A handheld vacuum cleaner is one of those devices that at first you think to yourself “do I really need one?”. But then when you actually use one, you wonder how you ever managed to live without it. A handheld vacuum cleaner is something that can be used to clean the house from top to bottom.
Not only that, you can take it outside to give the car a clean and reach all those annoying spots a regular vacuum cleaner cannot. Looking for the best handheld vacuum cleaner can be tough as there are so many great ones.
However, that search just got a lot easier for you as today I am reviewing five of the best that are available right now. I was recently given the opportunity to test out these five handheld vacuums and I am sharing my thoughts with you guys just down below.
The Best Handheld Vacuum Cleaners Of 2020
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Gtech Multi MK2
HoLife Handheld Cordless
Bissell Pet Hair Eraser
Black+Decker 18 V
Gtech Multi Mk2 – Best Handheld Vacuum Overall
The Gtech Multi Mk2 is one of the most impressive vacuum cleaners I have had the pleasure to test out. It is one of the more highly regarded handheld vacuums on the market, but it is also not one of the cheapest as it is currently being sold at the higher end of the scale for a hand vacuum. However, if you want this kind of power, you have to expect a higher price point.
Powerful Suction For A Handheld Vacuum
Gtech clearly wanted this to be a powerhouse. I was very, very impressed with how powerful this was. One of the first jobs that I gave it was a bunch of nasty pet hair that my dogs had left on the sofa and it sucked it all up with ease. Not only that, no matter what the kids stomped into the carpet or their beds, this will pick up.
There is a very powerful motor in here, but they have designed it so that the airflow helps with the suction. Look, I do not know the technical details behind what they have done, but what I can tell you is that it picked up everything I tested it on and with two kids and two dogs that’s a lot of awful stuff! In going back to the airflow for a second, I want to mention that you do not have to worry about this spitting out dust or any other nasty stuff it picks up as the filtration system is top of the line.
Read More: Full review of the Gtech Multi Handheld
Handy Attachments For Hard To Reach Areas
What I like about this is how easy it makes vacuuming. No matter if you are using it for the beds, under the sofa, the corners of the roof, the car seats or the areas of the house the regular vacuum just cannot reach. While the main head of the vacuum cleaner is great and in all honesty what you will be using most of the time, the Gtech Multi Mk2 also comes with some really handy attachments that make cleaning even more easier and if you are kind of weird like me, more fun.
It comes with a wand which can get right to the back of the sofa, under the beds, the corners of rooms and so on. What I like about this is that you have two lengths of wand available to you, one long and one short. So if you are vacuuming the car and the kids have shoved a bunch of Hula Hoops down the side of the seat, this can reach in there and get them out for you. The flexible hose that you can attach is something I thought I would not use, but I found that for doing under the coffee table in the living room it was very handy.
20 Minutes Run Time With Rechargeable Battery
In all, you can clean pretty much anywhere you want with this and thanks to the power, it takes no time at all. The battery life is 20 minutes which I feel is more than enough and it does have a LED power indicator to let you know when that runtime is coming to an end. When you are finished vacuuming, the canister is very easy to empty and you never actually have to touch it.
It is easy to see why the Gtech Multi Mk2 is regarded as one of the best hand vacs in the UK. It has a ton of power, is easy to use, comes with different attachments and in general, it is just awesome. I know that the price may seem a little high, but I can assure you that you are getting an incredibly powerful and high-quality vacuum cleaner for your money.
Shark WV251UK Cordless Handheld
Shark is one of the most popular vacuum brands when it comes to the upright and cordless market. The Shark WV251UK is their first venture into the handheld vacuum market, and they have done a great job at delivering a product that is lightweight, easy to use, and has powerful suction.
The Shark WV251UK and the WV200UK are basically the same model, with the only difference being the WV251UK comes with a twin battery. The WV200UK gives you up to 9 minutes of cleaning time, while the twin batteries of the WV251UK allow you to clean for 18 minutes, which is not bad for a handheld vacuum.
