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Which desk vacuums are best?

Desks are one of the most-frequented surfaces in homes and offices, including business, gaming, studying and even eating. It’s no surprise that desks get messy, and many individuals turn to desk vacuums to keep them tidy.

Desk vacuums are small devices with nozzles and attachments that are designed to navigate a desk’s nooks and crannies. The top choice, Shark WANDVAC Handheld Vacuum, has a slender nozzle that navigates cords and keyboards with ease. 

What to know before you buy a desk vacuum

What is a desk vacuum?

While some are devices designated as “desk vacuums,” it’s more of a diverse category instead of an individual product. Desk vacuums refer to any vacuum that would be used to clean a desk.

Many devices marketed as desk vacuums include tiny, palm-sized devices that pick up small messes, like cookie crumbs or pencil shavings. The rest of the category includes handheld vacuums and compact car vacuums.

Can I use a regular vacuum to clean my desk?

Many regular vacuum cleaners come with attachments, such as upholstery cleaning tools, that can be used for cleaning desks. While some of these attachments fit in tight spaces around devices and power cords, others are too bulky to maneuver around these items. The suction is much stronger in regular vacuums, and unfortunately, they may be too powerful to use around certain desk accessories. 

What you can’t pick up with a desk vacuum

Desk vacuums are versatile cleaning tools that tidy up most messes, but there are a few materials they shouldn’t pick up. They’re not designed to pick up wet messes, like spilled coffee. Tiny office supplies, such as paper clips, staples and tacks, can clog filters or damage internal components. It’s also best to avoid shards of dense materials, like glass and rocks. 

What to look for in a quality desk vacuum

Space-savvy designs

Many desk-friendly vacuums have space-savvy designs, which makes them easy to maneuver around keyboards, monitors, cables and desk organizers. Most of these devices have slender or tapered nozzles to reach in tight spots, whereas others have retractable nozzles that reach far-away spaces.

Desk vacuums generally have compact designs that make them suitable for desktop or shelf storage. To optimize space, many desk vacuums have upright designs that consist of a small charging base. Some of these models have footprints that are less than 6 square inches.

Corded vs. cordless designs

Desk vacuums can be loosely grouped into two categories, corded and cordless. Corded vacuums offer unlimited suction time because they have a direct power source. The cord, however, may limit the cleaning radius or get in the way. Cordless desk vacuums are popular because they can clean anywhere you go. Unfortunately, most of these models have limited cleaning times, even on a full charge. 


Many vacuums for desks include attachments specifically designed for cleaning tight spaces around keyboards, laptops and printers. Some of the most common attachments include crevice nozzles, as well as various types of brush heads. There are some vacuums that have square or rectangular brush heads that are uniquely designed to clean keys. 

Dust bowl capacity

Because most desk vacuums are compact, it’s no surprise that most of them have small dust bowls. While most premium handheld vacuums list dust bowl capacity on the packaging, models manufactured by lesser-known brands may only list capacity in the user manual. 


Regardless of size, it’s recommended to empty the dust bowl on a regular basis. Some users prefer emptying it after each use, whereas others empty it on a weekly basis. If the dust bowl reaches full capacity, the vacuum may malfunction or case from lifting debris until it’s emptied.

How much you can expect to spend on desk vacuums

Palm-sized desk vacuums for small messes cost $12 and below. Entry-level handheld vacuums start at $30, whereas more advanced designs cost closer to $100. Compact handheld vacuums cost between $40-$125. 

Desk vacuum FAQ

Is it true that lithium batteries, like those in cordless desk vacuums, eventually stop holding charge?

A. Yes. On average, lithium batteries offer between 750 and 1,500 charges for devices, including cordless desk vacuums. Some devices have replaceable lithium batteries, which are usually available through the manufacturer. 

How do I clean a desk vacuum?

A. Desk vacuums can be wiped down with most electronic-friendly wipes, including those with alcohol. Compressed air cans are ideal for blasting away buildup in crevices. Certain desk vacuums have washable filters, which can be rinsed or soaked in soapy water. 

What’s the best desk vacuum to buy?

Top desk vacuum

Shark WANDVAC Handheld Vacuum

Shark WANDVAC Handheld Vacuum

What you need to know: A powerful handheld vacuum that’s easy to maneuver around tight spaces, including desks with cables and devices.

What you’ll love: This vacuum’s slender design and docking station fits easily on desks or shelves. The device always charges once it’s docked, so users never have to worry about low battery. It comes with a brush head attachment that helps lift debris. 

What you should consider: It’s not suitable for more involved cleaning jobs or larger areas. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon, Kohl’s and Bed, Bath & Beyond

Top desk vacuum for the money

Bissell AeroSlim Lithium Ion Cordless Handheld Vacuum

Bissell AeroSlim Lithium Ion Cordless Handheld Vacuum

What you need to know: Affordable and space-savvy, this handheld vacuum is a convenient investment if you need to clean desks and drawers.

What you’ll love: The vacuum offers up to 12 minutes of continuous cleaning. It comes with a tapered crevice tool that is particularly effective at cleaning keyboards and printers. The vacuum comes with a USB charger, so it can be charged via most devices. 

What you should consider: The vacuum doesn’t come with a regular wall charger, which several consumers would have preferred.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Bed, Bath & Beyond

Worth checking out

BLACK+DECKER Cordless Dustbuster Handheld Vacuum

BLACK+DECKER Cordless Dustbuster Handheld Vacuum

What you need to know: A popular classic design, this cordless model is energy-efficient to offer longer cleaning times. 

What you’ll love: The device has a large dust bowl, which means less-frequent emptying. The filter is washable, saving users money on replacements. It has a long, thin nozzle that reaches tight spaces easily, including around devices. 

What you should consider: The vacuum is larger than other handheld vacuums for desks, so it may not fit in every professional’s workspace. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Sian Babish writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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