Best Handheld Vacuum 2017 – Buyer’s Guide

(Last Updated On: September 11, 2017)

A handheld vacuum cleaner is perfect for cleaning and maintaining your wall-to-wall carpeting and large areas. It’s when you have small spills and messes to clean that you find the vacuum cleaner too heavy and bulky for frequent use. This is when a handheld vacuum cleaner proves ideal to clean up small messes, especially in places normal vacuum cleaners cannot reach.

Compare: 7 Best Handheld Vacuums of 2017

Device Name Weight Cord Type

Black + Decker CHV1410L 16V

3.8 pounds Cordless

Black+Decker BDH2000PL MAX Lithium

3.8 pounds Cordless

Shark Cordless Pet Perfect II Hand Vac (SV780)

4.2 pounds Cordless

Stanley Black & Decker FHV1200W

5.7 pound Cordless
Black + Decker BDH2000L 20V 3.9 pounds Cordless

Black & Decker HHVI320JR02 Dustbuster

2.4 pounds Cordless

Pet Hair Eraser

3 pounds Cordless

Review of Black + Decker CHV1410L 16V Cordless1. Black + Decker CHV1410L 16V Cordless – Best Handheld Vacuum to Buy in 2017

 The Black + Decker CHV1410L 16V Cordless Lithium Hand Vac is a sleek machine that boasts of strong suction, lithium technology and fade-free power. Its charge lasts for up to 18 months making it always ready to use.

It has a translucent, bagless dirt bowl to easily keep an eye on the dirt to empty as needed. As the vacuum is lightweight, it is perfect to handle quick pickups around the house all the time. Its on-board extension means there is less bending to do while cleaning everything from carpets to ceramic tile to furniture.

The Black+Decker hand vac uses high efficiently Lithium ion chargers that automatically shut the battery off while charging. So it is safe to store the hand vac on the charger and maintain long run time throughout the year.

The hand vac’s cyclonic action spins dust and debris from the filter to maintain strong suction power. The hand vac comes with a slim, rotating nozzle that can be used for various applications with a greater reach. Its built-in crevice feature is perfect for cleaning tight spots and hard-to-reach areas while its wide mouth scoops up large debris.

Long life with quick charging base that keeps unit charged and accessories organized

2-year limited warranty

Smart Charge Technology uses 50% less energy

Bowl and filters are removable and washable for thorough cleaning

Rotating slim nozzle has various applications

Maintains charge for 18 months and is always ready for use

Translucent dirt bowl makes it easy to see dirt and empty as needed
Runs for only 10 minutes even when fully charged and new

Suction starts dropping as charge reduces in about 10 minutes

Have to thoroughly clean the inside after each vacuuming session

Review of Black+Decker BDH2000PL MAX2. Black+Decker BDH2000PL MAX – Best Handheld Vacuum (Under $100)

The Black & Decker 20-volt BDH2000PL Max Lithium Pivot Vacuum is the powerful cleaner you are looking for. It’s a lightweight all purpose strong suction vac powered by its Lithium battery which charges on its standing charging base.

It’s compact enough to be stored within easy reach to any mess and comes with a crevice tool and brush to tackle all messes. It’s distinctive pivoting nose feature lets you use it to clean hard to reach areas like under furniture and above tall shelves. The Black and Decker handheld vacuum’s removable and washable bowl makes cleaning a cinch after your vacuuming.

Cyclonic action spins dust and debris away from the filter so that the vacuum’s suction power remains strong. Its filtration system has a wide mouth to scoop up large debris while its quick charging base keeps the unit charged and accessories organized.

Lithium technology ensures strong suction and continuous power

Pivoting nozzle offers high power in compact size

Strong motor with strong suction capability

Cyclonic action spins dust and debris away from the filter to maintain strong suction power

3-stage filtration system with wide mouth to scoop up large debris

Easy to clean dirt bowl which can also be washed in sink

Additional tools help clean hard-to-reach areas

Comes with a charging base, washable filter, pre-filter and on board brush and crevice tool

Black & Decker tradition and reputation

Compact and easy to open, use and clean out
Poorly designed hinge on clean-out access door

Dirt accumulates in the joint of pivoting nozzle

Makes sounds while adjusting the pivoting nozzle’s angle

Sand sticks to the pre-filter which is difficult to clean

Button opening the dust chamber gets stuck at times

 Review of Shark Cordless Pet Perfect II Hand Vac (SV780)3. Shark Cordless Pet Perfect II Hand Vac (SV780) – Best Handheld Vacuum for Pet Hair

The Shark Cordless Pet Perfect II Hand Vac (SV780) helps make cleaning up after pets so much easier. You no longer need to lug your upright canister out to clean pet messes as the Shark hand vac does it for you!

This is a powerful but lightweight cordless hand vacuum that can be used to clean pet hair on bare floor, carpets, upholstery and much more. The unit has a bagless dust cup that is easily emptied when full.

The Shark cordless hand vacuum runs on Twister Cyclonic Technology and an 18v motor that delivers consistent suction while cleaning. Its TruPet Motorized Pet Brush efficiently picks up pet hair from all surfaces and the unit is then conveniently stored on a wall mount after use.

While it’s dusting brush and crevice tool accessories give more versatility while cleaning, its rubberized hand grip facilitates comfortable handling. There are altogether 4 cleaning options to choose from- Direct suction, dusting brush, XL motorized pet hair brush and crevice tool for hard to reach areas.

Uses rechargeable 18 volt battery with an LED charging indicator

Comes with a deluxe wall mountable charging stand and convenient tool storage provision

Cleans all surfaces using 4 cleaning options-direct suction, dusting brush, crevice tool and XL motorized pet hair brush

Bagless dust cup is easily emptied after use

Twister Cyclonic Technology provides consistent strong suction when in use

TruPet Motorized Pet Brush picks up embedded pet hair from all surfaces
Some complain the vacuum doesn’t work after 2 weeks of use

Short battery life

Emptying the bin is not as easy as claimed

Charge doesn’t last more than 15-20 minutes

Too many do’s and don’ts associated with the battery

Review of Stanley Black & Decker FHV1200W4. Stanley Black & Decker FHV1200W

The Stanley Black & Decker FHV1200W Cordless Mini Canister Vac is just what you need to clean not only floors and carpets but also drapes, shelves, blinds, cushions, stairs and even messes in cars. It includes an extendable hose that makes it so easy to reach high shelves and corners, and 3 versatile accessories.

The pet hair brush effectively removes messes created and embedded by pets while the crevice tool proves helpful at removing dust and dirt from nooks and corners. The nozzle/brush tool also helps remove dust and debris where needed.

The fact that it is cordless makes it so much more convenient to use for any cleaning job. It has a high performance motor with Cyclonic Action for longer and better suction power. It’s dirt canister is so easy to empty there is no worry of your hands touching the dirt.

The Black & Decker hand vacuum has a storage caddy that lets you carry accessories to task and store after use. The FHV1200 has cleaning attachments like long crevice tool, 4’ flexible hose and pet-hair cleaning tool to tackle different jobs. The cyclonic action spins dirt away from the filter to maintain optimal suction power while the 3-stage filtration system generates clean exhaust air.

Includes a charger, storage caddy and dishwasher safe filter

Dirt canister is easily emptied

2-year warranty

Includes accessories like long crevice tool, nozzle/brush tool, 4’ flexible hose and pet hair cleaning tool

Cyclonic action maintains performance by spinning dirt away from filter

High-performance motor creates strong suction for big and small messes

Compact, cordless and portable in design
Battery does not maintain charge for long

Dirt compartment is not so easy to empty

Review of Black + Decker BDH2000L 20V5. Black + Decker BDH2000L 20V

The Black+Decker BDH2000L 20-volt max Lithium Ion Battery Cordless Hand Vacuum is much more convenient to use for everyday cleanup of dust, crumbs and pet hair than an upright vacuum! This sleek hand vacuum comes with a rotating slim nozzle, built-in crevice tool and flip-up brush.

Its triple layer, cyclonic action filtration system keeps its washable filters clean to ensure long-lasting suction power for clearing large messes. The vacuum is stylish enough to keep in the living and dining room, so that it’s ready to us when it’s needed the most.

The unit is lightweight at less than 3 pounds, has a charging base, charge indicator light and is emptied using one, mess-free step. Its dirt canister is translucent, making it easy to see dirt and easy to empty. Both its filter and bowl can be rinsed under running water for maximum cleanliness and efficiency.

