Best Vacuum for Pet Hair
A good vacuum is a cat guardian’s not-so-secret weapon against a hairy home.
Cat hair is a serious issue and it takes a serious vacuum to clean it up. Long hair tends to awrap around the roller brush. Short hair tends to fuse to carpet and stick on furniture. Powerful suction is required to extract hair that’s embedded deep in rugs and carpet.
Knowing that cleaning pet hair is a critical challenge for thousands of homes, some vacuum manufacturers now sell products designed specifically for the task. Among those vacuums designed or marketed for pet hair cleanup, there’s a wide range of features and abilities.
In this article, we’ll weigh the pros and cons of the types of vacuum cleaners available, identify key features, and list the top five best vacuums for pet hair.
What is the Best Vacuum for Pet Hair?
Different Types of Vacuums
Three types of vacuums dominate the market. There is the canister vacuum, the upright vacuum, and the handheld vacuum. Let’s take a closer look.
The canister vacuum is great for cleaning in hard-to-reach places and makes it easy to vacuum furniture, shelves, and stairs. The separate power head makes the vacuum feel lightweight. This type of vacuum cleaner can be cumbersome. You’ll need to drag the canister behind you while cleaning the house, and it takes up a lot of room in the storage closet.
Upright vacuums streamline the dirt canister or bag, cleaning head, and all other features into a single unit. The streamlined design makes upright vacuums easier to store and can simplify cleaning, but they are often heavy and may weigh more than 20 lbs.
While you wouldn’t want to crawl on your hands and knees to clean your living room floor with one, handheld vacuums are a good choice for cleaning furniture, stairs, and hard-to-reach areas. After a ride in the car, you can use a handheld vacuum to remove fur from the automobile’s upholstery.
Key Features to Consider
How do certain features translate to pet hair cleanup ability? Let’s find out.
If you or others in your home are allergic to cat dander, good filtration is essential. HEPA filters, or high efficiency particulate filters, capture particulate matter and don’t release them back into the atmosphere of your home during cleaning. True HEPA filters capture 99.97% of particles at a size of .3 microns.
Only powerful vacuum cleaners have the strength to capture deep-set pet hair. Pay attention to the wattage of the vacuum cleaner. Higher wattage equates to a stronger machine. Customer reviews also give hints about the suction strength of the vacuum cleaner.
Long cat hair tends to tangle and twist around the brush roller. One way to avoid this is to choose a silicone roller rather than one with soft bristles. This type of roller tends to not collect hair. Another solution is to use a vacuum without a roller brush. Some models implement unconventional designs to avoid hair tangling and wrapping.
Bagged or Bagless?
Bagless vacuums are the most popular type in the United States today. They have an aesthetic advantage by putting the cleaning on display. It’s satisfying to watch the dirt swirl in the receptacle as you clean. Because the receptacle lasts for the life of the machine, bagless vacuums save time and money. There’s no need to buy replacement bags.
On the negative side, dirt canisters usually carry less dirt than bags. People with larger homes may need to empty the receptacle multiple times during a single cleaning session.
Unlike bagless vacuums, which release a cloud of hair and dirt at disposal time, vacuum bags contain everything in a sealed space. This makes this type of vacuum a good choice for those with allergies.
Top 5 Best Vacuums for Pet Hair
Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional NV356E Review
An affordable vacuum that converts from upright to canister style
The swivel base makes it easy to maneuver, plus its Lift-Away® feature allows you to remove the canister from its base and access hard-to-reach spaces. In other words, it’s easy to convert the Shark Navigator from an upright to a canister style vacuum.
The machine weighs 13.7 lbs in upright mode and 8 lbs in Lift-Away® mode, so it’s easy for most people to carry through the house.
It captures allergens with its Anti-Allergen Complete Seal Technology and HEPA filter. The three-level filtration system includes a felt pre-motor filter, a foam pre-motor filter, and a post-motor HEPA filter. Shark claims that this system traps 99.9% of dust and allergens within the vacuum.
While many vacuums lose suction over time as the air filters become clogged, the Shark Navigator claims to avoid this common problem with Cyclonic Technology, which separates dirt and air, helping to ensure that the filter continues to work like new.
