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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 buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Buying guide for Best Bissell handheld vacuums

When cleaning isolated messes and small, awkward spaces in the home, a handheld vacuum is the device of choice. Handheld vacuums may not have the high-end power of pricier machines, but there are many great ones on the market that can provide the mobility, dexterity, and cleaning power you need.

One of the top makers of handheld vacuum cleaners is Bissell, an American company with roots that stretch back to the 1870s when the first Bissell carpet sweeping machine was patented. Over time, Bissell’s product line has grown considerably, and today, a range of vacuums, including precise handheld options, is offered.

Size, power, and surface compatibility vary from model to model, so it’s important to accurately assess your cleaning needs and what potential situations you may encounter. We explore Bissell’s collection of handheld vacuums in this guide, helping you find the right handheld vacuum for your lifestyle.

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Most homes, regardless of size, would benefit from a handheld vacuum to access small, tight areas. Keep in mind you’re likely to need another cleaning device as well, be it a stick, upright, or canister vacuum.

Key considerations

What you’re cleaning

Small and lightweight, handheld vacuums are designed to be wielded effectively with one hand. They are not meant for cleaning wide swaths of flooring or carpet. Instead, they are ideal for eradicating small messes or accidents that occur in areas where larger canister and upright vacuums would struggle.

What’s more, handheld vacuums are useful for navigating furniture. In particular, you can use one to remove crumbs and dirt from seat cushions and dust from your drapes, shelves, and windowsills. In the car, a handheld vac is useful for cleaning the floor, under the seats, and in and around all of the various compartments.

While handheld vacuums can collect dirt, dust, food particles, and pet hair in some cases, they are meant to be used on dry messes and surfaces. Anything wet could interfere with the performance of the machine.

Identifying your surfaces

Start your Bissell handheld vac search by identifying the areas and surfaces that need to be cleaned in your home. Each Bissell handheld vacuum comes with a list of surfaces they are most suitable to clean. Some smaller, less powerful options are best reserved for countertops or upholstery, while more potent vacuums can handle bare floors and low-pile carpets as well.

Handheld vacuums are not ideal for thick carpets or rugs, though most are capable of cleaning bare floors and stairs.

Expert Tip
When using a cordless vacuum, ensure that you have a fully charged battery so you’re able to get the entire cleaning job done.
BestReviews Cleaning Expert

Corded vs. cordless

Bissell offers both corded and cordless (battery-powered) handheld vacuums, each with its own benefits and drawbacks. Corded options will be cheaper and offer more longevity, but they lack convenience, particularly if you’re looking to clear a car or outside area where an extension cord is needed. Cords run between 12 and 18 inches in length, so coverage is fairly limited.

Most users prefer cordless handheld vacuums, and indeed, there is a greater selection offered by Bissell (and other companies) of the cordless variety. Battery-powered options allow for maximum portability, but they require frequent charging. The charge will have a limited runtime, typically between 10 and 20 minutes. Charging takes much longer, with most requiring two to four hours to reach a maximum charge.

Power

In the cordless realm, you’ll want to check the voltage of the battery to ascertain how powerful the suction will be. Lower-end models boast under 10V, which may be useful for counter crumbs and dust along edges and sills but is likely not potent enough for carpets or picking up heavier morsels. Most options feature around 14V of power, but Bissell also offers a 22V model that can be used to clean car interiors.

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Did You Know?
Most Bissell purchases allow you to return your item within 30 days if you’re not fully satisfied. Bissell handheld vacuums come with a one-year or two-year limited warranty to cover defects.
Staff
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Features

Specialty tools

Some Bissell handheld vacuums come with additional attachments for increased versatility. These tools may include a crevice device that’s ideal for getting into tight spaces and corners and a brush roll for wider coverage. Some crevice tools may be lighted with LEDs, helping you spot dirt and dust in darker places. These attachments are easy to take off and affix at the push of a button.

Bissell’s handheld vacuum designed for car use integrates a 2-foot extension hose to help you get under and around the seats. While it offers plenty of functionality, it can be hard to maneuver since one hand is needed to move the hose while the other must hold the vacuum.

Expert Tip
Completely empty your canisters after each use to keep your handheld running longer.
BestReviews Cleaning Expert

Pet hair

Bissell proudly supports pets and their parents with a series of vacuums of all sizes and power dedicated to cleaning up pet hair. Select handheld vacuum models are designed to clean up dirt, dust, and hair left behind by pets as well. These are slightly larger and more powerful in size. They can also be used on pet beds and blankets.

