The best vacuum for pet hair is, you guessed it, designed for pets in mind. They'll challenge even the most stubborn stray hair, since these vacuum cleaners have the power and tools to lift what you don't want on the carpets and upholstery around the home.
Many of these pet vacuums also feature in our guide to the best vacuum cleaners so you know you're onto a winner. 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. The main difference between a vacuum for pet hair and options that haven't been specifically designed for pets are the attachments and the filter that has been fitted to the machine.
We've reviewed all the vacuums you see featured in this guide. We've tried a range of attachments designed specifically to pick fluff off pet beds and upholstery and also took into account the quality of the suction for each model.
Continue reading for eight of our best vacuums for pet hair from top brands including Shark, Dyson, and Vax. We've included the links to our reviews for more detail on performance, and to ultimately help you choose which is the most suitable vacuum for your home.
The 8 best vacuum for pet hair models — tried and tested by us
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If you want the best pet vacuum (and don't have the budget to stretch to a Dyson or the latest Shark vacuum) we can highly recommend the Vax ONEPWR Blade 4. It's an extremely impressive piece of kit that has almost three times more suction than any of its older cordless vacuum cleaners. And it stands up when compared power-wise to corded vacs too, making it a great option for small spaces. Although it doesn't have a five-star rating, it does get full marks for affordability in comparison to its features. And this more than warrants the top spot.
The Blade 4 is engineered to help you deal with your pets' messes, a statement we can confirm after testing this vacuum at home. The accessories that our reviewer Sarah found most helpful in order to do this were the textile tool, which she says she now couldn't be without when it comes to lifting pet hair from upholstery. Sarah also found that the main vacuum head was a force to be reckoned with when it come to lifting dust and mud on her carpets, with the LED lights guiding her way helpfully.
When it comes to power, there are a few considerations to be made with this vacuum. Using it on its lowest setting it should last you up to 45 minutes, but we found it may not yield the power you need on that mode to deal with pet hair and dirt. It is, however, really effective on its higher setting, even on fluff-ridden carpets and for picking up larger debris from hard floors. The downside to max power is that it will only get you 20 minutes of use, meaning while this will make a great and affordable pet hair trouble-shooting second vacuum cleaner. Though it may not be able to efficiently service your entire house.
One feature that we really like is those 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 of note 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 our VAX ONEPWR Blade 4 cordless vacuum cleaner review.
If you have pets, you love a Dyson, but prefer an upright model to the vacuum above, we highly rate the Ball Animal 2. In fact, we rated it five stars in our testing, it sits at second place only because of its £300 price tag, and the fact it's corded, which might frustrate some people. Otherwise, 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.
Be it mud on kitchen tiles or fur embedded in the carpet, this vacuum aced the tests we set it out for it, according to our reviewer Sarah. It got to work with ease, and the suction was ultra-powerful. It didn't scatter dirt around and got right to the edges of the room, meaning that Sarah felt that she was actually keeping up with banishing dirt and fur from her home. The tools that come along with the Dyson Ball Animal 2 were also a winner. There's nothing better than the two-in-one tool for dealing with dust and cobwebs, while the tangle-free turbine tool was perfect for handling all types of pet hair.
The low profile head and tell-tale 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 too.
Read our Dyson Ball Animal 2 review.
If you're after a Shark vacuum for pet hair and have a (slightly) higher budget, we can highly recommend this vac. In fact, it recently snatched the top spot in our best cordless vacuum guide for being so impressive. If it wasn't for the high price, it would definitely be higher up our list. If you think you can manage with one battery then you can get this same vacuum cleaner for £479.99 (opens in new tab), which will save a few pennies.
Our head ecommerce editor Annie tried the Shark Stratos IZ420UKT in her home and found that it is really easy to use thanks to Clean Sense IQ technology. This automatically controls the power (or suction) depending on what you're cleaning. She finds it more than capable of cleaning her spacious two-bedroom flat, and it picks up the hair her pug, Doug, leaves behind with total ease. Its battery life is also very impressive considering its suction power, whilst its LED lights make it easy to see what you've not yet managed to clean. Another feature we love is that it works with recyclable pods to emit a rather lovely smell as you clean to rid your floors of any lingering pet smells. It comes equipped with Flexology tech (so the vac can bend instead of you) and a DuoClean Floorhead with Anti-Hair-Wrap, making it ideal for transitioning across all floor types.
Another fab thing about this vacuum for pet hair is that the stick folds, so it can stand upright and out of the way. This makes it great for flats and smaller homes. Also, this particular model comes with a pet hair removal tool, a bag for keeping all the tools together, and twin batteries.
Read our Shark Stratos IZ420UKT review.
You've definitely heard of Henry. The company has been around for years and its bagged pet-friendly vacuum has a generous capacity for larger homes, plus excellent reach and impressive suction to boot. It comes highly rated by us, and the only reason it's not higher is because it's corded and a little harder to store than the other models on our list. Otherwise, it's a steal at £169.
Our former appliances editor Jen reviewed the Henry Pet200 for one of our sister sites, Ideal Home, and although (like the other Henry's) this one is big and pretty clumsy, she found that it was undeterred by the dust, debris and hair around a busy family home. Jen found that the suction and universal floorhead were the most impressive features of this vacuum for pet hair when on test.
It comes with a 190 Ecobrush attachment which slots onto the end of the stainless steel tube. This is to tackle the more stubborn, untamed hair in the home. Jen found it really, really loud in comparison to the already noisy universal floorhead, so it's not worth using during unsociable hours. Hair also became wrapped around the brush bar, which was annoying but easily solved with a pair of scissors.
Overall, we felt that for the price and the quality of this Henry vacuum is is money really well spent and is a vacuum cleaner which should last for years.
The specific features that come with owning a Henry Pet200 include the previously mentioned 190 Ecobrush, a charcoal activated micro-fresh filter for reducing any animal odours, and a generous 9-litre capacity. Other attachments that Henry vacuums come with as standard include a crevice tool, dusting tool, and brush and mattress tool, which can all be stored onboard the Henry Pet200.
This vacuum has been reviewed by Jen.
If you love Dyson cordless vacuum, we would recommend investing in the Dyson V11 Absolute. We've found it's one of the best cordless vacuums out there, and it has got twice the suction of the others. This vac has been around for a few years, and because it's an older model it comes in as our fifth pick.
In our tests, we found that as well as high suction, the filter on this vacuum captured dust and allergens with ease, meaning this Dyson can offer as thorough a clean as much larger vacuums. Sarah, our reviewer, found the V11 Absolute passed all her vacuuming tests with flying colours, including on a pet blanket in need of some TLC. She also found it has a good range of attachments and that it was well-designed for the car or spot cleaning so you could happily have it as the only vac for a small household or as a portable back-up in larger homes. It hit the floor running for up to 60 minutes during our tests, and Sarah loved the nifty LCD screen for letting you know just how much running time you have left.
Whether you have a lot of stairs or mobility concerns, this vacuum is suitably lightweight. Despite its lightweight magic, the power, battery, and dust capacity weren't compromised either. 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.
Read our Dyson V11 Absolute review.
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. We love this bag-free version from Miele, a brand known for its top-quality engineering.
Dried mud and pet hair were easily thwarted by this model in our tests, which our reviewer Sarah found was excellent at dealing with whatever she placed in its wake. She found that suction remained excellent right up to the edges of this floorhead, making cleaning quick in areas like a porch or a corridor. As an asthma sufferer, Sarah also found the Allergy UK-approved HEPA AirClean filter to be a reassuring feature to have while cleaning.
The self-cleaning function with this vac 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). This vac has a good range of tools, all neatly stowed in the body of the vacuum cleaner, which never goes amiss. Plus 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.
Read our Miele Blizzard CX1 Cat&Dog PowerLine review.
The Shark CZ500UKT is a showcase of all of the incredible pet hair-friendly features this brand has to offer. That includes ultra-powerful suction, a self-cleaning brush roll, and an anti-allergen seal. The bright LED headlights on the main vacuum head are also excellent for spotting and then picking up hidden dust particles.
This vacuum from Shark is a force to be reckoned with thanks to its cylinder design, which allows for maximum power and great dust collection capabilities. When testing it at home, our reviewer Molly found that its sheer power was well matched to its ultra-easy controls. She found using the LED Smart Display allowed her to switch between three cleaning modes and suction settings, which made vacuuming more enjoyable and meant that she could easily find the right mode for each surface. She has found there's a noticeable difference between using this cylinder canister vacuum compared to a cordless vac in her home when it comes to deep cleaning and now keeps it on hand for those moments when she needs to do a serious deep clean.
There are a few elements that make using this vacuum exceptionally easy. The first is that it's nice and light at just 4 kilograms. It also has smooth-glide wheels, which make the act of vacuuming easier, and the Flexology wand is very efficient at letting you get under low-lying furniture too. The included attachments are easy to hook up to the main wand and were effective in our tests, letting Molly get into corners and clean upholstery.
Read our Shark CZ500UKT review.
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. All in all, if you're looking for an affordable, lightweight vac to tackle pet hair, this could very well be it.
At just 5 kilograms, the Hoover Upright 300 Pets Vacuum Cleaner is a lightweight option, especially for a corded model. That means it nips around the home with ease, and Linda 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. This vacuum was especially wonderful when used on carpet, and the handheld pet tool is brilliant on upholstery.
With this vac, you can simply slide the notch on the brush head to switch from carpet to hard floors. It also has a specific pet hair remover attachment, which was unsurprisingly excellent at picking up fur from rugs and upholstery with bristles that can get into carpets to release hairs.
Read our Hoover H-Upright 300 Pets review.
Real Homes review process — How we test vacuums for pet hair
At Real Homes we like to get hands-on experience with the products we feature in our buying guides; it's part of our commitment to our review process. 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 and test them before including in this roundup. We even seek other user reviews so all experiences and opinions are taken into account.
During testing, we lookout for factors such as manoeuvrability, run-time, bin size and emptying, filtration, and ease of use so you know exactly what you are getting for your money. We challenge these vacuum cleaners with typical household dirt such as crumbs, dust, and pet hair for a real-life comparison to your own household.
Meet our pet vacuum cleaner reviewers:
Jen is now homes editor on TechRadar. Previously she has written for Ideal Home, Real Homes, Livingetc, and Homes & Gardens as our appliances editor. She has tested a number of vacuums in this guide, including the Henry Pet200.
Molly was previously ecommerce writer for Real Homes, covering floor care and cleaning appliances. She now works as ecommerce editor at Ideal Home. She tried out the cylinder Shark vacuum in this guide to clean her two-bedroom West London home and found it was a stellar cleaning companion, especially thanks to the anti-hair wrap feature. It has a large capacity which means you can go a little longer without emptying, and the LED headlights illuminate stray hairs.
Sarah is a freelance journalist and editor writing for websites, national newspapers, and magazines. She has tested a number of vacuums for Real Homes to determine if they are worth your money. Within this round-up, she has first-hand experience with the Vax ONEPWR Blade 4 vacuum.
Linda is a freelance journalist who has specialized in home tech, interior design, and fitness for more than two decades. She has tested plenty of vacuums for Real Homes, including the Hoover Upright 300 Pets vacuum cleaner on this list. She tests out vacuums in her Devon home to find out how well they performed across various floor types and how well cope with busy family life and her three super-fluffy, world-class-moulting dogs.
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:
1. Which type of flooring do you have?
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.
2. Would you prefer 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.
3. What about a robot vacuum cleaner?
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.
4. Does it have to be bagless?
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.
5. Does you require a large capacity dust 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.
4. Suction power is important
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.
5. Will its noise level bother you?
Consider this if you have a little one at home all day who naps or a pet who doesn't like loud noises.
6. Are you fussed about the brand?
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.
Don't miss our guide on how to vacuum like a pro to discover the techniques to get it done quicker and better).
Or if you're looking for a cheap vacuum cleaner deal, we've got lots of those, too.
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 is a whiz 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.