Best →

Best Handheld Vacuums for Pet Hair in 2022

Ryan Mcbride Profile image

Written By:

Updated July 23, 2022

What features make for the best handheld vacuum for pet hair? The best handheld pet vacuum cleaners have brushes and combination tools that help avoid tangles. Not just any vacuum can handle the rigors of pet hair cleanup, so if you have a dog or cat that sheds a lot, you’ll want to look for well-designed pet hair brush tools that effectively pull hair from carpet and upholstery. Also keep in mind that, if you have a dog, your dog might be scared of your vacuum.

Next, the best pet hair vacuum cleaners should have powerful suction to help pick up pet messes, dust bunnies, hair, and dander. Strong suction power also helps a vacuum maintain its effectiveness throughout cleaning sessions as the filters and dust cup start to fill. Finally, the best portable vacuum cleaner for pets should have effective filtration to help reduce airborne pet dander and dust particles during regular cleaning.

With a compact size and easy handling, a good handheld vacuum for pet hair can also be an effective tool to de-lint your car or SUV. A pet-friendly vacuum for cars can help keep your vehicle from being a source of lint and allergens and save time you’d otherwise be spending with the lint roller. Plus if you don’t have any furry friends, you can still use the best car vacuum to clean out your vehicle.

Keep reading to learn more about the best handheld vacuums for pets and how to choose the best vacuum cleaner for all your surface cleaning needs.

Top Handheld Vacuums for Pet Hair

 #1   Bissell 33A1 Pet Hair Eraser Handheld Vacuum Cleanrer

Award: TOP PICK

WHY WE LIKE IT: It has a compact design and a sizeable dirt-cup capacity that collects a lot of pet hair. It also has an efficient filtration system and a long cord for easy maneuverability.

Pros
  • Large 0.78-liter dirt cup capacity
  • Long cord
  • Efficient three-stage filtration system
Cons
  • Cannot be used for vacuuming wet messes

The Bissell 33A1 is a top-rated handheld vacuum cleaner that comes with a very large dust cup capacity of up to 0.78 liters, and with a specialized rubber nozzle that attracts hair and quickly pulls out dirt from different areas it is more than ideal for dealing with pet hair and dander. Weighing only 3.7 pounds, the vacuum cleaner is pretty easy to pick up and handle. It also has a 16 ft power cord for easy maneuverability and an easy-to-empty dust cup that won’t have users coming into contact with the collected debris. Unfortunately, users will not be able to vacuum liquids.

As far as filtration is concerned, the Bissell 33A1 offers a three-stage filtration system that clears out bacteria and mold from the air. It has finger-tip access on/off switch that is convenient to reach, as well as an easy-grip handle that feels good to hold on to. The cleaner also has a powerful suction force for easy cleaning. This small-sized vacuum would be great for a smaller home, just like the top-rated vacuum for apartment units.

 #2   Black and Decker HHVK515JP07 Furbuster Handheld Vacuum Cleaner

Award: HONORABLE MENTION

WHY WE LIKE IT: It has an extra-large dirt cup that can hold a lot of debris and get rid of pet hair on multiple surfaces.

Pros
  • Large capacity dirt tank
  • Washable filter and prefilter
  • Long run time
Cons
  • Loud operation

This Black and Decker hand vacuum cleaner is great for users who would want to clean out dirt, dust, and debris from different areas, and with an extra-long crevice tool that is great for getting to hard-to-reach places. It has two different speeds that users can switch between whenever they need to, and since it has a sizeable 0.75-liter dustbin, users will also be able to use it several times before they need to empty its large dirt cup. Also, thanks to its 20V MAX lithium-ion battery, it runs for up to 30 minutes. However, previous users have complained about it being very loud during operation. The small size of this hand vacuum would also be useful for a small apartment or camper like the best RV vacuum.

Emptying the 0.75-liter dust bin is very easy to do, thanks to its 1-touch easy empty functionality. Since it also comes with a battery indicator, users will easily be able to know how much battery power it has left or when it has charged to full capacity. The handheld vacuum cleaner also features a washable filter and pre-filter that are both easy to remove, so it is pretty easy to maintain. If you need a model that can pick up both pet hair and kitty litter, consider the best vacuum for litter too.

 #3   Henforto Rechargeable Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner

Award: BEST FOR WET AND DRY MESSES

WHY WE LIKE IT: It can handle both wet and dry messes and has a reasonably quick 2.5 hour charging time. Owners will also be able to know when it is fully charged, thanks to its battery indicator.

