Our pets enrich our lives in many ways, from providing us with entertainment to lowering our stress levels. But as with all good things, there are downsides to pet ownership, and perhaps the biggest one is dealing with their hair.
Pet hair is the bane of most pet owners’ existence, requiring frequent vacuuming, specialty tools, and sticky rollers to look presentable before going out the door. So if there is something that can make dealing with pet hair easier, most pet owners are all for it. And the biggest tool in your arsenal for your battle is the best vacuum for pet hair.
- Why Pet Hair is a Problem
- But Most Vacuums Cannot Handle It
- What to Consider When Purchasing a Vacuum for Pet Hair
- Best Vacuums for Pet Hair reviews 2018 - comparison table
- Best Canister Vacuums for Pet Hair
- Best Upright Vacuum for Pet Hair
- Best Handheld Vacuum for Pet Hair
- Best Robotic Vacuum for Pet Hair
- Tips for Reducing Pet Hair in Your Home
- Final Words
Why Pet Hair is a Problem
The one problem we all know dog hair and cat hair causes is unsightliness. It sticks to your couches, your clothes, your rugs, and everyone can see it, ruining the design of your home. But the look of pet hair is not the only cause for concern.
When pet hair is around your home, it can trigger allergies and aggravate other illness. Your pets can end up consuming it while playing and exploring, leading to hair balls and discomfort. It can even get inside of your electronics and cause them to overheat. All of this means that you must make it a priority to get rid of pet hair in your home.
But Most Vacuums Cannot Handle It
It is logical to assume that any vacuum with decent suction can handle pet hair, but if you purchase one without ensuring it can, you are likely to be disappointed. The majority of vacuums on the market are not designed to effectively pick up pet hair—even the more powerful and more expensive ones. This is why many manufacturers create special models marketed towards pet owners. But even then, not all pet hair vacuums are created equal, which means you need to keep an eye out for specific features that best work with pet hair.
What to Consider When Purchasing a Vacuum for Pet Hair
Vacuums come with so many different features, it can be overwhelming to navigate them. And if you are looking for the best pet hair vacuum, it can get even more complicated. But do not worry; we are going to go over all the important features to ensure you know exactly what to look for in your purchase.
While picking up pet hair is important, it cannot be at the cost of effectively cleaning other messes in the home. As such, it is important to select a vacuum that has a solid overall performance. Your floors in your home will determine which vacuums offer the best performance for you, as different types of flooring have different needs. For example, if you have hardwood floors, you will need the best vacuum for pet hair and hardwood floors.
Performance with Pet Hair
Once you are confident that a vacuum performs well in general on the flooring in your home, you need to make certain it can also handle pet hair. A good indicator is if the vacuum is specifically marketed as being for pet hair, but that isn’t 100%. Sometimes a pet hair vacuum will only be good for certain types of pet hair, or it just doesn’t live up to expectations. In other cases, a vacuum not marketed as being for pet hair can handle it just fine. It is best to use reviews to guide you in determining how effective it is on pet hair.
Nearly all vacuums come with a filtration system, but many of them are just basic systems. For pet hair, you need more powerful systems. HEPA filtration is a good standard, as is multi-step filtration. As a rule, when it comes to pet hair vacuums, the more powerful the filtration, the better the vacuum will be for you.
Bagged or Baggless
Everyone loves a baggless vacuum, right? Well, maybe. The problem with baggless vacuums is that when you empty them, some of what you vacuumed will escape, even if you have a model with special ways of emptying the bin. Because of this, you might prefer to have a bagged model. However, this is a matter of personal preference.
Some pet vacuums will come with special attachments called things like pet hair remover tool; these are specifically designed to pull stubborn pet hair off of various surfaces. However, there is a standard tool that you will find on many vacuums that does the same job: the upholstery tool. If the vacuum you purchase has this or you can purchase it separately, you are good to go.
