Shopping

Best vacuum for pet hair 2020 – rid your home of fur and fluff with one of these brilliant buys

From corded to battery-powered, we round up our choice of the best vacuums for fur-friendly homes

Best-Vacuum-for-Pet-Hair
(Image credit: Future)

As much as we love our fur babies, there’s one guarantee that pet ownership brings: a house full of hair. 

From the shaggiest of dogs to short-haired cats, all of our beloved companions shed throughout the year, leaving a sizeable problem for those that don’t have one of the best vacuums for pet hair.

It’s a specialist challenge, as pet vacuum cleaners need to be able to suck up hair from hard floors, extract walked-in fur from carpets and rugs, and provide a safe way to clean up prized couches and chairs. Ideally, they need to do this with one eye on reducing allergies, too.

In this guide, we’re bringing you our top recommendations for pet vacuum cleaners. No two homes are the same, so our list contains a wide range of products to suit all needs, whether you need a grab-and-go cordless cleaner for quick clean-ups or a more powerful plug-in model for dealing with long-haired pets that like to shed.

How do I choose a vacuum cleaner for pet hair?

Best-Vacuum-for-Pet-Hair-James-Merrell

(Image credit: Future/James Merrell)

Pet hair is a rather specialist item to suck up and get rid of with any deal of efficiency, so you’ll typically need a cleaner with the right types of accessories, rather than raw power, as such.

For dealing with carpets or rugs, this means a motorized brush bar, which uses rigid bristles to agitate and loosen hair so that it can be sucked up into the bin. 

For hard floors, having pure suction flow through the cleaner makes more sense for hair, but look out for a cleaner that has a soft brush, designed to pick up pet dander and microscopic bits of dust first.

Tools for dealing with pet hair around the house are just as important. A mini motorized brush can be your best friend, giving you the same qualities as a floor brush in a smaller package that can help clean up pet beds and upholstery with ease.

Any motorized tool with tangle-free technology is worth looking for, as you won’t have to worry about cleaning the tools so often.

Otherwise, look out for regular accessories (dusting brushes, crevice tools and so on) for getting into those hard-to-reach areas and removing all traces of pet hair from your home.

While power isn’t the most important aspect, vacuum cleaners designed for pet hair tend to be at the more powerful end of the spectrum, particularly for plug-in models. Typically, these cleaners have a 1500W or higher motor.

You’ll have a choice between cordless and plug-in models. Generally speaking, plug-in models, as discussed above, will give you a deeper and more thorough clean, but the trade-off is a large and more unwieldy cleaner.

A cordless cleaner doesn’t quite have the same level of power, but can do a great job with the right accessories designed for pet hair removal. As cordless cleaners are lighter and easier to move around, you’ll more likely use them more often, too. Regular, targeted cleaning can be just as, if not more effective as a weekly deep clean.

Best vacuum cleaners for pet hair 2020

Best-Vacuum-for-Pet-Hair-Dyson

(Image credit: Dyson)

1. Dyson V11 Animal

Best for overall cleaning

Specifications
Corded or battery powered?: 25V battery powered
Dust bin: 0.2 gallons
Weight: 6.68lb
Max dB: Not disclosed (84.6dB when we tested)
Battery life: Up to 60 minutes
Reasons to buy
+Automatically adjusts power+Lots of accessories+Smart LCD screen+As powerful as a plug-in cleaner
Reasons to avoid
-Fixed battery-Fiddly to clean bin-Quite expensive

When it comes to ease of use and power, nothing comes close to the Dyson V11 Animal. It can be used with the floor head for traditional upright cleaning, or in handheld mode for getting into those hard-to-reach areas. Thanks to the latest V11 motor, this is a cordless cleaner that has the power of a plug-in model.

It’s the smart tech that sets this machine apart, with the High Torque cleaning head (designed for carpets and hard floors) using sensors to adjust vacuum power to suit the floor type automatically.

Even better, there’s an LCD screen at the rear that gives you the current battery life in minutes and even shows you handy videos, such as how to clean the filter should suction drop.

It’s easy enough to remove and clean the filter at the rear, but a bit trickier to disassemble the filter inside the bin.

