The Best Pet Vacuums

You love your pet, but does its hair shedding habits have you feeling overwhelmed? While there’s no easy way to get your furry friend to stop shedding, a powerful pet hair vacuum can make a world of difference in your home!

Pet vacuums can help you get the pet hair off your upholstery and out of your carpet. Many models even work on pet hair that’s ground into your carpet and hard to remove. We’ve found pet hair vacuums that are powerful, come with easy to use attachments, and have features made just for pet owners.

Finding the right pet vacuum can be difficult especially when you have to wade through gimmicky claims and products that just don’t work. Find out which ones really do get your house the cleanest.

Our Top Picks:

Best Overall: Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away TruePet 
Best Budget: BISSELL Cleanview Swivel Pet Upright 
Best Canister: Kenmore Elite 81714 Pet Friendly Ultra Plush
Best Cordless: Dyson Cyclone v10 Animal
Best Handheld: Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Lithium Ion Cordless Hand Vacuum

The Best Vacuums for Pet Hair: Our Top Picks

Best Overall
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Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away TruePet

Full-size lift-away model cleans up pet hair anywhere in your home.

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$399.99 USD

Why we Picked It

The Shark’s 3.3 quart dirt canister holds enough pet hair and debris to vacuum an entire house without emptying, while the HEPA filter and complete seal trap allergens. A powered lift-away feature comes in handy, making it possible to still use the motorized brush while cleaning upholstery and stairs. A 30-foot cord means more vacuuming and less switching outlets.

A swivel-head makes the Rotator easy to maneuver around furniture and other obstacles. LED lights illuminate spaces under furniture so no pet hair goes unnoticed. The LED is also useful for vacuuming pet hair on hard floors where it can be harder to see.

Fingertip controls make switching between carpet and hard floors easy to do and comfortable no matter which position the vacuum is in. WIth attachments like the motorized brush roller, the Shark is able to pick up and trap even hard to get pet hair.

Keep in Mind

At 16.7 pounds, the Shark might be difficult for people with mobility issues to use.

In a Nutshell

  • Motorized brush
  • Lift-away canister
  • 16.7 pounds
Best Budget
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BISSELL Cleanview Swivel Pet Upright

Remove all pet hair with edge to edge cleaning.

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$119.99 USD

Why we Picked It

Edge to edge cleaning and specialized pet tools make it easy to pick up pet hair from areas like baseboards and under furniture. The corner tool also makes the Bissell great for getting pet hair in corner areas that are hard to reach. A 6-foot long hose gives more flexibility when it comes to getting under furniture and in tight corners.

The rinsable dirt cup on the bottom is high-capacity and offers mess-free, one-click emptying. While the Bissell doesn’t have a HEPA filter, multi-level filtration and a rinsable filter make this a hygienic option for trapping allergens.

Bissell’s triple action brush roll lifts dirt and pet hair out of carpets and upholstery while the multi-cyclonic suction pulls it up from deep in carpets. The vacuum performs well on hard floors and anti-scatter technology keeps directs pet food into the dirt cup instead of all over the floor.

Keep in Mind

The triple action brush roll may be more prone to tangling, but hair is still easy to remove.

In a Nutshell

  • Scatter-free technology
  • 17.8 pounds
  • Swivel head
Best Canister
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Kenmore Elite 81714 Pet Friendly Ultra Plush

Powerful canister suction and specialized pet tools clean pet hair from high carpets.

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$387.77 USD

Why we Picked It

A dual motor allows the Kenmore Elite to reach deep down into even plush carpets. It can pick pet hair up from thick carpets and strong HEPA filtration helps remove harmful particles from the home.

Adjustable cleaning modes make cleaning a customizable experience. The Kenmore adjusts to allow delicate cleaning for hardwood floors all the way up to powerful deep cleaning in high pile carpets. LED lights make seeing pet hair easier.

With onboard tool storage for the dusting brush, motorized pet brush, crevice tool and elite floor brush, the Kenmore offers a convenient way to get pet hair out of anywhere. The stair grip makes it possible to use the Kenmore on any staircase without worrying about the canister falling over.

Keep in Mind

The joint where the hose connects to the canister portion of the vacuum is reinforced and may be difficult to swivel.

In a Nutshell

  • 22 pounds
  • HEPA filtration
  • 10-foot telescoping wand
Best Cordless
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Dyson Cyclone v10 Animal

A lightweight whole-house cleaning solution with up to 60 minutes of run time.

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$599.99 USD

Why we Picked It

With a torque drive cleaner head the Dyson drives deep into carpets and lifts out pet hair that’s trapped. The stiff nylon bristles provide deep cleaning for carpets but still offer a gentle clean for hardwood floors. Up to 60 minutes of runtime makes this cordless stick vacuum a comparable replacement for corded models.

The Dyson v10 motor can pick up ground-in dirt and dust, while the fully sealed filtration can trap pet allergens and other particles. The point and shoot bin is a hygienic and mess-free emptying solution. Dyson’s bin holds over three cups of debris.

With only 3.5 hours of charging needed, the vacuum is ready to go when you need it. Its wall-mount base makes it easy to store anywhere an outlet is available. The detachable head allows the vacuum to work anywhere meaning it can clean up pesky pet hair in the car.

Keep in Mind

The brush tool and attachments are stored with the docking station instead of onboard the vacuum.

