Written By Teodora Spirovska
Published Dec. 1, 2020

There’s no arguing with the convenience and practicality of a portable vacuum cleaner. They’re ideal for tackling smaller messes without having to lug out your large, heavy vacuum cleaner, allowing you to clean more quickly and easily. They’re also great for getting in those hard-to-reach spaces. With smaller components and accessories, they’ll effortlessly clean around tight spots. Thanks to their space-saving design, people love portable vacuum cleaners for their campers, RVs, and boats, or small-space living areas. Today’s portable vacuum cleaners come in all kinds of sizes, colors, power options, and design styles. We’ve come up with a list of some of our favorite portable vacuum cleaners. 

The Best Portable Vacuum Cleaners


When it comes to the best overall productivity, efficiency, and performance, it’s hard to beat the Dustbuster. Equipped with a strong and long-lasting lithium-ion rechargeable battery, this little handheld vacuum will hold a charge for up to 18 months and can be fully recharged in four hours. Its smart charge technology allows the unit to recharge using up to 50 percent less energy than many other models. Its slim, rotating nozzle allows you to reach tight spaces and the attached slide-out crevice tool and flip-up upholstery brush never get lost like a lot of other brands that have these as separate accessories from the main base vacuum. A translucent dirt bowl houses a strong cyclonic action motor and washable filter and allows you to see when the vacuum needs emptying.

One downside of the Black+Decker Dustbuster Handheld Vacuum is with its battery and charger. Some customers have reported that their battery and charger have died after just a few years of use. The company does not sell replacement batteries or chargers for this model, but you may be able to find them on the market if your vacuum is still in good shape.

If you have pets, our choice for the best portable vacuum cleaner for pet hair is the Bissell ICONpet Cordless Vacuum. This is a powerful double-duty portable vacuum cleaner equipped with a digital motor that spins at an impressive 420 miles per hour to deliver the ultimate in cleaning performance. A patented tangle-free brush roll has a 3200 RPM spinning capacity that leaves no hair wrapped in the roller. To eliminate messy pet dander, the mess-free dirt tank is equipped with a clean slide technology for emptying without letting mess escape. This vacuum is two vacuums in one, converting from a handheld portable vacuum to a high-reach stick vacuum easily. An LED lighted crevice tool plus dusting brush easily reaches those tight spaces. Best of all, your purchase of this vacuum funds one pet adoption fee, allowing you to provide a forever home for a needy animal.

One issue with the Bissell ICONpet Cordless Vacuum is its durability. This portable vacuum cleaner has been known to wear down after extensive use. Some customers have reported that the vacuum tube has started to crack after several uses. This vacuum is great for pet hair, but you may want to have another vacuum for regular use to prolong the lifespan of this product.

Our choice for the best portable vacuum cleaner for the car is the ThisWorx Portable Car Vacuum Cleaner. This little vacuum cleaner weighs only 2.4 pounds but has a strong 106 watt, 8.8 amp metal turbine and motor that provides some serious suction power. A 16-foot long power cord plugs directly into your car’s 12-volt outlet and runs off its battery. This portable vacuum is smartly designed with several all-purpose nozzles and accessories that allow it to easily and thoroughly reach all those to access nooks and crannies of your vehicle, enabling you to get a truly comprehensive cleaning. The transparent cylinder lets you easily see when it’s time to empty the vacuum and its protective lid minimizes escaping dust and dirt during emptying. A spare HEPA filter and handy storage bag make add to the overall value of this portable vacuum cleaner.

One downside of the ThisWorx Portable Car Vacuum Cleaner is that it does not work for extended periods at one time. Some customers have reported that their vacuum suddenly shuts off after a few minutes of use. If this issue occurs with your product, you may want to reach out to the company about a possible replacement for a manufacturing defect.

Our pick for the best portable wet/dry vacuum has to be the DeWalt 18/20V Max Wet/Dry Vacuum. The benefits of having a vacuum that can be used for either wet or dry messes are numerous. Add to that the versatility of having it be easily portable and able to operate with or without a cord, and the benefits of this portable vacuum become clear. You can use this wet/dry vacuum with either its included AC cord or with an 18 or 20-volt battery. This portable vacuum comes equipped with a high-quality, washable HEPA filter that will trap up to 99.97 percent of dust and contaminants in the air. It has a two-gallon capacity and a five-foot heavy-duty, crush-resistant hose that enables a long reach. A convenient carrying handle makes transportation easy.

