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Best robot vacuum for pet hair 2024: tested by experts

The best robot vacuum for pet hair will take the stress out of the fly-aways. Here's our top picks

A ginger cat sits on top of a robot vacuum cleaner next to a brown dog
(Image credit: Getty Images)
Best robot vacuum for pet hair 2024: Jump Menu

Two black cats in a hallway next to a white robot vacuum

(Image credit: Getty Images)

1. The list in brief ↴
2. Best overall: iRobot Roomba j7+
3. Best for hard floors: Shark Shark AI Ultra 2-in-1
4. Best for carpet: iRobot Roomba s9+
6. Meet the team
7. How we test
8. FAQ

I'm always a little skeptical of robot vacuum cleaners. The market is saturated with inexpensive but low-quality robots that never quite get you floors clean. 

That's especially true with pet hair. Fine, light hair from shedding dogs and cats can be difficult to remove from carpets and hard floors even with the best vacuum, let alone a robot with half the power. 

But we've tested plenty of robot vacuums over the years, so I know exactly which models are actually worth buying. Combined with our breadth of experience examining the best vacuums for pet hair, I've found the vacuums that really do the job. 

With an all-rounder, a choice for hard floors, and a choice for carpets, these three robot vacuums suit a wide range of homes, pets, and owners. 

Roomba Combo™ j7+ | Was $1099.99, now $799 on Amazon

Roomba Combo™ j7+ | Was $1099.99, now $799 on Amazon
The only thing we don't like about Roomba is the price, so it's great to see this model selling for $300 less. When the Roomba switches on, you can switch off: this little robot automatically empties its own bin for 60 days at a time. 

Shark AV2501AE Vacuum | Was $649.99, now $324.99 on Amazon

Shark AV2501AE Vacuum | Was $649.99, now $324.99 on Amazon
This Shark Vacuum was already affordable. Now that it's selling at half-price, it's an absolute steal. This vacuum has a runtime of 120 minutes, so it's ideal for whole-house cleaning. 

Roomba i3+ EVO | Was $899.99, now $599.99 on Amazon

Roomba i3+ EVO | Was $899.99, now $599.99 on Amazon
You can save $300 on this vacuum, which has 10 times greater Power Lifting Suction compared to the Roomba 600 series. The Roomba i3+ EVO can locate and remove dirt and dust particles as small as .7 microns.

The quick list

Best robot vacuum for pet hair

iRobot Roomba j7+H&G gold badge

(Image credit: iRobot)
Best robot vacuum for pet hair

Specifications

Type: Robot
Dust bin size: .42 gallons
Noise level: N/A
Battery life: 75-minutes
Warranty: 1-year

Reasons to buy

+
Accurate Obstacle Detection
+
Self-emptying
+
Superb cleaning
+
Intelligently maps and shows where it cleans
+
Beautiful design

Reasons to avoid

-
Replacement bags cost extra
-
Can't set Keep Out Zones until after a map is complete
Buy it if

✅ You have mixed floors: This robot is fantastic on all surfaces.

✅ You have kids: This robot is fantastic at avoiding low-level obstacles like kids' toys.

✅ You're puppy-training: This vacuum is better than any other at avoiding pet messes.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You don't like subscriptions: Replacing the dust bags is an ongoing cost. 

❌ You're not tech savvy: The app could be a lot better.

❌ You have patterned carpets: It sometimes detects patterns as pet messes and won't clean them. 

This robot is our favorite robot vacuum on the market, in part because it's such a good vacuum for pet hair. It did a great job picking up pet fur and dander from carpet, as well as mud tracked in from dogs' paws. It's fantastic at detecting and avoiding cables, chair legs, and pet toys, too.

However, it has lots of other great feature for pets. Perhaps the best is that it can identify and avoid pet messes. Early robot vacuums couldn't do this, and it meant that if your pets left you a 'present' they would drive straight through it and track it into the carpet. This vacuum is fantastic at identifying these, and iRobot is so confident that  it offers an aptly-named P.O.O.P. (Pet Owner Official Promise) that if one of these vacuums fails to spot a pet mess, iRobot will replace it for free.  

Another great feature for pet hair is the Roomba j7+CleanBase docking station. This station not only charges the battery, but empties the dustbin automatically into a larger dust bag in a larger bin. That's great on its own terms, but it also means pet hair is sealed away in a bag, which is great if you suffer from allergies. Each dust bag has enough room for 60 days' worth of dirt, so you only need to empty it once every two months.

Our biggest criticisms are that it's pretty pricey, and there's an ongoing cost with replacing the dust bags. It can also be a little overzealous when spotting pet messes – our tester had a patterned carpet that kept being flagged as an obstacle. 

There's more detail in our full iRobot Roomba j7+ review.

