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Pets are great to have in your home, but this often leads to allergies for a lot of people. You obviously don’t want to wake up to allergies each day, so you’re going to have to get a vacuum to help you. The problem is that not all of the best vacuums are great for removing allergies.
To break it down to basics, allergens are any foreign substance to the body that can cause an allergic reaction. Allergens exist everywhere around us, and some of the most common forms are dust, pollen, mold, pet hair/dander, and formaldehyde.
These allergens either enter your house from the outside world, such as dust and pollen. Or, they are created inside the home, such as with mold and shedding pets. Alternatively, many of the products we buy and consume contain formaldehyde in them.
It isn't uncommon to suffer in some from from allergies. As a matter of fact, more than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies in some form.
The body is typically equipped to deal with all of these various allergens. However, in some people, they trigger allergic reactions. And, in high quantities, they can bring on these reactions even in those that typically don't suffer from allergies.
Whether you are the type that reacts strongly to allergens, or hardly at all, no one wants allergens in their house. There are several steps you can take to reduce the number of allergens that enter and take root in your home:
If you have allergies, then selecting a vacuum with a HEPA filter is a must. The HEPA accronym stands for "high efficiency particulate air".
According to WebMD, a HEPA filter is "is a type of mechanical air filter; it works by forcing air through a fine mesh that traps harmful particles such as pollen, pet dander, dust mites, and tobacco smoke.
Perhaps you can already see why a HEPA filter is entirely necessary for your vacuum cleaner. Let's spell out how a vacuum cleaner works, and why it will wreak havoc on your allergies if you don't have a filtration system in your vacuum:
While this is an over-simplified description, it does the trick of showing the important of filtration in a vacuum cleaner. Without a HEPA filter, the air that is expelled back into the room by the vacuum still contains the same allergens that were previously in the room.
A HEPA filter ensures that the process of vacuuming helps remove allergens from your home, rather than simply agitating them and potentially making your allergies worse.
Not all vacuums are designed to remove allergens. As mentioned above, you must select a vacuum that has a HEPA filter. Otherwise, the vacuum is really only kicking all of the bacteria into the air each time you use it. If you have allergies, an advanced HEPA filtration system is a must.
Some vacuums are specifically designed to remove allergies from your floor, carpet, and even the air. Dust locked into the fibers of your carpet, floor, upholstery, furniture, and blinds gets kicked up as you move around your house, and breathed in. The best HEPA vacuum for allergies is specifically designed to remove the vast majority of these allergens.
A lot of allergens are located in pet hair and dander. Thus, the highest rated vacuum for allergies typically have a component that is great at removing pet hair. Many vacuums are specifically designed with high powered suction and special brush rollers to handle pet hair, thick and thin.
If your main focus is to best rid your home of pet hair and dander then you will want to find a vacuum that also offers multiple attachments so that no surface is left untouched. We will talk about attachments a few paragraphs down so that you have a better idea of which ones handle which task.
There are a few different types of vacuums that you can consider when you are looking for the best vacuum for allergies.
If you are looking for the best vacuum for allergens in your home then you will want to look for a powerful suction vacuum that is able to lift allergens that are embedded in your carpet fibers as well as in your upholstery furniture.
There is a reason why we keeping saying HEPA is the filter you need. This type of filter will change the way you clean your home thanks to its ability to trap 99.97% of allergens and particles that are .03 microns and larger.
One thing you need to know about HEPA filters, is that sometimes the vacuums filter advertisement may not be a true HEPA filter. Some vacuums will state that they have a high efficiency filter included. These filters, while better than a standard filter, are not true HEPA filters and will not uphold the 99.97% filtration power that it gives.
To make sure that you have a true HEPA filter, you will want to look for a serial number on the filter. Each HEPA filter has been pre tested to make sure that it has been manufactured correctly to uphold the 99.97% filtration promise. Once the tested filter passes, it is given a serial number and sent to the stores or to vacuum companies to be built in.
If you don’t see a serial number on the filter, then you likely do not have a vacuum that has a HEPA filter.
While you are looking for a great vacuum to help with your allergies, in order to fully clean your home and remove allergens, then you will need to look for a vacuum that offers multiple cleaning attachments to clean all of your surfaces.
The vacuums main head will covers almost all of your floor surfaces. You will want at least the standard dusting brush and crevice head tools that come with most vacuums. These two attachments allow you to reach into tight corners to easily vacuum those hard to reach places.
The dusting brush is a great dust agitator for baseboards and surfaces that easily collect dust. Strong bristles on the suction brushes opening will rub against the surfaces that you are vacuuming, moving the dust so that it doesn’t stay stuck to the surface. The vacuums strong suction power coming through the opening will take care of the rest of the work for getting rid of the dust.
