WHAT IS THE BEST PET VACUUM?
People ask us all the time about pet vacuum cleaners, wanting to know which one is the best. The truth is that these "Pet" vacuums are just a standard vacuum backed by a great marketing campaign which often fail to deliver. The majority of the vacuums claiming to be made for animal lovers simply have one extra attachment included for cleaning stairs and upholstery than their non animal counterparts. That's it! You would be led to believe that these vacuums are specifically designed to be the best vacuum ever for pet hair. Then after a year or so of use that vacuum breaks down and you have to go and buy a new vacuum again. This gets expensive over the years and does nothing but add to our landfills.
The sad fact is that the mass produced vacuum cleaners found in department stores are not designed to last more a few years and are known to have a high rate of failure, especially if you have pets with long hair or that shed frequently. In our service department we often see vacuums come in for repair with damage to the brush roller as a result of pet hair. Other times we see vacuums with dirty filters resulting in weakened air flow or clogs. In some cases the vacuum just needs a good cleaning to remove the pet smell.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN BUYING A VACUUM FOR PET HAIR
When you have a lot of pet hair to vacuum you don't need just any vacuum, you need a vacuum that picks up effectively, holds up to pet hair, and is easy to maintain. This is where we truly find out what actually makes vacuums with certain features better for people that have pets. The main things that you will want to look for when buying a vacuum to clean up after pets are:
- A well made brush roll that's easy to maintain
- Large dirt capacity
- Carbon filtration
- HEPA filtration
- A vacuum that's built to last
WHY YOUR BRUSH ROLL MATTERS
We've come to find that no matter what kind of vacuum you have, if you have pets that shed frequently or are long haired you will have to clan your brush roll. This area of the vacuum is where mechanical failure can (in most cases) be easily prevented. The pet hair will get wrapped around the vacuums brush roll which needs to be cleaned from time to time. A well designed vacuum cleaner will be made so that the operator can easily remove pet hair from the brush roll for routine maintenance. You should also be able to remove the brush roll for a deeper cleaning, and be able to remove the ends for best results. There are some popular vacuums sold at stores that require special tools, or even tool sets, in order to just change the belt or belts. There are other cases where the brush roll cannot be taken apart and will eventually seize and sometimes melt, which can lead to major damage to the vacuum's housing. In some cases the repair parts will be discontinued quickly, forcing you to replace the vacuum every year or two.
GETTING RID OF THE DIRT
When there's a lot of pet hair and debris you don't want to have to constantly deal with the dirt. Having to empty the dirt container multiple times while vacuuming gets messy and will slow you down. The majority of today's bagless vacuum cleaners have a very limited dirt capacity, and have filters that need to be cleaned after each use. Consider a bagged vacuum for the easiest way to get rid of your dust, dirt, and pet hair. The dirt capacity in a bagged vacuum is typically 5 to 15 times that of a bagless vacuum. Most vacuum companies today use a high quality synthetic cloth disposable bag that will self seal when you take it out of the vacuum. These bags will filter far better than traditional paper bags and provide better performance because they allow better airflow through the vacuum. The choice is simple: save time and effort and get a vacuum with a bag that filters well and is self contained, or play with your dust and dirt every time that you vacuum.
PET SMELLS AND VACUUM FILTRATION
This is an area that you should focus on when purchasing a vacuum for pet hair removal. We've seen the advantage of using a vacuum with a disposable bag, now let's look at the different filters that are in today's vacuum cleaners. Most vacuum cleaners will come with either a HEPA, active carbon, or an electrostatic exhaust filter. When using a vacuum with an electrostatic or HEPA exhaust filter you will remove the greater majority of fine particles from being exhausted back into the air you breathe. Theses work well for allergen filtration but will not be that effective in removing the pet smell from the air coming from the vacuum. This is where an active air clean carbon filter makes the most sense. These filters trap and neutralize pet odors making it so that it won't smell whenever you vacuum. Certain breeds of dogs produce more dander which subsequently gets picked up by the vacuum cleaner and will cause it to eventually smell like your furry friend. When you have a quality carbon filter in your vacuum pet odors are no longer a concern.
QUALITY OVER QUANTITY
It's common knowledge that appliances aren't built to last like in years past. What many people will be surprised to learn is that a well built vacuum can last anywhere from 10 to 25 years. That's a better lifespan than most of today's major appliances. With a serviceable vacuum you can do periodic maintenance to keep it running in tip top shape for years to come. The alternative is to buy a cheap vacuum every year or two. When you do the math cheap vacuums end up costing more in the long run to both the environment, and your wallet. A quality made vacuum will initially cost more than a typical big box store vacuum, but will pay dividends in the long run.
Now that you know which features to keep in mind when looking for a new vacuum to clean pet hair check out our Pet Vacuums page to see the best choices that are available.