I need a vacuum that really sucks!
May 7, 2008 2:35 PM   Subscribe

What's a good vacuum for mostly hard floors and some carpet for a cat owner?

I have a serious cat hair and litter issue-it's all over my floors and rugs. I've recently tossed my old vacuum because it just didn't work. Can you recommend a good vacuum for this problem? I'm not looking to spend a ton, so I'd like to cap the budget around $150. Thanks!
posted by missjamielynn to Home & Garden (18 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
It's right out of the budget, but I just retired my three-year-old Hoover for a refurbished Dyson, and holy crap does that thing clean! It eats cat hair and stray litter like nobody's business.

(We've got three indoor cats, and hardwoods on the main floor plus carpet in the basement.)

Oh, the refurb was $249.99. If you can wait and extend your budget, I highly recommend it. After vacuuming cat hair and litter for years with different makes of vacuums, this one is just astonishingly superior.
posted by terpia at 2:49 PM on May 7, 2008

I have three cats, and mostly hardwood floors. I hate vacuuming, so I have a Roomba that automatically vacuums a couple of times a week, and it keeps things tidy. It's quieter than a conventional vacuum, so the cats don't really mind it.

A Roomba doesn't have the suction and cleaning capabilities of an upright vacuum. On hardwood floors this isn't really an issue. (And did I mention that the Roomba runs automatically?)

A Roomba with scheduling capabilities typically runs about $150 when it shows up on Woot.com.

Good luck with your search!
posted by mattybonez at 3:02 PM on May 7, 2008

Another vote for the Roomba. Although I don't have cats, it's fantastic on my hardwood floors and tile. I sold my bulky upright and canister vacuums and never looked back. For in between times, I use one of those microfiber brooms to pick up stray dust bunnies and stuff.
posted by LuckySeven~ at 3:14 PM on May 7, 2008

Get a Roomba. Get. A. Roomba. We bought a refurbished scheduler on Amazon for $150. This thing is totally amazing. Set the schedule with the remote and it takes care of the rest. You can set it to run when you're out of the house and the most you'll have to do for floor maintenance is empty the bin every so often (with pets it's usually once a day). Pick up a hand vacuum for spot cleaning and you're set.
posted by baphomet at 3:34 PM on May 7, 2008

Weighing in on the roomba...

I have one too, and sure it can run automatically - but it doesn't empty itself. Its tiny capacity and inability to deal with my area rugs* or vacuum upholstery or stairs makes it a bit of a bust for me.

Also, see this cartoon.

On the bright side, roombas are little robots, which is very cool. They also come with a remote which can be used to guide the roomba, if you choose. And you will. At least at first you'll have an almost uncontrollable desire to have your roomba follow your cats around, thoroughly creeping them out. Then you'll feel guilty about it. And then you'll do it again.

*my area rugs have some black stripes. The little sensor on the bottom lip of the roomba is designed to constantly check whether it's about to fall down stairs and whatnot, and every time it encounters a thick black stripe on my area rug, it backs up and turns around immediately.
posted by terpia at 3:35 PM on May 7, 2008

Thirding the Dyson.

Thanks to it, I finally manage to have a cat-free couch (for the 2 microseconds it takes for the cats to discover a clean black surface).
posted by Arthur Dent at 3:40 PM on May 7, 2008

I agree, the Roomba is fantastic. It works on hard floors and is great for picking up dog hair; I assume it would work the same for cat hair.

If you want something cheaper, Dirt Devil makes a great entry-level vacuum. I can't remember the model type, but it's one of the few vacuums still on the market that has a bag. For what it's worth, I think the bagless vacuums are pretty worthless until you reach the Dyson level. Changing vacuum bags isn't fun, but it's not a task you will have to repeat frequently.
posted by J-Train at 3:40 PM on May 7, 2008

cat hair free
...slinks away in shame
posted by Arthur Dent at 3:41 PM on May 7, 2008

I clean houses. I've used a lot of vacuums. (But not the Roomba). I hate Dysons. The best vacuum for your money is the Eureka Boss SmartVac. It out cleans Dyson by 60% at half the price. It won some consumer awards. And it's easy to use. I love it so much I bought one for my business so I wouldn't have to use my clients' Dyson. On a side note, to get cat hair off furniture and other places, just wet the biggest sponge you can get, wring it out really, really good, and start wiping up cat hair.
posted by keith0718 at 3:58 PM on May 7, 2008 [12 favorites]

I have two cats, mostly wood floors and some carpet. My vacuum cleaner is a Kambrook Jaguar, 1800 watts. It cost us around NZ$140 (so would probably be less elsewhere), is a couple of years old now and it does a great job. My previous vacuum was a bit smaller, 1200 watts I think, and it didn't quite have enough suck. We don't always vacuum as much as we should either so there is often a fair bit of hair and stuff to deal with, but this cleaner copes no problems. It's fairly small and easy to drag around and the bag is very easy / non-messy to change.

You really don't need to buy something expensive and fancy. Any mid size, decent quality vacuum cleaner is likely to work.
posted by shelleycat at 4:03 PM on May 7, 2008

I agree with Keith - mine is a Eureka Whirlwind Lightspeed... I think I got it on sale a couple of years ago for about $100 and it works great. It has a hose attachment to get corners and baseboards and between sofa cushions. I have mostly hardwood and tile, with a couple area rugs, 3 cats. Also very satisfying to see in the bagless-cup-thingy how much dirt you are getting up.
posted by pinkbungalow at 4:16 PM on May 7, 2008

FWIW: hardwood floors, many rugs, 2 cats, Dyson, very happy.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 4:20 PM on May 7, 2008

I don't mess around. Why use a vacuum when you can get a shop vac for under 50 bucks and it will blow away any vacuum I can think of. Plus it has wonderful attachments for dusting, getting cobwebs, hard floors and carpeted. Not to mention getting into every nook and cranny and cleaning your baseboards. Vacuums just can't compete. I can clean my whole house in a matter of minutes.
posted by Vaike at 6:03 PM on May 7, 2008

voting for the dyson as well. i have two, they are nice machines. check ebay. also home depot seems to run them on clearance a lot
posted by Mr_Chips at 6:43 PM on May 7, 2008

Two cats, hardwood floors, area rugs, assorted stairs and carpeted areas and I am using a Dyson. I am not going to gloss over its faults, which there a few including the price, but it cleans my house effectively. I may consider the Eureka but the Dyson seems to do what I want. I also use a HEPA handvac for spot cleaning.
posted by jadepearl at 8:21 PM on May 7, 2008

I got the Kenmore that was rated best value by Consumer Reports. I have mostly hardwood and some carpet, and a cat. I love it, and it was on sale. And I know it's controversial to say but I LOVE that is has a bag. Bagless vacuums disgust me; dumping them just gets crap back into the air and, more importantly, my eyes.
posted by birdie birdington at 9:19 PM on May 7, 2008

Seconding Birdie Birdington. The Kenmore Progressive with the allergen filtration bags does an awesome job on pet hair (no cats here but we have two Labs and boy do they shed.) It has a sensor light that tells you when the spot you're vacuuming is truly clean, which I rely on more than I thought I would. There's no belt. It has variable power. Plus it's from Sears, so they guarantee the hell out of it. Unlike with electronics, we also opted for the extended warranty, because we've destroyed so many vacuums trying to keep carpets clean with two dogs that it would pay for itself the first time they fix it. (If they don't ever have to fix it, well, that just proves the money was well spent in the first place.)
posted by edverb at 10:04 PM on May 7, 2008

Previously (with my $.02).
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 10:49 AM on May 8, 2008

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