21 Sep Best Handheld Vacuum Cleaners in the UK
The most important thing when recommending any product is value for money. Our definition of value for money is when you combine price and performance.
To truly understand what is the best handheld vacuum cleaner you need to first think about what your specific needs are for a handheld hoover and not fall into the trap of spending more money than you need to for the level of cleaning that you need.
There is no point in paying through the nose for a handheld hoover that has the same level of suction as your main hoover does if its main purpose is for occasional use to pick up everyday dirt and debris that you don’t want to be dragging the main hoover out for.
You can pay more than £150 for a handheld vacuum at the very top end and these include the likes of Dyson and Gtech but we do not recommend them. Not because they are not very good – they are good and they have great suction but they do not pass the most important criteria test we set for all our product recommendations and that is value for money.
For £150 you can get a full-size cordless hoover that will do all of the deep cleaning in your home. You simply do not need to spend that kind of money on a handheld hoover to do all of the odd jobs around the house and perhaps your car.
We have researched, reviewed and tested dozens of handheld hoovers and we have concluded that you can pick one up for less than £30 to do 95% of the jobs that you can’t be bothered to get the main vacuum cleaner out for and for £100 you can get all the performance you are ever going to need from a small portable hoover.
Our handheld vacuum cleaner recommendations are priced between £30 – £100 because that is the sweet spot when you combine customer needs, price and performance.
Anything priced much lower than £30 and you start to get products that just don’t really work very well. Their ability to pick up dust and debris is limited to the smallest and lightest dust and are just not versatile enough. There is no use it being cheap if it doesn’t work.
On the other hand, it is perfectly possible to get cheap and good, you just have to find the manufacturers that really care about their products and want buyers to be happy. You will only get happy customers if the product lives up to expectations.
In order to set your expectations correctly you need to first decide what you want from a handheld hoover.
What to expect for around £30
For everyday surface debris like food spillages or maybe the dog or cat brings in some dirt from outside or the kids have thrown some crisps down the side of the sofa or the baby has thrown a few peas across the kitchen then something around the £30 mark is going to work just fine for you. You don’t need super powerful suction to pick up the everyday stuff.
What to expect for around £50
The next tier will give you more suction and the ability to pick up more stubborn mess like food that has become slightly embedded into the surface and they will be better than the super budget handheld hoovers on cleaning stairs.
If like me you find stairs a little annoying with the main hoover then spend a little more and choose one with a brush attachment and you will be able to zip up and down the stairs in just a few minutes.
These slightly more premium hoovers are also well suited for having a quick hoover around the car and as the battery life can be longer you are not going to risk running out of charge.
What to expect for up to £100
Around £100 is the limit that we set for what you need to spend on a handheld vacuum cleaner to get maximum cleaning performance.
In our opinion there is nothing a handheld hoover at this price can’t do that you would expect more of from a hoover that isn’t your main hoover and is being used for occasional odd jobs around the house and car.
You can expect very powerful suction and a lightweight easy to use product with attachments that will ensure you can remove embedded pet or human hair from all surfaces and get a deep clean from hard to hard to reach or awkward areas like the stairs without having to use the main hoover.
You will be able to clean the inside of your car in the same way as the car wash does so if you are prepared to spend 10 minutes a week on the interior of your car then you can eliminate that element and save money by just going for an exterior wash.
Yes, you can get handheld vacuum cleaners that cost more than £100 but you don’t get enough additional benefit from them to warrant the price. Sure. if money is no object then go for a Dyson that will set you back £200 for a handheld hoover.
Although it is very good you are not getting value for money because something around the £100 mark will do the job just fine for 99% of what you need to do with an occasional hoover for quick jobs.
If you want something that will do a great job and you want great value for money then stick to the £100 price level and below and match up your needs with our “what to expect” within each price point above and you’ll end up with the right product for your needs at the right price.
The best analogy we can give is that many people spend a lot more money than is needed on a whole bunch of items with the best example being laptops.
