The Best Handheld Vacuum

Updated on 1 August 2023

After testing 15 handheld hoovers, we’d particularly recommend the Philips Domestic Appliances FC6149/02 as it’s the quietest classic model we’ve tested so far, while being efficient and practical thanks to its many accessories. If you’re looking for a dust mite proof model for vacuuming sofas and bedding, then the Jimmy WB73 is a better option in our opinion, as it’s specifically designed for that.

This comparison is certified 100% impartial and follows our selection process.

Our pick, Best mid-range

Philips Domestic Appliances FC6149/02

This is quite simply the quietest handheld hoover we’ve tested so far. What’s more, it has a number of interesting accessories, such as an extendable hose and a wide brush.

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Philips Domestic Appliances FC614902

We preferred this Philips model in our tests for its practicality and lightness (0.920 kg without accessories). In practical terms, it comes with a number of accessories that make it very useful in everyday use. Its flat nozzle makes it easy to get into nooks and crannies, the wide brush is ideal in a car and the finer brush can vacuum sofas (although it wasn’t as effective at sucking up pet hair as a motorised brush) or furniture. 

On top of that, there’s also the basic nozzle, which is wider and suitable for vacuuming a large amount in one go (like a bag of spilt cereal). Philips also includes a flexible hose (very useful in the car or for reaching furniture tops without having to carry the weight of the hoover at arm’s length), a small nozzle and a storage bag. 

We found the charging station quite stable on the floor, but you can also fix it to the wall using the screws included. Charging time was advertised at 8 hours, but in reality we didn’t have to wait more than 5 hours and 40 minutes for the device to be ready for use again, which is a little longer than some models, but far from the worst. Similarly, the autonomy was longer than Philips had indicated, at over 12 minutes, putting it in the average range. 

Although there are 2 power levels, we didn’t really notice any difference, either in efficiency or noise. The noise level was the lowest recorded for this type of hoover at 74 dB at a distance of 50 cm. Finally, the 500 ml tank was easy to access, even if the filter (washable with water) had to be removed first.



Best top of the range

Jimmy WB73

This hoover is the only dust mite proof model in our selection. Wired, it can be used continuously without having to worry about recharging. It is used to remove dust from fabrics and bedding.

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Jimmy WB73

During our tests, we preferred the anti-mite and anti-bacterial model. We started by vacuuming cushions to see if it could remove dust in depth using UV and ultrasound sterilisation. And indeed, it wasn’t long before the dust was dancing in its transparent collector.

Note that the UV lamp and roller can be activated separately from the vacuum. We noticed that there was a short delay between lifting the hoover and switching off its UV lamp. This is a bit of a shame, as this process was immediate with the 2 other models of this type tested, providing better eye protection. It also managed to suck up pet hair from sofas in 1 or 2 passes at most, and quickly removed any dirt trapped under cousins.

In terms of ergonomics, we weren’t bothered by its 5 m cable, its handle gave us a slightly better grip than the other 2 models and its slightly heavy weight (1.9 kg) didn’t bother us too much.

Maintenance is made easier by the presence of a small brush with a blade. It can be used to clean the reservoir (500 ml) and to cut any hairs that get wrapped around the roller, although we found that there were far fewer than with other models. What’s more, this roller is easily accessible, just like any other brush head on an upright hoover. Finally, we measured a fairly high noise level (77-78 dB), which is unfortunately average for this type of hoover.


Mid-range alternative

Bissell Pet Hair Eraser 2278N

Specially designed for pet owners, this model is particularly effective at vacuuming up hair thanks to its motorised brush and also includes 2 other useful accessories.

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Bissell Pet Hair Eraser 2278N

This classic handheld hoover comes with 3 attachments: a motorised brush, a crevice tool and a foam nozzle for vacuuming furniture without damaging it. We thought the latter was quite original, as it can be turned through 90° for easier access to nooks and crannies.

We tested a previous version that was already very interesting in the past, and this slightly more recent model (2021) is just as effective. In fact, its biggest asset is its turbo brush, which easily vacuums pet hair from textiles in a single pass. However, you’ll need to regularly remove the hair that wraps around the brush roller.

What’s more, battery life has been extended to almost 17 minutes (with a 16-minute power cut), compared with 14 minutes previously. However, recharging is still fairly slow (6 hours 15 minutes), although not the worst for this type of hoover. In terms of ergonomics, while we found its grip to be quite good, we did feel that its weight of almost 1.180 kg was a little too heavy for prolonged use. Fortunately, it includes continuous suction like most of the other models we tested.

