The Best Handheld Vacuum Cleaners


Handheld vacuums make superb secondary cleaners and also offer multiple other use cases…

Whether you need to clean your stairs without straining yourself, scour the inside of your car or boat, pick up after your pets or access awkward areas, there’s little to beat the convenience of a handheld.

We’ve got a broad spread of models for you today, both corded and cordless.

Here’s a quick snapshot of our 4 winners by category then we’ll push on with some more detailed reviews before closing with some handy hints on simplifying your buying decision…

I. Our Picks for Handheld Vacuum Cleaners

Products & FeaturesImage & Price

Dyson V7 Car and Boat Cordless Handheld Our #1 Pick

  • More powerful than other handhelds
  • 100 air watts of suction power
  • Eject the dirt cup without getting soiled
  • Up to 30 minutes of constant suction
  • Cord-free convenience ideal for many applications


  • Holds charge on standby for 18 months
  • A fantastic secondary vacuum
  • Nifty rotating nozzle for added flexibility
  • Get a full burst of charge in 4 hours
  • Dependable 2-year guarantee

Shark Rocket Corded Ultra-Light Handheld

  • Lengthy 15-foot cable
  • Fade-free suction
  • Empty dirt cup at the push of a button
  • Motorized pet brush bundled
  • Generous range of accessories

BLACK+DECKER Max Lithium Pivot Handheld

  • 15oz dust cup generous for handheld
  • Potent motor delivers ample power
  • Triple-stage filtration
  • Lithium-ion battery for fade-free suction
  • Pivoting nozzle for spotless finish

BLACK+DECKER 20-Volt Max Cordless Handheld

  • Ideal for cleaning in tight spots
  • Get up to 20 minutes of runtime
  • Works well to combat pet hair
  • Easy to slide into awkward corners
  • Superlight and maneuverable

Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Handheld

  • 16-foot power cord
  • Multi-layered filtration
  • Works well on stairs and furniture
  • Pair of specialized nozzles
  • Unimpeachable brand heritage

BLACK+DECKER MAX Flex Stick Vacuum

  • Available with or without accessory bundle
  • Converts into stick for more robust clean-up
  • Charge up fully in just 4 hours
  • Cyclonic action for immaculate finish
  • Flexible hose for reaching difficult areas

Eureka EasyClean Lightweight Handheld

  • Class-leading 20-foot cord
  • Dual motors for improved performance
  • Superb suction
  • Highly effective filtration
  • Motorized brush to blitz your carpets

Shop-Vac Micro Wet/Dry Portable Vacuum

  • Portable despite such performance
  • Deal with both wet and dry spills
  • Wall bracket for ease of storage
  • 1HP motor is relentless
  • Super-strong build for challenging clean-ups

Bissell Multi Auto Lightweight Car Handheld

  • Oversized dirt cup minimizes emptying
  • 2-foot extension hose for added reach
  • Removable battery for your ease
  • LEDs to simplify cleaning gloomy areas
  • Trademark Bissell build and pocket-friendly price

See Also:

II. Top 10 Best Handheld Vacuum Cleaners

1. Our #1 Pick:Dyson V7 Car and Boat Cordless Handheld


There’s little to rival the convenience of a handheld cordless vacuum, particularly if you want to take it out of the house to clean your vehicle or you want something to use up and down the stairs.

Many cordless models fail to deliver on the performance front with weak batteries and limp power. The V7 is not one of these. You’ll get a full half-hour of cleaning on a single charge and an impressive 100 air watts of fade-free suction.

Accessories are generous with a car charger, combination and motorized tools thrown in. You’ll also get a handy extension hose.

You can ditch the contents of the dirt container at the push of a button without getting a face full of debris.

With all the benefits of cord-free cleaning combined with that highly capable Dyson digital motor, this V7 handheld is our overall pick for robust performance married to complete accessibility, all from an industry legend.
Things We Like

  • Buy into the Dyson brand at a pocket-friendly price
  • Cordless convenience with robust suction and performance for the double-win
  • 30 minutes of continuous suction more than enough for most needs

Things We Dislike

  • Some issues with canister coming unmoored when you empty the V7

2. Best Handheld Vacuum For Stairs: BLACK+DECKER Dustbuster


Are you tired of lugging a bulky upright or canister up and down the stairs? If you have a little extra to spend, why not supplement your cleaning arsenal with this nifty BLACK+DECKER Dustbuster? While it’s not ideal as a primary vacuum, it makes a valuable addition to your cleaning kit and comes reasonably priced.

