A Super Easy Guide for Selecting the Best Vacuum for Pet Hair -Recommendations (Updated 2018)
If you share your home with pets that shed their fur you need a vacuum cleaner that is designed to work best for removing pet hair.
I love animals! Cats and dogs make such wonderful pets and their companionship is priceless. But they can sure create a lot of extra work for us when they shed their hair all over the house.
It is estimated that 44% of all households in the US have at least one dog, and 35% have at least one cat. That’s a lot of messy hair to deal with! The good news is there are currently a lot of vacuum models designed to do the job of riding your home of your pet’s hair.
My goal is to present you with enough information and recommendations to help you decide which one will work best for you.
Why Is Pet Hair Difficult to Clean?
The Pet Hair Challenge!
Removing pet hair presents a unique challenge for the engineers! Most vacuums are designed to remove common dirt and dust which they do an acceptable job, but hair is a different foe. Some animal’s hair shafts have more scale than human hairs making them especially difficult to remove from carpet fibers.
I have learned from my years of experience as a Floor Care professional that I’m in for tougher job if the customer has animals in their home that shed their fur. I know my job will probably take more effort and time to clean, even with commercial equipment.
Pet hair can accumulate on Carpet, Smooth floors, Stairs, Furniture and every place in between. Getting rid of it can be a real chore without the right floor care appliance.
Important Issues and Features to Consider
- When hairs get trampled down into carpet pile, suction alone isn’t enough to remove it. That’s why you should choose a model with a Motor-Powered Brush Roll or Beater Bar to loosen and lift the embedded hair shaft free from the grip of the carpet pile so the suction can do its job.
- One of the unique issues with hair is it takes up a lot of space so that requires a machine with larger capacity. A regular vacuum cleaner can accommodate enough common dirt and dust to minimize the frequency of having to empty the canister or change the bag. So it’s a good idea to make sure the model you choose has adequate capacity, especially if you’re pet has long fur and sheds regularly.
- Your best friend’s hair can end up on your favorite chair and sofa too. Your pet’s hair probably accumulates on the stairs as much as it does on the floors. That’s why it’s a good idea to select a vacuum model with specialized tools to remove pet hair from those above-floor areas. Also SEE: “Best Vacuums for Stairs“
- I am surprised at how many pet lovers I meet that are burdened with some type of respiratory issue. In addition to hair, Cats and dogs shed pet dander that dust mites feed on and leave their feces on your floor. Not to mention the pollen, mold, and other allergens that end up in your home. That’s why its imperative that you choose a product that’s Allergy-Friendly. Also READ: “Excellent Filtration is Imperative for Allergy Suffers!“
- Living with a pet can create an Odor Problem! Some pet vacuums are available with special Charcoal filters that help neutralize the stinky molecules. These of course cost extra! Another remedy is to suck up a Cling-Free Sheet or sprinkle some baking soda on the floor. All of these can help control pet odor.
What About Smooth and Wood Floors?
Generally speaking, its easier to clean pet hair from smooth floors than it is from carpet. Suction alone is adequate enough to remove most lose dirt and dust.
However, there are other issues to consider. In most homes I have visited, the family pet is fed in the kitchen or rooms that have smooth floors. And most of them (I have had the pleasure to meet) don’t have very good eating manners.
Cats and dogs tend to scatter crumbs and pieces of food such as Kibble & Bits or Puppy Chow all over the kitchen floor – not to mention kitty litter or the dry cereal you might spill.
Most vacuums with a motorized brush roll will sling a high percentage of large debris all over the room instead of picking it up.
So, this requires that your Vacuum Cleaner is equipped with a Brush Roll DISENGAGE Switch or ON/OFF Selector so you can simply activate or deactivate it as you move from carpet to smooth floor.
A recent design feature is a floor brush with a “Soft” brushroll designed especially to solve that problem. This clever idea has really taken hard and smooth floor cleaning to a whole other level!
What TYPE of Pet Vacuum Cleaner is Best for My Home?
Upright Vacuum VS Canister Vacuum!
Vacuum cleaners can generally be categorized into two Main Types: Upright and Canister.
Everybody has different cleaning requirements, physical limitations, and budgets that dictate what Type of Vacuum will be the best fit for their needs. I don’t like to see anyone go out on a limb as far as stretching their budget. I believe its worth spending a little more to get an appliance that’s going to solve your cleaning problem for now and into the future.
Obviously, the type of pet you have in your home is a very important factor to consider. A small Manchester Terrier has short fur and doesn’t require a vacuum with as much cleaning power or capacity as would be necessary for a Golden Retriever or Irish Setter that sheds lots of long fur. Or a Calico cat’s short fur vs a Persian cat’s long fur.
Either an Upright or Canister Vacuum will get the job done if they have the right features and attachments.
