people's choice

The Best Handheld Vacuums on Amazon, According to Hyperenthusiastic Reviewers

Photo: Courtesy of Amazon

Here at the Strategist, we like to think of ourselves as crazy (in the good way) about the stuff we buy (like pillows), 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 (that’s four-to-five-star reviews and lots of ‘em) products and single out the most convincing ones. 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, portable vacuums, and DustBusters, according to reviewers. (Note that reviews have been edited for length and clarity.)

Best overall cordless handheld vacuum

Black & Decker CHV1410L 16V Cordless Lithium Hand Vacuum

“We own two of these and love them so much that we just gave one to my mother. She likes it as well. Why do we like them so much? First, they are very powerful for a hand vac. With three young kids and a very messy cat, we’ve used this vac to pick up spilled cereal (wet and dry), cat food, cat litter, cat hair on furniture, drywall dust (fixing holes the kids made), and every kind of spilled food imaginable with young kids. Never had a problem. Second, it is easy to empty. You can either take the front off and dump it or take the back off (for cleaning the filter), and empty it that way. We often have to use the back way to ensure we remove all of the Lego blocks that have been sucked up by accident. Finally, it is easy to clean the filter. Like I said, I’ve used it to pick up lots of hair and drywall dust. Being able to quickly remove the filter and even wash it out is huge. Oh, one last point: It has a great battery life. If you have kids, you will understand when I say that with many of our other hand vacs, the batteries die long before the cleanup job is finished. This vac last and lasts.”

Best cordless handheld vacuum under $30

Black & Decker HHVI315JO42 DustBuster Cordless Lithium Hand Vacuum

“This is a great little vacuum! We have a wood-burning fireplace in our living room which results in little pieces of the firewood, ash, and dust all over the hearth extension. This vacuum works perfect for that and nothing ever falls out when the vacuum is turned off. I also use this vacuum on our stairs. We have hardwood floors and it seemed like I was always having to lug out our big electric vacuum. I just couldn’t keep up with it. I have to say these little chores are a non-issue with this vacuum. I liked it so much that I bought a second one and gifted it to my grandparents because it works so well, is very light, and emptying is a breeze.”

Best corded handheld vacuum with hose

Shark Rocket Corded Hand Vac (HV292)

“I wanted a small, lightweight hand vacuum cleaner that I could just pick up easily and use to quickly clean something around the house. I wanted something really powerful. And I wanted one with a cord because the cordless ones lose power too quickly, and I wanted one with no bags because the canisters are so much easier to use. The Shark Rocket is one of the only hand vacs out there that met all my criteria. And when I found out it’s made by the same company that makes Ninja blenders, I was sold — I love that product as well. Anyway, I love this vac! It’s small, lightweight, powerful, and the attachments are the perfect ones that really get used a lot.”

Best cordless handheld vacuum with hose

Bissell Lightweight Cordless Hand Vacuum and Car Vacuum

“This little vacuum is very powerful. I’ve had it several weeks now, and use it a lot more than I thought I would. I have two blind cabinets that I could never quite get clean in the corners, but with the handy extension tools, they are clean as a whistle. It is lightweight, and small enough that I can grab it for even the smallest jobs. It really is fun to use, and my house is cleaner than ever now. My granddaughter can make some powerful messes, but the Bissell makes cleaning up very easy.”

Best corded handheld vacuum for pet hair

Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Handheld Vacuum, Corded

“This vacuum has been a godsend for keeping our couches cat hair–free when we have company over. We had tried several other means of removing the hair from our couch (duct tape, DustBuster, vacuum with ‘pet hair removing’ attachment, someone even recommended a squeegee) that simply did not work. I was reluctant to purchase such a specialized product and had hoped our regular vacuum would do the trick, but when we continually found ourselves with ‘hairy’ furniture, I knew we needed something better. We borrowed a Pet Hair Eraser from my in-laws, and I was amazed by how well it worked. The suction is very strong, and the rubberized tip helps to scrape off the hair to be sucked up. What used to take me 30 minutes is now done in 5, as I no longer have to go over every surface ten times to get all the hair off. The cord is a great length, and I have never felt like it was too short or in the way. I would definitely recommend this to anyone with pets who has tried everything else to get their furniture clean.”

Best cordless handheld vacuum for pet hair

Shark Pet-Perfect II Cordless Bagless Hand Vacuum

“This is the second Shark cordless pet vacuum I’ve purchased and the first one lasted nine years! I can’t recommend this product enough. I use it constantly and the attachments that come with it are superb! While this is advertised as a pet handheld vacuum there is truly no mess that it can’t handle! And the motorized brush attachment makes cleaning up hair an absolute breeze! Worth every penny!”

