Wipe Out Pet Hair With the Best Cordless Vacuums

Pet hair sticks to fabric, carpet, and furniture, making it difficult to remove. If you’re looking to use a lightweight, portable cordless vacuum to clean away pet hair, you’ll want one that’s specifically designed for the job.

Best Overall

Dyson V11 cordless stick vacuum on white background

Dyson V11 Cordless Vacuum

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Best Bang for the Buck

Gray and purple Black and Decker handheld vacuum with accessories on white background

Black+Decker AdvancedClean Cordless Pet Hand Vacuum

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Best for Allergies

Shark Pet Plus cordless stick vacuum with three accessories on white background

Shark Pet Plus Anti-Allergen Cordless Stick Vacuum

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Today’s cordless vacuums are lightweight, take up less storage space than traditional plug-in vacuums, and can clean hard-to-reach areas. Cordless vacuums are not always as powerful as plug-in models, but they’re a boon for pet lovers seeking quick removal of fur from carpet, bare floors, and upholstered furniture.

I thoroughly researched more than 20 cordless vacuums that claimed to remove pet hair, and then I tested the highest-rated models in my pet-friendly home where dog and cat fur is ever present. I also consulted Julien Levesque, vice president of Global Product Development for Shark, which is one of today’s leading vacuum manufacturers.

The best cordless vacuums for pet hair effectively remove fur from various surfaces, including low- to high-pile carpeting and hard flooring. According to Levesque, “Corded vacuums typically offer more consistent suction power for thorough cleaning such as embedded pet hair in carpet or upholstery, but cordless vacuums are more convenient, lightweight, and flexible, offering a quicker clean.” Keep reading to learn essential considerations when shopping for such a device and to find out how the following models earned their spot in this lineup of the best cordless vacuums for pet hair.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Dyson V11 Cordless Vacuum
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Black+Decker AdvancedClean Cordless Pet Hand Vacuum
  3. BEST FOR ALLERGIES: Shark Pet Plus Anti-Allergen Cordless Stick Vacuum
  4. BEST UPRIGHT: Hoover Onepwr Evolve Pet Elite Cordless Vacuum
  5. BEST MULTIPURPOSE: Dyson Gen5detect Cordless Vacuum
  6. BEST HANDHELD: Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Cordless Pet Hand Vacuum
  7. BEST HEADLIGHT: Shark Pet Cordless Stick Vacuum 
A Hand-Held Version of the Best Cordless Vacuum for Pet Hair, Demonstrating Its Effectiveness on a Chair with Two Pillows
Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

How We Tested the Best Cordless Vacuums for Pet Hair

When selecting test vacuums for picking up pet hair, I looked closely at several factors, including the roller brush type to ensure long pet hair wouldn’t become tightly wound. It’s a typical problem that can stop the roller from spinning and stress the vacuum’s motor. I also considered hose length and then evaluated dustbins to find out if each model has a user-friendly way to empty the dustbin.

I tried out each vacuum in my hands-on tests to see how well it picked up pet hair. After brushing my dogs, I saved the fur and sprinkled it onto an area rug that tends to hold pet hair like a magnet, and then I used a broom to sweep the hair into the surface of the rug to ensure it would give the vacuums a real challenge. Then, I charged the batteries on each vacuum fully.

I noted the suction power of each vacuum, determined how well it picked up the pet hair, and evaluated how comfortable it was to use in addition to its battery runtime. I scored each cordless vacuum using a rubric: The better it performed a test, the higher the score it received.

After testing, I averaged the scores to determine the best overall pick and categories for the other high scorers. Not all the vacuums I tested scored high enough to be added to this roundup. However, I was very impressed with today’s top-selling cordless vacuums—even for cleaning up pet hair!

Person cleaning a hardwood floor with purple and silver cordless stick vacuum
Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

Our Top Picks

The best cordless vacuums for pet hair are powerful, easy to use, and designed with pet fur removal in mind. Most, but not all, of the following vacuums are stick models because they seem to be the most popular among consumers. One of the following vacuums may be the right choice for cleaning up after your furry friend.

