How do you manage pet hair in your house without deep cleaning your entire home? What happens when you need a quick solution to pet hair, say, for allergies or an unexpected visit?
Handheld vacuums are the answer. They’re easy to operate and are designed for fast tidying rather than full-scale cleaning. They’re also versatile enough to use on almost all surfaces. We favor them for practical, hassle-free pet hair removal.
We’re going to show you the best handheld vacuums for pet hair. But first, here’s everything you need to know about using these devices around your furry friends.
- Multi-surface ability
- Simplicity in use
- Compact and handy
- TruePet motorized brush
- Extendable hose
- Corded but verastile
- Cleans the air
- Easy-grip handle
- Rubber nozzles don't damage surfaces
- Great for floors
- Certified allergy-friendly
- Attachments included
- Best for upholstery
- Great for carpets
- Neat storage
Why Buy a Handheld for Pet Hair?
We wouldn’t be surprised if pets were responsible for most vacuum purposes. Although we love them, their hair tends to get everywhere, and cleaning up after them can be tiresome.
Typically, using a traditional vacuum cleaner makes cleaning pet hair more tedious. While they’re highly effective at deep cleaning, they’re often heavy and difficult to set up or maneuver.
Handhelds are a quick fix to the drawbacks of traditional vacuums. These devices can be just as useful at removing pet hair. Here’s why we like them, and why you should think about getting one:
Does the thought of lugging a traditional vacuum around every time you need to use it excite you? We thought not. That’s why handhelds are better.
If you notice a mess of pet hair on your couch, blankets, or floors, there’s no need to exert yourself. Handhelds are easily stored within reach, so you can grab them and get cleaning without fuss.
They usually don’t require assembly. Even better, if you’re going with a cordless model, you don’t even have to plug it in. They’re made to be convenient.
Ease of Use
Following that thought, you don’t have to be a genius to use a handheld vacuum. Almost all models are operated with a simple button or switch.
More sophisticated models come with unique features, like add-ons or suction control. But overall, they’re straightforward to use.
This is great because children can understand them too. Parents will love getting their kids more involved in cleaning, and they’re sure to have fun with it.
They’re Multi-Surface Tools
Most handheld vacuums are suitable for use on all surfaces — from tiles to curtains to the cushions on your sofa. This is great news for pet parents since your furry friends can leave hair everywhere they go.
Not all vacuums have this ability.
For instance, robot vacuums are designed for flat surfaces only. So they won’t be any good on your drapes, upholstery, curtains, or blankets. Canister vacuums are versatile depending on their specs, but it often involves switching attachments out.
Upright vacuums… well, have you ever tried to vacuum a cushion with one? It just doesn’t work.
On the other hand, handheld vacuums are just as good for your floors as they are for your bookshelves, cupboards, or counters.
Tip: Keep your eyes open for handheld machines with wet and dry capabilities. Not all models can handle liquids, but some can. This helps clean up spills around your pet’s water bowl.
You can carry them up or down stairs effortlessly, and they’re compact enough to clean inside your car too.
Cordless handheld vacuums win extra points here because they’re battery-operated. This means you don’t need access to electricity to use them.
They’re Better for the Environment
Speaking of electricity, even if handheld vacuums are corded, they still won’t use as much power as traditional vacuums (1). This makes them a greener option that saves you money in the long run. It’s not just that they run on batteries. They’re rechargeable too.
Some handheld vacuums use washable filters, which take their eco-friendly status even further. They’re bagless, too, so even if their filters are disposable, there are fewer parts to throw away.
We’ll be honest; handheld vacuums may require more maintenance because their capacities are smaller. But they’re so much easier to manage. Convenience is the name of their game, so each component is designed to save you both time and effort.
They’re easy to dismantle when you need to clean them out. Plus, since they’re so small, they won’t make a mess in the process. Their parts are typically rinseable, and when that’s not applicable, their compact size means less wiping down for you.
This is an underrated perk to handhelds since we’re dealing with pet hair here. Collected dirt, dust, dander, and hair can be troublesome to get rid of when dealing with larger machines.
