The 7 Best Vacuums for Removing Pet Hair from Every Surface of Your Home

Courtesy of Amazon

Best Overall

bhg - 500 Available at Target

Best Budget

bhg - 190 Available at Wayfair

Best Cordless Stick

bhg - 320 Available at Amazon

Best Robot

bhg - 750 Available at Amazon

Best for Hardwood Floors

bhg - 227 Available at Bed Bath & Beyond

Best Lightweight

bhg - 240 Available at Amazon

Best Handheld

bhg - 73 Available at Amazon


  1. On This Page

    • Our Top Picks

    • Final Verdict

    • What to Look for in Vacuums for Pet Hair

    • FAQs

    • Why Trust Us?

When you have dogs or cats, removing fur from nearly every surface is simply a part of everyday life. That's why finding a vacuum cleaner that works well on pet hair is so important. The best vacuums for pet hair can pick up fur from furniture and floors without it getting tangled in the brushroll while also cleaning up dirt and debris that get tracked in from outdoors.

To come up with our list of the best vacuums for pet hair, we thoroughly researched the category, tested some of the most promising models, and considered factors like size and battery life along with user reviews. We also tapped Ollie Toogood, senior design engineer at Dyson, for expert advice on what makes a vacuum effective at removing pet hair. "The two most important features when looking for a vacuum to clean after your pets are suction power and filtration," Toogood said. So whether you want a powerful upright vacuum or a smart robot vacuum, these vacuums work wonders at removing pet hair from your home.

Related: The 9 Best Air Purifiers for Removing Pet Hair, Odors, and Dander from Your Home

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Dyson Ball Animal 2 Upright Vacuum

Who it's for: People who need a powerful vacuum that won't run out of battery while cleaning large areas or entire homes.
Who it isn't for: People who live in small homes or apartments with limited storage space.

Ideal for every type of floor surface, this upright vacuum cleaner from Dyson was specifically designed for pet owners. It delivers seriously strong suction power to remove dirt, pet hair, and other microscopic allergens (like dust and dander), and its ball design allows for easy navigation. There's also a turbine tool to help rid floors and furniture of pet hair and an attachment to clean your stairs. Plus, it has a long 30-foot cord that would make it easy to vacuum all the way across large rooms—no need to wait for a battery to charge.

In our tests, we found that the Dyson Ball Animal 2 was able to pick up all the pet hair from carpet in just one pass. It also had no problem cleaning up most of the dirt we poured on the carpet, either. We were impressed by how easy it was to empty the half-gallon dustbin—just place it above a garbage can and push the trigger. This vacuum is powerful and durable, but its bulky size means it would probably take up a lot of space in your closet. We also found that it was a bit difficult to take out the box and assemble. This is partly due to its size and also the fact that the parts seemed to be scattered throughout the box. But since the vacuum only needs to be assembled once, the years of use you'll get are worth the tradeoff.

Weight: 17.5 pounds | Cord Length: 30 feet | Dustbin Size: .55 gallon | Battery Life: N/A | Accessories: Stair tool, combination accessory tool, and tangle-free turbine tool

Best Budget: Hoover Pet Max Complete Bagless Upright Vacuum

Who it's for: People who need a budget-friendly vacuum for pet hair that still gets the job done.
Who it isn't for: People who live in homes with multiple levels, since the vacuum might be too heavy to frequently carry up and down stairs.

If you're looking for a budget-friendly pet vacuum cleaner that's still powerful enough to tackle fur and messes, consider this bagless upright vacuum from Hoover. It has a large 2.5-liter (or .66 gallon) capacity, a washable primary filter, and a carbon HEPA filter that's designed to capture 97% of pet dander and dust particles. The vacuum's brushroll also adjusts to four different heights that adapt to multiple carpet pile heights and hardwood floors.

The Hoover vacuum for pet hair comes with multiple attachments that make it easy to clean every nook and cranny of your home, including two different dusting brushes, a crevice tool, and a pet turbo tool that's basically a mini brush head designed for picking up pet hair from upholstery and stairs. The vacuum even has a quick-release cleaning wand that extends 12 feet so you can vacuum hard-to-reach places (like curtains or furniture). At just about 17 pounds, the Hoover vacuum is quite heavy, so it might be difficult to carry up and down stairs if your home has multiple levels.