This might seem like an odd thing to consider, but many pets find the noise of vacuums to be disturbing. This is especially true for pets that are naturally anxious or who have been rescued from less-than-ideal situations. If you have a pet that does not do well with loud noises, a quiet vacuum is best. However, keep in mind that even quiet vacuums still make plenty of noise.
Many pets, especially cats, love to hide underneath furniture to nap. As such, plenty of pet hair can be found underneath couches, beds, tables, and more. To get to this hair without moving the furniture, you need a vacuum that offers plenty of recline or has a flexible hose attachment to allow you to reach as far as you need.
Types of Vacuums
There are many different types of vacuums on the market, and none are inherently better for pet hair than others. To ensure you get a quality vacuum for pet hair, you have to make sure they have the right features. As for which type is best for you, it depends on your wants and needs. Let’s take a look at these different types below.
Canister vacuums have long been used in Europe and in industrial applications, but only recently have they become popular in American homes. These vacuums have three parts: the canister that houses the motor and other elements, a flexible hose, and a wand that connects to that hose. You can fix many different attachments to the wand, including upholstery and pet hair attachments. These vacuums are excellent for cleaning under furniture as you can go so far as laying them flat, and they have very powerful suction since the canister can accommodate larger motors. Their biggest downside is that it can be difficult to maneuver them over plush carpeting, but they are easy to carry when needed.
Upright vacuums contain all parts in a centralized unit, including the motor, filters, and suction head. These vacuums are designed for you to push them back and forth in front of you to clean the floors. Some models will recline to a nearly flat position to access spaces underneath furniture, and most models will have a hose that you can use attachments on. These vacuums store easily since they stay upright and they have a wider cleaning path, allowing you to clean faster. The most common complaint with this type of vacuum is its weight, making it a strain to push and carry.
Handheld vacuums are exactly what they sound like: vacuums you can hold in your hand. They are meant to be portable so you can use them anywhere your pet might go, including your vehicle. However, their size also means they come with limitations other types of vacuums do not—namely they cannot hold a lot of pet hair at one time. Other concerns include the power of the suction and their battery life since most models are not corded. Most homeowners who have handheld vacuums have them in addition to other types of vacuums.
Robotic vacuums are a great choice for those who want their floors clean but don’t want to actually clean them. These little machines will clean all the floors on a given level, returning to their charging dock when their battery is low and then setting out to work again once it is charged. While they sound ideal, there are limitations. If you have more than one level in your home, you will need more than one vacuum. Also, some animals may find the robots disturbing. Finally, they cannot handle pet hair that is on surfaces other than the floor, which is a pretty major limitation.
Best Vacuums for Pet Hair reviews 2018 - comparison table
Performance on Pet Hair
|Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal Canister Vacuum|| ||5 Stars||5 Stars||Filter-free cinetic technology||Full toolkit||Medium||Full recline||
|Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away TruePet||5 Stars||5 Stars||Washable HEPA filtration||Pet specific tools||Medium||Partial Recline||
|Hoover Air Cordless 20V Lithium Ion Bagless Hand Vacuum Cleaner|| ||5 Stars||5 Stars||Washable filter||Upholstery tools||Low||N/A||
|Neato Botvac D5 Connected Navigating Robot Vacuum - Pet & Allergy||5 Stars||5 Stars||Standard filter||N/A||Low||N/A||
|Electrolux EL4335B Ultra Flex Canister Vacuum|| ||5 Stars||5 Stars||Washable HEPA filter||Upholstery nozzle||Low||Full recline||
|Hoover T-Series WindTunnel Pet Bagged Upright, UH30310|| ||5 Stars||5 Stars||2-stage HEPA filtration||Full toolkit targeting pet hair||Medium||Partial recline||
|Shark Cordless Pet Perfect II Hand Vac||5 Stars||5 Stars||Unclear||Pet brush||Low||N/A||
