The Best Handheld Vacuums of 2023, 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.
Our Top Handheld Vacuum Picks
- Best Overall: Black+Decker Pivot Max Handheld Vacuum
- Runner-Up: Black+Decker Dustbuster Handheld Vacuum
- Best Budget: Brigii 3-in-1 Mini Handheld Vacuum
- Best Lightweight: Shark WANDVAC Handheld Vacuum
- Best for Pet Hair: Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Handheld Vacuum
- Best for Cars: THISWORX Car Vacuum
- Best for Upholstery: Black+Decker AdvancedClean+ Handheld Vacuum
- Best for Keyboards & Desktops: ODISTAR Desktop Vacuum
Not every mess warrants lugging out your heavy everyday vacuum cleaner. Sometimes you just need to grab something quick to pick up stray crumbs, pet hair and dirt. This is why everyone needs a cordless, lightweight handheld 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 hard surfaces because of how easy they are to carry. The best handlheld vaccums are easy to use, lightweight and can tackle small and more serious messes. We've tested many handheld vacuums and these are our top-rated picks.
How We Tested
When choosing which handheld vacuums to test, we considered customer reviews, ratings and best-sellers. We recorded the specs of each handheld vacuum including size, dustbin capacity, weight, attachments, and warranty before we started testing. To test handheld vacuums, we used each vacuum to vacuum a car, pick up crumbs in the crevices of our homes and to vacuum pet hair. We recorded the noise level of the vacuum when it was in use and noted how lightweight or heavy the vacuum felt while we were vacuuming. We tested each attachment the vacuum came with. We emptied the vacuum after use and noted how intuitive that process was and if there was any mess around the trash can during the emptying process. Finally, we took into consideration price along with our testing notes and specs when choosing our top picks.
This 20-volt handheld vacuum cleaner gets our Best Overall pick for a reason. While its runtime is only 10 to 12 minutes, it handles everyday messes like a champ and has the most powerful suction on our list. Its 15-ounce dustbin and washable filter are removable for easy cleaning right in the sink with a “side door” for quick dirt disposal between vacuuming sessions. It comes with a built-in crevice tool, upholstery brush and features a patented nozzle that pivots to your preferred angle to help clean up high, down low and even in tight spaces. Our tester found it works better on hard surfaces than carpeted areas, though. The compact, lightweight design and attached accessory tools make it easy to store, too. We love that the battery is integrated into the vacuum so you don’t have to store it separately, and the charging base is even mountable so you can store it in a closet out of sight — a huge pro on our list.
Our Editor Says: "It's so convenient to have a compact, cordless vacuum like this stored near the areas in my home with the most frequent messes so I can tackle them as they happen instead of putting them off until my robot vacuum covers that area."
With more than 79,000 positive reviews on Amazon, it’s no wonder this tiny-but-mighty dustbuster has a fan following. The 16-volt lithium-ion battery life 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 handheld 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."
Portable and powerful, the Brigii Mini Vacuum is perfect for quick cleanups just about anywhere. The 2500-mAh lithium-ion battery provides up to 20 minutes of cleaning for messes around your home, car and office and only needs four hours to be fully charged via USB (a light on the device will turn green when it's ready to go). For such a small, lightweight frame (it’s literally the size of a water bottle and weighs just one pound), it has a powerful 80-watt motor and can provide 4Kpa suction, meaning it can easily pick up dust, hair and small debris. But what makes this vacuum so unique is that it’s actually a three-in-one tool: a mini vacuum cleaner, an air duster and a hand pump. One end of the device is connected to the nozzle for vacuuming, which turns into a hand pump for travel, while the other end is connected to the nozzle for blowing dust. The four included crevice tools get into nooks and crannies, like your car’s dashboard and computer keyboard, and conveniently pack inside a drawstring bag for easy storage. And if aesthetics are a concern, the Brigii’s sleek design and tiny footprint blend into practically any home or can hide in your car’s glove compartment. Maintaining the vacuum is simple, too. It comes with an easy-to-empty dustbin and a washable and reusable HEPA filter to help improve cleaning performance even after years of use. Overall, we loved how compact, portable and multifunctional this device is at such a low price point.
Our Editor Says: "The fact that you can use the attachments on the opposite side of the vacuum to be a mini blower instead of vacuum is pretty nifty. I tested this feature with the hand pump accessory tool to blow up a full-size air mattress, and it took less than three minutes! That’s handy for car camping or car travel in general so that you’d always have a way to blow up a mattress with a pump that can be charged in your car via USB. The hand pump accessory tool used on the suction side also works great for vacuum-sealing bags of clothing."
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."
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, 14-volt 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 kitty litter and pet hair in seconds without the process of unraveling a cord, plugging it up, lugging it around. It's the best for quick messes."
Giving your car an interior detail has never been so cheap! The THISWORX Car Vacuum is a powerful, little vacuum cleaner dedicated to your car — and it costs less than $42. The compact, lightweight (only 2.4 pounds!) vacuum is easy to use and ready to pick up all the dust, drive-thru food spills and kid snack crumbs you can throw at it. While it’s not battery-powered or cordless, it does have a lengthy 16-foot cord that plugs right into your car’s 12-volt auxiliary outlet to run for as long as you need it. Our tester claims it tackled months of leaves, dirt and Goldfish buildup with ease, although it’s much better suited for maintaining a clean car versus tackling huge interior messes. It’s even easy to store right in your car and comes with a handled, zippered storage case. Plus, it includes three attachments: a flathead hose for hard-to-reach areas; an extension tube for under seats, cracks and crevices; and a brush head for carpets and upholstery. (It’s great for getting dog hair off upholstered seats.) When you’re finished vacuuming, simply empty the dustbin and use the included filter brush to remove any excess debris from the filter. (This will also help extend the life of your filter). Whether you have messy kids or pets or simply like to maintain a clean car interior, this tiny but mighty vacuum will get the job done — and done well.
