Top 8 Best Vacuums for Pet Hair – Jan. 2020 (Includes Complete Buyer’s Guide)
The Groom+Style team Review the Best Pet Hair Vacuums to Combat your Furry Friend’s Hair!
Pets are some of our greatest companions, but caring for cats and dogs means we have lots of extra hair in the house too clean up. Accumulated pet hair can be more than just an annoyance for those people who suffer from allergies.
And for those pet owners without allergies, you know how aggravating it can be to have matted hair all over your carpet and furniture, and to watch clouds of Snoopy’s or Garfield’s extra hair drifting around the room on a gentle breeze.
Best Vacuum Specifically Designed for Pets
Shedding is natural for our furry companions and getting rid of all that hair is a lot tougher than a novice pet owner would think – the first line of defense is a vacuum specifically designed to clean pet hair. As a backup for those with tiled or wooden floors, you could then follow up your cleaning process by using a high-quality steam mop.
Most normal vacuums simply aren’t designed to effectively suction pet hair – whether they’re hand-held models, heavy-duty uprights or even high-powered central systems. You need to carefully evaluate each of their features to determine the top vacuum from the pet hair brands available and match them with your unique needs and preferences. The mantra is to choose a machine with the suction, filters, and tools to handle high volumes of pet hair.
Different Types of Vacuums for Pet Hair
There are several options you will want to consider – these can include upright vacuums, canister vacuums, and all-around vacuums. Canister vacuums usually offer greater maneuverability over close edges compared to the upright vacuums. There are also some great cordless stick vacuums such as the Bissell Bolt XRT Pet 2-in-1 Cordless Vacuum which do a great job on pet hair.
You can read more in Groom+Style’s complete vacuum cleaner buying guide at the bottom of this article.
Other Tricks to Combat Pet Hair
Before moving on to the list of best vacuums for households with pets, the Groom+Style team wanted to point out the review we have completed on the best air purifiers. Air purifiers can be used as another tool in your arsenal to combat your furry friend’s tendency to shed hair all over the place – especially if you or someone in your family suffers from allergies.
HEPA Vacuums for Those Without Pets
If you are an allergy sufferer without a pet, then you can also use this guide to find the best vacuums with HEPA filters – as these vacuums can significantly reduce the number of allergens in the air.
Here is a review of some top rated best pet hair vacuums in various categories for bed, bath and beyond that really excel in cleaning up after your cats and dogs:
1. Dyson Ball Animal 2 Upright Vacuum
The Animal 2 is new from Dyson. It replaces both the DC Animal 1 and the Cinetic Big Ball Animal which previously sat at #1 on our rankings. Dyson claims to have research showing that the Animal 2 has the strongest suction of any pet hair vacuum on the market. Whether that’s true or not (and we have no reason to doubt them), this baby can suck up dirt and pet hair with the best of them; with an impressive 270 air watts of suction, the Animal 2 is the company’s most powerful pet hair vacuum ever.
Another reason for its outstanding performance is Dyson’s “Radial Root Cyclone” technology, which we don’t pretend to fully understand, but creates powerful circular air movement inside the machine, leading to outstanding suction. And a third reason is a self-adjusting cleaner base plate, which ensures the vacuum head maintains close contact with the floor or carpet (getting much deeper into carpet piles) and lets the powered air be used for its designed purpose instead of leaking out.
This Dyson isn’t just for floors, though. It has a tangle-free turbine tool, which uses heads that rotate in opposite directions to make sure the vacuum grabs all of the matted hair that collects on couches, chairs, beds and even clothing. There’s also an optional grooming tool which attaches to the Animal 2, allowing you to remove the loose hair from your long-haired Snoopy before the hair has a chance to lodge itself somewhere else.
One other nice feature is the vacuum’s “ball technology,” featuring a round base that makes this Dyson much easier to maneuver in tight spaces than competitive models.
Like the other top choices on our list, the Animal Complete has a whole-machine lifetime HEPA filtration to capture allergens and pollen, but this one is certified asthma and allergy friendly by aafa.org.
Watch the video below to understand how Dyson have designed their vacuum without a specific pre-motor filter. This means there are no removable filters which you need to wash or replace, and the vacuum never looses suction.
The Animal 2 is a very powerful, maneuverable, full-featured HEPA vacuum which carries a premium price. Those who own multiple pets or a single shedding machine, though, will consider it money well-spent.
