Best Handheld Vacuum 2020 – Buyer’s Guide

You may need a handheld vacuum cleaner if you own a corded model which doesn’t convert into a handheld/have attachments for your stairs, or you may wish to have a dedicated car vacuum which you can keep in the boot.

Whatever your reason, there is no denying they are handy appliances. They get where other vacuums can’t reach, whether it be in the corners of the room or the creases of your sofa. And they’re much easier to grab in an emergency crumb mess scenario than your big bulky upright.

You may have had a handheld vacuum cleaner in the past which barely moved dust, never mind collecting it. But the good news is that they are now much more powerful than when they first came onto the market.

To help you find which ones are worth the money, we have reviewed the best handheld vacuums available to buy online, and we have only picked the ones which will actually do the job. Check out our buying guide if you need a bit of help narrowing down the specifications you need.

The Best Handheld Vacuums – Our Top Picks

Best Handheld Vacuum Cleaners

Shark WV251UK

We love a Shark vacuum cleaner here at Appliance Reviewer, and this handheld option is no different.

Most small portable vacuums can struggle with picking up things. While there are a couple out there we have reviewed which are good enough to use in the home, most are best for the car or for the corners of the carpet. This one is the best for all-round cleaning, though.

It can run for 16 minutes on a single charge, and thanks to the quickbase, a full boost only takes about an hour. A reserve battery is in the base in case you simply can’t stop and need to give yourself a few extra minutes of cleaning time. The last thing you want to do is sit on the sofa and then never return to the cleaning again.

A pet tool will help you target those pesky hairs which always end up on the sofa or human bed when your back is turned, and the crevice tool will get right into those annoying hard to reach areas, whether it be the cup holder of the car or behind the telly.

We expected nothing less than fantastic star delivery from Shark here, and in short; it delivered. And more.

Specifications

  • Charge Time: 1 Hour
  • Run Time: 16 Minutes
  • Weight: 0.6 kg
  • Capacity: 0.25 litres

We like

  • Great suction
  • Lightweight
  • Fast charge

We dislike

  • High price to pay for such quality

Final Verdict

The cost may make it one of the most expensive handheld vacuums, but in a field where it can be hard to find a standout which does what it promises, the Shark shines

Gtech Multi Mk2 K9

Designed with pet owners in mind, the Gtech K9 can stir up and lift even the most problematic dirt particles. It runs for 20 minutes on a 4-hour charge, making it perfect to bring out quickly and clear up any small areas of mess which don’t require the use of a larger machine. There is also a light to illuminate the darkest areas of your home, where an upright vacuum appliance may not reach.

Pet odours can linger inside a vacuum cleaner, spreading the smell around your home as you clean. This model, like others in the Gtech range, has a dirt bale which is easy to empty thanks to the ejector arm, so no dirt is left behind. As a bonus, there are replaceable floral scented tabs in the filter of the K9, leaving your room smelling fresh and fragrant.

As it is handheld, you can also use it to clean your car (or any other vehicles you may use to transport your animals). It comes with a powered brush head, crevice tool and dusting brush as standard. The car accessory kit is a purchasable extra from the Gtech website, which offers three tools for full flexibility. These tools can also be used to clean problematic areas within your home, such as around your television, stereo systems or difficult to reach upholstery.

Specifications

  • Power: 22V Lithium-Ion battery
  • Capacity: 0.4L
  • Sound Power Level: 78dB
  • Weight: 1.5kg

+ Downloads

Gtech Multi Mk2 K9 Handheld Vacuum Cleaner user manual

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We like

  • Integral light feature
  • Scented tabs

We dislike

  • Dedicated tools are an expensive extra
  • Heavy and bulky for size

Final Verdict

The best handheld device built with pet owners specifically in mind

Dyson V7 Trigger

With a 30-minute battery life on a 3.5-hour charge, the V7 handheld vacuum will effortlessly clean your car, stairs or upholstery in one go. Its powerful 15-cyclone suction makes light work of crumbs, embedded dust and pet hairs. There are three tool accessories included – combination, mini motorised and crevice – to take care of all the tiny gaps and corners in your home.

The motorised brush tool is driven electronically rather than by suction when in use, making it a real cleaning force.

The lifetime filter is washable, so there are no extra costs involved such as replacing this or using hoover bags. The low power setting allows you to vacuum areas where you don’t want too much suction, such as curtains or cushion covers, and the higher one works well on sofas and carpets.

