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 65 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 that we've tested is the HoLife HM036E. This cordless model does an outstanding job on bare surfaces like linoleum or tile, where it easily picks up pet hair as well as debris like sand and cereal. It has a good build quality and comes equipped with an allergen-trapping HEPA filter.
The battery should provide roughly 20 minutes of continuous use, which is decent for a handheld. It comes with quite a few tools and brushes that can help with different cleaning jobs, like an extension wand that increases your reach and an upholstery tool that can help clean pet hair and other debris from fabric-covered furniture. The vacuum is fairly easy to maintain, and recurring costs are low since the only part that needs to be replaced regularly is the filter.
Unfortunately, like most handhelds, it has a small dirt compartment that needs to be emptied frequently. However, if you're looking for a portable vacuum to clean up after your pet, this is a great choice for spot-cleaning your floors or counters.
If you want something better-suited for cleaning bigger areas, consider the Shark Rocket Pet Pro. This model isn't as portable as the HoLife HM036E, but it can be used as either a stick vacuum or a handheld. It's similarly fantastic on bare floors, where it easily clears pet hair and debris, and its performance stays consistent as its more spacious dirt compartment fills. There are a few tools and brushes included, including an upholstery tool for cleaning furniture, car seats, or even your pet's bed. Unfortunately, while its maximum battery life is roughly 40 minutes, it can be as short as 12 minutes if you use the most powerful 'MAX (BOOST)' mode, so you need to work quickly if you're dealing with a stubborn mess.
Go for the HoLife if you need a vacuum for spot-cleaning and want something very easy to carry around. Try the Shark instead if you want the convenience of a handheld but also have a lot of flooring to keep clean.
The Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+ is the best handheld vacuum that we've tested for cleaning pet hair from carpets. This cordless handheld model does an amazing job cleaning pet hair from both low and high-pile carpets. There's a self-cleaning turbo brush included, so you can clean furniture upholstery with less worry about pet hair getting tangled in the brushroll.
It has a good, sturdy build quality and is easy to bring with you wherever you need it, thanks to its small size and carrying handle. It comes with a few other tools and brushes, including a crevice tool for cleaning tight corners or narrow spaces. While there are a few parts that need to be serviced regularly, it's simple to assemble and easy to maintain. It also has low recurring costs, since there's only one part, the dust cup filter, that needs to be replaced periodically.
Unfortunately, the battery only supplies 10 minutes of continuous cleaning time, so it's better suited for quick clean-ups. It also lacks a HEPA filter, which could be disappointing if you're worried about allergens. That said, its excellent performance on carpets and portable design make it one of the best handheld vacuums that we've tested.
If you want a cordless vacuum but prefer something with longer battery life, consider the Dyson V11 Animal. This stick/handheld model doesn't perform as well as the Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+ on carpets, but it still does a great job clearing pet hair and has a much better battery performance. Used in its handheld mode with a low-power setting, it can last for more than an hour of continuous cleaning. It also has a more powerful "Boost" setting for when you need more suction, but it only lasts for roughly 10 minutes of continuous use in that mode. It's equipped with a HEPA filter and comes with a wide variety of accessories, like a soft bristle brush for cleaning delicate objects like curtains. Unfortunately, it has a plasticky build quality that feels a bit flimsy.
If you want the best performance on carpets and need a vacuum mainly for spot-cleaning, go for the Shark. Try the Dyson instead if you want something suitable for longer cleaning sessions.
The Shark ION W1 WANDVAC is the best handheld vacuum for pet hair in the budget category that we've tested. This slim and portable model has no trouble sucking up pet hair on any surface type, from bare floors to high-pile carpets. It's equipped with a HEPA filter to help trap allergens as you clean.
It's a well-built vacuum with a simple design that's easy to maintain. There are a few tools and brushes included, like a crevice tool for getting into narrow spots, an upholstery tool for cleaning fabric-covered furniture, and a soft bristle brush for use on more delicate objects such as lampshades. It also comes with a compact charging dock for easier storing, and because it uses a washable filter, incurs no recurring costs.
Unfortunately, it has a short battery life of roughly eight minutes and a tiny dirt compartment, so like most handheld models, it's not ideal for long cleaning sessions. Still, if you're looking for an effective, portable way to tidy up after your pets, it's a great option at a relatively affordable price.
If you want a handheld that can suck up pet hair but prefer a lower price point, consider the BISSELL AeroSlim. Overall, it doesn't perform as well as the Shark ION W1 WANDVAC on most surfaces, but it's less expensive and great at picking up pet hair from both bare floors and carpets. It comes with a crevice tool for getting into narrow spaces and an extension wand that can help you reach high-up shelves or behind furniture. It's decently easy to maintain and incurs virtually no recurring costs. However, you need to work quickly since it only lasts roughly 13 minutes on a single charge. Also, it's not equipped with a HEPA filter, and its dirt compartment is really small, so you need to empty it more often.
If you want a budget vacuum with better overall performance, go for the Shark. If your priority is something that can suck up pet hair and you want to pay less, consider the BISSELL.
Jan 14, 2021: Verified picks to make sure that we're still recommending the best products, and that they're in stock. Added the Miele Triflex HX1 to Notable Mentions.
Dec 02, 2020: Complete restructuring. Added the 'Shark Rocket Pet Pro' as 'Stick/Handheld Alternative', and the Dyson V11 Animal as 'Alternative With Better Battery Performance'. Moved the BISSELL AeroSlim to 'Cheaper Alternative' and made the Shark ION W1 WANDVAC the 'Best Budget Handheld Vacuum for Pet Hair'.
Nov 11, 2020: Replaced Dyson V11 Animal with 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.