Dyson promises 99.97 per cent filtration, which is great for allergy sufferers and has a clever eject system for the sizeable 0.2-gallon bin, so you get the mess out without the cloud of dust.

For getting into fiddly areas and dealing with upholstery, you get a mini motorized tool (great for pet hair on stairs and upholstery), combination tool, crevice tool and a stubborn dirt tool. There’s enough storage for most of these, with two clips on the wall-mounted charging dock that the V11 hangs from and one on the cleaner’s wand.

With up to 60-minutes of run time and exceptional performance and pet hair removal on all surfaces, the V11 can cope with pretty much any cleaning job. Only the option of a second battery (available on the larger V11 Outsize) for an extended run time would make this cleaner even better.

Best-Vacuum-for-Pet-Hair-Shark

(Image credit: Shark)

2. Shark APEX DuoClean with Zero-M Powered Lift-Away Upright Vacuum (AZ1002)

Best for upright cleaning

Specifications
Corded or battery powered?: 1350W corded
Dust bin: 0.18 gallons
Weight: 17.1lb
Max dB : Not disclosed
Reasons to buy
+Extremely powerful+Hair doesn't wrap around the brush+Designed for both hard floors and carpet+Can turn into a smaller vacuum
Reasons to avoid
-Quite bulky-Few additional tools

With the Shark APEX Upright, you can largely say goodbye to hair wrapping around the floor brush. With Shark’s Zero-M tech, the bristles on the roller are designed like a comb to help hair get sucked up rather than tangled. It works well for strands of hair, but user reviews warn that you can get tangles with clumps of hair or clippings.

In addition to the brush, the floor head also gives you a smooth roller for dealing with hard floors.

This 11-inch wide floor head makes it quick to deal with large areas, and you get a slider control to set the power level for hard floor, short-pile and deep-pile carpet. It’s a relatively easy vacuum to push around, although the bulk of cleaner means it’s not as manoeuvrable as some.

A powerful upright cleaner with tonnes of suction thanks to its 1350-watt motor, the large APEX can deal with any amount of mess and is ideal for homes with pets that shed a lot.

For more delicate jobs and precision cleaning, there’s Lift-Away mode. This lets you pop out the main cylinder and bin, leaving you with a smaller, more nimble cleaner and hose for getting under furniture and into tight spaces. With an upholstery tool and 12-inch crevice tool (both stored on the vacuum’s body), you get the basics for detail cleaning.

Once full, the bin lifts out the front and is cleanly emptied via the flap at the bottom. You can clean the whole lot out, too, once it gets quite dirty. It’s just as simple to clean to the two HEPA filters.

If you need the power of a plug-in upright with the flexibility of a cordless cleaner, look no further.

Best-Vacuum-for-Pet-Hair-Dyson

(Image credit: Dyson)

3. Dyson Ball Animal 2

Best for fast and nimble cleaning

Specifications
Corded or battery powered?: 306AW corded
Dust bin: 0.55 gallons
Weight : 17.5lb
Max dB: Not disclosed
Reasons to buy
+Very manoeuvrable+Certified asthma and allergy-friendly+Extremely powerful
Reasons to avoid
-Too much suction on some surfaces-Few accessories in the box-Quite expensive

With the Dyson Ball Animal 2, the company has solved how you make a supremely powerful vacuum cleaner extremely easy to push around. 

Thanks to the ball underneath, this upright can be steered at speed easily, darting around furniture and between chair legs. Yet, it’s powered by the company’s most powerful motor delivering a staggering 305AW of power.

The floor head automatically adjusts its height to match the surface you’re vacuuming, although some people complain that the suction power makes this cleaner hard to push on carpet. There are no complaints about how well this cleaner removes pet hair and other mess, though.

For detail work, the hose removes and you can use the provided accessories: a combination tool (crevice tool and brush), stair tool, and the tangle-free turbine tool, which is brilliant for pets beds and upholstery. It’s a shame that there’s only storage for one tool on the vacuum’s body. 

The bin removes easily from the front, letting you eject dust without making a mess. And, thanks to the washable HEPA filter, the Animal 2 is certified asthma and allergy-friendly, too. 