One issue with the DeWalt 18/20V Max Vacuum is with its suction power. While this vacuum is extremely portable and versatile, it has been known to have issues cleaning up large spills or messes. It is recommended to plug this vacuum into an outlet to generate enough power to clean up tough areas.

We have to give an honorable mention to the GeeMo Cordless Vacuum Cleaner. This portable vacuum is tiny but powerful. Equipped with six 2000 mAh lithium-ion batteries, this rechargeable vacuum cleaner can operate for 20-25 minutes before needing a recharge. It also comes with safety features to monitor short-circuiting, input current, input voltage, and temperature during recharging to prevent fire hazards. Weighing just over two pounds, this cordless vacuum cleaner also has a convenient wet/dry function, allowing it to tackle almost any mess. It comes with separate attachments including a brush, a flat rubber suction, and an extended rubber suction that makes it even more versatile. The translucent dirt cup shows you when the vacuum needs to be emptied, and the cup and filter can be easily cleaned with water and mild detergent. This portable vacuum also operates at a noise level of less than 75dB.

One downside of the GeeMo Cordless Vacuum Cleaner is that it is not great for cleaning up pet hair. It is advertised as a quality product for cleaning up pet hair, but compared to other pet vacuums, it does not generate enough power or have the proper attachments for cleaning. If you have a dog or cat who sheds a lot, you may want to consider another vacuum.

Despite its lightweight and compact size, the Shark WV201 WANDVAC Handheld Vacuum is an extremely high-quality vacuum. This portable vacuum features a high-powered brushless motor. It has a tapered nozzle that is ideal for furniture, upholstery, vehicles, and more. The one-touch mechanism makes it very easy to empty this vacuum once full. It includes an ion charging dock that can provide a full charge for this vacuum within 2.5 hours. There is a crevice tool for cleaning tight spaces within your vehicle and spots around the home that are hard to reach. The multi-surface tool multi is ideal for rugs, carpets, pet hair, and more. With a weight of just 1.4 pounds, this handheld vacuum makes an excellent travel option for convenient cleaning while on the go.

One downside of the Shark WV201 WANDVAC Handheld Vacuum is with its storage bin. The bin is fairly smaller than some comparable models, so be aware that you may have to empty it quite often if cleaning very dirty spaces or using this vacuum frequently.

The Dirt Devil SD20005RED Scorpion Handheld Vacuum Cleaner is another option that is quite powerful for its compact size. This bagless vacuum has a dirt cup that can easily be emptied when full. It features a very powerful motor and excellent suction power. There are dust brush attachments and an extension hose for added convenience. There is also a quick-flip crevice tool for detailed cleaning, vehicle cleanings, and to clean other hard-to-reach areas of your home. The 16-foot power cord has a quick-release feature to extend or contract the cord with the push of a button. With a weight of just over three pounds, this portable vacuum makes a great option for traveling and is also very easy to store away when not in use.

One issue with the Dirt Devil Scorpion is that it is rather loud compared to other options on the market. If loud noise does not bother you while vacuuming, then this is still a quality option that provides great power for its price point.

The Eufy HomeVac H11 Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner is another high quality, lightweight option. This portable vacuum weighs just over one pound, and can easily suck up a variety of messes, dirt, and spills. It features a powerful motor while still being one of the quieter options on the market. There is a 2-in-1 crevice tool to clean vehicles and other hard-to-reach areas of your home. This crevice tool conveniently converts to a duster brush for cleaning hard surfaces like your HDTV screen or computer keyboard. There is a built-in rechargeable battery that charges via the included USB cable. The vacuum filter is completely washable for added convenience. This portable vacuum cleaner is roughly the size of a wine bottle and can easily be stored away in any closet, shelf, or pantry when not in use. The handle features a non-slip design for comfort and precision handling while in use.

One downside of the Eufy HomeVac H11 Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner is that the dust cup is rather small. If you are using this vacuum to clean a large area or will be using it frequently, you may want to keep an eye on the dust cup. You will likely have to empty it quite often for extensive cleanings.

