Buyer’s Guide to Portable Vacuum Cleaners

Portable vacuum cleaners are easy to move around for brief vacuuming in different locations and let you clean areas where no electrical outlet is available. Some can even be used for vacuuming an entire home. They are available in several different types which are more appropriate for particular applications.

The most common and well-known type of portable vacuum is the handheld rechargeable type often referred to as a “Dust Buster.” While “Dust Buster” is a model name of Black & Decker, there are also plenty of handheld portable vacuum cleaners of this type made by other brands. These usually have a charging mount they sit on to recharge, rather than an AC or DC adapter. Be aware that some “handheld vacuums” are not portable (they have a cord), despite being small and easy to move around. Some models don’t have many extra features, whereas others like the NexxTech DirtTamer Ultima have wet/dry capability and a HEPA filter. The Black & Decker Dust Buster BDK CHV1500 also has a HEPA filter. Vacuums of this type are easy to find for sale both new and used. They are quite frequently available at yard/garage sales and thrift shops.

A popular type of portable unit is the car vacuum cleaner. These can be used in any automobile with a cigarette lighter. By using the cigarette lighter for power, you won’t have to use an extension cord to reach the car, and the vacuum’s small size makes it easier to use in a car. If you purchase a vacuum cleaner of this type, try to buy one with an attachment for cleaning crevices such as areas around the driver and passenger seats. Including shipping costs, these can often be purchased for $15-20 on eBay.com. Some of these are generic, while others are made by brands like Black & Decker and Vector.

Another type of portable vacuum is the upright cordless vacuum, which is somewhat more like a full-size vacuum cleaner, but rechargeable and lightweight. These have hoses or extension tubes, along with attachments of a more typical size, and are usually charged with an AC adapter. These are preferable for vacuuming floors, as they can be held upright unlike handheld units. Cordless vacuum cleaners of this type may be good enough for regular cleaning of a small apartment or trailer. A few models, such as the Westinghouse Unplugged bagless cord-free vacuum cleaner, are similar to regular corded vacuum cleaners in size and power, making them a convenient alternative for vacuuming an entire house or apartment.

A few very small vacuums which run on batteries can also be found. These fit in very small crevices, such as the spaces in between computer keys. Some of these vacuum cleaners can be plugged into a computer’s USB port for electricity. When searching for them online, try using the phrase “mini vacuum.”

Some features to look for are bagless operation, ability to reverse air direction, and wet/dry capability. Many portable/cordless units do not require bags, which saves money, although some of them are a bit harder to clean out. Some of the larger portable vacuums let you reverse the air direction so they blow air out; this can be useful for some types of cleaning, as well as inflation. Vacuum cleaners with wet/dry capability, such as the Scunci 52171, let you safely vacuum wet substances.

Overall, the best type and model to choose depends upon how you plan to use it and how much you can afford to spend.

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