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For many of us, our pets aren’t just animals, they’re a part of our family. But it can be a nightmare when the hair from your shedding furry friend piles up and sticks to every surface of your home. Every cat and dog is different, but cleaning up after the pet hair is a given.
Not every vacuum can handle pet hair adequately. As a matter of fact, many vacuum’s are designed to excel at other functions, like vacuuming carpet or hardwood floors.
Many vacuums out there easily pick up larger dirt and debris, but leave behind the dog hair or cat hair (and allergens) that cling to your floor. We’ll focus on the best vacuum for pet hair, and all the features you need to know about to make a good decision.
- What to look for in a Top Vacuum for Pet Hair
- Pet Hair Vacuum Reviews
- Best Vacuum for Pet Hair Under $100: Shark Navigator Freestyle Cordless Stick Vacuum
- Best Canister Vacuum for Pet Hair: Hoover Platinum UH30010COM Bagged Corded Upright Vacuum
- Best Vacuum for Pet Hair and Hardwood Floors: Shark Rocket TruPet Ultra-Light Upright Corded Vacuum
- Best Shark Vacuum for Pet Hair: Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away TruePet Upright Vacuum
- Best Vacuum for Allergies and Pet Hair: Oreck Upright Vacuum Cleaner LW100 Magnesium SP
- Best Vacuum for Pet Hair Overall: Miele Dynamic U1 Cat and Dog Upright Vacuum
- Best Stick Vacuum for Pet Hair: Bissell PowerEdge Pet Hard Floor Corded Vacuum
- Feature Overview
- Suction Power
- Brush Roller
- Ease of Use
- Types of Dog and Cat Hair Vacuums to Consider
- Specific Scenarios for Consideration
What to look for in a Top Vacuum for Pet Hair
It’s a common assumption that when companies include the word “pet” in the name of their vacuum, it’s just another excuse to raise the price.
While this may be true in some cases, there are many brands and models that put a strong emphasis on providing a superior vacuum specifically for cat and dog hair. Knowing which vacuums truly are excellent for picking up pet hair is essential.
Before we get into the best pet hair vacuum, though, its important to talk about what features are essential.
Pet Hair Vacuum Reviews
In this article we have listed our recommended corded and cordless stick vacuum for pet hair. We provide pet hair vacuum reviews and critiques, along with highlighting the differences in the top models available. Lastly, we make distinct recommendations for all prices ranges so, no matter what your budget, you can find the best stick vacuum for cleaning up your pet’s hair.
In our opinion, this highly rated Shark cordless stick vacuum would have to be the top choice if you’re on a budget. It performs excellently on both carpets and bare floors alike. Owners of this vacuum enjoy the cordless convenience. For it’s inexpensive price point, it packs a lot of value into a vacuum. The Shark brand is a strong name in the vacuum industry and works brilliantly for pet hair.
Battery and Usage Time: The Shark Navigator Freestyle runs on a 14.4 volt nickel–metal hydride battery. The maximum run time on this vacuum is an average of 25 minutes, although this can vary depending on how you use the settings, and what surface you’re cleaning on.
Some of the option cordless stick vacuums we recommend on this list have a much longer run time, but you’re going to pay for that with a much higher price tag.
In some of our testing, we did find that the Shark Navigator only lasted 15-17 minutes when it was picking up heavy debris and pet hair. So, just be forewarned. Again – given its attractive price tag, this was something we were more than willing to work around.
Suction Power: For a cordless stick vacuum, you’ll never have to worry about a weak suction with the Shark Navigator. Customers were blown away by the suctioning power of this vacuum. This vacuum has a suction power that’s perfect for picking up large debris and pet hair alike.
- Good run time of 25 mins
- Long charge time of 7 hrs
- Lighter weight of 7.5 lbs
- Cheap price point
- Two speed brush roller
- 14.4 volt battery
The Shark Navigator Free Style Cordless Stick Vacuum is also one of the best cordless stick vacuums for cat litter. This way you will be able to clean up after your pets in more ways than one.
Brush Roller: Included is a two speed, powered brush roller that works on both carpets and bare floors. You have the option of setting the brush roller to either bare flooring or carpets. The carpet setting has stronger suction of the two brush roller settings.
If you look closely, you’ll actually see that Shark designed this vacuum to handle both large debris and smaller pet hair. At the base of the vacuum, the middle has a large opening, designed to funnel the large debris through it.
Convenience: This stick vacuum’s swivel steering will make cleaning faster and much more efficient. The Shark Navigator Free Style is great for cleaning in places that a regular vacuum can’t get to. Combine this with its light weight (only 7.5 pounds) and cleaning is a pretty quick and painless process.
This is also another reason why the shorter battery life isn’t as much of a problem. You’ll find that you can clean really quickly with the swivel steering combined with the lightweight design.
Downsides: One of the downsides to the Shark Navigator is that the battery takes about 7 hours to fully charge. This is a lot longer than some other cordless vacuums, so you may not be able to vacuum up that pesky hair as often as you need to.