This isn’t always the case, but generally, handhelds are much quieter than other vacuums. It makes sense, considering their size.
Pet owners benefit the most from this. Our pets don’t like the sound of large vacuum motors, and it’s painful to see them so frightened. So you just may have a happier pet if you opt for a handheld instead.
They Save Money
In many ways, handhelds are cheaper than other vacuums. Not only do they cost less to buy, but their parts are cheaper to repair or replace. You may also find that extra attachments or add-ons are cheaper if you want to revamp your machine.
Their compact size factors in here too. So, they’re cheaper to ship, and as we mentioned, they’ll save you money on utilities.
Types of Handheld Vacuums
Did you know that there are three types of handheld vacuums? Each has its perks and pitfalls when it comes to pet hair. So, before you settle on a model, think about which type would serve you best.
Corded Handheld Vacuums
Corded handhelds aren’t as convenient or portable as others, but they’re still a strong contender. They have sufficient cables to retain their maneuverability. Plus, being plug-in means they have greater resources for more suction power.
They’re also highly effective at cleaning and remain a staple because of their capacity. These devices are not perfect, but they work well. This type of vacuum is good if you want a more heavy-duty machine.
- They’re more durable than cordless machines.
- They cost less than cordless competitors.
- Stronger suction power for more heavy-duty cleaning.
- You don’t have to charge them since they’re always connected to power.
- You need access to electricity to use them.
- They don’t have as much reach since the cord length limits you.
Stick vacuums are the new kids on the block in the world of handheld vacuums. Although they aren’t considered handheld, most can easily convert into one. That’s why we’ve included them here.
Perhaps they have an unfair advantage, but they are by far the most versatile of the three. They’re modeled after traditional vacuums in their capacity but mimic handhelds in versatility. To us, they’re the complete package — and customers love them.
We recommend these to people who need to deep clean their pet homes, especially in the case of allergies.
- They have the widest capacity.
- They’ve got impressive features.
- Sticks usually come with cool attachments.
- They’re the biggest of the three.
- They aren’t cheap, so they may not suit folks on a budget.
Cordless Handheld Vacuums
We want to focus on cordless vacuums in this article because they’re the true handhelds in our minds. They demand the least fuss and are the most popular among consumers.
They’re light, take up little storage space, and don’t need electricity to run. It doesn’t hurt that they’re cordless, too — the most portable of them all.
These are best suited for pet owners who only need to quickly tidy up after their pets and don’t have heavy demands for their machines.
- They have the most portability since they’re cordless and compact.
- No electricity is needed due to rechargeable batteries.
- They’re the simplest to understand and operate.
- They may have short battery life and long charging time.
- They’re not intended for heavy work.
Choosing the Best Handheld Vacuum for Pet Hair
Not all handhelds are made equal. So if you have specific needs, don’t settle for the first one you see. Vacuums for pet hair should have specific specs, as some machines aren’t designed to clean dander, fur, or litter.
The higher the suction of your machine, the more efficiently it will pick up pet hair. This becomes especially true where carpets and upholstery are concerned.
However, since we’re not dealing with hefty, traditional machines, don’t expect the same capabilities. Unless you buy a stick, your machine simply won’t be as powerful as an upright or canister.
Still, the more hair you need to attend to, the greater your need for adequate suction power.
We recommend looking for a device around 400 watts or 15 volts.
Likewise, how much hair you expect to clean will influence the size of the machine you should buy.
If you have to clean pet hair frequently, a vacuum with a larger dust cup will mean less maintenance for you. A machine with higher capacity is also less likely to clog or lose suction power over time.
But if you don’t have a great need to tidy every time you spot a pet hair, feel free to settle on a smaller, more compact model. It might save you money.
The best handheld vacuums for pet hair come with specific parts or attachments that make cleaning hair easier. These include tangle-free brushes, allergy-friendly filters, or rinseable components (2).
Make sure that the model you’re interested in has sufficient capabilities for hair. Not every vacuum will, so skip it if it doesn’t specify that it’s good for pet hair. If you disregard this, you’ll likely end up with a machine that doesn’t do what you need to.
