Which Are The Best Handheld Vacuum Cleaners? (Our Top 5…)

picture of a dyson handheld vacuum sweeping up some dust and debris

Your home vacuum is great for cleaning large areas, but it can be a bit of a hassle when you just need something to handle a small mess. For these jobs, it’s much more convenient to have a handheld model. When you have a handheld, you don’t have to lug out your regular heavy, full-sized vacuum and find somewhere to plug it in, just to handle the smallest of clean-ups. Instead, you just grab the handheld, clean up real quick and it then put it away.

If you’re thinking about buying a handheld, there are a few factors to think about before deciding which model to go with. Below we’ll take a look at some of these points and share with you some of best handheld vacuums that are currently available.


The Advantages of Handheld Vacuum Cleaners

Picture of a handheld Dyson cleaning the interior of a carThe big advantage that the handheld models have is that they are small, lightweight, and you can use them with one hand. You wouldn’t want to vacuum the floors of an entire house with one, but the small size makes them better for certain jobs.

The main purpose of a handheld vacuum is to handle small messes. Maybe you just want to clean up a few cornflakes after the kids have breakfast or deal with a quick spillage in the kitchen? For these types of job a handheld is perfect.

Additionally, these models can be convenient for a range of other jobs. Some of them can be good for cleaning inside your car and they can also make jobs like cleaning the furniture or stairs much easier.



Things to Consider

When you go shopping for a handheld vacuum, there are some additional points that you are definitely going to want to consider. Obviously, you are going to want to look at things like the cleaning capabilities, as you would with any vacuum, but there are some specific points that are important for getting a good handheld vacuum.


Ease of Use

One of the most important points to consider is, how easy the machine is to handle. Part of the reason that people buy these hoovers is because they are easy to use. If the vacuum is too heavy, or too bulky, then it will not be convenient to use around the home.

 Cordless vs Corded

You’ll also want to consider whether the machine is cordless, or if you have to plug it in. The models that have cords might be able to deliver a little more power, but power is not quite as important with these small vacuums. Most buyers probably would prefer the cordless models. Since most of the jobs that your are going to use your handheld for are going to be quick, you don’t need to worry so much about battery life, and the cordless operation adds to the convenience.

 Bagged vs Bagless

You can also select from models that use a bag or ones that are bagless. For quality, you can find good handheld vacuums of both types, but bagless is going to be a little more convenient.

 Dust Capacity

Capacity is a point that you should consider, but it is not as important as it is with full-sized vacuum cleaners. Once again, these machines are designed for the quick cleaning of small messes. However, if you do go with a model that uses a bag for dirt collection, the capacity will determine how often you have to change the bag.


Versatility is another important point to consider. Many of the handhelds that you will find are of the simple dust buster design and they do not come with many attachments. These models do tend to be the lightest and easiest to handle, but they are also the least versatile. On the other hand, you have models that come with a full set of tools that can be good for a wide range of cleaning jobs. They might be a little bulkier, but they can be good for more purposes.


You can find lots more general buying advice and tips in our handheld vacuum buying guide here.

Taking into account all these points we’ve listed our top recommendations for the best handheld models currently available below. Prices vary quite significantly so your budget will probably, to a large extent, dictate which model will work best for you. Prices range from as little as £20 all the way up to £300+. Below each model we’ve added a button to check the latest price on Amazon.co.uk as they tend to be very competitive for small electrical appliances, so we are happy to recommend buying from them.


 1. Dyson DC58 Animal (Our Top Pick)

picture of the handheld Dyson DC58 Animal vacuum cleaner

The DC58 Animal from Dyson may be a bit on the expensive side, but it is a first-class handheld vacuum that performs well on a wide variety of jobs. At just over 1.5kg, it is lightweight and easy to handle, plus it comes with an impressive array of features that help to make it one of the more versatile handhelds on the market.

This machine provides powerful cyclonic suction that can tackle just about any job. You can use it for cleaning on hard surfaces, it can get into carpets and it works well on furniture. It has attachments for dusting and crevice cleaning, plus it has a motorised tool that can really lift dirt, debris and hair. If you have pets, then this handheld will be great for cleaning up pet hair.

This model is also bagless and battery operated. It has convenient ‘one touch’ emptying and the battery life of 20 minutes should be more than enough for most cleaning purposes. Additionally, it does have a boost mode for the really tough messes. However, boost mode does drain the battery more quickly than regular operation.

All in all, we highly recommend this model, and, if your budget stretches to it, we think you’ll be very happy with your purchase.


