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How to Choose a Rechargeable Hand Vacuum

I have been researching and writing about consumer electronics for over 13 years.

This article will break down the advantages and disadvantages of had vacuums and help you pick out the best one for you.

This article will break down the advantages and disadvantages of had vacuums and help you pick out the best one for you.

The Rechargeable Hand Vacuum: Making Your World a Cleaner Place

Sometimes a full-size, traditional vacuum cleaner is just more than you need. Sometimes all you need is to clean up a spill. Or, perhaps you want to quickly clean some dirt out of your car. This is where a rechargeable hand vacuum comes in handy.

In this article, you can learn about what these small vacuums offer, how to choose one, and basic precautions when using them.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Rechargeable Hand Vacuums

A rechargeable hand vacuum offers a couple of important advantages.

  • Clearly, due to their small size, these vacuums allow users to clean up quickly and easily rather than having to drag out a full-sized vacuum cleaner. They are perfect for small cleaning jobs for this reason.
  • They work well in tight spots, especially if you can add on a crevice tool.
  • They are certainly lighter weight than a full-sized vacuum and thus easier on your back. In addition, they are good for vacuuming the stairs, since they eliminate the need to lift a larger model up and down the steps.
  • These rechargeable vacuums even hold an advantage over corded handheld models, because they give you more freedom to move about the house without having to plug and unplug them as you go. With no cord to unwind and rewind, they're especially quick to use.

However, there are a couple of drawbacks you might want to consider.

  • In general, battery-operated devices tend to have a bit less power than corded models.
  • In addition, it is very important to charge these devices per the manufacturer's instructions. Failure to do so can result in a shortened lifespan for the battery. Due to the expense of the battery, it is sometimes more economical to just replace the entire vacuum.

Buying Tips

Rechargeable hand vacuums are common appliances, but there are quite a number of them on the market. Here are a few of the features you should consider before making a choice:

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  • Size and Weight: For a handheld vacuum to be convenient and easy to handle, you'll want one that is lightweight. In addition, you may consider where you will be storing and charging it. You want one that won't require more table or wall space than you have available. Certainly too, you may want to consider the size of the nozzle. Some have a nozzle that is only 1 1/2 inches wide. If you need to clean a sofa, a 1 1/2 nozzle will slow the task significantly.
  • Attachments: In addition to the width of the nozzle, you'll want to consider what attachments are offered. In many instances, you will want the ability to get into small spaces and crevices. A crevice tool is often a necessity. Brushes are good for vacuuming upholstery. Some of these are stationary attachments, but some rechargeable hand vacuums have motorized brushes instead. The models with motorized brushes can make the best pet hair remover tools.
  • Power: Compare the ability of the vacuum to pull in dust, dirt, and debris. In other words, compare the power. A 9-volt rechargeable device may not have the power of a 15-volt model. Many models allow users to adjust the speed. If a lower speed is sufficient, it can be a power saver to reduce the speed. It will also allow you to vacuum longer per charge. This brings us to another power consideration; how long will the vacuum operate on a single charge? Some may only run a few minutes before you notice a reduction in power, while others will operate far longer.
  • Ease of Use: Certainly, most rechargeable handheld vacuums are easy to use and lightweight. However, some offer features that make them even more convenient. They may feature a pivoting nozzle, which allows it to get closer to the spots you want to vacuum without twisting and turning your own arms or body. A model that has an indicator showing that it is actively charging is good, so that it is consistently charged when you expect it to be. A low battery indicator can be useful as well.
  • Maintenance: Some models are easier to clean than others. If a vacuum has a large dirt cup, it won't need to be emptied as frequently. And if the filter is washable, it will save on the extra expense and the time going to the store to get a replacement. Shoppers should also consider how easy it is to access both the filter and the dirt repository as well.
  • Dry vs. Wet Use: Most rechargeable hand vacuums are designed for dry use, however, some models can handle wet spills as well. Certainly, this multi-purpose function is a convenience.
  • Warranty: Many of these appliances will have a shorter life than a corded model. This is because the battery eventually loses its ability to charge and hold a charge. Replacing the battery can cost as much as the vacuum itself. Thus, you should examine the life expectancy of the battery. Beyond this, however, you should consider the warranty that is provided. A year warranty should be considered the minimum, but some models offer as much as a six-year warranty.

A Few Tips Regarding the Care of a Rechargeable Hand Vacuum

  1. Storage and Charging: Because these small appliances have a battery, it is typically best to locate them in your home away from very moist areas (like a bathroom) or areas that experience temperature extremes (such as a garage that gets very hot in summer or very cold in winter).
  2. Read the Instructions: Know the proper procedure for charging your vacuum, how to clean it properly, and how often you should change the filter. A vacuum that is properly charged and operates with a clean filter will function better and last longer.
  3. Keep Your Vacuum Safe From Drops: Many of these devices can be mounted on the wall, while others can simply be set on a table or shelf. Either way, try to avoid areas where it is likely to be knocked off its mount. Like any battery-operated device, a drop can damage the battery as well as the vacuum itself.
  4. Don't Use Your Vacuum for Unintended Purposes: If the device you choose is not intended to be used to pick up water, don't use it to pick up wet spills. In addition, if you have a small hand vacuum, it probably can't handle being used as a shop vac in your garage, as they typically aren't built to handle some of the finer particles such as sawdust and so forth.

© 2010 Christine Mulberry


DustinsMom from USA on April 28, 2010:

Great review and hub. Thank you for sharing the information. I use a handheld vacuum every day for kitty litter and hair!

theherbivorehippi from Holly, MI on April 26, 2010:

hmmmm...I think I need one of these!! Thanks for so much information on them!

Ann Nonymous from Virginia on April 25, 2010:

The other day I was vacuuming up a small spill when lo and behold my vacuum died on me. Just stopped. I was frantic thinking of the guests that were coming. I was sure I had to have had a 'spare' vacuum somewhere in the house but nada! I did get it to work again but now I REALLY want one of these! Thanks for the excellent review, mulberry!

thevoice from carthage ill on April 25, 2010:

well detailed hub great job thanks

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