Best vacuum cleaners for pet hair 2021 – for homes with furry friends

Best vacuum cleaners for pet hair 2021 – for homes with furry friends

Want to get yourself the best vacuum cleaner for pet hair? We’ve been checking out the top models from Dyson, Shark, Miele, Vax, Numatic and iRobot to bring you our top picks. They include cordless stick vacuum cleaners, cylinder models, uprights, handheld and robot vacuums that get on with the job for you while you’re out walking the dog or chilling out with the cat. Whichever type of vacuum you favour, our guide has a model to suit.

Everyone who shares their home with a pet or two knows that keeping up with the hair shed by our animal companions can be a daunting task, even when they’re small and short-haired. Fur gets into carpets, wafts across hard flooring, settles on surfaces, and knits itself into our upholstery and the animals’ own beds – and that’s where pet vacuums come in. Special attachments and often useful floorhead features on these models are designed to lift pet hair from every surface and keep your home hygienic.

Our reviews of the best vacuum cleaners will give you the lowdown on power and ease of use on pet hair and all the rest of a home’s other dust and dirt to make choosing the right model for yours a breeze.

What is the best vacuum cleaner for pet hair?

Image credit: Henry

Our number one in the best vacuum cleaner for pet hair chart is the Vax ONEPWR Blade 4 Pet as it delivers a great performance and its price makes it value for money. The Dyson Ball Animal 2 is our top upright and a real performer. Our recommendation for cylinder vacuum fans is the Miele Blizzard CX1 Cat & Dog Pro PowerLine. Prepared to invest? The Dyson V15 Detect gets our vote as the best premium vacuum cleaner. 

Best vacuum cleaner for pet hair 2021

1. Vax ONEPWR Blade 4 Pet

Best value vacuum cleaner for pet hair

Vax ONEPWR Blade 4 Pet

Bagged or bagless? Bagless
Dust tank capacity: 0.6L
Weight: 3.1kg
Reasons to buy: light, manoeuvrable and cleans up thoroughly
Reasons to avoid: accessory kit could cost extra

We’re fans of the Vax Blade 4 vacuum, the best cordless vacuum you can buy. In our tests it scored well on cleaning up pet hair, among the other challenges we set it. But that model has now been joined in the range by the Vax ONEPWR Blade 4 Pet, which offers extra weaponry in the battle against shed fur.

Like many a stick vacuum, this version converts into a handheld and it’s this you can team with the mini motorised pet tool that comes as standard with this Pet model. It’s an excellent combination for getting to grips with pets’ beds, your upholstery, and inside the car. It’s great for actually lifting out the embedded fur as well as dealing with dirt.

The other special feature of this Pet model is the fact that the brush bar has been given an antimicrobial treatment to prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi on the bristles. Of course, you won’t notice any difference, but it’s an added reassurance that you’re cleaning with something that itself is clean.

We found this machine a great all-rounder, picking up dust, dirt and debris along with pet hair effectively from carpet and hard flooring. It’s easy to push under furniture as well as over open areas to make the job quick. It’s also comfortable to use on the stairs, thanks to the handheld.

Running time is important when you opt for a cordless model, and particularly crucial if you’re going to have to spend time on your pet’s favourite sleeping spots. The Vax gives you 45 minutes in standard mode, which we found adequately powerful for all normal tasks. But you could opt to spend a little more and get the dual battery model so you can do an easy swap and keep on cleaning for twice the time.

Ideal Home’s rating 5 out of 5 stars

2. Dyson Ball Animal 2

Best upright vacuum cleaner for pet hair

Dyson Ball Animal 2

Image credit: Dyson

Bagged or bagless? Bagless
Dust tank capacity: 1.8L
Weight: 7.34kg
Reasons to buy: beautifully manoeuvrable and reaches high and low
Reasons to avoid: needs a big cupboard for storage

The Dyson Ball Animal 2 suits fans of upright cleaners who want dedicated pet hair removal abilities along with effective all-round vacuuming. OK, it does need plugging into a wall socket, but thanks to a 10.81m cord, we didn’t find this an inconvenience.

For tackling pet hair, the machine comes with an attachment that uses rotating brushes to pick up what they leave behind on your (and their) upholstery. It attaches to the machine’s integrated wand handle and we found it achieved excellent results. The wand can be used up high, too, for other cleaning tasks although we found its length can make it a bit unwieldy.  

After that, it’s down to the cleaner head to remove the fur, mud, debris, dust and whatever else accumulates on the floor. We found this fantastically efficient on carpets, removing a whole lot of unseen but lurking fur, as well as on hard flooring, and three suction modes coped with all our dirt challenges.

