When you are looking for a handheld device powerful enough to keep even the furriest of creatures’ dandruff at bay, where do you even begin?
So before we get into the nitty-gritty, we’ll summarise our choices of the best here. If you want more information on why we chose them, either click on the name of the model you are interested in or scroll down for more info on the criteria.
OK, So what is the Best Handheld Vacuum for pet hair?
Are you tired of lugging around a full-sized vacuum to clean your dog’s hair from those hard-to-reach places in your home? The best handheld vacuum cleaners weigh under 3KG and yet with incredibly powerful suction, the latest handheld vacuums can easily handle your moulting dog’s hair residue without requiring Schwarzenegger-like muscles to manoeuvre around.
It can be a health hazard. For those of you with allergies you know what we mean – pet hair can cause you to cough and sneeze until you feel like you almost can’t breathe. In rare cases, it can actually cause you to stop breathing entirely.
So although your furry friend can be your best friend, it doesn’t change the fact that combating their fuzz with a vacuum can be one of the most dreaded household chores that you face. Pet hair that accumulates day after day can be more than just an annoyance.
Although there are many vacuums designed with the task of picking up pet hair in mind, not every machine is created equally. If you are looking for a handheld vacuum up to the task of dealing with pet hair as well as wooden floors, stairs, etc., then finding a machine powerful yet flexible enough for the task can be a bit of a chore.
As dog owners we know quite a few people with dogs and all have vacuums, which has let us get to grips with several models – either our own, or ones we quizzed the owners of and borrowed to see how they felt. We have avoided covering any vacuums that we felt are not good and stuck to the ones we like – life is too short to spend it writing about bad vacuums!
Is a Handheld Vacuum The Right Choice For You?
Even if you are successful in keeping your dog off your furniture, their fur somehow still magically finds its way onto the softest surfaces in your home leaving them with a seemingly permanent coating of fuzz that can be nigh-on impossible to remove. If you think the areas where they don’t lay are covered in fur, imagine how thick a layer their pet beds and your carpeted stairs have accumulated! For these cumbersome corners, a lightweight, handheld vacuum may just be the solution you were looking for.
What are you cleaning?
While handhelds have gained massively in terms of suction power and charge time they still aren’t up to a corded cleaner in these departments. However, they do offer a greater amount of flexibility for things like cleaning your car. So before deciding the most important questions you need to ask yourself when looking for a vacuum to remove pet hair are:
- Is your home big or small?
- Do you have mostly carpet or hard flooring?
- Do you need to clean furniture, upholstery, and curtains?
- How dirty do the areas you need to clean generally get?
Knowing the answers to these questions can help you narrow down your choices when confronted with the long list of available brands and models out there.
Despite what you may think, suction is not determined by the amount of power that your vacuum generates. In reality, suction power is composed of a number of factors including the type of filter, the shape of the hose nozzle, and motor power. There are also various technologies available in certain vacuums like Cyclonic suction, Windtunnel, and Root Cyclone that can improve suction.
You should concern yourself with the amount of suction that your vacuum can generate because it is not only an important indicator of how well it will pick up dust and fur, but of how efficiently the debris will transfer into the body of the vacuum and be kept safely inside.
Bagged vs bagless
This is an argument as old as vacuums themselves. Bagged vacuums are undisputedly better at holding dirt securely within the vacuum, but this comes with a price. Having to continually replace the bags in your vacuum can get expensive, especially if you have longhaired pets and have to vacuum regularly. Bagless vacuums, on the other hand, are a great option if you are not particularly sensitive to pet dander. They only require you to empty and clean the dirt canister as it fills up and you will never need to purchase a new one.
The capacity of the machine you choose affects two things: weight and space. How much dirt your vacuum can hold before it needs to be emptied or the bag changed will determine how much of your house you can clean before you need to pause and empty the debris you’ve collected.
Vacuums with large capacities are ideal for homes that have pets that shed frequently or are large in size. If you are specifically searching for a vacuum that can handle a pet that sheds frequently, look for a top-rated vacuum with a large capacity designed for picking up pet hair.
The downside of having a vacuum with a large capacity is its weight. Having more space to collect dust and fur means that the vacuum itself will have to be larger which will cause it to weigh more. Therefore, when deciding on how much capacity you want, keep in mind how much weight you are willing to lug around.
If you have an extremely heavy vacuum, your house cleaning session can quickly become a workout. The weight of your machine will determine how easily you can maneuver it around your home without using all your energy. Although having to drag around a heavy vacuum seems unappealing, remember that lighter weight vacuums are not always as powerful as their heavier counterparts. So before you forgo a vacuum because of its weight, decide what are the most important aspects of your vacuum for you in your home. It may turn out that the heavier model is exactly what you need.
