I need something that really sucks for less than $150.
January 27, 2010 8:23 PM   Subscribe

I've got two huskies, a black lab, one long haired cat, and two short haired cats living in my house. And I'm drowning in fur. The Dirt Devil Vision I bought two years ago has never worked decently. So I need recommendations for an affordable vacuum cleaner that can handle a ton of fur and relatively new carpet that's still shedding a bit. I can borrow my grandma's Dyson once or twice a month for superawesome vacuum times, but I also need something I can use a few times a week just to get the majority of the fur off the carpet. Difficulty: Under $150.
posted by elsietheeel to Shopping (26 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
that much fuzz requires a two-pronged approach:
1) run a roomba every day during the day.
2) brush animals down with a furminator as often as you possibly can. it does an amazing job of deshedding your pets before the hair gets off of them and onto your stuff.
posted by lia at 8:34 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

My Hoover Elite Rewind bagless vacuum constantly amazes me with how much it picks up (it has a clear canister so you get to see all the dirt and dust and fur!).
posted by amro at 8:39 PM on January 27, 2010

After ditching a bagless stick vaccuum that couldn't handle carpets, I replaced it with a Dirt Devil Featherlite to vacuum cat fur off the carpet and it's powerful enough that it could probably vacuum up the cat too, if it weren't so deafening that it sends her under the bed whenever I turn it on. $40!
posted by phoenixy at 8:50 PM on January 27, 2010

We have a similar amount of animals and we're fairly happy with our vacuum cleaner (which was definitely under $150), but I can't remember the brand right now, and it's in my other house (don't ask). However, it's bagless, and I would recommend against this because every time you empty the container, you'll inevitably spill hair/cat litter/dirt.

My husband uses shedding control shampoo on the dogs, which helps. We don't bathe the cats because we like having blood in our veins.
posted by desjardins at 8:51 PM on January 27, 2010

Folks at Fatwallet really like the Hoover Whisper.
posted by MegoSteve at 9:12 PM on January 27, 2010

Ha, came in here to mention the selfsame Dirt Devil that phoenixy recommends. Incredibly cheap and very powerful on the fur from my two longhaired animals.
posted by katemonster at 9:17 PM on January 27, 2010

I have two cats, and a formal dining room that the cats sun in more often than the people eat there. We have an oriental rug in there, and the FlyLady's Rubba Sweepa gets up the fur from the carpet so much better than my fancy pants allergen reducing vacuum ever could.
posted by Ruki at 9:22 PM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Note: The huskies, the main source of all the hair, are not mine (and if they were I'd sell them to the gypsies as they are horrible untrained dogs) and it's easier for me to vacuum constantly than to convince my housemate to Furminate her dogs more than once a week.

katemonster and phoenixy: I'm sort of hesitant to get another Dirt Devil since the last one was so awful. And how difficult is it to change the bags?

I don't mind bagless vacuums, since I take the cannister directly to the trash outside and empty it there. I've become sort of a neat freak in my old age.
posted by elsietheeel at 9:28 PM on January 27, 2010

My friend with 3 dogs, a cat, and 2 birds used to have to vacuum daily.
posted by IndigoRain at 10:27 PM on January 27, 2010

The Rubba Sweepa looks an awful like the "as seen on TV" One Sweep

For Vacuums, you get what you pay for. I'm partial to the Consumer Reports recommendations of a bagged Kenmore Progressive vacuum, but they're pricey (~300), as are the bags and filters.
posted by ijoyner at 10:57 PM on January 27, 2010

Try a shop vac. They are way more powerful in my opinion.
posted by Vaike at 11:20 PM on January 27, 2010

Shop vacs do well, but splurge for the internal heap filter. I like something with a beater bar though. Suction just doesn't work as well alone.
posted by psycho-alchemy at 12:26 AM on January 28, 2010

Best answer: I have a Hoover Tempo (bagged upright). On Amazon it has 4.5 stars with 1,658 reviews. It works pretty well. Friends in my building come and borrow it. $76.50 with free shipping.
posted by jock@law at 12:31 AM on January 28, 2010

The Eureka Pet Lover Mighty Mite gets good reviews on Amazon, has HEPA filtration and is less than $100. It's on my wish list.
posted by zoel at 3:14 AM on January 28, 2010

I am in a similar position and find that the Hoover Nanolite $50.00 picks up better than my Sears Kenmore! When I went over what my Sears left behind it was shocking how much fine dust was left in the carpet. I got it at Walmart. It has a hose attachment and brushes too.
posted by AuntieRuth at 5:30 AM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

As an owner of one very messy long haired cat, I love my Eureka 4870GZ Boss Smart-Vac Upright Vacuum. I've had mine for several years now and other than finally having to replace the belt, I've had no issues with it.

