The 8 Best Handheld Vacuums of 2023, According to Real Users
We found the best handheld vacuum picks for every household and budget. They'll even clean pet messes!
Our editors and experts handpick every product we feature. We may earn a commission from your purchases.
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Hard-to-reach spaces and all of life’s little messes are reason enough to invest in a high-quality handheld vacuum. They’re ideal for places you’re not vacuuming but should, such as baseboards and blinds, and they’re also compact enough to be stored in a closet or corner. They rival some of the best vacuums in terms of power and versatility. The best handheld vacuum models offer the strong suction of their larger counterparts, with some even joining the ranks of the best vacuums for pet hair thanks to special attachments.
After looking through this list of best handheld vacuums, make sure to read up on unexpected vacuum cleaner uses and things you shouldn’t vacuum.
Best handheld vacuum picks
- Best overall: Black+Decker 20V Max Handheld Vacuum
- Best value: Dirt Devil Scorpion Handheld Vacuum
- Best splurge: Hoover Dust Chaser Hand Vacuum
- Best for pet hair: Bissell Pet Hair Eraser
- Best for cars: ThisWorx Handheld Car Vacuum
- Best wet/dry: Bissell Little Green Machine
- Most lightweight: Shark Wandvac Handheld Vacuum
- Best for travel: IonVac Cordless USB Vacuum
Best overall handheld vacuum
Black+Decker 20V Max Handheld Vacuum
Our top pick for the overall best handheld vacuum is the efficient, moderately-priced Black+Decker 20V Max Handheld Vacuum. It features a genius pivoting nozzle that makes reaching difficult corners and crevices a breeze in a compact size. The dustbowl boasts a 15-ounce capacity for impressive pick-up powered by a high-performance motor. Cyclonic suction spins dust and debris away from the three-stage filter, keeping suction power strong.
“I’ve now had this vacuum for five years,” writes Melissa Wilson, a verified Amazon purchaser. “The longevity alone should earn it five stars, but here’s what I truly love about it. The charging stand is life-changing and not something I’ve seen on other cordless vacs. The flip-up brush is genius. I can go from vacuuming up the dirt from sweeping to getting the fur out of the corners of our couch or a weird corner of tile which somehow gathers fur from our two dogs.”
- Versatility; works on everything from dust to dog hair
- Lightweight and ergonomic
- Easy wall mounting
- 15-ounce dustbowl capacity
- 26,000 Amazon ratings and a 4.5-star average
- Available at Walmart and Amazon
- Frequent filter cleanings are necessary and take two to three minutes each
Best value handheld vacuum
Dirt Devil Scorpion Handheld Vacuum
The Dirt Devil Scorpion Handheld Vacuum tops our list of best handheld vacuums thanks to its strong motor, continuous power and extremely affordable price. The high-value aspect comes from never having to worry about charging a battery again because of the corded design with 120 volts of power. It’s a tinier-than-average model with a simple dustbin-emptying mechanism that reviewers say is never finicky. Forgetting to charge handheld models is one of the easiest cleaning mistakes to make, which is exactly why a corded model is so useful.
“Holy smokes, do yourself a favor and get this,” shares Keeks, a verified Amazon purchaser who awarded this model a full five stars. “This little guy gets the job done. I used it to clean out my car that transports two active, filthy children who apparently cannot manage to get french fries in their mouths, and one long-haired Nordic dog whose only response to anything is ‘shed immediately.’ It did better than any vac at a car wash. The crevice tool even got all the crumbs out of the gear shift spot.”
- Continuous power thanks to the corded design
- Affordable price point
- 120 volts of powerful suction
- Easy-to-empty dustbin
- Over 12,000 Amazon ratings with a 4.4-star average
- Available at Amazon and Walmart
- There is no option to plug into a vehicle’s aux outlet
- The cord is not retractable
Best splurge handheld vacuum
Hoover Dust Chaser Hand Vacuum
Slim design and on-trend colors are part of the luxury packaging you get with this handsome Hoover Dust Chaser Hand Vacuum. The all-white encasement and lightweight, sleek design earn it high marks with customers. It features a high-performance digital motor, intense suction for chunkier debris and a full 15-minute run time. It’s a smart home device that works as great as it looks.
