If you live with cats or dogs, you know that their hair can get anywhere and everywhere -- between the sofa cushions, on the stairs, in the car, on your bedspread. Sometimes the mess is in a place you missed or somewhere that's inconvenient to clean with a standard upright or canister vacuum cleaner. Those are the places where a handheld vacuum cleaner can come in handy.
Handheld vacuums are convenient cleaning tools that are usually cordless. They're a popular go-to for small messes, but not ideal for major cleaning projects. When it comes to using them for pet hair removal, they can be hit or miss. So when you're shopping for a handheld vacuum cleaner for pet hair, consider whether it has those same features you'd need for a vacuum cleaner of any size: powerful suction, strong airflow and a vigorous roller brush. Earlier hand vacs were often weak and included no roller brush at all. Many of today's models, however, are designed for heavier-duty tasks -- some are even geared specifically toward pet-hair pickup. Of course, a roller brush isn't necessary if you're primarily using the cleaner on hard surfaces. If, however, you're using it on carpeting or upholstery, the brush is important as it helps loosen dirt, dust and, of course, pet hair.
Before you buy a handheld vacuum cleaner, keep in mind that it's only for minor tasks. It has a small canister that will fill up quickly if you use it for pet hair. And, because you must use it by hand, it isn't ideal for clearing an entire room of cat or dog hair.
On the next page, we'll look at another method of vacuuming up pet hair.