The 6 Best Vacuums for Pet Hair to Buy in 2018

UPDATED JANUARY 2018 | BY KATE APPLESON

There are countless reasons to love being a pet owner, but cleaning hair up after your dog or cat isn't one of them. Pet hair can be a massive source of frustration for owners without the right vacuum, routinely clogging, breaking or evading weaker machines.

A powerful and heavy-duty pet hair vacuum cleaner is a requirement for keeping your home feeling tidy, but the array of options can be dizzying. Do you need the most powerful upright on the market, the ease of a cordless lightweight vacuum, the sealed anti-allergen system of a canister vac, or the convenience of a robot? And are you willing to pay a smart premium for long-term reliability?

We've done the hard work to simplify your pet vacuum cleaner search.  Our favorite pet hair vacuum picks of 2017 all have thousands of satisfied buyers and distinct capabilities for your specific needs. Prices have dropped significantly for Black Friday today, with the biggest deals we've ever seen available on our Best on the Market, Runner-up, and Best Value picks below.

Best on the Market: Shark Rotator TruePet Powered Lift-Away Upright Vacuum (NV752)

 
 

The versatile Shark Rotator TruePet is our best overall choice due to its excellent combination of premium suction power and versatility at a more affordable mid-range price point than comparable models from Dyson and Miele.

The Shark Rotator TruePet is a 3 in 1 bagless upright model that is easy to handle. It has strong cleaning suction but is sufficiently lightweight at 15 pounds. With just the flick of a button or two it detaches into a canister vacuum that powers an extended floor brush for getting under beds and couches, or a long wand for portable cleaning above the surface.

The Shark Rotator TruePet comes with two key features for pet owners: a tangle-free TruePet motorized brush for cleaning upholstery and stairs, and Shark's Anti-Allergen Complete Seal Technology.  

Shark's anti-allergen tech includes a HEPA filter and is our favorite on the market, beating Dyson in keeping in 99.9% of dust and pet hair.  

The most common user complaint about the Rotator TruePet is that it's 3-in-1 detachment combinations are designed for righties. Some left-handed users may want to consider a more balanced design, but overall we'll happily trade that flaw for a vacuum so reliable at sucking up pet hair and dirt and keeping it in the canister.  Check Amazon Price >>

Runner-up, Best On the Market: Dyson Ball Animal 2 Upright Vacuum Cleaner

 Photo by Best Home Labs

Photo by Best Home Labs

It's not cheap, but Dyson's legendary quality makes the Dyson Ball Animal 2 Upright Vacuum our runner-up best overall pick for pet owners.

The heralded Animal 2 Upright is sleekly designed around a rotating ball and flexible multi-grip handle, which makes it convenient and fun to steer. The Animal 2 sports Dyson's famed suction power, with Dyson claiming that this model has the strongest suction available on the market today.

The Ball Animal 2's cleaner head has been upgraded to resist jamming from excessive pet hair.  The cleaner head also self-adjusts to any floor to create tight suction on all surfaces.

It also comes with a high-powered tangle-free turbine tool that is fantastic at removing pet hair from upholstery.

The Ball Animal 2 has two weaknesses that helped the Shark Rotator TruePet win out as our top choice. The first is Dyson's typically high price point.  The second is its HEPA anti-allergen filtration system, which is effective but not as completely sealed as the best-in-class one on the Shark Rotator TruePet.  That said, some buyers will want to opt for Dyson's reputation and the Ball Animal 2's lengthy 5-year warranty.  Check Amazon Price >>

Best Value: Shark Navigator Liftaway Professional (NV370)

 
 

The top-selling and lightweight Shark Navigator is our best value pick and a smart bet for owners looking for most of our top picks' key features at a budget price.

The Shark Navigator is a 2 in 1 bagless upright that is easy to handle. It has the same portable, canister in hand mode as the Shark Rotator for cleaning above the surface, but doesn't turn into a typical floor canister too.

