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Our Team Tested 10 Handheld Vacuums to Find the Ones Worth Shopping For

Bestproducts.com logo Bestproducts.com 6/10/2021 Brandon Carte
Check out these editor-approved and -tested handheld vacuums. Because there are so many choices to pick from, we've broken it down for you to make the process of shopping for a handheld vacuum suck a lot less. © Kayla Ramsey Check out these editor-approved and -tested handheld vacuums. Because there are so many choices to pick from, we've broken it down for you to make the process of shopping for a handheld vacuum suck a lot less.

Although they can be used to clean floors and area rugs, handheld vacuums typically are used for quick cleanups. They’re smaller and more convenient than a regular vacuum for cleaning surfaces, removing pet hair on furniture, or sucking up debris on upholstery. They are also great for cleaning your car, since most are battery-powered.

Best Handheld Vacuums of 2021

What to Consider

The most important things to consider when shopping for a handheld vacuum are its battery voltage and its included attachments. Most handheld vacuums offer a 7- to 20-volt battery. We recommend getting a vacuum with a 12-volt battery — or even up to 20 volts if your budget allows. If you're just sucking up light debris, a 12-volt model should suffice, but if you own pets or plan to suck up larger-sized crumbs, you'd be best going for a higher voltage.

As far as accessories are concerned, most handheld vacuums include a crevice tool for cleaning in between tight spaces. Some brands throw in a motorized brush attachment which will come in handy if you plan to use your handheld vacuum for sucking up pet hair on furniture. But, if you're looking to save money, there are many cheaper handhelds that don't include any attachments.

How We Tested

When it comes to shopping for a new vacuum, there are endless options to choose from. To separate the best handhelds from the rest, we spent 40-plus hours researching 30 different models. We compared their feature sets and read dozens of reviews from other publications and from owners themselves to narrow our list down to 10 total handheld vacuums to bring in for testing.

To test them, over the course of 6 months, seven editors on our test team used the vacuums at our homes to sweep up messes from our pets, kids, and ones we made ourselves in our kitchen. For each of the below picks, our editors provided feedback on what they liked or disliked about the handheld vacuums, and considered the following criteria when using them:

  • How long does the vacuum run before turning off?
  • Does it effectively suck up crumbs, dust, dirt, hair, and sawdust?
  • Can it pick up heavier items like small nuts, bolts, washers, and dried kidney beans?
  • Is the vacuum obnoxiously loud?
  • How easy is it to use, empty, and replace its air filter?
  • How long does it take for its dust bin to reach capacity?
  • Is it comfortable to hold?

In addition, we also factored in price and included accessories, such as attachments, charging docks, or replacement filters.

After sucking up enough pet hair, dust bunnies, and crumbs in quantities that would make Pig-Pen from Peanuts jealous, we found our top seven favorite handheld vacuum models!

Best Overall

BLACK+DECKER Dustbuster AdvancedClean+ Pet Handheld Vacuum © amazon.com BLACK+DECKER Dustbuster AdvancedClean+ Pet Handheld Vacuum

$80.77

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Key Specs

  • 2.6 pounds
  • 20 volts, 35 air watts
  • Motorized brush roll tool

Whether you need to suck up coffee grounds from the countertop, dust on an end table, or pet hair that’s embedded deep between couch cushions, this handheld vacuum offers enough oomph to get the job done effectively. Its battery lasted long enough for our Test team to completely clean a couch, three armchairs, and the kitchen, with some juice to spare.

Given its spinning brush roll, it’s the ideal vacuum for pet owners who want to eliminate pet hair from furniture. The BLACK+DECKER has a low- and high-speed setting, plus a nozzle that extends an additional 7.5 inches for hard-to-reach places.

If you don’t plan to use it to clean the furniture, opt for the similar Dustbuster HHVK515J vacuum instead, which doesn’t come with the motorized brush head.

Best for Pet Owners

a close up of a cell phone: BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser Handheld Vacuum © amazon.com BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser Handheld Vacuum

$69.99

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Key Specs

  • 3 pounds
  • 14.4-volts
  • Crevice tool, upholstery tool, motorized brush roll tool

Ideal for zapping away spilled pet food or fur shed on the couch, Bissell created a hand vacuum made for anyone with fur babies in their lives. As its name implies, this handheld vacuum is an absolute beast at removing pet hair, even if you have multiple pets, or a husky that never seems to stop shedding.

During our tests with the vacuum, the motorized brush head worked fantastically at removing pet fur from a couch. Its battery lasted an impressive 17 minutes before dying, and its bin is easy to empty and is large enough for multiple vacuuming sessions.

