Arguably, one of the biggest drawbacks to having pets is the mess. Dirt tracked throughout the house, dust and dander spread all over – and let’s not even start on the shedding. Thankfully, with ever improving technology, cleaning up after our beloved animals becomes increasingly easier. Finding the best vacuum will be entirely dependent on your home and your needs. First, we’ll take a look at the types of vacuums, then we can consider which works best in your particular environment.
Types of Residential Vacuum Cleaners
Full-sized vacuums with a wide head attached to the motor and dust chamber housing
- Most suited to carpeted homes, but can often adapt to bare floors too.
- Covers a wide area with its large head
- Take up less floor space during storage, as they stand upright
- Many come with a large number of accessories and attachments for cleaning crevices, stairs and under furniture
- Depending on your home they can be awkward to store due to being tall
- Lower wattage compared to cylinder models since the dirt has less distance to travel
Canister or Cylinder Vacuums
Another type of full-sized vacuum. The motor and dust chamber are housed separately from the head, which is connected to a hose and extendable wand.
- A versatile vacuum that works well on carpet, bare floors, stairs and furniture
- Generally the strongest suction of all vacuum types
- Easy to manoeuvre due to less bulk in the head
- Comes with similar attachments to upright vacuums to suit your needs
- Can be cumbersome to use, but often more mobile than uprights
Similar in appearance to upright vacuums, stick vacs are a lighter-weight vacuum.
- Best suited to small homes and apartments, or quick clean up jobs.
- They work best on bare floors, but some come with attachments for carpets.
- Available corded and cordless. Cordless vacuums run on batteries for a limited time.
- Because of their compact design, stick vacs are easier to manoeuvre and store than full sized vacuums
- Due to their lower power and capacity, they would not be recommended as a primary vacuum in a pet home, however, they would work well as a supplement for touch ups or areas that are a hassle to get to with a full sized vacuum cleaner.
- Conveniently small and portable
- Excellent for spot cleaning pet hair on furniture and curtains
- Some are suitable for wet cleaning, but most can only do dry.
- Great for cleaning your car
- Definitely a supplement to a more powerful vacuum for whole house cleaning
Relatively new on the vacuum scene, robot vacuums do the work for you
- Cordless and small enough to go under furniture
- Sensors let the device know where to go, and when to stop (stairs!)
- Lessens the need for frequent deep-clean vacuum sessions
- There are models that can clean bare floors, carpet and some even do both
- Many can be programmed via your smartphone
- Since these are smaller vacuums, they are not as powerful as others
- Like handheld and stick vacuums, robot vacs may work best as a supplement vacuum depending on how large your home is and how much cleaning needs to take place on a daily basis
High-Efficiency Particulate Arresting filters remove 99.97% of particles in the air larger than 0.3 µm. As a result, HEPA filters in vacuum cleaners are especially beneficial for asthma and allergy sufferers due to the trapping of fine particles like pollen and dust mite faeces which are common triggers. In addition, look for models labelled “Sealed HEPA” or “True HEPA” to avoid ones that do not direct all air coming in through the filter.
Bagged or Bagless?
There is plenty of debate as to which is better. We’ll share the main disadvantages and benefits of each, and include a little bit of insider info at the end.
Generally, bagged vacuums:
- Hold more dirt
- Are better at trapping dust and allergens, especially when it comes to emptying
- Cost less than equivalent bagless models
- Bags include filters – HEPA filters are virtually standard in bagged vacuums nowadays
- Are especially recommended for homes with asthma and allergy sufferers
- Replacement bags are a regular added cost
- Suction power can decrease as the bag fills
- And some models do not have indicators to let you know how full the bag is
While bagless vacuums:
- Involve less regular costs, due to not replacement needing bags
- Have transparent dust chambers, allowing you to see how full your vacuum is
- Can be eco-friendly. You won’t be going through disposable bags regularly, and you can dump the dust, dander and dog hair into your compost bin.
- Dust chambers fill more quickly and need to be emptied often
- Filters need to be cleaned and replaced to keep the machine ship shape, negating the money saved not buying bags
- and users are exposed to dust and allergens when emptying the chamber
Feedback from vacuum repairmen and technicians suggest bagged vacuums are the preferred choice in their own homes, with bagless vacuums turning up for repairs at their stores more often. Most noteworthy being Reddit’s Vacuum King. For this reason, we’ve edged towards bagged vacuums in our recommendations.
Other things to consider:
First of all, how large is your home?
The full sized vacuums like the uprights and canisters would be a better choice if you have a bigger home. Perhaps stick and handheld vacuums could do the job, but their smaller heads and lower power could turn clean up into an unnecessarily time-consuming task with lots of charging in between.
Is your home multi-level?
