Best handheld vacuum 2024: for spotless results every time

eufy HomeVac H11 Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner being tested in writer's home
(Image credit: Future)

If you like a clean home but don't always have time to do a full vacuum, the best handheld vacuums are a must-have. These devices can easily reach small nooks and crannies that traditional vacuum cleaners can't, saving you time and leaving your space spotless. They can even replace a full-size vacuum cleaner if you live in a small home or apartment.

When choosing a handheld vacuum cleaner, prioritize lightweight and maneuverability, but also consider the power. Cordless models offer greater mobility, but their battery life is limited. Corded models, on the other hand, must be plugged into a power outlet but can run for as long as you need.

Smart features are also useful for remote cleaning management, while a range of attachments is a bonus. The best handheld vacuum cleaner should be able to handle homes, cars, and offices with ease. If you have a pet that sheds, some models come with pet hair attachments to help you clean up any mess.

Keep reading to see our top picks, and head to our guides to the best vacuum cleaners and best robot vacuums.

The best handheld vacuums we recommend in 2024

Why you can trust Top Ten Reviews Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

We've rounded up the best handheld vacuums that you can currently buy. While we endeavor to review every product that we highlight, some of the reviews for this guide are still in progress. However, any unreviewed products will sum up the key specs, features, and user reviews to help you make the best decision for you and your household. 

The best handheld vacuum overall

The best handheld vacuum overall

Specifications

Bin capacity: 595g
Washable filter?: Yes
Crevice tool?: Yes
Max runtime: 10 minutes
Battery charge time: 8 hours
Dimensions: H5.3 x W7.9 x L12.5 inches
Weight: 2.6 lbs

Reasons to buy

+
Built-in crevice tool
+
Lightweight design 
+
Quiet operation and efficient cleaning

Reasons to avoid

-
Doesn't have as much suction power as corded vacuums
-
Charge time is longer than average
-
It had a little trouble picking up ground-in pet hair on the carpet

The Black & Decker Dustbuster is a highly efficient handheld vacuum that outperformed every other vacuum in our testing. It features a built-in crevice tool and is ideal for cleaning up all kinds of messes in your house or car, including light debris such as leaves and heavier debris like kitty litter and dog food.

Compared to other cordless vacuums, it was one of the best, although it doesn't have quite as much suction power as corded vacuums. However, it more than makes up for this with its convenience and ease of use.

One of the best things about this vacuum is that it doesn't have the tendency that other vacuums we tested had to blow debris around as it cleared a path. The exhaust was released out the back of the machine, which meant it cleaned with fewer passes and less work. It was also the quietest vacuum we tested, making it ideal for cleaning up messes without disturbing people nearby. It's a lightweight vacuum that won't cause excessive fatigue, and the battery lasts for a respectable 15 minutes with each charge.

Although it had a little trouble picking up ground-in pet hair on the carpet, this was a common issue with many of the vacuums we tested. The Dustbuster comes with crevice and brush tools integrated into the body of the vacuum, making them easily accessible whenever you need them. While its charge time of eight hours is longer than average, it's still a highly recommended vacuum cleaner that's worth the investment.

Read more: Black + Decker Dustbuster CHV1410L review

The best handheld vacuum attachment

The best handheld vacuum attachment

Specifications

Bin capacity: 0.2 gallons
Washable filter?: Yes
Crevice tool?: Yes
Max runtime: 70 minutes
Battery charge time: 270 minutes

Reasons to buy

+
Powerful suction 
+
HEPA filtration system
+
Comes with a variety of accessories

Reasons to avoid

-
Relatively expensive
-
Heavy
-
Can be loud

The Dyson Gen5detect Absolute is not only one of the best cordless vacuums on the market but also a top handheld vacuum, thanks to its advanced suction power, HEPA filtration, and dust detection features. With powerful technology, the Gen5detect Absolute can easily pick up dirt, dust, and debris from all surfaces, including carpets, hard floors, and upholstery.

The vacuum cleaner also comes with a host of accessories, and the 70-minute runtime is a standout. This means you can clean your entire house without worrying about the vacuum running out of battery, and the vacuum's extra-large dustbin capacity means you can clean more without having to empty it as frequently.