Note that the turbo brush was easy to fit/remove, but we had to use a lot of effort with the other 2 accessories. For emptying, we had easy access to the large tank (650 ml) by first removing the filter. The filter can be washed with water if left to dry for 24 hours. Finally, this Bissell was just as noisy as most other hand-held hoovers, with 78dB measured by our sound level meter at 50cm (equivalent distance between the appliance and the ear when in use).


Our selection

Our pick, Best mid-rangeBest top of the rangeMid-range alternative
Philips Domestic Appliances FC6149/02 Jimmy WB73 Bissell Pet Hair Eraser 2278N
This is quite simply the quietest handheld hoover we've tested so far. What's more, it has a number of interesting accessories, such as an extendable hose and a wide brush. This hoover is the only dust mite proof model in our selection. Wired, it can be used continuously without having to worry about recharging. It is used to remove dust from fabrics and bedding. Specially designed for pet owners, this model is particularly effective at vacuuming up hair thanks to its motorised brush and also includes 2 other useful accessories.
£ 127.53 on Amazon See the price on Amazon £ 140.67 on Amazon


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How did we test?

To test the hand-held hoovers, we first looked at their design (general appearance, material quality, accessories, etc.). In terms of performance, we focused first and foremost on suction power and efficiency, both on hard surfaces (tables) and soft surfaces (sofas and cars).

Ergonomics were assessed both during use (weight, practicality of accessories) and when being stored. We also measured the autonomy of each hoover and analysed the recharging system provided.

Finally, the ‘maintenance’ part wasn’t neglected, as we had to empty their dust tanks. We took the opportunity to check the accessibility of the filter and its ease of maintenance, using a more or less detailed instruction manual depending on the brand.


Our test results

NameEfficiencyNoise (at 50 cm)Weight without accessoriesReal autonomyReal charge timeNumber of speeds
Philips Domestic Appliances FC6149/024/574 dB0,920 kg12 min et 12 sec5h402 (but no significant differences)
Jimmy WB735/577 - 78 dB1,900 kgUnlimited/ (wired)1 (but 3 modes)
Bissell Pet Hair Eraser 2278N5/578 dB1,177 kg16 min6h151
Shark CH950EUT5/578 - 80 dB1,003 kg11 min4h1
Hoover MBC500UV Ultra Vortex5/578 dB1,850 kgUnlimited/ (wired)1 (but 3 modes)


How do you choose a hand-held vacuum?

After talking to you about upright and robot hoovers, our panel can only be complete once we’ve discussed hand-held hoovers.

Les aspirateurs à main que nous avons testés

Compact and cordless, they can be very effective for short cleaning jobs. But small size doesn’t have to mean low power. That’s why you need to choose a model that can hold its own in the vast hoover market.

To help you make your choice, we’ve put together a few criteria to keep in mind:

  • Power: it’s important to define how you’re going to use your vacuum cleaner before deciding how much power you need. Generally speaking, below 15 airwatts (AW), your hoover will only be useful for a few quick and easy tasks. If you want to clean certain textiles or your car, at least 20 AW is recommended.

Test d'un aspirateur à main sur un coussin

  • Ergonomics: as their name suggests, these hoovers are hand-held. Weighing more than 1.5 kg, you’ll probably find it hard to hold for several minutes without tiring. The handle should also be comfortable to hold and allow you to access high surfaces or less accessible nooks and crannies. Bulky models have the advantage of increasing the size of their tank and/or battery life, but are less manoeuvrable and heavier.
  • The ignition button: this should be positioned so that it is easily accessible wherever your hand is on the handle. If it’s too small or offers too much resistance, it can quickly become difficult to use.

Test d'efficacité des accessoires présents avec les aspirateurs à main

  • Autonomy: intended for small-scale cleaning, hand-held hoovers generally last a little less than upright hoovers. They rarely last more than 10-15 minutes.
  • Accessories: these may include an extension tube for floor cleaning, a wider brush to increase the surface area to be cleaned, a long nozzle to reach less accessible areas or a charging cable for the cigarette lighter, which is very practical if you use your handheld hoover to clean your car.

