Best Pet Hair Vacuum


The Best Vacuum for Pet Hair

UPDATED NOVEMBER 2020 - In this article we highlight everything you need to know to find the best pet hair vacuum. We cover uprights, canisters, stick vacs and handhelds. A quick summary of the best uprights and canisters is provided in the list:

Best Vacuums for Pet Hair

  1. Shark Vertex
  2. Dyson Ball Animal 2 Upright Vacuum
  3. Shark APEX Zero-M Upright Vacuum
  4. Shark Rotator NV752 TruePet Upright Vacuum
  5. Miele Complete C3 Cat & Dog Bagged Canister Vacuum
  6. Miele Blizzard CX1 Cat & Dog Bagless Canister Vacuum

Read on to learn more about these vacuums and to also see the best stick vacs and handheld vacuums for pet hair.

1. What is a Pet Vacuum?
2. Key Features of a Good Pet Vacuum
3. Nice-To-Have Features of a Good Pet Vacuum
4. Different Types of Pet Hair Vacuums
5. Common Pet Vacuum Technologies
6. The Best Vacuums for Pet Hair
   6a. The Best Full Size Pet Vacuums
   6b. The Best Stick Pet Vacuums
   6c. The Best Handheld Pet Vacuums
7. Before You Make That Purchase!
8. More Buying Tips

Almost two thirds of US households have pets, and while our furry friends make fantastic companions, they can also leave a lot of hair in their wake.  Most homes with pets have either dogs or cats, and both animals have a tendency to shed.  Dogs and cats that live indoors shed hair over the entire year, with cats sometimes shedding more in the Spring and Fall.  Dogs that spend most of their time outdoors shed more heavily in the Spring.

Pet hair, while an annoyance, can unfortunately also cause allergic reactions and be unhealthy to a large number of folks. One of the most effective ways to remove unwanted animal hair from your home is a good pet vacuum cleaner.  But what exactly is a “pet vacuum”? 

There is no official description or definition of a “pet vacuum” (and it is not a machine used to vacuum your dog or cat!).  Essentially a good pet vacuum is simply one that excels at removing pet hair from your home, however there are many machines on the market today that make this claim and the truth is not all of them are good.  Following are some important vacuum characteristics that make one machine superior to another in the war against pet hair.

cat paw prints

A good pet vacuum will generally:
- Have a brushroll and do a very good job picking up pet hair on both carpet and bare floors
- Have reasonably strong suction
- Not clog easily
- Include one or more specialized tools for removing pet hair from different surfaces
- Have a HEPA filter
- Have a sealed system

The brushroll is the spinning brush in the floor cleaner head (you can also have a brushroll in a hand tool).  Typically a motorized brushroll is best.  Some brushrolls spin via the vacuum suction, however these tend to be less powerful than the motorized units and can sometimes stall when too much pressure is applied or even after a certain amount of hair tangling.  Also, some brushrolls are designed to limit hair tangling which make them less likely to bog down and require frequent cleaning (but not all pet hair vacuums have this feature).  

You want sufficient suction to easily pull up as much pet hair as possible.  If suction is too weak the vacuum will not do a good job. Also, some vacuums clog easily when presented with large amounts of pet hair (or human hair).  The best vacuums for pets have tubes, openings and corners that are properly designed to ensure limited clogging potential.  

Specialized Tools
The most popular specialized tool for pet hair is a Turbo Brush or a Motorized Brush.  These are used for removing hair from upholstery, stairs, in tight carpeted areas, etc.  The motorized brushes tend to be the most effective as they have a brushroll run by a motor while the “turbo” tools use the vacuum suction to drive the brushroll.

HEPA Filtration
HEPA filtration is very important if you or a family member have allergies or asthma which can be brought on by exposure to allergens. A HEPA filter is capable of filtering out 99.97% of all particles 0.3 microns in diameter or larger.  This includes the likes of tobacco smoke, dust mites, pet dander, pollen, mold spores, etc.  However, a HEPA filter may not be able to do its job effectively if unfiltered air is able to leak out of the vacuum or around the filter.  This is where a sealed system is important.  

HEPA filter on Dyson Ball Vacuum

Sealed System
A sealed system will ensure that air does not pass around the filter or escape through cracks or seams in the vacuum body – it will force all air through the HEPA filter before it is exhausted from the vacuum.  This is important!  Many vacuums today will advertize that they have HEPA filtration – but they will not have a sealed system.  It is very likely that you will not get true HEPA filtered air being released from these vacuums.  You can read more about HEPA filters and sealed systems in our HEPA filter article.

Sealed System Badge on Shark Vacuum

You can view a video produced by Shark about sealed systems here (opens in new tab).  Bear in mind this is an advertisement from Shark, but it does serve to show how this approach works.

Nice to have but not critical:
- Carbon filter for removing pet odors
- Quick access to brushroll for easy removal of hair
- Easy cleaning of pet tools  
- Easy to empty dust canister (if bagless)

Carbon Filters
These filters (or filter inserts) help to absorb pet odors and odors from cigarette smoke.  They are an ideal vacuum cleaner feature for households with pets and smokers.

Easy Access to Brushroll
This is an especially helpful feature when a brushroll gets tangled with cat and/or dog hair (and people hair too).  Some machines require a fair bit of work to get at the brushroll and if it needs to be removed this can be an additional burden that requires a screwdriver.  On the other hand some of the newer vacuums have made this extremely easy.  See our video below showing a few of the ways manufacturers provide brushroll access.

