How to Choose the Best Vacuum Cleaner to Suck-up Stubborn Pet Hair

Wiggling tails every time you come home and relaxing afternoons with your cat purring on your lap – living with a pet is a wonderful experience. Still, when it comes to cleaning up after them, especially if they shed a lot of hair, things don’t seem so perfect anymore.

Picking up all that pet hair from all over the house is a chore no homeowner looks forward to. Moreover, when it comes to stubborn pet hair, no rubber gloves, lint rollers or regular vacuum cleaners will do the trick. You will need a vacuum cleaner designed specifically for picking up even the most difficult pet hair.

The Difference between a Standard Vacuum and a Pet Vacuum Cleaner

Regular vacuum cleaners, even the most powerful ones, won’t pick up all the hidden pet hair in your carpets. This is because they feature a two-part brush and a hose mechanism that is designed for small dust and debris – not pet hair.

The regular brushes will most likely push the hair even deeper into the carpet, or the hair will simply get tangled around the bristles, making your vacuum work less efficiently.

Pet vacuums, on the other hand, have silicon brushes, specialized accessories, and a self-cleaning mechanism that prevents the hair from tangling in the brush. Additionally, pet vacuums also have greater suction power to pick up all the pet dander and prevent allergies.

So, let’s dive right in and see what you need to look for when choosing the perfect vacuum cleaner for pet hair.

How to Choose the Perfect Vacuum for Pet Hair

Buying a vacuum, especially if you live with a pet, should not be a rushed purchase. You need to take the time and consider a few things in order to get your money’s worth and avoid having to buy a new vacuum cleaner in a year.

Type of Vacuum

When searching for a vacuum cleaner, you will encounter two main types of vacuums – canisters and uprights.

Upright vacuum cleaners have the suction head, the motor, and the filter all in one device. They are easier to move around and store when not in use. You move the cleaner around by pushing it in front of you – a tried and tested motion.

Canister vacuums, however, have a much different design. The motor and the filter are in a canister and are connected via a hose to the vacuum head. The canister has wheels on the bottom so you can pull it behind you as you vacuum.

For many years, it has been believed that upright vacuums are for carpets and rugs, and canisters for hard floors. Still, with the advancements in technology, both of these types are now powerful enough and equipped with original accessories that will do the trick on all kinds of floors. Overall, this choice comes down to your own preference – they are both powerful and effective.

Dust Repository

Here you have two options to choose from – bagged or bagless. Both of these have their own set of pros and cons, so let’s go over them.

Bagged vacuums store the collected dirt and dust into a bag which you need to remove and dispose of when it’s full. Typically, they are cheaper but will eventually cost more as you have to constantly buy new ones, especially if your pets shed a lot. Still, there’s a lower chance of you inhaling any dust or allergens when emptying them.

Bagless vacuums, on the other hand, cost more upfront but have no ongoing costs as you can’t run out of bags. The canister that contains all the dust is usually transparent, so you can always see when it’s time to take it off and empty it. Even though all the dust needs to be emptied from the canister, most new models make their emptying mechanisms with hygiene and efficiency in mind. They also have a larger capacity, which means less frequent emptying.

In general, if you don’t have pet allergies, a bagless model will suit you just fine, considering that most of them have HEPA filters that trap even the smallest dust and dirt particles.

At one point in the time, there was a surge of new bagless models coming to the market. But now things have started to change again, and more bagged ones are coming back. One spoken about a lot by UK pet owners is the GTech Pro K9 which is specifically designed for pet hair.

You can also find plenty of models with pet specific attachments from companies like Dyson and Shark.


No matter which type of pet hair vacuum cleaner you choose, it should be easy to use and move around. The easier it is, the more likely you are to vacuum regularly and keep your home free of pet hair and dander.

The area under the furniture is the perfect place for pet hair to hide and accumulate. Make sure to choose a flexible vacuum to reach those spaces without having to move all the furniture.

Some newer models can also be converted to a handheld vacuum, which is a great addition to have if your pets regularly get on the sofa or other furniture.

