The best vacuum cleaners for pet hair are essential for anyone who lives with a pet that sheds, molts, or generally leaves itself about your home. Staying on top of this, especially with larger dogs, can be a full-on task that is made that much easier with the right vacuum backing you up.
While you could use any vacuum and hope all will be fine, a model designed specifically for pet hair will not only make the task easier but should last longer under the strain of dealing with all that hair. From lightweight models that let you whip around regularly without much strain to units designed to avoid clogging, there are plenty of pet-specific vacuum options.
While an anti-tangle model that prevents the brush tool from getting clogged up with hair is an excellent feature, you may also want a model that's quieter, helping with more nervous pets. There are even models now packing LED and laser light specifically to highlight pet hair so you don't miss any as you clean.
Hugo Guerrero, a certified House Cleaning Technician (HCT) and Carpet Repair and Reinstallation Technician (RRT) from New York, explains that the best vacuum cleaners for pet hair can help because they are specifically designed to target pet hairs.
In most cases, a bagless vacuum is a good choice, but if you want to empty your vacuum without reintroducing dust, then a bagged model can be helpful. Battery-powered units are great as they allow you to move freely without a cord and clean hard-to-reach areas with ease. However, the battery on cordless models doesn't last forever, so if you have a large house, you might want to opt for a corded vacuum.
So read on to find the very best vacuum cleaners for pet hair, arranged with specialist features so you can find the ideal model for your needs. It's also worth looking at specific models, including the best robot vacuum, handheld vacuum, or the best vacuum cleaner overall.
The best vacuum cleaners for pet hair
Lightweight and equipped with laser illumination, the Dyson V12 Detect Slim is a great premium vacuum cleaner for pet hair. The ergonomic 5.2-lbs build is easy to transport up and downstairs, a dream for those who lack upper body strength or suffer from a bad back.
While the Dyson V12 Detect isn’t specifically marketed as a vacuum cleaner for pet hair, during our testing we found it handled it extremely well. Even after the first pass, we were impressed by how much of our kids' and pets' hair the vacuum picked up.
The Hair screw tool, a 250-mm de-tangling brush bar, easily hooks onto long pet or human hair, transferring strands from the bristles to the cylinder in a spiral motion. It made light work of our dog's blanket, removing a huge amount of pet hair.
The tracking features, including a custom lens fans out green light at a 1.5-degree angle, illuminates dust and dander not ordinarily visible to the human eye. This is coupled with a piezo sensor, which tallies up the number of dust particles passing through the vacuum by detecting their electrical signal.
For those concerned about running out of power, the Dyson V12 Detect Slim has a seven-cell battery with 60 minutes running time. We found this to be plenty for a medium-sized home, and we didn't run out of juice mid-clean. The only downside is it does take up to 4 hours for the battery to recharge, which is inconvenient if you've forgotten to do this before you planned to clean.
- Read our Dyson V12 Detect Slim review
The iRobot Roomba i7+ is a great tool for pet owners who lack the time to manually clean up pet hair. Unlike a standard vacuum, the robot maps out a floor plan of your home. All it requires is for you to download an app onto your mobile phone to flag obstacles or ‘Keep Out Zones’ such as pet bowls or delicate furnishings.
Whether you’re a large family or someone with a busy work or study schedule, the robot will independently deal with spillages, fur clumps, and other pet or human-related pollutants without your input. Not only is it compatible with WiFi, but the device can also be hooked up to voice activation such as Alexa. This takes all of the heavy lifting out of your daily vacuuming session.
When it comes to dealing with ‘Clean Zones’, the iRobot Roomba i7 is powerful and efficient. The three-step cleaning system has powerful suction, and this is paired with an edge-sweeping brush which can deal with edged surfaces and a dual multi-surface rubber brush which can handle all floor types.
The main stumbling block encountered by users of the iRobot Roomba i7+ is that the robot has difficulty figuring out homes with unusual or complex flooring plans. This sort of smart technology also doesn’t come cheap - you can expect to fork out a significant amount more than you would on a traditional vacuum. In return, however, the clever robot vacuum can save you time and energy.
- Read our full iRobot Roomba i7+ review
The Dyson Pet Grooming Kit captures pet hair and gets rid of it all at once. This handy gadget from the vacuum experts is a slicker brush attached to an extending hose, and it’s compatible with multiple cordless Dyson vacuum cleaners. Simply click the hose directly onto the vacuum with the quick-release adaptor, push the back of the tool to extend the bristles, and get grooming.
Although we found our long-haired Golden Retriever and long-haired cat were a little spooked by the sound of the vacuum, that’s no obstacle to using the attachment. Simply groom them with the vacuum off, then switch it on briefly to suction away any pet hair and dander on the brush.
Results were pretty impressive. We managed to get rid of a sizeable amount of pet hair in two quick sessions. Plus, the cat seemed to enjoy the grooming process even more than the dog, which is a first.
Cleaning expert for Housetasticand cleaning business owner Karen Barrigan also gave a thumbs up to the Dyson Pet Grooming Kit: “For people who own a cordless Dyson and have a hairy dog that’s prone to shedding, the pet grooming tool is a handy addition.”
