Best handheld vacuum cleaner 2020

Get hold of the best handheld vacuum for speedy cleaning of hard-to-reach areas, pet beds, and crumbs

The best handheld vacuums

The best handheld vacuum is a helpful tool in your cleaning arsenal, especially if you have pets or kids. They're compact and lightweight, making them practical for those little jobs that a standard vacuum is just too big for. And, as they will fit neatly in a kitchen cupboard, they are always to hand for those little spills and messes.

We have rounded up the best handheld vacuum cleaners on the market right now. Whether you want one for cleaning the car, easy vacuuming on the stairs or for reaching nooks and crannies that your household vac struggles with, then we have plenty to choose from – there is even one for your windows.

Read on to see our top picks, or for a new allrounder for vacuuming your home, check out our best vacuum cleaners.

What is the best handheld vacuum cleaner?

If you’re looking for the best of the best right now, then the Dyson V7 Trigger 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.

No time to browse through this buyer's guide? Here are all the best handheld vacuums at a glance:

  • The best handheld vacuum: Dyson V7 Trigger
  • Best handheld cylinder vacuum cleaner: Black & Decker PD1820LGB
  • Best handheld vacuum cleaner for windows: Karcher WV5
  • Best corded handheld vacuum cleaner: AEG AG71A
  • Best budget handheld vacuum cleaner: Vax Gator 

The best handheld vacuum cleaners

Dyson V7 Trigger

1. Dyson V7 Trigger

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

Best for: Power
Cordless: Yes
Weight: 1.38kg
Battery life: 30 mins
Capacity: 0.4L
Reasons to buy
+ Quiet  + Long battery life for a cordless model 
Reasons to avoid

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-fighting partner in crime. This is one the best handheld vacuum cleaner 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.

See our best cordless vacuum cleaners if that's the way you want to go...

Black & Decker Flexi Handheld Vacuum Cleaner, dark silver

2. Black & Decker Flexi Handheld Vacuum Cleaner PD1820LGB

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

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 cleaner 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.

Karcher WV5, black and yellow, shown with attachments

3. Karcher WV5

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

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

Not what you’d think of when you think of vacuums, but for those who want to obtain gleaming windows, this window vacuum cleaner 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. 

AEG AG71A handheld vacuum, dark grey with red accents

4. AEG AG71A

Best corded handheld vacuum cleaner: a compact vacuum with a long cord for cleaning anywhere, anytime

Best for: Cleaning the car
Cordless: No
Weight: 2.6kg
Battery life: Mians
Capacity: 0.6ltrs
Reasons to buy
+ No battery life restrictions + Long cord for ease of movement 
Reasons to avoid

Cordless vacs seem to be leading the way right now, but it’s hard to ignore the fact that the battery life does limit its uses. However, if you want something that won’t die out on you so quickly, then this mains powered handheld vacuum will allow you to take your time with your cleaning.  As such this is the best handheld vacuum for larger areas.

This is particularly handy for cleaning cars or stairs, and the extra-long cord means you also don’t have the worry about having to change plug sockets during cleaning.  

Vax Gator Handheld Cordless Vacuum, white and orange

5. Vax Gator Handheld Cordless Vacuum

Best budget handheld vacuum cleaner: a budget vacuum for those quick whip rounds

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 vacuum cleaners 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.

How to buy the best handheld vacuum cleaner


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

Cordless is now a popular feature, too, 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. 

More cleaning know how: