Best vacuum for pet hair 2020: 12 top picks from Dyson, Shark and more... | Real Homes

Best vacuum for pet hair 2020: 7 top picks from Dyson, Shark and more...

If you've got pets, then you'll need the best vacuum for pet hair to tackle stray hair and dirt with ease...

best vacuum for pet hair
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(Image credit: Made)

Dog or cat hair covering your hard flooring, entwined in your carpet, and stuck to your furniture? Then you've come to the right place. Finding the best vacuum for pet hair is an essential part of being a pet owner, because as much as you love your dog, you don't necessarily want to wear Golden Retriever fur on your pants every time you leave the house.

Because not all vacuums are up to the job of tackling a shedding pet, we tested the top vacuums for pet hair to come up with a list that'll ensure your home is fluff-free. We looked at things like suction, specialty pet-hair tools, canister capacity, price, and how well each model dealt with the influx of fuzz it sucked up. 

We whittled down the list to seven top picks, some of which also make an appearance on our list of the overall best vacuum cleaners, so you know you've found a winner. 

Keep scrolling to see our rankings.

Best vacuum for pet hair: ranked

best vacuum for pet hair: Dyson Big Ball Animal 2

(Image credit: Dyson)

1. Dyson Ball Animal 2 Canister Vacuum

Best vacuum for pet hair you can buy: the clever brush heads pick up ALL the hair our furry friends leave behind!

Specifications
Best for: All-rounder
Type: Cylinder
Bagless?: Yes
Cordless?: No
Weight: 17.6lb.
Capacity: 1.5ltrs
Reasons to buy
+Powerful removal of dust and pet hair+Easy to move, use and empty+Great on all surfaces including hard flooring

OUR VERDICT: An innovative design that distinguishes itself from the cylinder crowd because it’s easy to move and store. Well up to the challenge of dirt and debris removal on all floors. Read more of our review.

For a large house with a few pets, we highly recommend buying the Dyson Big Ball Canister Vacuum. 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 motorized 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 shedding German Shepherd). 

If your pets are constantly wrecking your carpet with muck, this really does leave it looking good as new.

Attachments for every task

From rotating heads that 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.

Maneuverability

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 maximum usability. While it isn't the lightest, the small cylinder is much easier to carry than some of its 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.

shark vacuum

(Image credit: Shark)

2. SHARK® APEX® DUOCLEAN® SELF-CLEANING BRUSHROLL POWERED LIFTAWAY UPRIGHT VACUUM

Best vacuum for long-haired pets: a self-cleaning brushroll tackles hair with ease

Specifications
Best for: Lightweight power
Type: Upright
Bagless?: Yes
Cordless?: No
Weight: 16 lb
Capacity: 0.75ltrs
Reasons to buy
+Hair doesn't get stuck in brushroll+Powerful suction+Lift-away feature for hard-to-reach spots
Reasons to avoid
-On the heavy side

If you have a long-haired dog or cat, you'll love the Shark APEX DuoClean with Zero-M® Self-Cleaning Brushroll Upright Vacuum. Not only is it powerful enough to suck up everything in its path, but it has a self-cleaning brushroll that automatically keeps it free of hair (so you won't have to spend time removing furr that's tangled around the brushroll when you're done vacuuming). It goes without saying that it works wonders on cleaning up human hair, too. 

Lift-Away

It's a Shark vacuum, so it features the brand's Lift-Away system, which means the canister detaches to provide longer reach (perfect for de-fuzzing under beds and sofas) and easy maneuverability on stairs. 

Bonus features

Besides the fact that is sucks up hair, this vacuum is packed with other handy features, including LED headlights for seeing under furniture, a crevice and upholstery tool for cleaning dog hair off the sofa, and on-board tool storage. It also has a built-in HEPA filter to remove allergens and pet dander while it cleans. 

Best Miele vacuum for pet hair: Miele Blizzard CX1 Cat&Dog PowerLine vacuum cleaner

(Image credit: Miele)

3. Miele Complete C3 Cat & Dog PowerLine

Best Miele vacuum cleaner for pet owners: want bagless cylinder but don't want a Dyson? This is the best.

Specifications
Best for: Easy emptying
Type: Cylinder
Bagless?: No
Cordless?: No
Weight: 23lbs
Capacity: 4 3/4-qt.
Reasons to buy
+Powerful convenience+Great on pet hair+Handles all surfaces like a pro
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive

If you're looking for a great bagless pet vacuum, which isn't a Dyson, then we would recommend buying the Miele Blizzard C3 Complete Cat & Dog. Not everyone is team Dyson, and we love this 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 comes complete with an Active AirClean filter. It features two electrostatic filters to remove allergens, plus a charcoal-filter to absorb odors. 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. 

Ease of use

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. 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.

Maneuverability
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 ranch-style home, though, it would be perfect.

best vacuum for pet hair: Dyson Ball Animal 2 vacuum cleaner

(Image credit: Dyson)

4. Dyson Ball Animal 2

Best vacuum for pet hair: great suction for fans of Dyson uprights

Specifications
Best for: All-rounder
Type: Upright
Bagless?: Yes
Cordless?: No
Capacity: 2.08ltrs
Noise: 80dB
Weight: 17.35lb
Reasons to buy
+Powerful suction so great on carpet and hard flooring+Ball makes it easy to move+Long cord
Reasons to avoid
-Can be noisy-On the heavier side

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 motorized brush bar gets out stubborn dirt from muddy paws.

All flooring, all debris

Whether it's mud on kitchen tiles or fur embedded in 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.

Tools

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 outlets 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.

