It you have pets then you'll need the best vacuum for pet hair. Believe us, we know. Stray hairs and fluff around the home (and car) are not ideal. These vacs will also get tough on tackling pet dander, which is a relief in itself since the nights are starting to draw in so we're spending more time indoors.
In addition to the usual high tech spec you can now expect on the top-rated vacuums, the majority – if not ALL – vacuum cleaners for pet hair are bundled up with a selection of very handy tools which are not only fab for tackling pet hair but ridding the home of dust and other airborne particles. Yes, there's a lot of factors to consider, just like when buying any new appliance, but to help hone in on the best option for you, we've put together this extensive guide of our top picks which performed well during testing in our own homes. Some also feature in our list of the overall best vacuum cleaners, so you know you are on to a winner.
Keep scrolling to see our rankings – all models have been reviewed by one of our appliance experts, Sarah, and nothing with less than 4 stars has made the list.
Best vacuum for pet hair reviews
For a large house with a few pets, we highly recommend the Dyson Big Ball Animal 2. Simply the best vacuum cleaner around, its clever brush heads pick up all the hair our furry friends leave behind, without getting tangled up, and the motorised brush bar gets out stubborn dirt from muddy paws.
Pet hair extraordinaire
This cylinder model is perfect for quick but thorough cleaning. It features a pneumatic head that automatically adjusts between floors for maximum efficiency around your home. From stubborn dirt to hair-ridden carpets, it gets it all. Standard power mode does a mean job, but there is a max mode for the worst dirt (we are talking muddy walk with a moulting German Shepherd).
If your pets are constantly wrecking your carpet with muck, this really does bring it up looking good as new.
Attachments for every task
From rotating heads to lift hair on the stairs to the turbine head for dust on hard floors, the tools will help you out. The standard crevice tools will grab those bits of fluff and dirt that escape into corners too. The hose is long, meaning you have good reach wherever you need to clean.
Anyone with pets will know that vacuuming is a race against time with the dog trying to play with the brush and the cat threatening to leave home at the noise. So our reviewer was impressed by just how quick and easy this model was to use. The signature ball offers max manoeuvrability. While it isn't the lightest, the small cylinder is much easier to carry than some of its well-known competitors.
If you do prefer an upright however, we also rated the Dyson Ball Animal 2 highly which is the upright version of this machine.
Real Homes rating 5 out of 5 stars
If you want the best pet vacuum (and don't have the budget to stretch to a Dyson) we can highly recommend the Vax ONEPWR Blade 4. It's an extremely impressive piece of kit which has almost three times more suction than any of their older cordless vacuum cleaners. And it stands up to the best corded vacuums too – a great option for small spaces.
This is always the first thing to look out for when you're buying a cordless model, especially if you are planning to use it all over a larger than average home. The Blade 4's battery lasts on the standard setting for around 45 minutes and on maximum for around 15 minutes. Charge time to take it back to full power is around two hours 45 minutes. Not bad.
So, if you're using it on standard power for 45 minutes, what's it like to use? Well, on its lowest setting, it's not a good as you might hope – it will clean well but tricky spots can take a bit of going over. It is, however, really effective on its higher setting, even on fluff-ridden carpets and for picking up larger debris from hard floors. However, needing to use it on maximum power to get the job done does mean your vacuuming time is limited to just 20 minutes or so, which (for us) makes it a great pet hair trouble-shooting second vacuum cleaner, but not one to efficiently service the entire house.
The Blade 4 can be quickly changed into a handheld cleaner. This is useful when you have pets who shed their hair on stairs, in the car and on upholstery. Or, of course, you could use it for quickly picking up scatterings of debris on kitchen work surfaces.
As you'd expect from a handheld, cordless cleaner, the bin capacity won't match our top corded picks. The bin is just 0.6ltrs, so will need emptying regularly. On the upside, it's removable, which means easy emptying. Plus, as it fills, it doesn't lose suction power.
Ease of use
Always important, this model weighs just 3.1kg, or just 2kg as a handheld. This is about what you'd expect for a cordless vacuum, but is, of course, much lighter than our heftier top picks. If you struggle to lug around a heavy vac, this really can't be beaten.
