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It’s no surprise that cats and dogs shed a lot, requiring that you need to stay on top of your vacuuming or risk a dust-bunny infestation. Fortunately, the best vacuums for pet hair make it easy to keep floors tidy and can stand up to pet hair, tracked-in debris, and spilled kibble while handling other messes. It’s especially useful if it can double as one of the best vacuums for all of your household needs.
I’ve reviewed top vacuums for three years, and for this guide, I tested 22 of the best vacuums for pet hair to evaluate how they cleaned up cat and dog hair, cat litter, flour, coffee grounds, and Cheerios on carpeting, hardwood floors, and furniture. Our top pick, is the Shark Vertex DuoClean Cordless Vacuum as an overall solid performer with a special dual-brushroll construction that easily suctions up debris large and small and up to 60 minutes of runtime. For those on a budget, the Bissell CleanView Swivel Rewind Pet Upright Bagless Vacuum is a powerful upright with easy swivel steering and comes with special pet tools for cleaning upholstery.
Black Friday is one of the best times of the years to snag a deal on a new vacuum, and many of our reviewed models are on sale among the best Black Friday deals, like the Dyson Outsize, on sale for $150 off.
Read more about how Insider Reviews tests and research home products here.
Our top picks for the best vacuums for pet hair
Best overall Shark Vertex IZ462H DuoClean Cordless Vacuum – See at Amazon
The Shark Vertex IZ462H DuoClean Cordless Vacuum is a strong performer all around, handling pet hair and cat litter with ease.
Best budget: Bissell CleanView Swivel Rewind Pet Vacuum Cleaner – See at Amazon
While there are cheaper options, the Bissell CleanView Swivel Rewind Pet Vacuum Cleaner is the most affordable vacuum that still does an outstanding job collecting pet hair.
Best for large spaces: Dyson Outsize Cordless Vacuum – See at Dyson
The powerful Dyson Outsize Vacuum excels at picking up pet hair and comes with two batteries for up to 160 minutes of continuous cleaning.
Best robot vacuum: Bissell SpinWave Robot Vacuum – See at Amazon
The Bissell SpinWave Robot Vacuum picked up all the pet hair on carpet in our tests and has a great assortment of mop attachments and accessories.
Best canister vacuum: Miele Classic C1 Cat & Dog Vacuum – See at Amazon
The pricey Miele Classic C1 Cat & Dog Vacuum picked up messes better than any other vac in our tests, and the disposable vacuum bag keeps you out of contact with the debris.
Best handheld: Black+Decker Dustbuster AdvancedClean Cordless Handheld Vacuum (model CHV1410L) – See at Amazon
The Black+Decker Dustbuster AdvancedClean Cordless Handheld Vacuum (model CHV1410L) was the only handheld vacuum we tested that picked up all pet hair on every surface, and it did a good job with other materials as well.
The Shark Vertex DuoClean Cordless Vacuum is a strong performer all around, picking up particles of most sizes on various surfaces smoothly and efficiently. We also love the light that illuminates your cleaning path and the flexible hose that lets you reach under low spaces better than any other cordless vac.
Combining value and performance, this Shark vacuum easily tackles pet hair and long strands of human hair thanks to its anti-hairwrap technology. It also earned the top spot in our guide to the best cordless vacuums.
In our tests, the Vertex picked up everything from flour to cat litter to ground coffee to dog hair on both hardwood and tile. While most of the other vacuums pushed cereal around, the Shark sucked up whole Cheerios. Though, it doesn’t move smoothly on high-pile carpet, though, so we don’t recommend this vac if that makes up the majority of your flooring.
The dust bin can get heavy during extended cleaning sessions. But we liked the different settings for hardwood and carpet located near the grip. A power boost trigger gives you some extra suction power, too.
An especially nice feature is the light that illuminates small particles you might otherwise miss. Plus, a green alert button turns red when there’s a blockage, so you know when you need to detangle.
Another impressive trick is how low and flat the Vertex gets. Click a button in the middle of the stick, and it bends into a flexible hose “elbow,” so the shaft lies flat to get under couches, beds, and low tables.
While this vac doesn’t come with a plethora of attachments, there is a pet tool and brush that both work for furniture and pet beds.
The CleanView Swivel Rewind was one of three of the best vacuums for pet hair that picked up all the pet hair on all of the surfaces in our tests. Also, the hair didn’t get tangled in the brush.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the four vacuums I tested that cost less than the Bissell CleanView Swivel Rewind Pet Vacuum Cleaner (model 2254) performed poorly. I can’t recommend any of them. Consequently, our budget pick is still somewhat pricey at $150, but it’s well worth the price.
While its ability to pick up other debris was just average on carpeting and furniture, it did exceptionally well on hardwood. On every surface, it picked up all of the cat litter and Cheerios. It struggled with the coffee grounds on carpeting and only did a so-so job of collecting flour in all of the tests.
