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Our pets bring boundless laughter to our lives, but with that joy comes lots (and we mean lots) of dander and hair. If you want to keep your home from resembling Fido’s old brush, you need a vacuum that can handle excessive amounts of shedding, sometimes in rather surprising spots around the house. In addition to reliable and powerful suction, the right vacuum should have attachments that work on furniture and different types of household surfaces as well as a filter that traps large and small debris alike. Then there are features that come down to a matter of personal preference.
Whether you’re looking for a go-anywhere canister or sleek cordless vacuum, there’s an option that you’ll love. (Although we can’t make any promises that your pet will be a fan.)
Here, the best vacuums for pet hair.
Best Overall: Dyson Ball Animal 2 Upright Vacuum
Extremely effective at removing pet hair
Steeper price point
With a name like ‘Animal,’ it should come as no surprise that the Dyson Animal is a top vacuum for pet hair. This beast of a vacuum delivers superior suction, pet-specific cleaning tools, HEPA filtration, and a self-adjusting cleaner head to conquer pet hair on everything from bare floors to plush carpets. It’s a pricey vacuum but it backs up its cost with performance and durability.
The Dyson Ball Animal 2 is designed to maneuver smoothly, thanks to the swiveling ball mechanism, 35-foot power cord, and self-adjusting cleaner head. Transition from cleaning bare floors to vacuuming carpet without needing to manually adjust any settings. However, this model does fail to impress some users with its ergonomics. At 17.5 pounds, it’s not a particularly lightweight vacuum cleaner. Locking the handle of the vacuum into an upright position sometimes requires a bit of trial and error. Additionally, tucking the accessory hose back into the handle after using one of the 6 included tools can be tricky—requiring the hose to be positioned just right to slide back into place.
Even still, the real test of any vacuum cleaner for pet hair is whether or not it delivers sufficient suction to remove fur from your home’s flooring, upholstery, and more. In this regard, thousands of users are convinced that the Dyson Ball Animal 2 is a best buy for a durable, powerful vacuum cleaner.
"We were continually impressed at how much pet hair it managed to remove from various surfaces—even seemingly clean carpets yielded huge amounts of debris!"—Camryn Rabideau, Product Tester
Best Canister: Miele Classic C1 Cat & Dog Canister Vacuum Cleaner
Sophisticated filtration system
Automatically adjustable brushroll
If you’re tackling pet hair all over the house—on hard wood floors, carpets, and furniture—a canister vacuum could be the highly mobile solution to your problems. This option from Miele was made to handle major shedding, no matter where it happens.
Designed specifically with pet lovers in mind, it has an operating radius of about 30 feet, an adjustable working height, and 7-foot hose, allowing it to reach pet hair that gets caught in all corners of your room. Where the turbo brush attachment works for upholstery, the floorhead twists to fit into corners and narrow spaces. Running at six different speed options, its filter captures 99.9 percent of dust and dander while dispatching with any accompanying odors, making it an especially great choice if anyone in the house has a dander allergy.
Best for Carpet: Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Vacuum
Very powerful suction
On the heavier side
Can't reach under low furniture
The challenge of carpet is that it does a great job of holding onto pet hair, dander, dirt, and more. Debris and allergens can easily settle down in between the carpet fibers and without enough suction from a vacuum cleaner, it will be hard to extract them. This is a special challenge for pet parents and requires investing in a vacuum for pet hair that is designed for carpet—like the Bissell Pet Hair Eraser. This upright vacuum cleaner is a popular pick for anyone that has wall-to-wall carpeting or an abundance of area rugs that need a good cleaning.
The Bissell Pet Hair Eraser delivers 8.5 amps of power and features a unique suction channel that ensures a strong force is exerted from edge-to-edge of the brush roll. Speaking of the brush roll, pet owners (or anyone with long hair) appreciates that the oversized roller prevents hair from becoming tangled around the brush roll. The dirt cup is also designed for effective pet hair management; it features a unique mechanism to spool hair and ensure that it drops in a neat, tidy clump after your vacuum session. This model is a bagless vacuum cleaner, so you won’t need to buy replacement bags, but there is a washable filter inside the unit.
As a pet hair vacuum, the Bissell also includes several pet-specific cleaning tools for carpet, upholstered surfaces, and more. The Pet TurboEraser tool is a motorized brush that provides focused suction on furniture, while the 2-in-1 Pet Brush uses rubber fingers to lift fur and dust from even more delicate surfaces.
Best Robot: iRobot Roomba i7 Wi-Fi Connected Robot Vacuum
Designed to prevent tangled hair
Some difficulty cleaning high-pile carpet
If you feel like cleaning up after your furry friend is a never-ending chore, it’s time to enlist the help of a robot vacuum for pet hair. The Roomba i7 offers stronger suction compared to competitors (and previous generations of Roomba vacs), along with advanced mapping and navigational abilities. The technology of the Roomba i7 enables it to learn ‘Keep Out Zones’ that come in handy for pet owners—such as your pet’s food and water bowls.
Users with heavy shedding pets appreciate that the Roomba i7 includes dual rubber rollers that eliminate the possibility of tangled hair that throttles roller function. Occasionally, hair may get caught along the side of the rubber rollers and need to be removed, but this is a quick and simple job. Whether you have hardwood, tile, or carpeted floors, this robot vacuum can adjust the roller height to maintain suction and effectively remove pet hair, dander, dirt, and more. One common complaint is that on deep pile carpet, the Roomba sometimes leaves behind clumps of hair that need to be manually picked up. Most people don’t experience this dilemma, but it’s something to know if you have especially plush carpeting.
The other advantage of the Roomba i7 as a vacuum for pet hair is the fact that you can also purchase a base with dirt disposal capabilities. This is something to consider if you have heavy shedding pets and find that you need to empty your Roomba more frequently than you would like. The option to have the Roomba i7 self-empty into the cleaning base buys you several weeks (up to a month) of hands-off cleaning.
