Best handheld vacuum cleaners 2021 – reviews of our 7 favourites

Tackle spills, crumbs and pet hair in a hurry with the best handheld vacuum cleaners from Shark, Dyson, Black and Decker, Beldray, and more
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  • The best handheld vacuum cleaners 2021 are a really useful addition to any household. The top models from the likes of Shark, Dyson, Black & Decker, Beldray, Proscenic, and Roidmi provide a speedy and effective way to clean up all sorts of household mess instantly. And to make picking the right one for your home simple, we’ve reviewed the top choices and provided the essential details including dustbin size and weight so you can see which would suit your home perfectly.  

    It’s true that the best vacuum cleaners are great all-rounders, but it can definitely be worth giving house room to a handheld vacuum cleaner, too. And that can even be the case if you’re the owner of a stick vacuum that converts to a handheld. A standalone handheld vacuum is permanently at the ready to tackle, spills, mess and pet hair, and this is the lowdown on the top models.

    What is the best handheld vacuum cleaner?

    The Shark CH950UKT is our number one because it offers great suction and excellent value with a motorised pet tool part of its cleaning kit. If your budget is generous, the Dyson V7 Trigger is our favourite premium handheld. For maximum running time on both regular and boost settings, we recommend the Proscenic S1.

    Best handheld vacuum cleaner 2021

    1. Shark Handheld Cordless Pet Vacuum Cleaner CH950UKT

    Best handheld vacuum

    Shark Handheld Cordless Pet Vacuum Cleaner CH950UKT best handheld vacuum overall

    Bagged or bagless? Bagless
    Dust tank capacity: 0.45L
    Weight: 1.39kg
    Reasons to buy: lightweight, super suction, and made for pet hair
    Reasons to avoid: short battery life, a bit noisy

    This handheld vacuum is also one of our best pet hair vacuums, and we love the fact that it comes with a motorised pet tool – something that’s more usually found on full size vacuums. For many of us, furry companions are one of the reasons we need to vacuum in a hurry, as they get up from the sofa leaving a good covering of hair that neither we nor our guests want to sit in.

    As well as the fur-busting attachment, this handheld comes with a dusting brush and a crevice tool, so the neat design can tackle all the spot cleaning jobs around the home, and is handy for the car as well. We found its suction to be excellent, and that it tackled crumbs, mud, dust, and fluff plus pet hair with aplomb.

    Our testing showed that it doesn’t fade as the battery nears recharging time either, making cleaning up the quickest process it can be. Shark says it gives up to 10 minutes of running time on a single charge, but we did get a few more minutes. 

    The vacuum has a low battery warning light so you know the juice is dwindling, and you’ll need to be prepared to put the charging cable into the handle port and plug it into a socket where you can leave it recharging for four hours to enjoy its cordless power once more.

    The dust tank allows you to pick up 0.45L of household debris before depositing it into the bin and ejecting the grot is an efficient press-of-a-button process. Maintenance is a breeze with this little number. Just use tap water to wash both the dust tank and the filter, and leave to dry. 

    We love the fact that this is a lightweight model with a pet hair tool as well as its other attachments all for a great price.

    Ideal Home’s rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    2. Dyson V7 Trigger

    Best premium handheld vacuum

    Dyson V7 Trigger best premium handheld vacuum

    Bagged or bagless? Bagless
    Dust tank capacity: 0.54L
    Weight: 1.71kg
    Reasons to buy: long running time, efficient bin emptying
    Reasons to avoid: not a budget option, boost runs down the battery swiftly

    The Dyson V7 Trigger delivers a long cleaning time of up to 30 minutes on one charge, so if you’re planning to use a handheld for long stints, the convenience might outweigh the fact that it’s a rather more pricey option than its competitors.

    For your hard-earned pounds, you’ll get excellent cleaning on all the surfaces you might want to remove the muck from whether these are carpet, hard flooring or upholstery – including the car. This is another model that isn’t fazed by pet hair with a mini-motorised tool to tackle the fur that wants to stay put. There’s also a crevice tool, plus a combination attachment that allows you to switch to using its brush as required.

    Bear in mind that while the running time is great on normal power, this is reduced to just six minutes in maximum mode. As this handheld definitely delivers when it comes to suction, our opinion is that this isn’t a problem, but fans of extra power should take note.

    Dust tank capacity is among the best we’ve seen for a handheld, and the bin emptying is extremely efficient saving you the job of fishing out lighter fluff by hand. The bottom line? If you don’t mind an investment buy, it’s a great choice. 

    Ideal Home’s rating 5 out 5 stars

    3. Proscenic S1

    Best handheld vacuum for good battery life

    Proscenic S1 best cordless vacuum for battery life

    Bagged or bagless? Bagless
    Dust tank capacity: 0.12L
    Weight: 0.63kg
    Reasons to buy: two suction levels, great running time
    Reasons to avoid: sometimes blows debris sideways

    Proscenic may not be a brand with the same recognition factor as some of the other makers of our favourite handhelds, but the Proscenic S1 is definitely worth your attention if you’re looking for one of these easy-to-store vacuums.

