The 7 handheld vacuum cleaners Mumsnetters swear by
Whatever your reason for wanting one, handheld vacuum cleaners are an undoubtedly useful gadget to have around the home. With lots of options, styles and price points to choose from, we've rounded up Mumsnetter recommendations to make choosing that little bit easier.
Some areas of your home remain out of reach for even the niftiest upright vacuum cleaners with the most elaborate attachments. And in fact, many upright vacuums are cumbersome things that you really don't want to have to get out if you can avoid it. For those hitherto unreachable zones as well as moments when you'd like to quickly clean up a few crumbs or pet hairs, a handheld vacuum is a neat solution. The seven options below come recommended by Mumsnet users, some that will compliment your upright while a few might even supersede it.
- How much do you want to spend on a handheld vacuum cleaner?
You can pick up a cheap one for under £20 or you can opt for the most expensive which go up to about £300. It's true that generally Mumsnet users favour Dyson, for both handheld and upright, and for one of those you will have to pay (although Amazon often have them available at less eye-watering prices than you might expect). Of course, Dyson have their minuses too and there is value out there. Just how pressing is your need? And how frequently do you expect to use it?
- What will you use your handheld vacuum cleaner for?
This is bound up with the previous point. Lots of people use handhelds for getting at pet hair – in fact, leading brands Dyson, Gtech and Shark – manufacture special pet vacuums. These will also hoover up anything else but they are particularly good at sucking up hair, so if you have a dog that sheds a lot of hair and are sick of finding it on your clothes, then a pet handheld is the way to go. Other models, meanwhile, are simply great all-rounders.
- Corded or cordless?
It's more likely to be the latter as they're more convenient to pick up and start using. Of course, without the cord you're not restricted by needing to be within range of a plug. On the other hand, there are no batteries to worry about (see below) with a cordless and you don't need to wait for it to charge.
- Handheld vacuum or two-in-one?
There are special handheld vacuums, which you might want if you're looking for something swish to compliment your upright, and there are two-in-ones that are essentially uprights with detachable handhelds included. Both models are popular with Mumsnetters, so it just depends what your immediate needs are.
The whole point is that you want something you can pick up easily and suck up some mess with minimum fuss. So regardless of whether you go for a handheld or two-in-one, you will want it to be light, so that if you're reaching into far corners it doesn't make your arms ache. Most weigh around 1.5kg, although they can weight anywhere from 0.7 to 2.3kg.
- Battery life
The batteries on these things don't last long. But then they are for quick use, so it needn't be a problem. The Dyons and Gtechs at the top of the market tend to run for about 20 minutes (or half an hour if you're really lucky) while others need charging after as little as five minutes. After that, you either need to put it to charge in its docking station (more expensive models) or plug it in.
1. Dyson V7 Trigger Handheld Vacuum Cleaner, £200
Small in stature but powerful in functionality, this handheld vacuum cleaner is ideal for those who need an efficient, compact vacuum. It is powered by the innovative Dyson V7 digital motor which means it's lighter and faster than ever before. Its state-of-the-art filtration system retains the highest levels of allergy-causing particles, so ideal if anyone in your family suffers from asthma or allergies. It specialises in sucking up ground-in dirt and animal hair, and has a useful low battery warning light.
“I have a Dyson DC58 Animal – I love it! I have two flights of stairs and it's ideal for a quick clean-up on those.”
“The DC58 Animal is fantastic. My house has never been so clean as it's so easy to do a quick whiz round with the Dyson every evening. Especially easy to do stairs and under beds.”
“I have a Dyson cordless handheld and love it, especially for dusting cornices and sucking out dust from in between the parquet slats.”
“I love my Dyson handheld – it means I no longer freak out about my 15-month-old making mess as I can clean it up in no time.”Buy it now from John Lewis
2. Gtech Multi MK2 Handheld Vacuum Cleaner, £150
This is the other cordless handheld vacuum cleaner of which Mumsnetters simply can't speak highly enough (so much so that there's been more than one ferocious discussion along the lines of Gtech v Dyson). Small spaces, pokey corners and grit-gathering cracks? Bring 'em on! So say the Gtech fans. This one is also really good for stairs and upholstery, so no more crumbs down the sofa to worry about. It's easy to use and has 20 minutes battery life, but it will have dealt with all the dirt in sight long before then.
