The Best Handheld Vacuums, According to the Best Experts

published Oct 25, 2019
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
Credit: Joe Lingeman

While you clearly wouldn’t clean your entire house with a handheld vacuum, it’s definitely nice to have one to pull out for life’s little messes. We’re talking spilled containers of cereal, crumbs under the dining room table and in the car, random pieces of pet food … you get the idea. A $20 machine might not be powerful enough, but $100 seems like a lot to spend, right? What’s the sweet spot? We looked at the top picks from some trusted sources and shoppers — and then we gave our two cents at the end.

The Best Handheld Vacuum, According to Wirecutter

The folks at Wirecutter have tested 72 different handheld vacuums over the past five years and keep picking this one. They like that it comes with a four-foot hose and a few attachments, which allow it to reach into all sorts of nooks and crannies. Most importantly, it has good suction (enough to pick up Cheerios) and they found that the 16 minutes of no-fade run time is enough to clean crumbs from a three-row minivan or SUV.

The Best Handheld Vacuum, According to Consumer Reports

This corded vac doesn’t have a ton of attachments compared to other vacuums, but it does have a powerful suction that got top ratings in Consumer Reports‘ carpet cleaning tests. And because it’s so powerful, it’s extra good for getting pet hair out of carpet or upholstery (so you can eat dinner on the couch without having to sit on a fur-covered cushion). Just note that this one is NOT cordless, so you have to be within 16 feet of an outlet to use it. But you don’t have to worry about keeping it charged.

The Best Handheld Vacuum, According to Good Housekeeping

Not only did this Bissell model win Good Housekeeping‘s top spot, but it’s also a Good Housekeeping Seal holder. It can handle dry and wet messes and it comes with a cleaning solution that stores on the vacuum to help remove stains. It’s great for cleaning up food, spills, pet hair, stains, and more. And it’ll run for 18 minutes before you need to recharge.

The Bestselling Handheld Vacuum on Amazon

This cute vac has more than 10,000 five-star reviews on Amazon and is the bestselling handheld option on the entire site. Reviewers say it’s great for sucking up cat litter, bugs, hair, crumbs, dust, and so much more. It’s got great sucking power and a lithium ion battery, which fully charges in four hours. The nozzle rotates 180 degrees, has a telescoping crevice tool, and a flip-down brush. Plus, reviewers also say it’s easy to empty out and clean.

Kitchn’s Thoughts on the Best Handheld Vacuum

When it comes to cleaning kitchen messes, we really like Good Housekeeping’s pick. Sure, you can get a decent model for less money, but this one is just so versatile. Aside from being able to vacuum up crumbs, dirt, and dust, it can also effectively clean up spills and stains (including coffee, grape juice, soda, and more). It has a built-in compartment for cleaning solution and can spray, scrub, and suck up stains. It runs for 18 minutes between charges, and is incredibly easy to clean. Plus, you’ll probably end up using fewer paper towels, which is a win for you and Mother Earth.

Do you have a hand vacuum that you love? Tell us about it in the comments below.