Smart Charge feature charges the unit only when necessary

It’s no memory effect provides for longer battery life

Long-life Lithium technology and batteries helps hold a charge for up to 18 months

Rotating slim nozzle can be used for various applications

Has a 3-year warranty

Works on carpets, stairs, hard surfaces and more

Filter is kept clean and power strong with its cyclonic action

Dirt is easily seen and emptied through translucent dirt bowl

While its maximum initial battery voltage without a work load is 20 volts, nominal voltage is 18 volts
Insufficient suction power to even pick up pebbles larger than a grain of sand

Does not effectively suction sand

The filter switch is next to the on/off switch and can be mistaken for the on/off switch to make the unit’s front half separate and fall off when in use

Battery takes hours to charge

Impeller may get jammed

Review of Black & Decker HHVI320JR026. Black & Decker HHVI320JR02 Dustbuster Cordless Lithium Hand Vacuum

The Black+Decker HHVI320JR02 Dustbuster Cordless Lithium Hand Vacuum is the best cleaner to keep your home clean and shiny. It’s perfect for multi-purpose cleaning in your home, garage and even boat or auto as it’s lithium technology offers strong suction power and an extended usage time.

Its bagless dirt bowl is 20.6 oz. big and translucent which lets you see the accumulated dirt and know when it has to be removed, emptied and washed. Its rotating nozzle keeps your hand ergonomically comfortable while cleaning hard-to-reach areas.

Its extendable crevice tool also helps you reach hard-to-reach areas while its flip-up brush helps at cleaning upholstery. As it’s lightweight and portable, it’s makes for convenient cleaning while its wall mount gives an easy storage solution.

Comes with a jack plug charger, flip-up brush, extendable crevice tool and wall mount

Lithium technology offers strong solution for extended usage

Crevice tool can be used to reach hard-to-reach areas while it’s flip-up brush cleans upholstery

Lightweight, compact and portable

Ergonomically designed rotating nozzle

Cyclonic action keeps filter clean and suction strong

Easily accessed and washable dust bowl
Too noisy

Does not effectively suction sand

Brush works in one direction and practically useless

Suction is not so great

Charging connection isn’t integrated into bracket

No dedicated charging stand

Worn out internal filters cannot be replaced- the entire machine has to be replaced

Review of Bissell Pet Hair Eraser7. Bissell Pet Hair Eraser – Best Cordless Hand Vacuum for Pet Owners

Tired of cleaning up after your pets? The Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Cordless Hand Vacuum will help not stop the cleaning, but at least make the task so much easier. As it’s cordless and lightweight, you can easily use it whenever and wherever your pet makes a mess and wherever there’s pet hair and dirt.

It can be used to clean your furniture, carpet, your car and practically anywhere your pets play. Don’t worry if you need a deeper clean as the Pet Hair Eraser has an included detachable motorized brush for removing deeply embedded dirt and pet hair.

Its crevice tool and upholstery tool can either be used separately to clean crevices or upholstery or stacked for deeper cleaning of upholstery and crevices. This is the best handheld vacuum for pet hair with it’s two-stage filtration system which extends the filter’s life and makes cleaning so much easier.

Cordless for easy portability wherever cleaning is needed

Includes a motorized brush, crevice tool and upholstery tool to use individually or stacked together

Dual-action filtration system extends filter life and provides for easier cleaning

Deeper cleaning action with its motorized foot and powerful suction

Dirt bin is easy to clean to eliminate accumulated pet hair

Double action filtration system

One year limited warranty
Short battery life of only a few months

No replacement filters

Handheld Vacuum Buyer’s Guide

Handheld vacuums are just a smaller and portable version of traditional vacuum cleaners and should be one of the most frequently used appliances in a house because of the following benefits:

  1. Size

Handheld vacuum cleaners are small in size. Some of them are half its larger counterparts’ size and others small enough to fit your pocket. They are thus easy to carry around and store on shelves, closet corners or places where storage space is a constraint. Moreover, as it’s small in size it easily cleans hard-to-reach places.

  1. Lightweight and easy to carry Lightweight and easy to carry

Most handheld vacuums weigh less than five pounds, making them easy to carry around your house and stairs for quick on-the-spot cleaning. The elderly especially like handheld cleaners as they needn’t struggle with bulky and heavy equipment.

Most usually have a handle to grip while cleaning messes around your home. Most handheld vacuums are cordless and easy to carry without worrying about wires getting tangled or caught on something.

  1. Easy to use

These vacuum cleaners are easy enough for both kids and adults to use without any complications. They are also not heavy enough to cause much damage if dropped, so you can safely ask your kids to clean up their spills and reduce your work!

  1. Perfect for spot cleaning

This is the major benefit of handheld vacuums, for spot-cleaning or cleaning small messes in small areas. It’s perfect for removing the bunch of pet hair on your couch or your child’s mess while eating before your guests turn up.

