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Which is the Best Vacuum for Pet Hair?

Written by James Hall |

Pet vacuums

One of the hardest jobs for a vacuum cleaner is picking up dog or cat hair – especially once it’s become trapped in carpet fibres. This page lists our top picks for the best vacuum for pet hair.

Top Pick: Miele C3 Cat & Dog

Miele C3 Cat & Dog

Miele C3 Cat & Dog

Our top pick for a vacuum for pet hair is the powerful Miele C3 Cat & Dog.

It’s a bagged vacuum that provides excellent cleaning performance, particularly for pet hair. The Miele also has efficient filtration to prevent pet dander escaping into the air.

We’ve found that many vacuum cleaners struggle to remove pet hair from carpets and upholstery. The worst models also allow allergens, including pet dander, to escape back into the air. This is bad news for people with allergies – and anyone who wants a clean home!

The good news is that we’ve also found some excellent pet vacuums. By assessing factors such as hair pickup, suction power, brush strength, tools, ease of use, and filtration efficiency, we’ve narrowed these down to our top seven recommendations, which we’ve listed below.

Best Vacuums for Pet Hair

Before we get to the reviews, here’s a comparison table. Each of the pet vacuums in this table provides great value for money and is one of the best in its class for dog or cat hair, but the right choice depends on your requirements.

Miele C3 Cat & Dog
Miele C3 Cat & Dog
Shark NZ801UKT
Shark NZ801UKT
Dyson V7 Trigger
Dyson V7 Trigger
Dyson V11 Absolute
Dyson V11 Absolute
Shark HZ3000UKT
Shark HZ3000UKT
Shark HandVac CH950UKT
Shark HandVac CH950UKT
Vax Air Lift UCPESHV1
Vax Air Lift UCPESHV1
Price Range£££££££££££££££££££
TypeCylinderUprightHandheldCordlessStickHandheldUpright
Bag TypeBaggedBaglessBaglessBaglessBaglessBaglessBagless
Dust Capacity (L)4.50.80.540.760.30.451.5
Weight (kg)7.36.51.383.14.41.396.2
Hose?
HEPA Filter?
Pet Tool?
Overall Rating
View Rating Breakdown
4.4
4.4
4.2
4.6
4.4
4.1
3.8
VIEW PRICE
VIEW PRICE
VIEW PRICE
VIEW PRICE
VIEW PRICE
VIEW PRICE
VIEW PRICE

Best Overall Pet Vacuum

1. Miele Complete C3 Cat & Dog

4.4

SV RATING

VALUE

4

EASE OF USE

4.5

CLEANING PERFORMANCE

4.5

FEATURES

4.5

TOOLS

4

Type: Cylinder | Bag Type: Bagged | Price Range: £££ | Dust Capacity: 4.5 litres | Weight: 7.3kg | Pet Tool: Yes | HEPA Filter: No

WHAT WE LIKED

  • Excellent suction power
  • One of the best models for picking up pet fur
  • AirClean filter to remove allergens
  • The best bagged vacuum cleaner for pet hair

WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE

  • Not as easy to manoeuvre as cordless vacuums
  • Need to buy replacement bags

One of the most popular cylinder pet vacuums is the excellent Miele Complete C3 Cat and Dog Powerline. It’s a bagged vacuum that’s designed to remove both fur and odours, due to its TurboTeq floorhead and efficient filter.

What makes this model worthy of our #1 pet vacuum award though?​

Firstly, the C3 series has a highly efficient 900W motor. This motor, combined with the turbo floorhead, means the C3 excels at getting stubborn hairs out of carpets and upholstery, while also removing dust, dirt and other debris.

Like most Miele cylinders, this is a bagged vacuum cleaner. While bags add to the total cost, they mean it’s easier to empty the vac without releasing dust and other allergens. This is important for people with pet or dust allergies.

One thing to note is that the C3 Cat and Dog doesn’t include a miniature turbo tool. While it has a rotating brush bar on the TurboTeq floorhead, the only smaller tools included are an upholstery nozzle, crevice nozzle, and dusting brush. This is a minor downside, although we like that you also get Miele’s universal floorhead for hard floors.

Other features include a 10 metre operating radius, adjustable power settings and excellent cleaning performance on hard floors. It also comes with Miele’s active AirClean filter which helps neutralise odours. The vacuum is also surprisingly quiet and relatively easy to move around the home, although it’s not a lightweight model.

