Pets truly make a house a home. They also can make your house a bit of a mess. And clean spaces are very important for your peace of mind.
When you’re looking for the best vacuum for pet hair, there’s a lot of factors to consider. Factors like: your floor types, the vacuum features, and the kinds of messes your pets like to make.
From HEPA filters to suction power, to crevice tools, to brush rolls, there’s a lot of terminologies to decode when looking for the best vacuum for pet hair.
We’re going to give a brief overview of the different types of vacuums available on the market. And then give you some suggestions on pet-friendly vacuum cleaners that can get the tough jobs done.
The Vacuum Overview
When discussing household vacuums, there are five main types: upright vacuums, canister vacuums, cordless stick vacuums, handheld vacuums, and automatic or robot vacuums. Let’s take a look at what those all mean and what their strengths and weaknesses are.
The upright vacuum is probably the image that pops into your head when you think about household vacuums. They’re the most common, and you’ll find the widest array of options when you’re shopping.
They’re corded, so you never have to worry about them running out of battery. However, you don’t get the convenience of a cord-free experience. And they aren’t always as easy to maneuver, depending on the model.
They generally have lots of attachment options, which give you a lot of versatility when cleaning different surfaces. For example, it can clean a carpet just as well as it can clean your couch when you use the right attachments, giving you the ability to really deep clean your home.
This is the style vacuum that looks like a ShopVac. It has a canister that holds all the debris and a long wand to suck up the dirt. They have a bit more power and can handle bigger messes, but aren’t as great for tight spaces, since they can be bulky.
They can handle both carpeted and non-carpeted surfaces, such as hardwood floors, and are best at cleaning a larger mess in a smaller space. Pet owners with animals other than dogs and cats might enjoy this type of vacuum.
If you’re looking for a vacuum that is lightweight, easy to maneuver, and gives you versatile options, a stick vac might be the best option for you. They’re cordless and are named for the stick-like appearance of the wand.
They’re best for maintenance cleanings because they’re easy to grab quickly but not as great for really deep cleans. Unless you opt for a pricey model, they won’t have as much suction power as a corded vacuum.
Where these vacuums excel is non-carpeted flooring and hard-to-reach areas. A lot of models have a fluffy head or soft brush roll, which helps pick up dirt and hair off a flat floor, a function many traditional vacuums struggle with.
These vacuums are appropriately named; they’re any small vacuum you can hold in your hand. These are great for cleaning small spaces, such as your car or a couch.
These can be extremely helpful if your pup loves to go for a car ride and you need to remove pet hair they shed on your back seats. Their small size makes them great for small jobs, but they aren’t meant to clean a whole room.
These vacuums are the Roomba-style options. They go around the house of their own accord on a timer and clean up messes on their own. Some options even deposit the dirt into their charging station so there’s even less cleanup for you to do.
These can be great if you don’t have much time to clean, but if you have skittish animals, they might be very off-putting for them. You might have a dog that will bark at the strange object roaming across the floors, or your cat might try to attack it.
Another disadvantage to these? If your pup is still potty training and hasn’t mastered going #2 outside, the automatic vacuum might do a better job at spreading it around the house than cleaning it up.
Our Top 6 Picks for the Best Vacuum for Pet Hair
Type of Vacuum: Stick
Dysons are some of the most powerful, but also the most expensive, home vacuums on the market. If you don’t have a budget you need to stick to, they’re a good place to start.
This vacuum is cordless and runs on a lithium battery that comes with the vacuum and its many attachments. If you’re looking for all the bells and whistles, this vacuum covers all your bases and offers features you probably didn’t even know existed.
It has a laser that shows microscopic dust that you’d probably miss with the naked eye. If you really want to know just how dirty your floor is, this Dyson has got you covered.
It has sensors that recognize the floor type to optimize its runtime by only using the suction levels required for each mess.
It has an LCD screen that categorizes the particles it picks up and lets you know the run time left in your charge.
If you’re a vacuum geek with cash to burn, this vacuum could be your perfect fit.
Type of Vacuum: Upright
This Dyson vacuum is made in the more traditional upright style. But has a rotating ball at the base that gives you more flexibility than the standard build. While still expensive, it’s not the elite, pricey vacuum that the V15 markets itself as.
Since it’s corded, it has a stronger suction to handle bigger messes. The cleaner head adjusts itself so you can handle all sorts of surfaces from carpet, vinyl, wood, and tile. It has a special stair tool and other attachments to help you reach all sorts of nooks and crannies in your house.
It offers a filtration system to keep the allergens in the machine, rather than depositing them back into the air when you dump the contents in the trash. This could be a helpful feature for someone with pet allergies.
