If you’ve ever vacuumed the house, you know that a standard vacuum cleaner while being big and powerful, is not enough to keep your house clean. It might not be able to deal with a specific material, like pet hair or lint, or it might be too cumbersome to get into some tight spots where a lot of dirt gathers.
Handheld vacuums are a nice addition to the house cleaning arsenal that takes care of all those problems and more. With one of these babies, you can get into every nook and cranny and dislodge materials that seem permanently stuck to your carpet or furniture.
We talk about all of that and more in this article while also presenting you with some of the best handheld vacuums out there and offering our opinions on them. So, let’s get started straight away.
Why Buying a Handheld Vacuum?
You might think there’s no reason to purchase a handheld vacuum if you already own a regular vacuum cleaner – after all, it’s more powerful, it has more capacity, why get a markedly inferior unit? Well, handheld vacuums offer plenty of benefits that make them superior over regular vacuum cleaners in a variety of ways.
First off, there’s maneuverability, since smaller handheld vacuums can fit into places where larger vacuums can’t. Because of that, you can get into the corners and nooks and crannies where a lot of dirt gathers and clean it up, places you otherwise couldn’t reach. You can also use it to clean countertops and furniture or some high-up places like the tops of shelves or cupboards and closets, something that’s difficult to do with a larger vacuum cleaner.
They are also better suited for smaller jobs. For example, if you spill a bunch of salt in the kitchen, which is difficult to clean up with a broom thoroughly, you would need to use a vacuum. Dragging out your large vacuum just for that can be an unnecessary hassle, and with a handheld unit you can just whip it out, clean it up in seconds and be done with it.
Since it’s more portable, you can also utilize it to clean up places like your garage or your car without the need to lug around a large piece of kit. It can even be taken on a trip in case you need it.
Overall, handheld vacuums are quite a good addition to your toolbox and can be a great supplemental cleaning tool that will make your life easier.
Not all handheld vacuums are great though, some of them just plain suck. Or, more accurately they don’t suck well enough, but you know what we wanted to say. They’re not that easy to spot though, and you might end up with a dud even if you’re extremely careful, simply because you might not know enough about what to look for.
That’s why we decided to make this article, to help people like that. Here we will present the three best handheld vacuums that we picked after testing dozens of products, while also offering our thoughts and opinions on them. We also added in some user reviews for additional information. If that’s not enough, we don’t know what is. Let’s start with the three products we picked as the best.
Meet the Best Handheld Vacuums
The Good: Exceptionally low weight, good maneuverability, and decent power.
The Bad: Poorly balanced has a narrow mouth and seems flimsy.
The Bottom Line: Overall, this is an above-average handheld vacuum, and despite some downsides, it has it is more than worth the money.
The Good: Incredibly powerful with a long runtime and a great, useful design.
The Bad: Poorly constructed with multiple malfunctions and a battery that dies in a few months.
The Bottom Line: It offers quite a bit of power and it is well designed, but the multiple design flaws make it hard to recommend at its high price point.
The Good: It has a lot of power, a long cord and it comes at quite a low cost.
The Bad: Too weighty, poorly balanced, and overheats too quickly, leading to safety concerns.
The Bottom Line: Due to its multitude of flaws, this is not a vacuum we can readily recommend, but it’s probably the best one you can get at that price point.
While this short version of our opinions is useful, you should check out the longer version below.
All of the Factors Considered
Getting a handheld vacuum is a lot different than buying a regular vacuum cleaner. Because of this, it can be difficult for some people to figure out what to look for in a product like this. Things that are highly valued in regular vacuum cleaners are not that important here, so you might end up with a dud by following the usual line of thinking. Luckily, we’re here to give you a hand with a list of the most important things to look for in a handheld vacuum, compiled by our experts after testing plenty of different products. Take a look.
Most handheld vacuums are powered by electricity, but where that electricity comes from can be a real deal breaker or deal maker.
First off, there are those that are powered by a battery that usually lasts somewhere between twenty minutes and an hour. These vacuums are typically less powerful and can be a bit heavier, but they are far more portable, and you can use them even in areas where you don’t have a readily available electric outlet.
