The best handheld vacuums are convenient for tasks such as cleaning small spills, car interiors, stairs, and sofas. Here are our top recommendations for handheld vacs in the UK.
Top Pick: Dyson V7 Trigger
Our top pick for a handheld vacuum is the excellent Dyson V7 Trigger. It’s not the cheapest handheld, but we don’t think it can be beaten in this category.
The Trigger generates strong suction for a handheld and provides great cleaning performance. We also found it useful for stairs and car seats, although the design makes it tricky to get into tight locations.
- Best Handheld Vacuums
- Why Trust Us
- How We Tested
- How to Choose a Handheld Vacuum
- Frequently Asked Questions
- All Handheld Reviews
- Page Update History
An upright or cylinder vacuum is essential for a deep clean, but handheld vacuums are more convenient for small cleaning tasks. These mini vacuums are usually cordless, mobile, and are perfect for quick jobs.
There are many handheld vacuums on the market though. So, to help you choose the right model for your home, we’ve tested a variety of handhelds and listed our eight favourites below.
Best Handheld Vacuums
Dyson V7 Trigger
Shark HandVac CH950UKT
Gtech Multi Mk2
Black+Decker Pivot PV1820LGB
Black+Decker Dustbuster Wet & Dry
Black+Decker DustBuster PD1420LP
|Dust Capacity (L)||0.54||0.45||0.4||0.25||0.5||0.44||0.37||0.56|
|Overall Rating |
View Rating Breakdown
|Ease of Use|
1. Dyson V7 Trigger
Type: Handheld | Bag Type: Bagless | Price Range: ££ | Dust Capacity: 0.54 litres | Weight: 1.38kg | Pet Tool: Yes | HEPA Filter: No
- Strong suction power for a handheld vacuum
- Motorised pet tool is great for stubborn pet hair
- Convenient to use during our tests
- Expensive compared with other handheld vacuums
If you want a handheld vacuum with the power to tackle almost any task, the Dyson V7 Trigger is our top pick. During our testing, it provided outstanding performance, and we found it can rival some corded models for cleaning performance.
What’s the difference between the V7 and other handhelds though?
The Trigger is built with the same motor and design as the company’s excellent V7 range of cordless stick vacuums. It doesn’t come with a rigid tube or floorhead, so it’s effectively a Dyson V7 cordless but in permanent handheld mode.
Considering the V7 range is an excellent cordless vacuum cleaner, this isn’t a bad thing. We think the V7 motor arguably provides the most powerful suction of any handheld, so it’s great for difficult cleaning jobs. There’s also a mini motorised tool, which we found excels at removing pet hair from carpets and upholstery.
In terms of battery life, the Dyson provides a maximum of 30 minutes when on the regular power setting. In reality, we found you’ll get much less than this when using the motorised tool or “Max” mode (or both). The V7 Trigger still provides decent performance on its regular power mode, but for harder tasks you’ll need to switch on the boost setting at the cost of run-time.
With such an impressive range of features, is there a downside to this vacuum? The simple answer is the price. Most people are looking to spend less than £100 on a handheld vacuum cleaner, but the V7 Trigger costs considerably more.
In terms of performance and features, however, we think this is an outstanding model and amongst the best on the market. It’s also great for pet hair. If you don’t mind spending extra, you won’t be disappointed by the V7 Trigger.
2. Shark HandVac CH950UKT
Type: Handheld | Bag Type: Bagless | Price Range: £ | Dust Capacity: 0.45 litres | Weight: 1.39kg | Pet Tool: Yes | HEPA Filter: No
- Powerful handheld vacuum cleaner
- Great for pet hair
- Excellent value for money
- Rigid design can be awkward to use
- No docking station for recharging
The first Shark on this list is the impressive CH950UKT. It’s a stylish rechargeable model that’s specifically designed to clean pet hair – although it’s also suitable for everyday spot cleaning.
At its core, the HandVac is a cordless handheld model that we found provides decent performance on both hard floors and carpets. It’s lightweight and can last up to 10-minutes on a single charge (although it actually lasted 13 minutes during our tests). This is shorter than the V7 Trigger or Gtech Multi Mk2, but is still enough for most quick cleaning tasks.
