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5 Vacuums That Will Pick Up Pet Hair Sticking to Every Surface of Your Home

You don’t have to live in a hellscape of pet fur.

by Avery Felman
August 24, 2022
A cat yawning and sitting on a laptop open on a coffee table while another cat stands on a white robo vacuum on the carpet
Duet Postscriptum / Stocksy

Your pet wants you to read our newsletter. (Then give them a treat.)

If you’re still using your handheld vacuum, we have some good and bad news to share.

Let’s get the bad news over with: Vacuuming with a handheld is incredibly inefficient, and if you have pets, almost entirely ineffective (unless you have some secret magical vacuum that’s unbeknownst to us). The good news is that we’re about to offer you five alternatives that are tried, true, and hold up to even the most stubborn dander that your lovely pet blesses you with every day.

You may be wondering what qualifies a truly exceptional vacuum. Here’s what we’re looking for: corded versus cordless, ability to be cleaned, power of suction, ease of maneuvering, reputability, longevity, and type of vacuum. While a handheld vacuum may be ideal for hard-to-reach spaces (hello, area behind the microwave), and a wet vac might best suit the person who lives in a wet or rainy climate, vacuums are not a one-size-fits-all appliance. The vacuum that will address your needs and stand the test of time is worth examining from multiple angles. Read on.

Best Cordless Vacuum

white standing vac

While Dyson may be the status vacuum of the millennial generation, we’d be remiss to sleep on a vacuum with as much many notable attributes as Tineco. The brand’s Pure One S15 Pet Smart Vacuum is easily convertible between a cordless stick and handheld vacuum. With four separate attachments for rug, hardwood, and even the tiny spaces between the couch cushions where crumbs love to accumulate, the Pure One is an ideal investment if you’re sick of vacuuming your life away.

Equipped with anti-tangle technology, it’ll prevent you from having to break out the kitchen scissors to take on huge knots of hair, dirt, and dust. It filters 99.9 percent of airborne allergens, so if you have a pet-allergic household, you can take it a bit easier on the nasal spray. Plus, it’s lay-flat feature affords you the ability to clean every nook and cranny (no matter how low mid-century mod your couch is).

$499 at Tineco

Best Brand Name Vacuum

Dyson Ball Animal 2 Upright Vacuum

Some things never go out of style, and no vacuum seems to have as much staying power as Dyson. Known as the crème de la crème of the electronics world, Dyson makes everything from hairdryers to humidifiers to their immensely popular vacuums, but if you aren’t swayed by brand name items, here are the dirty (sorry, pun intended) deets.

If you’re looking to collect tufts of pet fur in a single pass, Dyson’s Ball Animal vacuum is your new BFF. The clumps of fur that trail like tumbleweeds behind your long-haired cat is no match for the vac’s tangle-free turbine tool. It features an oversized dust container, so you won’t have to pause to empty build-up in the middle of a deep-cleaning session. It also has a reusable filter that you can use forever, so the upkeep is actually doable.

$500 at Dyson

Best Robot Vacuum

black robot vacuum

While painstakingly vacuuming the house is all fine and good, wouldn’t it be even better to allow a tiny robot on wheels to do all that work for you? We think so, which is why we’ve thrown the cult-favorite iRobot Roomba into the mix. With its three stage cleaning system, the Roomba grabs dirt on hard surfaces and carpets alike. Its Dirt Detect sensors allow it to pinpoint and target the high traffic areas in your home that tend to collect dander. Plus, it’s low enough that it can easily fit under couches, coffee tables, beds, and all the other areas of your home that are frustratingly difficult to reach. Best of all, it can be activated through the iRobot mobile app, so you can set up scheduled cleanings or put the Roomba to work once you’ve left the house. However, be warned that your pet is probably not going to be calling this vacuum “pal” anytime soon.

$230 at Amazon

Best Wet Vacuum

grey wet vac

There’s certainly something to be said for a good old-fashioned mop and bucket of soapy water, but when you’re just trying to get some food scraps off the kitchen floor or doing an efficiency clean (a.k.a. cleaning on a 10-minute timer), there’s really no better way to go than a wet vacuum. This Dreametech dry/wet vac combo is the exemplar of working smarter, not harder. With 35 minutes of run time, a powerful suction, and streak free cleaning capability, you’d be hard pressed to find a better three-in-one deal. It also features a self-cleaning cycle, so when you’re done cleaning the house, you won’t have to deal with cleaning your vacuum, too. The only drawbacks to note are that this vacuum is not explicitly made for pets — though it reads as if it is — and it’s only recommended to use on hard surfaces, so if you’re doing a deep clean, you’ll want to roll up those area rugs.

$500 at Amazon

Best Handheld Vacuum

Black+Decker 20V Max Handheld Cordless Vacuum

Suppose you live in a one-bedroom apartment with zero closet or storage space. Suppose you also have a long-haired cat whose hair cascades off of her and into the air as soon as she makes a single movement. Suppose you, like me, have both. For a long time, a full-sized vacuum just wasn’t an option, which is why I, like so many others, turned to Black+Decker for the most powerful handheld vacuum on the market.

Its no-frills on-and-off button makes this vacuum as user-friendly they come. That’s not to say it doesn’t pack a punch, though. Its high performance motor and compact size makes it ideal for cleaning bits of cardboard left behind from your cat’s scratching pad, freshening up your pup’s bed, and, perhaps most importantly, ensuring no food is left behind on the kitchen floor or counter for your pet to treat as a midnight snack.

$76 at Amazon

Btw, our editors (and their pets) picked out these products. They’re always in stock at the time we publish, but there’s a chance they’ll sell out. If you do buy through our links, we may earn a commission. (We’ve got a lot of toys to buy over here, you know?)

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Avery, editor at The Wildest, and her cat, Chicken

Avery Felman

Avery is an editor at The Wildest. She has written for numerous publications, including Refinery29, BuzzFeed, and V Magazine. She lives in Brooklyn, New York with her fiancé and cat, Chicken, and has high hopes that one of them will let her adopt a dog.