|iRobot Roomba 980|| ||5 Stars||5 Stars||Standard filter||N/A||Medium||N/A||
|Eureka Mighty Mite Canister Vacuum with Pet Attachments||5 Stars||5 Stars||HEPA filtration||Full toolkit||Medium||Full recline||
|Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal Plus Allergy||4 stars||4 stars||Filter-free cinetic technology||Full toolkit||High||Full recline||
|Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Handheld Vacuum, Corded|| ||4 stars||4 stars||HEPA filtration||Pet nozzle||Low||N/A||
|ILIFE V3s Robotic Vacuum Cleaner with Smart Auto Cleaning Dry Mopping Remote control for Pets Hair||3 stars||4 stars||Double HEPA filtration||N/A||Low||N/A||
Best Canister Vacuums for Pet Hair
1. Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal Canister Vacuum
The Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal Canister Vacuum combines everything we love about Dyson with special features just for pets and a canister design. Unlike upright Dyson models, this model is easy to carry up and down the stairs and fits easily on the steps as well, making cleaning them a breeze. It features powerful suction, multiple tools that target pet hair, and a clean emptying dust bin that avoids most of the problems found in other bagless vacuums. And the dust bin is incredibly large at 1.6 liters, which means you can clean a lot before you empty.
The biggest feature to note is that this vacuum does not actually have filters, and instead uses Cinetic technology to stop even the finest dirt from reentering the air. As such, it is ideas for those with allergies, asthma, and other breathing concerns.
- Comes with all the tools you need
- Incredible filtering
- Large bin that is easy to clean
- Reach could be better
- Some tools seem to reduce the suction
2. Electrolux EL4335B Ultra Flex Canister Vacuum
The Electrolux Ultra Flex Canister Vacuum is designed to work on all types of flooring. For hardwood, tile, laminate, and plush carpets, you can turn off the brush head and adjust its height. With low-pile carpeting, you can turn it back on and set it to the level you need. While it is not specifically designed for pet hair, it targets it well with powerful suction and a washable HEPA filter.
Out of all the features it offers, our favorite is the self-cleaning brushroll. With pet hair, cleaning out the brush roll can be a daily task, but not with this vacuum. Other awesome features include large wheels for maneuvering on plush carpeting and a dust bin that empties from the bottom, reducing the amount of dirt that gets back into the air.
- Self-cleaning brushroll
- Reusable HEPA filter
- Large wheels
- Short cord
- Smaller dust bin
3. Eureka Mighty Mite Canister Vacuum with Pet Attachments
If you are looking for a canister-style vacuum that can tackle pet hair while also allowing you to stay on a tight budget, this is the model for you. Is it as powerful as the two choices above? No, but it does get the job done. It is specifically designed for allergy sufferers and comes with the pet attachments needed to tackle pet hair. The suction is quite powerful and is adjustable so you can get exactly the clean you need.
As for its best feature, that is probably how lightweight it is. It is incredibly easy to carry this vacuum up and down the stairs, and it sits well on a step. And, of course, it is an incredible value.
- Great for those with allergies and asthma
- Comes with a full tool kit, including pet attachments
- The cord is pretty short
- The hose can be stiff at first
Best Upright Vacuum for Pet Hair
1. Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away TruePet
This Shark model is something of a chameleon. While it starts as an upright, the canister lifts away, as the name suggests, and allows you greater freedom. The brush head and the upholstery tool are both designed to target pet hair in particular, though they are also excellent at removing all dirt and debris from a wide variety of surfaces. Despite being an upright model, it is also lightweight and ideal for those with bad back or who need to use their vacuum on multiple levels of their home.
This vacuum is designed to be used on all surfaces, from hardwood to shag carpeting; all you need to do is use the adjustment dial and it is will be ready to go. It utilizes a gentle deep clean technology that goes easy on delicate surfaces. But one of its more standout features is the large dust bin that allows you to get in multiple cleanings before you need to empty it.
