A good handheld vacuum can help you power through hard-to-reach messes—but only if you buy the right model.
Published Oct. 31, 2022.
The best handheld vacuums prioritize portability and convenience without sacrificing suction power or efficiency. They’re ideal for tackling small to moderate messes and getting into hard-to-access areas. Our winner, the Black + Decker 20V MAX Cordless Pivot Vac, has a unique pivoting nozzle that allows you to easily navigate under furniture or below car seats. Its impressive suction tackled every mess we tested it on, and we were especially impressed with its ability to pick up pet hair. We also liked the Black + Decker DUSTBUSTER Hand Vacuum, which is lighter than our winner and only marginally less effective. It excelled in suction tests and sports a narrow nozzle that is especially adept at reaching into tight corners.
Handheld vacuums are relatively compact, lightweight, and portable. Most models don’t need to be plugged in while you use them, giving you the freedom to move around the house or out to your car. They charge using docking stations or power cables. They all come with one or more attachments, including narrow crevice tools for cleaning tight corners or between sofa cushions and brushes meant to dislodge and scrape up pet hair. The best models made cleaning our homes, cars, and office easier, and we found a few factors that set them apart.
The mission of America’s Test Kitchen Reviews is to find the best equipment and ingredients for the home cook through rigorous, hands-on testing. We stand behind our winners so much that we even put our seal of approval on them.
Chase is an associate editor for ATK Reviews. He's an epidemiologist-turned-equipment tester and biscuit enthusiast.