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What features make the best canister vacuum for pet hair? Canister vacuums are well-suited to cleaning up pet hair from carpets and furniture. They are easier to carry and maneuver than typical upright vacuums, perform well in houses with stairs, and excel at vacuuming hard-to-reach places.
With that in mind, the best canister pet hair vacuums start with a versatile array of specialized attachments, such as a crevice tool, upholstery tool, and brush heads for high and low-pile carpets.
Next, these top-rated vacuums for high pile carpet need powerful suction to untangle clumps of hair from surfaces like high-pile carpet and shag rugs. Thus, the best canister vacuum cleaners for pet hair generally use a more powerful motor than typical stick vacuums. You’re also going to want a model with excellent dust filtration to help trap airborne particles that may contribute to pet allergies and odors. Newer vacuums with true HEPA filtration can reduce circulating dust mites and irritating, ultra-fine particles in the home.
Keep reading to learn more about the best canister vacuums for pet hair and how to choose the best vacuum for all your cleaning needs.
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: It comes with a motorized pet cleaner to get rid of pet hairs and efficiently filters out dirt and bacteria from the air. It also works on all floor types and allows for height adjustments.
The Kenmore 600 Series Vacuum cleaner boasts a two-motor cleaning system that gives it some powerful suction strength and also comes with three additional attachments for efficient cleaning. Its packaging also includes a crevice tool, a dirt brush, a Pet PowerMate for lifting pet hair, and a bare floor tool that attaches to the wand for added cleaning convenience. It also features a triple HEPA filtration system that filters out up to 99.97% of dirt, however, some previous users have complained that it is pretty loud.
Weighing only 22.6 pounds, this vacuum cleaner is relatively lightweight, and its telescoping wand can be easily adjusted for getting to hard to clean corners and narrow spaces. With a cord that stretches up to 28 feet, the cleaner allows for a decent amount of movement when cleaning. Its motorized cleaner will work on both hardwood and carpets, and since it allows for up to four height adjustment levels, it can be easily adapted to different types of carpets.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: Its brush roll is designed not to tangle, and since it has a large dust cup capacity, users won’t have to empty it frequently when cleaning. It also has a unique feature that allows it to detect the floor type and adjust suction power automatically.
The Bissel 2230 is an efficient cleaner that comes with a tangle-free brush roll that captures more dirt and pet dander without trapping any hair in its brush roll. With a 2-liter cleaning capacity, its dust cup is also pretty large, and since it has a patented multi-cyclonic system, there is very little chance of having pet hair trapped inside its tank during filtering. One of its standout features is its Automatic Floor Type Recognition, where the sensor on its brush head detects the kind of floor or carpet being cleaned. However, previous users have complained that the top portion of the canister tends to detach when emptying.
The brush head on this vacuum cleaner also has LED lights that make narrow pathways and tight spaces more easily visible when cleaning, and since it also boasts a one-step dirt emptying process, getting rid of collected dirt shouldn’t be a problem. The vacuum cleaner also comes with attachments such as a crevice tool, a nozzle, and a brush, and with three digital speed controls for suction speed, users will be able to control how much suction force is to be used when cleaning.
Award: BEST FOR EASY MANEUVERABILITY
WHY WE LIKE IT: It has a 20-foot cord that makes it easy to maneuver and comes with powerful brush rolls that will work on many different floor types. It also comes with two extension wands as well as a blower port.
The Eureka Mighty Mite 3670G corded canister vacuum cleaner is a convenient and straightforward to use alternative that is great for cleaning pet hair off of hard floor surfaces. Weighing less than nine pounds, maneuvering it is very easy, and since it comes with a powerful 12 amp motor, it can also create a powerful suction force. The vacuum cleaner also comes with a bunch of accessories that include a crevice tool, an upholstery nozzle/dusting brush, and a carpet or bare floor nozzle to deal with the hard-to-reach paths and corners in the house. Still, some previous buyers did not like that the unit does not have any filters to prevent debris from passing through the exhaust.
This vacuum cleaner features a convenient 20-foot cord that is perfect for complete room cleaning, and since it also has a blower port, owners will be able to get rid of debris throughout the whole house. The vacuum cleaner also comes with two extension wands and a three-stage filtration system that is very efficient at filtering out dirt and debris. Its 2.5-liter dust cup is also large enough to keep users from having to empty it every so often, and since its power touch handles have easy-to-use fingertip controls that are pretty easy to use.
Award: BEST FOR STRONG SUCTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: It has a relatively powerful suction force and comes with an array of attachments that allow for various types of house cleaning. Its filtration system is also pretty good, and it is also very easy to use.