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Product Specs 

  • Power: Rechargeable, battery-powered
  • Runtime: Up to 1 hour
  • Weight: 6.6 pounds
  • Attachments: Crevice tool, combination tool, and mini motorized tool

Pros

  • Powerful suction removes even stuck-on pet hair from carpets
  • Suitable for vacuuming pet hair and other household dust from carpet, tile, and hardwood
  • Wall-mounted docking system charges the battery while stowing the vacuum out of the way

Cons

  • Even on eco mode, strong suction may be too much for delicate fabrics like sheer curtains.

Pet hair is no match for the Dyson V11 Animal. Stiff nylon bristles on the powerhead roller coaxed even ground-in pet fur off the test carpet. But what sets this cordless stick vacuum apart is its incredible suction. Dyson claims it’s up to twice the suction of other cordless vacuums, and while I couldn’t test that claim, I can say that it produces more suction than any vacuum I’ve used before.

After vacuuming hardwood floors, tile, and an area rug, I discovered no pet hair wound around the roller brush. In the past, I’ve had to cut tightly wound pet hair from roller brushes and then pull it away with pliers. The V11 Animal roller brush had no hair on it. That’s a big perk.

The vacuum also comes with a crevice tool, a combination tool, and a mini motorized head that I used to vacuum upholstery. It offers three suction levels: boost, auto, and eco. On eco and auto modes, I achieved a 60-minute runtime, but when I used the vacuum on boost mode, the runtime dropped to about 45 minutes. I was good with that; most living spaces can be vacuumed in that amount of time. Another perk—the vacuum is pretty quiet. It registered just 70 decibels on my tester, which is about the same as normal conversation.

The Dyson V11 Animal also comes with a charging dock that allows the user to stow the vacuum out of the way while charging at the same time. The V11 Animal isn’t Dyson’s newest V11 model, but it performed so well in my tests, I can’t imagine needing anything more powerful.

Read our full review: Dyson V11 Cordless VacuumGet the Dyson V11 Animal cordless vacuum for pet hair at Amazon, Lowe’s, The Home Depot, Wayfair, or Dyson.

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Product Specs 

  • Power: Rechargeable, battery-operated
  • Runtime: 35 minutes (as tested)
  • Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Attachments: Extendable crevice tool, motorized mini roller brush

Pros

  • Affordable price point makes it attractive for budget-conscious buyers
  • Portable handheld design makes it easy to maneuver and reach into tight spots
  • Silicone bristles on the roller brush make it simple to remove hair and fur
  • Motorized mini roller brush is excellent at removing pet hair from upholstery

Cons

  • Small design makes it unsuitable for vacuuming entire floors
  • Extendable wand on crevice tool was challenging to pull out and required a strong tug

It’s not necessary to spend a lot to get a cordless vacuum that picks up pet fur from upholstered furniture, rugs, and throw pillows. The affordably priced Black+Decker cordless hand vacuum did an excellent job of picking up fur, dirt, and debris. It’s not a stick vacuum, so I didn’t test it for cleaning an entire area rug, but I found it handy for sucking up small messes on the floor and elsewhere. It was great for grabbing those under-sofa fur balls that hide just beyond the reach of a stick vacuum’s roller head. With the extendable crevice tool attached, I could easily reach into corners and clean hardwood stairs.

The Black+Decker cordless vacuum quickly removes pet fur from upholstered furniture with the motorized roller brush attached—and if you have a pet that sits on the furniture, that’s where this little hand vacuum shines. After vacuuming pet fur, the roller brush was pretty clean, although I pulled off a couple of longer pieces. The bristles are silicone, so the fur came off easily and didn’t cling to the roller.

This handy little vacuum ran at full power for about 35 minutes, which was plenty for cleaning up small messes. Then it started to lose some power, but 35 minutes is ample time to clean most furniture and small messes.

The only downside I experienced was with the extendable crevice tool—it was difficult to pull out the extension wand and required a firm grasp, but maybe that will loosen up in time. It comes with a charger. I like the portability aspect of this affordable handheld vacuum and found it indispensable for cleaning the pet fur that works between the seat and the backrest in my pet-friendly car.

Get the Black+Decker cordless vacuum for pet hair at Amazon, Lowe’s, or Walmart.

