Best Portable Vacuum

Handheld vacuums are very popular for small cleanups at home, in the car or at work. They are a great addition to a regular sized vacuum and because they are portable, they are easy to transport and store as well. There are many models of portable vacuums on the market today and deciding on the one that will fulfill your needs can be a bit challenging. Our portable vacuum review will help take the guesswork out of choosing the right one for you. Researching reviews on products you’re interested in purchasing is a smart way to find out what is available and what the quality or popularity is of those products.

Best Portable Vacuum
14 mins to read
20 products considered
12 products reviewed
49 hours reviewing

1. Black & Decker FHV1200

Best Overall Portable Vacuum

5/5 Product Rating
The Black and Decker FHV1200 comes with an extendable hose and 3 accessories that give the user plenty of flexibility when it comes to cleaning the car, home or garage.

Reach curtains, blinds and shelves with ease and take care of small messes under cushions on the stairs and even the baby’s car seat. Because it is cordless, there is no cord to worry about finding a place to plug in; just grab it and go to work cleaning things up.

The high performance motor features superior Cyclonic Action that gives long lasting suction for most small to moderate jobs. Its small size makes it easy to use and carry anywhere. The easy empty canister makes cleaning the vacuum easy and you won’t have to touch the dirt at all.

The convenient storage caddy makes carrying the accessories around easy, so you can take them where you need to and store them away easily when you’re not using them. Enjoy a variety of cleaning with the convenient attachments including a pet hair cleaning attachment that is great for getting pesky animal hair off of chairs and sofas. Users will love the ease of use and the convenience of the Black and Decker FHV1200 for all their small cleaning needs.

Sarah Lytle

2. Black & Decker CHV1410L

Best Overall Portable Vacuum – Runner Up

4.9/5 Product Rating
Lithium technology is one of the pluses of the Black and Decker CHV1410L. With strong suction that doesn’t fade out, small to moderate clean ups are easy.

The bagless dirt bowl makes emptying the vacuum a breeze with no need to touch the dirt with your hands. When off the charger, the hand vac can hold its charge for up to 18 months! Its light weight makes it easy to grab and tackle an unexpected mess.

Our Black and Decker portable vacuum is easy to store using the charger that has an auto shut off once it is charged. This means users can store the hand vac right on the charger while still maintaining the convenient long run times. With 16v of power, users can take advantage of the slim nozzle design while they clean anything from chair cushions to cars thanks to the built in crevice feature. You’ll have 50% more reach than older Black and Decker models provided.

The wide mouth design of the Black and Decker CHV1410L makes vacuuming up larger debris easy and if you want to clean upholstery just flip up the brush. The quick charge base keeps your portable vacuum charged and the vacuum’s accessories organized.

Sarah Lytle

3. Eureka

Best Budget Portable Vacuum

4.8/5 Product Rating
Eureka is a well known name in vacuums and this hand held vac is a great addition to the Eureka line up. No more having to lug a full sized vacuum out of the closet for smaller jobs like cleaning out the car, vacuuming up stairs or cleaning under the furniture cushions.

The 20 foot long cord can be wrapped for easy storage. The deluxe hose can stretch to three times it length making it great for cleaning curtains and cob webs out of corners as well.

The crevice tool that fits on the end of the hose can enable users to get tight places such as car seats and other tight areas that may be too small for a regular vacuum hose.

Two motors mean high powered suction; one motor powers the brush, the other is for sucking up dirt and debris. With 5.5 amps of power, you will get a deep clean with this Eureka Easy Clean Corded Hand Held vac. Lightweight means extra portable and easy to carry, even up stairs.

Sarah Lytle

Portable Vacuum Comparison


Black & Decker FHV1200W


BLACK + DECKER CHV1410L


Eureka EasyClean 71B


Black+Decker CHV1510


Black+Decker BDH2000PL


Bissell 33A1


Black & Decker BDH9600CHV


Dirt Devil SD20005RED


SharkNinja SV780


Black & Decker PAV1200W

Electrical
Type
CordlessCordlessCordedCordlessCordlessCordedCordlessCordedCordlessCorded
ColorSilverBlue
/ White
Sunflower
Yellow
Blue

