6 Best Handheld Vacuum Cleaners

6 Best Handheld Vacuum Cleaners

You'd be amazed by how much dust and dirt there is in your home! That's why finding the best handheld vacuum to clean in all the niche areas is essential. It's the only way you'll keep dust mites under control and prevent allergies.

Here's the deal:

For the big carpeted rooms, you'll need a regular vacuum cleaner. But for small spaces (car interiors), your couch cushions, and smaller carpeted areas, the best handheld vacuum you can find is the perfect solution.

It's lightweight, portable, and ideal for a quick clean-up.

Let us help!

Whether you're trying to clean up pet dander, deal with muddy footprints, or just keep your home clean, it can be tough to find the "right" vacuum cleaner. Don't worry: we've done the work for you!

We've spent hours researching the best handheld vacuums on the market. And, we've put together a list of the best vacuums for all purposes.

What did we find?

We decided to rank the best handheld vacuum cleaners for each situation. So we chose the best cordless hand vacuum, the best car vacuum, and the best handheld vacuum cleaner overall.

Read on to find out more about the top hand vacuum cleaners.

6 Best Handheld Vacuum Cleaners

  • 6. Eureka EasyClean Vacuum 71B
  • 5. Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Handheld Vacuum
  • 4. Black+Decker BDH2000PL MAX Lithium Pivot Vacuum
  • 3. Dirt Devil SD20005RED Scorpion Quick Flip Corded Bagless Handheld Vacuum
  • 2. Dyson V8 Absolute Cord Free Vacuum
  • 1. BLACK+DECKER BDH2020FLFH Flex Vacuum

Most Powerful Handheld Vacuum

#6

Eureka EasyClean Vacuum 71B

Most Powerful Handheld Vacuum: Eureka EasyClean Vacuum 71B
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96 Bought
76 % Editor Score
80 % User Score

Why People Love it

  • Great suction thanks to the 5.5-amp motor
  • Well-built; feels solid and durable
  • Particularly effective for cleaning stairs and hallway runners

Handles stairs, carpets, and couches with beautiful efficiency; dual motors help to clean while you vacuum; extra-long power cord; easy-to-empty dust container; and features excellent suction and power.

Power cord storage can be a hassle and slightly heavy for a handheld vacuum.

Performance: For those who want a user-friendly design, excellent suction, and a long-lasting machine, this Eureka cleaner is the appliance of choice. With its 5.5-amp motor, you get consistent suction to pick up all dirt, debris, and even larger objects.

Not only is there the motor built for suction, but there's a second motor that spins the brush heads. This gives your vacuum extra cleaning power as you move it, leaving your carpets, stairs, floors, and furniture as free of dust and debris as possible. If you've got kids that tend to leave muddy footprints on your carpets, this is the appliance you want.

It's not as lightweight or compact as some of the others on this list, but it gets the job done well--particularly on carpets and stairs!

Features: Combine the 20-foot power cord and the 3-foot stretch hose, and you have better reach with this corded vacuum cleaner than any other on our list. The onboard crevice tool makes it easy to get into every nook and cranny, and you'll love the Riser Visor to help you clean your carpeted stairs and hallway runners.

The bagless bin is easy to empty and clean, and you'll find that it can hold a surprising amount of dirt--no need to empty it every five minutes. The vacuum cleaner comes with a built-in shut-off switch to prevent overheating, but if you only use it for a few minutes at a time, you'll never need that feature.

Price: At $40, this is a VERY well-priced vacuum cleaner. If you have carpeted stairs or floors, you'll want to consider it. It works effectively, leaves your home clean, and it's built to last.

Best Handheld Vacuum for Pet Owners

#5

Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Handheld Vacuum

Best Handheld Vacuum for Pet Owners: Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Handheld Vacuum
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89 Bought
77 % Editor Score
82 % User Score

Why People Love it

  • Surprisingly powerful given its small size
  • Corded design means it runs consistently
  • HEPA filter to prevent dander and dust from polluting your air

Adorably tiny; effective for all types of pet dander; includes nozzles specially designed for hair and fur; features incredibly powerful suction; great for furniture and flat surfaces, and well-priced. What more could you ask for?

