Best Handheld Vacuum of 2017: Top 5 Reviews

by | Oct 12, 2016

Best Handheld Vacuum Comparison

Model

Dyson V6 Trigger

Bissell 1985 Multi Cordless

Black Decker Max Lithium Pivot

Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Cordless

Dirt Devil Scorpion

Cost $$$ $$$ $$ $ $
Rating
See Discounted Price at Amazon
Cordless
Weight (pounds) 3.5 3.9 3.8 3 3.8
Run Time 20 Minutes 14 Minutes 15 Minutes 10 Minutes N/A
Charge Time 1 Hour 5 Hours 4 Hours 4 Hours N/A
Height (inches) 16.3 14.6 18 16 12
Width (inches) 10 10 6.9 6.8 7
Depth (inches) 6.1 5.4 6.8 4.5 5
Volts 110 110 110 110 110
If you have small jobs around the house, you need a good handheld vacuum. Whether you have kids, pets or just you, we all make a mess on occasion. Rather than dragging out the big upright, it’s nice to have a little machine you can grab quickly before those crumbs or that dirt gets dragged throughout the rest of you home. Whether you choose a cordless or corded hand vac, either is a wonderful convenience to have, and 2017 offers some new and interesting options.

#1. Dyson V6 Trigger

Video Review

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Quick Stats

  • 20 minutes run time
  • Digital motor
  • Max power mode
  • Ergonomically designed
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Specs

  • Weight: 3.5 pounds
  • Dimensions: 16.3” x 10” x 6.1”
  • Run Time: About 20 minutes
  • Recharge Time: About 1 hour
  • Battery Voltage: 21.6 volts
  • Charger Volts: 110
  • Warranty: 2 years
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Accessories Included

  • Crevice tool
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Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Picks up fine dust
  • Great for cat litter
  • Good run time

Cons

While the Dyson V6 Trigger has a better battery life than any other handheld cordless vacuum on the market today, it also comes with a power boost feature if you have tough spots to clean. Unfortunately, if you run it on power boost mode, the battery will only last about 6 minutes, so be sure to use it sparingly.

The only other thing users complain about in their reviews is that you need to keep the trigger depressed to keep it running. Dyson does this to save battery life so it’s only on when you need it. While the trigger pull is light, it’s something you’ll need to get used to.

How do I store it?
Some users are familiar with machines like the Dyson Absolute, one of the best vacuums for hardwood floors that also convert to a handheld vac and mounts on the wall for charging. This one is similar but at a much lesser price point, so it doesn’t come with a wall mounted docking station. However, you can purchase one separately if you choose.
How to take care of the battery?
Cordless batteries used to take a lot more care than the more recent advanced versions. Nowadays, it’s fine to leave them on the charger, and you don’t have to run them down completely before charging them for extended battery life.
Does it pick up cat litter?
This Dyson picks up cat litter and just about anything else in its way including cereal crumbs and fine dust, and it will pick it up from both carpet and hardwood flooring. It also does a great job on pet hair.
Can I use upright Dyson attachments?
Unfortunately, the wand on the V6 Trigger is different than that of their full sized upright vacuums, so the accessories aren’t readily interchangeable. However, you can buy an adapter that will make them work on both.
Can I use it outside?
While this little hand held is quite powerful, using it outside to pick up occasional pine needles or leaves will likely fill up the dust bin very quickly. You can do it, but you’ll need to empty it often.
Will it work on carpeted stairs?
This model does work on carpeted stairs, but it doesn’t come with a turbo brush, so it’s a bit harder to get deep into the fibers. If you have pet hair on carpet, it might be a good idea to purchase the animal attachment or turbine tool for an extra deep clean.
Does it work on mattresses?
This lightweight versatile vac works great for vacuuming mattresses and even furniture cushions.
Can I vacuum plants with it?
Yes, it works great to get the dust off plant leaves if you use the brush. It will even suck up any bugs that might be on the foliage.
Will it suck up water?
This is intended to be an indoor vac, so you could do damage to it by using it as a wet / dry vacuum.
Will it scratch hardwood?
In many a user’s review, it’s said this Dyson vacuum won’t scratch even the best hardwoods at all, but it is recommended to use the brush attachment, as it is soft so there is no risk.