Unique Design for a Handheld
The first thing that stands out about the Shark WV251UK is the unique design. This handheld vacuum is slim and sleek, and the wand design means it is easy to just grab and go. The cylindrical wand also means a smoother connection to the docking station and allows you to get cleaning faster.
The docking station itself is also slim and compact, meaning you can store it on a countertop for easy access and it won’t take up much room. The docking station is sleek but is still big enough to hold the accessories, such as the crevice tool with dusting brush and the pet multi-tool.
The Lithium-Ion battery charges while the vacuum is docked in the station and the spare battery also charges with being housed in the docking station. This is a handy design as it means you will always have a battery charged if you need it.
Lightweight and HEPA Filtration
The WV251UK is light, even for a handheld, weighing just 1.3kgs. You will have no problems lifting this up high to clean the cobwebs, and if you have weak wrists or suffer from arthritis then this would be a great option.
Shark have done well to include a washable HEPA filter in this handheld model, which captures 99.9% of all allergens. This is an essential feature if anyone in your home suffers from allergies, and after using this you should see a noticeable improvement in symptoms.
The bin capacity is 0.25 litres which is about average for a handheld. If you are dealing with pet hair then you may need to empty the canister regularly, but the easy-open design makes this a job that takes seconds. Simply hold the vacuum over the bin and press the button to open the door, and be amazed at the amount of dirt that falls into the bin.
I was impressed with the power of this compact handheld vacuum. On hard floors, the Shark WV251UK picked everything up on the first go, and if you use the soft dusting brush attachment it will give your floors a little polish too.
It was the same story on carpets, although you may need to go over heavily soiled areas a few times to get everything. Even so, I was very happy with the cleaning performance and the suction power of this vacuum.
If you are looking for a lightweight and powerful handheld vacuum that looks stylish and modern, then look no further than the Shark WV251UK. The twin batteries allow you to clean for longer, and the suction is almost as powerful as the full-sized Sharks. It’s a definite thumbs up from me.
BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser – Best Handheld For Pets
BISSELL is a name in the vacuum world that is usually associated with developing models specifically for pet hair, and the BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser is no different. Most handheld vacuums struggle to deal with stubborn pet hair in carpets due to the lack of suction and accessories.
BISSELL has come up with a solution to this problem, and the Pet Hair Eraser features a detachable motorised brush which is great for removing embedded pet hair and other dirt. The big difference between this and other motorised brushes is that the BISSELL has a motor on the actual cleaning head, meaning better agitation for a more thorough clean.
Design and Filtration
The BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser is a striking lime green and black colour, and it has been designed to be as ergonomic as possible. The vacuum is quite long for a handheld, but the handle is large so this makes it feel a lot more balanced when in use.
The long design means that you actually get a larger dust capacity, although if you are dealing with pet hair then you will still need to empty it regularly. The dust bin is bigger than most handhelds on the market, and it is easy to empty thanks to the button located on the handle.
The Pet Hair Eraser does not contain a HEPA filter, which is understandable due to the price. It does feature dual filtration, however, with the pre-filter capturing larger bits of debris. This protects the main filter and helps it last longer.
Pet Features and Accessories
As mentioned above, the BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser has been designed with pet hair in mind. This handheld is impressive when dealing with pet hair, mainly thanks to the motorised brush on the cleaning head. This brush allows to you clean deep in the carpet fibres, removing any stubborn pet hair.
The filtration system is also ideal for dealing with large amounts of pet hair. Pet hair can quickly clog up a paper filter, and these are often more expensive to replace. The pre-filter is a washable mesh filter, and this captures all large debris including pet hair before it reaches the main paper filter. This system will save you a lot of money in replacement filters.
The BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser is a perfect handheld vacuum if you live with pets. The motorised brush is the main element that makes it great, but it also has other features such as dual filtration, powerful suction and a 15 minute run time.