You may have a hard time carrying around heavier vacuums if your home has multiple storeys. As a result, many people actually keep two vacuum cleaners in their home – the heavy duty vacuum is stored on the main floor and a second, sometimes lighter, one is kept on the floor(s) with less use.
What is your floor made of?
The best vacuum for hardwood floors and pet hair tend to be the more powerful canister vacuums. Alternatively, if you have wall-to-wall carpet, the upright style vacuum can work well for removing deeply embedded dust and dirt. Some vacuum cleaners can handle both floor types with ease.
Lastly, does anyone in your home suffer from asthma or allergies?
Bagged vacuum cleaners with superior filtration and minimal dust scattering will be essential for those with asthma and allergies. This is definitely not an area you’d want to skimp on if mitigating symptoms is important to you and your family.
A quick word
Since we’re looking for the best vacuum for pet hair, we’ve endeavoured to find vacuums that would leave you with the highest level of satisfaction and minimal headaches from repair and maintenance costs. We have included a couple of lower priced options for those of you on especially tight budgets, however, it may be worth considering either waiting until you can afford the superior models, or browsing thrift stores and online second-hand listings.
First of all, high-quality vacuums tend to have less hidden costs (vacuum repair is not cheap), are more reliable, offer better performance and warranties and last over a decade. In addition, buying cheap vacuums year after year adds up. That being said, you’re free to merely use these recommendations as a guide and do what you think is best for your situation.
The best vacuums for pets hair
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The best upright vacuum for pet hair
Miele Dynamic U1 Cat and Dog
- Excellent for low, medium and high pile carpet as well as above-floor cleaning
- A powerful machine with variable suction and great manoeuvrability
- An electro brush follows your floors contours
- Active AirClean filtration catches 99.9% of dust, dirt and allergens and neutralises bad odours
- And includes a miniature turbo brush for easy furniture cleaning
Panasonic MC-UG233 Bag Upright
- A simple, lightweight upright with a 14-inch cleaning path and good suction
- Comes with a crevice tool and dusting brush which can be stored onboard
- Easily one of the best vacuums in its price range
- Best for a smaller home or apartment
The best canister vacuum for pet hair
Miele Complete C3 Range
- Excellent on bare floors right up to soft carpet
- Includes a combination head to switch between floor types as well as an extra dedicated hard floor brush
- Comes with dusting brush, upholstery and crevice tools
- Quiet machines with 6 levels of suction control and 36’ operating radius
- They offer a Cat & Dog variant as well as an option for those who suffer with allergies
- Strong suction with a wide, 14 inch, cleaning path
- Includes floor, crevice, upholstery and pet attachment tools which can be found on top of the canister for easy access and storage
- Motorised brush for carpets, which can be turned off for bare floors
- Performance stays high even as the bag fills thanks to Panasonic’s OptiFlow technology
- HEPA filter included
- Excellent value for the price
The best stick vacuum for pet hair
Hoover Linx Stick Vacuum
- A lightweight cordless vacuum suitable for both bare floors and carpet
- Came out on top in cnet.com’s pet hair test
- The Hoover Linx has a low profile, making it easier to clean under furniture
- Wide cleaning path means faster cleaning
- 2-year warranty for peace of mind
- Over 5000 people gave the Hoover Linx a 5-star rating on Amazon.com
A note on this the Hoover Linx – store the battery in the vacuum when it’s not charging to preserve the battery’s longevity. Storing the battery in the charger for more than a day at a time can cause it to degrade and therefore fail faster.
The best handheld vacuum for pet hair
Something a little different
- A handheld vacuum that is both corded and cordless AND can suck up both wet and dry spills
- Compact and easy to clean, but tough in design
- Includes washable, reusable filters
- HEPA Filter included
- Excellent for cleaning pet hair and other dirt from your car, or spot cleaning at home
- Comes with a 3 year (limited) warranty
The battery and charger for this model are sold separately, so if you’re interested in running this machine cordless, be sure to grab those too.
Another more conventional handheld vacuum is The Black+Decker Pivot Vacuum
The best robot vacuum for pet hair
Neato Botvac D80 for Pets and Allergies
- Maps and navigates methodically, therefore suitable for both large and small homes
- Includes a combo brush, allowing it to work on both carpet and bare floors
- Self-docks for charging and returns to the last place it cleaned when it’s ready for more
- Square edges mean the Neato Botvac can clean corners more easily than other robot vacuums
- Excels at pet hair pickup and outperforms other robot vacuums at carpet cleanup
- Comes with a 1 year (limited) warranty
We realise that all this information can be overwhelming. To make it easier for yourself just remember to ask yourself the questions from earlier. In particular: What type of floors do you have? And how large is your home? We’ve made a handy infographic to help streamline the process. The best vacuum cleaner for you will be the one that makes cleanup as efficient and pleasant as possible. Feel free to drop a comment or contact us if you need more guidance.