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6 Best Handheld Vacuum Cleaners for Cat Litter in 2023 – Reviews & Top Picks

wireless vacuum cleaner

Cleaning up scattered litter is an inevitable part of cat ownership. This daily task can be quite a struggle if you don’t have the right vacuum for the job. A handheld vacuum will undoubtedly make your life easier by preventing you from having to drag out the full-sized vacuum every time you notice litter scat.

There is no shortage of handheld vacuums on the market today, and while many of them are geared toward pets, that does not necessarily mean they will perform well when cleaning cat litter. That’s where we come in. We’ve dived into the vast number of handheld vacuums available to find the best contenders for your cat litter needs.

There is nothing better than avoiding wasting money through trial and error and having your choices narrowed down for you. No need to spend a lot of time checking reviews, we’ve done that for you! Let’s look at our top picks!

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A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites of 2023

Image Product Details
Best Overall
BLACK+DECKER  Cordless Handheld Vacuum BLACK+DECKER Cordless Handheld Vacuum
  • Feature icon 20V lithium battery for strong suction power
  • Feature icon Cordless and bagless
  • Feature icon 2-year warranty
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Dirt Devil Handheld Vacuum Cleaner Dirt Devil Handheld Vacuum Cleaner
  • Feature icon Inexpensive
  • Feature icon Lengthy cord
  • Feature icon Strong suction
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Shark Ion W1 Handheld Vacuum Shark Ion W1 Handheld Vacuum
  • Feature icon Short charge time than competitors
  • Feature icon Ultra-lightweight
  • Feature icon One-touch debris emptying
  • Best for Kittens
    VacLife Handheld Vacuum VacLife Handheld Vacuum
  • Feature icon Lightweight
  • Feature icon Easy to clean
  • Feature icon LED Light
  • BISSELL Pet Hair Hand Vacuum BISSELL Pet Hair Hand Vacuum
  • Feature icon Lightweight
  • Feature icon Value
  • Feature icon Easy to clean and store
  • The 6 Best Handheld Vacuum Cleaners for Cat Litter

    1. BLACK+DECKER 20V Max Cordless Handheld Vacuum – Best Overall

    BLACK+DECKER 20V Max Handheld Vacuum

    Weight 3 pounds
    Battery 20V Lithium
    Included Components Washable filter (model pvf110), on-board brush, on-board crevice tool, and charging base
    Surface Recommendation Any

    Our pick for the best overall handheld vacuum for cat litter goes to the Black & Decker 20V Max Cordless Handheld Vacuum. It gets the number one position thanks to its very powerful suction, ease of cleaning, and versatility.

    The 20V lithium-ion battery that it uses can be thanked for the strong suction, this vacuum won’t have any trouble getting cat litter off any surfaces. This vacuum will separate dirt and air by using cyclonic action and will help keep up the suctioning power throughout the vacuum’s lifetime.

    The vacuum is lightweight, weighing in at only 3 pounds, and uses a three-stage filtration system that helps reduce smells and enhance performance. Smell reduction is an important aspect when cleaning up litter. Replacing filters is as easy as purchasing a replacement rather than having to buy a new vacuum.

    Another great feature that makes this vacuum so convenient is the pivoting nozzle that can rotate up to 200 degrees. This makes it much easier to reach down into furniture cushions, or hard-to-reach areas of the house. Not only is this vacuum a great option for the daily vacuuming of cat litter but is a great handheld vacuum for use in the home or car.

    According to customer reviews, the downside of the Black and Decker 20V Max is that it tends to only last about 10 minutes after a full charge. Some users also complained that it only lasted about a year before experiencing issues with function.

    • 20V lithium battery for strong suction power
    • Pivoting nozzle with various attachments
    • Cordless and bagless
    • A superior 3-stage filtration system
    • Cyclonic action separates dust from the filter
    • 2-year warranty
    • Short run time after charging
    • Some vacuums have issues about a year after purchase
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    2. Dirt Devil Scorpion Handheld Vacuum Cleaner – Best Value

    Dirt Devil Scorpion Quick Flip Corded Handheld Vacuum Cleaner

    Weight 3.7 pounds
    Battery N/A
    Included Components Hose, crevice tool, sliding brush, upholstery tool
    Surface Recommendation Any

    Our top pick if you’re looking for the best value for your money is the Dirt Devil Scorpion Handheld Vacuum Cleaner. This product gets great reviews, and you really can’t beat the price. This is a corded handheld vacuum, which may make it undesirable to some, but the cord is quite lengthy.

    This vacuum is lightweight with a powerful motor to enhance performance when picking up whatever your pet leaves behind, such as litter, dirt, debris, and hair. The crevice tool that is included makes it a breeze to clean smaller spaces and within furniture cushions.

