Pick up pet hair like a pro with one of these handheld models
Pets bring indubitably comfort and joy to our households – but as animals, they also produce incredible volumes of hair, especially in shedding season.
Picking a small, lightweight vacuum that’s easy to carry and maneuver allows pet owners to effortlessly pick up pet hair from around their homes. Tools that let you reach awkward spaces and a HEPA filter that traps allergens can also benefit them.
We tested and researched some of the best handheld vacuum cleaners for pet hair so you don’t have to. Our recommendations are based on their ability to pick up hair – of course – but not only. We also covered criteria such as overall performance, suction, capacity, or weight.
Our Top PicksThe HouseWire earns a commission through the following independently chosen links at no additional cost to you.
1. Best Overall : Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Corded Handheld Vacuum
- Powerful suction power
- Handle can strain after some time
Banish pet hair and debris to the trash for good with this Bissell Pet Hair Eraser model. Despite its small size, it does an impressive job at sucking pet hair on all types of surfaces including carpet, stairs, bare floors, upholstery, and in the car.
Considering its great suction, portability, versatility, and inexpensive price, we selected it as our best overall. We really think that this mightly little vac offers great value for money while also being a worthwhile investment.
It also comes with 2 handy nozzles specially designed for tackling pet messes. The rubber nozzle has been designed with pet hair in mind. It will attract hair without any difficulties and works wonders for getting rid of dirt from your carpets and furniture.
On the other hand, the suction nozzle is efficient for cleaning up other types of dry messes – be it dirt, sand, or grainy particles.
You also get a multi-layer filtration system that will last a long time with good care.
Plus, compared to its small size, the dirt cup has an impressive 0.78-liter capacity. Its maintenance is trouble-free. Detach it from the vacuum and empty into your trash can when full.
And who says small and compact, says lightweight. At 5 pounds, this handheld pet hair vacuum is so lightweight that you won’t feel pressure on your arm – making it extremely easy to maneuver.
Bear in mind that it’s a corded model. That said, the power cord is 16 feet long and doesn’t limit mobility in most spaces.
What Customers Are Saying
Positive customer feedback suggests it punches well above its weight class – some even indicated it was better than upright vacuums they’d owned.
But some customers weren’t satisfied with the style and shape of the handle. They found it didn’t have a very good grip, and that their hand could start to feel strained after using the vacuum cleaner for some time.
|Dimensions:||10 x 5 x 8 inches|
|Cord Length:||15 feet|
|Bin Volume:||0.78 liters|
2. Best Budget : Black+Decker Dustbuster AdvancedClean Cordless Handheld Vacuum
- Reasonably priced
- Easy to use charging station
You don’t have to spend a fortune to get one of the best handheld vacuums for pet hair on the market. This Black and Decker model is a number 1 best seller in Handheld Vacuums on Amazon and has an impressive 4.5-star rating out of nearly 70,000 reviews.
Black and Decker have designed a cordless vacuum that lets you reach all awkward spaces.
It comes with a nozzle that rotates 180o and an extra long crevice tool – meaning you can clean pet hair up from under couches, in tight corners, and on the stairs without trouble.
The cyclonic action of this small but mighty vac spins dust and debris away from the filter, so the suction power remains consistently strong.
The dirt bowl and filter are both washable – all you need is warm, soapy water.
At 2.11 pounds, this vacuum is an exceptionally lightweight vacuum – easy to maneuver. Compared with traditional vacuums, this model made spot vacuuming all around the home an easy chore.
Be aware, though, that the battery life is awfully short. After 15 minutes of max mode, it will simply shut off. That said, the charging station is effortless to use. Once plugged, this handheld pet hair vacuum only took about 4 hours to recharge.
What Customers Are Saying
The vast majority of happy users agreed that this model comes at a fair price. They felt that as a powerful handheld vacuum ideal for cleaning up pet dander and hair, plus cat litter, it was a good bargain.
However, some users found this portable pet hair vacuum loud and noisy – something to consider if you have close neighbors, pets, or children.
