Whether you’re teaching your kids to look after a pet or doing it yourself, the right vacuum is essential to keeping loose fur from taking over your home. Americans spend billions of dollars on vacuum cleaners every year. With a market so large, the variety of options is dizzying.
Don’t worry, we’re here to help! Here in the Reviewed labs, we have years of experience testing vacuum cleaners, and we’ve got the skinny on the right vacuum for your home and pets. To find the best pet vacuum we evaluated how well each picked up dirt, cleaned pet hair off carpets and furniture, and assessed the vacuum's overall handling. With these metrics in mind, we think the Shark NV752 TruePet(available at Amazon for $299.99), an upright canister vacuum, is the best for most people. However, we also tested plenty of cordless and robot vacuums if those are more your speed.
Here are the best vacuums for pet hair we tested:
Shark NV752 (upright)
LG CordZero A9 (cordless)
Neato Botvac D7 (robot)
Miele Cat & Dog (upright)
Kenmore 600 Series (canister)
iRobot i7+ (robot)
Tineco A10 Hero (cordless)
Eufy 11S (robot)
Eureka PowerSpeed (upright)
Bissell Swivel Rewind Pet (upright)
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Shark NV752 Rotator Powered Lift-Away TruePet
LG CordZero A9 Ultimate
Neato Botvac D7 Connected
How We Tested
What Should I Do If My House is Covered in Pet Hair?
Of all the vacuums we’ve tested, the Shark NV752 TruePet hits our marks for price, power, and versatility. During testing, we found that the NV752 picked up around 52% of the dirt we laid out for it per pass. Results like these place this Shark in the upper third of all the vacuums we’ve ever tested, the top tier picking up around 70% per pass.
The NV752 is amazing at removing pet hair. Both the main brush head and the motorized attachment excelled at picking up cat and dog hair and deep cleaning. The hose uses a latch system that has a satisfying click, so it’s easy to switch between cleaning the floor and furniture. Finally, the NV752 is the only vacuum on our list that has the Lift-Away feature, turning the upright into a canister without wheels. This option allows you to more easily clean stairs and under furniture.
All in all, the Shark NV752 is a crowd-pleaser. It tips the scales at around 17 pounds, so it is on the heavier side. The price also gave us a little pause at over $250, it’s on the pricer side of things. We think it’s worth it, but we know some people will balk at the idea of spending so much. Our gripes aside, the NV752 truly is a great vacuum for dealing with pet hair.
When it comes to getting to the very last dust bunny and tuft from your long-haired cat, nothing beats a cordless vacuum. The LG CordZero A9 is a prime example of a cordless stick vacuum that solves many of the common pain points consumers experience with these mobile floor cleaners.
First off, it comes with a stand and a wall mount, giving you the option to create a permanent charging station or one that moves from room to room. It also comes with two removable and rechargeable batteries. Combined you get 16 minutes of cleaning time on high and 80 minutes on low. For most households, that’s enough battery life to have one in the vacuum and another in the charging dock.
When it comes to general cleaning power, the A9 is second only to select models from Dyson. However, this LG has a few distinct advantages when it comes to caring for a home with a furry friend. First, it has an attachment called the Power Punch Nozzle. This attachment vibrates, which helps loosen hairs that are embedded in your upholstery. The second advantage comes with a super-soft brush roll for cleaning hardwood floors without scratching them. That’s a must for when your cat tracks kitty litter all over your teak floors.
What sets the Neato apart from other automated floor cleaners is that you can set No-go lines—virtual barriers that you draw on your phone that the robot will not cross. It’s the perfect solution to keep your robot vacuum from bumping into pet bowls and beds. iRobot and Ecovacs both have models that do this, but neither of those brands has feature-laden models at lower price points. If the D7 is too rich for your blood, we’d recommend checking out the D6 and D4.
Regardless of which model you choose, all the Neatos we’ve ever tested have done a great job cleaning hardwood floors and thick carpet. The only major weak point came while cleaning under furniture. Neatos stand around four inches tall, an inch taller than most competitors, and that keeps it from getting under toe-kicks.
Excellent dirt pickup performance
Able to direct towards or away from specific rooms
I’m Jon Chan, the Senior Lab Technician at Reviewed. It’s my job to test and write about products ranging from coolers to laundry detergents. When it came to testing vacuums for pet hair, I really wanted to find a model that provided excellent value as a floor cleaner and can deal with pet hair.
