Whether you live with one mischievous pet or four, owning a vacuum that can cope with their hair is a total game changer. Take it from us, a team of pet owners. Not everyone actually knows that not all vacuum cleaners are created to deal with the suction of pet hair — lots of them will get blocked as soon as you attempt to even clean your pet's bed. Not ideal. But, if you are in the market for a new vacuum, whether a cordless vacuum or a bagged model, then you've come to the right place. We've tried and tested a whole bunch of the best vacuums for pet hair, but these seven survived our extensive testing made and are the best of the best on the market in 2023.
Pet-friendly vacuums come as cordless, upright, and robot vacuum cleaners, and we've made sure to review something that works for all budgets, from $300 to $900. Before you get started, do think about how much storage space you have for your new vacuum. If minimal, go for a cordless stick model (there are plenty of incredible models out there!). If you do have more closet space and a larger space to clean, then an upright model or cylinder vac might be your best bet. Otherwise, we've considered suction power, specialty pet hair tools, canister capacity, price, and how well each model dealt with the influx of fuzz it sucked up.
Continue reading for seven of the best vacuums for pet hair from top brands, including Shark, Dyson, and Bissell. We've included the links to our reviews for more detail on performance that'll help you choose which is the most suitable vacuum cleaner for your home. It's finally time to wave goodbye to those stray fluffs littering your hardwood floors and coating your furniture.
If you want to know which vacuum is the best for pet owners fast, then here's a quick glance at our favorite models. You can jump down to read full descriptions and for more info on features and specs.
NO #1 BUY
This new Shark vacuum cleaner is cordless with a battery life of one hour. It bends under furniture, folds to store and adjusts its suction based on how clean or dirty it detects your floors to be. It's a great all-rounder and it copes with pet hair well.
Another cordless vacuum with a 50-minute battery life, this one has a slightly small dust tank so it'd be perfect for smaller homes or apartments with pets. It collects pet hair in one sweep, and it retails at a budget-friendly price of $355.99.
For large homes
If you have a larger home or several animals to clean up after, then the Dyson Ball Animal 2 will definitely be able to cope. It has a large 4L capacity, but do note that it's corded and is a lot heavier than our first two picks.
The 7 best vacuums for pet hair — tried and tested
Why you can trust Real Homes Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.
The best vacuum for pet hair
The Shark Stratos Cordless with Clean Sense IQ IZ862H is part of the brand's latest line of vacuum cleaners, and it's packed with all the features we love. If it wasn't for the expense of this vacuum cleaner, it would be higher up on the list but we still feel it is a good investment if you have the budget.
Our head ecommerce editor Annie reviewed this Shark Stratos vacuum in the UK (where it's the IZ420UKT model) and she felt that it is really easy to use thanks to Clean Sense IQ technology. This fab tech automatically controls the power or suction depending on what you're cleaning. She finds it more than capable of cleaning her spacious two-bedroom apartment, and it picks up the hair her pug leaves behind with total ease. Its battery life is also very impressive considering its suction power, and its LED lights make it easy to see what you haven't cleaned yet. Another feature we love is that it works with recyclable pods to emit a nice smell as you clean (great for busting pet odors). 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.
There are lots of incredible features about this vacuum cleaner for pets. The stick folds so it can stand upright and out of the way, making it great for apartments 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 full Shark Stratos IZ420UKT review.
The best affordable vacuum for pet hair
If you have your heart set on an affordable cordless vacuum that can also conquer pet hair, the Bissell IconPet is for you. It promises up to 50 minutes of fade-free cleaning, and it proved to be a hard worker on all floor types and other above-floor surfaces. We rated it 4.5 stars out of five, but the reason it's rated number two is because of how budget-friendly it is.
This vacuum cleaner was tested by one of our sister brands, and our reviewer loved it. She found the operation of this cordless vacuum to be pretty seamless; it was intuitive to handle, the dust container easy to empty, and its LED headlights worked well in both modes (handheld and full-body vacuum), showing no mercy to hidden pet hair. During testing, she also found the handheld mode was exceptional at tackling stairs embedded with pet hair and for use around her dog's bed.
