DeWalt 20V Cordless Dry Hand Vacuum review: perfect for the workshop

Powerful, on-the-job cleanup

DeWalt 20V Cordless Dry Hand Vacuum
(Image: © Future / James Holland)

Top Ten Reviews Verdict

The DeWalt 20V Cordless Dry Hand Vacuum is powerful with lots of accessories and an easy-to-empty dustbin containing a HEPA filter. None of the accessories are that well-suited for carpeting and, as it’s a bit overbuilt, this handheld is a bit heavy. Still, it’s the ideal handheld vacuum for a workshop, especially with its belt hook and light.

Pros

  • +

    Very powerful suction

  • +

    Lots of accessories

  • +

    Easy to access and empty dustbin with HEPA filter

  • +

    Comes with belt hook and flashlight

Cons

  • -

    Just okay on carpets

  • -

    A bit on the heavy side

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If I were to say that the DeWalt 20V Cordless Dry Hand Vacuum is one of the best handheld vacuums, it’s definitely a true statement, but one that comes with a caveat. That caveat comes down to who is using it and why. Though it is a handheld vacuum, its purpose is a bit different than many of the handhelds we review. This is not the kind of unit you necessarily use to spot clean a mess on the carpet, though you can certainly do that. Instead, this vacuum is more ideal for workshop cleanup where you need heavy duty cleanup and finesse is not so much a consideration.

This might seem like a weird statement to make when looking at hand vacuums. After all, when looking at the best vacuum cleaners, when does one take into account something like finesse? While I may be speaking a bit metaphorically, the DeWalt 20V Cordless Dry Hand Vacuum is powerful with the kind of suction that puts a lot of other handhelds to shame. And, though it comes with a lot of accessories for different cleaning purposes, none of them offer the easy back-and-forth motion on carpeted materials that you get with other models. That’s because the accessories are tailored for situations where you’re more likely dealing with hard surfaces like unfinished flooring or a garage.

This might seem like a lot of talk about something that’s not even the intended purpose of this handheld, but it’s an important distinction to keep in mind. And, if you weren’t sure if its intended use, note the always-on flashlight and belt hook that make this more suited for a job on a construction site than a spill in the TV room.

James Holland
James Holland

James Holland has spent the last three years testing, reviewing, and writing about all sorts of tech, whether it be computers and related peripherals to smart home devices, robot vacuums, and kitchen appliances.


His work has been published in Top Ten Reviews, TechRadar, T3.com, and Android Police. When he’s not working, he’s playing music or at least pretending to. He also likes to eat questionable fusion-type foods.


James tested the DeWalt 20V Cordless Dry Hand Vacuum over a couple of weeks, using it on both carpet and upholstery to see how it fares in different conditions.

DeWalt 20V Cordless Dry Hand Vacuum: Price and availability

Whether you’re getting the DeWalt 20V Cordless Dry Hand Vacuum on The Home Depot, Lowes, or Acme Tools, you’re looking at a surprisingly affordable price of $149.00 for this whole package. Of course, this doesn’t include the battery and charger.

The 5AH battery tested here will run you an additional $179 without the charger. Of course, you can get a smaller battery and charger bundle for $119 on Acme Tools. Or, you can get this two 5AH battery and charger bundle at The Home Depot for $199 (for some reason, it’s more expensive at $229 to get the one battery and charger bundle here). It’s all a bit confusing, but the moral of the story is that you should be prepared to pay as much or more for the battery as you do the tool. So, while the DeWalt 20V Cordless Dry Hand Vacuum is pretty reasonable, the battery is pricey, though you can use it with other DeWalt 20V tools.

Score: 4 out of 5

DeWalt 20V Cordless Dry Hand Vacuum: First impressions

When first unboxing the DeWalt 20V Cordless Dry Hand Vacuum, it’s pretty obvious it’s not your typical handheld vacuum. Even if you’re not familiar with the name DeWalt and what the company typically produces, it’s obvious that this is a workshop tool more than one to do a spot clean at home.