    There is no vacuum bag with the Dirt Devil Scorpion Handheld Vacuum Cleaner, making it easy to simply unlatch and dump out all that you’ve collected. According to reviewers, the biggest downfall of this vacuum is that air is pushed out of the vents on the side, which can further spread litter and other debris across hard surfaces. A few others advised that their vacuum broke easily, but overall, this is a well-reviewed handheld vacuum that is priced to be easy on your wallet.

    • Inexpensive
    • Lengthy cord
    • Strong suction
    • Side vents push out air
    • The cord can be restricting
    • Can break easily
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    3. Shark Ion W1 WV201 Handheld Pet Vacuum – Premium Choice

    Shark WV201 WANDVAC Handheld Vacuum

    Weight 1.4 pounds
    Battery 8V Lithium
    Included Components Nozzle, battery, crevice tool, charging station
    Surface Recommendation Any

    Our premium choice goes to the Shark Ion W1 WV201 Handheld Pet Vacuum. This super lightweight, stick-shaped handheld vacuum weighs just 1.4 pounds and gets glowing reviews. It is versatile enough to perform well on bare floors, carpets, and hard to reach areas within the home thanks to the additional brush attachments.

    Despite being so lightweight, this vacuum has very powerful suction and comes with a 10.8V lithium battery and a highly efficient motor. The battery generally takes about 2.5 hours to fully charge, which is much less compared to the normal 3 to 4 hours. All attachments and the vacuum itself can conveniently be stored on the charging base. This vacuum comes in a variety of colors including graphite, gold, rose gold, and cove blue.

    Another perk is how easy the vacuum is to clean. There is a button located at the top, you simply hover the vacuum over the trash can and press it to empty the contents without having to touch anything. The vacuum is bagless and easy to wipe clean. The biggest downside to the Shark Ion W1 WV201 is the small dustbin and the short run time of about 9½ minutes after a full charge.

    • Short charge time than competitors
    • Ultra-lightweight
    • Attachments for use on multiple surfaces
    • Cordless & compact stick-shaped design
    • One-touch debris emptying
    • Works for less than 10 minutes per charge
    • Higher price tag
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    4. VacLife Handheld Vacuum – Best for Kittens

    VacLife Handheld Vacuum

    Weight 1.94 pounds
    Battery Lithium-ion
    Included Components Batter, nozzle, crevice tools, HEPA filter
    Surface Recommendation Carpets

    The VacLife Handheld Vacuum is cordless and utilizes a super-strong motor and a long-lasting lithium-ion battery suctioning power. It makes a great choice not just for cat litter but for any quick vacuuming needs around the house or in the car. It even comes with a super-convenient LED light so you can see to clean up in even the darkest, hard-to-reach places.

    This vacuum is super lightweight at only 1.94 pounds. It comes with two separate nozzles for cleaning versatility. It does take approximately 3–4 hours to reach full charge, but you can expect this handheld vacuum to run up to 20 minutes once fully charged, which is better than some of the cordless competition.

    The VacLife Handheld Vacuum uses durable and washable HEPA filters. The dust bin is very easy to clean, you simply open it up and dump it in the garbage can. Though this is a generally well-reviewed product, some users complained that the suction power and performance on carpets are a bit lackluster. So, it may be a better choice for those with laminate or hardwood floors needing litter picked up.

    • Lightweight
    • Easy to clean
    • LED Light
    • Longer run time
    • 3–4 hour charge time (long)
    • Not a great option for hard surfaces
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    5. BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser Li-Ion Cordless Hand Vacuum

    Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Lithium Ion Cordless Hand Vacuum

    Weight 3 pounds
    Battery 14V Lithium-ion
    Included Components Battery, motorized brush tool, upholstery tool, crevice tool
    Surface Recommendation Any

    This compact and lightweight option may be geared toward pet hair but does a great job picking up loose litter as well. It is very efficient at picking up both litter and pet hair that gets embedded in the carpet, so it is especially handy for those with litter boxes in carpeted areas.  Upon activation, Bissell will even donate 5 dollars to the Bissell Pet Foundation with each purchase of the BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser Li-Ion Cordless Hand Vacuum.

    It comes complete with a 14V lithium-ion battery for strong suction and powerful cleaning ability. The dust bin is sizable at 0.7 liters and can hold more litter, hair, dirt, and debris than some others. It is simple and easy to empty. There is a triple-level filtration in this vacuum as well which helps with odors and allergens and provides easier cleaning.

    The Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Li-Ion comes with some specialized attachments made just for pets. This includes a motorized brush tool, an upholstery tool, and a crevice tool. This device can make for a great all-around handheld vacuum. The downside to this vacuum, according to reviews from other pet owners, is that it has a short run time after charging and some individual vacuums have emitted a small electrical charge when the power button is pressed.

