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How to Choose a Rechargeable Hand Vacuum

Updated on September 27, 2011

The Rechargeable Hand Vacuum: Making Your World a Cleaner Place

Sometimes a full sized, traditional vacuum cleaner is just more than you need. Sometimes all you need is to clean up a spill. Or, perhaps you want to quickly clean some dirt out of your car. This is where a rechargeable hand vacuum comes in handy.

You can find some good handheld vacuums on this page, learn about some of their advantages, and get some tips for choosing the right one.

The Advantages and Disadvantages

A rechargeable hand vacuum offers a couple of important advantages. Clearly, due to their small size, these vacuums allow users to clean up quickly and easily rather than having to drag out a full sized vacuum cleaner. They are perfect for small cleaning jobs for this reason.

Their small size also works well in tight spots, especially if you can add on a crevice tool. They are certainly lighter weight than a full sized vacuum and are good for vacuuming the stairs since they eliminate the need to lift a larger model up and down the steps.

These small vacuums even hold an advantage over corded handheld models because they give you more freedom. With no cord to unwind and rewind, they're especially quick to use.

In general, battery operated devices however tend to have a bit less power than corded models. In addition, it is very important to charge these devices per the manufacturer's instructions. Failure to do so can result in a shortened lifespan for the battery. Due to the expense of the battery, it is sometimes more economical to just replace the entire vacuum.

Buying Tips

Rechargeable hand vacuums are common appliances but there a quite a number of them on the market. Here are a few of the features you should consider before making a choice:

  • Size and Weight
    For a handheld vacuum to be convenient and easy to handle, you'll want one that is lightweight. In addition, you may consider where you will be storing and charging it. You want one that won't require more table or wall space than you have available.

    Certainly too, you may want to consider the size of the nozzle. Some have a nozzle that is only 1 1/2 inches wide. If you need to clean a sofa, a 1 1/2 nozzle will slow the task significantly.
  • Attachments
    In addition to the width of the nozzle, you'll want to consider what attachments are offered. In many instances you will want the ability to get into small spaces and crevices. A crevice tool is often a necessity. Brushes are good for vacuuming upholstery. Some of these are stationary attachments, but some rechargeable hand vacuums have motorized brushes instead. The models with motorized brushes can make the best pet hair remover tools.
  • Power
    Compare the ability of the vacuum to pull in dust, dirt and debris. In other words, compare the power. A 9 volt rechargeable device may not have the power of a 15 volt model.

    Many models allow users to adjust the speed. If a lower speed is sufficient, it can be a power saver to reduce the speed. It will also allow you to vacuum longer per charge.

    This brings us to another power consideration; how long will the vacuum operate on a single charge? Some may only run a few minutes before you notice a reduction in power, while others will operate far longer.
  • Ease of Use
    Certainly most rechargeable handheld vacuums are easy to use and lightweight. However, some offer features that make them even more convenient. They may feature a pivoting nozzle which allows it to get closer to the spots you want to vacuum without twisting and turning your own arms or body.

    Certainly a model that has an indicator showing that it is actively charging is good so that it is consistently charged when you expect it to be. A low battery indicator can be useful as well.

    Some models are easier to clean than others. If a vacuum has a large dirt cup it won't need emptied as frequently and if the filter is washable it will save on the extra expense and the time going to the store to get a replacement. Shoppers should also consider how easy it is to access both the filter and the dirt repository as well.

    Most rechargeable hand vacuums are designed for dry use, however some models can handle wet spills as well. Certainly this multi-purpose function is a convenience.
  • Warranty
    Many of these appliances will have a shorter life than a corded model. This is because the battery eventually loses it's ability to charge and hold a charge. Replacing the battery can cost as much as the vacuum itself. Thus, you should examine the life expectancy of the battery. Beyond this however, you should consider the warranty that is provided. A year warranty should be considered the minimum, but some models offer as much as a 6 year warranty.


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    • DustinsMom profile image


      8 years ago from USA

      Great review and hub. Thank you for sharing the information. I use a handheld vacuum every day for kitty litter and hair!

    • theherbivorehippi profile image


      8 years ago from Holly, MI

      hmmmm...I think I need one of these!! Thanks for so much information on them!

    • Ann Nonymous profile image

      Ann Nonymous 

      8 years ago from Virginia

      The other day I was vacuuming up a small spill when lo and behold my vacuum died on me. Just stopped. I was frantic thinking of the guests that were coming. I was sure I had to have had a 'spare' vacuum somewhere in the house but nada! I did get it to work again but now I REALLY want one of these! Thanks for the excellent review, mulberry!

    • thevoice profile image


      8 years ago from carthage ill

      well detailed hub great job thanks


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