The Best Handheld Vacuums of 2021

The Best Handheld Vacuums— Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission.

"The right tool for the right job" is an adage that's especially applicable when you’re cleaning your house. Trying to use a full-sized vacuum in a confined space can feel like you're reenacting the clumsy "before" scene in a commercial that promises there's gotta be a better way. In this case, that better way is a handheld vacuum.

Battery-powered, lightweight, and maneuverable, these vacuum cleaners are the perfect solution to blast that hard-to-reach dirt with extraordinary suction power. But, there are tradeoffs. For example, switching from corded models means that using a more powerful suction setting will decrease the battery life, but a lithium-ion battery always seems to do the trick. In terms of individual performance by model, though, we can't rely on online reviews alone to give us the full picture of performance.

That’s why we rounded up nine of the best-selling handheld and car vacuums and put them to task in our testing labs. We measured the battery life, how well they sucked up dirt without a power cord, and if they were easy to use.

After weeks of the testing, the Dyson V7 Car+Boat (available at Amazon) rose to the top of the rankings as the best handheld vacuum. While the V7 had the best suction, decent battery life, and a wide assortment of attachments, we understand it’s pricey. Our list includes handheld vacuum cleaner value picks as well.

These are the best handheld vacuums we tested ranked, in order:

  1. Dyson V7 Car+Boat
  2. Black & Decker BDH2000PL
  3. Black & Decker HNV215BW52
  4. Black & Decker CHV1410L
  5. Bissell MultiReach
  6. Shark Ionflex Duoclean IF251
  7. Bissell Pet Hair Eraser
Dyson V7 Car+Boat
Credit: / Jonathan Chan

Our overall winner, the V7, had power and versatility.

Best Overall
Dyson V7 Car + Boat

The cordless Dyson V7 Car+Boat won our top spot for best handheld vacuum, due to its tremendous furniture, tight space and floor care capabilities. This handheld offers long battery life, powerful suction, and a flexible set of included attachments. We understand the high price tag is a little hard to swallow for most people, so if you're willing to get by with the minimum number of attachments, the Dyson V7 Trigger lacks the Car+Boat's included car charger and some tools—but runs a bit cheaper.

In our tests, this bagless vacuum beat all its competitors on pickup for strong suction, cleaning over 75 percent of the dirt we laid out for it. Battery life is up to 30 minutes of low-power cleaning or seven minutes at full power—which we used for testing.

Its attachments also impress: The motorized rotating brush head is compact, just six inches across, and designed to resist tangling hair. The Car+Boat model also includes two dusting brushes, a crevice tool for tight spots, and a flexible hose that extends out two feet for more reach under seats. No matter whether you're doing some spot cleaning on upholstery or going at some dirt in pile carpets, the V7 will get the job done.


  • Powerful suction

  • Compact design


  • Expensive for a hand vacuum

Black+Decker Pivot
Credit: / Jonathan Chan

The Black+Decker Pivot 20V was great for its price.

Best Value
Black & Decker BDH2000PL

If you want to spend less—a lot less—than the Dyson, we recommend the Black+Decker Pivot 20V. Unlike the Dyson, which is based on a stick vac design, the cordless Pivot is a dedicated cordless handheld vacuum.

One of the great design features is a pivot joint that lets you bend the unit 200º. This literal flexibility lets you turn the Pivot into a hook to get cobwebs off the tops of cabinets, or fold it up for easy storage. However, its big body and lack of a hose make its hard to maneuver under car seats. The crevice and dusting tool are permanently attached, too.

We clocked the Pivot's run time at 11-and-a-half minutes—third in endurance of all the vacuums we tested. It came in second place during our pickup test, capturing 70 percent of the dirt we laid out. Considering that it only costs around $70, that's an impressive showing.

At the end of the day, if you need help cleaning up small messes in tight spaces, but don't need a top-of-the-line tool, the Pivot is a safe choice.


  • Powerful 20V motor

  • Can angle head to get in tight spaces


  • Small dirt capacity

How We Tested

The Tests

Testing these little suckers and picking a winner was a three-step process. The first step consisted of weights and measurements. Out of the box, we put on the heaviest attachment and placed the vacuum on a scale. We then measured the "reach" of each vacuum: how far it extends from your hand for cleaning.

