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I test home appliances for a living, and this powerful Craftsman hand vacuum makes cleaning a piece of cake

The Craftsman V20 Cordless Hand Vacuum weighs less than five pounds, yet delivers industrial-strength suction.

As someone who tests and writes about home appliances for a living, I have a confession to make: I hate vacuuming, and will avoid doing it until absolutely necessary. I can usually rely on my cheap little robot vac for keeping my floors clean enough, but a few months ago, when getting ready to sell my house, I realized I needed something a bit more powerful to make them spotless. A hefty upright was out of the question (I'm five-feet-tall with limited upper body strength) and I didn't want to splurge on a fancy stick vac. My requirements? An affordable, lightweight, cordless number — and I found it in the Craftsman V20 Cordless Hand Vacuum, which costs just $99, complete with a charger and battery, at Amazon.

Sure, it might be called Craftsman, but it's lightweight enough for this little lady!

$99 at Amazon
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$99 at Ace Hardware

First impressions

When it first arrived, I thought, Wow, this looks intense for a hand vacuum. It's bright red with a lot of angular features, which contributed to its heavy-duty appearance. That's why I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was fairly lightweight — less than five pounds with the battery attached — and an absolute cinch for my not-so-tech-savvy self to figure out how to use.

There are only two buttons you need to deal with: one to turn it on/off and another to empty out the dust container. Speaking of dust, I quickly discovered that the Craftsman V20 is an absolute beast when it comes to sucking up debris off the floor.

Putting it to the test

Upon trying this bad boy out, I realized just how much dirt my robovac — which I often have to untangle from shag rugs and the like — was probably leaving behind. The V20 zapped up everything from bits of debris to straight-up wads of hair like it was nothing. (I don't have pets, but I'm a big shedder.) Its 20-volt battery is at the high end of the range for hand vacs; no wonder it did such a bang-up job in mere minutes. (For comparison, this top-rated Black + Decker hand vacuum has only an 8-volt battery.) It really feels like an industrial-strength vacuum that happens to be ideal for home use.

The battery itself lasts a pretty long time — by my count, about 45 minutes to an hour before needing a charge — and I was happy to find that I could clean all of the floors in my house before needing to empty out the dust collector. Getting the battery juiced up takes about 60 to 90 minutes, but because I'm usually able to get all of my cleaning done with one full charge, I haven't really found myself waiting around for it.

the author holding the red craftsman hand vacuum
This little guy punches well above its weight and will deliver a knockout to your household dirt and dust. (Britt Ross/Yahoo)

Final thoughts

Now that I've had the Craftsman V20 for several months, I can honestly say it's the best hand vacuum I've ever used. It's so much more powerful than its lightweight feel would imply, and I appreciate that I can use it to remove dust on furniture and higher surfaces in addition to my floors.

It is bulkier than some of the other hand vacuums out there? Yes, but that's to be expected given its performance. That said, it's portable enough for me to bring from room to room without it feeling like a workout, and that's all I can ask for.

What the masses say

Even the pros use it, as evidenced by this reviewer: "We have a detail business, and this [is] perfect for a quick vacuum! Easy to use and clean. Highly recommend for either car or home!"

"This little handheld vacuum is lightweight and is perfect for me at my age while trying to keep my car clean," shared another satisfied shopper. "I keep it in the garage and grab it easily for a quick car cleanup. It has better suction power than others I have tried in the past. Keeps the charge until the job is done. The head fits down in the small, hard-to-get-to places. ... I highly recommend, especially if you are looking for convenience and lightweight."

"Works great for its size," wrote a final fan. "My only complaint is after spending a half hour searching the web, I was unable to find a replacement filter." (Psst: You can actually clean the filter by hand, but in the event that you do need a replacement, Ace Hardware has 'em!)

I don't expect this sturdy hand vac to conk out anytime soon, but when it does, I'll be ordering another one right away.

$99 at Amazon
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$99 at Ace Hardware

And for wet messes, another floor-cleaning product I might have to invest in? These ingenious mop slippers:

No more lugging out a big mop and bucket — clean while you walk! 

"These mop slippers are my new favorite find," wrote one Yahoo staffer. "I slip them on each morning when I get out of bed, and my feet feel warm and cared for. Throughout the day they get me off my butt and onto my feet. Instead of noting (with dread) a smattering of crumbs or a film of dust, I attack it on my way to check the mail or while making lunch."

Read our full mop slipper review for more. 

$14 at Amazon

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The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.