Pet Vacuum vs Regular Vacuum – Which is Right for You?

Home Vacuum Zone is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

If you have a pet, you know that pet hair can be a major pain to deal with. It gets everywhere, and it can be tough to get rid of. That's where a pet vacuum comes in. Pet vacuums are designed specifically to handle pet hair, and they can make a big difference in keeping your home clean.

But what about regular vacuums? Can't they also be used to clean up pet hair?

Yes, they can. But regular vacuums may not be as effective as pet vacuums, and they may not have the same features that make pet vacuums so helpful.

Let's take a closer look at the difference between Pet Vacuums and Regular Vacuums to help you decide which one is right for you.

Pet vs Regular Vacuums

Dog chasing vacuum cleaner

Pet vacuum cleaners are specifically designed to effectively remove pet hair, dander, and other debris from your home.

They're available in a diverse range of styles and price points, so whatever type of vacuum you prefer you will be able to find a model with enhanced features for homes with pets. You can even get robot vacuums that are specially designed for pet hair!

Check out some of our reviews of the best pet vacuums:

To state the obvious, the primary advantage of a pet vacuum is its superior ability to extract pet hair from various surfaces - carpets, rugs, furniture covers, and drapes, to name a few.

They also help minimize allergens by capturing pet dander as well as dust mites and other particles linked to allergies or asthma

How do they do this? The key features are the vacuum's brush roll and its filtration system.

Pet vs Regular vacuum Brush Rolls

Dyson Anti-tangle mini tool

Brush rolls, also known as beater bars or agitator brushes, are a fundamental part of vacuum cleaners, responsible for dislodging dirt, dust, and debris from carpets and other fabrics. 

The type and design of the brush roll can vary between regular and pet-specific vacuum cleaners, affecting their efficiency in handling various cleaning tasks, particularly dealing with pet hair.

Pet vacuum cleaners have specialized brush rolls that are designed to handle pet hair more effectively. These brush rolls have features to deal with the challenges that pet hair can present.

Anti-Tangle Feature

Dyson V15 Motor Floorhead Anti-Tangle Comb

One common problem while vacuuming pet hair is that it can wrap around and get tangled on the brush roll.

To tackle this, many pet vacuum models come with an anti-tangle design. These brush rolls are typically engineered with a unique bristle pattern or spacing to prevent hair from wrapping around the roll tightly.

The brush rolls on Shark and Dyson pet vacuums are designed with these anti-hair wrap features. Their vacuum floor head brush bars and also mini motorized brush tool attachments are designed to effectively pickup long hair, reducing the need for frequent maintenance.

Pet vs Regular Vacuum Filtration Systems

canister vacuum on shag rug with dog

A vacuum cleaner's filtration system plays a vital role in maintaining indoor air quality. It captures and retains dust, dirt, allergens and other airborne particles that the vacuum picks up, preventing them from being expelled back into the air.

The type of filtration system used can have a significant impact, particularly for pet owners and individuals with allergies or asthma.

A 2012 study by Queensland University of Technology found that many vacuums, especially those without HEPA filters, can release significant quantities of bacteria and dust back into the air, causing potential health problems1.

Vacuums designed specifically for pet owners feature more advanced filtration systems to better handle pet dander, hair, and odors. By contrast, regular vacuum cleaners only come with a basic filtration system.

Enhanced HEPA Filters

Vacuum cleaner HEPA filters

Pet vacuum cleaners feature enhanced HEPA filtration systems. In addition to the efficiency of a regular HEPA filter, these systems might have extra layers or coatings designed to trap and neutralize pet odors.

For example, Dyson vacuums are built with a whole-machine HEPA filtration system. It ensures that the air that leaves the machine is cleaner than the air you breathe, which can be particularly beneficial for homes with pets.

The Dyson V15 Detect Complete has the most advanced pet dander filtration system we have seen on a vacuum. Its whole machine HEPA filtration system is designed to capture an impressive 99.97% of particles, even those as tiny as 0.1 microns! Because of this we think it's one the best vacuums for asthma and allergy sufferers as well as pet owners.

Active Charcoal Filters

Miele Active Air Clean Filter in vacuum

Some pet vacuums incorporate active charcoal (or activated carbon) filters in their filtration system. Active charcoal is known for its ability to absorb and neutralize odors, which can help combat pet smells.

Miele's Active AirClean filters are a prime example of this. These filters combine an active charcoal layer with a standard filter to capture and neutralize odors as the vacuum cleans. 

Completely Sealed Technology

Another important feature that you find on pet vacuums from brands such as Shark, Miele and Dyson is their specially sealed casing. A HEPA filter is only as good as the vacuum that sits around it!

Regular vacuum cleaners often use basic seals, which reduces their effectiveness at containing fine particles like pet dander allergens. As a result some particles may escape back into the room during vacuuming, reducing the overall cleaning efficiency.

The superior seals in pet vacuums are designed to prevent unfiltered air from escaping from the vacuum. This ensures that all air passes through the filter, making the filtration process more effective.


So, which type of vacuum should you buy? It depends on your needs.

If your pet is a heavy shedder with long hair, then a pet vacuum is the best option. Moreover, if you have allergies or asthma and pets then you should definitely opt for a pet vacuum.

But if your pet doesn't shed too much and has short hair then a regular vacuum may be sufficient. The best pet vacuums do not come cheap so if you don't think you need the enhanced features then you can save some money on a regular vacuum. If you're looking for a bargain check out our best vacuums under $200.

Leave a Comment