The Best Handheld Vacuums for Pet Hair of 2022
Let’s take a peek at the best handheld vacuums for sucking up pet hair.
1. Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Cordless Hand Vacuum
Most Portable Handheld Vacuum for Pet Hair
We’re big fans of Bissell. This is a quality machine with all-around excellent capabilities. As you can tell by its name, Bissell made this vacuum for pet owners, and its main job is to remove hair from your surfaces.
That said, beyond pets, this is an excellent handheld to have for tidying dust and dirt too. Customers love this model because of its wonderful simplicity. There’s no fuss, effort, or struggle when you use it.
We like the included accessories. You’ll get a motorized brush tool, a crevice tool, and an upholstery tool. Sure, they’re standard, but they do a fantastic job of managing pet hair.
They work alongside a triple filtration system for maximum efficiency. This machine runs on a 14-volt battery — more than enough to power a handheld. It has an indicator, too, so you can keep track of how well its battery is doing.
Multi-Surface Ability for Deep Cleaning
You can use this machine on various surfaces, from floors to kitchen counters and cushions. It’s effective on carpets, hardwood, and upholstery and comes with appropriate accessories for each.
This allows you to deep clean every inch of your home.
Easy to Clean Out After Use
With a dust bin of 0.7 liters, that’s pretty spacious for a handheld option. It means less maintenance for you. The design is pretty flawless, giving you easy access to each compartment. This makes it easier to deep clean the whole machine.
Thanks to these features, you can trust that this machine will stay in tip-top shape for a while.
Compact and Handy
We find the tabletop station to be an interesting feature. It’s nice that you can store this machine wherever best suits you, without having to mount it or pack it away. It will always be within reach and is made more portable by this.
It Charges Slowly
A common complaint about this machine is that it takes an agonizing eight hours to charge fully. Some users have also said that its battery doesn’t hold a charge well.
This is fine if you won’t use it too frequently. However, it can be a pain if you’re looking for a machine that’s always ready to go.
|Dimensions||4.5 inches by 16 inches by 5 inches|
|Special features||Tabletop station, indicator, triple-level filtration|
|Accessories||Crevice tool, upholstery tool, motorized brush tool, charging dock|
2. Shark Rocket HV292 Hand Vacuum
Most Effective Handheld Vacuum for Pet Hair
Don’t be fooled by the corded design. This is a light and versatile machine that’s capable of superseding cordless variations in almost all aspects.
Even though you have to plug it in, it’s still portable, owing to two factors. For one, the cable is 15 feet long. For another, it only weighs 3.7 pounds.
This machine showcases power. Shark says they engineered the vacuum never to lose suction power — an essential feature in pet homes.
It’s a multi-surface machine that works well on carpets, hard floors, car interiors, stairs, and upholstery. It comes with a dusting brush and crevice tool to make cleaning these spots even easier. You also get washable, reusable filters.
Here’s what we like most: The TruePet motorized brush. Made specifically to remove even stubborn pet hairs, you’ll notice the difference it makes when you use it.
TruePet Motorized Brush Remove Stubborn Hairs
Motorized brushes tackle stubborn dirt, and we love that Shark built this one, especially for pets. Now you can say goodbye to those hairs that just won’t budge. This vacuum is more than capable of taking care of them.
Extendable Hose for Tight Spots
We think the extendable hose is a superb addition that makes a world of difference. Most other handhelds are versatile but lack reach. This accessory will help you get hairs off and out of places you struggle to get to.
Still Versatile Even Though It’s Corded
The 15-foot cable is long enough that this model hasn’t lost versatility by being corded. It’s also light, and lives up to the portability we expect from handhelds.
Needs Electricity At All Times
Fantastic as it may be, it’s still a corded machine. That means to use it, you need a power source. The length of its cable helps, but you’ll need easy access to wall plugs or extension cords to truly make the most of this model.
This also makes it a bit harder to clean your car since you’d need an extension lead or an outdoor socket.
