Not every vacuum cleaner can handle pet hair effectively. Because hair can create nasty knots in vacuum rolling brushes, even vacuums with very powerful suction can still struggle with it.
The best vacuums for pet owners offer strong suction as well as rotating brushes designed to minimize, or even completely eliminate, hair tangles. A pet owner-approved vacuum also comes with additional attachments designed to clean fur and hair from sofas, carpeted stairs and other hard-to-reach places, plus sealed filtration systems that trap dander and other allergens.
There are tons of good vacuum cleaners on the market, with prices starting at under $100 up to around $1,000. But finding the ideal model that's designed for your needs as a pet owner can be tricky. That's why we put together this buying guide on the top vacuums for pet hair in 2023.
How much a vacuum costs depends largely on its suction power, filter quality and included attachments. Prices also vary widely from brand to brand. Whether you’re looking for an upright corded vacuum to deep clean carpets, a lightweight cordless model for quick cleanups, or a robot vacuum that’s good for everyday maintenance, the right vacuum will be able to handle the job — hopefully without frightening your furry friend.
Buying Guide: Vacuums for Pet Hair
These are some of the factors to consider when shopping for the best vacuum for pet-parent needs:
• Pet-specific vacuums. Some vacuums include the term “pet” in their name — like the Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Turbo Plus, our pick for Best for Low Prices. These pet-specific models typically include cleaning attachments, like brushes and mini motorized tools, that remove hair from upholstery. However, these vacuums don’t necessarily offer more suction or higher-quality filters.
Other models — like our Best Overall pick, the Shark Vertex DuoClean — aren’t branded as pet-specific yet have strong suction, anti-tangle brushes and even cleaning attachments for pet hair.
• Rolling brush design. All vacuums have a type of rolling brush with bristles or rubber wipers that pick up dirt. The problem is that hairs, especially long ones, can easily tangle around this brush (or around the wheels near it). These knots aren't just hard to remove — they can also cause blockages that weaken suction and prevent debris from passing through.
To solve this issue some manufacturers have designed brushes to resist tangles, even from human hair. These rollers are typically described as “self-cleaning,” “anti-tangle” or “tangle-free” in product descriptions and are better at preventing knots than the ones on other vacuums.
• Vacuum type. The most popular vacuums for cleaning pet hair are upright, cordless and robot models.
Upright corded vacuums are excellent for homes with carpeting. They tend to offer more suction power compared to cordless models, hence a deeper clean. However, corded vacuums can weigh around 15 pounds, making them harder to carry up flights of stairs.
Cordless vacuums, which obviously offer the convenience of being cord-free, used to fall short in terms of suction capacity when compared to upright models. Nowadays, though, some cordless models can deep clean any floor in a single pass — even thick carpets.
They're lightweight too, usually weighing between 3 and 10 pounds, making them easier to carry, store and maneuver than corded models.
Although cordless vacuums have improved, only the really top-of-the-line models — those in the $400 and higher price range — offer the same suction power you would get from a much cheaper upright vacuum that costs $300 or less.
Roombas and other robot vacuums cruise around your home with the press of a button, helping you keep up with the never-ending shedding of pet hair. Although convenient, these probably won’t clean as deeply as upright or cordless models.
Their dustbins can fill up quite quickly, especially when picking up pet hair. If the robot keeps running with a full dust bin, its suction weakens. In homes with mostly carpeted floors, they can have some trouble cleaning embedded hair and dust.
Then there are the self-emptying robot models, which are more convenient for truly painless vacuuming. These come with a docking/cleaning station where the vacuum automatically returns and empties its dust bin. Unsurprisingly, these are among the most expensive vacuums, costing upwards of $600.
• Adjustable suction. Vacuums with different suction settings are a must-have for pet owners with different types of flooring in their home. Increasing the power on carpeted areas, for example, guarantees a deeper clean that's necessary when picking up embedded hair.
Some high-end vacuums self-adjust their suction by gauging just how dirty the floor is or whether they’re gliding over hard floors or carpets. These usually cost close to $500 or more. Cheaper models also feature two or three suction settings for bare floors and low-or high-pile carpets, which you can change with a button located near the vacuum’s handle.
Some models also include a boost trigger, perfect for when you need some extra power on tough spots.
• Dust canister and filter. If you have a big home and multiple pets (or ones that shed a lot), you should consider the size of the vacuum’s dust canister. A small dustbin can fill up quickly, which can in turn cause clogs and reduce the vacuum’s suction power.
Upright models typically have a larger dust bin (also called dust canister) than portable vacuums. The bins on upright models average a capacity of around 0.5 gallons, while they're between 0.1 to 0.2 gallons in a typical cordless vacuum.
Besides the dust bin, consider the quality of the filter. Pet hair and dander can cause sneezing, runny noses and itchy eyes even for people who don’t suffer from allergies. Pet owners can benefit from models with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters. These models are completely sealed and prevent allergens from spilling back into the room once they enter the dust canister.