Accès au filtre d'un aspirateur à main

  • Noise level: even for small, occasional cleaning jobs, it’s preferable for the appliance not to be deafeningly loud. Unfortunately, the actual noise level is rarely as low as advertised.
  • Textile hoovers: relatively new on the market, anti-dust mite and anti-bacterial hoovers generally have a wider design with a roller brush (as on upright hoovers). Some are equipped with UV lamps and/or ultrasonic sterilisers for enhanced hygiene. In practical terms, they allow you to vacuum fabric materials such as sofas, cushions, mattresses, etc. more thoroughly.

Test sonore d'un aspirateur à main


Other hand-held hoovers we recommend

Shark CH950EUT: Very efficient, but noisy and its tank is impractical. During our tests, we quickly noticed that this hoover was very efficient. Not only did it manage to suck up pet hair from our sofa in a single pass, but it also managed to suck up dirt and dust from various surfaces (wooden table, TV stand, under sofa cushions, etc.). However, hair quickly accumulated around the motorised brush roller. In addition to the motorised brush, we also have a crevice tool and a dusting brush. In use, we found that it had a good grip and that its weight of almost 1 kg without accessories didn’t make it hard on the wrist. While its charging time is shorter than that of other models on the market (4 hours), its autonomy is within the norm, with a maximum of 11.10 minutes of continuous operation. However, the reason we didn’t include it in our main selection, despite its many advantages, was its high noise level (which fluctuates between 78 and 80 dB) and its awkwardly shaped tank, which makes emptying it a bit of a hassle.

Hoover Ultra Vortex MBC500UV: A top-of-the-range alternative. This anti-dust mite model managed to suck up pet hair, hair and any dirt on our sofa in 1 or 2 passes during our tests. We were also able to vacuum our cushions effectively and noticed a lot more dust in its tank than with the conventional hand-held hoovers we tested. However, the tank is much smaller than that of Jimmy’s competitor, at just 300 ml. Because it’s wired (5 m long), it has unlimited autonomy, and we weren’t bothered by the cord during use. Despite being slightly lighter than the Jimmy (1.850 kg vs. 1.900 kg), we opted for the other model because we found its grip a little more ergonomic. What’s more, the hairs and hair wrapped around the Hoover’s roller more than the other, and access to the roller requires a screwdriver. Finally, the Ultra Vortex is quite noisy (like almost all hand-held hoovers), as we measured 78 dB at a distance of 50 cm.


Other hand-held hoovers tested

Black+Decker NVC115W: Considering its price and short battery life, this is a good table-top hoover for quick, one-off vacuuming and, as such, can satisfy an undemanding user. Allergy sufferers will have to pass.

Black+Decker NVC215WA-QW: Very noisy, we preferred to eliminate this hoover because of its lack of ergonomics (no continuous suction and impractical access to the tank). What’s more, although the main nozzle can be extended, you need to be very careful when inserting it, as fingers could get caught.

Black+Decker PV1820L: As well as good suction power, this hoover’s strengths lie in its manoeuvrability. Its pivoting suction head gives you access to the smallest nooks and crannies, and its ease of use is quite convincing. However, it’s getting on in years, and its price has risen considerably since the start.

Bissell Pet Hair Eraser 1987N: This is the previous model in our main selection. We’ve replaced it with the new version, which proved a little quieter.

Black+Decker PD1820L: Very noisy, this model with a flexible hose isn’t the most practical we tested. It requires you to use 2 hands: one holding the hoover and the other the hose.

Volff Sigma One: Despite its good autonomy (battery model, unlike other anti-dust mite hoovers), we eliminated this Volff because we weren’t satisfied with its performance when it came to vacuuming pet hair from fabrics.

Invictus One: Although it performs well with a beautiful design, we chose to skip this model. It’s a little dated, and its price has fluctuated a lot in recent months, so it’s not always available.

Eufy HomeVac H30 Mate: We have to admit that its good design, autonomy and suction performance make it a very convincing handheld hoover. However, in our opinion, the price is far too high for this type of hoover.

Black+Decker BHHV520BFP-QW: Very heavy, very noisy (84dB at speed 2), smells a lot more like plastic when in use than other models and isn’t as effective as we expected when it comes to pet hair on textiles – that’s the list of faults that pushed this hoover out of our shortlist despite its record battery life of over 23 minutes.

Shark WV200EU: We were pleased with the performance of this handheld hoover. However, its noise level and short autonomy mean it can’t go everywhere, which is a bit unfortunate for the price it’s offered at (which has gone up a lot in recent months, too).


Translation by Selectos

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