Here at the Strategist, we like to think of ourselves as crazy (in the good way) about the stuff we buy, but as much as we’d like to, we can’t try everything. Which is why we have People’s Choice, in which we find the best-reviewed products and single out the most convincing ones. (You can learn more about our rating system and how we pick each item here.)
While we’ve written about our favorite vacuums here before, then dove back in for a more comprehensive look at the best vacuum cleaners on Amazon, here we’re looking at the best handheld vacuums, according to reviewers.
Best-rated handheld vacuum
Sporting “suction [that] is incredibly powerful for a little cordless handheld vacuum,” reviewers trust this Black + Decker to deal with tasks ranging from cleaning “5 and 8 year old [kids’] messes” to “vacuuming stink bugs from my [organic] plants.” A reviewer notes, “It quickly and easily sucks up crumbs, hair, dust, litter and all those other little items that plague our surfaces and makes our space look soooo much nicer,” while another calls it, “Almost as powerful as a full blown sweeper.” The rechargeable lithium battery gets plenty of props, as well. “One day I used it to clean all the baseboards, the stairs, the couch and, well, heck, I got carried away and did most of the floors … it didn’t run out of charge until the bitter end,” writes one reviewer. Another writes, “It seems that it is ALWAYS charged and always provides great suction.”
Its longevity also impresses reviewers, like one who writes, “I have been using this vacuum for 6 years now. No broken parts, battery still holds a decent charge and the vacuum basically functions as it did when I purchased it.” It’s so good that reviewers implore you to buy one: “Look, if you are thinking about getting this … STOP WAITING AND JUST GET IT.”
Best-rated (less expensive) handheld vacuum
“Honestly, for this price I expected a much cheaper product,” one reviewer confesses. “It can reach between the seats and into crevices, which a larger vac can’t do. I love that it plugs right into the car.” Another reviewer adds that it “has a long cord that allows you to clean essentially anywhere in the car.” Reviewers say it has “enough to vacuum up two cups worth of Cheerios buried in the car seat,” while “the brush attachment did better at removing [dog] hair than my regular car wash vacuum.” And a satisfied customer states, “Together with the longer and skinnier nose design, and the accessories come with it, it really works well in getting into the hard to reach areas.” To top it all off, “The free carry bag is also very useful to organize it in the trunk.”
Best handheld vacuum for pet hair
“We have never had a couch or furniture that wasn’t constantly covered in dog hair … until I found this,” reads one of thousands of positive reviews for Bissell’s Pet Hair Eraser. “I was skeptical that the rubber brush attachment was a good idea — wouldn’t it collect hair and resist the suction? Nope. This thing powers through couch hair,” a converted skeptic writes. “Often, only a single swipe is needed, which makes for a quick job. There was hardly any hair stuck to the brush. All of it ended up inside the dust container, which is super easy to detach, empty, and clean.” Another pet owner writes, “I have a grey cat that prefers a particular chair of my dining set. Just a few swipes with this Bissell product and I knew I had a winner.” The nozzle is versatile, too. “It gets alllll the hair off of furniture, the bed, the fabric shower curtain. rugs, clothes, everything!” exclaims one reviewer.
Best handheld vacuum for tight spaces
Hundreds of reviewers describe this vacuum as small but powerful, like one student who writes, “I normally don’t take the time to write Amazon reviews, but I was blown away by how powerful this little vacuum is. It picks everything up no matter what size and very quickly! Makes vacuuming so easy for me in my dorm room.” And dozens specifically cite the flip-open crevice tool as the feature that makes this handheld vacuum especially useful in tight corners. “The crevice tool is incredibly useful for nooks and crannies that gather dust,” writes one, who adds, “The attachable nozzle has been great for vacuuming our rug. We have a delicate faux sheepskin rug that really shouldn’t be vacuumed using such a powerful tool, but with the nozzle it’s much more manageable and doesn’t cause too much shedding.” Another satisfied reviewer raves, “The flip-up yellow crevice cleaning attachment is a stroke of genius — it’s onboard so you can never misplace it. No messy bags. The filter is very quick and easy to clean. Love the long cord. I can’t find a single negative thing to say about this vacuum cleaner.”
Best handheld vacuum for stairs
“I have always HATED vacuuming my stairs and never could find an easy way to do it. This vacuum is a game changer,” one reviewer declares. “The brush head bends backwards slightly making it super easy … Everyone with stairs in their home needs one of these!” Dozens of other five-star reviews agree that this “lightweight, easy to hold” Shark Rocket is made for the stairs. “The motorized head does a fantastic job at getting my stairs clean. My husband could not believe the difference,” one says. “We have two large shedding dogs … [I] can do the whole staircase in less than 5 minutes,” another reviewer notes. “The amount of stuff that came up the first couple times we used this was unbelievable!”
