Best handheld vacuum 2022: for easy cleaning on the go

Buying the best handheld vacuum for your home will help you to keep on top of spills and smaller messes. These lightweight vacuums are the perfect alternative to breaking out your main vac in order to do a more simple task. Handheld vacuum cleaners are ideal for cleaning the gap in the side of the sofa or the skirting boards in your home. They are also perfect for cleaning up your car’s interior, and because most of our top picks are cordless, you won’t need to worry about plugging them in every time you need them.

While many of the best options have small dustbins, they’re usually painless to empty out when you’re done with them. They also often feature smaller battery lives because of their limited size, but because they are best used for little tasks, it is unlikely that you will need them for more than 15 minutes. Think cereal spills and that dust bunny you just spotted in a corner.

We’ve reviewed the majority of the vacs in this guide, from Shark, Dyson, Black & Decker, Roidmi, Proscenic, and Karcher. You’ll see all of our pros and cons, and discover why these tools are so handy to have on hand to supplement your pick of the best vacuums.

Best handheld vacuum 2022

Proscenic S1 Handheld Vacuum is designed to make life a whole lot easier. Our small appliances editor put it to the test in this Proscenic S1 Handheld Vacuum reviewReal Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: Proscenic)

Our #1 best handheld vacuum

Specifications

Best for: Value

Cordless: Yes

Weight: 0.63kg

Battery life: 23 minutes

Capacity: 0.12L

Reasons to buy

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Decent battery life

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Handy storage port

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Lots of attachments

Reasons to avoid

There is a side stream of air

If you want the best inexpensive handheld vacuum cleaner, look no further than the Proscenic S1 Mini Handheld Vacuum Cleaner. It’s got a port that allows you to charge up your handheld vacuum remotely, with storage for the crevice and brush nozzles. 

Our verdict
Our Small Appliances Editor Millie was impressed during testing that the battery life on this vac lasted 23 minutes and 40 seconds, which is more than enough to tackle even larger messes. Emptying the nasty stuff was easy too, because the bin tips outwards. It had no trouble picking up rice, sugar, and coffee grounds in the kitchen, and the attachments also made it useful for car interiors and cleaning the stairs. After trying it out, we think the power of the Prosenic M1 is pretty unbeatable, and that it excels at picking up both small and large debris.

Shark CH950UKT Cordless Handheld Pet Hair Vacuum CleaneReal Homes Rated Silver Badge

(Image credit: Argos)

Best handheld vacuum for versatility: it’s a top option for homes with pets and hard to reach places

Specifications

Best for: Versatility

Cordless: Yes

Weight: 1.39kg

Battery life: 10 mins

Capacity: 0.45L

Reasons to buy

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Great suction

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Versatile

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Large dust canister

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Lightweight

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2-year guarantee

Reasons to avoid

Battery life could do with being longer

A little noisy

We do like a Shark vacuum cleaner, especially when it’s so well priced at just £59 (or thereabouts). And this one is cordless, and a handheld, which can help to tackle pet hair (since it’s designed to rival some of the best vacuums for pet hair) and keep biscuit crumbs under control.

Our verdict
No amount of debris was too much for the suite of three attachments that come along with this vac – crevice tool, dusting brush and motorised pet tool – all of which can be easily interchanged depending on the task at hand. The main unit can also be used on various surfaces, but any one of these attachments was useful to have to target any particular spots, according to our vacuum expert Jen. The suction wasn’t affected at all when the attachments were in use, even when the battery was running low. During testing, we did find that the battery will last for just 10 minutes which could be better but, charge time is just four hours and you can always plug in the vac for a shorter amount of time to quickly finish what you started.

Karcher WV5, black and yellow, shown with attachmentsReal Homes Rated Silver Badge

Best handheld vacuum for windows

Specifications

Best for: Windows

Cordless: Yes

Weight: 0.6kg

Battery life: 35 mins

Capacity: 0.1L

Reasons to buy

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 Smudge free finish 

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 Long battery life 

Reasons to avoid

Price

Only for cleaning surfaces like glass and mirrors. Not for dust-busting your skirting

Not what you’d think of when you think of vacuums, but for those who want to obtain gleaming windows, this handheld window vac is a unique tool that will help you get the job done quickly.

