The Best Handheld Vacuum Cleaners in 2021

By Jeneva Aaron Updated October 29, 2021

Clean spills anywhere with a handy handheld vacuum

The Best Handheld Vacuum Cleaners in 2021

Handheld vacuums are lightweight and portable to tackle messes in tricky areas. It can be a real faff to get your bigger vacuum out just to get some dirt and pet hair off the couch cushions.

From classic corded models to cordless ones powered by lithium-ion batteries, there’s a handheld vac for every job. Whether it’s for cleaning the car seats or keeping on top of spills in your home.

We’ll guide you through everything you need to know about these useful appliances and look at the best handheld vacuum for your needs.

Our Top Picks

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Best Handheld Vacuums of 2021 
BLACK+DECKER 20V Max Handheld Vacuum, Cordless, Grey (BDH2000PL)Best All-Purpose

BLACK+DECKER 20V

BLACK+DECKER 20V Max Handheld Vacuum, Cordless, Grey (BDH2000PL)

  • Picks up pet mess.

  • Durable Battery.

  • Powerful Suction.

Dirt Devil Scorpion Handheld Vacuum Cleaner, Corded, Small, Dry Hand Held Vac With Cord, SD20005RED, RedBest Value

Dirt Devil Scorpion

Dirt Devil Scorpion Handheld Vacuum Cleaner, Corded, Small, Dry Hand Held Vac With Cord, SD20005RED, Red

  • Great size for college dorms.

  • Eeasy to Clean Filters.

  • Comes With Lot of accessories.

BLACK+DECKER dustbuster Handheld Vacuum, Cordless, 16V (CHV1410L)Best for Quick Cleanups

Black+Decker 16V DustBuster

BLACK+DECKER dustbuster Handheld Vacuum, Cordless, 16V (CHV1410L)

  • Very long battery life.

  • Durable Battery.

  • Picks up debris of all size.

Shark Rocket Corded Ultra-Light Hand Vacuum with TruePet Mini Motorized Brush and, 15-Foot Power, MaroonBest Plug-in

Shark Hand Vac (HV292)

Shark Rocket Corded Ultra-Light Hand Vacuum with TruePet Mini Motorized Brush and, 15-Foot Power, Maroon

  • Solid and well-made.

  • Great for all kinds of small messes.

eufy by Anker, HomeVac H11,Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner,Ultra-Lightweight 1.2lbs,5500Pa Suction Power,USB Charging, for Home CleaningBest Mini

Eufy HomeVac H11

eufy by Anker, HomeVac H11,Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner,Ultra-Lightweight 1.2lbs,5500Pa Suction Power,USB Charging, for Home Cleaning

  • Easy to maneuver.

  • Super lightweight.

WORX WX030L.9 20V Power Share Cordless Cube Vac Compact Vacuum, Bare Tool Only, BlackBest for Big Jobs

Worx WX030L

WORX WX030L.9 20V Power Share Cordless Cube Vac Compact Vacuum, Bare Tool Only, Black

  • Two-stage filter.

  • Multiples power settings.

  • Flexible nozzle.

Hoover ONEPWR Cordless Hand Held Vacuum Cleaner, Battery Powered, Lightweight, BH57005, WhiteBest for Pet Hair

Hoover ONEPWR

Hoover ONEPWR Cordless Hand Held Vacuum Cleaner, Battery Powered, Lightweight, BH57005, White

  • Big dust cup.

  • Batteries swappable.

  • Crevice tool Included.

BISSELL Multi Auto Lightweight Lithium Ion Cordless Car Hand Vacuum, Red, 19851Best for Cars

BISSELL Multi Auto

BISSELL Multi Auto Lightweight Lithium Ion Cordless Car Hand Vacuum, Red, 19851

  • Compact design.

  • Lightweight.

  • Easy to maneuver.

DEWALT 20V MAX Cordless Vacuum Kit, Wet/Dry, Portable, 1/2-Gallon (DCV517M1) , YellowBest Wet/Dry

DEWALT Wet/Dry Vacuum

DEWALT 20V MAX Cordless Vacuum Kit, Wet/Dry, Portable, 1/2-Gallon (DCV517M1) , Yellow

  • Useful for home or workshop.

