Portable and lightweight. Less than 4-pound TruePet Motorized Brush. Easy-to-empty dust cup. Bagless. 15-foot power cord. Never loses suction. Great for stairs. Fantastic hose. Clear container so you can see when it's time to empty.
Almost needs two hands to operate. Heavier than many other handhelds because of its motor.
Cordless. Multi-surface cleaner. Twister Cyclonic Technology. 18V battery offers 35 percent more suction than 15.6V unit. Includes charging stand/wall mount. TruePet Motorized Pet Brush for pet hair. Includes dusting brush and crevice tool. Comfortable hand grip. Powered head is amazing with pet hair. Great suction.
Overcharging the unit may greatly affect battery life. Consider setting a timer to remind you to take it off the charger.
Cordless hand vac with long-lasting lithium-ion battery. Twister suction technology. Detachable motorized pet brush removes pet hair and ground-in dirt. Lightweight. Includes crevice tool, charging adapter, and dust cup filter. Picks up cat hair and litter. Holds a charge well.
No charging stand or wall caddy.
Lightweight. Allows for floor-to-ceiling cleaning. Weighs less than 8 pounds. Features swivel steering. Includes crevice tool, pet hair brush, dusting brush, microfiber pad, accessory bag, wall mount, and 2 washable filters. Easy to empty. Great suction.
Doesn't stand upright by itself; you have to remember to lean it on something.
Portable hand vacuum includes upholstery brush, 6-inch crevice tool, and dusting brush. Flexible hose makes it great for crevices, tight spaces and corners. Anti-Allergy Complete Seal technology. Never loses suction. Lightweight. Features 25-foot power cord. Good for stairs and blinds.
Hose sometimes comes out. Be sure it's threaded correctly and screwed in like a jar lid.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
In the car, on the stairs, under the couch — the number of places you can use a handheld vacuum goes on and on. These miniature versions of an upright are light enough for single-handed use but with the suction to get rid of messes in a flash. They’re perfect for small spills or maneuvering in tight spaces.
Shark is a well-known name in the vacuum world. The company features standard canister handheld models as well as hand/stick vacuums that provide flexibility in how they are used. Some designs are specialized for pet owners or feature an ergonomic handle for those with limited wrist and hand strength. Yet other models are designed for reaching into tight cracks and crevices like those found on stairs and in vehicles.
As you read through our shopping guide, think about how, when, and where you’d like to use the vacuum. Our guide is designed to take you through the important features and considerations that can make a difference in your purchase, as well as point out some of our favorites. If you’re ready for some high-powered handheld cleaning, read on.
Handheld only: These models are the traditional and most common handheld vacuums. They feature a canister with a dust cup within a molded handle piece that's attached to a nozzle. Shark has a different take on this design by supplying different heads that can be attached to the end of the nozzle for more cleaning power on carpet and heavy debris.
Handheld/stick: Handheld/stick vacuums have the reach of a stick vacuum with the weight and mobility of a handheld. These models differ from a handheld-only vacuum in that they have a long nozzle onto which you attach a brush head. These models are great for cleaning your floor in between vacuuming with a full-size machine. Their long reach is also great for cleaning drapes.
Handheld portable canister: These handheld vacuums feature a canister with a flexible hose attachment for upholstery or the car. They also include brush heads, but they can only attach directly to the canister, not the hose. These models tend to be more difficult to maneuver than a traditional handheld design, but the flexible hose can reach into spaces a traditional vacuum cannot.
Handheld vacuums are small, so they don't take up a lot of space. However, you still need to have somewhere to store it. Shark provides either a docking station or a charging dock in which to store the vacuum when it’s not in use. Some models can be mounted on the wall, while others can only stay on the floor. If you’re looking to save some floor space, opt for one that can be wall-mounted.
Accessories: Each handheld vacuum is designed to use a certain number of included accessories. Some models have onboard storage while others come with a storage bag. Onboard storage is the most convenient, but if you want to add a few accessories to your collection, a storage bag gives you more flexibility in the number of accessories.
Shark’s handheld vacuums range in weight from 1.4 to 4.0 pounds. Everything in that range can be considered lightweight, but if you have limited mobility or strength in your hand and wrist, an ultralight model might be best for you.
Shark provides a two-year limited warranty on all of its handheld vacuums. To activate the warranty, you need to initiate a warranty claim and provide a receipt as proof of purchase.
Shark has a couple of different setups for charging its handheld vacuums.
Charging station: First are those models that come with a docking station and separate portable charging adapter. With these models, the docking station only holds the vacuum; it does not charge it. Charging only takes place when the portable adapter is plugged into the vacuum, which can be done while it’s sitting in the docking station.
Charging dock: The second method is an all-in-one charging dock. The dock itself is plugged into an electrical outlet, so every time the vacuum is put into the dock, it gets charged (unless the dock is unplugged).
