Handheld vacuums have many convenient uses for the busy homeowner or office cleaner who needs to get the space spotless every time. The latest technologies for vacuuming gets employed in the manufacturer of mini portable vacuums that have convenience written all over them.

Handheld vacuums fit into two categories:

  1. Corded Handheld
  2. Cordless handheld vacuums.

The cost of a cordless model with a lithium ion battery is at least double that of the corded variety, but it offers a great deal more flexibility to use away from a readily available power supply which is not a point that should be dismissed quickly.

The suction action on smaller vacuums is almost always generated using a cyclonic action inside the main suction chamber which pulls up dirt and debris from the carpet, sofa, and other areas of the home or office efficiently. The tornado-like sucking up effect is robust enough for this type of cleaning tool to be used as a final step to a perfectly clean home or private office.

The dirt bowl, which is usually without a bag, is easy to empty with most models of handheld vacuum. A switch will release the container latch making it a simple matter to empty the collected dirt, fluff, and other bits sucked up by the cyclonic action.

Hand vacuums are balanced to avoid causing fatigue to the arm when used for a cleaning session. The handle is also ergonomically designed for the better models to make it fit the hand well.

Lithium ion batteries are the ones of choice with small cordless vacuums that need to remain portable. They take a limited number of hours to charge up in full and then can run for months when uses sparingly around the home or office. Some models even can hold a charge and be usable for 18 months which is impressive.

Some fancier cordless models come with their charging base and a stand to hold all the various accessories in a single convenient place.

Corded Handheld vacuums usually come with a power cord that reaches up to 16 feet in length. The use of an extension cord adds additional length to move between rooms without needing to unplug the cable and plug immediately back into a socket in the next room over.

Another differentiator between models and brands is the power of the engine. A 7-amp engine uses in some corded models gets the cleaning job done, but won’t impress as much when it comes to pure suction power. When trying to pull up dirt from the tiniest of crevices that are tough to get into, the difference in raw power is noticeable. Some cordless models come with 16-watt engines that leave no question in the mind that they clean just about any space desired.

The thin nozzle at the end of each vacuum’s tapered design fits several different accessories. These typically include a dusting brush, a hose, and a crevice tool. Some models also include a shoulder strap, though many users won’t wish to use it. The nozzle on some handheld vacuums is easily accessible and removable.

What’s Included with The Best Handheld Vacuum

A good handheld vacuum includes the hand vacuum, a washable pre-filter, the washable filter, a corded lead, and an extension cord option (for corded models).

An internal lithium-ion battery (for cordless models), a charging base (with cordless models), and a selection of cleaning accessories to attach to the end of the handheld vacuum usually get provided too.

What to Know Before Making a Purchase

Consider both the size of the home and the number of rooms where the handheld vacuum will clean. Will it be easy to use the corded handheld version with the cord snaking all over the place while there are occupants there? Will the repeated plugging into power and unplugging to move to the next room because more of hassle over time? Will the additional power and convenient charging provided by a cordless model be a better choice?

Cleaning both the pre-filter and replaceable filter at the end of each cleaning session extends their useful life. After that, they can easily be replaced with another filter. Buying a vacuum from a respected brand is important here to ensure the continued availability of replacement filters. Otherwise, the usefulness of the product would come to an end earlier than desirable.

Other Considerations

For cordless models, the latest battery technologies have forever removed the problems of NiCad batteries which due to the “memory effect” failed to hold their charges well. Any owner of a handheld vacuum with these types of older battery cells should consider an upgrade.

Best Brands

Dyson makes hand dryers, handheld vacuums, standing vacuums, and lighting products.

Dirt Devil focused on vacuums, hand vacuums, steam spray cleaning systems, and washing machines.

SharkNinja produces their SharkPet vacuum line and SharkNinja food mixers. The company is in the fastest growing 5,000 companies in the United States.

Black and Decker has a solid reputation throughout the world as providers of power tools, cleaning tools, and workbenches that contractors and DIY home specialists use every day.

What Consumers Say

Taking a look at consumers’ reviews, these are a few of the opinions most often voiced by buyers:

Leave in the charger: With cordless models, leaving the vacuum on the charger when not in use ensures the handheld vacuum will always have the maximum charge when it is needed.

LED charging light: Some models have an LED light that flashes while the unit is charging. The addition of the charge indicator light advised homeowners when they haven’t slotted the cordless model correctly into the charging base.

Weight in the hand: Smaller vacuums typically weight between 3 pounds and 6.5 pounds. It is possible to choose a model based on the carrying weight to avoid any worry about the model being too heavy for regular use.

Car cigarette lighter socket: A corded handheld vacuum cannot be powered using a car’s cigarette lighter. It could be plugged into vehicles like an SUV that often have a 3-pronged regular power socket in the trunk.