During our testing, we were impressed with the cleaning performance of the CH950UKT – especially considering the low price. It picked up both larger debris and smaller particles with ease, while we found the motorised head is brilliant for pet hair. It’s less effective on thick carpets and rugs than on hard floors, but that’s to be expected from a budget handheld.
Other features include a lightweight 1.4kg design, crevice tool and dusting attachment, and a 0.45 litre capacity. The Shark also has washable filters, although we found these a bit messier to access than some of the other options on this list.
As always, there are some downsides to this model. It’s a lightweight vacuum, but the rigid and bulky design makes it difficult to use in tight spaces. Shark also hasn’t included a docking station with the HandVac and it’s less effective when cleaning without using the motorised head.
Considering the relatively low price of the Shark CH950UKT HandVac, and the strong performance when using the pet tool, we still think it provides excellent value for money.
If you’re looking for the best handheld pet vacuum without spending more than double on the Dyson V7 Trigger, then it’s definitely an option to consider. The motorised tool does a great job of getting pet hair out of fabric and carpets, while the vacuum provides plenty of suction power for spot cleaning.
3. Gtech Multi Mk2
Type: Handheld | Bag Type: Bagless | Price Range: ££ | Dust Capacity: 0.4 litres | Weight: 1.6kg | Pet Tool: Yes | HEPA Filter: No
- Useful for quick cleaning jobs
- Motorised tool is great for pet hair
- Not the most powerful handheld vacuum on the market
- Awkward to use in tight locations
The Gtech Multi Mk2 is an expensive handheld vacuum, but during our tests we thought it provided enough cleaning performance to justify the price. In particular, we’re big fans of the powered brush tool, which is great for removing dirt and dust, and the built-in headlight.
Gtech has designed this model for stairs, upholstery, car interiors, and other awkward cleaning locations. It’s a cordless model, with a bagless dust canister and 22V battery. The run-time is 20 minutes when the battery is fully charged, which takes approximately four hours.
When it comes to cleaning performance, this handheld vacuum cleaner is one of the best in its category. We found the motor generates strong suction, while the powered brush helps dig up stubborn dirt.
It’s less effective when using non-motorised tools, such as the crevice tool or dusting brush, but we found it still does an excellent job on everything from larger debris to pet hair. However, our testing did indicate that it struggles to pick up fluff and hair on thicker carpets.
There are some other drawbacks too. We found the shape can be awkward to use in tight locations, such as under car seats, and the 20-minute run-time is less than the top models. This also isn’t a cheap handheld vacuum cleaner, although it’s less expensive than the Dyson V7 Trigger.
Even so, if you need a high-quality handheld vacuum that’s capable of tackling tougher cleaning tasks, then we think the Gtech Multi Mk2 is a good choice. It’s easy to use, provides strong cleaning performance on most surfaces, and comes with several accessories for more versatile cleaning.
4. Shark WV200UK
Type: Handheld | Bag Type: Bagless | Price Range: £ | Dust Capacity: 0.25 litres | Weight: 0.6kg | Pet Tool: No | HEPA Filter: Yes
- Stylish vacuum that's great to have on hand for quick clean-ups
- Relatively powerful
- Easy to use
- Very short battery run-time
- Tiny dust capacity limits its versatility
If you’re looking for a convenient handheld for quick clean-ups, then the Shark WV200UK could be a great choice. During our testing, we found it has excellent suction power for such a lightweight vacuum, making it a useful tool for spot cleaning.
Let’s start with the basics though. The Shark WV200UK is a cordless handheld vacuum cleaner with a stylish design. Shark has designed this model to be on display at all times, with a docking station that both recharges the vacuum and provides storage slots for the included tools.
Other features include an ultra lightweight 0.6kg design and a relatively fast 2.5 hour recharge time. It also has a maximum run-time of 10 minutes, which is enough for spot cleaning but unsuitable for longer cleaning sessions.
How does the Shark perform though? We found it to be great for quick cleaning jobs and as a backup to your main vacuum. It has a tiny 0.25 litre dust capacity, but for small clean ups it’s a handy gadget to have in your home.
It’s important to understand the type of cleaning jobs this vacuum is made for though. We found that it excelled at cleaning debris from hard surfaces, making it an excellent choice for cleaning crumbs and cereal in the kitchen. It’s also lightweight and easy to use, although the lack of a pet turbo tool meant that it struggled more with carpets and pet hair.
