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The Best Handheld Vacuum

Last updated on March 26, 2019

We looked at the top 9 Handheld Vacuums and dug through the reviews from 112 of the most popular review sites including Vacuum Cleaner Advisor, The Spruce, Consumer Search, New York Times Wirecutter, Tech Gear Lab, Your Best Digs and more. The result is a ranking of the best Handheld Vacuums.

Best Handheld Vacuum

Why Trust The DWYM Score?

DWYM is your trusted product review source. Along with our in-house experts, our team analyzes thousands of product reviews from the most trusted websites. We then create one easy-to-understand score. Learn more.

Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in a category.

Our experts reviewed the top 9 Handheld Vacuums and also dug through the reviews from 112 of the most popular review sites including Vacuum Cleaner Advisor, The Spruce, Consumer Search, New York Times Wirecutter, Tech Gear Lab, Your Best Digs and more. The result is a ranking of the best of the best Handheld Vacuums.

Our Picks For The Top Handheld Vacuums

Our Take
Experts Included
Pros
Cons
  The Best Overall

BLACK+DECKER

Flex Vac Pet Hair Cordless Vacuum

Overall Take

You'll be able to get into tight spaces, thanks to the BLACK+DECKER Flex Vac Pet Hair Cordless Vacuum's crevice tool. This model also runs a full 16 minutes without losing power on a full charge. That's likely all you'll need for basic household cleanup tasks.

Experts Included
DWYM Home Experts plus New York Times Wirecutter, Consumer Reports, Engadget, Tech Gear Lab, Jen Reviews and 2 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon and Walmart.
Pros
" The suction is strong enough to handle most common types of debris, such as crumbs, road grit, and hair."
Cons
"In our testing the unit struggled with large amounts of sand – the vacuum would shut down on its own, though when operating it was very effective and shutting the unit off for a few seconds seemed to remedy that..."

Dyson

V7 Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner

Overall Take

You'll get higher suction with the Dyson V7 Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner than with most other models. That means less work in minimal time. It also runs for 30 full minutes on a full charge, putting its battery power above many other handheld vacuums.

Experts Included
DWYM Home Experts plus Consumer Search, New York Times Wirecutter, Tech Gear Lab, The Spruce and 3 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon, Walmart and Best Buy.
Pros
" There are two modes: standard, which runs up to 30 minutes on a charge, and turbo, which can power through even chunky debris, but only runs for about 10 minutes."
Cons
"This model is a very expensive vacuum, and probably overkill for most people"
  The Best Value

BLACK+DECKER

Dustbuster Cordless Hand Vacuum

Overall Take

The brand name "Dustbuster" has become synonymous with handheld vacuums, and this model doesn't disappoint. Although the suction is slightly lower than that of other handhelds, this model comes with a brush that will help you pick up those fine particles.

Experts Included
DWYM Home Experts plus BestReviews, New York Times Wirecutter, Vacuum Cleaner Picking and 3 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon and Walmart.
Pros
" It features a powerful motor with good suction, a compact profile that allows users to get the appliance in to small spaces, and an eco-friendly lithium ion battery that will maintain a charge for a long time."
Cons
"Debris tends to cling to fabric, and the CHV1410L has neither the suction nor the right tools to offset that clinginess, especially with hair."

BLACK+DECKER

Flex With Stick Vacuum

Overall Take

If you have pets, you'll love the BLACK+DECKER Flex with Stick Vacuum. It comes with a brush designed for getting pet hair. It also runs for a full 20 minutes without losing power after a full charge, which should be enough time to pick up household spills or clean up your car interior.

Experts Included
DWYM Home Experts plus Your Best Digs, New York Times Wirecutter, Best Handheld Vacuums and 1 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon and Target.
Pros
" Cyclonic action and a three stage filtration system keep the motor running at top performance and prevent dust and dirt from escaping."
Cons
"We (and dozens of other owners) have found the floor-extension kit to be totally worthless and ineffective"
Don't just take for granted what one reviewer says. Along with our own experts, DWYM analyzes the top expert reviews of the leading products and generates a score you can actually trust.
16

Products Considered

We identified the majority of the handheld vacuums available to purchase.
9

Products Analyzed

We then selected the leading and most popular products to review and score.