In addition to being quite loud, this vacuum blows hair into the air if not positioned correctly.

Performance: If you have pets at home, you'll need this vacuum cleaner handy. It's great for sucking up all types of pet dander, fur, and hair, whether on your couch, carpet, car seat, or chairs. It works for all fabrics, and the built-in attachments make it easy to get into all the corners and crevices of your home.

The vacuum cleaner looks like an adorable multi-color mouse, and it's beautifully compact and lightweight. Cord storage can be a bit tricky, but you'll find that the 16-foot long cord gives you more than enough reach for most interior spaces.

The 4-amp motor is surprisingly loud, and it tends to blow hair into the air if you're not careful. However, a simple change in the angle of the vacuum cleaner will prevent this problem. Considering how powerful it is, it's worth having during the months when your pets shed!

Features: The vacuum cleaner has a number of built-in nozzles and attachments to clean in crevices, scrub up stains, and pick up pet dander. The rubberized fabric attachment is particularly effective for getting pet hair off your fabrics. With its HEPA air filter, it will prevent vacuumed dust and hair from polluting your air.

Cleaning and emptying the vacuum cleaner is wonderfully easy, thanks to the bagless design. You will need to empty it regularly to ensure the suction remains consistent, but it is the work of but a minute or two.

Price: At $29, this is an amazingly-priced vacuum cleaner that is perfect for cleaning up your cat's litter box or sucking up spilled dog chow. If you have pets, you need this vacuum cleaner for quick and easy cleaning.

Vacuum Cleaner with Longest Battery Life

#4

Black+Decker BDH2000PL MAX Lithium Pivot Vacuum

Vacuum Cleaner with Longest Battery Life: Black+Decker BDH2000PL MAX Lithium Pivot Vacuum
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192 Bought
82 % Editor Score
86 % User Score

Why People Love it

  • Versatile and flexible--excellent for cleaning between couch cushions, under car seats, and flat surfaces
  • Consistent suction, doesn't lose power as battery drains
  • Cordless and has a great battery life

Powerful motor, long-lasting battery, beautifully easy to charge, flexible pivoting nozzle makes for easy cleaning, compact when not in use, no need for accessories, and consistent power output.

Difficult to clean and empty thanks to odd design of the access door.

Performance: If you want a high-performance handheld vacuum cleaner, this Black and Decker appliance is the one for you. Not only do you get quality power from the 20-volt motor, but the output remains consistent throughout the entire battery charge. No weakening suction as the battery drains, just full speed ahead until it's time to recharge. And with its 3-stage filtration system, you get dust-free air with every use.

The lithium battery has a longer lifespan than your average handheld vacuum cleaner, so you get up to 15 minutes of use from this bad boy instead of the industry average of 8-10. Lithium batteries have a long lifespan, so you'll find you can get a lot of re-charges from the vacuum cleaner before it's time to change batteries.

The vacuum cleaner isn't annoyingly loud, but it does a great job of sucking up all dirt and debris. It can be a bit of a chore to clean or empty (thanks to the oddly designed access door). However, the fact that it has a flexible nozzle means you don't need a bundle of accessories to do a good job. It's an all-in-one that provides everything you need for a clean home.

Features: There are no attachments because there are none needed. The pivoting head is able to get into all the cracks and crevices as efficiently as any attachment would. The nozzle has its own built-in brush and crevice tool that you can extend or retract as needed.

One of the great features of this vacuum cleaner is its compact design. When not in use, it's designed to fold up surprisingly small. It can sit on the charging dock and take up very little space until you need it. It's lightweight, easy to carry, and features a comfortable, ergonomic handle that's easy on your wrists.

Price: At $68, this is one of the pricier handheld vacuum cleaners on our list. And yet, it's definitely worth paying a bit more for, considering its compact size, long-lasting battery, powerful suction, and quality design. It's a vacuum cleaner built to last!

