If you have a cat, you’re probably very used to dealing with cat litter, that is, unless you have one of those marvelously trained toilet-using cats.
But for the rest of us, we’re stuck with dealing with cat litter and the mess that comes with it (why does so much litter end up outside the box?). While humans and cats have been living together for centuries, clay cat litter was an accidental discovery in the 1940s.
Regardless of the type of cat litter, it’s essential for pet owners to have the right tool for cleaning up spills. Here are some of the best vacuums for cat litter.
- Best Cordless Vacuum: Dyson V8 Animal Cordless Vacuum
- Best Handheld Vacuum: Bissell Pet Hair Eraser
- Best Upright Vacuum: Bissell 2252 CleanView Swivel Upright Bagless Vacuum
- Best Touchless: EyeVac Pet Touchless Stationary Vacuum
- Best Robot Vacuum: iRobot Roomba j7+ (7550) Self-Emptying Robot Vacuum
Best Vacuums for Cat Litter
Best Cordless Vacuum: Dyson V8 Animal Cordless Vacuum
- Direct Drive Cleaner Head – Easily Accesses Dirt and Grime Trapped Deep inside Carpets while still Managing to Remove Dust from Hard Floors
- The Center of Gravity is Located Towards the Grip for Easy, Lightweight Cleaning Up Top, Down Below and In-Between Places, Things and Areas
- Includes – Direct Drive Cleaner Head, Electric Wand Set, Mini Motorized Tool, Docking Station, Combination Accessory Tool, Crevice Tool and Manuals
The Dyson V8 cordless stick vacuum promises powerful suction and long battery life in a lightweight package. The cleaner head contains stiff nylon bristles to grab a pet hair from carpet and remove ground-in dirt.
While it does have a shorter run time than the newer models, such as the V10 and V11, 40 minutes is sufficient for most users. Some reviews note a louder operating noise than other cordless vacuums, possibly due to the strong suction power.
Most reviews note that this is a great vacuum for daily messes, but deeper cleans may require a corded vacuum.
For more suction power and longer run times, Dyson also has a few newer models, including the V10 and V11. These models are a little pricier than the V8 version, and for the record, our editor Kait has used the V8 for years with no issues!
- Cordless, battery-operated
- Includes attachments
- Lightweight and easy to use
- Stiff bristles to grab pet hair
- Stores upright with charging dock
- Does not run as long at max power
- Slightly noisy, potentially due to higher suction power
- HEPA: Yes
- Runtime (if cordless): 40 minutes
- Weight: 6 pounds
Best Handheld Vacuum: Bissell Pet Hair Eraser
- Buy Bissell, save pets; Bissell will donate 5 dollars for each pet hair eraser Li Ion purchase, upon activation
- Remove more embedded dirt and pet hair with a motorized brush tool and lithium ion battery, Dispose of pet hair and debris easily with a large, easy-to-empty dirt tank.
- 14V lithium ion battery for lithium powered cleaning; Dirt cup capacity: 0.7 Litres
Bissell’s cordless Pet Hair Eraser is a handheld vacuum designed specifically to remove pet hair and debris from floors, furniture, and other hard-to-reach places — including your car. Powered by a 14V lithium-ion battery, the Pet Hair Eraser touts up to 17 minutes of runtime.
While the vacuum doesn’t have HEPA filtration, it does have triple-level filtration to help improve cleaning performance. The specialized pet tool kit includes an upholstery tool, crevice tool, and motorized brush tool to reach different surfaces. The multi-use capabilities and smaller size make it best for quick cleanup jobs versus deep cleaning.
- Includes attachments
- Triple level filtration
- Bissell donates $5 for each Pet Hair Eraser purchase
- Motorized brush tool to pick up pet hair
- Extra-large 0.7 liter dirt bin to reduce emptying frequency
- No HEPA filter
- Some users report the unit turning off or losing power intermittently after 6-12 months of use.
- Lower suction power compared to full-size vacuums, though adequate for its intended use.
- HEPA: No
- Runtime: 17 minutes
- Weight: 3 pounds
Best Upright Vacuum: Bissell 2252 CleanView Swivel Upright Bagless Vacuum
- EVERY PURCHASE SAVES PETS. BISSELL proudly supports BISSELL Pet Foundation and its mission to help save homeless pets.
- SWIVEL STEERING FOR MAXIMUM MANEUVERABILITY. Makes cleaning around furniture and other obstacles easy. Filter replacement every 6 months
- TRIPLE ACTION BRUSH ROLL. Loosens, lifts and removes embedded pet hair.
