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The best handheld vacuum cleaners to buy in 2023

Life is messy with kids, but if you want to make it that little bit neater, then a handheld vacuum cleaner can be a quick and easy way to clean up. Here's our pick of the best.

By Anna Cook | Last updated May 18, 2023

Handheld vacuum cleaner

Has your child ever caused an epic cereal spillage right before you dash out the door? Or has your dog managed to shed enough hair to make a particularly large blanket? Yep, we’ve been there too.

When it’s just too much hassle to get the big vacuum out, and setting up a robot vacuum cleaner is just too much of a faff, handheld vacuum cleaners can suck up mess in seconds.

But which comes out on top? From Dyson to Shark, Here are the best handheld vacuum cleaners to buy right now, as recommended by parents.

Read next: Bag a bargain with our roundup of the best vacuum cleaner deals

Best handheld vacuum cleaners: At a glance

Dyson V7 Trigger Handheld Vacuum Cleaner
Best overall

Dyson V7 Trigger Handheld Vacuum Cleaner

Buy now
Bush Handheld Cordless Vacuum Cleaner
Best budget

Bush Handheld Cordless Vacuum Cleaner

Buy now from Argos
Shark HandVac Cordless Hand Vacuum Cleaner CH950UKT
Best for pet hair

Shark HandVac Cordless Hand Vacuum Cleaner CH950UKT

Buy now

1. Best overall handheld vacuum cleaner: Dyson V7 Trigger Handheld Vacuum Cleaner

Dyson V7 Trigger Handheld Vacuum Cleaner

RRP: £250 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Weight: 1.38kg | Run time: 30 minutes | Capacity: 0.54l

What we love

  • Long run time
  • Burst function for tricky mess
  • Filtration system is great if you have asthma or allergies

What to know

  • It's a bit on the pricey side

What Mumsnet users say

“I love the Dyson V7 Trigger. It’s worth the money.” Rated by Mumsnet user HoldMyLobster

Our verdict

Small in stature but powerful in functionality, this handheld vacuum cleaner is ideal for those who need an efficient, compact vacuum. It’s 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.

Taking just over three hours to fully charge, you get 30 minutes of run time with the Dyson – much longer than most handhelds. If you're struggling with particularly ground-in mess, the burst function is also a great bonus.

2. Best budget handheld vacuum cleaner: Bush Handheld Cordless Vacuum Cleaner

Bush Handheld Cordless Vacuum Cleaner

RRP: £35 | Buy now from Argos

Key specs

Weight: 1.4kg | Run time: 15 minutes | Capacity: 0.5l

What we love

  • Great value
  • Comes with a crevice tool

What we know

  • Suction not as powerful as some

Our verdict

For £35, you can get a bargain with Argos’ Bush Handheld Cordless Vacuum. It even comes with a handy crevice tool included.

When you’ve filled it up, you can remove and empty the washable dust cup. The single cyclone filtration technology will stop debris from clogging the filter, which means you won't need to change it as often. It has a great run time at 15 minutes, and is nice and lightweight at only 1.4kg. The battery can’t be replaced though, which means once it doesn’t charge you have to throw it away.

3. Best handheld vacuum cleaner for pet hair: Shark HandVac Cordless Hand Vacuum Cleaner CH950UKT

Shark HandVac Cordless Hand Vacuum Cleaner CH950UKT

RRP: £79 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Weight: 1.39kg | Run time: 10 minutes | Capacity: 0.46l

What we love

  • Shark’s technology for a bargain price
  • Great for pet hair

What we know

  • Only offers a 10-minute run time

What do Mumsnet users say

 “I have the Shark pet handheld. It's amazing! Even in my dog hair-filled car! Unless you have a giant ceremonial staircase, it easily hoovers the stairs without running out of juice.” (Rated by Mumsnet user Changeymcgee)

Our verdict

Mumsnet users rave about full-size cordless Sharks, so it’s no surprise that they also love this handheld.

The HandVac is ideal if you have a pet as it comes with three handy accessories, including a Motorised Pet Tool to remove embedded pet hair from upholstery. It’s great value when you consider the cost of full-size Sharks and you still get Shark’s two-year warranty if you register your vacuum cleaner. The only downside is the run time – it lasts just 10 minutes before it needs to be recharged.