“I have the Gtech and the handheld for the stairs. I'm very happy. Does what it says efficiently.”
“I love the Gtech. I don't often rave about cleaning implements but having this has meant my floor gets the once-over more often.”
“Gtech all the way. We have their handheld vacuum cleaner, we use it for hoovering pet hair and it picks up more than any other. Definitely a best buy.”
“I have the Gtech K9 and the handheld and they're bloody brilliant. The filters get clogged quite quickly, but they just need a wash and they're fine. It cleans really well on everything.”Buy it now from Amazon
3. Black & Decker Handheld Vacuum, £120
This lightweight cordless handheld vacuum gives you power and flexibility to clean any surface. It’s compact, lightweight and its wraparound 1.5m long hose allows you to clean awkward-to-reach areas – the insides of lampshades, between sofa cushions, higher shelves or your car’s interior. The translucent 560ml dustbowl features a side door to dispose of debris directly to the bin without you touching it. Battery life is about 15 minutes and it comes with a charging docking station that also stores accessories.
“It's brilliant. I love the hose and the flexibility that gives you. Have no complaints at all.”
“With some handhelds, I found that the air created by the fan tended to blow away and scatter everything I was trying to suck up. The Black & Decker with the hose avoids that completely. I'd highly recommend it. If you unclip the hose bit you can get into little nooks and crannies or reach high up.”
“I've got the B&D and it's brilliant! I use it every day. I was toying with keeping it on the coffee table at one point as it was out every two minutes.”Buy it now from Amazon
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4. Vax Gator Handheld Vacuum Cleaner, £40
Another model that Mumsnetters have found makes life easier and cleaner. The Vax Gator is a powerful handheld vacuum cleaner that is ideal for picking up dust and debris quickly. The lightweight, cordless design means it's very manoeuvrable and its mouth flips open for easy, hygienic emptying. It has a built-in crevice tool for cleaning in tight corners that is fully retractable for ease of storage. If you have kids, pets or like throwing parties where people are prone to spillages then this could be the one for you.
“The battery lasts a long time, it is not as bulky as a Dyson and is reasonably priced. I use mine to pick up crumbs on the kitchen floor and mess created by our guinea pigs (kept indoors). Can highly recommend it.”
“I second the Vax Gator – bought it a few weeks ago from Amazon. It's brilliant; good suction and battery life, it's small, light and easy to empty (only downside is the dog's terrified of it!).”
“Affordably priced and bloody marvellous!”Buy it now from Amazon
5. AEG Animal Cordless Lightweight 2-in-1 Pet Stick, £299
This 2-in-1 lightweight cordless vacuum from AEG would be ideal if you were looking for a new upright and liked the idea of having a handheld too (put it like this, it’s good value). It's designed especially for pet owners and combines a range of cutting-edge features to make everyday housework a little easier. Self-standing design and HD lithium turbo powered battery mean it is always at hand and ready to go, while the LED lights ensure you shouldn’t overlook the smallest speck.
“I am so chuffed with my AEG 2-in-1 handheld. It's not overly complicated, it picks up loads, it's super light and it's very easy to empty.”
“The AEG is so light, it feels like a toy. The handheld bit has a nozzle for upholstery and stairs.”Buy it now from Amazon
6. Shark Lift-Away vacuum cleaner, from £330
Versatility. That’s what the Shark Lift-Away has in abundance. As an upright vacuum, it boasts powerful suction for any surface and the swivel steering makes it fun to use (we nearly said 'drive', such is the power of this machine). Thanks to the 'Lift-Away', you can turn it into a handheld vacuum in a flash. Its powered brushes are great for hoovering stairs and under furniture, while the extended reach and attachments mean it has excellent range for finding and eradicating dirt.
“I have the Shark Lift-Away and it's brilliant for doing the stairs etc.”
“I love the Shark corded Lift-Away. Is amazing on carpets and does my hard floors well too.”
“I’ve had Dysons. I’ve had Mieles. I have three corded Lift-Away Sharks. Would I swap one of my Sharks for any other make? No! I would not.”
“The Shark Lift-Away is amazing. Best vacuum I’ve used. It was quite grim what it picked up on first use after years of using a Dyson.”Buy it now from Amazon
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