It Might Not Last
Unfortunately, this model is not the most durable handheld out there. Some customers are disappointed by this and say it didn’t last as long as they hoped. But, take good care of it, and you could extend its lifespan.
|Dimensions||9.7 inches by 4.9 inches by 13.6 inches|
|Special features||Flexible wand, extendable hose, washable and reusable filters|
|Accessories||TruePet motorized brush, dusting brush, crevice tool|
3. Bissell 33A1 Corded Pet Hair Eraser Handheld Vacuum
Best for Allergies Handheld Vacuum for Pet Hair
Here’s the corded cousin of our top choice. It’s not as popular with consumers, but it’s still a competent, excellent machine. We recommend it to those looking to fight pet hair for their health.
There are two aspects to this machine that make it so great for allergies. First, it uses multi-level filtration to clear allergens from your surfaces and the air. Second, it has a unique flexible rubber nozzle to remove hair from fabrics and stairs.
The hard nozzle and contour nozzle work for hard surfaces and tight spots, like the inside of your car. It’s easy to snap the accessories into place seamlessly. You can detach them with a release button.
This machine is also ergonomic and comfortable to use, thanks to its unique grip. The 16-foot cable makes it easy to move around. This handheld’s bin packs as punch — it can hold up to 0.78 liters of dirt.
It Cleans the Air
Even if you’re not allergic or sensitive to pet hair, an excess of it can still bring about sneezes and sniffles. So, we appreciate the multi-level filtration that cleans your surfaces and the air.
It’s Comfortable to Hold
This vacuum has an easy-grip handle that feels good in your hands. It enables more maneuverability and makes it easier (and safer) to carry.
Rubber Nozzles Protect Your Floors
This unique feature makes this model an excellent multi-surface machine. They work well on the surfaces they’re intended for, and switching between them is effortless.
It says a lot about Bissell’s dedication to convenience.
Demanding Maintenance From You
The dust cup in this machine is not easy to put back into place due to a design flaw that users picked up on. Plus, Bissel recommends emptying it after every use, which raises some frustration for customers.
Weak Suction Power
A few customers noted that the suction of this machine is not as strong as they expected. Others have mentioned blowback through design faults on the machine’s sides.
If you have extremely furry shedding pets, such as golden retrievers, you may want to look for a stronger vacuum.
|Dimensions||10 inches by 5 inches by 8 inches|
|Special features||Cyclone technology, multi-level filtration|
|Accessories||Flexible, hard, and contour nozzles|
4. Dyson V8 Animal Cord-Free Vacuum
Best for Deep Cleaning Handheld Vacuum for Pet Hair
Dyson is one of the more revered manufacturers in vacuuming, and its Animal range vouches for it. This is a stick vacuum that serves pet owners who need a little more than a quick clean. It’s got all the power of a traditional machine and all the versatility of a handheld.
This device is one of the most powerful stick vacuums on the market. We’re not surprised because its very own Dyson V8 motor powers it. It’s got a good battery, too — you can get up to 40 minutes run time out of it.
It’s best suited for carpets and was built to tackle stubborn hairs on fuzzy materials.
Even so, it’s a multi-floor machine. Included are four standard but handy attachments: a crevice tool, mini motorized tool, dusting brush, and combination tool. These attachments aid your deep-cleaning goals.
Two Cleaning Modes
Enjoy ultimate cleaning control due to the two modes. Max gives you a considerable boost of suction power which is handy for upholstery. Powerful Suction is the other option that gives you longer, more energy-efficient cleaning.
We recommend this one because it’s so good at deep cleaning your home. While other handhelds are better for surface cleaning, this vacuum will refresh your entire home. It’ll even clean the air inside it — that’s hard to beat.
Four Handy Attachments Included
One drawback to standard handhelds is that they often lack cool attachments. Stick vacuums are the opposite, and this one is a testament to this. The four accessories you get are the usual ones, but it’s still great that they’re included.
It Costs More
Since this isn’t a true handheld, you’ll have to spend a little extra on it. We don’t think this is a dealbreaker, though. It’s a powerful machine that is well worth the money.
