21 November, 2019

Best handheld vacuum cleaners

Wouldn’t you agree how oddly satisfying it is to clean up messes quickly and easily? To watch that unwanted dirt or spill to disappear by the mere movement of a hand? Because we sure do. Whether you’re a student living your life out of a Chinese takeaway box or a new apartment owner or a dog/cat parent, messes are bound to occur. All messes need cleaning up, whether you’re a neat freak who will immediately whip out cleaning before that sauce leaves a stain on your favorite rug or a laid back parent who’d watch your toddler make all the mess they possibly can and clean up later at the end of the day.

As millennials, we love our magic three formula to live by – quick, effective and cost-efficient. Now you may be thinking that you already love your beast of a machine Dyson or Hoover on wheels because your mama loved it just as much. But hear us out and let us tell you about why we find the handheld vacuums so convenient and why we think these are must-haves in every household.

We’ve compiled a list of the best handheld vacuums of 2020 and to help you get a general idea of our nominees, here’s a comparison table. The features are what we think of as basics that everyone ought to know and consider when choosing to buy the best handheld vacuum.

Best handheld vacuum cleaners in 2020

PreviewProduct nameWeightBatteryAuto shut off (yes/no)Heat time (minutes)WarrantyMore information
BISSELL Pet Hair EraserBISSELL Pet Hair Eraser4.2 lbs14V Li-ion battery8 hours on first use17 minutes1 year
BLACK+DECKER BDH2000PL MAXBLACK+DECKER BDH2000PL MAX3.8 lbs20V Li-Ion battery4 hours17 minutes2 years
 Shark Rocket Corded Ultra-Light Hand VacuumShark Rocket3.7 lbs-CordedCorded2 to 5 years (varies)
 Hoover Air CordlessHoover Air2.1 lbs20V Li-ion battery9 hours15 minutes2 year
BLACK+DECKER Flex Handheld Cordless VacuumBLACK+DECKER HFVB320J27 Eggplant3.2 lbs2 Ah Li-ion battery9 hours10 minutes2 year
 Dyson V7 Car Boat Cord-Free Handheld Vacuum CleanerDyson V7 Car+Boat3.77 lbsLi-Ion battery3.5 hours30 minutes2 year
BLACK & DECKER Pet dustbusterBLACK+DECKER BDH2000L5 lbs20V Li-ion battery4 hours25-30 minutes2 year

BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser – Vacuuming was never this fun

BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser Hand Vacuum

KEY FEATURES:

This handheld vacuum has been all the rage these past few seasons for being the ‘it’ cleaning supply for all furry pet owners.

The Hair Affair

Remember that video of a dad using a vacuum nozzle to make his daughter’s ponytails going viral? That was a sight. If only we could vacuum our pets like that. Especially in those awful shedding seasons where you end up having pet hair literally woven into your favorite knitwear. The BISSELL Pet hair eraser has received all the hype for targeting a very specific problem all furry pet owners face. For being regarded as the best handheld vacuum for pet hair, it’s a handheld vacuum that can hold up to 0.7L of debris.

Looks matter, sometimes

It’s smart looking, petite and comes in a very bold purple color. Some may find it tacky looking. It weighs considerably light – 4 lbs is as lightweight as it gets. The charging factor does come to count since, like all powerful handheld cordless vacuums, these need a significant time to charge. The run time is very decent. This is all in all fair since portability was a targeted aspect.

The actual deal here

As for the performance, it’s impressive. I mean, let’s be practical, it takes an awful lot of suction power to be able to suck all those clingy hair from the rugs and sofa and possibly upholstery. That’s why it comes equipped with various attachments with the upholstery tool being the most effective one. A single Li-ion battery could not provide the amount of power needed for this; therefore it runs on four batteries. The one feature none of us can ignore is the motorized brush roll set right at the bottom front. That’s like the real working principle of the BISSELL Pet Eraser. The cyclonic pet hair spooling system has bristle brushes that catch the hair and along with suction power, pulls them out and deposits them to compartment like a dustbin. The dustbin is easily detachable, and you can simply dump the contents in the trash.

It is easy to use and comes with the option of being run on various speeds depending on the surface to be cleaned. The carpets and rugs require the highest settings while wooden or tiled floors can be cleaned on medium speed. As for the maintenance, the company suggests replacing filter and Febreze filter after three months. For what it’s worth, we think it’s a value for money kind of vacuum.

