Today’s hand vacuum has its origins in Vacuum Cleaner Motors the Apollo space mission. Black & Decker engineered a small battery-powered model for the shuttles, then eventually brought the technology to the masses as a small machine for the workshop, called the Spot Vac. It was moderately successful, but soon reworked by the company’s legendary industrial designer Carroll Gantz and reintroduced in 1979 for the home as the Dustbuster.
The small appliance revolutionized everyday cleaning and led to the birth of an entire category of small, hand-held machines that suck up dust and dirt.All the vacs here are cordless, battery-powered models; the industry is definitely tilting in that direction. They’re fast and convenient. Leave them on the charger and they’re ready to go at a moment’s notice when something spills or you get the urge for a quick cleanup. Still, if you need more power for heavy-duty cleaning, generally a corded model will offer more motor torque (twist), which helps move more air and creates more suction. If you’ve got a lot of pet hair to cleanup or you need that extra power for professional cleaning, it’s an option you should consider.
Otherwise, a bit more battery voltage is good, but you don’t need brute force. In general terms, 7 to 12 volts will pick up dust, it just depends on how quickly. Go with a 20-volt machine if you want cleaning speed or something to cross from the home into the shop and garage.When we set out to test these vacuums, we cast a wide net and considered their capability in the workshop or garage as much as for what the various models can do around the house. So we called in products by power tool companies and we called in those by home appliance manufacturers. It was one of the more surprising tests we’ve run recently.Our initial impression was that hand vacuums by power tool companies have a distinct edge because of their large and powerful motors (and their comparatively big batteries).
But we learned that the functional advantage of that is actually quite small, especially when you consider that the bigger the motor and battery, the heavier the vacuum. And the dirt-carrying capacity of all these vacuums is rather small. Their container fills up so quickly that a few seconds more or less doesn’t amount to much more cleaning effectiveness.