In a Nutshell

  • 3 power modes
  • 5.86 pounds
  • Instant release conserves battery power
Best Handheld
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Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Lithium Ion Cordless Hand Vacuum

Go-anywhere design cleans pet hair in cars and on stairs.

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$72.99 USD

Why we Picked It

This Bissell packs the punch of a full-size model into a compact and lightweight handheld vacuum. With a dirt cup capacity of just under three cups, the vacuum can hold a lot of pet hair. The motorized pet hair brush works to pick up pet hair in car upholstery and carpeted stairs, and triple-level filtration traps particles using washable and reusable filters.

With the included upholstery and crevice tools, the Bissell can get down deep into car cracks and in the tight spots throughout a house. It’s easy to use on the stairs and lightweight. At just 16 inches, it’s an ideal solution for pet-friendly RVs and cars. With the extended run time 14V battery, it’s possible to clean an entire car without recharging!

Keep in Mind

While it is loud for a handheld vacuum, the Bissell is still quieter than full-size vacuums.

In a Nutshell

  • 4.3 pounds
  • 14V lithium ion battery
  • 3-cup bin

How We Chose the Best Pet Hair Vacuums

Cleaning Power

Since pet hair can be hard to remove, cleaning power is important in vacuums targeted for pet owners. A good pet vacuum is strong enough to get your floors clean without having to go over the same spot multiple times. We also favored vacuums that have a way to customize cleaning with adjustable levels of power, and whether the suction power fades over time.

For cordless and handheld pet hair models, we took the vacuum’s cleaning power related to the battery life into consideration. Oftentimes, a vacuum’s more powerful cleaning modes have an impact on battery life.

Versatility

A vacuum’s ability to clean pet hair and switch between bare floors and carpet helps make it more versatile. We looked at a vacuum’s versatility in terms of its ability to work in multiple rooms and settings in the home. We also considered the cord length and how often the cord will need to be unplugged and plugged back in.

Versatility also comes into play when cleaning hard-to-reach areas, stairs, and outside of the home. A vacuum that’s designed to liftaway and work on areas other than floors makes it more versatile.

Weight and Ergonomics

Weight impacted our ratings in terms of how hard it is to move the vacuum on both carpet and hard floors. We also considered whether the vacuum suction makes it harder to move around and how different power settings have an impact on the portability.

Ergonomics are important because they can be the difference in an easy vacuum job and one that’s nearly impossible. When we look at the ergonomics of a vacuum, we also look at whether the vacuum has a swivel head and if it moves easily around furniture.

The button locations are also important. Some vacuums are designed to make pushing the buttons easier while others have the buttons in locations that could be accidentally pressed. We also note the location of the hose and cord clips.

Reputation and Customer Satisfaction

Customer reviews and buyer satisfaction tell a lot about how well the vacuum performs. When we look at what customers have to say about each of the vacuums, we can get a clear idea of how they perform. Customer reviews can also alert us to any problems people see in the vacuum and can highlight additional features.

What to Look for in a Pet Hair Vacuum

Understanding how to find the best pet vacuum can be overwhelming especially if you don’t know what’s really important to look at. Pay close attention to each of these things when you’re shopping for a pet vacuum.

Bagged vs. Bagless

While bagless models are usually the best and easiest to clean, bagged models tend to trap pet hair and dander better. They are also easier to empty because all the debris is trapped in a bag, so you never have to come into contact with it. Most bags automatically seal and can just be tossed in the garbage.

Bagless models also come with their own benefits. Many modern vacuum models include one-click or hygienic dirt cup emptying. While the debris is not trapped inside of a bag, it can be put directly in the garbage with one click. The dirt cup in bagless models is also usually rinsable.

Attachments

Odds are you also have pet hair on your sofa, curtains, and stair carpet. Find a vacuum that offers tools to clean each of these areas of your home. You may also want to consider a model that includes a hose or long arm attachment so you can reach high areas like curtains.

Motorized brush tools are especially helpful in picking up pet hair that doesn’t come loose with a traditional vacuum upholstery brush. These tools use a mini version of the vacuum’s brush roll to pull hair up on upholstery.

Brush Head

Some brush heads are designed to “grab” more hair. Look for one with stiff bristles and a helix design. If you have a combination of hard floors and carpeting in your home, you should look for a model that features a brush head safe for both. Rubber and nylon are two options that work great and can protect different floor surfaces.

Filtration

Pets come with allergens like dander and may create more dust in your home. Look for a model that comes with HEPA filtration so you can remove all the harmful particles out of your home and trap them inside the vacuum.

How Do HEPA Filters work?

A HEPA filter is a filtration system that works to pull particles of a certain size out of the air and environment. HEPA filters must meet strict standards to be able to use the HEPA name.

HEPA is an acronym for high efficiency particulate air and is used for filters that can trap at least 99.97% of .3 micron particles. The filters target particles of this exact size because most other air filters miss that size. HEPA filters create a maze that particles must pass through. Since the fibers are twisted and not in a straight line, it is harder for the particles to get through them and out into the hair.

Large particles like smoke and dust stick to the fibers through direct impaction. HEPA filters can sieve medium-sized particles by creating a space too small for the particles to pass through. They also use interception to create an airflow that pushes particles into the fibers.

Most pet owners prefer HEPA filters to other styles because they are able to trap a lot of different particles. Owning pets comes with things like dander and allergens that can be trapped by HEPA filters.

Related Resources

If you love the idea of a vacuum targeted for pet hair, but want to consider all your options, be sure to head over to these other valuable vacuum buying guides!

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