- While designed for people with pets, our #1 Best Overall Hand Vacuum, the Bissel Pet Hair Eraser, is a fantastic choice for any homeowner due to its combination of price, power, and features.
- A hand vacuum allows you to clean hard-to-clean areas in your home and vehicles.
- Convertible or hybrid hand vacuums provide more power and range.
- Hand vacuums are affordable, with prices ranging from $30 to $100.
- When shopping for the best hand vacuum, consider usage, battery life, ease of use, and accessories.
There are a variety of ways homeowners can clean up small messes quickly, but the best hand vacuum can handle anything in seconds. Whether it’s dirt on the floorboards of your car or dog hair on a couch, there’s a cordless solution for your needs.
Cordless stick vacuums have become the go-to option for millions of homeowners, but hand vacuums aren’t far behind in popularity. The selection is vast, with more than a thousand models available at any given time. Shark, Hoover, Dyson, and other big brands all have lines of hand vacuums, along with smaller companies many consumers have never heard of. After careful consideration, we chose five models that are suitable for everything from pet hair to puddles of water. While they can’t replace a traditional vacuum or broom for whole-house cleaning, we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by our top picks:
- Best Overall: Bissel Pet Hair Eraser Cordless Hand Vacuum
- Best Compact: Shark WV201 WANDVAC Handheld Vacuum
- Best on a Budget: BLACK+DECKER Beyond Dustbuster
- Most Versatile: BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Flex Cordless Vacuum
- Best for Wet Messes: DeWalt 20V MAX Cordless Hand Vacuum
Best Overall: Bissel Pet Hair Eraser Cordless Hand Vacuum
The Bissel Pet Hair Eraser Cordless Hand Vacuum is the best option for homeowners with furry friends in their homes. It’s also a vacuum everyone will find useful for a variety of reasons. That includes amazing battery life and triple-stage filtration which helps keep dust and dog hair to a minimum as you clean.
Tired of sitting in pet hair on the couch or seeing it piled up on an area rug? The Bissell Pet Hair Eraser will annihilate any hair or dander left behind by your pets. It’s powerful enough to pick up larger debris with ease, and there’s plenty of room in the bin. The translucent dustbin is around 23 ounces, which puts other models on our list to shame.
The motorized brush tool works magic on furniture, carpet, and car seats. Bissel also includes an upholstery and crevice tool for areas that are difficult to reach in your home. You can put concerns with dander to rest with the Pet Hair Eraser. While it doesn’t have true HEPA filtration, the three-stage filter system does a wonderful job keeping dust and dander inside the dustbin.
Whether you own a dog that loves to roll across rugs or carry cat hair with you to your car each day, this vacuum should be at the top of your list. At close to 15 minutes per charge, the battery life is outstanding and that motorized brush makes short work of larger messes. As a bonus, the company also donates $5 to the Bissel Pet Foundation when you purchase and activate the Pet Hair Eraser.
|It has excellent battery life.||The vacuum has a tool storage system.|
|There is a three-stage filtration system.||It’s louder than other hand vacuums.|
|It has a motorized cleaning tool.|
|There is a large dustbin that’s easy to dump.|
Check out the Bissel Pet Hair Eraser Cordless Hand Vacuum on Amazon.
Best Compact: Shark WV201 WANDVAC Handheld Vacuum
When you need a hand vacuum that’s powerful and compact, the Shark WV201 WANDVAC Handheld Vacuum is the only real choice. This popular system has been a big hit with consumers and has a modern design that you’ll want to show off — not keep in the closet.
This hand vacuum has a sleek style that matches the charging base. Shark put a lot of thought into the ergonomic and lightweight design of this hand vacuum, which only weighs 1.4 pounds. The dustbin is at the end with a one-touch release button near the handle. This keeps your hands clean when using the WANDVAC unless you need to change the washable filter.
Despite its size, this hand vacuum has a lot of power thanks to a brushless motor. It’s impressive on low-pile carpet and hardwood flooring, although it comes at the cost of battery life. With no low-power mode, this vacuum is only good for around eight minutes per charge on average. While it recharges quickly, you’ll want to handle any messes right away with this Shark WV201.
Shark’s hand vacuum may not have the largest dustbin or best battery life, but it’s the best option for homeowners looking for something quick and powerful. The battery will last long enough to clean pet hair from a sofa or clean the dusty parts of your car. This stylish hand vacuum is available in four colors including Rose Gold, Cove Blue, Sage Green, and Slate.
|It has an ergonomic, lightweight design.||The battery life is very short.|
|It has a powerful brushless motor.||Its small dustbin needs to be dumped frequently.|
|There is a one-touch dustbin system.|
|The multi-surface cleaning and crevice tools are very handy.|
Check out the Shark WV201 WANDVAC Handheld Vacuum on Amazon.