  • Strong suction.

  • Well-built and sturdy.

Are Handheld Vacuums Any Good?

Yes, handheld vacuums are a great addition to your cleaning kit. Particularly if you’re short on space or struggle with a big vacuum.

  • They clean everywhere. Their compact size means a handheld vacuum is easier to carry and store than a full-sized vacuum. You can use them in small spaces, like RVs and dorms, or even outside.
  • They’re lightweight. Most handheld vacuums weigh 5 pounds or less, so you can carry them around your home and up the stairs without any trouble. This makes them helpful for elderly users who don’t want a bulky cleaner. And many of them are cordless for added portability.
  • They’re easy to use and maintain. It’s as simple as pushing a button to get cleaning with handheld vacuums. And seeing as most models are bagless, you don’t have to spend money on dust bags. Just empty the dust bin into the trash and give your filters a rinse as required.
  • They’re suitable for small spills. A handheld vacuum is perfect for a quick cleanup. There’s no need to drag out your heavy full-sized vacuum when you can grab a lightweight handheld vacuum instead. It’s convenient for cleaning up after your children or removing pet hair from the sofa.
  • They’re versatile. Most hand vacs come with attachments for cleaning a range of surfaces. There’s usually a crevice tool for edges and narrow spaces. And some have a soft-tip brush for delicate surfaces or cobwebs. You can clean dust mites from just about anywhere, from hardwood floors to carpeted stairs.

How to Choose the Best Handheld Vacuum

Let’s run through some of the features to consider when choosing a handheld vacuum.

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Types

There are two types of handheld vacuum for you to choose between.

  • First up is the standard size for home use. You can hold it in one hand, so it’s convenient to grab and go for quick spot cleaning. Or if you want a compact unit for the car.
  • Otherwise, you can get a commercial-size handheld vac. They tend to have a bigger capacity and stronger suction for tackling larger messes. They use a hose, so require two hands, but will often come with a shoulder strap to make it easier to maneuver.
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Corded or Cordless

How you want to use your handheld vacuum will determine whether corded or cordless is best for you.

A corded vacuum doesn’t have a limited run time, so they’re better for bigger homes. But they aren’t as convenient thanks to the power cord. It trails around after you and you also need to find a power outlet for it.

The Bissell Cleanview Deluxe is an example of one of the best corded handheld vacuum.

A cordless vacuum is more convenient to grab and go. But you do have to factor in battery life. Some models have a battery indicator so it doesn’t surprise you and cut out when you’re halfway through cleaning.

The Dyson V7 Trigger is a cordless vacuum option.

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Suction Power

Suction power is measured in different ways across the industry, so it’s hard to compare different handheld vacuums.

You’ll see amp, RPM, and Pa mentioned, but these refer to the motor speed or how much electricity it uses. CFM relates to airflow, and better vacuums tend to have higher CFM ratings.

You might also come across Airwatts, which is how Dyson measures the suction power of their vacuum cleaners.

So overall, it’s tricky to know how to measure one vacuum against another.

For example, this handheld Bissell Pet Hair Eraser only mentions 4 amps.

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Battery

The battery run time will have an impact on the best handheld vacuum for you. You should compare both run times and charge times of cordless models. Around 15-20 minutes is how long you’d expect a lithium-ion battery to last.

But charge times can be as long as 6 hours, so it’s worth taking this into account and finding a quicker one if you don’t want to wait.

For example, the BISSELL AeroSlim runs for 12 minutes and takes 3.5 hours to charge.

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Weight

Seeing as handheld vacuums are about convenience, you want them to be light enough to use with one hand.

Most models weigh around 3-4 pounds, but you can find even lighter versions.

The Shark WANDVAC handheld vacuum is just 1.4 pounds.

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Capacity

The capacity is how much waste the dust bin holds. The larger it is, the less you need to empty it, which will save you time.

But handheld vacuums are designed to combat small spills and quick cleanups, so the capacity won’t be as big as a full-size vacuum.

For example, this Black&Decker holds 20.6 ounces in its dust bin.

