Using a pet vacuum can also make your home hypoallergenic, which works wonders when seasonal allergies hit.  Our panel of expert reviewers meticulously tested the best vacuums for pet hair, so you can trust our judgement on what’s best to buy. Thanks to our hands-on experience of trialling these vacuums in our homes, I’m certain that every single one of them is a good buy.  The specialized models from household names like Dyson, Shark and Bissell all have features that go further to clean up after your pet, which puts them among the best vacuum cleaners.

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Best vacuum for pet hair 2023

Why you should buy it: Ease of use and power; it promises 99.97 percent filtration, which is great for allergy sufferers. Why I love it: Nothing comes close to the Dyson Outsize +. With 220 AW, this cordless vacuum packs all the power of a plug-in model. Loaded with all of Dyson’s most exciting technology, the newly revamped detangling brush bar means that hair doesn’t get tangled, and sensors that automatically adjust the suction power to each floor type. Even better, there’s an LCD screen at the rear that gives you the current battery life in minutes and even shows you handy how-to videos to keep the vacuum running its best. The most notable feature is - unbelievably - a laser. Mounted on the hard floor head, it’s more than just a gimmick, revealing all the dust and dirt the eye can’t see.  I love the enormous half-gallon dust bin, which holds plenty of dirt and keeps you from going to the trash too often. The attachments are fantastic too, especially if you have pets. The most useful for pet hair is the mini motorized tool, which is great for pet hair on stairs and upholstery, but you also get a combination tool, a crevice tool, and a stubborn dirt tool with plenty of storage on the charging dock and the vacuum itself.  Good to know: The enormous half-gallon capacity makes the Outsize a lot bulkier than other cordless vacuums, so it’s noticeably heavy when cleaning moldings and stairs. The eject system on the dust bin is usually effective, but if you overfill the bin you’ll have to reach in to pull out clumps of dust.  Find out more in my Dyson Outsize review. Why you should buy it: Great pick up, an anti-hair wrap feature and an odor neutralizer that gets rid of pet smells.  Why we love it Our expert tester Camryn Rabideau loves this vacuum, and tested it in a house with two long-haired dogs.  It has two hard and soft rollers that work together to uncover dust and debris from carpets and hard floors alike. Like many Shark vacuums, it comes with Powered Lift-away, which stops hair wrapping around the floor brush and saves you the gross job of detangling your vacuum.  Upright vacuums can be too bulky for delicate jobs, but the Shark Statos comes with a Powered Lift-Away mode. Camryn said that ‘This allowed me to pop out the main cylinder and bin, leaving me with a smaller, more nimble hand held cleaner and hose for getting under furniture and into tight spaces’. We also love the Odor Neutralizer Technology, an innovation we’ve never seen before. It’s a cartridge that releases a ’light, fresh scent that makes the room feel cleaner’, which is especially welcome in homes with pets.  Camryn found that the bin, which lifts out the front, could be cleanly emptied via the flap at the bottom. She also liked that you can clean the whole bin out too, too, once it gets dirty. It’s just as simple to clean the two HEPA filters. Good to know While Power Lift-Away makes it a little lighter to hold, this vacuum typically weighs 17lbs, so it might not suit people with mobility problems. You should also watch out for the two different versions. It seems pedantic, but the AZ3000 is just a vacuum, wheras the AZ3002 comes with an effective motorized HairPro Pet Power Brush, a duster-crevice combination tool, a multi-angle dust brush, an anti-allergen dust brush, an accessory bag, and two extra odor cartridges. Camryn’s Shark Stratos upright vacuum review has more details.  Why you should buy it: Incredibly thorough on carpets and area rugs; great for large homes.    