We love our animals, but nothing puts a vacuum to the test quite like pet hair. It clings to furniture, buries its way into carpets, and floats above hardwood floors. Dealing with pet hair can certainly be frustrating, but it doesn’t have to be. If you’ve been trying for too long to control Fluffy or Fido’s fur, a vacuum especially formulated for picking up pet hair may be your answer.

There are lots of vacuums for pet hair. There are many different types of vacuums, different specifications for different models, and lots of different price points, too. In addressing the dog hair challenges with my own terrier, I’ve dug deep into the research and tried my own fair share of hits and misses when it comes to pet vacuums. I’ll help you find your way through all the technical language to find the best pet hair vacuum for you.

Close up of vacuum on carpet

Five Types of Pet Vacuum Cleaners

There are five types of pet vacuums. Each works best in different circumstances.

Upright Vacuum Cleaners

Upright vacuums are the most common type of vacuum, and they’re probably what comes to mind when you think of a vacuum cleaner—engine, dirt canister, and hose all in one wheeled unit. For larger spaces, upright vacuums are usually the best choice because they can cover a lot of area quickly and are easy to maneuver. The greatest advantage of upright vacuums is that they work well across surfaces including carpet, tile, and hardwood floors because they have powerful suction, which is necessary for dealing with pet hair.

Stick Vacuum Cleaners

Stick vacuum cleaners are like a cross between uprights and handheld vacuums. They have everything contained in one unit, but they are not wheeled and don’t stand up on their own. They clean floors (though maybe not as quickly as an upright or canister), and they’re great for cleaning tight spaces or at unusual angles. Stick vacuums can be an ideal lightweight solution for smaller homes or apartments.

Canister Vacuum Cleaners

Canister vacuums have a cleaning brush that is connected to the body of the vacuum unit by a hose. Unlike upright vacuums that are pushed by the user, canister vacuums are pulled. These vacuums are a great option if your home has a lot of hard-to-reach places like curtains, ceiling fans, and between furniture cushions. For cleaning up pet hair, canister vacuums offer great options and provide a compromise between the power of an upright and the convenience of a handheld.

Handheld Vacuum Cleaners

A handheld vacuum is the ideal solution for dealing with small pet hair messes or when portability is important, as in cleaning a car. Though handhelds often lack the suction of other types of vacuums, other features like their weight and compact size make up for that.

Robot Vacuum Cleaners

It doesn’t get easier than a robot vacuum cleaner. You can essentially set it and forget it while the robot vacuum cleans your home. Robots vary in efficiency and may require frequent emptying if your pets have hair, but they can be a get option, depending on your needs.

My Choices for the Best Vacuums for Pet Hair

There are so many good choices for pet vacuums. We’ve reviewed the diverse styles and models of pet hair vacuums for different needs and different budgets. Here are three of our favorites.

Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away TruePet (NV752)

The Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away TruePet (NV752) is the most versatile vacuum I’ve come across. It’s an upright vacuum with the convenience of a Lift-Away and the flexibility of a canister vacuum. As an upright vacuum, the Shark Rotator has powerful suction for pet hair and couldn’t be easier to use when covering large areas and maneuvering around furniture. The Lift-Away technology lets you to take the canister out of the wheeled base to reach lower or higher.

I haven’t found a surface yet that the Shark Rotator NV752 can’t clean well. On hardwood floors, it picks up everything thanks to the Dust-Away hard floor attachment and washable microfiber pad. On carpets, the motorized brush digs down deep to get dirt and pet hair that are deeply embedded. The Shark Rotator is even great on furniture and curtains because of the Pet Upholstery Tool. And unlike some vacuums, the Shark NV752 doesn’t release any dust or dander back into the air thanks to its filtration system. Thanks to these features, it’s my choice as the best upright vacuum for pet hair.

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Black + Decker 20-Volt Max Lithium Ion Battery Cordless Hand Vacuum (BDH2000L)

The Black and Decker 20-Volt Max Lithium Hand Vacuum is everything you could want from a handheld vacuum—it’s light, portable, cordless, and great at cleaning up small to medium-sized pet hair messes. In closets, behind couches, and in the car, the Black and Decker 20-Volt Hand Vacuum couldn’t be more of a work horse.

The Black and Decker handheld vacuum cleaner has consistent, powerful suction, particularly for a handheld vacuum. On those occasions when it needs a bit of assistance in combating dirt and pet hair, it comes with a handful of excellent tools to help out. Unlike many other handheld vacuums, the Black and Decker vacuum for pets should keep users happy for a long time. Since it’s equipped with a lithium battery, it won’t lose charge over the life of the product, which is usually the most challenging thing about a cordless vacuum.

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Bissell 1650A Pet Hair Eraser Vacuum

The Bissell 1650A Pet Hair Eraser Vacuum is one of the top pet hair vacuums on the market. With powerful edge-to-edge suction and a tangle-free brush roll, the Bissell 1650A upright makes cleaning up pet hair easy—no more stopping to cut the hair off the vacuum. I’m not sure why no one thought of this before!

The Bissell Pet Hair Eraser also comes with a group of tools that snap on for easy use. The pet brush removes fur from furniture and delicate surfaces while the lighted crevice tool illuminates dirt along baseboards and in between couch cushions. In addition, the Pet Turbo Eraser tool removes embedded dirt and pet hair from any surface you use it on. It’s hard to ask for better functionality.

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