If you're a pet owner, there's no doubt you've had to deal with the hassle that comes with shedding. We all love our furry friends, but there's no denying pet hair is a nuisance. It has a nasty tendency of getting everywhere, so a vacuum that can clear this type of debris across a wide range of surfaces is crucial. Good maneuverability and portability are plus points, as they let you clean pet hair from underneath and around couches, tables, and other types of furniture.
We've tested over 55 vacuum cleaners, and below are our recommendations of the best vacuums for pet hair. These recommendations are based not only on their pet-hair cleaning performance on different types of surfaces but also on their design and price. For more buying recommendations, take a look at our list of the best vacuums, the best robot vacuums for pet hair, and the best vacuums for high-pile carpet.
The best vacuum for pet hair on bare floors that we've tested is the Shark Rocket Pet Pro. This stick/handheld is outstanding when it comes to cleaning pet hair across a wide range of surfaces, but it's most effective on bare floors, like linoleum, hardwood, or tile. If you have a heavily shedding pet, you'll be pleased to know it has a self-cleaning brushroll to prevent hair from getting tangled up.
It's also lightweight, highly maneuverable, and can easily be converted into a handheld, so sucking up stray hair from behind furniture or on top of high-placed shelves isn't too hard. The included crevice tool makes it easier to reach small nooks and crannies, while the upholstery tool allows you to clean pet hair from furniture. It's decently well-built and, thanks to its bagless design, incurs virtually no recurring costs over time, as long as you take care of its filters.
Unfortunately, it has quite a few parts that need scheduled maintenance, though you can easily access these parts. It also lacks onboard tool storage or a vacuum rack, which makes it a little harder to store in your closet. If you use it continuously in its 'MAX (BOOST)' mode, its battery lasts a little over 10 minutes, which is annoying if you've got a large, dense mess to clean up. With that said, it should have no trouble dealing with even the most heavily shedding critters.
If you don't want to have to worry about battery life and you like the look of a canister vacuum, consider the Miele Complete C3 Alize PowerLine. While it's less portable than the Shark Rocket Pet Pro, especially as it has a short power cord, it can pick up pet hair from bare floors as well as low and high-pile carpet without a problem, and it has a larger dirt compartment. This well-built model is outstandingly easy to maintain, and it has seven different power control levels that can be used to better suit whatever you're cleaning. It has a handheld configuration too, which is great for getting into cushion or pet bed crevices. Unfortunately, it has a few recurring costs as some parts need regular replacement. Luckily, the HEPA filter has a time strip that turns red to let you know when to change it.
Check out the Shark if you don't want to sacrifice weight and portability for performance. However, if you prefer a canister model and don't mind its corded design, go for the Miele.
The Dyson Ball Animal 2 is the best vacuum for pet hair on carpets that we've tested. This corded upright model has a self-adjusting head that allows it to clear pet hair from most kinds of surfaces, from low-pile rugs to densely-woven high-pile carpets. Suction performance doesn't decrease as its dirt compartment fills up, allowing you to deal with several large messes without interruption.
Despite its bulky size and weight, its distinctive ball mechanism makes it easy to maneuver, even in tight, cramped rooms. Its long power cord should let you clean big or far-off spaces without needing to swap outlets. Its bagless design and washable pre-motor and allergen-trapping HEPA filters keep recurring costs to an absolute minimum, and the vacuum itself is decently easy to take apart. It also comes with a wide assortment of tools and accessories to help you clean surfaces like shelves or even furniture upholstery.
Unfortunately, it's mainly plastic construction feels quite cheap in places, especially its clear plastic dirt compartment, which is somewhat disappointing at this price point. It's also quite heavy and may be a little difficult to carry up and down flights of stairs. Otherwise, its broad selection of accessories and versatile performance help make it one of the best upright vacuums that we've tested.
If you're looking for something far more portable and don't want to deal with the limited range of a corded vacuum, take a look at the Shark ION P50 Upright. This upright/handheld has far fewer tools and accessories than the Dyson Ball Animal 2, not to mention a smaller dirt compartment, but its cordless design allows you to deal with messes in places, like the inside of your car, far more easily. It does a similarly outstanding job clearing pet hair on both low and high-pile carpeting, and its HEPA filter should trap allergens as you clean, which is great if your pet sheds heavily. It's better-built than the Dyson, and its approximate battery life of anywhere between 20 to nearly 60 minutes, depending on power mode, should be more than enough for most cleaning tasks.