Easy Cleaning of Pet Tools
Pet hair also gets caught up in the pet tool(s).  In the case of a powered tool, it is very handy if the brushroll in the tool can be easily removed, cleaned and reinserted.  In addition, sometimes there is hair in other nooks and crannies of these tools and the ability to easily take them completely apart and reassemble them is an asset.  

Easy to empty dust canisterEasy to Empty Dust Canister
You won’t have an issue here if you have a bagged vacuum, but for a bagless machine it can sometimes be a chore to get the dust, debris and especially long hair out of the dust canister.  A good vacuum will make this as easy as possible.  The less you have to stick your hands into the canister or disassemble the canister to get the muck out the better.

Vacuums come in all shapes and sizes. Common vacuum configurations to consider include:
- Upright
- Canister
- Stick Vac
- Handheld

The most popular pet vacuums at this time are upright vacuums, however there are also some great canister pet vacuums.  Stick vacuums can be a good choice for a smaller house or apartment, and a good handheld can add pet hair cleaning versatility.
Uprights & Canisters
Both uprights and canisters are a good choice for larger area cleaning.  They are typically bigger than a stick vac and as a result usually have more power and features.  

Dyson Upright & Dyson Canister

Following is a brief comparison of uprights and canisters – these are generalities and often true, but not always.

Upright Canister
Wider cleaning path Narrower cleaning path
Better on carpet Better on bare floors
Often has motorized brushroll Often has air-driven brushroll
Longer power cord Shorter power cord
With power cord & hose - Longer reach Shorter reach
Bagged units often have larger bags Bagged units often have smaller bags
Rarely have auto power cord retract Often have auto power cord retract
Harder to get around and under furniture Easier to get around and under furniture
Have to move entire machine on each pass Only have to move hose/wand on each pass
Storage is easier Storage is more difficult
Often louder Often quieter


Stick Vacuums
The stick vacuum is usually designed for small-to-medium sized jobs. Most are better on bare floors than carpet but some have a motorized brushroll which enhances their carpet (and pet hair) cleaning abilities.  Stick vacs are usually cordless and bagless but there are exceptions.  

Some people have a stick vacuum as well as a full size vacuum as the stick vac is a handy alternative when you have a small cleaning job to do.  They are typically lightweight so they are easy to lift and maneuver.  Also, a number of newer stick vacuums are 2-in-1 vacuums - meaning they also have a component that can be operated separately as a handheld vacuum (Dyson V8 Absolute, Electrolux Ergorapido, etc).  This can be a very handy feature and a money saver.

Pros & cons of stick vacs:

- Lightweight
- Easy to carry and move
- Small footprint and easy to store
- Some include a handheld component
- Many are cordless

- Not as powerful as a full size vacuum
- Smallish dust canister (if bagless)
- Most have limited carpet cleaning performance
- Cordless units have limited run time
- No hose and often a small number of attachments
- Often average filtration capabilities

Handheld vacuumHandheld Vacuums
The handheld vacuum is only for small cleaning jobs and can be used on the floor, tabletops, counters, car interiors, etc.  The handheld is versatile but it is not the right machine when a significant area of flooring needs to be cleaned.  You commonly find these in a workshop or a kitchen.  

They rarely have a brushroll and usually do not have high quality filtration (again these are generalities and there are exceptions), although units that work well on pet hair often come with specialized pet hair nozzles (or tools) and sometimes even respectable filtration.  Handhelds, like stick vacs, are either cordless or corded and there are plenty of both on the market today.  They are pretty much always bagless.

- Very lightweight
- Small and easy to store
- Easy access to “above-the-floor” cleaning
- Usually good for getting into tight areas
- Too small for large area cleaning
- Small size results in limited power/suction
- Usually limited filtration

- Bagged
- Bagless
- Corded
- Cordless

Bagged vacuum or bagless vacuum?Bagged or Bagless?
Should you get a bagged pet vacuum or a bagless pet vacuum? This is a common question we get at Vacuum Cleaner Advisor and one we see posted on many forums.  The short answer is “It depends”.  There are pros and cons of each type of vacuum, some of which we have posted below, but some of the decision also comes down to personal preference.

With respect to a pet vacuum, bagged machines are probably more popular simply because the bags do a better job of locking in the allergens when it comes to disposal.  Bagless units can release dust and allergens when emptying the dust canister, although some folks get around this to some extent by emptying the canister inside a plastic bag.   

- You don’t have to buy and dispose of bags (keeps costs down and good for the environment).
- Suction generally doesn’t diminish as the dust canister fills.
- As dust canisters are usually transparent it is easy to see how well the machine is working with respect to debris pickup and to determine when it is necessary to empty the dust canister.

- Require additional filtration.  If filters are washable this is extra work and if they are not washable they must be replaced and this is extra cost.
- Filters usually have to be cleaned frequently, and if are not washable they will need to be replaced more frequently.
- While they may not lose suction as the dust canister fills they can lose suction as the filters get clogged.
- Sometimes messy to empty dust canister.
- The airpath from intake to exhaust is longer in a bagless vacuum than in a bagged vacuum. This, combined with the fact that bagless machines generally have more filtration, can create added stress on the motor.
doggy paw printBAGGED PROS
- Very easy to empty. Just throw away the bag.
- More hygienic – don’t expose you to dust or dirt (some new bags even seal when removed from vacuum to help lock in all dust/dirt)
- Bags themselves add a level of filtration so there is less filter cleaning required
- More efficient suction pathway as the airpath from intake to exhaust is more direct.  Easier on the motor.

- Suction diminishes as the bag gets full*
- Have to keep replacing bags.  Costs involved.
- Can’t tell when bag is full although full bag indicators can be found on some machines

*Even though suction is decreased in bagged vacuums as the bag fills, there are newer no-clog bags on the market that minimize this issue.  These are not available for all brands and models however.