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Filters

All handheld vacuum cleaners have a filter system to trap dirt particles. But some are better than others.

HEPA filters are the best type to choose, as they contain 99.97% of microscopic dirt[1]. So mold, bacteria, and allergens are all removed from the air and locked into the filter. This provides certain health benefits and is great for allergy sufferers.

This WAGAN TECH small-size vacuum uses a HEPA filter.

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Attachments

Finally, consider what attachments you want. There’s a whole range available, so choose the ones you’ll need to use. Otherwise, you could end up paying for extras that will just sit in the closet.

This Vapamore model has all sorts of bits included for wet and dry vacuuming, but it makes it more expensive.

The Best Handheld Vacuum Cleaners of 2021

Now that you know what to look for in the best handheld vacuum, let’s get onto our list of the top independently selected picks. We’ve put the time into checking out expert advice, technical info, and real user reviews to bring you this ultimate guide to hand vacuums.

1. BLACK+DECKER 20V Lithium Pivot Vacuum

Want a good all-rounder for various jobs in your home? No problem. This cordless handheld vacuum is packed with settings to suit every surface.

The unique 200° pivoting nozzle makes it easier to reach awkward areas in an ergonomic way. And with the additional extending built-in crevice tool, you can even get into high corners. The final accessory is the brush attachment, which comes in handy for more delicate surfaces.

This specific compact handheld vac is powered by a 20V battery. So while it may be small, it’s still mighty! It offers powerful suction for any mess. And it doesn’t matter where it is thanks to the lightweight cordless design. You can clean without worrying about power outlets and cords.

When it’s time for emptying, the bagless system is simple and hygienic. There’s a sliding door that opens so you can dump the dirt.

Or, you can remove it altogether if you want to wipe the tank down. Plus, it comes with washable filters to extend the lifespan of your handheld vacuum.

When you’re finished, the compact charging base sits neatly on the wall or tabletop. You can charge your handheld vacuum, as well as store all the accessories to keep the place looking tidy

PROS:
  • Picks up pet mess including cat litter and pet hair
  • The battery lasts a long time
  • Powerful Suction
CONS:
  • You can’t get replacement batteries
  • The pegs on the dust cup are flimsy

Additional Specs

Weight 3 pounds
Max battery life 20 minutes
Filter type Washable filter
Usage Residential
Best for mess type Everyday dirt
Surface type Bare floors, carpet and rugs
Voltage 20V

2. Dirt Devil Scorpion Handheld Vacuum

You don’t need to break the bank for the best handheld vacuum. This Dirt Devil packs a punch with powerful suction while still being affordable and incredibly useful.

The long 15” power cord means you can take it just about anywhere. Even the car! And the detachable 2.5ft hose extends the reach further. So you can clean more areas and spend less time changing sockets around.

And the design is compact and lightweight, which makes it easy to maneuver under and around car seats.

You could even take it in the RV for some quick clean-ups. It comes with a sliding brush and upholstery tool, so you can use it for all sorts of tasks.

The quick-flip crevice tool gets behind the back of couch cushions and into all those hard-to-reach areas. There isn’t any hassle with swapping accessories around, just flip the tool down and you’re ready to go.

This handheld vac has a generous 0.45 liter dust cup. It’s plenty for a handheld vacuum that’s meant for smaller messes.

You won’t lose time making trips to the bin, so your cleaning will be done and dusted in no time at all. Time to put your feet up!

PROS:
  • A great size for college dorms
  • Filters are easy to access and clean
  • Strong suction power, even when used with attachments
CONS:
  • It’s noisy
  • The filters clog up quickly

Additional Specs

Weight 3.75 pounds
Max battery life N/A
Filter type Washable filter
Usage Residential
Best for mess type Everyday dirt, pets, car interiors, workshop
Surface type Upholstery and fabric, carpet, hard surfaces
Voltage 120V

3. Black+Decker Max Lithium DustBuster Hand Vacuum

Spills are inevitable in your home and you must have a way to tackle them. With thousands of happy customers, this Black + Decker is renowned for its quick cleanup abilities.