Vax Gator Handheld
Next up we have the Vax Gator. This is one that I have actually seen on TV quite a bit, but the advert does not really showcase just how compact this thing is. This is coming in at around half the price of the previous models and it is not a vacuum that is designed to clean as in-depth as the other two we just looked at. Vax have designed this to clean up a quick spill one of the kids has made or to get that bit of pet hair off the arm of the sofa, that kind of thing.
Wide Mouth For Larger Spills
The reason that this is called the Gator is that it has what Vax call a Gator mouth. While the vacuum is pretty compact, the mouth on it is a very good size. I found that it was able to pick up larger things like cereal (why I keep giving my kids cereal, I have no idea!) as well as smaller bits of dirt and stones that the dogs like to drag in the house with them.
I decided to test this out in the living room first. It was more than able to pick up the bits of dog hair that were on the sofa, but what I like about this is that it is great for quick cleanups. So if there is a little bit of a spill or if you notice a bit of mess you missed. Rather than grabbing the regular vacuum cleaner you can go and get the Vax Gator.
Ideal As A Second Vacuum Or A Car Vac
It certainly gets the job done and as a second vacuum for quick and easy cleanup, I can see why it is so popular. You have probably noticed that it does pop up regularly on top handheld hoover lists and I think that versatility is why. I think this would be great for people who like to give their car a quick vacuum.
One nice surprise that this comes with is a little crevice tool. You put this into the Gator mouth, do not worry it does not bite! Now you can get down the side of the sofa, under the kitchen countertops and so on. I think it is a handy little tool and one that is going to get a lot more useful than you probably think.
Great Suction With 13 Minute Run Time
The level of suction that this offers is actually a lot better than I thought it would be. It managed to pick up everything I tried to pick up with it so I have no complaints in that regard. The dust canister is not the biggest, but I think that is ok as this is the kind of vacuum that you use and then you just empty the dust canister after each use.
Battery life is not one of the vacuum cleaners strong points. You get around 13 minutes of cleaning time from a 12-hour charge. On the flip side of this though, this vacuum is not designed with marathon cleaning sessions in mind. As I have said, it is designed for those people who want something quick and easy on hand to clean up a mess.
The Vax Gator may not be the fanciest hand vacuum cleaner that I have ever used, but I think it is great if you want something that is affordable and designed for cleaning up quick messes.
HoLife Cordless Cleaner – Best Budget Handheld
I will be honest and say that at this cheap price I was not really sure what to expect from the HoLife Handheld Cordless Cleaner. As you can see it has a very similar design to the Vax handheld vacuum cleaner that we just looked at and I feel that it is the same kind of person that they are aiming for here.
Cleaning up a mess quickly is what this is all about. I actually gave this a good workout in our kitchen. Dirt, food and even wet cereal were no match for this thing. I would not say the suction is the most powerful in the world, but as a second vacuum that is designed for smaller messes, it more than gets the job done.
Read More: Which small vacuum is the best in 2018?
Extra Attachments Including A Crevice Tool
A huge reason as to why is the fact that this comes with some great accessories. At this price point, HoLife are still giving you three extra attachments. For general dirt and mess, the normal mouth is great. However, the crevice tool is a really nice length so it can reach down the side of the sofa, cover the stairs or get those corners of each room. The crevice tool makes vacuuming awkward spots much easier.
Another attachment that they give you is the dusting brush. This has a bit more kick to it so if you are like me and have pets that like to shed all over the sofas. You can use the dusting brush to loosen up the hair so that the vacuum can easier suck it up. Any other messes like cookies stomped into the carpet (a weekly occurrence at my house) are made much easier to clean with this attachment.
The other attachment is the liquid nozzle which is what you use for wet messes like spills and cereal covered in milk. Getting three attachments and three attachments that are all actually really good is something that really did impress me.
