Using a handheld vacuum for cat litter has been a game-changer for me.
No matter what kind of litter you use, it’s going to get tracked around the house and your best defense is keeping the area near the litter box nice and clean. While a regular upright vacuum can do the trick it’s a bit like hammering a nail with a sledgehammer.
Yeah, it can get the job done but there’s an easier way.
I also like the idea of keeping litter away from my main vacuum, since it’s the one that gets pushed all around the house. After all, your cat is kicking litter out after they use the box. That means the litter is already…
You get the idea.
This is where the handheld vacuum cleaner comes in!
We keep ours right next to the litter box and it takes about 60 seconds to give the litter area a quick clean up. On the other hand, we keep our upright vacuum in the closet so pulling it out, plugging it in, and lugging it over is kind of a process.
I’ve put together my top 5 picks for the best handheld vacuum cleaner specifically for litter.
Let’s get into it!
How We Selected The Best Handheld Vacuum for Cat Litter
We’re not just looking for any handheld vacuum. We want one that works specifically with litter, will last for years, and isn’t going to break the bank.
Here’s a breakdown of our criteria.
Our top three vacuums have at least a 4.5 star average on Amazon at the time of writing. While reviews aren’t a perfect metric (and not everyone leaving a review is using the vacuum for cat litter) it’s a good start and an important metric.
Handheld and Cordless
We’re only looking at vacuums that are both handheld and cordless. In order to keep your litter box area clean, we want everything to be as simple as possible- part of that means not having to deal with cords. All of our top five selections are both cordless and handheld.
We’re subscribers of the “buy nice or buy twice” mentality but we still don’t see any reason to pay more than we have to. We’re making sure our selected vacuums have a competitive price and we’ve also made sure to include a budget option on the list.
We made sure to select vacuums that actually include reviews from cat owners that used the vacuum for cat litter. I’ve also got the vacuum that I personally use for my messy little cat at the top of the list.
Best Overall: VacLife Handheld Vacuum (Cordless)
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- Awesome reviews on Amazon with a long list of happy customers (and video testimonials)
- Good battery life
- It’s what I use to clean up litter
- Some reviews claim the suction is limited, but I’ve had no problems vacuuming litter
This product from VacLife is easily my best overall pick. It’s got a clean design, great reviews from dozens (and dozens) of cat owners that have used the product specifically for litter and the price is just right.
VacLife appears to be one of the many e-commerce brands that doesn’t actually try to get space in big box stores like Bed, Bath and Beyond. Instead, these brands focus on getting sales through Amazon and end up saving a lot by not having to pay for additional shipping to hundreds of locations.
Why should you care about all that?
Because in my experience, these brands make some great products! They just don’t have the same overhead as a Black and Decker type brand would. That’s why this was my first buy from Amazon and I couldn’t be happier with the product.
One of the biggest concerns with a cordless vacuum is the battery. While cordless is great, if your battery stops working after a few weeks of use it’s simply not worth it.
I searched the Amazon reviews for the word “battery” and there aren’t any negative reviews that are battery specific.
That’s a good sign. I can also report that I’ve had my vacuum for 4 months with use every other day and no issue.
This VacLife product also has a few extensions that you can add on. The most useful is the crevice extension which can be great at snagging litter between the wall and litter box.
The hose extension could be handy too if you’re dealing with achy knees or back and want to limit how much bending your do while still getting the benefits of a light handheld. Speaking of light, this vacuum weighs just under 2 pounds.
Finally, this vacuum features a stainless steel reusable filter. That’s a huge cost saving over time and there’s no extra filter to buy. You simply pull out the filter, give it a quick scrub and you’re good to know.
If you’re looking for the best balance of quality and value, the VacLife handheld is your best bet. You can click here to see today’s price on Amazon.
Runner Up: HONITURE Handheld VacuumBuy On Amazon
- Strong suction power
- Wet/Dry capability
- A bit louder than the typical handheld vacuum (but that also translates to power)
Honiture is another smaller brand that seems to use Amazon as its main vehicle for sales. Again, this strictly my opinion but many of these brands seem to offer great products at a price that’s very much within budget.
This Honiture vacuum has a great track record against cat litter and overall a very powerful suction.
It’s also one of the few handhelds on this list that have wet/dry capability. While this isn’t critical for litter (hopefully) it can be nice to have around the house. I’d just suggest changing out the extension so you have one for litter and one for other areas of the house.
The only real criticism, and the reason it’s the runner up, is the noise. It’s a bit loud when compared to our best overall pick. While this might not matter to some, I do like to try to limit the amount of noise and commotion around the litter box.
Still, that noise does translate to extra power as this vacuum is a bit stronger than the VacLife options. However, if you’re sticking to cat litter only that extra power might not make much difference for you.
This vacuum also comes with a variety of extensions just like our number pick but the Honiture product is actually a little bit lighter.
You also get the benefit of a reusable filter that saves not only money but the environment.
