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Don't Buy handheld vacuum cleaners

by Matthew Knight

Don't get stuck with a handheld vacuum that can't suck anything up. We've rounded up the worst cleaners we've tested, so you know the ones to avoid. 

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A poor handheld vacuum cleaner will have you chasing crumbs around your worktops rather than cleaning them up. The worst models we've tested blow debris around with their exhaust, or drop it straight back out when you turn the vacuum off.

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Handheld vacuum cleaners to avoid

The worst handheld vacuum cleaners we've tested fail at the one thing you bought them for - sucking up muck. These poor performers leave dust and debris behind instead of clearing it up, so you have to go over the same spot multiple times to get a good result.

Pick a Which?-recommended model, however, and you'll get the handy cleaning aid you were looking for. The best handheld vacuums we've tested make cleaning up spills and stray pet hairs in your home easy, quick and painless. 

How we uncover the best and worst handheld vacuums

We have reviewed a wide range of handheld vacuum cleaners. We put models from big brands, such as Black & Decker, Dyson, Hoover, and Vax, up against cheaper own-brand offerings to find the best (and best value) options for you. Our in-depth reviews are based on more than 50 individual product tests, so you know our top picks are the very best handheld cleaners money can buy.

  • We reveal whether pricey handheld vacuum cleaners from premium brands, such as Dyson, live up to their advertising claims, or whether a cheaper model can do the job just as well.
  • Our independent tests compare how well each vacuum cleans everyday dirt and debris from different surfaces. From rice and lentils to fine dust and pet hair, we test using the kind of mess you're likely to be tackling at home.
  • We give each handheld vacuum a Which? overall test score, so you can see at a glance which are the best and worst models. Plus our individual test ratings allow you to pick based on the things that matter most to you.

Which? is independent – we work for you, the consumer, so you can be sure that our product recommendations are influenced only by our test results. We're not influenced by third parties and we don't accept freebies from product manufacturers or retailers. We buy all the products that we test ourselves, so our advice helps you to make the right choice first time and avoid costly mistakes.

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