Best Vacuum For Cleaning Cat Litter of 2018 & Buying Guide

Buying a vacuum always takes a bit of preparation, and a bit of thought. You have to consider the environment you live in and the sorts of floors you’re going to be vacuuming. It’s one thing to buy a vacuum for a house with hardwood floors, and an entirely different thing to buy a vacuum for a house when you’re cleaning up cat litter.

That’s not to say it’s impossible to vacuum up cat litter. It just takes a bit more information and a bit more time. It’s different vacuuming cat litter on wool carpets compared to hardwood floors, for example. That’s why we’ve put together this little guide, to help you make sure you can buy the best vacuum for cleaning cat litter.







Hoover Hardwood Floor Cleaner FH40010B



Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional with Dust-Away



Dyson Ball Multi Floor Compact Upright Vacuum Cleaner



New Miele Complete C3


What makes a vacuum good for cat litter?

When you’re vacuuming up cat litter, there are a few immediate considerations. You might want to just buy a regular vacuum cleaner and start sucking. This will work, but most vacuums aren’t designed to handle the thick, dense particulate matter that is cat litter. Using a regular vacuum on cat litter once or twice probably won’t cause a problem, but it’s nothing to get in the habit of. (Though neither is letting cat litter get all over your floor.)

There’s also the problem of smell. Cat litter doesn’t smell great! Sucking it up into a vacuum presents you with the problem of having to deal with that smell, which can be dealt with a couple of ways.

  • If you opt for a vacuum with bags, you’ll want to get a vacuum that has replaceable bags. If you don’t, you’ll have smelly cat litter stains sitting in the bag for the rest of the vacuum’s life. Bag vacuums are generally not recommended for cat litter, because the hose and tools associated with these sorts of machines generally aren’t strong enough to handle the density of cat litter.

Making things easier for yourself

If you can make the situation simpler before you buy a vacuum, all the better. You might want to invest in a tracking mat for your cat’s litter box. Even these won’t always help, especially if you’ve got lots of cats.

Another solution is to buy less-dense cat litter. Lighter cat litter will do less damage to your vacuum cleaner, and is possibly compatible with the model that you already have.

If you must buy a new one, it’s a worthwhile consideration to get a new one solely for cat litter. People seem to often forget how much cat litter can clump up. This, as you can imagine, is a nightmare inside a vacuum cleaner. A simple clump that can be cleaned out of the litter box would mean the destruction of a vacuum, causing you to buy a new one.

Pro tips:

  • Never vacuum wet cat litter. Even a little bit. This might seem like common sense, but the allure of vacuuming a dozen grains of wet cat litter is pretty enticing. Don’t do it – they’ll clump to smaller pieces and ruin your vacuum.
  • In regards to smell, make sure you’re ready to wash, or at least rinse, the hose of your vacuum after sucking up cat litter. Not doing so results in some lingering smells that can seriously cramp a house’s style.
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Selecting the best vacuum for cat litter

There are a few traits that are more important than others when it comes to vacuuming cat litter.

  • The surface that you’re vacuuming plays a huge part. Even when cleaning the same type of material, vacuums work differently on different types of floor.
    • If you’re cleaning a wool carpet or a thick carpet you’re going to want a lighter vacuum with medium suction that won’t tear the filaments out of your carpet. Super strong vacuums might mess up the integrity of your carpet.
    • If you’re working with hard floors, you can use mid-to-high suction vacuums. Cat litter pieces are fairly big and will respond to less-than-powerful suction.
  • It’s important to have flexible reach. Some vacuums have hoses that don’t reach very far, and if they do, they aren’t often very flexible. This is fine for regular vacuuming of floors, that don’t always require you to reach behind furniture or under it. Vacuuming cat litter is a bit different – it seems to get everywhere, doesn’t it? You’ll want a hose that has long reach and wide flexibility to reach in those stranger areas.
    • It’s also a good idea to get a vacuum with many different tools for cleaning. These can include many things! Popular tools are crevice cleaners, for getting in those tight spots, dust brushes for dusting off areas. A great tool for cleaning cat litter would be a pet hair cleaning tool. These are included in some vacuums and are a worthy purchase for those that don’t. If you’re cleaning cat here, we’ll assume that you hopefully own a cat. If not… what?
  • Consider your budget! Buying a vacuum cleaner is a dice roll in terms of price. If you’re buying one for cleaning cat litter then that means you’re looking for a few particular features. You want long hoses, flexible reach, various tools for cleaning different areas. These features can all be found in budget vacuums, but you’ll have to do some searching. Many vacuum companies advertise features like these as if they’re brand-new or groundbreaking, but they’re not. Looking for budget options is no crime.

Once you’ve decided what suits you best in terms of all these different things, it’s time to make a purchase.

So which are the best vacuums for cat litter?

Of course, not every one of the following vacuums will work for every type of house. That’s why we’ve taken the time to review more than one. Using the knowledge you gained from the buying guide, decide which of the following will be best for you and your household. You’ll surely find at least one of them to be a perfect fit.

