10 Best

Pet Vacuums

of December 2023

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Selecting the Ideal Vacuum for Pet Owners

Yehudah Posnick

Supermarkets have an entire section dedicated to products for cat and dog accessories and food. But, caring for your pet can’t be at the expense of caring for your home. Cleaning up after your pet can be a special challenge, depending on how much hair they shed, or whether or not you’ve succeeded in training them not to make a mess. So, there are vacuums that have been designed for attending to the specific needs of pet owners, with tools to remove pet hair, to pick up wet or dry spills that your pet just created, or that are designed to get to remove the unwanted sources of pet odors from your home.

We’ve composed this buyer’s guide to help you make the right decision when selecting a pet vacuum. It'll help you:

  • Choose the right type of pet vacuum for your preferences,

  • See useful tips about that particular type of pet vacuum,

  • Read reviews of different pet vacuum, and what customers are saying, and

  • Select the right brand of a pet vacuum.

Types of Pet Vacuums

  • Robot pet vacuum: There can be problems with using a robot vacuum for cleaning after pets (like the unfortunate case in Little Rock, Arkansas, where a family’s Roomba robot vacuum spread their dog’s accident all over the house). But, there are models that are designed for picking up pet hair, litter, and other messes that pets can leave. One example is the iRobot Roomba i7+, which has dual multi-surface rubber brushes to pick up pet hair without getting tangled. It also empties itself out when it goes to the charging station.

iRobot Roomba i7+ in its charging station

  • Vacuums with pet attachments: Whether you prefer to get an upright, canister, or a simple stick vacuum, you’ll be able to find one with pet hair attachments. There are special brush rolls that are made to avoid getting clogged on pet hair, even for long-haired dogs and cats. Also, there are vacuums with motorized brush rolls, which offer extra power in picking up pet hair. And even the upright vacuums convert into a hand vacuum, for greater mobility. An example is the Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Upright Vacuum. It has a tangle-free brush roll to handle pet hair.

Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Upright Vacuum

  • Handheld vacuum: The messes that pets can make are unpredictable: shedding hair, your cat knocking over a litter box, or your dog spilling his bowl of food. Handheld models are best suited for these messes: you can whip them out the minute they occur and treat exactly the area that needs to be cleaned. A good example is the Black & Decker Spillbuster Cordless Spill and Spot Cleaner.

Black & Decker Spillbuster Cordless Spill and Spot Cleaner

What reviewers say

  • Check what pet owners are saying: Many vacuums advertise having pet attachments--but it’s best to check customer reviews to see if the product really gets the job done. One customer who bought the Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Upright Vacuum said that they have 6 cats and 2 dogs, and the Bissell still manages to remove pet hair from furniture, as well as from carpets and hard floors.

  • Adjust automatically to different floor types: Some vacuums require you to manually change settings when going from carpet to hard floor. Using the brush that’s special for cleaning carpets is not a good idea on hard floors, since the brush bristles can scratch wood or linoleum. The Dyson Ball Animal 2 uses a special nylon brush for deep cleaning on carpets but will raise and lower to properly vacuum each surface.

  • Prefer a dry and wet vacuum: Since pet accidents can be both solid and liquid, it’s preferable to get a vacuum that can handle both dry and wet messes. The Black & Decker Spillbuster has a wide nozzle that can sop up both dry and wet debris.

Important Features

  • Filtration: If you’re a pet owner, but have family members who suffer from allergies, you’ll want a vacuum that eliminates all allergens and seals them tightly away. An example is the Shark Navigator with a pet power brush. Its dust cup is completely sealed so that it won’t release any dirt, pollen, or pet hair, that might cause allergies. Look for vacuums with a HEPA filter, which eliminate 99.95% of all impurities in the air that are larger and 0.3 microns. But, beware: some models let you wash the filter and use it again, while others require you to replace it every 3-6 months.

  • Large dustbin: If your pet sheds a lot, you’ll want a vacuum with a large dust cup, that doesn’t have to be emptied often. A good choice is the Black & Decker Ultra Lightweight Upright Pet Vacuum Cleaner, with a large dust cup with a 2-liter capacity.

Top-Rated Brands

  • Dyson was founded by engineer James Dyson in 1991. His products utilize innovative motor technology, whether they be vacuum cleaners, air purifiers, fans, or heaters. Dyson makes upright and stick vacuums special for pet owners, such as the Dyson V8 Animal.

  • Shark is a brand of vacuum cleaners based in Needham, Massachusetts. Their Shark Navigator Pet Pro Upright has a special brush roll that cleans itself, so that it won’t clog on pet hair.

  • Bissell was founded by Melville Bissell, starting with marketing a carpet sweeper as early as 1876. They make wet-dry vacuums, spin mops, upright and canister vacuums, and robotic vacuums. Their Bissell Crosswave Pet Pro uses a special Febreze cleaning formula to remove foul-smelling pet odors.

  • Black & Decker was founded in Baltimore, Maryland in 1910, as a maker of power tools for home improvement, and cleaning appliances for the home, lawn, and garden. They have the Dustbuster series of hand vacuums for dry spills and the Spillbuster series for wet messes, and they include attachments just for pet lovers.

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