The Good:

  • Easy to use and clean
  • Extremely lightweight
  • Triple level filtration
  • Remove pet odor along with the cleaning.
  • Crevice tool with LED lights.
  • Cyclonic Pet-hair Spooling system that helps pick up the most stubborn of pet hair

The Bad:

  • Filters used are not HEPA
  • Average suction power
  • Less run time

Black & Decker BDH2000PL MAX

 BLACK and DECKER BDH2000PL MAX Lithium Pivot Vacuum

KEY FEATURES:

Good old Black and Decker. A name we can all trust for quality. This little piece of machinery has been equipped with some serious power storage and suction power.

Why it always manages to stand out

Lightweight and effective – two words we would boldly use to define this Black and Decker handheld vacuum cleaner. The Black&Decker BDH2000PL MAX weighs only 3.8 lbs and has a unique nozzle that stands out on first look. The nozzle is bendable and makes it very easy to clean up in places that would be otherwise hard to reach. Another great thing is the handle which lets you hold it comfortably and since the nozzle bends, doesn’t tire your hand out. The entire idea of this lightweight handheld vacuum is great, but its practicality is limited. It’s handy for small spaces like condos, apartments, cars, etc. but since the run time is 15+ minutes, one cannot get away with wanting to use it for any longer than that.

We appreciate minimalism

It does not come with any accessories. This is a great thing in our opinion. Its hassle-free with no removable parts to keep track of or to maintain. It’s easy to clean – the good old detaching the dustbin and dumping the contents in the trash. The dustbin is also transparent which lets the user see how much it’s filled up.

Upgraded tech

What makes this handheld vacuum stand out in this category is the installment of a Li-ion battery. These batteries are great at holding the charge which means that even if you haven’t used it in a while, the battery won’t drain. This minimal power fade also maintains a good performance while using. The suction power remains constant till the last ounce of charge left and doesn’t lessen when the battery is low. With a suction power of 35 air watts and cost-effectiveness, this one is for the long haul for the user’s who prefer quick cleaning rather than pulling out the big guns.

The Good:

  • Powerful suction
  • Charge time good
  • Lightweight
  • Requires small storage space
  • Cyclonic filtration
  • Runs on a rechargeable 20-V Li-ion battery

The Bad:

  • Noisy
  • Not suitable for all surface types
  • Not effective for cleaning pet hair
  • Limited to cleaning small areas

Shark Rocket Ultra-light

Shark Rocket Corded Ultra-Light Hand Vacuum

KEY FEATURES:

A new company on the block, giving all the old ones a competition. Doesn’t that sound clichéd? But it’s true. Shark vacuums have received all the hype lately but do they live up to their claims?

Shark – not coming slow

The Shark handheld vacuums have been raising the bar to the point where they are regarded as a competition for the Dyson handheld vacuums. Competition in performance and cost-effectiveness has led to the making of the Shark Rocket ultra-light vacuum. It’s corded, and even though some may find the cord annoying, the powerful suction makes do for it. The cord is 15 feet long which lets you connect to on powerful source and give you plenty of room to wheel it to other rooms. This honestly may either be a letdown or a great feature, depending on the user’s preference. It’s meant for both a quick or laid back clean up, and then again it has enough power source and suction power to clean up a whole medium-sized house. It’s very easy to maneuver and makes cleaning effective reaching edges and corners otherwise hard to clean.

Smart surface cleaning

The Rocket comes with a bunch of nice add ons. The TruPet motorized brush accessory is excellent at picking up pet hair without a hassle. It may have a tough time on rugs and hard sofa fabric, but on the hardwood floor, it can pick up large debris as well. The three-stage filters are great. They’re not HEPA or significantly allergen-free, but they’re easily washable.

Brownie points for hair control and convenience

What impressed us is that it handled cleaning up pet hair very nicely. Thus we regard the rocket among the best handheld vacuums for pet hair. The bin and filter need to be cleaned and washed after each use. It’s easy to detach different accessories and keeps the maintenance and getting new parts aspect well under the budget. For what it’s worth and an implied five years warranty, we recommend getting this.

The Good:

  • Good attachments to choose from
  • Great for cleaning pet hair
  • No recharging issues
  • Additional pet hair tool

The Bad:

  • Corded vacuum – not convenient for a quick clean up
  • Noisy

Hoover Air

Hoover Air Hand Vacuum Cleaner

KEY FEATURES:

The Hoover Air is a handheld vacuum cleaner and are we in love with the concept? Yes, we are. Equipped with WinTunnel 2 Technology – designed to clean carpets, we like what it has to offer.