/ White

Black
/ Grey
Black
/ Pink
Frosted silver,
white
Red
/ White
Black
/ Lavender
Orange
/ White
Hose
Length
(feet)
3.00NA3.00NANANANA2.502.503.00
Filtration
System
3 Stage3 Stage3 Stage3 Stage2 Stage3 Stage2 Stage2 Stage2 Stage3 Stage
Voltage11 V14.4 V110 V15.6 V20 V110 V9.6 V120 V12V / 15.6V / 18V12 V
Wattage16.4 W18.2 W60.5 W26.36 W46 W44 W53.76 W84 W18 W – 3 W12 W
Weight
(pounds)
6.304.804.804.303.806.002.703.754.929.30
Amperage1.5 A1.26 A5.5 A1.69 A2.3 A4 A5.6 A7 A1.5 A – 2 A1 A
Warranty2 Years2 Years1 Year2 Years2 Years1 Year2 Years3 Years1 Year2 Years

 

Portable Vacuum Buying Guide

Portable Vacuum Reviews

What is a Portable Vacuum?

A portable vacuum is one of the names that handheld vacuums are called. They are small vacuums that the user can carry around to handle small to moderate messes. They are perfect for cleaning cars, boats, under furniture cushions and other small messes that can occur around the home, garage and at work.

There are many styles and models of portable vacuums to choose from. The number of options available can make it a bit difficult to know which one is the best for your needs. The buyer’s guide will give you all the information you need to narrow down the choices to those that fit your needs and then you’ll be able to make an informed decision about which one to get. It takes the guesswork out of the purchase and gives you peace of mind about your purchase.

Before you Start Shopping for your Portable Vacuum

Portable Vacuum1There are several things you need to ask yourself before you start comparison shopping for a portable (handheld) vacuum. The answers to these questions will ensure that you know exactly what type and features your portable vacuum needs to have.

  • Where will you be using your vacuum? – If you are mostly getting a portable vacuum to take care of messes indoors, then you will be fine with either a corded or a cordless one. If you think you’ll be using it in the car, in the garage or up and down stairs, you might be happier with the cordless portable vacuum so you don’t have to worry about having to plug anything in.
  • Are the clean up jobs long or short? – If you’re just vacuuming up spilled cheerios, then that will only take a couple of minutes and do just fine with cordless vacs. If you are cleaning out the car or under all the couch cushions you could run out of power before the job is done. Be sure to check how much run time a full charge provides.
  • Do you have Indoor Pets? – Many portable vacuums have brush attachments and other specialized attachments that make vacuuming up pet hair much simpler. Make sure yours has this feature if you have any furry pets or even birds. They can make a huge mess with their seeds so having a hand vac for quick cleanups around the cage is very convenient.
  • How often will you use your portable vacuum? – Portable vacuums that are cordless can take a long time to recharge between uses. Be sure to find out what the recharge time is, and opt for models that offer “quick charge” ability. You never want to take the portable vacuum off the charger before it is fully charged because that can damage your battery and reduce the amount of run time it has.
  • What kind of storage options does it have? – A lot of cordless vacuums have charging docks that they attach to that double as storage racks. These charging stations will need to be located next to an outlet so the vacuum can be charged. If this is not an easy thing for you to do, corded models would be your best choice and most of those are easily stored, included the cords which most often, wrap around the vacuum in some way.

Benefits of Having a Portable Vacuum

There are many benefits to owning a portable vacuum whether it is corded or cordless. They are great for offices, homes, auto shops, cafes’, and other work environments. We’ve outlined the most common reasons people like these handheld vacuums so much.