Best Handheld Vacuum for Cleaning Cars

#3

Dirt Devil SD20005RED Scorpion Quick Flip Corded Bagless Handheld Vacuum

Best Handheld Vacuum for Cleaning Cars: Dirt Devil SD20005RED Scorpion Quick Flip Corded Bagless Handheld Vacuum
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113 Bought
87 % Editor Score
89 % User Score

Why People Love it

  • Lightweight and easily maneuverable for cleaning vehicles
  • Attachments make it easy to get under seats and into the crevices of your car
  • Powerful 7-amp motor gives you shop-vac-level potency and suction

Comes with accessories that are great for cleaning around and under car seats; corded for extra power; wonderfully lightweight; can handle pebbles, gravel, and sand; and features a bagless design for easy emptying and cleaning.

Very loud and has a tendency to overheat if used for extended periods.

Performance: If you need a shop-vac-strength handheld car vacuum, this is the appliance for you. Its 7-amp motor delivers surprisingly good suction, and the fact that it's corded means you'll never have to worry about running out of battery life. Keep your car clean by using this vacuum cleaner on a regular basis.

The suction is surprisingly powerful for such a compact vacuum, and you'll find that it can suck up coins, gravel, pebbles, and debris very easily. It's even great to use in your workshed to deal with sawdust and wood chips.

On the downside, you can't use the vacuum cleaner for too long. Not only is the powerful motor very loud, but it has a tendency to overheat. That's why you should use it regularly to keep your car clean, so a quick vacuum is all you need!

Features: This vacuum cleaner comes with multiple attachments that make it easy to get into every crevice and corner of your vehicle or home. The hose is agile and surprisingly long, with a versatile head that makes it easy to get under drawers and car seats. With the crevice tool and brush, it will leave every inch of your car free of dust.

The bagless design means it's easy to empty, though you may want to give it a once-over with a brush every once in a while to ensure all the dust is gone--no risk of clogs that way! With a 16-foot power cord, you have more than enough reach to clean your car no matter where it is parked.

Price: This is one of the most affordable of the vacuum cleaners on the list--just $24! Considering its excellent suction power and the versatility of its design and attachments, it's a worthwhile investment if you want a vacuum cleaner to keep in your car at all times.

Best As Hand-Held or Upright Vacuum Cleaner

#2

Dyson V8 Absolute Cord Free Vacuum

Best As Hand-Held or Upright Vacuum Cleaner: Dyson V8 Absolute Cord Free Vacuum
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94 Bought
92 % Editor Score
93 % User Score

Why People Love it

  • Long nozzle eliminates the need to bend over when vacuuming floors
  • Cordless design for convenience and surprisingly long battery life
  • Easy charging and storage

Designed for maximum comfort, no need to bend over to vacuum floors; up to 40-minute battery life; designed for all floor types--including hardwood; docking station makes for easy charging; and incredibly lightweight.

This vacuum is VERY pricey and not as effective for deep shag carpets. Also, you can't switch out the battery when it dies (after years of use).

Performance: This is definitely one of the most unique hand held vacuum cleaners on our list. It's cordless and lightweight, yet it looks and functions like your classic upright vacuum cleaners. Your back will thank you as you vacuum your floors and carpets with this bad boy!

Not only is it lightweight, but the long nozzle connecting the grip to the head makes it easy to vacuum without bending over. It feels solid and durable, and it has surprisingly good suction power. You get up to 40 minutes of consistent use with the vacuum cleaner on low setting (or 10 minutes on maximum setting), making it easy to clean your home on a single charge.

When it comes time to store or recharge the battery, simply place it on its docking station. It's easy to store in any closet or cupboard, and it will recharge as it sits waiting for you to pull it out for its next use. It also charges fairly quickly, so you can get two uses in the same day without having to wait for hours. The upgraded placement of the button makes it easier than ever to turn it on and get vacuuming in comfort.

Features: Thanks to the brush rollers built into the head, you can remove ground-in dust, dirt, hair, and dander from your carpets. The carbon fiber filaments in the brush lift and remove all debris and particles from your floors, and can even handle hardwood floors. It may not be the best vacuum cleaner for deep shag carpets, but for most carpets, floors, and furniture, the bristles do a great job. It's particularly effective for cleaning pet hair.

The cordless design means you don't have to worry about dragging a tangling cable behind you. The docking station is easy to use, and can be set up anywhere. It's even built to turn off the vacuum cleaner if the head gets stuck--thus saving on battery life. 

