How long do handheld vacuums last?

Published on March 2nd, 2020

You've just bought a new appliance a couple of months ago, and the product seems to work fine.

Until one day, poof – it doesn't even turn on. You put it back to the charger, hoping it's just an empty battery, but after you've tried every trick you can think of, you have to admit the whole machine is broken. How frustrating!

When you buy something and invest your money in a product, you want it to work without any hiccups. And you want the product to last. Of course.

So how long should handheld vacuums last? What is the lifespan of that compact hand vac you need every day to keep your home clean?

The lifetime of a handheld vacuum

handheld vacuum lasts from 2-5 years.

This is the typical lifetime for a handheld vacuum, although you do get exceptions. A high-quality product that is well designed may easily last longer. A Dyson vacuum is an excellent example of products that are built to last. Shark is another reliable brand with vacuums that often come with a fantastic 5-year guarantee.

On the other hand, if you buy a cheap copy, the lifetime of your handheld vacuum may not even be two years. The same applies to brands that are known for inexpensive products with inferior materials and design.

white handheld vacuum

Critical factors that affect the longevity of your handheld vacuum

To make sure your handheld vacuum is a good investment and has a long life, you need to focus on a few key aspects.


To make sure the handheld vacuum you buy is worth the money you spend on it, you should make sure you are getting a product that is manufactured by a reputable company.

A vacuum cleaner does not have to be expensive, although a higher price often comes with more durable materials and better design. Premium brands like Dyson do produce vacuum cleaners that are highly reliable and long-lasting. Still, midrange brands like Shark and Bissell also have excellent choices for the cost-conscious consumer looking for a dependable vacuum.

What you should avoid are cheap copies and brands that are not known for their high-quality and durable products. Although it might be tempting to buy an affordable vacuum cleaner that seems like a great deal, you should always confirm the brand is actually trustworthy and the products they sell are covered under warranty.

Availability of replacement parts

The availability of replacement parts will affect the lifespan of your vacuum cleaner. If there are spare parts readily available, you can trust that if a part of your vacuum cleaner breaks, you can replace that part instead of paying for a completely new machine.

Most well-known brands sell replacements for not only filters, batteries, and attachments, but other parts as well. However, the poor design of cheaper brands may not allow you to easily replace the components shortening the life of your vacuum.


The usage of your handheld vacuum will affect how long it lasts. If you use your vacuum only occasionally, the battery, motor, and attachments will definitely last longer.

But because the whole purpose of having a handheld vacuum is to use it on small daily cleanups, the appliance must be durable and reliable – even in everyday use.

Another aspect is that you read the manual carefully before using your handheld vacuum. We know it's boring, and most of the instructions are quite apparent.

But things like knowing how to use the charger properly and how to detach the dirt cup without damaging the casing will affect whether your vacuum breaks or lasts.

Regular maintenance

We often see people complaining their vacuum doesn't work anymore or the suction has decreased after using the products for a couple of years– with no maintenance what so ever done to the vacuum.

Sometimes there is a problem with the product itself. But often we find the filter has not been changed, and it blocks the airflow. Or the brush roll is completely wrapped in pet hair.

To ensure the longevity of your new handheld vacuum, read the manual, and make sure you take care of maintenance.

How do I know a handheld vacuum is durable?

With vacuum cleaners, price tends to go hand in hand with quality. Not always, but more often than not.

This is why:

People hate vacuuming, and companies do their best to give them easy-to-use products they can use with minimal effort. However, each little detail costs. You have to design the features, create prototypes, test them, and cover the cost of the materials.

Each little add-on, well, adds on to the price as well. If your trim down the features, people don't want the product. If you don't cut down on the features, you'll have to lower the quality of the materials to reduce the price.

removing dog hair from car with a handheld vacuum

Other brands stick to high-quality materials and design. Their products may cost more, but with better usability and long-lasting products, their customers will often return to buy more.

At the other end of the line are companies that manufacture low-quality vacuums hoping that the lower price attracts people, and they make more sales. In the end, the customer will not probably return to buy more, but the higher number of sales makes up for it.

We never recommend buying low-quality products, but midrange is where you can find something with a reasonable price and good longevity.

So how can you spot which vacuums are a good investment?

  1. Read reviews: ads can tell you everything about the features, but reviews from trustworthy sources can help you figure out if the product is really worth your money.
  2. Read about user experiences: If the reviews don't convince you, then check out ones from real users. These people have first-hand experience with the product you can benefit from. Just remember that sometimes people have unrealistic expectations, and their opinion may reflect that. Don't just read negative reviews but the positive ones as well to get the bigger picture.
  3. See what people have to say about the brand: Usually, brands have different tactics for making sales. Companies that produce high-quality products tend to do so across their product range. On the other hand, companies that rely on low prices (and cheap materials) rarely have that one product that stands out with premium design and engineering.

Summing up

Handheld vacuums are useful and practical tools for keeping your home clean. It's common that people are used to seeing basic dustbusters at low prices and huge discounts at their nearest retailer.

Often, these vacuums are good budget options, but they are not built to last. Usually, you can expect such a product to last a couple of years before breaking down or losing suction.

If you want a handheld vacuum with stronger suction and better features, it comes with a bigger price tag.

The pricier vacuums do, however, provide a more enjoyable user experience, better cleaning results, and a longer life for the product. A vacuum like this can be expected to last several years in active use.

Matt Clayton
Matt Clayton
Chief Editor & Founder of PetHairPatrol

Matt is the founder of and has years of experience helping pet owners keep their homes clean. He's been featured in publications like Reader's Digest, Money, and BestLifeOnline. When this neat freak is not searching for better ways to get rid of pet hair, dander, and other messes pets leave behind, he's usually enjoying outdoors with his two (hairy) Goldens: Ben and Jerry. Read more.

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