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What type of vacuum cleaner works best for pet hair?

Carpet Vacuum Cleaners for Pet Hair

If you own a cat or dog, this may have happened to you: You vacuum your entire carpet, filling your bag or canister with a swirling mass of fur. Then, as you survey your clean floors, what catches your eye but stray pet hairs. It seems practically impossible to make your carpet fur-free.

While it's easy for pet hair to become embedded in the fibers of carpet, your vacuum cleaner may be part of the problem. If your machine has a weak roller brush, suction and air flow, it's not going to do the job you need it to. But before you run out and buy a brand-new vacuum cleaner, first make sure there isn't an easy solution to your current one's cleaning problems.

If suction and airflow are weak, check to make sure your bag or canister isn't full or overflowing. You might also want to check the hose and head to make sure there isn't an obstruction. If your vacuum cleaner's roller brush isn't operating, the machine could have a broken or slipped belt that needs to be replaced. Don't forget to adjust your roller brush for the pile height of your carpet if your machine has that function.

If you've addressed any possible problems and your vacuum still isn't cleaning up pet hair well, it might be time to invest in a cleaner designed with pet owners in mind. These machines should have powerful suction and air flow, but how do you know for sure if the claims on the manufacturer's box are true? You may notice that some vacuum cleaners have more amps than others. While amps do indicate the electrical power of the vacuum, they don't tell you how much suction the cleaner will have.

A good rule of thumb is that upright vacuum cleaners typically have better suction than canister vacuums. However, there is still a lot of performance variation among the two categories. When it comes down to selecting a specific brand and model, the most effective way to find the best vacuum for pet hair cleaning is to do your research. Since organizations that rate vacuum cleaners, such as Consumer Reports, typically have a separate testing category for pet hair, this information might help you avoid lower-performing cleaners. You should also ask friends and family who have pets what vacuum cleaner they use and if they're happy with the job it does.

See the next page for lots more information on vacuum cleaners and housekeeping.