In our tests, we observed this dustbuster to be remarkably lightweight and portable. With no pressure on the wrist, it was a breeze to carry from room to room. It was painless to use in lots of different areas too – from carpets and upholstery to hard surfaces. And especially effective in those hard areas.
We were impressed by how well it performed – considering its low price. It effortlessly removed dirt, pet hair, cat litter, and other types of tiny particles of dust. Plus we valued the Boost Mode which was uncommonly efficient at removing more stubborn messes.
We were a bit disappointed with the battery life though. If using the Boost Mode, you won’t get more than a quarter of an hour of cleaning time before you need to recharge the battery.
And, it worked decently on low-pile carpets, it didn’t perform quite as well on high pile carpets.
|Dimensions:||17.25 x 5.5 x 7.75 inches|
|Battery Life:||15 to 30 minutes (depending on mode used)|
|Bin Volume:||0.7 liters|
3. Best for Bare Floor : Dyson V11 Animal Cordless Vacuum Cleaner
- Ideal for bare floors
- Convenient led displays
- Easy to empty
- Not comfortable to operate
Dyson promises that this V11 model has its “most powerful cleaner head ever”. And with 20% more suction power than their Cyclone V10 model, you won’t struggle to get rid of pet hair and debris from around your home.
This 2-in-1 vacuum cleaner covers a wide cleaning path in its upright mode. You can then quickly convert it to a handheld vacuum for cleaning up the stairs and hard-to-reach spots.
It includes robust attachments for a handheld version. The mini motorized tool for pet hair and the stubborn scrubbing brush will help you to pick up pet hair and cat litter that’s embedded in your carpets.
The Dynamic Load Sensor means that this vacuum will automatically change the motor speed when you move from carpet to a hard floor.
The LED display is a “little” extra which helps you use and maintain your handheld vacuum properly. The displays tell you what cleaning mode is being used, whether there are any blockages and the filter status.
The Dyson V11 is straightforward to empty. Simply push a button and the dust cup empties into your trash can – so you don’t have to get your hands dirty either.
What Customers Are Saying
Lots of delighted users said that this vacuum was efficient at getting rid of pet hair from bare floors, including tiles and hardwood. Plus, they were impressed that the motorized brush roll even removed stuck-on messes.
But some consumers didn’t like the fact that there was no on/off power button. Having to continually hold down the button while using the vacuum made their hands stiff after a while.
We appreciated the tools that this Dyson model comes with. A special mention for the mini motorized brush – it will provide you with strong power to tackle pet messes on your upholstery, pet beds, or couches.
Despite the fact that this vacuum doesn’t stand on its own, we found its sleek design easy to store in our closet.
But in its upright mode, this vacuum was a little on the heavy side. And the trigger system that you have to keep pressed down to activate is anything but practical.
Our tests also showed that the battery life is quite short if you use the boost mode – expect less than 10 minutes of run time.
|Dimensions:||49.65 x 9.84 x 10.28 inches|
|Battery Life:||Up to 60 minutes|
|Bin Volume:||0.76 liters|
4. Best for Carpet : Wyze Handheld Vacuum Cleaner
- Superb portability
- Ergonomic design
- Strong robust suction
- Small dust bin capacity
Get rid of pet hair on your carpets for good with this compact but powerful cordless vacuum from Wyze. They promise that its 16,800 Pa gives it “the suction power of a tornado”, plus the motor has 100,000 RPM.
For such a small model, it delivers superb cleaning performance at picking up pet hair from different hard surface types and inside the car. It’s equally efficient on high pile carpets.
You’ll also get the all-important HEPA filter, so this vacuum for pet hair is ideal for those who are allergy sufferers. And the filter and prefilter screen are washable – you only need tap water to clean them.
It also comes with an impressive collection of tools and accessories. The upholstery tool helps deal with pet hair on furniture. Whereas the extension hose with the included crevice tool and dusting brush means that you can easily clean your carpets on the stairs and under furniture.