Beauty with brains

In this compilation of best handheld vacuums, Hoover Air is perhaps the best-looking one. It’s the kind you wouldn’t want to run to stow away in a cupboard when someone pays you a surprise visit. It’s advance looking, smart and cordless.

All about the power juice

It comes equipped with a Li-ion battery that is interchangeable. This means that one can practically charge a battery and when it runs out, replace it with another battery. This comes in handy since we can run it on one battery cell while the other charges. Batteries are charged in a wall-mounted charger that comes along with the vacuum of course. The charging time is 9 hours. The battery displays 3 LED lit bars to let the user know how much of it remains.

We cannot have it all

In terms of performance, we were not impressed. Not that it didn’t perform well. The brush roll allows efficient cleaning and the suction power is just as good as any. For what it costs, we expected to be blown away. The cleanup is good with dust, hair and small debris but for larger chunks, the vacuum didn’t work for us. The nozzle, however, is impressive with its snarky shape and makes it easier to clean the corners and suck the stubborn dust and dirt stuck in those edges. It’s easy to clean and maintain.

The Good:

  • Dust bin capacity of 1L
  • HEPA filters
  • Comes with two Li-ion batteries
  • Comes with separate brush roll and other brush attachments
  • Two washable filters
  • Customization options for cleaning carpets, stairs and upholstery

The Bad:

  • Weak suction if hose used
  • Poor performance in shaggy rugs/carpets
  • Delicate structure

Black & Decker HFVB320J27 Eggplant

 BLACK+DECKER Flex Handheld Vacuum

KEY FEATURES:

Another one from the Black&Decker, this one is from the DustBusters series which became famous awhile ago. Especially comes in the eggplant color, which makes it stand out.

It’s a looker

It’s a handheld vacuum but comes with a hose attachment. It needs to be picked up by one hand which maneuvering the hose with the other. But with the weight of 3.2 lbs only, that’s no hard task. The steel silver and eggplant combination makes it look smart. The overall build looks sturdy and solid. Unlike some other handheld vacuums mentioned here, it does not look tacky despite a bright color exterior. The hose is flexible and 4 ft long. It comes equipped with a variety of attachments for various uses among which the brush for pet hair and the crevice tool are a favorite.

Another one for the hair affair

This Black and Decker handheld vacuum comes equipped with a 2 Ah Li-ion battery with a considerable 17 watts of suction power. It is effective for cleaning animal hair and even picking up chunky debris off of hard floors. It comes with 180 degrees rotating pet hair brush attachment which efficiently scrubs off hair from rugs, upholstery and sofa cushions. The motor is noisy but powerful. Despite the run time of a mere 10 minutes give or take, the Li-ion battery holds a charge and doesn’t allow a power fade.

Filtration

It comes equipped with a three-stage filtration system. The filters are not HEPA, but for a quick cleanup, these are just as practical. The air filtration system under discussion here comprises of cyclonic dirt-air separation and two mechanical filters. All these filters are washable and easy to maintain. They need to be completely dry before being fit back into the vacuum. The transparent first cup allows easy visual on when to clean.  It’s a small and handy machine that does not require much space to be stowed away in.

The Good:

  • Translucent dirt bowl
  • Three-stage filtering system
  • Easily washable filters
  • Efficient crevice tool
  • High-performance motor
  • Dusting brush

The Bad:

  • Needs a lot of time to charge
  • Small run time
  • Dry clean up only
  • Not HEPA filters used

Dyson V7 Car+Boat – Best handheld vacuum for cars

Dyson V7 Car and Boat Handheld Vacuum

KEY FEATURES:

Dyson is an equally worthy household name when it comes to good reliable machinery. This time it has given us an insight into the future of portable small handheld vacuum cleaners.

We’ve talked about best handheld vacuums that specialize in cleaning stubborn carpet dust or pet hair, but the Dyson V7 Car+Boat is notably the best when it comes to considering handheld vacuum for cars. That’s right, they went ahead and made one especially for vehicles. And possibly boats, as the name suggests. Weighing a mere 3.77 lbs, the Dyson V7 is a powerful handheld vacuum that operates on a digital V7 motor.

What makes it special?