The built-in HEPA filter helps to capture allergens, expelling the cleanest possible air. If you're worried about dust, dirt, pollen, or allergens in your home, this vacuum cleaner is one of the best to use for maximum cleanliness.

Price: At $600, this is the most expensive of the hand held vacuum cleaners on our list. However, if you're looking for something that offers comfort and convenience, it's definitely a vacuum cleaner worth considering!

Best Handheld Vacuum Cleaner Overall

#1

BLACK+DECKER BDH2020FLFH Flex Vacuum

Best Handheld Vacuum Cleaner Overall: BLACK+DECKER BDH2020FLFH Flex Vacuum
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243 Bought
98 % Editor Score
96 % User Score

Why People Love it

  • Versatile enough to clean your car and home from floor to ceiling
  • Easy to use, powerful, lightweight, and feels solid
  • Has a very long battery life--up to 40 minutes per charge

Incredibly versatile; great for vacuuming every corner and crevice; useful for car and home; comes with attachments to deal with dirt, mud, and pet dander; powerful motor; and features a 3-stage filtration system for cleaner air.

Dust container door is spring-loaded and accidentally opens if it bumps into things; and, it's difficult to clean the pre-filter.

Performance: If you're looking for a vacuum cleaner that's designed for cleaning your entire house, this is the product for you. With its flexible, versatile design and multiple attachments, it can be used to clean the floors, walls, ceilings, under bookshelves, behind washing machines, and anywhere else.

The vacuum cleaner is lightweight and well-balanced, so it will be easy to grip as you clean your home. The lithium battery has a surprisingly long life: up to 40 minutes of continuous suction! It won't lose power as the battery drains, though the lack of battery life indicator makes it hard to know how much time you have left before you need to recharge.

The 20-volt motor is beautifully powerful, giving you more than enough suction power to pick up dust, dirt, debris, pet hair, mud, sand, pebbles, and pretty much anything else that doesn't belong in your home. With the charging station, you can keep the hand vac safely stored and conveniently out of the way as it recharges the battery.

Features: This vacuum cleaner comes with: 4-foot flexible hose, nozzle and brush tool, pet hair brush, washable filter (which can be tricky to clean), long crevice tool, stick vac floor head, and a charging base. It's everything you need to keep your home nice and clean.

The bagless design means you can simply pop open the dust storage container door and empty it out in a cinch. Just be careful: the spring-loaded door may pop open if you bang it against furniture or your hip as you work. Be aware of that to avoid making more messes!

Price: At $85, this is one of the pricier models on our list. However, if you want a lightweight, versatile, and durable vacuum cleaner to replace your old stand-up or shop vac, this is a great investment. The appliance is built to last and will do a great job for years to come.

Faveable Expert Tips

When your regular vacuum doesn’t get the job done, it’s time to enlist the help of a reliable handheld vacuum.

Handheld vacuums capture tiny debris particles from furniture, baseboards, and carpeted corners. You can also use a handheld vac in your automobile.

Not sure which handheld vacuum deserves a spot in your appliance collection, or are you simply struggling to figure out what to do with the vacuum you already own? We’ve got detailed info on everything from vacuum features to maintenance, so browse our extensive Q&A below!

General Information

What is a handheld vacuum?

A handheld vacuum is a small vacuum that’s ideal for cleaning furniture, automobiles, and compact spaces. As the name implies, you hold it in your hand as you clean. Some handheld vacuums are battery powered, while others are corded.

How is a handheld vacuum different than a regular vacuum?

A handheld vacuum typically weighs less than a regular vacuum. You hold a handheld vacuum in your hand and maneuver it around small areas rather than gripping a long handle and pushing the appliance around the room.

Unlike traditional vacuums, many handheld vacuums have cord-free capabilities. That’s because they’re powered by disposable batters or a rechargeable power supply.

Regular vacuums are usually much bigger than handheld vacuums, and they can grab more debris at one time. This makes them ideal for large spaces, such as carpeted living rooms or vacuum-safe area rugs. Handheld vacuums are best for hard-to-reach spots that you can’t get with a regular vacuum, such as chair cushions or the corners of carpeted stairs.

Why would somebody buy a handheld vacuum?