Not all Shark handheld vacuums are cordless. For those with a cord, the cord can vary in length from 6 to 25 feet, depending on the model. Obviously, a longer cord gives you a greater range of motion and mobility, so if you’re deciding between two corded models and cord length is the only major difference, opt for the one with the longer cord.
Versatile cleaning options
If you like a little flexibility in your cleaning, the SharkNinja Rocket could make a good addition to your home. Its flexible hose and carpet head are ideal for detailing RVs, boats, and cars. The hose can be attached to the crevice tool to reach between and underneath seats, while the hose lets you maneuver in tight spaces and sharp corners.
The accessories can often make all the difference in the value of a vacuum. Each model comes with a few extra accessories, but all the tools we list are not compatible with all models. Decide which tools will work best in your situation and choose a Shark handheld vacuum that includes those.
Crevice tool: Almost all the Shark handheld vacuums come with some kind of crevice tool that allows you to reach between car seats or inside the creases of upholstery cushions. Some models also include a mini crevice tool for those extra-tight spaces.
Brush head and/or pet brush: Models designed to remove pet hair include a brush head and are designed to deal with the massive amounts of fur shed by your favorite four-legged friends. They can also be used to clean stairs and floors.
Hose: A few handheld models include either a flexible or hard extension hose. Depending on the type of hose, it can be used to clean hard-to-reach corners or draperies and upholstery.
Dusting brush: There are two types of dusting brushes available: a soft duster and a standard duster. These have bristles to stir up the dust so the vacuum can suck it into the dust cup. The bristles on a soft duster are for use on delicate surfaces.
Duster crevice tool: A duster crevice tool looks like a standard crevice tool except it has bristles on the end to disturb the dust so that it can be successfully vacuumed.
Wide upholstery tool: The extra width on this tool makes short work of couches and other large pieces of upholstered furniture.
Mattress tool: This tool is very similar to the wide upholstery tool because it also provides extra width, which makes quick work of cleaning your mattress.
Scrubbing brush: Stiffer, sharply angled bristles give this tool an edge over a dusting brush.
Home and car detail kit: This kit comes standard with some handheld vacuums, but it can be bought separately for many others. It includes an extra hose, miniaturized versions of the crevice and dust tool, as well as angled tools to reach all the cracks and crevices in your vehicle.
A few of Shark’s handheld vacuums include color options. The color really doesn't affect performance, but it can certainly boost your mood or provide a seamless look with your full-size vacuum.
The lithium-ion batteries used in Shark’s handheld vacuums eventually begin to wear down, which shortens their run times after a while. How long that takes depends on how and how often the vacuum is used.
Inexpensive: Basic Shark handheld-only vacuums start at around $40 to $50. These basic models come with a few extra tools like a crevice tool, motorized brush, and dusting brush. They have a docking station and adapter cord.
Mid-range: Shark handheld portable canister models run anywhere from $75 to $100. They typically come with an upholstery tool and, at 15 feet, some of the longest power cords among the handheld models.
Expensive: Shark’s latest handheld-only model has a narrow design for targeted suction and a charging dock. It falls into the $125 to $140 range. These models come with a few accessories, onboard storage, and a charging dock.
Premium: rAt the top of the price range are the stick/handheld models that cost around $130 to $150. These vacuums have some of the features of the handheld-only models but also have a hard extension hose that can be used to do entire rooms or clean draperies.
Some Shark vacuums have a replaceable battery while others don’t. Those that don’t must be disposed of once the battery no longer holds a charge.
The Pet Perfect II targets pet hair with powerful cyclonic suction and an 18-volt battery. A specially designed brush doesn’t leave pet hair behind. It also includes a dusting brush and crevice tool to add some versatility to the mix. The charging station has a wall-mounting option if you want to save floor space.
Not all of Shark’s handheld vacuums could make it onto our list, but here are a couple that were close contenders. Depending on your circumstances, they could still be the right vacuum for you. The Shark WANDVAC Handheld Vacuum has a narrow head design that reaches into small spaces. It's Shark’s lightest vacuum at a mere 1.4 pounds, making it a great choice for those with limited strength and mobility. The Shark Cordless Pet Perfect XL LV901 Handheld Vacuum has a powerful extra-large pet brush that successfully removes pet hair. It includes a crevice tool and has a power adapter with a separate docking station.
Q. Do Shark handheld vacuums have HEPA filters?
A. Shark handheld vacuums may have one or more standard filters, but they don’t include HEPA filters.
Q. Can I purchase extra accessories separately?
A. Each model has certain accessories that are included, but they rarely include all the tools and accessories that can be used with the vacuum. Shark tools and accessories are sold separately, so you can replace or add to your extras at any time.
Q. How do I know when the filter needs to be cleaned?
A. It's time to clean the filter when there’s less suction, the vacuum stops picking up all visible dirt and debris, or the airflow becomes restricted. Most of the time the filter only needs to be tapped clean. However, if it’s particularly dirty, you can run water through it until the water runs clear. Do not use soap. Let the filter completely air-dry before you reinstall it in the vacuum. Do not use forced air or apply heat to dry the filter.
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