There are some messes that require a full-size vacuum.
But what about small spills and messes in cars, couch cushions, or other tight places?
Not every vacuum gives you the portability you need to get at every mess. And for those times when a full-size vacuum won’t cut it, you need a smaller, handheld option to keep your spaces squeaky-clean!
We’re going to look at some of the popular options out there and try to narrow down which handheld vacuum is best for you, no matter which way you prefer to clean your home.
The 6 Best Handheld Vacuums for 2020
|Product||Battery Time||Charging Time||Power||Weight|
|10-15 Minutes||1-4 Hours||16 V||2.6 lbs|
|13 Minutes||4-6 hours||10.8 V||2.8 lbs|
|17 Minutes||4-6 Hours||14 V||4.3 lbs|
|20 Minutes||4-6 Hours||20 V||3.2 lbs|
|Corded||Corded||18 V||3.7 lbs|
|30 Minutes||4-6 Hours||20 V||3.7 lbs|
About the BLACK+DECKER Dustbuster
BLACK+DECKER is one of the most recognizable appliance brands out there, and their vacuums are among their most popular products.
The 16V Dustbuster is BLACK+DECKER’s attempt at a value offering in the handheld vacuum market.
The Dustbuster is equipped with a lithium-ion battery that should give you long battery life given the price paid for the product.
Additionally, the battery should fully charge in a very fast 1-4 hours and run for up to 15 minutes.
That may not seem like a lot but for a device that comes in under $60 it actually isn’t too bad.
The vacuum has some nifty and helpful features, such as its easy to empty design, and the detachable, washable dirt bowl and filter.
Additionally, BLACK+DECKER advertise the Dustbuster’s cyclonic action as providing strong suction that will keep your filter clean.
The Dustbuster also comes with an easy to use pull-out crevice tool and flip up brush to tackle any mess.
The nozzle of the vacuum also rotates 180o for added utility.
Given the price of this vacuum, these features are a really nice inclusion, and go a long way towards making the Dustbuster a great value offering.
The Dustbuster is definitely one of the bang-for-your-buck options when it comes to handheld vacuums.
However, there are a few concerns we’ve noted when it comes to the device.
For one, the charging base and battery for this device are a serious cause-for-concern. One of the most common online complaints was a defective charger or battery within a few months of purchase.
The inability to buy a replacement battery (or access the battery at all) means you could be stuck with a throwaway vacuum shortly after buying.
Given the concerns with the battery it is hard to call this the best budget handheld vacuum out there, as you’re likely to have to buy a replacement, ultimately costing you more money!
Keep reading to find a device that won’t quit on you.
Shark Cordless Pet Perfect
About the Shark Cordless Pet Perfect
Up next, we’ll take a look at the Pet Perfect cordless vacuum from the Shark brand.
Shark is one of the best-known vacuum companies out there thanks to their incredible performance and fair prices.
The Shark Cordless Pet Perfect is another great offering from the brand.
Firstly, this product is on sale quite often on Amazon, so keep an eye out for that!
Secondly, this affordable vacuum comes packed with great features and performs very well for its price.
This lithium-ion battery device can hold a charge for up to 13 minutes, and charges in 4-6 hours.
However, we should mention that these are the advertised figures and we found the charging time to be much shorter and the run-time to be much longer in most cases!
Another example of why Shark is a great brand is their undersell and overperform mantra!
The vacuum comes with a motorized brush tool for upholstery, especially useful for pet hair.
And it also includes a useful crevice tool for picking up any mess, no matter how small or hard to reach.
The twister suction technology gives it strong suction power so even those stuck-in spots of dirt can be cleaned!
We liked the consistent suction that this vacuum provided, and we found that the Shark Pet Perfect outperformed our expectations of it.
The Shark Cordless Pet Perfect is a great vacuum at a great price, and if you manage to get it on sale it’s an even better value proposition.
The Pet Perfect’s battery and charger don’t have the same issues as BLACK+DECKER’s Dustbuster, and despite the lower power usage and advertised battery performance we found it to be the all-around winner when going head-to-head with the Dustbuster.
The suction is stronger and more consistent, the battery gives every indication of being a better long-term bet, and the tools included allow for much more usefulness in tackling any kind of mess.
As with any cordless device, results can be inconsistent, but we found the Shark to be much more reliable than other budget offerings.
This is our “Best Budget Pick” and a great tool in any pet (or no pet!) household.
Bissell Pet Hair Eraser
About the Bissell Pet Hair Eraser
Staying in the theme of pet hair vacuums, let’s take a look at the Pet Hair Eraser from the Bissell brand.