If your main goal is to apply a vacuum directly to floors and furniture, a full-sized pet vacuum might be more effective. The Pet Groom Tool is well-suited to pet owners who want to tackle pet dander at the source instead, and it’s especially effective for those with long-haired dogs who shed excessively. The tool is suitable for medium and long-haired dogs only; users report that the bristles scratch or irritate short-haired breeds, including labradors and golden retrievers.
- Read our full Dyson Pet Groom Tool review
If you’re looking for a simple floor cleaner for your house with pets, the Hoover ONEPWR Evolve Pet is just that. With absolutely no additional accessories, this vacuum is designed purely to remove dust and pet hairs from your hard floors and carpet.
At just under 9 lbs, it’s a lightweight choice, and unlike other cordless stick style vacuums, we loved that this one is designed like an upright vacuum, which meant we didn't have to take all its weight in our hand. It can also stand unsupported for easy storage.
The removable battery can be charged anywhere and you can buy additional batteries to ensure your clean is uninterrupted. According to Mallory Micetich, Home Expert at Angi , “if you’re in the market for a new cordless vacuum, purchasing one with removable batteries may prolong the life of your vacuum cleaner and save you money down the road”, since you can easily replace the battery when it loses capacity with age.
During our testing, the vacuum's general pick-up was good, but it struggles to collect all the debris from the edges of the room. And with no accessories to help clean into hard-to-reach areas, it’s likely you’ll need another vacuum in order to achieve a thorough clean.
With that being said, it’s inexpensive and agile with a decent size dustbin, so if all you want is a convenient vacuum that’ll rid you of pet hair and dust in-between more thorough cleans, it’ll get the job done.
- Read our full Hoover ONEPWR Evolve Pet review
The Bissell SurfaceSense Pet Multi-Surface Vacuum is a powerful corded vacuum that will make light work of any messes, including your pet's. This mid-range appliance comes with a few attachments and replacement filters, making it good value for money in our eyes.
During testing, we were very impressed with the vacuum's suction power and how well it coped with the mess left by both kids and pets. This vacuum could cope with everything we threw at it. The crevice tool is handy for hard-to-reach areas like between couch cushions and skirting boards.
We found it easy to maneuver overall, but the lengthy cord was hard to navigate. Users with a large home will find it an advantage, but at 30 ft. long, it could be argued it's just too long and gets in the way.
As it is bagless, this vacuum is quite easy to clean. The canister snaps right off and the bottom opens with the press of a button, meaning you can just place it over the garbage can and dump it without having to flip over a canister full of a bunch of dust, inevitably getting it in the space around the garbage can. The filters were easy to access and clean as well.
Overall, the Bissell SurfaceSense Pet Multi-Surface Vacuum is a good choice if you have a large space to maintain, or just need that extra suction power to ensure your house is sparkling.
- Read our full Bissell SurfaceSense Pet Multi-Surface Vacuum review
What to look for in a vacuum cleaner for pet hair
To handle pet hair fibers and prevent blockages, vacuum cleaners for pet hair must have more specialized features than a standard vacuum.
Corded vs cordless
The main advantage of a cordless vacuum is that it operates independently of an electric socket. Choosing a vacuum with a long battery life is essential for larger homes. At least 40 minutes should be sufficient, but if you’re planning on dealing with a large house, garden and car all at once, you may prefer a battery-free corded model with an extension lead.
Bag vs bagless
A bagless vacuum requires you to empty fur and debris directly from the bin into the trash can. Dust and dander can escape, re-contaminating your home or triggering allergies. Therefore, we generally consider bagged vacuums to be superior to their bagless siblings for pet hair. That being said, some bagged vacuums require single-use bags. Periodically replacing the bag bumps up maintenance costs.
Features such as raised bristles swiftly lift up and trap pet dander, preventing blockages. They may come in the form of detachable brush rolls.
Suction power, typically measured in air watts (AW), should be at least 200W to extract pet hair. This is particularly important when tackling carpets or rugs with deep piles, as more power is required to suck up tangled hairs.
A compact, lightweight vacuum requires less storage space and less heavy maneuvering. This is especially important if you have a large area to cover or multiple floors in your home.
Cordless vacuums are generally more lightweight than their corded counterparts by around five to 10 lbs. You might want to consider a robot vacuum too, which requires no elbow grease at all.
Pet hair vacuums have filters to prevent dust and dander from re-contaminating your home. A multi-layered filter is a must, your vacuum should ideally have a High-Efficiency Particulate Absorbing Filter (HEPA) filter.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), theoretically, HEPA filters remove at least 99.7% of airborne particles sized over 0.3 microns, including dander, dust, pollen, mold, and bacteria.
A pet vacuum needs to be able to deal with different floor types. Hardwood surfaces are best tackled with a soft brush that won’t scratch your floor. Thick pile carpets require longer and sturdier bristles, ideally with rotating fibers.
Noise and additional features
Noise is another consideration, especially for owners with nervous pets. Another nice-to-have feature is LED lights, which may help you to spot less visible hairs on the floor while you vacuum.