This vacuum is also lacking a HEPA filter. The is an added bonus when you’re looking for the best cordless stick vacuum for pet hair, because it will help filter the allergens out of the air.
The Shark Navigator comes with a standard washable foam and mesh filter, but nothing to filter out allergens that are often contained in pet hair and dander.
The Shark Navigator Freestyle Cordless Stick Vacuum is a fantastic option, especially given that you can grab it for less than $100. This Shark model does a fantastic job at its core competencies, and you will not be disappointed with the cleaning power and convenience of this handy, budget friendly appliance.
Perfect budget options: great entry level cordless stick vacuum for pet hair, backed by a powerful brand name.
- Dust cup capacity 0.64 quarts; Cordless convenience
- Powerful pet hair pick up
- Swivel steering for easy Maneuver
Best Canister Vacuum for Pet Hair: Hoover Platinum UH30010COM Bagged Corded Upright Vacuum
Hoover packs the best of both worlds into it’s Platinum Corded Upright Vacuum by providing both an upright vacuum and a canister vacuum. You no longer have to worry about the debate over which type of vacuum is better for pet hair, because you get both with this Hoover model.
This Hoover is priced in the average to above average range, which puts it much more expensive than the Shark Navigator we reviewed above. However, once you make it into this price point, you start getting a lot more features.
Weight: For a combo upright/canister vacuum, the Hoover Platinum is surprisingly light, weighing in at only 11 pounds. Still, this is a lot heavier than a lot of the other models we’ve reviewed here. In general, if you want a canister vacuum, expect to have it weight much more than 10 pounds.
Remember that canister vacuums come equipped with wheels that allow you to move the vacuum around in a simple fashion. You really don’t notice the weight as much on a canister-style cleaner.
Suction Power: Hoover takes the Platinum’s 5 amp motor and uses its patented Windtunnel cyclonic technology to create amazing suction. You will find great sucking power on both the upright and canister options for this vacuum.
The upright vacuum performs amazing on carpet, and the canister portion wonderfully on hardwood flooring, tile floors, and upholstery. In this regard, this might be the perfect pet hair option if you have varied surfaces across your home.
- Average cord length of 35ft
- 2-in-1; HEPA filter
- Heavier weight of 11 lbs
- Mid-tier price point
- Brush roller
- 5 amp motor
Brush Roller: The brush roller situation is both good and (potentially) bad on this Hoover model. On carpet, the brush roller performs wonderful. However, it can’t be turned off, which makes it a bit of a hazard for hardwood floors.
Hoover claims that it has designed its brush roller to not scratch flooring, and we haven’t seen any evidence of it scratching anything. However, it is slightly concerning that you can’t turn the brush roller off for hardwood floors.
HOWEVER – when examining, it doesn’t even appear that the brush roll touches bare floor when you are running it. So… perhaps we are being overly cautious? In the end, we wouldn’t be worried about the brush roller on hardwood flooring, as Hoover has thought this through.
Filtration: One of our favorite things about this Hoover Platinum is it’s filtration system. It is one of the cheapest pet hair vacuum cleaners to have a HEPA filter. Keep in mind – HEPA filters are standard in most of the high priced options, but not so much in the mid-tier priced options.
The HEPA filter allows you to filter out virtually all of the dust and allergens that your pets leave behind. The self sealing bags go the extra mile by keeping all of the collected dirt and dust sealed. This feature is a huge plus to this canister pet hair vac and might tip the scales if you have allergies.
Attachments: The Hoover Platinum UH30010COM comes with a plethora of attachments, including a crevice tool, brush tool, telescopic wand, and specialized floor tool.
Overall, this Hoover is a little less specialized for pet hair removal. But, for its price point, it does an amazing job at all-around vacuuming, and comes with a HEPA filter. It will do a great job picking up your pet hair.
What we love about it is that it does a great job, and is highly convenient as both an upright and canister model. Hoover has a strong brand name and does a wonderful job on its Windtunnel technology. You won’t go wrong with this Hoover Platinum Corded Upright Vacuum, especially up against some of it’s more expensive competitors.
While not a complete canister vacuum, we still vote this Hoover as the best canister vacuum for pet hair. It has all the characteristics that we love in a canister vac, without the heavy drawbacks.
A good all-around canister vacuum from Hoover, we love the included HEPA filter for a great price point.
- Lightweight bagged upright vacuum cleaner with powerful 12 amp motor
- Direct air-flow technology and wind-tunnel technology for fast, efficient results. Assembled unit...
- Illuminated fingertip controls, 2 speeds, self-sealing HEPA bag, check-bag indicator. Motor Amps 5.5...