This handheld pet vacuum is very easy to operate and comfortable to hold. No pressure is applied to your wrist and you won’t struggle to move it around to vacuum.
You also get a handy storage bag to keep this handheld vacuum cleaner in when you’re not using it.
Like any handheld vacuum, battery life is a key consideration. But at the max mode, you’ll face issues using it for more than 10 minutes. If you want to spot clean thick carpets, be quick.
What Customers Are Saying
This handheld vacuum is so compact and light in weight that reviewers raved about how easy it was to transport anywhere. They especially liked that it could be used (and charged via a USB port) in the car, to clean up any pet messes after long journeys.
Negative reviews suggest that you might find yourself having to empty this cordless vacuum fairly often due to the small volume of the dust bin. But, this might not be an issue for you if you want to use it for smaller jobs and/or in the car.
|Dimensions:||19.9 x 9.4 x 3.12 inches|
|Battery Life:||Up to 30 minutes|
|Bin Volume:||0.2 liters|
5. Best Suction Power : Shark Cordless Handheld Vacuum UltraCyclone Pet Pro Plus
- Charges quickly
- Neat accessories
- Incredible suction
- Not easy to store
For a really powerful performance, opt for this Shark Pet Pro Plus model. Its dual cyclonic air streams provide incredible suction and make sure that the filter and motor are long-lasting.
It excels at picking up pet hair, pet messes, or cat litter with the pet power brush – specifically designed to tackle pet hair. What’s more, this brush is a self-cleaning brush so will stay tangle-free in any circumstances.
It also comes with other brushes and crevice tools making it a worthwhile investment. The crevice tool and bristle brush will help you to clean in awkward spots and remove stuck-on dirt.
At just under 3 points, this vacuum is so lightweight that you’ll use it all around your house, including above-floor cleaning, and in your car, RV, or office.
Light and compact don’t necessarily mean less powerful. Combined with an extra-large dustbin, this Shark handheld pet vacuum can suck up an impressive amount of pet hair and dander.
The CleanTouch dirt ejector also means that emptying the dirt cup is simple and hands-free. Plus, the battery made of Lithium-ion will offer you a reliable and consistent performance.
However, it doesn’t come with a dock standing station so you can’t hold the unit on a wall or a door.
Read Next: The Best Vacuums With Good Suction Power in 2023
What Customers Are Saying
Despite Shark saying that this vacuum for pet hair would take about 6 hours to charge, lots of customers happily reported that it took much less time than this. Most said it was fully recharged in about 3 hours or less.
Nevertheless, some users weren’t satisfied that you had to pay separately for a storage stand for this cordless vacuum. And that there’s nowhere to store the accessories on the unit itself.
|Dimensions:||20.8 x 3.8 x 4.3 inches|
|Bin Volume:||0.45 quarts|
6. Best Battery Life : Dyson V15 Detect Vacuum
- Plenty of attachments
- Easy to store
“Scientific proof of a deep clean”. This Dyson Detect vacuum for pet hair counts and measures the size of the dust particles it cleans up, displaying these figures on an LCD screen for you to check if it’s truly deep cleaning.
As well as knowing that you’re doing a good job of cleaning pet hair from your home, a laser will also help you to see invisible dust that may be lurking on your hard floors.
The 125,000 RPM motor gives also this model powerful suction to pick up tiny particles and larger bits of debris.
You can convert this stick vacuum into a handheld model by simply removing the main hand and attaching one of the provided tools. In the handheld mode, pick up dust and pet dander from your couches, drapes, and stairs, and reach into awkward spaces under furniture.
It’s expensive but for the price, it comes with not less than 8 tools. From the stubborn dirt brush and the hair screw tool to the mini soft dusting brush, it will cover all your cleaning chores.
Plus, in terms of battery life, you can’t do much better than the Dyson V15. The batteries are energy-dense, meaning that you’ll get up to 60 minutes of power (on the lowest setting) that won’t fade to clean all areas of your house – a little bit more than the previous Dyson V11 version.