The Lithium-Ion battery holds its charge for up to 18 months. So no matter how long it’s been sat there, it’s always ready to grab and go for quick cleanups.

And the cordless design means it doesn’t matter where the mess is. In the backyard, car, or pet bed? No problem. It’s simple to carry it to where it’s needed. Especially as it weighs a tiny 2.6 pounds.

The slim nozzle is perfect for tight spaces. So spilling a bag of rice that bursts under the fridge isn’t an issue anymore. The slim nozzle will slide right under. Or you can use the pull-out crevice tool for extra reach. There’s even a flip-up dust brush attachment to make it more versatile.

And when you’ve finished, the translucent bagless dirt bowl means you can see when it’s time to empty it. There’s no longer a risk of overfilling and overworking the motor. So it helps to keep the power strong.

This durable handheld vacuum will handle quick cleanups for years to come.

PROS:
  • Very long battery life
  • You can leave it on the charger without damaging the battery
  • Picks up debris of all size
CONS:
  • Battery isn’t replaceable
  • Countertop charging dock takes up space

Additional Specs

Weight 2.6 pounds
Max battery life 60 minutes
Filter type Washable VF110 filter
Usage Residential
Best for mess type Everyday dirt, pets
Surface type Bare floors, carpet and rugs, countertops, pet beds, spots and stains
Voltage 16V

4. Shark Rocket Corded Hand Vac HV292

Sometimes, only the power of a corded handheld vacuum will do. We think this Shark Rocket handheld vacuum is one of the best plug-in models on the market right now.

First of all, it looks great with a red and grey sleek design. And it’s packed with accessories to make sure it combats all the hard-to-reach places around your home.

It comes with a True Pet motorized brush, crevice tool, dusting brush, and stretch hose. Plus it has a 15 feet cord for a wider cleaning radius.

The pet tool makes light work of removing pet hair, as the motorized brush bar digs right into the surface of fibers for extra deep cleaning. Say goodbye to that sofa littered with dog hair!

And when the canister is full, the one-touch emptying system means you won’t have to touch the mess. Just hold it over your trash can and press the button.

Finally, all the filters are washable and reusable, so there aren’t any extra costs. This little handheld vacuum cleaner is as easy to maintain as it is to use.

This is one of the best hand vacs to add to your cleaning arsenal for sure.

PROS:
  • No limitations on run time
  • It’s solid and well-made
  • Cleans up all kinds of small messes and pet fur
CONS:
  • No shoulder strap
  • Power cord is on the short side

Additional Specs

Weight 3.7 pounds
Max battery life N/A
Filter type Washable filter
Usage Residential
Best for mess type Everyday dirt, odors, pets
Surface type Bare floors, carpet and rugs, countertops, pet beds, spots and stains, stairs, upholstery and fabric
Power 400 watts

5. Eufy HomeVac H11

If you’re short on storage space, a mini handheld vacuum is what you need. This nifty Eufy weighs just 1.2 pounds and is around the same size as a wine bottle, so storage couldn’t be any easier.

It doesn’t take up much space, so you can keep it in a drawer or kitchen cabinet when it’s not in use. Plus, it charges using a micro USB cable for added convenience.

Don’t let the size fool you, though. This lightweight handheld vacuum still has powerful suction to combat dust and dirt around your home. It’s specifically designed for complete mobility in tight spaces. Whether it’s the kitchen drawers, computer keyboard, or down the back of the sofa.

This cordless handheld vacuum is similar to the Shark Wandvac in size, weight, and design. But it has one major perk in that it’s easier to store. There’s no bulky charging dock to take up counter space, so you can keep it out of the way.

The battery life is also better, with up to 13 minutes instead of 9.5 minutes for the Shark vacuum. It might not sound a lot, but you’ll be amazed at the quick cleaning the Eufy offers.

PROS:
  • It’s easy to maneuver
  • It’s super lightweight and easy to fit into tight corners
  • The attachments feel secure when connected
CONS:
  • Short battery life
  • The fans point down and can blow dust around

Additional Specs

Weight 1.2 lbs
Max battery life 13 minutes
Filter type Washable filter
Usage Residential
Best for mess type Everyday dirt
Surface type Bare floors, countertops, spots and stains
Voltage 5V

6. Worx Cordless Portable Vacuum Cleaner

Big messes happen outside of your home, so you want a handheld vacuum that can take on big jobs. In this case, the Worx cordless hand vacuum is just what you need.