Overall, this is a little handheld vacuum and it packs a real punch! You can get the latest price on Amazon by clicking here.
Best On A Budget: VacLife Handheld Vacuum (Smaller Version)
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- Great budget options for a solid brand
- Awesome reviews on Amazon
- May not be powerful enough if you’re trying to vacuum litter off carpet
VacLife has two of the top 5 spots on our list…what can I say?
I’m all about that VacLife!
This smaller (and slightly heavier) product from VacLife is our best pick if you’re focused on staying budget-friendly while still getting a great quality product.
While this is our budget pick, some cat owners might actually prefer this for a couple of reasons. First, because it’s not as powerful as our first two selections you’ll find that the noise level is a bit lower.
Again, this is a result of a weaker suction but as with handheld vacuums on this list, they’re battle-tested when it comes to litter.
This product is also a bit more compact than many other handheld vacuums on the market. While this doesn’t make a big difference for me, some cat owners might be looking for a smaller and more compact vacuum.
It wouldn’t be our best budget pick if it didn’t also include a reusable filter. Again, this easy to clean stainless filter is friendly on the budget and the environment.
Best Money Can Buy: INSE Cordless Vacuum Cleaner
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- Best option if you want an all-purpose vacuum that’s also great a cleaning up cat litter
- Tons of features and awesome reviews
- If you just want to vacuum litter, it may be too much
If you’re looking to take no prisoners in the war against cat litter, this POWERFUL vacuum may be for you.
While some handhelds can struggle with enough suction power to really clean up cat litter from carpeted areas this 250 Watt vacuum has got the juice you need for any service. To put it in perspective, 250 Watts is double most other handheld vacuums.
But that’s also something we need to clear up. While we do consider this vacuum to be handheld, it also has an extendable handle that it can function as a traditional upright too. It actually has multiple forms it can take (like a litter hunting transformer) based on the surface you’re cleaning.
I really like this vacuum cleaner and it can do a lot more than just pick up cat litter. While I can’t honestly recommend it for someone who only wants a litter cleaning vacuum if you’re looking for a vacuum that can function as a handheld and do everything else you need this could be a great option.
Best For Hair and Litter: BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser
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- Perfect for vacuuming litter and dealing with shedding pets
- Awesome extensions for each purpose
- Need to buy additional filters
All the vacuums on this list can be effective for cleaning up both pet hair and litter. However, most folks probably don’t want to mix their litter vacuum with something they’d use in their bedroom.
Most of the handheld vacuums we’ve selected so far have had that in mind. But it can be great to have a vacuum that can do both. Especially if you’re prepared to change out the extension. In other words, you’ll want one extension for your litter section and other for your pet hair.
Finally, it may make sense to use the same handheld for pet beds and a litter area. There’s a pretty good chance your dog isn’t going to mind at all!
So if you’re looking for a great litter and hair combo vacuum you can’t go wrong with this product from Bissell.
It’s all about the extensions with this one. First, you’ve got the motorized brush that’s specifically designed to loosen up cat hair on upholstery. And it honestly works pretty well. While some of these extensions and gadgets seem like hype, this is the vacuum my sister uses with her German Shepherd.
And no matter how long your cat’s hair, that German Shepherd (his name is Cricket) is going to outshed your kitty!
Then there’s the crevice extension. This is perfect for cat litter and if you’re going for mixed-use this can be your dedicated litter extension.
Overall, this handheld vacuum is a great option for those with dogs and cats who want to clean up litter while trying to keep up with hair in their house or car. You can check today’s price on Amazon by clicking here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Since posting this guide to the best handheld vacuums for cat litter we’ve gotten quite a few questions! We’ve been answering them individually as they come in but also wanted to put together a quick FAQ section for anyone that’s interested.
Let’s get into it!
Q: Does cat litter ruin vacuums?
As long as you don’t try to clean massive amounts of litter at once, your vacuum isn’t at any risk of being ruined. Try to keep with litter spills daily so you never have to put your vacuum under too much stress and risk damage.
Q: Can I vacuum my cat?
While you can vacuum your cat to try and get a headstart on shedding, not every cat will tolerate it. Make sure your cat is okay with being vacuumed (they’ll let you know by running away) and try a lower-powered option to start.
Q: Should I care about how many watts a handheld vacuum is?
Watts can be a useful way to compare and understand the power of a vacuum. It’s not perfect since it depends on the efficiency of the individual motor but overall a vacuum with higher watts is more powerful. Most full size vacuums are around 1,000 watts while smaller handheld vacuums are about 250 watts.
Q: Will these handheld vacuums work for cat hair, too?
Yes, all our top 5 picks will work at removing cat hair and our number 5 pick is actually purpose-built to remove pet hair of all kinds. That being said, make sure you consider the sanitation aspect of using the same vacuum for split litter and say your living room couch.
Every vacuum on this list has an extension to make this easier and you can of course clean it.
What Do You Think?
Do you agree with our number pick?
Did we miss a handheld vacuum that does a great job with cat litter?
Let us know about it!