Please help me find a long-lasting vacuum that is good for a home with cats.
September 11, 2010 3:39 PM   Subscribe

Please recommend a vacuum that will pick up cat hair from carpet and wood flooring.

I have two cats, and they shed all over the place. My past two vacuums (Eureka Boss SmartVac w/Bag & Bissell Lift-Off Multi Cyclonic Pet Bagless) did not pick up the cat hair as well as I would like when I first got them, and they stopped picking up anything at all within a year.

I have read the past questions similar to this topic, but they did not quite fit what I would like to have. I would like recommendations for vacuums that will last for a long time, pick up hair from carpet & wood floors, and are not too bulky. I am not interested in a Dyson because I have read too many negative reviews and comments about them. I am especially curious about canister vacuums, but recommendations for other types are welcome. Thanks!
posted by Four-Eyed Girl to Home & Garden (22 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Miele HEPA Parquett?
posted by dance at 3:53 PM on September 11, 2010

I don't have cats. I have a German Shepherd. Dog hair is almost a food group. You aren't interested in a Dyson? I have one, it's the only thing that works. I have a Dyson DC23 canister. The only thing I find that's wrong with it is the size of the canister. I wish it was slightly bigger. My 2cents.
posted by JohnE at 3:53 PM on September 11, 2010

I just got a roomba pet series as I was at wits end and I read that it does an awesome job on short hair and wood floors. I love, love, love it! I don't have any experience with it over time, or with carpets or long haired pets, but it is terrific and better than anything else I've tried. Plus I don't vacuum, it does it itself.
posted by cestmoi15 at 3:54 PM on September 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

Not too bulky - I have laminate floors and kids and a cat, and this is perfect: Morphy Richards 2100w Family & Pets. Picture. Cylinder, tiny, fairly light and picks up cat fluff.

Although I see it isn't available on the .com version of amazon... maybe they have another distributor.
posted by shinybaum at 4:03 PM on September 11, 2010

I just have a cheap vacuum (hardwoods and rugs, no carpet) but what really helps is to use one of these: before vacuuming. It's awesome. Good luck - I will watch this thread because when I do have carpet someday I will need a good vac!
posted by pointystick at 4:04 PM on September 11, 2010

Response by poster: Clarification: It doesn't necessarily have to be small, but I'd prefer it if the vacuum isn't too difficult to pick up weight-wise. My Bissell was very heavy.

If anyone thinks a Dyson is the absolute best, please go ahead and say so.
posted by Four-Eyed Girl at 4:15 PM on September 11, 2010

Best answer: Dyson Animal. The DC28 Animal might be too cumbersome for your needs, but as long as you don't get one with the ball pivot, one of the other Animal models would probably do it.

I mention it only because my reviewers come from a pretty specific group. Don't take my word for it: take the word of the wedding registries of every veterinarian/vet tech/veterinary student/veterinary health professional I have seen since it was invented. All of them.

I'm pretty sure no other vacuum series has inspired hour-long conversations and demos at parties. At parties. It's like being in a commercial. People who've never tried one are like 'LET ME TRY IT. OH MY GOD IT'S BEAUTIFUL.'

Men and women alike. The dudes couch the terms differently, but the love is universal.
posted by Uniformitarianism Now! at 4:28 PM on September 11, 2010 [3 favorites]

We have only the one cat, but our Miele Olympus is (a) incredibly light, (b) the most powerful vacuum we've ever had, but (c) has a wide range of settings so that you don't suck down the curtains or deafen yourself. It has two filters, and the air pouring out of it is sooo nice and clean compared to our old Hoover. The parquet attachment is nice and swivelly to get into all the cat-hair crevices and corners. It's really well-built and doesn't feel flimsy in the least like some of the other brands we've tried. It's probably the first vacuum I've actually *enjoyed* using.
posted by mittens at 4:28 PM on September 11, 2010

I have seven cats and one dog and you would have to pry my Dyson out of my cold dead hands. It is not the lightest vacuum ever but it is pretty awesome.
posted by crankylex at 4:58 PM on September 11, 2010 [2 favorites]

Eeee, 3rding the Miele. It completely turned the tide of our battle with dog hair. We just got a second dog and I tell you right now, I would never have agreed to it without a trustworthy vacuum. I could barely lift our previous vacuum and now I bust out the vacuum all the time just for kicks. It's also such an attractive-looking appliance that we don't mind leaving it out instead of jamming it in a closet, so it's a lot more convenient. And yes, the parquet attachment is a must.

