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Top five best handheld vacuum cleaners for 2020

By Matthew Knight

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

Put us to the test

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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 2018plus the vacuum cleaners to avoidto 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, join Which? 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


This handheld vacuum is the highest-scoring model we've tested. It's simple to use, has a good 20-minute battery life, and does a brilliant job of cleaning dust and debris from different surfaces around your home. It's also great for cleaning in hard-to-reach places and the car. It's an all-round cleaning wizard.

Best handheld vacuum for cleaning cars


This handheld vacuum cleaner only misses out on a Best Buy recommendation because it’s poor at keeping dust locked up once vacuumed, meaning it leaks back into your home. This aside, it’s difficult to find fault. It's perfect for cleaning in the tight spaces in your car.G159

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 2018

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.

handheld vacuum cleaners to avoid


This handheld vacuum is terrible at cleaning carpets and struggles to pick up stray fur and fluff, so we think it’s best avoided.

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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