We're a big fan of specs at Real Homes. The IconPet has some pretty powerful features, like a high-performance digital motor that spins at up to 420 miles per hour and a powerful 22-volt lithium-ion battery for cordless convenience with three cleaning modes that last up to 50 minutes. The tangle-free brush roll was also crowned a winning feature during testing, leaving no hair behind to clog this vacuum.
This vacuum has been tested on one of our sister brands.
The best pet vacuum for large homes
If you have pets, you'll never want to be without the Dyson Ball Animal 2. Its clever brush heads pick up all the hair our furry friends leave behind without getting tangled up. The motorized brush bar also works to remove stubborn dirt leftover from muddy paws. Why isn't it higher on our list? It's almost $500, which is more than most people want to spend on a vacuum cleaner.
The Dyson Ball Animal 2 was the standout vacuum that allowed our tester Sarah to really feel as if she was keeping up with the onslaught of dirt and fur in her home. It yielded excellent results on tiles, parquet, stairs, and carpet with the capability of getting right up to the edges of rooms. The suction was impressively powerful and got the job done quickly, though Sarah found herself turning down the power when using it on carpet, as it can be difficult to push on the highest setting.
The low-profile head and tell-tale ball made swishing this vac around at home almost enjoyable. The long cord means Sarah wasn't slowed by having to change outlets and the handle gave her plenty of opportunities to reach where needed when cleaning stairs and upper corners.
Read our Dyson Ball Animal 2 review.
The best vacuum for pet owners with allergies
Sensitive to every loose strand of hair, particle of dust, or hint of dirt? Well, the top-rated Cat and Dog vac from Miele utilizes a sealed bag dust bin system that is made for allergy sufferers. Miele is known for its top-quality engineering and canister-style designs that will power through thick carpets and perform just as well on hard floors. This vac is no exception.
Dried mud on tiles and pet hair on sofas were easily thwarted by this model during testing, according to our reviewer Sarah, who tried it at home for several weeks. She found the floor head and foot controls to change suction on this machine made day-to-day use very simple and stress-free. Removing the dustbag and replacing it with a new one was a seamless operation, too. We did rate it five stars, but it does (understandably) come at a higher price, which is why it's fourth on our list.
The suction on this model is great and it has a good range of tools, all handily stowed in the body of the vacuum cleaner. While it isn't the smallest, it is a neat design that is easy to transport and store. However, it is on the weighty side, so if you have lots of stairs, you might prefer a lighter model. For a large ranch-style home, it would be perfect.
The best robot vacuum for pets
If the amount of hair has seemingly become too much to handle for daily upkeep, then investing in a robot vacuum cleaner might just change the game for you. The iRobot Roomba S9+ is not only a winner at picking up pet hair (even strands embedded deep in the carpet), its obstacle detection laid out in the mapping mode avoids small objects and can even recognize and avoid any pet accidents. Although it's rated five stars, it sits at number six because it can't be used as a sole vacuum cleaner; you'll need an upright or stick model to accompany it.
There is a lot of power ready to make the most of with the Roomba iRobot S9+, which our reviewer Linda noted first-hand during her tests to banish dirt and hair created by pets. She marveled at how this robot could power up or down depending on the floor type it was tackling and enjoyed the iRobot Clean Base, which this bot self-empties into. Linda found that the Clean Base system could hold up to 30 loads of dust and hair before needing to be emptied, cutting down massively on the pet-related cleaning she needed to do.
Some very serious technology went into the iRobot Roomba S9+, and the resulting mapping technology is effortless and effective. The ease of setting a daily schedule will make your life easier, and Linda loved being able to create Keep Out Zones, such as around her dog's water bowl. The S9+ can be controlled at the push of a button, from your smartphone or by Alexa or Google Home Assistant via a smart speaker. In terms of battery life, a single charge lasts up to 120 minutes, which Linda had no complaints about. This vacuum really is the ultimate tool for hands-off cleaning, but for a deep clean, pet owners may need a multi-tooled classic vacuum cleaner for the furniture and areas a robot can't reach.
Read our iRobot Roomba S9+ review.