So easy to clean if anything gets blocked/stuck, which it rarely does.
Belt is a snap to replace
Amazing suction
Power Paw attachment is decent for fabrics

Cons (and these are honestly very minor cons imo):
Loud and somewhat heavy
Could use a longer hose
Power Paw attachment doesn't "live" on the vac, so it's a pain to store.
posted by pghjezebel at 6:37 AM on January 28, 2010

Best answer: I have decided, after killing off bagless after bagless, that even a very expensive bagless vacuum just does not have a hardy enough filtration system to deal with that level/size of debris for very long. When the last bagless died, I just went out and bought the only bagged vacuum I could find nearby (a Bissell Powerforce, maybe $70-80) and all the bags on the shelf, and have been happy ever since. Buying a huge stockpile of bags is key, because the frustration of being out of bags is enough to drive you back to a bagless vacuum.

Changing bags isn't that big a deal. After the first couple of times, you'll get the hang of the slip-on motion, and if you are diligent about checking the bag you won't have to deal with an overfull one, which can be a little messy to remove. I bring a little bathroom-sized trash can to the vacuum for bag changes, so I'm not carrying it all over the house, and then go tip that out in the garbage when I'm done.

We have a lot of just plain dirt in the house, thanks to the dogs killing most of the grass in the back yard, and I never captured the amount of sand in the bagless canisters as I do in a bag - it's astonishingly heavy when it's full. That was really the thing that has converted me back to the bag until technology figures out something better.

(This is the most I have ever used the word "bag" in my life.)
posted by Lyn Never at 6:43 AM on January 28, 2010

Coming in at juuust under $150, depending on where you buy it, is the Bissell Pet Hair Eraser. It's heavy as hell and kind of noisy, but it works like a champ. The beater bar is quite powerful, and it has a lint-brush type thing on the front that helps pull the pet hair towards the beater bar. The attachments are nice, especially the soft rubber one that is great for stairs or couches and chairs -- and my German Shepherd loves to be vacuumed with it herself, actually, as it has soft little nubby things on it. Depending on how much you use it [I run mine almost every day -- there's a reason we call her the German Shedder] the belt might need replaced more frequently than you'd think, but they're pretty inexpensive.
posted by alynnk at 7:25 AM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

Someone I know who runs a housecleaning business says that the best thing you can do if you have lots of pet hair is to get a roomba and run that each day to gather up the loose hair that is starting to accumulate, and then run a "real" vacuum once a week to get the stuff that the roomba can't deal with.
posted by markblasco at 7:42 AM on January 28, 2010

Response by poster: There's too many animals and people home during the day to tolerate a Roomba. Also the layout of my house isn't really conducive to one either.

The Rubba Sweepa is cute, and I actually use a synthetic deck brush to scrub the hair off the carpet when it gets really bad. But I don't want to have to go over the carpet twice. I want to be able to vacuum every other day and just get the damn hair off that way.

I think I'm going to go with the Hoover Tempo Widepath. The reviews are good (901 five star reviews is impressive!), it's rated pretty high at CR, the price is right, and they carry them at my local Best Buy so I can have a new vacuum by tonight.

And I'll definitely stock up on bags and belts.

Thanks for the recommendations, folks! I'll let you know what I think after I've used it a bit.
posted by elsietheeel at 8:10 AM on January 28, 2010

I just want to second lia's furminator recommendation. This has made a huge difference for my friend and her menagerie.
posted by Dolukhanova at 9:01 AM on January 28, 2010

Something to consider: I have an ancient, canister Electrolux vacuum that works so, so much better than anything I've ever purchased in the hundred dollar range. They were built to last, and to be repaired (my mother also used one for the entirety of my childhood). If there's an aerus electrolux franchise in your neighborhood, you might consider checking them out and seeing if they sell any second-hand--or seeing if you can get one off of your local craigslist. You'd probably end up spending less than your budget, and have something that will last longer than a small handful of years.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:05 AM on January 28, 2010

second PhoBWanKenobi on the Electrolux cans. your local vacuum shop (in my experience, usually located on a corner with either cadillacs or gorillas outside) can help you find/maintain/repair it. probably the biggest problem with the old 'lux cans is that all the lovely resin handles and details will crack and snap with age, leaving you to haul the vacuum body around like a fat old pug dog.
posted by toodleydoodley at 9:38 AM on January 28, 2010 [2 favorites]

little late here, but one cheap assist we use in our furry house is a box fan with a super cheap 20 x20 A/C filter on the back side. Air flow holds it on, run it full time in such a way as to circulate the room air at floor level. Picks up a suprising amount of fur with no effort on your part!
posted by Redhush at 5:05 PM on January 28, 2010

FWIW: We have a Eureka "The Boss SmartVac" and love it. It was $140 a couple of years ago. I also went from bagless back to bags, and won't go back again.
posted by wwartorff at 6:17 PM on January 28, 2010

Response by poster: Got the Hoover Tempo. Love it. Lightweight, easy to push, not too bad to maneuver. I wish it could get a little closer to the baseboards, but I didn't expect it to for the price. I'm just relieved there's no more hair on my carpets.

Thanks everyone!
posted by elsietheeel at 4:57 PM on January 29, 2010

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