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2. Vax Air H85-ACH-BD

picture of the Vax Air H85-ACH-BD handheld vacuum cleaner

The Vax Air H85-ACH-BD is your classic ‘dust buster‘ style handheld, and it performs well for cleaning up quick messes. It is very light at 1.28kg and is very easy to handle. Additionally, this one does come with a crevice tool, so it is a little more versatile than other handhelds that come in a similar design.

The power on this model is great for a small handheld. It has good pickup power and it can work well across a range of different jobs. It can be good for the occasional quick mess, it works well for cleaning on furniture and stairs and it is a great little vacuum for cleaning the interior of the car.

For convenience, this vacuum is cordless and bagless. On one charge, you get about 20 minutes of cleaning and it is very easy to care for and maintain. If there is one point that some consumers may not like, it does take quite a while to charge after the battery dies. If it does run out of power, don’t plan on using it for at least the next 8 hours.

Assuming that’s not going to be a dealbreaker for you then this could prove to be a great option.


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3. AEG RapidClean AG71A

picture of the AEG RapidClean AG71A handheld hoover

If you want a handheld that is a little more heavy-duty, then you may want to check out the AEG RapidClean AG71A. It’s a model that operates off the mains, but that does help it to deliver a little more power and it cleans well while also being easy to use.

This handheld vacuum is well suited to a number of cleaning jobs. The user can clean with straight suction for hard surfaces and it has a brush head that can be great for getting deep into carpets and upholstery. In addition to that, it has a detachable hose and a crevice tool. It is particularly good for cleaning the inside of your car and, if your primary vacuum is a bit of a pain to use on the stairs, the RapidClean can help to save you some trouble there too.

One point that may put some consumers off is the fact that this model does weigh a little more than some of the other handhelds. It comes in at about 2.5kg, and that could make your arm a little tired if you have a lot of cleaning to do. Otherwise, it is a great vacuum. Nice and powerful, a 6m cord for added reach and it performs well on a number of jobs. And this is also, at the time of writing, the cheapest of our recommended handhelds.

You can read the full review here.


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4. Black & Decker Lithium Flexi PDL1820L

picture of the Black & Decker Lithium Flexi PDL1820L hand-held vacuum

The Black & Decker PDL1820L has a unique design that helps to make it one of the more versatile handheld vacuums that you will find. You can use it as a handheld, or you can use the flexible hose for getting into tighter spots. It is easy to use and comes with tools for tackling additional jobs.

This model weighs about 1.5kg, so it’s nice and light. When it is set up in the handheld mode, it is a little bulky, so the handling can be a bit difficult for some cleaning tasks. However, you can use the hose for getting into more spaces and it does make the machine more versatile. You just use the hose with one hand and hold the body with your free hand.

This is a cordless vacuum with high performance motor. It can lift up even larger pieces of debris that would often get left behind by other cleaners and you have two crevice tools and a dusting brush.

While the 15-minute runtime is a bit limiting, it should be enough for most cleaning jobs. Additionally, it charges very quickly, and the charging station also works for storage of the machine and its accessories. It is also bagless with more than a half litre of capacity, which is pretty good for a handheld.


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5. Dyson DC34

picture of the Dyson DC34 handheld vac

With the Dyson DC34, you have a good handheld vacuum cleaner that works well across a wide range of tasks. It does not perform quite as well as the DC58 (above) and it lacks some of the versatile features, but it’s a good alternative if you do not want to pay the higher price of the DC58. It still has good cleaning power and it is even lighter and easier to handle at just 1.3kg.

This model has reliable cyclonic suction and while it might not be quite the cleaning machine that the DC58 is, it is still one of the most powerful units out there. In addition to that, you also get a crevice-cleaning tool and a dusting brush. Users will find that it performs well and that it is very easy to use.

The battery performance is probably one place where some consumers may find that this machine comes up short. At the most, this model provides 15 minutes of cleaning time, and, if you use the boost feature, it will run out of steam even faster than that. It should be enough battery power for most cleaning jobs though, but it could be better.

Your can read our full review of this model here.


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To sum Up…

A handheld vacuum can be a really convenient machine to keep around the home. They take a lot of the effort out of doing the smaller jobs, and for things like cleaning cars and stairs, they can often be the best solution. However, finding the right handheld vacuum for your particular needs can be difficult. There are many different designs and you have to prioritise different features depending on your personal requirements.

With the five vacuums that are featured in this article, you have a nice assortment of designs, with each one having its own strengths and weaknesses. If you want to select the right handheld for your home, consider the points that are important to you and then look for a model that scores well in those categories.


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