Best handheld vacuum 2021: 8 picks for cleaning cars, pet hair and more

Choose the best handheld vacuum from the likes of Shark, Dyson, Black and Decker and other top brands

best handheld vacuum
(Image credit: Shark)

For life's little messes, the best handheld vacuum cleaner will be invaluable. Small in size but not in power, these vacuum cleaners from Shark, Dyson, Black & Decker, Roidmi, Karcher and more top brands have been tried and tested by our team to help you find the very best option for you.

Some look for a handheld vacuum to clean their car and upholstery without any cumbersome cords. Others want something they can use to pick up crumbs and pet hair in record speed, with minimal effort. Whatever your reason for wanting the best handheld vacuum for you, we're here to help. 

We've rounded up the best handheld vacuums on the market to make those every-day cleaning tasks a little easier. Whether you're looking for good suction, or an impressive battery life, we've got plenty of clever options below, – there's even a model which combines detergent with vacuuming for the windows – so take a look at our handheld vacuum cleaner reviews to find your ideal match.  

If you would like to see a wider selection of vacuum cleaners before deciding whether or not a handheld vacuum cleaner is for you, check out our best vacuum cleaners guide for more top vacuums, at the best prices.

Best handheld vacuum 2021: our top eight buys

Dyson v7Real Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: Dyson)

1. Dyson V7 Trigger Handheld Vacuum

Best handheld vacuum: a powerful device for quick, daily clean ups

Specifications
Best for: Power
Cordless: Yes
Weight: 1.38kg
Battery life: 30 mins
Capacity: 0.4L
Reasons to buy
+ Quiet  + Long battery life for a handheld model 
Reasons to avoid
-Investment price tag, but so worth it

If you’re someone who likes their home dust-free at all times, then you can expect the Dyson V7 Trigger to be your dust-busting partner in crime. This is one the best handheld vacuums out there for quick and lightweight cleaning. Its powerful 15 cyclones are designed to catch even the finest of dust particles, making this a good option for those with allergies. It’s super-quiet, so if you’re a bit of a Monica from Friends and find the sudden urge to clean at a ridiculous hour of the morning, then you won’t wake the entire household in the process. 

For a cordless handheld, it also has surprisingly good battery life of up to 30 minutes so you can clean uninterrupted. This is also an all or nothing effort meaning you won't lose suction at all even when nearing the end of the battery life. The combination tools make accesses all areas easy, yup, including stairs, room corners and even the car. There is also a dual mode option which allows you sacrifice battery life for a more intense vacuum for those hard to clear areas. Then when you're done emptying is as easy as pulling one tag when held over the bin, simple.

Black & Decker Flexi Handheld Vacuum, dark silver

2. Black & Decker PD1820LGB Flexi Cordless Handheld Vacuum

Best handheld cylinder vacuum: for those places that are usually out of reach, this vacuum will provide the height you need

Specifications
Best for: Cleaning high surfaces
Cordless: Yes
Weight: 1.5kg
Battery life: 15 Mins
Capacity: 0.6L
Reasons to buy
+ 2-in-1 nozzle + Easy-to-remove bowl 
Reasons to avoid
-Basic design

Black & Decker isn’t usually a name you’d associate with vacuums, but this one certainly lends itself to the thought behind the brand – durable, powerful, and handy! It is the best handheld vacuum for reach. 

It comes with a 2-in-1 nozzle, upholstery brush and crevice nozzle which allow you to clean anything from the sofa, to the curtains or window frames. The lengths of the nozzles are also designed to help you reach higher surfaces such as cupboard tops where you wouldn’t normally think to clean. It’s cordless and has an easy-empty bowl to really make vacuuming a hassle-free experience.  

Some might not enjoy the design but then a vacuum of this compact size will be stored away out of sight most of the time anyway.

