Many people who have pets enjoy the companionship but not the cleanup. It can be a challenge to rid your home of pet hair, dander, errant bits of kibble and cat litter, as well as the dust, dirt, and debris that has nothing to do with pets. Fortunately, vacuum manufacturers have designed machines—from classic uprights and canisters to robotic to handheld models—especially for households with furry family members.
The best vacuum for pet hair should work on hardwood floors, thick carpets, and furniture and have easy-to-use elements like long power cords, attachments, and tools for specific areas. Read on for some of the best vacuums for vanquishing pet hair.
- BEST OVERALL: Dyson Ball Animal 2 Pet Vacuum Cleaner
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Hoover ONEPWR Evolve Pet Cordless Upright Vacuum
- BEST ROBOT: Eufy by Anker RoboVac G30
- BEST HANDHELD: Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Handheld Vacuum, 33A1
- BEST UPRIGHT: Eureka FloorRover Upright Pet Vacuum
- BEST FOR STAIRS: Kenmore Elite 81714 Pet Friendly Canister Vacuum
- BEST FOR FURNITURE: Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Lithium Ion Cordless Vacuum
- BEST FOR HARDWOOD FLOORS: Shark Navigator Lift-Away Upright Vacuum NV352
- BEST FOR THICK CARPET: Hoover UH72625 WindTunnel 3 Max Performance Vacuum
Types of Vacuums for Pet Hair
The best pet hair vacuum models come in upright, canister, handheld, and robotic configurations. Consider the elements of your home—including floor types, carpet pile, upholstery, and hard-to-reach places—to determine which style will best suit your space.c
Upright vacuums, which have either a bag or a cup to collect debris, are generally more effective at cleaning thick-piled carpet than other types and are equally effective as their counterparts on thinner carpets and bare floors. Thanks to its vertical design, an upright vacuum may be easier to operate because there’s less bending, and the slim profile means it takes up less space for storage than a canister. Uprights are also generally less expensive than canister and robotic vacuums. The best upright vacuum for pet hair will often include features like a brush roll and filtration to tackle pet messes and allergens.
The downside to uprights include their heavier weight, which makes them especially unwieldy for use on stairs. Some manufacturers offer hoses and other attachments to broaden cleaning capabilities, but uprights in general come with fewer attachments than canister models.
Canister vacuums are lighter, more powerful, and more maneuverable than uprights. Some find them easier to use because for most of the cleaning process, you only move a wand—not the entire vacuum, as you do with an upright. Canister models tend to have better suction than uprights, which can speed you through vacuuming faster, and most canisters come with a number of attachments, such as an upholstery brush. However, users must drag the canister behind them as they go, and there’s bound to be some bending over to use the wand.
Handheld vacuums are lightweight, easy to use, and highly portable. Users generally leave them on their electronic chargers until ready to vacuum. Although some handhelds have low suction power, the best handheld vacuums for pet hair are more robust.
Most of these vacuums hold dirt and debris in a bagless compartment/dust bin; larger bins/cups are capable of holding at most 15 ounces—far less than the 50 ounce-plus capacity of some full-size vacuums. Therefore, these vacuums are more popular for quick spot cleaning or using in the car.
One downside of handheld vacuums is that you generally need to bend or squat to use them, which can be difficult for those with mobility issues. Some models do come with a detachable wand for use in a standing position.
Robot vacuums automatically vacuum (and some also mop) when you signal or schedule them to clean. They offer the convenience of being able to control them remotely when you’re away from home or otherwise busy. Most robot vacuums suck dirt into a bagless bin that holds about 20 ounces. Depending on the model, you either manually detach and empty the debris or the robot automatically empties it into its own base. Thanks to a robot vacuum’s low height—generally about 3.5 inches—they can easily go under beds, sofas, and other low-clearance furniture where some more traditional vacuums can’t reach.
Possible downsides of a robot vacuum include the inability to navigate around obstacles such as toys. If that happens, you must manually free them so they can continue. There have also been complaints of robot vacuums rolling over pet waste and spreading it throughout the house. Many people tend to rely on robot vacuums for touch-ups and spot cleaning, as a supplement to traditional vacuuming.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Vacuum for Pet Hair
If you live in a small home, your criteria for the best vacuum for pet hair will likely be different from someone with a multi-level home. Floor plan, square footage, furnishings, and flooring all play roles in what features would work best.
