A Super Easy Guide for Selecting the Best Vacuum for Pet Hair – Latest Recommendations (Updated December 2017!)
If you share your home with pets that shed their fur all over your house you need a vacuum cleaner that fits your budget and your home’s unique cleaning requirements.
Every home has different types of floors as well as different types of pets. Choosing the best vacuum doesn’t have to be a frustrating shopping experience. This guide was created to make the task as easy and painless as possible.
Whether your home has mostly carpet or smooth floor surfaces, it’s important to select a product that is designed to work best on that type of flooring or combination.
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 a lot of vacuum models designed to do the job. Our job is to help you pick the best one.
The Reason Pet Hair Requires a Vacuum with Special Feature!
The Pet Hair Challenge!
When I receive a call from a prospective customer inquiring about cleaning their carpet one of the first questions I ask is “do you have pets in your home?” And, if so “what kind?”
I have learned from my years of experience as a Floor Care professional that if my customer has animals in their home that shed their fur, the job will probably take longer and take more effort to clean.
Vacuum bags or canisters will need to be changed or emptied more often. Clogged air passages and filters are always a possibility. Without adequate filtration, Pet dander can trigger an allergic response for allergy suffers . And quite often there will be an odor issue to deal with also.
All these issues present a challenge for vacuum cleaner manufactures who are determined to offer a product that will deal with these issues.
What Kind of Vacuum Works Best to Remove Pet Hair from Carpet?
Pet or human hairs get trampled down into carpet pile and becomes embedded, making it difficult to remove.
It requires more than a machine with just strong suction to remove it.
For a it to work well on carpet, it must have 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 lift it into the nozzle.
What Kind of Vacuum Works Best to Remove Hair from Smooth and Hardwood Floors?
Vacuuming pet hair from smooth or hard floors is generally easier than from carpet but it does pose a different set of issues. In most homes I have visited, the pets are 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. They usually scatter crumbs and pieces of food such as Kibble & Bits or Puppy Chow all over the kitchen floor. Not to mention kitty litter or spilled dry cereal.
Most vacuums with a motorized brush roll will sling a high percentage of that kind of 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.
What TYPE of Pet Vacuum Cleaner is Best for My Home?
Upright Vacuum VS Canister Vacuum!
The two Main Types of Vacuums are Upright and Canister.
Everybody has different cleaning requirements, physical limitations, and budgets that dictate what Type of Vacuum will be the best fit their needs. I don’t like to see anyone go out on a limb as far as stretching their budget but many of the so-called “Pet Hair” vacuums on the market today are little more than junk!
Obviously, the type of pet you have in your home is a very important factor in determining which vacuum cleaner you should choose. 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 that sheds lots of long fur. Or a Calico vs a Persian cat.
Both Upright and Canister Vacuums will get the job done if they have the right features and attachment.
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 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 a detachable stretch or expansion hose connected to a wand with the appropriate attachment. SEE Upright Vacuum RECOMMENDATIONS Below
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 thick or lush pile carpet, but they tend to be significantly more expensive with that feature.
Canister vacuums are generally lighter and handier than Uprights. They are easier to use because you are only maneuvering the wand and vacuum head 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 great 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.
What Type of Vacuum Dirt Disposal System is Best for Pet Hair, Bagged VS Bagless?
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 be HEPA-Level rated.) 3) It serves as a disposable 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 more significant issue.
A Bagless vacuum cleaner deposits all dirt and debris into a Dust Cup or Dirt Bin that serves 2 functions: 1) It also collects and contains the dirt. 2) It serves as a permanent mechanism for emptying dirt.
The advantages of a Bagless vacuums are they are less expensive to own 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.
HEPA Filtration Is a Critical Feature for All Vacuum Cleaners
Removing pet hair from the home is not the only challenge the pet owner faces.
If you or other family members suffer from any type of respiratory issues, such as Asthma, COPD, or Allergies, your new Vacuum should have an effective HEPA Filtration System.
According to Web MD approximately 10% of the population suffer with Pet Allergies.
A dog is said to be our “best friend” but to the allergy sufferer a dog can be their worst enemy. Dogs shed dander (flakes of dead skin) which can trigger an allergic reaction in some people. Cat allergies are twice as common as for dogs but for a different reason. Its not the fur that’s the problem. The culprits are in the form of proteins found in the cat’s dander, saliva, and urine. These protein-laden particulates can be as tiny as ten microns.
So, not only is it crucial to chose a vacuum cleaner with powerful enough suction to extract these unseen villains from your carpet, fabric-type upholstery, and the small cracks found on hardwood, laminate, and tile floors, its equally as important that your new vacuum has sufficient filtration to trap them instead of blowing them back into the air you breathe.
Not Just Any Filter Will Do!
Most economy vacuums priced lower than $100 do not have HEPA filtration. Their filter systems will do an adequate job of trapping larger dust particles that can cause issues, but the smallest offenders such as pollen, mold spores, pet dander, dust mites, and dust mite feces require HEPA-Level Filtration capable of removing particulates down to 0.3 microns in order to be effective.
Make Sure Your New Vacuum Has a Sealed HEPA Filter System!
A mid-range priced pet care vacuum may come equipped with a HEPA Filter but if its not housed within a Sealed Filter Compartment dirty air can leak around the filter. This dirty air gets blown back out into the air you breathe and is very unhealthy.
So, its very important that model you select is equipped with a Sealed HEPA Filter System. This will force all of the dirty exhaust air through the HEPA Filter media, trapping up to 99.0% or more of allergy-causing particulates down to 0.3 microns.
Vacuum cleaners with Sealed Systems generally cost more to produce because they require better-fitting molded parts and in some cases, gasketing to seal the system.
Both Bagged and Bagless models are available with HEPA-Level filtration with Sealed Systems.
Next to each model recommended in this article, I have noted the Filtration level help you make the best choice.
Option 1) Best BAGLESS Upright Vacuums for Pet Hair (SEE Below)
Option 2) Best BAGGED Upright Pet Hair Vacuums
Option 6) Best CORDLESS Vacuums for Pet Hair
BAGLESS Upright Pet Hair Vacuums
The Upright Vacuums recommended below have been carefully researched and have excellent track records for performance and also have positive customer review ratings.
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.