Bissell’s CleanView Swivel Pet vacuum aims to make picking up pet hair and debris fast and effective thanks to features like swivel steering, triple action brush roll, and specialized pet tools.
The swivel steering allows the vacuum to easily maneuver and turn in tight spaces and around furniture for thorough cleaning. The triple-action brush roll loosens, lifts, and removes pet hair and embedded dirt from carpets while its soft bristles gently clean hard floors.
However, reviews noted a few cons, including the pet attachment turbo brush lacking power at times and the cumbersome weight of the vacuum.
- Swivel steering for maneuverability
- Includes attachments
- Scatter-free technology to pick up dry pet messes like litter
- Washable filters
- Affordable alternative to Dyson
- No HEPA filter
- HEPA: No
- Runtime: N/A – Corded
- Weight: 12 pounds
Best Touchless: EyeVac Pet Touchless Stationary Vacuum
- PERFECT FOR HOME AND PROFESSIONAL USE: EyeVac Pet stationary touchless vacuum is designed for use in households with pets, pet grooming salons, mobility concerns or any space that requires regular…
- FAST & POWERFUL: 1400 watt vacuum removes 100% of dust, hair and debris instantly
- CONVENIENT: always on and always ready infrared sensors activate EyeVac automatically
EyeVac’s Pet Touchless Vacuum aims to make pet hair and debris cleanups easy and automatic with its sensor-activated suctioning and convenient upright design. I consider this vacuum to be most useful as a way to replace your dustpan when sweeping up cat litter, pet food, or pet hair.
Here’s how it works: You sweep and direct the debris toward the vacuum, and infrared sensors automatically activate the 1400W suction power to pull in the debris.
While the automatic suction and high-efficiency filtration are beneficial features, some may find the cord length inconvenient and sensor activation irritating. But its hands-free operation and large capacity make it worth considering for quick and easy vacuuming of floors after pets.
- Easy-to-empty bagless canister
- Dual filters to trap dust, allergens, and pet dander
- Some users note it being too loud
- Some reports of the sensors being too sensitive and activating unintentionally.
- HEPA: No
- Runtime: N/A – Corded
- Weight: N/A – Stationary
Best Robot Vacuum: iRobot Roomba j7+ (7550) Self-Emptying Robot Vacuum
- THE WORLD’S SMARTEST CLEANING ROBOTS JUST GOT SMARTER – iRobot OS powers your Roomba j7+ to clean the way you want it to. It avoids objects in its way, allows you to schedule multiple cleanings per…
- AVOIDS PET ACCIDENTS ON PURPOSE – WE GUARANTEE IT – Only IRobot brings you P.O.O.P. (Pet Owner Official Promise). You can rely on your Roomba j7+ to avoid pet waste, or we’ll replace it for free….
- KNOWS WHAT TO CLEAN AND WHAT TO AVOID – The Roomba j7+ robot vacuum uses IRobot OS Technology and PrecisionVision Navigation to recognize and avoid common objects in its way like cords, pet waste,…
The iRobot Roomba j7+ features advanced navigation technology and Precision Vision navigation to identify and avoid obstacles like cords, pet waste, and socks. According to a recent test of robot vacuums, this iRobot Roomba fared well against cat litter.
It also empties itself for up to 60 days so you don’t have to empty the dustbin – such a great feature. IRobot OS powers this vacuum so you can map your home and schedule your home cleaning. This high-tech option is Alexa and Google Assistant compatible too, to make your life easier.
- Automatic dirt disposal
- Compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant, and iRobot app for voice control and remote monitoring
- Dual multi-surface rubber brushes to remove dirt, debris, and pet hair
- Can get stuck on rugs occasionally
- Reviews note that with pets, the dirt bin usually fills sooner than 60 days
- Replacement parts can be costly
- Requires bags (not bagless)
- No HEPA filter
- HEPA: No
- Runtime: N/A – recharges itself as needed
- Weight: N/A – it does not require lifting
Considerations Before Buying a Cat Litter Vacuum
There are a few considerations before buying a vacuum to pick up cat litter. For example, you may want to select an upright, handheld, or touchless vacuum, depending on your needs. After that, you may want to determine whether you prefer a corded or cordless option. Read on for more considerations!