A suction powered roller brush is great for vacuuming pet hair from furniture, upholstery and tackling stairs. Once attached, the suction power of the vacuum will make a small brush roller in this attachment run so that it can work to lift dirt and dander from your surfaces.
The flat suction tool is a powerful tool that works to single out areas and provide maximum suction. Due to it’s flat and long body, this attachment uses its mostly closed off mouth to create a concentrated suction area. It is great for flat fabric and upholstery surfaces that you don’t want agitated too much by a bristles from the suction powered roller brush.
Some canister models offer a hardwood floor attachment that is a simple vacuum head. The main difference in this head is that it does not contain a rotating brush. Upright vacuums don’t offer this attachment as a lot of uprights are offering a button that allows you to turn the brush roller off when you need to vacuum your hardwood floors.
While all of these attachments sound great, they may not fit your cleaning needs. You don’t want to overpay for attachments that you will never use. If you prefer to have vacuum only for floors, then finding a basic vacuum would fit you better than one that offers 5 attachments and costs more.
No one wants to deal with a vacuum that doesn't want to go. You will miss out on covering all of your floors and probably end up with a backache as well. It is important to find a vacuum that offers smooth navigation so that you can easily maneuver around the furniture and layout of your home.
Simple stick vacuums, while lightweight, may not offer the best turning radius and navigation ease. Nowadays almost all of the upright vacuums on the market have an easy swivel function, so that vacuuming around your home is less of a hassle.
When you have a vacuum that is easy to operate and manuevor, then it is less of a full body chore to run the vacuum over your floors in order to cut down on allergens in the home.
Unless your home is wall to wall carpet in every single room, then you will have multiple types of floors that you need to clean. Being able to run your vacuum over all of your floors cuts down on having to vacuum and sweep when you are trying to get things clean in a timely manner.
In order to transition from carpets to wood floors you will need a compatible vacuum that allows you to turn off the brush roller, so that it doesn’t beat up your wood floors. Some vacuums will also come with a simple hardwood floor attachment that you can use to run over your wood floors easily to pick up small debris and dust.
You will also want to make sure that the vacuum you choose for your allergies is compatible will all types of carpeted floors. While most vacuums can handle low to medium pile carpets with ease, the higher pile carpet vacuums may need a vacuum that won’t choke on the longer fibers.
Another factor to consider is how you empty the dirt container that the vacuum collects in. Whether bagged or bagless, the best vacuum cleaner for allergy sufferers will have a very clean and simple transition to empty the dirt.
In short, a bagged vacuum cleaner is best for allergens, as you never re-introduce the collected dirt to the air again. Bagless vacuums that offer a clear cup for easy dumping once you are done add a risk of allergens flying back up into the air once dumped.
If you do settle on a non-bag vacuum then a few tips to keep dust allergens from reentering the air are:
While a bagged vacuum is the preferred standard for keeping allergens from returning, you can still make it work with a bagless vacuum. It comes down to your preference with a vacuum and what features are most important to give you an allergen free home.
We've done the work and put together our comprehensive allergy vacuum reviews, with our top 5 vacuum cleaners listed below:
2-in-1 crevice, dusting tool
The Dirt Devil UD70355B features no loss suction technology, which means that it uses powerful wind suction to keep providing you with constant cleaning power. Powerful suction means you are sucking up as much of the dirt and dander that is causing allergies as possible.
When it comes to picking up pet hair, this model has a definite advantage. The Spin4Pro premium brush roll gets really deep down into carpets to remove stubborn dirt and hair with ease. It even comes with a 2-in-1 dusting and crevice tool to get to those hard to reach areas.
For even more cleaning ease, you also get a 10 foot extender hose with a removable cleaning wand. The swivel steering feature, plus its low profile design, make it easy to reach pretty much anything and everywhere with this model.
The Dirt Devil UD70355B features a three stage filtration system to help keep the air clean and the vacuum running for as long as can be.
This Dirt Devil does not have a HEPA filter, which is common for vacuums in this price range. And, while we strongly recommend (and prefer) a HEPA filter, you just won't find one at this price point. So, we'll take the three stage filtration as a second best.
With its focus on strong suction for pet hair, this is definitely a top consideration for best vacuum for pets and allergies.
Pet-friendly, easy to maneuver, and great for hard to reach spots.
The Bissell PowerEdge is designed specifically for hardwood floors and low pile carpets. It features cyclonic wind technology to help pick up debris with ease.
What we really like about this model is that it has a special-shape cleaning head. This helps to capture large debris in the middle, and smaller stuff on the outside of the head.
The wipers on the bottom are also statically charged to help attract more pet hair than ever before. Its special design is meant to capture all kinds of dirt and hair, and it can do so in tight and hard to reach areas; even edges are no problem for this model.