The suction power is impressive for the size of the thing. The compactly designed vacuum is comfortable to hold and use. The car adapter is a bonus and great for afternoons on the beaches or camping where you can clean your car right and there before it gets any messier. It’s easy to carry along anywhere, and for the entire run time, the suction power is fade-free which is a win-win in all these battery-operated handheld vacuums. Apart from cars, it also very handy in cleaning small spaces. The run time of 30 minutes to our disappointment is average, and it does it take a whole 3 and a half hours to charge.

We all love customizations

The attachments are easy to use and simple. It doesn’t need a lot of figuring out to do and that’s what we like about it the most – hassle-free assembly. It cleans up sand, pet hair and food crumbs with absolute ease. The shape of the nozzle allows easy maneuvering, letting you reach every curve and crook. The two cleaning modes of MAX and powerful suction are quite convenient as well but affect the run time. It’s a relatively costly machine, but for people looking for a longtime investment, this might be it.

The Good:

  • Powerful suction
  • Great for cleaning vehicles and small places
  • Portable
  • Compatible car charger
  • Fade-free suction
  • Two power modes
  • 2 Tier Radial cyclones – efficient cleaning
  • Powered by digital motor V7
  • An extensive variety of tools including a crevice tool, mini motorized tool, mini soft dusting brush, and stubborn dirt brush

The Bad:

  • Meant for small space cleaning
  • Noisy
  • Leaves a chemical smell

Black & Decker BDH2000L

BLACK & DECKER Pet dustbuster

 

KEY FEATURES:

Black&Decker really knows how to make modifications to serve specific purposes. We commend them for that. Part of the same generation of handheld vacuum as mentioned above, this one stands out in its own way.

Another Black and Decker, just because

The last on our list and a member of the same family as the Black and Decker handheld vacuum BDH2000PL MAX is the BDH2000L. This might be the most practical handheld vacuum we’ve reviewed. This model is often compared with DustBuster models by the same brand- The BDH2000L shares many features with BDH2000PL.

The specs

It weighs 5 lbs only. It is also equipped with 20V Li-ion batteries that retain a charge for a very long time. What sets it apart is the battery performance and suction time. With a battery life of 25-30 minutes and a charging time of 4 hours this may not be the best out there but its enough. Even though the quality of the Li-ion battery is impeccable, unfortunately, the battery does not detach and isn’t replaceable. So in case it dies, the vacuum cannot be revived. The company offers a 3-year warranty; thus this isn’t a significant issue.

A job well is done

For serving the purpose of quickly cleaning up messes, it offers the right amount of suction power. At 24 Air watts, it outperforms the DustBusters and many of its competitors. The run time is also impressive and regarded as the best among cordless handheld vacuums that we’ve reviewed. The handling is easy and comfortable. The slim 180 degrees rotating nozzle ensures ease of access to every nook and cranny.

The crevice tool

Another feature of the BDH2000L is the crevice tool which can slide out from the end to allow the user an extra outreach of 6 inches. It does a great job of cleaning the spaces between floorboards and tiles. It’s very easy to detach the dirt container and filter which both need cleaning up after each use.

The Good:

  • Good and solid suction power
  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • Long run time
  • No unnecessary attachments to take care of
  • Cyclonic action technology
  • Charging Dock
  • Extendible crevice tool – up to 6 inches
  • LED battery indicator
  • Two-stage filtration system – mesh + cloth

The Bad:

  • Basic charging dock
  • Ineffective pet hair cleaning
  • The crevice tool can become stuck when overused
  • Filter release and power buttons too close to each other

What is the most powerful handheld vacuum?

From our extensive research and despite compiling a list of best handheld vacuums, we couldn’t help but have one or two personal favorites out of these all. Based solely on testing the suction power, the Dyson V7 Car+Boat and Black&Decker BDH2000PL MAX are the most powerful handheld vacuums. It was satisfying to watch these machines clean up even chunks of debris with accuracy without leaving a trail behind.

Which is the best handheld vacuum?

We also couldn’t help but choose the all-rounder handheld vacuum from our list which in our opinion is the Shark Rocket Ultra-light. We know, it’s corded. Bite us. But hear us out. Shark is a relatively new company, and you have the right to be skeptical. But they deserve their due credit for becoming a fierce competition in the market, coming up with technology that is rivaling with those good old household names like Dyson, Holife or Black and Decker. It also has some great value for money deals, decent yet somewhat slightly complicated warranty policies, and has a promising future. We’re expecting greater things from them really.

