Wondering what the best handheld carpet cleaner is? Looking for something lightweight and powerful?

Every household can use a small handheld vacuum cleaner for those quick clean up jobs that don’t require breaking out the big upright vacuum. Small spills and little dirt spots can be handled very effectively by handheld vacuums, and it’s nice to have one around so that you don’t have to rely on a big heavy upright vacuum for all of your vacuuming needs.

Basically, you have four good options for handheld carpet cleaners that use a trigger or handle style grip. Our top choice is the Bissell Pet Hair Eraser, because, let’s face it, all Bissell machines are top notch and this model is packed with features:

  • Cordless so you can go anywhere in the house
  • Motorized tool provides powerful suction for deep cleaning
  • Crevice tool and Telescoping Extension Wand included
  • Easy-to-Empty dirt bin to help get rid of pet hair easily
  • Dual-action filtration system to capture all of the pet hair

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How To Tell The Difference Between Handheld Vacuums And Handsfree Spot Cleaners

There are many different types of portable carpet cleaners. As we have discussed already, all portable carpet cleanser are lightweight and designed to be carried, but that does not mean they are all “handheld” vacuums. Some are “handsfree”.

Spotbot handsfree pet stain cleanerWhat does handsfree mean? Basically, some of the best portable vacuums are spot cleaners that are designed to be placed down directly onto the dirt spot and left there to do its thing, no handholding required. This placement allows the brush head to dig deep into the carpet to bring up dirt that has soaked right down to the bottom of the carpet fibers.

Check out the Bissell Spotbot Handsfree Pet Spot And Stain Cleaner for an example of a handsfree spot cleaner. This machine does have a hose with attachments that allows it to be used in a similar manner to a handheld vacuum, but it is specifically designed to be a handsfree machine that is place directly onto stains.

On the other hand, (get it?) handheld vacuums are designed to be carried around by hand and pushed or pulled across the carpet stains. These vacuums generally have a hand or trigger style grip and require you to use your own body weight or strength to apply pressure to the surface that is getting cleaned.

Make sure you understand the difference between these carpet cleaners and get the right kind of machine for your needs. For a more portable carpet cleaner options, check out our article on the best portable carpet cleaners on the market right now.


What is the best handheld carpet cleaner?

1. Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Handheld Vacuum

The Bissell Pet Hair Eraser handheld vacuum is the best handheld carpet cleaner for pets out there in terms of the value for money that it provides. This is the perfect vacuum for anyone looking for a classic, no frills, handheld vacuum with powerful suction.

As the name indicates, this hand vac is built with one purrrpose in mind. If you have a cat, a dog, or are simply a hairy person, you will probably understand how useful a hand vacuum can be for sweeping up hairs that your pets shed around the house.

Pets leave hair everywhere: where they sit down, where they sleep, when they rub up against you. And if if you don’t clean it up immediately, the hair and dander can begin to spread around your house and leave an odor.

The Pet Hair Eraser is specifically built to deal with the problem of pet hair. It has a dual-action filtration system that includes a detachable motorized brush and a crevice tool to make sure that you capture all of the hair that your furry friends leave behind.

Pet Hair Eraser 1782 BISSELL Vacuums Tools


  • Cordless so you can go anywhere in the house
  • Motorized tool provides powerful suction for a deep cleaning
  • Crevice tool and Telescoping Extension Wand included
  • Easy-to-Empty dirt bin to help get rid of pet hair easily
  • Dual-action filtration system to capture all of the pet hair



2. Shark rocket corded hand vac (hv292)

The Shark Rocket is super lightweight. At just under 4 pounds, it is one of the lightest hand vacuums on the market today. That lightness makes a big difference after you have been holding it for 10 minutes or more.

Keep in mind that it is a corded handheld vacuum, which means that it can only go as far as the leash will allow. But thankfully, the cord is 15 fee long, which is long enough that you can go almost anywhere in your house with it.

Shark VacuumThe Shark Rocket comes with several attachments including a motorized brush head and standard crevice tool. It also has an easy-to-empty bagless dust canister. Just dump the canister out in the trash after each use and it will be ready to go for the next time you need it.


  • Less than 4 pounds, ultra-lightweight
  • Motorized brush head for agitating allergens deep inside the carpet 
  • Bagless, easy-to-empty dust collection canister
  • Never need to recharge due to the 15-foot-long power cord
  • Clean an entire room without losing suction power


3. Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute Lightweight Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner

Dyson Cyclone V10With the Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute, you get both a stick vacuum and a handheld vacuum in one machine. Like the other Dyson models out there, the Dyson V10 Absolute has a detachable extension with a motorized brush head that transforms it into a stick vacuum.

That combo makes it one of the most innovative stick and handheld vacuums out there. Combined with the fact that it is cordless and lasts for almost an hour with no power dips, the Dyson V10 Absolute’s multi-use configurations allow you to reach everywhere in your house and car with powerful suction and deep scrubbing action.


  • Confirmed via testing to be the most powerful suction of any cordless stick vacuum
  • Up to an hour of run time when using a non-motorized tool. Cyclone technology at your figure tips.
  • Lightweight and versatile, to clean right through the home.
  • Engineered to pick up both large debris and fine dust
  • Powerful torque drive cleaner head drives stiff nylon bristles into carpets to capture deep-down dirt
  • Quickly transforms to a handheld vacuum, to clean all around your home and car


What’s the difference between the Dyson V7 Motorhead and the Dyson V10 Cyclone?