Best Vacuum for Pet Hair and Hardwood Floors: Shark Rocket TruPet Ultra-Light Upright Corded Vacuum
The Shark Rocket TruPet Ultra–Light Upright HV322 (phew, that’s a mouthful!) is a handy 2 in 1 stick vacuum. Shark puts out a name brand line of vacuums that are known for their quality and convenience. This vacuum is no different, and sits at the top of our list for top hardwood floor options for pet hair vacuums.
This Shark Rocket model is an excellent mid-range priced vacuum cleaner. If you don’t want to drop an extremely large sum of money, but don’t want an entry-level pet hair vacuum cleaner, this is a strong consideration. To cut to the chase, this Shark model was built to complete directly with they Dyson V8 Animal… and does so for half the price!
Suction Power: The Shark Rocket TruePet is a corded stick vacuum, so it provides a stronger suction that you usually can’t get with a cordless stick vacuum. This is a great vacuum option for those who are enticed by the Dyson V8 Animal, but don’t want to fork out the hefty dollars.
If you want something more convenient than the Hoover Platinum mentioned above, but in the same price point, this Shark Rocket TruPet is your best bet. The Rocket TruPet is lighter, easier to manage, and harnesses a lot of the benefits you’ll find in stick vacuum technology.
Brush Roller: The Shark Rocket TruPet uses a motorized brush roller called the TruePet Motorized brush, and it matches great suction with a brush roller that picks up even the finest of pet hair. This model, the Shark HV322, also comes with a special mini motorized brush that picks up pet hair off of upholstery, stairs, and cabinets. This is the only difference between the this model and the Shark HV321.
- Average cord length of 32 ft
- 2-in-1; no HEPA filter
- Mid tier weight of 8.5 lbs
- Mid-tier price point
- Several speed brush roller
- 5.5 amp motor
This vacuum performs very well on hardwood and bare floors for several reasons. For starters, the brush roller is adjustable, and setting it to the minimum setting will help clean your hardwood floors, while not allowing the roller to get close enough to the flooring to damage it.
Attachments: The second feature is an attachment called the Hard Floor Hero, which relies on suction alone to pick up larger debris, pet hair, and attached dirt. Included is a washable microfiber, dust floor attachment that captures and sucks up hair and dust. This attachment is both gentle and effective. This feature is perfect for cleaning up small debris and buffing the floor before you mop.
These two features show how focused the Shark Rocket TruePet is on your hardwood floors. Between the adjustable brush roller and the Hard Floor Hero attachment, this vacuum gets our vote for best vacuum for hardwood floors and pet hair.
On carpet, the Shark Rocket TruePet also performs wonderfully. You get the added power and suction capability that comes from a corded stick vacuum. And, Shark has expanded the dust cup to be twice as large as their previous models. Even still, the dust cup fills up quickly. If you have a large home, you’ll have to empty it more than once when you vacuum.
Convenience: To make sure that you never miss debris or pet hair while you’re vacuuming, are two strong LED lights positioned an the front of your vacuum. The Shark Rocket easily transforms into a handheld vacuum for cleaning in hard to reach spaces.
A few other features that are worth mentioning: a decently long 32 foot cord makes this stick vacuum perfect for large, open spaces. Shark includes a swivel head on the vacuum, so you’ll benefit in reaching tough spots and angles.
Downsides: The only thing that this vacuum is lacking is a HEPA filter that sucks up allergens and cleans the air as you vacuum. We would have loved to see one included in this model. It does, however ,come with a washable filter that will capture allergens during vacuuming.
This model is considered to be an upright stick vacuum, but in our testing, we found that it did not stand up on its own. Lastly, Shark has kept the Rocket TruePet very light, weighing in at just over 8 pounds.
This lightweight corded vacuum is a favorite for homeowners with multiple pets. It’s strong suction and deep cleaning capabilities will make it a great all-around cleaner, and the perfect option if you have a lot of hardwood flooring. If you can get around the fact that it isn’t cordless, you’ll be getting most of the features that pet owners pay double for in the Dyson V8 Animal in purchasing the Shark Rocket TruePet.
A top-end mid-priced vacuum cleaner that does an amazing job cleaning hardwood floors and light carpeting.
- No loss of suction
- Powerful 2 in 1 vacuum deep cleans your carpets and hardwood floors
- Perfect for quick pick ups; Cord length: 30 feet
Best Shark Vacuum for Pet Hair: Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away TruePet Upright Vacuum
The Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away TruePet Upright Vacuum is a great choice for anyone who has dogs or other pets in their home. This 2-in-1 vacuum cleaner is an upright vacuum suitable to tackle the heavy cleaning throughout your house, and a lift-away vacuum for the portable jobs, including cleaning your car.
Unique Features: There are several things about this Shark Rotator that allow it to make our list. You’ll notice this is the second Shark vacuum cleaner on our list of top pet hair cleaners, and that isn’t by accident. Both the Shark Rocket and Shark Rotator have the TruePet distinction by Shark, but they are very different vacuum cleaners.