  1. A cleaner house 

Handheld vacuums can clean not only carpets, but also furniture, sofas and chair. It can remove the pet hair left on the chair while it’s rotating brushes easily suck crumbs and pet hair off fabrics.

The vac can also be used for cleaning up spilled flour, the mud your shoes bring in, dust in drawers or shelves and basically any small cleaning tasks. It helps keep your home clean without having to bring out and put back the main vacuum cleaner.

  1. Use anywhere

You can use handheld vacuum cleaners wherever you want, indoors in your attic or crawlspace, or outdoors to clean your car, the entrance before visitors arrive or the shed. You can also take it to the beach to clean the sand off your gear before entering the car. See, they are versatile enough to use anywhere you want!

  1. Powerful

Don’t go by looks; as though these vacuum cleaners are small in size and lightweight, most pack a powerful punch. As power varies from brand to brand, the right research should help you choose a handheld vacuum cleaner powerful enough for your cleaning needs. They should have at least 4 amps of power to pick up pet hair, dust bunnies and spills with a single pass.

  1. Versatile 

Handheld cleaners with various attachments can clean most spaces in your home. Its crevice tool cleans between couch cushions, blinds and your car seats and also fits in spaces between walls and furniture and under cabinets. It’s soft-tip brush tool with telescoping handle dusts blinds, cobwebs and baseboards and even ceiling and floor vents.

  1. Easy maintenance

Handheld vacuums are easy to maintain as most are bagless eliminating the need of buying extra equipment or stockpile bags. Most filters are also easily changed while the parts seldom need cleaning or repair.

  1. Affordable

The most important benefit to most people it that high-quality cleaners are rather affordable. Though the rate changes between brand, features and quality, most cost between $50-$75. The price may increase slightly if the vac has additional attachments.

Why do you need a handheld vacuum?

You need to ask yourself a few questions before you buy yourself a handheld vacuum like a Shark. You will be able to make a better choice if you know how and when you will be using your vacuum.

For example, if you plan to use it to frequently clean your vehicle, porch or deck, you will want something cordless. However you have to recharge the batteries of cordless handheld vacs before use and while some may need up to 24 hours to recharge, others take only 2-4 hours. If you want a corded model for longer and continuous use, you will need an extension wire.

If you have a pet and will be removing lots of pet hair, look for a model specialized at removing pet hair. They come with motorized brush rolls, rubberized pet hair attachments and extendable hoses.

If you will be carrying it around for cleaning, or if you have a wrist or hand problem, you will have to look out for a lightweight and more compact model.

If you plan to use it to clean both wet and dry debris which means suctioning up both solids and drink spills, then you need one with a powerful suction. It has to be a high voltage model as many people complain of problems suctioning liquids with a not so powerful suction.

Buy based on your typical cleaning task as if you plan to do lots of cleaning, a cordless hand vac will run out of power before you complete your work. The solution is to look for a corded handheld vacuum or a model that runs on a lithium-ion battery that runs on full power for about 20 minutes.

You have to keep your storage options in mind while buying handheld vacuums as some cordless designs have charging docks and need to be stored near an electrical outlet for recharging.

There are also others with removable batteries charged using a smaller charger. If you don’t have any outlets in your storage area, and if you don’t want to have a handheld vacuum hanging on your kitchen wall, then look for a corded model which you can easily store wherever you want.

Features to look out for in a handheld vacuum

There are some essential criteria to keep in mind while choosing the best vacuum cleaner for yourself.

  • Weight

The vacuum cleaner should be lightweight as you will be using the vacuum cleaner rather frequently for cleaning small spots and spills. It should be preferably 5 pounds in weight as you need to carry the vac with you wherever you go. Many people who use hand vacs do say that cordless vacuum cleaners which weigh more than 5 pounds end up feeling rather heavy after a few minutes of continuous use.

  • Length of the cord

If you prefer a corded handheld vacuum cleaner for more power and continuous use, make sure you choose a model with a rather long power cord. This way you will be able to clean large areas at a go without having to frequently plug and unplug the cord while changing wall outlets.

  • Filtration

The handheld vacuum should have ample filtration system which effectively prevents dust and debris from re-entering the air after the vacuuming. While some models have a three-stage filtration system, others have HEPA filters.