Corded or Cordless?
A cordless vacuum is one that is operated by a rechargeable battery.  Cordless vacuums are becoming more and more popular these days as battery technology advances and run times become longer, and cordless vacuums with pet hair features are starting to appear.  Corded machines, on the other hand, don’t have run time limitations.

Cordless vacuum cleanerCORDLESS PROS
- Flexibility & convenience - do not have to be near an electrical outlet
- Not tethered by a power cord
- Many come with wall mounts for even more convenience

- Limited run time
- The stronger the suction the less run time (see this if machine has multiple power modes).  Common to use higher power on carpet for example.
- Some, depending on the battery type, don’t have a steady stream of power.  Power may wane as battery draws down.
- Battery recharge time can be lengthy.  Can get multiple batteries for some units but usually at extra cost.
- Often do not know how much of a charge is left while you are vacuuming.  Some have battery power indicator but many do not.
- Storage may require an accessible electrical outlet to keep unit charged

Corded Vacuum CleanerCORDED PROS
- Unlimited run time
- No need to limit power to maximize run time
- Suction will not wane over time
- No battery to recharge

- Must be near an electrical outlet
- Length of power cord limits cleaning reach


Vacuum Cleaner Advisor

We own and have worked with many of these machines, and have run them through a host of tests (you can see over 200 vacuum reviews in our Vacuum Cleaner Finder).  We also analyze each vacuum carefully, consider all their benefits, AND highlight their shortcomings.  So without further ado...

Best Pet Hair Vacuums


Best Full Size Vacuums for Pets

 Rank  Brand & Model  Approx. Cost (USD)  Prices & Reviews
 1           Shark Vertex  350 - 400  See it on Amazon
 2  Dyson Ball Animal 2  400 - 500  See it on Amazon
 3  Shark APEX Zero-M  300 - 350  See it on Amazon
 4  Shark Rotator NV752 TruePet  250 - 300  See it on Amazon
 5  Miele C3 Cat & Dog  900 - 1000  See it on Amazon
 6  Miele Blizzard CX1 Cat & Dog  800 - 900  See it on Amazon

Best Stick Vacuums for Pets

 Rank  Brand & Model  Approx. Cost (USD)  Prices & Reviews
 1           Dyson V8 Absolute  300 - 400  See it on Amazon
 1           Dyson V10 Absolute  500 - 600  See it on Amazon
 2  Dyson V11  600 - 700  See it on Amazon
 3  Shark Rocket Complete HV382  250 - 300  See it on Amazon
 4  Shark Rocket HV302  100 - 150  See it on Amazon

Best Handheld Vacuums for Pets

 Rank  Brand & Model  Approx. Cost (USD)  Prices & Reviews
 1           Bissell Pet Hair Eraser 33A1  30 - 40  See it on Amazon
 2  Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Cordless  50 - 70  See it on Amazon



#1 Pet Hair Vacuum CleanerShark Vertex

The Vertex is our number 1 pick for the best all-around pet vacuum cleaner.  This upright vacuum has powerful suction, two brushrolls, and tangle-free technology making it the best vacuum for dog hair and the best vacuum for cat hair.

Shark Vertex Vacuum


Quick Specs
Type Upright
Bagged/Bagless Bagless
Best for... Hard Floors & Carpet
Pet Hair Features Yes
Approx. Weight 16.7 lbs
HEPA Level Filtration Yes
Power Cord Length 30 ft
Motor Driven Brushbar Yes
Warranty 5-years

What impressed us most about this vacuum is how well it performed in ALL of our cleaning tests (see Shark Vertex review). This machine aced our debris pickup test on carpet and on hard flooring. It also cleaned up tight against our baseboards (in our edge cleaning test) and pet hair pickup was excellent with very little left on the brushroll. The Vertex performed better in the hair test than any other vacuum we’ve tested. Almost all of the hair was pulled up into the vacuum and into the dust canister for disposal. Very little (if any) was tangled in the brushroll. See a video of this test in the Vertex review.

Consumer ratings (to date) are excellent and have landed the Vertex in the top spot on our website with a score of 95/100. In addition, the vacuum has a HEPA filter, a sealed system (which ensures no unfiltered air leaks back into the room), a headlight, 3 floor settings (hard floor, low pile carpet, deep carpet & area rugs), and powered lift-away.

Powered lift-away allows you to carry the dust-canister/motor assembly with one hand while using the hose/wand/tools with the other hand. It provides handheld vacuum flexibility. In addition, you can remove the dust-canister/motor assembly from the upright which allows you to get under very low furniture. This feature is extremely useful and not something you find on a lot of uprights (although you do see it on a number of Shark machines).

What we like:
- Powerful suction
- Great pickup on carpet
- Great pickup on hard floors
- Good at edge cleaning
- Good at pet hair pickup
- Self-cleaning brushroll works
- Reasonable cleaning reach
- Good air filtration
- Easy to use controls
- Easy maintenance
- Powered Lift Away feature

What to watch out for:
- Not lightweight
- No motorized tool
- Tools don’t click into place
- Will only store 2 tools on-board
- Narrow dust-canister

Three tools are also provided with the Vertex. A dusting brush, a crevice tool, and a pet power brush. Also, this unit is not as heavy as the Dyson Ball Animal 2 or the Shark APEX (both of which are good vacuums and are listed below).

The Shark Vertex AZ2002 carries a 5-year manufacturer’s warranty.

