Handheld vacuum cleaners are available in a vast variety of brands and models with different features and purposes. Because of that, choosing what to buy can be somewhat hard.

Below is a quick guide on how you can find the best hand vacuum for your home:

What Do You Want To Use It For?

This is the first question you should ask yourself when looking for a handheld cleaner. It is important because as it has already been mentioned, different vacuums are designed for different purposes.

  • If you have a pet which sheds a lot of hair, you should get a handheld vacuum for pet hair, which is basically a handheld machine specifically designed for vacuuming pet hair. You can learn more about vacuums for pet hair here.
  • If you plan on using it to clean your car on a regular basis, then a cordless handheld would be an ideal choice in your case.
  • If you want to move with it and clean different places, or if you have a problem with your hand or wrist, then a more compact and lightweight unit is more fitting.
  • If your home is made up of mostly hardwood floors, then you’ll want a machine with features that make it suitable for cleaning hardwood. You can learn more about this by reading our guide on how to find the best vacuum for hardwood floors.

Can It Clean Solids and Liquids?

Some vacuum can be used to clean up both liquids (for instance, drink spills) as well as solids. If you go for this feature, make sure you get a unit with a powerful suction so as to avoid getting any problems when cleaning up liquids.

What’s more, as you are operating the vacuum, you should ensure that you don’t fill its bin with more liquid than the indicated amount. Afterwards, you should clean and dry the filter and bin separately.

Corded or Cordless?

When buying a handheld machine, you can choose between a corded and a cordless vacuum. Each of these two has its own pros and cons.

Corded Handheld Vacuums

These vacuums are powered through a cord. They are great for cleaning up large messes for longer periods of time. Some of the pros and cons of a handheld vacuum with a  cord include:

  • Don’t need recharging.
  • Less portable.
  • Need a socket for power.

Cordless Handheld Vacuums

These are powered by a rechargeable battery. The running time for the different models varies from 5 to 30 minutes. Due to their better portability and maneuverability, they are great for cleaning stairways, furniture, inside cars, and so on without worrying about cords and power sources. Some of the pros and cons of the cordless models include:

  • More portable.
  • Don’t need a socket for power.
  • Needs recharging.
  • In case the unit’s battery is irreplaceable, the device becomes useless the moment the battery fails.

Suction Power

Even though suction power is not as critical as it is for a traditional vacuum cleaner, it’s still a major factor to consider. The suction power should depend on the purpose you intend to use it for. You will benefit more from the device if you pick one with a power regulator as you will be able to adjust the suction power depending on the type/nature of surface you are cleaning.


If you choose to go for the models which operate on batteries, there are several things that you need to consider carefully as regards to the battery.

Battery Life & Charging Time

You should check the time it takes for the battery to reach a full charge. The longer the battery’s charging time, the longer you’ll need to wait to perform the next task. You should choose one with the longest running life relative to its charging time especially if you have plans of using the vacuum cleaner for longer periods of time.

As the battery of the vacuum loses its charge, its suction power may also decrease, or the device may even stop working. Some handhelds use a charging docking station, which you can fix to a wall for easy storage; whereas the basic models use a plug-in cord to charge.

Battery Level Indicator

Don’t forget to check whether the vacuum has a battery level indicator or not. This indicator will give you a warning signal whenever the battery of the vacuum is running low so that you can charge it immediately. This will help you avoid unplanned breaks in your cleaning schedules.

Type of Battery and Voltage

You need to consider the type of battery used and whether it is replaceable or not. Recyclable batteries (lithium) have longer running time and shorter charging time than non-recyclable (NiCad) batteries.

If are looking for an eco-friendly option, choose a device which uses Lithium-ion or Nickel-metal hydride batteries. For better performance, get models whose voltages are at least 18V.

The Warranty/Guarantee

Most vacuum cleaners for sale have a standard guarantee period of one year. However, you will find that some manufacturers offer an extended warranty period on their vacuums. This demonstrates the great faith that these manufacturers have in their products’ quality.

Also, don’t forget to check the battery’s warranty details. Even though the warranty on the vacuum cleaner may cover it for one year or more, it may cover the battery for just a few months.


If your needs go beyond the “conventional” uses of a handheld vacuum, check and make sure that all the accessories you need for your intended uses of the unit are included.

Filtration System

If you want to keep your indoor air free of allergens, you should opt for a model which uses cyclonic technology and advanced filtration. You should be able to remove and clean or replace the filter of your vacuum cleaner with ease.

If you want to keep your ownership costs low, get a device which uses washable filters. A handheld vacuum with a HEPA filter system is ideal for your home if you live with people that have asthma. Furthermore, you should note that a vacuum’s efficiency is also affected by the quality of its filtration system.

The Capacity

This varies from brand to brand, and from model to model. You should choose one that has the highest capacity if you want to use the vacuum for a longer time without the need to empty its bin.

Size and Weight

This will depend on your preferences, the amount of cleaning you intend to do with the vacuum cleaner, as well as your budget. Usually, the more features a unit has, the greater its cost, size and weight.

If your priority is size & weight, then simply buy a simple but reliable model and save yourself some money. Also, if you are concerned with storage space, go for a smaller unit.

Your Budget

Your budget should be a major factor in determining the ideal handheld vacuum to buy. Even though these vacuums are averagely low-priced, their prices still vary. Make sure you focus on only the vacuums that are in your set budget range.


Finding the best handheld vacuum isn’t as simple as it sounds; but with the above guiding points, you should be able to get one without much trouble. Make sure you consider everything you need from the vacuum cleaner so as get the best value for your hard earned cash.