Best Cordless: Shark Navigator Freestyle Upright Stick Cordless Bagless Vacuum
Easy to use
Some hair wrap
Bright charging light
A cordless vacuum is one of the most convenient ways to clean your house. Just pick up the vacuum and you’re ready for a quick cleaning session whenever the fur starts flying or you find stray kitty litter or kibble. The Shark Navigator Freestyle is an efficient and easy-to-use cordless vacuum for pet hair. It features an adjustable vacuum head to accommodate both carpeting and bare floors and pivots to a nearly flat position to reach deep under tables, couches, and chairs and suction up dust bunnies and clumps of fur.
Even households with multiple pets find that the Shark Navigator Freestyle is up for the challenge of daily suction duty. However, the brush roll is not tangle-free, so you may need to cut away pet hair, human hair, and string manually every few weeks to maintain normal operation. This isn’t uncommon for vacuums but is a bit of an annoyance on a vacuum cleaner for pet hair. But if you don't want to lug a full-sized vacuum out for quick jobs, this model is a good option for tidying up.
Best for Quick Clean-ups: Shark Rocket Pet Pro
Lightweight and portable
Converts to a handheld vacuum
Can't stand upright on its own
Not designed for big messes
When you have pets in the house, be prepared for a quick clean-up at all times. The Shark Rocket Pet Pro is a top pick for a pet vacuum that can clean up messes in a hurry whether they’re on the floor, above the floor (think furniture, window treatments, stairs), or in the car. Aside from functioning in an upright position for zooming over bare and carpeted floors in search of crunchy dog food or little bits of litter, the top of the vacuum detaches for a useful handheld vac that can tackle pet hair in your car, on your couch, and more.
Like many of the best vacuums for pet hair, the Shark Rocket Pet Pro has a rubber brush roll that minimizes the chances of hair becoming tangled. In the event that you do need to give the brush roll some extra attention, you access this part with just simple fasteners rather than screws that require tools and tedious work. To keep pet dander and other allergens under control, this model includes two pre-motor filters, along with a post-motor HEPA filter.
A favorite feature of this model compared to other stick vacuums for pet hair is the fact that you don’t have to continuously hold the trigger button for the vacuum to operate. The one oddity about the Shark Rocket Pet Pro is that it doesn’t stand upright on its own when fully assembled. You’ll either need to prop it against another object to support the top-heavy part of this stick vacuum, or just remove the top of the vacuum (the handheld portion) and set it on a shelf or on the floor next to the body of the vacuum.
Best Budget: Eureka FloorDash Bagless Upright Vacuum Cleaner
No edge cleaning
Eureka’s FloorDash is a surprisingly lightweight, maneuverable bagless option that won’t cost a fortune. Its easy handling is a result of the big wheel design, which allows the floorhead to smoothly swivel in and out of tight corners (the 30-foot power cord lends a hand here, too). Anywhere that the vacuum itself cannot reach is easily accessed with the help of the stretch hose that reaches 12 feet above floor level—a great feature for eliminating dust and dander from high shelves and window treatments.
Suitable on both hard and carpeted surfaces, the FloorDash features a 1-liter dust cup that lifts away from the rest of the vacuum and flips open to release into the trash, sparing users the risk of making a secondary mess of their pet’s hair.
Best Handheld: Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Lithium Ion Cordless Hand Vacuum
Extremely lightweight and portable
Motorized brush tool
Not designed for big messes
Pricey replacement filters
When you come across a pile of pet hair on your furniture, in their crate, or in your car, it can feel like a hassle to lug out your full-size vacuum. That's why having a handheld model to supplement your household cleaning or to keep in the trunk for on-the-go cleanups can be extremely beneficial. This model from Bissell is an excellent option for its suction, durability, and ease of use.
What seems like your average hand vacuum is designed specifically with pets (and their accompanying messes) in mind. Its upholstery tool and motorized brush are perfect for dredging up hair and dander from your pet's bed, while its crevice tool cleans in between couch cushions and car seats with ease. This model's lithium ion battery ensures a run time of up to 17 minutes and its three-layer filtration system makes it a great choice for homes where furry friends and allergy sufferers must coexist.
If you're a pet owner looking for a handheld vacuum to add to your cleaning arsenal, this should be your first choice.
The Dyson Ball Animal 2 Upright Vacuum (view at Bed Bath & Beyond) is designed with furry friends in mind and you can see that in its ultra-powerful suction, self-adjusting cleaner head, and HEPA filter. If you’re tidying up after your pets on a budget, consider the Eureka FloorDash Bagless Upright Vacuum Cleaner (view at Home Depot), which maneuvers easily while removing shedded hair across floor surfaces.
What to Look for in a Vacuum for Pet Hair
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 is 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. If you share your home with pets and people with pet hair allergies, a bagged option might put the allergy sufferers at greater ease because they more efficiently seal away any hair and dander that gets sucked up. You will have to put up with an additional expense in replacement bags, so if that's a deterrent (or if allergies aren't an issue), you can opt for a bagless vacuum.
Air filtering abilities
Even if no one in your home is allergic to pets, you may want to keep an eye out for vacuums with air filters that keep allergens locked into the bag or canister. Top of the line models may have HEPA filters, which are helpful if members of your family, extended family, or friends have allergies to pet dander.
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 vacuum's suction power?
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. And check regularly for internal clogs as well as hair wrap around any external brushes.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was edited and updated by Sara Coughlin, a freelance writer and The Spruce’s small appliances expert. From canister models to dustbusters, she’s researched what it takes for a vacuum to stand out in a vast and broad market—and what to look for in up-and-coming models.