I know a bunch of people that own apple laptops that cost well over £1000 and when I ask them what they do on the laptop the answer is almost always “email, browse the internet, stream some movies on sky or amazon and some word documents”
You can do all of that brilliantly on a laptop that costs £500 so why spend double when you don’t need to for features like advanced video editing that you will never use?
Exactly the same applies to handheld vacuum cleaners, Don’t overspend if you don’t need to.
Match up your needs with what you get within each price level and choose accordingly to get the best value for money.
Having extensively researched and reviewed dozens of handheld we have identified that there is an awful lot of duplication from a whole bunch of cheap Chinese manufacturers at the budget end of the market and there are very few that justify the price even though the cost is very low. Most don’t have the suction power for even the most basic needs.
At the middle price level (around £50) you can mostly get the best budget handheld hoovers (around £30) that do a very similar job so its hard to find anything at the £50 price level that warrants spending the extra £20.
At the more expensive end (around £100+) there are only two that we believe justifies spending that kind of money and they are already a proven winner in the full-size vacuum cleaner market and that is Shark & Gtech.
For the reasons above we have deliberately refrained from listing a whole load of suggestions at similar prices because a lot of them do a very similar thing and it just serves to add confusion rather than help make an informed choice.
We have limited our recommendations to just a handful to make it super easy to quickly narrow down your selection within the price level that best suits your needs.
Here are the best handheld vacuum cleaners available in the market today:
Shark CH950UKT Handheld Vacuum Cleaner
Not as sleek as the WV200UK below but it’s cheaper and a real workhorse. This handheld is particularly good if you have pets as it comes with a motorised pet tool where the powered brush spins just like a normal hoover does but smaller so you can run it across your sofa and any hair will be lifted straight off with no effort.
You’ll get a full 10 minutes of suction on full power which is more than you’ll ever need for the kind of jobs you’ll use it for and plenty for jobs like hoovering out the car and it’s powerful as well. In addition to the pet brush tool it also comes with a crevice tool and a brush nozzle so you’re covered for all above floor cleaning needs.
It costs a little more than the most basic offerings out there but you won’t regret it as where some can let you down on suction this will leave nothing behind.
Shark WV200UK Handheld Vacuum Cleaner
This is one of the most expensive handheld hoover in our list of recommendations but it is superior in every aspect of measurement so if you can afford it then the Shark handheld hoover is well worth considering.
This is the handheld hoover that I use on a daily basis in my home and it is genuinely a pleasure to use. First off it actually lives permanently on the work surface in my kitchen for three reasons:
1. Its the only handheld hoover we have come across that actually looks good. All the others are functional and do their job but this has been designed to be pleasing on the eye and it looks more like a piece of technology, a laser sabre of a cleaner. It is sleek and light and fits snuggly into its base that recharges.
2. The footprint is very small so it takes up hardly any space. it will fit underneath your cupboard units and is only 9cm wide and 17cm deep.
3. Being so good looking (I’m not kidding) and small you can keep it out on show and that means you can get to it much more quickly and you don’t have to go to a cupboard to get it out. That means you find yourself using it all the time. Crumbs and bits of food that you would normally get a kitchen towel for or a cloth can be sucked up in seconds by just grabbing the Shark.
Small in size though most certainly does not equate to small in power. This has some serious suction. Anything that comes within a few centimetres of the mouth will have no chance and with the two attachments you can easily deal with debris of all shapes and sizes including pet hair.
The only downside is that because it is so powerful you are only going to get 10 minutes out of it on a full charge. I have never had it run out on me because I never need to use it for more than 2 or 3 minutes at a time before popping it back on the charger and even if you want to zip around the car that won’t take more than 5 or 6 minutes but its something to be aware of if you think there are jobs you would want to use it for that will take more than 10 minutes.
An all-round outstanding portable hoover that is well worth stumping up the extra for to get a really high-quality handheld.
Gtech Multi Mk2 Handheld Vacuum Cleaner
This is a top of the range handheld hoover that fully justifies its premium pricepoint. It’s expensive but it delivers. If the highest level of suction power is important to you then this is about as good as it gets delivering suction 3 to 4 times the level of cheaper handhelds.