Extra features and attachments are very important when considering which vacuum to purchase. When you are looking to combat a house full of dog hair, you will want a vacuum that comes with brush, crevice, and nozzle tools to make it easier to access those corners and spaces under furniture where dog hair accumulates.
You should also consider a vacuum that can effortlessly transition from upholstery to carpet to bare floors while maintaining suction and cleaning capabilities. Having a good idea of what your specific pet hair removal needs are will help you select the perfect vacuum for you rather than “just another vacuum”.
Another important factor to consider when purchasing a vacuum is the cost as it can vary from model to model and store to store. Also, although price generally corresponds directly to increased features and functionality, there are cases in which there may be cheaper models that are more effective.
If your main goal is to find the most affordable vacuum that is able to provide specific functionalities, then you will need to dedicate yourself to research. Visit stores, read reviews, ask questions, and be patient before making a decision.
So now that you know what the important considerations are when selecting a vacuum, it’s time to begin reviewing your options. So, to help you out, here are our picks of the best handheld vacuums on the market.
Shark Rocket True Pet HV320UKT Vacuum Cleaner Review – Editors Choice Best Handheld Vacuum Cleaner For Dog Hair
When you need more power or have to clean for more than 30 minutes, a cordless cleaner still does not quite cut it. For this reason, we have included the Shark Rocket True Pet as the best corded, wand-style vacuum cleaner.
Like most of the other models reviewed here, the Shark follows the usual wand-style design, with the motor and cylinder near the handle allowing it to easily work the floor as well as the ceiling and converting into a handheld by removing the nozzle.
Design & Features
The one main difference is the cord. but the Rocket comes with around 10M of cable, giving a useful range of around 9m, which should be plenty unless you are looking to vacuum the middle of a field!
This model comes with the True Pet motorized brush. Unlike most, which are air-powered, this is actually powered which, with the 500 watts hidden in its little body, makes removing embedded dirt and pet hair a breeze. This model also comes with a specialist hard floor microfibre attachment, ideal for picking up large debris and fine dust on your wood floor as well as getting stuck into the tough dog fur. It also manages almost a liter of dirt in the chamber, much better than the Vax or Dyson.
How it Performs
With the corded power you can feel free to use the boost button, knowing that you will not run short of charge. The cord also allows the Shark to have a set of LEDs on the front, which is surprisingly useful for cleaning under sofas, beds, and other dark spots.
On the go it is very maneuverable and easy to get under the sofa, even if it feels a bit heavier in your hand. The biggest downside is that it is top-heavy so it will not stand up on its own, you need to prop it up against a wall, chair or table. A little frustrating but not the end of the world and Shark have even put a pair of pads that will rest against the wall to stop it slipping or marking.
When it gets full, emptying it is very easy, you simply squeeze the levers and the cylinder pops out. This is much better than the old model which required you taking the entire vacuum over to the bin. The filters are also easily accessible and easy to clean – recommended monthly by Shark.
Overall we love this vacuum and unless you need a cordless cleaner, the additional capacity, and power, aligned with never running out of charge, make this the one we would go for.
Vax TBT3V1B2 Blade Vacuum Review – Editors Choice Best Cordless Vacuum Cleaner For Dog Hair
Vax is known for releasing powerful yet inexpensive vacuum cleaners, and the Vax TBT3V1B2 Blade is no exception. It is fitted with a powerful 24-volt battery that, with its boost button and Pet & Stairs tool, does a remarkably good job of shifting pet hair with about 35 minutes of loss-free suction on a full charge.
There is a more powerful version of this vacuum with a 32V motor, but we didn’t see enough of a reason to fork out the extra for this extra suction power, but if you have a particularly hairy dog, it is an option.
Design & Features
It follows the now-familiar wand-style cordless design, which makes it suited for reaching those high places while allowing the nozzle to be removed to turn it into a smaller handheld for cleaning the car or stairs. However Vax has done this with a slight twist – the cylinder is mounted across rather than along the handle. This moves the center of balance a little further up the shaft improving the balance, especially when the longer nozzle was removed.
It also comes with an easy-on crevice tool that is specifically designed to fit into those tight, hard to clean spaces. The last tool that comes with this is the Soft Dusting Brush for hardwood floors, which means you get a very good selection of tools and power at a much lower price than the equivalent Dyson with longer battery life.
The Vax’s 0.6 liter collection capacity is not as large as some of the other models, but perfectly adequate for most tasks. It is simple to empty and the filter is easy to remove and wash.
Overall it does a great job of picking up everyday crumbs as well as the stubborn pet hair that makes its home on your upholstery with a very useful 35 minutes of battery life on a full charge, making it a really good vacuum cleaner that we found hard to fault.
