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Top five best handheld vacuum cleaners for 2017

By Matthew Knight

We round up our favourite handheld vacuums, including the best cheap option, to help you find the right one for you.

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Don't get lumped with a handheld vacuum cleaner that fails to suck up dust and dirt properly from around your home. We've rounded up our five top handheld vacuum picks for 2017 - plus the vacuum cleaners to avoid - to help you find the best option.

Our top handheld vacuum cleaners below have all gone through our rigorous lab tests, so you can be sure they'll do a great job of spot cleaning on either hard surfaces or on carpets, and tricky areas like the inside of your car. 

Whether you've got a budget in mind, or want all the bells and whistles, we can recommend a handheld vacuum that will do the job. We've also highlighted some terrible models that disappointed in our independent cleaning tests, so you know the ones to steer clear of. 

Only logged-in Which? members can view our recommendations in the table below. If you're not yet a member, sign up for a £1 trial to get instant access. Just want to see all the models we recommend? Head to our full list of the best handheld vacuum cleaners.

Best handheld vacuum cleaner overall

Dyson V6 Trigger Pro
Today's best price £199.00
Which? score 78%
Reviewed Jul 2015
Best Buy
Carpet cleaning:
5 out of 5
Hard floor cleaning:
4 out of 5
Allergen retention:
5 out of 5
Pet hair:
5 out of 5
Weight in kilos:
Member exclusive
Capacity in litres:
Member exclusive
Run time:
Member exclusive
Turbo run time:
Member exclusive

Best value handheld vacuum

Vax Gator H85-GA-P18
Today's best price £69.00
Which? score 71%
Reviewed Jul 2016
Best Buy
Carpet cleaning:
4 out of 5
Hard floor cleaning:
4 out of 5
Pet hair:
4 out of 5
Weight in kilos:
Member exclusive
Capacity in litres:
Member exclusive
Run time:
Member exclusive
Turbo run time:
Member exclusive

Best lightweight handheld vacuum

Dyson DC34 Multi Floor
Typical price £179.00
Which? score 66%
Reviewed Jul 2015
Best Buy
Carpet cleaning:
4 out of 5
Hard floor cleaning:
4 out of 5
Allergen retention:
4 out of 5
Pet hair:
4 out of 5
Weight in kilos:
Member exclusive
Capacity in litres:
Member exclusive
Run time:
Member exclusive
Turbo run time:
Member exclusive

Best handheld vacuum for cleaning cars

Black & Decker Flexi PD1420LP
Today's best price £118.00
Which? score 62%
Reviewed Jul 2015
Carpet cleaning:
4 out of 5
Hard floor cleaning:
5 out of 5
Allergen retention:
1 out of 5
Pet hair:
3 out of 5
Weight in kilos:
Member exclusive
Capacity in litres:
Member exclusive
Run time:
Member exclusive
Turbo run time:
Member exclusive

Best cheap handheld vacuum

Hoover Jovis SJ144PD4
Today's best price £39.99
Which? score 63%
Reviewed Jul 2016
Carpet cleaning:
3 out of 5
Hard floor cleaning:
5 out of 5
Pet hair:
3 out of 5
Weight in kilos:
Member exclusive
Capacity in litres:
Member exclusive
Run time:
Member exclusive
Turbo run time:
Member exclusive

Not found the right model for you? Browse all of our handheld vacuum cleaner reviews to compare features, prices and cleaning power.

Three handheld vacuums to avoid in 2017

Cheap handheld vacuum cleaners can be tempting, especially when they look similar to pricier rivals. While we have found some gems that cost less than £70 and shine in our tests, we've also uncovered some dreadful handheld vacuums that fail to suck up dust and dirt from your surfaces and are an almighty inconvenience to use. Make sure you know the handheld vacuums to avoid by checking out the table below.

Three handheld vacuum cleaners to avoid

Hoover Jive SJ60DWB6
Today's best price £21.93
Which? score 39%
Reviewed Jul 2016
Don't buy
Carpet cleaning:
2 out of 5
Hard floor cleaning:
3 out of 5
Pet hair:
1 out of 5
Weight in kilos:
Member exclusive
Capacity in litres:
Member exclusive
Run time:
Member exclusive
Turbo run time:
Member exclusive
Hoover Jovis Plus SM18DL4
Today's best price £44.99
Which? score 37%
Reviewed Jul 2016
Don't buy
Carpet cleaning:
1 out of 5
Hard floor cleaning:
3 out of 5
Pet hair:
1 out of 5
Weight in kilos:
Member exclusive
Capacity in litres:
Member exclusive
Run time:
Member exclusive
Turbo run time:
Member exclusive
Black & Decker NV7210-H1
Typical price £37.00
Which? score 34%
Reviewed Jul 2015
Don't buy
Carpet cleaning:
3 out of 5
Hard floor cleaning:
3 out of 5
Allergen retention:
1 out of 5
Pet hair:
1 out of 5
Weight in kilos:
Member exclusive
Capacity in litres:
Member exclusive
Run time:
Member exclusive
Turbo run time:
Member exclusive

Is a handheld vacuum cleaner right for you?

Handheld vacuums range from the very simple 'dustbuster' type, designed for tackling quick spills, to multi-tasking vacuums with accessories for cleaning cars, carpets and tight spots. 

Top-end models can be quite pricey though, with some costing more than £200. You might find that a two-in-one cordless vacuum cleaner, which can clean floors as well as tackle handheld vacuuming jobs, is more versatile.

See our cordless vacuum cleaner reviews for the best options. Whichever you choose, the best models should be able to tackle a range of quick cleaning jobs effectively.

How we test handheld vacuum cleaners

Our reviews are independent, as we buy our own products and don't take advertising. We test handheld vacuum cleaners to the same criteria in a lab, using tests designed to recreate common home cleaning scenarios, so that we only recommend the models which will work hardest for you.

We rate how good each vacuum is at picking up a variety of dust and debris including fine dust, cat litter, cereal and real pet hair. We carry out these tests on different surfaces including carpets and hard surfaces such as laminate flooring and kitchen worktops. We also rate how easy each vacuum is to use, how versatile it is, how good the battery is and how well it retains the fine dust that it sucks up. This helps you avoid models that suck dirt up only to blast it back into your home.

Experience tells us that handheld vacuums vary considerably in quality, so before you buy check our round-ups of the best handheld vacuum cleaners and the Don't Buy handheld vacuums to avoid.

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