Checking the specifications of the Dyson Ball Animal 2 Upright Vacuum:
2. Shark Rotator NV752 Powered Lift-Away TruePet Upright Vacuum
Perhaps Shark could have come up with a better name, but it would be difficult for the company to come up with a better vacuum and still sell it for less than the Dyson Animal 2.
This lightweight and cleverly designed upright machine with powered brush roller has extremely strong suction for floors and carpets.
And this Shark puts extra oomph into the cleaner head (and the included handheld TruePet turbo brush) by using motors to power them instead of relying on air pressure from the vacuum.
That makes a big difference when you’re trying to suck accumulated pet hair from stair crevices and upholstery cracks.
The Shark TruePet is very light and easy to move around the house, with easy-glide wheels and swivel steering. There’s a lifetime HEPA filter (with complete seal technology) to capture 99.9% of pollen and allergens, along with a detachable canister for easy emptying.
The vacuum, as the name suggests, “lifts away” to create an even lighter vacuum for cleaning stairs or hard to reach areas.
Note: Shark has a slightly less expensive model (NV501), with similar suction and tools but fewer refinements (no control buttons on the handles, for example).
The NV752 isn’t quite the equal of the Dyson Animal 2, but it comes very close at a more attractive price.
Looking at key specs for the Shark Rotator NV752 Powered Lift-Away TruePet Upright Vacuum:
3. Eureka NEU180B Lightweight Upright Pet Hair Vacuum Cleaner
Eureka has come out with a model that’s designed for the challenges of pet hair. While it doesn’t have any special technology inside (as do the Dyson and Shark), the NEU180B’s rotating brushes provide strong suction and still do a very good job cleaning up after Fido or Fluffy. Add in the moderate price and light weight of this vacuum – just ten pounds – and you have an alternative well worth considering.
There are some nice features being offered. The dust cup on this bagless vacuum is extra large, and no maintenance is required other than a regular rinsing of the filter. You can choose from five height positions with the twist of a dial, so you can adjust the machine for optimal vacuuming of carpet, rugs, hardwood and even tile.
There’s a stretch hose that extends to four times its regular length and an extra-long crevice tool, in addition to the brush and upholstery tool that come mounted on the vacuum. But unfortunately, there’s no HEPA filtration. The unit is available in four colors: graphite, blue, green or purple.
The NEU180B may not be the ideal choice for a home you share with a long-haired Yorkie or Maine coon, but it’s a good well-performing, portable option for cleaning up normal pet hair.
Facts and figures for the Eureka NEU180B Lightweight Upright Pet Hair Vacuum Cleaner:
4. Hoover T-Series WindTunnel Pet Rewind Bagless Upright Vacuum, UH70210
This Hoover model beat out the Shark for the longest name but came in behind the Shark in our pet vacuum rankings. That’s because it’s a little more cumbersome to operate, and because it does better with carpeted floors and upholstery than on hardwood.
This is far from a pretender, though; Hoover WindTunnel technology has been providing outstanding suction for the company’s vacuums for a long time now, and the suction you get from the Pet Rewind will take care of most pet hair problems with relative ease.
One of the reasons we say this machine is more cumbersome is that the cleaner head doesn’t automatically adjust to the surface it’s vacuuming, like the first two models on our list. Instead, you have to manually adjust the brush roller to the correct position (there are five options) before you can get good suction on your floor. And while the performance isn’t as good as we’d like on wooden floors, a nice touch is that the UH70210 has a pedal which lets you shut off the brush roller when you leave the carpet, so it doesn’t toss dirt all over the place. There is an air-powered pet hand turbo tool and a pet upholstery brush included with the vacuum.
This model has HEPA and carbon filters for allergy protection.
While it doesn’t outclass the Dyson or Shark, the Pet Rewind comes in at a price well below both. It might be worth seeing whether the Hoover works for you before laying out the big bucks.
The facts and figures on the Hoover T-Series WindTunnel Pet Rewind Bagless Upright Vacuum:
5. Bissell Cleanview Swivel Pet 2252 Upright Vacuum
Here’s another moderately-priced choice from another big name in the vacuum world, Bissell.
There are a number of things to like about this machine, such as its swivel steering, its “scatter-free” technology that prevents dirt from scattering all over wooden floors, its triple-action tangle-free brush roll, and its multi-cyclonic pet hair spooling system, which pulls all of the hair into the dust container so you don’t have to “touch the yuck” – as Bissell so politely explains it.