The pet hair tests: Various members of the staff "donated" hair from their pets for testings. While the scenario for each type of vacuum was different, it all boiled down to if the models could pick up the pet hair. With the full-sized and cordless vacuums, we did additional testing to see if they could handle pet hair on furniture, too. Wherever possible, we tried to utilize any specialized attachments pertaining to pet hair. For robot vacuums, we placed tufts of pet hair under shelves, on rugs, and out in the open to see if the automated cleaner could pick them up.
Full-sized vacuums: We hold uprights and canisters to the same standards. Each vacuum is subjected to a battery of tests on surfaces ranging from deep-pile carpet to bare kitchen floors. The carpet tests revolve around the ability of each vacuum to pick up embedded dirt and pet hair. On bare floors, we’re more focused on seeing if a vacuum can pick up large debris like uncooked rice and macaroni.
Aside from cleaning, we also test how easy it is to use each vacuum. We check to see how easy it is to lug up the stairs, the length of the power cord, and the number of attachments.
Robot vacuums: Every robot vacuum that comes into our labs gets placed in our obstacle course. The course contains simulations of tight furniture legs, low shelves, high thresholds, and three different types of carpet. At each obstacle, we sprinkle in a custom-ground cork mixture. The mixture allows us to measure not only how much the robot picked up but also how far it can clean into each obstacle without getting stuck.
Aside from just suctioning up dirt, other, “softer” metrics interest us. We check out any available smart features, including Alexa and Google Home skills. Inside the box and online, we look for replacement parts and how easy they are to order. Finally, we make note of how easy the robot vacuum is to use, such as how often you need to empty the bin or when it requires human intervention.
Cordless vacuums: When we test cordless vacuums, we’re looking for long battery life, ease of use, and suction power. To test battery life, we charge each model for 24 hours. Once charged, each vacuum is run at its highest settings and timed until it stops working. If the vacuum doesn't meet its manufacturer's advertised claim about its total runtime, we take note and adjust our expectations to see if, under laboratory conditions, the vacuum can still adequately do its job.
Cleaning shouldn't be complicated, so we take note of how intuitive the design of the vacuum is: Can we figure out how to use it without opening its manual? We also consider the little things: how easy it is to use; and how quickly we can change a vacuum's attachments, plug in the charger, store it, or empty its dirt bin.
What Should I Do If My House is Covered in Pet Hair?
Our general rule of thumb is always prevention. If you feel like you’re being overwhelmed by pet hair, we’d suggest focusing on the source. Brushing your furry friend on a regular basis will help keep their shedding hair from getting everywhere.
You can also try placing covers on furniture items that are difficult to clean, and adding more throw rugs to help protect your floors.
How Important Are Filters?
Filters are crucial components to a vacuum. They regulate the airflow and keep particulates that are sucked up from blowing back in your home. Filters come in all shapes and sizes and are made from a variety of materials. Some vacuums even have multiple filters that serve different purposes. Many brands, like Shark, design vacuums that use washable filters. In our experience, the style of filter is less important than keeping it clean either by washing or replacing it when needed.
What is a HEPA Filter?
HEPA filter stands for High-efficiency Particulate Air. United States law requires that a HEPA filter be able to remove 99.97% of all particulate matter bigger than 0.3 micrometers. That’s smaller than pollen, dust, and pet dandruff. Remember, boxes that advertise HEPA-like, HEPA-type, or 99% filters are not HEPA. For example, the Shark NV752 has a HEPA filter. The LG CordZero A9's filter claims 99.99% filtration is not HEPA, however, it is endorsed by the British Allergy Foundation.
Other Vacuums We Tested
Miele Dynamic U1 Cat & Dog
The Miele Cat & Dog U1 is simply the superior vacuum. It’s the best cleaner, picking up over 70% of the dirt we laid out for it, the highest we’ve ever tested. When using it, you just feel that it’s engineered by Germans and made by craftsmen. That’s because the body contains carefully placed weights to help it keep balance and move with you.