Bundles

Bissell offers some cleaning bundles that typically feature a handheld vacuum and a variety of attachments and tools. Some bundles feature pet products, like a handheld vacuum and a small carpet cleaner. Bundles are usually quite cost-effective, offering all products at a slightly lower price than they would cost if bought separately.

Most Bissell purchases allow you to return your item within 30 days if you’re not fully satisfied. Bissell handheld vacuums come with a one-year or two-year limited warranty to cover defects.

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Did You Know?
While attachments increase the versatility of handheld vacuums, they also present a storage issue. An assortment of attachments can make putting away the device more tedious, and it can be easy to lose the attachments if you're not careful.
Staff
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Accessories

Upright vacuum: Bissell Cleanview Swivel Pet Upright Vacuum
While a handheld vacuum can help you maintain small areas, you’re likely to still need a larger, more potent machine for carpets and floors. We recommend this powerful, bag-free model by Bissell that is particularly effective at removing pet hair and cleaning hard flooring.

Extension cord: Yellow Jacket Heavy-Duty Extension Cord
For those going the way of the corded handheld vacuum, you will likely need a quality extension cord to supplement your usage. We suggest this trusted option by Yellow Jacket that runs 50 feet long.

Carpet cleaner: Bissell ProHeat Revolution Carpet Cleaner
A vacuum can remove crumbs and dirt from carpet, but for a deep cleanse, you’ll need a carpet cleaner. We recommend this option from Bissell that’s lightweight yet powerful, removing stains, dirt, and odors.

Bissell handheld vacuum prices

Inexpensive

The least-expensive Bissell handheld vacuums cost around $40. These are corded models with decent power and longevity.

Mid-range

Most Bissell handheld vacuums cost between $40 and $70. These vary in size and power and require a battery for use.

Expensive

The most powerful Bissell handheld vacuums, as well as bundled sets, cost $70 and up.

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Did You Know?
Some handheld vacuums are noisier than others, although that can be subjective and is harder to determine until you actually use it. If you can test out a model before buying, take note of the sound.
Staff
BestReviews

Tips

  • Keep your handheld vac accessible. Handheld vacuums are ideal for quick, timely pickups. As such, it’s recommended to keep yours stored in a convenient and accessible spot for when accidents happen.
  • Charge it when not in use. Get into the habit of placing your handheld vacuum on its charger so it’s ready for future operation. If it can’t be charged where it’s being stored, take time to plug it in after use but before putting away.
  • Use your device to clean your electronics. Handheld vacuums are ideal for keeping electronic devices dirt- and dust-free. Use them to clean keyboards, ports, and cables to keep everything functioning smoothly.
  • Check for redundancies before making a purchase. For example, some high-end stick vacuums can be transformed into handheld vacs as well. If you already own one of these, you may not need a new handheld vacuum.
Expert Tip
Clean your vacuum filters by rinsing them thoroughly with hot water and allowing them to dry 24 hours prior to placing them back into the vacuum.
BestReviews Cleaning Expert
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Store your handheld vacuum safely in a cool, dry place. Battery-powered models should not be exposed to heat, sunlight, or moisture for long periods of time.

FAQ

Q. How can I best maintain my Bissell handheld vacuum?

A. Bissell handheld vacuums are fairly easy to maintain, although they do require frequent emptying due to their small containers. After extended or heavy use, it's recommended to rinse the filter in addition to emptying the container. You can do so with warm water and mild soap, thoroughly ridding it of built-up dust and dirt. Let it sit to dry, and make sure it is completely rid of dampness and moisture before returning it to the vacuum. Avoid dropping or knocking over the vacuum, as the exterior components are made of plastic that could bend or break.

Q. How long does a battery-powered handheld vacuum last?

A. In terms of overall longevity, cordless vacuums do not last as long as corded models; the battery is likely to wear out after a few years. In some cases, you may be able to buy a replacement battery, but it may be better at that point to simply buy a new handheld vacuum. Infrequent usage and leaving a battery drained for long periods of time may contribute to a shorter lifespan.

Q. Why is the suction low?

A. In many instances where suction isn’t performing to its maximum potential, there is a blockage somewhere in the device. If you feel the suction is lacking, turn off or unplug the machine and inspect it. Look through all ends of any tubes and attachments; blockages may require the use of a small implement, such as tweezers or a pen, to push, pull, or grab and remove clumps. The clog may also be in the dirt container itself. Even if it's not entirely full, bits and pieces sometimes accumulate at the entrance.

For battery-powered handheld vacuums, a light indicator will identify when the battery is low, which can also lead to low suction.
 

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