See Shark Vertex Pricing and Reviews on Amazon


#2 Pet Hair Vacuum CleanerDyson Ball Animal 2

This is our number 2 pick for best all-around pet vacuum cleaner – it is one of the best vacuums for dog hair and cat hair.  The Dyson Ball Animal 2 is characterised by colossal suction and it is a large and powerful machine.  The brushroll is also powerful and you can actually feel it vibrate the floor (see video in our Dyson Ball Animal 2 review).  It has no problem pulling up pet hair on both bare surfaces and carpet.  Consumer ratings to date are very good.

Dyson Ball Animal 2


Quick Specifications
Type Upright
Bagged/Bagless Bagless
Best for... Hard Floors & Carpet
Pet Hair Features Yes
Approx. Weight 17.4 lbs
HEPA Level Filtration Yes
Sealed System Yes
Power Cord Length 35 feet
Motor Driven Brushbar Yes
Warranty 5 Years

The Dyson also has something called “Whole Machine HEPA Filtration” which means it has a HEPA filter as well as a completely sealed system.  These features have resulted in the Dyson Ball Animal 2 being certified asthma & allergy friendly by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.  So after vacuuming your home, the air is fresh and clean.  This is the machine we use when we want to do a very thorough cleaning of the house and ensure it is as dust-free as possible.

What we like:
- Hugely powerful suction
- Wide cleaning nozzle
- Strong, motorized brushroll
- Very good at removing pet hair from carpet and bare surfaces
- Long hose
- Very long power cord
- HEPA filter
- Sealed system
- All filters are washable
- Includes special motorized pet hair tool (Tangle-free Turbine Tool)
- Easy-to-empty dust canister
- Long warranty

What to watch out for:
- On the heavy side
- Something of a workout to move around the house
- Not quiet
- A little expensive
- Removal of the brushroll is a bit of a pain
- Can be difficult to push on deep carpet

Access to the brushroll to remove pet hair is very easy – twisting 2 tabs removes the base plate.  But should you have to remove the brushroll entirely it requires a screwdriver.  Fortunately we found that brushroll removal wasn’t frequently required.  This is also a hefty machine so while it does a great job it does require some level of effort.

The tangle free turbine tool is quite unique and it is an approach that minimizes (and in some cases entirely removes) the need for cleaning the pet hair tool.  This unit has two counter rotating heads as opposed to a brushroll and it doesn’t tangle.  You can see a Dyson video of this tool in operation here (opens in new window).

The Dyson carries a 5-year warranty and can generally be found online for about $400 - $500. 

See Dyson Ball Animal 2 Pricing & Reviews on Amazon


#3 Best Pet Hair VacuumShark APEX Zero-M

The bagless Shark APEX with Zero-M Technology rounds out our top 3 best vacuums for pet hair.  We have model AZ1002. This vacuum is capable on both bare floors and carpet and it comes with a host of special Shark technologies.

Shark APEX Zero-M


Quick Specs
Type Upright
Bagged/Bagless Bagless
Best for... Hard Floors & Carpet
Pet Hair Features Yes
Approx. Weight 16 lbs
HEPA Level Filtration Yes
Power Cord Length 30 ft
Motor Driven Brushbar Yes
Warranty 5 Years

Technologies provided with this APEX include:
- Zero-M Technology
- Lift Away Technology
- DuoClean Technology
Zero-M Technology vacuum cleaners have a self-cleaning brushroll that provides non-stop hair removal.  We’ve tested the vacuum and it definitely pulls hair off the brushroll and moves it into the dust canister as you vacuum.  This is a great feature when you are dealing with lots of pet hair.  We created a video of the Shark Navigator Zero-M (also a good machine but not quite as feature-rich or robust as the APEX) dealing with long black hair – see Zero-M Technology working in the video below:

 If you do have to access the brushroll to remove any hair, the top of the APEX cleaner head pops off so you have easy access to the brushroll.  This is very handy – no need to upend the vacuum.
The DuoClean Technology uses two brushrolls - a typical stiff bristled brushroll in the middle of the cleaner head and a very soft brushroll at the front of the cleaner head.  Both spin as you vacuum.  This setup allows the vacuum to more easily pick up large debris, it helps it clean right up to the front of the cleaner head, and it also buffs smooth flooring (removing stuck on dust/debris).
Lift Away Technology allows you to carry the dust-canister/motor assembly with one hand while using the hose/hand/wand with the other hand.  It provides portable cleaning which allows you to access areas you cannot with an upright – but you are still tethered by the power cord.
The APEX also includes a motor-driven pet tool with its own brushroll.  Motorized tools are typically more effective than suction driven tools (often referred to as turbo tools).  They also do not bog down as easily.  The tool provided with the APEX can fit on-board the vacuum.
What we like:
- Powerful suction
- Lift-away feature works well
- Good on both hard floors and carpet
- Has HEPA filter & sealed system
- Respectably long power cord
- Power tool is handy
- Easy to empty dust canister
- LED lights on nozzle and handle
- Zero-M Technology performed well in tests
What to watch out for:
- Only 2 of the 3 tools fit on-board
- Feels a bit heavy/bulky
- Short hose
- Louder than the older Shark APEX AX952
- Edge cleaning is only average


The APEX carries a 5-year warranty and it can generally be found online for about $300 - $350. 

See Shark APEX Pricing & Reviews on Amazon


#4 Best Pet Hair VacuumShark Rotator NV752 TruePet

Another good machine for pet hair is the Shark Rotator NV752 TruePet.  It not only excels at pet hair removal but also performs well in other tasks and is a well-rounded machine.  As a result the vacuum has garnered top-notch consumer ratings and we have scored it 94/100.  It was also rated our Best Upright Vacuum for 2018.