Read more: Dyson Gen5detect review

The best handheld vacuum for small homes

The best handheld vacuum for small homes

Specifications

Bin capacity: 0.7 litres
Washable filter?: Yes
Crevice tool?: Yes
Max runtime: 13 minutes
Battery charge time: 2.5-3.5 hours
Dimensions: H2.9 x W2.9 x L13.1 inches
Weight: 1.2 lbs

Reasons to buy

+
Small and compact design
+
Comes with a 2-in-1 brush and crevice tool
+
Stylish and sleek

Reasons to avoid

-
Struggles with larger debris
-
Battery life is limited

If you live in a small home or apartment, the Eufy HomeVac H11 handheld vacuum might just be the perfect tool for you. With its small and compact design, this vacuum is easy to store in a drawer or basket, making it ideal for those with limited storage space. The vacuum's sleek and stylish design also means it won't look out of place in your home.

The HomeVac H11 is also very easy to use, even for those who don't have the patience for a multi-part device. The vacuum comes with a 2-in-1 brush and crevice tool, which is great for getting in between sofa cushions or along baseboards. The crevice tool is also particularly useful for cleaning up pet hair, which can be a real problem for those with furry friends.

While the vacuum struggles with larger debris, it works well for dust and pet hair. The 13-minute battery life may be a limitation for some, but for quick clean-ups, it's more than enough. Plus, with a noise level reading of just 35dB when in use, the vacuum won't disturb your neighbors.

Read more: eufy HomeVac H11 review

The best handheld vacuum for cars

4. Shark WANDVAC

The best handheld vacuum for cars

Specifications

Bin capacity: 0.08 gallons
Washable filter?: Yes
Crevice tool?: Yes
Max runtime: 10 minutes
Battery charge time: 150 minutes
Dimensions: H2.4 x W2.5 x L16.5 inches
Weight: 1.4 lbs

Reasons to buy

+
Lightweight and compact
+
Powerful suction
+
Comes with attachments like a Duster crevice tool and Multi-surface pet tool

Reasons to avoid

-
Short battery life
-
Relatively small dustbin capacity

The Shark WANDVAC handheld vacuum is a great choice for cleaning cars due to its lightweight design and powerful suction, which make it easy to use and efficient in cleaning tight spaces. With the Duster crevice tool and Multi-surface pet tool attachments, it's perfect for removing pet hair, crumbs, and other debris from car upholstery, carpets, and crevices.

The crevice tool helps to dislodge anything trapped in those tough-to-reach areas, while the pet tool is designed to pick up pet hair. The vacuum's slim and compact design makes it easy to store in your car, and the charging dock ensures that it's always ready for use. Plus, the one-touch debris emptying feature makes it easy to dispose of any debris without having to touch it, keeping your hands clean.

While the Shark WANDVAC does have a short battery life, it's still a great choice due to its powerful suction and lightweight design.

The best value handheld vacuum

An affordable cordless handheld vacuum

Specifications

Bin capacity: 0.5 litres
Washable filter?: No
Crevice tool?: Yes
Max runtime: 13 minutes
Battery charge time: 6 hours
Dimensions: H6 x W4 x L14.5 inches
Weight: 2.2 lbs

Reasons to buy

+
Extremely portable
+
Lightweight
+
Affordable

Reasons to avoid

-
Not the most powerful 
-
Short runtime
-
Not great for pet hair removal

The Dirt Devil QuickFlip is a handheld vacuum that is popular for its small size, lightweight design, and affordability. It stands out from other handheld vacuums on the market because it is extremely portable and easy to use. It weighs less than any other vacuum we tested and can be stored in tight spaces, making it perfect for those who live in small apartments or who want a vacuum that is easy to use on the go.

While the QuickFlip is not the most powerful handheld vacuum on the market, it is still a great buy for those who need a vacuum for quick cleanups. It has a 13-minute runtime and is suitable for small cleaning tasks, but it is not powerful enough for larger jobs like cleaning stairways. It is also not great for pet hair removal.

To test the vacuum's suction power, we added screws to a box until the vacuum could no longer pick it up. While the QuickFlip did not perform as well as some other vacuums in this test, it is still a great value for small cleanups. It works well for picking up crumbs after meals or for use on short camping trips.

