If you share your home with a furry feline or cuddly canine, then you need a vacuum that will effectively pick up pet hair. "Pets are wonderful companions, but sloppy roommates, as they tend to leave a trail of fur wherever they go," Melissa Homer, cleaning expert and Chief Cleaning Officer at MaidPro, told The Spruce Pets.
She recommends focusing on three key features in a vacuum—powerful suction, a HEPA filter, and a rotating brush. "Strong suction ensures the flying fur tumbleweed on your floors actually gets sucked in instead of blown around, the HEPA manages pet dander so your human guests aren't constantly sneezing, and the rotating brushes will lift out even the longest most stubbornly tangled in pet hairs from carpet fibers and couches."
We researched top-performing vacuums and purchased 37 for testing in our New York Lab. Our testers scored each vacuum in multiple categories, including effectiveness, maneuverability, ease of emptying, portability, noise level, ease of setup, and overall value. Our testing space was equipped with surfaces commonly found in a home—tile, hardwood, upholstery, and carpet—and we doused each with crunchy kibble and real tufts of pet hair (donated by staffers who collected the strands their pets no longer needed).
After extensive testing, our favorite vacuum for pet hair is the Dyson V15 Detect Cordless Vacuum Cleaner, because it's lightweight, easy to maneuver, cordless, bagless, and successfully sucked up the rubbish we put in its way. When fully charged it has a run time of 60 minutes. Plus, with useful included attachments, it can easily switch between multiple surfaces and spaces.
Dyson V15 Detect Cordless Vacuum Cleaner
Canister is easy to empty
Lightweight, portable, and easy to maneuver with one hand
No need to purchase replacement bags
Seven attachment accessories included
Wand clip provides convenient storage of combination and crevice tools
The power button must be held down to clean
No HEPA filter
From the conspicuous spots, like your dog's favorite couch cushion, to the perplexing places, like behind the refrigerator, the Dyson V15 Detect Cordless Vacuum Cleaner is equipped to help you clean pet hair from every corner of your home.
"When picking up pet hair, it easily went from carpet to tile to hardwood and back with no issues," our tester said.
The cordless stick vacuum is lightweight with a canister that can hold 0.2 gallons of debris. In our lab testing, our participants found it very easy to pop the canister open over a waste bin with the bulk of the contents smoothly sliding out. There were a few strands of pesky pet hair that our tester had to sweep out manually with their hand but they did not find it burdensome.
Seven nozzle attachment tools are included, each with a different purpose. "The hair screw tool picked up the hair from the couch so easily and fast! That is one tool I would use all the time." This conical-shaped brush bar is designed to effortlessly pick up long hair (humans made messes too!) and pet hair from small spaces and upholstery.
This Dyson device also includes a laser slim fluffy cleaner head to capture microscopic dust from hard floors, a digital motorbar to collect dust and hair from all floors, a crevice tool for getting around corners and into gaps, a combination tool to quickly switch between a wide nozzle and brush, a mini soft dusting brush for more delicate surfaces and fabrics, and a stubborn dirt brush with stiff nylon bristles to dislodge and suck up particles. A wand clip provides convenient storage of the combination and crevice tools to easily switch while cleaning.
It has a battery life of 60 minutes when fully charged and be held with one hand as you traverse through your space. To optimize the battery life, the power button must be continuously held down while in use. A feature that our tester felt was odd but did not have a significant impact on their overall impression of the vacuum. They also felt that all three power settings emitted an average level of noise.
And while this model does not have a HEPA filter, it does have Dyson's whole-machine filtration which captures 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns.
For streamlined storage, a wall-mountable docking station is included and will hold the long and thin device upright. However, the charger can be used with or without the docking station. There is also a freestanding alumni dock made for the Dyson V15 Detect, but it is sold separately.
Price at time of publish: $750
Weight: 6.8 pounds | Power Source: Rechargeable battery with 60-minute run time | Bin Volume: 0.2 gallons or 25 ounces | Included Accessories: Fluffy cleaner head, digital motorbar, hair screw tool, combination tool, dirt brush, crevice tool | Model Number: SV22
Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Lithium Ion Cordless Hand Vacuum
Lightweight, portable, and handheld
Easy to empty tank
Three attachment accessories included
Need to replace proprietary filters
Louder than other similar vacuums
From your car to your pet's crate, the Bissel Pet Hair Eraser Lithium Ion Cordless Pet Hand Vacuum can help you quickly clean up after your pet (and yourself!). This handheld vacuum weighs less than a full-grown Chihuahua, but when it comes to removing pet hair, it's just as feisty!
In our lab testing, this purple picker-upper provided powerful suction across multiple surfaces. It successfully ingested kibble and pet hair from carpeting, hardwood flooring, deep pile rugs, and tile. It was louder than other similarly-sized vacuums (again, like a Chihuahua) but nothing out of the expected realm of vacuum cleaners.