- Can be used as an upright or as a carried canister
- Powerful suction
- Has tools targeting pet hair
- The top-heavy design is a bit awkward
- The canister cannot sit on its own and must be held once lifted away
2. Hoover T-Series WindTunnel Pet Bagged Upright, UH30310
If you are on a tight budget but want an upright vacuum that is effective on pet hair, this is a great buy. The suction on this model is much stronger than you would expect and multiple pet-hair attachments are included. WindTunnel 3 Technology is used to deliver a deep and gentle clean.
The tool kit features some of the best attachments for pet hair that you will find on the market. Many are rubberized, allowing them to really pull the pet hair up and into the machine. Once inside, everything goes through two-stage HEPA filtration, ensuring that you get the most thorough cleaning possible.
- Excellent tools for pet hair removal
- Two-stage filtration
- Somewhat difficult to maneuver
- Shorter power cord
3. Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal Plus Allergy
If you liked our top pick for canister vacuums but prefer an upright, this vacuum is an excellent purchase to make. It works on all floor types with simple adjustments, and it is designed not to lose suction even when the dust bin is full. It comes with a full suite of tools that tackle pet hair and other dirt, and a 35-foot long power cord for maximum reach.
The two best features on this vacuum are the tangle-free brushroll and the filter-free filtration system. The vacuum self-adjusts to various surfaces so you can clean them safely and without hassle. Finally, it includes numerous attachments that are good for pet hair and other dirt and debris.
- Long power cord
- No filters used
- Tangle-free brushroll
- It is pricy
- Very noisy
Best Handheld Vacuum for Pet Hair
1. Hoover Air Cordless 20V Lithium Ion Bagless Hand Vacuum Cleaner
When it comes to handheld vacuums, most of the time, your economy models work just as well as the high-end models. And that means you might as well save yourself some money. The Hoover Air Cordless is an excellent handheld vacuum for its price. It features fade-free lithium ion technology and even includes an extra upholstery tool that is great for pet hair.
The most notable feature on this vacuum is that it comes with two batteries, allowing you to get in more cleaning time each day. The charging stand for the battery is small, so it isn’t a hassle to have around. Finally, the crevice tool makes it easy to get into those harder to reach spots.
- Powerful battery
- Two tools that help with pet hair
- Two batteries included
- Must empty the vacuum often
- Batteries take nine hours to charge
2. Shark Cordless Pet Perfect II Hand Vac
If you want a handheld vacuum specifically designed for pet hair, look no further. This hand vac offers impressive suction power given its size and price. It comes with a brushroll that is great at pulling out regular dirt and debris and also has a special pet hair brush that can deep clean fabrics to remove pet hair.
The standout feature on this vacuum is the LED charging indicator that lets you know how much battery life you have left—no guessing needed. It is easy to use, easy to empty, and easy to store away.
- Comes with special pet hair brush
- LED lights indicate need to charge
- Easy to clean
- Short battery life
- Small dust cup
3. Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Handheld Vacuum, Corded
This is another handheld vacuum specifically designed to remove pet hair, but this one comes at a more affordable price. It comes with a quality filtration system and has multiple nozzles that allow you to tackle different aspects of cleaning.
This vacuum is quite powerful, more so than most handheld vacuums. This is likely due to the fact that it is a corded model while most other handheld vacs are cordless. It is also lightweight and very easy to use.
- Powerful suction
- Multiple attachments
- A bit noisier than most other handheld vacuums
- Side venting can blow around the dirt you are trying to clean
Best Robotic Vacuum for Pet Hair
All robot vacuums can clean while you aren’t home, but the Botvac D5 Connected lets you control it no matter where you are in the world. Compared to other models on the market, it has a very large dirt bin, allowing you to go longer between emptying it. Also, it features LaserSmart navigation to help it clean in a logical pattern rather than a random one.