Best on a Budget: BLACK+DECKER Beyond Dustbuster
Black + Decker is a name closely associated with hand vacuums, and the BLACK+DECKER Beyond Dustbuster is our top pick as the most affordable option. This attractive system is affordable and has more than enough suction to take care of daily messes around the home.
This dustbuster doesn’t look like the models of yesteryear. It has a slimmed-down design with a lithium-ion battery that’s rechargeable through the base. You can mount the base on the wall to save space and we’re big fans of the clear dustbin. You can see how much room is left before you need to dump the 11-ounce bin. Plus, you can also quickly locate anything sucked up by accident.
On that note, Black + Decker claims the suction is twice as powerful on Beyond as their top-tier 4V system. Consumers seem to agree, as we haven’t seen any complaints in that regard. The extendable nozzle with a brush attachment has also been a hit, even if storage for those accessories wasn’t very well thought out.
Black + Decker has put out millions of dust busters over the years. They currently have more models available than any other brand. While we’re fans of their AdvancedClean system hand vacs, the price tag and performance of the Dustbuster Beyond make it an excellent choice.
|It has a fantastic price point.||There’s no storage for the attachments.|
|There is a translucent dustbin.||Consumers weren’t impressed by the battery life.|
|The 8V system from Black + Decker is powerful.|
|It’s reliable and very easy to use.|
Check out the BLACK+DECKER Beyond Dustbuster on Amazon.
Most Versatile: BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Flex Cordless Vacuum
The BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Flex Cordless Vacuum is ideal for homeowners looking for a system that can provide more than the average hand vacuum. It’s a hybrid unit with some interesting features and a form factor that brings new possibilities to the table.
While a hand vacuum at heart, the MAX Flex lives up to its name with a flexible hose and nozzle. It wraps neatly beneath this vacuum and comes across the top in handheld mode. When untethered, you can use the hose to tackle stairs and other areas in your home that are challenging to deal with. That includes overhead fixtures and flooring if you decide to attach the pole.
This vacuum will function as a stick vacuum with the included pole attachment and pet hair brush. The dustbin and bowl are easy to access while the filter inside is washable. A charging base allows you to keep this vacuum ready for action and provides storage for the included accessories. As for that battery life, this flexible system can go for 10-15 minutes per charge but takes four hours to recharge.
It’s hard to argue with the versatility the Black + Decker MAX Flex vacuum provides, especially when you consider the battery life and accessories. It’s not the easiest system to dump and it will take a while to recharge, but has been well-received for its power and its ability to clean areas other hand vacuums struggle with.
|The innovative design provides more reach.||The vacuum takes four hours to recharge.|
|It has great battery life of 10-15 minutes per charge.||You can’t see through the bin to check the levels.|
|The large 17-ounce dustbin is easy to clean.|
|It has a charging base with tool storage.|
Check out the BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Flex Cordless Vacuum on Amazon.
Best for Wet Messes: DeWalt 20V MAX Cordless Hand Vacuum
Hand vacuums are great for sucking up small piles of debris, but the DeWalt 20V MAX Cordless Hand Vacuum is the best choice for real messes. It’s a vacuum that works just as well in a garage as it will on hard flooring, and is the only system on our list with HEPA filtration.
While this hand vacuum is designed for job sites and workshops, it tops other vacuums in a variety of areas. It can deal with sawdust on the floor or cheerios on a countertop along with the spilled milk. It’s a wet/dry vacuum and it holds more debris than comparable systems with a one-gallon tank. The tank is easy to clean out, and so is the washable filter.
DeWalt’s HEPA filtration will remove 99.97% of particles down to 0.3 microns. That includes things like dander and drywall dust depending on your needs. The company also included a variety of accessories with this hand vacuum. There’s a hose and wand that extends the cleaning range along with a floor head, crevice tool, and several brushes.
From the built-in LED light to the power, the DeWalt DCV517B hand vacuum has better features and more power than comparable options. The fact it can deal with wet messes is a major selling point, and the battery system can provide unlimited power. The design certainly won’t be for everyone, however, and it is expensive unless you already own a compatible 20V battery from DeWalt.
|The vacuum can take care of wet or dry debris.||It’s expensive unless you’re invested in DeWalt’s battery system.|
|This vacuum includes a variety of accessories and a storage bag.||The style or design isn’t for everyone.|
|It has a HEPA filtration system.|
|There is a large one-gallon dustbin.|
Check out the DeWalt 20V MAX Cordless Hand Vacuum on Amazon.
How to Pick the Best Hand Vacuum: Step by Step
Hand vacuums aren’t designed to clean an entire home, but the top models will make certain areas easy to clean. That’s the first step to take when searching for the right choice, but you’ll also want to consider the areas like battery life and accessories.