Final Verdict

The Dyson V6 Trigger is among the Rolls Royces of hand held vacuum cleaners. It is powerful enough to suck up everything from cereal and crumbs to fine dust. Overall, while it is on the pricier side, the cost is well worth it for the job it does.If you’re looking to buy one, we found the absolute best price on Amazon.

#2. Bissell 1985 Multi Cordless

Video Review

Bissell Multi Cordless Handheld Car Vacuum, 1985
List Price: $149.99
Price: $149.95
You Save: $0.04
Price Disclaimer
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Quick Stats

  • 14 minutes run time
  • LED lights
  • Extension hose
  • Onboard tools
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Specs

  • Weight: 3.9 pounds
  • Dimensions: 5.4” x 10” x 14.6”
  • Run Time: About 14 minutes
  • Recharge Time: About 5 hours
  • Volts: 110
  • User Manual
  • Warranty: 2 years
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Accessories Included

  • Extension Hose
  • Crevice Tool
  • Dusting Brush
  • Motorized Brush
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Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Powerful suction
  • Versatile attachments

Cons

One of the few pains of this handheld is that it doesn’t have a charging base to sit in. In reviews, users think it would be much more convenient. As it is, there is just a portal where you insert the cord from the battery charger.

While it is more convenient, the on / off switch is static. Unlike the Dyson above, you don’t need to keep it pressed down, but this could mean its left running using up battery power as you walk from place to place.

What filter does it use?
This Bissell has a foam filter that is located at the top of the dirt cup. When it’s dirty, you can wash it out by hand, let it dry and then put it back in place.
What battery does it use?
The 1985 Multi uses a professional grade battery that is 22v lithium ion. You can also remove the battery pack for recharging and storage if you prefer.
Will it clean carpets?
Yes – it has a motorized brush head that works much like that of an upright vacuum cleaner, so the spinning bristles will get down into the carpet fibers.
What tools are included?
It comes with the motorized brush, a softer dusting brush and a crevice tool. It also has an extension hose to use the tools.

Final Verdict

The Bissell 1985 Multi Cordless is a great handheld vac if you don’t want a cord getting in the way. It has good power and comes with some handy tools. One thing it has up on the competition is its LED lights, which make it much easier to see what you’re cleaning. Overall, it gets  a very high rating and is a good value for the money. If you’d like to pick one up, we found that Amazon.com has the best price around.

#3. Black & Decker Max Lithium Pivot

Video Review

Black+Decker BDH2000PL MAX Lithium Pivot Vacuum, 20-volt
List Price: $79.99
Price: $67.20
You Save: $12.79
Price Disclaimer
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Quick Stats

  • 3 stage filtration
  • Pivoting head
  • Fade free power
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Specs

  • Weight: 3.8 pounds
  • Dimensions: 18” x 6.9” x 6.8”
  • Run Time: About 15 minutes
  • Recharge Time: About 4 hours
  • Volts: 110
  • User Manual
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Accessories Included

  • Crevice tool
  • Dusting brush
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Pros

  • Good suction
  • Compact
  • Easy to clean

Cons

While this little machine is a work horse, its one fault is that the opening of the vacuum head is small. Nothing larger than breakfast cereal is going to fit. So, if you have smaller crumbs or dust to pick up you’ll be fine, but if you have to pick up anything larger you’re out of luck.

