We love our furry pets, but keeping your home (mostly) free of pet hair can feel like a major chore! We've seen a lot of vacuum cleaners out that are specifically made for pet owners, but do they really make a difference and are they worth buying?
That's what we're here to answer today!
We tested pet vacuums from 13+ popular vacuum brands to see how well each product worked. Our research found that, the Dyson Animal 2 is the overall best vacuum cleaner for pet hair.
We'll also take a look at what to consider when buying one, review the top 7 per vacuums on the market, and answer some frequently asked questions from pet owners.
Let's get started!
Key Considerations When Buying Pet Hair Vacuums
There are certain features that you need to look for when choosing the best pet vacuum for your home. The first, and main thing to think about is your surface type.
For example, many homes have a mix of hard and carpeted floors and will need something that can handle both surfaces. Or, you may have a layout that makes it hard to get into some areas with a large vacuum.
So, how do you choose the best vacuum for pet hair and hardwood floors and carpet?
Consider Floor Types
Hardwood and Tiled Floors
With hardwood and tiled surfaces, you need to choose a vacuum that has been designed for them. The key reason for this is the suction. Vacuums for hard surfaces need to have really great suction to pick up all of that hair. If it doesn't, you just end up blowing hair around the floor and picking up very little of it.
Carpets and Rugs
Carpeted surfaces are a different story. Pet hair tends to get embedded in carpeting, making it harder to vacuum it up, even with great suction. This is where rotating brushes come in. Vacuums for carpeting have really good suction and a brush that works to loosen pet hair from the carpet fibers.
One thing to keep in mind is that a rotating brush can damage a hardwood floor. So, what do you do if you have both? Buy a vacuum that has an adjustable height that allows you to clean all surface types. These are really versatile and will save you damaging your hardwood flooring.
Your home's floor plan also needs to be taken into consideration when buying a vacuum, especially if you have more than one story to clean.
Stairs can be a bit of a challenge, not only to vacuum properly but also when it comes to dragging a vacuum up and down them. If you have stairs, you will want to pay attention to the weight of your vacuum.
Light models, like the stick or hand-held, come in handy in these situations.
Vacuums tend to come with attachments that will help you get into those corners of your stairs too.
Pets don't always spend all of their time on the floor. They get on the couch, the bed, and your favorite chairs. This means hair on the furniture to deal with.
If this is a problem you are faced with daily, make sure the vacuum you pick has an attachment for cleaning the furniture.
I briefly mentioned suction earlier. If you have a mix of hard and carpeted floors or carpets of different thicknesses, you need a vacuum with variable suction.
This means it can adjust to each surface on its own, or a dial that lets you adjust the level of suction needed. Some models will have vents on the sides of the suction tube that you can slide open or closed as well.
Size & Weight
Also mentioned briefly before, the size and weight of the vacuum you choose are important. To find the best pet hair vacuum, you need to consider if it will work for the layout of your home.
A heavy bulky vacuum may be fine for a one-floor home, but a nightmare for homes with 2 floors.
Some larger vacuums may not be able to navigate around the rooms well, where a smaller one can be run through the home quite easily.
Vacuum Model Types
These are the main types of vacuums dog owners can look to buy. Here's what you need to know about each:
1. Upright Vacuums
With an upright vacuum, you don't have that problem with having to bend over all of the time.
Some uprights now have a retractable hose and attachments to use with it, which is great for getting into those hard to reach spots. They are also pretty versatile when it comes to floor type settings.
They are more practical when it comes to storing them too. Uprights have a wider cleaning path, can be cheaper than canister models, and the motorized brush in the head makes it great for thick carpeting.
The downside is that they are heavier, noisier, and it can be hard to clean corners, even with an attachment.
2. Canister Vacuums
Canister vacuums have their cleaning nozzles attached to the wand of the vacuum, which is attached to a hose that goes into the canister.
Some require bags for the dirt to be sucked into, but there are many bagless options available.
They tend to have a wide array of features for both carpets and floors, and are lighter, making them a good option for homes with multiple floor types.
Canisters tend to have more powerful suction and are easier to maneuver around furniture, and the hose is perfect for doing stairs. They also tend to be quieter than an upright.
Because of their design, they can be harder to store, and there can be more bending involved with their use.
3. Robot Vacuum
If vacuuming isn't your favorite chore, you can opt for a robot vacuum to get the work done for you. Well, to a certain degree anyway.
You program them to move around the house all day, sucking up pet hair and debris as it goes. They can be really convenient and cut down the amount of hair that sits on your surfaces.