Weight: 17.1 pounds | Cord Length: 27 feet | Dustbin Size: .66 gallon | Battery Life: N/A | Accessories: Pet turbo tool, crevice tool, flexible dusting brush, pivoting dusting brush

Best Cordless Stick: Shark Pet Plus Cordless Stick Vacuum

Who it's for: People who want a cordless stick vacuum that's easy to maneuver around their homes.
Who it isn't for: People with large homes who prefer to clean every room in one shot.

This cordless stick vacuum from Shark is a great choice for anyone who wants a lightweight vacuum that doesn't take up much space. It weighs just 7.5 pounds, so it's easy to maneuver and carry throughout your home—especially when you convert it to handheld mode. The vacuum has a deep-cleaning suction that works well on hardwood floors and thick carpeted areas alike. Thanks to the self-cleaning brushroll, this vacuum is actually one of the only stick models we tested that was able to suck up long hair (and pet fur) without getting tangled. It even comes with a crevice tool and a pet tool for targeted cleaning.

The Shark vacuum works so well that one of our testers said their carpet looked "newly shampooed" after using it. They also loved that it has the ability to fold in half so it takes up less vertical space in your closet. The vacuum's hinge design also makes it easier to clean under furniture like couches or coffee tables. But the battery might not last as long as you need to clean a large home at once. The 40-minute battery life is based on using it in handheld mode with standard suction, so a higher suction strength would decrease its runtime.

Weight: 7.17 pounds | Cord Length: N/A | Dustbin Size: 0.34 quarts | Battery Life: Up to 40 minutes | Accessories: Crevice tool and pet multi-tool

Related: The Best Shark Vacuums for Pet Hair, According to Our In-Depth Testing

Best Robot: iRobot Roomba j7+ (7550) Self-Emptying Robot Vacuum

Who it's for: People who want a vacuum cleaner that does all of the work for them.
Who it isn't for: People who aren't in a position to splurge on a high-end model.

One of the latest models from iRobot Roomba, the j7+ is a self-emptying robot vacuum that was actually designed for pet owners. It has multiple features that make your life easier, like Wi-Fi connectivity so you can control the vacuum from the app and various smart devices. It even has the ability to map out your home, which allows you to choose whether it cleans or avoids certain areas.

In our tests, this robot vacuum was able to pick up pet hair (even the fur you can't see) from carpets without a problem. Since pet hair can quickly fill up the dustbin on most robot vacuums, the included dirt disposal base really makes a difference. When the dustbin is full, the robot vacuum will automatically return to its base, empty the dustbin, and then resume cleaning where it left off. The base (which has a sleek design with a leather strap) holds 60 days' worth of debris—but the vacuum can be pretty loud while emptying the dustbin into the base.

In addition to expertly cleaning up pet hair, the robot vacuum can also detect and avoid poop on the floor. That means you don't have to worry about it spreading messes around, which is especially helpful if your pet is prone to accidents. If the vacuum encounters an obstacle, the app will send you a photo of it and ask if it's permanent (like a power strip and cords) or temporary (like a pile of poop). And the brand really stands behind the vacuum's abilities: iRobot will replace your vacuum for free within a year if it fails to avoid solid pet waste.

Weight: 7.49 pounds (robot only) | Cord Length: N/A | Dustbin Size: 0.4 liters | Battery Life: 75 minutes | Accessories: Automatic dirt disposal base, two bags, and an extra filter and corner brush

Best for Hardwood Floors: Bissell Symphony Pet Steam Mop and Vacuum

Who it's for: People who want a two-in-one appliance that works as a vacuum and steam mop.
Who it isn't for: People who need a model that can clean carpets as well as hard floors.

This pet vacuum and steam mop combination from Bissell was made for homes with hard floor surfaces. The two-in-one appliance easily cleans up wet and dry messes from tile, laminate, marble, and hardwood. Whether your pet had an accident or left a track of muddy pawprints, this lightweight steam mop and vacuum will leave your floors sparkling clean. There are two tanks to keep the water and debris separate, and the plunger-like system makes it easy to empty the dustbin without sticking your hands inside.