I was also impressed by the amount of accessories included here as you get six as opposed to the usual two or three. However, none of them have a brushroll that would make vacuuming carpeting easy.

Also, the battery comes separate as this is part of DeWalt’s 20V series of tools where you have one removable battery with a charger that you can use with any of the tools in the series. While this is a great way to minimize the amount of charging you need to do, be sure to also order a battery or get a bundle with a battery if you choose to grab this hand vacuum (or any of DeWalt’s other 20V tools).

DeWalt 20V Cordless Dry Hand Vacuum

(Image credit: Future / James Holland)

DeWalt 20V Cordless Dry Hand Vacuum: key specifications

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Row 0 - Cell 0 Row 0 - Cell 1
SuitabilityUpholstery, workshops, garages, large debris
Dustbin capacity0.73 qt / 23.7 oz
Run time18.5 minutes
Dimensions18.3 x 7.8 x 5.2 inches
Weight1.5 kg (3.3 lbs)

DeWalt 20V Cordless Dry Hand Vacuum: Design

As with of DeWalt’s products, the DeWalt 20V Cordless Dry Hand Vacuum comes in a black and yellow colorway (along with the frosted transparent dustbin) that lets you know that, first, this is definitely a DeWalt tool, and, second, that this is a serious one as well.

It’s a bit bulkier than most hand vacuums and actually feels a bit overbuilt. It can be heavy when you attach the battery, which slides on the butt of the handle. Yet, it’s still manageable enough.

The controls consist of just a power button. You don’t have different levels of suction. There’s just on and off here. There’s also a light to illuminate any working space you’re vacuuming at the top of the handle that comes on automatically when you turn the unit on. It doesn’t have a separate control, which would have been nice as I might have been able to squeeze just a little more juice out of the battery. At the back of the handle is a nifty belt hook that those on-the-job will appreciate. 

There’s also a release button to remove the dustbin. Doing so is easy and stress-free. The HEPA filter inside also pops right out and is easy to clean once you’ve emptied the dustbin.

To go with its in-the-workshop orientation, the DeWalt 20V Cordless Dry Hand Vacuum comes with six accessories to attach to the front nozzle for different use cases. As far as those accessories go, there are two to extend the vacuum’s reach, namely a flexible hose and extension tube (which almost turns this into a stick vacuum), and four for actual pick, specifically a crevice nozzle, round brush, gulper brush, and floor nozzle.

While some are a little awkward – I’m not really sure how one would want to use a hose attachment – most are very useful. The only thing I wish was included is one with a brush roll so cleaning up messes on carpeting or rugs takes less pushing pressure.

Score: 4.5 out of 5

DeWalt 20V Cordless Dry Hand Vacuum: Performance

DeWalt 20V Cordless Dry Hand Vacuum

(Image credit: Future / James Holland)

The DeWalt 20V Cordless Dry Hand Vacuum is quite the powerhouse for a handheld. Since it has a wide mouth for its nozzle, not to mention the fact that all the accessories are similarly wide mouthed, it will easily suck up all sorts of debris.

I used it to clean couch cushions where it quickly pulled off pet hair. I used it to suction up turf grass (a dog had ripped a square turf apart), coffee grounds, and I even went into the garage to suction up accumulated leaves that had been tracked in. I also vacuumed up cobwebs off the wall.

Basically, the DeWalt 20V Cordless Dry Hand Vacuum didn’t meet a piece of debris or dirt it couldn’t handle. The only real drawback is the lack of an accessory with a brushroll to use on carpeted surfaces. So, if you have a mess that’s accumulated on a carpet, you have to put in a little extra elbow grease than with other handhelds. Otherwise, the 46 CFM (cubic feet per minute) of suction it provides is unlike anything else I’ve seen in a handheld vacuum.