The most standout feature on this vacuum is the side brush that allows the robot to get perfect edge-to-edge cleaning, which is often a concern with robot vacuums. The filter is pretty powerful, and the brushes are designed to pick up pet hair. Thanks to the high-capacity lithium-ion battery, you get a lot of run time on a single charge.
- Works over wi-fi
- Powerful filter
- Edge-to-edge cleaning
- App is a but clumsy
- Gets stuck under low furniture
2. iRobot Roomba 980
With animals, you often need as much cleaning as possible, and this robot vacuum delivers just that. With 120 minutes of run time per charge, the iRobot Roomba 980 can pick up a lot of pet hair in a day. And unlike many robot vacuums, it works very well at cleaning carpeting. Spinning side brushes clean from edge to edge and the brushless extractors ensure that tangles are a thing of the past.
Beyond that, this is a pretty simple model, but it gets a lot done, making it a good choice if you have room for it in your budget.
- Can clean for two hours on a single charge
- Features carpet boost technology
- Edge-to-edge cleaning
- Gets louder on Carpet Boost mode
- Sometimes has trouble returning to its dock
3. ILIFE V3s Robotic Vacuum Cleaner with Smart Auto Cleaning Dry Mopping Remote control for Pets Hair
For the price, it is hard to beat this robot vacuum, especially since it is specifically made for pet hair. It has a double HEPA filtration system, one of the best filtration systems you can find on a robot vacuum, and uses pet hair care technology. It has a low profile, which makes it easy to get underneath furniture and thoroughly clean your home.
The ILIFE V3s allows you to choose from different cleaning modes. You can opt for cleaning, edge, or just let it decide by setting it to automatic. The biggest problem with this model is that it doesn’t do so well on carpets.
- Low-profile design
- Double HEPA filter
- Multiple cleaning modes
- Struggles on carpets
- Can have problems returning to its dock
Tips for Reducing Pet Hair in Your Home
While vacuuming up all that pet hair is great, so is reducing the amount in your home in general. Sound impossible? We promise it isn’t. Below are a few simple ways you can cut down on the pet hair in your home.
Be Sure to Vacuum At least Once a Day
This is just simple logic; the more you vacuum, the less hair there will be in your home at any given time. While you don’t need to be obsessive about it, it will certainly help you in the long run.
Restrict Access to Furniture
Yes, our fluffy friends love to lounge next to us on the couch, but doing so ensures plenty of pet hair will be left behind and will build up over time. Instead, designate pet-friendly areas that are close to where you sit by using pet beds and cat trees.
Bathe Your Pet Regularly
This may not be much fun, but our pets need baths too. And just like our loose hair comes out in the shower, theirs will too. Try to bathe your pet once a month to get rid of the extra hairs.
Brush Your Pet Daily
Most pets love a good brushing, which makes this easy on you. Look for brushes that are specifically designed to reduce shedding, such as the Furminator. You will be amazed by how much loose fur you get.
Clean Pet Bedding Weekly
Just like we need our sheets cleaned, pets need their bedding washed. If you do not want to wash the full bed, look into slip covers for pet beds that allow you to change them like you do your own sheets.
Put Air Filters in Your Home
These can be portable units or just part of your HVAC system—whatever works. This will pull most of the hair floating around out of the air and trap it for you, cutting down on the mess and even your need to vacuum.
Pet hair loves to hide in dust, so you need to consistently get rid of it. Be sure to tackle the usual suspects such as tables, blinds, and fans several times a week to keep your air clean.
Consider Dressing Your Pet
It may feel silly, and not all pets will appreciate it, but tossing on a t-shirt or cute sweater will help hold in the hair a bit for you. Then, when you remove the shirt, you can brush it away and contain it.
There are the best vacuums for pet hair in all shapes and sizes, so the right one for you will depend on what you need in a vacuum and the special features you want. However, we are certain that one of the 12 choices on our list will be the right vacuum for you. Enjoy your pet and your super clean home.