The Bissell works with both reusable and disposable mop pads, and the latter will come in handy for pet messes that you'd rather get rid of quickly. In the box, you'll find two different types of reusable microfiber pads (one that's soft and another that's scrubby) and four single-use pads. If you're particularly concerned about odors, you can purchase the brand's odor-eliminating discs and scented waters separately, both of which can be used with the steam mop.

Weight: 9.74 pounds | Cord Length: 25 feet | Dustbin Size: 12.8-ounce clean tank | Battery Life: N/A | Accessories: Reusable and disposable mop pads

Best Lightweight: Shark Wandvac System

Who it's for: People who want a lightweight and compact vacuum that's still powerful enough to pick up pet hair.
Who it isn't for: People who don't want to empty the dustbin after each use.

The Shark Wandvac System has a super-slim design, so it's compact enough to fit in small apartments or homes with limited storage space. It weighs just under 6 pounds (and only 2.1 pounds when converted to handheld mode), which makes it the most lightweight vacuum for pet hair on this list. Despite its small size, the Shark vacuum has impressive suction strength. In our tests, we found that it can pick up pet hair from carpet in a single pass without getting tangled in the brushroll. One of our testers said they looked forward to using the Shark Wandvac every day because it "actually made cleaning fun." We also love that it comes in six different colors, including blue, green, and rose gold.

But it's important to note that the Wandvac System is basically a powerful handheld vacuum that attaches to a wand extension and floor nozzle. It has a small, easy-to-empty dustbin that fills up quickly, so you should expect to dump it after each cleaning session—and perhaps more frequently depending on how much your pet sheds. The vacuum's battery only lasts 20 minutes (and takes 3.5 hours to fully charge), but it comes with a charging dock so it's always ready to go whenever you need it.

Weight: 5.9 pounds | Cord Length: N/A | Dustbin Size: 0.13 quarts | Battery Life: 20 minutes | Accessories: Pet multi-tool, duster/crevice tool

Best Handheld: Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Cordless Handheld Vacuum

Who it's for: People who want a mini vacuum for cars, stairs, and quick cleanups.
Who it isn't for: People who already own a cordless stick vacuum that converts to a handheld model.

The Bissell Pet Hair Eraser handheld vacuum is great for quick cleanups. Because it's cordless and super compact, the handheld vacuum can suck up pet hair and debris from all the nooks and crannies that your full-size model can't reach. It weighs just 3 pounds and measures 16 inches on its longest side, so it works especially well for stairs, pet beds, and car interiors (especially if your dog sheds all over the back seat). There are three interchangeable attachments included: a motorized brush tool that picks up embedded dirt and fur, an upholstery tool that's designed to remove pet hair from soft surfaces and furniture, and a crevice tool that can clean between seat cushions and along baseboards.

Its battery life of 17 minutes might not seem long at first, but it's pretty reasonable considering the vacuum should be primarily used for spot cleanings. Plus, the 0.7-liter dustbin is spacious considering the size of the entire vacuum. Just keep in mind that a handheld vacuum cleaner like this is designed to supplement—not replace—your full-size model.

Weight: 3 pounds | Cord Length: N/A | Dustbin Size: 0.7 liters | Battery Life: Up to 17 minutes | Accessories: Motorized brush, upholstery tool, and crevice tool

Final Verdict

The Dyson Ball Animal 2 (view at Target) is our top pick because of its extremely powerful suction strength that picks up pet hair, dirt, and more without a problem. But if you prefer stick vacuums or have smaller spaces to clean, then we recommend the Shark Pet Plus cordless vacuum (view at Amazon). It's super lightweight, easy to maneuver, and excellent at cleaning up fur.

What to Look for in Vacuums for Pet Hair

Corded vs. Cordless: One of the most important things to decide when shopping for any vacuum is whether you want a corded or cordless model. Cordless models are great because you don't have to worry about tripping on or getting tangled in wires, but they often have short battery lives that might not be sufficient for cleaning the entirety of large homes in one go. On the other hand, some people prefer corded vacuums because they're often more powerful and there's no risk of running out of battery mid-cleaning session. But corded models don't provide as much freedom since you can be restricted by outlet placement and cord length.

