Handheld vacuums are miniature, electric vacuums that are light and intended for quick surface cleaning on bare floors and short-pile carpets. While they cannot replace larger vacuums for general cleaning, they're great for use on stairs, furniture, corners, and anywhere larger vacuums are too cumbersome to be effective. Like with larger vacuums, you'll want to search for something that meets all of your needs, from value to efficacy to aesthetics. Luckily for consumers, there are a wide range of available handheld vacuum options.
When buying a handheld vacuum, keep your purpose in mind. If you're looking for a general cleaner, look for vacuums that were rated for best all-around performance. Check out the Black and Decker Dustbuster 18V Cordless Pivoting Hand, for example. This handheld vacuum, though expensive, noisy and bulky, received top ratings from ConsumerReports.org, Choice magazine, and Consumer magazine. Consumer magazine, a New Zealand publication, noted that it worked well on carpet and hard floors. The Dirt Devil Extreme Power Hand Vac, despite its short battery life, is rated highly for value, being lightweight, its warranty and its powerful suction.
If you have a lot of pet hair, try a handheld vacuum like the Dyson DC31 Animal. This handheld vacuum will cost you over $200, but it is built to last, with lifetime washable filters, rechargeable battery systems, and Dyson-guaranteed warranties. Its motorized brush bar picks up pet hair effortlessly. For a less expensive pet hair remedy, look at handheld vacuums like the Bissell Pet Hair Eraser. This corded vacuum is rated as being easy to use and inexpensive while still demonstrating solid performance. This handheld vacuum was recommended by ConsumerReports.org, despite its high noise levels compared to other handheld vacuums.
Regardless of your purpose, check consumer ratings before you buy a handheld vacuum. Manufacturers aren't forthcoming about the negative aspects of their product, such as high noise levels or short battery life, so some diligence on your part, or the part of any consumer, will not be wasted.