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August 25, 2022  |  Home

Which portable vacuum is best for compact spaces?

Choosing the best compact portable vacuum

Whether you have limited space or need to tackle small areas, a compact portable vacuum is perfect for keeping your home clean. These machines are lightweight and small enough to tackle hard-to-reach places, such as underneath the furniture, in corners or even inside a car. This makes them a great alternative to traditional vacuum cleaners, especially for small cleaning tasks.

What to know before you buy a portable vacuum for a compact space

Uses

Portable vacuums are designed to keep your home or vehicle clean. Unlike regular vacuum cleaners, which tend to perform well in larger spaces, they’re more efficient at getting into nooks and crannies. These compact devices are also great at:

  • Picking up pet hair, lint and debris. They can get into hard-to-reach corners and around furniture to clean up anything larger apparatuses cannot.
  • Cleaning out the car. Portable vacuum cleaners, especially handheld ones, can be used to clean the seats, floor mats and interior of any vehicle.
  • Removing allergens, dust and other debris from furniture and pillows. Many materials, including fabrics, collect pet hair, dust mites, crumbs and more. A portable vacuum can remove these unwanted particles and leave your furniture refreshed.
  • Cleaning vertical surfaces. Handheld apparatuses can more easily get rid of debris, dust mites and other allergens from things such as screens and drapes.
  • Eliminate odors. Using a small vacuum regularly can cut down on odors caused by things such as dirt and spilled food.

Type

There are many types of portable vacuum cleaners, but the main ones are:

  • Robot: Also called robotic vacuums, these are automated, meaning they can run on their own. They are often cordless and can be set to a schedule or confined to a limited space using built-in mapping technology or magnetic tape that creates invisible walls. Some work well on thick-pile carpets or rugs, while others are better for hard floors.
  • Handheld: Ideal for picking up debris, pet hair, dried food or dirt in small areas, these are lightweight and easy to maneuver into tight spaces. Most come with a cord, but some have a rechargeable battery.
  • Stick: Best for low-pile carpets and hard surfaces, stick vacuums are often used for stairs or small rooms. They are either corded or cordless.

Suction

Corded vacuum cleaners usually have more powerful suction than cordless options. However, both can be used to effectively clean up spills and remove debris. The best portable vacuums have 10 volts or more of power.

Bin capacity

The larger the dustbin, the more it can hold before needing to be cleaned out. Most compact vacuums have small dustbins that require frequent emptying. If you’re tackling a heavily trafficked area or a larger spill, prepare to empty the bin after every use. But if you’re doing touchup work or are cleaning small areas, such as behind a table or sofa, plan to empty it after every couple of uses.

Filter

Portable vacuum cleaners usually come with filters that collect and trap dander, pet hair, dirt and other allergens. For homes with pets, choose a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. Regardless of filter type, replace it every few months to keep down on allergens in the home.

Corded or cordless

Both corded and cordless vacuums have their advantages.

  • Corded: These can run longer than battery-operated vacuums. They often have more powerful suction. The downside is they require a nearby outlet to operate the machine.
  • Cordless: These aren’t limited by outlet location, making them good for specific tasks, such as vacuuming the car or upholstery. They do require you to recharge them every 20 to 45 minutes, on average.

Accessories

Depending on the type of portable vacuum you get, there are a few helpful accessories that can make it more effective without taking up much space:

  • Crevice tool
  • Upholstery tool
  • Turbo pet tool
  • Replacement filters
  • Dust brush
  • Extendable hose

Best portable vacuums for compact spaces

iRobot Roomba s9+

This powerful compact device can effectively cover up to 1,500 square feet, making it ideal for both single-family homes and apartments. It has an internal navigation system that keeps it from bumping into objects. It’s also self-emptying and low maintenance.

Sold by Amazon

Eufy RoboVac 15C

Compatible with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, this robotic vacuum has powerful suction, long battery life and a large dustbin. It’s designed for collecting larger debris and pet hair but can also pick up smaller allergens, such as dust mites. It connects to an app that lets you customize its cleaning cycles.

Sold by Amazon

Dyson V11 Torque Drive Cordless Stick Vacuum

Slim and compact, this stick vacuum is versatile, easy to maneuver into tight spaces and powerful. The battery lasts up to 60 minutes with constant use, and there’s no cord to deal with. It can also be converted into a handheld device.

Sold by Amazon

Samsung Jet 75 Complete Cordless Stick Vacuum

Compact and lightweight, this cordless vacuum cleaner comes with several accessories, including a combo brush, soft action brush, crevice tool and flex tool. It’s highly versatile and is powerful enough to collect everything from pet hair to crumbs to dust.

Sold by Amazon

Shark WV201 Wandvac Handheld Vacuum

Designed for tight spaces, this portable apparatus is cordless, lightweight and versatile. It’s especially effective at getting into the crevices, corners and around furniture.

Sold by Amazon

Shark UltraCyclone Pro Cordless Vacuum

Convenient for small spaces, this portable vacuum can hold a lot of dust, dirt and pet hair before emptying. It’s powerful enough for light messes.

Sold by Amazon


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Angela Watson writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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