What’s the one thing every pet owner makes their peace with? Pet hair everywhere! (Okay, maybe not owners of hairless breeds) No outfit is complete without pet fur, and every surface in the house collects pet hair. You try to keep up, but shedding continues non-stop. While you might learn to coordinate your outfit to match your cat or dog, pet vacuum cleaners make keeping the house clean an easier task.
Pet Hair and Floors
Sweeping pet hair off hard surfaces such as wood and linoleum requires patience and commitment. You have to pull the tangled hair from the broom bristles, and a single breath can send those fluff balls flying. (Ever notice they wait until you give up to land again?)
Carpet doesn’t make things any easier. Static electricity creates a firm bond between fur and fabrics. Even if you resort to upholstery brushes, pet hair stubbornly clings to the couch and floor. Even worse, most standard vacuum cleaners tangle hair around the roll. Collect enough, and the machine grinds to a halt. If your hair is longer than your ears, odds are some of that hair came from YOU.
Pet vacuum cleaners solve BOTH problems.
Unique Pet Features
What makes pet vacuum cleaners so special? The designs keep animals in mind. All of those frustrations we face with pet hair and fur disappear. Instead of spending cleaning day cursing, crying, and wondering whether you cleaned in the first place, you turn around and breathe a deep sigh of relief.
Most pet vacuum cleaners sport rubber trim or raised rubber “fingers” on attachments. The rubber breaks the static electricity bond, allowing pet hair to lift from fabrics. This works equally well on hard surfaces, collecting loose hair before it can get loose into space.
Tangle-free brush rolls make the most significant difference. Pet vacuum cleaners boast clever rolls that prevent even the longest hairs (probably yours) from creating snarled messes. That means no dismantling the machine and sitting on the floor with a pair of scissors (you know you’ve done that at least once).
Most pet vacuum cleaners have the bonus of filters. Filters trap inevitable dog and cat odors produced by skin oils and dander. Your house gets left with a fresh scent, without needing to resort to artificial fragrances.
The Dust Cup
While dust cups aren’t specific to pet vacuum cleaners, they’re still important to pet owners. If you have multiple pets or animals with a lot of hair, odds are you’ll need to empty the vacuum A LOT. (In our house, it’s every room) Dust cups make those frequent trips to the trash can easy. No need to wrangle a clumsy vacuum bag. You also won’t have to worry about making a mess in the process. Just unclip the cup, dump out the dust and fur, and then reset the vacuum for the next time. What could be simpler?
Considerations for Pet Vacuum Cleaners
Anyone with even one pet (do people own single pets?) should have a pet vacuum cleaner. The machines handle the burdens created by pet fur. Most pet vacuum cleaners work on different flooring types, transitioning between carpet and hard surfaces with the flick of a switch. One handy appliance allows you to tackle the entire house.
Before you select your ideal pet vacuum cleaner, consider a few things.
- Frequency of Use: Do you vacuum daily? Weekly? If you break out the vacuum every day, make sure the machine you choose is durable enough to handle the workload.
- Flooring Mix: How many types of flooring are in your house? If you have carpet, hardwood, and tile, you might need a more expensive pet vacuum cleaner to navigate the changes. Or you CAN opt for multiple machines – not as practical, but it’s an option.
- Carpet Types: Choose a pet vacuum cleaner that allows for varying heights of carpet. Not all carpet styles are created equal, and you want to remove the pet hair from the entire house. Make sure your vacuum works equally well on shag and smoother carpets.
- Ease of Use: Do you need an engineering degree to work the pet vacuum cleaner? Ideally, you shouldn’t need to do much more than plug the vacuum in and switch it on. The more complicated the instructions, the less likely you’ll be to take the appliance out of the closet.
- HEPA Filters: Pet dander causes the majority of human-pet allergies. Picking up the shed hair goes a long way to cleaning your house, but trapping that dander eases people’s allergies. A HEPA filter built into the vacuum keeps those allergens from spitting back into the air where you DON’T want them.
Best Pet Vacuum Cleaners
No matter what kind of floors you have, pet vacuum cleaners make owning a pet easier. Attachments allow you to remove pet hair from couches, curtains, and even stairs. You can reach those narrow corners where fur bunnies like to hide out. Whether you prefer a sleek upright or crave the technological marvel of a robotic unit, there’s a pet vacuum out there that suits your needs.