The best high-end vacuum for pets
If you're after a cordless vacuum cleaner that's engineered for pet hair and you're prepared to spend (a lot) more than you would on a standard upright or stick, then we promise the Dyson Outsize is 100% worth it. With a running time of up to two hours spread across two batteries, an oversized half-gallon dust bin, and an extremely powerful design, it will get you through all your cleaning tasks for a fur-free home.
Vacuuming stopped being a chore with the Dyson Outsize, according to our reviewer and vacuum extraordinaire Jen. She switched to using this vacuum as her main unit to clean her three-bedroom house, with the bin size and suction power being good enough to replace her corded canister model. Even after a full year of testing, Jen found that the battery life and the floor head of this vacuum, complete with laser technology to seek out the dirt you can't ordinarily see, was second to none. She was also a big fan of the fade-free suction, which lasts down to the final second of charge.
The Dyson Outsize is an absolute dream when it comes to suctioning up pet hair on carpets, hard floors, and upholstered surfaces. The additional attachment options include a combination tool, crevice tool, and stubborn dirt brush, which make cleaning up pet hair from upholstery and dog beds a simple task. It also easily and quickly converts to a handheld for above-floor cleaning or getting up close and personal with pet beds. It's a little top-heavy, and you may find your arm growing tired from cleaning above the floor, but overall it's easy to use. The extended-sized dust bin is a must for any home with lots of pet hair to scoop up.
This vacuum cleaner was reviewed by one of our editors.
The best upright vacuum for pets
If you have a long-haired dog or cat, you'll love the Shark Vertex Upright Vacuum with Powered Lift-Away. In fact, it's one of the best Shark vacuums you can buy. Built with hypervelocity suction, it's powerful enough to suck up everything in its path, and it's built with the latest DuoClean Powerfins features with a self-cleaning brush roll that automatically keeps it free of hair, so you won't have to spend time removing fur that's tangled around the brush roll when you're done vacuuming. It goes without saying that it's ideal for cleaning up human hair, too.
With her Cavapoo Reese at home, our reviewer Jaclyn is well-equipped to tell you what you need to know about vacs when it comes to pet hair. She found that the anti-hair wrap feature lived up to its name, with strands never wrapping around the self-cleaning brush roll or clogging the vacuum shaft. Jaclyn can also advocate for using the self-cleaning power brush combined with the crevice tool for banishing pet hair while using the Powered Lift-Away mode too; a move that made her worn-down carpeted stairs look brand new again.
Besides the fact that it sucks up hair, this vacuum is packed with other handy features, including LED headlights for seeing under the furniture, tools for cleaning dog hair off the sofa and in crevices, and on-board tool storage (though it annoyingly doesn't have space for all three attachments). It also has a built-in HEPA filter to remove allergens and pet dander while it cleans.
What is the best vacuum for pet hair?
If you want something that's easy to use, easy to maneuver, and even more simple to store, then the Shark Stratos Cordless with Clean Sense IQ IZ862H (which you can buy from Amazon) is definitely your best bet. Our resident pet Doug (Annie's Pug), gave this vacuum a run for its money and the cleaning machine managed to conquer the dander. It automatically adapts its suction based on how clean (or dirty) your floors are, plus it works with scent pods to emit a lovely smell as you clean your floors.
What makes a vacuum great for pet hair?
If you need to get rid of pet hair on a regular basis, you might find a vacuum that isn't optimized for the job leaves a lot to be desired. Most vacuums outfitted for households with pets will feature increased suction, some sort of pet tool or brush, a motorized brush roll (as opposed to sheer suction) to really dig out hair and particles, and an emphasis on its filtration system. Most pet vacuums, especially the middle to high-end options, will feature high-efficiency filters to catch pet dander, capture allergens, and prevent particles from escaping the vacuum.
Another highly sought-after feature on vacuums for pet hair are brush rolls that are self-cleaning or feature anti-hair wrap tech to ensure that strands of hair don't wrap around and eventually clog the brush roll. Some are more effective than others, but we've had great luck with Shark's Anti-Hair Wrap Tech.
