The Best Handheld Vacuum

Staff author Sabine Heinlein has been a journalist for over twenty years. With a menagerie of rabbits and cats, she obsesses over how several types of fur adhere to upholstery and the way greatest to take away hairballs from heirloom rugs.

We’ve been evaluating handheld vacuums since 2013. For this information, we’ve carried out the next:

  • We interviewed dozens of vacuum consultants over time, together with service technicians, air-quality specialists, product engineers, and model representatives.
  • For our most up-to-date spherical of analysis and testing in 2023, we spoke to former and present engineers at Dyson, Lupe, and Shark; two vacuum salespeople and restore specialists; and quite a few firm representatives and product managers.
  • We combed via 1000’s of buyer critiques on retail websites whereas preserving observe of particular complaints. We additionally supplemented our reporting with DiscoverOurView, which makes use of AI to determine vital themes and points in 1000’s of buyer critiques.
Photo: Marki Williams

Handheld vacuums are significantly useful for individuals who share a house with youngsters, pets, or anybody else who produces frequent, small messes. A handheld, which is battery powered and compact sufficient to take a seat on a shelf or countertop between makes use of, can clear up a pile of spilled espresso grounds within the time it might take you to dig your fundamental vacuum out of the closet and unwrap its wire.

Handheld vacuums are a various group, with some fashions designed for the awkward angles of a automobile’s inside and others purpose-built for pulling pet hair off carpeted stairs or upholstery. Others function “snack vacs,” permitting for the short pickup of crumbs.

Additional choices to contemplate: Most of one of the best cordless stick vacuums pull double obligation as handheld vacuums. The greatest plug-in vacuums have hoses and attachments that allow you to clear many of the similar spots that one of the best handheld vacuums can attain—you simply should be close to an outlet.



Photo: Sabine Heinlein

We’ve thought of greater than 180 handheld vacuums over time, together with 12 in our most up-to-date spherical of testing. Here’s how we consider them:

Suction: Using an anemometer (a software that measures wind pace), we calculate the uncooked airflow of every vacuum. Suction is what permits a vacuum cleaner to carry particles off the bottom, whereas airflow helps ferry the particles to the dustbin. Attachments or extensions can focus the vacuum’s suction for higher cleansing or to assist get particles off clingy surfaces. Special instruments, akin to a motorized brush, assist a handheld vac work even higher—even when a vacuum cleaner has mediocre suction, a brush loosens up grime and hair, making it simpler for the vacuum to carry up and swallow the particles. Pet-hair instruments are significantly helpful for getting fur off upholstery.

Almost any handheld vacuum can decide up seen crumbs and grime. Especially sturdy handhelds can even suck up some nice mud, in addition to bigger, heavier pebbles or chunks of meals.

We use an anemometer to measure uncooked airflow as one indicator of suction energy. Photo: Sabine Heinlein

Cleaning means: In our most elementary cleansing check, we unfold rigorously measured piles of particles—akin to baking soda, blended birdseed, Cheerios, and glitter—and calculate how a lot every vacuum cleaner is ready to decide up. We check on naked flooring and on low- and medium-pile rugs. We then unfold 30 grams of baking soda on a medium-pile rug and vacuum it for 20 seconds, after which we use a kitchen scale to measure how a lot of the baking soda the vacuum collected. (Note: We don’t advocate that you just vacuum up massive quantities of baking soda or super-fine mud together with your handheld. “One of the most important killers of bagless machines is ok mud, plaster mud, brick mud, talcum powder,” mentioned James Brown, who runs a vacuum-cleaner museum and restore store in Heanor, Derbyshire, England. Brown defined that nice mud can bypass the vacuum’s filter and construct up contained in the machine, inflicting clogs and injury.) Though wattage and battery power should not all the time an correct gauge of cleansing means, a vacuum providing 15 air watts and 16 volts needs to be sufficient for cleansing up small messes.

Some handheld crevice instruments are too slim to suck up Cheerios. Photo: Marki Williams

To check pet-hair pickup, we unfold a handful of fur (from a neighborhood groomer) right into a rug after which attempt to decide it up with every vacuum. If a mannequin comes with an attachment that will enhance pet-hair pickup, akin to rubber nubs—or higher but, a motorized brush—we use it.

