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 75 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 lightweight cordless model does an incredible job of cleaning bare surfaces like linoleum floors or tiled counters. It's equipped with a HEPA filter, which is great if you have shedding pets and you're concerned about trapping allergens.
It comes with a few different tools and brushes that can help with different cleaning jobs, like an upholstery tool that you can use to clean fabric-covered furniture or even your pet's bed. The battery performance is decent for a handheld vacuum, as it will provide up to 20 minutes of continuous use. The only part that needs to be replaced regularly is the filter, so it should incur low recurring costs, and it's also fairly easy to maintain.
Unfortunately, the dirt compartment is tiny, so you need to empty it frequently, like most handheld vacuums. Otherwise, if you want something portable for spot-cleaning small messes, it's a great option with an exceptional performance on bare floors.
If you want something that can be used as a stick vacuum as well as a handheld, consider the Shark Rocket Pet Pro with MultiFlex IZ163H. It's not as light or as well-built as the HoLife HM036E, but it's more suitable for cleaning big areas, thanks to its reconfigurable design. It delivers an incredible performance on bare floors, where it easily clears pet hair as well as debris. It picks up pet hair from carpeted floors as well, which is great if you have a few rugs in your home, and it comes with some tools and brushes, like an upholstery tool for cleaning fabric-covered furniture. Unfortunately, it's more difficult to maintain than the HoLife and isn't as portable. Also, its battery can be depleted in as little as 12 minutes if you use the most powerful suction setting, so you need to work fast if you're cleaning up a stubborn mess.
Go for the HoLife you want a vacuum for small clean-ups and prefer something very portable, but if you have a lot of floors to keep clean, the Shark is worth considering instead.
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're looking for a cordless vacuum that offers better overall battery performance, consider the Dyson V15 Detect. This vacuum isn't as portable as the Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+ and doesn't feel as sturdy, but it can provide over 70 minutes of runtime on a single charge depending on your usage patterns and choice of accessories and suction power modes. It also delivers exceptional pet hair cleaning performance on low and high-pile carpet, and you can use it as a stick vacuum to clean larger areas with much less difficulty. It also comes with a very wide assortment of tools and accessories, including a conical turbo brush that can clear messes on upholstered surfaces as well as a laser vacuum head to help you see small debris. Unfortunately, its high suction force can make this vacuum quite difficult to maneuver on some carpeted surfaces and can even cause the vacuum to drag high-pile carpets around.
Get the Shark if you're looking for a highly capable handheld vacuum intended for spot cleaning, but consider the Dyson if versatility is a bigger concern.
The best handheld vacuum for pet hair in the budget category that we've tested is the Shark ION W1 WANDVAC. This compact vacuum can clean pet hair without difficulty from a wide range of surface types, ranging from bare floors to low and high-pile carpet. It's also equipped with a HEPA filter to trap allergens as you clean, which is good if your pet sheds heavily.
As long as its HEPA filter is regularly maintained, it shouldn't be replaced, and this vacuum incurs no other recurring costs. Its lightweight plastic construction feels sturdy and is easy to assemble and disassemble. It comes with a small charging rack that can be stored in a cupboard or closet and provides storage space for its included upholstery tool and combination tool.
Unfortunately, its dustbin is very small, so it needs to be emptied after almost every cleaning session. Depending on your usage patterns, it also only provides under 10 minutes of continuous runtime, so you need to work quickly when dealing with slightly larger or more stubborn messes. Otherwise, its fantastic pet hair cleaning capability, relatively affordable price, and compact design make it one of the best lightweight vacuums that we've tested.
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.
May 06, 2021: Replaced Dyson V11 Animal with Dyson V15 Detect as 'Alternative With Better Battery Performance' due to superior pet hair cleaning performance. Added Dyson V11 Animal to Notable Mentions.
Mar 15, 2021: Added the Samsung Jet 90 Complete to Notable Mentions. Checked other picks to ensure the best products are still being recommended.
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.