Whereas the Shark Rocket is a lightweight stick vacuum, the Shark Rocket is a 2-in-1 upright model that is heavier duty, more versatile, and better for allergens.
It can easily pick up most pet hair and debris, and it will also help eliminate pet dander and other allergens so you and your family can breathe easier. It is easy to use, and maneuvers easily around furniture.
Convenience: This vacuum cleaner is ideal for cleaning those hard to reach places around your home. All you have to do is press a button, and the canister can be lifted away to turn this machine into a handheld vacuum cleaner. It works on all types of surfaces, including carpeting and hard floors.
This vacuum cleaner has LED headlights that allow you to easily see dirt in dark areas, such as beneath beds and sofas. Enjoy being able to get into tight spaces and around furniture legs with Advanced Swivel Steering. You can easily lift away the canister to turn this upright vacuum into a handheld machine.
Attachments: This vacuum cleaner comes with a Premium Pet Power Brush that picks up pet hair and debris, and helps to clean away dander from any surface. We find Shark makes the best brush roller out of all of the vacuum cleaner models out there, with only Dyson coming close.
Filtration: If you have pet allergies, then this is the vacuum for you. The Shark Rotator TruePet comes with Anti-Allergen Complete Seal Technology, along with a HEPA filter to help keep the air clean.
- Average cord length of 30 ft
- 2-in-1; no HEPA filter
- Heavier weight of 15.4 lbs
- Mid-tier price point
- Several speed brush roller
- 5.5 amp motor
Nothing about this vacuum stands out as amazingly unique, but yet it has all of the features you need. If you’re looking for a mid-priced vacuum to handle all surfaces in your home, this is probably your best bet.
This vacuum is on the heavier side, but then again, most upright and canister vacuums are. If weight is your concern, opt for the Shark Rocket. However, for a deep clean on all surfaces, the Shark Rotator TruePet Upright Vacuum is a wonderful option. And, if you or anyone in your household has strong allergies to pet hair or dander, then this makes a wonderful option.
A strong suctioned Shark vacuum, this the top all-around mid-priced vacuum for pet hair on the market.
- Dust cup capacity 1.5 quarts; Shark's original full sized Powered Lift Away; The canister detaches...
- Anti Allergen Complete Seal Technology and a HEPA filter trap dust and allergens inside the vacuum
- XL capacity with full size performance.Hose length (ft.): 6
Best Vacuum for Allergies and Pet Hair: Oreck Upright Vacuum Cleaner LW100 Magnesium SP
The Oreck Upright Vacuum Cleaner LW100 Magnesium SP is ideal for all types of flooring, including hardwood flooring, laminate flooring, and bare floors. It is made for all kinds of dirt, including pet hair, and offers a “high-powered clean”.
Filtration: Lets talk about the filtration system that Oreck uses – it’s as advanced as we’ve seen. The HEPA media filtration has five layers of filtration, designed to catch as much as 99.97 percent of all airborne particles, making it the ideal vacuum cleaner for anyone who has allergies to pollen, dust, mold, and pet dander. The Oreck Upright Vacuum Cleaner also ships with three replacement HEPA filters.
If allergies are your concern, this is clear and away the best vacuum for allergies and pet hair. No one beats Oreck when it comes to filtration.
Versatility: This dual-speed vacuum cleaner is designed to be easy to use on most types of flooring, and it is perfect for your hardwood floors. It can also be used on carpets and rugs, tile, and linoleum. No matter what type of flooring you are cleaning, the self-propelled motor will get at the toughest dirt, even if it is ground-in.
Oreck puts a self-propelled motor inside this model to help it works its way across a variety of surfaces. We also love the side brushes that come with this brand and model – they help to clean your baseboards.
Weight: But, as powerful as it is, this vacuum cleaner weighs just 7.7 pounds, making it super-easy to use. There are also side brushes that allow you to get in around baseboards and edges easily. For an upright vacuum, this is very light weight. Part of this has to do with its magnesium build.
- Average cord length of 30 ft
- Advanced HEPA filter
- Average weight of 7.7 lbs
- Expensive price point
- 2 speed brush roller
- Durable magnesium construction
If you are looking for a high-quality vacuum cleaner that isn’t going to stop working after a few months, this is a great option. It is crafted with magnesium, making it durable while still being lightweight. The heavy-duty motor is more than powerful enough to pick up any dirt on the floors in your home, no matter what type of flooring you have.
Expensive? Yes. However, this model comes with all of the bells and whistles. It’s worthy of consideration, and will last you a very long time. The Magnesium construction separate this vacuum cleaner from the rest of the pack.
A fantastic all-around cleaner that is hyper-focused on allergies, and is built to last a long time due to its magnesium construction.
- High-Powered Clean – Oreck vacuum cleaners offer premier suction and cleaning with dual speeds...
- Capture Dust & Particles – An advanced HEPA filter bag captures up to 99.97% of particles in the...
- Multiple Speeds – Each of our LW100 Oreck commercial vacuums boasts an adjustable dual-speed...