Best-Vacuum-for-Pet-Hair-Miele

(Image credit: Miele)

4. Miele Dynamic U1 Cat & Dog Vacuum Cleaner

Best for bagged cleaning

Specifications
Corded or battery powered?: 1500W corded
Dust bin : 4.22 gallons
Weight: 23lb
Max dB: 80dB
Reasons to buy
+Large operating radius+Self-sealing bags+Easy to manoeuvre+Lots of power
Reasons to avoid
-Replacement bags are expensive-Large and heavy vacuum

If you’re after a large, heavyweight vacuum cleaner that’s great for allergy sufferers, the Miele Dynamic U1 Cat & Dog Vacuum Cleaner could well be for you.

With its massive 4.22 gallon bags that self-seal on removal and provide additional filtration, this is a cleaner that’s great for allergy sufferers, as you remove and throw away everything. Of course, the downside is that replacement bags are a fairly hefty investment.

The U1 is one of the largest vacuum cleaners you can buy, with 23lb weight. Although it rolls well and pivots, lying the cleaner almost flat to get under couches needs some strength.

Fortunately, the hose and wand come off the back, letting you use the crevice tool and small turbo brush for smaller areas; the latter is particularly useful for dealing with pet beds and upholstery.

There’s a 45ft cleaning radius with this model, so you won’t need to keep swapping power sockets as you make your way around the house. Suction power is incredible, thanks to the 1500W motor, so cleaning across the board, not just for pet hair, is exceptional.

There are more flexible cleaners, but few this large and powerful, and the U1 is a great choice where a bag is a preference. 

Best-Vacuum-for-Pet-Hair-Tineco

(Image credit: Tineco)

5. Tineco Pure One S12 Plus

Best for accessory lovers

Specifications
Corded or battery powered?: 21.6V cordless
Dust bin: 0.16 gallons
Weight: 6.6lb
Max dB: Not disclosed
Battery life: Up to 100-minutes
Reasons to buy
+Loads of accessories+Flexible and easy to use+Neat LCD screen+iLoop automatic cleaning+Dual batteries
Reasons to avoid
-Not enough accessory storage-Not as powerful as Dyson

A lot of vacuum cleaning is about having the right accessories for the job, and the Tineco Pure One S12 doesn’t disappoint on this front. 

You get two motorized floor brushes (one for carpet, one for hard floor), a 2-in-1 dusting brush, a mini power brush (great for pet beds), crevice tool, soft dusting brush, extension hose, angled adaptor (to clean on tops of cupboards) and a flexible crevice tool. 

If that’s not enough, there’s also a clever pre-filter cleaning tool that uses vacuum power to remove dirt (the rear HEPA filter has to be cleaned with water).

The wall charging dock only has storage for three smaller tools so you’ll need a good amount of room for everything else.

With two batteries in the box (both of which can be charged at the same time), you can have up to 100-minutes of run-time - more than enough for most homes.

There’s a smart AI mode (iLoop) that detects when there’s dirt and adjusts power on the fly, but it’s not always very accurate, so you can override and choose your own power mode. 

The neat screen at the back shows you battery life, and has a colored ring around the outside: it’s red when there’s dirt and turns blue to show you when you’ve finished cleaning.

It also has a smartphone app, although connecting this to the vacuum cleaner doesn’t give you anything particularly useful.

Performance lags behind the Dyson V11, with Pure One S12 taking a few more sweeps to clean up, but the range of accessories you get means that this cleaner is far more flexible.

Best-Vacuum-for-Pet-Hair-Hoover

(Image credit: Hoover)

6. Hoover ONEPWR Evolve Pet Cordless Upright Vacuum

Best for battery sharing

Specifications
Corded or battery powered?: 20V battery powered
Dust bin: 0.26 gallons
Weight: 8.6lb
Max dB: Not disclosed
Battery life: 35 minutes
Reasons to buy
+Compatible with all ONEPWR batteries+Powerful suction+Lightweight and easy to push+Antimicrobial floor brush
Reasons to avoid
-No attachments-Battery can’t be charged in-situ

If you’re going to use removable batteries, it makes a lot of financial sense if they can work in lots of devices. That’s what you get with the large Hoover ONEPWR range, which covers everything from leaf blowers and carpet cleaners to the Evolve Pet Cordless Upright Vacuum.