Vacuums that use a cord, however, are usually stronger and slightly lighter and don’t have any time restrictions. The issue is that the cord can be quite limiting even if it’s long and you can’t take it outside and use it in your car and so on. The length of the cord is still important though, and the longer it is, the less limiting it becomes.
In the end, you should consider your needs and pick accordingly.
The power of a vacuum cleaner like this is still something you should consider, but it’s not the same as with larger vacuum cleaners.
To determine the relative power of a vacuum like this you could look at the voltage or amperage, depending on what is listed. A voltage of 15 is already quite decent, but some units go up to 20 and beyond for incredible amounts of power. For corded variants around 5-6 amps is already plenty enough but you can go beyond that.
Of course, there is such a thing as being too strong, and if a handheld unit like this is too powerful, it will be too heavy and too loud as well. It also might have trouble picking up the same debris that a large vacuum has trouble with, making it useless for pet hair and the like.
Overall, you should gauge your needs and pick according to that.
This is the amount of dirt that can fit into the vacuum before you have to empty it. Of course, you have to strike a balance here when it comes to capacity. On the one hand, you don’t want to have to empty the vacuum every few minutes, but on the other, you don’t want to lug around a ton of extra weight while using it. You should carefully consider this when making your purchase.
A weight of five or six pounds might not seem like a lot, but if you’re carrying that around for hours and weaving it into tight corners, it might cause a strain on your hands. With vacuums like this, you want them to be as light as possible, so you don’t have to strain yourself when using them.
Besides the weight of the vacuum itself, you should also take into account the capacity of the container it has and how much potential extra weight you could be carrying while cleaning.
The balancing of the weight is also important since if it’s all on one end, you might have trouble maneuvering the vacuum and feel the weight more than you otherwise would have.
Attachments and Accessories
As with other vacuum cleaners, accessories and different add-ons can make a handheld vacuum immensely more useful, allowing it to perform functions that it otherwise couldn’t. Some attachments also make cleaning in tight spots or vacuuming rugs and furniture easier and smoother.
Some additional attachments are never a bad thing, and you should get a unit with as many as possible.
Now that you what you should look for, here are the products we picked and their ratings.
In-Depth Reviews of 3 Handheld Vacuums
Decently Powerful Cordless Vacuum
This is a 16-volt, 15.2-watt handheld vacuum powered by a lithium-ion battery. The battery can work for a decent time, sometimes up to an hour, and it offers decent strength, though nothing exceptional.
The container can hold around one cup of materials which makes it decent but not much more than that. You won’t have to empty it too often, but you can’t go through the whole house at once.
Low Weight, Poor Balance
It weighs only 2.6 pounds, which is quite low for this sort of unit. However, it’s poorly balanced so you might feel the weight a bit more than you otherwise would have.
A couple of Decent Attachments
This vacuum has a few attachments, the best of which is probably the multi-surface cleaning attachment, allowing for better reach and easier cleaning. However, it would be nice if it had more accessories.
Who Should Buy This Product
If you want a unit that is quite good in almost all areas, and especially if you want an exceptionally light handheld vacuum cleaner, this is the product for you. With a weight of only 2.6 pounds, it is lighter than most other products on the market, and anyone can use it.
What to Watch Out For
Despite the low weight, it is a poorly balanced tool, meaning that you will feel the weight more than you might think. It also seems rather flimsy, though nothing broke while we tested it. One of the larger problems is also the fact that the mouth is rather narrow, meaning that it won’t work that fast. However, it also means it can fit into most spaces.
This is a machine that’s average or above average in almost every area, but the weight is the best part of it, it’s exceptionally light. It is poorly balanced though, and it has a few other issues that can be mentioned. However, it is still good for the price, and we would recommend that you at least check it out.
Powerful Cordless Vacuum
With a 20-volt battery on board this vacuum has quite a lot of power. It can run for a long time as well. However, the battery might die after only a few months of use.
The capacity of this unit is not that great, and it seems to be less than one cup. With this much power, you would expect more capacity than that since it gets filled up rather quickly. Luckily it’s easy to empty with the use of the side door, but it’s still a problem.
