Do you have a pet at home that sheds a lot of hair? Do your kids leave crumbs all over your car while they're snacking? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you must think that a hand vacuum is heaven sent.
A hand vacuum (often called a hand vac) is compact, portable, and handheld as compared to the traditional vacuum cleaner. Because hand vacs are smaller and relatively easy to maneuver, they are used mostly for cleaning smaller messes such as pet hair and food particles.
Hand vacs can be powered by rechargeable batteries or they can also be plugged into a power source just like a traditional vacuum cleaner. Some battery-powered hand vacs have wet and dry capabilities and require partial disassembly and cleaning to prevent unpleasant odors from developing after picking up wet messes.
How They Work
Just like a regular vacuum cleaner, a hand vac uses negative pressure (much like drinking through a straw) to create the sucking action. An electric motor spins a fan inside the unit to suck in air along with dust particles and debris and then pushes them into the tank or canister. An exhaust port vents the air out on the other side to allow the motor to function properly. The filter traps the dirt and dust particles to prevent them from reaching the exhaust port and from blowing back into the air.
Attachments are also an important part of a hand vac because the size of the intake port determines the amount of suction power. If you notice, as the size of the intake gets smaller, the suction power increases. This is because the air goes through a narrower passage, making it move faster.
Why Some People Prefer Hand Vacuums
There are several functions that a hand vac can fulfill easily as compared to using a traditional vacuum cleaner. Because hand vacs are relatively easy-to-use, handy, and convenient, many people regard them as a must-have even though they already have a traditional vacuum cleaner. There are many benefits to adding a hand vac to your cleaning units at home (and even outside of it). Here are some of them.
1. Small and Easy to Store
Because of its compact size, a hand vac is often the cleaning device of choice for people who live in smaller spaces such as dorm rooms, apartments, or trailers where storage is a concern. Being small also makes the hand vac ideal for cleaning hard-to-reach spaces and crevices: something that a traditional vacuum cleaner can't typically do.
2. Lightweight and Portable
Most hand vacs are lightweight and weigh less than five pounds. This makes them ideal for spot vacuuming because you don't need to lug a heavy vacuum cleaner up the stairs or around the house to get the job done. Hand vacs are especially ideal for elderly people who have a hard time moving bulky traditional vacuum cleaners.
The functions of a hand vacuum are simple and easy to use. Even kids can use them to clean up small messes, thus making cleaning and maintaining your house less of a chore.
Because most hand vacs are cordless and have an easy grip, which makes maneuvering one a lot less painful and troublesome than traditional vacs.
5. Great for Spot Cleaning and Small Clean-Ups
Have you got small messes or spills? Let your hand vac do the job quickly so you save more time when doing a clean-up. Get rid of that clump of dog hair on the floor or unseen food crumbs scattered in the crevices of your couch in no time. A hand vac is also ideal for cleaning the steps of your stairs.
6. Hard-to-Reach Is Now Easy-to-Reach
Face it: there are a lot of hard-to-reach dirty spots in your house like baseboards, window sills, the floor under heavy furniture, and more. A hand vac enables you to clean these tricky spots without having to lift a weight beyond five pounds. A hand vac with various attachments and accessories works even better: you'll probably discover more dust and pet hair in areas you've never attempted to clean before.
While a hand vac may be small, there are models that exceed expectations. A model that runs on at least 4 amps should be capable of sucking spills, dust bunnies, and pet hair in one quick motion.
8. Vacuum Beyond Your Home
If you have a battery-operated hand vac, cleaning the interior of your car is easy. You can vacuum dust, dog hair, and food particles from crevices and hard-to-reach places in your car effortlessly. You can even bring that nifty hand vac with you when you go camping and keep your tent as clean as a whistle.
9. Easy Maintenance
Most hand vacs have tanks instead of bags. All you need to do is dump the contents in the trash to empty it out. Filters are relatively easy to change, and the parts don't require a lot of cleaning or repair.