4. Best handheld vacuum cleaner for stairs: Gtech Multi MK2 Handheld Vacuum Cleaner

Gtech Multi MK2 Handheld Vacuum Cleaner

RRP: £170 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Weight: 1.5kg  | Run time: 20 minutes | Capacity: 0.4l

What we love

  • Long run time
  • Powerful at picking up debris

What we know

  • Expensive if bought brand-new

What Mumsnet users say

“I've just got a Gtech K9. It comes with a cutting tool for the hair that gets wrapped around the brush bar.” (Recommended by the thegcatsmother)

Our verdict

Gtech, along with Dyson, is one of the brand names that comes up again and again on the Mumsnet forums. The Gtech comes in slightly cheaper than the Dyson, but it also has 10 minutes less run time (at just 20 minutes) and a slightly smaller capacity at 0.4 litres instead of 0.5.

But Gtech fans rave about its power and say that, when it comes to small spaces, pokey corners and grit-gathering cracks, the Gtech can take them all. Users also say it’s really good for stairs and upholstery.

5. Best handheld vacuum for hard-to-reach areas: Black & Decker PD1820L Handheld Vacuum Cleaner

Black & Decker PD1820L Handheld Vacuum Cleaner

RRP: £118 | Buy now from Amazon

Key Specs

Weight: 2.27kg | Run time: 15 minutes | Capacity: 0.5 litres

What we love

  • 1.5-metre flexible hose to clean awkward areas
  • Fully removable compartment so you can dispose of the debris without touching it

What we know

  • No dock for charging
  • Not for heavy-duty cleaning

Our verdict

This lightweight cordless handheld vacuum gives you the power and flexibility to clean any surface. It’s compact, lightweight and its wraparound 1.5-metre hose allows you to clean hard-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 into the bin without you touching it. Battery life is about 15 minutes and it comes with a charging docking station that also stores accessories.

6. Best lightweight handheld vacuum cleaner: Vax Gator Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner

Vax Gator Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner

RRP: £39 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Weight: 1.3kg | Run time: 15 minutes | Capacity: 0.3 litres

What we love

  • Lightweight
  • Flip lid to empty is very hygienic

What we know

  • Takes a long time – around six hours – to charge

What Mumsnet users say

"Vax gator- excellent." Recommended by Mumsnetter chickedeee

Our verdict

The Vax Gator is a powerful handheld vacuum cleaner that’s ideal for picking up dust and debris quickly.

The lightweight, cordless design means it's very manoeuvrable and it weighs just 1.3kg – less than half the weight of other models. Its mouth also flips open for easy, hygienic emptying, and it has a built-in crevice tool for cleaning in tight corners that’s fully retractable for storage.

Related: Cleaning hacks to speed up the (endless) housework. 

7. Best corded handheld vacuum for allergies: VonHaus Bagless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner

VonHaus Bagless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner

RRP: £70 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Weight: 3.19kg | Run time: N/A – it’s corded | Capacity: 1.2 litres

What we love

  • HEPA allergy filter
  • Vibration feature to help clean bacteria.

What we know

  • Heavier than other models at over 3kg

Our verdict

This model by VonHaus isn’t just super stylish – it’s also great if you suffer from allergies as it has a HEPA filtration system. Plus, it comes with a whole host of other health benefits.

There’s an 8V UV light and a vibration feature which help to clean 99.95% of bacteria – these could lead to nasties like E. coli, Salmonella and Staphylococcus – and it’s great at removing nasties from mattresses, curtains and other upholstery. It’s corded so less flexible than cordless models, but the plus side to this is that you don’t have to worry about running out of charge.

Read more: The best carpet cleaners, whether you want to tackle a tough stain or simply freshen them up, we've got a great selection of our users favourites. 

8. Best handheld vacuum cleaner for cars: Black & Decker 12V Pivot Auto Dustbuster

Black & Decker 12V Pivot Auto Dustbuster

RRP: £45 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Weight: 1.5kg | Run time: N/A – it’s corded | Capacity: 0.35l

What we love

  • Corded so doesn’t run out of battery
  • Long cord that fits in the cigarette lighter

What we know

  • Only suitable for cars, so limited use

Our verdict

This corded handheld vacuum is perfect for car cleaning as the charger fits into the 12V cigarette lighter. Its cord is five metres long so capable of reaching all corners of even the biggest cars.