Corded vs. Cordless
- Cordless vacuums, typically powered by rechargeable batteries, allow you to move freely without being tethered to an electrical outlet but may run out of power before you’re done. When batteries run low, attach them to the included charger and plug into a standard 120-volt household electric outlet.
- Corded vacuums, which tend to cost less than cordless models, are generally lighter and less bulky.
Tangle-Free Brush Rolls
A tangle-free brush roll is designed (how varies among manufacturers) to prevent hair from wrapping around the roll or bar at the intake port. This feature of a high-powered vacuum is often recommended for homes with a lot of hair and dust. Without it, hair can easily become snarled in brush roll bristles. That reduces suction power and, in some cases, stops the brushes from rotating.
Weight and Maneuverability
Vacuuming can take some effort, and it can be frustrating when your machine doesn’t glide over the carpet, around corners, or into tight spaces. The heavier the vacuum, the more work it takes push, pull, and pull it or carry it up and downstairs. Canister vacuums generally weigh between 9 and 24 pounds while uprights weigh between 13 and 18 pounds. Consider the size of your home, the floors and covering, and the number of stairs you have to determine if you need to prioritize a lightweight and ultra maneuverable vacuum.
Bagged vs. Bagless
The top vacuums for pet hair are available in both bagged and bagless versions. Each of these vacuum types has its benefits and drawbacks. Choosing the right type for each household will come down to cost, convenience, and allergy considerations.
- Bagged vacuums suction dirt, hair, and debris into a disposable bag; the vacuum’s efficiency decreases somewhat as the bag fills. Once full, the user opens a latch, removes the bag, and throws it in the garbage, then inserts an empty bag.
- Bagless vacuums collect dirt and debris in a (usually) clear cup, so it’s easy to see when it needs to be emptied. The cup is snapped off, the contents dumped into the trash, and the empty cup replaced.
Of the two, bagged versions are often a better bet for allergy sufferers because the bag contains the dirt; the bag also lessens the need for frequent filter changes. With a bagless vacuum, dust and other allergens can get into the air—and in your face—when the cup is removed. Filter changes tend to be more frequent with bagless models.
Canister vacuums have the strongest suction strength of all types of vacuums. However, there are upright, robot, and handheld vacuums with suction control that allows you to increase the suction strength when vacuuming carpet. Although greater suction strength is typically considered an asset, too much suction can make it difficult to move a vacuum.
A vacuum cleaner with a motorized brush—a rotating brush you can often turn on or off—cleans carpets better than one that has suction only. A switch that can deactivate the brush will help protect the finish of bare floors and avoid scattering debris across the surface. Consider models with a manual carpet pile-height adjustment control, along with suction control for cleaning draperies and other delicate fabrics.
Our Top Picks
The best vacuum cleaner for pet hair is powerful and includes a range of features to remove dirt, dust, fur, and allergens reliably. Read on for the top vacuums for pet hair that will help you keep a cleaner home.
If you’re tired of clearing snarled hair from your current vacuum’s business end, consider this bagless, upright turbine cleaner from Dyson. It efficiently picks up the finest pet hair in addition to thread, dirt, and other debris thanks to a tangle-free counter-rotating head that replaces the typical brush bar.
Dyson credits this vacuum’s power to its Radial Root Cyclone technology, which channels airflow through the vacuum to maximize suction. Whole-machine filtration ensures 99.97 percent of fine dust (including pet hair and dander) stays trapped within the machine. To tackle different flooring types, this vacuum features a flexible, self-adjusting cleaner head, which automatically adjusts to surfaces like hardwood and carpet.
Other features include a wand and long hose for stairs, curtains, and other hard-to-reach places; a 35-foot cord; and a filtration system that traps allergens. This Dyson has a 2.5-liter capacity, measures 15.35 by 13.39 by 42.13 inches, and weighs just over 17 pounds.
- Type: Corded upright
- Bin capacity: 2.5 liters
- Weight: 17.5 pounds
- Powerful suction
- Tangle-free brush bar
- Excellent filtration system
- Certified by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America
- Some users find the suction too powerful on soft flooring
Get the Dyson Ball Animal 2 vacuum for pet hair on Amazon.
You needn’t pay a fortune for a vacuum that powers up pet hair, debris, and even deeply embedded dirt. This affordably priced Hoover stick vacuum (a model that combines the light weight of a handheld with the power of an upright) moves easily from carpet to hardwood. Press a button and it lies flat to work under beds, couches, and other low furniture. Its dust bin holds about 17 ounces, and it has a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter designed to eliminate more than 97 percent of viruses, bacteria, and other particles.