Best Portable Vacuum Cleaners Buying Guide & FAQ

Portable vacuum cleaners are an excellent way to clean your vehicles and hard-to-reach areas of your home. Keeping your vehicle free from dirt, hair, and other debris can make the difference between the passenger having a pleasant or unpleasant experience. The best portable vacuum cleaners typically contain attachments for cleaning furniture, rugs, upholstery, and more.

Portable vacuum cleaners make excellent travel options and can help maintain vehicle cleanliness. They provide another convenient option for using a gas station or car wash vacuum cleaner. Car wash and gas station vacuum cleaners can be inconveniently located and expensive over time. 

Benefits of a Portable Vacuum Cleaner

The primary reason for purchasing a portable vacuum cleaner is versatility. It is a budget-friendly, affordable way to keep your vehicle clean, and it can also be used to clean hard-to-reach areas of your home. If you are into camping, hiking, or fishing, a portable vacuum can be a convenient way to keep your tent, RV, or camper clean at all times.

Most of the best portable vacuum cleaners feature powerful motors despite their compact, convenient size. It is important to choose a model with enough special features and attachments to clean dirt, debris, mud, pet hair, and more. These tools can also be used to clean tight spaces and small crevices. 

Purchasing your portable vacuum cleaner from a trusted brand that has built a reputation on cleaning products is another important consideration. These products do not last forever, but reputable manufacturers typically make durable products that are built to last for several years without any issues.

  • Portable vacuum cleaners are extremely lightweight, easy to store, and make convenient options for cleaning on the go.
  • Portable vacuum cleaners are versatile, with some models featuring several different attachments and cordless options.
  • Portable vacuum cleaners are a practical option for spot cleaning and cleaning up spills and messes, particularly in crevices or hard-to-reach areas.

The Most Common Types of Portable Vacuum Cleaners

Men Vacuuming with Portable Vacuum Cleaner

There are three basic types of portable vacuum cleaners, each coming with particular features and benefits. Some portable vacuums include multiple uses. You may not need a vacuum with all of the features, so make sure to familiarize yourself with the different types and choose the option that is best for your cleaning needs.


Corded portable vacuum cleaners typically have very strong suction power and a powerful motor in comparison to cordless vacuums. The major disadvantage is that you are restricted by the cord length. Some models can be charged via USB cable and your vehicle’s cigarette lighter socket.

If you will be using your portable vacuum cleaner primarily around your home or within reach of a power outlet, then corded vacuums can still be a great option. They are often best for cleaning up large areas of dirt and debris, as well as large spills or messes.


Cordless portable vacuum cleaners are typically charged via USB cable, wall charger, or charging dock. They often feature rechargeable lithium batteries that can be fully charged within just a few hours. Cordless vacuums are the most convenient option as they can be used anywhere, including on long trips, provided that they have been charged properly beforehand. 

If you are someone who is into long camping, hiking, or fishing trips, then cordless vacuums are a great option for cleaning your tent, camper, trailer, or RV. They can also easily be packed away in your luggage, and can even be used to clean your vehicle, boat, or ATV.


Wet/dry portable vacuum cleaners may be the most versatile type of portable vacuum on the market. Although these vacuums can be priced at a premium, they are ideal for cleaning up both wet and dry spills and messes. 

Wet/dry vacuums may not have as much suction power as other types, so make sure to double-check the power rating before purchasing. If your wet/dry vacuum comes with a storage bin, make sure to read the instruction manual and empty it properly to avoid any maintenance issues.

The Most Important Features of Portable Vacuum Cleaners

A portable vacuum cleaner can be extremely useful to clean your vehicle or other hard-to-reach places in your home. Try to familiarize yourself with the product before making your purchase. You should consider several important features to determine which portable vacuum cleaner is the best fit for your needs.


The overall weight of your portable vacuum cleaner is an important factor to consider. If you will be traveling with your vacuum, then you want a lightweight product, yet still has sufficient suction power.

The key to finding the best portable vacuum cleaner is to find a product that is light enough to use without causing arm or hand fatigue, while not sacrificing any power at the same time. Typically cordless vacuums will weigh more than corded options due to their heavy rechargeable battery packs. It is recommended to test out your model before purchasing if possible to find the perfect balance of weight and power.