Why we love it: Dyson’s latest upright, Camryn’s tests of the Ball Animal 3 found that iconic ball design of the Animal range means it easily steers around furniture and between chair legs. It’s powered by a mighty 290 AW, and has three suction settings with settings for high and low pile carpets and bare floors. Though it has great performance on hard floors, this vacuum truly shines on carpets and rugs. Camryn found that it does ‘an unbelievable job pulling dirt and dog hair out of the fibers’, lifting up pet hair and dust she couldn’t even notice with the naked eye. The Ball Animal 3 also has a newly designed brush head. It incorporates “hair removal vanes” to prevent long hair from getting wrapped around the brush roll, saving you from detangling it.  For detail work, the hose removes for use with the combination tool (crevice tool and brush), and stair tool. Additional variations are available too that include the likes of a pet grooming tool, a mini-motorized tool for cleaning upholstery, and even a mattress cleaning attachment. The bin removes easily from the front, letting you eject dust without making a mess. And, thanks to the washable HEPA filter, the Animal 3 is certified asthma and allergy-friendly, too.  Good to know Like the Shark Stratos, this vacuum weighs in at 17lbs, so it might not suit people with mobility problems or homes with several floors. This is made worse by the fact the three suction settings are changed by a button on the floorhead, so if you struggle to bend over it can be frustrating to use.  In some ways it struggles from success - while not a problem Camryn faced, some users complain that the suction power makes this vacuum hard to push on the carpet.  Camryn’s full Dyson Ball Animal 3 review goes into more detail Why you should buy: Great for homes pet hair; automatic; obstacle avoidance detection; smart mapping; personalized cleaning schedules; self-emptying base.  Why I love it: I adore the iRobot Roomba j7+. It’s the first iRobot to use PrecisionVision Navigation to recognize objects and avoid obstacles like pet waste and charging cords. It operates in clean, methodical lines and spots any obstacles in its path. On test, it flagged everything from dog toys to shoes and even thin power cords, with a photo of the obstacle so you can mark out no-go areas if needed.  My new favorite standard in robot cleaning is the self-emptying base. When the iRobot Roomba j7 detects that it is full, it automatically goes to eject into the Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal, a sealed system that can hold up to 60 days of debris. The j7+ comes with a bag pre-installed, and an extra one.  I found this vac incredibly effective at pulling up pet hair, eradicating crumbs, and navigating throughout the home. The only reason I haven’t placed it at the very top of this ranking because not all of you will be looking to buy one of the best robot vacuum cleaners.  Good to know You can’t set Keep Out zones until after a map is finished, which is a little counterintuitive. The app can also be a little glitchy, and like all robot vacs, it’s not always effective when cleaning tight corners.  There’s more detail in my full iRobot Roomba j7+ review. Why you should buy: Good for allergy sufferers, hard floors and low pile carpet Why we love it: Expert tester and pet owner Courtney Irwin found that the Bissell ICONPet’s ‘powerful suction traps pet hair and dander’, and it’s great for those with allergies. It also swivels for fantastic maneuverability, and Courtney reports that the tangle-free brush roll is the real deal when dealing with accumulated strands of hair from humans and pets. This cordless vacuum is perfect for hardwood and area rugs.  At the center of the ICONPet is a 22V Lithium-Ion battery which gives you up to 50 minutes of fade-free suction, ample time to do a thorough cleaning job of an average sized house. The Clean Slide technology makes for easy dust bin removal with as little contact with dirt as possible. This a major moment for anyone who hates dealing with cleaning out the vacuum. Courtney also enjoyed the small design details like the LED crevice tool, which lights up nooks and crannies as you clean, as well as the handy progress indicator on the inside of the charging dock Good to know: If you’ve got high-pile rugs and carpets, look elsewhere. Courtney found that ‘it didn’t live up to my expectations on the plush carpet in my bedroom’, struggling to perform on even the strongest setting.  We tested the original ICONPet, but Bissell has since released Edge and Turbo editions. Everything we’ve seen so far indicates an improvement on the original, with the Edge promising better edge cleaning and the Turbo offering more powerful suction. Coutney’s Bissell ICONpet review has more details. Why you should buy it: A sealed bag system makes this great for allergy sufferers.  