However, they aren't very efficient with certain types of hair and, because of its compact size, you have to empty it often.
4. Handheld Vaccum
Most handheld vacuums are meant for lighter jobs and don't have the strongest of suction. However, they are great for spot cleaning and getting into hard to reach areas.
They are also battery-operated, so no cords to get tangled around. Many pet owners have cordless handheld pet vacuums as a backup to their more powerful upright and canister models.
5. Stick Vacuum
Stick vacuums are much lighter and cheaper to buy. They don't usually come with a lot of features or attachments. While they do pick up fur, they aren't as good at it as an upright or canister model.
Today, we have a lot of bagless vacuum models to choose from. It means that you won't have to keep buying bags and won't run out.
They can be a bit messy when it comes to emptying the canister though, allowing for the dust to get into the air.
There are ways you can lessen the amount of dust that escapes though. This isn't a good option if you have allergies.
Both types will clean just as well as the other, so this is more down to your personal preference.
If you are buying a cordless vacuum you want to go for one that gives the most battery life. Most will run between 15 and 40 minutes. Obviously, 15 minutes of battery life won't get your whole house If you are buying a cordless vacuum you want to go for one that gives the most battery life. Most will run between 15 and 40 minutes. Obviously, 15 minutes of battery life won't get your whole house.
You will find a lot of pet vacuum cleaners have a HEPA filter. These are designed to trap about 99% of particles that are 0.3 microns or more.
The purpose is to catch the dander and allergens that hide in carpets. This is especially important if you suffer from allergies.
If you have carpets, finding a vacuum that uses a brush agitator is a necessity when it comes to getting the hair out of those fibers.
This is a pretty standard feature on uprights and something you will need if your pet is a heavy shedder.
What's a vacuum without all of their fun attachments? From your basic crevice tool to get into corners, to a brush tool for using on furniture, think about the areas of your home that you would vacuum.
Most vacuums come with a basic set of attachments, which include a dusting brush, crevice tool, upholstery tool, and a mini turbo tool that has a spinning brush bar for getting pet hair out of furniture fibers.
You also flexible wands to help you reach the tops of doors, mattress tools for sucking up skin and dust particles, and extension tubes for tackling those ceiling cobwebs.
Just bear in mind that the less basic tools can add an extra $30 to $40 on the vacuums price tag.
Breed of Pet
Yes, breed of pet is also an important factor when looking for a pet hair vacuum. Some breeds will shed more than others, and this means you will need a vacuum cleaner that has a larger capacity and powerful suction.
Of course, your budget will also determine the vacuum you choose. While you can buy a cheap vacuum, doing so for pet hair could cost you more in the end.
Not all vacuums are made for a lot of pet hair and can get clogged with it over time. This can lead to the motor burning out and other maintenance issues that can cause you to have to buy another vacuum. You are better off investing a bit more in a good vacuum that will do the job and last longer.
This doesn't mean you have to get the top brand expensive vacuums either. If you find that you are paying for features that you just won't use, it isn't worth the extra expense.
So, find one that is mid-range, that offers the features you need and will do the job of sucking up pet hair well.
The 7 Best Vacuums for Pet Hair
Now we can take a look at some of the top vacuums available for all types of models and uses. These vacuums according to our sources — who have a lot of experience cleaning up dog hair— are truly worth the investment.
1. BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser
Best Handheld Vacuum for Pet Hair
We loved this Bissell pet hair vacuum because it's a handheld that packs some power and can be used on all surfaces.
The Pet Hair Eraser from Bissell was actually voted the best for sucking up cat litter back in 2017. It's a lightweight tool that comes with 3 attachments; a crevice tool, an upholstery tool, and a handy (no pun intended) motorized brush that can get embedded pet hair out of carpets and fabrics. It also has a dual-action filtration system and is bagless. The dirt cup is easy to remove and empty.
This Bissell pet vacuum is cordless, so you aren't getting tangled up or running over the cord, and it has a 15-minute battery run time. The suction is surprisingly powerful for a handheld model. You also get a 2-year limited warranty from the manufacturer.
2. Neato Robotics Botvac D7 Robotic Vacuum Cleaner
Best Robot Vacuum for Pet Hair
You will love this vacuum because its convenient and can get into those difficult to get corners.
The Botvac D7 is a bit more than the average robotic vacuum in that it doesn't just run in random patterns around the home, which can miss areas of dirt. It maps your home as it goes for better navigation and cleans in straight lines. It has a 0.7-liter dirt capacity and can clean all floor surfaces.
