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Updated January 2023
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
Bottom line
Pros
Cons
Best of the Best
Black+Decker Cordless Handheld Vacuum
Black+Decker
Cordless Handheld Vacuum
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All-Around Performance
Bottom Line

A great option for small spills thanks to its decent power and large dust capacity.

Pros

Incredibly lightweight and easy to hold. Easy to put on the charger. Comes with an additional brush head for carpets or couches. Fairly compact.

Cons

The battery can drain fairly quickly.

Best Bang for the Buck
Prowithlin Desktop Vacuum Cleaner
Prowithlin
Desktop Vacuum Cleaner
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Compact Design
Bottom Line

A solid vacuum that provides enough power to get unwanted crumbs from smaller places.

Pros

Utilizes a USB charger. Simple to open and close when you need. Comes with an additional piece for reaching into tight spaces. Relatively quiet during use.

Cons

The design can be hard to hold for those with larger hands.

Shark Cordless UltraCyclone
Shark
Cordless UltraCyclone
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Feature-packed
Bottom Line

With powerful suction and the ability to remove pet hair, this is a high-quality choice.

Pros

Utilizes two separate air streams to provide enough suction to pick up any unwanted items. Has an extra-large dust cup that can be emptied easily.

Cons

The charging cable can be somewhat difficult to plug in.

VacLife Handheld Vacuum
VacLife
Handheld Vacuum
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Most Versatile
Bottom Line

Multiple attachments give this high-powered option the ability to take on any clean-up job.

Pros

Utilizes an LED every time it is turned on to provide extra light for dark areas. Comes with two separate attachments for vacuuming pet hair or upholstery.

Cons

The attachments can be a bit hard to pull off after use.

Bissel AeroSlim Handheld Vacuum
Bissel
AeroSlim Handheld Vacuum
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Lightweight Feel
Bottom Line

A unique design that is easy to hold and use for a variety of messes around the home or office.

Pros

Has a compact design that makes it easy to put away when not in use. Very quiet. Comes with a USB charger for extra versatility. The filter is washable.

Cons

The fan exhaust isn't well placed for fine crumbs or dirt.

HOW WE TESTED

We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

35
Models
Considered
113
Consumers
Consulted
8
Hours
Researched
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Buying guide for best mini vacuums

Every home should have at least one vacuum cleaner. It doesn’t take long for dirt, dust, hairs, crumbs, and other tiny particles to multiply on floors, upholstered surfaces, and other crevices. However, a traditional vacuum is bulky, and you probably don’t want to bust it out just to suck up some cookie crumbs on your couch. This is where the mini vacuum comes in.

Mini vacuums, also known as handheld vacuums, clean on a smaller scale. They’re great to have for quick cleanups and routine maintenance between major vacuum jobs. Before you add this tool to your household arsenal, consider a few factors. Your vacuuming needs dictate what you’re looking for. You should also think about the mini vacuum’s suction, weight, and whether you want to go corded or cordless.

No matter your must-haves, there’s likely a mini vacuum model to suit your needs and help keep your home tidy.

a mini vacuum
If pet hair is a real problem in your household, vacuuming should be accompanied by regular wipedowns of surfaces. Consider investing in a HEPA filter, especially if you have allergy-prone people in your family.

How to buy the best mini vacuum

Suction power

Size aside, mini vacuums aren’t so different from full-size ones. While they hold less dust and are overall less powerful, you should keep the same criteria as if you were shopping for a traditional vacuum cleaner.

Suction power is one of the first things to pay attention to as you shop for a mini vacuum. Also known as air wattage, suction power is measured by how much power the mini vacuum needs for each unit of airflow through the vacuum’s nozzle. The air wattage, or AW, is something you can usually find in the user manual or on the manufacturer’s website. To be at least mildly effective, a handheld vacuum should have a minimum of 15 AW. If you’re using it for carpets or rugs, go for something with closer to 50 AW or more.

If you don’t see the mini vacuum’s air wattage listed, take a look at its battery voltage instead.

Weight and maneuverability

Since most mini vacuums need to be held for a span of time (10 to 20 minutes), weight is an important factor. There are quite a few lightweight mini vacuums available, at two pounds or less. Note that ultra-lightweight mini vacuums usually cost more than similar, heavier models.

A mini vacuum’s weight especially matters if you need to maneuver it around small corners, tight nooks, and small crevices. A vacuum with a smaller, pointed nozzle is best for small areas. A wider nozzle is fine for running across swathes of upholstery.

Corded vs. cordless

Cordless vacuums may be the right choice if you hate having to manage long cords or would like to vacuum across your space freely. As with traditional vacuums, mini vacuums also have cordless options. Consider the pros and cons of each: On the plus side, a cordless vacuum offers more freedom of movement. If you have an outdoor space you want to clean such as a patio or deck, then cordless vacuums are handy.

