Cleaning your house can take up time that you’d rather spend doing more enjoyable things. There are many ways that you can keep your home clean without spending so much time on the cleaning process.

Having the right equipment and using your time wisely means that your home stays neat without using up all your free time.

Top 10 Dustbuster

How We Test Hand Vacuums

Hand vacuums are made to clean up small spills and light debris, not to the deep-clean carpet. We test how well they capture surface litter by evenly dispersing 50 grams of sand, 50 grams of rice, and 25 grams of Cheerios on a medium-pile carpet in a designated area, then measuring how much the machine can pick up in 15 seconds. For bare floors, we use the same amount of debris and the same time frame over a tile floor with grout lines.

For edge cleaning, we measure how far the hand vacuum hose or crevice tool allows it to reach within tight spaces. For pet hair, we use one gram of Maine Coon cat fur and note whether the vacuum leaves clumps across the floor—and how much you might have to clean off the brush bristles if your model comes with an airflow or pet hair brush.

For emissions testing, we feed 10 grams of Maplewood flour into each vacuum, then track how many particles escape into the room. We also distribute 10 grams of wood flour onto an evenly marked floor area, then vacuum that area. As we’re vacuuming, we track how many particles scatter about the room as a result of the vacuum’s agitation.

If you’re looking for full-floor cleaning, see our vacuum buying guide for uprights, canisters, stick, and robotic vacuums. But if you just need a compact machine for spot-cleaning, read on for reviews of the best hand vacuums from Consumer Reports’ tests—and a couple to skip—listed in alphabetical order.

Does your handheld vacuum last long enough?

When you need a portable vacuum to take care of small spills, clean pet hair, or vacuum your car seats, handheld vacuums sure come in… well, handy! Tell us about your experience of owning a handheld vacuum. Your responses could inform our testing.


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