For many households, pets are a limitless source of joy, comfort, and laughter. Unfortunately, they can also be limitless sources of pet hair, which has a nasty tendency of getting everywhere. Having a lightweight vacuum that can cover almost every part of a home is invaluable for owners of heavily-shedding animals. The best handheld vacuums for pet hair should not only be easy to carry around and easily suck up pet hair but also should have a variety of tools to tackle small, closed-off areas. A HEPA filter is also a handy addition since it can trap allergens as you clean.
We've tested over 40 vacuum cleaners, and below are our recommendations of the best handheld vacuums for pet hair to buy. These recommendations are based not only on their pet-hair cleaning performance on different types of surfaces but also on their feature set and price. For more buying recommendations, take a look at our list of the best cordless vacuums for pet hair, the best vacuums for pet hair, and the best robot vacuums for pet hair.
The best handheld vacuum for pet hair on bare floors is the HoLife HM036E. This cordless handheld does a fantastic job of sucking up pet hair on bare floors, not to mention other kinds of debris. It's equipped with a HEPA filter to trap allergens as you clean, which is great if your pet sheds heavily.
It's made of dense plastic and feels quite well-built overall. It has a relatively long battery life for a cordless model as it lasts over 20 minutes of runtime on a single charge, which should give you enough time to deal with especially stubborn messes. It has a simple design that's quite easy to maintain and has relatively few recurring costs. It also comes with a couple of tools and accessories to make cleaning tasks easier, including a combination hard bristle and upholstery tool to clear fur from furniture.
Unfortunately, it has a somewhat small dirt compartment that requires frequent emptying, though it's on the large side for a handheld. Minor issue aside, this is a great option if you're looking for a highly portable vacuum that can easily handle pet hair on bare floors.
The best handheld vacuum for dealing with pet hair on carpet is the Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+. This cordless handheld delivers outstanding pet hair cleaning performance on both low and high-pile carpet. It comes with a turbo brush that detangles hair wraps by itself, which should be helpful when trying to clean pet hair from furniture upholstery.
It's light enough and small enough to be carried almost anywhere and has a sturdy construction that's easy to disassemble for routine maintenance. A few parts need to be serviced regularly, and only its dust cup filter needs to be regularly replaced, meaning that recurring costs are quite low. It has a generously-sized dirt compartment for a handheld, so it shouldn't need to be emptied too frequently.
Unfortunately, it has a very short battery life of a little over 10 minutes, so you need to work quickly when dealing with larger messes. It also lacks an allergen-trapping HEPA filter, which could be annoying if you have a heavily-shedding pet. Otherwise, its mix of portability and performance also make it one of the best cordless vacuums that we've tested.
If you're looking for something easier to carry around, you may want to consider the Shark ION W1 WANDVAC. This handheld has a much smaller dirt compartment than Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+, but it's lighter and smaller. Like the Pet Pro+, it doesn't struggle at all with lifting pet hair from low-pile carpet or shaggy surfaces, but its washable filters result in lower recurring costs. It's also equipped with a washable HEPA filter that should reduce the spread of allergens as you clean. Unfortunately, it has a slightly shorter battery life of under 10 minutes and doesn't come with a turbo brush to clear debris from upholstered surfaces.
Get the Pet Pro+ if you want better overall cleaning performance and a larger dirt compartment, but consider the Shark if portability and a virtual absence of recurring costs are your priorities.
The best budget vacuum for pet hair that we've tested is the BISSELL AeroSlim. This compact handheld model can handle pet hair on a wide variety of surface types, from bare floors to high-pile shaggy carpet. It's light enough and small enough to be carried to almost every corner of your household, including the inside of your car, and feels quite well-made.
Its simple design makes it somewhat easy to maintain, with few parts that require regular service. It doesn't use a dirtbag and has washable filters, so recurring costs are kept to an absolute minimum. It comes with a crevice cleaner and soft bristle brush combination tool to help you clear debris from tight corners or on top of surfaces like countertops or shelves.
However, be aware that it only supplies roughly 13 minutes of runtime on a single charge, which may not be enough for stubborn messes. It also has a very small dirt compartment that needs to be emptied often. Otherwise, this compact vacuum is a good value-conscious option for spot-cleaning.
If you're looking to spend a little less, consider the BISSELL Featherweight Stick 2033. This upright/handheld has a corded design that offers a much shorter range than that of the BISSELL AeroSlim, but it's even cheaper and has a theoretically indefinite runtime, which is great when dealing with larger messes. Like the AeroSlim, it does a superb job of sucking up pet hair on everything from hardwood flooring to shag carpeting. It has a very simple design that's easy to take apart and reassemble for routine maintenance or reconfigure it into a handheld form. It doesn't use a dirtbag and has washable filters, so recurring costs shouldn't be a concern either. Unfortunately, its all-plastic construction feels a little fragile, and its power cord is quite short.
Get the AeroSlim if you want a vacuum you can carry almost anywhere, but consider the Featherweight if you're looking to save some money and don't want to deal with the hassle of charging times.
11/11/2020: Replaced Dyson V11 Animal with as the Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+. Replaced eufy HomeVac H11 with BISSELL AeroSlim. Added Dyson V11 Animal to Notable Mentions.
Our recommendations are based on what we think are currently the best handheld vacuums for pet hair to buy. We factor in a fairly wide range of factors, including availability, price, and reader feedback.
If you would like to do the work of choosing yourself, here is the list of all our handheld vacuum reviews, ranked by their performance in picking up pet hair. Be careful not to get too caught up in the details. While no vacuum is perfect for every use, most are good enough to please almost everyone, and the differences are often not noticeable unless you really look for them.