View All Product Rankings

112

Expert Reviews Included

Reviews from our DWYM category experts and analysis of some of the most respected sources including: Vacuum Cleaner Advisor, The Spruce, Consumer Search, New York Times Wirecutter, Tech Gear Lab.

290,128

User Opinions Analyzed

We also incorporate user reviews from the leading retailers including Amazon, Target, Best Buy, Walmart and 3 others.

DWYM is your trusted roduct review source. Our team reviews thousands of product reviews from the trusted top experts and combines them into one easy-to-understand score. Learn more.

Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in their category.

The Best Overall

BLACK+DECKER Flex Vac Pet Hair Cordless Vacuum

Expert Summarized Score
8.5
7 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
7.8
1,594 user reviews
The DWYM Expert Take

You'll be able to get into tight spaces, thanks to the BLACK+DECKER Flex Vac Pet Hair Cordless Vacuum's crevice tool. This model also runs a full 16 minutes without losing power on a full charge. That's likely all you'll need for basic household cleanup tasks.

What other experts liked
The suction is strong enough to handle most common types of debris, such as crumbs, road grit, and hair.
- New York Times Wirecutter
It also has a 16-minute, no-fade run time, which should be enough to give most cars a thorough tidy-up.
- Forbes
January 1, 2018 | Full review
The charging dock is especially convenient as you can just drop your unit on it and not worry about having to plug a cord in; the dock also acts as storage for all of the included attachments.
- Consumer Reports
The crevice tool is helpful as a wand extender, but it also makes it easier to get in tight nooks and crannies.
- Engadget
March 10, 2019 | Full review
This handheld vacuum is great at cleaning up after your furry friends, collecting most of the pet hair in our test without any issues.
- Tech Gear Lab
November 1, 2018 | Full review
The BLACK+DECKER BDH2020FL 20V Lithium Flex Vac is our best vacuum for pet hair, which has a strong suction and it can clean up most pet food messes.
- Jen Reviews
What other experts didn't like
While the suction is good enough for most jobs, this model is not the strongest handheld, and it may struggle with large debris like leaves.
- New York Times Wirecutter
In our testing, we found that with an open hose (no attachments) the BDH2020FL struggled with large leaves and pebbles, but with the combo brush or crevice tool attached it worked as well as other models.
- Forbes
January 1, 2018 | Full review
In our testing the unit struggled with large amounts of sand – the vacuum would shut down on its own, though when operating it was very effective and shutting the unit off for a few seconds seemed to remedy that...
- Consumer Reports
We also noticed the filter gets dirty very quickly, which can cause drop-offs in suction as quickly as two battery cycles.
- Engadget
March 10, 2019 | Full review
This vacuum usually requires two hands to operate, is quite loud, and has a lackluster battery life
- Tech Gear Lab
November 1, 2018 | Full review
It may not have much power as compared to a corded vacuum cleaner, which has extended time of operation.
- Jen Reviews

The Best Bang For Your Buck

BLACK+DECKER Dustbuster Cordless Hand Vacuum

Expert Summarized Score
8.7
6 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
8.2
16,585 user reviews
The DWYM Expert Take

The brand name "Dustbuster" has become synonymous with handheld vacuums, and this model doesn't disappoint. Although the suction is slightly lower than that of other handhelds, this model comes with a brush that will help you pick up those fine particles.

