best vacuum for pet hair

Best Vacuum for Pet Hair [including the one I use]

Any vacuum will make your dog or cat run away thinking the world is ending.

But your hairy friend is going to need to deal with it because there’s nothing worse than realizing your clothes look like a used lint roller when you leave the house.

But here’s the big question: what are the best vacuums for pet hair?

Many vacuums don’t do a good job with pet hair

Maybe this is the reason you’re on this page. You already have a vacuum, and it’s leaving behind hairs everywhere.

If not, I can tell you firsthand that most vacuums don’t do a great job with hair. I’ve tested many vacuums, and I also have pets. The majority of vacuums I test don’t do a good job picking up hairs. It takes a combination of a good beater bar, high-power suction, and technology that keep it from getting bogged down.

There are a few vacuums that stand out. The next section I’ll cover how I tested these vacuums.

How I chose the best vacuums

I’ve tested or reviewed nearly every vacuum from $50 to $1,200, and I also live in an apartment with 2 cats (not much choice, but they’re there).

I keep reviews of vacuums in a spreadsheet. This lets me quickly eliminate average to below average performers.

Then, I look at the vacuums that seem promising, and I use many of them on my own. I take notes on a few tests:

  • use the vacuum and see how easy it is to use, and does it feel like it’s working
  • use upholstery tools to determine how well it can pick up hair off of couches and beds
  • don’t vacuum for one week, and then vacuum a specific spot and measure how much dust and fur I collect
  • don’t vacuum for one week, and then vacuum a specific spot and then lint roll that spot after to see how much fur comes up

These tests may not be perfect by scientific lab standards, but it becomes clear which vacuums do the best job.

4 best vacuums for pet hair

Why 4 vacuums?

I didn’t go into this article knowing how many vacuums I’d rank, but 4 ended up standing out to me as the best in their class. Here’s the breakdown:

  • 2 upright vacuums
  • 1 canister vacuum
  • one robot vacuum

Captain’s notice! When I recommend a vacuum, there is a link to a product page (usually on Amazon). I may receive a small commission if you purchase after clicking it. I receive the same small flat percentage with any vacuum, so it does not change what I recommend or what you pay. All reviews are 100% unbiased.

Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal [Overall Winner]: Sometimes Dyson vacuums are an overhyped brand name. Sometimes “animal” is just a marketing word attached to vacuums name. This isn’t the case with this Dyson. This has been the most impressive vacuum to date on picking up animal hair from the carpet to its upholstery tool which works great. This is the vacuum I use 90% of the time in my own home. Here are the highlights

  • 9.5 out of 10 cleaning ability and animal hair pickup
  • excellent pet hair upholstery tool that doesn’t take too many swiped on pet-hair-covered couches, chairs, etc
  • whole machine HEPA filtration great for allergy sufferers
  • technology that allows for no pre-motor filter resulting in no suction loss during vacuuming (a common problem with some vacuums)
  • minimal maintenance and no filters to wash
  • average maneuverability: ball technology makes it easy to move but is a little heavy so consider avoiding in the elderly with arthritis
  • check out pricing on Amazon by clicking here

Shark Apex Duoclean Liftaway [2nd Place Upright]: This vacuum does an excellent job picking up pet hair. Some people say it does better than our winning Dyson, although my experience is the Dyson picks up hair slightly better (I need to head to head test the two at some point and will update this post accordingly). One note, this the highest-end Shark vacuum with dual brush rolls. This definitely helps pick up pet hair but in some cases can cause thick dog hair to clog the brushes more frequently. Here are the lights:

  • 9 out of 10 pet hair and overall cleaning ability
  • excellent pet hair tool
  • like the Dyson, easy to maneuver for the average person but a heavy vacuum. There are some good vacuum for elderly and arthritis here that also do a good job with pet hair
  • many reviews say Shark isn’t the best at standing behind warranties
  • Shark has my favorite HEPA filtration systems
  • check out pricing and more information on Amazon by clicking here

Miele Complete C3 Marin [#1 Canister]: I put canisters in their own category because some people love canister and some don’t. In general, canisters don’t have as much cleaning power as uprights because they can’t have as big of a motor since you’re carrying it around. This vacuum breaks the mold of canisters being weaker, and being a lightweight canister, it’s the best vacuum for pet hair and stairs. Here are the highlights:

  • 9.5 out of 10 cleaning pet hair
  • 8.5-9 out of 10 carpet cleaning ability
  • easy to clean stairs and move from lower floors to upper floors
  • excellent air filtration system
  • premium features such as foot controlled motor speed and height
  • Miele are premium vacuums and this is shown in the price but there are more budget-friendly versions (check price on our link below will also lead you to comparable Miele’s)
  • Miele is tied for the lowest rate of need for repairs by Consumer Reports
  • Check out the latest pricing on Amazon by clicking here

iRobot Roomba 877 [#1 Robot]: Robots are an interesting breed when it comes to vacuums. They definitely don’t have quite the cleaning ability of human-powered vacuums, but there’s something extremely nice about having your home cleaned while you’re doing other things. It’s like a personal maid. Most robots still aren’t up to the challenge for pet hair. And the interesting thing about robots, many of the high-end ones have features like smartphone control but don’t clean that well. This robot is an exception making it the best robot vacuum for pet hair. Here are the highlights:

  • 7.5 out of 10 cleaning and pet hair ability (compared to all vacuums, not just robots)
  • does a good job not getting stuck or falling off edges (a big problem with some robots
  • can schedule for daily cleanings and the robot automatically goes back in its charging dock
  • does a good job with pet hair without clogging the vacuum
  • ability to clean to the edge of walls where more pet hair collects
  • no smartphone controls (personally, I like this because it saves on cost for a feature I’d rarely use since you can schedule the vacuum)
  • check out pricing on Amazon by clicking here

Captain’s parting words!

One of the biggest frustrations of a dog or cat can be the hair that sheds with it. As a pet owner and vacuum tester, these are the vacuum I’ve found do by far the best job at eliminating hairs in your home.

The upright vacuums tend to do the best job overall. But if you have multiple floors, the Marin stood out in the canister category.

And robot vacuums are an excellent help to get your floors cleaned daily. This often stops the pet hair problem without you knowing it exists. Hopefully, your pet doesn’t hate the robot, but it probably will! The good news, they’re usually afraid of it, so they won’t try to stop it in its tracks.

Any questions or comments on vacuuming pet hair? Let me know in the comments below.

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