The vacuum weighs just 8.5 pounds, and once reclined, it only feels like moving a 2-pound vacuum. Its lightweight and cord-free build makes it the best cordless vacuum for pet hair; it’s fairly easy to carry anywhere in the home. It is powered by an efficient lithium-ion battery, which offers up to 35 minutes of runtime. A battery gauge on the vacuum alerts users when to recharge the battery. Its relatively slim profile measures 9.5 by 11 by 44 inches for easy storage.
- Type: Cordless upright vacuum
- Bin capacity: 1 liter
- Weight: 8.5 pounds
- Good dust bin capacity for its size
- Does not include any attachments
- Only good for cleaning floors—no handheld capabilities
Get the Hoover ONEPWR Evolve vacuum for pet hair on Amazon.
If the goal is to find a great robot vacuum with useful smart features to pick up food, dirt, and other debris, the Eufy by Anker RoboVac G30, which has suction power of 2,000 Pa (“Pa” is a measure of suction power), is a great choice. This vacuum passed our general test: picking up kibble, oat flour, crumbs, and other debris. The only thing that slightly disappointed us was that it wasn’t the best at sucking up deeply embedded pet hair from an area rug. So keep this in mind if there are multiple pets and rugs in the home.
It also took more than one try for this model to avoid obstacles, but ultimately it was able to learn the room without an issue, easily navigating around furniture. Several smart features add to this robot vacuum’s ease of use, including easy controls from the app (with the option to schedule, spot clean, control the vacuum manually, and see cleaning history), Alexa compatibility, and automatic docking when the battery runs low.
- Type: Robot vacuum
- Bin capacity: 0.6 liters
- Weight: 5.29 pounds
- Smart features compatible with Alexa
- Automatic return to dock when the battery is low
- Drop-proof technology
- Doesn’t pick up pet hair well on carpet
Get the Eufy by Anker vacuum for pet hair on Amazon or at Lowe’s.
Pets can be messy beyond their hair, and the Bissell Pet Hair Eraser prepared for it. This handheld vacuum boasts two unique nozzles: one that attracts pet hair and another that sucks up kitty litter, kibble, and other bits of debris from hard-to-reach places like corners and car seats. This Bissel has a 16-foot power cord to help you access areas like the top of stairs, the crevices in upholstery, and the cubby holes in your car’s interior. Pet hair, dander, and other debris won’t escape the tight seal of this bagless vacuum, which has a .78-liter capacity, measures 10 by 5 by 8 inches, and weighs just over 4 pounds.
- Type: Corded handheld
- Bin capacity: 0.78 liters
- Weight: 5 pounds
- Powerful suction designed to grab dirt and fur
- Very lightweight and mobile
- Rubber nozzle attachment helps lift pet hair
- Cord can restrict movement
Get the Bissell Pet Hair Eraser vacuum for pet hair on Amazon.
While some upright vacuums have a reputation as being difficult to maneuver, Eureka’s Easy-Glide Wheels let this model move smoothly and evenly over hardwood, tile, linoleum, and all carpet, including those with deep piles. The vacuum has an automatic nozzle height adjustment that detects and adjusts to floor types as it suctions up clumps of pet hair and other dry debris.
The 1.7-liter-capacity vacuum has a multiangle adjuster, an accessory that snaps onto the hose to clean the tops of bookcases, doorways, and other difficult-to-reach angled areas. This vacuum uses a HEPA filter and also boasts a unique filtration system that separates small and large particles and traps pet hair and dust. With powerful suction, this vacuum is the best vacuum for dog hair and more.
This vacuum measures 14 by 11.2 by 32.9 inches and weighs just over 21 pounds. Features include a 35-foot cord, a detachable handle, and a hose that reaches up to 12 feet. Apart from the multiangle adapter, other accessories include a Pet Turbo brush, crevice tool, and dusting brush to clean almost any spot in the house.
- Type: Corded upright
- Bin capacity: 1.7 liters
- Weight: 21 pounds
- Easy-Glide Wheels for maneuverability
- Automatic nozzle height adjustment
- 12-foot extended reach
- Hair can get tangled around beater brush
Get the Eureka vacuum for pet hair on Amazon.
Stairs can be a hassle to clean, but the job is easier with this Kenmore vacuum. This pet-friendly canister vacuum has a lightweight, adjustable wand that extends to 10 feet to reach up steep staircases. It also lifts stubborn pet hair, dander, and dirt quickly from carpet, hardwood, and other surfaces. Helpful features include an Ultra Plush nozzle for more powerful suction as well as pile height adjustment, a dusting brush, and a crevice tool.
