Guide to Handheld Vacuums


    What are Handheld Vacuums?

    A handheld vacuum cleaner is a smaller version of a regular vacuum. It is designed to be used in small and awkward places where you may not be able to use a regular vacuum. Such vacuums are usually small and light, therefore easy to hold in one hand and maneuver into tight corners. 

    Due to their size, they are convenient for everyday use as they take up little space and are faster for quick everyday tidying. Some places where handheld vacuums can be used include stairs, dusty corners, etc. 

    Therefore, they may benefit those who want to clear up smaller messes throughout the week before they do their weekly clean-up on the weekend. 

    When Will You Need To Use Hand Held Vacuums?

     A handheld vacuum is a practical solution when you want to clean up small dry spills. In such a situation, pulling out a full-size vacuum is not possible or practical because it is large and bulky. Furthermore, dirt and debris are visible on wooden floors and must be cleaned regularly. Therefore, cleaning it up is much quicker and easier with a handheld vacuum.

    Handheld vacuums are also excellent for people living in small apartments because they do not take up a lot of space and can be easily stored in small cupboards, under the bed, or inside a cabinet. They are also the best vacuums to clean pet hair that tends to become embedded into surfaces such as couches. 

    Such vacuums are also perfect for cleaning stairs and other awkward nooks that a regular vacuum cannot fit into. Most handheld vacuums come with multiple tools, such as a flexible hose that can fit into tight spaces. 

    Handheld vacuums can also remove allergens that settle into pillows, carpets, and upholstery and remove bad odor that tends to settle in such places. It can also remove dust mites and allergens. Furthermore, such vacuums can also reduce indoor allergens that settle on places such as outdoor screens, window sills, and window panes. Such places are generally hard to reach without a handheld vacuum. 

    You can also use handheld vacuums in places you cannot use regular vacuums, such as wooden floors, which can get scratched by a vacuum. Handheld vacuums are much lighter and are designed to clean such surfaces without denting or scratching them.

    Different Kinds of Handheld Vacuums 


    Corded vacuums need to be plugged into your home’s power source for them to be able to work. These vacuums have a high suction power and are excellent for cleaning bigger spaces and difficult surfaces such as carpets requiring higher suction power. 


    Cordless vacuums derive their power from a lithium battery. These handheld vacuums have decent suction power and are generally much more portable as they do not have to be tethered to a power source. However, as the battery depletes in handheld vacuums, so does their suction power.

    Feature Corded Handheld Vacuums Cordless Handheld Vacuums
    Suction Power High Suction High suction but depletes as the battery wears down 
    Portability  Are light, but limited portability due to needing a power source Are light, and portable
    Battery Life Can work endlessly when connected to a power source Have a limited battery life and needs to recharged every 15-40 minutes.
    Dust and Filter Capacity Large capacity of 2-3 liters. Usually small capacity of around 0.6 liters.

    What to Look For When Shopping for a Handheld Vacuum

    When shopping for a handheld vacuum, there are a few major factors that you should consider before making your purchase. 

    Size and Weight

    You should consider the size and weight of the handheld vacuum because, unlike regular vacuums, you will have to carry it in your hand and use it. Therefore, it should not be too heavy and be a lightweight vacuum. If possible, hold it in your hand and ensure that it feels comfortable, is not too heavy, and does not strain your hands or wrists. 


    Before purchasing, you should consider how much space you have to store the handheld vacuums. If you do not have a lot of space, then slimmer vacuums with room in the charging base or on board to hold the attachments are the best, as they can be neatly stored. If you have storage space, you can get one that suits your needs best and purchase all the attachments.


    It is also essential to consider all the attachments that come with the handheld vacuum. Attachments such as a crevice tool, an electric power nozzle, a turbo rotatory pet hair brush, and an extension hose wand should come with the vacuum. However, this also depends on what you will use the vacuum for. 

    Cleaning Ability

    The handheld vacuum should have a string suction that can allow it to pick up small debris with relative ease. Good handheld vacuums offer at least 15 air watts or 16-volt batteries as they are enough for cleaning small messes that they have to deal with. 

    Run Time

    Knowing the run time of your handheld vacuum, especially if it is a cordless vacuum, is essential. Most cordless vacuums can run for 15 to 40 minutes. Therefore, you should choose a vacuum that will allow you to tackle your chores without running out of battery several times. 

    If you intend to use your vacuum for more extended periods, then a corded handheld vacuum may be better. 

    The Number of Switches

    Most hand vacuums come with a single power switch that needs to be held down as you use it. However, for many, this can become tiring and inconvenient. Therefore, choose a vacuum with various controls, including different speeds. 

    Waste Container Size

    The waste container size is another feature you must consider. If you plan on tackling larger cleaning tasks with your handheld vacuum, one with a larger waste container will be a much better fit as you won’t have to empty it very often. Additionally, the waste container should also be easy to remove and clean. 