    A running time of up to 30 minutes makes it stand out compared to many of its rivals. Use it in the high power mode, which our testing found is noticeably more powerful, and it still delivers 15 minutes of running time, which is better than that of some rivals on a regular setting.

    When it comes to pick up, this handheld vacuum cleaner achieved good results with larger debris. It dealt with the lighter stuff our reviewer challenged it with, too, but did have a tendency to blow the bits at the edges of big spills sideways, meaning they took a bit longer to fully remove.

    You can clean all round with the two attachments: a two-in-one flat suction design that removes dirt from crevices or brushes surfaces; and a mattress brush that cleans these plus upholstery. The dust bin has a capacity on the smaller side at 0.12L, so bear this in mind if you’re looking to do lots of cleaning with this handheld. We found it easy to empty, though. 

    We also like the fact that the cleaner comes with a stand that keeps it tidier when it’s in the cupboard. The stand itself can be plugged in to charge the vac, but there’s the alternative to charge the machine itself with a USB-C cable. Charging via the dock is a whole lot quicker, however. 

    Our verdict? The Proscenic S1 gives the more well-known brands a run for their money, offering powerful suction for spot cleaning jobs.

    Ideal Home’s rating 4.5 out of 5 stars

    4. Shark WV200UK Pet Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner

    Best handheld vacuum for emergency cleaning

    Shark WV200UK Pet Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner best handheld vacuum for emergency cleaning

    Bagged or bagless? Bagless
    Dust tank capacity: 0.1L
    Weight: 1.3kg
    Reasons to buy: easy to store, slim and lightweight
    Reasons to avoid: limited running time

    If you’re looking for a handheld vacuum that’s not going to hog storage space, has sleek styling and can cope with spills in a trice, the Shark WV200UK could be your top pick. 

    It has a wand style design that’s light as well as compact, and it’s ready to hand in its charging base, where you’ll ideally want to keep it so it’s ready to go (so best not to stash it in a cupboard with no electrical socket). If you do want to tidy it away and just leave it out to recharge, it takes two and half hours to do so.

    This handheld definitely fills the slot of emergency cleaner in a home with kids, pets, and, let’s admit it, adults inclined to make a mess. With a running time of eight minutes per charge, and a dust bin capacity of 0.1L it’s definitely the machine for the quick urgent jobs not the entire car interior on a Sunday afternoon.

    But if someone spills food on the worktop or floor, scatters crumbs on the carpet, or your four-legged family members leave a whole lot of fur on the seating, it’s the speedy solution. It comes with a crevice tool/dusting brush and a pet tool, so it’s equipped and ready. 

    The Shark WV200UK is pricier than our other Shark pick, the CH950UKT, but we like its style and it’s a strong contender if you’re buying a handheld to come to the rescue in a family home.

    Ideal Home’s rating 4 out of 5 stars

    5. Beldray Revo Cordless Vacuum

    Best handheld vacuum for small homes

    Beldray Revo Cordless Vacuum best for small homes

    Bagged or bagless? Bagless
    Dust tank capacity: 0.1L
    Weight: 0.65kg
    Reasons to buy: compact, long running time, and boost option
    Reasons to avoid: frequent bin emptying is required

    If storage space in your home is distinctly on the limited side, the Beldray Revo Digital could be the answer. It’s a compact design with a charging base that holds the vacuum and its attachments one behind another in a space-efficient shape with a small footprint.

    Owners of the previous model, the BEL0944, will like the fact that this version has up to twice the suction power for getting up dust, dirt and pet hair, and sorting out spills. We also like the fact that it’s very light at 0.65kg, so a model worth considering if you aren’t able to use heavier and bulkier handhelds for any length of time. A rubber finish also makes it comfortable to hold.

    With crevice, brush and upholstery tools, it’s ready to tackle all the spills and smaller clean-up jobs you don’t want to bother getting the vacuum cleaner out for. And a running time of up to 30 minutes on the normal setting puts this among the handhelds with longest use on one charge.

    Like some of our other favourites, it has a boost button for the trickiest jobs but, also as with other models, this does shorten the time you’ll get from the battery. Nevertheless, this is still a relatively generous 15 minutes. Emptying involves pushing the release button and removing the dust container cover so the contents can be emptied into the bin.

    This model likely won’t be a top pick for those in large homes and a long walk to the bin as it has a small dust capacity of 0.1L. But for small homes, its size is a major plus point, and the long charge time will save you from frequent plugging in.

    Ideal Home’s rating 4 out of 5 stars

    6. Black + Decker Dustbuster Pivot Handheld Vacuum

    Best handheld vacuum for manoeuvrability

    Black + Decker Dustbuster Pivot Handheld Vacuum best for easy access

    Bagged or bagless? bagless
    Dust tank capacity: 0.44L
    Weight: 1.38kg
    Reasons to buy: cleans hard-to-reach areas, integrated tools
    Reasons to avoid: short running time

    The Black + Decker Dustbuster Pivot has a clever design that makes it great for awkward cleaning jobs. The nozzle pivots up to 200 degrees, so we’re talking the back of drawers, the top of shelves, lampshades and more. Yes, you could get out the best cordless vacuum cleaner for these jobs, but how much more convenient it is to grab this light handheld model instead. 