BDH2000SL vs BDH2000PL vs BDH2000L?
These three models are all lithium battery handhelds but there are some important differences. The biggest difference is the Max Pivot (BDH2000SL and PL) models have the strongest suction, and they fold down smaller for easy storage.
How to store it?
This one comes with a base that can be attached to the wall if you’d like to hang it up. If you prefer, you can leave the charging stand sitting on a counter or other flat surface.
Is there a battery indicator?
There is not an indicator light to show you if the battery is getting low on charge. However, when you have it on the charging base, there is a light on the unit itself that shows the charge level. The blue light will flash when charging, and then it goes out when it’s done.
Will it suck up large crumbs?
The opening is fairly small, so anything larger than a Cheerio is not going to fit.
Will it work for car cleaning?
If you’re just going over the seats and floor mats, it will work great. However, if you need to get down, in, around and under, it’s a bit too bulky for that. Also, since it doesn’t come with an extension hose, it’s hard to get down into crevices like those between car seats.
Does it work for miniblinds?
Yes, it will work great for mini blinds. However, the suction may be too strong for the cheaper plastic variety. If you have wood or sturdier resin blinds, it works great.
Is it quiet?
Actually, this is one of the noisier models, but in user reviews, it’s said the cleaning power far outweighs the noise factor. It’s not the loudest dustbuster out there, but it’s far from silent.
Is it a wet/dry vac?
This particular hand vacuum is intended to only be used for picking up dry debris. Using it in place of a shop vac or for wet debris could cause damage to its internal workings.
Is it good for pet hair?
In more than one user review, it’s said to do a good job picking up both cat and dog hair. However, since it doesn’t have a spinning brush head, it might not work as well to lift that pet hair off your upholstery.
How many speeds?
This powerful little vacuum only has one speed. It will keep running strong as long as you keep the dust bin emptied out and the filter cleaned.

Final Verdict

The Black and Decker Max Lithium Pivot is essentially the Black and Decker CHV1410L on steroids. It has many of the same features but has much more power, making it our top pick for the best dustbuster type hand vac. While it doesn’t have an extension hose or fancy tools, the few it does have are great for most any small job. If this sounds like a good deal to you, Amazon has a great discount right now.

#4. Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Cordless

Video Review

Pet Hair Eraser Cordless Hand Vacuum
List Price: $49.99
Price: $44.99
You Save: $5.00
Price Disclaimer
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Quick Stats

  • Motorized cleaning head
  • Dual filtration
  • Designed for pet hair
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Specs

  • Weight: 3 pounds
  • Dimensions: 4.5” x 16” x 6.8”
  • Run Time:  About 10 minutes
  • Recharge Time: About 4 hours
  • Volts: 110
  • Warranty: 1 year
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Accessories Included

  • Crevice Tool
  • Upholstery Tool
  • Motorized brush
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Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Good for pet hair
  • Good attachments

Cons

The biggest complaint about this one is that it only runs about 10 minutes, and then it takes a long time to charge. The best thing to do if this is a concern for you is to just keep it on the charger when it’s not in use so it’s always ready to go. However, if you need more than 10 minutes of cleaning power at a time, it might be best to choose a different model or one with a cord. The Dyson (#1 pick for best handheld vacuum) runs for 14 minutes and has less recharge time. If you don’t need the bells and whistles, the Scorpion (below) is a good corded choice.

What battery does it have?
This cordless model uses a NiMH 14.4 volt battery. Because of its newer technology, you don’t need to worry about letting it run down all the way prior to recharging, and it won’t make the extended battery life less if you just leave it on the charger. However, the manufacturer recommends not leaving it sitting on the charger for days at a time without using it. Like with most cordless appliances, even lawn mowers, you can’t use it when it’s plugged into the charger.
Is it good for rugs?
It does have powerful suction, so if you’re vacuuming a rug or even a blanket, you’ll want to hold down the corners to keep it tight. Otherwise, this little Pet Hair Eraser will try to suck them up.
Is it good for the car?
In user reviews, it’s said that it’s great for cleaning out the car. Also, since it has a motorized head, it’s good for pulling small debris and even pet hair from the upholstery on your car seats and floor mats.
How do I store it?
Unfortunately, this one doesn’t come with a wall mount for charging or storage. Since that’s the case, you’ll want to have a flat surface, basket or shelf to store it in or on. One user in his review says he mounted a water bottle cage like you would use on a bicycle, and it fits perfectly with the crevice tool attached.
Does the suction fade?
Some of the best handheld vacuums advertise fade-free power (see the models above), but this one does not. According to user reviews, the power starts to fade shortly before the battery needs to be recharged.
Cordless vs corded Pet Hair Eraser?
In a nutshell, both handhelds work very well and get very high ratings. We like this one a little better because of its versatility. However, if you need constant power and don’t mind plugging and unplugging, the corded version would be a great choice for you.
Does it work on cat litter?
This particular model is specifically designed for pet owners, so it not only picks up hair but also stray kitty litter and food that is scattered on the floor. As long as whatever you’re vacuuming up is dry, it will pick it up just fine.
Is the filter washable?
The filter itself is not washable, but it is covered by a screen you can wash by hand. To clean the filter, just tap it against the side of the trash can to knock out any dust, clean the screen, and you’re good to go.