But what the G+S review team liked best is the nice selection of special pet hair tools including a TurboEraser attachment that sucks the hair out of thick carpet, stairs and upholstery, and a pet hair corner tool.
What we didn’t like was the absence of a HEPA filter to grab pet allergens. The Cleanview uses a proprietary Bissell allergen filter that either can or can’t be washed (the documentation, strangely, says both) and is manufactured with Febreze inside, to leave the air with a fresh scent. That’s nice, but not as effective as HEPA filtration. That complaint aside, the Swivel Pet does a good job collecting all of the annoying hair that loveable pets leave behind.
The Bissell Pet Hair Eraser isn’t the very best model in the Groom+Style rankings, but some members of the review team felt the TurboEraser attachment makes this a great choice.
Checking the specifications of the Bissell Cleanview Swivel Pet 2252 Upright Vacuum:
6. Miele Dynamic U1 Cat And Dog Upright Vacuum
Miele is one of the prestige names in the vacuum industry, and it has the prices to prove it. This model is the most expensive (and the heaviest) of all the pet hair vacuums on our list, and while it has huge suction power and does a terrific job at collecting the most stubborn clumps and stray hairs, we’re not sure it’s worth more than the Dyson Animal 2.
One big advantage the Dynamic U1 does have over its competitors, including the Dyson, is that it’s extremely quiet – which can be important to those with skittish pets.
The operation of this machine is as convenient as you’d expect from a Miele product; its cool “swivel neck” technology lets you steer the machine just by twisting your wrist, and the body of the vacuum can be lowered down to the floor to get all the way under furniture. A handheld turbo brush comes with this model. One more plus: the always-solid Miele construction and engineering.
Filtration is via an “SF-AA30 Active AirClean” system with activated charcoal which removes pet odor from the air as well as allergens; it works almost identically to HEPA filtration, but you can also buy an optional HEPA filter if you’d like. The review team considers the U1 Cat and Dog to be a better choice for pet owners than the Miele Twist that some “experts” recommend because the Cat and Dog has the Active filtration system while the Twist has a lesser, standard AirClean filter. Dirt collection is in self-sealing bags.
The Miele U1 is expensive but a nice machine. Whether the price is justifiable depends on whether you feel the brand name and cool features are worth it to you.
Checking out the specs on the Miele Dynamic U1 Cat And Dog Upright Vacuum:
7. Best Canister Vacuums for Pet Hair
Dyson DC39 Animal canister vacuum cleaner
The DC39 Animal Canister includes all the features that you expect from a Dyson vacuum cleaner. For example, it uses the company’s terrific Ball technology for greater maneuverability, and Dyson’s Radial Root cyclone suction technology allows the machine to capture more dirt and microscopic dust than most competitors’ machines can snag.
As with all Dyson products the DC39 Animal turns on a dime. In fact, it’s the only canister vacuum with a central steering mechanism in addition to Ball steering technology. And its triggerhead tool ensures you don’t have to bend over when switching from carpet to hardwood, because the turbine head is controlled at the handle. This model has a non-removable HEPA filter, is relatively quiet, and does a great job picking up all cat and dog hair in its path.
If you are after the best canister vacuum for pet hair the DC39 should, at the very least, be towards the top of your shortlist.
8. An Older, Quality, Value for Money Vacuum for Pet Hair
Dyson DC25 Animal Ball-Technology Upright Vacuum Cleaner
Getting a vacuum cleaner with the whole package is not always an easy affair – although you will always get what you pay for. The Dyson DC25 Animal is one of those cleaners that will offer you very good value for money. The Dyson brand of vacuum cleaners is one of the most popular around and an industry workhorse which makes the DC25 a perfect choice and a top vacuum especially for those with pets. The all-around DC25 Animal vacuum is much smaller in size and also quite compact. The ease of use and maneuverability means you can vacuum virtually everywhere in your house. You do not have to move the furniture around when cleaning the house. The DC25 Animal certainly makes the process of getting rid of the pet fur a lot easier.
If you are after a quality, proven vacuum and don’t need the very latest model the DC25 might be for you. The Goom+style team has spoken to many pet owners who purchased this vacuum back in 2010 and still attest to its ongoing performance and reliability.
