In this Guide
- What makes a great vacuum for conquering pet hair?
- Guide to Our Best Pet Hair Vacuum Reviews
- Best Upright Vacuum for Pet Hair
- Top Canister Vacuum for Pet Hair
- Best Affordable Animal Hair Vacuum
- Top Rated Small Handheld / Cordless Vacuum for Pets
- Best Lightweight Vacuum for Cleaning Stairs
- Top Vacuums for Hardwood Floors
So many vacuums on the market these days are aimed specifically at pet owners, and claim to be specifically engineered for dealing with pet hair. How do you know which ones actually do the trick? It can be pretty confusing to cut through the marketing and hype to find reliable reviews.
That’s where we come in! We’ve done research on dozens of leading vacuums, both with and without “Pet” labeling. We’ll talk you through all our favorites, and show you why they’re your friend against the furry foe!
Here on our homepage, you’ll find links to all of our review articles, like the Best Vacuums for Hardwood Floors, and the Best Pet Hair Vacuums Under $100. Each article has full, in-depth reviews of our top three vacuums in each category. They also have handy guides to help you shop for each type.
Here’s a peek at a few of our all-time favorite vacuums for dealing with pet hair:
What makes a great vacuum for conquering pet hair?
If you’re a pet owner, you know the struggle of maintaining order in your house. Pets track in dirt, shed hair, and seem to emanate messes! Your vacuum is your best friend for cleaning up quickly and thoroughly.
But sadly, many of them aren’t up to the task of conquering pet hair. It clogs their filters, and jams their brushes. And if your suction chamber isn’t completely sealed, you’re just spreading dust and allergens around into the air as you clean.
The best vacuums for dealing with pet hair are versatile enough to go wherever pet hair can find its way. They’re powerful enough to suck up even the biggest furballs, and durable enough to handle doing so every time you clean. They’ll also be convenient, which is super important to a pet owner, since you’ll be cleaning more frequently than most folks.
Most importantly, they’ll grab all those pesky, micro-scale allergens and dust particles which animals spread around your house. If you have allergic symptoms, you’ll need to make sure you grab a vacuum with proper filtration to tackle the smallest sources of sneezing. Even if you don’t have allergies related to your animals, you’ll find that you breathe easier at home when you buy a unit that cleans up dander and dust that your furry friends spread in the air.
So, which models fit the bill?
Guide to Our Best Pet Hair Vacuum Reviews
Best Upright Vacuum for Pet Hair
Uprights are best for people who have a lot of carpets in their home. They’ll give you the widest coverage and the most brush power, to help you cover ground quickly and effectively! These are what we recommend to folks with primarily carpeted flooring.
Their jumbo-sized dustbins are also a huge plus for sucking up all that pet hair without having to empty the tank after each room! If you have several pets, they’re endlessly more convenient than stick or canister models.
The best uprights for dealing with pet hair have high-powered brush heads which adjust to different flooring types. We prefer tangle-free brush heads, or models with easy access to the brush roll so that you can de-tangle things quickly.
You’ll also want an accessory hose so you can use add-ons like a crevice tool and upholstery brush for getting the rest of your pet’s fur off of furniture, stairs, and the edges of your carpets.
One of our favorite uprights for dealing with pet hair is the Miele Dynamic U1 Maverick.
Miele’s entire lineup of vacuums has a fantastic reputation for quality and performance, especially over the long term. The Maverick is our favorite upright on the market right now, and it excels in both those regards.
Other uprights from Dyson, Bissell, or Shark can be horrible to use on hard flooring, and tricky to adjust onto your exact carpet type. The Miele is safe for even delicate hardwoods, and it’s adjustable enough to suit any carpet type. You can adjust the suction as well as the brush height, so it’s very versatile.
It has powerful suction, and the benefit of a fully-motorized brush head. This thing does an excellent job scrubbing pet hair from all sorts of carpets, as well as hard flooring.
The latest version of the Maverick has some nice conveniences, too. The brush head is spring-loaded, so it will automatically adjust as you change flooring types.
We also prefer this one because it fits easily under furniture. In fact, you can get the whole thing to lie flat, which makes it much easier to nab pet hair under couches, futons, and coffee tables.
Most importantly, at a time when practically every other upright on the market has gone bagless, the Miele still uses bags. When you’re cleaning up after pets, bagless vacuums are just plain messy. Emptying their chambers releases all sorts of allergens back into your air. The Miele has self-sealing bags that give you the convenience a bagless chamber without letting even a speck of dust back out.