I appreciated how simple the Bissell CleanView Swivel Rewind was to use. The swivel head makes it easy to maneuver with one hand. The cord never got in my way thanks to the easy retraction feature (the “Rewind” in the name), and since it’s upright, I didn’t have to support the weight of the vac. I just guided it as it made quick work of messes. And the hose detached effortlessly to reach elevated areas.
However, I had a hard time emptying the dustbin without getting my hands dirty or inadvertently sending gunk flying outside of the trash can. Your best bet is to release the trap-door mechanism with the bottom inside your trash receptacle.
Best for large spaces
The Dyson Outsize vacuum is designed to clean large areas with an 11.5-inch-wide cleaner head that allows you to pick up more debris in a single pass. The Outsize boasts a 60 minute battery life, though some editions of the Outsize, like the Dyson Outsize +, come with two batteries so you can keep cleaning while the other charges and includes a Laser Slim Fluffy™ cleaner head, which illuminates floors with a green laser to show hidden dust. The Outsize batteries last about 67% longer than other Dyson batteries we’ve tested.
The Outsize vacuum was the best vacuum for pet hair on every surface in our tests without getting tangled. It also did great on hardwood and carpeting, picking up all debris except a trace of coffee grounds on carpeting and nominal amounts of flour on both surfaces. Thanks to a spherical wheel on the cleaner head, the Outsize is easy to maneuver. I could move it from side to side by gently rotating my wrist. The non-Dyson vacuums I tested required more effort to turn.
The Outsize was less impressive but still good in handheld mode on furniture, leaving behind about 5% of the cat litter and flour. At about 6.2 pounds, it’s heavy in the handheld configuration, and I didn’t like that you had to keep the power button depressed to run the vacuum. This limited the positions in which I could hold it, and it can start to feel heavy with above floor cleaning.
The Dyson Outsize is the only cordless vacuum on the market with a half-gallon dust bin, meaning you can cover more ground, or pet hair without having to empty. The Dyson has a trap-door mechanism for emptying the dustbin, so you can avoid coming in contact with debris. However, you have to remove the attachments before emptying the bin and may miss your trash receptacle if you don’t position the dustbin just right.
Best robot vacuum
At one point during Prime Day, we saw this Bissell robot vacuum dip below $100 for the first time ever. (It regularly retails for $400.) Unfortunately, that deal is now over, but you can still save 25%. Powerful suction, a tangle-resistant brush and spinning mop pads allow it to pick up formidable pet hair from carpet and hard floors—earning it a spot in our best robot vacuums guide as the top choice for pet parents.
If you have pets that shed heavily and are tired of vacuuming every day, a robot vacuum may be your best bet. Since these robots try to pack a lot of features into a small space, they tend not to have the suction power or dustbin capacity of other vacuums. For daily, automated cleaning, though, a robot vacuum is indispensable.
Since robot vacuums have a mind of their own, I put them through a different testing methodology. You can read more about how we test in our best robot vacuums guide.
Based on my testing of dozens of robot vacuums, the Bissell SpinWave Robot Vacuum is the best for pet hair. It picked up all of the pet hair mix I laid out on hardwood and carpeting. And it only left traces of flour and kitty litter behind on hardwood. It also did a great job of going deep into corners.
Pets are sometimes skittish around robot vacuums. Fortunately, the SpinWave is one of the quietest models I’ve tested. On high suction, it’s 65 decibels (a little louder than a normal conversation), and it’s just 58 decibels on quiet mode.
The mop attachment has spinning mop pads that do an outstanding job of scrubbing dried-on liquids while avoiding carpets. The cleaning tool that comes with the vac is perfect for cutting away hairs that get tangled in the brush, though this wasn’t a common problem in my testing.
You can schedule the SpinWave to clean at the same time every day or mix it up using the Bissell Connect app.
The biggest negatives were the robovac got stuck on a one-inch threshold between rooms. You can’t set no-go zones to avoid it, so you may need to put a physical barrier in the way. Also, if your pets tend to have frequent accidents, a robot vacuum may not be a good choice since it could potentially spread the mess and destroy the vacuum.
Best canister vacuum
For those who can afford them, canister vacuums provide a powerful, yet quiet and mess-free way to clean up after your pet. The benefits of a canister vacuum were exemplified in our testing of the Miele Classic C1 Cat & Dog Vacuum.
The Classic C1 was the best overall at picking up debris. In addition to picking up all of the pet hair on all of the surfaces we tested — while remaining free of pet hair tangles — the vacuum picked up almost all of the other materials on carpeting, hardwood, and furniture. The only substance it seemed to have any difficulty with was flour, but it still picked up at least 90% of the flour on each surface.
My main gripes with the Miele Classic C1 Cat & Dog Canister Vacuum have to do with how user unfriendly it can be. At over 20 pounds, it’s the heaviest vacuum we tested. Fortunately, you don’t have to support the weight. The motor and debris collect in the wheeled canister which is connected by hose to the handle and vacuum head.
However, I didn’t like the feel of dragging the canister behind me as I cleaned. While the hard plastic handle felt durable, it wasn’t comfortable in my hand. Also, the bulky powerbrush head didn’t lend itself to easy maneuverability.