We’re fans of the ball design of this cleaner, which makes it highly manoeuvrable, and it’s great for going around furniture, up to skirting boards and into corners. It also fits neatly underneath the sofa and other furniture to capture the fur that blows underneath.

The upright design of the model allows for a large dust container, which is easy to empty, but if yours is a small home, bear in mind that it takes up a fair amount of space when it’s not in use. 

Ideal Home’s rating 5 out 5 stars

3.  Shark IZ251UKT

Best vacuum cleaner for long pet hair


Image credit: Shark

Bagged or bagless? Bagless
Dust tank capacity: 0.7L
Weight: 4.1kg
Reasons to buy: great on hard flooring and carpet with all the attachments needed
Reasons to avoid: cleaning under furniture is a bit awkward

The Shark IZ251UKT is this vac’s briefest name. In full, it’s an Anti Hair Wrap Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner with Flexology and TruePet (Twin Battery). So, it’s a pet model, but offers other useful Shark tech in addition.

The TruePet part of the title is a pet hair removal tool that’s motorised and made pick up from deep in carpet pile and from upholstery efficient in our testing. It goes on the vac in handheld mode, and the combination is light in the hand and therefore great to use on the staircase as well as furniture.

The pet tool offers Shark’s anti hair wrap feature, as does the floorhead, making this the best Shark vacuum cleaner if your pets have long coats. It’s designed to prevent the hair accumulating around the brush roll, and we found it fulfilled its brief, cutting time spent on this cleaning-out chore.

We were delighted with this vac’s performance outside of its specific pet duties, too. It’s equally adept on carpet and different types of hard flooring, and gets up plenty on a first pass. Flexology means you can angle the wand to get under beds and furniture that’s raised up on legs. It’s handy, but does mean directing the vac is a little inaccurate as the set-up isn’t rigid like this. 

However, Flexology is definitely a boon if you don’t have a tall cupboard. It allows the vac to be folded down for more compact storage. It also makes the machine stable, avoiding the awkward propping of some stick vacuums.

Twin battery gives extra running time – a maximum of 80 minutes. Be mindful, though, that this is when using a non-motorised tool and won’t be as long when the pet attachment is called for. There’s a single battery version also available at a lower cost if you can do with less time before a recharge.

Ideal Home’s rating 5 out of 5 stars

4. Miele Blizzard CX1 Cat & Dog Bagless Vacuum Cleaner

Best cylinder vacuum cleaner for pet hair

Miele Blizzard CX1 Cat & Dog Bagless Vacuum Cleaner

Image credit: Miele

Bagged or bagless? Bagless
Dust tank capacity: 2L
Weight: 8.7kg
Reasons to buy: easy to use with tools on board
Reasons to avoid: heavy when you need to carry it up and down stairs

If you find the top-heaviness of stick vacuums awkward, a cylinder cleaner that can be wheeled along the floor like the Miele Blizzard CX1 Cat & Dog Pro PowerLine could suit you a whole lot better. 

The vac offers a selection of features designed to deal with the fur left behind along with the dirt pets bring home. The floorhead is a turbobrush, which means it brushes the carpet as well as using suction to lift what’s got into the pile. For upholstery and pet beds, meanwhile, there’s a mini version that works in the same way.

Our testing revealed impressive results on both floors and furniture as it dealt with the furriest of surfaces. It’s undoubtedly a powerful vac for pet hair and more, but the one downside we found was that it has so much suction power that it was a bit of an effort to push on carpet, and blew light debris around. The suction can be easily adjusted, though, to save your muscles.

As many of us have allergies as well as pets, we like the lifetime HEPA filter which traps dust and allergens, along with the filtration system of this vac. It’s designed to separate the coarse and fine dust with the latter going into a separate filter. The result is that there isn’t an upward puff of dust on emptying, and the large size of the dust tank also makes this a less frequent task. 

The tools are on board with this vac, which avoids the trudge to the cupboard as you swap jobs, but this isn’t a cordless model and needs to be plugged in. But with 7.5m of cable we roamed widely in our testing without having to scrabble for a socket.  

Ideal Home’s rating 5 out of 5 stars

5. Dyson V15 Detect Complete

Best premium vacuum cleaner for pet hair

Dyson V15 Detect

Image credit: Dyson

Bagged or bagless? Bagless
Dust tank capacity: 0.76L
Weight: 2.74kg
Reasons to buy: powerful model with a full range of attachments
Reasons to avoid: investment buy and handheld may be too heavy for some 

The Dyson V15 Detect is a brand new addition to the company’s range. We tested the Complete model, which has two cleaner heads and eight accessories, and has the technology and tools to find and remove all your animals’ shed fur.