Best Hand-Held Pet Vacuum Cleaners
Do you live in a small loft space? Is storage a premium for you? Or do you have a pet with extremely short hair? Then a hand-held pet vacuum cleaner might be all you need. If you only need to address small clean-ups, a mini vacuum suits you perfectly.
Bissell provides the perfect mini vacuum, weighing in at just four pounds! The handy rubber tip eliminates that pesky static bond to make sure pet hair lifts away from any surface. The small design maneuvers around chairs and up the stairs without a problem, letting you get into every nook and cranny.
Downsides? While the vacuum works great on pet hair, it doesn’t do as well on ordinary dirt (who knew?). Also, it does have a cord you need to keep track of. Whether or not that’s a deal-breaker is up to you.
Shark makes quite a few appearances in the category of pet vacuum cleaners. The Wandvac provides a hand-held option for people that want to skip the cord. No brush means no worries about tangled hair. You get two attachments to allow you to reach every part of the house. Want to travel? The battery makes this pet vacuum cleaner portable!
The downsides? It is on the expensive side, especially for a hand-held. Also, some people reported problems with the battery holding a charge.
Best Robotic Pet Vacuum Cleaners
If you love having the newest gadgets on the market, robotic pet vacuum cleaners fit the bill. You program your new little robots for cleaning duty, and then you can sit back and relax. No need to haul out a vacuum and do the work yourself. There IS a learning curve with these vacuums, so if you struggle with other appliances, maybe have a nerdy friend on stand-by. Also, while it’s pretty nifty to have a robot on dirt patrol, these little machines can’t do stairs.
The Roomba shares internet fame with all of the various cats that use pet vacuum cleaners as Ubers. If you want the best pet features, aim for the 980 model (though the 870, 880, and 980 models all have a tangle-free extractor). The battery lasts a full 90 minutes, and then the vacuum knows to return to home base for recharging. You need a Wi-Fi connection, but you can use your phone, Amazon Echo, or your Google Assistant for programming.
Downsides? Robot this may be, but you have to empty the dust cup yourself (no tiny robot arms – sorry). The dust cup capacity isn’t very big, either, so if you have a lot of pets, you’re probably going to need another vacuum to keep up.
Would you like just a little longer battery life to handle your house? Then eufy fits the bill. This tough little robot lasts 100 minutes before needing to return to the home charger. Sensors detect when an extra 1.5-second boost is required to handle pet hair clumps. Those same sensors detect drop-offs and stairs, preventing robot tumbles (it still can’t vacuum the stairs for you). At just 3 inches in height, it glides under all standard furniture without a problem.
The downsides? While eufy might be a robot, it’s not always smart: people reported their RoboVac sometimes got “lost” and forgot where home base was located. Those sensors also fail to prevent the vacuum from getting tangled in wires or loose carpet fringe, so make sure you robot-proof your house (there’s a sentence I never thought I’d write). And, again, you need to empty the dust cup yourself.
Best Stick Pet Vacuum Cleaners
You don’t want to take up a lot of room in the house, but you want a little more oomph than a hand-held. No problem! Stick pet vacuum cleaners have a low profile while still providing plenty of cleaning power. Whether you prefer the tradition of a cord or opt for a cordless model with a charging unit, you’re sure to find an option that works best for you.
Dyson’s a name people recognize for vacuums. The V8 Animal switches between a stick vacuum or a hand-held. The lithium-ion battery lasts a whopping 40 minutes with standard usage. The digital motor captures 99.97% of particles, working on both carpets and hard surfaces. You also get handy attachments to allow you to reach those pesky crevices.
Downsides? This pet vacuum cleaner’s EXPENSIVE. Also, the battery takes a while to reach full charge. If you set the vacuum to max, it won’t last that 40 minutes, either. Just be mindful of your setting.
Do you only have hard surface floors in your house? The Bissell Symphony is the option for you. Not only do you get a great bagless vacuum, you get reusable mop heads to finish off the floors with sterilizing steam. The pet vacuum cleaner is lightweight, making it easy to move around from room to room, and it includes a long cord, so you don’t have to keep moving the plug.