Get the Dyson if you want a vacuum with more tools for different cleaning tasks, but consider the Shark if you prefer the go-anywhere range of a cordless appliance.
The best vacuum for pet hair with a handheld design that we've tested is the Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+. This cordless model is remarkably effective when it comes to cleaning pet hair, as it doesn't struggle with picking up this kind of debris on bare floors, low-pile carpet, or even high-pile rugs. Its suction performance remains consistent as its relatively spacious dirt compartment fills up, which is good if you want to clean a couple of messes without interruption.
It has dense plastic construction that feels quite sturdy, and the few parts that require regular maintenance are easy to access. Its dust cup filter is its only disposable part, so recurring costs are quite low. It comes with a couple of tools and brushes, with a crevice cleaner to tackle messes in tight spaces, a hard bristle brush to dislodge dirt from surfaces, and a turbo brush fitted with a self-cleaning brushroll to automatically clear hair wraps.
Unfortunately, you can drain its battery in a little over 10 minutes, so it's not the best choice for cleaning big areas. It also doesn't have a HEPA filter to trap allergens, which may be annoying if your pet sheds heavily. Minor issues aside, its portable design, sturdy construction, and versatile cleaning performance help make it one of the best lightweight vacuums we've tested.
The best robot vacuum for pet hair that we've tested is the iRobot Roomba S9. This robot model has a self-adjusting brushroll and can easily handle pet hair on a wide variety of surface types, ranging from bare hardwood floors to shag carpeting. Thanks to its smoothly-rolling wheels, it can maneuver effectively on uneven surfaces without getting stuck.
Its battery life is outstanding, as it should provide roughly between 50 and 155 minutes of continuous runtime. Its iAdapt 3.0 navigation system allows it to spot hard-to-see obstructions, plot out battery-efficient cleaning routes, or identify areas that require extra cleaning. You can use its companion app to set virtual boundary markers or schedule cleaning times for individual rooms. It's equipped with a HEPA filter, so you shouldn't have to worry about the spread of allergens as it cleans.
Unfortunately, there are quite a few parts that need to be replaced regularly, so recurring costs can add up over time. Due to the number of components that need to be serviced, user maintenance can be somewhat tricky. Still, its impressive pet hair-cleaning performance helps make it one of the best cordless vacuums we've tested.
The BISSELL CleanView Swivel Pet is the best budget vacuum for pet hair that we've tested. This corded upright delivers outstanding pet hair-cleaning performance, regardless of surface, whether that be laminate flooring or shag carpeting. Performance remains consistent overall as its spacious dirt compartment fills up, which is great if you're cleaning a large area and don't feel like constantly emptying it.
If you unlatch its wand from its body, you can use it in a semi-handheld configuration. It comes with a couple of different tools and brushes, including a crevice cleaner and triangle brush to clear debris from tight areas, as well as a turbo brush to lift hair or dirt from upholstery or carpets. It makes the most of its bulky design by featuring an onboard rack for its various accessories, so you won't have to store them in a separate place when not in use.
While it does have a bagless design, slightly reducing recurring costs, its carbon and foam filters do need to be replaced regularly. Also, there are a couple of parts that require regular servicing, and its all-plastic construction feels somewhat cheap. Still, if you're looking for a budget-friendly vacuum to deal with pet hair, this is a good choice.
11/26/2020: Minor updates to text for clarity and accuracy; no change in product recommendations.
11/04/2020: Replaced Neato Botvac D7 with iRobot Roomba S9 as 'Best Robot Vacuum For Pet Hair'. Removed BISSELL Featherweight Stick 2033 from main recommendations. Added new 'Best Handheld Vacuum For Pet Hair' category.
09/24/2020: Replaced Miele Classic C1 with Miele Complete C3 Alize PowerLine as 'Canister Alternative'.
Our recommendations are based on what we think are currently the best vacuums for pet hair to buy. We factor in a fairly wide range of factors, including availability, price, and reader feedback.
If you would like to do the work of choosing yourself, here is the list of all our vacuum reviews, ranked by their pet-hair cleaning performance. Be careful not to get too caught up in the details. While no vacuum is perfect for every use, most are good enough to please almost everyone, and the differences are often not noticeable unless you really look for them.