Why pet owners will love robot vacuums
Pets seem to constantly generate dirt and dander out of nowhere, don’t they? You vacuum your house thoroughly, and then a day later there’s fur on your beautiful floors and dirt underfoot, so that you can’t even tell you’d just cleaned. Even if you clean religiously every week, a home with multiple pets can have an ungodly amount of hair to pick up.
Robotic vacuums are fantastic because they stay on top of the accumulation. Nobody has time to vacuum floors every other day, but robots are happy to. If you set your robot to vacuum every other day, or even twice during the week, you’ll have significantly cleaner floors and much less work to do over the weekend with your old vac! Robots can keep the fur load from becoming overwhelming.
When there’s an unexpected litter mess, or a fur ball that appears out of nowhere, you can just press a button to have the robot clean it up while you make dinner. It’s pretty wonderful to own one.
Why you might want to temper your expectations
As you can probably tell already, we absolutely love robotic vacuums. They’re absolutely the future of cleaning, but at present they’re an imperfect solution. No robotic vacuum can deep-clean carpets the way your full-size vac can. Also, the dust bins on these are just too small to do a massive clean all at once. While we think most people will enjoy having one, you shouldn’t throw out your standard vacuum cleaner just yet!
The best way to use a robotic vacuum is as a maintenance tool. They’ll fill up constantly if you set them up to clean a house with tons of fur and dirt already on the floors. And as we’ve just said, they shouldn’t be expected to deep-clean carpets.
So, when you buy one, do a thorough cleaning with your full-size vac first. Then, set the robot to clean every two days or twice a week, to maintain cleanliness. They’re great for that! Your robot will keep floors clean, especially hard flooring types, and allow you to go longer between sessions with your big vac.
You’ll also need to keep your primary vacuum for things like upholstery, stairs, and any areas above floor-level. Obviously, no robot can tackle a couch or a carpeted staircase! A robot will reduce your workload drastically when you get to work with the big vac, though. Every week or two, do a deep-cleaning of your carpet with your big vacuum, and get to all the areas that the robot misses.
Best robot vacuum for pet hair: our current rankings
Shark ION Robot 750
Shark have been making cheap, effective vacuums for years now. While their products are never the most sophisticated or refined on offer, they’re undeniably effective for their price tags. The ION robotic vac is a perfect example of that ethos.
This is the cheapest robot we’ve found that doesn’t struggle with pet hair. It has two spinning edge brushes to pull fur balls from the sides, and the self-cleaning brushroll works the majority of the time. The dust bin is quite manageable. It also has all the basics of connectivity without costing a premium.
It doesn’t have as long a runtime as more expensive models, though. Samsung’s self-cleaning brush roll is better designed, too. We also found that the Shark has less smart features. For instance, it doesn’t pick up where it left off if it runs out of charge during a cleaning session. Overall, it’s not the most elegant robot you can buy. But it gets the job done for a very low price.
Samsung PowerBot R7070
This is Samsung’s latest robo-vac, and you’ll see it at the top of most professional lab test rankings. Consumer Reports has consistently ranked it above much-hyped competition from Dyson, and it’s an impressive offering from a company that’s not especially known for vacuum prowess!
The Samsung earns its plaudits through sheer cleaning prowess. Roomba’s latest offerings have more smart conveniences, but the Samsung scores more highly on the vast majority of lab test results. We’ve found that it does extremely well on pet hair. It rarely gets any sort of hair accumulation on the brush bar, thanks to the self-cleaning feature. This is also as connective as they get, and has sophisticated mapping tech onboard to help the vac do a thorough job in your home.
The main issue with the PowerBot is its reliability record. We haven’t experienced any long-term issues ourselves, and neither have other professional reviewers we’ve heard from. But, we couldn’t do a thorough review of this one without mentioning that a number of previous buyers have run into problems. Be sure to test thoroughly within your return window if you buy a Samsung. You could also get a third-party warranty (easy to add when you buy using our links).
iRobot Roomba 980
Our most expensive (and sophisticated) recommendation is the new Roomba 980. It’s the smartest, snappiest, and most convenient unit here. Oh, and it does wonders on pet hair.
The Roomba is particularly good in the tech department. It has all of the Samsung’s smart mapping features, and it’ll automatically charge itself and resume cleaning where it left off if it can’t tackle your whole place on one charge. The Roomba has a tangle-free brush bar that really works, and it has the best carpet performance we’ve seen on a robotic model. It even senses dirt/hair levels automatically, and spends more time in the dirtiest areas of your home.
The only real downside of this thing is the astronomical price tag. This is one of the costliest robotic vacuums on the market. It’s not perfect, either. We’d love to see HEPA filtration on something this expensive so allergy sufferers can get in on the robot party!
Finally, we want to clarify that while all our recommendations in the robot category do very well on pet hair, they aren’t all allergen-grade cleaning machines. If you have allergies, you may find that the average robot vacuum actually aggravates your symptoms. That’s because their standard filtration systems can’t trap the finest of allergens.
That’s where this Veridian model comes in! It’s a bit bare-bones compared to more sophisticated models like the Roomba and Samsung, but it cleans effectively and has the all-important HEPA filter onboard! It works quite well on all surfaces, and if you can make do without connectivity or lots of extras, you’ll end up with cleaner air.
The Veridian can’t make your home completely allergen-free by itself, though. If you have allergies, you’ll still need to do a big weekly clean on upholstery and other high-traffic areas.
Like the look of one of our robotic recommendations? Click on the links in its review to learn more and to check current prices.
If you’re thinking of sticking with a more traditional cleaning machine, we’ve still got you covered. Head on over to our homepage for links to all our buying guides.