The most common frustration with cordless hand vacuums is their short run times, weakening suction power and delicate batteries. These issues are all completely avoided with a corded hand vac like the Eureka Easy Clean Hand Vac 71B (Est. $50) .
Seamus Bellamy reviews the Eureka Easy Clean Hand Vac 71B for TheSweethome.com and says this is the model to consider "if you're after the unlimited run time that only a corded vacuum can provide." That said, this hand vac doesn't offer the same freedom as a cordless model -- although it does have an extra-long, 20-foot cord. The trade-off is that if you want to clean multiple areas of your home, it means relocating the power cord several times to hit every room.
This hand vac earns thousands of reviews from Amazon, Walmart, Lowe's, Best Buy and Viewpoints. Most owners rave about the Eureka's powerful suction and durable design, and several say they've owned and used this vacuum for more than five years. It also earns good scores in professional tests, landing near the top of the pack in a comparison test, conducted by one consumer testing organization, of nine handheld vacuum cleaners. Moreover, editors give it excellent scores for bare floor and edge-cleaning performance, and very good scores for pet hair and noise. Though a slightly lower score, the Eureka maintains a good rating on carpeted surfaces.
Editors at Good Housekeeping award the Eureka a B-minus in their analysis of 35 handheld vacuums. While the magazine's testers found it difficult to maneuver, it "excels at picking up pet hair" and has "excellent suction," editors say. The Eureka's visor, which lifts from the motorized brushroll making it easy to clean vertical surfaces like stairs, is a true standout feature for this hand vac. It also includes a crevice tool for tight spaces.
For people who struggle with pet hair landing on anything and everything, the Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Corded Hand Vacuum 33A1-B (Est. $30) is the perfect fit. It costs significantly less than the Eureka and features a special rubber nozzle that actually attracts hair. This corded vac has a 16-foot cord that some owners at Amazon and Walmart say is way too short, though there are those who say even the Eureka's 20 feet isn't adequate.
Interestingly, the Bissell Pet Hair Eraser gets a poor rating from one consumer testing organization for pet-hair pickup, while the Eureka earns a very good rating in the same test. Owner feedback is mixed when it comes to the Bissell's pet hair performance. Some say it's the best thing ever invented for removing pet hair from upholstery, while others say it doesn't actually suck it up, but pushes it into a big clump. However, most people agree the Bissell has powerful suction, but it shares a common problem with the Eureka -- both models have strong exhaust vents that tend to blow dust and debris around before it can be sucked up with the nozzle. In Eureka's case, the exhaust flows out the front of the unit, while the Bissell's exhaust blows out of both sides. There are some users, however, who say this only happens on hard surfaces.
Both the Eureka and Bissell are built to last. The Bissell, like the Eureka, also earns high praise for durability with some owners saying they've owned it for years and had no complications even under regular and fairly rigorous use. One owner posting to Amazon.com says, "I've had it for several years now and it really does well getting all the cat hair up off upholstery. The little rubber nubs at the nose pull the hairs out of even the most difficult to clean couches."
The Bissell Pet Hair Eraser has a HEPA filter, whereas the Eureka has a standard, reusable filter -- but neither is washable. The Eureka, which gets higher marks overall in professional tests, outperforms the Bissell in one roundup in all but carpet cleaning where the Bissell earns a very good rating and the Eureka comes in just a single step lower. Both are backed by a one-year warranty.
If your primary concern is removing pet hair from your furniture, the Bissell is a solid contender. However, if you're looking for a more versatile hand vac that works on carpet and stairs, the Eureka is a better buy and our best-reviewed pick.