Options for Vacuuming Hay – Best Vacuum For Hay

Do you feel like every vacuum cleaner you use hay gets stuck in it all the time? Nothing worse than stopping to get your vacuum unclogged from the hay/grass that has gotten stuck in it.

I’ve done a lot of research on vacuums over the years to find the ones that work the best. One vacuum that I always come back to being able to suck up just about anything you throw at has got to be the Shop Vacuum.

I find shop vacuums are one of the best vacuums you can use to suck up hay, bedding, and even poop too! It doesn’t matter if you have a rabbit, guinea pig, chinchilla, or any other pet – a shop vacuum can handle the messes. It can even handle the mess the kids make too!

—But not just any shop vacuum will do. This is what I want to talk about and offer some other options too. Let’s dig in here to find something that works perfectly for your needs.

Why A Shop Vacuum

It’s simple. Shop Vacuums are built to suck up just about anything (even pet hair!). Even water is no match to most shop vacuums, that is why they also call them wet/dry vacs.

Plus a shop vacuum is a lot simpler than other vacuums like a Dyson. A shop vacuum only has a hose that dumps into the canister. There are no complicated tubing or brushes to worry about getting clogged like they do in an upright vacuum.

My favorite part about a shop vacuum is that most of them are more affordable and more durable than the standard “super store” vacuums you can buy.

So it’s settled, you buy a shop vacuum. But which one?

You buy the bigger ones. Yes, I’m sorry, but it has to be this way. Hay and bedding are heavy and clumps very easily. So a little dinky shop vacuum is not going to cut it here! The good news is that the bigger shop vacuums have wheels, the bad news is that they’re big. It’s not as bad as you think because of how effective they are and the less time you’ll be spending fixing clogs.

I’m a huge fan of the Vacmaster 12 Gallon that you can check out here*. Not only is it a great shop vacuum but also has a Detachable Blower too! Shop vacuums are so versatile that it’s worth it to have one around the home.

Now, no shop vacuum is perfect. I’ve found times where you’ll have to pinch the tube or shake it a bit to break free the clog. This is not that bad, and often a little shake is all you need.

There was one time I had to remove the hose and stick a broom handle through to break free a clog, but that was due to me sucking up stuff I wasn’t supposed to. That’s the beauty of the shop vacuum, all you have is that one hose coming out of it and its nothing to unplug it. A regular vacuum like an upright would have you pulling parts of the vacuum off to break free the clog. A shop vacuum is easy to unclog in comparison.

I’m must warn you! These big shop vacuums are no joke, got to be careful not to suck up a rabbit! But seriously, they are strong.

Not A Replacement

I do want to say that the shop vacuum should not be a substitute to your standard vacuum cleaner. I still recommend you keep your other vacuum for cleaning the carpets and such. While a shop vacuum could clean carpets just fine, I find it’s best to keep a regular vacuum around for the other messes in your home.

Other Options

The shop vacuum is the better choice if you ask me, but not the only one.

I have friends that say a backpack vacuum cleaner would work well, but I’m not in love with the idea. Most backpack vacuums are like shop vacuums, but they’re mostly used in businesses to clean low pile carpets. The biggest perk of most backpack vacuums is that you can attach a long cord to them.

A long power cord is perfect if you have to clean a lot of floors. But you can use an extension cord on a shop vacuum so that kind of evens it out. The one thing a backpack vacuum does have is that it’s smaller and goes on your back. It would be the perfect vacuum if you got to do a lot of vacuuming, like in a big house.

I think it just comes down to personal preference here on which one you like better. I would stick with a shop vacuum for when it comes to hay. If you want to learn more about backpack vacuums then I have a post on it here.

Another option is to use a carpet sweeper. This has always been a hit or miss for me. The manual ones are not great, but the electric cordless ones are way better. Just like the shop vacuum, they’re simple, they just scoop up the hay and dump it in the container. The great thing about the cordless carpet sweepers is that they’re quick to get out and use for those little messes. Check out an electric carpet sweeper here. *


I’m not a fan of the broom for cleaning up hay or bedding. I mean who is? But it can be the most effective but also the most painful.

If you keep your pet in a room with no carpets, then I would recommend looking at a dust mop like this one here*. Dust mops are bigger than a broom and they glide over the floors. No need to brush or “sweep” the floors when you can glide over them. I like to quickly glide over the entire floor picking up hay and other dirt that has fallen. This is super quick and probably one of the best ways to quickly clean the floors.

Now, there is a downside to the dust mop idea. The dust mop gets dirty super quick, and the hay and other debris stick to it like crazy. So you’ll spend time removing the debris stuck to the dust mop, but I use my shop vacuum to clean it off.

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