If you’re looking for a powerful cylinder pet vacuum, the C3 Cat and Dog could be the perfect option. It removes hair far more efficiently than other models and is great for people with allergies. In our opinion, it’s the best pet vacuum available at the moment.

Best Upright Pet Vacuum

2. Shark NZ801UKT True Pet

4.4

SV RATING

VALUE

4

EASE OF USE

5

CLEANING PERFORMANCE

4

FEATURES

5

TOOLS

4

Type: Upright | Bag Type: Bagless | Price Range: £££ | Dust Capacity: 0.8 litres | Weight: 6.5kg | Pet Tool: Yes | HEPA Filter: No

WHAT WE LIKED

  • Powerful suction and pet tool
  • Performs well on both carpets and hard floors
  • Lift-out design and anti tangle technology

WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE

  • Relatively heavy
  • Small dust capacity

The Shark NZ801UKT True Pet is a lift-away upright vacuum cleaner that, like the Miele C3 above, excels at getting rid of animal hair.

This model has displaced two discontinued Dyson upright pet vacuums (the DC41 Mk2 and Animal 2) and is our #1 pick for an upright pet hair vacuum, due to its excellent performance, anti hair tangle floor head and convenient design.

​Let’s start with the basics. The NZ801UKT is built with Shark’s popular “Powered Lift-Away” technology for greater mobility, which allows you to detach the dust canister and hold it separately. This makes cleaning stairs and cars much easier. It also has an effective whole machine filtration system (although there’s no HEPA filter.)

Most importantly, the NZ801UKT is great at removing fur.​ Cat and dog hair is easy to remove due to the powerful suction and DuoClean floor head – and it even does a good job at removing matted hair. There’s also a separate pet tool for cleaning stairs, cars and upholstery. Both the main floorhead and pet tool have anti hair wrap technology, which reduces how much hair gets caught around the brush bar, although this isn’t always 100% effective.

Are there any downsides to this model though? There aren’t many, although it’s a relatively heavy machine and has a small dust capacity. It’s also quite expensive, although it doesn’t have the crazy price tag of Samsung or Dyson’s cordless vacuums.

One thing to note is that the NZ801UKT is a bagless model (like all Shark vacs). This saves money on bags, but bagless models are often more difficult to empty without spilling dust. Fortunately, it’s easy to empty with the push-button design – although if you have allergies make sure you do it outside.

Despite the price, the Shark NZ801UKT Powered Lift-Away is amongst the best vacuums for pet hair – especially if you’re looking for an upright model. It’s not cheap, and is quite a hefty machine, but in this case you get what you pay for. While the Miele C3 is probably the top all-round model, the NZ801UKT is our choice for the best upright vacuum for pet hair. 

Best Handheld Pet Vacuum

3. Dyson V7 Trigger

4.2

SV RATING

VALUE

2.5

EASE OF USE

4.5

CLEANING PERFORMANCE

4.5

FEATURES

4.5

TOOLS

5

Type: Handheld | Bag Type: Bagless | Price Range: ££ | Dust Capacity: 0.54 litres | Weight: 1.38kg | Pet Tool: Yes | HEPA Filter: No

WHAT WE LIKED

  • Strong suction for a handheld
  • Motorised brush bar to remove more hair
  • Lightweight and easy to use

WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE

  • Expensive compared with other handheld vacuums
  • Awkward to use in tight spaces

We wanted to include a cordless handheld on this list, as they are convenient, relatively cheap and highly mobile. One of the best handheld pet vacuums is the Dyson V7 Trigger, which boasts a cordless design, powered mini-motorised tool (which is great for hair) and a 30-minute run time.

Considering this is a lightweight handheld model, the Dyson picks up hair surprisingly effectively. We found that the powered brush bar does a great job at digging into carpet fibres to remove more hair. Its small design also makes it great for car seats or cleaning above the floor.

Other features include an easy-to-empty bin, crevice tool, and lightweight 1.38kg design, making this our pick for the best handheld vacuum for pet hair.

The biggest downside is the price. While the V7 Trigger is cheaper than Dyson’s cordless range, it’s still pricey for a handheld vacuum. The design also means it’s not a convenient choice for cleaning in tight spaces, such as under car seats.

To summarise, if you want to keep your home clean from animal hair without an expensive, bulky new vac, the Dyson V7 Trigger could be the perfect option. It’s small and light, but still packs enough punch to get the job done, and is probably the best handheld vacuum cleaner for pet hair.