Best Vacuum for Pet Hair Overall: Miele Dynamic U1 Cat and Dog Upright Vacuum
It would be hard to do a review on the best vacuum for pet hair and not include a Miele. A family owned company founded in 1899, Miele has typically made very high-end commercial vacuums. But, as of late, they have brought their amazing technology and reputation to the consumer vacuum line.
Miele vs Dyson: Simply put, Miele vacuums are expensive and amazing. Whereas Dyson has a bit more of a buzz-worthy brand with consumers, Miele is a longstanding success in the high priced, high quality commercial market. You might not have heard as much of Miele as Dyson, but don’t discount the brand.
Suction Power: The Miele Dynamic U1 was designed specifically for pet owners. For starters, this vacuum has an incredible amount of suction power. Built with a staggering 10amp motor, you will feel the power as soon as you turn the vacuum cleaner on.
Remember how important suction power is for cleaning pet hair, and this is the top of the line when it comes to power. You won’t have to go back over surfaces with this model.
- Long cord length of 39 ft
- Active Air Clean filter
- Heavier weight of 21 lbs
- Expensive price point
- Two speed brush roller
- 10 amp motor
Brush Roller: The Miele Dynamic U1 Cat and Dog Vacuum automatically adjusts to your floor type, which makes it a great option for everything from bare floors to deep carpets.
When it comes to the Miele’s brush roller, it has an entirely separate motor just to power the brush bar. As mentioned above, the vacuum cleaner automatically adjusts to the contour of the flooring, which makes this really convenient to use.
You’ll really see the brush roller work well as a result of its unique power. The high powered motor, combined with the uniquely powered brush bar, make this one of top vacuum cleaners for pet hair.
Convenience: Not typical in a heavier upright vacuum, the Miele Dynamic U1 is very versatile. It has 360 degree swivel front wheels, and can lay completely flat on the ground to clean under furniture.
Speaking of weight, this is the heaviest option on our list of recommended pet hair vacuums. At 21 pounds, you will notice the weight, especially if you have a challenge at being on your feet for long periods of time.
Attachments: The Miele comes with a load of accessories, including a dusting brush, upholstery brush, crevice nozzle, and mini turbo brush (which works wonders on pet hair that is on your couch, chairs, and blinds).
Miele has been producing very high end vacuums for over a century now, and this Dynamic U1 is their model that is specifically designed for cat hair and dog hair. It is by far the most powerful vacuum on our list, and its suction power and powered brush bar make this an amazing pet hair vacuum cleaner.
Backed by a powerful Miele brand name, this vacuum is has an incredible combo of high suction power and a powered brush bar.
Best Stick Vacuum for Pet Hair: Bissell PowerEdge Pet Hard Floor Corded Vacuum
**This Bissell gets an honorable mention. It just doesn’t have the features that are required to be a top end pet hair vacuum. BUT, if you are in the market for a cheap stick vacuum that will help with pet hair, this is the model we recommend.**
As a vacuum that was especially designed for hardwood floors, the Bissell PowerEdge Pet is one of the best corded stick vacuums for pet hair on bare floors. Instead of a brush roller, this vacuum has a set of V–shaped wipers that it uses. This special design captures large and small particles, forcing them down the center of the V and into the vacuum. The edges of the wipers are equipped with a special rubber material designed to attract pet hair.
This vacuum that does an amazing job given its price point, making it a very attractive option for your home or office.
The Bissell PowerEdge is a corded stick vacuum, with a cord that stretches to 20 feet. At a meager 7.5 pounds, this stick vacuum is a lightweight option that can be used for long periods at a time.
The swivel head, along with the V- shape of the vacuum head, make for a perfectly designed vacuum for cleaning around corners and hard to reach spaces. The V-shape can look a little odd at first, but use it once and you’ll see how effective it is.
The Bissell PowerEdge Pet also comes with cyclone technology. This special design uses centrifugal force to separate the dust from the larger particles and trap them, making it impossible for the smaller particles to escape.
One of the disadvantages to this vacuum is that it lacks a brush roller, making it difficult to clean carpeted floors. Actually, we’ll just be honest with you… this vacuum is basically worthless on carpets. If you don’t have carpets, then this is a wonderful option at a very affordable price.
If you have carpets, consider this as an inexpensive and lightweight vacuum that would make a wonderful addition to your current household vacuum. Many use this vacuum downstairs in their kitchen and living room, or in high traffic areas.
This vacuum is extremely gentle on hardwood floors and is made with special non-marring materials on the head attachment and wheels. As mentioned previously, there is no brush roller, so basically nothing on the vacuum comes in contact with your floor.
Customers rated this one of the best stick vacuum for hardwood floors and pet hair. It also includes an easy to empty dirt cup and a washable, high efficiency filter. This vacuum will make cleaning your house a mess free process.