Comparing the Finest Vacuums for Pet Hair in 2023
1. Best overall: Dreametech Cordless Vacuum Cleaner
List Price: $299.99
The Dreametech Cordless Vacuum Cleaner is your answer to a cleaner and more convenient home. As a product without the constraints of cords, this vacuum cleaner is engineered with innovation. Designed for effortless efficiency, this cordless vacuum is set to transform the way you clean. You won’t have to lug around heavy or corded vacuums anymore. Instead, you can embrace a new era of lightweight, maneuverable, and versatile cleaning.
This vacuum can adapt to your every need. With cordless freedom, you’ll have the liberty to clean every corner of your home with ease. Whether you're tackling carpets, hardwood floors, or upholstery, the nimble design of this vacuum and its powerful suction ensure a hassle-free cleaning experience. With a range of handy attachments at your disposal, you can effortlessly switch from floor to crevice. As a compact and space-saving vacuum, this product is our top choice.
- Offers the freedom of cordless cleaning
- Lightweight and maneuverable design
- Versatile and adaptable attachments
- Limited battery life
2. Best design: Shark AZ2002 Vertex Powered Lift-Away Upright Vacuum
List Price: $355.40
The Vertex DuoClean is one of the most powerful upright corded vacuums around, delivering strong suction that can clean pet hair with ease — which is why it's our best overall pick.
The vacuum features three suction levels and a dual-roller system designed to clean all types of flooring in a single pass. One of its rotating rollers creates an excellent seal on hard floors and can pick up larger debris like cereal without pushing it around. The second roller has what Shark calls PowerFins, which are silicone wipers that can dig deep into carpets and prevent both pet and human hair from getting tangled.
In addition to the floor-cleaning head, the Vertex includes a dusting brush, crevice tool and a pet power brush. The pet power brush easily removes embedded pet hair and dander from upholstery, curtains, car interiors and more.
To use this tool, simply press a button on the dust bin to separate it from the vacuum’s body. This turns the Vertex into a handheld unit with a 5.5-foot flexible hose that’s perfect for cleaning higher areas or tight spaces, like stairs.
The Vertex is also an excellent option for allergy sufferers. Its dust bin has HEPA filtration and is completely sealed to keep allergens and dust from spilling back into the air.
- Powerful suction and HEPA filtration
- Three attachments for hard-to-reach areas
- Removable canister for easy cleaning under furniture
- Lightweight design makes it easy to maneuver around
- Expensive compared to other corded models
- Canister needs to be cleaned frequently
3. Editor’s pick: Shark ZU62 Navigator Zero-M Pet Pro Upright Vacuum
List Price: $279.99
Although not quite as powerful as the Shark Vertex DuoClean, Shark’s upright corded Navigator Zero-M Pet Pro still delivers excellent suction. And, at around $250, it costs nearly $200 less.
The Navigator has just enough power to deep-clean pet hair, even from thick carpets. It also features Shark’s Zero-M, a comb-like structure between the rotating roller and the vacuum’s airway that separates hairs as they’re picked up, preventing strands from wrapping around the roller.
Like the Vertex, the Navigator offers a sealed HEPA filtration system. It also has a 12-foot extendable hose for cleaning attachments and, while it doesn’t include a pet hair tool for upholstery, you can buy one for around $30 from Shark.
- Extendable hose and 24-foot cord for easy maneuverability
- Bagless design improves suction and air quality
- Self-cleaning brush roll removes hair build-up automatically
- Three filters can be easily cleaned
- Doesn’t include a pet hair brush
- Requires significant storage space
4. Best for low prices: Bissell 24613 Pet Hair Eraser Turbo Plus Lightweight Vacuum
List Price: $247.19
Vacuums under $250 usually don’t have the strongest suction. But for just under this price, the Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Turbo Plus does a pretty good job of picking up pet hair without it getting knotted up in the roller.
It includes a pet hair tool that resists hair tangles and attaches to the vacuum's extendable hose to clean hair from furniture. It handles long human hair fairly well too.
The filtration system on this upright corded vacuum isn’t completely sealed or HEPA-grade, so some microscopic dust could seep back into the room as you vacuum. However, if you don’t have allergies or asthma, this shouldn’t be a problem.
The Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Turbo Plus comes with specialized pet tools like an LED crevice tool, a turbo brush and a dusting brush. Also, you can equip the vacuum with Febreze-infused filters (sold separately) that help eliminate pet odors.
- Tangle-resistant pet hair brush for upholstery
- Easy maneuverability with smooth turns
- Adjustable carpet thickness setting
- Febreze filter included for nice scent
- Doesn't include a HEPA filter
- May easily clog with solid debris
5. Best cordless vacuum for pet hair: Dyson V15 Detect Vacuum
List Price: $749.99
Dyson’s makes the most powerful cordless vacuums in the market, and the V15 is the company’s best yet. While plug-in upright vacuums typically have stronger suction and can provide a deeper clean (especially on carpets), the V15 easily matches or even outperforms some of those. It also comes with 10 cleaning attachments, including an anti-tangle brush for pet hair, a soft dusting brush and a crevice tool.