The small collection container shows you how much dirt the product is lifting from your surfaces, and it is easy to empty over a bin with the push of a single button. It is an expensive appliance for its size but is durable and well-built so will last you years.

Specifications

  • Type: Handheld
  • Power: 100W
  • Capacity: 0.4L
  • Weight: 1.38kg

+ Downloads

Dyson V7 Trigger Handheld Vacuum Cleaner user manual

Download

We like

  • Quieter than previous model
  • Easy to empty

We dislike

  • Pricey for a handheld

Final Verdict

An impressive all-round transportable device suitable for use all over the home.

Black + Decker Compact Pivot PV1820L-GB

As you can probably tell by now, we really rate Black and Decker handhelds. There is a reason why they are also leaders in the power tool world as well.

This one is one of the more expensive handheld vacuum cleaners around. But you do get a performance worthy of this. A 10 minute run time may not seem long, but the powerful suction will ensure you get the job done well within that time. It is also fade-free, so even if you’re pushing it to the last few seconds, you’re still going to get the power required.

The nozzle pivots 200 degrees to access awkward areas, no matter where you are standing, so it is fab if you want a device which can get to where your upright can’t without moving all of the furniture.

While you’re probably not bothered about how it looks in storage, we will still let you know that it is pretty fine indeed. It doesn’t even look like a vacuum as it all folds down. Great if you A) don’t have much space or B) will be keeping it to hand in view.

Specifications

  • Cordless
  • Charge Time: 4 hours
  • Run Time: 10 minutes
  • Capacity: 0.5L
  • Attachments: Integrated crevice tool, Integrated soft brush
  • Weight: 1.94 kg

We like

  • Easy to take apart to clean
  • Quick to empty
  • Strong suction

We dislike

  • Low run time

Final Verdict

You have a higher than usual price (although not extreme), but in return you get incredible suction and a comfortable device which will never be a strain to use

Bissell Pet Hair Eraser 1987E

If the main aim of your handheld vac is going to be to clean your sofa or bedding, then this upholstery-friendly vacuum will leave them looking spotless.

A Detachable Motorized Foot is why this has been named the ‘Pet Hair Eraser’. It works so hard to get every hair picked up, without you having to strain your arms under pressure. Even if your pooch has wiry hair which your upright struggles to collect, they will soon be gone with the 1987E. You also get a dedicated upholstery tool for cleaning the more delicate areas such as curtains or cushions.

A crevice tool will help if you need to reach corners or little areas around plant pots and ornaments without moving them all. All three together make it a fab option for your stairs, as you have the larger heads for quicker effective cleaning and the crevice for reaching the creases.

It is lovely and lightweight, while being stronger than most other handhelds on the market.

Specifications

  • Cordless
  • Charge Time: 5 hours
  • Run Time: 15 Minutes
  • Capacity: 0.6L
  • Attachments: Motorized Foot, Crevice Tool, Upholstery Tool
  • Weight: 1.36 Kg

We like

  • Attachments are effective
  • Comfortable to hold
  • Fab suction

We dislike

  • Long charge time

Final Verdict

There are portable vacuums around which go for half the price but they are nowhere near as great as this Bissell - a must if you rely on these little appliances to get the overall job done

Black + Decker Dustbuster PD1020L Flexi

A slightly different design to many of the other handhelds on the market, using a cylinder and flexible tube approach to the cleaning instead.

This makes it a great option if you need a dedicated car vacuum, or just want a bit more control over where you clean. It is nice and lightweight to hold as you use it, which is always welcomed. This is why we think it is the best handheld vacuum for car use which we reviewed.

It only lasts for 10 minutes after a four hour charge, which may seem like you’re getting short changed but isn’t rare for handheld portable vacuum cleaners. The noise is also on the louder side, but this is forgivable as seeing it is having to use so much power in a short space of time.

Specifications

  • Cordless
  • Charge Time: 4 hours
  • Run Time: 10 minutes
  • Capacity: 0.6L
  • Attachments: 2-in-1 nozzle/flip out upholstery brush
  • Weight: 1.92 kg

We like

  • Price
  • Easy to store
  • No extra attachments to keep on track of - its altogether

We dislike

  • Charge time not relative to run time

Final Verdict

The flexi pipe is a welcomed design feature and while we think the charge time is long for the battery life, the power it gives is faultless for those smaller jobs

Black + Decker 12v Dustbuster Pivot AutoVac PV1200AV-XJ

Cord-free handheld vacuums can struggle when it comes to power levels and run times. If you’re looking for a corded handheld, they are in short supply, but this one is a beauty.