- Battery Life
- Ease of Use
Do you need a hand vacuum for your vehicles or something that can suck up things like cat litter or dust? While these devices are used to vacuum almost anything, how you plan to use them is tied to the type of vacuum you need.
Vacuum cleaners designed for “general use” should have great battery life and a large bin. Filters are also important on these models, but not as critical in a car. When you just want to quickly clean the floor or seats of a vehicle, suction is far more important.
All hand vacuums can pick up small debris and things like pet hair with the proper accessories. You’ll still need to get out a mop for anything wet unless you buy a wet/dry hand vacuum, however. Once you know where you plan to use the vacuum the most, it’s time to think about battery life and charging times.
Hand vacuums are small and designed with ease of use in mind. That means some features can take a hit, and one of those is battery life. Some hand vacuums can last for around 20 minutes, but most are closer to 5-10 minutes.
Unless you’re interested in a corded hand vacuum, systems with relatively short battery life are something you’ll just have to get comfortable with. It’s tied to usage, so just think carefully about how long and where you will use the hand vacuum the most.
While we found that battery life on handheld vacuums varies from 5-20 minutes, charging times are just as varied. It’s not uncommon to find that a battery with 10 minutes of power can take four hours to charge. If you’re only using the hand vacuum for short periods of time, battery life may not be a concern but it’s something to seriously consider beforehand.
Ease of Use
Hand vacuums aren’t complicated devices by design, but the best models take things a step further when it comes to ease of use. When you’re looking for a vacuum cleaner in this class that’s a breeze to use, look at the bin design.
One problem with vacuums in this class is dustbins, which can be tricky to dump. That can leave homeowners with a mess to clean up every time they attempt to dump the bin. Look for a hand vacuum with a large, clear bin that’s easy to unlock and dump.
Homeowners should also check out the filters if that’s a feature included on the hand vacuum. While somewhat rare in this class, there are systems with HEPA filtration if you want to keep allergens to a minimum. Most standard hand vacuum filters are washable, but replacements could be expensive and challenging to find.
Many hand vacuums come with at least one accessory, regardless of the price or design. The most common add-on is a crevice tool. While this handy accessory will allow you to reach and clean narrow spaces with a hand vacuum, it’s not exactly considered a premium tool.
Multi-surface heads and motorized pet tools are a different story. They can extend the capabilities of any hand vacuum, just like a wand or hose. Those are a bit rarer, but they are still something you can find on traditional and hybrid hand vacuums.
You won’t find as many accessories for hand vacuums as you will with an upright or canister vacuum system. They can make a difference, however, and they aren’t something you can typically buy as add-ons down the line.
What to Know Before Buying a Hand Vacuum
Battery life and how you plan to use a hand vacuum are key. It’s also important to know that these devices have a lifespan that varies considerably. While we didn’t touch on warranties or build quality, it’s an area you’ll want to look into with any hand vacuum.
Pricing is competitive, so you can find mid-range hand vacuums with comparable features and warranties as models from larger brands. While it may be tempting to opt for a high-tech hand vacuum from an unknown brand, customer support often narrows the gap. It’s also easier to find replacement parts and add-ons from larger brands.
Using a Hand Vacuum: What It’s Like
Modern hand vacuums are generally cordless and they are an absolute breeze to use. They weigh less than a stick vacuum and many are lighter than detachable hand vacuums that are popular on 3-in-1 systems.
A good hand vacuum will allow you to clean areas that are inaccessible with an upright or canister vacuum. They won’t strain your back and they work wonders on stairs, along with other areas inside and outside of your home.
These vacuums are popular because they are versatile and easy to use. However, they are not a real option for cleaning flooring in homes or apartments. If you’re interested in vacuums with more features but just as much versatility, check out our comparison between Dyson and Roomba.
|Bissel Pet Hair Eraser||Excellent battery life, 3-stage filtration, motorized cleaning tool, large dust bin||Louder than other hand vacuums|
|Shark WV201 WANDVAC||Ergonomic, lightweight design, powerful brushless motor, one-touch dust bin system, multi-surface cleaning and crevice tools||Short battery life, small dust bin|
|BLACK+DECKER Beyond Dustbuster||Fantastic price point, translucent dust bin, powerful 8V system, reliable and easy to use||No storage for attachments, average battery life|
|BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Flex Vacuum||Innovative design for more reach, great battery life, large 17-ounce dust bin, charging base with tool storage||4-hour recharge time, non-transparent dust bin|
|DeWalt 20V MAX Hand Vacuum||Wet/dry debris handling, variety of accessories and storage bag, HEPA filtration, large 1-gallon dust bin||Expensive without DeWalt battery system, design not for everyone|
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Sebra/Shutterstock.com.