Upright vs. Handheld Vacuums
You may opt for either an upright or handheld vacuum depending on the way you plan to use your vacuum. Upright vacuums are ideal for larger cleaning tasks and can often be converted into a handheld vacuum. Handheld vacuums are lightweight and designed for portability and convenient storage.
You’ll want to make sure the size of the vacuum suits the storage space you have available for storage and that the vacuum size is appropriate for the way you plan to use it. For example, you may opt for a lighter weight or narrower vacuum for tight, harder-to-maneuver areas.
Vacuums with stronger suction power will pick up litter and debris more effectively and prevent it from being left behind. On the other hand, stronger suction power may make for a noisier vacuum.
I recommend looking for a vacuum that includes attachments to let you customize your tool for the job at hand. For example, you may have an upholstery attachment or a crevice tool to get into the nooks and crannies. Most on this list do.
For an upright vacuum, you may want a customizable height vacuum if you have individuals in your household who are different heights.
Consider the size and weight of the vacuum, ensuring it is manageable and easy to maneuver around litter boxes and other areas.
Look for durability in the vacuum you buy by looking for sturdy build. If you’re splurging (and even if you’re not), sometimes it’s worth checking out the product in a store first, even if you plan to buy online.
Choose a vacuum with a high-quality filtration system to capture fine dust and prevent it from being released back into the air during cleaning. You may opt for a HEPA filter to trap particles so they do not recirculate into your home.
Tips for Vacuuming Cat Litter
When vacuuming cat litter, consider the following tips for effective cleaning:
1. Use a suitable vacuum: Opt for a vacuum with strong suction power and appropriate filtration systems to handle cat litter. Look for models specifically designed for pet hair and debris (like the ones on this list!).
2. Pre-cleaning preparation: Before vacuuming, remove any larger debris or clumps of litter manually using a scoop or dustpan. This helps prevent clogging and improves the efficiency of the vacuum.
3. Choose the right attachments: Utilize attachments such as a crevice tool or upholstery brush to reach corners, edges, and furniture where litter may accumulate. These attachments can provide better suction and access to tight spaces.
4. Consider a dedicated vacuum: If cat litter is a persistent issue, you may want to invest in a separate vacuum specifically designated for cleaning litter areas. This helps prevent cross-contamination with other areas of your home.
5. Empty the vacuum regularly: Empty the vacuum’s dustbin or bag frequently to prevent buildup and maintain optimal suction. This also helps prevent odors and keeps the vacuum running efficiently.
6. Clean and maintain the vacuum: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for regular maintenance, such as cleaning or replacing filters, to ensure the vacuum continues to perform effectively.
7. Consider a mat or tray: Place a litter mat or tray near the litter box to capture excess litter from your cat’s paws, reducing the amount that ends up on your floors and requiring vacuuming.
By following these tips, you can effectively vacuum cat litter and keep your home clean and litter-free.
Product Comparison Chart
It depends. Robot vacuums can work for cat litter. It depends on the type of litter and the type of vacuum. While robot vacuums can help manage cat litter, manual vacuuming enables you to do a more targeted and detailed cleaning job.
Yes, Dyson vacuums are generally capable of picking up cat litter effectively. Dyson models are known for their powerful suction, advanced filtration systems, and versatile attachments, which can help in efficiently removing cat litter from various surfaces.
Make sure the Dyson vacuum you choose has suitable attachments and features for tackling cat litter, such as a motorized brush head or a combination tool for reaching corners and crevices.
To make your cat litter less messy, choose clumping litter, use a litter mat to trap particles, maintain a sufficient depth of litter, scoop the box daily, consider using liners, use a litter box enclosure, and regularly clean the litter box. These steps help minimize tracking, contain litter, and maintain a cleaner environment for you and your cat.
It depends. Cat litter can damage a vacuum if it is not designed for litter or equipped to handle it. The small particles of litter can clog the vacuum’s filters, hoses, or other components, leading to reduced performance or damage.
Check the manufacturer’s recommendations and use a vacuum specifically designed for handling cat litter or one with appropriate filtration systems to prevent damage. Regularly empty and clean the vacuum after each use to keep the vacuum in good working order.
Final Thoughts on Cat Litter Vacuums
Cat litter vacuums can be valuable tools for maintaining a clean and odor-free environment. Remember, like with any product, regular maintenance and proper usage are essential for optimal performance.
Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and best practices, such as emptying the bin and cleaning the filters, which will go a long way in keeping your vacuum working for a long time.