The Bissell PowerEdge Pet Corded Vacuum definitely gets a vote for best stick vacuum for pet hair. As one of our votes for the best corded stick vacuum for pet hair, it packs plenty of suck, and features a model that is specifically designed for hardwood and bare floors. And, this Bissell is priced well under $100, making it a fantastic option for a variety of uses.
Powerful and hardwood floor-friendly – Bissell PowerEdge is a great budget stick vac option.
- Every BISSELL purchase helps save pets. BISSELL proudly supports BISSELL Pet Foundation and its...
- The V-shape directs larger debris into the center suction path, while the ends of the V capture...
- Easily cleans aroundfurniture legs and on low pile are legs; Hose Length: No Hose
While there are a lot of features to consider for cleaning up your pet’s hair, we’ve identified the four most important areas to focus on:
The best vacuum for pet hair removal will have more than enough suction power to pick up even the thickest of pet hair. You need a lot of suction to get all of the tiny hairs that dogs and cats leave behind.
A brush roller is a MUST. Brush rollers actively “roll” over the carpet to agitate and kick up the hair and dander. Many vacuum cleaner models have specially designed brush rollers specifically for pets.
Filtration of some sort is key, because your pet’s hair has dander and allergens in it.
Lastly, convenience is vital. If you have cats or dogs (especially long haired ones), then you’re getting your vacuum out of the closet frequently. The more efficient and convenient it can be, the easier the vacuuming will be (and the more often you’ll be apt to do it)!
Ok, lets summarize: there are several things to look for when choosing a top vacuum cleaner for pet hair.
First of all, you’ll want to look for a cleaner with a powerful suction.
to focus on in a pet hair vacuum:
- Suction Power
- Brush Roller
- Filtration System
- Ease of Use
Yes, there are other subtleties we’ll cover, but these are the biggies.
Next, it must have a brush roller, preferably one designed for pets. Third, good filtration designed for small and large pet hair. And lastly, you need to examine convenience and ease of use, because chances are you will be using the vacuum frequently.
There isn’t really anything mysterious about this point… strong suction power makes for a better vacuum for pet hair. Pulling pet hair out of deep carpet and from behind hard-to-reach places requires a lot of sucking power.
Stickiness Component of Dog and Cat Hair
Pet hair has this interesting capability of literally “sticking” to the surfaces it falls on. You might have noticed this before – you’ll be vacuuming right over top of the hair, and it won’t move.
Because of this stickiness that pet hair possesses, you need a vacuum with really strong suction power. This is the single best way to quickly and efficiently pick up the hair.
Determining Suction Power of Vacuum Cleaners
The problem is that there is no easy way to determine suction power, at least not just from the product specs. You would think that you could look at the motor power of the vacuum, and use that as your baseline, but that is rarely telling.
Rather, many vacuums achieve a lot more suction with less amperage. Shark, Hoover, and Dyson are good examples of this. They use cyclonic technology in many of their vacuums, which greatly increases the amount of suction power.
The key to evaluating is to start by looking at the vacuums that have high powered motors, and then test the top ones side by side.
We review the actual suction power in each of the models we recommend below.
Suction Power in Different Vacuum Styles
Many stick vacuums excel at being lightweight and convenient, but suffer from a mid to low grade suction. A stick vacuum CAN be a great solution for picking up cat and dog fur, but you must ensure you select one with adequate sucking power.
Upright and canister style vacuums will traditionally have more power, as they just have a larger and more powerful motor, and more space to handle it.
They also don’t have the same focus on being lightweight that stick vacs have, allowing them to put in a more substantial and hefty motor.
Make no mistake – you need a vacuum cleaner with high suction power in order to do an adequate job with your dog hair or cat hair. If there was only one thing to focus on in a top vacuum for pet hair, this would be it.
You will want to put a strong emphasis in your search for a vacuum that will easily trap dirt and dust or, in this case, hair. The best vacuums for dog hair and cat hair have strong, powered brush rolls that actively work at picking up your pet’s hair.
Types of Vacuum Brush Rollers
There are really two types of brush rollers that you might see on a vacuum cleaner focused at cleaning pet fur: an internal brush roller and external brush rollers, often referred to as attachments.
Some vacuums are designed with pet hair focused brush rollers inside, while others let external attachments do the tough work. Even still, some vacuum cleaners come with both.
In our opinion, you want both, and here is why. Much of the hair that falls off of your dog or cat is going to end up on your floor and carpet, and so you want a vacuum that naturally picks this up as you clean.
Why You Need a Pet Hair Brush Roller
However, most cats and dogs make their way onto furniture and upholstery. Even still, pet hair gets kicked up naturally throughout the course of a normal day, and so having a specialized attachment to clean with is really helpful.
Here’s another reason why a specialized pet hair brush roller inside your vacuum is key – they are designed to not get stuck with all of the dog hair and cat hair that they will ingest.