Shark CH950UKT Cordless Handheld Pet Hair Vacuum Cleane

(Image credit: Argos)

3. Shark CH950UKT Cordless Handheld Pet Vacuum Cleaner

Best handheld vacuum for versatility: it's a top option for homes with pets and hard to reach places

Specifications
Best for: Versatility
Cordless: Yes
Weight: 1.39kg
Battery life: 10 mins
Capacity: 0.45L
Reasons to buy
+Great suction+Versatile+Large dust canister+Lightweight+2-year guarantee
Reasons to avoid
-Battery life could do with being longer-A little noisy

We do like a Shark vacuum cleaner, especially when it's so well priced at just £59 (or thereabouts). And this one is cordless, and a handheld, which can help to tackle pet hair (since it's designed to rival some of the best vacuums for pet hair) and keep biscuit crumbs under control.

It comes with a suite of three attachments – crevice tool, dusting brush and motorised pet tool – which can be easily interchanged depending on the task at hand. The main unit can also be used on various surfaces, but any one of these attachments are useful to have to target any particular spots. The suction is not affected one bit when in use (I was impressed with this during testing) even when the battery is running low which only becomes clear when the power button flashes in quick succession before cutting out.

The battery will last for just 10 minutes which could be better but, charge time is just four hours and you can always plug in the vac for a shorter amount of time to (quickly finish what you started).

Karcher WV5, black and yellow, shown with attachments

4. Karcher WV5 Cordless Handheld Vacuum

Best handheld vacuum for windows: keep your windows clean with this specialist vacuum

Specifications
Best for: Windows
Cordless: Yes
Weight: 0.6kg
Battery life: 35 mins
Capacity: 0.1L
Reasons to buy
+ Smudge free finish + Long battery life 
Reasons to avoid
-Price

Not what you’d think of when you think of vacuums, but for those who want to obtain gleaming windows, this window handheld vacuum is a unique tool that will help you get the job done quickly. This is the best handheld vacuum for windows.

It looks like a squeegee and is used in combination with detergent to wipe and then vacuum away the dirt for clean and dry windows quickly and easily. Users are impressed with the battery life and its lightweight feel, which also makes it a useful tool for cleaning car windows, too. 

To provide you with more information we've tested this product to bring you this handheld vacuum cleaner review: read the Kärcher Window Vac review

ROIDMI black

(Image credit: ROIDMI)

5. Roidmi Nano P1 Pro

Best handheld vacuum for travelling

Specifications
Best for: Keeping nearby
Cordless: Yes
Weight: 0.5kg
Battery life: 24 mins
Capacity: 0.1L
Reasons to buy
+Good battery life+Lightweight+Strong suction
Reasons to avoid
-Lack of attachments

In our Roidmi Nano P1 Pro handheld vacuum cleaner review we loved its lightweight design and long battery life. It's a small machine with a capacity of only 0.1 litres, but it's fantastic for keeping in handbags or kitchens to tidy little messes as you go.

We loved using it for picking up coffee grounds and crumbs in the home, but because it is so lightweight it would be the perfect companion for road trips. The lightweight design and small frame doesn't mean it's lacking in power, either. This vacuum did very well in picking up all sorts of debris including rice. 

While it doesn't have the size or attachments of some of the handheld vacuums in our guide this is still a fantastic handheld for those smaller areas. Also a top pick for cars and upholstery thanks to its powerful suction.

Vax Gator Handheld Cordless Vacuum, white and orange

6. Vax Gator Handheld Cordless Vacuum

Best handheld vacuum on a budget: an affordable vacuum for those quick whip rounds

Specifications
Best for: Budget
Cordless: Yes
Weight: 1.24kg
Battery life: 15 Mins
Capacity: 0.3L
Reasons to buy
+ Very lightweight + Affordable 
Reasons to avoid
-Battery life

If you don’t want to spend as much on a handheld vacuum as you would on a full-sized one, then you can expect this affordable option from Vax to get the little jobs done very nicely. This is one of the best handheld vacuums you can buy if you're on a budget.