Buying Guide – Things to Consider When Deciding on What Vacuum to Buy
With so many vacuum cleaners and vacuum cleaner brands available, choosing the right product for your needs can be confusing. There are specific factors that you need to evaluate before settling on the right vacuum cleaner, such as:
1. Canister Versus Upright Vacuums, or Combined – Which Is Better?
These are two words you will bump into a lot when shopping for your vacuum cleaners. So what is the difference between the two types?
Canister vacuums (those with a wheeled body that’s pulled behind the user with a long hose) will generally offer more flexibility and maneuverability with a separate hose allowing users to reach under couches and tables. The main negative is having less control over the canister – picture it banging into walls and furniture as you pull it along behind you.
Proponents of upright vacuum cleaners (those with the suction head and canister in one device) like the compactness of this type of design and say they are easier to store. The more expensive models (such as Groom+Style’s top-rated Dyson model) also come with a telescoping hose so you can reach under coffee tables and go up the stairs.
In terms of the cleaning action, the performance is usually equal, and will typically depend on the model you buy.
What you choose is thus more or less dependent on your personal preferences.
2. Bag Versus Bagless Vacuum Cleaners
This is another confusing element when it comes to the choice of vacuum cleaners. A vacuum “with a bag” will store the collected dirt and dust and you will have to purchase a package of bags when buying the vacuum – as they typically have a limited lifespan and will need to be replaced. Bagged vacuums generally have a cheaper upfront cost, but higher ongoing costs.
The bagless vacuum, on the other hand, will save you the inconvenience of having to purchase bags for your cleaner. Emptying a bagless vacuum is much nicer as you do not have to touch a dirty bag, and retrieving those accidentally vacuumed earrings is also easier. The tradeoff is a much lower ongoing cost (no need to buy replacement bags) vs. the higher initial outlay.
Note – all of the vacuums on our top 8 list are bagless.
3. The HEPA Air Quality Feature
The HEPA feature (which stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Air) is a very important function, which many modern vacuum cleaners now have, and is responsible for filtering out particles (pet fur and dander, for example) in the air leaving your home free of allergens. The HEPA is usually replaced on a regular basis based on the manufacturer’s recommendation – although some vacuums like the #1 Dyson have Non-washable lifetime HEPA filter, and the Shark and Hoover vacuums on our list have washable filters.
4. The Power and the Performance of the Vacuum Cleaner
It goes without saying that you’re going to use your vacuum to pick stuff up – so the suction power of a pet hair vacuum is important. A model with low suction will only remove surface dust, without collecting the dirt and hair that’s stuck in carpet or upholstery or picking up heavier material like cat litter.
It can be difficult to compare models in this regard, since suction is measured by several different metrics and the ones that manufacturers are likely to boast about don’t really tell you much about the actual suction. For example, watts, amps and horsepower tell you about the amount of power the motor uses or puts out. They’re usually not useful measurements when it comes to suction, because they don’t measure how efficiently the vacuum uses the power it consumes.
The key figures to look for are CFM (cubic feet per minute) or AW (air watts). CFM measures how much air a vacuum takes into the collection bin or bag during a minute of use. AW is the best measure of all, representing the amount of power a vacuum actually uses to pull dirt through the nozzle. The higher the number, the more suction a machine provides. A big number matters even more when a vacuum has a HEPA filter, because it requires extra suction to pull dirt through a filter with tiny openings.
There’s no “right” AW number, and the type of work you’ll be doing (and the filter on your machine) will determine whether the suction you need has to be exceptional or simply decent. However, a good rule of thumb is that an upright should have at least 100 AW of suction, and a canister needs at least 220 AW because it has to pull dirt all the way through a hose.
5. Consider the Areas That You Will Be Vacuuming
It’s a much easier task to remove a short-haired pet’s loose fur from a hardwood floor, than it is to suck out what seems like “half a cat” from a carpeted cat tree or the deep folds of an upholstered couch. That’s why it’s important to consider where (and what) you’ll be vacuuming before choosing a machine. A vacuum with incredible suction – and a price tag to match – could be overkill for routine jobs.
If Fluffy or Fido routinely sheds (and sheds…and sheds…) anywhere and everywhere, be sure the pet hair vacuum you choose performs equally well on floors, carpet, upholstery and in cars (if you regularly take your pet for rides), has strong suction, and comes with appropriate tools to deep clean fabrics and can get into cracks and crevices.
If not, you can make do with a pet hair vacuum with lower suction levels – or maybe even a regular vacuum cleaner. Also consider how large an area you’ll be cleaning, since a portable model may not have enough battery power to do the job without pausing for a recharge.