While the battery is not replaceable, it will remain in permanent standby for up to 18 months while delivering enough potent suction on a single charge to give you plenty of scope for most cleaning projects.

The dirt bowl is washable while filtration is top-notch and keeps fine, airborne contaminants safely out of your atmosphere.

The neat nozzle rotates and works well across a range of applications. From furniture to stairs, the inside of your car to impromptu pet spills, this vac epitomizes convenience and is built to stay the distance.
Things We Like

  • Works to efficiently clean above floor and up or down the stairs while also coming in handy for blitzing furniture
  • Cyclonic action improves cleaning while also boosting filter lifespan
  • Ever-ready for action with the capacity to hold a charge for 18 months

Things We Dislike

  • Battery is not replaceable

3. Best For Carpet and Pet Hair: Shark Rocket Corded Ultra-Light Handheld


Shark has carved out a niche of its own producing tech-driven vacs to rival those of Dyson without the eye-watering price tag.

While this handheld is corded, that means you’ll get a little extra suction power. Also, the cable is 15 feet long so you should enjoy plenty of room for maneuver with the kind of cleaning you’d use a handheld for.

Perfect on carpeting but also able to buff up bare floors, this handheld also works well to combat the menace of pet hair. Along with Shark’s patented Never Loses Suction Technology, there’s a motorize brush which further serves to blitz pet hair and dander. The handheld is also a nice weapon to fight back against the sudden spillages pets are prone to cause.

If you’re looking for a lightweight and agile handheld with reusable filters, ample attachments and suction that delivers, this version of the enduringly popular Shark Rocket is a must.
Things We Like

  • Ultra-light at less than 4 pounds so perfect for anyone struggling with mobility
  • Motorized brush attachment and powerful suction perfect for pet hair
  • Capable of deep cleaning your carpet while also serving a turn on hard flooring

Things We Dislike

  • A few niggles about build quality over time so think closely about intended usage

4. Also Great: BLACK+DECKER Max Lithium Pivot Handheld


Next up is another BLACK+DECKER, the Pivot handheld.

As the name makes abundantly clear, the nozzle pivots so you can get right into the edges of baseboards and shelving for a truly deep clean.

BLACK+DECKER don’t quote run times but we’d suggest you’ll get roughly 20 minutes of juice on a single charge. This should be adequate for most applications where a handheld is suitable. After all, you’re unlikely to attempt cleaning large areas with this type of vac.

3-stage filtration is top-notch and the filters are washable so you’ll avoid the hassle and expense of costly replacements.

Ultra-lightweight and compact, the Pivot is a pleasure to use and a cinch to store.

If you fancy the ease-of-use afforded by a handheld and you’re on a tighter budget, the Pivot rates a worthy mention in our collection of the best handheld vacuum cleaners in a crowded market.
Things We Like

  • Lithium-ion battery and powerful motor gives you cordless convenience without sacrificing suction
  • Triple-filtration to keep your air as clean as your flooring
  • Generous 15oz dustbowl for a small and compact unit

Things We Dislike

  • Less than ideal as a primary vacuum cleaner

5. BLACK+DECKER 20-Volt Max Cordless Handheld


Next in line is another rock-solid cordless from BLACK+DECKER.

From the indicator showing you when the vac needs to hit the charging station to the see-through bowl so you know when you need to head to the trash can, convenience is uppermost with this handheld.

Cord-free, you’ll be able to take this featherlight unit wherever you need to without worrying about power outlets.

As with all BLACK+DECKER cordless models, the manufacturer doesn’t quote specific run times, focusing instead on the fact the lithium-ion battery holds a charge for 18 months if not used. This is not the most meaningful metric and we’d like a more transparent approach to battery life. When we tested it, we averaged 10 to 20 minutes of constant use depending on application. This is underwhelming to say the least.

Aside from that limp battery life, overall we were reasonably impressed with this handheld. If you’re not planning on undertaking larger cleaning jobs, it serves its purpose effectively.
Things We Like

  • Translucent dirt bowl so you can see at a glance when this vac needs emptying
  • Useful battery indicator taking the guesswork out of charging
  • Holds a charge for up to 18 months so suitable for occasional use without constantly needing to give it a boost

Things We Dislike

  • Run time could be improved

See Also: Top 15 Best Hepa Filter Vacuum Cleaners

6. Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Handheld


The Bissell Pet Hair Eraser is one of those rare products that lives fully up to its name. In a world of marketing hype, it’s all too easy to fear the worst, but set those fears aside if you have animals in the house and invest in this awesome little handheld.

