Vacuuming is one of the most annoying chores ever. A robotic vacuum cleaner can take a lot of the stresses of vacuuming away, but they can’t do anything to pick up crumbs and dirt from places not on the floor. To vacuum whatever fallen pieces of dried food you have hiding between couch cushions or carpeted staircase corners, you’ll need a handy handheld vacuum.
The three handheld vacuum cleaners we’re going to take a look at in this article are from ONSON, VacLife, and NOVETE. From their online ratings alone, we can safely conclude that they all work beautifully, but we’re here to find which of them is the BEST handheld vacuum. Keep reading if you’d like to find out.
Wet and Dry
ONSON, VACLIFE, and NOVETE
One of the most surprising things about these handheld vacuums is that they’re safe to use on wet messes! We wouldn’t recommend vacuuming juice or water spills straight on (without the proper attachment – more on this later) since there’s a very small chance that the moisture particles can get into the motor, but things like wet pet food, ripped tissues, and even mud tracks get suctioned up fairly easily.
ONSON, VacLife, and NOVETE
The magic behind a handheld vacuum’s performance is how much suction pressure the motor delivers. All three of these wet/dry handheld vacs are built to deliver up to 7,000 Pa of suction. Now, this is only a fraction of the maximum suction intake of stick and upright vacuum cleaners, but by handheld vacuum standards, this is on the higher end of the power spectrum. These three models are worth considering.
ONSON, VacLife, and NOVETE
Like most modern standalone handheld vacs, the three models here are all cordless. They draw power from a rechargeable Li-Ion battery which allows them to clean virtually anywhere on the planet. Of course, the tradeoff for maximum portability is increased weight since it needs to carry around the source of power, but this is not an issue at all. At most, these vacs’ dry weight is less than 5 pounds.
Battery Size and Runtime
Here is where things differ from model to model. The ONSON uses a 14.8V 2,200-mAh battery that provides up to 20 minutes of cleaning power. By cordless handheld vacuum standards, 20 minutes is hardly anything at all, especially if you rely on the tool to clean multiple surfaces per vacuum session.
The VacLife uses a larger battery rated at 13.5V and 2,500 mAh, but despite their minuscule battery size difference, you’ll get an additional 10 minutes of cleaning time compared to the ONSON. Thirty minutes of vacuum power is the industry average for cordless handheld vacs.
The NOVETE is sort of like a combination of the previous models. First, it uses a 14.8V 2,200-mAh battery, but a full battery can supply up to 30 minutes of runtime. It’s obvious that the NOVETE’s motor is the most power-efficient of the three.
Conclusion: If you’re looking to get the most out of your handheld vacuum cleaner, then motor efficiency is hardly worth considering. Take a look at their maximum runtimes per charge and choose based on which offers the longest runtimes. In the case of these three models, that would be either the VacLife or the NOVETE (30 minutes).
ONSON, VacLife, and NOVETE
All three of these models require between three and four hours for their batteries to reach capacity from 0%. That may seem like a long time considering you only get about 20 to 30 minutes of cleaning time per full charge, but for modern stick and handheld vacuum cleaners, that’s about the best you can get. Please keep in mind that handheld vacs aren’t made for cleaning large areas but rather for spot cleaning in small spaces. Theoretically, 20 to 30 minutes should be sufficient.
The one thing that constantly pops up in reviews about the ONSON is its filter. First of all, it’s not a HEPA filter so don’t expect it to perfectly filter everything it picks up. Secondly, the filter’s mesh is far too thick for the 7,000-Pa suction pressure to adequately pull dirt and moist messes into the dustbin. If you get this model, make sure you clean the reusable filter after each 20-minute cleaning session.
VacLife and NOVETE
The VacLife and NOVETE are the polar opposite of the ONSON. They both use HEPA filters for maximum particle-retention and filtration abilities. If you suffer from seasonal or pet allergies, a HEPA filter is your only way of clearing the air of sinus-tickling particles. Also, the filter’s thickness does not inhibit the suction pressure that these units deliver, making vacuuming a surprisingly enjoyable experience.
Conclusion: It’s a shame that the ONSON’s filter is the source of its somewhat unsatisfying cleaning abilities seeing as how it’s the only one of the three without a HEPA filter. The VacLife and NOVETE do not have this problem, and they trap the tiniest particles much more effectively.
This handheld vac comes with two standard cleaning attachments that mount onto the transparent suction inlet. The first is a brush tool with bristles that gently massage carpet and furniture fibers to dislodge any crumbs hidden from view. The second is a crevice tool that pokes deep the corners and recesses of upholstery cushioning.
The VacLife has the most comprehensive list of cleaning attachments of the three. Other than the brush and crevice tools, you’ll also get a rubber jar tool and extension hose. The rubber jar tool is used to suction tiny spills without leaving scratches – an ideal attachment for cleaning glass top tables. The extension hose is great for cleaning hard-to-reach places like drapes and shelves. Sadly, the other cleaning tools do not attach to the end of the extension hose.
The NOVETE comes with three attachments: a brush tool, a rubber jar tool, and a crevice tool. The rubber jar is the only attachment of interest since it allows the NOVETE to pick up tiny spills straight on without risk of electrocution.
Conclusion: The real saving grace of these wet/dry handheld vacuum cleaners is the rubber jar tool. Sadly, the ONSON doesn’t come with one, so you’ll have no hope of vacuuming wet spills dead-on. The extension tool of the VacLife is also an interesting piece if you need to clean high spaces.
ONSON, VacLife, and NOVETE
This is another area where all three handheld vacs have something in common. The most noise they produce is between 75 and 78 decibels – about the same volume as tolerable music in the middle of the day. Granted, 75 decibels isn’t “whisper-quiet,” but nor will it cause long-term damage to your ears, especially considering their maximum 20- to 30-minute runtime.
The ONSON comes with a two-year warranty; about as long as you’d expect a handheld vac to function. However, from customer reports, the quality of each unit varies. Some have lost suction power or completely failed before the 24-month mark, while others are functioning perfectly more than a year after the warranty’s expiration date.
VacLife provides a wonderful lifetime warranty for their product. If at any time the unit fails, you’re entitled to receive a replacement or a full refund at any time. This is quite an enticing offer, and it’s one that very few customers have had to take advantage of.
The NOVETE is covered by a limited warranty of three years. Similar to the VacLife, very few customers have had issues with their NOVETE handheld vac. Those that have are usually dealt with professionally by customer support and are issued full refunds for their dysfunctional vac.
Conclusion: The ONSON is the only handheld vacuum that has had significant issues with quality. Although far more customers are satisfied with their ONSONs than not, it’s somewhat of a hit-or-miss situation since you could end up with a malfunctioning vac months after the purchase. The VacLife and NOVETE are the far safer options and are almost guaranteed to surpass longevity expectations.
ONSON vs. VacLife vs. NOVETE – Which is the best Handheld Vacuum Cleaner?
First of all, we can rule the ONSON out as being the best for a number of reasons, including its poor filter design, the lack of a rubber jar tool, it’s less-than-satisfactory runtime, and the higher risk of receiving a poorly made product compared to the rest. It’s not a bad handheld vac per se, but it’s far from being at the same competitive level as the VacLife and NOVETE.
As for the VacLife and NOVETE, we would say that they deliver the same high-quality suction performance you’d want from a handheld vac. But if we were to nitpick between them, the VacLife is marginally better than the NOVETE due to the inclusion of a fourth cleaning attachment (the extension hose) and the lifetime warranty opposed to the NOVETES three-year deal.
To sum up, the VacLife deserves the crown, the NOVETE the silver medal, and the ONSON an honorable mention. Happy vacuuming!