It also boasts a dual filtration system with HEPA technology that captures over 99% of dust, pet dander and allergens. The best part? It’s powered by the removable and rechargeable ONEPWR 2.0 battery that works with other pieces in the Hoover lineup.
- Features a luxurious design and high-end details like a removable, rechargeable battery pack
- The ONEPWR battery can be used with other Hoover devices as well for seamless integration
- Lightweight model
- Sleek shape and ergonomic design
- Digital motor with powerful suction
- HEPA filtration purifies the air
- Available at Walmart and Wayfair
- More expensive than other models on the market, but worth the splurge
- Reviewers note cleaning the filter can be a little tricky at first
Best handheld vacuum for pet hair
Bissell Pet Hair Eraser
Bissell does it again with the brand’s bestselling Pet Hair Eraser Cordless Hand Vacuum. Reviewers can’t stop raving about how clean it leaves couches, carpets and upholstery. It has over 30,000 Amazon ratings and a high 4.6-star average rating. This sleek model is easily the best handheld vacuum for pet hair thanks to its clever motorized brush design.
Our Deputy Shopping Editor reviewed the Pet Hair Eraser and was wowed by the suction power of the little vacuum, especially when using the motorized brush attachment. But she’s not the only one who’s impressed.
“Holy crap, this thing is amazing. Well worth the money,” raves verified purchaser Kenzie. “I have three cats and a dog, all of whom shed something fierce. I didn’t have high hopes for this since pet hair is so hard to suck up. This little baby blew me out of the water! It takes like 10 minutes to vacuum my whole sectional, throw pillows, and chair. I love it so much I’ll be purchasing a second one so I have one on each floor of my house. Don’t hesitate, just buy it!”
- Motorized brush attachment sucks up all sorts of pet hair without bunching or tangling
- Easy to handle
- Powerful lithium-ion battery
- Moderate price point
- Also cleans messes like cat litter and dust
- Over 30,000 Amazon ratings with a 4.6-star average
- Available at Amazon, Target and Walmart
- Not designed to manage or treat wet pet stains, so you’ll need a separate tool for that
Best handheld vacuum for cars
ThisWorx Handheld Car Vacuum
Cars and trucks of all types should always keep a ThisWorx Handheld Car Vacuum stashed in their trunk for impromptu cleanups. This compact wonder certainly lives up to its name. It “works” on dust, sand, crunched-up leaves and even dried-up bits of snacks kids may leave behind in the car seats.
Plus, it features a clever corded system that works with 12-volt aux outlets so you’ll never run out of power. The 16-foot cord gives plenty of room to reach the corners of even the longest trucks and SUVs. It’s truly the best handheld vacuum for cars.
“This thing is awesome,” says Sally, a verified Amazon reviewer. “I own three dogs and it is just a nightmare pulling out my extension cord to vacuum my truck. I can now just plug this little guy into my car outlet and I’m good to go! The power in this vacuum is as good as it’s going to get for a car vacuum, so if you want extreme suction—buy a shop vac.”
- Brilliant tiny design that’s easy to stash in cars
- 16-foot cord plugs into 12-volt aux outlets (or cigarette lighters in older cars)
- Offers plenty of power
- Easy-to-hold package that’s ideal for hands of all sizes
- Over 254,000 Amazon reviews and a 4-star average
- Available at Amazon and Walmart
- The motor mostly puts out medium suction force and is best suited for smaller messes and dry debris
Best wet/dry handheld vacuum
Bissell Little Green Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner
Another model that made our list of the best handheld vacuums; this budget-friendly Bissell Little Green machine. It removes hair, dirt and stains from carpets and upholstery with ease thanks to a narrow brush nozzle. The powerful suction and ability to get into tight spaces also make it an ideal choice for car interiors and furniture.
Best of all, it’s an exceptionally affordable option that has garnered over 58,000 Amazon ratings and an impressive 4.6-star average. For more cordless action, check out the editor-loved Sharp VacMop Pro.
Our tester loves her Bissell Little Green. “Fair warning though—the addictive nature of this device will have you cleaning things you never expected to clean” she writes in her Little Green review. “Before you know it, a whole hour will go by and all of your car’s upholstery will look factory fresh.”
