Ex­perts measure up the best bar­gain in hand­held vac­u­ums

Pawtucket Times - - HOME GARDEN - By LIND­SEY M. ROBERTS Spe­cial to The Wash­ing­ton Post

For houses with kids or pets, a hand­held vac­uum is a near-ne­ces­sity for crumbs or pet-hair pickup. "This is what you're go­ing to reach for when your kids spill ce­real in the morn­ing or you spill cof­fee grounds," says Al­li­son Bean, edi­to­rial di­rec­tor of the home web­site The Spruce. For smaller houses, stu­dios or con­dos, a hand­held model can even serve as a pri­mary vac­uum.

What qual­i­ties make a good one? Ex­perts say you want a cord­less op­tion with strong suc­tion, a dirt col­lec­tor that can be bag­less, and a bat­tery that charges quickly and has long life. Ease of op­er­a­tion earns ex­tra points.

"Just the other day I was read­ing an ar­ti­cle that was say­ing that peo­ple clean on av­er­age around one to two hours per day," says Ja­son Roberts, the ex­pert be­hind vac­u­ums­guide.com. "Con­sid­er­ing this, I be­lieve every house­hold should be equipped with a de­vice that en­hances this ac­tiv­ity. A great vac­uum cleaner makes bor­ing ac­tiv­i­ties, such as house­clean­ing, if not pleas­ant at least bear­able."

In her few apart­ments, Bean got by with just a hand­held vac­uum and a Swif­fer. She likes Dyson's hand­helds, hav­ing owned an older model of ($199.99, ama­zon.com). the V7 Trig­ger

"It has re­ally su­pe­rior suc­tion for a hand­held vac­uum. And I am a fan of emp­ty­ing a bin – it has a lit­tle lever that you pull up so you never have to get your hands dirty."

Af­ter 15 years of sell­ing vac­u­ums at Wal­mart, Roberts be­came an un­de­ni­able vac­uum au­thor­ity and now shares this knowl­edge with a wider au­di­ence on his Vac­u­ums Guide site. When it comes to hand­helds, he likes those made by Black+Decker. "Most of their prod­ucts are light, three pounds or so, and sturdy," he says. He sug­gests get­ting a prod­uct with a bat­tery volt­age of 20 or more, and rec­om­mends the BDH2000L lithium ($69.99, hand vac­uum tar­get.com). "Everyone has a use for hand vac­u­ums," says Melissa Maker, au­thor of "Clean My Space" and founder of a Toronto clean­ing service. She rec­om­mends them for small messes, in-be­tween cleans, get­ting into tight spa­ces, clean­ing up­hol­stery and other jobs. Look for a light­weight vac­uum with a va­ri­ety of at­tach­ments, she says, and a quick-chang­ing bat­tery with a long life. Her top choice is the Black+Decker Dust­buster com­pact lithium hand vac­uum, model HNV220BCZ00 ($28.66, wal­mart.com).

"Dirt Devil makes a great hand­held vac­uum," says Les­lie Re­ichert, a clean­ing ex­pert known as the Green Clean­ing Coach. Af­ter run­ning a house­clean­ing busi­ness in Mas­sachusetts for nine years, Re­ichert started go­ing on TV and ra­dio shows to share her knowl­edge. Of Dirt Devil's line, she likes the Ul­tra corded bagged hand­held vac­uum (pic­tured — $49.99, cleaner home­de­pot.com).

"It's great for stairs, pet hair and car­pets that are in tight places," she ex­plains. It comes with a cloth bag but can be con­verted to use pa­per bags for those who pre­fer to avoid con­tact with the dust and de­bris that can get stirred up when emp­ty­ing a cloth bag or bag­less vac­uum.

An in­no­va­tive new hand­held vac­uum on the U.S. mar­ket is specif­i­cally de­signed to suck up al­ler­gens, help­ing out mil­lions of peo­ple who suf­fer from in­door al­ler­gies and asthma, says Paul Banas, pub­lisher of Preg­nancy Mag­a­zine and GreatDad.com. He uses ($349.99, the Ray­cop RS2 ray­cop.com).

Banas' son suf­fers from dust-mite al­ler­gies, and he says that he does ev­ery­thing he can to al­le­vi­ate them.

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