When it comes to external brush rollers, they come in the form of attachments. These are specialized tools that work great for a deep clean. Most vacuum cleaners that were specifically designed for dog and cat hair will come with several specialized attachments.
Brush Rollers on Hardwood Floors
You have to be careful with brush rollers on hardwood flooring, as this fragile surface can get damaged by the rollers rough and abrasive finish. If you have hardwood or laminate flooring, then you’ll need to be even more careful about the type of vacuum you select.
Some brush rollers have the capability of being engaged on and off, depending on your surface. Others are specially made and equipped to work well on hardwood and laminate flooring.
The risk at buying a vacuum that doesn’t have specialized filtration for pet hairs is that everything you just vacuumed up ends up right back in the air (and subsequently back on your carpets and flooring).
In-vacuum vs HEPA filtration
Lets also make the distinction between in-vacuum filtration, and a HEPA filter. They are very different, although some vacuums do combine them into one feature.
All vacuums have some form of filtration, even if it hardly works. The best vacuum for animals (and their hair) necessitate much better filtration, usually making multiple passes before ejecting the air.
A HEPA filter is sometimes also added to vacuum cleaners, and this works to remove the allergens from the air that is being passed back into the room.
Many vacuums these days have filters that are made especially for trapping allergens. As a cat or dog owner, this is an excellent feature to have in your vacuum. With this you’ll no longer have to worry about any guest’s allergies to hair, and you and the rest of your household will remain healthy.
The best vacuum for pets is capable of filtering allergens out, so they don’t remain in your home. If you have allergies as a result of your pet, make sure to get vacuum that has a HEPA filter.
HEPA stands for high-efficiency particulate air. According to WebMD, a HEPA filter works by “forcing air through a fine mesh that traps harmful particles such as pollen, pet dander, dust mites, and tobacco smoke.”
Vacuuming frequently, in combination with using a vacuum that has a HEPA filter, can substantially help your allergies. If you have allergies from pet hair or dog and cat dander, then you will definitely want to take a look at a vacuum with a HEPA filter.
Either way, you need a vacuum cleaner that has excellent filtration. This way, the fine pet fur, hair, and dander that you are vacuuming up stay in your vacuum.
Ease of Use
This is important for several reasons. The obvious one is that we all prefer something that is more convenient to use. However, it is even more vital when you are looking at a vacuum for pet hair.
Chances are, you will be getting this vacuum out quite a bit to clean up after your dog or cat. Some people have to clean every day, although a good vacuum will cut down on that.
Pet hair works its way everywhere. Behind furniture, underneath baseboards, on top of shelves and blinds… cleaning up all of the dog and cat hair isn’t as simple as just breaking the vacuum out and running it over the floor a couple of times.
Often times, people will sacrifice on convenience, opting to save a few bucks instead. Unfortunately, this is an area where the money will be well spent for you. You want a vacuum that you can quickly and conveniently use, since pet hair is prevalent and won’t be going away by avoiding it.
Types of Dog and Cat Hair Vacuums to Consider
There are several styles and types of vacuums that you should look at it for cleaning up your pet’s hair. Each has certain characteristics that make it appealing:
Stick Vacuums for Pets
Stick vacuums used to be best used only for a quick clean up of high traffic areas. Nowadays, though, they are made with strong suction and all of the bells and whistles that their upright vacuum counterparts have.
Stick vacuums are lightweight and really easy to use. Some stick vacuums weigh half as much of other upright and canister vacuums with the same set of specifications.
They are less bulky than other vacuums, making them perfect for getting into hard-to-reach places. And, many come with the same assortment of attachments for cleaning pet hair.
Cordless Vacuums for Pets
Cordless vacuum cleaners are flat out amazing, because you don’t have to deal with annoying cords any longer. Simply pull the vacuum out of the closet, and start vacuuming.
Just like stick vacuums, cordless vacuums used to be low in suction power and low in battery power.
It wasn’t uncommon to only get 5-10 minutes of use, and they would leave behind debris because they didn’t have enough suction power.
Those days are gone. The best cordless vacuum for pet hair will have strong suction power, sometimes rivaling that of its corded counterparts. And the best cordless pet vacuum lasts anywhere from 20-40 minutes.
Cordless Stick Vacuums for Pets
How about the best of both world’s?
The best cordless stick vacuum for pet hair will allow you to quickly vacuum up pet hair in your high traffic areas, leaving your home clean in a matter of minutes. No more hassle with cords and outlets, as a cordless stick vacuum makes cleaning significantly easier.
You’ll find yourself vacuuming more frequently, because it’s less hassle, and your house will stay cleaner as a result. For many, the added cost is well worth it for the added benefits.
Specific Scenarios for Consideration
At the end of the day, it might not come down to which style of vacuum you prefer, but which one works better for your specific scenario. The top choice vacuum for pet hair on hardwood flooring is a lot different than the best cleaning option for carpets. And, whether you should go with corded or cordless is highly dependent on several factors. We analyze each of these for scenarios for you:
Hardwood Floor vs Carpet Considerations
All of these considerations are important when you are looking for a vacuum for pet hair. However, if you have a dominance of hardwood floor in your home, or a dominance of carpet, then you’ll need to take a few special considerations in mind.