The first of this vacuum’s new innovations is laser dust detection. The green laser is integrated into what’s called the Fluffy cleaner head and, on hard floors, illuminates the dust you can’t see, along with – crucially – pet hair to ensure you don’t miss it. We were astonished by how much previously unseen fur was shown up in the green light.

Whether on hard flooring or carpet, the vac’s sensor sizes and counts particles on the floor in order to increase suction as needed for the hairy and mucky bits, and according to floor type. If you like evidence that a floor is clean, the screen display showing the quantity of particles removed in size ranges will also prove satisfying. 

Also handy is another new feature: the anti-tangle hair screw attachment. The motorised tool is designed for picking up both pet and human hair (we shed up to 100 strands of hair per day ourselves, Dyson says). In out testing, this was extremely efficient at removing fur from upholstery.

The conical shape of the brush bar of this tool is designed to prevent hair tangling and move it to the tip so it’s sucked into the dust bin, and in our testing the fur didn’t lodge there. The cleaner head also has special teeth to stop hair tangling around the brush bar, so you don’t have to remove it yourself.

Up to 60 minutes of running time from the charged battery gets our approval, as does the great range of attachments besides the hair tool. In our tests, the vacuum was a whizz at cleaning all round. Our only niggles? Although we understand the power saving gained by having to hold the trigger down to operate the vac, this won’t suit every user, while some might find the handheld a little heavy, too.

Ideal Home’s rating 5 out of 5 stars

6. Numatic Henry PET200

Best robust vacuum cleaner for pet hair

Numatic Henry PET200

Image credit: Henry

Bagged or bagless? Bagged
Dust tank capacity: 9L
Weight: 8kg
Reasons to buy: built to last and goes a long time before it needs emptying
Reasons to avoid: you’ll need to buy vacuum bags

Henry vacuums are renowned for their durability, and they’re beloved by builders and DIYers as well as those with all the usual cleaning requirements for their ability to deal with all sorts of muck with their powerful motors. The Henry Pet brings those qualities along with some extra pet clean-up features.

The vac has a special EcoBrush to deal with the pet hair that hangs about. Use it in place of the usual floorhead and the rotating brush bar driven by the vac’s airflow gets fur as well as dirt and dust out of carpets, upholstery and stairs. If your pets bring a characteristic niff to your environment, you’ll welcome the charcoal-activated filter with which the cleaner is fitted, too.  

To cope with the remainder of the dust and dirt that needs vacuuming this model comes with attachments for dusting, crevices and upholstery. We like the way two can stay on board and ready to grab as you go. Also a hit with us is this vac’s huge capacity, well ahead of our favourite bagless pet hair vacuums. Self-sealing bags bring dust-free emptying when each is finally full, but having to buy bags won’t suit everyone.

It’s not a lightweight at 9kg, but of course you won’t be lifting it except when it comes to moving from one floor of your home to another. Wheeling it round is a piece of cake: in our testing tight turns were no problem and the upright shape avoids the issue long cylinder vacs have when you turn too abruptly in a doorway or around furniture. It’s a plug-in model, too, but like its fellow Henrys, the cord shouldn’t hold you back as it’s 10m in length. 

This is a no-frills vacuum, but that’s to pay it a compliment. It’s simple to put together and to swap between attachments, straightforward to operate, and solidly built. It fits pretty neatly in the cupboard after cleaning as well.

Ideal Home’s rating 4.5 out of 5 stars

7. iRobot Roomba i7 Plus

Best robot vacuum cleaner for pet hair

iRobot Roomba i7 Plus

Image credit: iRobot Roomba

Bagged or bagless? Bagless
Dust tank capacity: 0.4L
Weight: 3.8kg
Reasons to buy: you don’t have to keep up with the pet hair because this does it for you
Reasons to avoid: it won’t clean the upholstery

If getting enough vacuuming in to cope with the sheer volume of pet hair left on carpets and hard flooring is your problem, the iRobot Roomba i7+ could be the answer. As a robot vac, it doesn’t need you to push it along and it won’t even be stymied by a full bin because it empties itself into the base. It’s only after 30 bin-fulls that it needs you to take out the bag.

As well as a place to stash the contents of its bin, the base is also the vac’s charging station, relieving you of the need to plug the machine in or put the battery into a dock after a cleaning session.  

Powerful suction and two brushes promise to remove pet hair along with everything else from floors. The first is designed to loosen and agitate and the second, moving in the opposite direction, to extract it. Unusually, this vac’s bristles are made from rubber with the idea that they won’t bend and fail to capture the dirt but will stay close to the floor.

The second feature of this put-your-feet-up model that will prove a benefit in a home with pets is a high efficiency filter designed to capture 99 per cent of cat and dog allergens along with pollen, mould and dust mites for which those in your home irritated by these substances will thank you.