Shark Rotator NV752


Quick Specifications
Type Upright
Bagged/Bagless Bagless
Best for... Hard Floors & Low to High Pile Carpet
Pet Hair Features Yes
Approx. Weight 16.7 lbs
HEPA Level Filtration Yes
Sealed System Yes
Power Cord Length 30 Feet
Motor Driven Brushbar Yes
Warranty 7 Years

There is considerable consensus on the vacuum’s abilities when it comes to animal hair.  Owners feel the vacuum performs very well when it comes to picking up hair on both hard surfaces and carpet.  In our opinion this is absolutely one of the best shark vacuums for pet hair.

The NV752 TruePet also comes with two pet tools:
1) True Pet Mini motorized brush (motorized brush attachment that fits in palm of your hand and works very well to remove pet hair from carpet)
2) Pet Upholstery tool (removes pet hair and dust from curtains, delicate fabrics, upholstery)

In addition, the vacuum has a lift-away canister that allows one to carry the canister and a powered brush roll to clean stairs or other hard to reach places.

What we like:
- Strong suction
- Motorized brushroll
- Not lightweight but not too heavy
- Good at removing pet hair from carpet and bare surfaces
- Long power cord
- HEPA filter
- Sealed System
- All filters are washable
- Includes 2 specialized pet hair tools (one is motorized)
- Easy-to-empty dust canister
- Vacuum can operate as upright, canister, handheld
- Long warranty
- Headlights on cleaner head and on handle

What to watch out for:
- Pulls over easily when using hose
- Wand & handle feel a little tall for some people
- Cleaner head is a little narrow
- Removal of the brushroll is a bit of a pain
- Brushroll is not self-cleaning

Access to the brushroll to remove pet hair is very easy – twisting 3 tabs also removes the base plate.  But should you have to remove the brushroll entirely it requires a screwdriver.  We have also done a full NV752 video review below.  

Our Comprehensive Shark NV752 Video Review

The NV752 carries a very lengthy 7-year warranty and it can generally be found online for about $250 - $300. 

See Shark NV752 Pricing & Reviews on Amazon


#5 pet hair vacuum cleanerMiele Complete C3 Cat & Dog

A solid choice for homes with pets is the Miele Complete C3 Cat & Dog Canister Vacuum.  As the name suggests, this unit excels at removing cat and dog hair.  The Cat & Dog has received top notch consumer ratings and is a well built, quality canister vacuum cleaner.  It is also a bagged vacuum and is manufactured in Germany.  In addition, it uses a 2-fan motor that carries a 7-year warranty.  

Miele C3 Cat & Dog Canister Vacuum Cleaner


Quick Specifications
Type Canister
Bagged/Bagless Bagged
Best for... Hard Floors & Carpet
Pet Hair Features Yes
Approx. Weight 11 lbs (canister body)
HEPA Level Filtration No
Sealed System Yes
Power Cord Length 23 ft
Motor Driven Brushbar Yes
Warranty 1 Year P&L, 7 Years motor/housing

Despite being a canister vacuum, the Cat & Dog has a motorized brushbar and is a capable machine on all manner of flooring from bare floors to low-pile, medium-pile and even deep-pile carpet.  A very high percentage of owners comment favourably on the unit’s ability to pick up pet hair.  It is also a fairly quiet machine with a quality fit and finish.  This is a machine for someone who really doesn’t want to compromise.

It comes with a turbo brush attachment which does a good job at vacuuming up hair from stairs, upholstery or vehicle interiors.  It also has an Active Airclean filter as well as sealed system construction which ensures that all of the air entering the vacuum is properly filtered before being exhausted (this is not a HEPA level filter, although it still offers high quality filtration.  A Miele HEPA level filter can be purchased and will fit the machine).  On board filters also include activated charcoal layers that help remove pet odors.   There are many additional features on the Cat & Dog, however like most Miele machines it is rather expensive at about $950USD.

What we like:
- Strong suction
- Quality construction (made in Germany)
- 2 cleaner heads (1 carpet & 1 bare floors)
- Motorized brushroll in carpet cleaner head
- Good at removing pet hair from carpet and bare surfaces
- Variable suction controls
- Lightweight canister body
- Large capacity vacuum bags which self seal upon removal
- Sealed system
- Charcoal layers in filter which neutralize odors
- Includes handheld turbo brush
- Long warranty

What to watch out for:
- Expensive
- Non-motorized handheld turbo brush
- Not HEPA level filtration (although still quite good)
- Motorized cleaner head is a bit heavy
- Bags and filters are not cheap

See Miele Cat & Dog Pricing & Reviews on Amazon


#6 best pet hair vacuumMiele Blizzard CX1 Cat & Dog

If you like Miele canister vacuums (and why wouldn't you) but don’t want a bagged machine, then the Blizzard CX1 Cat & Dog vacuum is a great choice. It has all the pet hair abilities of the bagged Cat & Dog above but in a bagless machine. Miele recently started manufacturing bagless vacuums and owner ratings to date are very, very encouraging.

Miele CX1 Cat & Dog Canister Vacuum Cleaner


Quick Specifications
Type Canister
Bagged/Bagless Bagless
Best for... Hard Floors & Carpet
Pet Hair Features Yes
Approx. Weight 19 lbs (entire vacuum)
HEPA Level Filtration Yes
Sealed System Yes
Power Cord Length 21.5 ft
Motor Driven Brushbar Yes
Warranty 1 Year P&L, 7 Years motor/housing

The CX1 has a special filter which gathers fine dust and is self cleaning.  The remaining larger debris is captured in the dust canister.  This approach minimizes that “puff of dust” you get when emptying the dust canister. 