Battery life and cost time: An excellent handheld vacuum needs to be prepared while you want it, and it ought to final lengthy sufficient to deal with at the very least a couple of messes earlier than it has to recharge. We check every vacuum’s battery life to verify it matches up with (or, within the case of our picks, exceeds) the producer’s marketed claims. We pay particular consideration to vacuums with batteries that may final for at the very least quarter-hour on common mode and recharge inside 60 minutes.

Comfort and tranquility: You ought to have the ability to maintain the vacuum for 10 to twenty minutes with out straining your wrists and forearms. Weight will not be the one consideration—how the burden is distributed issues, too. An extendable hose can take a number of the weight off at the very least a part of the time. The vacuum ought to attain awkward spots with out effort; hoses, pivoting nozzles, and a few attachments may help, although keep in mind that an extension tube’s longer airflow pathway reduces suction. (In our most up-to-date spherical of testing, we tried the vacuums within the tight quarters of a Honda Fit, too.) Using a decibel meter, we measure every vacuum’s noise stage.

Warranty and repairability: We particularly search for handheld vacuums with warranties of at the very least two years. Damian Lee, a former engineer at Dyson and Shark, mentioned a protracted guarantee is significant when somebody is making a shopping for determination: “Being in a position to declare a pleasant large guarantee that lasts a very long time and covers plenty of instances and circumstances offers you confidence that an organization is standing behind their product.” According to our DiscoverOurView evaluation of buyer critiques, battery failure is the second most typical criticism in critiques of handheld vacuums, so we think about it a major plus if a mannequin has a replaceable battery.

Photo: Marki Williams

Our decide

Ryobi 18V One+ Performance Hand Vacuum Kit

A fantastic all-purpose hand vacuum

This cordless handheld vacuum’s highly effective suction, lengthy battery life, and huge bin make brief work of tidying up across the house and within the automobile.

Buying Options

May be out of inventory

What the Ryobi 18V One+ Performance Hand Vacuum Kit lacks in look it makes up for in suction energy, bin measurement, and flexibility.

It’s a wonderful cleaner. In suction and airflow, this mannequin is on a par with or higher than its strongest rivals. We tried it on rugs, naked flooring, automobile seats, and fabric, and it did a terrific job of choosing up all types of particles, together with Cheerios, glitter, birdseed, and baking soda. Although this Ryobi mannequin options solely a single suction mode, its energy comes near or matches that of different hand vacs on their highest setting, usually known as “increase mode.” (The vacuum’s noise stage is about common, measuring round 80 dB relying on the attachment we used.)

After some dad and mom on Wirecutter’s workers complained concerning the persistence of glitter of their houses, we made positive that our picks may deal with the glint. Video: Marki Williams

It has helpful instruments. The Ryobi 18V One+ Performance Hand Vacuum Kit comes with a crevice software and a brush software; each do a good job of choosing up fur on rugs and residential upholstery. The brush pivots 360 levels, which makes it excellent for awkward angles, akin to automobile cup holders and different inside storage compartments.

It has run time, and it costs impressively rapidly. Most vacuums we examined ran out of juice inside only a few minutes in increase mode; this Ryobi mannequin, in distinction, ran for 18 minutes. (The battery has an indicator that, when pressed, exhibits the cost stage—a useful perk that’s lacking from most different handhelds we examined.) And it costs in beneath an hour, whereas different handheld fashions generally take three to 4 hours.

It has an extra-large dustbin. This mannequin’s dustbin holds 2.8 cups of particles, double that of most different handheld vacuums we examined. Its opening mechanism is simple—another vacuums we examined required us to carry out sophisticated manipulations to open the bin—and its filter is washable.

It is sturdy, with a beneficiant guarantee and replaceable elements. This mannequin’s casing, produced from thick plastic, withstood at the very least two (unintended) drops on cement flooring throughout our checks. Ryobi’s three-year guarantee is longer than that of most different handheld vacuums.

The Ryobi 18V One+ Performance Hand Vacuum Kit’s battery is replaceable, as are many of the elements and equipment. It is appropriate with many different cordless Ryobi instruments, so in case you personal a number of such instruments (like a Ryobi Pruning Shear), this can be an added perk.