Read more: Dirt Devil QuickFlip review

The best handheld vacuum for large homes

6. Hoover ONEPWR BH57000

The best handheld vacuum for large homes

Specifications

Bin capacity: 0.1 gallons
Washable filter?: Yes
Crevice tool?: Yes
Max runtime: 14 minutes
Battery charge time: 3.5 hours
Dimensions: H6.5 x W5 x L16.5 inches
Weight: 2.3 lbs

Reasons to buy

+
Powerful
+
Small and portable
+
Push-button design makes it easy to use and control

Reasons to avoid

-
Battery needs to be purchased separately
-
Charging time of three and a half hours
-
Relatively short battery life

As one of the leading brands in the industry, you can trust that this model from Hoover delivers high-quality performance. It's powered by an ONEPWR Lithium-Ion battery, which is the same system used across Hoover's ONEPWR high-performance cleaning range. What this means is that you're getting the same power as the larger models, only in a smaller and more portable size.

The vacuum cleaner has a charging time of three and a half hours, which is about average compared to other options on the market. It's also easy to charge once you're done using it, so you can always have it ready to go when you need it.

The vacuum cleaner is easy to use, with a simple push button that lets you turn it on and off quickly. It also weighs only around two pounds, making it easy to carry around the house. While most user reviews are positive, some have noted that the battery needs to be purchased separately, which can cost an additional $50.

How to choose the best handheld vacuum for you

Since we started reviewing handheld vacuums in 2014, we have spent more than 200 hours testing and researching. First, we identified the best handheld vacuums on the market through extensive research, both online and by consulting with professionals. We continued our online research, comparing product pages for specific features of all the vacuums in our lineup. In our labs, we put the vacuums through their paces and tested them on different surfaces, including carpets, hard floors, and car seats, to see which vacuum performed best overall and which excelled at specific tasks. Our findings are presented in our side-by-side comparison chart and our reviews.

We found some great products as we tested them, but some of the final decisions come down to your specific situation and the reason you are buying a handheld vacuum cleaner.

Erin Reed, Associate Director of Marketing for Stick and Hand Vacuums at BISSELL, said the key to finding the right handheld vacuum cleaner is organizing your priorities.

"You'll want to focus your decision criteria on both the length of time you need to clean, considering the run-time and battery power, and the accessories you'll need for what you're cleaning," said Reed.

Full-sized vacuum cleaners have their place, but a handheld unit can be great for stairs, cars, furniture, and other small tasks. "They're great for in-between cleans or specific tasks," said Reed.

Reed explained there have been some advancements in terms of battery technologies that make handheld vacuum cleaners last longer and recharge faster so you can get back to cleaning when you have a longer job.

Cleaning for those with allergies

Handheld vacuum cleaners are generally used for quick pick-ups, so you might not feel like they warrant a ton of research. A little research can go a long way toward maintaining a healthy home, though, especially for those with asthma and allergies. Any time you are vacuuming or cleaning, you can stir up dust.

"If you don't have a quality vacuum, it can actually put dust and allergens back into the air," said AAFA Director of Marketing Michele Ann Cassalia. Her organization tests machines to see which ones are the best at containing dust, and that includes handheld vacuum cleaners. The AAFA recommends just one of the handheld vacuum cleaners we tested – the Dyson Trigger. We weren't overly impressed by its suction in our testing, and the relatively high price is off-putting, but it is definitely worth a look if you have allergies or asthma. For more information, go to www.asthmaandallergyfriendly.com/USA/.  

Handheld vacuum FAQs

How much does a handheld vacuum cost?

You don’t have to compromise on cleanliness if you’re on a budget. You can expect to find a decent model for under $100. Our review includes a range from $30 to $175. With handheld vacuum cleaners, you don’t necessarily need to spend big for results. Our top pick was almost the least expensive one. As handheld vacuum cleaners are designed for smaller messes, you don’t need the same level of suction as a regular vac. There are plenty of models to choose from to get the job done at an affordable price. 

Cordless vs corded handheld vacuums

While cordless models are more portable, they are also generally less powerful. One of the main reasons for buying a handheld vacuum is to get to the messes you can't easily reach with your full-size vacuum cleaner. But having less suction once you get to those messes is also a major drawback. David Stern, part-owner of Metrovac, highly recommends a corded model because of the increased suction.

