Best Handheld Vacuums
The best handheld vacuum cleaners under $60 come from the likes of Bissell, Black & Decker, and Dirt Devil. They have the suction power to tackle pet hair, dirt, and dust. Some models are cordless, with a lithium ion battery, and some include features such as a HEPA filter, a crevice tool, and a dusting brush.
What We Considered
Handheld vacuum reviews and testing by Consumer Reports, TopTenReviews, Engadget, and Wirecutter informed our picks, as did user reviews on the websites of manufacturers and retailers such as Amazon, Best Buy, Home Depot, Walmart, and Target. Consumers generally don't have super-high expectations for handheld vacuums. Most just want a machine that thoroughly cleans up those small messes and reaches spots that many full-size vacuums cannot, like tight corners, cushion crevices, and stairs. Cordless models should hold a charge, and the vacuum should be easy to use and maneuver whether or not it has a cord. Consumers also pay attention to attributes such as the weight, filter, included attachments, and warranty.
We Looked At
Consumers purchase handheld vacuums to clean areas such as staircases, furniture, area rugs, and car interiors, so they expect low-cost models to perform well on those surfaces. For the most part, users seem happy with the cleaning performance of our top picks. They reportedly work very well on dust bunnies, crumbs, and even pet hair. Reviews mention spilled cat litter or dry cereal and bits of debris brought in from outside that vanish when faced with one of the models we chose.
Part of the convenience of handheld vacuums is they are easier to pull out than a heavy upright or canister model. A handheld vacuum is designed for one-handed use, so the lighter it is, the better. Many pricey models pride themselves on being feather-light, but plenty of options in our price range are also fairly lightweight, starting at just over 2 pounds.
While upright vacuums come with a slew of attachments, cheap handheld vacuums are relatively Spartan. That said, most models we researched come with at least some attachments, such as an upholstery or dusting brush and a crevice tool for hard-to-reach areas. Some handheld vacuums are specifically designed to pick up pet hair or come with special attachments just for that purpose.
A consumer favorite, this Black & Decker handheld vacuum scores for ease of use and effectiveness on small jobs. Users appreciate the weight, integrated tools, power, and quick recharging. They say emptying and cleaning the dust bowl is a snap, and the price-to-quality ratio is high. The run time is long enough for some but frustratingly short for others (the manufacturer doesn't specify). The unit holds a charge for quite a while when off the base.
Wirecutter's budget pick for quick cleanups.
Excellent performance on bare floors in testing, and okay on other surfaces.
Users enthuse about the vacuum's overall performance in thousands of 4- and 5-star reviews on Amazon.
Built-in flip-up brush and pull-out crevice tool; rotating nozzle.
Washable, translucent, 20.6-ounce dust cup.
Lightweight, at 2.6 pounds.
16-volt lithium-ion battery; quick 4-hour charge time; indicator light.
Expert testers found the suction insufficient for debris stuck on fabric and carpet.
Some gripes about short run time.
No wall mount.
One sweep is all it takes to pick up debris and pet hair with the Dirt Devil Scorpion Quick Flip SD20005RED, reviewers say. Users happily trade the restriction of the 16-foot cord for the durability and reliability of power that's ever-present and never flags, unlike with cordless models. This is one of the strongest handheld vacs with a budget price tag, although it's not perfect. Some reviewers harrumph about one thing or another (e.g., the filter clogs, air blows out the back, the crevice tool seems loose). Still, most users report that this little Dirt Devil defeats every challenge thrown its way.
Powerful 7-amp motor provides enough suction to rival full-size vacuums, according to users.
Integrated flip-out crevice tool.
2.5-foot hose; dusting brush; shoulder strap.
Narrow 1.5-inch cleaning path.
Filter is not washable.
Many users are satisfied with this Bissell Pet Hair Eraser handheld vacuum, citing its ability to denude rugs and even microfiber couches of pet hair. Consumer product experts laud its performance on bare floors and edges. Reviewers say the suction on this little 4-amp corded vacuum is plenty powerful and note how well the rubber nozzle loosens pet hair so the vacuum can suck it up.
Neatly accomplishes its mission of cleaning up after pets, users report.
Comes with 2 nozzles: a flexible and contoured nozzle for pet hair on stairs and upholstery and a hard nozzle for debris.
Large, washable 26.4-ounce dirt cup.
Dry messes may be scattered by exhaust, experts warn, and pet hair on medium-pile carpet proved a challenge in testing.
Relatively heavy, at 5 pounds.
Filter assembly is not washable.
Comparatively short 1-year warranty.