Top Canister Vacuum for Pet Hair
Canister models are more maneuverable than uprights. With long hoses and narrow bodies, they’ll help you nab tricky pet fur wherever it hides! We suggest them to anyone with stairs, or primarily hard flooring where uprights aren’t as effective.
If you’ve got carpets of mid to deep piling, make sure you get a canister model with a powered brush head! They’re as effective as any upright, even if they don’t give you as much room in the compartment. Canisters are by far the best choice for hardwood floors, too! Since they usually come with two different flooring heads, they protect your hardwood finishes better than an upright.
The best canister vacuums for dealing with pet hair have sealed air systems for controlling allergens and dust. They have powered brush heads and plenty of attachments for cleaning nooks and crannies at floor level and above.
You’ll also want to look for the biggest dust compartments available. Most of all, you’ll want strong suction so that you don’t lose suction power with long attachments.
Our top quality choice for a canister model is the Miele Compact C2 Electro+:
Miele vacuums are a cut above the rest when it comes to quality. They are designed and built in Germany. They’re some of the only ones on the market to use numerous metal and rubber parts.
As a result, they have a superior record for durability and user satisfaction over time. The Titan is fully equipped to handle all your flooring types. The powered, tangle-free carpet brush head can handle even the deepest pile rugs with ease.
The parquet floor head creates firm suction on hardwoods while protecting your floors with thick, soft bristles. And while the motor is extremely powerful, it’s also adaptive.
There are 6 speed and suction settings to help you clean different surfaces like carpets, hardwoods, curtains, and upholstery. We recommend the Electro+ for people who are planning to clean their entire home, and who have a variety of flooring types in their home.
Read our full review of the Miele Compact C2 Electro+ in our guide to the best vacuums for hardwood floors!
Best Affordable Animal Hair Vacuum
Most pet model vacuums cost a few hundred dollars. They’re ideal for dealing with pet fur, since they’ve been specifically designed to handle hair, dirt, and dander. These have lots of attachments and features designed to make cleaning up after pets easier.
We know that many buyers can’t spend too much money on a pet version–but you should still be able to clean up after your pets!
With that in mind, we decided to find the best options for dealing with pet hair on a budget. We’ve combed through the top models available for $100 or so.
You’ll find our three favorite budget picks and a guide to help you shop for a cheap one here.
One of our top budget recommendations is the BISSELL CleanView:
This budget-priced upright is a powerful, no-nonsense cleaning machine. It has an extra-large dust chamber, so you can get through your whole house without emptying it.
The CleanView has a wide, motorized brush head, which can tackle thick carpets with ease. We particularly like the brush head on this model, which is designed to clean floors with only one pass.
The CleanView also comes with a smaller, handheld power brush, which we love for cleaning upholstery and carpeted stairs.
All in all, the BISSELL is surprisingly powerful and versatile–especially for such a cheap option. Better still, previous buyers report that it’s much more reliable than other budget models.
You can read our full review of the BISSELL CleanView, and see more of our favorite cheap picks.
Top Rated Small Handheld / Cordless Vacuum for Pets
We love handheld and cordless versions for quick spot cleanings around the house. Fellow pet owners will know how quickly a situation can crop up. You don’t always have time to haul out your full-size vacuum!
Handheld options are great for swooping in and grabbing that kitty litter from the floor, or collecting fur balls that have accumulated in the corner.
They’re also good tools for cleaning furniture and stairs. Many newer cordless models combine stick vacuums with handheld ones for an all-around cleaning tool that works on pet fur from floor to ceiling.
We’re recommending these crossover vacuums, since we think they offer a lot more value than traditional handhelds or stick models.
Our top quality pick for a handheld/cordless vacuum is the Dyson V8 Absolute:
This crossover vacuum combines a stick vacuum and a handheld vacuum in one ultra-light, cordless design.
One of the top selling points on the V8 Absolute is the sheer power of the thing. The V8 has a more powerful motor than you’d typically find on a stick vacuum. It uses multi-layered cyclonic suction to provide bagless vacuuming without loss of suction. The overall effect is power that you’d ordinarily only see on a fullsize vacuum!
Plus, the V8 Absolute comes with all the attachments you’ll need to put that power to work around the house. It has a powered brush head, which is perfect for vacuuming your carpets.
We really like this attachment, as it’s a direct drive mechanism instead of a belt-drive system. This gives you more than twice as much power as traditional brush heads, and eliminates one of the most delicate and annoying parts of a vacuum.