This vacuum has an enhanced HEPA filter system that traps 99.7 percent of large and small particles of pet hair, viruses, dirt, and more. It’s also a bagged vacuum, which helps keep allergens contained. For better safety on steps, it has a stair grip that enables the unit to rest on a staircase securely. The unit measures 27.76 by 17.91 by 13.98 inches, weighs 22 pounds, and has a 26-foot retractable cord.
- Type: Corded canister vacuum
- Bin capacity: Bagged
- Weight: 22 pounds
- Stair-grip feature allows it to rest safely on steps
- 10-foot telescoping wand
- Ultra Plush nozzle for a deep clean, even on plush carpets
Get the Kenmore Elite vacuum for pet hair on Amazon or at Sears.
Most pets love to cuddle up in the same cozy spots we do, which can result in furry couches, beds, and chairs. With this powerful and versatile handheld vacuum from Bissell, cleaning furniture is simple. This vacuum’s cordless and handheld design is perfect for sweeping over upholstery, bed, and curtains. Weighing three pounds and with a 17-minute runtime, it’s an agile pick for cleaning surfaces, especially since it doesn’t have a cord.
A motorized brush tool helps to remove embedded hairs from tricky soft surfaces, while an included upholstery tool and crevice tool can help clean other messes like dropped crumbs and kibble. To keep dirt and dust contained, this handheld vacuum has a triple filtration system. It also has a large 0.7-liter dustbin that is easy to empty with a twist of the filter, making it easy to dispose of debris and fur.
- Type: Cordless handheld
- Bin capacity: 0.7 liters
- Weight: 3 pounds
- Cordless for easy maneuvering
- Up to 17 minutes of runtime to tackle most small jobs
- Triple filtration system
- Large for a handheld vacuum; may have trouble cleaning tight corners
Get the Bissell Pet Hair Eraser cordless vacuum for pet hair at Amazon, Wayfair, Target, or Best Buy.
A gentle but powerful vacuum is the best choice for lifting pet hair off of hardwood floors. The Shark Navigator Lift-Away Upright Vacuum NV352 fits the bill with a range of features to clean hardwood floors and more. This upright vacuum has a lightweight build and swivel steering to glide across hard floors. The optional brush roll can be shut off at a touch to switch to gentle hard-floor cleaning or switched on to deep clean carpeted floors and area rugs.
Besides cleaning hardwood floors, this vacuum is excellent for tackling hard-to-reach surfaces. It features a Lift-Away pod feature that allows the vacuum to detach from its floor-cleaning base. Users can then carry the vacuum around to clean above-floor messes on stairs, furniture, shelving, and more. An extended wand offers even more reach and a HEPA filter and anti-allergen seal ensures fur and allergens are contained. To clean more surfaces effectively, this vacuum comes with an upholstery tool and two crevice tools.
- Type: Corded upright
- Bin capacity: 1 liter
- Weight: 14 pounds
- Swivel steering for great maneuverability
- Easy brush roll switch off
- Lift-Away pod feature
- Relatively short vacuum hose
Get the Shark Navigator vacuum for pet hair at Amazon, Wayfair, or Best Buy.
For pets that shed a lot of fur, a vacuum with enough suction to banish the mess is a must. And if they have accidents, a method to absorb the odors is also beneficial. The upright, bagless Hoover WindTunnel seeks to address both of these issues.
It features three suction modes, including one specifically designed to remove pet hair, dirt, and debris from thick carpets; simply switch modes as needed to glide over bare floors and thinner carpet. The on/off brush roll makes cleaning soft and hard surfaces a breeze. A HEPA filter traps 99.7 percent of large and small particles of pet hair, viruses, dirt, and more. This vacuum also features a carbon pet odor eliminator filter to lessen the release of pet odors while cleaning.
There’s an ample 1.42-liter capacity dirt cup, a pivot dusting tool, a crevice tool, and a Pet Turbo tool to remove pet hair from furniture. The vacuum measures 13 by 15 by 44 inches, weighs 18 pounds, and has a lengthy 40-foot cord.
- Type: Corded upright
- Bin capacity: 1.42 liters
- Weight: 18 pounds
- Powerful suction
- HEPA and carbon filter trap both allergens and odors
- Long 40-foot cord
- Can be difficult to maneuver under furniture
Get the Hoover WindTunnel vacuum for pet hair on Amazon.