What other experts liked
It features a powerful motor with good suction, a compact profile that allows users to get the appliance in to small spaces, and an eco-friendly lithium ion battery that will maintain a charge for a long time.
- BestReviews
Relatively lightweight - one handed operation is easy, even for our 8 year old.
- Best Advisor
It weighs less than 4 pounds, with a curved, closed handle for an easy grip. The slide-out crevice tool and swing-out combo brush, both built into the tip of the vacuum, have limited reach but may come in handy from time to time.
- New York Times Wirecutter
You will appreciate the stronger suction power and longer suction life of the cyclonic action design
- Best Vacuum Cleaner Central
December 8, 2013 | Full review
Versatility: The slim nozzle helps to penetrate into some really tight spots for cleaning.
- Vacuum Cleaner Picking
January 3, 2015 | Full review
What other experts didn't like
The charging stand does not mount on the wall, and the front assembly may pop off if the vacuum is bumped too hard.
- BestReviews
Less suction power than many other units in this category.
- Best Advisor
Debris tends to cling to fabric, and the CHV1410L has neither the suction nor the right tools to offset that clinginess, especially with hair.
- New York Times Wirecutter
Noisy operation, Annoying Charging Base Design
- Best Vacuum Cleaner Central
December 8, 2013 | Full review
Limited suction: Its limited suction power fails to pick up crumbs and other odd sized particles.
- Vacuum Cleaner Picking
January 3, 2015 | Full review

Overall Product Rankings

1. BLACK+DECKER Flex Vac Pet Hair Cordless Vacuum
Overall Score: 8.7
Reviews Included: 10

2. Dyson V7 Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner
Overall Score: 8.5
Reviews Included: 10

3. BLACK+DECKER Dustbuster Cordless Hand Vacuum
Overall Score: 8.5
Reviews Included: 9

4. BLACK+DECKER Flex With Stick Vacuum
Overall Score: 8.4
Reviews Included: 7

5. Shark ION W1 Handheld Vacuum
Overall Score: 8.3
Reviews Included: 7

6. Bissell Corded Pet Hair Eraser Handheld Vacuum
Overall Score: 8.1
Reviews Included: 12

7. BLACK+DECKER Pivot Vacuum
Overall Score: 7.9
Reviews Included: 8

8. Dirt Devil Scorpion Corded Hand Vacuum
Overall Score: 7.5
Reviews Included: 8

9. Eureka EasyClean Handheld Vacuum Cleaner
Overall Score: 7.2
Reviews Included: 12

An Overview On Handheld Vacuums

If you’re tired of running to the car wash every time you need the inside of your vehicle cleaned out, a handheld vacuum can be a handy tool to have around. However, it can also help you clean up those occasional household messes. Instead of pulling out the vacuum cleaner or grabbing a broom and dustpan, you could use a handheld vacuum to quickly clean up that pool of food under your baby’s high chair or suck up some spilled pet food from the floor.

Handheld vacuums have come a long way in recent years. At one time, you’d get started only to find your battery died in a matter of minutes. The only other option was a corded handheld vacuum cleaner, which limited your reach. Today’s handheld vacuums can last up to 30 minutes without the gradual decline in use seen with previous models. Just keep it on the charging base until you need it, and you’ll be all set.

One thing to consider with any handheld you choose is that they each have a filter. Occasionally, you’ll need to clean this filter, and some handhelds don’t come with alerts to let you know when it’s time. This means you may find that you lose power gradually as the filter becomes dirty, and you may not immediately notice that loss of suction.

Weight is also an important factor when you’re choosing a handheld. You’ll often find that you need to operate it with only one hand, particularly if you’re getting into tight crevices or cleaning your car. Check the weight of any handheld you choose. Also, make sure the handle is designed in a way that will make it easy to hold with only one hand.

Finally, you’ll need to consider the price factor. You’ll likely easily find a handheld vacuum for less than $200, but some are much less expensive than others. Decide if the more expensive handheld has enough features to make it worth the higher price before committing.

DWYM Fun Fact

Vacuum cleaners have come a long way from the 1800s. In the 1860s, an inventor named Daniel Hess came up with a manually-operated machine that could draw in dirt by using air. It was a rudimentary design and not really functional, which is why it was easily replaced by a patented upright model called the Whirlwind in 1869.

But vacuum cleaners didn’t really begin to take off until the early 1900s when a janitor came up with a device that used a broom, pillowcase and electric motor. Eventually, he sold the patent for his device to William Hoover, who initially had misgivings about taking on the project. However, marketing and door-to-door salesmen soon put Hoover vacuum cleaners in the homes of people across the country and, eventually, the world.