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Product Specs 

  • Power: Cordless, battery-powered
  • Runtime: 40 minutes
  • Weight: 7.94 pounds
  • Attachments: Crevice tool, upholstery, tool, anti-allergen dusting brush

Pros

  • Effective at cleaning pet hair and debris from carpet thanks to silicone power fins
  • Ample suction allows efficient cleaning without the need to make excessive passes over the same area
  • LED headlight is bright and illuminates hidden debris that might otherwise go unnoticed
  • HEPA filter traps pet dander and allergens and keeps them from recirculating in the air

Cons

  • Not quite as much suction as some models, which could potentially impact performance on stubborn debris
  • Upholstery tool lacks a motorized roller, which might make dislodging pet fur easier

With silicone fins in the roller brush and a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, the Shark Pet Plus Anti-Allergen stick vacuum is an excellent choice for keeping pet-friendly homes clean and fresh.

Shark is known for its high-performing vacuums, and Pet Plus is no exception. After charging the battery overnight, I started testing. I installed the roller head on the wand and vacuumed the test rug to see how it would pick up pet hair.

The Pet Plus features ample suction, and the silicone fins quickly loosened the pet hair from the carpet; the vacuum sucked it right up. It didn’t have quite as much suction power as the Dyson, but it didn’t need it to get the job done. It took three to four passes over the rug to remove virtually all the visible hair—so it cleaned quickly. The roller brush was clean of pet fur after vacuuming, and the vacuum ran for the full 40 minutes of its advertised runtime without losing power or suction.

The attachments include an upholstery tool, a crevice tool, and an anti-allergen dusting brush. All three worked well, but it would have been better if the upholstery tool featured a powered roller like the larger roller brush. Still, it removed pet hair efficiently. One nice perk with the Pet Plus is the LED headlight that illuminates the floor ahead so I could see if some debris or fur was hiding behind a sofa leg or in a corner.

The upside for allergy sufferers—the HEPA filter—may also be a slight downside, as HEPA filters are very dense and may need more frequent replacement.

Replacement filters

are sold separately; stocking up might be a good idea.

Get the Shark Pet Plus cordless vacuum for pet hair at Amazon or Walmart.

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Product Specs 

  • Power: Cordless, battery-operated
  • Runtime: 35 minutes
  • Weight: 9.8 pounds
  • Attachments: No attachments

Pros

  • Great edge suction, effectively picking up dust and debris that settles between walls and floors
  • 4 suction modes, making this vacuum versatile for various floor-cleaning tasks
  • Lightweight for an upright vacuum at less than 10 pounds, making it easy to carry from room to room
  • Self-standing design is a convenient feature that allows users to pause vacuuming without needing to lean the vacuum against a wall

Cons

  • Relatively narrow suction path—at just 11.15 inches wide—which could translate into extended cleaning time
  • The Pet Elite doesn’t come with any attachments, so user may need another hand vacuum to clean upholstery

Stick vacuums offer greater portability and take up less storage space than ordinary upright vacuums, but the Hoover Onepwr Evolve Pet Elite vacuum is anything but ordinary.

I was expecting to unbox a heavy model that would be a struggle to carry up the stairs, but that didn’t happen. The Pet Elite weighs in at just 9.8 pounds, and its powerhead roller is just 11.15 inches wide, so it didn’t take up nearly as much space in my utility closet as my old corded upright vacuum.

I charged the battery overnight before testing to ensure a full charge. This Hoover vacuum doesn’t come with any attachments for cleaning upholstery or nooks and crannies, but I found it had good edge suction and it picked up pet hair and dust that settled between the wall and the floor with ease. Like other pet-friendly vacuums in the test, the Hoover’s roller brush did not collect fur.

The Pet Elite also provided excellent suction on the test rug I’d covered in pet fur. On the highest of four suction modes, the vacuum cleared the fur in just two to three passes. I was able to switch between modes using (+) and (-) buttons on the top of the handle. That made it simple to select top power for removing fur from carpeting and to reduce power for cleaning dust from hardwood and tile floors. It ran on a single charge (using a variety of speeds) for more than the 35 minutes that the manufacturer claims. That was impressive.