Why we love it: The Miele C1 Cat and Dog Canister vacuum has spacious 4.5qt bags that self-seal on removal and provide extra filtration on top of a HEPA filter. Miele’s models for pets use a special charcoal filter called Active AirClean filter that captures and retains over 99.9% of lung-damaging particles as well as hair and fur. Not only is this great for allergy suffers, catching and sealing fur, dirt and dander, but it prevent odors too.  The hose and wand come off the back, so you can use the crevice tool and small turbo brush for smaller areas. The latter is particularly effective for tackling pet beds and upholstery. There’s a 29ft cleaning radius with this model, so you won’t need to keep swapping power sockets as you make your way around the house. Suction power is incredible, thanks to the 1500W motor, so cleaning across the board, not just for pet hair, is exceptional. Good to know: The obvious downside to these self-sealing bags is that they’re a recurring cost. Miele only make high-end products, so this recurring cost is on top of an already high price.  This vacuum has been reviewed by one of our editors and the full review will be available shortly.  Why you should buy: Smart features, deep cleaning, and quick pick ups. Why I love it: The Tineco Pure One S15 Pet Smart Cordless Vacuum adjusts power on the fly for different surfaces and levels of dirt. I love the neat screen at the back which shows you battery life, and has a colored progress ring around the outside: it’s red when there’s dirt and turns blue to show you when you’ve finished cleaning. The battery lasts up to 40 minutes when you use the auto-suction feature – not the longest I’ve tried but good enough to whizz around an average-sized house.  The Pure One S15 comes with tons of accessories: a 2-in-1 dusting brush, a crevice tool, a soft dusting brush, and it all conveniently stores on the included Floor Dock. The stand out is the mini power brush, which is great for cleaning pet beds. If you struggle with mobility, this vacuum is one of the lightest in this feature, weighing in at just 6.8lbs.  Good to know: While it’s great for deep cleaning of pet hair and dander, it struggled to pick up larger debris like rice and cereal, requiring extra passes.  The only way to charge this vacuum is through the dock, which takes up floor space.  Our Tineco Pure One S15 review has more details Why you should buy it: Good pick up, lightweight, cordless.  Why we love it: The ONEPWR Evolve Pet works and acts like a regular upright cleaner, only there’s no power cord to worry about, which gives it a nimbleness and degree of flexibility you want for quick clean ups.  It’s relatively light at 8.6lb, and reviewers say that this cleaner feels really maneuvrable, with the weight towards the bottom of the cleaner. Even better, the vacuum stands up by itself: something few cordless models can do. Thanks to the 20V battery, you get excellent suction, and the floor head has an antimicrobial brush roll and pet filter that cuts down on nasty odors. You can buy additional batteries (or borrow from other ONEPWR tools) to extend runtime. It’s a shame that the battery can’t be charged in situ for ease of use, though. Good to know: The downside of the design is that there’s no hose or accessory for detail cleaning, so this is cleaner strictly for floors, with three operating modes to suit all types of carpet and hard floors.  Why you should buy it: The best handheld vacuum for tackling small messes, from dirt in the car to tufts of hair from grooming. Why we love it: Running on a 14V lithium battery, this Bissell is powerful while remaining lightweight. It easily removes crumbs, dust, and pet hair from around the home. We also like the sleek design and quick-charge base, making it super-easy to handle – just grab it when you need to do some quick cleaning in focused areas. Suitable for use on stairs, hair floors, and deep-pile carpets. It also works well on kitchen work surfaces and car seats, so there’s really no surface it can’t cover.  The best part, though, is the detachable motorized brush that helps remove embedded pet hair from surfaces like upholstery and area rugs. You can also pop in the upholstery attachment to clean soft surfaces and furniture and attracts pet hair at the same time.  Good to know: Given its great capability for handling pet hair, we feel it represents an excellent value. We can’t forget its triple filtration performance to keep allergens at bay, either. 

