For smaller messes, the best handheld vacuum cleaners are ideal for whipping out and quickly putting away without having to drag out your big and often heavy household vacuum. Whether you want to tackle unexpected spills with ease or need a helping hand to get into tight corners and other hard-to-reach areas, handheld models offer portability and targeted cleaning when you need it the most.
While these devices won’t be as powerful, or have the same dust capacity as your full-sized upright or stick vacuum cleaner, they’re a very useful cleaning gadget to have. The best handheld vacuum cleaners are very handy for quick clean-ups of smaller messes, such as crumbs from your countertops and pet hair from your sofas. They're also great for helping you keep those more difficult spots clean, like in between cushions and up the stairs. You can also use them to help you clean the car and tackle the garage, where you need more flexibility and freedom to clean without power cords and other cables getting in the way and slowing you down.
Best handheld vacuum cleaners at a glance:
• Best overall: Gtech Multi Platinum Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner – view on Argos
• Best for suction: Shark Premium Handheld Vacuum WV270UK – view on Shark
• Best for wet and dry messes: Black+Decker Wet and Dry Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner – view on Argos
When it comes to choosing the best handheld vacuum cleaner for your needs, there are a couple of things you’ll want to consider. We’ve explored them in full detail in our FAQs section at the bottom of this article but think about the types of jobs you’re hoping to complete with one and pick a vacuum that has a run time and dust capacity to help you tackle them. We also recommend looking at the attachments included to make sure you’ve got tools that are more than capable of coping with the task at hand.
With all of that in mind, we've done the research to bring you the best handheld vacuum cleaners to suit every type of task, catering to a range of budgets. Thanks to these nifty little cleaners, you can wave goodbye to lugging your traditional vacuum around your home to clean up those smaller messes and enjoy a more streamlined routine for keeping everywhere dust and debris-free.
The best handheld vacuum cleaners UK
Boasting a 22V battery, the Gtech Multi Platinum Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner offers a run
- Impressive run time
- Suitable for hard floors, carpets, stairs, upholstery and more
- Great for homes with pets
- A more premium option compared to others on our list but the features make it well worth it
Best for wet and dry messes
Great to grab for those quick jobs, the Black+Decker Wet and Dry Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner
- Two-in-one wet and dry functionality
- Comes with a range of attachments
- Wide mouth to suck up more at once
- As it sucks up more at once, you may find that you need to empty it more frequently
Best for awkward spaces
The clever BLACK+DECKER PV1820LGB Compact Pivot Vacuum features a nozzle that pivots up to 200
- Large dust capacity
- Pivoting nozzle
- Flip out brush that is ideal for delicate surfaces
- Heavier than some on our list
Best for quick clean-ups
Mini but mighty, the Eufy HomeVac may weigh in at just 1.2 lbs, but it certainly packs a punch
- Extremely lightweight
- Modern design
- Speedy charging
- Short run time
Best for homes with pets
If hair in the home is a problem, then a vacuum specifically for pet hair is what you need.
- Decent run time
- Washable HEPA filter
- Great on pet hair
- Suction isn't too powerful
Best budget-friendly option
If you're after a nifty little vacuum to clean up smaller messes around the home and in the car
- Great for those on a budget
- Includes a HEPA filter which is great for allergy sufferers
- Although there are two power modes, the suction could be better
Handheld vacuum cleaners FAQs
What do I need to look for in a handheld vacuum?
Lightweight and compact — Your handheld vacuum cleaner should be light and compact to make it a handy alternative to your main floor vacuum. As you use it by hand, you'll want the device to be light to suit your hand strength. Handheld vacuums make great little car vacuum cleaners, therefore you want something that’s not too big or heavy, and is easily transportable.
Brush attachments — Not all handheld vacuums will have attachments, but we think this is especially useful for your vac. It will help to pick up stubborn crumbs, fluff, dust and hair from those tricky places such as between your sofa cushions. Consider a vacuum with attachments that best suit your needs.
Running time — These machines are small but mighty; they often have powerful suction but with a very long charge time and short run time. If you live in a larger home or have many surfaces that you're looking to oust in one charge, pick a vacuum with a longer running time.
Dust capacity — This will be significantly smaller on a handheld vacuum compared to stick and upright vacuum models. However, they're more than capable of coping with those smaller messes. The larger the capacity, the less often you'll need to stop to empty it.
Do I need handheld vacuum cleaners or a cordless vacuum cleaner?
If you own a cordless vacuum cleaner first check whether it doubles up as a handheld vacuum, as some models do this. If it doesn't, then it's really down to personal preference. A cordless vacuum cleaner is going to cost more — they're bigger, will have a longer run time and dust capacity. If you're not looking to buy a brand-new vacuum and just want something that you can easily whip out, or reach awkward spots in your home, then a handheld vacuum would do nicely.
Features & Reviews Editor Emily Gilbert has been a journalist since 2016 and has worked across a variety of specialist and lifestyle brands both in print and online. Specialising in product reviews, Emily is the first to know about all the exciting new releases, her favourite being gadgets for the home.