What I really appreciated—and maybe this is just me—was the Pet Elite’s ability to stand up on its own when I needed to pause vacuuming to do something, such as straighten throw pillows on a chair. So many of today’s top-selling stick vacuums don’t stand up on their own and have to either be leaned against a wall or laid down. Being able to stand on its own was an appreciated perk for the Pet Elite.

Get the Hoover cordless vacuum for pet hair at Amazon, The Home Depot, Walmart, or Target.

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Product Specs 

  • Power: Cordless, battery-powered
  • Runtime: Up to 70 minutes
  • Weight: 7.72 pounds
  • Attachments: Fluffy optic head, crevice and dusting tool, hair screw tool, combination tool

Pros

  • Powerful suction, making the Gen5detect efficient at removing dust and pet fur
  • Multiple attachments make this a versatile choice for cleaning several surfaces
  • Long-lasting battery life ensures no interruption during extended cleaning periods
  • HEPA filter keeps dust and pet dander from recirculating in the room

Cons

  • Relatively expensive compared to other cordless stick vacuums

Powerful suction and versatility define the Dyson Gen5detect cordless stick vacuum. Unlike our best overall pick for a cordless vacuum for pet hair—the Dyson V11—the Gen5detect isn’t specifically designed for homes where animals dwell. Still, it scored high in hands-on tests for removing pet fur from several surface types.

After charging the vacuum overnight, I attached the roller brush head and tried out the Gen5detect on the test rug full of pet fur. It features rows of firm bristles and spaces between the rows labeled as “hair remover vanes.” The suction on the Gen5detect was great; all Dysons seem to have powerful suction, so it took only two to three passes to remove the pet hair from the rug. After vacuuming, I found a few pet hairs lingering in the bristles, but the vanes between the rows seemed to keep them from twisting around the roller.

Then, I attached the fluffy optic cleaner head to test on a hardwood floor. Wow! I really liked this head for hardwood—it seemed to buff the wood slightly, and that’s never a bad thing. It picked up pet hair and dust, even along the edges of the floor, and its strong headlight let me see dust I might otherwise have missed.

The Gen5detect also comes with a crevice tool, a combination tool, and an attachment for upholstery—called a “hair screw tool.” I was impressed by how thoroughly the screw tool removed pet fur from my throw pillows.

In addition, this Dyson vacuum comes with a HEPA filter for keeping airborne dust and pet dander from recirculating, so it’s a good pick for homes with allergy sufferers or those with asthma. The downside is that it’s pretty pricey. But the upside is that it cleans virtually every surface in the home, including dusting the furniture with its dusting tool.

In my tests, the Gen5detect battery ran for just over an hour before I stopped testing. The manufacturer says it will run up to 70 minutes, and I see no reason to doubt that.

Get the Dyson Gen5detect cordless vacuum for pet hair at Amazon, The Home Depot, Macy’s, or Best Buy.

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Product Specs 

  • Power: Cordless, battery-powered
  • Runtime: 30 minutes
  • Weight: 3 pounds
  • Attachments: Power head, crevice tool, and an upholstery tool

Pros

  • Compact and ergonomic design makes it easy to vacuum upholstery and stairs
  • A triple-filtration system traps pet hair and debris in an easy-to-empty container
  • Comes with attachments for cleaning a variety of surfaces and reaching into corners

Cons

  • No docking station for charging, so user has to plug it in after each use

For quickly removing pet hair from furniture and stairs, it’s hard to beat the Bissell Pet Hair Eraser cordless hand vacuum. This handheld model (no stick included) comes with a detachable collection bin, a power head, a crevice tool, and an upholstery tool.

While several of the stick vacuums I tested can also be used as hand vacuums, they’re slightly heavier, and it takes a minute or two to remove the stick wand in order to vacuum up small messes on furniture or in corners. With the Pet Hair Eraser, all I had to do was press the on button and start vacuuming.

Since this is a hand model, I tested it only slightly on the rug with pet fur, and it did OK—it took four to five passes in a spot to remove most of the hair, but vacuuming rugs isn’t its primary purpose. The Pet Hair Eraser is better suited to vacuuming fur from upholstery, carpeted stairs, and throw pillows. I attached the power head, and the vacuum quickly cleaned debris and pet hair from a sofa and upholstered car seats.