I generally recommend an UPRIGHT Vacuum if your home is mostly carpet with medium to thick or plush long pile. The UPRIGHT Vacuums I recommend here, have features that enable it to work well on smooth floors also.
A full-size Upright vacuum is generally heavier.and less handy than a canister vacuum. This could present a problem if your home is multi-level and would require transporting it up or down stairs.
Some Upright Vacuums have swivel steering which make them easier to maneuver than models without.
Above-floor cleaning is accomplished by deploying a detachable stretch or expansion hose connected to a wand with the appropriate attachment.
I usually recommend a CANISTER Vacuum if your home is mostly low pile to medium pile carpet with lots of area rugs and smooth or hardwood floors. Canister Vacuums equipped with a Motorized Floor Brush will also work well on Soft Plush carpet, but they tend to be significantly more expensive with that feature. Also SEE: “Best Vacuum for Soft Plush Carpet“
Canister vacuums are generally lighter and handier than Uprights. They are easier to use because you are only maneuvering the wand and floor brush while the bulk and weight of the motor and canister are pulled along with your whole body.
A canister vacuum is much easier to carry up or down stairs and also works well for cleaning stairs. Above-floor cleaning is just a matter of swapping the motorized floor brush with a suitable attachment connected to the wand.
I usually recommend a Canister Vacuum to my elderly customers or individuals who are physically challenged.
What Type of Dirt Disposal System is Best for Pet Hair?
Bagged VS Bagless?
After your cleaning machine removes the dirt from your floor it gets deposited in a temporary holding reservoir to be disposed of when your finished vacuuming.
There are two types of Dirt Disposal Systems found on vacuum cleaners – Bagged and Bagless.
A bagged vacuum deposits all dirt and debris into a disposable bag generally made of a paper-like material that serves 3 functions: 1) It collects and contains the dirt. 2) It serves as a filter, preventing the finest particulates from being exhausted back into the air. (On some bagged vacuum models the bag material may even be HEPA-Level rated.) 3) It serves as a mechanism for disposing the dirt once it has reached the recommended capacity.
The main advantage of a Bagged disposal system is its more hygienic. When removing the bag from the vacuum body there is a minimal amount of dust that escapes back into the air. The better-rated vacuums utilize proprietary bags with plastic closure flaps that immediately seal the bag against any dirt or dust escaping.
The main disadvantage is they are more expensive to own and operate over time because of the expense of replacement bags – especially if they are HEPA rated. If your cat or dog sheds a lot of fur requiring you to vacuum often this could be a significant issue.
A Bagless vacuum cleaner deposits all dirt and debris into a Dust Cup or Dirt Bin that serves 3 functions: 1) It collects and contains the dirt. 2) Some bagless vacs utilize cyclonic filtration to separate the dirt from the air by using centrifugal and gravitational forces. Plus it may incorporate a filter for the more finite particulates. 3) It serves as a permanent mechanism for emptying the dirt.
The advantages of a Bagless vacuums are they are less expensive to own and operate over a period of time because you don’t have to spend money on replacement bags. This advantage can be especially important for the pet owner who will most likely be vacuuming more often. If you have a large pet or multiple pets a Bagless vacuum will save a lot of money over the years.
The disadvantage of a bagless vacuum is it is impossible to empty the Dust Cup without some dust escaping back into the air. The smart way to minimize this issue is to take the Dust Cup outdoors or in the garage to empty it.
Each product recommended in this Guide has been extensively researched and evaluated to make sure it meets the necessary requirements for managing pet hair. I believe they represent the best pet hair vacuums currently available!
Since every person has different circumstance and needs I have divided up the types of vacuum based on their recommended use.
Please select one of the Options Below that best describes your home and preferences.
Option 1) BAGLESS Upright Vacuums (SEE Below)
Option 2) BAGGED Uprights Vacuums
Option 3) BAGGED Canister Vacuums
Option 4) BAGLESS Canister Vacuums
Option 5) Pet Hair Vacuums for HARDWOOD Floors
Option 6) Cord-Free Vacuums Pet Hair Vacuums
BAGLESS Upright Pet Hair Vacuums
The Upright Vacuums recommended below have unique features for managing pet hair. They have excellent overall track records for performance and reliability.
Take a look at the NEW Hoover REACT Professional Pet Plus Bagless Upright Vacuum UH73220PC!
The Hoover REACT Professional Pet Plus UH73220PC is a FULL-SIZE Bagless Upright Vacuum designed for the Pet Owner to be able to clean the whole house.
One of a new generation of Hoover Bagless Upright vacuums that feature FloorSense Technology that senses the texture of the floor, and makes automatic adjustments to the speed of the brushroll to optimize cleaning performance while you vacuum.