Lugging around a large, heavy vacuum can cause neck and back pain, so some people prefer a handheld vacuum. People also buy handheld vacuums so they can easily clean areas that are difficult to access with a regular vacuum, including:

  • Automobile interiors
  • Couch cushions
  • Chair cushions
  • Carpeted stairs
  • Vacuum-safe bathroom rugs and toilet seat covers
  • Mattresses
  • Baseboards
  • Areas behind and under furniture
  • The gap between your oven and the kitchen floor

These aren’t the only areas you can clean with a handheld vacuum, of course. Handheld vacuums may also be useful at schools and businesses as well.

Do I need a handheld vacuum and a regular vacuum?

Possibly. Does your regular vacuum come with attachments? If not, it can be difficult to reach all of the dirt and debris in your home.

Also, it’s super tricky to vacuum your vehicle with a regular vacuum (although one Faveable writer confesses she attempted it before a road trip). A handheld vacuum is ideal for capturing crumbs from all the snacks you swore you’d never let your kids eat in the van.

If you’re a self-described neat freak, we recommend investing in a traditional vacuum and a handheld vacuum. That pet dander on your sofa and the crumbs under your kitchen stove aren’t just going to disappear on their own.

Can you use a handheld vacuum on wet or dry messes?

Both, if you buy a wet/dry vac. The BLACK+DECKER 1-Cup Cordless Wet/Dry Hand Vacuum and the Dirt Devil Extreme Power Wet/Dry Bagless Cordless Hand Vac are suitable for wet and dry messes.

Avoid using a dry vac on spills, as liquid can clog the filter or cause the interior to mold. It’s also a safety hazard; would you toss a hair dryer in the tub? It’s important to exercise caution with a vacuum that isn’t specifically designed for wet messes.  

Can you use a handheld vacuum on hardwood floors?

Yes, unless the instructions for your flooring or vacuum state otherwise. Be careful, though - some hardwood floors scratch and dent easily. Also, if you’ve got film on your hardwood floors from mopping or polishing them, the film may clog your handheld vacuum’s filter.

We suggest using a soft-bristled broom or sweeper on your hardwood floors. After you get your floors fairly clean, you can grab any remaining debris with a handheld vac.

Do handheld vacuums have a cord?

Some handheld vacuums, like model 71B of the Eureka EasyClean Corded Hand-Held Vacuum, have a cord. A cord gives you a steady stream of power for as long as you need it, but it can get in the way while you’re cleaning.

Some handheld vacs have detachable cords. The cords are used for charging the power supply, but you don’t need to keep the vacuum plugged in while you clean.

There are also battery powered vacuums that never require a cord.

Choosing the Right Handheld Vacuum

What features should I look for in a handheld vacuum?

We all have different needs and expectations from appliances, so what’s important to someone else might not matter to you. With that being said, here are some common features that handheld vacuum buyers appreciate:

  • Clear container - so you know when to empty it
  • Motorized brush - removes tough debris without extra effort on your part
  • Bagless waste compartment - eliminates the need to replace the waste area
  • Quiet operation - lets you clean without waking the neighborhood
  • Cordless design - perfect for automobiles and areas that aren’t near an electrical outlet
  • Three-stage filtration system - keeps debris in your vacuum rather than sending it back into your home

If you’ve got allergies, you may also want to look for a handheld vacuum with a HEPA filter. It helps capture microscopic allergens, which may improve symptoms related to allergies or asthma.

The voltage rating is another factor to consider when you buy a handheld vac. A high voltage rating often leads to a better performance, so look for a motor that has at least 20 volts if your budget allows it.

Is it better to get a handheld vacuum with a bag or without a bag?

Some people feel bagged vacuums are outdated, but there are several benefits to using a handheld vac with a bag:

  • No need to clean a filter after each use - it’s usually built into the bag
  • Better for people with allergies because less debris escapes
  • HEPA filtration system (to be fair, many bagless vacs also have this)

However, you have to replace the bag regularly, and that can get expensive if you have pets or messy family members. Also, your handheld vacuum may not work as well when the bag is almost full.

Many ecofriendly folks prefer bagless vacs because you’re not creating extra waste by tossing out bags. Also, you can empty your vacuum before it gets full, which helps keep your device running smoothly.

