Best handheld vacuum 2020: the best models, from Dyson to Shark | Real Homes

Best handheld vacuum 2020: the best small vacuums for your home and car

Find the best handheld vacuum for speedy cleaning of hard-to-reach areas, pet beds, and crumbs, at the best prices

best handheld vacuum: Black & Decker PD1820LGB Flexi Cordless Handheld Vacuum
(Image credit: Amazon)

Finding the best handheld vacuum is worth your while, especially if you count yourself as a parent (or pet parent). Handheld vacs are compact and lightweight, making them practical for those little jobs that a standard vacuum is just too big for. And, since they will fit neatly in a kitchen cabinet or hall closet, they're easy to keep at an arm's reach for a quick cleanup.

Because there are dozens of options to choose from, ranging from a classic Dirt Devil to a high-tech Dyson and everything in between, we researched and reviewed the best handheld vacuums 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 larger version struggles with, there's a vacuum for you on our short-list.

Read on to see our top picks, or for a new standard-size vacuum for cleaning your home, check out our list of the best vacuum cleaners.

Best handheld vacuum 2020: ranked

dyson car and boat

(Image credit: Dyson)

1. Dyson V7 Car+Boat

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

Cordless: Yes
Weight: 3.7lbs.
Battery life: 30 mins
Charge time: 210 mins.
Capacity: .15gal.
Reasons to buy
+ Quiet  + Long battery life for a handheld model 
Reasons to avoid

If you’re someone who likes their home dust-free at all times, then you can expect the Dyson V7 Car+Boat to be your dust-fighting 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 also super-quiet, so if you’re a bit of a Monica Geller and find the sudden urge to clean at 6AM, then you won’t wake the entire household in the process. 

For a cordless handheld, it has excellent suction and 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 accessing 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 holding it over the trash can and pulling a tab.

Also good to know: If you purchase through and auto-register your vacuum, it comes with free tools. 

Black & Decker Flexi Handheld Vacuum, dark silver

2. Black & Decker Flex Vac Cordless Handheld Vacuum

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

Cordless: Yes
Weight: 3.2lbs
Battery life: 20 Mins
Charge time: 9 hours
Capacity: 20.6 oz.
Reasons to buy
+2-in-1 nozzle +Easy-to-remove bowl +Pet-hair brush+Inexpensive
Reasons to avoid
-Shorter battery life than out number one pick

From the makers of the original Dustbuster comes an updated version for 2020: the Black & Decker Flex Cordless Handheld Vacuum is durable, powerful, and handy, especially for cleaning high-up spots like ceiling corners and drapery.

It comes with a 2-in-1 nozzle, pet-hair brush and crevice tool 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 cabinet tops where you wouldn’t normally think to clean. It’s cordless and has an easy-empty, washable bowl to really make vacuuming a hassle-free experience.  

The design is a bit space-aged, but then a vacuum this compact will be stored away out of sight most of the time anyway.

Karcher WV1, black and yellow, shown with attachments

3. Karcher WV1 Cordless Handheld Vacuum

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

Best for: Windows
Cordless: Yes
Weight: 1.1lb
Battery life: 20 mins
Charge time: 3 hours
Capacity: 3.38oz.
Reasons to buy
+ Smudge free finish + Long battery life 
Reasons to avoid
-For windows only

Yep, it's a vacuum for your windows. The Karcher WV1 Cordless Handheld Vaccum is part squeegee, part vacuum, and a unique tool that will help you clean your windows quickly and efficiently. 

I's used in combination with a window cleaner 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. 

Buy the Karcher WV1 Cordless Handheld Vacuum

best handheld vacuum

(Image credit: Dirt Devil)

4. Dirt Devil Quick Flip 12 V Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner

Best budget handheld vacuum for quick cleanups: a budget vacuum for a quick clean

Best for: Budget
Cordless: Yes
Weight: 2lbs
Battery life: 10 Mins
Charge time: 6 hours
Capacity: NA
Reasons to buy
+Lightweight+Quick-flip attachment+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 the affordable Dirt Devil Quick Flip 12 V Cordless Handheld Vacuum to get the little jobs done well. This is one of the best handheld vacuums you can buy if you're on a budget.

The Dirt Devil is perfect for sucking up crumbs from the car seat or vacuuming underneath the radiators, in other words, small clean ups that only take a few minutes. It gets its name from the handy quick-flip crevice attachment is stored right on the unit and allows you to easily get into corners and hard-to-reach spots easily. If you just want a cheap and efficient vacuum on hand for daily spills, this is for you – it is nice and compact, too. Note, that when we say quick clean ups, we mean it. The average run time on this vacuum is about 10 minutes.

best handheld pet hair vacuum

(Image credit: Bissell)

5. BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser Lithium Ion Hand Vacuum

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

Best for: Pets
Cordless: Yes
Weight: 3lb.
Battery life: 17 mins
Charge time: 6 hours
Capacity: .73L.
Reasons to buy
+Super easy to use+Pet-hair tool included
Reasons to avoid
-On the expensive side

If you have pets, then you'll definitely want to check out the BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser Lithium Ion Hand Vacuum. It's lightweight and powerful, so it'll easily remove crumbs, dust and pet hair from around the home. Plus, it's reasonably priced, so it gets our vote for the best handheld vacuum for pet hair.

Its sleek design with a quick-charge base is super easy to pick up for a quick clean in focused areas. This Bissell 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 part, though, is the detachable motorized brush that helps remove embedded pet hair from surfaces like upholstery and area rugs.

best handheld vacuum

(Image credit: Shark)

6. Shark WANDVAC Cord-Free Handheld Vacuum

Best handheld vacuum for aesthetes: sleek design, easy to store and power to boot

Best for: Design lovers
Cordless: Y
Weight: 1.4 lbs
Battery life: 10 mins
Charge time: 2.5 hours
Capacity: .8 quart
Reasons to buy
+Great design+Lightweight+Pet and crevice tools
Reasons to avoid
-Higher price point

The sleek design of the Shark WANDVAC means it's oh-so-easy to stash in a cabinet, closet or even a drawer, but at the same time, we totally understand if you want to leave it out, too. Definitely the best looking of the bunch, the award-winning WANDVAC design blends style and ergonomics for a futuristic look we love.

But enough about its looks. This handheld vacuum boasts a high-speed, brushless motor for superior suction, comes with a duster crevice tool and multi-surface tool for cleaning upholstery and pet hair, and empties with the push of a button. The one drawback is that, at 10 mins, the battery life is on the shorter side of average for a handheld vac.

How 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 2-3lb. 

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 vacuum info and advice: