Pet owners; listen up. The best vacuum for pet hair is one of the most essential home appliances you can buy right now. They're designed to pick up the finest of stray hairs, and combat pet dander plus other allergens so they'll keep your floors (and the air you breathe) fresh and clean. Lovely.
Why you can trust us
Our vacuum cleaner for pet hair testing process is editorially independent. The majority of vacuum cleaners which we've featured in this guide are currently being tested so, for now, we have used our experience to-date and considered existing customer opinions to ensure that you get the best vacuum for pet hair, before they all sell out.
How we test the best vacuum for pet hair
About Real Homes reviews (opens in new tab)
Many of the best vacuums for pet hair also feature in our guide to the best vacuum cleaners (opens in new tab). That's because when a vacuum cleaner is good enough to rid a rug or cat and dog fur, there's not much else it will struggle with! When reviewing we tried a range of attachments designed specifically to pick pet hair off pet beds and upholstery, and also took into account the quality of the suction for each model.
We've typically found that the majority of the best vacuums for pet hair are upright vacuums, simply because these typically have the power needed to uproot pet hair from even trodden-down carpets. We have included a few cordless vacuums too, though. These still have plenty of power, but we've found that they may lack the battery life needed to clean an entire home in one go. You can also check out our new interactive cordless vacuums video below
Keep scrolling to see our top 9 buys from Dyson, Miele, Shark, Vax, and Hoover, and feel free to click through to our full reviews if you want to delve into more detail about each make and model.
The best vacuum for pet hair: tried and tested by us
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.
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.
If you're using it on standard power for those 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.
This model weighs just 3.1kg, or just 2kg as a handheld which is what you'd expect for a cordless vacuum, but is, of course, much lighter than our heftier other 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.
Read the full Vax ONEPWR Blade 4 cordless vacuum cleaner review
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.
Check out our Shark discount codes to get the best price.
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.
The brand new Hoover Upright 300 Pets Vacuum Cleaner was reviewed by one of our expert testers, Linda, and she was a big fan of how lightweight it was, not to mention that (very) reasonable price.
Nifty vacuum power
At just 5kg, the Hoover Upright 300 Pets Vacuum Cleaner is quite a lightweight option, especially for a corded model. That means it nips around the home with ease, and we found that it steers very easily into corners and under furniture.
Some vacuums are a faff to unbox and assemble, but the Hoover Upright 300 Pets Vacuum Cleaner was very easy to set up. What's more, the tools live on-board, so it's perfect for ferrying around the whole home.
Simply slide the notch on the brushhead to switch from carpet to hard floors. It also has a specific pet hair remover attachment which unsurprisingly was excellent at picking up fur from rugs and upholstery.
Read the full Hoover Upright 300 Pets Vacuum Cleaner review (opens in new tab)
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 best 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 best Dyson cordless vacuums in the guide.
Read the full Dyson V11 Absolute cordless vacuum review
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.
Read the full Dyson Ball Animal 2 vacuum cleaner review
The best vacuum for pet hair: more top picks
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 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 (opens in new tab) 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 we test the best vacuum for pet hair
At Real Homes we like to get hands on experience with the products which we feature in our buyers guides. Whether that's to attend product demonstrations or to have them for a few weeks (sometimes months) in our own homes, you know that these vacuum cleaners for pet hair have had a member of our team look over them before including them in this round up. We've even seek out other user reviews so all eventualities and opinions are taken into account.
During testing we look out for factors such as manoeuvrability, run-time, emptying the canister (or removal of the bag) and general controls so you know exactly what you are getting for your money. We challenge the vacuum cleaners with typical household dirt such as crumbs, dust and pet hair for a real life comparison to your own household.
How 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 the best cordless vacuum will make it easier to get to those hard-to-reach areas and also allow you to vacuum your car.
See how we compared some top cordless models in the shoppable video below.
What about robot vacuum cleaners?
The best 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.
Do pet vacuums really work?
During our rigorous testing we can say that a pet vacuum does absolutely work. You'll see that the main points of difference between a vacuum for pet hair and those which don't mention pet hair in their spec is that they come with an additional tool for taming stray hairs and / or have a more advanced HEPA filter.
Take the Vax Blade 4, for example. The PET version has an antimicrobial coating to help prevent bacteria growth for a hygienic clean time-after-time, and the mini-motorised tool iis a whizz at removing pet hair. This tool can't be sold separately, though, so if you already own a Blade 4 and simply want this additional tool to use around the home then you'll need to buy the new Blade 4 PET.
And if you come across other vacuum cleaners with a HEPA filter - such as the Miele PowerLine Blizzard CX1 Cat & Dog Cylinder Vacuum Cleaner - these will trap harmful particles such as pollen, pet dander and dust mites. It's a filter found in air purifiers which works by forcing air through a fine mesh so it's great for allergy sufferers.
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