  1. Saves the user time – When you are cleaning the house by hand, it can take a long time and there still may be corners and hard to reach places that you aren’t able to get. Handheld or portable vacuums are easy to use and save loads of time when it comes to cleaning. The areas you’re cleaning will be much cleaner as well since the vacuum has such great suction normally.
  2. Easy to Carry Around – Most portable vacuums are lightweight and very easy to move around from place to place, even the corded varieties. Cordless vacuums are even more portable and can be taken outside to the car or boat. They are also great for cleaning the stairs since you won’t have to lug a full-sized vacuum up and down the stairs anymore.
  3. Has Great Suction – Most of the portable vacuums that are available on the market today have an exceptional amount of suction which makes them very valuable and useful to the user. Great suction us especially good for those who suffer from allergies.
  4. Great for Small Areas – Rather than lugging the full-sized vacuum out every time there’s a mess to clean up, portable vacuums make it simple, convenient and easy to grab and go to the mess you need to clean. It’s also great for corners, stairs, and in drawers or under cushions too. You can even use a portable handheld vacuum to clean off your shoes!
  5. Perfect or Vehicles and Boats Car owners will sometimes pay large amounts of money to have the inside of their cars cleaned. Having a portable handheld vacuum can save you a lot of money since cleaning out the car has now become much easier and faster. Handheld vacuums even have crevice nozzles that can get in cracks and corners of seats and baby seats to really give your car a deep cleaning. In addition, the suction is so great; the clean you get is just as good as a professional job without the cost.

Types of Portable Vacuums

There are several different styles and models of handheld portable vacuums. Each one has its benefits and drawbacks depending on what your needs are. We’ve outlined the most common styles of handheld portable vacuums.

Corded Portable Vacuums – portable vacuums powered by cords use AC power and you will need access to an outlet when you vacuum. Corded portable vacuums are good for stairs, cleaning under furniture cushions, cleaning closets and drawers, and cleaning corners as well.

They are also really good for small throw rugs, but since the suction is usually strong, watch out that the vacuum doesn’t suck the fibers in. They will run for any length of time you need as long as you have power, but they are not as easy to carry around since you are bound by the length of the cord. Corded portable vacuums are very powerful and many come with motorized brushes that can clean carpets and upholstery as well as getting rid of stubborn pet hair.

Portable Vacuum2Rechargeable Portable Vacuums – cordless handheld portable vacuums come with batteries that can be recharged over and over again. Cordless models are great for cleaning out the car or boat, and getting places clean where power outlets are not available. They are also great for garages. It takes a lot of battery power to run a cordless portable vacuum, so you will need to charge it often.

Run time is usually between 10 minutes to an hour. Because of this, they are not a good choice for total house cleaning. The majority of portable vacuums do not last for one hour of continuous use, so this should not be counted on. Ultimately run time will depend on the type of battery the vacuum has and the unit power.

Make sure you take a look at what is involved in recharging the battery of your handheld portable vacuum. Many come with wall chargers that are also storage units for the vacuum so it can stay charged constantly. Other models require that the battery is removed from the unit to charge it. In these cases it will benefit you to have an additional battery to use while one is charging.

Wet Dry Portable Vacuums – handheld portable wet/dry vacuums are great for spills as well as messes. They are very popular due to the fact that they can clean up both dry and wet spills on most household surfaces. A good quality portable wet dry vacuum can handle spilled coffee grounds, any liquids, and can even pull moisture from carpets.

Portable Car Vacuums – There are some handheld vacuums that are designed for automobile upholstery. They are typically very small, lightweight and use a 13 volt charger to use while your vehicle is running. You can use them on stairs and furniture indoors as well if needed. Some portable auto vacuums come with crevice tools so you can clean computer keyboards, baby car seats, highchairs, and other small areas where there are crevices and cracks that food particles can fall into.

Common Battery Types

There are a few different types of batteries that are used to power portable vacuums. We have outlined each type below and provided information about what they are most suited for as well as given you performance information.

NiCad – This nickel cadmium battery is heavier than others and adds weight to the portable vacuum that may be a problem when you have extended vacuuming to do. They require longer re-charging and should be completely dead before you charge it again or it will damage the battery. Cadmium is not a very popular or environmentally friendly metal and as a result, many manufacturers are starting to phase out models with this type of battery. They DO provide long run times for models that are higher quality which tends to be the reason some portable vacuums are still being made with them.

NiMH – This stands for Nickel-metal hydride and these batteries hold a charge until they are depleted. This type of battery is lighter than NiCad and in most cases last 2 to 3 times longer in many models of portable vacuums. One of the great things about this type of battery is that it can be re-charged while it is still not dead which is great for the purpose of a handheld portable vacuum. Having it ready to go at a moment’s notice and being able to be put back on the charger for next time is very convenient. You must make sure not to overcharge these batteries which is why many models that have them also feature auto shut off when the battery is charged and/or indicator lights.