Our friends have gotten this vacuum based on our raving. I really never thought I would feel anything other than loathing about the task of vacuuming, but it's so rewarding with the Miele!
posted by little light-giver at 5:23 PM on September 11, 2010

A friend of mine swears by her Swiffer for picking up dog hair.
posted by orange swan at 5:48 PM on September 11, 2010

We have three cats and a Dyson. Our rugs completely changed color after one going-over with the Dyson, there was so much fur embedded in them. It's pricey, but I think it's worth it. (Plus it has a lifetime guarantee.)

The brush attachment works great on hardwood floors, too, but we usually just use a wet mop for that and the kitchen floor.
posted by vickyverky at 6:06 PM on September 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

This vacuum with this attachment works wonders for me. The vacuum never gets clogged and has maintained great suction for over a year now, and the attachment is great for picking up hair on carpets/furniture.
posted by grayber at 11:10 PM on September 11, 2010

I have eight cats and three dogs. The solution to all of our pet-hair woes has been the Eureka Pet Lover Bagless Upright. It comes in two sizes, one for about $75 (which is what we have) and a larger one for, I think, about $250. We've had ours for a little over two years, and it's just awesome.

It's small and lightweight, enough that my seven-year-old daughter doesn't have any problem running it, but it's also incredibly powerful. A single pass over the floor and we're done--none of this going over a spot three times to get all the hair up nonsense.

It also has a suction-only setting for wood floors (works great on my hardwoods), the normal tube-suction thing that you get on most vacuums, and an incredible "paw" attachment--it goes onto the tube-suction thing, and it has a tiny beater like the vacuum itself has. We use it on our sofa and chairs, and it's magical.

The smaller version does need to be emptied fairly frequently, but we can usually just dump it every other time the vacuum is used and that's fine.

I never thought that I'd be all excited about a vacuum, but there you are.
posted by MeghanC at 3:58 AM on September 12, 2010

We've got three cats, but two of them violate the law of conservation of matter in the amount that they shed.

We've got an old Eureka. Nothing special. One thing that I've discovered is that we need to replace the drive belt for the beater bar pretty often (maybe twice a year) or it doesn't do a good job removing cat hair from rugs. If you haven't exhausted this option, check into it.
posted by adamrice at 7:03 AM on September 12, 2010

Dyson again. I couldn't believe how great the rugs looked after the first use, I had forgotten what color they actually were.
posted by raisingsand at 7:35 AM on September 12, 2010

I got tired of my stupid bagless vacuum not picking up very well to start with and losing suction quickly and having a cumbersome and messy filter cleaning process. I always thought Dysons were ridiculously priced but I finally broke down and got a DC 14 in a bit of a fit, because I had researched my last one, it was supposed to be good, and I didn't want to get stuck with another dud. Figured I'd risk the Dyson hype.

Holy cow. I put the thing together and didn't realize I had the switch in the on position. I plugged it in and it started up and I was surprised that there was already stuff swirling in the canister. It was picking up stuff just sitting there that the previous vacuum had missed in several passes the day before. That's some serious suction. When you turn it on, the thing essentially arches its back from the force of the suction - it really is kind of like an animal. My parents came to visit with their walking hair factory of a dog and it got all of that stuff up with ease. I really like how easy it is to empty the canister too. One click and you pluck it right off the unit by its handle, hold it over the garbage can, press one button, the bottom swings open, the stuff falls out, done, click it back on the unit. Nothing to unclog or brush or take apart. The tool wand gets great suction too.

It's a lot to pay, but it definitely gets the job done. Consumer Reports gave it excellent marks at picking stuff up off of bare floors, but gave it a rating of merely "good" on carpet and specifically for pet hair. I found it to be excellent on all three. CR also said that the brand was among the more reliable. It gave many other vacuums better ratings for pet hair, including the Dyson DC 28 and DC 25. It gave the DC 24 ball a rating of fair for pet hair, which was one step above its lowest rating of poor.