That's the major difference between the two models.  The Shark Navigator sports the same two key pet hair-friendly features as the Rotator: it has a Pet Power Brush that is comparable to the Premium Pet Power Brush on the Rotator, and has the exact same famed Anti-Allergen seal system that owners rave about.  

The Navigator's cleaning suction is just as powerful and reliable, and it's actually a bit lighter than the Rotator at under 14 pounds.

The Shark Navigator isn't just our best value pick - it is the overall bestselling upright vacuum on the market.  At significantly less than more high-end models, the Shark Navigator is a great choice for pet owners. Check Amazon Price >>

Best Traditional Canister: Miele Complete C3 Calima Canister Vacuum

Where Dyson is known for its uprights, the German company Miele excels in fully sealed canister vacuums. The Miele Complete C3 Calima Canister Vacuum is our best canister pick on the market today, and the best-value premium model out of the Miele C3 series.

The Miele Complete C3 features a strong Vortex motor system with six-stage suction control, allowing you to control the power to adjust to various types of carpeting, rugs and hard floor.  

Owners have raved about the C3 turbo floor brush's ability to suck all the pet hair from any surface, including deep carpet, without jamming over extended use.

Its sealed AirClean filtration system traps 99.9% of pet hair, dust and other damaging particles.

Miele's durability and effectiveness is legendary, and owners willing to spend up for the C3 will get a well-reviewed canister vacuum that can last for up to 20 years.  While still pricey, the C3 Calima series is significantly cheaper than other Miele C3 models and a steal in comparison. Check Amazon Price >>

Best Robot Vacuum: iRobot Roomba 980 Robotic Vacuum Cleaner

If you're looking for the true best robot vacuum and can afford the steepest price on our list, the Roomba 980 is the most effective robot for pet owners available today.  

Many robot vacuums won't stand up to pet hair, but this top of the line model from Roomba features 10X the air cleaning power of most robot vacuums, including earlier Roomba models.  It has a unique patented tangle-free brush that keeps it from jamming on pet hair, and a reliable 120-minute battery to make sure the job gets done.

In addition to its pet-specific brush and great suction, the Roomba 980 is the most advanced navigator of all robot vacuum models available today.  It has intelligent iAdapt 2.0 multi-room navigation, which uses an embedded camera to build a 3D visual memory of your home and create the most effective cleaning pattern while avoiding obstacles. 

Pet owners with larger or multiple animals will still likely want to opt for a serious upright vacuum like the Dyson Ball Animal 2. If you have smaller pets or if money is no object and you can afford both an upright and a robot vacuum, the Roomba 980 is the most effective robot at keeping a house clean of pet hair that we've seen.  Check Amazon Price >>

Best Handheld Vacuum: BLACK+DECKER BDH2000PL 20V MAX Lithium Pivot

While they won't replace your need for a powerful upright or canister vacuum, handheld vacuums are as essential to pet owners as leashes and litter boxes.  Pet owners depend on them regularly in between full cleans to suck pet hair off couches, stairs, and car seats. A dependable hand vac will mean you can save pulling out your upright for the bigger messes.

Not all handhelds are created equal when it comes to cleaning up pet hair, however, as most don't have sufficient power or the right nozzle shape to suck up pet hair effectively.

BLACK+DECKER's 20V Max Lithium Pivot is our favorite model on the market for pet owners, featuring a wide-mouthed pivoting nozzle to get into every hairy nook and the most powerful handheld engine on the market.

The 20V MAX Pivot is revved by a high performance motor designed for users who need enough suction strength for heavy-duty cleanup jobs. Its pivoting nozzle is wide enough for pet owners to clean upholstery in just a few strokes, and the width prevents hair jamming while efficiently trapping hair on hard floors. Car owners can adjust the pivot angle at will to use it to reach pet hair under seats and floor mats. It folds up beautifully for easy storage in a closet or cabinet.

While it's no Shark Rotator or Dyson Ball Animal 2, an effective handheld like the 20V Max Pivot is a useful addition to any pet cleaning toolbox. Check Amazon Price >>


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