The Shark Navigator is equipped with a crevice tool for cleaning tight spaces, a Hard Floor Hero, which is an attachment for bare floor cleaning, a dusting brush, and a pet power brush designed specifically for cleaning up pet hair. This brush is useful for removing pet hair from furniture, stairs, and other surfaces.
Customers say that it has strong suction, allowing it to uproot tightly-held dirt, dust, and hair from deep within the carpet. – Buy It
- It’s inexpensive compared to other vacuums. Numerous customers point out that its performance is equal to that of more expensive Dyson models.
- It’s notably quieter than many other vacuum cleaners, which helps to keep everyone (both felines and humans) happy.
- It has an advanced filtration system, making it a good choice for allergy sufferers.
- The vacuum has a large dirt canister for less frequent dumping.
- Provides excellent suction that doesn’t weaken over time.
- The vacuum cleaner only has a few parts and is easy to assemble. No tools are necessary.
- The wand hose is short and relatively inflexible, making using the wand a challenge. Because the vacuum is top-heavy, it tends to tip over when you use the wand.
- Reviewers note that this vacuum isn’t aesthetically pleasing.
- The dirt canister tends to make a mess when you empty its contents into the trash.
Dyson DC41 Animal Complete Upright Vacuum Cleaner Review
An upright vacuum designed to handle pet hair
Like all Dyson products, this vacuum cleaner is marketed as an intelligent solution to common problems.
To combat eventual loss of suction associated with clogged air filters, the DC41 uses patented Radial Root Cyclone technology. The airflow design helps to prevent air filter clogging and loss of strength over time. Nevertheless, some reviews indicate that the vacuum does lose suction after continued use.
This vacuum features a HEPA filter and is recommended by the Allergy & Asthma Foundation. The dirt canister has a user-friendly design for easy disposal. Dirt dumps out of the bottom, minimizing contact with dirt.
It has an active base plate that automatically adjusts for every floor type, so you won’t need to make any manual adjustments when transitioning from carpeted floor to wood or tile. When moving to hard floors, the base plate automatically lowers to create a seal, while the brush bar pulls up into the cleaning head to protect delicate surfaces.
The motor, air ducts, and wiring components are built right into the ball, streamlining the design and giving it a low center of gravity with superior balance. The machine is relatively lightweight at 17.1 lbs, with a low profile that’s easy to maneuver. Turning the vacuum is almost effortless with a twist of the wrist.
The vacuum comes with several accessories, including a combination crevice and brush tool and a stair tool. The mini turbine head is perfect for cleaning pet hair from upholstery, stairs, and hard-to-reach areas.
It’s relatively quiet and has powerful suction. – Buy It
Here’s a video demo of this vacuum.
- This vacuum is lightweight, well-balanced, and easy to maneuver.
- The vacuum has great suction and is designed specifically for use with animal hair.
- The filtration system works well and helps to minimize exposure to pet dander.
- Dyson vacuums don’t come cheap. This is one of the more expensive products on the market.
- It can be difficult to lock the vacuum into an upright position.
Miele Complete C3 Cat & Dog Canister Vacuum Cleaner Review
A virtually noiseless canister vacuum
Miele is a quality leader in the vacuum industry. Their products are made in Germany and are designed to last for 20 years or more.
This model has a completely sealed 12-stage filtration system, which means that allergens and dust won’t escape after they’ve entered the canister. Another benefit for people with allergies is that the vacuum is built for use with a bag, allowing you to throw out the dirt and dander without ever being exposed to it. It has an indicator that tells you when the bag is full.
In addition to an advanced particle filtration system, this vacuum features a charcoal filter to help neutralize odors.
Unlike some canister vacuums that are clumsy and difficult to haul around, this machine has free-spinning wheels and a lightweight body that smoothly glides across the floor.
The tools and accessories are conveniently stored under a cover on the canister unit.
The vacuum comes with the three standard accessories: a crevice tool, an upholstery tool, and a dust brush. This model is sold with a mini turbo brush, a no-tangle solution for cleaning pet hair on upholstery, bedding, and hard-to-reach areas. It also comes with a Parquet Twister head for use on smooth surfaces.
The cleaner head has 5 different height level adjustments, making it appropriate for almost every floor type.