If you already personal a Ryobi 18 V One+ 2 Ah battery and charger, you could think about shopping for a barebones handheld vacuum that has the identical specs as that of the equipment however prices lower than half the worth. (The barebones vacuum doesn’t include any attachments, although.)

The Ryobi vacuum carried out nice on all types of particles, together with birdseed. Photo: Marki Williams

Flaws however not dealbreakers

  • It could also be uncomfortable to make use of. Although the Ryobi 18V One+ Performance Hand Vacuum Kit is light-weight—at 2.3 kilos, this mannequin is likely one of the lightest high-performing vacuums we’ve examined—it won’t be superb for individuals with hand or arm points. The battery, which is positioned proper under the hand, makes up a big a part of the vacuum’s weight and will put pressure in your hand and wrist.
  • It’s somewhat awkward. This vacuum can’t stand upright, and its clunky physique and neon-green coloration may make it extra aesthetically suited to a workshop than a classy house. (Maybe asking for a vacuum that’s each highly effective and stylish is an excessive amount of?) Thankfully, for the reason that battery is detachable, you’ll be able to cost it whereas the vacuum is saved out of sight.
  • It’s had availability points. Ryobi merchandise are offered completely via Home Depot. The Ryobi 18V One+ Performance Hand Vacuum Kit (which incorporates the battery and charger) has gone out of inventory at occasions, typically for a number of days or even weeks. If you already personal a appropriate Ryobi battery and charger, the vacuum-only mannequin may very well be an choice, although it is usually typically out of inventory. (Buying the vacuum and charger and battery individually is dearer than shopping for them as a bundle.)
The Ryobi vacuum’s battery is positioned proper beneath the deal with, which can be problematic for individuals with hand or wrist points. Photo: Marki Williams

Replacement batteries are costly and ordering substitute elements is inconvenient. While it’s a plus that the battery is replaceable, Ryobi costs nearly as a lot for a battery because it does for the complete vacuum. (You may think about shopping for third-party batteries with excessive rankings for 1 / 4 of the worth. We haven’t examined them, and although a number of Amazon reviewers say that the knockoffs are even better than the unique battery, it’s vital to notice that utilizing a third-party battery will void Ryobi’s guarantee.)

We bumped into issues when calling Ryobi’s swift and pleasant customer support about substitute elements. The Ryobi consultant referred us to Gardener’s General Contractor, which sells Ryobi elements. But Gardener’s couldn’t find the half, and it took an e-mail to Ryobi’s advertising division for us to seek out out that elements are literally offered straight by way of Ryobi’s web site. (Confusingly, the substitute elements web page isn’t linked on the Ryobi homepage.)



Photo: Marki Williams

Also nice

Black+Decker 20V Max Dustbuster SuperiorClean+ Cordless Pet Hand Vacuum HHVK515JP07

For individuals with pets

This handheld vacuum’s motorized brush makes cleansing up pet fur a breeze, particularly on upholstery. Its extendable crevice software permits you to attain into nooks and crannies.

Buying Options

If you commonly clear up after fur-shedding pets, the Black+Decker Dustbuster SuperiorClean+ HHVK515JP07 is uniquely designed that will help you battle that battle.

It’s an awesome all-purpose cleaner, and it’s particularly efficient on fur. In our checks, the SuperiorClean+ HHVK515JP07 picked up fur higher than any mannequin we tried, particularly on upholstery, thanks partially to its motorized brush, which is provided with fur-grabbing bristles. This mannequin’s built-in, extendable crevice software sucked up baking soda, glitter, birdseed, Cheerios, and cat litter from each carpets and naked flooring with ease.

Fur clung to its versatile, rubbery bristles, whereas its rotating brush and suction ferreted canine, cat, and rabbit hair from rugs and couches into its bin. The solely time we bumped into bother was once we tried to hoover canine fur from the clingy upholstery of a automobile trunk, but even then, the SuperiorClean+ HHVK515JP07 acquired extra fur off than any of the opposite fashions we examined. (All the vacuums we evaluated carried out poorly on this regard. Instead, we advocate the Uproot Cleaner Pro Reusable Cat Hair Remover for automobile trunks and flooring.)

It has a giant dustbin. The SuperiorClean+ HHVK515JP07 has an intuitive emptying mechanism and the biggest dustbin of any handheld vacuum we examined in our most up-to-date spherical (fashions with smaller bins acquired rapidly clogged with fur).