There’s also an Animal-branded version of the V8, but we think the Absolute is actually the better choice for pet owners. It has all the accessories you get with the Animal version, plus an addition floor head that’s protective of hardwoods. All in all, it’s a better bargain given the comparable prices of the two variants.
Read our full review of the Dyson V8 Absolute, and check out some of our other favorite offerings from Dyson in our Shark Vs. Dyson comparison page!
Best Lightweight Vacuum for Cleaning Stairs
For cleaning stairs, we recommend a light, maneuverable vacuum with a full attachment set. You’ll want something that’s compact enough to maneuver in a stairwell, but with enough cleaning range to get into all the nooks and crannies.
Depending on whether your stairs are carpeted or smooth, you might want a powered brush attachment for scrubbing fur and dirt off the stairs, as well.
We prefer canister and stick vacuums over uprights, since they rest more easily on steps and are lighter to lift. In our special guide to the Best Vacuums for Stairs, we’ll walk you through some of our favorite vacuums in this category. We’ll also help you figure out what to look for when you’re shopping for a vacuum to tackle stairs.
Our top recommendation for vacuuming stairs is the Miele C2 Complete Hard Floors:
This new Miele features a space-efficient canister design that easily sits on landings and many steps. It makes the C2 easier to manage in a stairwell, without sacrificing the size of its dust bags! You can fit a lot of pet hair in one bag. Plus, everything’s much neater to empty when you’re done cleaning!
While the C2 is priced about the same as crappy plastic models from Dyson and Shark, it’s made partially in Germany from much better materials (if you want a completely German-made Miele, the C2 Electro+ featured on this page fits the bill). It has an aluminum wand, rubber wheels, rubber bumpers, and crush-proof plastic casing. In our experience, these last for years of use.
The C2 also stands out for its smart features like onboard attachment storage, adjustable suction, and a telescopic wand. We think it’s by far the best solution for vacuuming a home with all hard flooring, including a set of stairs.
You can read the full review, and check out our other recommendations for hardwood & carpeted stairs!
Top Vacuums for Hardwood Floors
While getting pet hair out of deep carpets can be quite a task, hardwoods provide their own set of challenges.
You want a powerful vacuum that can be tough on pet fur but gentle on your hardwoods.
Plus, hair tends to blow around on hardwoods. You’ll need a vacuum with the suction power to pull hair from all the corners of your wood floors, and lift hairs and dirt from the cracks between the floorboards.
We’ve written a guide specially for people with hardwood floors in their home! We chose three vacuums that are perfect for vacuuming hardwoods, and compared them all in our Best Vacuums for Hardwood Floors page (here).
One of our favorite vacuums for hardwood floors is the Shark Navigator Professional:
This one is Shark’s top-selling vacuums of all time. It’s an upright model that offers versatility on par with many canister vacuums.
The Navigator achieves this by integrating a LiftAway mode. This allows you to detach the canister and carry it with you as you vacuum using the attachment hose.
The Navigator comes with a fully-powered brush head for dealing with carpets and rugs, and includes a dedicated hardwood floor brush.
This attachment combines a wide suction head with a microfiber sweeper pad. It takes care of larger dust and debris on the front end, while the sweeper pad cleans up microscopic particles behind.
The pad also does a great job buffing up the finish on your hardwoods, making them look and feel even cleaner! We recommend the Navigator for people with a mix of hardwoods and carpeted floors. It’s inexpensive and very versatile.
You can read our full review of the Navigator, and see more recommendations for great hardwood vacuums in our guide to the Best Vacuums for Hardwood Floors.
Our ultimate, all-around recommendation for dealing with pet hair and allergens in your home.
Miele C3 Complete Cat and Dog:
The Miele Cat and Dog is the ultimate vacuuming solution for pet owners. It has a completely sealed air system with full HEPA filtration to eliminate airborne dust and allergens.
The Miele also goes further than the competition with an integrated charcoal filter system. This neutralizes pet odors from carpets and upholstery.
Its high-powered motor is fully adjustable, and you can switch levels via easy footswitches on the canister body. We particularly like that the canister is acoustically sealed, making the vacuum extremely quiet.
It also comes with two separate floor heads. One is the high-powered Electro-plus brush, which can handle any carpeting, no matter how deep. The second is the Parquet Twister, an extra-wide hard floor attachment with thick, soft bristles to protect your floors.
All in all, the Cat and Dog offers smart, high-quality design for just about every need we can think of. Of course, at around $1,000, the Cat and Dog isn’t for the faint of heart.
Our take: if you can afford to make the investment, we can’t recommend it highly enough.