The Pet Hair Eraser is our favorite looking device so far, but can it perform as good as it looks?
Well, the Bissell comes equipped with a 14V lithium-ion battery that can hold a charge for 17 minutes, and charge in 4-6 hours.
The suction on the vacuum is quite good, and it comes with some great attachments too.
The vacuum comes with a motorized brush tool, a crevice tool, and an upholstery tool.
The use of these three tools can remove any pet hair or mess, no matter how embedded or hard to reach.
The Bissell also has 3-level filtration for improved cleaning performance.
That filter, and the dustbin, are both incredibly easy to clean ensuring your vacuum is always running at full capacity.
So, to answer the earlier question, yes it looks good and cleans great!
The Pet Hair Eraser is an interesting vacuum.
We love the way it looks, and it is a pretty great vacuum in its own right, but we struggle to award it the “Best Budget” or “Best Value” picks on this list.
If the price were to come down a little bit, it would easily be our suggestion over the Shark Cordless Pet Perfect.
Regardless, this is a great vacuum at a fairly affordable price, and if you were to choose this over the prior Shark vacuum, we feel pretty confident that you wouldn’t regret it.
Another small thing we really liked is Bissell’s commitment to donate $5 to their Bissell Pet Foundation for every Pet Hair Eraser purchase, upon vacuum activation on their website.
BLACK+DECKER MAX Lithium Flex Vacuum
About the BLACK+DECKER Flex Vacuum
Up next is a vacuum that has us quite flex-cited…
The BLACK+DECKER Flex Vacuum couldn’t be a further departure from BLACK+DECKER’s underwhelming Dustbuster.
The Flex vacuum looks very different from most portable vacuums, but we think that works to its benefit.
The non-traditional design makes the Flex vacuum incredibly easy to carry, and thus, very versatile.
The inclusion of a 4ft extendable hose, pet hair attachment, stick vacuum extension, crevice tool, and 2-in-1 nozzle/brush tool, makes this vacuum highly utility designed.
It’s a great bonus that the included tools are very effective… the pet hair attachment is incredibly efficient at grabbing pet hair from carpets and upholstery.
The dustbin holds 18.9 ounces of mess and is quite easy to empty.
The cyclonic action also keeps the filter clean, and performance at its highest level, and when it comes to performance this vacuum is no sucker.
The suction and cleaning performance of the BLACK+DECKER Flex vacuum is the best of any vacuum we’ve looked at so far.
The BLACK+DECKER Flex is one of our favorite portable vacuums on the market.
For a very fair price it comes with an incredible assortment of attachments and tools, all of which go towards making this vacuum one of the most useful pieces of cleaning equipment out there.
Although, our favorite feature here has to be the 4-foot extendable hose. It offers the flexibility to vacuum any space and is a feature we can’t imagine going without now that we’ve seen it.
Online reviews of this vacuum are overwhelmingly positive, although some complaints point to the potential for a dud battery.
Our advice is to test your unit thoroughly upon purchase and replace or return if you sense any serious issues.
That being said, most seem quite happy with the purchase, and we think that’s the likely outcome here.
The BLACK+DECKER Flex vacuum is our “Best Value Pick” of any handheld vacuum thanks to its great performance, attachments, and overall utility.
Check out the video below for a quick look at the vacuum and a demo of the pet hair tool!
Shark Rocket Ultra-Light
About the Shark Rocket Ultra-Light
Is it still considered a handheld vacuum if its corded?
The Shark Rocket Ultra-Light is the vacuum that forced us to consider this question.
Some might disagree with us, but if the vacuum is lightweight and small enough to be lifted with one hand, we feel fine calling it a handheld.
Maybe a corded vacuum doesn’t quite belong here, but the Shark Rocket was too good to leave off this list.
First things first, yes, it is a plug-in vacuum, but it comes with a 15-foot power cord, giving you plenty of maneuverability.
Some may see that as a downside, but the lack of a battery means two things:
- The Shark Rocket Ultra-Light will likely have a much longer lifespan than any other handheld vacuum on this list
- More power, and no need to charge
That is two pretty big bonuses to going the corded route, and the Shark Rocket Ultra-Light has even more to offer.
This vacuum comes with some super useful attachments.
A 12” crevice tool, a dusting brush, a TruePet motorized brush, and an extended-reach stretch hose similar to BLACK+DECKER’s flex vacuum.
The motorized brush is very effective at pulling up pet hair, and the other tools included are equally useful for all sorts of messes and uses.
We really loved the utility of the prior BLACK+DECKER, and minus the small nuisance of dragging a power cord around, the Shark Rocket is equally impressive.
There are only two noticeable negatives to this product.