    It will fulfil the more usual handheld vacuum roles, too, sorting out spills and crumbs in the kitchen and on the sofa, and cleaning the car. You don’t even need to add accessories to cope with different jobs as the soft brush flips out, and the crevice tool is also integrated. 

    This is another of our handhelds that’s best if you’re after a model for quick clean-ups or you want to knock a small job off your to-do list. The vac has a running time of just 10 minutes when fully charged and doing so takes four hours. You’ll get just 30 seconds warning when time is about to be up.

    Flat and small home dwellers, we think you’ll like the fact that it folds in half for charging and storage, and all users should be happy with the easy opening of the dust tank followed by tipping it to get rid of the contents into the bin.

    Ideal Home’s rating 4 out of 5 stars

    7. ROIDMI Nano P1 Pro Handheld Vacuum

    Best compact handheld vacuum

    ROIDMI Nano P1 Pro Handheld Vacuum best lightweight handheld vacuum

    Bagged or bagless? bagless
    Dust tank capacity: 0.1L
    Weight: 0.5kg
    Reasons to buy: powerful, compact to store, easy to use
    Reasons to avoid: for small spills only, no attachments

    If it’s an extremely compact handheld vacuum cleaner that’s missing from your life, the Roidmi Nano P1 Pro will fit the bill. It really is a mini cleaner at just 27.5cm long and with a diameter of 6cm, and the company says it was designed to be the same size as an average water bottle if you want to visualise its dimensions. It’s lightweight, too, at less than 0.5kg.

    However, although it may be small, this handheld doesn’t lack suction power and offers both a standard mode and a max power level to call on. It runs for up to 24 minutes on the former, which makes it one of the longer runners among our selection, and in our tests on max power it lasted just under 14 minutes, which is more than some of its rivals.

    We found that this neat little handheld was brilliant for dealing with spilled foods and crumbs on kitchen worksurfaces getting up plenty on a single pass and cleaning out corners and nooks efficiently because of its suction power. One disadvantage of the vacuum when used elsewhere was that its bristles – which you can choose to use or not for individual cleaning jobs but which can’t be fully retracted – hang on to some of the dust and hair, and have to be unclogged regularly.

    Given this vacuum’s proportions, it’s no wonder that the bin isn’t capacious, but it is easy to empty when it’s full. We think that you wouldn’t opt for this handheld for larger jobs in any case, but if you have a gap in your life for a cleaner that will sort out spills on kitchen worktops and tackle smaller areas like car seats, desks and so on, its power will come to the rescue.

    Ideal Home’s rating 4 out 5 stars

    Everything you need to know about buying a handheld vacuum cleanerBlack + Decker Dustbuster Pivot Handheld Vacuum cleaning a radiator

    Handheld vacuum cleaners versus cordless stick vacuum cleaners

    Handheld vacuum cleaners save you the trouble of getting a far more sizeable vac out of the cupboard when a quick clean-up is in order because you or someone else has spilled something, there’s pet hair on the upholstery, or the car’s interior is looking grotty. They’re easy to store, and some are compact enough to leave out somewhere handy all the time.  

    Cordless stick vacuums can be an alternative as many convert to a handheld so you can take on small and urgent jobs. The upside is that you’ll only need to purchase one machine, but the downside is that you will have to take the handheld part off the machine so it’s not such a quick-to-grab option.

    How much should I spend on a handheld vacuum cleaner?

    Shark WV200UK charging

    It’s possible to get an efficient handheld vacuum cleaner at well under the £100 mark, although you can pay twice that. The less expensive models could well fulfil all that you require of a handheld, and you can even get long running times on a single charge at this price point.

    We think it’s worth paying over £100 if the handheld has features you particularly need like the small size of the Roidmi Nano P1 Pro or the long running time plus good sized dustbin of the Dyson V7 Trigger.

    What other key questions do I need to ask about handheld vacuum cleaners?

    Black + Decker Dustbuster Pivot Handheld Vacuum cleaning the kitchen floor

    Which attachments come with it?

    The selection of attachments that come with handhelds vary and some just have what’s on board, so it’s important to think about which jobs you’ll want to do with yours before you buy so you have the tools for each job. If you have animal companions, a handheld with a motorised pet tool as part of the kit is definitely worthwhile.

    What’s the dust tank capacity?

    Shark Handheld Cordless Pet Vacuum Cleaner CH950UKT cleaning pet hair

    The handhelds in our selection have a capacity ranging from 0.1L to around 0.5L, so once again focus on how small or large the clean-ups you’ll want to do with your machine are. If you’re going to be cleaning a family car, then the largest capacity is preferable. Sorting out quick spills or doing some dusting? Smaller tanks can be fine and make for a lighter weight machine.

    What’s the running time?

    Running times vary from the 30 minutes that’ll allow you to tackle a whole lot of cleaning to a third of that, while recharge times can be lengthy. Yup, we’re going to say it again: it’s vital to think about which chores you aim to do with the handheld so you won’t be frustrated by either running or plug-in time. 

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