In summary, we think the Shark WV200UK is an option to consider if you’re looking for a lightweight, convenient vacuum for quick cleaning jobs. There are more heavy-duty handheld vacuums available, and these are better for pet hair or other difficult tasks. The small dust capacity is also a downside. Even so, the Shark WV200UK can be a useful addition to your cleaning arsenal.
Note: If you’re looking for a cheaper option with similar features, then the Hoover H-Handy 700 Express is worth considering.
Type: Handheld | Bag Type: Bagless | Price Range: £ | Dust Capacity: 0.5 litres | Weight: 1.54kg | Pet Tool: Yes | HEPA Filter: No
- One of the best corded handheld vacuums
- Unlimited run-time and strong cleaning performance
- Not as convenient as cordless options
If you’re looking for a corded handheld vacuum cleaner for stairs or cars, then the Hoover Jovis+ could be the perfect choice. It’s not the most featured-packed model, but is durable, bagless, and relatively powerful. We also think it provides excellent value.
The Jovis is a corded handheld with a 550W motor and motorised pet brush head. It has a six metre cord, allowing you to clean most staircases without swapping socket, and a quick emptying system. We think the 0.5 litre dust capacity is also surprisingly spacious for such a small and lightweight vac.
Who should buy the Jovis over other options though? If you need a handheld vacuum for long cleaning jobs, the corded design means you don’t need to worry about the battery running out. We also think it’s great for stairs and is surprisingly powerful considering the low price.
The Hoover also excels at car cleaning – although the six metre cord may not be long enough without an extension lead.
The downside to being a corded vac is that it has less portability than other handheld vacuums. It’s also only has a basic washable filter, so it’s not the best handheld for allergy sufferers, and is relatively loud. Additionally, we wish it had a hose attachment, as this increases a handheld’s versatility.
Overall, we think the Hoover Jovis+ provides great value for money. Of course, it’s never going to match vacuums costing three times the price. But if you’re tired of lugging your upright up and down each step, then this is a much better solution for cleaning stairs. The unlimited run-time also makes it an excellent choice as a handheld car vacuum compared to models with a short battery life (assuming the cord length isn’t a problem).
6. Black+Decker Pivot PV1820LGB
Type: Handheld | Bag Type: Bagless | Price Range: £ | Dust Capacity: 0.44 litres | Weight: 1.38kg | Pet Tool: No | HEPA Filter: No
- Pivoting design is useful for awkward cleaning jobs
- Decent cleaning performance for the price
- Struggled with pet hair during our tests
One of our favourite handheld vacuum cleaners is the Black+Decker Pivot PV1820LGB. It’s a unique model with excellent suction, strong performance on hard surfaces, and an easy-to-empty dust container – along with its unique pivoting design. We also think it provides great value for money if you need a handheld with more power than the cheapest handheld vacs.
What makes this such a capable model though?
During our testing, we found the Black+Decker Pivot generates strong suction power for a handheld. For example, it can easily pick up crumbs that have fallen between cracks, and is capable of sucking up both dust and larger debris. Many low-quality handheld vacuums struggle with these tasks, but the PV1820LGB provides impressive cleaning performance on most surfaces.
One of the most interesting features is the pivot system. This allows you to easily clean in difficult-to-reach areas, such as above bookshelves, stairs and under sofas. It’s also useful for getting under car seats – although we found the nozzle isn’t long enough for getting deep into awkward locations and the vacuum can feel a little heavy to hold.
Even so, the Black+Decker is a versatile handheld vacuum that can tackle most cleaning tasks. It’s particularly effective on hard surfaces, such as hard flooring and kitchen worktops, but it also does a great job on stairs or upholstery. It also comes with a fold-down brush which we found useful for protecting delicate surfaces, such as polished tables.
There are a few downsides. It’s surprisingly loud for a cordless vacuum, so it’s not the best choice if you’re planning to clean late at night or when children are asleep. The run-time is also relatively short, although at around 10 minutes we think it should be enough for most quick jobs (and this is an average run-time for a handheld).
Another issue is that it doesn’t have a pet turbo attachment. Turbo tools often have rotating brush bars, which agitate carpet fibres to remove more pet hair (and other debris). The lack of a turbo tool means we don’t recommend the PV1820LGB for pet owners or if you’re mainly going to use it to spot clean carpets.