This is a great option if you’re looking for the power that comes with a Dyson without all the fancy gimmicks of a more expensive model.
Type of Vacuum: Upright
If you’re looking for something even more straightforward without paying for the exclusive brand name, this Bissell machine built specifically to handle pet messes could be a great option for you.
With a one-liter dirt cup capacity, you can vacuum for a while without constantly having to clean out the tank. It has a neat feature as a 2 in 1, where you can use their Lift-Off Technology to transition the vacuum from an upright model to a detached canister.
Like the Dyson, it has a filter to keep allergens trapped. It has what they call “Edge to Edge Suction” so when you vacuum up against the baseboard, it will suck up dirt all the way to the edge of the vacuum. It has additional tools to help reach hard-to-clean places where pet hair and debris have settled.
Type of Vacuum: Canister, Shop Vacuum
Have pets that leave a mess a little more complicated than just hair? This shop vacuum could be the answer for you.
It’s meant for workshops, so it has more power than a regular household vacuum. I personally own this vacuum and I use it to clean up my rabbit room.
Even though my rabbits are litter trained, their hay, hair (so much hair), and waste manage to get everywhere. A regular vacuum constantly gets clogged with hay, but the clogging is minimized by this vacuum’s powerful suction and design.
It still happens, but I can’t think of a vacuum that wouldn’t get clogged under these circumstances. We have a stick Dyson as well and the shop vacuum works much better for the big messes.
It’s the best vacuum we’ve used so far for this room, and considering it handled three rabbits and the mess made by four baby chicks, we highly recommend it.
Type of Vacuum: Stick
Looking for a stick vacuum that won’t break the bank? This Bissell could be a good alternative to the pricey Dyson.
It weighs less than 10 pounds, which is nowhere near the less than 2 pound Dyson, but it’s still lighter than most vacuums. Also, it offers a Tangle-Free Brush Roll, so you don’t have to worry about their hair getting caught in the rollers.
It has multiple tools that it comes with, including a Pet TurboEraser Tool, Crevice Tool, and Dusting Brush, which gives you options when cleaning a variety of surfaces. It even has a Febreze Filter, so it should “freshen while you clean.”
Lastly, it has a convenient wall mount which makes grabbing and going easy, while making it just as easy to store. You have the option to turn the brush roll on or off, which gives you a better chance at cleaning carpeted and non-carpeted areas.
This stick vacuum is a little unconventional in that it does have a cord. It is 30 feet long, so it gives you some slack when cleaning a larger room, but some people may not enjoy the restrictions of a cord.
Type of Vacuum: Automatic
Are you the type of person who hates vacuuming? Going with an automatic option might be the best choice for you.
Shark boasts that with this robotic vacuum, you don’t have to even think about vacuuming for a whole month. Because this option has a self-emptying base, you don’t even have to remove the debris from the vacuum until the station is filled. How quickly this happens will depend on how often you program the vacuum to run. As well as how large an area it has to clean and how much hair your pets shed.
You don’t have to worry about cleaning hair out of the brush, because it has a self-cleaning brush roll that removes any hair it catches while it’s cleaning. If you have Alexa or Google Assistant, you can program the device with only your voice. It operates through phone or voice command, which makes it as simple as possible to get your cleaning done without lifting a finger.
Instead of randomly bouncing off the walls, it uses row by row technology to clean every square inch of the space. You can also map out your home and tell it which rooms to clean. When it starts to run low on battery, it brings itself back to the dock, charges, and then gets right back to work.
Finding the Best Vacuum for Pet Hair for You
There is no one size fits all solution to finding the best vacuum for pet hair. Deciding which vacuum will work best for your pet will depend on a lot of factors. Factors like: your house, your pet, your preferences, your lifestyle, and your budget.
One vacuum that’s great for navigating tight spaces in a guinea pig enclosure won’t be perfect when you’re trying to deep clean your whole home. If you’re still unsure where to start, one of the best ways to find a vacuum that works for you is by asking friends with similar pets what they use to take care of their home. Their personal experience is more valuable than some description on Amazon, so ask around before you make your purchase.
Author, Artist, Photographer.
Sarah Margaret is an artist who expresses her love for feminism, equality, and justice through a variety of mediums: photography, filmmaking, poetry, illustration, song, acting, and of course, writing.
She owns Still Poetry Photography, a company that showcases her passion for capturing poetic moments in time. Instead of poetry in motion, she captures visual poetry in fractions of a second, making cherished keepsakes of unforgettable moments.
She is the artist behind the Still Poetry Etsy shop, which houses her illustrations and bespoke, handmade items. She is the author of intricacies are just cracks in the wall, a narrative poetry anthology that follows a young woman discovering herself as she emerges from an abusive relationship.