None of the fashions we examined eliminated fur from upholstery in addition to the Dustbuster SuperiorClean+ HHVK515JP07. Video: Marki Williams

It has a reasonably good run time. This mannequin will run for twenty-four minutes on low suction mode, which is enough for many furry conditions, and a battery indicator exhibits you the cost stage. Its airflow is above common on common mode and wonderful on excessive mode. A Black+Decker spokesperson advised us by way of e-mail that this mannequin totally costs in 4 hours, however in our testing it took lower than three hours. At 75 dB, it is usually quieter than the vast majority of the vacuums we assessed.

It has a robust guarantee. This mannequin comes with a two-year guarantee, which exceeds the protection of many different handheld vacuum cleaners. In reality, information writer Sabine Heinlein has used her personal SuperiorClean+ HHVK515JP07 each day for 4 years to wash cat and rabbit fur from her furnishings and cat beds. The suction hasn’t diminished over time, and the vacuum has withstood being dropped and knocked over.

The battery isn’t replaceable, although different elements are. While the battery isn’t replaceable, the filters, belt, beater bar, and charger are. (Both filters are additionally washable.) Black+Decker’s customer support is superb, typically requiring no wait time, and you’ll order elements by way of

It feels unfastened in locations. In our checks, the prolonged crevice software typically slid again once we had been vacuuming tight, deep areas; you could want to carry it in place while you’re slipping it between sofa cushions.

But maybe the most important design flaw of the SuperiorClean+ HHVK515JP07 is the looseness of its filters. Although that doesn’t influence the vacuum’s efficiency, it may be a ache while you’re emptying the dustbin—as you faucet the bin in opposition to a trash can to empty it, the filters can slip out and fall into the trash.

And it isn’t fairly. The vacuum stands up by itself and is compact sufficient to tuck away between furnishings. But subsequent to a few of its newer, much less highly effective cousins, the SuperiorClean+ HHVK515JP07 appears to be like clunky with its clashing purple, orange, and grey hues.

Photo: Marki Williams

Budget decide

Black+Decker Dustbuster SuperiorClean CHV1410L

For fast and straightforward cleanup

If you want one thing easy for quick cleanups, this reasonably priced, cordless handheld vacuum will get the job carried out.

Buying Options

If you don’t personal pets and wish a hand vac just for the occasional spilled Cheerios or espresso grounds, purchase the Black+Decker Dustbuster SuperiorClean CHV1410L. We’ve really helpful the CHV1410L since 2017, and in our most up-to-date spherical of testing, it proved as soon as once more to be among the best primary handheld vacuums out there—with a couple of caveats.

The CHV1410L is surprisingly environment friendly on the subject of glitter. Video: Marki Williams

It’s a robust cleaner. In our testing, the CHV1410L had no bother sucking up crumbs and grime off naked surfaces like counter tops and windowsills. For straightforward jobs, it was simply as efficient as a extra highly effective mannequin, such because the SuperiorClean+ HHVK515JP07. It wasn’t as able to choosing up fur and dusty particles like baking soda from furnishings, although it did nice with glitter.

But it doesn’t clear upholstery all that successfully. The CHV1410L can’t clear upholstery all that totally, as particles, particularly hair, tends to cling to material, and this mannequin has neither the suction nor the precise instruments to offset that clinginess. And as a result of this mannequin has no hose or pivoting nozzle, and its crevice software is comparably massive, utilizing it to wash at odd angles is a problem.

It’s comfy to make use of. Although the CHV1410L suffers from the identical hand-heaviness as most handheld vacuums do, we’ve discovered it comfy sufficient to maneuver. At 2.6 kilos, it’s comparably mild, and its curved, closed deal with permits for a straightforward grip.

It’s properly favored. The CHV1410L is a perennial greatest vendor with strong reviews from homeowners.

But its run time is so-so. In our battery checks, the CHV1410L ran for about 9 minutes, so it’s greatest suited to fast tidying fairly than deep cleansing. (In distinction, our prime decide ran for 18 minutes, and our also-great decide ran for 25 minutes.) The CHV1410L recharged in about three hours, which is typical for handheld vacuums at this worth. It comes with a handy charging base that enables the vac to face upright in storage; we discovered, nonetheless, that it tends to wobble when bumped.