CR's highest rated upright, which at $400 is the same price as the Dyson DC 14, was the Hoover Platinum Bagged UH30010COM. Its overall score was 74. It got a rating of excellent for pet hair. The lows for this model were that there is no on-off switch for the brush and it doesn't accept tools. The tool thing seems like a dealbreaker.

For a huge savings, you could go with the fourth place model, the Hoover Tempo Widepath U5140-900, which got a score of 72. A bagged model, it got the same excellent pet hair rating and mostly excellent or very good ratings in the other categories, but costs only $80. Its lowest rating was in the noise category, where it scored "good". It lacks a brush on-off switch.

In fifth place, also with a score of 72, was the Kenmore Intuition 31100. CR named this their "best buy" among uprights. Also a bagged model, this one costs about $260. Scored excellent on pet hair, tool airflow, and emissions. Scored very good on carpet and bare floors. Scored good on noise and handling. "No discernible lows," says CR.

I don't ever want another bagged vacuum myself, but all of CR's highest rated are bagged. Their highest rated bagless was the Hoover WindTunnel T-Series Rewind Bagless UH70120, coming in at #13 with a score of 69 and a price of between $100 and $135. The scores are pretty tight at the top, though, so 69 isn't bad when the top one is 74. Scores of excellent for pet hair, bare floors, tool airflow and emissions. Score of very good for carpet. Scores of good for handling and noise. Its lows were no on-off brush switch and the shortest power cord of any upright tested. (A short extension cord of appropriate capacity solves that, though). It also looks like a cool spaceship. Wal-Mart currently has it for just under $100.

The highest scoring canister vac was the Kenmore Intuition 28014 with a score of 73 and a price of $500. Excellent on pet hair, bare floors, tool airflow, and emissions. Very good on carpets and noise. Good on handling. Fairly quiet, no discernible lows.

Their best buy canister was the $300 Kenmore Progressive 27514 in the #3 spot. Excellent on pet hair, bare floors, and emissions. Very good on carpet. Good on tool airflow, noise, and handling. No discernible lows.
posted by Askr at 9:08 AM on September 12, 2010 [2 favorites]

Dyson. I bought a reconditioned one. Don't know why I didn't do it before.
posted by Ideefixe at 10:36 AM on September 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

Their best buy canister was the $300 Kenmore Progressive 27514 in the #3 spot.

I'm really pleased with our Kenmore vacuum. They don't make the exact model any more, but it is pretty similar to this one, if not the same. It's great on the wood floor and the carpet, easy to change the bag, fairly quiet, and we have not had any issues with it at all. Pretty light and maneuverable too. The hand grip is quite comfortable with a thumb off-on-powered brush (in case you are going from wood floor to carpet without changing to the floor attachment) switch. I'm always surprised more people don't mention Kenmores, because ours has been awesome for years. Our apartment has champagne colored carpet (ugh, why?), and our dog had fine, long black hair.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:06 AM on September 12, 2010

Another Kenmore canister vacuum user, purchased the 'blue' model in 1998. I have a cat and a large dog, so use the vacuum daily on wood floors and carpet. The HEPA vacuum bags work really well if you have pets, although they are expensive.

Received a Dyson DC07 Animal vacuum in 2005. After a few months of use, I went back to using the Kenmore because I found the Dyson bulky and time consuming to clean/maintain (dog hair kept getting into the belts).

Last year I recommended Kenmore to a friend. They purchased the updated 'blue' vacuum (27514) and are happy with it.
posted by bCat at 7:50 AM on September 13, 2010

Nthing Dyson. I had basically only used Roombas for a year except for infrequent deep cleaning with our old (stinky) vacuum. When I got the Dyson and saw what the Roombas had left behind, I was stunned (and disgusted). One medium and one short hair cat and a mix of carpet and hard wood. (I also bought a reconditioned Dyson)
posted by getawaysticks at 5:53 AM on September 14, 2010

I have a Dyson DC07 Animal vacuum as well. Every time I use it, I thank my lucky stars that someone was selling it on Craigslist, NIB for $250 less than retail. It's awesome.
posted by sk932 at 3:48 PM on September 21, 2010

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