This is a corded vacuum, coming with a 20ft cord. As such, you'll never have to plug this model in to recharge.
A few challenges with this vacuum. For starters, it is not effective on thicker carpet. If you have anything other than a thin rug or hardwood floor, this vacuum won't do the trick.
Additionally, it is lacking a HEPA filter. However, for the low price point, this vacuum is specifically focused on sucking pet hair, and for that reason we put it on our list. This vacuum does not have as good of filtration as the Dirt Devil, but it is lighter and easier to use.
The swivel head is specially designed so you can easily clean around and under furniture. The Bissell PowerEdge also comes with an easy to empty dirt cup, meaning that you never have to deal with bags or dirty messes again.
Pet-friendly, lightweight, and easy to maneuver.
Under Appliance Wand, Air-Driven Pet Brush, Dusting Brush, 5.5 inch Crevice Tool
Combining the power of a high quality upright vacuum with the convenience of a lightweight design, Shark produces a very high quality and well received vacuum with the Navigator line. Their Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional is focused at being an affordable option that includes a HEPA filter.
Coming in at 13 pounds, the Shark Navigator Lift-Away is a corded upright vacuum, containing a 25ft cord.
Shark includes their Never Loses Suction Technology on this model, and combines it with Anti-Allergen Complete Seal Technology to make this a powerful vacuum for sucking pet hair and filtering out the allergens.
Add a HEPA filter, and this vacuum does a fantastic job of cleaning the floor and air. Shark claims that this upright vacuum will trap over 99.9% of dust and allergens.
Some other features of the Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional that we love include some of the details. This Shark comes with a swivel steering and a deluxe motorized brush roll. Also included are several premium tools focused on pet hair, appliances, and furniture.
This Shark will clean everything from your hardwood floors to your thick carpet. It's removable canister makes it easy to detach and clean your stairs as well. While this Shark doesn't have the features of traditional canister vacuums, this one aspect does help for your stairs and upholstery.
For it's price, the Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional is a fantastic vacuum for allergies, and receives our vote for best affordable vacuum for allergies.
Again (its worth repeating) - this is the highest reviewed vacuum we can recommend that is both cost-effective AND comes with a HEPA filter. While it still doesn't have the suction and convenience of some more expensive models, this is the cheapest way to get a HEPA filter in a high quality vacuum.
Powerful, lightweight, and maneuverable - Shark offers a high-quality performance vacuum.
2 in 1, HEPA filtration, Crevice tool
One of the things that is very neat about the Dibea Stick Vacuum Cleaner is that it is a two in one model. It can be used as a normal upright vacuum and it can be used as a handheld one too. This makes it great for both large and small jobs around the home.
Ok, let's cut to the chase. Our favorite thing about the Dibea is that it has a HEPA filter considering its price. This is rare to find, and the Dibea is a great option if you're looking to save money but get a stick vacuum with a HEPA filter.
This Dibea has great suction power, making it ideal for some pretty big messes, pet hair, and other heavier dirt and dust particles. The large one liter dirt cup means that you won’t have to empty out the dirt all that often.
Don't buy this corded stick vacuum if you have quite a bit of carpet. It's best used on hardwood floor, bare floor, and thin rugs.
The Dibea Vacuum Cleaner is a very lightweight vacuum cleaner, making it easy to maneuver, even up and down stairs, plus the swivel head makes it easy to get around furniture. The front facing LED lights allow you to see everything that needs to be sucked up.
We lay our stake in the ground and have determined that this is the best vacuum for allergies. You get top-of-the-line filtration combined with best-in-class suction power. Dibea is a world class brand name and high powered vacuum cleaner.
Top class filtration and strong suction make the Dibea our best-in-class winner.
Mini motorized tool, Combination accessory tool, Crevice tool, NMC battery, Docking station with charger
Argued as the best cordless stick vacuum for pet hair on the market, the Dyson DC59 Animal Cordless Vacuum Cleaner may be expensive, but it makes for a great investment. It has a great lithium ion battery which can last for up to 20 minutes on a single charge, thus eliminating the hassle of power cords.
This particular model has a direct drive motorized brush head that gets deep down into carpets and can easily pick up embedded dirt and pet hair. The Dyson DC59 Animal Cordless Vacuum Cleaner is very lightweight, so much so that you can easily lift it up to get to your ceilings. It also allows you to remove the wand to instantly convert it into a handheld vacuum.
Dyson designed this vacuum to deal with pet hair, and subsequently, the allergens that come from their dander. Dyson uses cyclonic technology to keep dirt from releasing into the air, and the HEPA filtration system sucks in allergens and expels clean air.
It also comes with a small motorized tool for getting dirt and hair out of your sofas and other upholstery. The Dyson DC59 Animal Cordless Vacuum Cleaner is meant to deal with most stubborn of pet hair and to be easy to maneuver while using it.