Up To 30 Minutes Of Battery Life And Short Charging Time
Another impressive feature of the HoLife Handheld Cordless Cleaner is the battery life. You get 25-30 minutes of cleaning time from a single charge. The running time is great, but the charging time is only 6 hours! This is one of the best charging time/battery life trade-offs I have come across in a cordless vacuum cleaner.
I know that you could make the argument that the reason for this battery life is because it is not the most powerful vacuum cleaner on the planet, but I think it is more than powerful enough to handle the kind of mess it is intended to clean up.
Removable Dust Canister For Easy Cleaning
The dust canister is very easy to remove and clean. This means that it is nice and simple to get rid of the mess that you have vacuumed up as well as cleaning any mess that gets stuck to the inside of the canister. I really like how they have made it as easy as possible to get rid of the mess as well as keep the vacuum itself clean.
The HoLife Handheld Cordless Cleaner is the cheapest handheld vacuum cleaner on this list. I was not expecting much, but you are getting fantastic value for money here and I think that it would work as a great second vacuum for a family or someone who just wants something always on hand to clean up a quick spill or mess.
Black+Decker 18 V Lithium-Ion Flexi
Look I know that the Black+Decker 18 V Lithium-Ion Flexi looks really weird, but the very interesting design is a huge part of what makes this such a good handheld vacuum cleaner. The asking price is great if you are looking for an extra vacuum to handle any awkward areas or even to take care of the car. There are a few versions of this vacuum cleaner, but the one I am reviewing is this 18 V version which is the most powerful.
Extra Long Reach For Great Flexibility
The first thing that catches your eye is, of course, the hose. This is a very unusual design for a handheld vacuum cleaner and the pictures do not do justice just how much extra reach this gives you. A couple of the other handheld vacuums that we have looked at today do have attachments. The Black+Decker 18 V Lithium-Ion Flexi though has it all contained in one unit which is pretty interesting. The amount of reach the hose gives you is great as is its flexibility, it made vacuuming under the sofa and the little cupboard at the bottom of my Son’s bed a million times easier.
As well as the hose, the overall design of this handheld vacuum cleaner is very interesting. The bottom of it is very fat and the reason for this is that you can actually stand it up and then just use the hose. So if you are using it to clean under the coffee table or the sofa, you can just set it down and hold the hose. I know it does not sound like much, but it does make vacuuming that little bit less of a pain in the rear end when you do not have to hold the whole thing.
Decent Suction For The Price
The amount of suction that this offers is what you would expect at this price range. I am not saying it is bad, but you cannot expect to pay around half the price and get the same level of suction that a Dyson provides. What Black+Decker have done though is allow you to flip a little brush that is on the head. This allows you to scrub as you vacuum which makes getting things like pet hair and cookies crushed into the carpet much easier. In addition to this, a crevice tool is also included and can get into the sides of the chairs, the beds and anywhere else a regular vacuum will struggle to do so.
Good Filtration And Easy Empty
The filtration system is great, I never once started sneezing like a maniac when I was using it, even in cramped quarters like when I was cleaning the car. Speaking of sneezing, when you empty the vacuum, you hold it over the bin, open it and the dust and other mess will drop right out so you do not have to touch it. Going back to the filtration system for a minute, you can actually buy new filters for this. They are cheap and in all honesty, I think that you would get a couple of years use at least before you had to think about changing a filter.
When it comes to the handheld hoovers, I get that the Black+Decker 18 V Lithium-Ion Flexi may slip under some people’s radars. However, as far as budget price handheld vacuums go, I was very impressed with the level of suction that this provided and think that it would be a real asset to any home. I think that if you like the idea of your handheld vacuum having a hose, this is the one to take a closer look at.
Handheld Vacuum Cleaners: A Complete Buying Guide
So we have had a good look at some of the highest-rated handheld hoovers on the market today. Now I want to share with you some of the best things about adding a handheld vacuum cleaner to your housekeeping arsenal as well as a few of the things that you need to watch for too.
Why Buy a Handheld Vacuum?
Here are just a handful of the benefits of having a handheld vacuum cleaner in your home.