The Eureka Easy Clean 71B hits the mark with consumer product experts for value and effectiveness, and users heap praise on its muscle when tackling stairs and spot cleanups. The long cord ensures easy maneuverability and 5.5 amps of power on demand. Many reviewers say they switched to this corded hand vac after frustrating experiences with cordless models that quickly poop out. Some find the 4-pound weight a bit on the heavy side and the handle a bit awkward, but a vast majority are thrilled with this powerful and budget-friendly Eureka handheld vacuum.
Forcefully pulls debris (including pet hair) from carpets, smooth surfaces, and car interiors, according to experts and consumers.
Visor over the nozzle flips up for vertical vacuuming.
Integrated hose and crevice tool; motorized brush roll.
Wide 6-inch cleaning path.
20-foot cord with cord wrap.
Translucent dust cup.
Short hose is limiting, some reviewers say, and weakens suction.
Some users complain that the filter is hard to clean, especially if covered with pet hair.
Scattered reports about overheating and a short lifespan.
Comparatively short 1-year warranty.
The cordless Dirt Devil Quick Flip Plus BD30025B stands out for its compact size and light weight, as well as the integrated crevice tool that flips open to reach tight spaces (no worries about the tool getting lost, several users note). Many reviewers say the 16 volts of power produce enough suction to clean little messes, area rugs, carpeted stairs, and upholstery, although some say it's less effective than expected.
Effective for small jobs in the home, including pet hair and carpeted stairs, reviewers say.
Built-in Quick Flip crevice tool for hard-to-reach spaces.
16-volt lithium ion battery; quick 4-hour charge time; status indicator light.
Very light, at 2.2 pounds.
Comparatively quiet, according to reviews.
Rinseable filter designed to last 6 months before replacement.
Powered tool for stairs and upholstery.
Scattered grousing in reviews about insufficient power and limited durability (failure to recharge or hold a charge after a while).
Relatively short 13-minute run time.
Charging may take longer than the 4 hours promised in the specs, reviews suggest.
No charging base.
Relatively small 0.5-liter (16.9-ounce) dirt cup.
The compact Bissell CleanView Deluxe 47R51 meets most users' expectations for small vacuuming tasks. The 18-foot cord makes for easy maneuverability and continuously supplies 4 amps of power. Some users with pets say the flexible, contoured rubber nozzle does a fine job sucking up pet hair from the furniture, but a few caution that the filter clogs quickly. The included attachments are a welcome bonus.
Reliable and effective, reviewers say, especially on upholstery, corners, and stairs.
Large 26.4-ounce, translucent dust cup.
2-foot hose and adapter nozzle; crevice tool; wide-mouth tool.
18-foot power cord.
Relatively heavy, at 5 pounds.
Filter assembly is not washable.
Comparatively short 1-year warranty.
The Dirt Devil Ultra M08230RED claims some diehard fans, many of whom would rather use paper bags to contain debris than empty a dust cup (although others say the dust bag is a hassle to change). This Dirt Devil handheld vacuum earns its share of plaudits for cleaning up after pets and small areas inaccessible to full-size vacuum cleaners. Others, however, consider the hose too short and the 4-amp suction inadequate for even minor jobs, let alone pet hair.
Easy to handle on stairs, upholstery, and floorboards, according to users.
Built-in, 2-foot stretch hose and crevice tool.
On-board storage for the 16-foot cord.
Wide 6-inch cleaning path.
Dust bag with proprietary filtration for trapping allergens.
Weak suction, some users say.
Relatively heavy, at 4.45 pounds.
The Dirt Devil V6 Express BD10205 stands out from the pack with its wet/dry design and featherweight poundage. But most users are unimpressed. They bemoan the weak suction, unusual nozzle design, and, most especially, the battery. They write that it loses its charge very quickly -- it can't even handle a small dorm room, says one -- and requires a very lengthy recharge time. The NiCd battery technology also suffers from what's known as "memory effect," meaning it must be completely discharged before it can be fully charged and hit optimal run time. Given the performance failings, this model isn't much of a bargain.
Designed to clean up wet spills as well as dry messes.
Okay for very small jobs, reviewers say.
Wide 5.5-inch nozzle.
Very light, at 1.7 pounds.
Flip-out crevice tool.
6-volt battery delivers inadequate power, according to reviews. Our top picks start at 16 volts.
Old-school NiCd battery runs out of juice quickly and requires 24 hours to charge.
Center section of the nozzle intended for solid messes is too narrow, users say.
Misses the mark on wet spills, according to reviews.
Intake clogs easily.
Comparatively short 1-year warranty.
Other Products We Reviewed
In a category brimming with good products, the Eureka Easy Clean Hand Vac 71B (starting at $40) stands out. It gets near-perfect ratings in Eureka 71B reviews at Walmart and Amazon and is singled out by Bestcovery for its powerful suction, effective brush, and overall ability to leave areas spotless. Although this vacuum is not specifically designed for people with pets, users posting reviews on Amazon report that it eliminates pet hair. In Eureka 71B reviews at Walmart, users say it works wonders on hard-to-reach spots such as stairs.