Best Cordless Pet Vacuum

4. Dyson V11 Absolute

4.6

SV RATING

VALUE

3.5

EASE OF USE

5

CLEANING PERFORMANCE

4.7

FEATURES

5

TOOLS

4.5

Type: Cordless | Bag Type: Bagless | Price Range: £££££ | Dust Capacity: 0.76 litres | Weight: 3.1kg | Pet Tool: Yes | HEPA Filter: Yes

WHAT WE LIKED

  • Brilliant all-round cleaning performance
  • Great for pet hair on both floors and upholstery
  • Automatic suction control

WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE

  • Very expensive
  • Small dust capacity

Our favourite model in the Dyson cordless stick vacuum range is the outstanding V11 Absolute. It’s a powerful machine that improves on the previous V10 in several key areas (while providing better value than the V15) – with the most important being stronger suction, an LCD screen, and adaptive power based on the type of floor. It’s also one of the best cordless vacuum cleaners for pet hair.

As you would expect from a premium vacuum, the Dyson V11 Absolute does a brilliant job on all floor types. The battery has also been upgraded, which is why it can still provide the same 60-minute maximum run-time as the V10, but with stronger suction.

Most importantly for dog or cat owners, it does a great job of cleaning up fur. This is in contrast to many cordless models, which often struggle to generate the suction power required.​ The mini motorised tool also helps improve hair pickup on sofas or stairs, while the “whole machine filtration” system reduces dander re-emission.

There are also a range of advanced features included with the V11. The LCD screen shows the current run-time, which is updated depending on the tool and power mode you’re using. There’s also an “Auto” mode, which automatically adjusts suction depending on whether you’re on carpets or hard floors.

As always, there are some drawbacks to the V11. ​The biggest is the price, as this is one of the most expensive pet vacuums on the market. With a small dust capacity, it also needs to be emptied regularly – although it’s still around 40% bigger than the Dyson V7 and V8 models.

​Even with these minor issues, you won’t be disappointed in the V11 Absolute. It’s a joy to use, powerful and great with dog or cat hair. There’s also no doubt that it’s an improvement on the already highly-rated V10 range. It’s our current top pick for the best Dyson vacuum for pet hair (click here to read our full review of the V11 Absolute.)

Note: We’ve also included the Dyson V8 Animal on our list of the best cordless pet vacuums. This model offers excellent performance at a lower cost than the V11 series, although the V11 provides superior performance in almost every category.

Other Recommendations

5. Shark HZ3000UKT

4.4

SV RATING

VALUE

4

EASE OF USE

4.5

CLEANING PERFORMANCE

4.5

FEATURES

4.5

TOOLS

4.5

Type: Stick | Bag Type: Bagless | Price Range: £££ | Dust Capacity: 0.3 litres | Weight: 4.4kg | Pet Tool: Yes | HEPA Filter: No

WHAT WE LIKED

  • Versatile corded stick vacuum
  • Brilliant for cleaning pet hair
  • Anti-odour filter for fresher air

WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE

  • Tiny dust capacity

If you’re looking for a pet hair stick vacuum, but don’t want a cordless model, then we think the Shark HZ3000UKT is one of the best options. It’s an advanced model that’s fantastic at quickly picking up cat or dog hair, making it a solid alternative to other options on this list.

Like many recent Shark vacuums, the HZ3000UKT comes with the company’s excellent Duo Clean floorhead. This has two brush bars, allowing the Shark to clean more deeply and remove almost any type of debris from hard floors and carpets. The DuoClean floorhead is also great for removing fur that’s become tangled in carpet fibres – plus it has anti-hair wrap technology.

In addition, the HZ3000UKT has a miniature turbo tool for pet hair. This is great for upholstery and stairs – especially as the vacuum has a handheld mode. The Shark is also built with an easy-to-manoeuvre design that’s great for getting around and under furniture, including the company’s Flexology wand. It even has an anti-odour filter, which is handy for removing pet smells.

There are a few downsides to this cat and dog vacuum though. While the filter is reasonably effective, it’s not a HEPA filter. We recommend looking for a bagged or HEPA vacuum if you suffer from pet allergies. It also has a very small dust capacity of just 0.3 litres, although this is to be expected from a lightweight stick vacuum.