The Ovente Electric bagless canister vacuum cleaner features a 1.5-liter dust cup and also comes with premium attachments that make it ideal for cleaning various surfaces. These attachments include a floor brush, a combination of a crevice and nozzle, and a telescopic metal wand. Its high-efficiency air filtration system also removes up to 99.9% of dust and debris from different surfaces, however, some might not like that the vacuum cleaner does not have a storage compartment to move around with the required attachments.
The vacuum cleaner is also bagless, and since it also features a 360° hose swivel, maneuvering its brush head is very easy to do. With a suction force of about 20kPa, the vacuum cleaner is powerful enough to suck out dust and debris. Its telescopic metal wand is perfect for getting to hard-to-reach areas, and it also comes with an LED light alert that lights up whenever the bag needs to be emptied. It’s also not very large, making it pretty easy to store.
Award: BEST FOR LARGE CLEANING CAPACITY
WHY WE LIKE IT: Ideal for users who would appreciate its ease of use, and since it can hold a relatively large amount of dirt volume, most people won’t need to move around with it too often.
The Vacmaster vacuum cleaner is an easy-to-use, corded vacuum cleaner with a 16ft cord and a relatively large 2.5 Liter dust cup capacity. The vacuum cleaner is ideal for cleaning out pet hair, and since it also has a telescoping wand, it can be extended or retracted when required. The vacuum cleaner weighs about 11 pounds and is pretty easy to move around. It features a washable HEPA filter and comes with a dusting brush, crevice tool, and suction nozzle as added attachments. Still, some might not like that it does not have a check filter indicator.
With a suction force that averages about 18kPa, this vacuum cleaner is powerful enough to dust and clean between sofa cushions, and since it has got a 360° hose swivel, maneuvering it around hardwood floors is pretty easy to do. The cleaner is also pretty quiet during functioning and features an automatic cord rewind function that prevents cord wrappings during cleaning.
Award: BEST FOR HARD TO REACH PLACES
WHY WE LIKE IT: It has a very flexible wand, making it ideal for getting to hard-to-reach places. Its dust cup is easy to empty, and the cleaner is very compact.
The Shark CZ351 pet canister is a reasonably compact vacuum cleaner that is great for anyone who would need to use it to clean hard-to-reach areas conveniently, thanks to its MultiFlex technology. This makes the wand bendable to such a degree that owners will easily reach under furniture or even fold it once done for easy storage. Its canister also features smooth gliding wheels for easy movement, and since it weighs only nine pounds, owners will also be able to easily carry it upstairs whenever they need to. However, it comes with a very limited array of attachments.
Since its brush roll is also self-cleaning, owners won’t have to bother with cleaning it themselves. It also has a robust suction process and will still easily pick up pet hair and dander without any hair getting wrapped up in it. Its dust cup is also very easy to empty, and since it has a completely sealed anti-allergen system, it can trap 99% of dust, dander, and allergens without any room for escape.
Canister vacuums are vacuum cleaners that allow you to maneuver the cleaning head separately from the canister. This makes them easier to move around than a comparable upright vacuum. The best canister vacuums for pet hair specialize in cleaning up challenging pet hair messes on various surfaces, including carpet, hardwood floors, and upholstery.
Like other vacuum cleaners, the best canister models for pet hair use a motor to drive an air pump that creates suction power at the nozzle or brush head. They also share the basic features of canister vacuums: a hose or suction wand, an air valve, a filter, and a canister or dust bin. You’ll find both bagged or bagless vacuums that work great for pet hair and dander.
Most powerful models for cleaning up pet hair use a retractable cord and rely on AC power, although some cordless vacuums will also do a good job. Cordless models may be well-suited to spot cleaning upholstered furniture and out-of-the-way areas.
Compared to most vacuums in general, the best pet hair vacuum cleaners tend to have more powerful suction and a range of specialized cleaning tools. They may also have more specialized filters for hygienic emptying and safe vacuuming of pet dander for allergy sufferers.
Pet hair vacuums also typically have fine suction control with different settings for each common floor type. It will also likely have motorized attachment heads, like a rotating brush head, upholstery nozzle, or spinning brush, to help disentangle pet hair on carpet fibers.
Specialty pet hair vacuums also might have an additional motor protection filter to prevent hair from getting tangled up in the fan or bearings. In addition, like drywall dust vacuums and ash vacuums, the majority of these vacuums have advanced features to help keep dust and pet dander out of the air. Unlike most budget vacuum or compact canister vacuum models, the best affordable vacuums for pet hair have HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filters.
In a basic sense, canister vacuums for pet hair work like other canister vacuums, using a motor to drive a series of small high-RPM fans and generate suction power through a floor tool, flexible hose, or extension wand. Canister vacuums separate the cleaning head and dust container, allowing for greater maneuverability and a more compact design than an upright vacuum cleaner. Some models have a mobile configuration similar to a commercial backpack vacuum cleaner.