A feature we do really like is the DustTracker LED headlights, which are perfect for highlighting all that pet hair under the sofa that you couldn't see in plain daylight. Other attachments include a crevice tool, dusting brush and the neat tool caddy. As for storage, this vacuum has a wall-mount, a real bonus for small homes or if this vac is to be kept in a kitchen utility cupboard for charging. What wasn't popular was the noise levels when at maximum power.
Real Homes rating 4.5 out of 5 stars
So, you know you want a vacuum that is tough on pet hair, but you can't decide what style you want? This is the time where we will say to buy the Shark DuoClean Powered Lift-Away with TruePet, which is perfect for anyone who wants to give cordless a go but likes the cleaning style of their cylinder or upright.
A new breed of vacuum cleaner
If a stick vacuum cleaner is a speedy greyhound, an upright a reliable Labrador and a cylinder a compact but sturdy bulldog, then this vacuum is the perfect mongrel. Pictured above in upright mode it is well suited to those who want the agility and convenience of a cordless vacuum but would prefer an upright to push than a stick. A simple click and lift and the cylinder detaches – you can either carry that around as you do the stairs, or set it down while you push the foot over your flooring.
It is in the name that this is designed for pet owners so how does it cope with the hair and dirt? Very well is the answer. The foot and attachments lift hair with ease and the boost button ups the power for getting engrained dirt from floors. Our reviewer noted that long hair does get tangled in the brush, but this can be easily removed.
Power and charging
The battery life is on the generous side for a cordless at 50 minutes. This gives you plenty of time to whizz around and you can buy a spare batter to charge while the other is in use. The power is impressive and it is surprisingly quiet.
Boost mode shortens the battery life but if you are the kind of person who cleans little and often, it will suit you well. The light helps illuminate dust and debris so you won't miss a thing.
Real Homes rating 4 out of 5 stars
If you're looking for a great bagless pet vacuum, which isn't a Dyson, then we would recommend buying the Miele Blizzard CX1 Cat&Dog PowerLine. Not everyone is team Dyson, and we love this bag-free version from Miele, known for their top-quality engineering.
Pet hair and allergies
Dried mud and pet hair are easily thwarted by this model that carries an Allergy UK-approved HEPA AirClean filter. If you have pets and allergies this model will get rid of nasties and is easy to empty so you don't need to worry about being triggered by emptying it either. The self-cleaning function is particularly impressive – we've always said that vacuum cleaners need cleaning too. What's more, it has the biggest dust tank of all the bagless models on our list and second biggest after its bagged Miele sibling, the Miele Complete C3 Cat&Dog (more on that below).
Ease of use
The suction on this model is great and it has a good range of tools, all neatly stowed in the body of the vacuum cleaner. Switching between settings is simple – just flip the foot control to adjust brushes or retract the cable.
While it isn't the smallest, it is a neat design that is easy to transport and store. That said, when it is in high suction mode on carpet, you might notice its weight and strength, so we recommend turning it down so the foot glides more easily.
Easy to move with a telescopic tube, people with back problems won't find this vacuum hard to use. However, it is on the weighty side, so if you have lots of stairs, you might prefer a lighter model – for a large bungalow though, it would be perfect.
Real Homes rating 4 out of 5 stars
If you have pets, love a Dyson, but prefer an upright model to the cylinder style above, we highly rate the Ball Animal 2. Its clever brush heads pick up all the hair our furry friends leave behind, without getting tangled up, and the motorised brush bar gets out stubborn dirt from muddy paws.
All flooring, all debris
Be it mud on kitchen tiles or fur bedded into your carpet, this vacuum cleaner gets to work with ease. The suction is powerful so it does the job quickly, but you might want to turn it down a bit for carpet as it can be harder to push. It won't scatter dirt around and gets right to the edges of the room.
The Dyson Ball Animal 2 comes with a two-in-one tool for dust and cobwebs, a stair tool and a turbine tool that is tangle-free – perfect for handling all types of pet hair. The latter will help get fur (and other debris) off upholstery, too.
Ease of use
The low profile head and telltale ball make swishing this beauty round almost enjoyable. A long cord means you won't be slowed by having to change sockets and the handle gives you plenty of reach when cleaning stairs and upper corners. It isn't the lightest but the neat design isn't too hard to carry and it stores away nicely.
Real Homes rating 4.5 out of 5 stars
For good reason, we would recommend investing in the Dyson V11 Animal cordless vacuum cleaner because it's one of the best cordless vacuums out there, and it has got twice the suction of the others. As a result, it's made it on to our shortlist of the best pet vacuum. No wonder we rated it our top cordless vacuum overall too.