Corded vs. Cordless

All of the debate around corded versus cordless vacuum cleaners revolves around one thing – suction power.

However, it’s 2019, and new cordless vacuum models can match, if not outperform traditional corded models. Still, it’s a matter of preference and the kind of home you have. Let’s see how they differ.

Cordless Vacuum Cleaners


  • Cordless vacuums are much more flexible and lightweight, meaning they are much easier to carry around and reach into tight spaces.
  • They also don’t require a power outlet, so you can easily move them around the whole house without pulling a cord behind you. You can even use them to vacuum your car.
  • Cordless models are significantly smaller and can be stored even in tight places.


  • They run on a battery, so there’s always the chance of running out of power mid-cleaning. Still, most new models have a runtime more than 30 minutes, which is just enough to clean an average sized home.

Corded Vacuum Cleaners


  • Typically, they have a higher suction power due to the size of the motor.
  • Better suited for larger homes as you don’t have to recharge the battery while cleaning.


  • You’ll have to plug and unplug the cord quite a few times during cleaning.

Overall Power and Performance

No matter how much your pet sheds, you’re probably not buying a vacuum exclusively for picking up pet hair. Therefore, you need to look for a powerful vacuum that can tackle other dust and debris without leaving a trace.

A good metric to keep in mind when comparing suction power is air watts (AW). Air watts show how much power the vacuum actually uses to suck-up dirt and dust. A good rule of thumb is to look for at least 100 AW in an upright model, and 220 AW in a canister.

If the vacuum has a HEPA filter, it will require an even higher number of air watts as it needs to pull all the dirt through the tiny openings of the filter.

All of these features we’ve just outlined won’t be enough to pick the most stubborn pet hair. Even though a strong suction power is necessary, a hugely important part to a good pet hair vacuum cleaner is the included attachments.

Read on to find out which attachments will help you get rid of that pet hair easily.

Most Suitable Vacuum Attachments for Removing Pet Hair

Upholstery Tool

No matter how much we try not to, we all let our pets on our sofa for cuddling sessions. This is where the upholstery tool comes extra handy. It has a wide base and a fabrics strip that sucks lint out of the furniture.

Crevice Tool

The crevice tool has a thin shape which helps you get into tight spots such where pet hair is most likely to hide.

Extension Tool

The extension tool is a long wand that helps you reach into corners and the spaces behind your appliances.

Motorized Brush Head Tool

This is probably the most important attachment to have when dealing with pet hair. It helps loosen the pet hair from thick carpets and cleans them thoroughly.

Tips for Vacuuming Pet Hair

In order to get all the pet hair removed, make sure to use a combination of the vacuum attachments. Use the motorized brush head for deep cleaning carpets, the crevice tool for cleaning stairs and below furniture, and the upholstery tool for your furniture.

Another thing to keep in mind is that if you use a vacuum to pick up pet hair regularly, the filter can get dirty pretty quick. So, make sure to clean it frequently and replace it when necessary, especially if you have allergy problems.

Also, vacuum at least every 2-3 days, and pay extra attention to the places where your pets spend the most time. This is especially necessary if you brush your pet at home because there will be an abundance of hair all over the place.

If you rarely vacuum, you might overwork your vacuum cleaner and get hair trapped in the brushes. This might also happen if you never clean your vacuum properly, causing your vacuum to stop working after a while.

Cleaning Pet Hair from Your Vacuum

To maximize your vacuum’s lifespan, make sure to flip your vacuum and clean the brushes every month. This will prevent pet hair from getting tangled so much that you’ll have to replace the whole vacuum head.

Additionally, when pet hair gets stuck in the rollers, the vacuum will overheat and won’t perform well, leaving traces of dust and pet hair on the floor.


Investing in a good pet vacuum cleaner will save you precious time and energy, leaving you free to spend time with your pets. Make sure to carefully choose a vacuum according to your needs and take good care of it so you can use it for a long time.

Well, there you have it – everything you need to know about picking the best vacuum cleaner for removing pet hair. Hopefully, you’ve learned enough to get a proper pet hair vacuum cleaner and keep your house hair-free.

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