It holds up to 7oz of dry debris to handle big messes. And there are two speed settings to suit the task at hand. You can use a lower setting that’s perfect for everyday dust, or boost the power for deep cleaning stubborn dirt.

The washable HEPA filter traps whatever you suck up without releasing it back into the air. So if you suffer from dust allergies, it’s a great choice for keeping them at bay.

This hand vac has about half the power of a full-size vacuum but is way more portable and convenient. At just 3 pounds, you really can take it anywhere with you. The flexible hose and crevice nozzle make it versatile enough to cover a range of surfaces.

And best of all, you can power it with a battery from any of the Worx tool range. So you can swap for a spare battery to extend the run time if you’re cleaning up a serious spill.

For professional cleaners, you can use this all day long to keep things neat and tidy.

PROS:
  • Two-stage filter keeps dust at bay
  • You can choose between two power settings
  • The flexible nozzle fits into tight spaces
CONS:
  • It doesn’t manage larger woodchip
  • Hard to press the button down to empty it

Additional Specs

Weight 3 pounds
Max battery life 40 minutes
Filter type Washable HEPA filter
Usage Commercial and residential
Best for mess type Auto and garage, everyday dirt
Surface type Auto and garage, hard floors, carpet and rugs
Voltage 20V

7. Hoover ONEPWR Cordless Handheld Vacuum

Pet hair is a never-ending battle for pet owners. You seem to find fur everywhere! From mattresses to area rugs, it can take over the place. We think this cordless Hoover is the best handheld vacuum to reclaim a clean home.

It has an on-board crevice tool to tackle pet hair, wherever you find it. The slim nozzle slides down the side of couch cushions and car seats without any hassle. And at only 3 pounds, your arms won’t ache from cleaning.

Plus the removable and rechargeable batteries have fade-free power, so the suction stays strong. You can rest assured that the power won’t reduce as the canister fills up with pet hair.

And it has an XL dust cup to make sure you don’t waste loads of time running to the bin to empty it. The generous capacity holds plenty of dust and pet fur before you need to tip it out.

Finally, the filters are washable, so you can keep them clear of pet hair. It’s best to keep on top of some basic maintenance when using your handheld vacuum for dog hair.

It’s straightforward to do and will help expand the lifespan of your handheld vacuum. So you can keep your home free of dust bunnies for years to come.

PROS:
  • You can swap batteries to extend the run time
  • The dust cup holds plenty of pet hair
  • The crevice tool is useful for cleaning different surfaces
CONS:
  • Tricky to remove the battery
  • Dust drops back out when you switch it off

Additional Specs

Weight 3 pounds
Max battery life 30 minutes
Filter type Washable filter
Usage Residential
Best for mess type Everyday dirt, pets
Surface type Hard floors, carpet and rugs, pet beds, stairs, upholstery and fabric
Voltage 20V

8. BISSELL Multi Auto Vacuum

You use your car all the time, so why not treat it to a spruce up? The Bissell cordless handheld vacuum is the perfect tool for the job.

If you want your car to have a thorough clean, it can take time to get into all the nooks and crannies.

Well, you can enjoy a longer run time with this Bissell handheld vacuum thanks to the removable batteries. When one runs out, you can replace it with another one that’s fully charged.

It also comes with a selection of tools specifically designed for car interiors. There’s a motorized turbo brush for deep cleaning the car seats and mats. It will dig out any pet hair if you’ve had your furry friends in there. You also get a crevice tool and dusting brush attachment for smaller areas.

The two-foot extension hose gives you extra reach for getting under the dash and around the trunk. It also comes fully equipped with LED lights, so you won’t miss any dust in dark corners.

Best of all, the accessories are stored on the handheld vacuum, so they’re easy to grab whenever you need them. Get ready to treat your car this weekend.