First, the Dyson V7 Motorhead is an older model of this line of Dyson vacuums. There are V6 and V8 models currently available as well. Previous models have less powerful engines, which is the defining reason that the older models are not as good as the current V10 models.

Each V10 model comes with different features and attachments. The Absolute is the top of the line V10 model. It is the most powerful and fully featured stick vacuum on the market. The Motorhead is very bare bones in comparison with fewer attachments, but it still comes with a V10 motor.

From the chart below, you can see that the Animal is between the Motorhead and Absolute. This would be a good middle ground between the two because it is exactly the same as the Absolute in almost every way, except that it does not come with the soft roller cleaner head attachment. If you don’t plan on using this soft roller on your drapes, then you can by the save some money and pick up the Dyson V10 Animal instead of the Absolute.


Bissell Stick Vacuum Comparison Chart



4. Eureka EasyClean Lightweight Handheld Vacuum Cleaner, Hand Vac Corded

The Eureka EasyClean is the cheapest handheld vacuum on this list. It is also our pick for the overall best handheld vacuum for cleaning carpeted stairs on the market right now. The Eureka EasyClean is even better than some cordless hand vacuums.

What makes the Eureka EasyClean the so good at vacuuming carpeted stairs? The main reason is that it has a wide motorized brush head that is specifically designed to cover a large part of each step with each sweep. The top part of a step is called the ‘tread’, and narrower brush heads require many passes to properly clean each tread.

Eureka EasyClean Lightweight Handheld Vacuum Cleaner, Hand Vac Corded, 71BAlso, the Eureka has a visor over the brush that can be adjusted to change the angle that the brush pushes against the surface you are cleaning. When the visor is adjusted to open the brush forward horizontally instead of vertically down, the Eureka can be used to easily vacuum the risers of each step.


  • Weight: less than 5 pounds, very lightweight
  • Motorized brush and integrated filtration system
  • Easy to empty dust canister
  • 20-foot cord provides extended reach to clean an entire room or vehicle
  • 1 Year Manufacturer Warranty and Money-Back Guarantee


What To Look For When Buying A Hand Held Carpet Cleaner

Everyone wants to find the best handheld carpet cleaner but not everyone takes the time to really think through the options. But a good hand vac can be one of the most useful tools you buy for your home. So it’s important to take the time to weigh the pros and cons of each machine before making a purchase.

The tricky part of deciding which vacuum to buy is figuring out beforehand whether it will suit your needs before you have had a chance to try a few options. But even though you can’t try them all out first, you can make a better, informed decision by asking yourself several questions:

Do I Want A Specialized Hand Vac Or The Best Multi-Purpose Handheld Vacuum?

What are you going to use the vacuum for? Are you mostly looking for something to pick up cat hair or do you plan to use it for many different purposes?

The Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute is without a doubt the most versatile vacuum on this list. It comes with several attachments that allow it to address any kind of dust, dirt, or debris that might be soiling your home.

But there are also specialized vacuums built specifically for sucking up pet hair. The best handheld carpet cleaner for pets is the aptly named Bissell Pet Hair Eraser. And still others are built for the basic task of vacuuming the stairs, like the Eureka EasyClean. It all depends on what you are looking for in a handheld carpet cleaner.

What Handheld Vacuum Has The Best Motorized Brush?

One tool you are going to have to decide about early on is the motorized brush head. The brush is also one of the most important features of your hand vacuum because after all, it’s the part that actually collects the dust and dirt you are cleaning up.

So it’s important to decide up front: Do you want a motorized brush head and if so, how intense do you want it to be? This a few other key considerations are important to take into account when choosing a motorized brush head on a handheld vacuum:

  • Size: the brushes that come with handheld vacuums are almost always smaller and less powerful than the brushes on upright vacuums. The exception to that would be the Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute and the Shark Rocket with it’s attached wide brush.
  • Bristles: each brush has different types of bristles, and the bristles will wear out eventually, so it’s important to look for a brush head with durable bristles. Also, longer bristles can reach deeper down into the fibers of your carpet and provide a deeper clean.
  • Adjustability: many handheld carpet cleaners are harder to use on vertical surfaces, like the risers of stairs. The Shark Rocket and the Eureka EasyClean both have adjustable visors that make it easier to address surfaces like risers and the undersides of chairs.

Do I Want Wet Scrubbing Or Dry Suction?

Finally, the trickiest consideration of them all is whether or not you need a wet scrubbing vacuum. After all, while the Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute is the best in class handheld cordless vacuum for powerful dry suction, it is definitely NOT the best handheld spot cleaner. That honor belongs to Bissell Spotbot Handsfree Pet Spot And Stain Cleaner. 

As we discussed above, the Bissell Spotbot is not exactly a handheld vacuum cleaner, but there are other truly hand held spot cleaners, Most of them rely on a hose of some sort to deliver the dexterity associated with handheld devices. But every true spot cleaner makes use of water and cleaning solution of some sort to shampoo the carpet.

What is the best handheld carpet cleaner

Conclusion: Those Are The Best Hand Held Carpet Cleaners Around

So that’s it for handheld carpet cleaners! These are your best options for both specialized carpet cleaners for pets or stairs, and also general purpose handheld vacuums.

There is always more to say about the versatile machines but if there is anything super important that was not discussed here, definitely leave a comment below.

Thanks for stopping by!