The other reason this robot vac is a champ if you have small or large furry creatures at home is its dirt-detecting capability. Sensors show it the areas that need extra attention after, say, dirty paws have tracked the outside inside. You can also direct it to vacuum the spaces pets favour via the app or by voice with Alexa or the Google Assistant.  

We reckon this is the best robot vacuum for pet hair and brilliantly labour saving. The drawback? It’s not going to clean the upholstery or your pets’ beds, so you’d need to splash out on this top-end design, plus another.

Ideal Home’s rating 4 out 5 stars

8. Shark Handheld Cordless Pet Vacuum Cleaner CH950UKT

Best handheld vacuum cleaner for pet hair

Shark Handheld Cordless Pet Vacuum Cleaner CH950UKT

Image credit: Shark

Bagged or bagless? Bagless
Dust tank capacity: 0.45L
Weight: 1.39kg
Reasons to buy: it’s easy to grab, light and made to clean up fur
Reasons to avoid: the leavings of a super-furry pet will exhaust the battery

The Shark CH950UKT is a handheld vac and, like other handhelds, it can spot clean. But what’s so desirable about this version is that it’s made for pet owners who just might specifically want to spot clean the fur left behind on the sofa when, say, guests are about to arrive.

Yes, one of the three accessories this nifty handheld comes with is a motorised pet tool you can fit on to the cleaner to sort out fur on armchairs and sofas, make a pet’s bed pristine once more, or clean the car with after taking the dogs out. Our experience? It lifts plenty, including the hair that’s worked its way in along with other dust and dirt.   

That’s not to say this neat machine is a one-trick pony. A dusting brush and a crevice tool are also included so you tackle other quick jobs around the house without having to get a full-size vacuum cleaner out of the cupboard.

We would put the emphasis on quick jobs, however. The fully charged battery promises a run time of 10 minutes and we pet owners know how long fur removal in even a small area can take when you’re doing the job thoroughly. You will get a light to warn you that it needs charging, though.

An easy-to-empty dust canister is a definite plus, and it doesn’t lose suction as it fills either. Maintenance is a piece of cake, too, and dust cup and filter can be washed under the tap.

Ideal Home’s rating 4 out 5 stars

Everything you need to know about buying a pet vacuum cleaner

What are the different types of pet vacuum cleaner?

Best pet vacuum

Image credit: iRobot

Stick vacuum cleaners are generally upright plus handheld in one. Models designed to deal with pet hair frequently have a special attachment that can be used with the handheld, but the floorhead used with the stick may also have features that aid cleaning in homes with pets. As two vacuums in one, they can save space, but the top-heavy design can make them tiring to use. Often cordless, they’ll save the time taken plugging and unplugging, although these machines do need charging time. 

Upright vacuum cleaners are larger than sticks, but despite this can be easy to move over different floor surfaces. Going up and down stairs with machine in hand does require lifting more weight, however. Special pet attachments can deal with fur on upholstery.

Robot vacuum cleaners will get on with the vacuuming for you, making them a good choice if you’re having trouble keeping up with the amount of hair a houseful of pets – or a single shedder – creates. Bin size is limited, but self-emptying versions can extend the time before you need to go to the dustbin.

Handheld vacuum cleaners are great for quick pick-ups, and with a special pet tool, can target fur as well as spills when you don’t want to get a larger machine out.

How much should I spend on a pet vacuum cleaner?

You can find a vacuum for pet hair starting from around £120, but bear in mind that you could pay more than four times as much for a top-end model, while a robot vacuum will cost even more.

The best pet vacuums in our tests cost from around £260, and in this price bracket as well as those designed to deal with pet hair you’ll likely get additional features, greater suction power and more attachments.

What other key questions do I need to ask about pet vacuum cleaners?

Best pet vacuum

Image credit: Miele

Bagged vs bagless?

You’re likely to have a strong personal preference on this one. Bagless vacuums, of course, save the additional expense of buying the bags, and making sure you have a constant supply. However, ease of emptying the dust bin varies between bagless models, and how much dust puffs up as you do does too. The capacity of their bins also differs and can be relatively small. Vacuum bags can fit in more and seal tightly when you change them.

Cordless or plug in?

There are also strong views on this debate. There’s no electrical lead to move from socket to socket with a cordless, and you won’t need to worry about running over a wire, nor tidying it at the end of the job. 

The plug-in models in our selection have generously long cords, but cordless vacuums set you free to roam. However, when the battery runs down you will need to stop cleaning unless you’ve invested in an extra battery. While running times can be long – like the 60 minutes of the Dyson V15 Detect – these vary according to the model. Be aware also that boosting suction means shorter running times.

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