How we test the best vacuum cleaners for pet hair

At Homes & Gardens we like to get hands-on experience with all the products we feature in our buyers’ guides. You can learn more how we test products in our dedicated guide, but the reason for this is to simply help you: we share our testing experiences so you can be confident in what you are buying.  Each new vacuum we get the opportunity to review is tried and tested in our own homes, undergoing rigorous testing on a range of flooring and household challenges (cereal on hard floors, pet hair on the sofa, debris on carpet, and more). We test the vacuum cleaners for a number of weeks (sometimes months) so we get a feel for the longevity and durability of each model. In some instances, we are also fortunate enough to keep the vacuum cleaners after writing up the review so we can continue to learn about them and share our findings with you. We look out for factors such as maneuverability, run-time, emptying of the dust bin (or bag), and general controls so you know exactly what you are getting for your money, and whether or not it is worth it for what you need it for. The feedback from other users is also something we look out for, especially if we are in the process of reviewing a product and we felt it was (already) a good enough product to feature in our round-ups of the “best of” guides. Below, you can discover more about the team responsible for testing these vacuums.

How do I choose a vacuum cleaner for pet hair?

Pet hair is a challenge for some vacuums to suck up thoroughly, then there’s the dander that you want neatly contained. So you’ll typically need a cleaner with good suction, the right types of accessories, and clean disposal. For dealing with carpets or rugs, this means a motorized brush bar, which uses rigid bristles to agitate and loosen hair so that it can be sucked up into the bin.  For hard floors, having pure suction flow through the cleaner makes more sense for hair, but look out for a cleaner that has a soft brush, designed to pick up pet dander and microscopic bits of dust first. Tools for dealing with pet hair around the house are just as important. A mini motorized brush can be your best friend, giving you the same qualities as a floor brush in a smaller package that can help clean up pet beds and upholstery with ease. Any motorized tool with tangle-free technology is worth looking for, as you won’t have to worry about cleaning the tools so often. Otherwise, look out for regular accessories (dusting brushes, crevice tools and so on) for getting into those hard-to-reach areas and removing all traces of pet hair from your home. While power isn’t the most important aspect, vacuum cleaners designed for pet hair tend to be at the more powerful end of the spectrum, particularly for plug-in models. Typically, these cleaners have a 1500W or higher motor. You’ll have a choice between cordless and plug-in models. Generally speaking, plug-in models, as discussed above, will give you a deeper and more thorough clean with unlimited cleaning power, but the trade-off is a large and more unwieldy cleaner.  A cordless cleaner doesn’t quite have the same level of power but can do a great job with the right accessories designed for pet hair removal. As cordless cleaners are lighter and easier to move around, you’ll more likely use them more often, too. Regular, targeted cleaning can be just as, if not more effective as a weekly deep clean.

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We also recommend the Bissell IconPet series as it easily swivels for ultimate maneuverability and is the real deal in all its claims from the tangle-free brush roll, powerful suction, and easy dust bin removal with as little contact with dirt as possible. Tineco is also showcasing its technology as a contender among the best pet vacuums with its Tineco Pure One S15 Pet vacuum. It offers incredible cleaning performance and we love the gamification of its iLoop Dust Sensor detects hidden dirt and automatically adjusts power. However, the biggest drawback is that long strands of hair are inevitably wrapped around the brush roll. Luckily, there is a tool to cut it out, and it didn’t affect performance, but it is a pain point of extra maintenance.  We were also impressed with Shark’s corded offerings, be it the Shark Stratos (opens in new tab) or the Shark Vertex (opens in new tab), which are slightly easier to push or maneuver over the carpet as they have a built-in propellant.  We also like the design of the Shark Stratos (opens in new tab) and the Shark Vertex (opens in new tab) collection, both upright and cordless models with its Duo Clean Power Fins Technology that incorporates a silicone PowerFins roller and a soft roller to swiftly suction dust and debris, even larger pieces and stays well-engaged with floors.  The Dyson Outsize + (opens in new tab)comes with a mini-powered tool, and many of the best Dyson vacuums come with one as well. As the base model, the Dyson Ball Animal 3 (opens in new tab) does not come with a hair turbine tool, but it can be found on upgraded models like the Dyson Ball Animal 3 Extra (opens in new tab) or the Dyson Ball Animal 3 Complete (opens in new tab)  However, the Shark Stratos (opens in new tab) base model does indeed come with its own non-motorized tool which is just OK, but its upgraded model comes with the HairPro Self-Cleaning Pet Power Brush, a motorized tool for furniture.

Pet dander, for example, are microscopic skin cells shed from animals that cause reactions in people with allergies. HEPA filters are designed and rated to prevent these particles from escaping the vacuum cleaner, sealing in the dirt that’s collected. This is very important in a pet vacuum cleaner, particularly if anyone in the house (or a regular visitor) has sensitivities to your animals. For bagless cleaners, emptying has to be done with care, as opening the bin can create a cloud of dust, releasing smaller particles back into the air, causing issues for those with allergies. Bagged vacuum cleaners have an extra level of protection, as the bags act as both additional filters to prevent particle escape, but you also remove and throw away the dirt without exposing it to fresh air. Look for a cleaner that has self-sealing bags for the best results. As such, bagged vacuum cleaners are often easier to deal with for households where members are very sensitive to allergens.  That doesn’t make bagless cleaners a poor choice, though: just be careful how and where you empty the vacuum’s bin. To prevent the spreading of allergens, a vacuum bin should be ejected either down, directly into a larger internal bin or, for additional safety, emptied in the same way into an outside bin.

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