Best handheld vacuum 2022: 8 small vacuums for all level cleaning

Discover the latest and best handheld vacuum from top brands in our expert guide

Best handheld vacuum
While the best ways to make your small living room look bigger incorporate pieces of furniture that can double up for other uses
(Image credit: Snug )

Having the best handheld vacuum within easy reach will mean that all the little messes round meal times and mud in the car after playtime can be conquered. They're a great small vacuum for tidying up what could easily end up as a big task, unless you have one of these handy vacs to hand.

As with many household appliance you're (almost) spoilt for choice. There's so many brands and specifications to shift through until you find what you are after. This is where we come in. We've had a look into this, so you don't have to. We've even tried out the handheld vacuum cleaners you see featured in this guide, and we would only recommend them if they've been awarded a minimum of four stars out of five.

The factors we've looked into goes beyond the initial price tag and delves into the nitty-gritty, such as the ease of set up, ease of use and performance. You'll see that we have included a selection of well-known brands, too, for that extra vouch of confidence. You can keep scrolling to see who made the cut and then, why not take a look through our best vacuum cleaner (opens in new tab) guide for some larger alternatives?

These are the best handheld vacuums for 2022:

BLACK+DECKER 20V Max Handheld Vacuum

(Image credit: Amazon)

1. Black+Decker 20v MAX Lithium Pivot

This is the BEST handheld vacuum

Specifications

Best for: Everything
Cordless?: Yes
Run time: 15 minutes
Charge time: 4 hours
Voltage: 20V
Bin capacity: 15oz
Weight: 3lbs

Reasons to buy

+
Pivoting design for greater flexibility
+
Built-in attachments
+
Stores compact and upright

Reasons to avoid

-
Debris may fall out if held in an upright position
-
Total battery life duration can be hit or miss

THIS handheld vacuum is the best your money can get. It's impressive because of it's undeniable power and pivoting capabilities, and more.

Suction
Powering this vac is a 20-volt lithium-ion which is the most powerful you will see on any handheld. Black+Decker are renowned for their power tools, so it's hardly surprising that their vacuum cleaners are going to follow suit. It'll suck up anything which you put the nozzle to.

Runtime
Considering the 20V battery this vac delivers a generous 15 minute run time, and a miraculously quick 4 hours to recharge. Other reviewers seem to have mixed experiences with the longevity of the battery life, however, with many reporting that after a year it doesn't hold it's charge.

Anything else?
The ability for the nozzle to pivot 200 degrees is mega useful. You'll be able to vacuum is a why which is most comfortable and satisfying for you. A crevice tool and dust brush is also incorporated which means less accessories to store away.

Shark CH951 Cordless Handheld VacuumLivingetc badge – tried, loved

(Image credit: Amazon)

2. Shark Ultra Cyclone PetPro+

Best handheld vacuum for pet hair

Specifications

Best for: Pet hair
Cordless?: Yes
Run time: 15 minutes
Charge time: 6 hours
Voltage: 10.8V
Bin capacity: 0.45L
Weight: 2.8lb

Reasons to buy

+
Good suction
+
Large dust canister
+
Long runtime
+
Lightweight

Reasons to avoid

-
Noisy
-
Takes a long time to fully recharge

This handheld vacuum cleaner from Shark is a good option for homes with resident pets. When looking for the best vacuum for pet hair (opens in new tab) you're going to be on the hunt for something which can tame stray hair, and lift all sorts of dust around the home. We can vouch for this one.

Suction
Performance in terms of suction of this Shark vacuum is good. Suction doesn't fade at any point during the clean and it works well when challenged with even the most stubborn stray hairs.

Runtime
The one-speed-setting means that this small, lightweight vacuum will last you for up to 15 minutes. It'll take six hours to fully recharge, however. If you need to quickly finish off what you started then just pop it back on charge briefly.

Anything else?
It comes with a brush and crevice tool, too, which can be easily attached yet there's no onboard storage. The brushbar will attract hair but it is self-cleaning, hurrah. Maintenance of this handheld vac is general pretty easy with a washable filter and easy-to-empty bin.

The UK equivalent of this vac known as the Shark Handheld Cordless Pet Vacuum Cleaner CH950UKT has been reviewed. The only discernible difference is that the UltraCyclone offers 15 minutes of runtime and takes 6 hours to charge, which is slightly longer than the UK version.

THISWORX Car Vacuum Cleaner

(Image credit: Amazon)

3. ThisWorks Car Vacuum

Best handheld vacuum for the car

Specifications

Best for: Car
Cordless?: No
Run time: N/A
Charge time: N/A
Voltage: 12V
Bin capacity: Unknown
Weight: 1.2kg

Reasons to buy

+
Includes a storage container
+
LED light to see dark areas
+
HEPA filtration
+
Good price

Reasons to avoid

-
Corded
-
Only usable with a car adapter

If you're looking for a car vacuum and a car vacuum only, then this is the one for you.