As well as high suction, the filter captures allergens with ease offering as thorough a clean as much larger vacuums. It has a good range of attachments and is well-designed for the car or spot cleaning so you could happily have it as the only vac for a small household, or a portable back-up in larger homes. It will hit the floor running for up to 60 minutes, so as long as you have time to charge it (4.5 hours a pop), and its nifty LCD screen will let you know just how much running time you have left so you're not left out on a limb.
Whether you have a lot of stairs or mobility issues, this vacuum is suitably lightweight. Despite it being lightweight, the power, battery and dust capacity have not been compromised. The style also means it will clean all those high up corners and crevices with little fuss.
It is great in standard mode, but you will need to switch it to max power for tougher jobs. This gives it super suction but does result in a couple of drawbacks. Firstly, it cleans so well you find yourself emptying the bin and cleaning the filter very regularly. Secondly, max power does decrease the battery life so you can only use it in short bursts. This isn't a problem if you keep on top of grime every couple of days, but if you are more of a fortnightly/monthly deep clean kind of person, you probably shouldn't get a cordless.
We have not reviewed this particular model in person, but you can read our review of the Dyson V11 Absolute for a spec comparison (only difference being the cleaner heads they're sold with). See all of our favourite Dyson cordless vacuums in the guide.
If you're sensitive to dust mites and pet hair we would recommend the Complete C3 Cat & Dog PowerLine cylinder vacuum cleaner by Miele, which is the best vacuum for allergy sufferers.
The filter system means carpets and homes in general feel fresher. This is thanks to the AirClean filter system, which filters 99.9 per cent of fine dust from the air, and has a charcoal layer that helps absorb odours. The filter has a useful TimeStrip, too, which tells you when it needs to be changed.
This vac also has a special bag fleece, which retains more fine dust and small particles than a normal bag. Combined with an auto-shut mechanism that closes the bag when the vacuum is opened for emptying and prevents dust from escaping back into the air, this is a good choice for allergy sufferers and neat freaks alike.
As for picking up hair and lint, the Turbobrush attachment's beater brush is really effective. Reviewers do note that it's very powerful, making vacuuming shag pile carpets and area rugs a little bit of a challenge. However, you can change the settings on the vacuum cleaner to suit the floor type with the conveniently placed foot controls.
As you'd expect for a vacuum cleaner of this quality, there's a useful selection of attachments including a crevice nozzle, upholstery nozzle and dusting brush. They're all usefully stored inside the body of the vacuum cleaner, which is a time- and effort-saving feature we approve of.
There is a wide range of extra attachments available including a parquet floor tool which is less likely to scratch wood and an extra-large hardwood floor brush to speed up the cleaning in large homes. They are quite expensive (the most expensive brush is just shy of £100), but for a machine that is built to last, it is worth investing in the extras for the most professional job possible.
Ease of use
This vacuum cleaner has a large operating radius of 12m (the one-touch retractable power cord is 7.5m long), meaning you can clean large rooms and long hallways, without the need to constantly change plugs. The extra long hose will make vacuuming up and down stairs easier than with heftier or upright models. When you're done cleaning, a handy foot pedal lets you wind in the cable without having to bend over. The only downside? You have to change the bag when it’s full, although its capacity is a decent 4.5ltrs.
If you're after a vacuum cleaner with lots of manoeuvrability then the Dyson Light Ball Animal Upright vacuum cleaner is one of the best pet vacuums you can buy.
Let's start with manoeuvrability: the small head and roller ball technology allow it to glide easily across all floor types, and it's flexible enough to get into corners and under tall furniture for a thorough clean (note that the head is quite bulky which means it won't fit under lower furniture, and you'll need to swap to tools for this). For anyone who's never used a Dyson with roller ball technology, don't under-estimate just how light it can feel in your hand. And this particular model, at just under 7kg, is around the average weight for a vacuum so you won't feel like you have to lug it about. Another plus point is its long cable, at just over 10m; handy if you have a large house. Like other uprights, it's not ideal for cleaning stairs, upholstery and curtains, but the extendable wand does make those vacuuming jobs easier – more on that below.