Li-Ion- Lithium Ion batteries are the most sought after and have a longer life, charge faster and are lighter than their counterparts. They also perform well in cold weather like many don’t and this makes them great for garages and porches. Many models offer this battery type as replaceable batteries. Always keep the batteries charged to avoid any battery damage. You must also not store the device in high heat storage areas.

Common Features of Portable Vacuums

Below we’ve outlined many of the features that portable vacuums offer. These are all features that you may want to consider in the unit you end up purchasing. Not all models will have all the features listed, so be sure to do your research when you’re comparison shopping.

A Long Cord – Cord length is important for anyone who prefers a corded model so you’re not restricted too much when cleaning up messes. A short power cord can be a real hassle if you have to keep unplugging and plugging it in somewhere else to get a job done.

A Good Filter System – Washable filters are popular due to the fact that they are able to be cleaned and reused repeatedly without having to buy additional filters. The right filter system prevents dust and debris from being thrown back out into the air. For people who suffer from allergies you may want to get a HEPA filter to help aid is reducing allergens. If your portable vacuum doesn’t have a washable filter, it will need to be replaced every two-three months. Even washable filters don’t last a long time, so this shouldn’t be a major consideration when looking at different models.

Dirt Cups rather than Bags- Most of the portable vacuums on the market are bagless as this is much more efficient and convenient for users. Dirt cups can be removed, emptied, washed and dried between uses which contribute to the vacuum running well along with keeping things cleaner.

See through Dirt Cup – If the dirt cup or waste container of your vacuum is clear, this enables you to see when it needs to be emptied. This prevents a loss of suction which will happen when this cup is full.

Larger Capacity Dirt Cup – Since portable vacuums are usually small, finding one with a large dirt cup is always beneficial so you can do more cleaning before having to empty it. This makes cleaning faster and more efficient.

Look for Energy Star – energy efficiency is always a plus and some cordless models have energy star qualified systems. This means they will use a lot less power when re-charging.

Higher Volts – If you choose a cordless portable vacuum look for higher volts which will give the vacuum more power. The best voltage to look for is 15.6 or higher and some go as high as 20 volts. The higher the power the better it will work.

Motorized Brush For Carpets and Upholstery – a motorized brush is beneficial for cleaning spots from carpets and for scrubbing furniture. This gets ground in dirt out of the carpet or upholstery as well for a deeper, better clean.

Portable Vacuum3Extendable hose – This is very important for cleaning small, tight areas since most portable vacuums are a bit blocky and don’t fit into tight spaces easily. The extendable hose allows users to get into the small spaces and clean easily.

A Variety of Attachments – Most portable vacuums come with some type of attachments. There are attachments including:

  • Upholstery brushes
  • Crevice tools
  • Brushes for dusting
  • Pet hair attachments

The more attachments your portable vacuum has, the more you can do with it.

Warranties – The majority of portable vacuums you look at will offer warranties of some kind. This is very important since it will protect you against any kind of factory defects and can also cover breakdowns as well. Even though the prices aren’t astronomical to get a portable vacuum, you don’t want to treat them as if they are disposable either. Most warranties are going to be around 1 year long with a few that may go longer. Make sure the warranties include labor, if possible, and replacement parts too.

What is your Budget?

Budget is going to vary from consumer to consumer. Portable vacuums can range from $20 all the way to $200 or even more. It will depend on the amount of features it offers, power capacity, size, brand name and a few other factors. Decide what you want to spend on a portable vacuum and do your best to stick with it. The super low priced models will not be as powerful or good as the higher end ones, but this doesn’t mean you have to buy top of the line if you’re not going to be using it daily for cleaning.

Conclusion

In this portable vacuum buyer’s guide you have learned a lot about these handheld time savers such as the batteries used and which is the best, why they are so popular, what features can come with them and much more. With this information, you are ready to start shopping and looking at the models that have the features you want and that will fit your needs properly.

No stress is necessary anymore since you are equipped with the knowledge you need to make a great decision that will benefit your household and make cleaning much easier and efficient. There are a lot of great models out there, so finding one you love will be easy now that you know what to look for.

Resources

  1. Black and Decker FHV1200 – http://www.blackanddecker.com/
  2. Black and Decker CHV1410L – http://www.blackanddecker.com/
  3. Eureka EasyClean – http://www.eureka.com/