The Cat & Dog comes with a variety of attachments, including a mini turbo brush, crevice tools, and upholstery brush, all of which fit inside the body. For pet owners specifically, the U1 is the only upright in our round-up with a filtered bag. It captures 99.9% of all particulates and helps seal in odors. Sometimes with bagless units, when you empty them, half the nasty stuff goes right back into the air, not so with the Cat & Dog. This model also comes with a three-foot telescopic wand and a robust hose, allowing it to easily clean atop furniture where cats love venturing.
While it would be tempting to crown U1 Cat & Dog the greatest vacuum ever and give it all the awards, it has one major issue: price. When we set out to look for vacuums worth your money, it’s hard to justify the U1’s price tag.
While the retailer Sears may be in decline, its Kenmore brand is going strong and widely available on Amazon. We think the Kenmore 600 series would be a welcomed addition to any pet owner’s cleaning arsenal. In testing, the PetPowerMate proved to be a monster at picking up pet hair. Aside from the power mini brush, the 600 series carries a crevice and dusting tool and an upholstery tool onboard.
During testing, we liked the fact that we could adjust the suction power on the fly via a slider on the handle. Most vacuums require you to stop and turn a knob on the body, which is cumbersome. When the clean tested were done, we tallied the results and found that the 600 series picked up around 44% of the dirt, not stellar in the grand scheme, but enough to rank it highly among other canister vacuums.
The iRobot Roomba i7+ is the first robot vacuum that can empty itself. A vacuum in the charging base suctions everything out of the bin into a sealable bag. That means you don't have to see, touch, or smell what your robot vacuum picks up. As much as you love your cats, their hair can get gross, so keeping it sealed always is a huge boon.
Also for your convenience, the i7+ has a whole host of smart features. Plus, it’s Alexa and Google Home compatible. The i7+ can even make virtual maps that can track cleaning cycles and even keep it out of individual rooms, perfect for keeping it away from pet beds and litter boxes.
Fancy tech aside, the i7+ picks up quite a bit. On average, it picked up 10 grams of debris, so in a week, it can keep up with a mild manual cleaning. The i7+ is expensive, but every penny is accounted for in the large number of features and excellent performance.
We awarded the Tineco A10 Hero as our favorite affordable cordless vacuum. It has a removable battery that has the endurance to last 7 minutes on the max settings and 14 minutes on the regular.
The A10 comes with the standard assortment of attachments including a crevice tool, a mini-powered brush, and an upholstery brush, which work great when you convert the A10 into a handheld vacuum. While none of these wowed us, we like the fact that the default brush head has bright LED lights to help you hunt down that last tuft of hair under your bed.
It’s hard to imagine a robot vacuum with a following. However, with over 5,000 five-star reviews on Amazon, it’s hard to deny that people love this robot vacuum. We understand why. The Eufy 11S is our favorite affordable robot vacuum.
When we tested, the 11S picked up around 60% of the testing debris, more than what most iRobot models manage. We also noted that during operation, the 11S was quiet, rarely making enough noise to interrupt a conversation. The combination of good dirt pickup and quiet operation make the 11S one of our favorite robot vacuums.
Pet owners will like that this robot is affordable and has robust cleaning cycles.
The Eureka PowerSpeed has the unique distinction of being one of the lightest uprights in this roundup. It tips the scales around 10 pounds and doesn’t really punch above its weight limit. In our testing, it picked up only around 18% of the available dirt. Aside from having weak suction, it is very loud, producing over 80dBA.
We did find a silver lining. Its lightweight body means that it can easily be carried upstairs and it’s easy to push around.
The Bissell Swivel Rewind Pet was more of a miss than a hit. We liked the automatically retracting cord, and the titular swivel joint made it easy to maneuver this vacuum around furniture. However, we found that this vacuum lacked powerful dirt pickup relative to its price. During testing, we found 41% of the testing detritus in the dirt cup. That’s not a terrible score, but it’s not enough to justify a top spot.
Jonathan Chan currently serves as the Lab Manager at Reviewed. If you clean with it, it's likely that Jon oversees its testing. Since joining the Reviewed in 2012, Jon has helped launch the company's efforts in reviewing laptops, vacuums, and outdoor gear. He thinks he's a pretty big deal. In the pursuit of data, he's plunged his hands into freezing cold water, consented to be literally dragged through the mud, and watched paint dry. Jon demands you have a nice day.
We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.