The Best Handheld Vacuums, Tested by HGTV Editors

These handheld vacuum cleaners may be small, but they work hard on tough messes. Shop our recommended picks to find the best one for your home.

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March 25, 2021

Our Top Handheld Vacuum Picks

Not every mess warrants lugging out your heavy upright vacuum cleaner. Sometimes you just need to grab something quickly to pick up stray crumbs, pet hair and debris. This is why everyone needs a cordless, lightweight hand vacuum in addition to a larger multi-surface vacuum. These handheld cleaners aren’t meant to tackle entire-home messes (although they may claim to); they’re designed for spot cleaning. Plus, they’re particularly handy for cleaning upholstery, stairs and fabric because of how easy they are to carry.

There are a few different types of handheld vacuums — corded, cordless and those with HEPA filters. While corded handheld vacuums typically offer better, more powerful suction, we focused on testing cordless models, as they offer more cleaning flexibility — which is the whole point of having a handheld vacuum as a supplemental cleaning tool. When buying a cordless handheld vacuum, you’ll want to consider a few key factors to make sure you’re getting exactly what you need for your home and lifestyle. Consider suction power, bin capacity, battery performance, accessories and price as your major players in choosing the best handheld vacuum. When researching and testing, we've considered all of these factors, as well as customer reviews, and we've found options for every budget and need.


If you already have a larger upright vacuum that takes care of your more extensive vacuuming jobs but you want something that’s smaller and easy to maneuver for quick pickups, cars, furniture and raised surfaces, this cordless handheld might be exactly what you need. This budget-friendly 14V lithium-ion vacuum has an 18-ounce dustbin that’s easy to empty, 17-minute battery life and three suction heads: a motorized brush tool, upholstery tool and crevice tool. It also weighs just 3.5 pounds and can handle pet hair, dust, crumbs, litter and more. It’s convenient to have on hand near a kitchen or pet station where small everyday messes are likely because it’s so much easier and hassle-free to grab for quick pickups versus hauling a larger corded vacuum in and out of storage. Plus, it’s more efficient and faster to use than a broom and dustpan. While this cordless handheld is definitely smaller than most vacuums and still fairly easy to store, one con is the charging base is not wall mountable.

Our Editor Says: "It's so nice to quickly unplug and grab this handheld vacuum to clean something up in seconds without the process of unraveling a cord, plugging it up, lugging it around — it's the best for quick messes."

Buy It

With more than 48,000 positive reviews on Amazon, it’s no wonder this tiny-but-mighty dustbuster has a fan following. The 16V lithium-ion battery life and performance was the best we tested; it takes less than four hours to power up and can hold a charge for up to 18 months! Plus, it automatically shuts off when the battery is charged, allowing you to conveniently store your hand vacuum on the charger while maintaining long run times. Cyclonic action helps keep the filter clean and the suction strong, and the washable dustbin and filter make cleaning and maintenance a breeze. The translucent 20.6-ounce dustbin makes it easy to see when it’s time to empty (which our tester says is not very often). Accessories are great — until you have to find a place to store them. This handheld vacuum features a built-in extendable crevice tool for tight spots, a rotating nozzle for more cleaning flexibility and an attached flip-up brush that eases into nooks and crannies, like your car’s dashboard. While it isn’t the best handheld vacuum for picking up pet hair, our tester loved that it was easy to maneuver and was perfect for picking up kids’ mealtime messes.

Our Editor Says: “I really like how strong the suction is, and the narrow nozzle makes it easy to reach between cushions. It’s also really lightweight, which was nice for cleaning the car and baseboards.”

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Portable and powerful, the BISSELL AeroSlim is perfect for quick cleanups just about anywhere. The 7.2V lithium-ion battery provides up to 12 minutes of cleaning for messes around your home, car and office. And while the run time is lower than other models we tested, we love that it comes with a USB charger, so you can actually clean, charge and store it in your car or office. The included two-in-one crevice tool and dusting brush get into nooks and crannies, like your car’s dashboard and computer keyboard. Plus, they conveniently store right on the vacuum’s charging base. And if aesthetics are a concern, the AeroSlim’s sleek design and tiny footprint blend into practically any home. Maintaining the vacuum is simple, too. The dual-level filtration system includes washable and reusable filters to help improve cleaning performance even after years of use.

Buy It

At just 1.4 pounds, the Shark WANDVAC combines lightweight portability with the suction power of a high-speed brushless motor. It features a tapered nozzle for easy debris and dust pickup and comes with two accessories — a duster crevice tool and a multi-surface pet tool — for tackling pet hair, upholstery and tight spaces. Without its attachments, we found it works best on hard surfaces (like hardwood floors) and low-pile rugs or upholstery. You’ll want to use the attachments for higher-pile rugs and softer fabrics to really pull up the dirt locked in the fibers. Our favorite feature is the one-touch debris-emptying system that makes cleanup a breeze. It runs for almost 10 minutes on a full charge and takes less than three hours to juice back up (which is a much faster charging time than most cordless models). Although it’s small and takes up little space, it doesn’t conveniently mount to the wall. Luckily, the device itself is sleek and attractive enough to leave out in the open if you need to. Plus, we love that the charging dock offers onboard accessory storage — no stray or misplaced attachments!

Our Editor Says: "The one-touch debris emptying system is really nice. It kind of balls up all the hair and dirt inside the canister and just pops it out. It's also very easy to empty and clean the tiny, little filter."

Buy It

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