If you are on the hunt for a quick and easy way to clean up small messes without sucking away your savings, then you should consider the BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser. This vacuum holds its own with the top products overall, even though it retails for $50-$200 less. In particular, this handheld vacuum did exceptionally well with tougher messes and pet hair, though it isn't the most suited for cleaning all the hard-to-reach nooks and crannies in your home. However, it is by far the best handheld vacuum you can get in its price range, earning it the Best Buy award.
BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser Review
Pros: Fantastic at picking up pet hair, great value
Cons: Not the best for tight spaces, can’t clean small gaps or corners
Compare to Similar Products
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Pet Hair Eraser finished just ahead of the HoLife Portable Vacuum Cleaner and behind the BLACK+DECKER Flex Vac. The Pet Hair Eraser is the least expensive of this trio, costing $20 less than the HoLife and about $50 less than the Flex Vac. The Flex Vac does a little better at dusting and can reach all sorts of places that the BISSELL can't, but the BISSELL does a bit better with tough messes and pet hair, as well as having a better battery life. The HoLife has an even better battery life, but doesn't clean as well as either of the other two and isn't particularly adept at getting into tight spots. Overall, we would recommend the BISSELL if you are on a tight budget, but it is worth it to upgrade to the Flex Vac if you can afford it.
To achieve our goal of finding the best handheld vacuum of them all, we started off by undertaking an extensive research project, comparing other reviews and technical specifications for dozens and dozens of different vacuums, then bought all the models that showed the most promise to test out head-to-head and find out for ourselves which is the best of the best. We conducted tons of different tests, grouping them into six weighted rating metrics, with the Pet Hair Eraser's results compared to its peers described below.
Dust & Dirt
To start off, we evaluated and ranked how each vacuum handled light messes that you would typically encounter around your home. We scored each product on how it did at removing statically charged fine particles, caked on dirt and grime, and how it cleaned dust and dirt from the top of a baseboard and in the corners of a window sill. The Pet Hair Eraser did fairly well, earning a 6 out of 10 for its slightly above average set of results.
This vacuum is at a bit of a disadvantage right from the start in these tests, as it doesn't actually have a dusting brush — forcing us to use its upholstery attachment for these assessments. However, we were pleasantly surprised by its performance in our first test, where it only took about 22 seconds to clean all of the statically charged flour off of a plastic sheet.
It also did very well at cleaning off the dried on dirt and mud from a flat surface, matching the speed and efficiency of the top products.
Unfortunately, while the upholstery attachment of the BISSELL does hold its own against the top products when it comes to cleaning, it can't match them when it comes to cleaning small edges or in a corner.
The upholstery tool is somewhat oddly shaped, making it really difficult to clean the top of a baseboard or the corners of a shelf or window sill.
For our next round of tests, we moved on to assessing how the BISSELL dealt with messes that are a bit harder to clean up. We scored this handheld vacuum on how well it cleaned up flour, oats, and mini-wheats from different fabrics and carpet, as well as measured the wind speed and air flow it generated, for this metric, which accounts for 20% of its overall score. It did exceptionally well, earning an 8 out of 10.
Initially, we looked at how well the BISSELL did at cleaning up flour from a section of automotive-style carpet. We spread out a tablespoon of flour on the carpet and then attempted to clean it up with the BISSELL, which did an absolutely phenomenal job.
This handheld vacuum easily collected the most flour from the carpet on the first pass using its motorized brush tool and got the carpet the cleanest after multiple passes. It did similarly well at collecting oats, easily getting 99%+ of all the oats we spread out on both a couch cushion and on a section of carpet, only leaving trace amounts of dust behind.
This vacuum also does fine at collecting mini-wheats with the motorized attachment, but they do become clogged if you use any of the other tools. Finally, we hooked each vacuum up to a sealed box with an anemometer mounted over the sole opening to measure the airflow each vacuum caused by looking at the recorded airspeed. The BISSELL got the anemometer to register speeds of about 1210 FPM — about average for the group.
Next, we evaluated and compared how easy it is to clean some of the smaller and harder to access areas of your home with each vacuum. We specifically scored on how effectively each vacuum cleaned out a sliding window track and on how far it could reach under various sized gaps, similar to if you were cleaning under a sofa or other appliance. The BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser didn't do amazingly well, meriting a 5 out of 10 in this metric, which also constitutes 20% of the total score.
This vacuum did do very well at cleaning out the window track, easily sucking up all of the mess with its crevice tool.
Unfortunately, this vacuum didn't do very well at reaching deep into narrow slots. It only was able to clean about 7" into a 3" wide slot, which was a shorter than average reach.
It did a little better with the narrower 1.25" slot, able to clean up to 5.75" under it — just a bit further than the group average of 4.6"
Responsible for 15% of the overall score for the Pet Hair Eraser, our next metric compared the battery life of each handheld vacuum. We started each vacuum with a full battery, then ran them until they quit to determine scores, with the BISSELL doing alright, earning a 6 out of 10.
This vacuum lasted for 20 minutes and 42 seconds before dying, but this is reduced by about 3 minutes when using the motorized brush head.
Our next series of evaluations ranked and score how convenient and easy to clean with each of these handheld vacuums are. We looked at both weight and noise level, as well as ease of storing the different attachments and emptying the collection bin. The Pet Hair Eraser also did fairly well in this group of tests, earning a 6 out of 10 in this rating category, which also accounts for 15% of the total score.
The BISSELL is about average in weight, weighing in at around 3 lbs. with its heaviest tool attached and the base unit weighing 2.6 lbs.
It also is on the quieter side, though it has a slight whine that can be a bit annoying.
We did like that the Pet Hair Eraser has a larger than average collection bin and that it is fairly easy to empty, though we did wish it had a convenient way to store and manage all the tools or that some of them were integrated into the main base.
As its name suggests, the Pet Hair Eraser finished our testing process with a strong showing in our pet hair metric, earning a 9 out of 10. We scattered some donated pet hair from a local dog groomer on a cushion and on a section of carpet, then tried to clean it as best we could with the BISSELL. These two tests are responsible for the residual 10% of the total score.
The BISSELL did a phenomenal job in both tests, collecting over 99% of the hair from each one with only a hair or two remaining after two passes.
This vacuum is a great value, offering the best performance in its price range by far, earning it the Best Buy award.
If you are searching for a handheld vacuum on a tighter budget, then the Pet Hair Eraser by BISSELL is a fantastic option. It holds its own with much more expensive models when it comes to cleaning up tough messes, but it isn't the easiest to use at cleaning small areas and narrow gaps and slots.
— David Wise and Austin Palmer