"If you've got electricity, your best bet is to go with one of our 110-volt units," said Stern. Indeed, the unit with the best score in our suction tests is one that plugs into the wall. It is also the heaviest model we tested, though. The extra weight and being tethered to a wall limits portability.

The best way to decide between a corded and a cordless handheld vacuum is to determine what you need more: portability or power. 

What is a good wattage for a handheld vacuum cleaner?

It is difficult to quantify suction power in a vacuum. The numbers on the box are not really any help. Wattage is good to know in terms of energy conservation because it lets you know how much electricity the vacuum cleaner will be consuming. Higher wattage does not mean more suction, though. Amps can seem like a good indicator, but they really just represent the power it takes to push the voltage. More amperage can lead to higher rotations per minute, but that does not necessarily lead to cleaning power on a machine that is poorly constructed. More amps also generate more heat, which can wear down a motor.

Air wattage is one number that can give you an idea at least. The air wattage (AW) is the wattage it takes to move a unit of air through the vacuum cleaner's nozzle or cleaning head. The AW can be pretty hard to find, though.

Manufacturers will sometimes list motor wattage but not air wattage. Suction claims can also give you an idea because they are generally based on air wattage. We use hands-on testing to update our vacuum cleaner comparisons regularly, so check our reviews to find the products with the best cleaning power.

How we choose the best handheld vacuums

You can rest assured that our guide factors in the main considerations when choosing one of the best handheld vacuums. Portability is your number one priority. You’ll want one that’s easy to carry around to make cleaning a breeze. As handheld vacuums are all about convenience, we checked factors like battery life and weight as part of our review. 

We know that performance is important to you, too. You’ll need high suction power to tackle stubborn spots and ingrained pet hair. In addition to features like maneuverability, we looked at the design features that set the best handheld vacuums apart. You’ll find some products that use a HEPA filtration system in line with air quality standards set by the U.S. Department of Energy. These nifty filtration systems eliminate 99.97% of dust particles and prevent them from blowing into the air while vacuuming. Vacuums with this technology offer thorough cleaning and are a good choice for those with allergies. 

Vacuuming Performance

We designed a rigorous series of performance tests to give you peace of mind that you'll be purchasing one of the best handheld vacuums. We put the vacuums through their paces with various common items such as wood shavings and cereal. We even went to the extent of rubbing dog hair into carpets to check their suction power. If you’re worried about how the vacuum will fare in a real-life setting, you will be reassured that we asked volunteer pet owners to try them in their homes. They checked whether the suction could handle cat and dog hair on upholstered furniture like couches and chairs. 

On top of that, we designed another suction test to separate the best handheld vacuum cleaners. We placed screws in a flat-top container and observed how many each unit could hold for five seconds. Top marks for suction were awarded to the vacuums with the power to hold more weight. 

Portability

Worried that your vacuum might be cumbersome? You can rest assured that we weighed each model to gauge how portable it is. We recognize that convenience is important in a handheld vacuum, so we timed how long the battery lasted when fully charged. If you need the vacuum to tackle a larger mess, like dried leaves or cookie crumbs, in your car, you’ll be glad for the extra cleaning time. We also looked at how long it took to charge all of the battery-powered units. We gave higher scores to the ones that charged quickly. 

Design

We considered design features that help you achieve a spotless finish. You’ll be pleased to know the majority of the vacuums come with attachments to tackle hard-to-reach areas like folds in furniture and corners in staircases. A crevice tool is your friend when cleaning around the base of car seats. Its long and narrow design allows it to reach every nook and cranny. The Black & Decker Dustbuster incorporates a crevice tool as part of the main body rather than a separate accessory. The crevice tool on this model extends to give you a longer spout, allowing you to maneuver in the tightest spots. 

Looking to cover larger areas? You’ll want a wide-mouth tool, like the one included with the MetroVac Vac N Go. This wide design can save time as you avoid passing back and forth over the same area to clear any mess. 

Noel Case

Noel has worked as a reporter and editor for many online and print publications including the Salt Lake Tribune and the Ogden Standard-Examiner, covering diverse beats like education, city development and politics. He also wrote and edited an online monthly magazine for the nutritional supplement company Max International. Noel has degrees from the University of Utah and Weber State University in psychology, English and creative writing and is passionate about writing in all its forms.

With contributions from