10. What's Lost Can Be Found
You may not know this firsthand, but a hand vac can help you find tiny items you've lost. By stretching a pair of pantyhose over the nozzle, you can use a hand vac to reach those hard places where your treasured item might be found. The pantyhose will prevent the item from being sucked into the vacuum's tank.
11. Affordable and Cost-Effective
Best of all, hand vacuums are mostly affordable: even high-quality ones cost a lot less compared to traditional upright vacuum cleaners.
What To Look For When Buying A Hand Vacuum
Now that you know the various benefits of having a hand vac, you're probably wondering which model will bring the best results. Here are some important qualities that you should focus on when buying a hand vac.
1. Suction Power
This is probably foremost in your mind. You will most likely want a hand vac that's powerful enough to handle your mess. The general rule is to look for one that has a high voltage to supply more power to the unit. You will also need to take air watts into consideration.
2. Battery Life and Quality
This is another important consideration when buying a hand vac. The battery powers the unit, so you wouldn't want issues with power consistency. The battery also needs to charge properly and have a quick recharge time. Good quality hand vacs charge quickly, but you may have to wait 24 hours to charge the battery fully when you're charging it for the first time.
Having a long run time is also beneficial, but power is more important. A hand vacuum that provides good suction power constantly and consistently for at least 15 minutes or more is usually a great choice.
3. Corded or Cordless?
While cordless hand vacuums offer more mobility and are a lot more convenient to use, you may also want to consider getting a corded unit. Why? Because a corded hand vacuum will definitely not run out of power while you're in the middle of using it. You won't need to recharge and wait for the battery to become full again either.
Weigh the pros and cons between a corded and cordless hand vacuum to find out which one fits your needs better. If you're planning to buy the cordless kind, get one that comes with a battery indicator so you'll know if it's time to recharge it.
4. Tank Capacity
While it's easier to move a smaller unit around, consider buying a hand vacuum that has a larger tank so you won't need to empty the tank as often. Tank sizes vary from 1 to 18 gallons. A hand vacuum that has a tank capacity between 2 and 6 gallons should be good enough for typical use.
It is recommended that you get a hand vacuum with a high-quality filter because it can suck out tiny debris, dust particles, and dander. If you want to get rid of dust mites and pollen, choose one that has a HEPA filter.
7. Wet and Dry Capability
If you're always dealing with wet messes and spilled liquids, it's best to get a hand vacuum that has both wet and dry capabilities. It will be especially handy to have around the kitchen, where most spills occur.
Depending on your needs, getting a hand vacuum with various accessories can be a good decision. If you need to clean tight spaces, crevices, and hard-to-reach areas, then spending slightly more on a hand vacuum with accessories will be worth the extra.
Having a hand vacuum at home has its perks. Even if you already have a trusty traditional vacuum cleaner, adding a hand vacuum to your artillery of cleaning devices will still be worthwhile. Those with HEPA filters are especially helpful in ridding your home of dust mites, pollen, and other allergens.
If you love cleaning your car's interior, having this handy cleaning gadget is a must. Almost every nook and cranny in your car is a tight space: one that can only be cleaned thoroughly by that nifty hand vacuum. Your car's interior gathers a lot of dust, dander, and other particles invisible to the naked eye. You don't want to be inhaling those particles while driving on the road; especially not pollen or allergens! A hand vac offers a portable and convenient solution to these issues.
But remember, just like any household appliance, your hand vacuum also needs proper handling and care from time to time. That tank will not empty itself, and, being small, your hand vacuum can only take so much of a load. Emptying the tank will also ensure that you get the cleaning power that you need each time you use your unit.
Changing the filter regularly will ensure that your unit always operates at its maximum cleaning capability. It doesn't really take much to maintain because you only need to deal with a small amount of dirt and debris. If you have one that has wet and dry capabilities, clean the unit after dealing with wet messes lest you have to deal with an unpleasant smell later.
Because a hand vacuum makes cleaning so easy, you may come to enjoy cleaning rather than dreading it. We hope we've provided you with all the information you need to decide if a hand vac is for you!