Whether you’re after cleaning your car or your boat, the stairs or under the furniture, the couch or the bed, you’ve got multiple options with this twin-nozzled beauty.

Of course, there’s also suction powerful enough to suck up any rogue pet hairs and leave your home looking spotless even if your dogs are always shedding fur.

Filtration is robust and the bagless design means you can keep running expenses to the bare minimum with an easy-to-empty container.

For a wide-reaching cleaning solution with a compact form factor, we can’t recommend the Bissell strongly enough.
Things We Like

  • Multi-layered filtration for clean air and clean floors
  • Pair of specialized nozzles give you advanced and versatile cleaning power
  • Corded but with a 16-foot cable giving you decent maneuverability

Things We Dislike

  • Some might find the cord restrictive in a handheld so take this into account

See Also: 15 Best Upright Vacuum Cleaners

7. BLACK+DECKER MAX Flex Stick Vacuum


We’ve got the final BLACK+DECKER model showing the depth of their range with this truncated canister packing a stick attachment.

If you’re happy to dip out on a little run time and gain some power in return, this pioneering hybrid vacuum is a smart bet.

Looking like a small canister with the firepower to match, this is actually a handheld model with the benefit of a lengthy hose to extend your reach and help you access those tight, awkward spots for a complete spring clean.

You’ll get almost 18oz of debris in the dust container so you won’t be endlessly scurrying to the trashcan mid-clean.

The bowl and filter are both washable for ease of use and also to minimize ongoing expenses.

You’ll get the build quality and performance you’d expect from this power tools legend in the form of a flexible, powerful and remarkably agile handheld. What are you waiting for?
Things We Like

  • Power of a canister with the slimline dimensions of a handheld
  • Cyclonic action optimized cleaning while extending the lifespan of your filter
  • Hose reaches out full 4 feet for all your above-floor cleaning needs

Things We Dislike

  • As usual, no specific run times quoted and unimpressive battery life

8. Eureka EasyClean Lightweight Handheld


As we edge to the end of our handheld vacuum reviews, the Eureka EasyClean is well worth popping on your shortlist.

If you fancy something bright and bold to complement your dull cleaning equipment, the Eureka is not a case of form over function…

Suction is strong enough to blitz any stubborn or ingrained stains from carpets. If you need to clean hard flooring, from wood and laminate to tile and vinyl, just deactivate the brush roll and get a thorough but gentle clean.

Ideal for cars and above-floor cleaning or simply whipping up and down the stairs, the Eureka works well in multiple applications.

The crevice tool serves to deliver the finishing touches giving you a deep-clean without needing to rely on a bulky and heavy unit to get the job done.
Things We Like

  • Bold and striking design makes a real statement
  • Efficient filtration and dust container keeps all those allergens safely trapped inside
  • Solid money-back guarantee removes any reason not to buy

Things We Dislike

  • The design tends to polarize opinion so could be considered a drawback or a plus point depending on your taste

9. Shop-Vac Micro Wet/Dry Portable Vacuum


Do your cleaning requirements constitute both wet and dry messes? If so, you’ll be unlikely to want 2 separate appliances to deal with that, so why not invest in this multi-purpose beast and attack both needs head on?

Despite being compact and reasonably light, this is a little larger than the competition. In return for that extra heft, you’ll get a deep 1-gallon tank, nimble 1HP motor and a lengthy 4 foot hose.

Accessories are superb with a crevice tool, filter bag, gulper nozzle, tool holder and reusable filter bag. You’ve get all you need for a thorough and effective clean up in one powerful unit.

The 6-foot power cord is an absolute disgrace, though. We really can’t see any justification for cutting costs on cabling and leaving you with so little room for maneuver.

Wall-mountable and with a helpful carrying handle, this is an intelligently designed vacuum able to deal with just about anything you throw its way.
Things We Like

  • Shop vac style perfect for either wet or dry messes giving you total flexibility with your cleaning
  • Works equally well whatever the surface
  • Extremely generous bundle of accessories

Things We Dislike

  • Not the smallest handheld solution up for grabs

10. Bissell Multi Auto Lightweight Car Handheld


Our final suggestion if you’re looking for a handheld is another Bissell, this time the Multi Auto ideal for cleaning your car or your home.