Overall, we think the Shark HZ3000UKT is one of the best vacuum cleaners for pet hair on carpets. It performs brilliantly when removing hair from both carpets and hard floors. It’s also convenient to use around the home, due to the lightweight design, Flexology function, and handheld mode.

6. Shark CH950UKT

4.1

SV RATING

VALUE

5

EASE OF USE

3

CLEANING PERFORMANCE

4.25

FEATURES

4

TOOLS

4

Type: Handheld | Bag Type: Bagless | Price Range: £ | Dust Capacity: 0.45 litres | Weight: 1.39kg | Pet Tool: Yes | HEPA Filter: No

WHAT WE LIKED

  • Powerful handheld vacuum cleaner
  • Effective for cleaning pet hair
  • Great value for money

WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE

  • Doesn't come with a docking station
  • Rigid design is hard to use

If you’re looking for a cheaper handheld option than the Dyson V7 Trigger, then the Shark CH950UKT is an excellent choice – especially for cleaning pet hair.

During our testing, we found the CH950UKT to be a powerful model that provides strong all-round cleaning performance. The run-time is relatively short at just 10-minutes, but it’s perfect for quick cleaning jobs (such as removing hair from car seats, upholstery, pet beds or stairs).

Other features of this model include a crevice tool and dusting attachment, lightweight 1.4kg design, and a motorised brush bar. It also has washable filters and a 0.45 litre dust capacity, which is around average for a handheld model.

There are a few downsides to this vacuum cleaner. While we think it provides great value for money, the rigid design makes it inconvenient to use in awkward locations. There also isn’t a docking station and the performance drops significantly when you don’t use the motorised head.

Even so, we think the Shark CH950UKT is one of the best handheld pet vacuums on the market. It’s much cheaper than the Dyson V7 Trigger, while providing similar suction power.

7. Vax Air Lift Steerable Pet UCPESHV1

3.8

SV RATING

VALUE

4.5

EASE OF USE

3

CLEANING PERFORMANCE

3.5

FEATURES

4

TOOLS

4

Type: Upright | Bag Type: Bagless | Price Range: ££ | Dust Capacity: 1.5 litres | Weight: 6.2kg | Pet Tool: Yes | HEPA Filter: No

WHAT WE LIKED

  • Powerful suction for the money
  • Includes a hard floor adaptor
  • Great performance on pet hair

WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE

  • Not as effective as pricier models
  • Small cleaning radius

If you’re looking for a cheap pet vacuum, the Vax Air Lift Steerable Pet is probably one of the best options. While its recommended retail price is £180, many online stores sell it for considerably cheaper – and it provides animal hair vacuum performance that rivals pricier models.

As you would expect from a cleaner named “Air Lift Pet,” the Vax does a good job of removing pet hair from carpets. It also does a decent job with larger debris, so it’ll quickly clean up any spilt cat litter. As a dog hair vacuum, it can cope with both short and long hair breeds.

Unlike the previous U87 model, this vacuum doesn’t include a HEPA filter. It still has multi-cyclonic technology and an A-rating for dust re-emission, however, so it does a decent job of retaining allergies.

Like most pet vacuums, the Air Lift Steerable Pet includes a small Turbo Tool. This is great for removing hair that’s trapped on sofas or stairs – especially once it’s ground into the fibres of fabrics.

Another useful feature is the lift-out canister. This makes stairs and above floor cleaning much more convenient – although it can’t match the V11 Absolute for versatility.

Cleaning radius is one feature that lets this model down. Unlike Vax’s Air Stretch models, which have a 13 metre cleaning radius, it only provides 10 metres. The 1.65 metre hose also isn’t long enough to clean stairs without moving the vacuum both to the top and bottom, although the lift-out cylinder means this isn’t so much of an issue.

While the Vax Air Lift Steerable Pet isn’t the “best” vacuum for pet fur, it does provide outstanding value for money. If you need to remove hair from your carpets but don’t want to pay £250+, it’s one of the top choices for an upright pet vacuum.​

Why Trust Us

We’ve reviewed hundreds of vacuums over more than five years, so we know exactly what makes a great model for cleaning pet hair…and which vacuums you should avoid! We’re also pet owners, so we understand the features that are important to people who share their homes with cats, dogs, and other pets.

How to Choose a Dog & Cat Vacuum

Cats can cause allergic reactions

We’ve written many guides about choosing vacuum cleaners (see the menu at the top for more information), but here’s a brief overview of some of the primary considerations if you have animals in your home.