Just as with some other Black & Decker models, you get a flexible tube to help with the dust-busting, which gives much better accuracy when trying to get into the tight spaces which have gone unattended for a few months too long. You also get a pivoting nose and 10 different settings.

A washable filter and good capacity (for a handheld) are welcomed and help it run well at all times. The filter is a HEPA, so it can capture the tiniest of dust particles and keep them there too. The cable length is also generous for a small device such as this.

The side opening door also makes it so simple to empty. You don’t even have to remove the bin; just flip the lid open and tip. Accessories included are the Extendable Crevice Tool, Dusting Brush and Upholstery Tool, so you can even cope with different materials and surfaces.

It all gathers up nicely to store, whether you’re keeping it in the stairs under the cupboard or in your car boot.

Specifications

  • Corded
  • Cable Length: 5 m
  • Capacity: 0.35L
  • Attachments: Crevice Tool, Dusting Brush, Upholstery Tool
  • Weight: 1.3kg

We like

  • Good attachments
  • Cord length is generous
  • Pivoting nose

We dislike

  • Suction is good but not the absolute best

Final Verdict

For well under £30 it is a user-friendly and effective vacuum which won’t leave you frustrated if you often struggle to get into the tricky spots

Hoover Jive Handy SJ72WD6A/1

After a wet and dry vacuum? You have come to the right place.

The Jive is super lightweight, and the slimline handle makes it a breeze to hold and move around. Much nicer than the usual thick bulky handles in our opinion.

Switching it on is easy thanks to the slider on the handle, and to empty the bin you just press a button to separate it from the body and tip all the dirt away.

You get a dusting brush to help with the more delicate areas, and the 0.3L bin should help you quickly pick up dried mud and crumbs without having to empty it every single time. There is also the usual crevice tool for corners and edges.

The charge time is very extreme unfortunately, especially as you only get ten minutes out of it. For this reason, it is definitely one just to have to hand for wet and dry spills as opposed to a vacuum for bigger jobs such as cleaning the car or sofas.

Specifications

  • Cordless
  • Charge Time: 10 hours
  • Run Time: 10 minutes
  • Capacity: 0.3L
  • Attachments: Crevice Tool, Dusting Brush
  • Weight: 0.9 Kg

We like

  • Friendly price
  • Comfortable to hold
  • Easy to empty and clean out

We dislike

  • Charge time is huge

Final Verdict

The ability to muck up soft drink spills will likely be appealing for some, and while charge and run times are a let down, it still performs when you need it the most

Hoover Jovis Plus Wet And Dry SM120WDN

Another wet and dry vacuum from Hoover, and while there are better models out there, this is still a worthy entrant on to our list.

It will tackle spills of both the wet and dry variety, so you can get all of the mess gone with just one device. Now for the standout in our opinion which may sway you; you also get a special tool for use on windows and glass.

This squeegee will make it a brilliant option if you like to wash your windows with soap and water but drying them is an issue. A dedicated window vacuum can seem a bit pointless to some even though they’re effective, so this could be the answer if you like your appliances to have maximum usability.

An easy empty dustbin makes the worst part of vacuuming a bit more user-friendly, and it is comfortable to use on stairs, in the car and on upholstery.

Specifications

  • Cordless
  • Charge Time: 16 hours
  • Run Time: 13 minutes
  • Capacity: 0.2L
  • Attachments: Crevice Tool, Upholstery Tool, Squeegee
  • Weight: 1.34 Kg

We like

  • Wet and dry
  • Easy to empty or clean out
  • Washable cloth filter

We dislike

  • Charge time is extreme

Final Verdict

While not the best we tested, it was by far not the worst either. The squeegee is a lovely finishing touch

Vax H85-GA-B10 Gator Cordless

A small handheld hoover for flexible cleaning, whether it be the car or stairs that need attention.

Sometimes, to reach those tricky areas, investing in a small handheld vacuum can be a good idea. You wouldn’t want one as your main vacuum – cleaning a floor with one of these would take hours – but for light cleaning they are highly useful. Since they are small, they’re also very easy to store.

This Vax Gator Handheld Vacuum is light, cordless and easy to empty – no bags involved. There is 10.8V of rechargeable power that allows it to run for 15 minutes. It comes with built-in crevice tools that make it easy to get into small nooks.

