The best handheld vacuum will make your life so much easier. Even the best vacuum cleaners struggle to reach into some of those tight spots in your home, but grabbing one of these cordless compact vacuum will enable you to reach into the corners of your car upholstery or along the staircase, without dragging a hefty vacuum cleaner with you.
We've been reviewing all the best handheld vacuum cleaners from Dyson, Shark, Black & Decker, Roidmi, Proscenic and Karcher to bring you this guide, complete with ratings and out pros and cons for each model.
When testing we took into account battery life, suction, and attachments. While some handheld vacuums are ideal for slipping into your bag when you go on trips, others are worth keeping handy in the kitchen or around pets to pick up those day-to-day messes that don't warrant dragging out the upright hoover.
Best handheld vacuum 2021
If you want the best inexpensive handheld vacuum cleaner, look no further than the Proscenic S1 Mini Handheld Vacuum Cleaner. It's got a port that allows you to charge up your handheld vacuum remotely, with storage for the crevice and brush nozzles.
We were impressed in testing that the battery lasted 23 minutes and 40 seconds, which is more than enough to tackle even larger messes. Emptying is easy too, because the bin tips outwards.
It had no trouble picking up rice, sugar, and coffee grounds in the kitchen, and the attachments also make it useful for car interiors and cleaning the stairs.
Real Homes rated: 4.5 out of 5 stars. Read our full Proscenic S1 Handheld Vacuum review
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).
Real Homes rated: 4 out of 5 stars. Read our full Shark CH950UKT Cordless Handheld Pet Vacuum Cleaner review
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.
Real Homes rated 4 out of 5 stars. Read our full Kärcher Window Vac review
In testing 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.
Real Homes rated 4 out of 5 stars. Read our full Roidmi Nano P1 Pro handheld vacuum cleaner review
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.
Real Homes rated 3.5 out of 5 stars. Read our full Beldray Revo Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner review
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 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.
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.
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.
How to choose the best handheld vacuum
Where to buy 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:
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 Proscenic S1 Handheld Vacuum. It has twice the battery life of some models on our list, so can give your car a thorough clean before needing a recharge.
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