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The best cordless handheld vacuums of 2021

It’s not unusual for one home to have multiple vacuum cleaners. Traditionally, an upright vacuum is the most commonplace of the many vac options available, netting you a deep clean across all floor types and featuring several attachments for every nook and cranny of your home — but most upright vacs require a corded connection for power, limiting how much cleaning you can do in one area of your home. Then there are robotic vacuums.

Combining intelligent sensors and mapping functions, a bot vacuum can be automated to clean your house on a schedule of your choosing. Additional bot vac features include voice assistant integration for popular A.I. tools like Alexa and Google Assistant, as well as water tanks for mopping jobs. While robot vacs do a good job of tackling the dirt and debris of your residence, they’re not exactly portable and can’t do much when it comes to cobwebs on the ceiling. That’s where a cordless handheld vac comes into play.

Mobile and lightweight enough to carry with one hand, cordless handheld vacs run off of powerful rechargeable batteries that allow you to deep-clean your floors, ceilings, draperies, HVAC vents, and car upholstery. Washable filters and easy-empty dust caps are other standout features you’ll find in today’s leading handheld units.

Whether you want an extra vac to handle the tough-to-reach spots of your home or enjoy the idea of a quick-grab vac for miniature dry spills and pet hair, here are five of the best cordless handheld vacuums you can buy right now.

Black + Decker Dustbuster for Pet Hair

The Black + Decker Dustbuster being used on a couch.

Pet hair gets everywhere, hides well, and quickly reemerges as soon as one heap is vacuumed up. For those looking for an ideal handheld pet vac, Black + Decker’s Dustbuster should be a top consideration. Right off the bat, we’re all about the vac’s main pet hair attachment, a motorized brush head composed of rubber bristles that dig deep into upholstery, getting at pet hair you didn’t even know was there.

Tired of staring down those ceiling-corner cobwebs? Throw on the Dustbuster’s extra-long crevice tool to get extra reach out of your vac. Cobweb won’t budge? Up the suction speed or set the vac to PowerBoost to max out the Dustbuster’s strength. Both the dust cap and filter are easy to clean and empty, and the 20-volt lithium-ion battery will keep you cleaning for long periods of time. When the battery gets low, the built-in indicator will let you know it’s time to recharge.

While the Black + Decker Dustbuster won’t handle any wet messes, it’s still one of our favorite handheld options for pet owners.

Hoover Onepwr Handheld Vac

The Hoover ONEPWR being used on carpeting.

Lightweight and compact, the Hoover Onepwr is designed to be stowed away and quickly taken out when a mess presents itself. We also love that the battery pack is removable and can be used on all other Onepwr products, even upright models.

The extra-large dust cap and included crevice tool will allow you to go for days without needing to empty the vac while also ensuring that there’s no corner of your home that goes untouched. Some users have noticed a loss of suction power when attaching the crevice tool, but not to a degree where the vac is inefficient.

In terms of battery life, you can expect a full charge to last up to 30 minutes, which is plenty of time to tackle a quick mess in the house or an entire car-cleaning job (if there aren’t too many chip crumbs to suck up). All in all, the Hoover Onepwr Handheld Vac is a great addition to any home, big or small.

Ridgid 18-Volt Handheld Vac

The Ridgid 18-Volt Handheld Vac being used to clean floors.

While it’s a bummer that you have to purchase the battery packs and charger separately, this Ridgid handheld vac more than makes up for its lack of must-have accessories with incredible performance.

Designed for industrial use but versatile enough for home usage, too, the Ridgid is easy to carry for long periods of time, comfortable on your hands, and long-lasting. If you’re dreading the step-stool when it comes time to vacuum your HVAC return, you’ll love the included 22-inch extension tube. The vac even comes with a crevice tool for difficult sawdust at the worksite or deep-seated pet hair between couch cushions.

Best of all, those batteries you purchased can be used on other Ridgid hardware, making the Ridgid 18-Volt Handheld Vacuum a solid bet for your next do-it-yourself garage adventure or living room quick-cleaner.

Shark WV201 Handheld Vac

The Shark WV201 being used to clean off a kitchen counter.

Weighing in at only 1.4 pounds, the Shark WV201 is one of the lightest handheld vacs on the market. In terms of design and comfort, it’s also one of the most minimalist vacs you can get your hands on. The sleek wand makes it easy to get the WV201 into hard-to-reach spots while also making it simple to stow the vac away on its charging dock when not in use.

Speaking of charging docks, we also love that you can store all the vac’s attachments on the base, including the multi-surface pet tool. Shark’s brushless motor and the chassis engineered for optimal airflow means you’ll be getting the most powerful suction, regardless of the surface you’re tackling.

The Shark WV201’s small footprint means a small dust cap, too. While this may be OK for most homeowners, those with frequent or larger messes to tackle may want a handheld vac with a larger dust cap.

Black + Decker Max Handheld Vac

The Black + Decker Max being used to clean a shelf.

If you’ve been having trouble cleaning the highest shelves of your home, the Black + Decker Max is tailor-made for you. Featuring a 200-degree adjustable nozzle, you’ll be able to position the vac’s main attachment to get at even the hardest-to-reach places. Still can’t get all the dust off those ceiling fan blades? Add on the extendable crevice tool for a little more reach.

The cyclonic action of the vac delivers powerful suction, solid engineering furthered by the 20-volt lithium-ion battery. When you’re finished cleaning, the charging base doubles as a home for the vac and all its attachments, too.

When it comes time to clean your Black + Decker Max, you can easily remove the entire dirt bowl and filter to wash them in your kitchen sink. Just be sure that the filter itself is completely dry before you fire it up again.

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