This Dyson's suction power is consistent, thanks to its bagless cleaning technology. There are three suction modes: one for picking up large debris, one for stubborn dirt and one for deep pile carpets, and this carpet does cope well with picking up both small and large particles, which not all carpets cope well with. The good news? It's pretty quiet, despite its power.
Pet hair removal performance
Suction power aside, it's the Tangle-Free Turbine Tool with its counter-rotating heads that really makes it effective at cleaning up pet hair. The tool is designed never to tangle, which allows it to release more hair and dirt into the canister – and means you won't have to be constantly picking pet (or human) hair out of the brush head before you start vacuuming. Its efficient filters mean that allergens stay in the canister – ideal for pet-owning allergy sufferers.
The attachment options, including a combination crevice tool and upholstery brush, and turbo upholstery brush, also make cleaning up pet hairs from upholstery and curtains a simple task. There's a useful stair cleaning tool, too.
Ease of use
The downside of some upright models is that it can be fiddly to clean anything that's off the floor, but this model has an instant release, extendable wand that quickly retracts into the body of the vacuum. And on-board tool storage means every tool is always to hand. Useful if your cat likes to sleep on the back of the sofa or your dog moults so freely that even the curtains need a regular vacuuming.
This Dyson is pretty easy to empty once you get used to the push mechanism, but it's worth noting that the canister has a smallish capacity of just 1.6ltrs, so you should expect to be emptying it more regularly than some of our other buys. If you don't have the budget and space for the best buy Cinetic model in this list, this vacuum is the perfect alternative.
If you don’t want to lug around a big and bulky vacuum (who does?), then we would recommend the Shark DuoClean vacuum cleaner which is lightweight and easy to manoeuvre, plus its thin body makes it easy to store. In fact this is one of the best pet vacuums for pet hair if you're after a vac for quick cleaning jobs.
Lightweight for easy manoeuvrability
For those who aren’t as able or just like a lighter load, this vacuum is effortless to use. Unusually for a corded vacuum it's incredibly light at just 4.7kg, and the slim body also allows it to get into more hard-to-reach areas, such as underneath the sofa. With one click, the flexible wand bends in the middle, too, so you won't have to.
Ready to put it away? The DuoClean folds down to half its size – ideal if your home doesn't have tons of storage space. What else do we like? The extra long, 10m cord is useful. This might be a fairly small vac, but its cord means it has the oomph to tackle large spaces.
The downside of its size? You'll have to empty the canister more frequently than some of our other picks as at just 0.49 litres, it's on the small side.
What you lose in canister size, though, you win in the handheld department. This stick vacuum cleaner quickly converts to a lightweight, powerful handheld vacuum cleaner, which is really useful for when you want to clean stairs or raised surfaces, including furniture and curtains. It makes it a viable option as a vac for tackling pet hair-ridden cars, too.
Tackle carpets and hard floors
So how does it perform on surfaces? Shark's DuoClean Technology allows you to switch from carpets to hard floors without swapping heads. The brush head itself has two brush rolls, which are specially designed to draw in large and small debris from carpets while lifting fine, stuck-on dust from hard floors. That means you won't spread mess with this vacuum cleaner, as you do with inferior models.
Shark’s Anti-Allergen Complete Seal captures and traps 99.9 per cent of dust and allergens inside the vacuum; you will, however, need to ensure the filters and canisters are regularly cleaned.
At 80dB, it's not the quietest of the smaller pet hair vacuum cleaners we've reviewed, but it's more or less on a par with our larger models.
For big family homes and lots of pets we would recommend buying the Athlet Pro Animal vacuum for pet hair.
Like the others on our list, this vacuum for pet hair is designed to tackle all floor types, and it has a HighPower Brush that works at around 5,000 revolutions a minute for thorough cleaning of carpets. Its SensorBagless™ Technology is a sensor-controlled performance monitoring system, built in to ensure an outstanding level of cleaning – and to keep maintenance to a minimum. Bosch also claims that these features means this vac can clean faster than some of its comparable corded vacuum cleaners.
There are three power levels: one for easy cleaning jobs (on maximum run time); one for normal cleaning jobs (on medium run time) and a turbo level for difficult cleaning jobs (and a reduced run time). As always, we'd bargain on using the turbo setting for maximum cleaning satisfaction, especially on carpet.
