What to Look for in a Pet Hair Vacuum

Posted by on August 9, 2011

If you own a pet with hair, you know how difficult it can be to remove it from your carpet.  Hairy pets, produce HAIR!  If you want to have a clean house you really need a good pet hair vacuum.


If you’re like me, you love those furry little critters, but they sure do make a mess!  I’m talking about your wonderful dog or adorable cat.  They are the best company, but they do shed a lot of pet hair.  All is not lost.  We live in the twenty first century after all, the age of pet hair vacuums.


If you’re reading this guide I’m sure you have a pet and are desperately searching for a solution to your pet hair mess.  I’m here to give you a few pointers on what to look for when shopping for a pet hair vacuum.


So, what is the best vacuum for pet hair?  I’m not going to tell you that now.  The vacuum industry is constantly evolving, and there are many good pet hair vacuums available today.  What I am going to tell you is what to look for in a pet vac, because not all pet hair vacuums are created equal.


The first thing to consider is your budget.  If the sky is the limit the playing field becomes much narrower.  If you are on a tight budget you should consider how long you need the vacuum to last.  The problem with economical pet hair vacuums is they may work well, but not last long as a more expensive model.  There are reasonably priced vacuums that will last for several years, but they may not work well for pet hair.


If your primary concern is how well the vacuum can remove pet hair you should be considering the suction of the vacuum.  The standard unit of section that vacuum manufacturers use is the airwatt.  Most low end vacuum manufacturers will not reveal their vacuum’s airwatt power, so it is difficult to determine the suction of inexpensive vacuums.  Most lower end pet hair vacuums advertise the watts of their vacuum motors.  This is completely irrelevant to the efficacy of the vacuum.  There are many cheap motors that require high watts.  They use excessive power, produce excessive heat, and are generally inefficient.


The next feature you should consider is the brush bar.  Brush bar is the name of the rotating cylinder with bristles at the forefront of the vacuums intake.  A pet hair vacuum must have a bush bar in order to loosen the hair from carpet fibers.  There are many factors to consider when it comes to this mechanism.  Lower end vacuums power the brush bar with a flimsy belt that attaches to a smooth metal rod extended from the vacuum motor.  The other end wraps around a plastic cylinder that comprises the brush bar.  These vacuums may work well for several days, but the belts will quickly stretch.  The result is lackluster performance and the need for frequent belt replacements.  Higher end pet hair vacuums use more sophisticated belt systems, or use a direct drive.  Many higher end pet hair vacuums have a lifetime belt guarantee.


If you own pets you probably don’t want your house to smell like you do.  This brings us to the point of vacuum filtration.  Any pet hair vacuum worth vacuuming pet hair should have an extensive filtration system.  Most vacuums have an initial filtration system that leads to finer filtration prior to exhausting the air.  The best final filter is a HEPA filter.  If the vacuum filter does not have a HEPA filter it should at least contain a fine particulate filer and some form of odor trap.


Next on you list of things to look for are attachments, ease of navigation and total reach of the vacuum.  All these are important factors for any vacuum, not just a pet hair vac.  You want to know if you’ll be able to maneuver the vacuum between obstacles and reach pet hair in those hard to reach places.  Most vacuums designed for pet hair come with some form of turbo brush attachment.  Generally, these attachments have a rotating bristle brush inside a small vacuum head.  The turbo brush will attach to the vac’s extension hose and is powered by the vacuum’s suction.  These brushes are very handy for removing pet hair from stairs and upholstery.  One thing to keep in mind, is you want to find a pet hair vacuum that has a long extension hose so you can reach every portion of your house.


Finally, we are left with the bag versus bagless issue.  Dyson paved the way to no loss of suction bagless pet hair vacuums.  Since the early days of bagless vacs many competitors have arisen.  There are many cyclone technology vacuums on the market, but it does not mean they are the best.  Some people prefer the cleanliness of a bag vacuum.  A bag vacuum has much less dirty surfaces that need to be cleaned by the operator.  On the other hand a bagless pet hair vacuum has a much lower lifetime cost due to not having to purchase bags.  It really comes down to a personal preference of the pet owner.


As a closing note, it is always advisable to read pet hair vacuum reviews.  If you have friends that are pet owners ask them which vacuum they use and if they’re happy with it.

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