PROS:
  • Pet owners like how much pet hair this hand vacuum picks up
  • Compact design and attachments make it easy to get under seats
  • Lightweight and easy to maneuver
CONS:
  • Not made from the best quality materials
  • One reviewer found the suction wasn’t as powerful as they’d hoped

Additional Specs

Weight 4 pounds
Max battery life N/A
Filter type Washable filter
Usage Residential
Best for mess type Everyday dirt, pets
Surface type Carpet and rugs, stairs, upholstery and fabric
Voltage 22V

9. DEWALT Cordless Wet/Dry Vacuum

For tough jobs, you need a tough handheld vacuum. This DEWALT wet/dry model is great for bigger messes with more than just dust.

The heavy-duty construction makes it suitable for inside and outdoor use. And the easy access power switch is big enough to manage, even when you’re wearing your work gloves.

But when you’re faced with a big spill, where do you even start with cleaning it up? Well, the dual-cleaning modes mean you can vacuum with the front nozzle or use the toughened extendable rubber hose.

The suction power is strong regardless of which method you choose, so all messes are sucked up. The HEPA filter then traps the dirt, so it’s sealed away. And with a generous 0.5 gallon tank, you won’t need to empty it often.

But when you do, the heavy-duty latch is easy to open, so you can tip the dust into the trash can without any faff.

If you need a longer run time for your hand vacuum, it’s simple to swap with any 20V DEWALT lithium-ion battery pack. They all work with this model, which is super convenient.

And for real peace of mind, this handheld vacuum comes with a 3-year warranty.

Related: The 12 Best Shop Vacs in 2021

PROS:
  • Useful in all areas of the home or workshop
  • Strong suction, even when the battery is getting low
  • It’s a well-built and sturdy handheld vacuum
CONS:
  • The hose sometimes falls off
  • No float ball to seal off fan inlet when using in wet mode

Additional Specs

Weight 7 pounds
Max battery life N/A
Filter type HEPA
Usage Commercial and residential
Best for mess type Auto and garage, odors
Surface type Auto and garage, hard surfaces
Voltage 20V

Handheld Vacuums Comparison Chart

ProductWeightVoltageMax battery lifeFilter typeBest for
BLACK+DECKER 20V Handheld Vacuum3 pounds20V20 minutesWashable filterEveryday dirt
Dirt Devil Scorpion Handheld Vacuum3.75 pounds120VN/AWashable filterEveryday dirt, pets, car interiors, workshop
BLACK+DECKER dustbuster Handheld Vacuum2.6 pounds16V60 minutesWashable VF110 filterEveryday dirt, pets
Shark Rocket Corded Hand Vac HV2923.7 pounds400 wattsN/AWashable filterEveryday dirt, odors, pets
Eufy HomeVac H111.2 pounds5V13 minutesWashable filterEveryday dirt
Worx Cordless Portable Vacuum Cleaner3 pounds20V40 minutesWashable HEPA filterAuto and garage, everyday dirt
Hoover ONEPWR Cordless Handheld Vacuum3 pounds20V30 minutesWashable filterEveryday dirt, pets
BISSELL Multi Auto Vacuum3 pounds20V30 minutesWashable filterEveryday dirt, pets
DEWALT Cordless Wet/Dry Vacuum7 poundsN/A30 minutesHEPAAuto and garage, odors
Jump to the Full Handheld Vacuums Reviews

Keeping These Flaws In Mind

Handheld vacuums are handy appliances to have around the home, but they’re not designed to replace a full-size canister vacuum. They work best alongside your main vacuum to help with small messes and spills.

Their compact size means they can’t handle large areas.

The small nozzles and dirt bin capacity just aren’t up to the job. Plus, the batteries are smaller than you’d find on a full-size cordless vacuum, so they don’t offer as much power as a big vacuum. And besides, they’ll run out quickly if you try to clean a whole room with a hand vac.

So stick to quick cleanups and dust-busting pet hair with your handheld vacuum, and you won’t be disappointed.

Jeneva Aaron

About the Author

Jeneva Aaron

Jeneva has over years of passion for home decorating and cleaning. She is the founder and CEO of thehousewire.com where she provides honest and objective reviews on home and cleaning products.

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