As the name suggests, this works and acts like a regular upright cleaner, only there’s no power cord to worry about. Although relatively light at 8.6lb, Hoover says that this cleaner feels more like a 2lb vacuum when you push it around, with the weight towards the bottom of the cleaner.

This design gives the ONEPWR Evolve Pet a nimbleness and degree of flexibility that could suit those that don’t want a heavier machine. Even better, the vacuum stands up by itself: something few cordless models can do.

The downside of the design is that there’s no hose or accessory for detail cleaning, so this is cleaner strictly for floors, with three operating modes to suit all types of carpet and hard floor. 

Thanks to the 20V battery, you get excellent suction, and the floor head has an antimicrobial brush roll and pet filter that cuts down on nasty odors. 

You can buy additional batteries (or borrow from other ONEPWR tools) to extend runtime. It’s a shame that the battery can’t be charge in-situ for ease of use, though.

Best-Vacuum-for-Pet-Hair-Shark

(Image credit: Shark)

7. Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+ Cordless Handheld Vacuum

Best for handheld cleaning

Specifications
Corded or battery powered?: 10.8V battery powered
Dust bin: 0.06-gallons
Weight: 2.8lb
Max dB: Not disclosed
Battery life: 15 minutes
Reasons to buy
+Very light+Powerful +Anti-tangle motorized brush+Easy to use
Reasons to avoid
-Long charge time-Short run time

The Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+ Cordless Handheld Vacuum is that grab-and-go cleaner, such as cleaning up a couch before you sit on it. While many spot cleaners have simple attachments, this one is built for animals, with the self-cleaning pet power brush that can make short work of pet beds and upholstery.

As with Shark’s larger cleaners, the self-cleaning brush is designed to prevent hair getting wrapped around the roller, but be careful when using it on large clumps of hair. You also get a scrubbing brush and crevice tool in the box, although there’s no storage inside.

There’s just an on/off switch, making the UltraCyclone easy to use. The 10.8V battery can provide similar cleaning power to a regular vacuum, although you only get 15-minutes on a charge and have to wait six hours for a full charge.

There’s a small bin, but it’s easy to empty and large enough for spot cleaning. Once removed, you can rinse the bin and filter under a tap to keep it all clean.

If you’re regularly reaching for a larger vacuum to clean up pet hair, the Shark UltraCyclone could well be your grab-and-go friend for smaller jobs.

Are HEPA filter vacuums worth it?

Best-Vacuum-for-Pet-Hair

(Image credit: Future)

When sucking up dust and pet hair, it’s not what you can see that can cause irritation and allergic reactions, but the microscopic dust that you can’t. 

Pet dander, for example, are microscopic skin cells shed from animals that cause reactions in people with allergies.

HEPA filters are designed and rated to prevent these particles from escaping the vacuum cleaner, sealing in the dirt that’s collected. This is very important in a pet vacuum cleaner, particularly if anyone in the house (or a regular visitor) has sensitivities to your animals.

Are bagless or bagged vacuums better for allergies?

Best-Vacuum-for-Pet-Hair-Paul-Raeside

(Image credit: Future/Paul Raeside)

As discussed above, a vacuum cleaner with HEPA filters is what you need if you have allergy sufferers, keeping the microscopic irritants sealed inside the dust bin. However, the big issue is what happens when you empty a vacuum.

For bagless cleaners, emptying has to be done with care, as opening the bin can create a cloud of dust, releasing smaller particles back into the air, causing issues for those with allergies.

Bagged vacuum cleaners have an extra level of protection, as the bags act as both additional filters to prevent particle escape, but you also remove and throw away the dirt without exposing it to fresh air. Look for a cleaner that has self-sealing bags for the best results.

As such, bagged vacuum cleaners are often easier to deal with for households where members are very sensitive to allergens. 

That doesn’t make bagless cleaners a poor choice, though: just be careful how and where you empty the vacuum’s bin. To prevent the spreading of allergens, a vacuum bin should be ejected either down, directly into a larger internal bin or, for additional safety, emptied in the same way into an outside bin.