There’s no getting around it—having a pet can be messy business. Although it doesn’t diminish our love for our furry friends, dealing with hair stuck to the furniture, hair stuck to the carpet, and hair collecting in balls in the corners of the kitchen, gets old very fast. Like having a good dog bed, having a good vacuum is essential. The best solution we’ve found for dealing with the problem is buying a vacuum that’s specifically designed for pet hair. Buying a vacuum can be an investment, so it’s important to do your research. I relied on Perfect Pet Vacuum to help me buy the best pet vacuum and understand the ins and outs of how to pick one.
Four Types of Pet Vacuums
There are four main types of vacuums for pet hair (technically five, but does anyone really want a robot vacuum?)
Upright vacuums are what you think of as the traditional vacuum. They’re wheeled units with a hose, canister, and engine all in one—think about the kind your mom or grandmother probably used. They cover big spaces quickly and are usually pretty efficient. Good upright vacuums also work well on carpet, hardwood floors, and tile.
Best upright pet vacuums:
- Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away TruePet (NV752) – has strong, consistent suction and converts to a canister
- Shark Rocket TruePet – great suction with lots of versatile attachments
Canister vacuums are a canister on wheels with a hose attached. Because of their shape, they’re versatile and can reach into corners, behind beds, and even up to the ceiling. Canisters are also great for curtains and upholstered furniture. For dealing with our pet hair issue, we chose a canister because it has the power of an upright but the flexibility of a handheld.
Best canister vacuums:
- Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away Canister (NR96) – consistent suction and also functions as a handheld vacuum
- Eureka Mighty Mite Pet Lover Canister Vac – consistent performance over time
Stick Vacuum Cleaners
Stick vacuums are also flexible options, combining some features of an upright and the ease of a handheld. The drawbacks, though, are that they don’t stand up on their own and their suction can be limited. Stick vacuums for pet hair are best if you have a smaller space because covering a large area can take a long time.
Best stick vacuum:
- Dyson V6 – stick vacuum with the best suction on the market backed by one of the best vacuum brands available
Handheld Vacuum Cleaners
A handheld vacuum is best if you only have a little bit of pet hair to clean up or need the portability to clean a car.
Best handheld pet vacuums:
- Black + Decker 20-Volt Lithium Ion Cordless Hand Vacuum (BDH2000L) – ideal portability with good suction and won’t lose charge over time
- Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Handheld Vacuum – the most affordable pet vacuum available