The Best Portable Vacuums to Keep Your Home Spotless

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Portable vacuum cleaners are a popular choice for quick cleanups around small homes and apartments. Their lightweight, cordless design makes them ideal for tidying small messes without lugging out a heavy, corded full-sized vacuum.

In this guide, we’ll cover the top 4 portable vacuums and their key features, pros and cons. We’ll also discuss important factors to consider when choosing a portable vacuum for your needs. And finally, we’ll answer some common questions about portable vacuums like battery life, cleaning performance, and more.

Whether you need a versatile portable vacuum for small spaces or a convenient cordless option for your whole home, read on to find your perfect portable pick!

An Introduction to Portable Vacuums

First, let’s overview what makes portable vacuums such a handy cleaning tool:

  • Compact and lightweight– Easy to carry, store and maneuver
  • Cordless operation– No cords to limit range or get tangled
  • Bagless– Most have easy empty dust cups instead of bags
  • Rechargeable batteries– Offer cordless freedom
  • Less noise– Quieter operation than full-size vacuums
  • Portable design– Ideal for cleaning cars, stairs, upholstery

While portable vacuums used to be viewed as merely a backup to a main vacuum, the latest models provide powerful cleaning performance similar to full-sized vacuums. Their cordless convenience makes them a versatile addition in any home.

Next, let’s look at the top 4 portable vacuum cleaners and how they compare.

The 4 Best Portable Vacuum Cleaners

Dyson V8 Absolute

Dyson is the most recognizable name in cordless vacuums. The Dyson V8 Absolute is a lightweight stick vacuum jam-packed with features.

Key features and specs:

  • Cordless, bagless stick design
  • Up to 40 minutes run time
  • Direct drive cleaner head deep cleans carpets
    -Whole machine HEPA filtration
  • 14 gallon dust bin
  • 75 lbs weight


  • Excellent cleaning across floors and carpets
  • Lightweight and maneuverable
  • HEPA filtration great for allergies
  • Good amount of run time per charge


  • Expensive
  • Some noise while running
  • Dust bin could be bigger

With strong suction power and cordless versatility, the Dyson V8 Absolute excels as an all-purpose portable vacuum for whole home cleaning.

Shark Rocket Ultra-Light

This ultra-light model from Shark provides cordless convenience at a more budget-friendly price.

Specs and features:

  • Cordless stick vacuum
  • Up to 16 minutes of run time
  • DuoClean brush roll for carpets and floors
  • Anti-allergen seal technology
  • Removable hand vacuum
  • 6 lbs


  • Extremely lightweight
  • Affordable price
  • Good for carpets and hard floors
    -Hand vacuum for portability


  • Short run time per charge
  • No HEPA filtration
  • Smaller 0.11 gallon dust cup

The Shark Rocket Ultra-Light is an inexpensive option for a basic portable vacuum to tackle quick cleanups.

Bissell AeroSlim Lithium Ion

The Bissell AeroSlim offers lightweight cordless power in an ultra-compact body.

Features and specs:

  • Cordless and bagless
  • Up to 12 minutes of run time
  • Multi-surface brush roll
  • Cyclonic filtration
  • 4 stage filtration system
  • 76 lbs weight


  • Very lightweight stick design
  • Low profile reaches under furniture
  • Good cleaning for hard floors and area rugs
  • Removable hand vac


  • Short battery run time
  • No carpet height adjustment
  • Small 0.14 gallon dust bin

The compact AeroSlim is ideal as a portable vacuum for hard floors in apartments or small homes.

Shark Vertex UltraLight Corded

The Shark Vertex brings lightweight cleaning power in a corded stick design.

Features and specs:

  • Corded stick vacuum
  • DuoClean PowerFins brush roll
  • Anti-Allergen Complete Seal
  • Vacuum and handheld convertible
  • Swivel steering
  • 5 lbs weight


  • Extremely lightweight
  • Good cleaning on carpets and floors
  • Powerful suction for a stick vacuum
  • Unlimited run time when corded


  • Must be plugged into an outlet
  • No onboard storage for cord

Even with its cord, the feathery-light Vertex allows cleaning large homes without fatigue. An excellent corded alternative to cordless portables.

Now that we’ve covered some top portable vacuum models, let’s go over what to look for when selecting your own.