A Budget-Friendly Handheld Vacuum

a close up of electronic equipment: BLACK+DECKER Dustbuster QuickClean Cordless Hand Vacuum © amazon.com BLACK+DECKER Dustbuster QuickClean Cordless Hand Vacuum

$44.99

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Key Specs

  • 3 pounds
  • 12 volts, 25 air watts
  • Motorized head with nylon bristles

This handheld vacuum offers strong suction and comes with a motorized brush tool. During our tests, it worked well at sucking up shredded paper, kitchen debris, and hair of all kinds. Our biggest complaint is how loud and echoey the vacuum is. It has a high-pitched hum that’s very unpleasant — especially if you are vacuuming for longer than 5 minutes.

Regardless, we appreciate the vacuum's easy-to-empty canister, its lengthy battery life, and ability to hold a charge.

The Best Vacuum for Deep-Cleaning

BISSELL Multi Auto Cordless Handheld Car Vacuum © wayfair.com BISSELL Multi Auto Cordless Handheld Car Vacuum

$179.99

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Key Specs

  • 3.9 pounds
  • 22 volts
  • Dusting brush, built-in extension hose, crevice tool, motorized brush roll

Our previous top pick for the most powerful handheld vacuum, the Dyson V7 Car+Boat, has recently been discontinued. However, the Multi Auto Cordless Handheld Car Vac from Bissell is a close second.

It comes with plenty of tools so you can clean tight spaces quickly and easily. It’s also an absolute joy to use on furniture. The vacuum's hose allowed our tester to easily suck up stray pieces of dog kibble in the utility room, and its motorized Turbo Brush tool came in handy for cleaning carpeted floor mats in the car.

We also liked that it has a single button that you press to keep the vacuum on. With the Dyson, you have to consistently hold the power trigger down to keep the suction going and keep its main brush spinning. The Bissell is much more comfortable to use over long stretches of time and it offers an impressive 20 minutes of battery life.

A Vacuum for Hard-to-Reach Spots

BLACK+DECKER Flex Vac © amazon.com BLACK+DECKER Flex Vac

$89.00

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Key Specs

  • 3.2 pounds
  • 20 volts, 24 air watts
  • Stick vac floor head, pet hair brush, 2-in-1 nozzle/brush tool, long crevice tool

The BLACK+DECKER Flex Vac is the only canister-shaped handheld vacuum we’ve come across. It’s perfect for sucking up debris in homes with tight corners thanks to its unique shape and design. The vacuum is extremely lightweight and easy to move around. It comes with three different attachments: a crevice tool to clean tiny nooks and crannies, a flip-up brush for dusting, and a pet hair brush for removing stubborn hair from furniture.

During our tests, we found that the Flex Vac did not have as much suction power as other handhelds. So, we wouldn’t recommend it for folks who need to suck up large crumbs and chips.

A Compact Handheld for Small-Space Dwellers

BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Lithium Pivot Vac © amazon.com BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Lithium Pivot Vac

$69.00

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Key Specs

  • 3 pounds
  • 20 volts, 35 air watts
  • Pivoting nozzle with a wide mouth and extending crevice tool

The Pivot Vac from BLACK+DECKER is probably what you picture when you think of a handheld vacuum. It doesn’t require you to affix any attachments to its front, but rather uses a unique rotating nozzle to fit in the tightest of spaces.

Hands-down, the best part about this vac is how compact it is. The whole vac folds into itself and can be easily hung on a wall or stored away when not in use. The canister is a bit small, so it requires emptying more often. Regardless, the vacuum is lightweight, comfortable to hold, and has good enough suction ability for sucking up hair, crumbs, dust, and debris.

An Easy-to-Use and Reliable Handheld Vacuum

text: BLACK+DECKER 12V MAX Dustbuster AdvancedClean+ Hand Vacuum © amazon.com BLACK+DECKER 12V MAX Dustbuster AdvancedClean+ Hand Vacuum

$69.99

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Key Specs

  • 2.4 pounds
  • 12 volts, 35 air watts
  • Extending crevice tool

For those looking for a convenient and easy-to-use vacuum that has impressive battery life, look no further than this BLACK+DECKER Dustbuster. It’s very similar to our best overall pick but has lesser suction power, which accounts for its lower price point.

During our tests, the vacuum still sucked up dropped food, dust bunnies, and bugs from our counters, hardwood, and tile floors. However, we wouldn’t recommend the vacuum for cleaning pet hair from furniture or to consistently clean upholstery due to its lower suction power and lack of a brush tool.

Regardless, if you need a reasonably priced vacuum to quickly suck up those tumbleweeds of hair or dust before a friend comes over, it works well — especially since it has a nozzle that extends!

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