    External Battery

    If you want to purchase a cordless handheld vacuum that uses a battery, ensure that it comes with a removable one. A removable battery allows you to have a spare battery on hand that you can replace if necessary. Therefore, you can extend the run-time of your vacuum and don’t need to take breaks during the cleaning process. 

    Rotatory Brush Attachments

    If you have pets, you need to ensure that your vacuum has all the necessary attachments to clean their fur off various surfaces, such as rugs, sofas, and wooden floors. A powered rotatory brush attachment can help remove pet fur from upholstery and rugs, where pet hair gets stuck the most.

    The Brand

    Opting for established brands, such as Shark, Black + Decker, and Dyson, is a good idea if you can afford them. These brands usually have the best machinery, specifications, and accessories in the industry, making them worth the extra money. Furthermore, such brands are generally popular, making their parts easy to find. Therefore, they are also easy to repair. They also have a fixed warranty, meaning that if any issue arises within the warranty period, you can get it fixed or replaced if need be.

    • Black + Decker 

    Black + Decker has a wide range of handheld vacuums, such as the Black+Decker 20V Max Lithium Pivot BDH2000PL and BLACK+DECKER DustBuster Handheld Vacuum. These vacuums and others by the brand are known for their strong suction power that can easily pick up dust, sand, and other messes. They also have some of the best accessories, including a flip-up brush, a rotating nozzle, and a built-in extendable crevice tool for tight spots. 

    • Shark

    Shark handheld vacuums are some of the most lightweight and portable handheld vacuums you will find on the market. They have a comfortable grip and come with plenty of accessories, making them one of the easiest vacuums to clean in hard-to-reach places. Some popular models include Shark WandVac and the Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro Plus.

    • Beldray

    Beldray is another handheld vacuum brand that specializes in having a large battery life and compact shape. Most of the vacuums from this brand are lightweight and slim and can neatly fit into a corner of your closet. The charging base is also compact and offers a neat storage solution as it has space to store all the attachments. Some popular handheld vacuums from the brand include the Beldray BEL0944 Revo Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner and the Beldray Airlite Cordless Hand Vacuum.

    • Bissel

    Bissel handheld vacuums are the smallest on the market, but they are some of the most powerful vacuums that you will come across. They can be used on various surfaces and easily pick up all kinds of messes, such as dust, crumbs, pet hair, and other small messes. Vacuums from this company are also easy to charge as they come with a USB charging cable. Some popular models include the Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Lithium Ion Cordless Hand Vacuum and the Bissel AeroSlim Lithium-Ion Cordless Handheld Vacuum.

    User Friendliness

    You should always choose a user-friendly handheld vacuum with features such as an extension stalk to clean hard-to-reach places, a power switch that does not require you to keep your hand on the power button, and an extra battery.

    How to Care for Your Handheld Vacuums

    Handheld Vacuums

    To ensure that your handheld vacuum lasts a long time, it is essential that you properly take care of it and all its components. 

    Empty the Bin

    If your vacuum bin is overstuffed, it can block airflow, which may decrease the vacuum’s suction power. Therefore, you should hold it over a trash can and tap the bin until all the dirt and debris have fallen out. Occasionally, you should also pop out the whole bin and wash it. 

    Check for Clogging

    When vacuuming, if anything oversized or sticky is picked up, it may clog up your bin or the mechanics inside. If your vacuum is not working correctly, check for clogs in the machine and pull them out. 

    Wash and Replace the Filter

    Each handheld vacuum has its designated method for cleaning the filter, but washing it out can increase the airflow and suction power. 

    Pros and Cons of a Handheld Vacuum

    Pros Cons
    Lightweight Not extremely powerful
    Portable Dustbins have low capacity,
    Easy to clean up small messes It is a supplement to regular vacuums and not a replacement.
    Comes with helpful attachments Fragile


    1. What voltage is best for handheld vacuums?

    A good handheld vacuum with decent suction power offers a minimum of 15 air watts or a 16-volt battery.

    2. Can you use a handheld vacuum on carpet?

    A handheld vacuum is not the most powerful in terms of suction power and, therefore, may not be the best option for cleaning carpets. However, they can be used for quick spruce-ups.

    3. Do Handheld vacuums scratch hardwood floors?

    Handheld vacuums are designed to work on all floor types. Therefore, they can be used on hardwood floors, and furthermore, they do not scratch up hardwood floors because of their lightweight nature

    4. Do handheld vacuums pick up dust?

    Yes. Handheld vacuums are exceptionally powerful and can suck up particles as small as 0.5 microns.


    A handheld vacuum is versatile cleaning equipment that can be used alongside your main vacuum to instantly clean hard-to-reach places and small messes. These vacuums are typically smaller in size and are much better for everyday use as compared to regular vacuums due to their size, portability, and usefulness. They come in two styles, cordless and corded, and depending on your use, they are equally matched in power and usability.

    Therefore, if you are in the market for a piece of detailed cleaning equipment, a handheld vacuum will be perfect for all your cleaning needs. 

    A handheld vacuum cleaner is great for small spaces. If you need more recommendations, our Guide to Vacuums for Small Spaces might help you.

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