How to Choose the Right Portable Vacuum

Consider the following criteria when deciding on a portable vacuum for your needs:

Home size and flooring. Do you need to vacuum just small spaces like apartments? Or a whole multi-story house? Are your floors mostly carpeting or hard surfaces? Match the vacuum’s cleaning abilities to your flooring.

Corded vs cordless. Cordless models offer great freedom of movement but run times are limited by battery life. Corded stick vacuums provide unlimited run time. Consider your space and needs.

Weight. Look for lighter models (4-6 lbs) if you’ll be using the vacuum portably. Heavier vacuums become tiring quickly.

Storage. Many models use a stick-like design that allows the vacuum itself to stand upright in storage. Others come with wall-mounted charging bases.

Noise level. Cordless vacuums are quieter than corded. But check decibel ratings if you need an ultra-quiet vacuum.

Accessories. Look for models that come with useful attachments like crevice tools, brushes and pet hair removers.

Suction power. Check manufacturer specs for suction power and airflow. More power means better cleaning.

Runtime. Cordless models range from 10-40 minutes on average. Look for at least 15-20 minutes run time.

Filtration. HEPA filtration is ideal for trapping allergens but not common on stick vacuums. See what filtration level is used.

Bagless vs bagged. Most portable vacuums are bagless for convenience. But bagged options keep dust contained better.

Special features. Consider extra conveniences like removable hand vacuums, LED headlights, and wall charging bases.

Budget. Portable vacuums range widely in price. Set a budget and look for models with the ideal features to meet it.

Reviews. Check reviews and look for models rated highly for performance, ease of use, durability and more.

By keeping your needs and features in mind, you’re sure to select the perfect portable vacuum model for your home and lifestyle. For more guidance, read on for commonly asked questions.

Frequently Asked Portable Vacuum Questions

How long do portable vacuum cleaners last?

Quality portable vacuums can last approximately 5-8 years with proper maintenance. Hand wash filters, replace belts and brush rolls when needed. Cordless batteries hold max charge for 2-3 years.

What’s the best way to clean a portable vacuum?

For cordless stick vacuums, wipe down exterior surfaces with a dry cloth. Empty dust cup frequently. Hand wash filters instead of washing the whole unit. Replace batteries and brush rolls per manufacturer.

Where is the best place to store a portable vacuum?

Stand upright in a closet, corner, or bin. Mount on a wall-installed charging base. Detach hand vacuum if needed. Avoid excessive heat, cold or moisture.

Are portable vacuums good for pet hair?

Models with motorized brush rolls and strong suction work great on pet hair. Look for pet hair focused accessories like mini turbo brushes. Bagless models handle pet hair well.

Can you use a portable vacuum on carpets?

Stick vacuums best suited for carpets have height adjustments and specialized brush rolls to extract dirt from carpets. Check manufacturer cleaning recommendations.

What is the best portable vacuum for car cleaning?

Cordless handheld vacuums are ideal for car interiors. Look for extended crevice tools to reach tight spaces. A model with a charging base can be kept in the car.

Can you take a portable vacuum on an airplane?

Only cordless models. Attachments must fit in carry-on. Batteries under 100 watt-hours are permitted. Some airlines prohibit stick vacuum shapes, so check regulations.

How long does the battery last on a cordless vacuum?

Runtime ranges from 10-40 minutes typically. Battery capacity diminishes over time, losing max runtime after 2-3 years. High-end models may last up to 5 years.

What is the best brand for portable vacuums?

Dyson, Shark, Bissell, Hoover, Eureka and Black + Decker are top brands. Dyson pioneered cordless vacuums but Shark also makes great models at lower price points.

Can you use a portable vacuum to clean a large home?

Cordless models alone may not last long enough run-wise for large homes. Consider a corded stick vacuum. Or use cordless as a portable supplement to a main vacuum.


Portable vacuum cleaners provide convenient cleaning power for small homes, apartments, vehicles, tight spaces, and quick mess cleanup.

Key takeaways:

  • Look for cordless stick vacuums or more powerful corded models based on your needs.
  • Dyson, Shark and Bissell offer excellent portable options but compare features across brands.
  • Prioritize weight, battery life, accessories, filtration and cleaning ability when choosing.
  • Maintain your portable vacuum well for the longest lifespan.

Check company websites for the most up-to-date portable vacuum models and see them in person if possible. Finding your perfect cordless or lightweight corded companion will make cleaning a breeze.


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