The Handheld Vacuum Buying Guide

  • Before you start shopping for a handheld vacuum, make a list of all of the things you’ll encounter on a weekly basis. If you have pets, you’ll likely occasionally want to grab your handheld to clean up hair on surfaces like your sofa. If you plan to regularly use it on your car’s interior, you may find it important that your handheld be able to easily grab debris, such as pebbles and leaves.
  • Strong suction is necessary if you deal with fine particles, like pet hair and crumbs. The Dyson V7 Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner has the highest suction at 100 air watts, followed by the BLACK+DECKER Flex Vac Pet Hair Cordless Vacuum and BLACK+DECKER Flex With Stick Vacuum, with 24 AW.
  • One thing that might help your handheld along when it comes to picking up fine debris is a motorized brush. The BLACK+DECKER Dustbuster Cordless Hand Vacuum and BLACK+DECKER Flex With Stick Vacuum both come with a brush, and the Flex’s is specifically designed to pick up pet hair.
  • As with any device powered by a battery, run time is a concern. The Dyson V7 Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner runs for up to 30 minutes on a full charge when used in standard mode. However, if you’re picking up larger debris, you’ll need turbo mode, which can only run for 10 minutes before going back on the charging dock. BLACK+DECKER Flex With Stick Vacuum can run for a full 20 minutes without losing power. The BLACK+DECKER Flex Vac Pet Hair Cordless Vacuum can run for 16 minutes, but the good news is that you won’t see power fade during that time, so you’ll get a full 16 minutes of suction. With the BLACK+DECKER Dustbuster Cordless Hand Vacuum, you’ll only get nine minutes of use from three hours of charging.
  • Size and weight are both important with handheld vacuums, which need to be able to get into the deepest crevices. The BLACK+DECKER Flex Vac Pet Hair Cordless Vacuum includes a crevice tool to help with that. The BLACK+DECKER Dustbuster Cordless Hand Vacuum is only four pounds and has a curved handle that makes it easy to get into those tight places without needing a separate accessory.
  • In some cases, the attachments and accessories are the biggest draws. The Dyson V7 Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner has a mini-motorized tool that can tackle even tough stains.
  • Before you make a purchase, consider where you’ll set the charging stand. When not in use, you’ll need to be able to store your handheld in a place that’s out of the way yet still close to an A/C adapter. The BLACK+DECKER Dustbuster Cordless Hand Vacuum has a charging stand that can’t be mounted on the wall, for instance, so you’ll need to come up with a shelf or rack for resting it.
  • Any vacuum has a filter to catch all of those dirt particles. The BLACK+DECKER Flex Vac Pet Hair Cordless Vacuum’s filter gets filthy rather quickly, so you’ll need to always be on alert. You’ll notice a dramatic drop-off in suction as the filter begins to clog. The BLACK+DECKER Flex With Stick Vacuum also has no filter sensor, which means you’ll have to monitor when things slow down. You may find that you have to clean the filter after every two or three uses.
  • Whether you’re cleaning the interior of your car or getting into those tight places, one-handed operation is a valuable asset in a handheld. The BLACK+DECKER Dustbuster Cordless Hand Vacuum is so lightweight, one-handed operation is a piece of cake. The BLACK+DECKER Flex With Stick Vacuum has a wraparound flexible hose to help with one-handed use.
  • Whether you’re operating your handheld inside or in your driveway, noise can be an important factor. Both the BLACK+DECKER Flex Vac Pet Hair Cordless Vacuum and BLACK+DECKER Dustbuster Cordless Hand Vacuum are notably noisy, so you may want to plan your vacuuming around times when others will be sleeping.
  • Overall, handheld vacuums are relatively inexpensive, but you’ll top the $100 mark with the BLACK+DECKER Flex Vac Pet Hair Cordless Vacuum and the BLACK+DECKER Flex With Stick Vacuum. The Dyson V7 Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner is the priciest of all. If you’re looking for a budget model, go for the BLACK+DECKER Dustbuster Cordless Hand Vacuum, which retails for well below $100.