Suction
The ThisWorks Car Vacuum offers 110W of suction power which will take on anything from food and crumbs, to sand and debris.

It has 16-foot power cord so you can clean bumper-to-bumper. The engine will need to be running but this essentially means that you can vacuum the car (or truck!) anywhere.

Design
Packed into ThisWorks vac is a washable HEPA filter so it'll capture allergens which can be washed away. There's also an LED light, and a large suite of attachments including a flathead hose for hard to reach areas, extension tube for crevices, and a brush head to dig out dirt on carpets and upholstery.

Anything else?
A storage bag is also included. 

Shark WV201 WANDVAC Handheld Vacuum

(Image credit: Amazon)

4. Shark WV201 WANDVAC

Best lightweight handheld vacuum

Specifications

Best for: Maneuverability
Cordless?: Yes
Run time: 9.5 minutes
Charge time: 2.5 hours
Voltage: 10.8V
Bin capacity: Unknown
Weight: 1.4lbs

Reasons to buy

+
Easy cleaning
+
Ergonomic design
+
Easy to maintain
+
Quick to recharge

Reasons to avoid

-
Not the longest runtime on this list

If having a handheld vacuum cleaner which is lightweight is important to you then we can highly recommend the Shark WV201 WANDVAC.

Suction
It may be a small vacuum cleaner but it is mighty in power. The high-speed brushless motor delivers an impressive suction power which can target various tight spaces, especially when used with the Duster Crevice Tool or Multi-Surface Pet Tool.

Runtime
On full charge, the Shark WV201 WANDVAC will run for 9.5 minutes. And when it comes to recharging, it'll take 2.5 hours which is one of the quickest in this guide.

Anything else?
At 1.4lbs it's also the lightest handheld vacs in this guide. There's an LED light on the control panel which indicates the charging status and remaining battery life (useful!) And it's easy to maintain with a detachable dust cup and removable filter housing.

BLACK+DECKER Dusbuster Handheld Vacuum, Cordless, Gray (HHVK415B01)

(Image credit: Amazon)

5. Black+Decker Dustbuster HHVK415B01

Best handheld vacuum for upholstery

Specifications

Best for: Upholstery
Cordless?: Yes
Run time: up to 15 minutes
Charge time: 4 hours
Voltage: 16V
Bin capacity: 0.36Ltr
Weight: 1.4lbs

Reasons to buy

+
Wall mount base and charger
+
Built-in crevice tool
+
Available in a selection of colors

Reasons to avoid

-
Small bin capacity

Another option from Black+Decker is the Dustbuster HHVK415B01 which will save you space, in more ways than one.

Suction
Although lightweight, the 16V is great for quick clean ups and dry spills. It'll tackle carpets and hard floors but it does especially well on upholstery thanks to the onboard crevice tool. It even comes with a brush tool for the more stubborn fluff.

Runtime
It'll vacuum for up to 15 minutes, and take four hours to fully recharge. 

Anything else?
It comes with a wall mount base and charger so it won't take up any space on the worktops or floor. Being small in size means that it generally won't take much space, yet it will come in really handy to quickly vacuum any little messes.

AEG QX6

(Image credit: AEG)

6. AEG QX6

Best handheld vacuum hybrid

Specifications

Best for: Versatility
Cordless?: Yes
Run time: 13 minutes
Charge time: 4.5 hours
Voltage: 18V
Bin capacity: 0.3L
Weight: N/A

Reasons to buy

+
Superb suction
+
Easily converts to an upright vac
+
Generous bin capacity
+
Great for pet hair and fluff
+
Looks good

Reasons to avoid

-
Unable to charge separate to the upright unit
-
No alert to let you know bin is full
-
Instructions aren't overly clear

The AEG QX6 is a hybrid of a handheld vac and upright vacuum cleaner. The handheld vacuum can be clipped in and out of the stand, offering a level of versality like no other.

Suction
Using the smaller handheld vac there is no drop in suction and it performs just as well as using it as an upright. There's also no drop in suction when the battery is running low, although there are three lights on the unit which count down to display fading battery levels.

Run time
There's just one speed to use on the handheld unit. You can expect to achieve a run time of 13 minutes which is great, but to reach full charge again it'll take 4.5 hours.

Anything else?
It can be used with or without the mini motorized PetPro Nozzle, which is more like a smaller version of the upright's floorhead. This is a handy attachment for cleaning the stairs and upholstery. There's also a wand with a brush head that can be attached to the end of it for getting into any crevices.