What is the best handheld vacuum for pet hair?

Pet hair can be difficult to remove, especially if you’ve got multiple furry friends in your home. Our experts recommend the Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Handheld Vacuum if you’ve got cats, dogs, or other cuddly creatures. It’s around $30, which is a steal for this powerful device. It even removes pet hair from fabric!

If you’ve got a larger budget, consider the BLACK+DECKER BDH2020FLFH Flex Vacuum. It costs around $100 with tax and boasts a 20-volt motor that runs for up to 40 minutes without being recharged.

Oh, and consider using a lint roller no matter which vacuum you buy. Run it over your furniture before you vacuum to loosen hair, or use it after you vacuum to grab the hair you missed.

What is the best handheld vacuum for a car?

Our experts believe the Dirt Devil Scorpion Quick Flip Corded Bagless Handheld Vacuum SD20005RED is the best handheld vacuum for a car. It’s lightweight and easy to maneuver under seats and between cushions, and it can handle everything from stray French fries to gritty gravel.

What is the best handheld vacuum for someone with allergies?

If you’ve got allergies, look for a handheld vacuum with a HEPA filter. A HEPA filter traps microscopic allergens, including ones that traditional filters may miss.

You may also want to consider a handheld vacuum with a bag rather than a bagless model. When you empty a bagless model, the allergens may float back into the air. A bagged vacuum traps the allergens inside rather than sending them on a journey throughout your home.

In general, what’s the best handheld vacuum?

We highly recommend the Black+Decker BDH2000PL MAX Lithium Pivot Vacuum. For starters, it’s got a 20-volt motor (remember, we talked about why that matters in the question titled “What features should I look for in a handheld vacuum?”).

Here are some other reasons why we love the Black+Decker BDH2000PL MAX Lithium Pivot Vacuum:

  • Long-lasting lithium battery
  • Pivoting head eliminates the need for attachments
  • Built-in brush and crevice tool
  • Compact design folds easily for storage
  • Consistent, dependable performance

Not quite what you need? Here are 5 of our other favorite handheld vacuums:

  • Dirt Devil Scorpion Quick Flip Corded Bagless Handheld Vacuum (model SD20005RED)
  • Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Handheld Vacuum
  • Dyson V6 Cord-Free Vacuum
  • BLACK+DECKER BDH2020FLFH MAX Lithium Flex Vacuum
  • Eureka EasyClean Vacuum 71B

Operating a Handheld Vacuum

How do I turn on my handheld vacuum?

Depends on which brand and model you have. There should be a switch or button somewhere on your vacuum. Start by flipping that up or down or pressing it gently. If nothing happens, you may need to plug in your vacuum, replace the batteries, or charge the power supply.

How do I charge my handheld vacuum?

Follow the instructions that came with your handheld vacuum. If you don’t have those, flip over your vacuum and see if there are any instructions on the bottom. You can also examine the power supply box if you’ve got one.

In general, you charge a handheld vacuum by connecting it to an electrical outlet. Some vacuums require you to remove the power supply (which is usually a black box) and place it in a separate charging compartment.

Can I use my handheld vacuum while it’s charging?

We don’t recommend it unless the manufacturer’s instructions say it’s okay. Using a vacuum while it’s charging is a potential safety hazard.

Even if the manufacturer says you can safely use it while it’s charging, you won’t get the same performance as you will from a fully charged device. It’s best to let your vacuum completely charge or buy an extra battery dock so you never have to wait.

How do I clean with a handheld vacuum?

Start by making sure your handheld vac is fully charged or plugged into a compatible electrical outlet. Once the device is ready to go, gently move it back and forth (up and down, not side to side) across the area you want to clean. Repeat this process until you’ve captured all of the debris.

If you have trouble grabbing some of the dirt, you may need to empty your container, replace the vacuum’s filter, or try a different vacuum. Some handheld vacuums can’t pick up large, heavy debris (like rocks).

Do I need attachments for my handheld vacuum?

Not if you’ve got a device with a pivoting head and built-in tools like the Black+Decker BDH2000PL MAX Lithium Pivot Vacuum (our favorite!). If not, then yes, you may need some attachments to get your home, office, or vehicle clean.