And it’s pretty noisy. Whereas a Black+Decker spokesperson advised us that the vacuum has a decibel stage of 81 dB, we recorded it at 86 dB. (In comparability, the Ryobi mannequin measured round 81 dB, whereas the SuperiorClean+ HHVK515JP07 measured round 75 dB.)



If you desire a snazzy vac that folds right into a snail form for storage: We nonetheless just like the Black+Decker 20V Max Lithium Pivot BDH2000PL, our earlier prime decide. It’s a robust cleaner, and its pivoting nozzle folds up right into a small and storable snail form.

This mannequin is not a decide due to its comparatively brief, 11-minute battery life, and since we discovered it noisy. Though it was nice at choosing up bigger particles, it didn’t excel at choosing up baking soda from a medium-pile carpet (probably as a result of the filter acquired clogged). Otherwise, it continues to carry out higher than many rivals.

This vacuum doesn’t include a purpose-built pet-hair software, however in our checks, its wiry brush software did the job simply nice. Two Wirecutter staffers use the BDH2000PL as their sole vacuum of their studio residences; one famous that it really works properly in getting hair off her velvet couch and footrest.

If you desire a super-strong vacuum that’s appropriate with different energy instruments: Consider the Dustbuster 20V Max PowerJoin BCHV001C1, which has a battery and charger which might be interchangeable with all different Black+Decker 20V Max PowerJoin instruments.

The BCHV001C1 has nice suction and probably the most airflow of any handheld vacuum we examined. (Its suction power is lauded by numerous Amazon customers, too.) It did a wonderful job of sucking up birdseed and Cheerios, but it surely lagged behind our picks in extracting nice mud from medium-pile carpet.

One downside is that it comes with just one clip-on crevice software, which makes it ineffective on fur; in our checks, it picked up clumps however left all different fur caught to the carpet. If you don’t have pets, although, it’s a good selection. At this writing, you could have the choice to purchase the vacuum alone for $35 or in a equipment with a charger and battery for $70.

For extra data on vacuums that work properly in automobiles, go to our information to one of the best automobile vacuum. You’ll discover a few our favourite handheld fashions, in addition to vacuums with an extendable hose and helpful attachments, which you’ll favor when you’ve got hand or wrist points, or in case you’re planning to spend so much of time cleansing your automobile.

The Black+Decker Dustbuster SuperiorClean+ HHVK515JP07, our decide for pet hair, works properly as a automobile vac, too. Photo: Sabine Heinlein



Mini handheld vacuums

“Mini” handheld vacuums that weigh 2 kilos or much less have lately emerged as a brand new class. Such fashions are smaller and lighter than all of our present picks and never as highly effective. They’re good as desk or snack vacs for midsize particles akin to cookie crumbs, and so they’re straightforward to retailer on counter tops or desks. But they will’t simply decide up and correctly filter mud and different nice particles, and larger particles fills up the small dustbin too rapidly. In addition, these fashions are efficient solely on exhausting surfaces.

We don’t advocate any mini handheld vacs as a result of our picks are higher performers, equally priced (or cheaper), and extra versatile. However, when you’ve got hand or wrist points, one among these lighter hand vacs may be different.

We favored the Eufy HomeVac H30 Venture one of the best. It appears to be like interesting, and it has good suction energy and a comparably massive bin for a light-weight vac. In our checks, it picked up each mild and heavier particles properly. But at usually greater than $150, it’s dear for what it’s: Its development appeared flimsy, and we needed to be particularly cautious when reattaching the bin after cleansing it. At some level throughout our testing, a mud deposit had created a tiny hole between the primary physique and the bin, and one among our testers was sprayed with an explosion of baking soda.

Mini vacs (just like the Eufy HomeVac H30 Venture pictured above) are nice as snack vacs to maintain in your countertop or workplace desk, however they’ve tiny bins and are just about ineffective on fur and bigger particles. Photo: Marki Williams

The Shark Wandvac Cordless Handheld Vacuum and the Shark Wandvac Power Pet look snazzy and have respectable suction, however we discovered their tiny bins irritating. And the positioning of every mannequin’s energy button proper under the bin-emptying button led to a couple of occasion of our testers unintentionally emptying the bin.