  • Washable filters

It’s better looking for a model with washable filters as filters tend to clog with hair and dust over time and use. So if your handheld vac’s filter isn’t washable, you’ll have to keep on buying new filters to replace it perhaps every few months. If it has washable filters, you can just wash it to reduce your running costs.

  • Bagless

Handheld vacuums don’t usually have bags but have dirt cups which can be emptied and cleaned in between use. Obviously the larger is the dirt cup, the less emptying there is.

  • Transparent waste container

It’s better if your vac has a transparent waste container so that you just have to glance at it to find out if the vacuum has to be emptied.

  • Power

Check the power of the vacuum, especially if you are buying a cordless vac. Look for a model with more power and a higher voltage rating. The best portable vacuums are those with at least 15.6 volts voltage rating while some may have as high as 20 volts of voltage.

The more powerful is the machine, the quicker your cleaning is done. It’s even better if the device has a power regulator which changes the power suction based on the surface to be sucked.

  • Brushes

Its better buying a portable vacuum with a motorized brush as it gives a much thorough cleaning. It helps dig out all the ground in dirt from carpets and pet hair from fabrics.

  • Hose

Portable vacs with an extendable hose are a better buy as it lets you reach all those tight spots without having to squeeze the entire vac into those nooks and corners.

  • Additional attachments Additional attachments

If you can afford it, it’s better buying a model with additional tools like upholstery brushes, dusting brushes, crevice tools and special pet-hair attachments.  You’ll also need a cigarette lighter cord and a long brush for cleaning your car corners.

Though you’ll have to pay a little extra for all this, it’s worth the cleanliness it provides! In case your chosen model doesn’t offer these accessories, find out if you can place a separate order for it.

  • Battery level indicator

Most people forget to check if the portable vacuum has a battery level indicator or not. It’s better having it as it lets you know when you need to recharge your device instead of starting your cleaning job and then stopping midway as the vacuum runs out of power because you hadn’t recharged it.

  • With or without cord

This feature can be your main deciding feature- whether you want your vac to have a cord or not. Each has its pros and cons, which is why you have to choose based on your individual needs and usage.

  1. Corded version

In case of corded versions, there is no hassle of periodically recharging it so you can use it continuously for as long as required. This is a better choice if you will be using your vac everyday as you needn’t wait for its battery to charge.

However it’s not so portable; you may not be able to reach some areas as it needs a plug socket for power. Even a long cord and an extension cord may not be sufficient to clean all the nooks and corners of your home.

  1. Cordless version

In case of cordless handheld vacuums, they run on a battery and as there is no cord, you can carry it along with you wherever you go for cleaning purposes. The best cordless vacuum can be used outdoors where there’s no power socket and can even be taken along to the beach to clean off all the sand before entering and dirtying your car.

However the drawback here is that these devices can’t be used for long; anywhere between 5-30 minutes per charge, based on the model. Moreover, if the battery cannot be replaced, you will have to buy an entire new unit if the battery fails. You also have to wait till the battery gets charged to use it. This time too varies with the model where some may need 24 hours to charge while others, at least 3-6 hours.

  • Cost

Handheld vacuums are generally affordable devices. It’s just that some of them come with ongoing costs you need to know about. For example some may have non-washable filters which need replacement every few months where each filter costs around $10 each.

The batteries will also one day fail. While some units have non-replaceable batteries where you will have to buy a new unit if the battery fails, some have replaceable batteries which cost more than the unit!

  • Battery

Most handheld models run on battery power and recharge on its docking station, except for car models which come with a cigarette lighter charger. Check the battery charging time as good batteries need at least 3-4 hours to charge.

The high-end models usually have lithium-ion batteries while the conventional models have Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMh) batteries. The Lithium-ion batteries are lighter in weight (about 3-8 hrs) and recharge faster than the NiMh batteries (16-18hrs). The battery voltage indicates the unit’s power where the more expensive models have batteries of 3.6V or 4.8V and power between 12 to 22.2V.

  • Sound

As hand vacuums use cyclones to filter dust, they are rather noisy at 70-80dB. However this is tolerable as you won’t be using them throughout the day. Moreover, so far no brand has come up with a silent vacuum!

Conclusion

Now that you know what to look out for in handheld vacuums, and its benefits and reasons to use it, you can now buy one based on your usage and budget. However with so many brands and models in the market, you may get confused finding the best handheld vacuum.

So instead of sitting in confusion, why not go through these handheld vacuum reviews of the most popular brands for final assistance at making your choice!

Best Handheld Vacuum 2017 – Buyer’s Guide
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