Final Verdict

Overall, the Bissell Pet Hair Eraser is a good cordless model whether or not you have pets. There is also a model available with a cord, but this one provides much more freedom and versatility in spite of its shorter run time. If you have small pickup jobs around the house or just need to get the dog and cat hair off the sofa, this is a good one to choose. Amazon has this one on sale right now for less than you’ll find it anywhere else.

#5. Dirt Devil Scorpion

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Quick Stats

  • Powerful motor
  • Quick flip crevice tool
  • Corded
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Specs

  • Weight: 3.8 pounds
  • Dimensions: 12” x 5” x 7”
  • Cord Length: 16 feet
  • Motor: 7 amps
  • Volts: 110
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Accessories Included

  • Quick Flip Crevice Tool
  • 2.5’ Hose
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Pros

  • Great suction
  • Never loses power
  • Flip out crevice tool
  • Long cord

Cons

The only complaint with the Scorpion seems to be that the dirt bin is on the small side. For this reason, it’s probably not the best choice if you have a pile of scattered debris to clean up or larger clumps of pet hair, as you will need to empty it out more often.

The only other con is that it’s a little on the loud side compared with others of its kind. However, reviews still give it high ratings because of its powerful suction and constant corded power.

How about cat litter?

This seems to be a common question among kitty owners because litter gets scattered outside the box as your furry friend enters and exits. This is a powerful little machine that will, in fact, pick up cat litter on both hardwood floors and carpet. One user review says that it picks up scattered litter, dry food, and she’s surprised it hasn’t picked up the actual cat because the suction is so good.

Will it clean the car?

Because it’s small in size, it will fit under most car seats, and it does a great job at sucking up dirt and debris. However, since it has a flip up crevice tool and no extension hose, it may be tougher to get around the sides of the seats. Remember though that it doesn’t come with a car plug, so you’ll need to keep it plugged into a wall outlet.

Is it loud?

Compared to other handhelds, it is on the noisy side. While it’s not as loud as an upright vacuum cleaner, it’s still louder than the other top rated hand vacuums.

What about the filter?

The filter can be shaken or tapped to get the dust out, which you should do on a regular basis to keep this little machine functioning optimally. With normal household use, you really shouldn’t need to buy a new filter unless you vacuum up icky messes on a regular basis and the filter starts to smell. One user in her review says she’s had this one for two years and hasn’t had to replace the filter yet.

How is it on stairs?

If you have to vacuum stairs that are hardwood, laminate or another bare surface, it works very well. However, since it doesn’t have a spinning brush head, it doesn’t dig down to get dirt and dust out of carpet fibers. You can still use it on carpeted stairs or rugs in your home, but it doesn’t offer a deep clean.

How about pet hair?

While it’s not designed for pet hair, it still does a good job picking it up. However, the dust cup is on the small side, so if you have a lot of hair, you’ll find you’re emptying it often, and you’ll need to clean the filter more often as well.

Final Verdict

If you’re looking for a good overall dustbuster type handheld, this one is a good choice. Users who’ve had it for a long time say they love that they don’t have to deal with charging batteries, the power is good, and it’s ready to go all the time. While some prefer a cordless model, this is certainly one of the best handheld vacs when it comes to overall performance. This is the cheapest vacuum on our top 5 list, and Amazon has a great sale on it right now.

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