- The cord means you can only clean within 15-feet of a power outlet, a relatively big negative for a handheld vacuum
- The vacuum is slightly heavy for a handheld unit and could benefit from a shoulder strap
Aside from these negatives, the Shark Rocket Ultra-Light is a very safe purchase. No battery means no battery issues, as is a fairly common case with handheld vacuums.
The vacuum also has incredible suction for a handheld vacuum issue and is an incredibly versatile and useful tool in any home cleaner’s arsenal.
You can’t go wrong with this one, and even though it’s a corded option it is still our “Best Overall Pick” of any handheld vacuum out there.
Watch the QVC breakdown of the product here:
Dyson V7 Trigger
About the Dyson V7 Trigger
The final handheld vacuum on our list is one that most might be surprised isn’t our “Best Overall Pick”.
The Dyson brand is recognized as one of the most reliable out there, and in most cases their products are overwhelmingly regarded as the best of the best.
And don’t get us wrong, the Dyson V7 Trigger is a very great product.
Powered by a Dyson Digital V7 motor, the powerful suction of this device is incredible, however it is still outdone by the corded Shark Rocket Ultra-Light.
When it comes to the battery, Dyson has outdone every other cordless handheld vacuum on the market. Charging in 4 to 6 hours, the Dyson V7 Trigger can run for up to 30 minutes, which is drastically more than most handheld vacuums can offer.
In typical Dyson fashion they have some great and intuitive features, such as:
A hygienic dirt ejector, that simply releases waste into a garbage bin.
A mini motorized tool that removes pet hair and set-in dirt/messes.
A combination tool for gentler dusting and vacuuming.
And a useful crevice tool for awkward gaps or crevices.
These tools all snap into the Dyson V7 Trigger very securely and have that uncanny Dyson magic of superior build and design.
That being said, the Dyson V7 Trigger also comes with the typical Dyson price-tag.
However, the vacuum also comes with a 2-year warranty, which gives a little reassurance that your money won’t go to waste.
The Dyson V7 Trigger is a great little vacuum when it works, and reviews seem to agree with that sentiment.
Over 55% of reviews are 5 stars, but the online reviews paint a mixed picture.
Some seem incredibly happy with their purchase, while others are adamant the V7 Trigger is a nightmare purchase.
In our experience, the Dyson V7 is an incredible little handheld vacuum.
The battery is the longest lasting by far of any handheld we looked at, and the design and build of the Dyson screams quality.
That being said, that doesn’t seem to be the case for everyone that has purchased a V7 Trigger.
The dust canister is a very common complaint online, and the simple-emptying mechanism seems to be something that either works or doesn’t. Quite often, the entire dustbin can be “unseated” and require struggling and fiddling to get back into place.
Additional reviewers have complained about batteries failing within a year of purchase.
These complaints are a genuine cause for concern, especially given the Dyson V7’s costly price-tag.
Even though a functional unit is fantastic in both performance and function, the potential for a dud unit (and then having to deal with customer support) is too large a risk for such an expensive product.
For that reason, we chose the Shark Rocket Utra-Light as our “Best Overall” handheld vacuum.
Buying a vacuum can be a difficult purchase, you have to weigh factors such as accessories, suction power, and features.
Buying a handheld vacuum can be even harder, given the inclusion of a battery!
It can be even more difficult when you’re shopping on a budget, and that’s why we tried to find the most affordable, best performing handheld vacuum out there.
We settled on the Shark Cordless Pet Perfect as our “Best Budget Pick”.
An affordable option with powerful suction and great reviews, although we can also recommend the Bissell Pet Hair Eraser, another great affordable option.
When it came to value, we wanted a high-performance handheld vacuum with a reliable battery and great features.
The BLACK+DECKER Flex Vacuum was our “Best Value Pick” as it was incredibly designed and probably the most versatile vacuum we’ve ever come across.
Finally, the most common complaint we came across for handheld vacuums was underwhelming battery life or performance, and for many, their batteries were dying within a year of purchase.
For these reasons the Shark Rocket Ultra-Light Hand Vacuum jumped to the very top of our list, solidifying its spot as the “Best Overall” handheld vacuum.
The Shark Rocket is an affordable corded handheld that is guaranteed to last you longer than battery-powered options, with all the same utility and handiness you expect from a handheld vacuum.
Finding the right handheld vacuum doesn’t have to suck, and we hope this list was proof of that.
Writer and Researcher
Sean is a Canadian University graduate with a degree in Communication Studies and Business Management. With over four years of experience in the field working with different newspapers and online magazines, mixed with his impeccable researching abilities, his talents are a perfect fit.