by | Jun 24, 2021 | Health & Safety, Z

Last Updated: Oct 15, 2021 @ 1:55 pm.

Hand vacuums are great for small messes (think pet hair) or small spaces (dorm rooms). We tried out 11 brands of hand vacuums to find the best. What is the best cordless model? What about models with extra attachments? Here are the ones we recommend.

FYI: We've been reviewing and rating products for the home and families since 1994. To keep things independent, we don't take money or freebies from brands we review! Our work is 100% reader-supported!


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Best Cordless

About 30 minutes of battery life in real world testing
Loved this lightweight and easy to use hand vacuum—and the suction is good (as long as you frequently clean the filter). Also nice: crevice tool flips up to store on unit—which means it won't get lost!
$34.06

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Best Cordless: Dirt Devil Handheld Cleaner Quick Flip

If you live in a small apartment or dorm room, this would be our pick as the best cordless hand vacuum: the Dirt Devil Quick Flip. We loved the performance (suction is good as long as you frequently clean the air filter). And the price is easy on the wallet.

What We Liked

• Lightweight.

• Easy to empty.

• Includes charging card.

• Affordable.

• Crevice tool quickly flips up for storage.

• Cloth filter is washable.

What Needs Work

• Short battery life.

• Switch could be easier to turn on/off.

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Best for Pet Hair

Great for stairs, carpet
Excellent hand vacuum, especially for pets that shed. Favorite feature: hands-free "dirt ejector" makes emptying the unit simple. Lightweight.
$84.70

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Best for Pet Hair: Shark CH951 UltraCyclone Pet Pro Plus

If you have a pet that sheds a lot (yes, we are looking at you, Fluffy), you may need to up your handheld vacuum game. Although it is more pricey, we recommend the  Shark CH951 if you need more power and pet-friendly accessories.

This model was recommended by several of our pet-owning readers—they loved the self-cleaning pet power brush. This removes hair that can get tangled. 

Here’s more: 

What We Liked

 Great on stairs, carpet, hard surfaces.

• Extra large dust cup.

• No touch “dirt ejector” works hands-free to empty unit.

• Lightweight.

• Two air streams means better suction.

• About 30 minutes of battery life in the real world.

What Needs Work

• Takes six hours to charge.

• Pricey.

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Best Longer Run Time

Excellent for cleaning vehicles
The suction power of this vacuum is impressive, as is the battery life—we got up to 55 minutes in the real world. Caveat: does NOT include a battery. But if you have a Ryobi drill, the battery might work with it (check compatibility first).
$49.99

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Best Longer Run Time: Ryobi P7131 One+ 18V Lithium Ion Battery Powered Cordless

If you are a fan of Ryobi’s cordless tools, you probably have one of their One+ Lithium batteries already. If so, this cordless vacuum would be an excellent choice—it has a run time longer than others we tested. We got about 45-55 minutes in the real world.

Just to be clear: this vacuum does NOT include a battery. That is a separate purchase—or if you have one already for another Ryobi tool, it may be compatible (this vacuum works with several Roybi battery models—check first!).

What We Liked

• Great for vehicles.

• Longer lasting because of a heavy duty battery pack.

• Lightweight.

• Easy to use.

• Replaceable filter.

• Rubberized hand grip.

What Needs Work

• Does not include battery.

• Filter clogs fast—that means you have to empty it frequently.

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Best Budget-Friendly

Attached crevice tool is handy
Great for pet hair or to clean a car, this corded vacuum has powerful suction. Also nice: removable, rinsable filter. Caveat: heavier than other models. And it can get hot after a lot of use.
$28.99

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Best Budget-Friendly: Dirt Devil Scorpion Handheld Vacuum Cleaner

Cordless vacuums are super handy, but they have two big drawbacks. First, the battery never lasts that long (some only 30 minutes or less). Second, they can be very pricey.

To the rescue comes this model, the Dirt Devel Scorpion. Yes, it is corded, but that is a feature not a bug. And the price is much easier on the wallet. If you’ve got a few extension cords, this one will save you some money and not run out of juice.

What We Liked

• Powerful suction.

• Easy to use.

• Long cord.

• Pre-filter and filter make it easy to clean.

What Needs Work

• Heavier than cordless models.

• Loud.

• Can get hot.

Why Trust Us

We’ve been rating and reviewing products for the home and families since 1994. We do extensive research, evaluating products with an eye toward quality, ease of use and affordability. When we purchase a product for hands-on testing, we do so with our own money. 

Here’s another key point: we don’t take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no “partnerships.” Our work is 100% reader-supported!

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