Our verdict
We found that this vac excelled when it came to ease, speed and efficiency during testing. This meant that our reviewer Lucy was tempted to pick it up more often and take care of the stains on her windows. She found that using it with detergent was essential and that large debris was a bit of a struggle for the vacuum element, meaning you might want to do a bit more prep before you start with this tool if your windows haven’t been looked after for a while. It is also great for tackling condensation in winter and it isn’t just for windows – cleaning shower screens and mirrors is simplified too.

ROIDMI blackReal Homes Rated Silver Badge

(Image credit: ROIDMI)

Best handheld vacuum for travelling: this pocket rocket is very powerful

Specifications

Best for: Keeping nearby

Cordless: Yes

Weight: 0.5kg

Battery life: 24 mins

Capacity: 0.1L

Reasons to buy

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Good battery life

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Lightweight

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Strong suction

While this ROIDMI vac doesn’t have the size or attachments of some of the handheld picks in our guide this is still a fantastic choice for those smaller areas. Also a top pick for cars and upholstery thanks to its powerful suction.

Our verdict
When testing we loved the lightweight design and long battery life of this handy vac. It’s a small machine with a capacity of only 0.1 litres, but it’s fantastic for keeping in kitchens to tidy little messes as you go. Our Small Appliances Editor Millie used it for picking up coffee grounds and crumbs in her home, but because it is so lightweight it would also be the perfect companion for road trips, if you’re very on it with cleaning your car. The lightweight design and small frame doesn’t mean it’s lacking in power, either. This vacuum did very well in picking up all sorts of debris including rice. 

best handheld vacuums: shark handheldReal Homes Rated Silver Badge

(Image credit: Shark)

Best handheld vacuum for pets: tame pet hair with the handy pet tool

Specifications

Best for: Pets

Cordless: Yes

Weight: 0.6kg

Battery life: 8 mins

Capacity: 0.25L

Reasons to buy

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Light weight

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Super easy to use

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Two tools included: Duster/Crevice and Upholstery (ideal for pet hair)

Reasons to avoid

Small capacity

Not the longest battery life

Another (slightly dearer) option from Shark is this handheld pet-friendly vacuum. It’s lightweight and powerful, so it’ll easily remove crumbs, dust and hair from around the home. And it’s reasonably priced too, so it gets our vote for the best handheld vacuum for pet hair.

Our verdict
For tackling small clean-up jobs, our Senior Editor Jenny found this vacuum was much lighter than her previous handheld model, and that the cleaning power was vastly improved. The suction got to all of the debris that was there with ease, and that the vacuum itself felt robust, with a sleek charging dock to match. Jenny used it on stairs, hair floors and deep-pile carpets, as well as kitchen work surfaces and car seats, so there’s really no surface it can’t cover. 

best handheld vacuum for cars is the Beldray BEL0944 Revo Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner

(Image credit: Appliances Direct)

Best handheld vacuum for cars: a mega lightweight vac which will remove crumbs, and more!

Specifications

Best for: Cars

Cordless: Yes

Weight: 650g

Battery life: 30 mins

Capacity: 0.4L

Reasons to buy

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Easy to store

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Easy to charge

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Long battery life for a handheld model 

Reasons to avoid

Pretty noisy when in use

The Beldray Revo Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner gets our vote for the best handheld vac for cars because put simply, it comes with all the tools you need to get into those tricky places which our vehicles tend to feature.

Our verdict
Real Homes’ resident vacuum expert Jen put this handheld to the test in her family home, and found it a worthwhile addition to her cleaning arsenal thanks to how it performed when she used it to clean her car. The included crevice tool worked wonders on the sides of her car seats, while the brush was ideal for getting around the handbrake and the dust that can gather there.

Overall, while it was easy to use and lightweight, dust was the only area where this vac really excelled, as it could’ve been improved when it comes to tackling larger debris and dirt. This will be just fine if you’re just looking for a handheld for your car, but if you want a more busy-house-friendly tool, then you might need to broaden your search.

Black & Decker Flexi Handheld Vacuum, dark silver

7. Black & Decker PD1820LGB Flexi Cordless Handheld Vacuum

Best handheld cylinder vacuum

Specifications

Best for: Cleaning high surfaces

Cordless: Yes

Weight: 1.5kg

Battery life: 15 Mins

Capacity: 0.6L

Reasons to buy

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 2-in-1 nozzle 

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 Easy-to-remove bowl 

Black & Decker isn’t usually a name you’d associate with vacuums, but this one certainly lends itself to the thought behind the brand – durable, powerful, and handy! It is the best handheld vacuum for reach. 

