Buying The Best Vacuum for Pet Hair: Tips and Reviews

Tips For Buying the Best Pet Hair Vacuum

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 do a great job of handling all the things a pet owner would want in a vacuum for pet hair. They are the Kenmore Elite 31150 Pet & Allergy Friendly Upright Vacuum, the Miele Dynamic U1 Dog & Cat Upright Vacuum, and the Dyson Ball Animal Upright Vacuum.

best vacuum for pet hair
Consumer Reports 2018 Best Buy,
Rated Excellent for Pet Hair
According to Consumer Reports the Kenmore Elite 31150 is ranked 80/100 for Pet hair and is value priced, representing a blend of performance and price.  It is good 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 $229 from Amazon it is an excellent value as well, making it our top pick for the budget conscious pet parent.
best vacuum for pet hair
Rated #2 overall and 91/100 for Pet Hair
The Miele Dynamic U1 Cat & Dog Vacuum is rated #2 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 $550 from Amazon
best vacuum cleaner for pet hair
Rated #3 on our list and 91/100 points for pet hair.
The Dyson Animal, 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 $400 from Amazon.

 It's sister vacuum, the Dyson Ball Multi Floor 2 is equally rated for pet hair.

Canister Vacuum Cleaner for Pet Hair Recommendations:

If you prefer a Canister, then consider the Miele Complete C3 Marin.  It has received high ratings for overall vacuum performance and 94/100 from Consumer Reports. Other top rated models for pet hair include the Kenmore Pop-N-Go 81614 (an Amazon Choice and 96/100 for pet hair), and the Kenmore Elite Pet Friendly CrossOver 21814, rated 98/100 for Pet Hair, an Amazon Choice and #2 Canister by Consumer Reports behind the Miele Complete, but at half the price!.

pet vacuum cleaners
Top rated canister vacuums with excellent ratings for pet hair
The Miele Complete does a nice job on carpets, but an excellent job on bare floors has a micro filter, retractable cord and a great job on pet hair. Its airflow quality for the tools is excellent and all Miele vacuums get top marks for reliability. It has all of the features you would expect from a premium priced model including an upholstery tool among others.

Approximate price: $1000 from Amazon.
pet vacuum cleaners
A Top Rated Consumer Reports Pet Hair Vacuum Cleaner, an Amazon's Choice and  excellent for bare floors and pet hair
The Kenmore Pop-N-Go 81614 ranks Excellent in three areas of interest, bare floors, clean emissions and pet hair (96/100). If you are looking for a value priced cannister that is one of the best pet hair vacuums, this is a top pick.

Approximate price: $255 from Amazon.
pet hair vacuum
This Kenmore Elite Pet Friendly Ultra Plush 81714 is rated excellent for pet hair by Consumer Reports and a REcommended Canister Vacuum
The The Kenmore Elite Pet Friendly UltraPlush 81714 gets a 95/100 for pet hair from Consumer Reports. It is also highly rated for Bare Floors. The Kenmore 22614 is also highly rated and is a bagless model for those that prefer this type of vacuum.

Approximate price: $230 from Amazon for the Kenmore 22614 and $350 for the Kenmore Elite 81714 Pet Friendly Ultra Plush .

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, making them more convenient.

Best Vacuum for Pet Hair - Small Vacuums

For SMALL VACUUMS, we found several models that get top marks for removing pet hair. This is a change from the recent pat where these vacuums didn't have the power to get the job done.

best vacuum cleaner pet ahir
The Dyson V8 Absolute is a cordless vacuum that has a built in hand vacuum. While expensive at around $500, it gets top markets for pet hair, carpet and bare floors. If you have been frustrated with the performance of lower price models, this "Amazon Choice" and top rated performer on Consumer Reports one is worth a try.

Approximate price $444 from Amazon.

Editor Note: You can find similar perforamnce in the Dyson V8 Animal.

Great Value Priced Bagless Pet Hair Vacuums

Other small dog hair models to consider that were rated excellent for pet hair are the Bissell Air Ram 1984 ($200) and the Shark Rocket Complete with DuoClean HV380. Both are an "Amazon Choice" and get top marks for pet hair and are half the price of the Dyson mode.s They also get top marks for carpet and bare floor performance.