Best handheld vacuums 2022: Make cleaning a breeze

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Sure, stick vacuums can clean the heck out of your floors and robot vacuum cleaners can do all the dirty work for you without having to get up from the couch. But sometimes, you need a tool that can easily reach awkward spots (like in your car), quickly clean up messy spills, and bust the dust in no time. Enter, handheld vacuum cleaners.

Handheld vacuums are a great buy because they’re some of the most convenient cleaning devices you can own. These tiny workhorses are lightweight and compact, meaning they’re easy to store, and you can quickly grab one when your pet knocks over some Cheerios or you need to scurryfunge (i.e., quickly clean when a friend or an in-law is on their way over — eek) and make countertops, curtains, window sills, and shelves presentable in, like, minutes.

But what should you look for in a handheld vacuum? First things first, they need to be lightweight (under four pounds is best) unless you want an arm workout every time you clean. Even though you’ll probably be using them for quick cleanups, battery life is one of the most important things to consider in a cordless vacuum, especially if you want to clean large spaces (a car, for example) in one go. Look for models that can run up to 10 to 20 minutes per charge. Some handheld vacs also come with useful attachments and tools, such as a crevice tool to get into nooks and crannies, or a soft brush for targeting dust.

What is the best handheld vacuum for pet hair?

Although your dog, cat, or hamster may seem cute and cuddly, they’re really a carrier of billions of annoying little hairs. The second you invite your new pet into your life, every surface, including yourself, is bound to be covered in pet hair. And, like some kind of sick joke, it seems their pet hair never goes away, unless you have a good vacuum. 

Traditional vacuums like stick vacuums and robot vacuums may seem like a good idea when tackling pet hair, but, for those hard to reach places like the dark crevices in between your couch cushions, a handheld vacuum is the way to go. Handheld vacuums are typically cordless, cost way less money, and have free range of your cleaning space. They can also double as your lint roller so you can get all those pesky little pet hairs off every piece of clothing you have.

When looking for a handheld vacuum for pet hair, here’s what to consider:

  • Suction power: Although handheld vacuums are small, you shouldn’t have to sacrifice any suction power. A handheld vacuum without good suction power shouldn’t even be consider a vacuum. Considering how difficult pet hair can be to clean, strong suction power is a must.

  • Attachments: You’re going to want a handheld vacuum that comes with a variety of attachments for different purposes. Most handheld vacuums come with attachments made for specific fabrics or oddly shaped spaces. Look for a handheld vacuum with a special pet hair tool or a motorized brush to snag stubborn pet hair off your sofa.

  • Weight: The whole point of a handheld vacuum is portability. Can you easily lift it up? Does it fit comfortably in your hand?

  • Battery: Unless you go with a corded option, handheld vacuums are designed to be portable and cordless so their battery life may be abysmal. You might find yourself constantly needing to recharge. Look for a good handheld vacuum for pet hair with a powerful battery life to avoid half-done clean up jobs.

If you want to read more about the best handheld vacuums for pet hair, check out our roundup. Some of our top picks include the Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Lithium Ion Cordless Hand Vacuum, the BLACK+DECKER Furbuster Handheld Vacuum, and the Shark WV201 Wandvac Handheld Vacuum.

The Bissell cordless hand vacuum(opens in a new tab) is a very powerful pick made with pet hair in mind. You can take it with you for all your pet hair clean up needs. If you’re looking for a handheld vacuum with long attachments for all kinds of nooks and crannies, the BLACK+DECKER furbuster handheld vacuum(opens in a new tab) is a great option. It even has a pet hair-lifting bristles. And, another great option is the Shark WV201 handheld vacuum(opens in a new tab). It’s sleek design and charging dock makes it the perfect handheld vacuum for at home pet hair clean up.

What is the best handheld vacuum for your car?

It doesn’t take much to dirty a car. On the worst days, you can see the history of your week just by looking at the floor. With one quick glance you can see: some spilled coffee from Starbucks yesterday morning on the console, that one loose fry from your lunch on Tuesday hidden under the passenger seat, and the muddy paw prints from the dog walk on Sunday coating the trunk.

It’s not easy keeping a car clean. Dirt, dust, and crumbs truly get everywhere. That’s why if you really want to keep your car clean, you’ll need a good vacuum cleaner. But, traditional vacuums won’t cut it, you’ll need something with reach and something that’s lightweight so it can fit in your car. We recommend a handheld vacuum for on the go cleaning.

Similar to hand held vacuums for pet hair clean up, here are some things to keep in mind when shopping for a handheld vacuum for your car:

  • Suction power: Cars can be the biggest build up of gunk and grime. You’re going to want a handheld vacuum with some serious kick to it to keep your car spotless.

  • Weight and size: If you’re looking to clean on the go, a good handheld vacuum should be portable and light. But, it should also feel comfortable and sturdy in your hand. You want it to be easy to store and easy to use.

  • Capacity: Considering the size of your car, you’re going to want a handheld vacuum with lots of space for all the dust and debris your car can hold. And, let’s be honest, you’re probably going to forget to empty your handheld vacuum every time you use it. Why not give yourself some leeway?

  • Attachments: Does it have a crevice tool for those hard to reach places?

  • Battery: If you want you handheld vacuum to be a purely car vacuum cleaner, your’re going to want it to be cordless and easy to charge.

If you want to read more about the best car vacuums, check out our roundup. Some of our top picks include the Black + Decker 20V Max Flex Handheld Vacuum with Pet Hair Brush, the Dirt Devil Scorpion Handheld Vacuum Cleaner, and the Shark WV201 WANDVAC.

The Black + Decker handheld vacuum(opens in a new tab) has a pivoting nozzle, strong suction power, and a three stage filtration system to prevent dust from getting out. If you’e looking for a small but powerful vacuum with a great price point, the Dirt Devil handheld vacuum(opens in a new tab) is just what you need. And, the Shark WV201 handheld vacuum(opens in a new tab) is a great pick for getting in tight places like under car seats or center consoles.

Here are our top seven picks for the best handheld vacuum cleaners:





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