If you have a dog or cat, odds are that vacuuming is more of a necessary daily task than a once-in-a-while deep clean like it used to be, pre–pet owning. Obvi, running a wheely little machine over your rugs and floors is WORTH it for the endless love of a fur baby, but that doesn’t mean vacuuming is any less of a drag, especially if you’re working with a substandard machine.
For the first year of having my French bulldog puppy, I stayed with a cheap vacuum from Amazon, but I recently splurged and my life has CHANGED. I am now (usually) pet hair-free. And because of this great improvement in my quality of life, I now feel as if it's my civic duty to help you, too, find the perfect vacuum for sucking up pet hair.
But, of course, I couldn't do that blindly, so I reached out to some pet experts (trainers and CEOs alike) to get the scoop on the best pet-hair vacuums around (and no, not all of them are Dyson). From a lightweight handheld vacuum to a cordless one that can be converted into a mini version to a robot vacuum that'll just do the work for you—shop them all, below!
1. Best All-Around: Dyson Cordless V11 Outsize
There is, hands down, no better vacuum for pet hair than a Dyson cordless vacuum. It’s got way more suction than other vacuums and the bristles pick up even the most ground-in pet hair. Russell Hartstein, dog trainer and behaviorist at Fun Paw Care in Los Angeles, picks the Dyson cordless vacs because the HEPA filter (a sifter that can trap really, really tiny particles as small as 0.3 microns, to be exact) can be washed, emptied, and reused forever. That prevents fleas and ticks from staying in the vacuum bag (TBH, gross and didn’t even think of that). Matt Clayton, founder of Pet Hair Patrol (aka a guy whose opinion you def want), also recommends the V10 model for both dogs and cats.
The V11 Outsize (pictured above) is the newest version of the Dyson cordless line, so it’s got everything experts love about the cordless series but with a huge canister for holding maximum fluff and two swappable batteries, so it lasts TWO HOURS without the cord and has a time indicator to tell you how much battery is left.
2. Best Quiet Vacuum: Roomba Robot Vacuums
If your pet isn’t scared of robot vacs, the Roomba is the best. Stacie Grissom, director of content and communications at BARK, loves her Dyson V10 but also fell in love with a Roomba after being mesmerized by the one they had in their office. “The Roomba busily cleans up any toy fluff I’ve missed from the night before while I’m at work but is quiet enough not to drive my dog crazy if I turn it on while she’s home.”
3. Best 2-in-1 Option: Shark Rocket Ultra Light
Kendyl Skinner, workplace experience manager at BARK, swears by her Shark Rocket Ultra Light for her two medium-size dogs (including one with a thick undercoat that sheds all year long). “It is super lightweight and converts to a handheld as well. We can get all those hidden fur tumbleweeds that hide under beds and in all the nooks and crannies that we might miss otherwise,” she says.
4. Best Corded Vacuum: Dyson Corded Vacuums
If you prefer a traditional plug-in model, Sarah Forde, owner and head trainer at Dog Defined, recommends the Dyson Animal Ball. She says it not only is incredibly durable and easy to maneuver but also has a canister large enough to hold lots of fur. Her previous version lasted 12, yes, 12 years.
“Some pet hair is stickier than others, weaving its way into fabric,” says Jon Gibbons, actual vacuum cleaner expert at Smart Vacuums. He also recommends the Dyson Ball Animal 2. It’s ideal for long hair and “it also has fantastic suction, thanks to the wider airways.”
And for the bird owners out there, while your bird might not shed as much as a cat or dog, they can also sometimes make a mess in their own...creative...ways (shout-out to my family’s old parrot, who would pick his feathers off). David Bobek, of World Dog Finder and owner of a dog and an African gray parrot, loves the Dyson Animal 2.
5. Best Budget-Friendly Vacuum: Bissel Pet Hair Eraser
For around $50, the Bissel Pet Hair Eraser is great if you just need small touch-ups. Rupert Pople, founder of Your Smart Home Guide, recommends this one, as it is lightweight and easy to maneuver and comes with a special rubber nozzle that’s effective at attracting and pulling out hair from a variety of surfaces like upholstery.
Meg Marrs, founder of K9 of Mine, also likes the Bissell for getting hair out from between couch cushions and an easy emptying experience without any complicated snaps or panels to deal with.
6. Best Robot Vacuum: Roomba i7+
Dr. Michelle Burch, veterinary adviser at Catological, also likes the pricier Roomba i7+ model, as it can pick up a ton of pet fur in one run and is self-emptying into a sealable bag, so you can keep your hands clean from any fur or floor dirt.
7. Best for Long Hair: Shark APEX DuoClean
Claudine Sievert, a vet from Kansas and cat mom, says that since cat hair is much thinner than dog hair, it can get deeper into carpets, making it more annoying to clean up. She likes the Shark APEX DuoClean and calls it “indispensable” for the owners of long-haired cats, especially during shedding season. It removes fur effectively but also self-cleans any hair that wraps itself around the brush roll. Bonus: It’s quiet enough, and the Anti-Allergen Complete Seal (a compartment that holds dust and allergens so they aren’t released back into the air) makes it clutch for anyone who is allergic to cat fur and dander.
Dr. Burch also vouches for the same model, citing the dual-brush system as being especially great for getting out fur that’s woven hella deep.
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