In summary, if you’re looking for a powerful handheld that doesn’t cost a fortune, the Black + Decker PV1820LGB Lithium Compact Pivot provides a good balance between price and performance. The pivot system also makes it convenient to use around the home.
Note: There are several versions of the Black + Decker Lithium Compact Pivot with various voltages. This mini-review is of the 18V version.
Type: Handheld | Bag Type: Bagless | Price Range: £ | Dust Capacity: 0.37 litres | Weight: 1.04kg | Pet Tool: No | HEPA Filter: No
- One of the few handheld vacuums that can handle fluids
- Great value for money
- Not as powerful as other options
- Tiny dust capacity
If you’re looking for a mini vacuum cleaner that can handle liquid spills, the Black + Decker Lithium is our #1 recommendation. It’s a relatively powerful cleaner with a lithium-ion battery, quick-release dust container, and wet and dry technology.
The Black+Decker handvac range has been designed to provide quick and convenient cleaning. The eight minute run-time is short, so it’s only suitable for quick cleanups, but we think it does a decent job of both wet and dry spills.
Other features include a washable filter and a mountable wall charging station. It also comes with a crevice tool, squeegee and a soft brush. Like other models in the Dustbuster range, it has a relatively wide mouth, which helps to cut down on cleaning time.
There are some drawbacks to this model though. Despite only lasting 8-minutes between charges, it takes 10-hours to fully charge – one of the longest recharge times we’ve reviewed. That’s a long time if you need it for a quick clean! While great at cleaning hard surfaces, we think it can struggle with carpets and pet hair, as there’s no motorised brush. You also need to hold down the button when cleaning, which may be a problem for people with painful joints.
Even so, the Black + Decker Lithium-Ion is one of the best choices if you’re looking for a wet and dry vacuum to handle small spills. Like most of the other vacuum cleaners on this list, it’s never going to replace a full cleaner in terms of suction power. But it’s still reasonably powerful and convenient to have in the home.
Note: This model replaces the now discontinued AEG Rapido.
8. Black+Decker DustBuster PD1420LP
Type: Handheld | Bag Type: Bagless | Price Range: £ | Dust Capacity: 0.56 litres | Weight: 1.42kg | Pet Tool: Yes | HEPA Filter: No
- One of the best handheld vacuums with a hose
- Great for cleaning in tight locations
- Relatively weak suction power
- Messy to empty
The 14.4V Black+Decker PD1420LP is a solid all-rounder that’s also one of the best handheld car vacuums – so it’s no surprise the more powerful 18V version is also an excellent choice. The standout feature is the flexible 1.5 metre hose, which our testing showed provides greater versatility than a typical portable vacuum. The hose can be fixed in place when not needed (see picture).
We also found that the Black+Decker provides strong performance on hard floors, including pet hair and smaller debris. It struggled more during our carpet tests though, showing that its suction power and cleaning performance can’t match some of the models higher up on this list.
Other features include several accessories, including a non-motorised pet tool and a combination tool, and a triple filtration system. Black + Decker has also included a docking station with the machine, although we were disappointed that this can’t be wall-mounted.
The cleaner lasts approximately 15 minutes on a full charge, which is a relatively short run-time. While this should be enough time for quick clean-ups or getting rid of dust and dirt from your car, we don’t think it’s suitable for extended cleaning sessions. We also found that the bin emptying system was messy compared with some of the other models on this list.
Even so, the Black + Decker PD1820L is an excellent choice if you need the versatility of a hose without buying a full-size cleaner. The combination of flexible hose, easy-to-use design and three tools make it difficult to beat in this regard. It’s also one of the best options for cars.
Why Trust Us
There are many handheld vacuum cleaner reviews online – so why should you trust us?
Unlike most websites, we’ve bought and tested the majority of handheld vacuums featured on this page. This means we have first-hand experience with the vacuum’s cleaning performance, suction power, ease of use, and comparison with other models.
Additionally, none of the vacuum cleaners tested on this page were given to us by manufacturers. We purchased them all at full price, to ensure our reviews are impartial and fair.
How We Tested
When testing a handheld vacuum cleaner, we want to find out how easy it is to use around the home. While raw suction power is important, a handheld vacuum needs to be convenient – otherwise you’re probably better off with a full-size model.