What's really great about this one is its shape. Rather than using a round design, it has a D shape that allows it to get into those corners that round robotic vacuums can't always reach. The vacuum has a brush that is said to be 70% larger than other robotic vacuums so it can pick up more hair.
It can also be integrated with your smart home system. You can program to stay out of areas or pay more attention to high traffic ones. It gives you 120 minutes of cleaning time too.
3. Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away TruePet
Best Shark Vacuum for Pet Hair
You will love this Shark vacuum if you're looking for something that can withstand daily use and can deal with many different jobs.
This is the best vacuum for dog hair, which can be longer and thicker than cat hair. One of the great features of the TruePet by Shark is that it can do the job of 3 different vacuum types. You have options for thick to low pile carpets and hardwood flooring, all at the touch of a button on the front of the handle. You also get a nice variety of 8 tools and accessories; a power brush, dusting genie (a combo of a crevice and dusting tool), a dust brush, a dust attachment with a washable microfilter pad for hardwood floors, a mini motorized brush for furniture and fabrics, a pet upholstery attachment, and a bag to store them all in.
The vacuum also has a sealed HEPA filtration system to ensure allergens don't escape, and the filters themselves are washable. The dirt cup allows for 3.3 quarts of dirt and the suction is really good.
4. Dyson Ball Animal 2
Best Vacuum for Pet Hair and Hardwood Floors
You'll love this Dyson pet vacuum if your home layout is a bit tricky to get around with a conventional vacuum.
This is the best vacuum for pet hair on hardwood floors. Dyson has long been known for its ball technology that lets you get into all of those awkward places around the home. It also has an articulated handle that allows you to get into those tight spots and unreachable places. It's a bagless model that uses a push-button to empty the dirt cup. You get a turbine tool for doing stairs, furniture, and the car.
It has really strong suction, which is something you need when cleaning hardwood floors. However, it's also great for rugs and carpets with its ability to remove even matted fur. This is an upright vacuum designed for picking up pet hair and was designed with a high standard filtration system, which is great for allergy sufferers.
5. Miele Classic C1 Cat & Dog Canister Vacuum Cleaner
Best Canister Vacuum For Pet Hair
If you are looking for a canister vacuum that is powerful enough to remove both pet hair and odors, you'll love this model from Miele.
The Miele C1 has a powerful 1200W motor that can get even the most stubborn pet hair out of your furniture and carpets. It has a filter bag with a whooping capacity of 4.5-liter with a powerful floor head and a mini turbo tool for getting into those awkward areas and doing stairs.
What surprised a lot of users is how quiet the vacuum is and how easy it is to maneuver around the home. You get an operating radius of 29.53 ft and adjustable power setting for doing all floor types. Another feature people love was the Active AirClean filter that works to neutralize pet odors and remove allergens.
6. Dyson V8 Animal Cordless Vacuum
Best Cordless Vacuum For Pet Hair
If you are looking for a cordless pet hair vacuum that has a long battery life, Dyson has the perfect model for you.
One concern that people tend to have with cordless vacuums is that they won't have the power to pick up stubborn pet hair. This isn't the case with the Dyson V8, which has a cleaner head and brushbar that really gets deep into your carpet to loosen and remove pet hair. It also gives you 40 minutes of battery usage on its own, 25 minutes when using the floor tool attachment, and 7 minutes when using the high suction feature.
It also has a filtration system that picks up allergens while expelling clean air, so is great for allergy sufferers. You can easily convert the V8 to a handheld vacuum for cleaning furniture, stairs, and other awkward areas. It's lightweight, easy to maneuver around the home, and the dirt canister, which is easy to empty, can hold 0.6 liters.
7. Shark DuoClean Cordless Vacuum Cleaner
Best Stick Vacuum For Pet Hair
If you need a vacuum that is convenient and easy to store, while still having the capacity to pick up dog hair, you will love the Shark DuoClean.
This one is the best cordless stick vacuum for pet owners. This lightweight, but powerful cordless stick vacuum can be used on all floor types and is easy to carry around the home. It has a 0.3-quart dust capacity and uses multiflex technology, which allows you to get under beds, tables, and couches quite easily. It can be folded over for easy compact storage.
Its Duo Clean technology uses a combo of a soft roller and bristle brush to get deep into the carpets to remove even the most stubborn of pet hair. The soft roller makes it the best vacuum for tile floors and pet hair. Its perfect for both carpets and hardwood floors, and it's flexibility allows you to reach from floor to ceiling. You get 30 minutes of battery life and it takes 2 hours to fully charge it up.
