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
For those with pets at home – such as casting dogs and cats – you’ll want a vacuum that has great suction power to lift fur that’s trapped and entangled in the carpet pile. 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 canister or bag.
It’s not just hairs that pets leave strewn across the home, they carry pollen, dust, and dirt on their paws and coat – even dried in saliva. That’s where vacuum cleaners like the Dyson’s V10 Cyclone and Shark Anti Hair Warp come into their own, by being specially designed for cleaning homes with pets.
Look for a pet vacuum with special features to enhanced suction power 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 are 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.
The presence of animals will increase the number of allergens and reduce indoor air quality. Enhanced filtration systems such as HEPA or multi-stage filters help to remove, contain and eliminate or reduce the number of allergens returned to the room.
HEPA – an acronym for ‘High-Efficiency Particulate Air’. HEPA filters originated in the 1940s and were introduced to the commercial markets a few years later under a registered trademark.
A true HEPA® is the best-known filter for removing at least 99.97% of particulates such as dust, animal dander, smoke, mould and other allergens that are 0.3 microns or larger, from the air and thus improving air quality.
There are many generic HEPA filtration filters on the market today, but a true HEPA® filter will proudly display its efficiency ratings on the packaging. Other similar filters may not meet the same efficiency standards.
Manufacturers’ recommendations of when to change these filters, should be followed, to ensure the best operational performance of your appliance. This being said, if your home has more than the usual amount of dust, pet dander and other allergens, the HEPA filter may require changing more often than recommended.
HEPA® filters are expensive to replace, but the benefits far outweigh the costs and are found in many of today’s premium vacuum cleaners. These filters have become invaluable for removing allergens from the air in a room and bringing relief to persons with pet or pollen allergies, or asthma.
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.
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 dirtbags, 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 nor 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-specific 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 budge vacuum, you’ll need to pay more for one with excellent 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 and special anti-hair wrap when choosing a vacuum for a home with pets.
Compare Prices of Vacuums
Review prices to find a vacuum within your budget. Consider accessories and ongoing maintenance supplies that you’ll need for your new vacuum, such as bags, parts and filters.
Not sure what type of vacuum to get or whether a canister would be better than an upright? Cylinder 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.