Therefore, we test handheld vacuums in various situations you might find in a typical UK home. These include cleaning carpeted stairs, car seats, kitchen counters, and sideboards. We also test how easily the vacuum can handle small dry spills on both carpets and hard floors.
Aside from cleaning performance, we also assess factors such as:
- How easy it is to empty the vacuum without causing a mess
- How effective the filters are, and whether they are easy to replace
- Whether the vacuums is convenient to use in tight locations
- How long the vacuum’s battery actually lasts
- Whether the tools and accessories improve the vacuum’s versatility
- Whether the vacuum lives up to the claims of the manufacturer
- And anything else that comes up in the testing process!
How to Choose a Handheld Vacuum
There is a huge variation in quality, suction power, and features between handheld vacuum cleaners. The rest of this article is designed to help you choose the best handheld vacuum cleaner for your home.
As we always say at SpotlessVacuum.co.uk, there is no such thing as the best handheld for every situation. There are excellent vacuum cleaners out there, but the most important thing is to get one that suits your requirements.
Here are some factors to consider before you start looking:
- Do you have pets? If so, a handheld with a motorised brush bar is essential. A powered brush bar can agitate carpet or sofa fibres to pull out more cat and dog hair.
- Will you be using the vacuum to clean your car? If so, take into account the battery life (or cord length if it’s a corded handheld). You should also consider the included accessories and shape of the handheld, as some vacuums make it difficult to clean under car seats.
- Will you be using it for extended cleaning sessions? If yes, a longer battery life is essential. Alternatively, look for a corded handheld if you want unlimited run-time.
This is just a sample of what you need to think about. But it should hopefully get you thinking about the right types of questions.
The typical handheld ranges from around £35, for the most basic models, up to over £200 for advanced models with strong suction and additional features.
Don’t be tricked into thinking higher priced vacuum cleaners are always the best though. This is not necessarily the case – price is not always a good indicator of quality.
So what’s the difference between cheap and expensive in this category? The cheapest models usually have a simple design and often don’t come with many attachments, which can make them less versatile. The lack of a crevice tool, for example, can make it difficult to get into nooks and crannies.
On the other hand, the most expensive models often come with motorised tools such as turbo brushes. These are designed to make cleaning faster and more efficient, although not all tools function as effectively as we would like.
Handheld cleaners typically have a small capacity, but the amount varies between devices. Larger dust capacities allow you to vacuum for longer without needing to empty the container. Smaller capacities are usually associated with less bulky designs.
Whether this is an issue for you or not depends on how much you are likely to use the vacuum. Whether the model is easy to empty can also make a difference, as the best vacuums should be hygienic and quick to empty. As a general rule, the average handheld has a capacity of around half a litre.
Again, the battery life varies greatly depending on the model. We think battery life is one of the most important considerations, because a handheld that only lasts a few minutes is more likely to be left in your cupboard than actually used.
The shortest battery life vacuums last around five minutes on a full charge. This might be fine for very quick cleaning, but it can be frustrating to need to recharge the vacuum after just a few minutes.
At the other end of the spectrum, the longest battery life we’ve seen for a handheld is around 30 minutes. This is much more convenient and means you can clean multiple areas before needing to recharge.
Additionally, it’s important to find out how long the machine takes to charge. There’s nothing worse than a battery life of five minutes…with a model that takes half a day to charge!
Suction Power and Cleaning Ability
Suction power can vary a lot between different handheld vacuums. The top models generate strong suction that can handle everything from pet hair to dust between floorboards, but we’ve also reviewed cheaper models that struggle to pick up loose debris.
As a general rule, corded vacuums provide stronger suction power. However, some of the best cordless models have motorised brush bars that significantly improve the vacuum’s cleaning performance. Take a look at our reviews above for some of the top options.
You may also want to consider a model with a hose. Stretch hoses can be useful for getting to places that a standard cleaner can’t, but they also increase the overall weight of the machine. Long reach hoses also increase the price.
Another consideration is whether the model can handle wet spills as well as dry. Wet and dry handheld cleaners are rare, but they are much more versatile as they can clean up small liquid spills. However, a wet and dry model must have strong suction, as liquid is more difficult to pick up than dirt and dust.