Powerful, lightweight, and convertible - Dyson DC59 is great for dealing with pet hair and clean air.
Flexible pet crevice tool
Pick up allergens and lock them in with the Bissell CleanView Pet Bagged Vacuum. This affordable vacuum is great for giving your floors a powerful clean while also protecting your home from allergens reentering the air once picked up.
At only 12 pounds, this upright vacuum is decently lightweight, so it will be easy to maneuver around as well as take it to another story of your home. The cord is 27 feet long which will allow you to comfortably vacuum a medium-large sized room without having to stop and find another plug.
Inside of this vacuum there isn’t a HEPA filter however, there is a bag. The included bag in this vacuum is a Premium Allergen Filtration with Febreze Pet Odor Eliminator. This means that it will trap in dust, dirt and pet dander allergens while also releasing a fresh Febreze scent into the air.
If you have issues with strong smells, then you can also replace this bag with an unscented standard Bissell style 7 bag. Sometimes strong smelling air fresheners and bags can agitate sinuses or cause allergies, so make sure that the general smell of Febreze products won’t bother you before trying out this vacuum.
Picking up pet hair, large messes and deep cleaning your carpets gets easier with this powerful vacuum. It houses a triple action brush roll that works to loosen, lift and remove embedded dirt in your carpets.
Included with this vacuum is a really neat flexible pet crevice tool. It not only reaches into those slim hard to get to areas of your home, but it also offers the added convenience with a flexible body that can contour to each area that needs suction cleaning power.
There are also some accessories that come with this vacuum to help you clean up various surfaces of your home easier. An extension wand connects to the main hose to give you a longer reach without you having to bend over. Along with the flexible pet crevice tool there is a simple dusting brush that is great for your flat surfaces. The suction powered rotating pet turbo eraser tool that tackles stairs and upholstery with ease.
While this vacuum does not have the desired HEPA filter, it does get major points as a bagged vacuum that keeps allergens from escaping once they enter the bag. The addition of a febreze boosting smell is also a great perk to give your home a whole clean feeling.
Despite lacking a HEPA filter, it is a great affordable vacuum that will help keep allergens in thanks to its bagged body style.
How often do you vacuum your bed? Weekly, monthly, never? The Housmile Anti-Dust Mites UV Vacuum Cleaner will have you routinely cleaning your mattress on a schedule now thanks to its super easy to use functioning and dust mite eliminating powers. So that you can wake up refreshed and breathing better.
This handheld vacuum is exclusively for bedding, furniture and other fabric surfaces. It is not suggested or powerful enough to use on carpeting.
The handheld vacuum has a high frequency vibration that when turned on begins to beat out the dust mites that can live deep inside of your mattress and upholstery. Then it uses its powerful suction to finish pulling the dust mites out of your furniture.
A built in UV light works to penetrate through your surfaces to stubborn dust mites still in the bedding. With the UV light, it will alter the dust mites DNA to prevent them from replicating while also killing them. This light also works for bed bugs, mites and microorganisms in your mattress.
Inside of the small dust bin is a washable HEPA filter. This vacuum not only has a HEPA filter but also has a whole machine HEPA filtration system, meaning nothing slips past the filter to get back out.
When you are vacuuming up tiny organisms and particles from your bedding or living room furniture, then a HEPA filter is a must have in order to trap these tiny particles. Since this is a small cup dust bin, it is best to let the vacuum rest for a few minutes after you have finished so that anything you pick up in the bin doesn’t kick up once you open to dump it.
This vacuum is a great buy for any and every household due to the extensive amount of dust mites that live in mattresses and bedding. While it won’t remove 100% of the dust mites (nothing ever will) this vacuum will control the amount left in it to greatly reduce the allergens and reduce any related health issues that can arise.
Everyone should have one of these handy vacuums to go over the bedding and couches in your home to remove dust mites and other tiny organisms hiding in the fibers.
The HEPA filter makes sure that nothing escapes once you vacuum it up while the UV light kills any mites that are left behind.
Best Vacuum for Allergies
We could tell you that the Dyson DC59 Animal Cordless Vacuum Cleaner is the top choice and we wouldn't be lying. Dyson makes one of the best vacuums for allergies, and it works well in all environments, keeping allergies at bay throughout it all.
However, we don't think you need to spend that much money to get the highest rated vacuum for pets and allergies. We have found that the Dibea Vacuum Cleaner does a fantastic job, and gets our recommendation.
Alternatively, if you're looking to save some cash, the Shark Navigator Lift-Away does a very good job, and for a price that's light on the wallet.
Allen Michael is the Founder and Editor of Home Viable, a website that he started to provide readers with tips on home efficiency and automation. He draws on his engineering background combined with his family-of-four experiences for his articles.