The downsides? Obviously, this won’t work on carpeted floors as well. (You CAN, just not the mop feature) Also, while people appreciated the vacuum, most of the complaints focused on the steam feature, complaining about the wheels leaving tread marks, or not cleaning effectively.
The Shark Rocket provides another conversion option, switching between stick and hand-held modes. If you aren’t interested in waiting for your pet vacuum cleaner to charge, the sixteen-foot cord lets you tackle cleaning whenever you’re ready. The hand-held mode weighs around five pounds, making it easy to manage. The suction works on all carpet types, lifting hair away from even shag.
So what are the downsides? Unhappily, this vacuum doesn’t provide hooks to keep the cord bundled out of the way. Also, you may need to make a few passes to conquer deep-set stains. It doesn’t mean they won’t come up; you’ll just need to do a little more work.
Best Upright Pet Vacuum Cleaners
If you favor the traditional look, upright pet vacuum cleaners are the choice for you. They cover plenty of territory, switch between floor types, and have dust cups that won’t need emptying within a single room. For owners with multiple pets or large houses, these are the best choices on the market.
Dyson’s Ball Animal 2 had pets in mind when it hit the design floor. Strong suction pulls pet hair, dander, dirt, and even microscopic allergens from carpets and hard surfaces alike. The Tangle-Free Turbine Tool keeps all of that pet hair from knotting any of the vacuum’s mechanisms. The ball design makes navigating around furniture a breeze. You get special attachments to clean upholstery and stairs. Dyson also provides a five-year warranty on parts and maintenance, allowing you to buy with confidence.
Downsides? As with other Dysons, it’s EXPENSIVE. If you have a lot of stairs, the tool may not help, and the machine’s heavy for hauling around. Also, there’s a fine mesh inside that can become clogged. You’ll have to dismantle the entire vacuum to clean it, so be careful.
Do you or someone else in the family have asthma or allergies? Kenmore provides the pet vacuum cleaner for you. Certified by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation (AAFA), they received top marks for low allergy risk during both vacuuming and when emptying the bag. The powerful motor works on all carpet types. The handle has an adjustable height, making it easy for anyone to push the vacuum through the house. You also get plenty of attachments to remove that stubborn pet fur from every surface.
The downsides? Yeah, you have to buy and change out bags instead of a handy dust cup. This pet vacuum cleaner is also on the heavy side. And some people complained the attachments had a habit of falling out of place.
Do you have a little of every kind of floor in your house? Shark’s Navigator is the pet vacuum cleaner for you. A quick flick of the switch converts between floor types AND carpet heights. All Shark upright vacuums feature the Zero-M brush, which removes pet hair and prevents tangles. A top-grade HEPA filter keeps allergens from entering the air and bothering those with allergies. Pivot-steering makes navigating around furniture and corners a cinch. Best of all, you get Shark’s five-year warranty! This is the vacuum we have, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. With three cats and a Greyhound, it keeps up with all of the hair and dirt. I have general allergies, and it makes a huge difference. I adore my Navigator.
So what are the downsides? Compared to other pet vacuum cleaners, the brush width is on the short side. The vacuum IS top-heavy, so be careful when you let it go (we topple it a lot, but the cleaning power is worth it, in our house).
If you’re concerned about weight, Dirt Devil provides the lightest pet vacuum cleaner. The entire machine only comes out to 10.8 pounds! The Spin4Pro roller brush lifts and removes pet hair from carpets and hard surfaces alike, without forming nasty tangles. You get a detachable cleaning wand and a handy TurboClaw Pet Tool to remove pet fur from everything in the house. There’s also a three-stage filtration built in to keep allergens from escaping. You won’t put a dent in your wallet, either!
Downsides? Even though it’s not heavy, it’s still a little cumbersome in design. Also, people questioned the durability of this particular vacuum.
Kiss Pet Hair Good-Bye!
We love our pets. And while we might be willing to live with their hair on…well, everything, we don’t have to. Pet vacuum cleaners feature designs guaranteed to defeat static bonds and prevent horrible hair snags on brush rolls. When removing pet hair from floors ceases being such a terrible chore, we’re much likelier to participate.
So ditch the old useless vacuums and brooms (okay, maybe keep the brooms). It’s time to invest in a quality pet vacuum cleaner and evict that unwanted pet hair!