A Quick Handheld Vacuum Review Guide

Having a small living area or apartment, doesn’t mean the challenge of keeping your floors clean are less of a challenge. You might not think you need a full sized vacuum and instead opt for a handheld vacuum.

The good news for you is these smaller units are powerful, do a number on pet hair and can make cleaning nooks and crannies a lot easier.

Options to Consider Before Buying:

If you’re a standard sized or larger home owner, you will have quick clean up needs where you won’t want to break out the big machine. Cleaning up the garage, the car interior, or even small areas the bigger vacuum won’t reach, such as under and behind the desk, are perfect jobs for a small handheld vacuum, too.

Before you get started, check out some of these great tips from Vacuum Companion on how to find the best handheld vacuum for your specific cleaning situation:

Corded or Cordless?

Cordless machines are a great addition to the family of handheld vacuum cleaners. Keep in mind, you can’t run these machines all day. If you have a few fast clean ups or small areas you need to attack, such as the car rugs and such, a cordless will work. It’s best to find one that has a battery indicator or you might get stuck with a half cleaned area.

Running Time vs. Charge Time

Do some research to figure out the average run time for the unit you’re considering. Too short of a run time will leave you in the lurch! If you are going to use your handheld vacuum frequently, say a few times a day or every day, consider how long it will take to charge the battery back to full. Some will charge completely in a few hours while others might have to pull a Lionel Richie and be plugged in “all night long.”

Finally, are the batteries replaceable? As batteries age, they start to lose their ability to hold a charge. Being able to swap out the rechargeable battery could save you from buying a brand new machine. Be sure the machine you’re considering doesn’t have charge-holding issues.

Any Specific Cleaning Needs?

What are your unique cleaning needs? Do you have a pet that throws around more hair than a heavy metal band? If so you might need a machine that specializes in pet hair. Think about all of the specifics you will need to tackle when vacuuming. Consider the following:

  • Hardwood Floors: Also tile, linoleum, ceramic flooring.
  • Carpets: Do you have a deep pile rug or standard?
  • Pet Hair: Not only pet hair but women with long hair tend to cause issues for some machines!
  • Upholstery: Are you planning on vacuuming the furniture? Maybe you’ll need some specific attachments for your pieces.
  • Vehicle Cleaning: There are a million nooks and crannies and wonderful little hiding places inside cars. Make sure the handheld vacuum you’re considering can reach them.

How Much Should It Cost?

Ah, the bottom line. Most consumers have the price in the front of their mind. This is a mistake. You want to have a reasonable budget in mind, but consider the machine’s options first. Make sure the unit you buy will do all the things you want it to. Sure, you might save a few bucks on a cheaper machine, but in the long run you’ll be disappointed and you might not even use the vacuum you purchased.

Understand that you’re making an investment in an appliance that should last for many years. Check options first, find the average price range for those vacuums, then determine your budget.

The Filter

If you’re a heavy allergy sufferer like me, you’re going to want a machine with a great filtering system. If it leaks dust and dirt you’re going to be miserable using it and, well, you will end up not using it.

Wet + Dry Capabilities

Some handheld vacuums are able to take care of wet areas. For instance, if you’ve hosed out a space in the garage, you could use a wet/dry vacuum to suck up the excess water. This is a special feature you might not need, but when you’ve spilled a water and soaked your driver’s seat, you’ll be happy when you can get most of the water out with your wet/dry vac!

The Weight

I’m not talking about the 70’s rock band. If you’re able to lift and hold heavy items for longer periods of time, you might not need to consider the weight of the vacuum. Otherwise, you’re looking at some sore limbs. Be sure you can manage using your machine without too much stress and strain.

Dust Bin Capacity

One drawback is the amount of dirt and dust small handhelds can manage to hold before emptying. If you’re cleaning really dirty areas, you might need to use the larger vacuum. If not, and you’re okay with a few extra trips to empty it out, this won’t be too big of a concern.

Is it Strictly Dyson vs. Black & Decker?

In a nutshell, no. There are a multitude of brands and selections to choose from, so don’t feel stuck sticking with a big name brand. It might be tempting, but as you shop around, try out other brands. I have a Rigid vacuum that I use in the garage that I absolutely love. So, don’t be shy about off name brands. One area to determine if these off brands will pass the test is to check out the customer feedback.

Product Reviews vs. Customer Feedback

As you shop, I’m sure you’ll do a lot of online research. This is recommended, but with a caveat. Understand the difference between paid product reviews and actual ones. Paid reviews are written for money. A company will hire people to write up glowing reviews for their products.

You might think a unit is “highly rated” only to end up “highly disappointed” with it. You can usually tell when a review is paid or real. You will find a lot of websites that do real reviews where not every single write up is stellar.

Customer feedback, on the other hand, is a great place to research. Most customers who take the time to leave feedback do so because they were strongly motivated by a positive or negative experience. Either way, this will be valuable information to you!

See what specific problems are mentioned by consumers and take note of what positives are touted, too.

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