It comes with three attachments to pinpoint your cleaning needs. A motorized brush tool to remove embedded pet hair and dirt, an upholstery tool for use on your favorite chair as well as your pet's bed, and a crevice tool to get in between couch cushions and car seats with ease. With a full charge, the battery's average run time is 17 minutes.
Our tester found the process of emptying the tank to be clunky. It requires two hands to open and the filter must then be removed to empty the debris. Over time the filter needs to be replaced and the replacements are sold separately.
Price at time of publish: $77
Weight: 3 pounds | Power Source: Rechargeable battery with 17-minute run time | Bin Volume: 0.1 gallons or 23 ounces | Included Accessories: Motorized brush tool, upholstery tool, crevice tool | Model Number: 2390A
Miele Blizzard CX1 Cat & Dog Bagless Canister Vacuum
Internal HEPA filter captures 99.9 percent of dust and dander
Includes 6 useful cleaning accessories
Canister has a handle and wheels that are gentle on floors
Power cord winds up on its own
Canister too wide to place on a step while vacuuming stairs
With an internal HEPA filter and seven attachments, the Miele Blizzard CX1 Cat & Dog Canister Vacuum is designed to absorb pet hair, pet dander, and all the human-related mess that accumulates in a happy home. And his canister vacuum proved to be a highly effective cleaning tool in our lab testing successfully suctioning kibble and pet hair from all of our test surfaces—hardwood, tile, carpet, and upholstery.
The vacuum has six power settings and our tester didn't even need to dial it up to the maximum to clear the space of debris. On account of the pull from the powerful suction, our tester did find the maneuverability of the wand to be slightly more difficult to control than other test models but felt that the overall experience, including the wheels on the canister, make for a relatively easy cleaning experience.
The wand has an adjustable height and is attached to a seven-foot hose to capture pet hair from all corners and at every level in a room. Plus a brush attachment works on upholstery, the floorhead twists to fit into corners, and a crevice tool slides into narrow spaces. All debris is collected in a removable bin, so no need to deal with replacement bags. Most of the particles and pieces easily slide out, but our tester did have to swipe a few strands of pet hair to completely clean out the contents.
With the push of a button, the power cord self-retracts, and the wand attaches to the canister in an upright position for easy storage. For use on a staircase, this vacuum might be too wide to rest on a step, but the cord along with the length of the wand and the hose should be sufficient for the height in the majority of homes.
Price at time of publish: $949
Weight: 19 pounds | Power Source: 26-foot retractable cord | Bin Volume: 1.19 gallons or 152.32 ounces | Included Accessories: Electro plus floorhead, parquet twister floorhead, dusting brush, crevice tool, upholstery tool, and handheld turbo brush | Model Number: SKCE0
Hoover ONEPWR Evolve Pet Cordless Small Upright Vacuum
Brush roll is easy to remove for cleaning
Weighs less than nine pounds
Locks in upright position for storing
Required a few passes on tile floor to pick up pet hair
For pet parents who need to carry a vacuum up and down a staircase, the Hoover ONEPWR Evolve Pet Cordless Vacuum weighs less than nine pounds and locks in an upright position when not in use.
"I wouldn't mind hauling this one around the house," shared our tester. "It's super lightweight and the swivel head allows for easy maneuvering." The vacuum works across multiple floor surfaces—hardwood, tile, carpet—with the ability to turn on a brush roll to sweep up particles. In our testing it performed exceptionally well on carpeting, picking up both kibble and pet hair. On the tile floor, a few passes were required to completely clear the area of debris. The brush roll can easily be extracted to clear any contents that may get stuck or tangled, like human hair.
The slim design is bagless and our tester found it easy to open the canister, empty the contents, and reassemble it. There is an internal filter to help clear your space of pet-related particles, but it is not a certified HEPA filter. As for noise, our tester noticed a slight increase when the brush was powered on, but overall the volume of the vacuum was not overtly loud.
Price at time of publish: $201
Weight: 7.3 pounds | Power Source: Rechargeable battery with 35-minute run time | Bin Volume: 40.5 ounces or 0.3 gallons | Included Accessories: Removable brush roll | Model Number: BH53420V
Best Budget Canister
Kenmore Pet Friendly POP-N-GO Bagged Canister Vacuum
360 degrees hose swivel
Retractable power cord
Check bag indicator on screen lets you know when the bag needs to be replaced
Telescoping wand for reaching ceiling fans and upper corners of rooms
Weighs over 20 pounds
Requires purchasing replacement bags
Wheels and handle make the Kenmore Pet-Friendly Pop-N-Go Bagged Canister Vacuum easy to tote around while you clean up your space. This reasonably priced vacuum delivered an "overall impressive performance" in our lab testing.
With four suction levels to choose from and a brush roller, this vacuum was able to pick up kibble from all of our test surfaces. As for pesky pet hair, the lowest suction level required two passes to fully capture strands from the carpet, and the highest level of suction, plus placement of the vacuum head directly over the pet hair, was needed on hard surfaces (tile and wood floors).
