Pet owners; listen up. The best vacuum for pet hair is one of the most essential home appliances you can buy right now to make cleaning your home easier. Designed to pick up the finest of stray hairs, combat pet dander and banish allergens, these vacuums will make your floors (and the air you breathe) fresher than before.
Many of these pet vacuums also feature in our guide to the best vacuum cleaners. 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 fluff off pet beds and upholstery, and also took into account the quality of the suction for each model.
Keep scrolling to see our the eight top buys from Dyson, Miele, Shark, Vax, and Hoover that we think are worth your cash, or feel free to click through to our full reviews (which you’ll find linked in the titles of each product) in order 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 that has almost three times more suction than any of their older cordless vacuum cleaners. And it stands up when compared power-wise to corded vacs too, making it a great option for small spaces.
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, it may not efficiently be able to 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.
So, you know you want a vacuum that is tough on pet hair, but you can’t decide what style you want? We can recommend the Shark DuoClean Powered Lift-Away with TruePet; a perfect hybrid when it comes to bridging the difference between a corded and a cordless vac. 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.
A standout for us with this vac was the TruePet motorised tool, as it contended very well with pet-related dirt in our tester Sarah’s home, lifting hair with ease. Sarah also found the mechanics of using this vacuum exceptionally straightforward, meaning she could Lift-Away as per the brand’s instructions without needing to read any lengthy manuals. One downside is that long hair did get tangled in the brush of the main vacuum, but she found this could still be easily removed.
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 battery to charge while the other is in use. The power is impressive and we found it 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.
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.
For good reason, we would recommend investing in the Dyson V11 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 onto our shortlist of the best pet vacuum. With the performance we saw in our tests, it’s no wonder we rated it our best cordless vacuum overall too.
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 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 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 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 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.
See all of the best Dyson cordless vacuums in our dedicated guide.
Note: The Dyson V11 aced all of our tests and scored a 5-star rating. Despite this, we have placed it further down in this ranking due to the fact that it is a very expensive buy, therefore losing points when it comes to affordability.
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.
Be it mud on kitchen tiles or fur bedded into 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 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 too.
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.
Dried mud on tiles and pet hair on sofas were easily thwarted by this model during testing, according to our reviewer Sarah, who tried this model out at home for a number of 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; a very useful thing to know for allergy sufferers.
As for picking up hair and lint, the Turbobrush attachment’s beater brush is really effective. Our reviewer Sarah noted 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.
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 brushroll 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 a huge amount of dust to be adequately reckoned with. 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, which allowed her to switch between 3 cleaning modes and suction settings, made vacuuming more enjoyable, and meant that she could easily find the right mode for the particular flooring she was using the vacuum on. 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 4kg. 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 attach to the main wand, and were effective in our tests at letting Molly get into corners and for cleaning upholstery too.
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, you can’t do much better than this Hoover superstar.
At just 5kg, 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 unsurprisingly was excellent at picking up fur from rugs and upholstery, with bristles that can get into carpets to release hairs.
How we test the best vacuum for pet hair
At Real Homes we like to get hands-on experience with the vacuums we feature in our buying guides, as part of our commitment to how we test products. 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.
Our vacuum cleaner for pet hair testing process is editorially independent. The majority of vacuum cleaners which we’ve featured in this guide have been tested by us to ensure that you get the best vacuum for pet hair, before they all sell out. To discover more about the reviewers behind these vacuums, read more about our Real Homes experts below.
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, and the
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 they coped with busy family life, and her three super-fluffy, world-class-molting dogs.
Molly is an Ecommerce Writer for Real Homes, and covers floor care and cleaning appliances, to tell you the best pick to buy for your space. She tried out the Shark CZ500UKT DuoClean & Anti Hair Wrap Bagless Cylinder Pet Vacuum (opens in new tab) in 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 make picking up crumbs and dirt much easier. She enjoyed the large capacity of this corded vac, though she does prefer using it for deep cleans rather than quick tidying up missions.
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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