Handheld Vacuums Have Come a Long Way
Since the first vacuum-powered carpet-cleaning machine was invented by Hubert Cecil Boothe in 1901, cleaning has never been the same. Until that time, dirt had to be shaken or beaten out of carpets, debris had to be swept up with a broom and dustpan, and crumbs, spills, and pet hair brushed out of carpets and furniture.
The industrial revolution brought about many changes, including Boothe’s very first vacuum-powered carpet cleaner. The problem? This first vacuum cleaner with an internal combustion engine was far too big to be brought into a home. Nicknamed “Puffing Billy,” it was horse-drawn and parked outside of the building it was intended to clean. A hose was then drawn through doors and windows to do the dirty work inside.
Since that time, many improvements have been made both in method and transportability, with William Henry Hoover producing the first transportable household vacuum cleaners in 1926. While initially they were a luxury afforded only by the wealthy, by World War II, they’d become affordable to be a part of the average household. Indoor cleanliness had reached a new level. Vacuums could be pushed or dragged around the home to clean carpets and floors. But was that enough?
Handheld Vacuums: Vacuum Power at Your Fingertips
With suction cleaning power now in every household, transportable vacuum cleaners went a step further with Hoover’s first handheld vacuum, The Pixie, introduced in 1927. While touted as portable, the pixie contained a metal motorized base on sled runners. The Pixie was soon followed by the lighter, baseless Hoover Dustette. Unfortunately, the Dustette was heavy and awkward, with a long cord attached to the back.
It wasn’t until 50 years later that Black and Decker introduced the Dustbuster, and it soon became a household name. The Dustbuster cordless, handheld vacuum came about in 1978 after Black and Decker included a small suction device made to vacuum up sawdust as part of a men’s toolset.
Reportedly, women immediately saw the usefulness of this chargeable handheld vacuum in quickly cleaning up messes without the need of dragging a large vacuum around or bringing out broom and dustpan. This inspired Black and Decker to introduce the original Dustbuster. One million Dustbusters had been sold by the end of the first year.
Modern Advancements to Handhelds
Battery life is crucial to the performance of a handheld vacuum. While batteries have allowed a cordless device that can reach into small areas in homes and cars, and offer easy transportability, when the battery begins to lose power, so does the suction.
One important advancement in handhelds is Lithium-ion batteries.
These batteries have a much longer lifespan than traditional, allowing for more or longer cleaning sessions with no lessening of suction, easy removability, and generally a two to three-year warranty.
Along with improved battery life, other innovations have come along with handhelds to give the original Dustbuster some tough competition. The Dyson V7 can run for nearly half an hour with no lessening of suction and comes with six different attachments, including one specifically for pet hair. It also has a 16-foot cord, which seems retroactive, but is preferred by some who’d rather not worry about recharging or replacing batteries.
Bissel has released the Bissel Pet Stain Eraser, a wet-dry handheld vacuum with a built-in stain remover. It’s perfect for cleaning up tough pet messes, and with an 18-minute battery run time, it works great for cleaning the car, as well. It’s small and lightweight with a powerful 4-amp motor.
The Shark Rocket Corded Hand Vac has a 15-foot cord so you don’t have to worry about battery life, comes with many of the same features as the Dyson model at about half the price, combining technology with affordability.
LED lighting has been added to Armor’s Car Vac.
Housmile has released a handheld vac specifically for dust mite removal, with advanced HEPA filters. This is a great option for someone with dust mite allergies or asthma.
Know Your Options to Find the Handheld Vacuum That’s Just Right for You
Like the advancements in full-sized vacuums, handheld vacuum devices have come a long way since their early days. The basic handheld vacuum market now has ample choices in devices and attachments available for anyone to find the perfect hand vac for their household.