- Budget-friendly model doesn’t skimp on power or design
- Removes dirt and stains from carpet, upholstery and other fabrics
- Easy to maneuver
- Over 58,000 Amazon ratings and a 4.6-star average
- Available at Amazon, Bissell and Walmart
- Meant for spot cleaning, not covering large areas
Best lightweight handheld vacuum
Shark Wandvac Handheld Vacuum
You don’t need to have superhero strength to use the Shark Wandvac Handheld Vacuum. It’s one of the best Shark handheld vacuum options for those with weak grip strength thanks to its nimble 1.4-pound weight and narrow structure. Cyclonic high-performance suction leads debris to a dustbowl with a massive 15-ounce capacity.
Considering how narrow and lightweight this model is, that’s one of the best dust capacity options we’ve seen yet. It also fits neatly into compact corners, shelves and utility closets without taking up much room at all.
- Weighs only 1.4 pounds
- Ideal for most grip strengths
- Narrow footprint works best in small spaces
- Large-capacity dustbowl
- Versatile, nimble handling that is ideal for couch cushions and tight corners
- Available in several colors
- Available at Amazon and Walmart
- Pricier than other models on the market
- No HEPA filter, so it’s better for larger particles
Best handheld vacuum for travel
IonVac Cordless USB Vacuum
Power up and clean just about anything from anywhere with this cute IonVac Cordless USB Vacuum that’s a cinch to use anywhere you go. Never worry about whether or not you have the right outlet again—just charge it from any USB-friendly outlet. Even your computer can juice this affordable hand vacuum up.
It comes in four smile-worthy colors and offers a crevice nozzle that allows you to clean hard-to-reach places. This model is perfect for the base of walls and in corners, gaps in car seats and sandy vacation luggage.
- Clever USB charging means you can travel just about anywhere with it
- Relatively lightweight
- Available in four fun colors
- Two attachments make this an excellent choice for several types of debris ranging from dust to sand and dirt to dried leaves
- Very affordable
- Available at Walmart
- No HEPA filter
- Powerful, but not as strong as other models on our list so this one is best reserved for on-the-go types
What to consider when buying a handheld vacuum
Picking the best handheld vacuum comes down to identifying your needs. Households that usually reach for their best vacuum mop combos may benefit from wet/dry models (like our editor-favorite Tineco iFloor 3), whereas drivers with messy cars may prefer options designed to suck up dirt, leaves and sand. One of the most important features to look for is handles that make cleaning up feel like less of a chore.
Choosing a model with at least 16 volts of power is also a surefire way to make sure you have enough suction capability to get messes cleaned up quickly—and without debris spitback. Much like the best robot vacuums, chose the best handheld vacuums for you based on overall value and design. Look closely at technical elements like voltage, suction force and special add-ons and attachments. Models that offer appealing design and power at budget-friendly prices might impress the most.
How we found the best handheld vacuum
As shopping experts, our only job is to help you find a winning product. We start with the research and reporting basics—what products are made of, what they look like and how much they cost—to ensure that we’re only recommending the buys that are worth your time and money. Then, we research the features that speak to the product’s quality, taking advice from industry insiders and subject matter experts on what makes a product a smart value (or worthy of a splurge). Finally, we do the work of combing through user reviews to see how real people interact with the product, and if it stands up to the test.
Are handheld vacuums worth it?
Handheld vacuums are definitely worth it if you live in an apartment, need to clean furniture or frequently encounter small spills. They have comparable suction power to upright vacuums and can cost a fraction of the price. They’re also portable, so you can clean the car, stairs or other hard-to-reach areas easily.
How to clean a handheld vacuum
Cleaning a handheld vacuum depends on the model in question. For most devices, rinse the dustbin with water, let it air dry, then replace the filter. It’s best to clean handheld vacuums at least every six months to make sure you’re not shortening your vacuum’s life.
How long do handheld vacuums last?
Most handheld vacuums can last anywhere from two to four years. However, there are ways to prolong its life, including regular cleanings and making sure it’s not sucking up more than it can handle. Plus, there are always vacuum deals on Dysons and other brands if you’re looking to save.
Are handheld vacuums loud?
Many handheld vacuums aren’t much louder than an upright one, but still make more noise than robot vacuums. Blockage could increase its noise level, as well as a filter in need of replacement.
With additional reporting by Bryce Gruber.
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