    • Lightweight
    • Value
    • Comes with handy attachments
    • Easy to clean and store
    • Possible electrical charge when powering on
    • Short run time (though better than some competitors)
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    6. BLACK+DECKER Dustbuster Handheld Vacuum Cleaner

    BLACK+DECKER dustbuster Handheld Vacuum

    Weight 2.6 pounds
    Battery 16V Lithium-Ion
    Included Components Filter, user guide
    Surface Recommendation Any

    The Black+Decker Dustbuster Handheld Vacuum Cleaner is a lightweight, cordless handheld vacuum perfectly designed for spot cleaning and can be a great asset to have for daily litter clean-up. It is known for performing exceptionally well on bare floors, so it’s great for those that have a litter box on hard surfaces but does a great job on carpets and furniture as well.

    The 16V lithium-ion battery tends to last about 10 minutes after full charging, which is typical for battery-powered handheld vacuums but is still not very long in terms of cleaning. The downside is that it can take up to 4 hours to reach full charge. The dirt compartment is a bit on the small side, which is a bit of an inconvenience for bigger messes.

    This vacuum uses Smart Charge Technology, which uses less energy. The cyclonic action keeps the filter clean and suction strong. It is also very easy to clean with the removable, washable bowl. You can even opt to purchase an additional filter with this vacuum. The biggest downside to this vacuum is that users have reported the battery is not replaceable, therefore you are out the entire vacuum once the battery goes bad.

    • Easy to clean
    • Strong suction
    • Replaceable filters provided by the manufacturer
    • Small dust bin
    • Short run time
    • Long charge time
    • Battery not replaceable

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    Buyer’s Guide: Selecting The Best Handheld Vacuum Cleaner for Cat Litter

    There are some key factors to consider when choosing the best handheld vacuum cleaner, especially when you’re using it for cat litter specifically. Here are some of the key points to focus on when choosing a handheld vacuum that is right for the job.

    Best key points to look out for in a vacuum:
    • Cost:Cost will be a factor in any purchase you make. Handheld vacuums come in a wide price range so it’s important to know how much you’re willing to spend on one. You will want to choose one that fits all the criteria you need, while not being too stressful on the wallet.
    • Suction Power:The stronger the suction of a handheld vacuum, the better. Cat litter is small and gets stuck in crevices easily so having a vacuum with less than stellar suctioning power isn’t going to do you much good for this chore. You want the vacuum to be able to suck up pieces of litter and those sticky clumps out of any area with ease. Having strong suction will also make your vacuum more versatile for use in other areas of the house or to sweep out the car.
    • Ability to Filter:Most cat litters on the market are made of clay, except for a few. Even so, we sometimes change up our litter on occasion and you want a handheld that can handle the clay litter. It is easy for the clay to get stuck in the filter and this can clog up your vacuum and shorten its workability. You need to look for one that can separate dirt and air by using the bypass flow motor.
    • Surface Recommendation:Some vacuums have certain surface recommendations for use. You want a handheld vacuum that can be used on all types of flooring and surfaces. Some will come with different attachments so that they can be used more efficiently on a variety of surfaces, such as furniture, carpet, hardwood, or laminate flooring. You don’t want to limit yourself to a vacuum that only performs well on the surface your litter box is sitting on. You will undoubtedly have to clean litter up from other areas of the house as well.
    • Corded vs Cordless:As you can see, handheld vacuums come in both cordless and corded versions. Cordless options are a bit more convenient and easier to tote around. If you’re looking for the best portability and not having to struggle to find a close-by outlet, cordless will be your best bet. In that case, you need to consider how long it takes for the cordless vacuum to charge and how much time you must run it during its battery life.
    There are some great corded options as well and if you are not concerned with outlet availability, cord length, and having to work around the cord, then they would be worth your consideration as well.

    • Weight: Handheld vacuums are made to be convenient with their portability. You’re not going to find any that are too heavy to hold in one hand, but some handheld vacuums are much lighter than others. The lighter the vacuum is, the easier it is to use.
    • Easy to Clean: Cat litter is messy and smells awful. You’re going to want to clean your vacuum out frequently to prevent the awful odor from building up and to keep the litter from becoming caked onto the inside. Having a handheld vacuum that is easy to disassemble and clean is a must. Not only is it convenient for you, but it will also ensure you get more life out of your vacuum.

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    Now that you know all the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to the top contenders for the best handheld vacuum, your choice should be that much easier. Whether you go for the well-rounded BLACK+DECKER 20V Max Cordless Handheld Vacuum, the price-savvy Dirt Devil Scorpion Handheld Vacuum Cleaner, the more expensive but sleek and effective Shark Ion W1 WV201, or any other of the top 7, you can rest assured you’ll be well on your way to convenient litter pick-up.

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    Featured Image Credit: Viacheslav Lopatin, Shutterstock