This cordless vacuum also comes with useful attachments, including a Pro Animal nozzle, which can be a little tricky to dismantle and change, but which picks up pet hair well. The manoeuvrable nozzle attachment helps the vacuum move easily around and beneath furniture, while the upholstery and crevice tools are useful for vacuuming pet hair off furniture and curtains.
The alternative handheld
Finally, there's a shoulder strap for when you convert it into a handheld. It's an unusual feature we really like, meaning you can transport this lightweight (3kg) vac, plus a mop and bucket back to the utility cupboard in one, easy trip. However some people might find this a little hard to get used to and prefer the basic handheld cordless stick vacs like the Dyson V11 above.
Ease of use
It has an impressively long battery life of up to 60 minutes, so you can do a thorough job in every room. Charging time is short, too; just three hours to take it to 80 per cent, or six hours to 100 per cent charged.
There's an LED light that tells you when the filter of the fairly small (0.9ltr) dust container needs cleaning – it's easily washable, so no follow-up costs on dust bags are required.
This vacuum cleaner has a solid, freestanding function, so it's easy to store, and charging is flexible as a result, too.
How to buy the best vacuum for pet hair
Where to buy the best vacuum for pet hair
Vacuums designed with hair removal in mind will often feature a motorised brush head to really work fluff up off carpet and upholstery. They might also include different filters to tackle the hair and allergens that come with pets.
In terms of style and type, you can get stick, cylinder and upright vacuums designed for pet hair so this will come down to your own preferences. And here's what you'll need to consider before committing to your new vacuum for pet hair:
First, what type of flooring do you have? If your pets tend to moult throughout the house, it can be beneficial to opt for a vacuum that is adaptable to all floor types such as carpet and hardwood or laminate floors. If you have carpet, you will want a vacuum with a good brush to lift the hair from the pile.
Corded or cordless?
Also, consider what spaces you will need to vacuum. Dyson’s ball technology is great for getting into corners and under furniture, while a cordless vacuum will make it easier to get to those hard-to-reach areas and also allow you to vacuum your car.
What about robot vacuum cleaners?
A robot vacuum cleaner is great for the floor but you will need a secondary vacuum to do a thorough job of the rest of your home. If your pet ever gets on furniture you will definitely need a vacuum with brushes and attachments to help remove fur.
Got a dog that barks at the vacuum making cleaning a headache? Then a robot vacuum could be the solution. You can pop it on when you and the dog are out for stress-free cleaning.
Some may prefer a vacuum cleaner with a bag, but it's worth bearing in mind that you'll have to keep buying new bags, making it more expensive in the long run. While a bagless cleaner can be messier to empty, if it's a lightweight model you can lift the machine to your bin.
If you've got more than one pet, check the vac's capacity so you don't have to empty it too often. Naturally, the smaller and more lightweight the vacuum, the smaller its capacity.
This is one of the most important features of a good vacuum cleaner. Unfortunately, not all manufacturers list the suction power of their machines with a standard unit of measurement such as airwatts (AW), making it hard to compare models. Instead of listing the power of various models in different units we have only included vacuums that have exceptional suction power so you know you are getting the best. Vacuums with bad suction have not made it onto this list.
Consider this if you have a little one at home all day who naps or a pet who doesn't like loud noises.
Most of the major vacuum brands such as Dyson, Miele and Vax have now introduced specialised vacuums for pet hair, which have much stronger suction and often feature allergy filters for those who are particularly sensitive. They'll also stop the hair from simply being pushed around the carpet and releasing irritants into the air.
What is the best vacuum for pet hair?
Let's recap...if your budget allows, our reviewer recommends buying the Dyson Big Ball Animal 2. Its cleaning power is hard to top and it is super easy to use, with great manoeuvrability. But if you're after a cordless vacuum cleaner then we certainly wouldn't hesitate to buy the incredibly impressive Dyson V11 Animal (and it's so reasonably priced too!). Don't have a budget to stretch to a Dyson? If this is the case then we can highly recommend buying the Vax ONEPWR Blade 4 which rivals both the top Dyson models, without the price tag.
About our reviews – and our reviewer
Our vacuum reviewer is Sarah Warwick, a homes, property and interiors writer with 20 years experience in the industry. Sarah is a serial house revamper who has written for nationals, magazines and websites. She gives the vacuum cleaners she reviews a serious run for their money over various surfaces, from floors to upholstery.
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