What this means to the operator is No More Switching the Brushroll On and Off every time you cross over to a different floor surface. It gets even better than that – the Hoover REACT FloorSense sensors instruct the brushroll to slow down when on smooth floors to a speed that won’t scatter large debris like dry pet food all over the place, but still gives you the benefit of a spinning powered brush to whisk the dust and sticky dirt to be sucked up. And it does it all automatically!
- FloorSense Technology – Automatically adjusts Brushroll speed for maximum cleaning performance on all floor types
- Powerful Suction – Deep cleans even plush carpet
- Swivel Steering – Reduces operator fatigue and increases maneuverability
- Sealed Allergen Filter System – HEPA Filter traps 99.0% of Allergens down to 0.5 Microns
- Multi-Cyclonic Technology – Provides No Loss of Suction†
- 1.5 Liter Dirt Cup – Large Capacity Bottom Release holds lots of dirt, dry pet food, and pet hair
- Accessories – Turbo Pet Tool, Pet Upholstery Tool w/ Rubber bristles, Dusting Brush, and a Deluxe Crevice Tool
- Hoover App – Enables you to make custom settings for optimum performance in your house
- 5 Year Hoover Warranty (When purchased at Amazon)
Watch this Hoover REACT Demonstration VIDEO
Hoover REACT Professional Pet Plus UH73220PC offers Full-Size cleaning performance that works well on all floor types. Its suction power is on par with other top-rated upright pet vacuums. The Accessories expand the cleaning capabilities for all the usual tasks pet owners deal with on a daily basis.
When the conversation turns to the which Bagless Upright Vacuums are rated best for Pet Hair the name “Dyson” almost always comes up!
Dyson is the vacuum cleaner company that perfected Bagless Cyclonic technology. So, is it any wonder that the Dyson DC65 Animal Complete Upright Vacuum Cleaner has earned a top spot on the list?
Although the NEW Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal Plus Allergy (See Above) has taken a marginal lead when it comes to the most powerful suction the Dyson DC65 Animal Complete Upright Vacuum Cleaner is still near the top of my list.
The Dyson DC65 Animal Complete Upright Vacuum Cleaner was designed specifically for Pet Owners.
Dyson’s Patented Ball Steering allows you to easily maneuver in and around furniture.
As with all Dyson vacuums the Filtration is excellent!
- Tangle-Free Turbine Pet Hair Tool
- Soft Brush for Dusting
- Multi-Angle Brush
- Stiff Bristle Brush
- Bag for Accessories
- Allergy-Friendly Filtration, Certified by the British Allergy Foundation
- 5 Year Dyson Warranty
Check Out this Demo VIDEO of the Dyson DC65 Animal Complete!
Pro Review of the Dyson DC65 Animal, Courtesy of Smart Reviews
Most Dyson Customers are very passionate about their Dyson DC65 Animal. The consistently positive Customer Reviews make the Dyson DC65 Animal Complete Upright Vacuum Cleaner one of the best-selling Bagless Upright Pet Hair Vacuums currently available.
Updated 8/20/2017: Although the Dyson DC65 Animal Complete is several years old now it is still one of the top rated vacuums for pet owners.
The impressive looking BISSELL 1650A Pet Hair Eraser Vacuum cleans as well as it looks!
It is loaded with features to make it a serious weapon in the war on Pet Hair, including powerful suction, swivel steering, multi-floor cleaning capability, plus excellent above-floor cleaning capability.
But the two main features that really set the BISSELL 1650A Pet Hair Eraser apart from other top-rated vacuums are the Tangle-Free Brush Roll and the Patented Cyclonic Pet Hair Spooling System.
Removing pet hair from your home presents two cleaning challenges, (especially if your pet has long fur.) First, cleaning the hair from your floors, stairs, and furniture and second, cleaning the mess from your vacuum cleaner.
If your pet’s fur is more than a couple inches long it’s going to get tangled around the brushroll requiring you to periodically clip and pull it out. The same thing happens with human hair also.
But the issue I detest most when it comes to using a Bagless vacuum for pet hair is emptying the Dirt Bin. Long pet hair typically gets wrapped around the Cyclone Column requiring you to reach in with your fingers or a stick to pull it out. Nasty!
Finally, BISSELL has solved both problems with their clever engineering.
Features and Attachments
- Tangle-Free Brushroll
- Cyclonic Pet Hair Spooling System
- Edge-to-Edge Cleaning
- Multi-Floor & Surface Cleaning
- Swivel Steering
- Febreze Pet Odor Eliminator
- SmartSeal Allergen Filtration System
- Attachments Include: Tangle-Free BrushRoll, Quick Release Wand, Pet Turbo-Eraser Tool, LED-lit crevice tool
- BISSELL Five Year Warranty
Check Out this Demo VIDEO of the BISSELL 1650A Pet Hair Eraser!
Although the BISSELL 1650A Pet Hair Eraser Vacuum isn’t cheap its one of the best performing and most complete Pet Care cleaning systems available at this time, especially if you have long-haired pets.