6. Pet Hair Vacuum Accessories
While we’re on the subject, here a few of the accessories you might want to look for when choosing a pet hair vacuum. Some models include them with your purchase; others manufacturers make them available as options. Depending on your situation, all can be helpful.
- Turbo Eraser: This powered tool adds extra suction power for those really difficult areas where pet hair has wedged deep into carpets or upholstery.
- Telescoping Extension Wand: Your pet loves to climb and explore? That means there’s probably pet hair in hard-to-reach spots, and an extension wand helps you clean them up easily.
- Lighted Crevice Tool: Many vacuums come with LED lights on their crevice tool, but it can be invaluable when searching for hidden hair.
- Disinfection Tool: It does what the name implies, and it’s particularly helpful in homes with sensitive occupants (or smelly pets).
- Grooming Kits or Tools: These allow you to use your pet hair vacuum to suck the loose hair right off of your pet – assuming he or she will stay still long enough to be groomed.
Eureka AS2130A As One Pet Bagless Upright Vacuum
This is a slightly older model and replaced by the Eureka NEU180B at position number 3.
“Isn’t there a decent, cheap pet hair vacuum out there?” Yes, there is, even though we’re not quite sure we understand its name. This Eureka model comes in at a very affordable price; it uses the company’s multi-cyclonic technology, plus a design which limits twists and bends in the air path, to provide enough suction to collect most stubborn pet hair – particularly on carpets.
The AS2130A is quite lightweight (since for this price you’re going to get a mostly-plastic shell) but that makes it easy to use and to be maneuvered into tight spaces. It comes with a “PET Power Paw” for deep cleaning of pet hair as well as a pet dusting brush.
Note – as a budget option you could also consider the Bissell 9595A CleanView model discussed below.
This is a relatively-noisy vacuum without HEPA or other special filters, but it does clean up pet hair well and is the best alternative at the lower price level.
Looking at the details of the Eureka AS2130A Pet Bagless Upright Vacuum:
The Bissell Cleanview Swivel Pet 2252 at position 5 replaced this model.
The Groom+Style review team doesn’t consider this Bissell model a bargain since it’s considerably more expensive than the Eureka. But it’s considerably less expensive than the Dysons, Sharks and Mieles of the vacuum world, and has the added benefit of one-touch, “lift-off” technology which lets you use the Pet Hair Eraser as either a standard upright or as a canister model for easy portability.
For this price, you won’t get a HEPA filter, but the Bissell Smartseal allergen system (interestingly, with a Febreze filter) is quite good at trapping smaller particles while giving the air a clean scent. We also liked the machine’s tangle-free brush roll and its cyclonic pet hair spooling system, which pulls all of the hair into the dust container so you don’t have to “touch the yuck” – as Bissell so politely explains it. There’s also a nice selection of special pet hair tools, including a TurboEraser attachment that sucks the hair out of thick carpet, stairs and upholstery.
A built-in telescoping wand adds to the Pet Hair Eraser’s versatility, there’s variable suction controlled with the turn of a dial, and an LED-lighted crevice tool lets you see the hair that’s stuck in nooks and crannies so you can whisk it away.
While we are talking about Bissell it’s probably worth pointing out their very popular and budget priced 9595A CleanView model. There are literally no bells and whistles on this model (not even automatic cord rewind), but it does promise powerful suction at a very easy to take price (link to Amazon below).
The Bissell Pet Hair Eraser isn’t the very best model in the Groom+Style rankings, but it’s the most versatile and a very good buy.
Checking the specifications of the Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Lift-Off Bagless Vacuum:
LG Kompressor Canister PetCare Plus Vacuum Cleaner LcV900B
This Product has been discontinued.
If you are a fan of LG and its innovative electrical and electronic products, then you will certainly love the LG’s LcV900B canister vacuum. It’s one of the best vacuums for pet fur and here is why. The innovative Kompressor feature means you can pick up thrice as much dirt as in other models before the cleaner is emptied. This is a huge performance advantage over many of the industry brands. You can also cover a greater surface area when cleaning thanks again to its innovative DualForce suction technology. With the retractable cord, you can easily reach the farthest of places on your floor. With its ultra-lightweight, extra powerful suction, bagless feature, ease of use, and good quality ergonomic design, the LG’s LcV900B canister vacuum cleaner offers one of the best options for pet fur removal in the house.