The amount and type of accessories included with your portable vacuum cleaner can be a key factor to consider. Some basic vacuums include just one nozzle, while other more advanced models include multiple attachments specially designed to pick up hair, dirt, and more. The special attachments may include crevice tools for cleaning hard-to-reach areas like under your car seat, pet hair brushes, or extension hoses to help you reach tall spaces.

In addition to the special attachments, the type and size of your storage bin are other factors to consider. Some storage bins are fully washable, while others need to be replaced after a certain number of uses.


Not all portable vacuum cleaners offer a warranty, but it is another critical factor to consider before purchasing your product. The most reputable brands should offer some warranty. The most common type is a limited warranty for up to one or two years, although some brands offer limited warranties and cash insurance when purchasing their products. 

Warranties typically cover any manufacturing defects or issues that arise after within the first few uses of your vacuum. You will probably never need this extensive insurance policy, but if a brand offers it at an affordable price, you should not pass it up.

Care and Maintenance of Portable Vacuum Cleaners

When caring for your portable vacuum cleaner, make sure to follow the instruction manual and manufacturer’s instructions. Whether your portable vacuum cleaner is old or brand new, there are a few simple steps you can take to prolong its lifespan.

Portable vacuum cleaners can be one of the most convenient tools and one of the best ways to help keep your home and vehicle clean. It is vital that you know exactly how to use your appliance to maximize its performance. Misusing your portable vacuum can be inefficient and cause damage to the product over the long term. To get the most from your portable vacuum cleaner, follow these helpful tips.

  • Always empty the storage bin and replace it if necessary. Some storage bins are fully washable, while others need to be replaced after a certain number of uses. Using a vacuum with a storage bin that is nearly full can hinder the performance of your product. So always make sure to double-check your storage bin before using it. If the bin looks dirty or worn out, it most likely needs to be replaced.
  • Make sure to use your portable vacuum’s accessories and attachments properly. If you are unsure how to use them, always consult your manual first. These accessories can make your cleaning experience a lot better and more efficient. Various attachments can be used to clean furniture, upholstery, pet hair, hard-to-reach crevices, and more.
  • Always handle your portable vacuum cleaner with care. Even though your vacuum may seem like an extremely stable product, make sure to protect it while traveling and store it in a safe area when not in use. Try to avoid pulling the cord too hard if it has one, and always avoid picking up very large debris with the vacuum. If you can remove the mess easily with your hands, clean it as best as possible before using your vacuum to clean the area.

The Best Portable Vacuum Cleaners FAQ:

Understanding the purpose of a portable vacuum cleaner and how to properly use it is essential. You should become familiar with the various types of portable vacuum cleaners and their numerous features before making your purchase. While there are many varieties of portable vacuums available, make sure to purchase a product that is the best fit for your needs.

Q: What is the best portable vacuum cleaner?

Our best overall portable vacuum cleaner is the Black + Decker Dustbuster Handheld Vacuum, which features a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. But there are several other great options available, depending on your budget and cleaning needs.

Q: How do you use the portable vacuum cleaner?

Make sure to consult your vacuum’s instruction manual or manufacturing instructions before using your product. If you are using a corded vacuum, make sure it is plugged in to a proper outlet. If you are using a cordless option, make sure the battery is fully charged before operating.

Q: How can I choose a good portable vacuum cleaner?

Consult our reviews and do some research of your own before purchasing your portable vacuum cleaner. There are several great vacuums available, depending on your budget and needs. Make sure to purchase a portable vacuum that will work best for cleaning your household, vehicle, and more.

Our Top Pick

The Black+Decker Dustbuster is our choice for the best overall portable vacuum cleaner. It features a long-lasting lithium-ion rechargeable battery and will hold a charge for up to 18 months. It also features a slim, rotating nozzle to help you reach tight spaces, as well as a crevice tool and flip-up upholstery brush.

Final Thoughts

For the best overall portable vacuum cleaner, consider the Black+Decker Dustbuster, featuring a powerful, long-lasting rechargeable battery, or the ThisWorx Portable Car Vacuum Cleaner, featuring several all-purpose nozzles and accessories.


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