I have mixed feelings about the disposable dust bag. The Classic C1 was the only vacuum we tested that used bags. On the one hand, I don’t like the idea of producing more garbage, and replacement bags are an added expense ($21.99 for four replacement bags and two filters). (Miele also makes a bagless version of its pet vacuum, the Miele Blizzard CX1 Cat & Dog.)
On the other hand, the 4.5-liter bag holds an impressive amount of debris, and it did a great job of keeping particles contained, which makes it a smart solution for allergy sufferers. How often you need to change the bag depends on a variety of factors, but I didn’t come close to filling it despite sucking up more than two pounds of debris in my tests.
We laid out debris on hardwood, carpeting, and in a car to test vacuums for our best handheld vacuums guide. The only vacuum to clean up all pet hair on every surface was the Black+Decker Dustbuster AdvancedClean Cordless Handheld Vacuum (model CHV1410L).
Well balanced and only weighing 2.6 pounds, the Dustbuster AdvancedClean is user-friendly. While cleaning, I didn’t experience arm fatigue. You can quickly flip the brush in place as it’s attached to the head, a feature I liked because I tend to lose attachments when they aren’t connected.
The charging station is also user-friendly: Just place the Dustbuster on it. The charging indicator light turns off once the vacuum is charged, and the vacuum will then run for 14 minutes.
Emptying the big dustbin without getting dirty is simple. You remove the forward section and shake the debris out or remove the entire dustbin and pull out the filter. Regardless of how you empty it, the vacuum takes some finessing to snap back together.
The Dustbuster AdvancedClean vacuum is about as loud as a hairdryer, making it louder than most. If you live in an apartment with thin walls, you might want to choose a different handheld vacuum for pet hair, like the Black+Decker Powerseries Extreme Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner.
How we tested vacuums for pet hair
We put all of the best vacuums for pet hair in this guide through several tests. The most important factors to consider when buying a vacuum are how well it picks up pet hair on a variety of surfaces and how easy it is to use, empty, and maintain.
Here’s a breakdown of how much of each material (in grams) the top picks cleaned up on each surface in our tests:
Here are the main attributes we look at and how we test them:
Carpet cleaning: One at a time, I poured 100 grams of different substances on a 5-square-foot patch of carpeting. I used 100 grams of flour, coffee grounds, and cat litter; 50 grams of Cheerios; and a 1-gram mix of cat and dog fur of varying lengths. Then I vacuumed up as much of each substance as I could in 30 seconds. Finally, I compared the weight of the dustbin after vacuuming to its starting weight to determine how much of each material the vacuum collected.
Hardwood cleaning: The process was the same as with carpet cleaning, only the tests were conducted on 5 square feet of hardwood flooring.
Furniture cleaning: I poured 50 grams each of cat litter and flour plus the 1 gram pet hair mix on a chair with fabric upholstery. I used the manufacturer-recommended cleaning configuration for furniture. Again, to determine how much debris the vacuum collected in 30 seconds, I compared the weights of the dustbin before and after sucking up each material.
Battery (if applicable): I fully charged the vacuum. Then I timed how long it could run on top power until the battery died. Lastly, I timed how long it took to fully charge the vacuum.
Ease of use: This is a somewhat subjective experience measurement. As I used each vacuum, I observed what made it difficult or easy to use. For example, the Dyson vacuums are harder to use because you need to keep your finger on the trigger to keep the vacuum running. Also, they are heavy in the handheld configuration. The cord got in the way with some of the corded vacuums I tested. The Miele lost points because of its suboptimal maneuverability.
Disposal: Aside from the Miele, which has a disposable vacuum bag, I emptied the dustbins of the vacuums at least a dozen times each. As I did this, I noted how messy the process was and if I came in contact with the debris. Preference was given to vacuums that were easy to empty and didn’t send dust flying outside of the trash bin.
Pet vacuum FAQs
What is the difference between a pet vacuum and a regular vacuum?
Many vacuums that aren’t specifically marketed for pet hair work just fine, but the main features that qualify as the best pet vacuums are strong suction, excellent filtration, and specialized cleaner heads and attachments.
Are robot vacuums good for pet hair?
Robot vacs are a great way to pick up loose pet hair before it becomes embedded in carpets. Run them daily or every other day for best results. However, they don’t work on stairs or elevated surfaces.
What kind of filter should I look for in a pet vacuum?
A well-sealed filtration system will ensure the debris doesn’t end up back in the air you breathe. If you’re concerned about allergens in your air, choose a vacuum that has a true HEPA filter. These filters (commonly found in air purifiers) capture 99.7% of 0.3-micron particles.
What are the best attachments for pet hair?
Brushrolls on the main head of most vacuum cleaners loosen pet hair enough for the vac to suck it up. But for furniture, cat trees, and dog beds, look for attachments that have mini-motorized brushrolls or bristles that will loosen the fur.
How do you clean a pet vacuum
Newer vacuums are easy to clean. Consult your user manual for the most accurate information, but most models can benefit from regular filter cleaning and checking the brushroll and removing any debris that’s built up.