How we tested
Credit: / Jonathan Chan

We tested nine of the top-selling handheld vacuums.

Next came the performance tests. We measured battery life and pickup of dirt, crumbs, and pet hair. To make everything fair, every vacuum was allowed to charge for 24 hours before and after the battery test. If a powered brush head was available, it was attached. All tests were performed on the highest power settings.

Finally, we took our top picks and brought them out of the lab and into a dirty car. We put uncooked rice on the floor to simulate debris like tracked-in road salt and discarded snacks. We stuffed pet hair between the seats, and scattered dirt all over the trunk.

We also judged our top picks based on how easy it was to change attachments, and how balanced each vacuum felt in hand during cleaning.

Credit: / Jonathan Chan

We used sand that was around 450 microns wide to conduct our dirt pickup test.

Other Handheld Vacuums We Tested

Black & Decker HNV215BW52

Do you ever have spills at your home that are too small for a mop, but too big for a paper towel? Well, that's where the Black+Decker HNV215BW52 comes in.

Retailing for around $40, this mini wet-dry vac mastered both. During our dirt pickup test, it captured 60 percent of the dirt, placing it in the top half of our roundup. And it picked up water, too, so you won't have to go through a roll of paper towels. This was the lightest handheld we tested, tipping the scales at only 1.5 pounds.

So, why didn't it win? Well, its battery life was weak. It only ran for a total of 10 minutes, and we noticed a decline in suction at around the 8 minute mark. That might be fine for a small spill, but that's not nearly long enough for cleaning a car or any of the other more involved uses for a compact vacuum.


  • Can clean up spills

  • Very light and easy to handle


  • Only 10 minutes of battery life

Black & Decker CHV1410L

The Black+Decker CHV1410L is great for quick cleanups in the kitchen. Like the Pivot, its crevice tool and dusting brush are attached at the tip.

It only weighs 2.8 pounds, and can stand up while charging on your countertop. During our testing, the CHV1410L picked up 62 percent of the debris we left out for it—8 percent less than the Pivot. We say this model is good for light dusting and crumb cleanup, but it can't handle any heavy-duty work.


  • Weighs less than three pounds

  • Can charge and fit on countertop


  • Only average suction

  • Outdone by other Black+Decker vacuums

Bissell MultiReach

Like the Dyson V7, the Bissell MultiReach is based on a stick vacuum design. It also costs as much as the D7. While the D7 has 16 minutes of continuous maximum power and onboard lights to illuminate dark spaces, it also weighs more than the Dyson, and didn't clean as well in our tests.

We were able to fit the Dyson V7 in more places, too. For the same price, we think the V7 is a better handheld vacuum.


  • Very light and easy to move around

  • Design makes it easy to vacuum on top of furniture


  • Expensive for what you get

Shark Ionflex Duoclean IF251

The pricey cordless Shark IonFlex 2X DuoClean converts from a stick vacuum. It can clean for up to 26 minutes with all the bells and whistles engaged, and comes with two removable, rechargeable batteries.

Unfortunately, as a hand vacuum, the IonFlex isn't very good. With a motorized brush head attached, it tips the scales at 7.7 pounds—so your hand will get tired long before the batteries run out. It also costs more than most stick vacuums we've tested, and its Pet Multi Tool doesn't have spinning brushes, powered or otherwise.

The IonFlex also comes with a large brush head that's normally found on full-sized vacuums—good for big messes, but not for the sort of spills you'll pick up with a hand vac.


  • 26 minute battery life


  • Weak suction

  • Expensive for what you get

Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Cordless Hand Vacuum 1782

The Bissell Pet Hair Eraser sits in the middle of all the performance rankings, and only costs $50. Its battery only lasted 14 minutes, and the motor started to fade at the 11-minute mark. With that power, the spinning brushes did fine with fur—but only picked up around 52 percent of all the dirt we laid out for it.

With a maximum weight of 3.3 pounds, you'll be able to tote the Pet Hair Easer around without fear of fatigue. Plus, every purchase means a donation to Bissell's pet rescue foundation.


  • Lightweight

  • Affordable


  • Battery starts to fade after 11 minutes

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