General Care: Best Vacuums for Hair

Why you want the best vacuum for pet hair:

Best Vacuum for Pet Hair Video Buyers Guide from Consumer Reports

If you own dogs --short-coated, flat-coated, long-haired or someplace in between -- you know that at least once a week, you need to whip out the vacuum and rid the floor of pet hair. The usual rule of thumb for vacuuming is based on the number of dogs you have in the house. This will vary by family and if you have kids, you vacuum when you need to or when your kids refer to the fur ball under the bed by name.

There are good vacuums and bad ones and some that do in a pinch, but rarely will you find one that can do it all from the floors to the couch, from the drapes to the counters and from those tough corners behind the computer to under the beds. Yes, pet hair has a way of infiltrating just about every nook and cranny in your home. Some homeowners jokingly refer to their couch and chairs as fur-niture, for obvious reasons.

What to look for when it comes to the best vacuum for pet hair? We have some suggestions for you, some brand name vacuums that do a credible job and even a surprising tip based on actual experience. Perhaps you could just think of this as being a hair-raising review.

We’re going to throw in the tip right away, just so you have an alternative to consider while you shop for the best vacuum for pet hair: a wet rubber glove. Yes, the kind you use to wash dishes. Not soaking wet, but damp. Make sure the fingers are ribbed. You’d be amazed at how well the fur comes up. This will take care of the furniture, but unfortunately doesn’t work for floors, so let's examine some vacuums that will.

Preferred features for the best vacuum for pet hair:

Some things to look for when you want to buy the best vacuum for pet hair are:

  1. Rated Very Good to Excellent for picking up pet hair – gets it “all” and doesn’t leave residual hairs behind
  2. Rated quiet enough that it won’t scare the pets – some vacuums hurt animals ears
  3. Rated Very Good to Excellent for carpets – will do indoor/outdoor to shag with ease
  4. Rated Very Good to Excellent for bare floors – will do lino as well as tongue in groove wood flooring
  5. Rated environmentally friendly – no harmful emissions
  6. Rated Good for handling – not too big to heft around from room to room
  7. Rated Very Good to Excellent for tool airflow – the tools aren’t too narrow and get plugged by hair and the machine has enough suction to get into the cracks
  8. Rated high for versatility – able to get it under the bed and couches easily
  9. Cleans easily after you are done – bagged versus canister models for cleaning ease

Reviews of the Best Pet Vacuum:

We’re only going to cover the best vacuums for pet hair from ConsumerReports.org and only refer to the ones that meet the needs of a family dealing with pet hair. In other words, models that ranked at least 70 points out of 100 for the criteria we have specified.

Feel free to also do your own research, based on the specific needs of your family and what animals you have in the house. We are using the dog and cat criteria for discussing the best vacuum for pet hair. The reviews are listed in the order we have reviewed them.

Recommendations Upright Pet Vacuum Cleaners:

When it comes to UPRIGHT VACUUMS we found that three could really do a credible job of handling all the things a pet owner would want in a vacuum for pet hair. They were the Kenmore Intuition 31100, the Miele S 7210 Twist and the Hoover Tempo Widepath. 

best vacuum for pet hair
Consumer Reports Best Buy,
Rated Excellent for Pet Hair
According to Consumer Reports the Kenmore Intuition 31100 is the CR Best Buy, representing the best blend of performance and price.  It rates excellent on pet hair, and very good on bare floors and carpets.  The tools airflow capacity is excellent, and has very little in the way of emissions, handles well 

At $299 from Sears it is an excellent value as well.
best vacuum for pet hair
Rated #3 overall and excellent for pet hair
The Miele S 7210 Twist is rated third vacuum on the latest list and is also a recommended model. It gets excellent grades for carpet,  has very good airflow and suction, is relatively quiet, has few emissions, handles very well and also rates excellent for pet hair.

Approximate price is $429 from Amazon
best vacuum for pet hair
Rated #4 with an unbeatable price.  
Rated excellent for pet hair.
The Hoover Tempo Widepath U5140-900, does an outstanding job on carpets and is rated very good for bare floors, the airflow in the tools are wide open and free flowing, it isn’t terribly noisy like some on the market, has very few emissions, handles nicely and does an excellent job on pet hair. It is the fourth highest rated vacuum on the Consumer Reports list for pet hair and at  approximately $80 from Amazon!!! it is an excellent value as well.

 It's sister vacuum, the Hoover WindTunnel Anniversary Edition U6485-900 is the top rated vacuum overall, but only rates very good on pet hair, so we suggest the Widepath if you decide to buy a Hoover.