How to remove dog hair from a car
It's inevitable that your dog will find his or her way into your car at some point for vet appointments or trips to the park. The easiest way to remove dog hair from your car (or any other upholstered surface) is with a cordless or handheld vacuum. Opt for models that have mini-motorized tools designed specifically for covering smaller spaces and delicate fabrics. Swap in a crevice tool to get into edges and cracks where hair and crumbs from treats may have accumulated.
If you have any lingering strands, try smoothing a rubber glove across the seats or creating static with a balloon to get hair to cling. Good ol' duct tape is a good hack, too, as is dragging a squeegee blade across the seats for very satisfying results.
6 things to consider when buying a vacuum for pet hair
In terms of style and type, you can get a stick, canister, and upright vacuums designed for pet hair so this will come down to your own preferences. Here's what you'll need to consider before committing to your new pet vacuum:
1. Which type of flooring do you have?
First, what type of flooring do you have? If your pets tend to shed 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 roll to lift the hair from the pile.
2. Would you prefer corded or cordless?
Consider what spaces you will need to vacuum. Dyson’s ball technology is easier to maneuver around and into corners, 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.
3. What about a robot vacuum cleaner?
A robot vacuum cleaner is great for the floor but you will likely need a second vacuum to do a thorough job of the rest of your home. A robot vacuum could be an ideal solution for pets that get irritated by the loud sound of a vacuum. An easy alternative is to schedule it for when you and the pet are out for stress-free cleaning.
If your pet ever jumps on the furniture, (it's inevitable) you will definitely need a vacuum with brushes and attachments to help remove fur. Plus, your pup or cat might not love having a robot vacuum invade their personal areas, such as near a crate or food bowl, so spot cleaning with a smaller handheld or normal vacuum is smart.
4. Does it have to be bagless?
Some may prefer a vacuum cleaner with a bag, especially those who are particularly allergy sensitive, but it's worth bearing in mind that you'll have to keep buying new bags, making them more expensive in the long run. While a bagless cleaner can be messier to empty, most are removable or can be poured directly into the trash can.
5. Do you require a large capacity dust bin?
If you've got more than one pet, check the vacuum's capacity so you don't have to empty it too often. Naturally, the smaller and more lightweight the vacuum, the smaller its capacity. If you have an animal that sheds a lot, you'll want to choose a vacuum with a larger dust bin, since hair doesn't exactly compress in a vacuum, as other debris does.
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 air watts (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. Do you like a certain brand?
Most of the major vacuum brands such as Dyson, Bissell, and Shark have now introduced specialized 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.
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 test 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 analyze them before including them in this roundup. We also seek out other reviewers' opinions so all experiences are taken into account.
During testing, we lookout for factors such as maneuverability, 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 the homes editor on TechRadar. Previously she has written for Ideal Home, Real Homes, and Homes & Gardens as the appliances editor. She has tested a number of vacuums in her time, including the Dyson Outsize from this guide, which is a favorite vacuum of hers.
Annie tested the cordless Shark Stratos IZ862H model and she loved it so much that it's currently her go-to vacuum. It works to collect the pet hairs her pug, Doug, leaves behind on a daily basis and she loves the range of attachments that come with it. The fact it automatically adjusts suction for you makes it easy to use. It also works with scent pods to make your home smell nice as you vacuum.
Jaclyn was previously ecommerce editor at Real Homes, where she oversaw sleep content including mattresses and bedding. She has also tested a number of vacuums for us at home, a space that she shares with her Cavapoo Reese, in order to tell us which vacuums are the best at dealing with pet-related messes. She tested out the Shark Vertex Upright Vacuum with Powered Lift-Away on this list, which is a premier corded vacuum model for pet hair.
Sarah has reviewed many vacuum cleaners for Real Homes, taking them through their paces at home to give us an honest, real-life opinion and comparison on every model. From this list, she's had hands-on experience with the Dyson Animal Ball 2 and the Miele Complete C3 Cat & Dog.
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 iRobot Roomba S9+ on this list. She tested out this vacuum in her home, to find out how well they performed across various floor types and how they coped with busy family life and her three super-fluffy, world-class molting dogs.