The cheapest handheld vacuums usually don’t come with accessories, but more expensive models may come with additional tools. These can include crevice tools or soft brushes, and can increase the versatility of a cleaner. Specialised pet hair handheld vacuums often have a turbo tool for getting hair up from sofas and other furniture too.
As always, think about where you want to use the appliance. This will give you a good idea as to which tools are essential for your needs.
Cordless or Corded?
Most people assume all handheld vacs are cordless – but this isn’t the case. While cordless vacuums have a number of advantages, it’s still worth considering whether a corded model might be a better option. Here’s a breakdown of each type.
Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaners
- Handheld cordless vacuums are powered by batteries, so they don’t need a plug socket when in use.
- This makes them more convenient and great for cleaning cars.
- The lack of a cord, however, limits their runtime before needing to be recharged.
- Some vacuums don’t have a replaceable battery if it fails.
- Some vacuums come with a docking station to ensure the vacuum is always charged and ready.
Corded Handheld Vacuum Cleaners
- Corded models are powered by the mains supply.
- This means they need access to a plug socket when in use.
- Corded vacuums are less convenient when cleaning cars or away from plug sockets.
- They are often more powerful, however, as they don’t need to rely on a battery.
- Make sure you check the cord length, as a short power cord can make a handheld almost unusable.
- Weight. Handheld models are designed for convenience and ease of use, so weight is something to consider. Most cleaners in this category are relatively lightweight, with some weighing less than 1kg. Others can weigh over 2kg, which might not sound like a lot, but can make a difference – especially when cleaning high areas.
- Battery Level Indicator. While not essential, it can be useful to see when the vacuum is fully charged.
- Guarantee or Warranty. The longer the warranty the better (in most cases).
Frequently Asked Questions
The short answer is that handhelds are certainly worth buying, but only for certain situations. Compared with full-size vacs, handheld vacuum cleaners are ineffective for cleaning large areas, don’t have much suction power, and run out of battery quickly. This means they aren’t designed to replace your regular vacuum.
Instead, they are designed for convenience. Portable vacuums are great if you want to quickly clean up spilt crisps, clean the inside of a car, or just an area of carpet you missed with your upright. Many people love owning one as a complement to their main model, especially as they are small and don’t take up much storage space. Just don’t expect them to match the cleaning performance of an upright or cylinder vacuum.
This depends on the model. There is a big difference in suction power between the best handhelds and the worst vacuum cleaners. While a handheld’s suction power is never going to rival an upright, it’s still important to choose one that’s powerful enough to do a decent job on small dry spills.
Many vacuum brands produce handheld models. Dyson, Shark, Gtech, Vax and Black+Decker all have dedicated handheld vacuums in their range. However, Miele and Numatic are two examples of popular manufacturers who don’t produce a handheld model.
Some handheld vacuums can handle pet hair, but it’s important to choose the right model. We recommend looking for a handheld vacuum with a motorised brush bar if you want to use it for cleaning pet hair.
Handheld vacuums are great for cleaning small messes. They can’t replace a full cleaner, but the best models are useful for those annoying tasks that are too small to be worth getting out your primary machine.
The most important thing is to have realistic expectations. Cheaper handheld cleaners, while still useful if you buy a high quality model, are unlikely to have strong suction power or long battery life. So make sure you read our handheld vacuum cleaners reviews before you buy.
We hope this article has helped you choose the best handheld vacuum cleaner for your needs. If you have any questions, just let us know in the comments section below.
All Handheld Reviews
|Name||Overall Rating||Type||Price Range|
|AEG AG71a RapidClean||Handheld||£|
|Black+Decker DustBuster PD1420LP||Handheld||£|
|Black+Decker Pivot PV1820LGB||Handheld||£|
|Dyson V7 Trigger||Handheld||££|
|Gtech Multi Mk2||Handheld||££|
|Hoover H-Handy 700 Express||Handheld||£|
|Shark HandVac CH950UKT||Handheld||£|
|Vax Gator H85-GA-B10||Handheld||£|
Page Update History
24th April 2023
Updated page to the new Spotless Vacuum design. Added details about why you should trust us and our handheld vacuum testing process.
7th November 2022
Updated to include multiple new vacuum cleaners. Updated the buyer’s guide to reflect modern standards. The Dyson V7 Trigger also replaced the Black+Decker Pivot as our top pick.