Attachments help you loosen caked-on dirt and grab debris from tight spaces. If you’re cleaning a light mess and have plenty of room to maneuver your handheld vac, you probably don’t need attachments.

Cleaning/Maintaining Your Handheld Vacuum

Do I need to clean my handheld vacuum?

You don’t need to do much to the interior, but it’s a good idea to wipe down the exterior regularly. You can remove dirt from a vacuum’s exterior with an all-purpose spray or a cleaning wipe.

You can also use a cleaning wipe inside of the vacuum if you want to wipe out the waste compartment. Let the compartment dry before you use the vacuum again.

Traditional vacuums require you to clean the brush roll regularly, but your handheld vacuum may not have a brush roll. If it does, use a small pair of scissors to cut loose threads and hair out of the rollers.

Your vacuum might have a small filter that requires a gentle wash a few times a month. Review the instructions for your handheld vacuum to determine whether you’re supposed to clean or replace the filter.

Oh, and make sure you unplug your handheld vacuum and/or power it off before you perform any of the cleaning tips above. We don’t want anyone getting hurt!

What should I do with the debris inside of my handheld vacuum?

Throw it away! If you’ve got allergies, empty the dust in a separate bag and place it in your trash can. Yes, this creates more waste, but it also keeps allergens from emerging each time you open your trash can.

We’ve heard that some people bury vacuum waste outside. Depending on where you live, this could be an acceptable option.

When should I replace the filter in my handheld vacuum?

It depends on the type of filter you have. Are you able to clean your filter regularly, or does the manufacturer recommend replacing it after a set period of time?

If you gently clean your filter with soap and water, it may last for months - or even years. If you have a disposable filter, you sould replace it whenever you feel the performance of your vacuum isn’t as good as it once was. You’ll notice plenty of debris left on your carpet or furniture, which is a sign that your vacuum has less suction than it originally did.

It’s also time to replace your filter if it’s damaged or has excessive wear. A filter doesn’t work properly if it’s not in good condition.

Authentic HEPA filters generally have a recommended replacement date imprinted on them. You can also review the instructions from your manufacturer (for either the vacuum or the filter) for info on when it’s time to get a new filter.

When should I replace the bag in my handheld vacuum?

In general, you should replace a vacuum bag when it’s 2/3 full. Don’t wait until your bag is stuffed full of waste to remove it from your handheld vacuum!

If you wait too long to replace the bag in your handheld vac, it may burst. This can damage the interior of your vacuum and release dust and debris into your home.

An overly full bag can also impact the performance of your vacuum because it affects air circulation. In other words, your vacuum won’t have powerful suction.

How long does it take to recharge my handheld vacuum?

Depends on the model. Many have a light that lets you know when your vacuum is done charging.

We’ve seen handheld vacuums that charge in 15 or 30 minutes, as well as models that take an hour or two. Review the manufacturer’s instructions to make sure you’re charging your handheld vac for enough time.

Also, make sure you fully charge your battery before your first use. Some manufacturers recommend charging the power supply overnight or for a full 24 hours before you use the vacuum.

Should I recharge my handheld vacuum after every use?

You can recharge your handheld vacuum after every use unless the manufacturer has a different recommendation. Some companies suggest waiting until your battery completely dies rather than recharging it whenever it gets a bit low. This is because constantly charging a battery that isn’t dead can affect its ability to hold a full charge.

Potential Issues

Why do I sneeze so much when I use my handheld vacuum?

Well, take a look at all the gunk you’re sucking up into your vacuum. You’re breathing some of that in, either as you vacuum or when you go to empty the waste compartment.

Also, you may be close to the ground while you vacuum, making it easy for you to breathe in pet dander, dust mites, and other icky allergens embedded in your carpet.

If the sneezing makes it difficult for you to complete household chores, talk to your doctor. He can prescribe meds that help you survive adventures with your handheld vacuum. You can also look for an allergy-friendly vacuum with a HEPA filter; this may reduce your symptoms.

My pets are scared of my handheld vacuum - what should I do?