We love the tapered shape that makes it easy to navigate. The power button is easily accessed when you’re holding it for good control, and the dirt compartment is see-through so you know when it needs emptied. In all, a pretty nifty little gadget for a reasonable price.

Specifications

  • Power: 10V
  • Noise level: 78 dB
  • Capacity: 0.3 litres
  • Accessories: Built-in crevice tools

+ Downloads

Vax H85-GA-B10 user manual

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We like

  • Excellent power from such a small device
  • Incredibly easy to use
  • Great for cars
  • Good build quality

We dislike

  • Battery life could be longer

Final Verdict

As one of the best-selling cordless vacs, this hoover comes highly recommended and the name is reliable.

Handheld Vacuum Buying Guide

Things To Look For In A Handheld Vacuum Cleaner

Corded Or Cordless?

A corded model will have more power than a cordless in general, as their motors will likely be stronger. Do be aware that the vast majority of handheld vacuums out there are now cordless now though, so you are going to have less choice if you

However, there is no denying a cordless model will be much more convenient. If you need to clean the car, it will cut out the need for extension cables or an adaptor which fits your car charging slot.

Charge And Run Time

If you do go cordless, you will have to charge the vacuum up, and then there may be a bit of a race against time to do the job on the battery life. You may even have to wait for hours until it is at full charge.

As you are likely not going to be using the handheld vacuum for huge tasks, or overly often, these two issues aren’t huge specifications to think about. But it is still good to know whether it will give you enough time to actually clean the stairs, and whether you’ll be able to use it a few times before it needs a charge. Try to pick one which will fit in with your lifestyle.

Weight

Only a massive issue if you think that a heavy device will strain your wrists or hand, but it is still good to know if you’re going to be comfortable using the vacuum. Heavier models will likely be able to give you a bit more power, but there are a few options out there which have been designed to redistribute the weight and take the strain off your arms without the loss of efficiency.

Attachments

You may need a crevice tool for getting into corners, a brush tool for getting into the fibres of your sofa, an upholstery tool for covering a wider area and making the stairs easier and quicker to clean, or an extension pole for reaching the ceiling. A cheap vacuum may come with some of the basics, but it is more than likely that those at the higher end of the scale will have more choice.

Extra Features

Some other specifications you may wish to look for include:

  • Wet and dry – some handheld vacuums are capable of sucking up spills as well as dried goods. This could be handy if drinks are always being spilled, or the dog leaves more drinking water on the floor than he consumes
  • Emptying – most are bagless, but some come with handy levers which allow you to push the dust away into the bin, and some will need banging against the bin to dislodge crumbs. If you have allergies, the former will be a must-have

Price

The good news is that you can pick up a model for as little as £20. This will likely be fine for that everyday mess which gathers in your car, such as the odd bit of dried mud off your shoes or the dust from open windows. It may also get the stairs or difficult areas, if they are vacuumed regularly.

But the likelihood is that it isn’t going to be as powerful or effective as one which reaches closer to £100. So think about what you need it for, how much you are willing to spend and what it is you’re going to have to be picking up. But also remember that price is never an indicator for quality, so one which is £250 won’t always be better than one at £80.

FAQ’s

Why Should I Buy A Handheld Vacuum?

The size of a handheld vacuum makes them perfect for cleaning stairs, behind and underneath large furniture items such as the sofa or television, and vacuuming up pet hair off any surfaces such as bedding.

They are also much easier to bring out at a moments notice than an upright or cylinder model. Say you have children who make a bit of a mess at meal times, or the cat tend to get more food on the floor than in its mouth; whip out the handheld, and the damage can be sucked up in moments.

One of these can also help you if you need to clean the car, especially if it is a cordless model.

Can I Just Buy A Cordless Vacuum Which Converts Into A Handheld?

These do exist; you just take the top part of the vacuum off, or switch the fitting at the base. It could make it easier for you, as you’d only have one appliance to deal with.

But do remember that many cordless upright vacuums don’t have the same power as corded options, and don’t perform as well on carpets. So you may find it is better to pick a powerful upright, and then a separate handheld – it could even work out as the same overall price.

Which Is The Best Handheld Vacuum For Pet Hair?

You will need a model with great suction. Look at the power levels, and also the attachments available; a brush will likely get hairs better than a crevice tool. We have mentioned the ones worth your time in our review above.