This is a real winner if you have pets as you get a motorised brush accessory tool that powers through the fibres of carpets and digs deep to get hairs no matter how deeply embedded they are and it’s great for stairs and for cars.
It’s very light at 1.5kg and you’ll get 15-20 minutes of continuous use from one charge which for the power it generates is exceptional.
Unique to this handheld is an extension wand that allows you to clean at floor level without bending down and reach up to the ceiling as well.
The waste bin detaches from the main unit with one click making it easy to empty without bringing the whole thing over to the bin.
A brilliant all-rounder with superior suction.
VacLife Handheld Vacuum Cleaner
This is perfect for everyday use around the house for surface dirt and debris. It’s not going to deep clean your carpets but if you have kids that throw a bit of food around or the cat litter needs a bit of dealing with then this is going to do the trick.
You may not have heard of the manufacturer but they are willing to give you a 3-year guarantee and that is extremely rare for a product of this type that is so cheap so it’s pretty much a risk-free purchase that will last for at least 36 months.
It comes with the usual attachments that will enable you to get into the nooks and crannies of your car and into any hard to get to corners of the house without having to pull furniture out.
It’s very light at 1.57kg and comes with a base that you can attach to the wall for space-saving storage.
Black and Decker PD1820L Handheld Vacuum Cleaner
Despite a very compact size that see’s it measuring just 30cm in length and 27cm deep it has a 1.5 metre hose making this an extremely versatile handheld that gives you more flexibility to reach those hard to get to areas that are just a pain to access with the full-size hoover.
It has strong suction power and a 15-minute battery life from one full charge. It’s cheaper than the premium prices that Dyson and Shark are asking and although it doesn’t have the mega suction of a Dyson it’s strong enough to deal with most dust and dirt that accumulates around the home and in your car.
Other things to think about with handheld hoovers
Check the size and weight before you make a final decision. You don’t want something big and bulky that will stop you from getting into corners or hard to reach areas and don’t get anything that weighs over 2kg because it will weigh on your wrist after a short time.
Battery life is something to take note of depending on what you are going to be using it for. If you are going to be using it for long periods in the car or you want to use it on a regular basis around the house without recharging it fully then go for one with a battery life of 20 minutes or more.
If short, sharp bursts of cleaning are more your thing then battery life won’t matter much and you can get more suction for your money but less time before a recharge is needed.
Wet & Dry is certainly something else to consider. Even some of the cheap budget handheld hoovers will allow you to suck up liquid spills as well as dry debris so keep an eye out for that if your household is prone to spilling a drink or two.
Waste container capacity should be a consideration if you are not keen on emptying it on a regular basis. Most are a decent size and probably won’t need emptying more than once a month depending on use but you should never fill them to capacity anyway because it can start to affect suction power so keeping an eye on the waste container and keeping it empty as much as possible is good practice.
Attachments will vary depending on how much you spend but most will come with a long crevice tool and a brush attachment but not all will come with a bendy hose so if the car is one of the main uses for your handheld vacuum then keep an eye out for that.
Check the guarantee period. 1 year is standard but you can tell if the manufacturer has real confidence in the quality of its product if they are willing to extend that to 2 years or even 3 years.
What does everyone else think. These days you don’t even have to take a risk or a chance on a product because you can check the reviews of people that are actual owners of the handheld hoover that you are thinking of buying. If our recommendation needs a bit more validation then check out the thoughts of other existing customers first before you buy.
Pets. If you have cats and dogs or rabbits or any other types of pets then you will probably want to go for a mid-range or top-end handheld hoover because you may find that the suction on the budget models are not quite strong enough for dogs that molt heavily or lots of rabbit droppings.
Noise levels do vary but because you are only using these types of hoovers for occasional bursts of cleaning that normally last for less than 60 seconds its not really a factor you need to give much thought unless you will be using it for long periods in the car then it may become a factor.
Buying a known brand is not really essential when it comes to this type of product and you can actually save money by choosing a brand you have never heard of as long as its backed up by a good warranty period and solid reviews of existing customers.
Lack of advertising and marketing for the lesser known brands can often mean that the savings they make in marketing can be passed directly to you, the customer.