Can’t anyone make a decent cordless, handheld vacuum cleaner that is convenient to use,
holds a charge well, runs for at least 15 minutes before needing to be recharged,
that will last more than a couple of years and not cost a fortune?
To say that for many years I had a love/hate relationship with a cordless handheld vacuum would be to put it mildly. I love the idea of a cordless handheld that is charged up and always ready to make a quick pick-up—it’s on my list of household must-haves. But I hate when the thing runs for only a few minutes before it needs to be recharged; when it’s heavy and awkward to use, and doesn’t do a very good job of picking up anything.
My first handheld Dustbuster was a wedding gift. 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 few months—refusing to hold any charge at all. Rubbish! Thankfully the marriage has fared much better.
In the convening years, I’ve owned no fewer than five other brands of handheld vacs, putting up with a lack of suction, short-run times between charges, difficulty emptying and cleaning—only to have all of them fail as well.
The pricey Dyson Root handheld vac 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. And worked at all for fewer than three years.
Can’t anyone make a decent cordless, handheld vacuum cleaner that is convenient to use, holds a charge well, runs for at least 15 minutes before needing to be recharged, has powerful suction to pick up all kinds of stuff we need a vacuum to pick up including pet hair—and that will last for more than a couple of years and not cost a fortune?
It was a Eureka! moment back in 2016 when I found it—the perfect handheld vac. Moreover, that Black + Decker Dustbuster continues to be the EC pick for Best Inexpensive Handheld Vacuum.
After nearly 7 years of continuous use and occasional abuse, it operates as new. It still can’t be beaten. And I have purchased two more exactly like it to have one handy in every house area. After all, what’s a great handheld if it’s not handy? That small pick-up job isn’t worth stopping switching gears, leaving the task at hand to perform search-and-recovery to find it. For me, a handheld needs to have a place and always be in its place, which means three places where we live.
Powered by a high-efficiency 16-volt lithium battery, this hand vac has long battery life. I’ve had it running continuously for longer than 15 minutes without a hitch on a single charge. The powerful battery holds a charge for up to 18 months when off the charger and does not have a memory effect when left sitting on the charger. That means I can leave it there, take it with me in the car, or even leave it in another part of the house so it will not lose its charge. It re-charges from completely dead to fully charged in 4 hours.
This vac has excellent suction. I don’t have pets, but others report that it picks up loose hair on hard surfaces very well, which is quite a significant test. I have never had a hand vac as reliable—not even that pricey Dyson. It can suck up Lego bricks, which I find to be the ultimate audition for a handheld vac. Not that I would ever do that intentionally.
I love that this vac is super lightweight and has an On/Off switch—no trigger or button to hold down continuously for it to run. Little design features like that just warm my heart. I love it so much, I have three, all purchased by myself and located in various areas of my home.
The one I use for my coffee roasting hobby gets the most intense workout. Coffee roasting produces a lot of sticky, oily chaff during the roasting process—debris that must be removed from the roaster after every session. You wouldn’t believe how this vac not only does the job but has done so tirelessly for nearly four years without a single fail. It just keeps going and going and … going!
Easy to maintain
Dustbuster has a large bagless dirt bowl that is easy to remove and empty. The bowl and the filter are completely washable.
Confession: I have not replaced any filters during the 7 years I have owned and heavily used my three 16V Black + Decker Dustbusters. I hand wash and dry the filters; they just keep working like new ones.
My only complaint
There is one thing I consider a minor design flaw, which I would change if I could. The charger base must sit on a flat surface with the vac on top. The charging unit is not designed to be attached to the wall, which I would prefer. However, given how well this vacuum operates and its positive features, I find this to be minor and easily tolerated.
Best Inexpensive Handheld Vac
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, BLACK + DECKER 16V Cordless Lithium Hand Vac (please do not confuse it with its disappointing cousins with Ni-Cad batteries) still gets EC Best Inexpensive handheld cordless vacuum.
While my beloved BLACK + DECKER 16V Cordless Lithium Hand Vacs continue to be available, this brand and model is getting more difficult to find. I have only my logic and intuition to go on here, but I believe it is being phased out to be replaced with this BLACK + DECKER 20V Cordless Lithium Hand Vac. While I remain undecided on whether the additional 4 volts of power are with the greatly increased price, this newer version comes in black and does have a slightly larger capacity dirt cup for what it’s worth.
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Question: Have you had any love/hate experiences with a cordless vacuum? If you’d like to share, use the comments area below.