Best Inexpensive Cordless Handheld Vacuum

To say that I have had a love/hate relationship with handheld vacuums for many years would be to put it mildly. I love the idea of a handheld cordless vacuum that is charged up and always ready to make a quick pick-up—in fact, that’s pretty much on my list of life’s necessities.

But I hate when the thing runs for only a few minutes before it needs to be recharged and has such weak suction it really doesn’t do a very good job of picking anything up. It’s enough to make me want to pull my hair out!

I’m sure it’s been 30 years or longer since I got my first handheld Dustbuster. It would hold a charge for maybe two minutes if all the stars were properly aligned and I held it in just the right position. And the thing completely failed after only a short time—refusing to hold any charge at all.

Since then I’ve had no fewer than five other handhelds, only to put up with a lack of suction, short run times between charges, difficulty emptying and cleaning and having all of them fail as well. I’m sure pretty sure I’ve owned every brand of handheld vacuum out there, including a pricey Dyson which was nothing to write home about. Its maximum runtime of about 6 minutes was marginally acceptable but it was really heavy, awkward to empty and difficult to clean. Plus even it lasted for fewer than five years.

Granted, I do use a handheld vac a lot, but can’t anyone make a decent cordless, handheld vacuum cleaner that is convenient to use, holds a charge well, runs for at least 10 minutes before needing to be recharged, picks up all kinds of stuff we need a vacuum to pick up including pet hair; will last for more than a couple of years and not cost a fortune? I’ve come to the conclusion that our expectations may be too high.

Anything cordless is not going to operate the same as a corded appliance because it must rely on batteries, which will fail over time.

But here’s the good news! Batteries have improved greatly, which means they last many more years than they used to, hold a charge stronger and longer than ever before.

Black and Decker’s latest and best version of its Dustbuster—BLACK + DECKER CHV1410L 16V Cordless Lithium Hand Vac—while not perfect, comes pretty darned close!

Powered by a high-efficiency 16-volt lithium battery, this hand vac has a stated run time of 10 minutes, although I’ve had it operate continuously for up to 15 minutes. And it has excellent suction! I don’t have pets, but others who do report that it picks up loose hair on hard surfaces very well.

This hand vac has a beautiful design, works like a champ and it’s easy to hold and operate. It  just plain works. I have never had a hand vac as reliable and easy to use—not even that pricey Dyson.

It has a large bagless dirt bowl that is easy to remove and empty. And it (along with the filter), is completely washable. The powerful battery holds a charge for up to 18 months when off the charger and does not have a memory effect. That means I can either keep it fully charged at all times, or take it with me in the car or even leave in another part of the house and it will not lose its charge.

I love that this vac has an on/off switch—no trigger or button I have to hold down continuously for it to run. Little design features like that just warm my heart.

There is one thing I would change, which I consider a slight design flaw—the charger base. It must sit on a flat surface and then the vac stands on top of it. The charging unit is not designed to be attached to the wall, which I would prefer. However given how well this vacuum operates and all of its positive features, I find this to be minor and easily tolerated.

I love this cordless handheld vacuum more than I’ve loved any other hand vac and give it many stars—far more than the traditional five! For the money, about $50 at Amazon with Prime shipping, BLACK + DECKER CHV1410L 16V Cordless Lithium Hand Vac (please do confuse it with its disappointing cousin that has a Ni-Cad battery) gets my designation of being the best inexpensive handheld cordless vacuum.

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Tricia Stearns

    I’ve had this model for several years and very happy with the power and easy to use. I use it frequently for dog hair, carpet, etc. No complaints at all!

  • sarahep

    I’ve had the same experience with handheld vacuums — worthless junk! Then I read about this B&D model and the benefits of lithium batteries, so I bought one — with cautious optimism. And I love it! I’ve had it now for several months and it’s still going strong. I’ve got four cats, so the vacuum gets a lot of use. Thank you for spotlighting this great product.

  • Angela Weaver

    I love this B&D vacuum! I recommend it to everyone that says they are buying a hand vac. I wish I could afford one for each floor of my townhouse!

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