This is a common issue that pet owners face. You have a few different options in this situation:

  • Place your pets outside
  • Keep your pets in another room
  • Look for a quieter handheld vac
  • Turn on the television or radio in an attempt to drown out the sound of the vacuum

Avoid petting your cat, dog, or other four-legged friends until you’re done vacuuming. Scared animals may attack their loved ones out of fear or attempt to destroy the handheld vac in an attempt to protect you.

Is it safe for my child to use a handheld vacuum?

Do you feel like your child is ready to use a handheld vacuum? This is something you can discuss with your kiddo’s pediatrician if you’re not sure.

There may also be a recommended age in the instructions that came with the handheld vacuum. We’ve seen some vacuums that say they’re safe for kids age 3 and up, so your toddler can probably safely use a handheld vacuum.

Make sure you explain how to use a vacuum safely (don’t use it in water, for example), and keep an eye on your little one while they vacuum. Handheld vacuums are fairly safe devices, but an unexpected malfunction can still happen.

Several toy companies make kids’ vacuums that look and sound real. If you don’t feel comfortable letting your child use a real handheld vacuum, look for a toy one.

Why can’t I turn on my handheld vacuum?

Sounds like your vacuum needs more power. Have you charged the battery or power supply lately? If it has a cord, make sure the electrical outlet is working. Perhaps a family member accidentally hit the “reset” button or flipped off the power supply to an outlet.

Contact the manufacturer if none of these tips help get your vacuum going. Many vacuum companies have a technical support team that helps customers troubleshoot issues.

You can also try fixing the issue yourself by watching YouTube videos or reading online articles. Keep in mind this might void your warranty if you’ve got one. If you’re unsure, contact the manufacturer.

Why is my handheld vacuum making a loud noise?

Did the noise appear out of nowhere, or has your vacuum gradually become louder over time? A new noise might be the result of something getting stuck in your vacuum, like if you accidentally sucked up a rubber band or a large rock. Turn off your vacuum and look inside for signs of the culprit.

A vacuum that gradually became louder over time may need a new fan, hose, or motor. It may be cheaper to just buy a new handheld vacuum, but check with your manufacturer. Some companies replace parts for free, especially if your vacuum is under a warranty.

Why is my handheld vacuum getting so hot?

Were you using your handheld vacuum for a major cleaning spree? It might just need a break.

Unplug the vacuum for at least 30 minutes and give it time to cool down. If that doesn’t solve the problem, your vacuum’s motor or fan might have issues.

The issue could also be a faulty battery or power dock.

I accidentally sucked up something important - help!

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one who’s done this! Your handheld vacuum doesn’t send waste into an inaccessible abyss, so the odds are in your favor.

Turn off the vacuum and unplug it, then remove the waste compartment. Empty it into a bag rather than your trash can so that you can sort through it. We recommend wearing gloves and a face mask if you’ve got these items.

Look in the brush roller and other parts of the vacuum if you don’t see your item. Remember, it’s in there somewhere! You can also contact the technical support team for your vacuum’s manufacturer for tips on locating your sucked-up item.

Who do I contact if my handheld vacuum isn’t working the way it should?

Contact the technical support team for your handheld vacuum’s manufacturer. If you don’t see a number listed for tech support, contact customer service.

When you contact the company, they’ll probably ask you for the following info:

  • Model number
  • Serial number
  • Specific details about the issue (so rather than saying “my vacuum is loud”, you would explain that it makes a humming sound when you move it forward)

You can also contact a local appliance repair company, but try your vacuum’s manufacturer first. They typically have employees who deal with vacuum-related issues.

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Article Staff

Fitness has come hard for Andy; he's had to work for it. But, his trials have led him to becoming a martial artist, a NFPT-certified fitness trainer, and a man passionate about exercise and healthy living. That’s why he’s our resident fitness expert.

His favorite food is lettuce-leaf steak tacos – though he’ll admit to a love of hot wings if you leverage the right pressure.

We know him as the guy who understands British humor and wishes everyone was as passionate about life as he is. His previous forays into the worlds of international business and education have left him wildly optimistic. And, if that wasn’t enough, he's also a best-selling, award-winning author of fantasy novels! Can you say renaissance?

Editor Jenna Holtz
Researcher Ronnie Langston
Art Director Cherry Barbacena

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