Most bagged and bagless canister vacuum cleaner models for homes with pets use special head attachments for efficient cleaning of dog and cat hair on various types of flooring. They may also have fingertip controls with options for different levels of suction, such as when switching from floor to carpet.
In addition to cyclonic action and a swivel head or floor nozzle like a typical handheld vacuum head, you might find an extra bristle brush or powered multi-surface foot roller. More expensive models may feature a 2-motor system with a powered hair wrap tool.
While dirt cup capacity varies among canister vacuums, most specialized models for pet hair have comparatively excellent performance in trapping dirt particles and dust. The top-ranked pet hair canister vacuum cleaners have multi-stage filtration with actual HEPA filters.
Even if you already have a standard vacuum cleaner, a more specialized, high-end vacuum for pet hair cleanup will make a big difference in keeping the carpets and upholstery cleaner if you have pets. If you have a long-haired breed of cat or dog, you might need a vacuum with hair-specific features to help pull fur and lint out of high-pile carpet or sofa upholstery.
You might especially want to consider upgrading to a pet-friendly vacuum with more powerful suction and higher-efficiency filtration if you might have guests or visitors with pet allergies. Cleaning up after pets with a regular budget vacuum can leave irritating dust particles and allergens in the air, which is why looking into the leading cordless vacuum for pet hair is a good idea. Still, a well-designed, high-end canister vacuum can remove hair on carpet and laminate floors while trapping over 99-percent of dander and dust particles. An ideal vacuum for pet areas can reduce odors thanks to sophisticated multi-level filtration system technology.
Compared to older models, newer pet-friendly vacuum options have more advanced filter options, more power, and more sophisticated airflow management with features like multi-cyclonic technology and multiple suction levels. Newer bagless canister vacuum cleaners, like the Bissell canister vacuum, tend to have lower maintenance costs as well, with longer-lasting filters and electronic filter change reminders.
According to recent EU life cycle analysis data, vacuum cleaners last an average of six to eight years. The longevity of different vacuums can vary highly, ranging from three years or less to over a decade. The most durable corded vacuums tend to last longer than cordless models. This is because cordless models may depend on battery packs that don’t last as long as the rest of the vacuum might.
Factors that affect the lifespan of a vacuum cleaner include how often you use it, the types of cleaning tasks you perform, and the maintenance schedule of the vacuum.
Vacuum cleaners can overheat if used for long periods with the filters clogged or canister nearly full. Excess dust or debris can block the airflow around the motor and impede cooling.
Changing your vacuum’s filters and emptying the canister or bag at the recommended intervals helps keep the motor and other components running smoothly and avoids premature wear. Experts suggest keeping a vacuum cleaner in a cool and dry storage environment whenever possible and avoiding excess humidity.
Various factors influence which bagless or bagged canister vacuum works best for your surface and floor cleaning needs. When choosing the right dog or cat hair vacuum, you may want to consider what types of pets you have, what kinds of surfaces, carpet, or upholstery you need to clean. You might also want to consider whether you need a portable vacuum and how much weight you’re comfortable carrying.
The best vacuum type depends on the carpeting and surfaces you need to clean. You might want to look for a multi-functional head for hardwood floors or a bristle brush for low-pile carpet and upholstery.
Some pet-friendly canister vacuum cleaners are more portable than others. For the easiest-to-transport, most convenient vacuum to clean up pet hair in your car, you might consider a cordless model.
The highest-rated canister vacuums for homes with pets usually come with decent filtration. Still, you’ll want to make sure your vacuum has a HEPA filter if you’re allergic to dust or pet dander.
The right vacuum cleaner might also depend on the size and layout of the space you need to clean. Canister vacuums are often recommended for homes with carpeted stairs since they tend to be more maneuverable. You might also want to look for accessories like a telescoping crevice tool with multiple levels of height adjustment.
Canister vacuums have some advantages for certain spaces. If you have polished hardwood floors or laminate floors, a canister vacuum may be better since it can offer different levels of suction and avoids scratching the flooring. Canister vacuum cleaners are also easier to use in tight spaces and on stairs.
Bagged vacuums have a bag that can be thrown away when full, which may be easier than emptying the dust container of a bagless vacuum. A well-sealed vacuum bag can also benefit people with allergies since it lets you avoid the dusty process of emptying the vacuum's dust can.
Many pet-friendly vacuums use a bagless design since cat and dog hair can quickly fill up a vacuum bag. A bagless canister vacuum needs an excellent filter system to keep dust and debris out of the fans and blower port and perform well in a home with pets.
Vacuums generally lose suction when their filters are dirty and when their bags and debris canisters are almost full. A full dust bin can block the airflow through the vents and reduce the available suction on most vacuums.
You can, but regular vacuums may not efficiently pull up tangled pet hairs. The best vacuums for pet owners typically offer specialized brush heads that loosen hairs, and they also generally have better filters.