Pros
  • Very quiet operation
  • Cordless design allows for easy maneuverability
  • Quick charging time
Cons
  • Suction power may be low for some uses

With a noise output of less than 70 decibels, the Henforto is a relatively quiet handheld vacuum cleaner that has a strong suction force and is also cordless. It weighs just 1.5 pounds, and with a 30-minute run time, it offers more than enough time for someone to clean up their own space. The vacuum cleaner comes with a soft hose, a dust brush tool, and a crevice tube to make the cleaning process a lot easier. It takes a fairly short 2.5 to 3 hours to get fully charged, though unfortunately, previous users have complained that it has a low suction power.

The filter on the Henforto vacuum is very easy to get out, and since it can easily clean both wet and dry messes, it is perfect for use in the kitchen. The vacuum cleaner does an excellent job of clearing food debris, pet hair, and sand, and with its added attachments, it is sure to suck up hard-to-reach debris. The vacuum cleaner has a fairly low 70dB working noise and comes with a 16.4 ft cord for charging. If your pet is known to have fleas that are now in your homes, consider picking up the best vacuum for fleas.

 #4   Shark CH951 Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner

Award: BEST FOR EASY MAINTENANCE

WHY WE LIKE IT: It is very easy to maintain since its filers are washable and easy to access. It is also lightweight and has great build quality.

Pros
  • Very lightweight and portable
  • Cordless for easy maneuverability
  • Washable filters
Cons
  • It has a short battery life

The Shark CH951 handheld vacuum cleaner is a lightweight and portable solution that comes with a washable filter for easy maintenance and a CleanTouch dirt ejector that will not require any contact with debris. It weighs only 2.8 pounds for easy maneuverability and comes with a crevice tool and a scrubbing brush to clean hard-to-reach places. The vacuum cleaner also has two cyclonic air streams for good suction, and since it is cordless, moving around with it is pretty easy. However, its 10-15 minute battery life is rather short.

The vacuum cleaner has a 0.45-liter capacity, and it is also pretty easy to empty. It uses a self-cleaning pet power brush that easily removes hair wrap from surfaces and comes with good suction power for cleaning out debris. It has been praised for its good build quality and has been proven to easily tackle pet hair.

 #5   Orfeld Handheld Cordless Vacuum Cleaner

Award: BEST FOR STRONG VACUUMING POWER

WHY WE LIKE IT: It has a high vacuuming power and a large-capacity dust cup. It comes with a wide range of attachments and is also cord free.

Pros
  • Strong vacuuming power
  • Cordless for easy maneuverability
  • Wide range of attachments
Cons
  • Clogs quickly, leading to a loss of suction power

The Orfeld handheld vacuum cleaner delivers an impressive 8000Pa suction power thanks to its 80W motor, and whenever its 2200mAh battery is fully charged, it can be used for up to 30 minutes before it runs out. Since it is cordless, users will be able to move around without any restrictions. It also comes with a wide range of attachments that include a flat suction and brush tool (for dealing with pet hair, carpets, car interior, sofa), a crevice nozzle for narrow spaces, and an extended nozzle for difficult to reach areas, so it is well equipped for a variety of different cleaning situations. Unfortunately, some users have reported that it clogs quickly, leading to a loss of suction power during use.

The vacuum cleaner requires up to 4 hours to get charged to full capacity, and since it produces less than 72 decibels when in use, it is doubtful that it will cause any disruption. All that it takes to clean out its filters is rinsing them in water, and since they are also easily accessible, this should not pose a challenge. The cleaner has a decent 0.5-liter dust cup capacity and weighing only 2.69 pounds, it shouldn’t cause anyone any arm fatigue even after long-term use.

 #6   Uokier VC-819 Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner

Award: BEST FOR MULTIPURPOSE USE

WHY WE LIKE IT: It features both a vacuuming and a blowing function and offers two modes for users to choose from.

Pros
  • Offers two different vacuuming modes
  • Can vacuum or blow
  • Short charging time
Cons
  • Can’t be used for wet messes

The Uokier handheld vacuum cleaner is a handy little tool that offers two different working modes as it can be used to vacuum or blow. It also offers low and high suction power modes for use in different situations. Users can have it operating at a low 4500Pa suction power when dealing with light hair or dust and switch it up to 6000Pa for larger-sized debris. Unfortunately, it cannot be used for wet messes.

For added convenience, it comes with a crevice nozzle for cleaning tight and narrow spaces, a brush tool for hairs, and a soft long tube that can be attached to other mouthpiece tools for different functions. Its dirt cup has a decent 0.4-liter capacity, and since it weighs only 1.06 pounds, moving around with it is relatively easy. The cleaner is powered by a 2000mA lithium-ion battery that keeps it going for up to 20 minutes and takes a reasonably short 2 to 3 hours to charge. This is an overall great option for multipurpose use, similar to the best vacuum for multi surfaces.