This Bissell model runs up to 30 minutes on a single charge and comes with its own plug-in charger but no docking station, which I would have liked. The handheld vacuum features triple filtration to keep dust and dander from recirculating, and it’s well suited for cleaning small areas in a hurry. The dust canister pops right off for easy emptying, but it took a bit of finagling to get it to snap back on—nothing major, but it would be nice if it reconnected with more ease.

Get the Bissell cordless vacuum for pet hair at Amazon, Walmart, or Target.

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Product Specs 

  • Power: Cordless, battery-powered
  • Runtime: Up to 40 minutes
  • Weight: 7.63 pounds
  • Attachments: Crevice tool

Pros

  • Strong LED headlight illuminates floor in front of vacuum to allow users to better see dust and pet hair
  • Lightweight, slim, and ergonomic, the Shark Pet is easy to maneuver and store
  • Good suction on the roller head, and pet fur does not become trapped in the brushes

Cons

  • Lacks a separate upholstery brush that would make cleaning furniture easier

On the test rug, the Shark Pet took three to four passes over a spot to remove all the fur, but keep in mind that I brushed the hair into the rug to ensure it was a challenge to vacuum up. It might take just one or two passes in a normal vacuuming situation. And, like the other Shark vacuum that earned a spot on this lineup, the Shark Pet didn’t end up with long pet fur twisted around the roller brush.

The cordless Shark Pet vacuum runs for up to 40 minutes on a single charge. It comes with a single attachment: a crevice tool that connects to the end of the wand for reaching distances, such as upper wall corners, or it can be attached to the dustbin’s underside for getting between sofa cushions and between the stairway balusters. The headlight on the Shark Pet cordless vacuum clearly illuminated the floor in front of the brush roller, so I didn’t miss anything.

The suction was good, but I missed being able to connect an upholstery attachment, which would have made removing pet hair from chairs and sofas easier. Still, the Shark Pet is a formidable player in the world of pet hair removal vacuums, and for households where pets don’t sit on the furniture, it could very well be just the ticket.

Get the Shark Pet cordless vacuum for pet hair at Amazon, Lowe’s,The Home Depot, or Walmart.


Jump to Our Top Picks

What to Consider When Choosing a Cordless Vacuum for Pet Hair

The best cordless vacuums for cleaning pet hair have great suction power, plus a battery that holds a charge long enough to finish removing the fur before running out of charge. Battery-powered vacuums have limited operating time, so they’re not intended to be the only vacuum in a house. Their lightweight nature and portability make them best suited for quick cleanups.

Power

Power is what dictates cordless vacuums’ suction and runtime. The vacuums operate on rechargeable lithium-ion batteries ranging from 12 to 40 volts. In general, the larger the battery, the more power the vacuum has. Batteries with 18 volts or more provide excellent suction power and long runtimes. However, some brands choose to label their battery power in air watts. In this case, the average model ranges from 80 to more than 450 air watts.

Runtime goes down from actions such as switching to a higher speed or using the vacuum’s rotating power head, which pulls more power and drains the battery faster. Most cordless vacuums are good for 15 to 60 minutes of runtime before the battery needs recharging. Keeping a second battery on hand and charged effectively doubles the vacuum’s runtime.

Batteries

Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries have an average lifespan of 2 to 3 years, after which they might need to be replaced if the battery no longer holds a charge for more than a few minutes. The batteries last longer if charged after each vacuuming session. Heat can also degrade lithium-ion battery life, so it’s better to store a cordless vacuum in a closet rather than near a sunny window or a radiator.

With a swappable battery, users can purchase a replacement at the end of a lithium-ion battery’s useful life. That’s not possible with built-in batteries—if the vacuum has a built-in battery, once it stops holding a charge, the whole unit is pretty much trash. Fortunately, most stick-type cordless vacuums feature swappable batteries, while a few strictly handheld models have built-in batteries. Plus, battery life is improving all the time.

Dustbin 

The dustbin on a cordless vacuum is smaller than the dustbin on a standard vacuum—sometimes much smaller—but the bin is usually easy to empty by simply holding the vacuum over a waste receptacle and pushing a button to dump the contents.

