Have you been wondering whether you should buy a canister vacuum or an upright? The choice between a canister vacuum or an upright model is a matter of personal preference, as both designs have their advantages and disadvantages.
Upright models contain each component in a single unit—the engine, the filter, and the dust bag/container. By contrast, canister models have a separate wand and head. The wand is connected to the vacuum unit via a tube.
Many homeowners find canister vacuums more maneuverable and mobile than uprights. A compact canister model is usually lighter and more portable than the average upright (with some exceptions), and thus makes a good choice for homes with multiple floors.
Another advantage of the canister design is its superior reach. With a canister, instead of moving around the entire body of an upright, you simply move the hose and the wand. This allows you to reach under furniture and overhead to ceilings, fans and lights—spots than uprights just can’t reach.
There are a lot of great models on the market. However, when searching for the very best models, we looked for two important qualities: how well it picks up pet hair, and whether it includes any features for homeowners with allergies.
After that, we looked for quality, performance, and price. We consulted hundreds of expert reviews and owner ratings, and we picked three winners that score high across the board. Keep reading to find the right one for you!
If you’re looking for a canister vacuum that effectively removes pet hair and other allergens from your home, the Kenmore Progressive 21614 is one of our favorite models offered at an affordable price.
The Progressive 21614 is a bagged canister vacuum that scores very well in both consumer tests and user reviews.
It’s particularly good at filtering the outflow of air from the vacuum, using a HEPA filter that’s certified by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.
The body of it weighs just 23 pounds, and it features a telescopic wand and 7-foot tube for better extended reach above the floor. The power cord is 26 feet long and retractable.
Since this is a pet hair vacuum, it comes with two attachments designed to remove those tricky pet hairs from surfaces around your home.
The Pet PowerMate attachment contains a small, rotating brush to remove pet hair instantly from any surface, and the Pet Upholstery Tool is designed for the same task, on more delicate surfaces.
It comes with a couple other useful attachments, as well: a crevice tool for hard-to-reach areas, and a dusting brush for gentler cleaning.
In consumer tests, the Kenmore Progressive 21614 holds its own against canister vacuums sold at many times the cost. It generates powerful suction. And with the aid of the extra attachments, this one excels on all surfaces at home—hard floors, stairs, deep carpets, and upholstery.
The Progressive 21614 also allows users to adjust the strength of the suction, a useful feature for cleaning more delicate surfaces. There are two adjustable options for floor cleaning: carpet and hard floor. Between the attachments, adjustable suction, and floor switch, the 21614 is equipped to tackle any surface in your home. It got an A+++ rating from one user who said that the design is far more superior than an upright model.
It’s easy to see why this one was certified as asthma- and allergy-friendly. The HEPA filter does a great job at filtering out dust, dander, and other allergens from the exhaust. The pet hair attachments also prove quite handy at sucking up dog and cat fur, leaving nothing behind to cause your allergy symptoms to flare up. It got a 5 star review from a customer who mentioned how well it picks dander. It’s very important when you have pets, kids and allergy.
A healthy percentage of owners—particularly those with smaller hands—found the handle of the wand bulky and unwieldy to use. This design flaw also makes it difficult to get the Progressive 21614’s wand into very deep, narrow areas (like the space between car seats).
Despite some minor design flaws, the Kenmore Progressive 21614 is one of the best canister pet vacuums for the money. For pet owners with allergies, both the pet hair attachments and the HEPA filter will offer tremendous relief!
With powerful performance, a multitude of useful attachments, and adjustable suction, this model is capable of leaving your home dust-, dirt- and dander-free.
Miele has earned a reputation for making some of the best canister vacuums around, and their high-end pet model is no exception. The Complete C3 Cat & Dog dominates the competition in terms of performance, efficiency and versatility.
Of course, the superior quality of the C3 Cat & Dog comes with a steep price tag, falling outside some shoppers’ budgets for a vacuum. While the C3 is sold at a premium, the vast majority of owners say this vacuum is well worth the price.
Miele’s pet vacuum features the “Electro Plus Electro Brush”—a vacuum head with an independent motor and five different levels of height adjustment for different floor types. It also includes the “Parquet Twister,” a swiveling floor brush that can maneuver 180 degrees to reach around furniture and into other narrow spaces.
The C3 Cat & Dog has variable suction control that can cycle between 6 different levels via a floor switch. It comes equipped with an Active Clean Air filter with active charcoal layers, specifically manufactured to neutralize and eliminate pet odors. The filter even has a color-changing strip to let you know when it’s time to change it out for a new one.
It includes a few additional attachments, including a dusting brush, crevice tool, and an upholstery tool. For tackling pet hair on furniture, Miele also includes a Mini Turbo Brush attachment.
The entire Miele C3 line is known for their attractive, lightweight build with sleek design and high caliber components. The whole vacuum gives off an air of luxury—as one user explained, the different between the C3 and a regular vacuum is “Like a Lexus compared to a Toyota.”