Beginner’s Guide to Handheld Vacuums for Pet Hair

What Are Handheld Vacuums for Pet Hair?

Handheld vacuums for pet hair are generally small, lightweight vacuums that come with specialized attachments for cleaning pet hair from carpets and other surfaces. Unlike upright vacuums, they excel at spot-cleaning and quick cleaning sessions. A great, pet-friendly handheld vacuum cleaner can be a corded or cordless vacuum.

Handheld Vacuums for Pet Hair vs Other Vacuum Cleaners

Compared to traditional vacuums, a portable, handheld vacuum cleaner for pets or a cordless vacuum for pet hair, will likely have a lightweight, sleek design and an assortment of tools designed specifically for cleaning up after dogs and cats.

Top-performing portable pet vacuums excel at cleaning up various types of upholstery and floor surfaces and usually have features like anti-tangle rubber bristles that help avoid hair snags. Specialized roller and nozzle attachments help pet vacuums perform where typical stick vacuums may not be as effective, such as picking up long and thick fur shedding. Whereas, the foremost robot vacuums for long hair can do the trick.

The best handheld pet vacuum cleaners also stand out for ergonomics and ease of use. These models tend to be lighter and easier to maneuver than other types of vacuums. Handheld models also feature handles and motorized tool attachments with an ergonomic design for more comfortable cleaning.

Like other vacuums and handheld steam cleaners, pet-friendly handheld vacuums can employ cyclonic suction and generally do a good job of cleaning mid-pile carpet, rugs, and upholstered surfaces. For thick carpets, you’ll likely want a fine robot vacuum for high pile carpet. Also, like vacuums in general, the best compact handheld model vacuums for pets can use a bagged or bagless design and can be plug-in or battery-powered.

How Handheld Vacuums for Pet Hair Work

Handheld and portable pet vacuums use an electric motor to drive an air pump and generate suction through the vacuum’s cleaning head, nozzle, crevice tool, or another specialized tool. Various levels of filtration and diverter valves then help capture dust, dirt, and particles in the machine’s dirt canister or bag. Most pet-friendly HEPA vacuum cleaners also have a HEPA filter in the exhaust vent, helping reduce indoor air pollution from dust, pet dander, and other small and medium-size particles.

While nearly all upright vacuum cleaners and most shop vacs use plug-in AC power and long power cords, many handheld models have a cordless design using rechargeable batteries.

The top-rated and most versatile vacuum cleaners for homes with pets use pet-specific attachments to avoid tangles and preserve suction power when picking up lint, hair, and fur. Some models have motorized attachments, while some have specialized tool options such as a built-in crevice tool for hard-to-reach places. Like a motorhome, which means you’ll need one of the best RV vacuums to keep your RV clean.

Why Should You Buy a New Handheld Vacuum for Pet Hair?

If your pets often shed and cleaning up after them becomes tedious, you might want to invest in a more convenient and easier-to-use vacuum with a compact, ergonomic design. A handheld vacuum or portable wet dry vac specialized for pet care can be a highly effective tool for quick cleanup of various messes. These portable vacuums also excel at regular lint removal from upholstery and carpets.

You also might want a portable, handheld corded, or cordless vacuum for pets if you frequently need to clean tight corners or hard-to-reach areas. Using a larger upright vacuum for stairs and upper stories can be tiresome, and the latest handheld models have enough suction power and dust canister capacity to handle pet messes. Some models can also deal with liquid messes while remaining more compact and lighter than a traditional vacuum cleaner.

Compared to older handheld models, new portable vacuums for pets offer more powerful suction, more versatile attachment options, and improved filter systems, making them more suited to deep cleaning tasks previously reserved for large upright models. New cordless model vacuums may have improved rechargeable battery life and more power, giving them strong suction comparable to a similarly-sized corded model.

Are Handheld Vacuums for Pet Hair Worth Buying?

  • Frequently Shedding Cats or Dogs: You may want a more convenient cleaning method that makes quick cleaning and de-linting tasks easier if your pets shed frequently. A handheld pet vacuum with an upholstery tool can quickly pull hair and fur off of your favorite furniture.
  • New Pets: If you’ve recently gotten new pets, you may want to ensure you have the right cleaning tools to keep up with their cleaning needs. Using a good lightweight handheld vacuum for pets can reduce the amount of dirt and lint in your home and save time lint rolling your clothes.
  • Pet Allergies: The right vacuum can make a big difference with pet allergies. If you have allergies to your dogs or cats, you might want to get a new portable vacuum with HEPA filters and an extra-large dust cup.
  • Cleaning Upstairs Areas: A handheld vacuum can often be more convenient than an upright model in multi-level spaces and on carpeted stairs. If you have pets and carpeted stairs, you might want to invest in a portable vacuum with an ergonomic, practical design.