DeWalt 20V Cordless Dry Hand Vacuum

(Image credit: Future / James Holland)

When using the extension tube, you can use this handheld almost as you would a stick vacuum. I’ve already mentioned the lack of an accessory with a brushroll for that smooth vacuuming motion, but you can use the extension tube and one of the other accessories, such as the crevice tool, to clean the ceiling or wall. It does feel a little heavier to use than a stick vacuum in this way as it took more effort to keep it held up, it’s still very useful in this form factor. Just be prepared to use two hands to hold it up.

Also of note is that the 5AH battery that DeWalt provided for the review is supposed to offer 21 minutes of use. I was able to get about 18 and a half, which is better than most handhelds, which range between 10 and 15, but isn’t quite as advertised.

And, if it’s of concern, this thing gets pretty loud, registering around 77 dB during use. That’s about as loud as a passing car. So, no you shouldn’t be using this while the baby is sleeping.

Score: 4.5 out of 5

DeWalt 20V Cordless Dry Hand Vacuum

(Image credit: Future / James Holland)

Should you buy the DeWalt 20V Cordless Dry Hand Vacuum?

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AttributeNotesScore
Price & availabilityThe price is actually fairly reasonable, only slightly offset by the high price of the removable battery.4 / 5
DesignEasy to use and built like a tank, it’s almost perfect. It comes with a belt hook and light.4.5 / 5
PerformanceIt’s not great for use on carpets, but it works like a charm everywhere else.4.5 / 5

Buy it if...

You have a workshop or garage

Most handheld vacuums are great for vacuuming the car, some cushions, or a spot on the carpet. This one is perfect for cleaning up messes in a workshop, garage, or basically anywhere a regular handheld might not hold up.

You need to clean up large debris

Not only is the DeWalt 20V Cordless Dry Hand Vacuum powerful, but it has a wide mouth including on all the attachments, so it can easily suck in larger debris.

You need lots of features and accessories

This handheld comes with six accessory attachments, a belt hook, and a light. It’s about as feature-loaded as a handheld vacuum gets.

Don't buy it if...

You mainly need a vacuum for carpeting

Since none of the accessories have a brushroll, pushing this handheld back and forth on a large spill on carpeting is taxing. There are other options that are better for that situation.

You don’t plan on getting other DeWalt tools and are on a budget

The whole removable battery to be used with tools concept can be a money saver, if you plan on buying other tools from the same manufacturer. If you don’t, then you’re going to be overpaying.

How does the DeWalt 20V Cordless Dry Hand Vacuum compare?

Having tried a few different handheld vacuums, I can say that the DeWalt 20V Cordless Dry Hand Vacuum is somewhat unique. If you’re looking for something that’s more for the home instead of the workshop, you might be more inclined to get the Shark Dual Cyclone Pet Pro.

It’s not as powerful, but still has more than enough to do most jobs. And, its main accessory comes with a brush roll, so vacuuming up spills and messes on carpeting is much easier. Also being of the wireless variety, its battery life is a little lower at around 10 minutes, but you don’t also have to pay for a removable battery. Even without that consideration, it is cheaper at $89.99 / £ 79.99 / AU$199.99.

If you want to spend even less, you could consider the Dirt Devil QuickFlip BD30025B, which comes in around $50. However, it doesn’t have quite the cleaning prowess as it struggles with things like pet hair.

How I tested the DeWalt 20V Cordless Dry Hand Vacuum

To test the DeWalt 20V Cordless Dry Hand Vacuum, I cleaned up a couch, the walls of my room, the garage, stairs, some debris on carpets as well as on hard flooring. I used the six accessories, picked up different size debris, ran it until it lost charge, and removed the dustbin to inspect (as well as empty it).

Read more about how we test

Contributor

James Holland has spent the last three years testing, reviewing, and writing about all sorts of tech, whether it be computers and related peripherals to smart home devices, robot vacuums, and kitchen appliances.

His work has been published in Top Ten Reviews, TechRadar, T3.com, and Android Police. When he’s not working, he’s playing music or at least pretending to. He also likes to eat questionable fusion-type foods.