Weighting 1lb more than the Dyson V11, this vacuum remains reasonably light and very agreeable to maneuver.
What Customers Are Saying
Users particularly liked the anti-tangle hair screw tool which picked up long and short pet hair. Many of them also liked the wall mount that comes with this stick vacuum. This provided a handy place to store the vacuum and also meant that it was recharging while not in use.
Lots of reviewers complained about this Dyson stick vacuum’s expensive price noticing that it costs a lot more than the other handheld vacuums. The powerful performance and long battery life were worth it for some of them though. But if you’re on a budget, the price might be too much to pay.
|Dimensions:||49.7 x 9.9 x 9.8 inches|
|Battery Life:||60 minutes|
|Bin Volume:||0.78 liters|
What To Look For In A Handheld Vacuum For Pet Hair
Look for a pet vacuum that will pick up even the most stubborn pet hair and dander from all your surfaces. Choose a model that has high levels of suction – it’ll then suck up really tiny particles that get embedded in carpet fibers.
Unfortunately, there is no standard way of measuring suction power across the vacuum cleaner industry.
You might see a pet hair vacuum saying that it has 2,000 Pascals (Pa), a high unit of pressure. Some manufacturers will also claim that their models perform really well due to the RPM of the motor, or because of the air wattage.
This makes it quite difficult to compare vacuums against each other when they use different measurements for their suction power.
The best solution is to read the product details carefully and see what the reviewer’s feedback says about the suction.
A good option is to go for a model that has 2 batteries that charge separately from the vac. Then, you can have one charging while the other is used for your cleaning.
Plus, read the fine print on how different settings affect the battery life! The manufacturer might claim that a battery lasts for an hour – but in the details, you’ll see that this is only true for some settings and a high power setting will drain the battery a lot quicker.
This is important for pet owners, particularly in shedding season. You’ll have lots of pet hair to clean up so need a suitably sized dust bin.
A larger capacity will save you time when doing your chores. You won’t need to empty your vacuum cleaner as often.
The best handheld vacuum should be a compact size and not too heavy. It needs to be comfortable enough for you to easily transport it around your home.
Also, check that it’s got a comfy grip and that you won’t be put under any strain when moving it around.
The best handheld vacuum for pet hair will have a HEPA filter. This traps 99.97% of particles that are 0.3 microns, which is the size of the most penetrating (and therefore hardest to clean up) particles (1).
But, check that the filter is a true HEPA and not HEPA-like. True HEPA filters can be identified by their certification number.
Attachments specifically designed to remove pet hair and dander include a crevice tool, dusting brush, or mini motorized brush tool.
These tools will help you to clean up hair and dirt ground into your carpets and floors. And they’ll also capture tiny bacteria and dander and pollen particles.
You might also want to look out for a roller brush that has bristles. This can shift pet hair that has gotten stuck in carpet fibers.
How We Tested
Each hand vacuum cleaner we’ve tested has been put through rigorous tests in our homes.
First, we unboxed the packages and assembled each model. We tracked the whole setup process time and determined how easy the vacuums were to bring together. We also read the instructions to evaluate how useful they were.
We looked at whether the manufacturer’s claims are valid or not. Our tests included testing the suction performance on different types of surfaces, and with different types of messes.
We aimed to mimic the situations you have in your home and the pet messes you’ll have to clean up in real life. We tested how good the suction power was by putting flour, cat litter, hair, and pet hair on different surfaces.
We also wanted to test how easy these handheld vacuums are to use. So we’ve looked at how they work on carpets and bare floors, as well how versatile they are in reaching awkward spaces. We evaluated their maneuverability on those surfaces as well.
And we’ve also assessed how easy each handheld vacuum cleaner is to empty and maintain after use.
Handheld Vacuums For Pet Hair Comparison Chart
|Bissell Pet Hair Eraser||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Dyson V11 Animal||3/5||3.5/5||4/5||4/5|
|Wyze Handheld Vacuum||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro Plus||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Dyson V15 Detect||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|