Part of what allows the Eureka Easy Clean Hand Vac 71B to tackle those tricky spots is the Riser Visor, which flips up to reveal a roller brush that can clean up and down or side to side. A user posting a Eureka 71B review on Buy.com was skeptical of the Riser Visor at first but found it ideal for stairs. The Eureka Easy Clean Hand Vac 71B also comes with a crevice tool, a standard filter, and a one-year warranty. While some users on Amazon complain that it's heavy, it weighs a mere four pounds -- less than any of our other picks. The power cord is an extra-long 20 feet.
The Eureka Easy Clean Hand Vac 71B earns a lot of praise from users for its cleaning ability and ease of use. The Riser Visor feature seems to make this machine effective on all types of surfaces. Given the overwhelming user support, you're unlikely to go wrong with this product.
In Bissell Pet Hair Eraser reviews on Amazon, consumers rave that this vacuum's pet hair upholstery nozzle and extreme suction power are the perfect combination for taking on pet hair and messes. In reviews at Target, users report that it works well not only on pet hair but in hard-to-reach areas and on other messes, such as tipped-over potted plants. Users posting reviews at Best Buy appreciate this vacuum's 16-foot power cord and five-pound weight, although others complain that it's on the heavy side.
The Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Corded Hand Vacuum (starting at just $29) stands out for pet owners because its specially designed pet upholstery nozzle seems to virtually eliminate pet hair. It uses a HEPA filter, or high-efficiency particulate air filter, to pick up more dander, dust, and other particles than a standard filter. It also comes with a crevice tool and a one-year warranty.
While almost all users give this vacuum positive reviews, pet lovers especially report superior results with the pet upholstery tool. The HEPA filter also helps the Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Corded Hand Vacuum stand out in this category. Our verdict: If you have pets, this is the budget handheld vacuum to get.
Consumers posting Black and Decker hand vacuum reviews at Amazon report that this 18-volt vacuum picks up all kinds of messes, including cat litter, food, and dirt that gets tracked inside, although a few reviewers find its suction power lacking. A user posting a review on Epinions says not only does this model have no trouble cleaning up behind three long-hair cats, it's also easy to use and empty. What's more, it ran for more than two months on an initial overnight charge. Even with daily use, the battery can go a week without needing to be charged, according to a Black and Decker hand vacuum review on Amazon. The Black and Decker 18V Platinum Series Cordless Hand Vacuum (starting at $50) is also the only handheld vacuum we researched that has a replaceable battery, so you don't have to throw out the entire machine when the battery stops holding a charge. Instead, you can simply replace the battery, which has the added bonus of being compatible with other 18-volt Black and Decker products. Otherwise, this model is pretty standard for the category, with included upholstery and crevice tools and a standard filter. A two-year warranty completes the deal.
The fact that you can simply replace the battery on the Black and Decker 18V Platinum Series Cordless Hand Vacuum instead of the whole machine could save a lot of money in the long run. Consumers seem to recognize this as a perk and find the vacuum effective and easy to use. This model is definitely a good pick in this category.
FilterStream DirtTamer Ultima V2510 Review
The Ultima V2510 (starting at $79) impresses users posting FilterStream DirtTamer reviews at Amazon, who say it works great on stairs, in cars, and on carpet. It's also durable: A user posting a review on Amazon reports that he has used his weekly for four years and it's still going strong. Users posting FilterStream DirtTamer reviews at ActiveForever are also very pleased with this model, saying the battery holds a charge better than other handheld vacuums'.
In another FilterStream DirtTamer review, experts at Bestcovery single out this model for its features. The DirtTamer Ultima V2510 stands out as the only handheld vacuum on our list that can clean up both wet and dry messes. It has many more extras than other models in this price range, including a headlight to make finding dirt faster and easier, a low-charge indicator so the battery never dies without warning, a cleaning wand, a crevice tool, and an upholstery brush. It comes with a two-year warranty and a HEPA filter, or high-efficiency particulate air filter, which is said to capture more dust and other particles than a standard filter.
The FilterStream DirtTamer Ultima V2510 costs quite a bit more than our other picks for good and best handheld vacuums, but it cleans both wet and dry messes, comes with tons of special features, and boasts a HEPA filter. Users find it durable and praise its battery life and cleaning ability. That makes this wet-dry handheld vacuum look like a bargain.