This product is currently in review with one of our inhouse appliance specialists.

Proscenic S1 handheld vacLivingetc badge – tried, loved

(Image credit: Amazon)

7. Proscenic S1

Best handheld vacuum for battery life

Specifications

Best for: Battery life
Cordless?: Yes
Run time: 15-30 minutes
Charge time: 2.5 hours
Voltage: 11.1V
Bin capacity: 1.2L
Weight: 1.39lb

Reasons to buy

+
Great battery life
+
Powerful suction
+
Docking station for charging and display
+
Quick-charging
+
Versatile attachments

Reasons to avoid

-
Side stream of air can blow debris
-
The one button can be confusing

If you have a lot of crumbs to keep on top of then we can vouch for the Proscenic S1 because of its impressive battery life. The charge time is pretty good, too.

Suction
Big and small particles are no match for the Proscenic S1. Unlike any of the other handheld vacs featured in this guide, the P1 has two suction modes: 8,000 Pa and 12,000 Pa. If you are to use the lower setting, then the vac will last that little longer.

Runtime
It's advertised that it has a running range of 15-30 minutes. During our review, it was noted that it can keep going for 26 minutes on the lower setting, which is good when compared to the other vacs out there. It'll take just 2.5 hours to charge on its charging dock or via its USB-C cable.

Anything else?
There's a built-in washable HEPA-12 filter which means that pollutants stay contained in the device.

This product has been reviewed by one of our inhouse appliance specialists and received a minimum of four out of five stars.

Kärcher handheld vacLivingetc badge – tried, loved

(Image credit: Kärcher)

8. Kärcher VW1 Anniversary Edition

Best handheld window cleaner

Specifications

Best for: Windows
Cordless?: Yes
Run time: 35 minutes
Charge time: 2.5 hours
Bin capacity: N/A
Weight: 0.6kg

Reasons to buy

+
Light, easy, little fuss
+
Very clean to use
+
The dirty water tank can be emptied quickly and easily

Reasons to avoid

-
On some windows, you have to hold the unit sideways, which meant the washer unit leaked and the squeegee couldn’t finish the down stroke, leaving a streak

Not looking to vacuum crumbs but, instead, smudges on glazed surfaces? The Kärcher VW1 is just what you need.

Cleaning power
It's a squeegee and a carpet shampooer hybrid. This handheld vac for windows works by first dispensing a mix of cleaning solution and water, then suctioning it back up. It works very well on windows, tiles, mirrors and shower screens. But it is not suitable for use on the carpet or upholstery, so don't be trying that with this option.

Runtime
This Anniversary Edition has an impressive runtime of 35 minutes, which is 40 per cent longer than the WV2. And it'll take just 2.5 hours to fully recharge.

Anything else?
It's lightweight and really easy to use, with very little preparation required. 

This product has been reviewed by one of our inhouse appliance specialists and received a minimum of four out of five stars.

Are handheld vacuum cleaners any good?

If your home or car is prone to frequent, small spills then a handheld vacuum is a great option. They are lightweight, portable and small in size so they are easy to take around the home or outside to clean the trunk of the car.

How we test handheld vacuums

We like to test as many handheld vacuums as we can so we can share our experiences with you, our readers. They're tested in one of our editor's homes for a minimum of two months. We just them not just on their price tag, but what it is exactly that you get for your money because it's all so different.

All things have been considered. After all, we like to consider ourselves as the experts since we've read A LOT about vacuum cleaners and have reviewed plenty over the years. Alongside handheld vacuum cleaners we've also tested robot vacuums, cordless vacuums and upright vacuum cleaners from top brands such as Shark, Dyson and Hoover. These are then featured in any relevant guides we have across the Homes titles, so long as they have been awarded a minimum of four stars.

We've got quite high expectations so we measure factors such as how easy the vacuum cleaners are to set up, the run time on each setting (if there is more than one setting), the suction power in lifting crumbs, dust and general dirt and just how this performance transitions across the different surfaces throughout the home (or car). Many of us have pets and / or long hair, too, so we also look out for anti-hair wrap on the brush bar.

In circumstances where we have been unable to review a product featured, we look out for the customer reviews. We find that many have the same, if not similar, experiences so we collate them and draw our own conclusions for the purpose of the guide/

What is the best handheld vacuum?

To recap, we can highly recommend buying the Black+Decker 20v MAX Lithium Pivot. It has THE most powerful voltage and therefore suction we have seen for a handheld vacuum. It's also incredibly versatile thanks to the nozzles ability to pivot 200 degrees. We like how it looks, too. It's a superb household power cleaning tool for the home which has impressed us, and other customers.

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