Shop more Dyson vacuums at Amazon

Best Shark vacuum for pet hair: Shark DuoClean Powered Lift-Away with TruePet Cordless vacuum cleaner

(Image credit: Shark)

5. Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away TruePet Bagless Vacuum

Best Shark vacuum for pet hair: versatility for cleaning the whole house

Specifications
Best for: Upright fans in a cordless world
Type: Upright style
Bagless?: Yes
Cordless?: No
Weight: 15.6lbs
Capacity: .0.88 qt
Reasons to buy
+Versatile cleaning styles+Floor illumination+Battery can be charged separately
Reasons to avoid
-Smaller capacity

So, you know you want a vacuum that is tough on pet hair, but you can't decide if you want a canister or an upright? The Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away TruePet Bagless Vacuum is perfect for anyone who wants the versatility of both.

A new breed of vacuum cleaner

If a stick vacuum cleaner is a speedy greyhound, an upright is a reliable Labrador and a cylinder a compact but sturdy bulldog, then this vacuum is the perfect mutt. Pictured above in upright mode, the vacuum's Powered Lift-Away canister detaches to allow you to reach hard-to-clean areas without losing suction power. 

TruePet tech

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 ingrained dirt from floors. Our reviewer noted that long hair does get tangled in the brush, but this can be easily removed. 

Best vacuum for pet hair for maneuverability: Dyson Light Ball Multi Floor vacuum cleaner

(Image credit: Dyson)

6. Dyson Light Ball Multi Floor

Best vacuum for carpet: a multi floor superstar, but a winner if your home is mostly carpeted

Specifications
Best for: Carpeted floors
Type: Upright
Bagless?: Yes
Cordless?: No
Weight: 20.2lb
Capacity: 1.58ltrs
Reasons to buy
+Great edge-to-edge clean+Long cable+Restores carpet
Reasons to avoid
-Light but proves cumbersome if you are of smaller stature

If you want a vacuum cleaner that's easy to handle, then the Dyson Light Ball Animal Upright vacuum cleaner is one of the best pet vacuums you can buy.

Maneuverability

Let's start with maneuverability: 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 over 20lb, is around the average weight for a vacuum so you won't feel like you have to lug it around. Another plus point is its long cable at just over 30 ft.; 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.

Suction power

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 sheds 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, 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 Dyson model in this list, this vacuum is the perfect alternative.

Shop more vacuum cleaners at  Dyson

7. iRobot Roomba 980

Best robot vacuum cleaner: an effortless way to get rid of pet hair

Specifications
Best for: Hands-free cleaning
Type: Robot
Bagless?: Yes
Cordless?: Yes
Weight: 8.7lbs
Capacity: 0.6ltrs
Noise level: 70dB
Reasons to buy
+High-efficiency filter +Multi-surface detection +Smart compatible (Alexa and Google)
Reasons to avoid
-Loud-Small capacity-Pricey for what will be a second vac

If you're after an efficient robot vacuum cleaner then we would highly recommend  buying the iRobot Roomba 980 which happens to be our top pick in our best robot vacuum cleaners buyer's guide. But how is it at picking up pet hair? Read on to find out.

A quick clean for pet hair

We're not for a minute suggesting that a robot vacuum is the top pick for tackling pet hair; however, as a second vacuum cleaner that can tackle pet hair on both carpet but particularly on hard floors while you're out, or asleep (although at 70dB, it's not quiet-quiet), it's a real time saver. It does the vacuuming so you don't have to.

Smart cleaning

With its intelligent sensor that can detect different surfaces so that it changes its cleaning method as it moves from carpet to hardwood flooring, it works wonders on picking up debris, such as dust, pet hair and crumbs. Its compact design and low profile means it can get under most low-slung furniture, too, while the Cliff-Detection Sensors stop it falling down stairs.

Cleaning power

There are no traditional beater brushes on the Roomba, so don't expect this vacuum cleaner to do the job of a powerful, corded vac with motorized brush heads; however, it does have a spinning side brush to force debris into its path so that nothing gets missed, and the brush-less extractors do prevent tangles caused by pet hair, meaning it won't get itself in a pickle while you're out (unless there are cables in the way).

Having said that it's particularly effective on hard floors, the AeroForce cleaning system with Carpet Boost does increase performance on carpets and rugs. Plus, the efficiency filter captures 99 percent of allergens, making it a good choice for allergy sufferers. 

Ease of use

The Roomba can be controlled at the push of a button, from your smartphone, or by Alexa or Google Home Assistant via smart speaker. The iRobot HOME app doesn't just let you plan your cleaning schedule from your phone; it lets you check the status of the vacuum's process, and you can select a custom cleaning preference. We like the vacuuming smarts.

In terms of battery life, it can run for up to two hours (impressive), keeping track of its location, and using a highly efficient cleaning pattern, before taking itself back to its charging station for some juice. It really is the ultimate in hands-off cleaning, but for the deep clean a pet owner needs you will want to use a multi-tooled classic vacuum cleaner for the furniture and areas a robot can't reach.

Find more iRobot products at Bed, Bath & Beyond 

How to buy the best vacuum for pet hair

Vacuums designed with hair removal in mind will often feature a motorized 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 pet vacuum:

Flooring

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 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.

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.

Capacity

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.

Suction power

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.

Noise level

Consider this if you have a little one at home all day who naps or a pet who doesn't like loud noises.

Brand

Most of the major vacuum brands such as Dyson, Miele 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.

Don't miss our guide to how to vacuum like a pro (yup, there are 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.

  • Now you've got the best vacuum for pet hair, here's how to vacuum thoroughly around the home

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