1. Dyson Ball Multi Floor Compact Upright Vacuum Cleaner

Dyson is well-known and often considered to be the best maker of vacuum cleaners. They have a huge variety of products and this is one of their pet-centric models that’s particularly good at cleaning up dense particulate matter, like cat litter.If you ever used the Dyson DC50 Animal Compact vacuum, or if you’re considering getting this in addition to that, don’t – this is the same model with a new name.

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If you ever used the Dyson DC50 Animal Compact vacuum, or if you’re considering getting this in addition to that, don’t – this is the same model with a new name.

It’s got one of Dyson’s most advanced and intricate vacuum heads which allows it to pick up large amounts of stuff without compromising the filter. Despite being able to pick up thick or dense particles, it’s also got a 2-tier radial cyclone system that allows you to pick up fine dust.

All this power often makes a vacuum cleaner heavy, but this one clocks in at just over ten pounds, making it a breeze to move over your floor.

The unit comes with a five-years warranty, so if you somehow manage to break through Dyson’s almost invulnerable design, you’ll be able to get a new one without charge.


  • Made by the most reliable maker of vacuums
  • Has a very advanced and intricate vacuum head
  • Can clean up thick particulate and thin dust
  • 2-tier cyclone system
  • Lightweight, easy to move model
  • Comes with a warranty


  • Awkward handle
  • Expensive

2. Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional with Dust-Away

This is another popular model that uses a unique system developed by Shark. That system is the Lift-Away system which allows you to lift the vacuum off the ground and stand it up while it’s still in use. This allows you to easily clean hard-to-reach areas without needing to get a separate vacuum.

It’s also got a patented Dust-Away floor attachment that you can use for easily cleaning dust. This makes this vacuum ideal for cleaning both lighter dust as well as thicker things like cat litter.

The filter is completely sealed and certified as an Anti-Allergen Complete Seal, using an industry standard HEPA filter to keep dust and particles out of the air you’re going to be breathing. This makes this great for people who have allergies.

The unit isn’t very heavy, coming in at just under 14 pounds. Heavier than the last model, it’s still not too much of a chore to push around.


  • Not too heavy but very durable
  • Has a patented Lift-Away system for ease of access
  • Also has a Dust-Away attachment for cleaning furniture
  • Certified to be an anti-allergen vacuum
  • Uses a good HEPA filter


  • Have to wash the dirt bin too often

3. New Miele Complete C3 Cat & Dog Canister Vacuum Cleaner

You might recognize the name Miele. They’re the company that invented the HEPA filter which is now in use in most of the higher quality vacuums in the market.

Aside from that, they also make their own vacuums, and this one is one of the best competitors for people who need a vacuum for cleaning up cat litter.

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It has six variable speeds of suction which can be easily adjusted. This makes it great for use on all sorts of different floors, from hardwood to linoleum. It’s got an air-cleaned sealed system to prevent particulate matter from being spat back out into the air that you’re going to be breathing.

It’s got a couple integrated tools to make your life easier, including an electro plus brush and a mini turbo brush which can be used for cleaning furniture and other areas of your house. It’s also got a parquet twister for the handle which allows you to twist it 180 degrees, making it a lot easier to move this vacuum than some of the competitors.


  • Made by an industry leader in filtration
  • Has six speeds that you can easily adjust
  • Can be used on different types of flooring
  • Good filtration system to ensure you don’t inhale unhealthy air
  • Integrated tools make it easier to use this unit
  • Has an electro brush and a mini turbo brush
  • The head can be turned 180 degrees making it easy to move


  • No warranty and might be shipped with defective parts

4. Hoover Hardwood Floor Cleaner FH40010B

This vacuum has a whole bunch of neat features that separate it from the rest of the models on this list.

The first of these features is the SpinScrub brushes. These are located on the vacuum head and ensure that you can properly scrub all sorts of different floors and headboards with a similar degree of cleanliness.

It’s a dry and wet vacuum and uses a dual tank system that keeps the dirty water separate from the clean water. The modes can be easily switched between with a dial that lets you choose between vacuuming, washing and drying.

The unit easily holds a gallon of water which should be more than enough for people cleaning floors. A push of a button allows you to apply extra detergent through the vacuum without having to make manual adjustments.


  • Has cool SpinScrub brushes for doing detailed cleaning
  • Also uses a dual tank system to ensure that dirty and clean water stay separate
  • Can easily switch between modes for vacuuming, washing and drying your floor
  • Can hold a gallon of water which should be enough to clean most houses
  • Easily pushed adjustments allow more or less detergent to be used


  • Doesn’t last as long as other vacuums are known to.

So which one is the best?

For this list we are going to choose the Hoover Hardwood Cleaner. It’s great for a lot of things, not the least of which are cleaning stains that can be left by cats tracking wet cat litter through the house.

Since it’s both a dry and a wet vacuum, you can vacuum softer floors and switch between modes to ensure you can clean different types of floors with ease. A number of convenient switches allow you to adjust this vacuum to your preference.