Why Handheld Vacuums for Pet Hair May Not Be for You

  • Using an Upright or Stick Vacuum: Modern upright vacuums can offer impressive suction and versatile attachments like a motorized brush and long crevice tool for hard-to-reach corners. However, if you have stairs, you’ll want a leading handheld carpet shampooer for stairs. Moreover, if you want to vacuum outside spaces or your car, a portable pet hair vacuum or combination handheld cordless stick vacuum cleaner can be more effective.
  • Concerns About Indoor Air and Dust: You might think vacuuming pet fur and dander more often would introduce more particles and allergens into the air. However, the right vacuum with true-HEPA filtration on the intake and exhaust sides can improve indoor air quality.

How Long Do Handheld Vacuums for Pet Hair Last?

Handheld vacuums have a wide range of lifespan expectations. According to recent survey data from the EPA, some models may last as long as the typical corded upright vacuum, or about six to eight years. Other portable, handheld vacuum cleaner options may be limited to how long their battery packs last.

Modern lithium-ion batteries typically go for around 1500 to 2000 charge cycles, depending on the level of discharge, the temperature, and charging rate, among other factors. Experts recommend keeping powerful batteries in temperatures between 20 and 100-degrees Fahrenheit. They also suggest that you avoid charging batteries in extremely hot environments, as this can increase the rate of capacity loss.

Regular maintenance and emptying help your vacuum cleaners last as long as possible. Most suggest replacing the canister filters around every six months with regular use. If your vacuum has a washable filter, you’ll want to clean it out according to the recommended schedule in the vacuum’s owners’ manual or product specifications.

Clogged filters and full dust canisters or bags can cause a loss of power and reduce the suction in some vacuums. Over time, clogged or dirty filters can impede the airflow and cause overheating.

How to Choose Handheld Vacuums for Pet Hair

Various factors can help decide on the best handheld vacuums for your pet cleanup needs. For example, you might want to consider the number and type of pets you have, what kind of flooring and surfaces you need to clean, and whether or not you may want to use a handheld pet vacuum in your car or other spaces that may not be near power outlets.

Best Handheld Vacuums for Pet Hair Key Factors

1. What Kind of Pets Do You Have?

The type of pets and what kinds of hair or fur they have may help you decide on the best pet vacuum for your needs. For example, if you have a long-haired cat or dog, it may be important to find a vacuum with built-in attachments and a brush head that prevents hair tangles.

2. Do You Have Allergies?

If you have pet allergies, you’ll want to carefully choose a vacuum for pet cleanup that helps filter out airborne particles while cleaning up pet messes. Exhaust and canister filtration with true-HEPA filters can help improve indoor air quality and reduce the number of allergens in the home.

3. Do You Also Need to Vacuum the Car?

If you’re looking for a pet-friendly handheld vacuum that you can also use to clean, detail, and remove lint from your car, you might want to look for a cordless model. Modern cordless pet vacuums have impressive suction and decent maximum battery life for most tough pet cleaning tasks.

4. What Floor Type Do You Need to Clean?

Another factor in choosing the best pet vacuum might be your floor type and what kinds of surfaces you typically need to clean. Some models work exceptionally well on mid-pile carpeting, while others work well on a wide range of surfaces like tile, grout, and hardwood floors.

Best Handheld Vacuums for Pet Hair FAQs

What types of floors can you use a handheld vacuum on?

Some handheld vacuums come with a wide range of cleaner head options and built-in attachments, while others specialize in high-pile or mid-pile carpeting.

Can a handheld vacuum pick up cat hair from the couch?

The right handheld vacuum can do an excellent job picking up cat hair from couches and most types of upholstery. Depending on the couch material, you might want to look for a vacuum with a specialized upholstery tool.

How long is the battery life on a cordless stick vacuum?

Battery life and power ratings vary among different models and types of cordless vacuums. A typical lithium-ion battery pack for a cordless vacuum lasts around 20-30 minutes on full power or up to around an hour on lower suction power settings. Motorized accessories and brushes can also reduce battery life.

What should you look for in a handheld pet hair vacuum?

It depends on the type of pets and the types of surfaces you need to clean. You might want to look for a model with specialized pet hair rollers or a handheld vacuum with extra strong suction to handle cat litter and other tough messes.

What's the best pet hair vacuum for cars?

If you also want to use your handheld pet vacuum for car cleaning, you might want to consider a more compact and lightweight model. A cordless option can also add convenience if you use it for car detailing.
Ryan Mcbride Profile image