  • Budget. Pet vacuums tend to be more expensive, as they have strong suction and more efficient brush action – but that doesn’t mean there aren’t bargains around (and a higher price doesn’t always equal better performance). Make sure you know your budget before you start looking.
  • Type. Vacuums come in several different types, including cylinder, upright and handheld. There are also robot vacuums, which can be useful for keeping hair under control between using your regular vac. The right model for your home depends on a variety of factors, such as the size of the house, the size of your pet, how much hair is shed, and the amount of suction power you need.
  • Breed of pet. While nearly all dogs and cats shed, some breeds shed more than others! Labradors, German shepherds, golden retrievers and Siberian Huskys, for example, are known to be heavy shedders, while poodles and chihuahuas are amongst the least. If your pooch (or cat) is a heavy shedder, consider getting a more powerful pet hair vacuum with a larger capacity.
  • Filter type. An efficient filter (preferably a HEPA filter) is vital for a pet vacuum. A poor quality filter could allow allergens picked off the floor to be re-released into the air. This is a vital concern, as domestic animal allergens are the “second most important cause of allergy” in the UK (according to AllergyUK.org). Some models also come with filters for removing pet odours from the air, which can make a home environment much more pleasant. As a side note, dogs can suffer from dust allergies too.
  • Capacity. A pet hair vacuum cleaner should provide powerful suction to dig into carpets and remove as much hair and dander as possible. The downside to this is that the dirt bin can fill up quickly – especially if it’s small. Make sure you know the size of the model’s capacity before you buy.
  • Bagged or Bagless. Whether you want a bagged or bagless model is a matter of personal preference, as both types of advantages. The best bagless vacuum for pet hair is probably the Shark NV801UKT, as it provides excellent suction without the expense of bags. The downside to all bagless models, however, is that allergens can often be released when emptying the bin. Bagged models, such as the C3 Cat and Dog, prevent this by having automatic sealing mechanisms, which makes them more suitable for people with allergies.
  • Accessories. Some models come with an extensive set of accessories, with a turbo tool being the most important for pet hair. Other models only include basic tools (such as crevice tools) – and some don’t have any tools at all. Try to think about the areas of your home that are difficult to clean, so you know which accessories are most important.

Note: A common question is “which is the best vacuum for dog hair…and is it different to cats?” While the hair of cat and dogs is very different, most models are built to excel at picking up any type – including humans! So any of the models listed above would be suitable for homes with either cats and dogs (or both).

Summary

If you’re starting to think your home will never be free from pet hair – don’t worry! There are some excellent pet vacuums available.

While the best vacuum for pet hair depends on your requirements, we think the #1 all round model is the Miele C3 Cat and Dog Powerline. It has strong suction and can really dig into carpets and remove any trapped hair. For handheld models, the Dyson V7 Trigger is a good option, while the Shark NV801UKT is our pick for the best upright vacuum cleaner for pet hair.

We hope this article about the best pet vacuum cleaners has helped you find the right model for your home. If you have any questions, please use the comments form below.

Page Update History

19th July 2023

Moved to new design elements. Other minor adjustments.

26th April 2023

Updated with multiple new vacuums, including the Shark HZ3000UK, Shark CH950UKT, and the Dyson V7 Trigger. Other minor updates.

4 thoughts on “Which is the Best Vacuum for Pet Hair?”

  1. Avatar

    Hello. have these hoovers been updated since the EU brought in those new rules?

    Reply
    • James Hall

      Hi Janet. Good question! Yes, the page has been updated and all models that are no longer available because of the 900W limit have been replaced.

      Our #1 pick is still the C3 Cat & Dog, but this is now the 900W version rather than 1200W before the EU regulations came into effect. We still think it provides brilliant performance despite the lower power.

      Reply
  2. Avatar

    How about how easy it is to keep the vacuum clean. I have a Dyson upright and a Dyson cordless and I spend as much time cutting and pulling hair that has wrapped around the wheels on the brush head, and the spindles on the ends of the brushbar. I find this infuriating.

    Reply
    • Avatar

      Hi I have a Bissel upright vacuum and it also has hair clogging the brush head and requires lots of cutting n cleaning. I was thinking of the Dyson Absolute 8 but not sure based on Chris comments as it looks like the same issue with brush heads

      Reply

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