On the downside, most cordless vacuums are powered by lithium batteries. This means their battery life is limited to 15 to 30 minutes, which is a minor inconvenience for people who want to clean regularly.

A corded mini vacuum is plugged directly into a power source, so it’s more powerful and has better suction.

Robot mini vacuums are both cordless and automated. They’re designed to smartly maneuver around nooks and corners while gathering debris. The most sophisticated ones have multiple power modes such as quiet, turbo, and remote control, along with additional functions like mopping. While these models are often more expensive, there are some budget-friendly mini robot vacuums available.

Hardwood floors vs. carpet

If your home is fully carpeted or has a lot of rugs, you’ll be choosing from a slightly different selection of mini vacuums. Carpeting and rugs require more suction to remove debris, so getting a mini vacuum with a strong AW or battery power is critical.

On the other hand, if your home has hardwood floors with a few low-pile rugs here or there, you can be less picky about your vacuum choice. Suction power matters much less on hard floors, which can be cleaned with a simple broom and dustpan.

Pet hair

Many pet owners know the annoyance of pet hair getting everywhere. Thankfully, pet owners have options for mini vacuums specifically meant to capture pet hair. These vacuums have decently strong suction power, often including hose attachments for getting pet hair that collects in corners.

Rather than purchasing a regular vacuum and a mini vacuum, consider getting two different mini models to use alternately. You can compare the efficiency of both models without taking up too much floor space.

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What features do mini vacuums have?

Attachments

It’s not uncommon to find mini vacuums with a stick attachment that connects to the top of the mini vacuum’s body. This makes it possible to use a handheld vacuum like a traditional one, holding it by the stick attachment to operate it. Stick attachments are helpful if you don’t want to be stooped over for long periods of time.

An extension hose wand is common on traditional vacuums, but some mini vacuums include them, too. Extension wands extend the length of a vacuum hose, making it easier to reach high, low, and tough-to-reach spots.

A brush attachment can be affixed to the end of the mini vacuum’s hose or wand to remove loose hairs before they’re suctioned up.

Noise

If you live in an apartment with thin walls or have animals who are sensitive to noise, a quieter mini vacuum is best. One advantage that mini vacuums have over regular-size ones is they generally make less noise. Less powerful mini vacuums make less noise, so consider whether noise or power is more important for you.

a mini vacuum
DID YOU KNOW?
A lot of animals are scared of regular vacuum cleaners. They’re big, noisy, and on wheels. A quieter and smaller mini vacuum may be more tolerable for scaredy-cats.
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How much do mini vacuums cost?

Inexpensive

For $15 to $30, expect to see mini vacuums with all the essentials but limited voltage and suction power. These vacuums are ideal for quick tabletop cleanups, removing hair from hard surfaces, and low-pile rugs.

Mid-range

$30 to $55 is the sweet spot for finding a decent-quality mini vacuum without breaking the bank. Along with including multiple attachments, mini vacuums at this price have higher air wattage and battery voltage. You can find more cordless options and robot options at this price as well.

Expensive

If you’re looking to invest, for $55 or more, mini vacuums have all the bells and whistles and may include a HEPA filter, strong suction power for high-pile carpets and rugs, and a longer manufacturer’s warranty.

While robot mini vacuums are convenient, be wary of using them while you’re not home.

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Tips

  • Don’t forget to clean the filter. Rather than buying new filters, some mini vacuums have filters that can be washed and reused. With regular use, it’s recommended to clean the filter every three months.
  • Check the warranty. Most mini vacuums have a two- to five-year warranty. Check the manufacturer’s website or your user manual to confirm.
  • Remember to dust afterward. Catch those extra stray hairs with a good dusting, especially if you’re vacuuming an area with lots of pet hair.
a mini vacuum
Mini vacuums are pretty versatile: You can use them for cleaning crumbs in your keyboard and for food particles that collect behind your refrigerator.

FAQ

Q. Are mini vacuums good for stairs?

A. Yes. Carpeted stairs can be adequately cleaned with a mini vacuum. Look for an appliance with powerful suction. A cordless model is especially helpful if the staircase is a long one.

Q. Can a mini vacuum replace a full-size vacuum?

A. It can, though people with carpets throughout their homes (or several rugs, for that matter) should invest in a full-size vacuum to use a few times a month. An exception is if physical limitations don’t allow you to push and pull a heavy vac. Otherwise, a mini vacuum is best left for quick cleanups and spills.

Q. Do handheld vacuums work on carpets?

A. Yes, they can. Not all mini vacuums have the same suction power, so pay attention to this before committing to a model.

 

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