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 to get everywhere. Having a lightweight vacuum that can cover almost every part of a home is invaluable for owners of heavily shedding animals. The handheld vacuums best suited for dealing with pet hair should not only be easy to carry around but also have a variety of tools to tackle small, closed-off areas. A HEPA filter is also handy since it can trap allergens as you clean.
We've tested over 135 vacuum cleaners, and below are our recommendations for the best hand 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, look at our lists 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 we've tested is the Shark WANDVAC. This cordless handheld vacuum does a fantastic job of handling pet hair on hard surfaces like countertops and shelves, not to mention bare floors and carpets. While it doesn't come with a turbo brush tool for cleaning furniture, it does have an upholstery tool that does a decent job of clearing away pet hair on upholstered surfaces. The vacuum also feels decently well-built and has an easy-to-maintain design. While its standard post-motor filter isn't HEPA-rated, it still does a good job of trapping fine allergens like pet dander. Besides, several third-party manufacturers sell compatible HEPA filters if you want to further improve the vacuum's allergen-trapping performance. Like any bagless vacuum, you must be careful when emptying its dustbin, as shaking it out can release a cloud of fine grit and dust.
Unfortunately, and unsurprisingly for a vacuum of this size, the dirt compartment is also tiny and needs to be emptied frequently. Bulky debris can also clog the entry to its dirt compartment. Its battery life of a little over 10 minutes is short, even for a handheld model, so it's only intended for quick clean-ups.
If you want a handheld vacuum that costs a little less and can hold a relatively large amount of hair, the Black+Decker dustbuster AdvancedClean+ Pet is worth a look. This handheld vacuum feels less sturdy than the Shark WANDVAC and takes up much more room when not in use due to its larger body. Still, the flip side of those bigger dimensions is a higher-capacity dustbin, so you won't have to empty it as frequently. It does a fantastic job of sucking up pet hair on bare surfaces and carpets and performs quite well when it comes to clearing away hair on furniture. There's also a built-in crevice tool/extension wand to give you a bit of added reach when cleaning pet hair and other debris in awkward spaces. It can run for about 30 minutes in its default power mode, which is quite long for a vacuum of this type.
Unfortunately, the manufacturer didn't design its battery to be removed or replaced, so you can't just buy another battery and swap in a replacement if its ability to hold a charge degrades over time. This vacuum also does a terrible job of sealing in fine particles like pet dander, so it isn't the best option if you suffer from allergies.
If you want to spend as little as possible on a handheld vacuum for cleaning up pet hair, look at the BISSELL AeroSlim/TurboSlim. It has a shorter battery life than the Black+Decker dustbuster AdvancedClean+ Pet and a less potent suction motor, but it's a good alternative if you're looking for something cheaper and smaller. It does a fantastic job of dealing with pet hair on rugs and bare surfaces like hardwood floors or shelves and tables. Unlike the Black+Decker, there's no included miniature turbo brush for cleaning fabric surfaces, but it has a crevice tool/extension wand to help you clean tight spots and a slip-on soft-bristle tool for cleaning surfaces that scratch easily.
This handheld vacuum is remarkably compact, taking up roughly the same amount of space as a bottle of wine, allowing you to store it in a large drawer or at the back of a cupboard or cabinet. Its simple design is easy to maintain, and despite its affordable price point, the dense plastic body feels reasonably solid. Unfortunately, and unsurprisingly, given its size, its dustbin will need emptying at the end of almost every cleaning session.
If you suffer from allergies and require superb air filtration performance, the iRobot H1 is one of the best hand vacuums for pet hair we've tested. Right off the bat, it's important to note that the H1 is very expensive for a handheld vacuum. It's much pricier than similarly-performing alternatives like the Shark WANDVAC and even some full-sized cordless stick vacuums. However, its dual-layer filtration system allows it to capture fine allergens like pet dander with greater efficacy than most other handhelds. Its miniature turbo brush attachment also has no trouble dealing with pet hair on various surfaces. However, the brushroll inside isn't removable, which makes it hard to clear away any tangled strands.
Unfortunately, this vacuum is relatively bulky for a handheld and takes up more room than a smaller alternative like the BISSELL AeroSlim/TurboSlim. Thankfully, it does feel very well-built, which makes sense considering its premium price point. It can run for up to almost half an hour on a single charge, which will be more than enough for most spot-cleaning tasks. You can increase its suction power for dealing with stubborn messes by using the 'Max' suction switch, though running it continuously in this power mode decreases its battery life to roughly 10 minutes.
Our recommendations are based on what we think are currently the best handheld vacuums for dealing with 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.