Hand Held Vacuum Cleaner

While the full sized upright, power team and canister vacuum cleaners do the bulk of the cleaning in the home, there are often voids which can be filled by the lightweight, hand held vacuum cleaner. These include the need to quickly and easily pickup those unexpected little spills as well as the need to efficiently clean upholstered furniture, drapes and carpeted stair steps. The latter use greatly reduces the risk of injury from struggling to use a full sized vacuum cleaner in the limited space on the stairs.

Hand held vacuum cleaners come in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes. This category can be subdivided two ways: 1) corded vs. battery operated and 2) straight suction vs. suction with a revolving brush roll. Each type has its special place in helping you with your house cleaning chores.

Battery Operation Aspects

The battery operated vacuum cleaner offers the convenience of being easily removed from its holder/charger unit and carried quickly to the location of the spill for quick and easy clean up. The batteries usually are the rechargeable nickel cadmium (NiCads) type which are trickle charged by the holder/charger unit whenever the vacuum cleaner is not in use. While older NiCads functioned better if discharged significantly before being recharged, development of newer ones has greatly reduced this "memory" effect so they can be recharged after each use with minimal effect on their usefulness. Vacuum cleaner motors require a large amount of electrical power to develop effective, strong suction so battery operation is limited to short periods of use and limited in the amount of mechanical power the motors can produce.

Corded Operation Aspects

Corded hand held vacuum cleaners can be much more effective in the removal of dirt due to the better suction produced by their more powerful motors as well as the addition of a revolving brush roll in many units. More extensive cleaning can also be done since run time is not limited by their power source. Hand held vacuum cleaner motors typically draw about 2 to 3 amps of current compared to about 10 to 12 amps drawn by most full sized uprights and canisters. The effectiveness of corded hand held vacuums is enhanced by the use of small nozzles and short air passages to increase the air flow velocity. The air flow velocity, along with the amount of carpet agitation, determines how well a vacuum cleaner will pick up the dirt.

Improved Performance with Revolving Brush Roll

To deep clean carpeted areas effectively a motor driven revolving brush roll must be included in the hand held vacuum cleaner design. The agitation produced by it greatly enhances the effectiveness of removing the deep, hard to reach dirt as well as grooms and fluffs the carpet fibers for a fresher appearance. Corded hand held vacuum cleaners with motor driven revolving brush rolls will often deep clean carpeted stairs much better and easier than a full sized vacuum cleaner.


A hand held vacuum cleaner will enable you to perform some types of cleaning tasks quicker, easier and more effectively than when using most full sized vacuum cleaners, especially when using a corded hand held vacuum with a motor driven revolving brush. These tend to perform like a miniaturized upright vacuum cleaner when cleaning carpeted stairs while reducing the risk of injury from accidental falls. Cordless hand held vacuum cleaners are convenient for cleaning those unexpected little spills very quickly and easily but are not intended for extended use. The next time you're cleaning your stairs, furniture, drapes or car interior, stop a moment to consider whether a hand held vacuum cleaner would clean them better and easier than your full sized vacuum cleaner.

Next Vacuum Cleaner Type: Electric Broom Vacuum Cleaner

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