 5 meters long so you can easily vacuum the boot while it’s plugged in near the front of the car.
It’s got plenty of suction to give a deep clean and comes with a crevice tool to help you get in and around the car seats for thorough pick up.
Overall, a great car vacuum, easy to store and even easier to use.
Corded Vs Cordless Handheld Vacuums
The main difference you’re going to find between different handheld vacuums is whether it runs from the mains, or is battery powered and charges at a docking station.
There are great things about both types of handheld vacuum but they also have their drawbacks so it’s good to know which type you’re looking for.
Cordless handheld Vacuum Cleaners
- Can Just Be Picked Up And Used Anywhere
- Super Easy For Quick Clean Ups
- Sometimes Have Very Long Charge Times
- If You Forget To Charge You Could Be Waiting A Few Hours To Use It.
Corded Handheld Vacuum Cleaners
- More Powerful Suction
- More Thorough Cleaning Power
- Often Larger Capacity so less frequent Emptying
- You have to have a nearby power socket to use.
- Not as mobile
So it’s up to you which one would be better suited for you. When I started this website cordless handvacs were basically useless but the technology has come along way since then and now cordless is the only way to go.
Either way, I’ve included both types throughout my reviews so you can get exactly what you need.
What If You Have Pets?
Now pet owners often have a hard time. Because dog hair especially can get everywhere.
But having a regular vacuum up on to the furniture or up the stairs is hard work and not at all fun to do so a handheld vacuum cleaner is the way to go.
Double but, you just need to make sure you’re getting one that’s powerful enough to deal with pet hair.
Usually corded is the way to go for the extra suction but you do get some cordless handheld vacuums that are good for pet hair.
So just check that it has something about powerful suction in the description, or check out our recommendations further down.
I’ve also written a guide to the best pet hair vacuums for those interested.
Other Features To Consider
I’ve just got a few more features that you might want to think about when you’re buying a handheld vacuum.
Runtime & Charge Time
This is for the cordless handheld vacuums, you want to make sure they have an absolute minimum of 10 minutes of runtime. Ideally, you should be looking for 15 + minutes but if it’s got 10 then that should be enough for most tasks around the house.
As for charge time I’ve seen charge times from flat to up to 12 hours, of course, that is very far from ideal but the best you can expect is about 4 hours.
Now that’s completely from flat so it’s slightly different than if you spilt cereal in the kitchen hoovered it up and then put it back on charge. That, of course, won’t take 12 hours but it’s good to know for the sort of time you can expect.
How much dust it can hold is quite useful but the differences between them aren’t huge. What’s probably more important is how easy it is to empty.
Because no matter how big the canister is you’re going to have to empty it eventually and when you do you want it to be as quick and painless as possible.
Are There Any Attachments
It’s not always necessary but some handheld vacuums come with different attachments for different types of cleaning.
You get long crevice tools that help you get into hard to reach places and others have hose pipes that extend the reach even further.
Again, not everyone needs them but if there’s a certain job you have in mind for your handheld vacuum cleaner consider getting the right attachments for it.
Archived And Other Handheld Vacuum Cleaner Reviews
These are past best vacuum cleaner choices that have since gone out of stock or stopped being made. If you’re looking for something second hand this could be the way to go, they are all still excellent small vacuum cleaners if you can find them.
Holfie Wet And Dry Handheld Vacuum
- 25 Minute Run Time
- 4 Hour Charge Time
- Can Handle Wet And Dry Spills
- Not As Powerful As The AEG Above
The Holfie Wet And Dry Vacuum is a stand-up choice for a handheld vacuum. It’s lightweight, has a great runtime and charges nice and fast.
The 25 minute run time is more than enough for anything you might need it for. Easy to run around the edges of the kitchen, get quick spills and just generally great for a quick clean up.
It’s not the best on carpet or sofas but it is really good on kitchen surfaces and hard floors. It’s also great for a quick run around the car.
It has a nice charging base so it’s easiest just to leave it plugged in in the kitchen and turn the plug off when it’s fully charged. It does hold it’s charge well so you won’t need to charge it after every use if you just use it for a short while. And it’ll last through about 500 cycles of being charged.
Now it depends on how much you use it but you’ll likely only need to charge it once a week or less so that’s almost 10 years of battery life!
Overall, a great Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner, good suction, fast charging and easy use.
Dirt Devil HandiMate Small Vacuum
Brand: Dirt Devil
- Very lightweight under 1 kg
- 6V battery
- .4 litre bin capacity
- Very quiet 50 dB
- short battery life
Dirt Devil has been a leader in the market with handheld portable vacuums so it’s no surprise it made the list here. It didn’t take the top spot because frankly, it isn’t as good as its peers. But, when you are on a budget, it fits the bill nicely.
It’s 10-minute keeping handy when a small spill occurs. Yes, the 10-minute runtime is a bit of a downer, but if you are a clean as you go type, then most jobs can be done in much less time than that.
The bin is easy to empty as it pops right open and snaps closed without taking it apart.
This small vacuum is not going to set the world on fire, but it does what it is supposed to do. Many portable vacuums are better, but you have to pay a higher price for that.
