Best Pet Vacuum Cleaner - for pet hair pick up

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What makes a GREAT Pet Vacuum?  What vacuums are great for picking up pet hair?  What vacuums do you want to avoid?  This guide will cover principles of what makes a pet vacuum great and what things to avoid!

Hi this is Dustin Chaffin general manager of Great Vacs.  At Great Vacs we have sold over 12,000 vacuums over the internet and as a result, we know vacuums.  We have sold thousands of pet vacuums and received thousands of emails from people looking for the perfect pet vacuum.  This guide will help pet owners understand what a pet vacuum HAS to have and what to AVOID in a pet vacuum.  We will also give some specific examples of vacuums that have worked great on pet hair.

What a Pet Vacuum has to have

Suction and Power.  Most vacuum cleaners that are made and sold at the department stores are not vacuums at all but should actually be called sweepers instead of vacuums.  The concept that they run on is a AGRRESIVE brushroll that sweeps your carpet and then augers the debris to a suction tube on one side.  The problem with a suction tube on one side of the vacuum head is what happens to the dirt and pet hair on the other side of the head where there is no suction?  The dirt is ground down deep in the carpet and the pet hair WRAPS AROUND THE BRUSHROLL.  If you are a pet owner you will know how frustrating it is to constantly be cutting out the hair out of the brushroll.  You are doing all the work instead of your vacuum.  So what you need is a Vacuum with lots of power and the suction power cleans your carpet over the brushroll.  That way instead of the pet hair wrapping around the brushroll it is sucked into the vacuum and into the bag chamber.  How is this done?  Your vacuum needs lots of power AND it needs to have the suction tubing IN THE MIDDLE OF THE HEAD.  That way you have suction power all the way across the head so the pet hair is sucked up vs. wrapping around the brushroll.

Large vacuum tubing.  You need to have large vacuum tubing so there is plenty of power and the pet hair does not clog in your vacuum tubing but make it to your bag. 

Stiff bristled Brushroll.  The brushroll bristles should be fairly stiff so that it “combs” your carpet of pet hair.

What a Pet Vacuum should NOT have

1.    Suction tube on one side of the head (it should be in the middle of the head)
2.    Small vacuum tubing
3.    Vacuum Tubing that has lots of bends or turns in it.  It is right there that it will clog.
4.    Soft bristle brushroll

If you get a chance I would suggest you read the March 2007 edition of the Consumer Reports Magazine.  That specific edition tested a bunch of vacuums on how well they picked up pet hair.  There were some surprising losers like the Dyson Pet Vacuum. 

Some Vacuums we would not suggest for pet owners

1.    Dyson Vacuum.  James Dyson is a genius at marketing and he knows that people are looking for a pet vacuum.  So he created one called the Dyson Animal.  The problem with the Dyson is that it has the suction tube on one side of the head, has small vacuum tubing and has lots of curves to the tubing.  They have been known to clog with pet hair as a result.
2.    Oreck Vacuum.  The Oreck is the light weight easy to use vacuum.  It’s a fact though when you give up weight you give up power.  So the Oreck has decent suction but more of a aggressive brushroll.  It does it right and at least has the suction tube in the middle of the head but from experience that we have seen it does not quite have the suction power to bring the pet hair all the way up to the bag.  As a result they have been known to clog with pet hair.

If you need to go with a Oreck go with the XL21 Oreck.  It has more power and larger tubing for less chance of pet hair clogging.

3.    Any Vacuum with the suction tube on one side of the head.

Some good Pet Vacuums we would suggest–

I am only going to suggest a couple of good ones here.  If you follow the principles mentioned above you will have a great pet vacuum.  The ones listed here are some of the most popular ones as reported by our customers.

1.     Kirby Vacuum .  In the test in the consumer reports article it was rated “Very Good” at picking up pet hair.  It does everything right.  It has suction in the middle with suction all the way across the head, it has large vacuum tubing (almost twice the size of normal vacuums, and is almost impossible to clog) and you can actually run 3 different kinds of a brushroll in a Kirby.  A soft bristle, a stiff bristle and now Kirby just came out with a Pet Hair brushroll just for pet hair.  It will be available at the end of March 2008 for all G models of Kirbys.  Great Vacs will be selling the pet brushroll for those that need that.
2.     Proteam Electrolux Vacuum .  The 2 models we have seen that do good at this is the Proteam 15xp and the Proteam 1500.  You have probably not heard of them very much because they are made for a commercial vacuum but work Awesome for home use as well.  These are designed to take abuse and are designed to vacuum restaurants, movie theaters and the hardest of vacuuming conditions.  They have suction in the middle of the head, are very powerful (have one motor for suction and one motor for the brushroll), have large vacuum tubing and stiff bristles on the brushroll.  All the Proteams that we sell also come with the Pet Mini Vacuum head as well.
3.      Rainbow Vacuum .  While not as powerful as the Kirby and Proteam it still does an excellent job.  It has suction in the middle of the head, decently large tubing and the dirt chamber is at the bottom of the vacuum.  For a canister we have had several customers who have reported it did an excellent job on pet hair.

If you will follow these principles you will have a great pet vacuum!  At Great Vacs we don’t sell vacuums we don’t believe in and have tested practically ever model we sell.  If you are still unsure of the perfect vacuum for you feel free to drop me a email at  and tell me a little about your needs.  What your pet situation is, how much carpet vs. hard surfaces, any allergies etc  and we will do our best to suggest something perfect for you.

If this guide was helpful to you would you take a second and vote on it?

Thank You,
Dustin Chaffin
General Manager – GreatVacs
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