It comes with a 2-in-1 nozzle, upholstery brush and crevice nozzle which allow you to clean anything from the sofa, to the curtains or window frames. The lengths of the nozzles are also designed to help you reach higher surfaces such as cupboard tops where you wouldn’t normally think to clean. It’s cordless and has an easy-empty bowl to really make vacuuming a hassle-free experience.  

Some might not enjoy the design but then a vacuum of this compact size will be stored away out of sight most of the time anyway.

Note: We haven’t tested this Black & Decker model yet, but we will endeavor to as soon as possible.

Vax Gator Handheld Cordless Vacuum, white and orange

8. Vax Gator Handheld Cordless Vacuum

Best handheld vacuum on a budget: an affordable vacuum for those quick whip rounds

Specifications

Best for: Budget

Cordless: Yes

Weight: 1.24kg

Battery life: 15 Mins

Capacity: 0.3L

Reasons to buy

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 Very lightweight 

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 Affordable 

If you don’t want to spend as much on a handheld vacuum as you would on a full-sized one, then you can expect this affordable option from Vax to get the little jobs done very nicely. This is one of the best handheld vacuums you can buy if you’re on a budget.

The Vax is perfect for crumbs and quick clean ups, and is surprisingly powerful, meaning the battery life usually allows for a few uses after every charge.  That said, this battery life isn’t as good as the more pricey competition, but for smaller areas it’s a great affordable alternative. If you just want a cheap and efficient vacuum to hand for daily spills, this is for you – it is nice and compact, too.

Note: We haven’t tested this Vax model yet, but we will endeavor to as soon as possible.

How to choose the best handheld vacuum 

When you’re looking to buy the best handheld vacuum for your household, there are a few factors to consider to ensure you make the right choice. They are:

Weight
The top key feature to look for in a handheld vacuum is how weighty it is, as this could just makes it more effort than it’s worth. Most handheld vacuums come in at around 1–2kg. 

Corded vs cordless
As we’ve seen with our best cordless vacuum cleaner guide, cordless is now a popular feature but consider what you’re likely to be using it for first because you will have to compromise on its power and run time if you go for a battery powered device. 

How we test handheld vacuum cleaners

Shark Wandvac on Charging Dock while being tested at home

(Image credit: Jenny McFarlane)

At Real Homes, we know how important it is to have first-hand experience of the products that we recommend so that we can tell you our honest opinion on where they excelled, and where they might be lacking. We test vacuums at home for a number of weeks before we write our reviews, which are linked in the write-ups above.

In our homes, these vacuums come up against all the dirt, dust, debris, hair (and more!); all of the things you would come to expect. Things like the suction, battery life, charge time, storage and maintenance are key to having a reliable vac performance, which is exactly what we examine during our testing process. While we have tested the majority of vacuums in this guide, we have two that we are still waiting to give you an extensive view of. You can find out more on which of our experts have tested each of our vacuums below.

Jennifer (Jen) Oksien

Jen is Homes Editor on TechRadar. Previously she has written for Ideal Home, Real Homes and Homes & Gardens as our Appliances Editor. She has tested out a number of vacuums in this guide, including the Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro Plus Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner, which is a great pick for homes with pets. She can also recommend the Beldray Revo Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner, which excelled thanks to its lightweight, compact design.

Millie Fender illustration

Millie Fender

Millie is the Small Appliances and Cooking Editor at Real Homes, and has also turned her hand to vacuum reviews at home. She has tried out the Proscenic S1 Handheld Vacuum, which earned our top spot thanks to its great battery life and suction, and the Roidmi Nano P1 Pro handheld vacuum, which is an ideal buy for those looking for a quick-to-use vacuum.

Jenny illustration

Jenny McFarlane

Jenny is Senior Digital Editor and joined the team in January 2021. She also works on the homes brands’ video show, on the Future Homes Network (opens in new tab), which is packed full of ideas to help you make the most of your own home and garden. She tested the Shark Cordless Handheld Vacuum WV200UK at home and found that it was perfect for storing in her kitchen for smaller messes. She would recommend it even if you have a large home, as the speed and convenience of this smaller vacuum is excellent.

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