The main problem with the Euro-Pro SV75 Shark Cordless Hand Vac (starting at $40) seems to be the battery. Some users posting Shark hand vac reviews on Amazon say the battery doesn't hold a charge long enough to get through even the first cleaning, or works only a few times before it dies for good. On top of that, users complain about poor customer service. Consumers posting reviews at Best Buy say the same thing: that the battery either loses a charge halfway through a cleaning job or stops holding a charge entirely, rendering the whole machine useless. In a review at Walmart, a user suggests the vacuum itself doesn't last long either: The brush started getting stuck after eight months of sporadic use, leaving the vacuum unable to pick anything up. The Euro-Pro SV75 Shark Cordless Hand Vac doesn't offer much in the way of features. It comes with only a crevice tool and uses a standard filter. This vacuum weighs in at 4.8 pounds and carries a one-year warranty (which may come in handy from the sound of it).
Shark hand vac reviews indicate that neither the battery nor the vacuum itself has a long lifespan and customer service leaves something to be desired. With so many good, cheap handheld vacuums out there, you're likely better off spending your money elsewhere.
A Dirt Devil vacuum review at CarVacuums.org singles out the Dirt Devil M0914 Extreme Power Handheld Vacuum (starting at $37) for its exceptional sucking power. Users at Newegg also note how powerful it is, although all that suction makes the vacuum a little noisier than they'd like. In reviews on Amazon, users agree that the vacuum will suck up almost anything but lament that the opening is so small.
The Dirt Devil M0914 Extreme Power Handheld Vacuum is cordless and extremely lightweight -- the lightest we found, weighing in at only 3.15 pounds. It also has a three-year warranty, a full year longer than any other model on our list. Other features are on par with the rest of the category -- a standard filter, along with crevice and upholstery tools.
Handheld vacuums are meant to be used with one hand, so weight is important. Users love that this low-cost handheld vacuum is extremely light. Additionally, the three-year warranty is better than most in the category and suggests manufacturer confidence in the product. Our bottom line: You probably can't go wrong with this low-cost handheld vac.
The unique pivot design of the lightweight Black & Decker BDH2000PL earns it a reputation for user-friendly versatility. The nozzle and head can tilt at different angles to better access hard-to reach spots. Some reviewers argue that the vacuum is a tad weak and prone to the usual problems afflicting the cordless segment. The consensus, though, is that this Black & Decker handheld vacuum is easy to hold and devours the dirt, dust, and debris in its path.
Loaded with power, most reviewers say.
Performed very well on carpet and car interiors in testing by TopTenReviews, although not as well on hardwood floors.
Nozzle pivots to different angles and folds down for storage.
Flip-out brush; pull-out crevice tool.
20-volt lithium-ion battery; quick 4-hour charge time.
3-stage filtration; washable filter.
Lightweight, at 3 pounds.
Charging base can be wall-mounted.
Small 15-ounce dust cup.
Some reports of very short run times, the battery not charging, or inadequate suction.
Scattered grousing about debris getting stuck in the brush or nozzle.
Priced well above the budget segment, the Black & Decker BDH2020FL justifies its perch with 20 volts of power and a 4-foot hose for reaching underneath couches and other spots that are hard to access. Reviewers like the ergonomics, quick recharge time, and cleaning ability in the face of dust, paper shreds, spilled sugar, dead bugs, and the like. Some are less impressed with the suction, saying this Black & Decker handheld vacuum reaches its limits with small, quick jobs and is defeated by shedding pets and ground-in dirt.
Portable, powerful, comfortable in the hand, and user-friendly, according to reviews.
20-volt lithium-ion battery; 4-hour charge time; indicator light.
Flexible 4-foot hose.
Translucent, washable, 18.9-ounce dust bowl.
Multi-stage filtration; washable filter.
Lightweight, at 3.2 pounds.
Pet hair brush; crevice tool; accessory storage on the charging base.
Scattered complaints about poor suction, failure to hold a charge, and limited lifespan in user reviews on retail sites.
DIY types already invested in the Ryobi One+ family of power tools will get the most out of the 18-volt Evercharge P714K. Unlike other tools in the line, this vacuum doesn't require the battery to be removed and charged on a base separate from the tool; it recharges while still inside the hand vac. Some users are unimpressed with this recent addition to the Ryobi One+ system, but a majority like it well enough.
Interchangeable 18-volt lithium-ion battery fits any power tool in the Ryobi One+ line, and the vacuum can use the batteries from other tools as backup.
Sufficient power for light-duty work, according to many reviewers.
Wall-mount adapter/charger; charging status indicator light.
Large 28-ounce dust cup.
Lightweight, at 2.2 pounds.
Washable filter (dual-stage filtration available online only for model No. A32VC04).
No option for consumers who already have Ryobi One+ tools to purchase this one without a battery.
Some complaints in reviews about weak suction, power switch failure, exhaust blowing debris, and the battery not holding a charge.