When you need a cheap option that still works well, then I can recommend the Dirt Devil.
Jovis Wet And Dry Bagless
- HEPA Filter
- 20 Minute Run Time
- Good Suction
- Wall Mounted Recharge Station
- 16 Hour Charge Time
The charge time for the Hoover Jarvis Handheld is insane, 16 hours!
That’s why it’s not further up the list.
But if you don’t mind the charge time you are getting a very trusted brand. I mean you can’t talk about vacuum cleaners of any kind without mentioning Hoover.
It’s got really good suction and has wet and dry capabilities so you can vacuum up just about any mess.
And the docking station to charge it is nice and small and you can mount it on the wall so it’s stored nice and easy. This does make charging it a lot easier but it’s still a long time.
It also comes with a HEPA filter which purifies the air of any allergens while you vacuum which is great.
Overall, the wet and dry capabilities and mountable docking station make this a fine choice for a cordless handheld vacuum.
UV Handheld Mattress Vacuum Cleaner
Brand: Von Haus
- Comes With A HEPA Filter
- UV Lamp For Deep Cleaning
- Vibrates To Loosen Dirt
- Not The Strongest Suction
The most important part of the Vonhaus UV handheld vacuum cleaner is of course that it cleans with a UV lamp!
UV rays kill something like 99.9% of all germs including bed bugs so it’s perfect for degerming a mattress and getting it as clean as it possibly can be.
The suction isn’t as powerful as a lot of the other vacuums featured on this list but it is plenty enough to vacuum up most dust and dirt. Besides this vacuum is more about its antibacterial cleaning power.
It’s also got a HEPA filter in it which is a filter designed to take allergens out of the air while it vacuums, so it’s just another level of purifying that it provides.
Overall, the best mattress vacuum because of it’s UV cleaning power.
AG71 Rapidclean Stair And Car Vacuum
- Powerful Suction
- Stubborn Brush For Deeper Clean
- 6m Of Power Cord
- Corded So No Need To Charge
- Quite Heavy
The AEG AG71 is a great handheld vacuum cleaner that’s appeared on our list of the best stair vacuums and best car vacuums because of it’s superb cleaning power.
I know not everyone will want a corded handheld vacuum, but if you’re looking for the best handheld vacuum cleaner for stairs or you want to get a deep clean then it’s the only way to go.
It is quite heavy for a handheld vacuum cleaner because it’s got a bigger motor but it’s got a comfortable handle so it’s still very manageable. It’s about 2.5kg so like a big bag of sugar and a little extra. Very lightweight compared to an upright vacuum.
I also really liked that it has a small extendable hose so you can get right into the corners of stairs and down the sides of the sofa.
The stubborn brush has been designed to make short work of carpet, it sort of aggravates the carpet fibres so loosens up any dirt and vacuums them up no problems at all.
That makes it great for the stairs because your stairs can see some heavy footfall come over them!
Easily one of the best handheld vacuums, unchallenged cleaning power for a great price.
Oypla Maxi Corded Handheld Vacuum Cleaner
- Lightweight at 1kg
- Powerful 600-watt motor
- Dusting Brush and crevice tools
- Shoulder strap included
- Corded vacuum cleaner
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 dusting 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 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 because 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 cleaners 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.
BLACK+DECKER 27Wh Dustbuster Hand Vacuum with Smart Tech sensors
- Great suction
- Sensor detects for clogs
- Extandeable nozzle to get in stairs
- Washable dirt filter
- longer battery life
- A Bit Pricey
- Quite loud
This is an excellent choice of vacuum if you’re trying to get your stairs clean, with great suction and an extendable nozzle to get right into the corners.
Plus you’ve got 16-minutes run time to help you get up the entire staircase before the battery dies.
The other really useful thing is the sensor that keeps an eye on the filter and lets you know when it’s time to clean it, instead of your vacuum just slowly losing power over time. And washing it is simple it pops out and you handwash it in water before letting it dry and putting it back.
You can wall-mount the charging base if you want but otherwise, it sits quite snug on a counter, from completely flat to full charge takes about 6 hours so you can easily just grab it as you need it.
Get your stairs clean, furniture clean and all the nooks and crannies cleaned up in no time, an excellent hand vacuum.
F.A.Q on the Best Handheld Vacuum Cleaners
So why do you say vacuum, not hoover?
I personally call all vacuum cleaners hoovers out of habit but Hoover is a brand of vacuum cleaner not the name of the machine itself.
I am quite sure most of you know that but thought I’d clarify anyway!
How long do handheld vacuums last?
Hassle-free cleaning but at what cost? Is it an eco-friendly choice that will last for years or do handheld vac burn out and need to be replaced? Well it depends on the quality but if it’s a cordless vacuum then you’re going to have the batteries die eventually, but you should be looking at 2-3 years of life with regular use.
Final Thoughts on the Best Handheld Vacuum Cleaners
What a journey! Congrats if you made it this far, that’s a lot of reading about the best handheld vacuum cleaners. But I hope that whatever cleaning task you have to face you can do so with ease now. Whether it’s spot cleaning, deep cleaning your car, or you’re a pet owner I hope you can have at it.