The built-in extendable crevice tool gets crumbs out of the nooks and crannies of toddler car seats, and there are 10 different settings whether you’re removing the dust from delicate buttons or stubborn mud from the floor.

9. Best small handheld vacuum cleaner: WORX WX030 CUBEVAC Cordless Compact Vacuum Cleaner

WORX WX030 CUBEVAC Cordless Compact Vacuum Cleaner

RRP: £100 | Buy now from Amazon 

Key specs

Weight: 2.2kg | Run time: 22 minutes | Capacity: 0.4l

What we love

  • Quick charging time at just over an hour
  • Flexible hose for hard-to-reach areas

What we know

  • On the heavy side at over 2kg

Our verdict

The WORX offers a very solid and hardwearing unit for an affordable price. That means it’s heavier than many models at 2.22kg, but the extendable hose – at 48 inches – means you can place the unit on the floor while you access hard-to-reach areas.

It charges in just one hour and eight minutes and then you get 22 minutes of run time. The onboard storage means that the brush and crevice accessories are always with you when you need them. Even better, the crevice tool extends to reach into really tight spots.

Are handheld vacuums worth it?

Handheld vacuum cleaners are worth it if you’re looking for an occasional vacuum that can be used in hard to reach areas or for adhoc spills. Cordless handheld vacuums in particular are great for cleaning the car (if you have one).

How do I choose a handheld vacuum?

Here are a few things to consider when choosing a handheld vacuum:

  • Corded or cordless – with corded handhelds, you never have to think about charging, but cordless are much more convenient as you’re not restricted to being within cord distance of a plug.
  • Battery run time – if you choose a battery-operated handheld vacuum cleaner, then you need to consider the battery run time. Top-of-the-market models tend to last for 20 minutes (or half an hour if you’re lucky), but others need charging after as little as five minutes. Look out for an indicator to let you know when the battery is running low.
  • Weight – you’ll need something that’s lightweight so it’s easy to pick up and put down. Most weigh around 1.5kg, although they can weigh anywhere from 0.7 to 2.3kg. You won’t be using it for long, but the lighter it is the less likely it is to end up unused in the cupboard.
  • Accessories – if you have a pet, then a turbo pet tool for picking up stubborn hairs can help. Crevice tools are great for getting into the corners of stairs and underneath the sofa.
  • Storage – some handheld vacuums come with a charging dock so you can attach them to the wall. More basic versions just charge by plug.
  • Capacity – if you want to clean up a lot of mess and fur, then look for handheld vacuums that have a big storage capacity. Most have around 0.5 litres, which is around a quarter of a full-size vacuum cleaner.

How long do handheld vacuums last?

Handheld vacuums can last around two to three years depending on how often you use yours and how you look after it.

To maximise its life expectancy, you should regularly empty the dust bag and clean the filters to stop them from clogging up with dust, pollen, and bacteria particles.

You should also remove long hairs and debris from the motorised brush and try not to vacuum up too much Lego!

Which is the best handheld vacuum?

There's a reason the Dyson V7 Trigger Handheld Vacuum Cleaner comes so highly recommended on the Mumsnet forums and that’s because you get a lot of features – including pet tools, allergy filters – and it’s built to last. We think it’s the best handheld vacuum to buy right now.

A very close second is the Gtech Multi MK2, which has a similar spec and is equally hardwearing. 

How we chose our recommendations

Recommendations from real Mumsnet users 

First up, we sought out the trusted opinions of Mumsnet users, to get their advice on their favourite handheld vacuum cleaners, including feedback on the vacuums that they rate, recommend and use in their own homes.

We also looked out for any negative reviews, where Mumsnetters highlighted products that they felt did not meet their standards.

Expert opinions

Next up, we considered reviews and feedback from trusted industry experts. We want to be confident that the products we recommend are fit for purpose, so we looked out for award-winning products or those that were well regarded in the marketplace, including those recommended by cleaning experts and consumer champions such as Which?.

Authentic consumer reviews

Finally, to bring you our definitive list of the best handheld vacuum cleaners on the market, we thoroughly investigated genuine, in-depth customer reviews on retailer sites such as Amazon, Currys and Argos to get wider consumer experiences regarding the products on our shortlist.

Why you should trust us

We work hard to provide unbiased, independent advice you can trust. We do sometimes earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links in our articles. This helps us fund more helpful articles like this one.