Pet Fur Vacuum Review 2015: We Put Dyson, Panasonic and Bissell to the Test
Pets provide us with so much: unconditional love, endless entertainment, constant companionship… and fur. Lots of fur. So much fur that by the time you’ve finished vacuuming the last room in your home, you walk back into the living room and see a tumbleweed of fluff hovering in a corner.
Still, here at Vetstreet, we know a little (or even a lot of) fur is a small price to pay for sharing your home with a beloved cat or dog, so the best course of action is to find the best way to deal with it. We’ve offered a few suggestions, of course, but to help you out even more, I’ve spent the past couple of months reviewing three popular vacuums designed for homes with pets: the Dyson V6 Motorhead, Panasonic JetForce MC-UL429 and Bissell Bolt ION. Now, I’m sharing my findings.
To give you an idea of what these vacuums went through, let me set the scene: I have a big black dog, a medium-size white dog and a medium-haired gray cat (hooray for hitting an array of colors!), and the majority of my home is hardwood and tile, although there are several area rugs and a couple of carpeted bedrooms. Oh, and I’m in the process of trying to sell my home, so I’m keeping it unusually neat pretty much all the time. Bottom line: These vacuums were put through the ringer!
Dyson V6 Motorhead
The Dyson V6 Motorhead uses a digital V6 motor to provide serious suction and power — I’m talking along the lines of (if not stronger suction than) many best-selling uprights and about double the suction of other cordless vacs on the market. It’s the first cordless machine with a direct-drive motor in the cleaner head.
Best for: Those who want a single, full-power, cordless vacuum and don’t mind spending some money on it.
Features: It’s bagless, cordless, comes with a docking station, has one-touch hygienic bin emptying (works from either side for right- and left-handed users) and has 75 percent more brush bar power than the V6 Animal (Dyson’s next step down in cordless machines).
Weight: 4.96 pounds
Run time: Up to 20 minutes (six minutes in Max mode)
Attachments: Combination tool, crevice tool.
What I liked: This is an incredibly effective and versatile machine. I can clean just about any part of my house (or car!) with it. The regular mode works well, but for heavily soiled areas, a quick hit using the Max power mode does the trick. It picks up fur, dirt, dust and loose kitty litter with ease. And in addition to being lightweight, the bulk of the weight is mainly up high, toward the handle, so using it to clean something above my head (like the fan) is a piece of cake. Plus, there’s the fact that I can easily use just the motorized cleaning head for small, hard-to-reach areas, and the low-profile cleaner head goes flat and stays on the floor to get underneath furniture. Also, it’s very easy to empty (and you don’t even have to get your hands dirty if you’re careful) as long as you don’t overfill the bin — if you do, it takes a little extra effort to get the fur out, but it’s manageable.
What I didn’t like: All my animals were really scared of it for the first couple of weeks (even though they don’t normally react too much to other vacuums), but they did eventually adjust. Otherwise, my only real complaint is that the bin fills pretty quickly. A longer run time would be great, too, but because the suction is so strong, I can get a lot of ground covered before the battery dies. Fortunately, it doesn’t take too long to recharge. You can’t ignore that rather hefty price tag either.
Panasonic JetForce MC-UL429
The Panasonic JetForce is powerful, easy to maneuver, a cinch to empty and clean, and comes with some really handy tools. It’s not cordless, but the cord is 24 feet long and automatically retracts. It features a pet-specific attachment to make removing the fur from your furniture simple.
Price: $149.99 (on sale for $121.99)
Best for: Those who don’t mind a cord and want some pet-specific features at a very reasonable price point.
Features: It’s bagless, the bin comes fully apart to dump out all contents easily and it has some handy pet hair–friendly attachments.
Weight: 15 pounds
Run time: N/A (plugs in)
Attachments: PetGlide brush, Extended Reach telescopic crevice tool with a 13-foot reach and the ability to expand from 14 inches to 29 inches.
What I liked: It’s very effective on all my floor types, the PetGlide tool is handy for furniture and I really can get just about every nook and cranny (high or low!) with the telescopic crevice tool and removable dusting brush. The bin didn’t need to be emptied as often as the others, and when it did fill up, I didn’t have to remove a filter. If fur happened to get up beyond the fill line, it was easy to take the canister apart to empty it out fully. And for the power you get, the price is nice.
What I didn’t like: The cord and the weight (it’s still lighter than many other uprights, which are often close to 20 pounds, just not as light as the cordless vacuums reviewed here).
Bissell Bolt ION
The Bissell Bolt ION isn’t quite as powerful as the other two vacuums reviewed, but it has impressive versatility and is extremely easy to use.
Best for: Those who are budget conscious, have mainly smooth flooring and are seeking a cordless vacuum for all their needs.
Features: It’s bagless, cordless, comes with a charging base, has a removable hand vac, as well as edge bristles, and a brush roll on/off switch. There are normal and boosted suction settings, plus 180-degree swivel steering and a two-way folding handle to make getting underneath furniture simple. EdgeReach technology delivers suction to the edges of the vacuum to make it a little easier to get the stuff that hides in the edges and corners, too.
Weight: 5.6 pounds
Run time: Up to 30 minutes
Attachments: Crevice tool, combination dusting brush/upholstery tool.
What I liked: It’s lightweight, versatile, easy to use, and the price is great. It might not maneuver quite as smoothly as the Dyson, but it glides nicely, and changing direction is a breeze. It easily sucks up all the fur and dirt on my floors, and when it needs more than suction alone, a push of a button turns on the brushes to get things moving.
What I didn’t like: It’s not as powerful as the other two options. It does the job perfectly well on smooth floors and did a pretty decent job on my low-pile rugs, but if I had a lot of high-pile carpets, it might not be the best pick. And I don’t love having to take out the filter every time I empty the bin — there’s no way to keep your fingers from getting dirty.
More on Vetstreet:
- The Top Pet Owner Complaint Is…
- Signs Your Home Is Ruled by Cats
- Why Does My Dog Lean on Me
- You’ll Be Surprised Where Pet Hair Lurks
- Having Allergies Doesn’t Mean Passing on Pets