Generally speaking, there are vacuum cleaners that work best at:
- best for cleaning pet hair off of carpet
- best for cleaning dog hair and cat hair off of hardwood flooring, and then
- general, all-purpose pet hair vacuums.
It’s pretty hard to find one single model that is a top option for both carpet and hardwood floors inclusively. If you have more of one than the other, then you might benefit from the added focus. Here is our breakdown of these considerations.
Pet Hair Vacuums for Hardwood Flooring
A lot of people think that they can just use any vacuum cleaner on their hardwood floors. This is actually a huge mistake, because some vacuums can actually damage hardwood flooring. Many vacuum cleaners have roller brushes, and the bristles can end up scratching the floors.
- Additionally, a brush roller, when used on hardwood floor, can scatter the dirt so you have even more of a mess to clean. Brush rollers work great on carpet, helping the machine to gather dirt off of the thick carpeted surface. But most brush rollers aren’t designed for hardwood flooring.
- When it comes to choosing a a good pet hair vacuum for hardwood floors, look for one that doesn’t have any brush rollers, or for a brush roller that was specifically designed for hardwood flooring. The same can be said if you have laminate flooring. We’d prefer you find a brush roller option suitable for bare wood, because the roller does help if you have any other types of surfaces.
- You also want a vacuum that has rubber wheels as opposed to plastic. It should have extra rubber padding to help prevent scratches on your hardwood flooring. Vacuum cleaners made for carpets also tend to have plastic wheels, which can also scratch the wood flooring.
Pet Hair Vacuums for Carpet
If you have a lot of carpet in your home, then you know just how much pet hair and dander can get caught in the carpet fibers. Selecting a carpet cleaner that can get out all of the dirt and debris, along with the dog hair and cat hair, is essential.
- For starters, a strong and powerful brush roller is key. The brush roller is what is responsible for agitating and digging out the pet hair from the carpet fibers. You don’t just want a vacuum that has any old brush roller – you want a highly rated and powerful one.
- Next, you need a vacuum with strong suction. It takes a lot more work to suck dirt and hair out of carpet than it does from bare flooring, especially if your carpets are extra thick. Make sure you select a vacuum with a powerful motor and highly-rated for suction power.
- Lastly, you will probably be interested in a vacuum with a filtration system to pull allergens out of the air. Carpet is notorious for housing these allergens, and pet hair contains a lot of allergenic dander. Look for a vacuum that has a HEPA filter to remove those allergens from the carpet and air.
Corded vs Cordless Considerations
Generally speaking, corded vacuums have a stronger suction and larger dust bin capacity.
This can be very helpful if you have a heavily carpeted home, since carpets generally hold more dirt and hair than bare floors, and cleaning them requires more power.
- A strong suction will also ensure your vacuum doesn’t clog or malfunction after sucking up a lot of pet hair. The best animal hair stick vacuum will have very strong suction to get large and small pet hair and debris.
- Vacuuming can usually take a lot more time when you have a lot of pet hair to suck up, and you’ll want to be sure that you won’t run out of time (i.e. battery power) to clean all of the necessary areas of your home.
- Cordless vacuums have a limited time of use until their battery loses charge, and using a corded stick vacuum would ensure that you aren’t left with pet hair still on your floor at the end of your vacuum session. The best corded stick vacuum for pet hair will benefit from a combination of lots of suction and an endless run time.
- While a corded stick vacuum has it’s many upsides for vacuuming pet hair, there are many cordless stick vacuums out there that are equally excellent at picking up pet hair.
- Cordless stick vacuum models today are made with incredible sucking technology that can do an amazing job, equal to many of its corded counterparts. These battery powered vacuums are usually more expensive than their corded counterparts, but where they might hit your wallet a bit harder, they make up for in added convenience.
We have reviews of both corded vacuums for pet hair and cordless pet hair vacuums. In the end, you’ll need to decide if the added convenience is worth the added cost.
Owning a pet that sheds doesn’t have to be a nightmare for your home. With a top end pet hair vacuum, your home can remain clean. Even better, models today that are made for pet hair do a fantastic job keeping your whole house clean. Hopefully, our pet vacuum reviews have provided you with helpful information and given you some options for finding the a good vacuuming option.
Don’t forget that there are things you can do to reduce the workload on your vacuum. Bathe your dog regularly to help keep the dirt at bay. Before letting your pet back into the house, wipe up off their feet and dust them off. Make sure to brush your pet routinely as well, as this helps to keep shedding at a minimum.
Through the combination of minimizing pet dirt and hair from getting into your house, and a top rated vacuum cleaner, you’ll notice a sharp reduction in pet hair throughout your home!