Dog Hair Vacuums FAQs
What is the best vacuum for pet hair in carpet?
This can depend on things like your flooring, if your pet is a heavy shedder, and if you have more than one floor to clean. Both upright and canister vacuums tend to be the best where suction is concerned, with uprights being more powerful overall.
Are pet vacuums worth it?
Vacuums that were designed specifically for pet hair are worth it in the long run because they are built to withstand clogging from pet hair.
Ordinary or cheaper vacuums can often have its parts become clogged, which causes them to break down. You also get a filtration system with pet hair vacuums, which helps eliminate allergens.
How do you vacuum pet hair?
Sometimes, even the most powerful of vacuums has trouble getting out embedded pet hair. One trick to use before vacuuming is to get a rubber window squeegee, attach it to a mop handle, and use it like you would a rake, over the carpet. The rubber can help loosen the embedded hair, making it easier for your vacuum to pick up.
Having a pet hair vacuum with a good brush roll can also help because they are made to agitate the carpet fibers in order to raise the pet hair to the surface, making them easier to suction up.
Is Dyson the best vacuum for pet hair?
Dyson has long been known as a top brand when it comes to pet hair vacuums. Its ball technology makes it easier to navigate around the home, and they use high-quality HEPA filters. However, there are other brands that do just as well, such as Shark and Bissell. It really comes down to the features you want your vacuum to have. Some expensive brands will have a lot of features that you may not even use.
What is the best Shark vacuum for pet hair?
Shark has several models that have been designed for pet hair, from cordless to upright models. The best one for you will depend on what you need and want from a vacuum. If you have a mix of floor types, the Shark Navigator Lift-Away upright may be a good choice for you. If you need something more compact to get around the house more easily, a Shark cordless or canister model may be better for you.
What is the best vacuum for pet hair under $100?
While there are many options for pet hair vacuums under $100, research has shown that a lot of people like the Bissell Cleanview bagless upright vacuum. It has the power you need from an upright but the lightweight you would want from a canister, and it's under $100. It's the best cheap vacuum cleaner for pet hair that you can get.
Which one is the best vacuum cleaner brand and why?
Dyson would have to be the brand that comes out on top when it comes to vacuum cleaners. They've been designing and perfecting vacuums since 1947, offer a wide range of models, from uprights to robotics, and are one of the most innovative companies that make appliances. They've brought features like the cyclonic design for powerful suction, and their ball technology for superior maneuverability.
What is the best vacuum that doesn't clog?
If hair clogging is an issue you hate dealing with, Shark makes an Anti-Hair Wrap vacuum that is designed to not let the hair get wrapped around the brush head. Saying that the best way to avoid clogging in the hose or body of the vacuum is to not suck up large clumps or debris that isn't meant to be in a vacuum. Even the best vacuum can become clogged if you have sucked up something like a wad of matted hair or large item that can't fit through the hose.
What is the best vacuum for pet hair and hardwood floors?
For hardwood floors, you first want to ensure that the model you choose is made for them. Some vacuums are designed specifically for carpets, with roller brushes that agitate the carpet pile to get the hair out. These brushes, however, can damage hardwood flooring.
Many vacuums now have the ability to switch from carpets to hardwood. Dyson, Bissell, and Shark are just some of the companies that make vacuums for pet hair and hardwood floors. Which you choose is down to your own preference. Just make sure it is meant to be used on hardwood flooring.
What are the essential features for pet hair vacuums?
The best pet hair vacuums need to have powerful suction to start with. If you have carpets, the vacuum will also need a good roller brush head that can get down into the pile of the carpet to remove embedded hair. Another essential feature is having a HEPA filter, which will catch dander and allergens.
What are the necessary attachments for a pet hair vacuum?
For cleaning up pet hair, you will need a crevice tool for getting into small areas and corners, and an upholstery tool that you can use on your furniture. A mini turbo or motorized brush head can be very useful because you can turn them off when using it on hardwood floors. An extension wand is a necessity for getting into those harder to reach places.
You don't have to suffer from pet hair on everything if you have the right tools for the job.
Out of the top 7 vacuums reviewed, our choice is the Dyson Animal 2 for its ability to get around the home, furniture, and into tight spaces. We like the powerful suction it offers and its enclosed filtration system the sucks allergens in and expels clean air.
The best vacuum for you will depend on what features you want and your budget.
Hopefully, the reviews and our buyer's guide will you find the best vacuum to wipe out all that pet hair once and for all!
What are your top picks for keeping pet hair off your carpet or floors? Share your thoughts in the comments below!