Dog Hair Vacuum Bagless Recommendations:

If you prefer a bagless vacuum, then consider the Bissell Cleanview Helix 21k3.  It has received excellent ratings for pet hair and are Consumer Reports Best Buys.

In terms of upright vacuums, if you shop for price, you may want to choose the less expensive model and still get good quality. In terms of which one ranks Excellent for picking up pet hair, both the Kenmore and the Miele are great choices, although you can't go wrong with the Hoover .

TIP: if the machine has a cloth bag, it will be very hard to clean out the pet hair. On the other hand, if it has a canister, you can rinse it out.

Recommendations Canister Pet Vacuum Cleaners:

For CANISTER VACUUMS, we also found three that could do you proud: the Kenmore Intuition 28014, the Electrolux Oxygen EL6988 and the Kenmore 21514.

pet vacuum cleaners
Top rated canister vacuum with excellent ratings for pet hair
The Kenmore Intuition 28014 does a nice job on carpets, but an excellent job on bare floors. Its airflow quality for the tools is excellent and it’s a bit noisier than we’d like, but not bad. It rates Excellent for emissions and Good on handling and best of all, Excellent for getting pesky pet hair.

Approximate price: $570 from Sears.com.
pet vacuum cleaners
Rated #2 by Consumer Reports and  excellent for carpet, bare floors and pet hair
The Electrolux Oxygen EL6988 is a good brand name and provides good service. This vacuum ranks Excellent in four areas of interest, carpets, floors, emissions and in picking up pet hair. It ranks as Good for noise and handling.

Approximate price: $325 from Amazon.
pet hair vacuum
This Kenmore is the highest rated model and is rated excellent for pet hair 
The Kenmore Intuition 21514 is another well known brand name and it ranks Excellent for handling bare floors and pet hair and very Good for carpets and emissions. It ranks as Good for tool airflow, noise, handling and pet hair pickup.

Approximate price: $300 from Sears.

If you shop according to price for a canister vacuum, you might want to carefully compare the benefits and features, as the price ranges for the top three best canister vacuums for pet hair are pretty close together.

TIP: these canisters are classified as bagged canisters and have a cloth or tough paper bag inside. Cloth bags are hard to clean if the pet hair has penetrated the cloth. Paper bags may be thrown away, but this does add to your cost.

Best Vacuum for Pet Hair - Small Vacuums

For SMALL VACUUMS, we found the top three, but only had one possible model that was rated excellent at picking up pet hair. In addition, one other factor you need to take into consideration with a small vacuum is the run and charge times.  However, in a pinch for a quick swipe of problem areas, these small vacuums may be just the ticket.

best vacuum cleaner pet ahir
Best Vacuum for Pet Hair in a Stick Model.  Rated excellent for pet hair.  It is bagless making cleanup easier.
The Bagless Hoover Flair S2200 is a bit of a surprise in that it ranks Excellent for picking up pet hair. Most small vacuums really don’t have the oomph to manage that, but this one does. Another nice surprise is the $40 price tag. It ranks Good for carpet and Excellent for bare floors and Very Good for edges and ease of handling. It’s rated as Poor in terms of emissions and Good when it comes to noise. It is Excellent for picking up pet hair.

Approximate price $40 from Amazon.

Other small dog hair models to consider that were rated excellent for pet hair are the Dirt Devil Power Stick M084100, the Black and Decker Pivot PSV 1800.  We suggest not buying the Bissell Pet Hair Eraser 33A1 as it was rated poor for pet hair.

The bagless  Dirt Devil Power Stick M084100 is excellent on pet hair and bare floors.  It is very good on carpet, but not as good around the edges the room.

The Black and Decker Pivot PSV 1800 does do an excellent job on carpets, bare floors and edges. It’s ranked as being easy to use and has a run/charge time of 12/21. It’s Excellent on emissions, Fair in terms of the vacuum racket and ranks Good for pet hair pickup. Approximate price: $100

Again, the prices on these are fairly close and it will depend on what features you really don’t want to live without. If you only want to use it for pet hair runs, you may wish to opt for the Hoover Flair. However, what you choose for a small vacuum will ultimately depend on what suits your living situation, what other kind of vacuum you have and how much pet hair you deal with on a daily basis.

Best Sweeper/Broom Vacuum for Pet Hair

pet hair vacuum
Best Vacuum for Pet Hair
This Dirt Devil Broom Vac has received excellent ratings for carpet and pet hair cleaning from Consumer Reports and is an outstanding value at about $45

If you prefer a stick vacuum, the top rated stick best vacuum for pet hair is the Dirt Devil Broom Vac MBV2030.  It is the only tested model that received excellent ratings on pet hair.  It also received an excellent rating for carpet and a very good rating for bare floors.  Available for $45 from Amazon.

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