Best handheld vacuum cleaners – our top 5, reviewed

Find the best handheld vacuum cleaner for your home with these tried and tested from Shark, Gtech, Beldray and more

Shark WV200UK cleaning up coffee
(Image credit: Shark)

Maintaining a clean home can at times feel like an uphill battle, but keeping one of the best handheld vacuums ready to go makes it quick and easy to clean up small spills or unexpected mess. What’s more, a compact handheld vacuum can reach into tight spaces that you might not be able to vacuum with a full size model.

It’s true that some of the best cordless vacuums are multi-purpose and can convert to a handheld mode. But, most of the handheld models on this list are smaller, slimmer, and easier to grab in a hurry. So don’t discount the idea of a handheld vacuum just because you have a full size version of one of the best vacuums already.

I have personally tried each and every vacuum on this list in both my home and car. And with models from big hitting brands like Shark, Eufy, and Gtech, there’s something to suit every household. Using all the vacuums in my home at the same time made it easy to compare them and draw conclusions about the strengths and weaknesses of each model. Read on to see which is the best for you.

Best handheld vacuums - quick list

Best handheld vacuum overall

Gtech Platinum Handheld Vacuum

(Image credit: Gtech)

1. Gtech Multi Platinum Handheld Vacuum

The best handheld vacuum overall

Specifications

Weight : 1.5kg
Run time: up to 30 minutes
Dust capacity: 0.4 litres
Dimensions: 24 x 38.6 x 12.1cm
Noise level (tested by us): 82dB (on the highest power level)
RRP: £269.99

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent range of accessories
+
Large dust canister
+
Long battery life
+
Extra accessories available to buy separately

Reasons to avoid

-
Can be messy to empty an clean filter
-
Heavy and bulky

There’s no denying that this Gtech handheld vacuum is an expensive, investment level option. But at this price bracket, you get thoughtful design as well as features and accessories that you won’t see on other vacuums in this guide. So if you rely on your handheld vacuum, this is an all-rounder that’ll become an invaluable addition to your cleaning arsenal.

It only has one suction power, but the versatility comes from the accessories, including a long crevice tool that’s neatly stored in the back of the vacuum. The long brush makes easy work of reaching high cobwebs and the power brush speedily spruced up my stairs and upholstery, effectively picking up hair and debris.

Assuming the power brush drains the battery faster than any other accessory, I timed the battery life when using this tool and it lasted 22 ½ minutes. Of all the vacuums in this guide, the range of accessories made this the most effective at cleaning all around my car. 

The suction is powerful and the scented cartridges leave a fresh smell in its wake. The downside is that it can feel a tad heavy after prolonged use, but I was willing to put up with that for the great results.

Best handheld vacuum for mess-free emptying

Shark Wandvac

(Image credit: Shark)

2. Shark Wandvac WV200UK

The best handheld vacuum for easy-emptying

Specifications

Weight : 0.7kg
Run time: up to 8 minutes
Dust capacity: 0.1 litres
Dimensions: 38.5 x 9.5 x 22cm
Noise level (tested by us): 78dB (on the highest power level)
RRP: £129.99

Reasons to buy

+
One touch bin emptying
+
Neat storage/ charging dock
+
Not too loud
+
Strong suction

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Short run time

Despite being the second most expensive option on this list, this Shark vacuum has the lowest run time, the battery lasted around 8 ½ minutes during testing. This doesn’t matter for quick clean ups, but for lengthy tasks like cleaning the car, it’s frustrating.

One of my favourite features of this vacuum is that it empties at the touch of a button, flipping the dirt directly into the bin. It’s the only vacuum on this list to feature one touch dirt disposal. And though this might seem like a small point, it makes emptying quick and mess-free. 

Performance is pretty good and it effectively removed dirt from my car, but it didn’t manage to collect hairs from the carpet. There’s only one power level, but nevertheless, the suction was noticeably stronger than the Beldray, Eufy, and Lakeland models lower down this list.

Overall it’s a decent handheld from a trusted vacuum cleaner brand. And while it performs well, there are much less expensive options that are very similar in style, so budget will inevitably play a part in the decision about whether to opt for this model.

Best mid range handheld vacuum

Lakeland Handheld Vacuum

(Image credit: Lakeland)

3. Lakeland Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner

The best mid range handheld vacuum

Specifications

Weight: 0.7kg
Run time: up to 28 minutes
Dust capacity : 0.15 litres
Dimensions: 42.5 x 3 x 7cm
Noise level (tested by us): 82dB (on the highest power level)
RRP: £79.99

Reasons to buy

+
2 suction levels
+
HEPA filter
+
Charging dock with accessory storage

Reasons to avoid

-
No upholstery tool
-
Crevice tool is very short

The Lakeland cordless vacuum is similar in looks to both the cheaper Beldray and the more expensive Shark vacuums. There are very few points of difference except the Lakeland version offers a larger 150ml dust canister. 

Meanwhile the attachments are somewhat pared back in comparison to those included with the other two since it lacks an upholstery tool and the crevice tool is short and stubby. But having said that, if you’re not planning to clean upholstery or use it for much more than a quick spruce up, you might not mind.

The battery lasted for a little over 11 minutes when I used it continuously on the stronger of the two suction levels. It’s not a handheld I’d recommend for car cleaning as the crevice tool won’t reach down the side of seats, although it worked fine to remove debris in the footwells.