If you’re hunting down a handheld that works well in the car while also serving a turn indoors, the Bissell is fairly pricey but should give you an excellent return on your investment.

The battery is removable and should give you ample runtime to clear up the inside of your vehicle with perhaps 20 minutes at your disposal.

Attachments are all stored onboard so you’ve got everything at your fingertips from crevice tool and dusting brush to a 2-foot extension hose.

Cars can be full of gloomy spots under the seats and down the door panels. LEDs light up your way and make your life easier.

For a compact but powerful tool perfect for both the car and the house, the Multi Auto is a worthy addition to your shortlist.

Things We Like

  • Exceptional design with arresting colors and a stark look
  • Turbo brush works wonders on your car mats and seats
  • LEDs to illuminate your way when you’re cleaning in dim spots

Things We Dislike

  • Not especially cheap but it does pack quite a punch


With our reviews put the bed, it’s time to tail off with some quick pointers on what to look for when you’re hustling for a handheld.

III. Handheld Vacuum Buyer’s Guide


We’ll stick purely here to elements specific to searching for a handheld vacuum rather than veering into generalities.

Corded or Cordless?

The first obvious decision you’ll face is whether to opt for a corded or cordless model.

With no cord, you’ll get far greater convenience and maneuverability which usually comes at the expense of a little less power.

Corded handhelds can work well and give you great suction and performance. If you’re considering one of these, though, pay close attention to the length of power cord. Make certain this is cut long enough for your cleaning needs or you’ll end up frustrated.

There’s no right or wrong here, just what works best for you.

Runtime if Cordless

If you’re rolling with a battery-powered vacuum, make sure it uses the new style lithium-ion battery.

Check for run time and makes sure this gels with your cleaning needs.

If you’re always running to a tight schedule, it’s also important to think about how long the battery needs to charge.

Finally, take a look at whether or not you can replace the battery. If not, what’s the projected lifespan?

These are all questions worth pondering if you’re thinking about a cordless handheld.

Size and Weight vs Intended Purpose

Here we have deliberately added a qualifier to size and weight…

You should take these into account but make sure to also factor in how you intend to use the vacuum. If you’re planning to do a lot of above floor cleaning, the lighter the better. If you plan to use the vacuum only occasionally as a secondary method of cleaning up impromptu messes, size and weight are far less pivotal.

Dust Container Capacity

Think about how much the dust cup will hold before it needs emptying out. Will that be enough for you to power through your cleaning without needing to break off?

Beyond this, focus as well on ease of emptying and make sure the model you’re looking at doesn’t end up belching dust and debris back in your face or cause you to clean up after cleaning up.

Accessories and Attachments

Rather than obsessing about the vacuum with the biggest accessory bundle, laser in instead on those attachments you’ll actually use.

Dusting brushes and crevice tool are invaluable for those crucial finishing touches but how about if you have pets?

Do You Have Pets In The House?

For dealing with the hair, dander and general mess pets leave in their wake, look for a handheld packing a motorized pet brush.

Many models also offer pet-specific attachments and some we review today are targeted at pet owners. Choose accordingly if you have animals at home.


Multi-layered filters are normally best.

You won’t find cordless handheld vacs with the gold standard of HEPA-filtration so simply look out for filters that are easy to clean, long lasting and come well-reviewed for efficiency.

Do You Need a Car Cleaner?

If you’re looking to take your cordless vac out into the car, you should think about portability, LED lights and sufficient run time to make sure you can take care of all you need in a single session.

IV. Conclusion

By now, you should have a clear idea of what factors to prioritize when you’re looking for a handheld.

You should also, with any luck, have a small shortlist of capable performers saving you time, effort and money on the buying trail.

As with any purchasing decision, focus fully on your own needs rather than expecting a one-size-fits-all solution gives you far more chance of getting the right kit for the job. Follow our simple but effective guidance combined with considering your own needs and that’s half the battle won.

Drop us a line any time with your queries or feedback. We’re always more than happy to help. We’re here to save you time and cash while ensuring you get the very best products for your home.

And come back soon! We’ve got plenty more lined up as always and we’ll be heading back out into the kitchen next week.

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