The Black+Decker Dustbuster Reviva 8V Max Cordless Hand Vacuum REVHV8J40 is produced from “50% licensed recycled materials and accommodates the quantity of recycled materials equal to the burden of 15 16.9 fl-oz single-use plastic bottles,” in keeping with Black+Decker. But aside from the filter, not one of the REVHV8J40’s elements are replaceable. And whereas this vacuum is nice for sucking up coffee-ground spills on a counter, it was mediocre at greatest when confronted with heavier particles in our testing.

The Black+Decker Dustbuster SuperiorClean Slim HLVC320J01 appeared promising at first due to its respectable suction, but it surely had an particularly sluggish cost time (10 hours) and an especially slim crevice software. We additionally had difficulties opening the dustbin throughout our testing and ended up showered with glitter.

Standard handheld vacuums

We thought of the Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+ however had been delay by its poor airflow and suction, in addition to its six-hour cost time. Its crevice software was too slim to select up bigger particles, and its motorized brush was considerably inferior to that of our also-great decide.

Some readers have requested us about handheld wet-dry vacs from DeWalt, Milwaukee, and Ryobi. We haven’t examined them, however they look like properly suited to cleansing up the kind of steel particles that you just’d discover close to a workbench and that wrecks some common hand vacs. In our information to buy vacs, we do advocate two full-size fashions, that are a greater match for extra heavy-duty jobs. We could check handheld wet-dry vacs sooner or later.

We don’t advocate any plug-in or corded handheld vacuums. After researching and testing a wide range of corded handhelds, together with the Dirt Devil Scorpion Quick Flip, we’ve concluded that there aren’t any nice choices on this class. We didn’t discover corded fashions to be higher cleaners than our picks in our checks, there’s no assure they’ll last more, and so they’re a lot much less handy.

Photo: Marki Williams

Too typically, vacuum homeowners resolve that their machine is damaged, when in actuality only a easy cleansing is so as. The makers of bagless vacuums, together with handheld vacs, promote their fashions based mostly on the comfort of not needing luggage, however the home equipment nonetheless require common cleansing and upkeep, mentioned James Brown, a vacuum service specialist and collector: “Realistically, the typical particular person gained’t clear it out as typically as they need to, which can go on to trigger points.”

Our full article on how one can clear a vacuum cleaner has data for cleansing all kinds of vacuums, however listed below are 5 methods to maintain your handheld clear and maintained:

Empty and clear the bin. An overstuffed bin blocks airflow, and that causes the suction to endure. Hold the bin over a trash can and faucet it till it’s empty. If the bin will get dirty, come out and wash the entire bowl after which let it dry totally.

Wash or change the filters. Check your vacuum’s proprietor guide for particular directions on cleansing the filter, and do that job as typically because the guide recommends (PDF). In all of our picks, the filters (PDF) are washable (PDF). “Remember that the motor is making an attempt to attract air to breathe via the filter. Clean the filters typically, like at the very least each different use,” mentioned Tom Gasko, vacuum-cleaner collector and restore specialist and proprietor of Mid Missouri Vacuum.

Check for clogs. Anything oversize or barely sticky runs the chance of gumming up the works. Peer into the mechanism and pull out something you see.

Clean the attachments. Clean off fur, hair, strings, and hay. “A brush clogged with hair means the motor goes to attract much more juice out of the battery and actually cut back the period of time which you could get out of the vacuum,” Gasko defined.

Consider whether or not it’s a charging situation. If, as soon as all of the elements are clear and clear, your handheld vacuum nonetheless isn’t performing, the batteries could also be lifeless, or there may very well be another fault within the charging system, akin to soiled charging contacts or a damaged energy adapter.

Sarah Bogdan, Liam McCabe, Michelle Ma, and Seamus Bellamy wrote earlier variations of this information, which was first revealed in 2013. This information was edited by Courtney Schley and Ingrid Skjong.



  1. Damian Lee, engineer at Ember and former engineer at Dyson and Shark, video interview, January 31, 2023

  2. Tom Gasko, vacuum cleaner collector and restore specialist and proprietor of Mid Missouri Vacuum, video interview, February 1, 2023

  3. James Brown, service specialist and museum curator at Mr. Vacuum Cleaner, video interview, December 30, 2022

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