The power cord extends 26 feet and self-retracts back into the vacuum with the push of a button. There is an internal HEPA filter to remove pet dander and other dust particles from the air, and a disposable bag seals all of the contents the vacuum picks up. Bag replacements (Kenmore Type Q) are needed with repeated use to ensure the vacuum functions properly. Our tester found it very easy to extract and replace the bag. They also felt the overall design of the vacuum, with a 360-degree hose swivel, a telescopic wand, and the onboard tool storage to be very functional and convenient.
Price at time of publish: $320
Weight: 22.6 pounds | Power Source: 26-foot retractable cord | Included Accessories: Dusting brush, long crevice tool, and bare floor brush | Model Number: BC4026
The Dyson V15 Detect Cordless Vacuum Cleaner is our pick for best overall. It's powered by a rechargeable battery with a run time of 60 minutes, maintains powerful suction across household surfaces, and comes equipped with a variety of attachments to help you reach all areas of a home. If you are looking for a more affordable vacuum, the Hoover ONEPWR Evolve Pet Cordless is lightweight, easy to maintain, and nearly as effective as our other favorites.
How We Tested
We purchased and tested 37 pet hair vacuums for testing in our New York Lab, setting up each and then running them through several tests to rate and compare features and functionality. Our methodology guided testers through multiple scores while also gathering subjective impressions along the way.
We replicated common household surfaces—carpet, tile, hardwood, and upholstery—and sprinkled specific amounts of pet kibble and tufts of pet hair on each to challenge claims made by manufacturers. Our testers scored each vacuum in multiple categories, including effectiveness, maneuverability, ease of emptying, portability, noise level, ease of setup, and overall value. They were also asked if they would recommend the vacuum they tested.
Equipped with this first-hand information, we ranked and categorized our top picks to simplify your search for the right vacuum for cleaning up pet hair in your home.
What to Consider in a Vacuum for Pet Hair
Style and Weight
You can find upright, canister, handheld, and stick vacuums that can tackle pet-related messes, but each type offers its own set of advantages. Upright vacuums are good for homes with carpeting, while canister and stick vacuums are better for smaller homes with a wide variety of floor surfaces. If weight and portability are important for you, an upright model might be too heavy, but a handheld vacuum will work perfectly for you. When shopping for a vacuum to address pet hair in your home, keep your home's cleaning needs and your own personal preferences in mind.
Beyond which model you choose, you should also consider whether a bagged or bagless vacuum will be a better fit for you. A bagged option efficiently seals away any hair and dander that gets sucked up, with less potential mess associated with emptying the vacuum. However, you will have to put up with an additional expense in replacement bags, so if that's a deterrent, you can opt for a bagless vacuum.
Air Filtering Abilities
You may want to keep an eye out for vacuums with air filters that keep dander and dust locked into the bag or canister. Top-of-the-line models may have HEPA filters, which according the the Environmental Protection Agency can remove at least 99.97% of dust, pollen, mold, bacteria, and any airborne particles with a size of 0.3 microns.
Easy to Clean Brushes
Just like human hair, pet hair can tangle around a vacuum's beater brush and make it less effective at picking up dirt. Some vacuums are made with bars that are designed to keep hair from getting tangled, others have special attachments to vacuum areas with lots of fur, and some just have brushes that are easy to remove and clean when fur does get tangled.
How often should I vacuum?
Pet owners should aim to vacuum once or twice a week. Your exact frequency will depend on how many pets you have, how heavily they shed, and how often they're going in and out of the house.
Will vacuuming remove pet odors?
Vacuuming, especially in areas where pet hair and dander tends to get embedded and trapped, will certainly help reduce any lingering pet odors in your home. But, if you want to get as close to eliminating your furry friends' smells as possible, you should also invest in an air purifier and carpet cleaner or shampoo. The former will help filter out odors that are hanging in the air and the latter will clean smelly spots more thoroughly than a vacuum.
How can I maintain my the suction power of my vacuum?
A vacuum with strong, reliable suction is key to keeping a home with pets clean. You can tell your model of choice has the kind of suction you're looking for if it features efficient airflow, a cleaner head with rotating brushes, and even multiple fans and motors. To ensure its performance, make sure to empty its dust cup or bag regularly, ideally before it reaches maximum capacity. Check regularly for internal clogs as well as hair wrap around any external brushes.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This roundup was revamped by Anna Mejorada, a writer for The Spruce Pets, who shares her home with a happy pomeranian named Gidget who politely refuses to be in the same room as any vacuum. Before researching and writing about pet products for a living, Mejorada embarked on a self-mandated, ongoing quest to find the optimal items for her dog. She is now delightfully devoted to helping humans discover and select the most favorable products for their pets.
A previous version of was updated by Erica Puisis, a contributor to The Spruce who covers home, and Sara Coughlin, The Spruce’s small appliances expert.