There are a few features that distinguish the Cat & Dog model from the rest of the C3 line. The first is the handheld turbo brush tool, which is used to remove pet hair from upholstery. The second is the advanced air filtration system.
This includes both the AirClean Filter bag and AirClean filter, which are designed to trap 99.9% percent of particles. The filter of this vacuum also features activated charcoal to effectively neutralize pet odors. A satisfied customer noticed that her home’s air quality has been better because allergy symptoms have improved since she started using the Miele C3.
What truly sets this vacuum apart is performance. When it comes to removing pet hair, there are few pet vacuums on the market today that can hold a candle to the C3’s ability. Users say it performs best on carpets, but still delivers excellent results on hardwood floors.
Another feature that makes this a great option for pet owners: the C3 line is a famously quiet group of vacuums. Many reviewers loved that they could vacuum in the room without scaring their pets.
The major drawback of the C3 Cat & Dog is the price. Though we believe it’s a worthwhile investment, there’s no doubt that many will balk at the cost of this unit.
For top of the line performance in pet hair vacuums, you would be hard-pressed to find a unit that can beat out the Miele C3 Cat & Dog. Its operation is quiet but high functioning, particularly when removing pet hair from carpets.
It’s also a great investment for pet owners with allergies. With two different attachments for pet hair and an advanced air filter system, the C3 Cat & Dog can immensely improve the air quality in your home, removing dust and dander for good. As mentioned by Web MD, the right vacuum can improve the air quality at home.
Of course, not everyone has parsed out a significant chunk of their budget for a pet hair vacuum. The good news is that there are many inexpensive pet vacuums that perform well without putting a dent in your wallet.
The Eureka Mighty Mite 3684F is our favorite example of an inexpensive model that still delivers great results. The Mighty Mite is a small canister vacuum that comes with pet hair attachments and weighs a scant 8 pounds.
It also comes with HEPA filters which capture 99.7% of dust particles and pet dander, according to Eureka. The Mighty Mite 3684F uses Arm & Hammer dust bags, which both eliminate odors and capture dander.
The Mighty Mite also includes a telescoping wand and a crevice tool for vacuuming hard-to-reach spots, which can be stored on board. The power cord is 20 feet long.
Eureka packs a lot of quality into the Mighty Mite, and there are few vacuums that can offer the same level of performance within the same price bracket. Despite its tiny size, owners say that the suction this vacuum produces is indeed “mighty.”
For many, the small size and light weight are the best assets of the Mighty Mite. The entire vacuum can easily be carried, making it a good choice for those who struggle to maneuver full-size vacuums.
It’s also perfect for apartment, condo or RV dwellers who are short on space. Unlike many canister vacuums, the Mighty Mite makes storage a non-issue. At 17 inches long and about a foot high, this vacuum can easily fit in the back of a closet with room to spare.
The HEPA filtration system is an essential feature for pet owners who suffer from allergies. It’s rare to find a vacuum at the price of the Mighty Mite with HEPA filters, and users with pet allergies found the vacuum improved their quality of life a good deal. A satisfied customer shared that while they weren’t deathly allergic to allergens, they noticed that the HEPA filter made a very big difference in terms of their allergies.
The pet hair attachments included with the Mighty Mite 3684F are also quite effective at removing hair from upholstery. Users say it does a great job removing hair and dander from both carpets and hardwood floors.
One of the most common complaints among users is about the cheap, plastic construction of the hose. A few noted that the hose of the Mighty Mite was prone to kinking during the first few uses, although this becomes less of a problem once the hose has been broken in.
Many owners also noted that the attachments included with this vacuum don’t lock in place. This makes them more prone to falling off while vacuuming.
The Mighty Mite is an inexpensive yet powerful vacuum that meets both the needs and budgets of many pet owners. Eureka delivers respectable pet hair removal performance within the tiny, lightweight 3684F, as well as HEPA filtration to remove more allergens like dust and dander from your home.
The Mighty Mite is perfect for those who live in a small apartment, or those who are looking for a second vacuum specifically designed to deal with pet hair. It’s also a great option for people who struggle with the size and weight of most vacuum cleaners.
Our favorite canister vacuum for pet hair removal is the Kenmore Progressive 21614. It’s an affordable vacuum that can match the performance of models many times its price. It also includes a HEPA filter that’s certified by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. For pet owners who suffer from allergies, that’s a big bonus.
On the higher end of the price spectrum is the Miele Complete C3 Cat & Dog. Though it comes at a premium, this pet vacuum is among the highest-rated by expert reviewers and customer ratings. It’s a beautifully designed machine that offers powerful suction without all the noise, and includes its own filtration system that improves the air quality in your home.
The Eureka Mighty Mite 3684F is a great budget-friendly option for pet owners, and also makes a great choice for apartment or condo owners who are short on space. It’s lightweight and compact, but still delivers impressive suction for it’s size. It also features HEPA filtration for removing dust and dander from the air.