The CX1 Cat & Dog comes with two cleaner heads – a motorized cleaner head for carpet and a parquet floor head for hard surfaces.  Three tools are also provided including a Pet Hair turbo tool which has a brushroll driven by suction.  The Pet Hair tool is good at pulling up pet hair from upholstery and even a set of stairs.
The CX1 Cat & Dog includes a lifetime HEPA filter that requires no maintenance, and we often see it online for $899.
What we like:
- Powerful suction
- Capable on hard flooring and low/medium pile carpet
- Great at pulling up pet hair
- Includes pet hair turbo tool
- Well-built with good fit and finish
- Made in Germany
- Suction controls allow for aggressive or delicate cleaning
- Lifetime HEPA filter
- Quiet operation
- Retractable power cord

What to watch our for:
- Expensive vacuum cleaner
- Hose does not stretch out easily
- A bit on the heavy side
- Pet hair tool is not motorized
- Motorized cleaner head is bulky 

See Miele Blizzard CX1 Cat & Dog Pricing & Reviews on Amazon



#! stick vacuum for petsDyson V8 Absolute

Our number one stick vac for pet hair is the Dyson V8 Absolute – it is more budget friendly than the Dyson V10’s and V11’s and it still packs a punch.  The vacuum includes a mini-motorized tool which is very useful for removing pet hair, and it includes two brushrolls – one for carpet and one for bare floors.  We’ve noticed that hair does not wrap as aggressively around the direct-drive/torque-drive brushrolls of the Dyson stick vacs as it does with some of the larger full size uprights and canisters.  We also like that the V8 comes with a HEPA filter and a sealed system making it a good choice for those with allergies or asthma.

Dyson V8 Absolute

What we like:
- Handheld unit is compact and easy to work with
- Vacuum is light and maneuverable
- HEPA filter and sealed system = very clean air
- About 27-28 minutes of run time in Low power
- Hygienic emptying system
- Vacuum is quiet
- Powerful suction in Max mode
- Effective cleaning on carpet
- Soft roller cleaner head very good on smooth flooring
- Comes with 4 tools
- Lighter than Dyson V11’s and the Dyson V10 Absolute/Animal
- Not as expensive as Dyson V10’s and V11’s

What to watch out for:
- Battery recharge time takes 5 hours
- Only 1 battery
- A little heavier than a Dyson V6 or Dyson V7
- Not as powerful in Max mode as V10’s or V11’s
- Run times are generally not as long as V10’s or V11’s

We created videos showing both the pros and cons of the V8 Absolute.  You can see the videos here or you can check out our detailed Dyson V8 Absolute review.


#! stick vacuum for petsDyson V10 Absolute

Our second choice is the Dyson V10 Absolute.  This vacuum is more pricey than the V8 but it is still a lightweight, maneuverable, cordless stick vac with plenty of suction.  At Max power it has more suction than the V8.  It also comes with 2 cleaner heads – one for bare floors and one for carpet.  In addition, it has a motorized pet hair brush, HEPA filtration and even a sealed system.

Dyson V10 Absolute

What we like:
- Specialized cleaner heads for carpet and bare floors
- Includes a motorized hand tool with a brushroll
- Does a good job at pet hair removal
- About 40 minutes of run time (Low power, motorized head)
- Lightweight and easy to maneuver
- Reasonable 3.5 hour battery recharge time
- Operates as a stick vacuum and a handheld vacuum
- HEPA filtration (rinsable filter)
- Sealed system
- Has 3 power modes
- Not too loud in low power mode

What to watch out for:
- In Max power mode run time is short (about 7 minutes)
- Only 1 battery
- Suction is not very strong in Low power mode
- Expensive for a stick vac

We have created two short videos highlighting some of the things we like about the V10 and also some of the things we dislike about the vacuum.  You can see these videos on our page: Dyson V10 Absolute Pros & Cons
You should be able to find this vacuum for less than $600.


best pet hair stick vacDyson V11

The V11’s are the latest series of stick vacuums from Dyson.  The main difference between the V11 Torque Drive and the V11 Animal is the control panel – so both will perform similarly on carpet, bare floors, and pet hair.  The V11’s are the most powerful and longest running Dyson stick vacs to date – but they are also the most expensive.  They come with a host of tools and plenty of cool features, and the Torque Drive even has a real-time readout of remaining run time in each power mode.
Dyson V10 Absolute
What we like:
- Nice, easy to use control panel
- Very good run times – almost 60 minutes in Low power mode
- Very powerful in Max mode
- Includes mini motorized tool which is great for pet hair
- Special AUTO power mode is very handy
- Fairly quiet
- Has HEPA filter and sealed system
- Includes lots of tools
- Can carry two tools on the wand
- Large dust canister (larger than V8, same as V10 Absolute/Animal)
What to watch out for:
- No soft roller cleaner head (so not as good on bare floors)
- Expensive
- Heavier than all other Dyson stick vacuums
- Large, heavy handheld component
- 4.5 hour recharge time
We've published two videos showing both the pros and cons of the V11.  You can see the videos here or you can check out our Dyson V11 review.


Shark stick vacuum for pet hairShark Rocket Complete TruePet with DuoClean (HV382)

Our #3 pick is the Shark Rocket Complete TruePet with DuoClean (model HV382).  This is a corded vacuum and is described by Shark as their most advanced Rocket Vacuum.  It is also is a little different in that it has 2 brushrolls built into the one cleaner head – this seems odd but it works.  Pickup on bare floors is fantastic and it is also very good on carpet.  The unit has no HEPA filter or sealed system however, so if you or your family have allergies or asthma this may not be the best fit.