A Bit too Heavy for Comfort
This is an above-average handheld vacuum when it comes to weight, at 3.8 pounds. It is properly balanced, but you still might find it too heavy in some situations, especially if you make full use of the pivoting head feature.
Some Useful Features
It comes with a couple of add-ons – a brush attachment and a crevice tool. There’s nothing else and those attachments work fine, but it would be nice if there were more.
Who Should Buy This Product
If you want a powerful cordless vacuum cleaner, this is most likely the best one you can get. It has exceptional power and can run for a long time as well, ensuring that you will be able to clean most of your house. It’s also quite easy to use and clean meaning that you won’t have much trouble with it.
What to Watch Out For
There are more than a few things wrong with this product, but the worst of all are the various design flaws. The vibrations from working will constantly make the screws inside the vacuum loose, meaning you will need to retighten them often. The flap that’s supposed to keep the materials inside the container comes loose at times, meaning that you might spill what you already picked up while vacuuming, which is a huge issue. There are others, but it’s too much to list.
The best part about this vacuum is its sheer power, allowing it to pick up anything you might want in a flash. There is also the pivoting head that allows it to get in almost anywhere. However, what brings it down is the poor construction and the bad design of its interiors, making it spill what you vacuumed up. Because of this fatal flaw, it is difficult to recommend, even though it excels in some areas.
Amazingly Powerful with a Long Cord
This is quite a powerful unit with a 7-amp motor and a 16-feet cord, it can vacuum almost anything. However, it heats up rather quickly, and you can feel a burning smell after around ten minutes of runtime – it seems the plastic casing starts melting a bit. The exhaust is also badly placed, and it blows right into your face.
Considering it doesn’t have a battery you would expect more capacity, but it is around one cup at most, which is low for a corded unit like this one. It runs out of space quickly, and you constantly have to empty it.
Weighty and Badly Balanced
It has a weight of 3.8 pounds, which is a lot when you consider that it is a corded unit and doesn’t have the extra weight a battery brings. It’s also poorly balanced, and you will feel all the weight when using it. It’s also not incredibly maneuverable due to its bulky design.
Not a Lot of Attachments
It has one attachment, the brush attachment, but it also has a crevice tool which is inbuilt and can be flipped down for use. Decent but also nothing to write home about.
Who Should Buy This Product
This one is well suited both for people on a budget and those who want a strong but portable corded handheld vacuum cleaner. It has more than enough power with its strong 7-amp engine, and it comes at a cost that is a fraction of similar models. It gives you a lot of bang for your buck.
What to Watch Out For
There are various problems with this unit – the low capacity, the high weight, poor balance, the horribly placed exhaust that blows into your eyes and more. The most concerning is the fact that it heats up easily and after a few minutes of running you start smelling the plastic casing melting. This is a serious safety issue and might make you reconsider getting this unit.
Overall, this is one of the vacuums that offer the most bang for your buck. It has quite a lot of power, comes with a long cord and some decent add-ons. However, it has a lot of issues, more than we can count and some of them can even be major safety concerns. It is difficult to recommend at face value, but if you want something with a low cost and good performance, this is probably the best you can get.
The Best Pick – BLACK+DECKER CHV1419L
There’s a lot to consider when buying one of these machines, so it’s a bit difficult to pick just one as the best. Even though our team of experts sifted through a ton of various handheld vacuums, they were still struggling to pick just one as the best. Still, in the end, they managed.
It might not be the product everyone would consider as the best, but for us, the best is the BLACK+DECKER CHV1410L vacuum. The main reason for this is the fact that it is the most reliable of all the vacuums we tested. It has some flaws, yes, but nothing incredibly major and it performs well in all the areas that matter making it the best as far as we’re concerned.
In the end, that’s our best pick, but the other products here are still worth a look and maybe even a buy, depending on what you need. There are also other products out there that are worth your time and money, so you shouldn’t stop at this article, explore further and find the best handheld vacuum for you. We hope the information we presented here and our opinions were enough to help you do that. If you liked this article, please share it with other people who might enjoy reading it, it would mean a lot to use. Until next time, have a good day.