This model picks up everything from fine dust to long pet hair with ease. It offers three suction settings — Eco, Auto and Boost — and the Auto mode is the most impressive and useful. In this setting, the vacuum uses a built-in sensor to detect how much dirt it's picking up as well as the size of the particles. The vacuum then adjusts its suction based on how dirty an area is. This self-adjustment guarantees the deepest clean possible while optimizing battery life — in fact, the battery can last around an hour depending on how dirty your floors are.
- Cleaner has a built-in laser light for tiny debris
- Easy to use and empty
- Powerful suction and long battery life
- Illuminated hardwood floor attachment reveals dirt
- Expensive (retails for around $750)
- Not ideal for deep cleaning high-pile carpets
6. Best cordless vacuum for pet hair runner-up: Dyson V11 Animal Cordless Vacuum Cleaner
List Price: $576.99
The V11 is Dyson’s second best cordless model. In terms of suction power, it’s a smidge under the V15 but still well above other cordless vacuums under $400.
Like the V15, this pet hair vacuum cleaner has three suction settings: Eco, Auto and Boost. Eco and Boost mode are the weakest and strongest settings, respectively. Similar to the V15, Auto mode allows the V11 to self-adjust suction as you clean. However, instead of using a dust-particle sensor, the V11 detects the type of floor (hard or carpet) it’s gliding on to adjust its suction accordingly.
The V11 retails for under $600 (around $200 less than the V15), and aside from how they adjust suction, both models have a similar design, weight and battery life. While it doesn’t include Dyson’s anti-tangle hair tool, it does have a mini motorized tool that’s ideal for removing deeply embedded pet hair.
- Lightweight and maneuverable operation
- Long-lasting battery life
- Removable roller for easy hair removal
- Great suction power with one passthrough
- Canister size is small, requiring frequent emptying
- Installation of wall charging station requires drilling
7. Best budget cordless vacuum for pet hair: Tineco A11 Hero Cordless Lightweight Stick Vacuum
List Price: $259.99
Dyson cordless vacuums may be impressive, but their prices are definitely steep. If you’re looking for a more affordable option, the Tineco A11 Hero is an excellent choice.
For around $250, this model runs more quietly than other vacuums in this price range and packs plenty of power in its three suction settings. It includes several cleaning attachments like a dusting brush, a crevice tool, a hair cleaning tool and a mini power brush to remove pet hair from furniture.
Although the battery on the A11 Hero lasts only about 30 minutes, it comes with a second battery pack so you can switch between them and avoid running out of power in the middle of a cleaning session. The vacuum’s base can store the unit and cleaning attachments, and it can charge both batteries at the same time.
- Lightweight and easy to carry
- Powerful suction for hardwood and rugs
- Two batteries and chargers included
- Pre-filter and brush are easy to clean
- Battery doesn’t last long
- Tube may require frequent unclogging
8. Best robot vacuum for pet hair: iRobot Roomba i7+ (7550) Robot Vacuum
List Price: $799.99
For households with multiple pets (or just one pet that sheds a whole lot) a robot vacuum could ease your cleaning load. But not all robot vacuums are equipped to handle hair embedded in carpet floors. Their dust bins can also fill up pretty quickly and cause the robot to lose suction power.
The iRobot Roomba i7+ can handle both of these issues, providing impressive suction capacity and a self-cleaning system. It includes Roomba’s Clean Base, a charging dock that doubles as a dirt bin. Every time the robot's dust bin is full, the i7+ will automatically make its way to the Clean Base where the contents get sucked into a disposable vacuum bag. Once the bin is empty, the i7+ will continue cleaning where it left off.
This system is ideal for people with allergies or asthma. Since there’s no need for you to empty the robot daily and the bags in the Clean Base are disposable, there’s minimal contact with allergens. (Replacement bags come in packs of three for around $15, and each one usually takes over a month to fill up.)
This model has smart mapping features that use a camera to scan your home and learn the surroundings. Once the robot has learned your floor plan and furniture placement, you can use the iRobot Home app to tell it which rooms to clean. You can also use voice commands with Alexa or Google Assistant to, say, tell the i7+ to clean your kitchen and dining room.
- Compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant
- Intuitive Ecovacs app offers house mapping
- Variable suction switches based on floor type
- Rubber brush rollers for deep cleaning carpets
- Doesn’t clean as deeply as other models
- Cannot work in complete darkness
Why Trust Us
Our commitment to the consumer begins with product selection and ends with the last word we write in each article. Each vacuum for pet hair is carefully vetted quantitatively through star ratings and the number of reviews qualitatively through careful examination of reviews and the features each one has to offer. Leveraging our team of bargain hunters, we’re also always sure to keep your budget in mind while we find the best vacuum cleaners for pet hair on the market. Our team of experts is dedicated to accurately depicting the pros and cons of each vacuum for pet hair, translating technical product specifications into information you can understand. Our mission is to help you clean your space with the most effective tools so you can enjoy it to the fullest without breaking the bank.