Best robot vacuum for pet hair on hard floor

Shark AI Ultra 2in1 Robot Vacuum & Mop with Sonic MoppingH&G gold badge

(Image credit: Shark)
Best for pet hair on hard floor

Specifications

Navigation: LIDAR
Dust bin size: 1.95qt. for the base, .26qt. on robot
Dimensions: 12.9 x 12.6 x 3.5 inches
Noise level: N/A
Compatibility: Alexa/Google/Apple-Siri

Reasons to buy

+
Bagless Self-Emptying base holds up to 60 days of dust
+
Highly customizable map
+
Multiple vacuum settings
+
Able to work around obstacles
+
Impressive mopping abilities

Reasons to avoid

-
Mopping isn’t self-sufficient
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App can be confusing
-
Can't track progress as it cleans
Buy it if

✅ You have hard floors: This robot is good on all surface, but excels on hard floors.

✅ You want mopping: This robot will mop as well as vacuum, which is great for removing pet stains.

✅ You want to clean right to the edge: This vacuum is great at cleaning along baseboards.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You want truly autonomous cleaning: It can be fiddly to set this vacuum to the mop mode, so it's not fully automatic. 

❌ You're not tech savvy: The app could be a lot better.

❌ You have carpet throughout your home: The mop function is pointless if you don't have hard floors. 

This robot is a good choice for pet owners with hard floors because not only do you have the option of vacuuming up their fur, but you can also mop up common pet stains like dog slobber or minced pet food. 

On test, it did a good job with rice, soil, and dog fur. However, the mopping performance is the real stand out, easily cleaning up a stain left on a wood floor from a snowy boot. This robot also has clever tech that blasts air at your baseboards to loosen dirt, making sure this robot cleans right to the edge. 

However, bear in mind that the mopping isn't automatic. You have to switch it from vacuuming to mopping mode yourself, so don't expect this vacuum to scrub your floors and vacuum the carpet by itself. You'll also have to empty the water tank yourself.

The app is also a little glitchy (though in fairness this may have been patched since our review) and it also can't track progress as it goes. Sometimes this robot doubles up and cleans areas it has already vacuumed or mopped, so it's not always the most efficient.

All the detail is in our full Shark AI Ultra 2-in-1 Robot Vacuum and Mop review.

Best robot vacuum for pet hair on carpets

Best robot vacuumsH&G gold badge

(Image credit: iRobot)
Best robot vacuum for carpets

Specifications

Navigation: vSlam
Dust bin size: 0.4 litres / 0.42qts
Dimensions: 12.3" x 12.3" x 3.5”
Noise level: N/A
Compatibility: Alexa/Google/Apple-Siri

Reasons to buy

+
Self-emptying
+
Superior suction power
+
Smart room navigation
+
Good for allergy sufferers

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Noisy
-
Replacement bags cost extra
Buy it if

✅ You have carpet: This robot is as good as it gets for getting pet hair out a carpet.

✅ You have shedding pets: The powerful suction is great for lots of long dog or cat hair.

✅ You want to clean right to the edge: This vacuum is great at cleaning along baseboards.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You have jumpy pets: This vacuum is very loud. 

❌ You have delicate furniture: This robot sometimes pushes furniture down.

❌ You're tight on storage: It's a fairly bulky appliance, and the station takes up a lot of room. 

The s9+ is the most powerful Roomba to date, with a 40x improved suction compared to its base models such as the Roomba 981. By point of reference, the j7+ above only has 10x the power. It's an excellent choice for deep cleaning carpets, automatically ramping up its suction power as it moves form hard floors to carpet. 

On test, we found that it did the best job of any robot when it comes to cleaning pet hair from carpet. It cleans in neat rows and will pay extra attention to spots that need a deeper clean. Unlike the j7+ above, the D-shape means that it can clean corners, too. 

So it seems surprising that this vacuum isn't in at the number one spot. The reason is that this vacuum is incredibly noisy. Of course, no vacuum is quiet, but our tester Alex says that this vacuum sounds 'like a jet engine taking off'. She sent me over a video for a second opinion and I can testify how loud it is. You can't hear yourself over the sheer noise of it, and Alex's dog looked very unimpressed, which is not what you want from a vacuum for pet hair. If you're out at work in the day then this might not be an issue, but with so many of us working from home these days, it's a significant drawback. 

It's also over powered. Where other vacuums might bump into a chair leg, the s9+ will push it over, which you don't want if you've got expensive furniture or kids nearby. 

All the detail is in our full iRobot Roomba s9+ review.


Meet the team

Alex David author profile photo
Alex David

Alex oversees all our reviews content and ranked the vacuums in this guide. After graduating from Cambridge University he began work as a consumer journalist. He's tested vacuums ever since he started reviewing, so hundreds of hours spent testing dozens of vacuum cleaners, he's an expert in the best vacuum cleaners for your home. 

Camryn Rabideau
Camryn Rabideau

Camryn Rabideau is a freelance writer and product reviewer who has been testing home goods, including cleaning tools, for several years. She tested the Shark AI Ultra 2-in-1 Robot Vacuum from her small homestead in Rhode Island. 

About this review
Alex Frost writer headshot
About this review
Alex Frost

Alex is a mom, wife, and journalist working out of Cincinnati, OH. She tested the s9+ for a month, putting it through multiple mapping programs, charging sessions, and cleaning cycles. She assessed how well it vacuumed her various types of flooring and if it had the skills to weave its way through chair legs, LEGO, and her kids' artwork.