Shark Rocket HV382

What we like:
- Powerful suction
- Motorized brushrolls
- Performs well on carpet and bare floors
- Includes motorized pet hair brush tool
- Operates as a stick vacuum and a handheld vacuum
- Not too loud
- Respectably long power cord
- Washable filters
- Includes plenty of tools
- Brushrolls remove and reinsert very easily

What to watch out for:
- A bit big/bulky/heavy for a handheld
- Small dust canister for an upright (but ok size for a stick vac)
- Will not stand upright
- No HEPA filter
- No sealed system

We have created videos highlighting both the pros and cons of this vacuum.  You can see them here: Shark Rocket Complete HV382 Pros & Cons

See Shark HV382 Pricing & Reviews on Amazon


Shark stick vacuum for pet hairShark Rocket HV302
The Shark Rocket HV302 is a similar machine to the HV382 described above, but it doesn’t have 2 brushrolls and it is missing a few other bells and whistles.  It is, however, quite a bit less expensive at about $160 to $180 – and it is also getting top notch ratings from owners.

Shark Rocket

What we like:
- Powerful suction
- Motorized brushroll
- Performs well on carpet and bare floors
- Machine is not too heavy (lighter than HV382)
- Operates as a stick vacuum and a handheld vacuum
- Respectably long power cord
- Washable filters

What to watch out for:
- A bit big/bulky/heavy for a handheld
- No motorized pet hair brush tool
- Small dust canister
- Will not stand upright
- No HEPA filter
- No sealed system

See Shark Rocket HV302 Pricing & Reviews on Amazon





Best handheld vacuum for pet hairBissell Pet Hair Eraser Handheld Vacuum, Corded, 33A1
This inexpensive handheld vacuum has had excellent consumer ratings for many years (there are presently over 6500 reviews on Amazon for this handheld).  The Pet Hair Eraser 33A1 excels at pet hair removal and it also has HEPA level filtration which is not too common in a handheld – especially one at this price point (about $30 or so).  This is a corded vacuum with a 16 foot power cord and two specialized cleaning nozzles.  It also carries a 1-year warranty (you’re not going to get a long warranty for 30 bucks).

Bissell Pet Hair Eraser corded handheld

What we like:
- Very good at picking up dog and cat hair
- Decent suction
- Inexpensive
- Long cord for a hand vac
- HEPA filter

What to watch out for:
- Cleaning and replacing filter can be a bit tricky
- A bit bulky for some folks
- Exhausts on the sides and can blow debris around
- No sealed system

You can see pricing and owner comments on Amazon.

2nd best handheld vacuum for pet hairBissell Pet Hair Eraser Handheld Vacuum, Cordless

If you hate being tethered by a cord then Bissell also manufactures  bagless alternatives.  One has a NiMH battery and the other uses a Lithium Ion Battery.  We prefer the unit with the Lithium Ion battery - the Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Lithium Ion. Ratings for this handheld vacuum are very good and the unit also has a respectable run time.  Bissell claims a run time of up to 17 minutes on a fully charged battery.
Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Cordless Handheld
The vacuum is bagless and comes with three tools: a motorized brushroll tool, an upholstery tool, and a crevice tool.  The motorized brushroll tool is great for removing pet hair from carpet and upholstery.  The Pet Hair Eraser Lithium Ion vacuum weighs 3.1 lbs so it is fairly lightweight, and it carries a 1-year limited warranty.
What we like:
- Very good at picking up pet hair
- Includes a motorized brush tool
- Great for both house and car
- Lightweight
- Respectable amount of suction
- Feels fairly durable
- Not too loud
What to watch out for:
- Long recharge time (5 hours or so)
- No wall mount unit for vacuum
- Nowhere to store attachments
- Cannot swap out battery
- No HEPA filter

So now you know a lot about pet hair vacuums, but there are a few additional things to think about before putting down your money.

How large an area will you be cleaning?
Do you need a full size vacuum?  Perhaps a stick vac will suffice?

Do you need/want a lightweight vacuum?
Some older folks or those with other limitations may not want to deal with a heavy machine and some vacuums tip the scales at over 20 lbs.  There are quite a few lighter vacuums on the market these days.  Lighter, more compact machines are not necessarily less powerful but there is indeed some relationship between size and power.

Lightweight vacuum cleaner

What will you be cleaning?
Hard surfaces, carpet, upholstery, vehicle interiors, etc?  Different vacuums and features are good for different surfaces.

Do you have low pile, medium pile, or deep pile carpet?
The deeper the carpet the more need for a motorized brushroll for quality cleaning.  Also height controls, or some kind of height adjustment mechanism, on the cleaner head may be important for deeper pile carpet.

Do you need to do a lot of above-the-floor cleaning?
If so, you may need a hose on your full size vacuum.  You may also want to consider certain tools for things like crevices, shelves, curtains, upholstery, etc.  Maybe a stick vac that converts into a handheld will do the trick?

Do you need a lot of cleaning reach?
If so, consider a machine with a long power cord and a long hose if possible.  If you need unfettered reach then perhaps cordless is a consideration – but this comes with other limitations.