The Vax is perfect for crumbs and quick clean ups, and is surprisingly powerful, meaning the battery life usually allows for a few uses after every charge.  That said, this battery life isn't as good as the more pricey competition, but for smaller areas it's a great affordable alternative. If you just want a cheap and efficient vacuum to hand for daily spills, this is for you – it is nice and compact, too.

best handheld vacuums: shark handheld

(Image credit: Shark)

7. Shark WV200UK Pet Cordless Handheld Vacuum

Best handheld vacuum for pets: tame pet hair with the handy pet tool

Specifications
Best for: Pets
Cordless: Yes
Weight: 0.6kg
Battery life: 8 mins
Capacity: 0.25L
Reasons to buy
+Light weight+Super easy to use+Two tools included: Duster/Crevice and Upholstery (ideal for pet hair)
Reasons to avoid
-Small capacity-Not the longest battery life

Another (slightly dearer) option from Shark is this handheld pet vacuum. It's lightweight and powerful, so it'll easily remove crumbs, dust and best hair from around the home. And it's reasonably priced too, so it gets our vote for the best handheld vacuum for pet hair.

It's sleek design with a quick-charge base is super easy to pick up for a quick clean in focused areas. This Shark handheld vac is suitable for use on stairs, hair floors and deep-pile carpets, even kitchen work surfaces and car seats, so there's really no surface it can't cover. 

The best bit? It comes with a washable HEPA filter which traps small particles and pet dander making it perfect for allergy suffers, too.

best handheld vacuum for cars is the Beldray BEL0944 Revo Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner

(Image credit: Appliances Direct)

8. Beldray BEL0944 Revo Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner

Best handheld vacuum for cars: a mega lightweight vac which will remove crumbs, and more!

Specifications
Best for: Cars
Cordless: Yes
Weight: 650g
Battery life: 30 mins
Capacity: 0.4L
Reasons to buy
+Easy to store+Easy to charge+Long battery life for a handheld model 
Reasons to avoid
-Pretty noisy when in use

The Beldray Revo Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner gets our vote for the best handheld vac for cars because, put simply, it comes with all the tools you need to get into those tricky places which our vehicles tend to feature.

It comes with an upholstery tool, crevice tool and brush tool which can all be easily stored on the non-slip, countertop base when not in use. And, with a run time of up to 30 minutes, it offers plenty of time to get your car looking presentable again. This run time is also one of the longest in our guide and, together with a very appealing price tag, makes this a very good choice of appliance to have around the home.

How to choose the best handheld vacuum 

When you're looking to buy the best handheld vacuum for your household, there are a few factors to consider to ensure you make the right choice. They are:

Weight
The top key feature to look for in a handheld vacuum is how weighty it is, as this could just makes it more effort than it’s worth. Most handheld vacuums come in at around 1–2kg. 

Corded vs cordless
As we've seen with our best cordless vacuum cleaner guide, cordless is now a popular feature but consider what you’re likely to be using it for first because you will have to compromise on its power and run time if you go for a battery powered device. 

What is the best handheld vacuum?

Let's recap...if you’re looking for the best of the best handheld vacuum right now, then we recommend buying the Dyson V7 Trigger which is still leading the way when it comes to power in handheld form. Yes, it is also the most expensive on the list, but if you are looking for guaranteed oomph and know you will get a lot of use out of it, it is a sound investment. It also has twice the battery life of some models on our list, so can give your car a thorough clean before needed a recharge.

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Jennifer Oksien
Jennifer Oksien

After returning to Future Publishing in February 2020, Jennifer has been working on our appliance and mattress content to showcase the best in class examples which are available to buy for your homes. When she is not scouring the web for deals or reviewing products for your pursuit, she can be found hanging out with our three guinea pigs in her Victorian terraced home which she has lovingly (patiently) been renovating with her husband over the past few years. Jennifer also likes tea and homemade cake, very much.