Our Editor Says: "A 16-foot cord may sound cumbersome in a car, but it was able to reach from the front seat to the trunk of my SUV with ease, ridding my floorboards of dirt and my seats from kids' cereal and pet hair. Plus, I love that I don't have to worry about keeping it charged when I want to use it and it can live in the trunk of my car."
The Black+Decker AdvancedClean+ Handheld Vacuum makes cleaning up pet hair and messes a breeze from on top of, around and under furniture. The 20-volt vacuum delivers strong suction power for a complete, thorough clean and two speeds — plus Powerboost — for an added burst of power with the push of a button. Our tester used it specifically to pick up litter and cat hair around her cats’ litter boxes and noticed a big difference in how clean her house looked and felt with regular vacuuming sessions — without having to plug up her corded upright vacuum. The extra-large dustbin features a one-touch, easy-empty design for no contact with dirt and dust, while the washable filter makes cleaning and maintenance fast and simple. If you’re looking for a handheld vacuum that can also tackle pet hair, then this is a great pick. It comes with an extra-long crevice tool for hard-to-reach areas and a motorized pet brush with anti-tangle rubber bristles to tackle upholstery and carpeted areas. While the battery life could be better, we love that it has a digital battery indicator so you can see when it’s time to charge. Also, it’s not wall-mountable, but it does sit upright on its dustbin to save space while charging and storing.
Our Editor Says: "My long-hair cats like to lounge on top of my navy-blue sofa, creating piles of fluff everywhere. This vacuum is easy to grab and clean up those fuzzy messes without having to lug out my larger upright vacuum."
Keyboard crumbs and desktop debris are no match for this tiny-but-mighty portable vacuum cleaner. The ODISTAR Desktop Vacuum features a powerful built-in rechargeable battery with up to 400 minutes of continuous cleaning time after a 2-3-hour charge. (The manufacturer does recommend using it for less than 10 minutes at a time to avoid damage.) The USB cable allows it to charge from just about anywhere, and its small footprint is perfect for storing in a desk drawer or right on your desktop. Its lightweight, simple design is part of its charm and why it made our list. The dustbin is easy to empty, and it even comes with a cleaning brush to help clear the bin if anything gets stuck inside. Since the bin is small, our tester noticed that debris can pop out of the suction hole if it gets too full, so it’s best to empty it frequently and after each cleaning session. We also found that the vacuum works better on smooth surfaces like laptops, keyboards and desktops versus mouse pads and desk mats.
Our Editor Says: "I’m a pretty avid PC gamer who uses their desk for work and play, so I would buy this product since it's inexpensive and keeps a space I frequently use in good shape. I think this would make a great stocking stuffer for the gamer or someone who works from home."
What to Consider When Buying a Handheld Vacuum
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 found the cordless models to be the best handheld vacuum options, as they offer more cleaning flexibility, which is the whole point of having a handheld vacuum as a supplemental cleaning tool. When choosing the best 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.
Suction Power: While not as powerful as full-sized vacuum cleaners, having at least 10 volts will offer sufficient suction power.
Dustbin Capacity: Dustbin capacities will vary, but, of course, the larger the bin, the more dirt it can hold — and the less you have to empty it. Most handheld vacuums come with filters that should be replaced every three to six months, depending on how often you use the vacuum. Keeping your filter clean and free of excess debris will extend the lifespan of your filter.
Battery Performance: This is probably the biggest pro of a handheld vacuum. Depending on the voltage, you’re typically looking at anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes of continuous run time, and many can hold a charge for months.
Accessories and Attachments: Depending on the specialty of the vacuum (pet hair? car interiors?), you may get a range of attachments to make cleaning even easier. The most common accessories are an upholstery tool, crevice tool and brush tool for various surfaces and hard-to-reach places.
How Much Should a Handheld Vacuum Cost?
While you will definitely pay less for a handheld than a standard vacuum, prices can range based on suction power and brand. You can, however, expect to spend less than $100 for a handheld vacuum.
How to Clean and Maintain a Handheld Vacuum
Sure, you use your vacuum to clean, however, it's important to keep your vacuums clean and well-maintained so they last and perform for a while. Not sure where to start? Our guide to cleaning vacuum cleaner filters can help in many cases.
Emtpy the dustbin: Handheld vacuum cleaners are small, so you'll want to empty the dustibin often. If you find your dustbin is looking dirty, take some gentle soap and water and give it a wipedown. Make sure to let it dry thoroughly before reassembling.
Clean the filter: Handheld vacuums are often bagless vacuums with a small filter. You'll want to clean the filter on a regular basis. Follow the manufactuerer's instructions on how to clean the filter for your particular vacuum cleaner.
Clean the attachments: Brush attachments nototiously get clogged with pet hair, human hair, string, food and more. Make sure to clean the brush and remove the debris after each use to keep it in optimal condition.
Check the battery: If you find your handheld vacuum is totally clean and still underperforming, you may want to double check the charging station or battery. It could be an issue with the power unit, which could be covered under a warranty.