1. Home

Before You Buy a Vacuum for a Home With Pets

If you have pets, be prepared to get a good vacuum


Housewares >> Vacuums & Floor Care >>

If your home has pets, you need a good vacuum to help keep your home clean. And while most vacuums may seem adequate, standard models generally are not designed to handle much animal dander and hair, but 'pet' or 'animal' models have enhanced technologies and special features designed for the task.

When there are allergy sufferers in your household, choose a vacuum designed for pets that also has filtration features for removing allergens. These buying tips will explain why a pet vacuum is best suited for your needs as a pet owner.

Enhanced Suction Power

The most important vacuum feature for a pet owner's home is good suction power. Not only does the vacuum need to lift pet hair from the floor or carpets, but it needs to have enough suction to pull it up and into the dirt bin/bag. While a minimum of 12 amps of power may seem adequate, special technologies such as Dyson's Root Cyclone™ or Hoover's WindTunnel™ can increase cleaning effectiveness. Look for a pet vacuum with special features to enhanced suction power and that is designed to handle the task.

Vacuum Tools & Accessories

Pet vacuums have accessories that are modified to better handle animal hair, including special brush bristle patterns and the openings or connections of small tools are usually wider or more flexible, to reduce animal hair clogs.

Look for a vacuum that has specially-designed pet tools such as a small powerhead for cleaning furniture, stairs or vehicle seats. A vacuum wand and large floor tool is handy for removing pet dander which seems to cling to walls and draperies and a small floor tool can be used to lift hair from clothing.

Filtration Systems

The presence of animals will increase the amount of allergens and reduces indoor air quality. Enhanced filtration systems such as HEPA or multi-stage filters help to remove, contain and eliminate or reduce the amount of allergens returned to the room.

While removing animal hair is important, you also need to reduce pet dander which is not as visual as hair, and filters will help. Filters should be cleaned/replaced more often than recommended, because they will clog much faster from pet hair and dander.s

Dirt Bin or Enhanced Bags

Some vacuums use optional multi-layered dirt bags which reduce the risk of dust/dirt from transferring to the motor or being exhausted back to the room. Since pets will increase the amount of dust in your home, it's important to take steps to protect the life of your vacuum by using enhanced dirt bags, when available.

When a vacuum has a removable bagless bin system, to contain dust when emptying, close a trash bag around the bin before releasing the debris. Neither bag or bagless is better where pets are considered, but you should empty the bin or change bags often and try to contain the dust while doing so.

Vacuum Lifecycle & Warranty

Since most vacuums are designed for cleaning an average home, pet owners typically go through vacuums faster than non-pet homes. When there are several animals in the home, the vacuum duty cycle can be drastically decreased due to the increased amount of allergens, dust, dander, dirt and cleaning in general.

While a pet vacuum is better designed to handle such tasks, care and maintenance is important if you want it to last. When buying a pet vacuum, look for a long warranty period and with more-than-average cleaning needs, it may be wise to consider an extended service contract.

Vacuum Price & Value

When it comes to pets, you'll need to vacuum more often and that means wear and tear on the vacuum. While you can buy a low end vacuum, you'll need to pay more for one with filtration, enhanced performance features and animal design attributes. You'll also vacuum more quickly with one that has better suction power and that means less cleaning time for you. Look for quality and durability when making your buying a good vacuum for a home with pets.

Compare Prices of Vacuums

Review prices to find a vacuum within your budget. Consider accessories and on-going maintenance supplies that you'll need for your new vacuum, such as bags, parts and filters.

Related Vacuum Resources

Not sure what type of vacuum to get or whether a canister would be better than an upright? Canister vs upright is often a design preference, but when it comes to cleaning after pets, a canister model may have more tools that allow you to clean dirt and hair more easily from crevices and tight corners, than an upright.

Housewares >> Vacuums & Floor Care >>

Promotional Feature: View this video series to learn how to take good care of your house.

Related Video
How to Buy a Vacuum

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.