Keep in mind that you don’t need to buy a separate vacuum alongside this. It’s all-in-one for cleaning your entire home (and car).
|Power||115 air watts|
|Dimensions||8.8 inches by 9.8 inches by 49 inches|
|Special Features||Two power modes, certified allergy-friendly filter|
|Accessories||Dusting brush, crevice tool, combination tool, mini-motorized tool|
5. Shark Pet Perfect II
Most Affordable Handheld Vacuum for Pet Hair
Last but definitely not least is this cool little guy from Shark. This model stands out because its purpose is to remove pet hair from upholstery. It can tackle both fine and stubborn hair. Pet dander is no match for it either.
It’s a handy machine that you can use on your furniture, drapes, blankets, and car interior. You could even use it to clean your pet’s bed. Though it’s not necessarily meant for carpets, it does a good job on them regardless.
You get a dusting brush, a crevice tool, and an extra-large motorized brush to assist with your cleaning. It also comes with a reusable and washable filter. Though it’s a budget option, it’s a capable machine that you shouldn’t overlook.
Best for Cleaning Upholstery
Some pet owners want a machine that’s just powerful enough. One that works to get pet hair off their cushions, couches, and blankets. This machine was designed for that and knocks most other machines out of the park.
Motorized Brush Roll Great for Carpets
Most handhelds aren’t sufficient for cleaning carpets. But thanks to the motorized brush roll, this one works like a charm. We don’t recommend attempting to clean your entire carpet with it, but it works in emergency situations.
Neat Space-Saving Storage
This machine comes with a mountable docking station, but it’s also compact enough to fit on tabletops. So, if you don’t want to commit a permanent spot on your wall to it, you can move it around as you go. It looks good and won’t use up a lot of room.
It’s Small With a Narrow Range
You’re not going to get as wide a range from this one as you will from some other handhelds. Remember that this is meant to be for upholstery. Use it as intended, and this won’t be a problem.
Some customers note that the battery sometimes cuts out unexpectedly. It could overheat and burn out with excessive use (or neglect). Maintain it well, and you could avoid this, as not all users have this problem.
|Dimensions||4.6 inches by 15.7 inches by 6.1 inches|
|Special Features||Washable filter, versatile docking station|
|Accessories||Dusting brush, crevice tool, motorized brush roll, charging stand|
|Bissell Cordless Eraser||Most Portable||14 V||4.5″ x 16″ x 5″||3.1 lbs|
|Shark Rocket||Most Effective||400 W||9.7″ x 4.9″ x 13.6″||3.7 lbs|
|Bissell Corded Eraser||Best for Allergies||440 W||10″ x 5″ x 8″||5 lbs|
|Dyson Animal V8||Best For Deep Cleaning||115 a/w||8.8″ x 9.8″ x 49″||5.63 lbs|
|Shark Pet Perfect II||Most Affordable||18 V||4.6″ x 15.7″ x 6.1″||4.92 lbs|
Is a Handheld Vacuum Right for You?
Handheld vacuums are great, and we’re sure that everyone can find a use for them. But before you run out to buy one, consider a few drawbacks of these machines:
- They’re best for small jobs: Handhelds, in general, are not intended for cleaning your entire home like traditional vacuums. Stick vacuums may get away with this, but that’s because they’re big. Compact handhelds — even corded ones — are best used for quick tidying.
- Frequent maintenance: Depending on how much hair there is and how often you choose to clean it, handhelds might demand more of your attention. This is because their dust cups are smaller and fill up faster. And since you’re using it for pet hair, you’ll have to be extra vigilant in cleaning it out.
- They’re not stand-alone machines: The best way to use a handheld machine is alongside a traditional or robot vacuum. They compliment each other rather than compete. Don’t expect a handheld to take the place of a big machine.
Don’t Be Pet-rified
Clearing pet hair from your home doesn’t have to be a difficult task at all. We’ve shown you the five best handheld vacuums for pet hair, but there are countless more out there. You’re bound to find one that suits your needs.
The most important takeaway is to base your purchase on your circumstances. A super-powered machine with useless filters won’t help someone with allergies. Likewise, perfect filters won’t make much difference if your vacuum isn’t made to pick up hair.
Handhelds are a great middle-ground between power and versatility, and we think every pet owner should invest in one.