Buying guide

We understand how confusing it can get at times when looking for products to buy. There are so many to choose from, and each seems better than the next. Then again, the internet might be full of reviews; you never know who or what to trust enough to invest in. So just like we’ve compiled a list of best handheld vacuums, we’ve compiled another handy list of parameters. For you to consider when deciding to invest in any of the handheld vacuums we’ve enlisted, or beside, here are some simple things to keep in mind.

Research and experience

The golden rule is always to consider that what might be a bad experience for someone else might turn out to be a good experience for you. Doing your research is an essential step towards taking a decision. Whether you read your reviews, watch them or prefer talking to real-time owners of a particular product, it’s always great to develop a sense of relatability. This lets you decide on the parameters that you prefer in your product and narrows things down for you. In the case of choosing a handheld vacuum, one might have certain questions and reservations.

Why a handheld vacuum?

Because they’re cheaper. They require less storage space. They are practical and easy to use. Each time a small mess is made or a spill occurs, you cannot possibly run and whip out a gigantic vacuum cleaner to clean it up. One would prefer a smaller one, especially with guests or family over. Because let’s face it, the more the people, the more the probability of needing to clean up. The portability and convenience factor wins brownie points all the way.

When you have animals or toddlers in the house

In the everyday routine, who makes the most of the messes? Spilled juices and cereal or God forbid your toddler reaching the pantry. Or the plant pots. The rest we leave to your imagination of all the possibilities of messes that can be made. And then there are animals. No matter how good of a boy your Labrador is or how lazy your Siamese is, they shed. That’s enough of a mess that needs to be taken care of. We all know how stubborn those pet hair are, sneaking up on our favorite sweatshirt, that expensive cardigan and the hair on the cushions? Good God. That’s why we’re thankful for the vacuums that are great in cleaning up all those pesky hairs and other small everyday messes.

Automobiles, Small spaces, and staircases

Don’t you like getting your car serviced all the time? Or having a hard time cleaning up small spaces? Those stairs in the house still have visible dust in those edges? Small handheld vacuums are like life hacks in situations like these. With a press of a button, bring that cleaning wizard to life and within minutes you’re probably even done. The portability becomes very convenient, especially when cleaning up and down the stairs or taking the vacuum out to the car in the garage.

The corded and the cordless – what’s up with that?

The basic trend or feature we all have observed so far is that the corded vacuums having a direct power source have a better suction power and unlimited run time, which is absolutely great for either cleaning small messes or the entire house. The cordless is handy and easy to carry, but they have a limited run time, possibly larger charging time and maybe an average to good suction power. Some may find dragging the vacuum with a cord from room to room annoying or just plain difficult. As for the cordless ones, some might find the time limit difficult. So before choosing between corded or cordless, make sure you know what you are comfortable with.

Storage and attachments

When it comes to upright vacuum cleaners, consumers usually want to go for the long haul. They expect a variety of attachments, and the companies comply. The handheld ones typically are either a single unit piece or sometimes paired with an accessory or two. The attachments might be a cleaning galore for some while a complete hassle to keep track of for some. Naturally, more attachments mean more storage space. Usually, upright vacuums need a proper space while handheld vacuums can be stowed away easily anywhere. So considering the space you have at your place is also important.

Spills – Can they really be cleaned with a vacuum?

The short and simple answer is: Yes, they can. But that literally depends on the model. Some companies have designed vacuums especially to clean up wet mess and spills. They’re obviously powerful machines. Some can even suck the moisture content, technically cleaning up a wet mess dry. But not all vacuums have this capacity, and it might be damaging for some as well. Small vacuums, however, are not recommended for this since their suction capacity is relatively low. And even for those that can clean up spills, the capacity varies to a few hundred millimeters. Therefore, it is not advisable.

What’s the filter for? Why does it need cleaning?

The filter is part of the vacuum, and it prevents the dust particles from getting sucked up in the motor of the machine. There needs to be at least one filter inside a vacuum however competition has led to the installation of dual filters. Filters may vary in quality of course. The latest filter now being installed is the HEPA filter. It has a high ability to capture minute dust particles that can possibly cause allergies or trigger asthma. Over time the filter gets clogged with all the particles and needs to be washed to retain its efficiency.

Michael

Michael is our staff writer. He has a diploma in journalism and also works in an IT company. His hobbies are gadgets, devices, and new technologies, which in turn are his favorite topics for research and writing articles.

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