Suction: Most vacuums have more than one level of suction power. While lower settings are usually fine for quick cleanups on hard surfaces, Toogood recommends using higher settings (often labeled as "max") for carpets since they need more agitation to remove debris. In the FAQ section below, you'll find more information on how to prevent your vacuum from losing suction strength.

Filter: Vacuums for pet hair should have a filter that captures microscopic allergens (like pet dander). This ensures that the appliance only expels clean air, which is especially helpful for people with allergies. "Most people who own vacuums don't know there's a filter in their vacuum, let alone how well it performs, so having a high-quality filtration system when you have a pet is very important," Toogood said.

Attachments: Many vacuums for pet hair (especially those that can convert to a handheld model) come with extra attachments that are designed to remove fur from specific areas. "The best attachments for pet hair provide a bit of agitation on the surface you're cleaning," Toogood said. "Mini-motorized attachments with stiff nylon bristles are perfect for furniture and upholstery, including dog beds and cat trees. Not only will it pick up hair, dirt, and debris that are ground into the surface, but it will also help capture dander, pollen, and other microscopic bacteria that might've made its way in from outside." You should also look for vacuums that come with crevice tools for cleaning in tight spaces.

Vacuum Size: The size of a vacuum is important for multiple reasons. If you live in a home with more than one level, then you want to choose a vacuum that isn't too bulky or heavy for you to carry up and down the stairs. You'll also want to make sure that you have enough space to store your vacuum. If you don't have any spare closets but don't want to keep your vacuum out in the open, then a large upright model might not be as good of an option as a stick or robot model.


How often should I vacuum my home to get rid of pet hair?

It really depends on the needs of your household, but pet owners might find that vacuuming their homes once or twice a week isn't cutting it. "Vacuuming frequently on areas that receive more footfall will help to stop dirt building up and getting trodden into your floor, especially if there are pets in the house," said Toogood, who also recommends vacuuming thick carpets more often than thin rugs or hard floors because they hide more dirt.

Do I need to clean my vacuum?

Yes, it's important to keep your vacuum clean so that it continues to work well enough to keep your home in tip-top shape. Besides regularly emptying the dustbin, you should always check to see if your vacuum has specific cleaning instructions in the manual or online. Otherwise, you can typically wash removable parts with warm, soapy water and wipe down anything else with a cleaner and microfiber cloth. Just be sure to let all parts fully dry before assembling again. You should clean your vacuum whenever you notice any weird smells or feel like it might be clogged, but once a month is a good rule of thumb.

What should I do if pet hair gets tangled in the brush?

Even though many vacuums claim to have self-cleaning or anti-tangle brushrolls, it's almost impossible to prevent hair (especially longer strands) from getting caught. Some models have removable brushes that are easy to clean since you can take them out of the floor head. You can usually pull smaller clumps out of the brushroll with your hands, but tougher jobs will need to be cut out with scissors.

How can I prevent a vacuum from losing suction power over time?

Loss of suction power typically means that a vacuum's airflow is blocked, according to Toogood. "It is crucial for a vacuum cleaner to have one strong, powerful airflow running continuously through the machine," said Toogood, who added that "a clogged filter means your vacuum cleaner won't work as effectively as it should." To keep your vacuum performing well, Dyson recommends regularly emptying the dustbin, washing the filter, and checking the brush bar once a month to make sure no debris is stuck.

Why Trust Us?

This story was written by Amina Lake Abdelrahman, a commerce editor for Better Homes & Gardens who has been writing about home products for nearly four years. She has personally tested and researched all kinds of vacuums, and she used those insights to inform the recommendations in this article. She recently participated in three days of vacuum testing, where she evaluated each model for things like ease of assembly, durability, and its ability to clean up long hair, pet fur, cereal, and dirt from a variety of surfaces. Amina also received expert advice from Ollie Toogood, senior design engineer at Dyson, on the most important features to look for in vacuums for pet hair.