They Are Compact
All of the handheld vacuum cleaners that I tested out over the past few weeks as well as ones I have used before are nice and compact. This means that first of all, they are nice and light when you use them. It also means that they take up very little space in the home. Ours sits in a cupboard where we have a power socket so it can charge and be out of the way.
Super Easy To Use
Even the vacuums that have multiple attachments are super easy to use. Most of the time adding an attachment is as simple as plugging it in. What I like about the handheld vacuum cleaners I have tested is that the kids can use them. My oldest is 10 and if he makes a mess where he spills his bowl of crisps or whatever, I can tell him to grab the vacuum and clean it up.
They Are Versatile
Their compact size and any attachments that come with a certain model allow you to vacuum all kinds of tight spots. Under the sofa, the kitchen countertops and so on. A handheld vacuum cleaner allows you to get to those tight spots that your regular vacuum cannot.
Great for Quick Clean-Up Missions
You know what it is like when one of the kids knocks something over or one of the dogs drags in some mud. You just cannot be bothered to go and get the larger vacuum cleaner out and run it around. A handheld vacuum is so light, quick and easy to use that you can use it to clean up a mess quickly and have it back in the cupboard in no time at all.
Read More: The best lightweight vacuums in the UK
You Can Clean Anything
One thing that I love about using a handheld vacuum cleaner is the more “weird” things that you can clean. My youngest has a whole army of Sonic the Hedgehog soft toys. These things get pretty grubby, but I can give them a going over with the handheld vac and it cleans them up a bit. I have even used it to give some of our larger ornaments a quick going over to get rid of some of the dust. You can really think outside the box when it comes to vacuuming with a handheld vacuum cleaner.
They Are More Powerful Than You Think
While that may sound like something a superhero might say, handheld vacuum cleaners have really come into their own in terms of their power. They, of course, cannot match what a standard vacuum cleaner can do, but they offer far more suction than many people realize. With the Shark and the Gtech model, in particular, offering immense suction power.
When Should You Not Buy A Handheld Vacuum?
A handheld vacuum cleaner is a great tool to have in your cleaning arsenal, but they are really only useful as an accessory to your main vacuum cleaner. It’s not recommended to use a handheld model as the only vacuum in your home, as they don’t have the capacity or power to clean large areas.
While there are a few handheld models that are almost as powerful as a regular vacuum, generally they are not powerful enough to clean your whole home.
Handheld vacuums are perfect for quick clean-ups and small areas, but if you are in the market for a vacuum to clean your whole house then you will be better with a cordless stick, cylinder, or an upright.
Things to Look out for
Here are some things to watch out for when you are purchasing a handheld vacuum cleaner.
As handhelds are useful for quick clean ups, you don’t need a battery that lasts as long as a regular vacuum. Handheld vacuum cleaners tend to have a much shorter battery life, and you are looking at 30 minutes at the most, but 15 minutes seems to be the average for a handheld vacuum cleaner.
Attachments and Tools
I am a person who loves their gadgets so while I can manage without attachments, I find that having them is much better than not having them. They give you so much more variety when it comes to your vacuuming, from doing down the sides of the sofa to the tops in the kitchen. Some handheld vacuum cleaners do not come with any attachments at all so that is something to look out for.
Handheld vacuums are like any other product; generally, you get what you pay for. The cheapest models can be found for as little as £15, but they will have less power, battery life and dirt capacity. The higher-end models can cost as much as £200, and these vacuums will give you superior suction, longer life or multiple batteries, and will be designed better for ease of use.
How much you are willing to spend will depend on what you want from your handheld. I tend to think the sweet spot is around the £100 – £150 mark; this will give you a vacuum that will be a great companion to your main vacuum.
The battery life in a handheld vacuum is shorter than a regular cordless vacuum, so it shouldn’t take more than a few hours to charge most models. Some brands offer a boost function where you can get a little bit of power after 30 minutes of charging, this is something to keep in mind if you plan on using it regularly.
