Here at the Strategist, we like to think of ourselves as crazy (in the good way) about the stuff we buy (like pillows), but as much as we’d like to, we can’t try everything. Which is why we have People’s Choice, in which we find the best-reviewed (that’s four-to-five-star reviews and lots of ‘em) products and single out the most convincing. While we’ve written about our favorite vacuums here before, then dove back in for a more comprehensive look at the best vacuum cleaners on Amazon, here we’re looking at the best handheld vacuums, portable vacuums, and DustBusters, according to reviewers. (Note that reviews have been edited for length and clarity.) (111) add
“We own two of these and love them so much that we just gave one to my mother. She likes it as well. Why do we like them so much? First, they are very powerful for a hand vac. With three young kids and a very messy cat, we’ve used this vac to pick up spilled cereal (wet and dry), cat food, cat litter, cat hair on furniture, drywall dust (fixing holes the kids made), and every kind of spilled food imaginable with young kids. Never had a problem. Second, it is easy to empty. You can either take the front off and dump it or take the back off (for cleaning the filter), and empty it that way. We often have to use the back way to ensure we remove all of the Lego blocks that have been sucked up by accident. Finally, it is easy to clean the filter. Like I said, I’ve used it to pick up lots of hair and drywall dust. Being able to quickly remove the filter and even wash it out is huge. Oh, one last point: It has a great battery life. If you have kids, you will understand when I say that with many of our other hand vacs, the batteries die long before the cleanup job is finished. This vac last and lasts.” (223) add
“Very pleased! The first thing I would like to mention is the telescopic nozzle. This is a great feature (extends about six inches) and allows you to get into tight spaces. The suction is very good. The filter and dust bowl are pretty easy to clean and did not require excessive effort to open. Ergonomically, it is well-balanced, fits in the hand well, and the on-off switch is easily accessed with your thumb. All in all, this cordless vacuum is nicely suited for typical light-duty use, and I am sure it will serve me well for years to come.”
“I wanted a small, lightweight hand vacuum cleaner that I could just pick up easily and use to quickly clean something around the house. I wanted something really powerful. And I wanted one with a cord because the cordless ones lose power too quickly, and I wanted one with no bags because the canisters are so much easier to use. The Shark Rocket is one of the only hand vacs out there that met all my criteria. And when I found out it’s made by the same company that makes Ninja blenders, I was sold — I love that product as well. Anyway, I love this vac! It’s small, lightweight, powerful, and the attachments are the perfect ones that really get used a lot. Even though many vacuums come with more attachments, these are the ones you’ll use most often. My only criticism of this unit is the fact that there’s no way to wrap the cord; I got around that by getting one of those Velcro straps and tying the cord to the handle. Other than that, I love this vacuum and recommend it highly.” (185) add
“I have had this vacuum for a few weeks now, and I must say, it is very convenient. We are constantly using it with the pet-hair attachment (we have a blonde Lab and a basset hound) when company is coming over to quickly run over the couches. With its hose, it can reach under spots other compact vacs can’t. Being small and cordless gives us great portability that allows us to quickly do our stairs, a point of frustration with our normal vacuum. It is powerful enough to do the jobs we ask it to do.”
“This vacuum has been a godsend for keeping our couches cat hair–free when we have company over. We had tried several other means of removing the hair from our couch (duct tape, DustBuster, vacuum with ‘pet hair removing’ attachment, someone even recommended a squeegee) that simply did not work. I was reluctant to purchase such a specialized product and had hoped our regular vacuum would do the trick, but when we continually found ourselves with ‘hairy’ furniture, I knew we needed something better. We borrowed a Pet Hair Eraser from my in-laws, and I was amazed by how well it worked. The suction is very strong, and the rubberized tip helps to scrape off the hair to be sucked up. What used to take me 30 minutes is now done in 5, as I no longer have to go over every surface ten times to get all the hair off. The cord is a great length, and I have never felt like it was too short or in the way. I would definitely recommend this to anyone with pets who has tried everything else to get their furniture clean.” (189) add
“This thing is awesome! I bought it because I was tired of sweeping up cat litter surrounding my cat’s litter box. The strength of this vacuum is incredible. It sucks the litter up with no problem whatsoever. The quality of the vacuum is superb … When turned on, it is fairly loud, but I bought it strictly to pick up cat litter, so I typically don’t use it for more than 40 seconds at a time. Oh, and I also love that it is corded, so I don’t need to worry about charging [or] bad batteries in the future.”
“This is an excellent hand vacuum. It is powerful with very good suction and is perfect for cleaning up the crumbs and messes my kids and dog leave on the furniture and floor. Emptying it is super easy, by just lifting up the lid on the side. The nozzle is narrow, allowing you to get into tight spaces, like under furniture. The pivoting head is very useful as well and easy to control with a button on the handle. It also folds up nicely into a compact little bundle for charging on the included cradle. I had a cheaper DustBuster before this, but this is a much better hand vac in really every way.” (114) add
“Bought this vacuum for my car. I drive Lyft and Uber, so heavy usage. So far the product works great! Did fairly extensive research and this vacuum delivered the most bang for its lightweight buck … I can carry it in an average-size backpack. It has the extender and pet attachment attached, so I don’t have extra parts to [mess] around with. I charge it overnight … after several uses, and it lasts for several days of five- to ten-minute uses.”
“Quite a bit of power for such a small model of wet-dry vac. Very pleased with the purchase! Sucked up puddles (literally) from our carpet when we had a leak. I would have maybe liked a bigger tank, but really that’s just me being lazy. Very easy to empty, clean, and/or replace filters. Able to suck or blow, both with consistent strong pressure.”
“Love it — and shocked at the power this little mini has! I purchased this because I wanted something small that wasn’t rechargeable. I have gone through four other [handheld vacuums] with rechargeable batteries. They all would lose power almost right away, even after being charged, and would become weaker and weaker. So I gave up on that style and opted for a model with a chord. This one is wonderful.”
“Could not live without this. I have a Lab guide dog, and he sheds like rain through the house. We vacuum about two times per day. This little handheld unit is perfect. I have had other cordless vacs, and they clog, the filter needs changing, or it doesn’t have the power to suck up the dog hair. I find the run time of 20 minutes on max power is more than enough to zip through the house. On cleaning days, we use the Dyson plug-in, but this little guy keeps us sane in between.”
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