Best handheld vacuum with brush attachment
Reviewers writing about the cordless cousin of the Bissell Pet Hair Eraser mentioned above rave over the brush attachment. “I have a white dog with hair that embeds (EMBEDS!!!) into fabrics — our sofa, car seats, etc. This vacuum does a MUCH better job than anything else I have used. And it is very easy to use,” notes one reviewer. “The rotating brush in this little vacuum is SO MUCH BETTER than just using a regular attachment.”
“It has several nice attachments but the only one you really need is the motorized brush. It cleans as well as my upright vacuum and my canister vacuum,” while another reviewer says it “did a better job of cleaning [dog] hair than the shop vac.” Another says they “went to town on the steps with the motorized brush attachment, and in under five minutes, they were cleaner than they’ve been since I moved in (and the vacuum’s canister had the cat hair to prove it).”
Best handheld vacuum with lithium battery
“In one afternoon, I did my Jeep, my minivan, my stairs and outer perimeter of my kitchen and could have still kept going,” one reviewer says of this Black + Decker’s 20-volt lithium-battery cordless model. “Extremely happy with the power and battery life of this,” adds another. Another reviewer describes the charging unit as “wonderful. Just set the vacuum on it, no snapping into place.“ And the powerful lithium battery means “you can leave it on the charger without losing charge,” as another writes. “The battery lasts sufficiently long for such a small unit, and it charges quickly,” an owner writes. “Love this little guy. We have a 600 square foot apartment so sometimes it’s just not worth pulling out the big ol’ Miehle to do a deep clean. I highly recommend getting this version.” Another reviewer, who works as a Lyft and Uber driver and uses this vacuum to regularly clean their car, says of the battery, “I charge it overnight … after several uses, and it lasts for several days of five- to ten-minute uses.”
Best lightweight handheld vacuum
Reviewers agree that this Shark model has got “great suction, awesome battery life and it even looks stylish.” Says one owner, “This is a vacuum you don’t mind keeping out in the open because it looks so good!” A once-skeptical reviewer writes, “Initially, I scoffed at the idea of spending $100 on a souped-up dustbuster, but as long as this unit lasts, it is worth it … This miracle, sleek vacuum device is a GODSEND and a GAME CHANGER.” Another satisfied customer was just as surprised: “Lightweight, doesn’t sound powerful, but don’t let that fool you!”
Best wall-mountable handheld vacuum
“Hangs discreetly on the wall,” says a reviewer of this Black + Decker handheld vacuum, functionality that one reviewer describes as “really handy.” Another reviewer loves that “it’s so lightweight and recharges quickly. It’s a snap to empty and there’s no cords to drag for small or medium size spills.” Says another, “It’s easy to use, easy to empty, has a good capacity for a hand-vac, and was easy to set up on the wall where I needed it.” It’s the “best handheld small vacuum I’ve ever owned,” in the words of one reviewer. “Does a great job.”
Best handheld vacuum with floor-cleaning attachment
This cordless vacuum from Makita is lauded by reviewers for its ease of use and lightweight profile, like one who admits, “I thought of buying a corded stick vac because they were so much less expensive but my husband is a Makita tool user and recommend I try this. I am so glad I did. The amount of dust and cat fur it picks up daily is just amazing. I don’t even see all the dust and fur but when I empty the canister, I am shocked. It is lightweight, easy to maneuver, easy to change attachments, easy to empty.” Plus, reviewers note that the longer floor attachment makes it easy to keep hardwood, carpeted, and even tiled floors clean. One explains, “I’ve had it now for a month or so, and my house looks great. I’ve found missing socks in the dust bunnies I’ve sucked up. It has enough power to twist in my hand when it starts, and it will suck a penny up the long tube off a hardwood floor.” Another writes, “We built a 162 square foot tiny home trailer and having a lightweight, cordless, easy to store vacuum is a must. This thing is absolutely perfect. We use it every day and it does a great job getting up all the dirt, dog hair, and fallen food from our hardwood floors. It works well on the small pieces of carpet that we have on the stairs.”
Best cordless wet-dry handheld vacuum
“I have twin two-year-olds. Enough said,” writes one parent, who does continue, “They constantly have crumbs or messes in car and everywhere else. This thing works great to pick up the mess. Also, the attachments work to clean everything including the dryer lint trap … I even used to clean up a wet mess, and it did great.” That ability to clean up both wet and dry messes, in addition to the cordless use, makes it especially loved by parents. “I guess with having a Dyson and a decent shop vac, I wanted something portable for cars. I found a lot of different ones but read some reviews on this one, and it didn’t disappoint. It actually did a better job at cleaning out my car with kid’s mess than my Dyson V8 did,” one writes, adding, “Still in shock. Yes, over a vacuum.”
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