Cheaper models will tend to take longer to charge with some of them taking 5 hours, so this is something to factor in when you are making your decision.
Suction power is an important consideration of any vacuum cleaner, and a handheld is no different. If you are going to buy a vacuum for quick clean-ups then you have to ensure that it will actually pick up the dirt.
It’s hard to find out the power a handheld has until you actually use it, so the best thing to do is check out reviews and see what other users think of the product. Also keep in mind that manufacturers have to find a balance between suction power and battery life, as higher power will ultimately use more battery.
Handheld vacuums are almost guaranteed to be lighter than traditional vacuums, but they are not all created equal. If you have mobility issues or arthritis, you want an ultra-light model that is easy to use. Also, think about how often you will be using the vacuum and if you will be cleaning high areas; a heavier vacuum in these situations can cause strain in your arm and wrist.
Dust Bin Capacity
The dust bins on these models are generally a lot smaller than other types of vacuums, meaning you will have to empty it more often. There are some handhelds with a bigger capacity than others, so if you plan on using it often then this is something to think about.
How Easy is it to Empty?
The whole point of a handheld vacuum is that it enables you to clean up small messes quickly. If you are going to save time cleaning, you don’t want to spend a lot of time emptying the machine. Because the dirt canisters are smaller on a handheld, you will need to empty it more so you want it to be as trouble-free as possible.
Most handheld vacuums have a button that releases the door to the dust canister, allowing you to hold the vacuum over the bin and get rid of the mess with no fuss. Be wary of models where you have to take the vacuum apart to empty it, as this will add on to your cleaning time.
Wet and Dry Functionality
Some handheld models offer wet and dry functionality, meaning they can clean up wet spills as well as dry debris. This will often add to the cost, so make sure it is something you will use before you buy.
Another thing to remember is that liquid is harder to suck up than dust and dirt, so if you buy a wet and dry handheld it is essential that it has good suction power.
As with any product, it’s a good idea to make sure that your handheld vacuum comes with some warranty or manufacturer guarantee. The length of time will vary between models, but a 1 or 2-year warranty is usually normal and will help protect your purchase in the case of any problems.
Be wary of any product that offers less than 1-year warranty and check user reviews to see if the vacuum is known to break or develop problems after a short while.
It’s a good idea to think about what type of flooring you will be cleaning, as this can have an influence on your buying decision. If you have mainly hard floors such as wood or tile, then suction may not be the most important factor. A dusting brush is something to consider as this will help protect the surface of your floor, and also add a bit of shine.
If you have mainly carpets in your home, then you need a powerful vacuum to get deep into the fibres. A motorised brush, especially if you have pets, is essential.
Pet Specific Models
There are a number of handheld vacuums that are marketed as pet-specific. These will usually come at a higher price, but they will have features that are essential for dealing with pet hair. These features can include a motorised brush for removing stubborn pet hair, and a better filtration system to stop the vacuum from clogging up.
What Is The Best Handheld Vacuum Cleaner?
I think that all five of these do a good job. However, the Shark WV251UK and the Gtech Multi MK-2-ATF006 are the best out of the five. These two offer incredible power and performance, but they do cost considerably more than the other three. If I had to pick between the two, I would go for the Gtech Multi MK-2-ATF006 just because I love all the different attachments that it comes with. However, I will say that the Shark was slightly more powerful so there is that to consider.
If you want a budget-priced option, I would suggest you go for the Holife Handheld Cordless Cleaner. It is not the most powerful vacuum cleaner I have ever used, but at under 50 pounds, it is a very low-cost way to be able to quickly handle any awkward messes that happen and one of the cheapest cordless vacuums available. So there you have it, the higher-end choice for the best handheld vacuum cleaner is the Gtech Multi MK-2-ATF006 and the lower-priced option is the Holife Handheld Cordless Cleaner. Just be sure to do your own homework and see what one suits your needs best.