Detachable dustbins are also easy to remove from the machine and dump. Most cordless vacuum dustbins can be emptied without the user’s hands coming into contact with the debris.

Attachments and Accessories

Cordless vacuums often come with one or more attachments or accessories that can simplify removing pet hair. A motorized mini power head comes in handy for vacuuming fur from upholstered furniture, while a long crevice attachment can collect fur balls that gather behind chairs, tables, and other items.

Handheld attachments with brush ends aren’t quite as helpful for vacuuming fur because the fur tends to collect in the bristles. Some stick-type cordless vacuums also convert at the push of a button from an upright power head to a handheld model for use on stairs, furniture, and draperies.

The Advantages of Owning a Cordless Vacuum for Pet Hair

Having a cordless vacuum for pet hair allows the user to quickly clean away fur that sticks to carpets, upholstery, and draperies—without the need to drag out a larger, plug-in vacuum.

While a cordless vacuum should not be the only vacuum in a home, these devices are designed for quick cleanups. And pet owners likely know how quickly fur can accumulate in a pet’s favorite lounging spots. Being able to clean those areas quickly keeps the entire home looking clean and fresh. Plus, the HEPA filter systems integrated in some options can help reduce allergic reactions caused by pet dander and hair.

  • Vacuum car seats and floorboards without needing an electrical outlet nearby.
  • Remove pet hair on carpet and furniture quickly with the convenience of a lightweight cordless vacuum.
  • Since these models are lightweight, they are easy to carry from room to room and up flights of stairs.

FAQs

Cordless vacuums for pet hair can reduce the amount of dander and hair in your furniture, rugs, hard floors, and drapery. They are also convenient and don’t take up a lot of storage space, but you may still have questions about how to use and take care of these tools. If you’re shopping for your first cordless vacuum for pet hair, read on for answers to some of the most popular questions asked by users.

Q. Can the same vacuum for pet hair work on different floors? 

Yes, the best vacuums for pet hair adapt to different floor surfaces, and many also adjust to the various thicknesses of carpet.

Q. Are cordless vacuums for pet hair less powerful?

Corded vacuums are typically more powerful because they have continuous power from an electrical outlet. However, technology is quickly advancing, and today’s cordless vacuums are offering more suction power than they did in the past.

Q. Are bagged or bagless vacuums for pet hair better for allergies?

That is a personal choice, but bagless vacuums expose you to more dust and dirt when you empty them. A bagged vacuum, on the other hand, has a bag that can be removed and sealed with the hair and other debris.

Q. How do I unclog a vacuum for pet hair?

Some of the best vacuums for pet hair are designed so that pet hair doesn’t clog their roller brushes and dustbins.

Q. How do I clean a cordless vacuum?

Dump the dustbin when it becomes full and replace (or wash) the vacuum’s filter to keep it clean. The rollers on most vacuum power heads can be taken out and cleaned to remove threads and string that tend to wind up around the rollers, making them less efficient.

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Bob Vila has been America’s Handyman since 1979. As the host of beloved and groundbreaking TV series including“This Old House” and “Bob Vila’s Home Again,” he popularized and became synonymous with “do-it-yourself” home improvement.

Over the course of his decades-long career, Bob Vila has helped millions of people build, renovate, repair, and live better each day—a tradition that continues today in the expert yet accessible home advice at the heart of BobVila.com. Today, the Bob Vila editorial team distills need-to-know information into project tutorials, maintenance guides, tool 101s, and more. These home and garden experts then thoroughly research, vet, and recommend products that support homeowners, renters, DIYers, and professionals in their to-do lists.

Meet the Tester

Glenda Taylor is a product tester and writer specializing in the construction, remodeling, and real estate industries. She and her husband own a general contracting company, and Taylor is experienced in both residential and commercial building applications. She tests a wide range of power tools as well as other home improvement, household, and lawn-and-garden products.

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Glenda Taylor

Staff Writer

Glenda Taylor is a BobVila.com staff writer with a background in the residential remodeling, home building, and home improvement industries. She started writing for BobVila.com in 2016 and covers a range of topics, including construction methods, code compliance, tool use, and the latest news in the housing and real estate industries. 

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