Many manufacturers today develop appliances to fail over a calculated time period (this is called planned obsolescence).  This is a money-making proposition for the manufacturer as consumers are forced to purchase more often – they may feel they are getting a lower price up-front but they are actually paying over and over again as the products need to be replaced frequently.  In the market this can be seen by the large number of vacuum cleaner consumers complaining about shoddy workmanship and the very high failure rates of vacuums after only short periods of use.  The following tips help to minimize your risk.
warrantyAvoid short warranties - One sign of possible planned obsolescence (when the manufacturer develops the vacuum to fail over a calculated time period – yes, they do this).  Many vacuum cleaners come with a 1-year warranty while other, typically more expensive and higher quality machines, have 5, 6 or even 7-year warranties.   Tip - be sure to check on the warranties for motor, parts, and labor – these are sometimes different periods for a single machine.

Read consumer reviews carefully - These provide insights that you will not get from the manufacturer or seller.  Also be aware that some reviews are much more helpful than others.  Many a consumer touts the brilliance of their new machine shortly after their purchase. Guess what?  Most machines are not “planned” to fail immediately.  One must consider how long the reviewer has had the machine and also pay close attention to reviews that are updated over time (they are not common but they do exist – a good place for these is Amazon).

Don’t fall for the marketing hype - Do not rely on the manufacturer’s marketing hype regarding the vacuum.  Most of us know this but still rely heavily on the product information given to us by the salesman, in the brochure, or on the website.  Remember the purpose of this material is simply to get you to buy.  

You can’t afford to buy cheap - An adage that is often true.  The cheaper machines will typically fail quicker and thus need to be replaced more often.  This is a general observation and also a function of one’s budget, but consider "not buying too cheap" if you can.

Consider maintenance - Ensure that your machine has readily available bags, belts, filters and other parts.  Also consider the cost of these items – especially bags and filters that may need to be replaced frequently.  

GOOD LUCK!  We hope our article has helped you find the the best vacuum for pet hair.  Please feel free to drop us a line or make a comment below.

Girl with Dog and Cat

Frequently Asked Questions

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Shark vs Dyson - Which is best?

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0 # Josh 2019-04-07 21:01
Like your reviews.

Do you do any central vac reviews?
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0 # Nigel 2019-04-08 19:14
Hi Josh

No - I haven't done any to date.

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# Jo 2018-12-15 15:14
Leaning towards Dyson Ball Animal 2, but have 2 large have 2 large soft deep pile area rugs. Is that still the best? Assuming would have to use the tangle free roller. Thank you!
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0 # Karen 2018-07-19 03:42
Hello, this is an amazing review! Thank you for taking your time to explain to us the pros and cons of each vacuum. I really appreciate it. I think my family and I are going to go with the Dyson Ball Animal 2.
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0 # Lisa Moreland 2018-01-24 21:39
I am trying to decide between the Dyson V8 absolute, V8 Animal, the v7 motorhead, the v7 animal and the v6 absolute and the v6 animal. I don't see much on this website about the V7's. I already own a dyson from 18 years ago and I love it. I just need something for everyday golden retriever pet hair, occ use on stairs and couch and to use in my car from time to time. I see there are some refurbished out there and some on Groupon with prices from $239-$399. So not as concerned with this narrow price margin as I am with just buying it for what I really need it for and not all the extra bells and whistles.
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0 # Nigel 2018-01-26 20:08
Hi Lisa
You may want to check out our latest article which is on the V7 and compares it to the V6 and the V8:
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0 # Cassidy 2017-12-23 19:29
Fantastic review of vacuums for pet hair. I have the Dyson Ball Animal and have always been a Dyson fan. They are the best when you have animals in the house.
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0 # Andrew 2017-11-29 05:46
Wow! This is the most comprehensive, intelligent review of pet hair vacuums I've seen. Great stuff. The videos are also a nice touch. Now I'm almost convinced to shell out the big bucks for a Dyson! But we've already got a Shark vacuum so that will do for now - and glad to see Shark is also one of your favorites..
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0 # George 2017-07-25 21:00
Love all the reviews! Great Information! Out of curiosity, does the Shark NV752 better its newest family member the DuoClean in pet hair removal from carpet?
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+1 # Nigel - VCA 2017-07-28 00:47
Hi George and thanks for the positive comment!

In our tests we found pet hair pickup from the main cleaner head to be similar on both the Shark Rotator NV752 Powered Lift-Away TruePet and the Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away Speed with DuoClean Technology (model NV801). We did feel that the larger machine, the NV752, had more suction but it just didn’t result in better pet hair pickup on carpet in our tests (perhaps more stringent testing would show something – we don’t know). It should also be noted that the two machines also differ in size with the NV752 being the larger of the two (heavier, wider cleaning path, larger dust canister, etc.).

Now it is a different story when you are using the pet hair tools that come with each vacuum. The NV752 includes a motorized pet hair tool while the NV801 has a non-motorized pet hair tool (driven by suction only). Performance of these two tools does differ. The motorized tool does a better cleaning job when dealing with lots of pet hair, does not get easily bogged down, and does not need to be cleaned as often (although it still needs cleaning frequently). It is also heavier but that’s the cost of having a motor-driven tool. We found that the non-motorized tool performed well on carpet but it needed to be cleaned very often or performance would quickly suffer. Also, depending on the amount of pet hair you are dealing with, sometimes cleaning means opening the tool up and removing pet hair from all sorts of areas inside the tool. It can be done but it is a bit of a pain. We didn’t have this problem with the motorized tool.
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About Me


I'm Nigel Russco, a 50 year old professional engineer originally from the west coast of Canada.  I love to review vacuums and I’ve been doing just that since 2008.  

I make every effort to write unbiased, intelligent vacuum cleaner reviews and I provide average consumer ratings for each and every vacuum cleaner I investigate.  My ultimate goal is to ensure you find the best vacuum for your cleaning needs.