Exceptional suction, a self-adjusting and tangle-free cleaning head, and a robust filtration system make the Dyson Ball Animal 2 vacuum for pet hair the best vacuum for pets. It’s a pricey choice though, so those looking for a more budget-friendly pick will want to consider the Hoover ONEPWR Evolve vacuum for pet hair. This affordable option combines the power of an upright vacuum with the lightweight portability of a stick model.
How We Chose the Best Vacuums for Pet Hair
The best vacuum cleaner for pet hair makes cleaning up after pets less of a chore with features that tackle both pet hair and everyday messes. Through researching product specifications and trusted review sources, we chose the top vacuums to clean up after furry friends. The picks on our list are powerful enough to lift fur and other dirt and debris effectively and reliably from nearly every surface in the home.
While effectiveness is an important criterion, there are plenty of other features we considered when choosing the best pet hair vacuum models. We judged performance by looking at filtration type, suction power, bin capacity, and battery life (where applicable). We also considered ease of use and versatility, taking maneuverability, portability, and included accessories into account. Lastly, we made sure to include vacuums at several price points to suit a range of households.
Tips for Using Your Vacuum for Pet Hair
A cleaner home means happier pet parents, and happier pet parents means happier pets. There’s a reason why tackling pet hair comes to mind when pet parents are shopping for a vacuum; it’s one of the tougher messes to remove from flooring and furniture. Buying a powerful vacuum for dog hair and cat fur is the first step, but there are several other steps that can help get your home as fur-free as possible.
The first factor to consider is the type of surface the pet hair is on—the type of surface will determine your best vacuum settings or tools for the job. For example, choose a vacuum with a brush roll to clean pet hair from carpets or rugs, and make sure to use it each time to help pull fur out of the carpet fibers. For tight corners or carpet edges, a crevice tool will suck up stuck fur. Suitable settings and attachments will prevent the fur from sticking to the surface or blowing around and help trap as much hair as possible.
Frequent vacuuming is better to prevent pet hair from building up—it’s easier to vacuum up a thin spread of hair than a thick layer that’s been matted down. Take extra time to vacuum where pets spend the most time, like pet beds, couches, and food or litter areas. Maintaining the vacuum is also important: Emptying the vacuum frequently and changing or cleaning the filters as needed will keep the vacuum performing efficiently to trap fine pet hair. In short, to take full advantage of a pet hair vacuum:
- Use the right settings and attachment tools
- Vacuum frequently
- Concentrate on areas where pets spend the most time
- Empty the vacuum frequently
- Keep up with recommended maintenance
Maintaining a Pet Hair-Free Home
Anyone with a shedding pet knows it’s hard to maintain a fur-free home. While it may not be possible to banish every last pet hair, there are a few steps pet parents can take to reduce the amount of fur indoors.
Prevention starts at the source: the pet itself. It’s important to groom pets frequently, especially during shedding season. Use a suitable brush for your pet’s coat type, and if appropriate, bathe your pet as often as recommended. Adding a good air purifier can also help remove fur and dander from the air before it has a chance to settle.
It’s impossible to stop all pet fur from settling onto surfaces, but you can prevent it from sticking to some areas. Cover important or difficult-to-clean furniture either with a furniture cover or with throw blankets, which are much easier to toss into the washing machine to clean. For all other surfaces, vacuum or clean frequently, taking care to clean spots where pets spend most of their time. Lastly, empty the vacuum frequently and maintain filters so the vacuum can perform at its best.
Q: Can the same vacuum for pet hair work on different floors?
Yes, the best vacuums for pet hair adapt to different floor surfaces, and many also adjust to the various thicknesses of carpet.
Q: Are cordless vacuums for pet hair less powerful?
No, cordless vacuums for pet hair are as powerful as their corded counterparts. The main downside to a cordless vacuum is that it may run out of power before you are finished cleaning.
Q: Are bagged or bagless vacuums for pet hair better for allergies?
That is a personal choice, but bagless vacuums expose you to more dust and dirt when you empty them. To open a bagged vacuum, on the other hand, you remove and seal the bag with the hair and other debris.
Q: How do you unclog a vacuum for pet hair?
Some of the best vacuums for pet hair are designed so that pet hair doesn’t clog their hoses. If you experience a clogged hose, it’s recommended that you stretch or detach the hose and use a long stick to remove the hair.