Dyson V6 Animal Review – Worth Consideration
The Dyson V6 Trigger is a sporty Dyson product that is basically the handheld version of Dyson Ball Animal vacuum. However, this is no bad thing as it manages to expertly deliver on its claims of “suction power that starts strong, and stays strong”.
Design & Features
Its Dyson digital motor V6 creates the most powerful cordless vacuum, which will run for around 20 minutes on a full charge. Added to this is a “Max Mode” high power setting, which reduces it down to about 6 minutes of cleaning but with the motorized tool allows it to suck up more ground-in dirt and animal hair than pretty much any other handheld vacuums.
The other tools and add-ons allow it to clean all floor types while the two Tier Radial™ cyclones capture the finest of dust, all while still light enough to lift with one arm.
This little handheld’s biggest strength is also a weakness could as it does not have a huge capacity so you will find yourself emptying it quite regularly, however this is a fairly simple process, just requiring a flick of a button to empty.
Do be careful though as there are several versions of this vacuum:
- Standard – This has a 20W motorhead attachment and a crevice tool
- Animal – This has the same 20W motorhead attachment as the standard plus the mini motorhead for pets
- Fluffy – has all the above plus a soft brush attachment designed to clean wood floors
- Total Clean – has all the attachments the Fluffy has, with a more powerful 35w direct-drive cleaner head and the HEPA filter – ideal if you have a lot of dog fur to contend with.
- Absolute – has the mini pet tool as above, a more powerful 50w direct-drive than the Cleaner, and oddly, a very simple attachment with silicon wipes for hardwood floors instead of soft brush attachment.
The good news is that Dyson sells the tools separately so you can add them as required, you are not tied to getting all the other gadgets if you do not need them.
In addition, the V6 Absolute, V6 Total Clean, V6 Motorhead, and all V8 have HEPA filter at the motor exhaust to remove allergens, which removes 99.97% of allergens. While very useful, this also makes it a little heavier and makes the battery work a lot harder than the lower end versions, so the battery might not last as long unless you have the higher-powered versions with their larger batteries.
Since some people have already found the 20 minutes per charge a bit short, this may be an issue, but we found that if you get used to doing the vacuuming little and often, rather than one big clean, this is not much of a problem.
The two main cons are the price and the amount of time the charge lasts on the lower models, but overall it is a great piece of engineering that is ideal for any dog owner in a smaller home, but the Vax pretty much does the same for less and the Shark has better capacity and suction.
Black & Decker Lithium Flexi Vacuum Review – Best Low Cost Option
This little Black & Decker is a great, low-cost option for small homes or as a second vacuum for smaller messes, stairs, cars, etc.
Design & Features
Black & Decker have two handheld vacuums powered by lithium-ion batteries that are designed to both increases the longevity of usage as well as reduce charging time. The Flexi Vacuum is a particularly great option because of its 1.2 meter flexible hose. This transforms the vacuum from a small job helper into a machine that can actually handle the bigger messes that your furry friend makes.
It has the power to suck up pet hair by the handful as well as dirt clods and pebbles. It is not meant for deep cleaning your area rugs, but it can easily handle your daily mess on hard floors. Plus, it is so light that even children can maneuver it around the house. This model also includes a pet brush that is excellent at removing pet hair from all your furniture.
As long as you don’t live in a huge property, all of these will do a good job of keeping your dog hair under control and your house dust-free. Our winner, The Shark, is a really well thought out and effective piece of kit and for a very good price. It manages this by eschewing the expensive batteries of the others, but as long as you can manage with a cord it is the clear winner.
If you need to lose the cord, then the Vax and Dyson will both do the job with aplomb, although you will need to get used to doing the vacuuming little-and-often as the battery life will limit the amount of time you can clean in one hit. The Vax edges the Dyson for us as it offers everything the Dyson does (and a little more) for less money. The Dyson name still carries a certain brand cache and if you can pick one up in the sales, it will serve you very well.
The Black and Decker is aimed at very small apartments or as a secondary vacuum for spills and cars, but it does this with real style. It is a great, low cost piece of cleaning equipment that will serve you well.
- 1 OK, So what is the Best Handheld Vacuum for pet hair?
- 2 Is a Handheld Vacuum The Right Choice For You?
- 3 Shark Rocket True Pet HV320UKT Vacuum Cleaner Review – Editors Choice Best Handheld Vacuum Cleaner For Dog Hair
- 4 Vax TBT3V1B2 Blade Vacuum Review – Editors Choice Best Cordless Vacuum Cleaner For Dog Hair
- 5 Dyson V6 Animal Review – Worth Consideration
- 6 Black & Decker Lithium Flexi Vacuum Review – Best Low Cost Option
- 7 Summary