So that you can choose the suction level appropriate for the job, this vacuum has six suction settings that you navigate with the touch of a foot pedal.
With a motor contained for sound control, this is as close as you can get to a silent vacuum. Some reviewers describe its running noise as a “quiet hum” and say that it allows them to clean without disturbing pets or waking up sleeping people in the room. – Buy It
- This is the only vacuum on this list with automatic cord rewind.
- This canister vacuum is lightweight and moves with ease.
- It features a fully sealed filtration system for exceptional allergen protection.
- It’s extraordinarily quiet.
- The vacuum is one of the most expensive products on the market and may cost over $1,000.
Hoover T-Series WindTunnel Pet Bagged Upright Vacuum, UH30310 Review
Bagged upright vacuum
Here’s another vacuum designed particularly for pet-inclusive homes. It has P.A.W.S – a Pet Approved Windtunnel System, which captures embedded dirt and locks it in with minimal blowback and scattering.
It has a five position height adjustment, so you can use it to clean all flooring types.
The vacuum features a HEPA filter that filters and traps 99.9% of dust and pollen down to .3 microns, while a carbon filter absorbs unwanted pet odors. Thanks to the Clean Drop Bag System, you can discard the bag without ever touching it.
The machine has a bag check indicator so you’ll know when it’s time to switch to a new bag. This indicator also lets you know if the vacuum is clogged.
The vacuum comes with a pet upholstery tool. This attachment has plastic wipers that allow you to cleanly pull up pet hair from furniture and other areas. It also comes with an air-powered attachment with a beater bar for cleaning hard-to-reach areas, along with a standard crevice tool.
The vacuum weighs 15.9 lbs. It’s stable, so it doesn’t usually tip over when you’re using the hose.
This is not a quiet vacuum, so you should expect some noise during operation. Numerous customer reviews note that the vacuum is powerful with excellent suction.
It doesn’t have the bells and whistles that more expensive machines feature, but this straightforward model satisfies all the basic requirements at a reasonable price. – Buy It
- At under $150, this vacuum cleaner is notably less expensive than most others.
- A vacuum bag seals off the dirt and minimizes time spent over a trash can.
- It has powerful suction that captures hair from deep in the carpet.
- The machine features a bag check indicator.
- Multiple reviewers comment that things went wrong with the machine. Some say that the full bag indicator doesn’t work and others state that parts broke after time.
- Doesn’t work well with high pile or plush carpet.
- A relatively noisy vacuum.
Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Corded Handheld Vacuum Review
Handheld vacuum cleaner ideal for cleaning furniture, stairs, and car interiors
This small handheld unit can’t do everything, but it’s an affordable choice ideal for those who want to freshen up hard-to-reach areas including bedding, upholstery, and cat trees and condos.
This vacuum comes with two nozzles. One is hard and designed to pick up pet messes including cat litter and kibble. The second nozzle is soft and made with rubber comb-like bristles that gather up hair. Because there’s no beater bar, you don’t have to worry about long hair wrapping around the bar and tangling in the bristles.
It has a cyclonic cleaning system that helps to preserve suction over time. A HEPA filter helps to trap particles that could aggravate allergies.
Although it’s small – weighing just five pounds and measuring 10x5x8 inches – it’s just as noisy as the average full-feature vacuum cleaner. – Buy It
Here’s a video review of the product:
- A handheld vacuum makes it easy to touch up fur-prone areas like furniture, cat trees, and bedding.
- The vacuum has excellent suction.
- It uses rubber bristles to collect hair without tangles and clogs.
- This vacuum is relatively loud.
Cat Hair Management Tips
While vacuuming is a cornerstone of cleanliness, it’s not the only way to manage the cat hair and dander in the home.
Use an air purifier.
When used in conjunction with the HEPA filter in your vacuum cleaner, an air purifier can help to keep the air in your home clean. They’re a particularly good choice if someone in the home is allergic to cats.
Brush your cat regularly.
In the outdoors, cats adapt to seasonal temperature changes by losing fur in the spring and developing a thicker coat in time for winter. Cats who live indoors don’t experience this heavy springtime shedding. In a temperature-controlled environment, they shed lightly throughout the year.
Using a good cat brush to remove any loose fur can help to minimize the amount of hair that deposits around the house.