Its suction is more powerful than the budget Beldray and compact Eufy models below, but not quite up there with the Shark and Gtech above, earning it the best mid-range title. Inside the house it’ll be there when you need it to pick up spills or quickly clean small areas and the affordable price tag makes it an inviting option.

Best handheld vacuum for pet hair

Image of Shark Handheld Cordless Pet Vacuum Cleaner CH950UKT

(Image credit: Shark)

4. Shark Handheld Cordless Pet Vacuum Cleaner CH950UKT

The best handheld vacuum for pet hair

Specifications

Weight : 1.39kg
Run time: up to 10 minutes
Dust capacity: 0.45 litres
Dimensions: 20.47 x 3.75 x 4.27 cm
RRP: £79.00

Reasons to buy

+
Design makes it perfect for pet hair
+
Lightweight
+
Sizable dust tank
+
Great for the car or entryway

Reasons to avoid

-
On the expensive side 

Those with pets will rejoice upon using this handheld from Shark, which is engineered to make cleaning up after your favourite four-legged companions much easier.

In order to adequately clean up pet messes, this vac has a fairly big dust tank (0.45 litres), though it is somewhat limited by it's short run time, which is just 10 minutes. That said, the vacuum was fine for giving the carpet and upholstery a clean after an excitable dog during our tests. 

As you'd expect for a handheld with this pricetag and from Shark, this vacuum does have good, powerful suction and it's easy to grab for cleaning up small spills.

Best lightweight handheld vacuum

Eufy handheld cordless vacuum

(Image credit: Eufy)

5. Eufy HomeVac H11

The best compact and lightweight handheld vacuum

Specifications

Weight: 540g
Run time: up to 13 minutes
Dust capacity : 0.09 litres
Dimensions: 33.6 x 7.4 x 7.4cm
Noise level (tested by us): 80dB (on the highest power level)
RRP: £49.99

Reasons to buy

+
Lightweight
+
Compact to store
+
Good value

Reasons to avoid

-
Chunky handle
-
Small dust capacity

The Eufy Homevac H11 is designed to be super small and convenient to store, and as such, it would be unfair to expect it to deliver the most thorough deep clean. However, if size is your priority, it’s a neat little handheld that's well built and will be there to help when you need to get into confined spaces, or suck up small bits of debris.

It’s compact and discreet to store, and a great option if you live in a small flat. Personally, I like that it doesn’t come with a bulky charging station, you simply plug the cable into the back of the vacuum so you can charge it anywhere. Though it’s worth pointing out that while the cable is supplied, a plug isn’t. 

In use, I found the handle was a tad chunky to hold, I also noticed the brush attachment keeps sliding out of position. The small dust canister quickly fills if you’re picking up larger debris like a spill of breakfast cereal. Having said that, if you want a compact vacuum, you can’t expect a huge dust canister. The battery lasted around 15 minutes during testing, and the suction is surprisingly effective given its size. 

How we tested these handheld vacuums

I tried all of these vacuums in my own home as well as in my car. In doing so I was able to compare them in terms of handle comfort, ease of emptying, and ease of use. I also paid close attention to the accessories supplied as these can make or break the experience you have with a vacuum.

I timed the battery life of each one, and while vacuuming for the full life of the battery, I was able to get a good idea of how heavy it started to feel after prolonged use. In addition to noting any annoying noise, I tested the sound level with a decibel meter on my phone. 

Using the vacuums in a car allowed me to determine whether they could easily reach into awkward nooks and crannies or pick up dirt and hair embedded into the carpet. And further to using the vacuums, I took the price into consideration as well as the storage. This helped me to compare them and to develop a fully rounded review.

FAQs

What should I look for in a handheld vacuum?

With quite a broad spectrum in terms of price as well as capabilities, it can be tough to narrow down the selection and choose the best handheld vacuum for you. But  there are a few important features you must consider.

Firstly battery life, think about whether you need the battery to last long enough to vacuum your whole car, or if you’ll just be using it for a couple of minutes here and there when the children spill things. Similarly, the dust capacity is worth considering, some have tiny dust canisters that you’ll need to empty regularly if picking up larger debris, and that’ll get annoying.

Lastly, think about how you want to use it and look at the accessories. Those that come with lots of accessories are often more versatile, but for some people all these extra tools are an unnecessary addition.

How much should I spend on a handheld vacuum cleaner?

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 excellent range of accessories available with the Gtech Multi Platinum Handheld Vacuum.

Handheld vacuums are so helpful around the house, and with this comprehensive guide to the top-rated ones, cleaning up smaller messes just got a bit easier.

Molly Cleary
Kitchen Appliances Editor

Molly is Ideal Home’s Kitchen Appliances Editor and an all-around baking and cooking enthusiast. She joined the team in September 2022 as an Ecommerce Editor after working across Real Homes, Homes & Gardens and Livingetc. She's been reviewing products for 4 years and now specialises in weighing up kitchen essentials' pros and cons, from air fryers to bean-to-cup coffee machines. 

She's always been a keen reader, so after graduating from the University of Exeter in 2020 she was thrilled to find a way to write as a full-time job. Nowadays, she spends her days at home or the Ideal Home test facility trying out new kitchen innovations to see if they’re worth a space on your worktop. Her most beloved and hard-working appliance is her Sage coffee machine though she also takes the title of Ideal Home’s in-house air fryer expert after writing about them religiously over the past few years.

When she's not thinking or writing about kitchen appliances, she loves getting around London exploring new places, going for a dip at the Ladies’ Pond and consuming every bit of pop culture she can get her hands on.