Best handheld vacuums for cat litter

Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Lithium Ion Hand Handheld Cordless Vacuum

“Wow! This is one fabulous vacuum! I use it daily to combat the cat litter, hair, dirt, dust bunnies, and random filth that three cats and four kids bring into my house in unbelievable quantities. But mostly the cat litter. And this little vacuum rocks! I am a vacuum snob, and have tried multiple vacuums (uprights and canister and handhelds, bagged and bagless). I absolutely love this vacuum. Total epitome of ‘bang for your buck,’ and so far, has been able to keep up with the nastiness on my floors. It rocks on hardwood, low-pile carpet, normal shortish-length carpet, and tile. Give it a try. I honestly don’t think you can go wrong with it.”

Dirt Devil Scorpion Quick Flip Corded Bagless Handheld Vacuum

“This thing is awesome! I bought it because I was tired of sweeping up cat litter surrounding my cat’s litter box. The strength of this vacuum is incredible. It sucks the litter up with no problem whatsoever. The quality of the vacuum is superb … When turned on, it is fairly loud, but I bought it strictly to pick up cat litter, so I typically don’t use it for more than 40 seconds at a time. Oh, and I also love that it is corded, so I don’t need to worry about charging [or] bad batteries in the future.”

Best cordless handheld vacuum for tight spaces

Black & Decker BDH2000PL MAX Lithium Pivot Vacuum

“This is an excellent hand vacuum. It is powerful with very good suction and is perfect for cleaning up the crumbs and messes my kids and dog leave on the furniture and floor. Emptying it is super easy, by just lifting up the lid on the side. The nozzle is narrow, allowing you to get into tight spaces, like under furniture. The pivoting head is very useful as well and easy to control with a button on the handle. It also folds up nicely into a compact little bundle for charging on the included cradle. I had a cheaper DustBuster before this, but this is a much better hand vac in really every way.”

Best handheld vacuum for cars

Black & Decker BDH2000L 20-Volt Max Lithium Ion Battery Cordless Hand Vacuum

“Bought this vacuum for my car. I drive Lyft and Uber, so heavy usage. So far the product works great! Did fairly extensive research and this vacuum delivered the most bang for its lightweight buck … I can carry it in an average-size backpack. It has the extender and pet attachment attached, so I don’t have extra parts to [mess] around with. I charge it overnight … after several uses, and it lasts for several days of five- to ten-minute uses.”

Best cordless handheld wet-dry vacuum

Homasy Portable Handheld Vacuum Cleaner Cordless

“I have 2-year-old twins. Enough said. They constantly leave crumbs or messes in the 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. It has good battery life and works well. I even used to clean up a wet mess and it did great. I would buy it again.”

Best portable wet-dry vacuum

Armor All 2.5 Gallon, 2 Peak HP, Utility Wet/Dry Vacuum

“Quite a bit of power for such a small model of wet-dry vac. Very pleased with the purchase! Sucked up puddles (literally) from our carpet when we had a leak. I would have maybe liked a bigger tank, but really that’s just me being lazy. Very easy to empty, clean, and/or replace filters. Able to suck or blow, both with consistent strong pressure.”

Best mini handheld vacuum

Fuller Brush Mini Maid Handheld Vacuum With Tools

“Love it — and shocked at the power this little mini has! I purchased this because I wanted something small that wasn’t rechargeable. I have gone through four other [handheld vacuums] with rechargeable batteries. They all would lose power almost right away, even after being charged, and would become weaker and weaker. So I gave up on that style and opted for a model with a chord. This one is wonderful.”

Best Dyson handheld vacuums

Dyson V7 Trigger Cord-Free Handheld Vacuum Cleaner

“Lightweight, powerful, and versatile. I used it on my cloth couch (I have a German shepherd and he sheds like you wouldn’t believe) and it took out all the hair in one pass! I loved it so much I use it in my car, bedding, and the dog’s bed. I don’t know how you can own anything but a Dyson! The battery doesn’t last very long but with the suction on this thing you won’t be spending much time vacuuming at all.”

Dyson V6 Trigger — Cordless

“Could not live without this. I have a Lab guide dog, and he sheds like rain through the house. We vacuum about two times per day. This little handheld unit is perfect. I have had other cordless vacs, and they clog, the filter needs changing, or it doesn’t have the power to suck up the dog hair. I find the run time of 20 minutes on max power is more than enough to zip through the house. On cleaning days, we use the Dyson plug-in, but this little guy keeps us sane in between.”

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The Best Handheld Vacuums on Amazon, According to Reviews