Which is the Best Vacuum for Pet Hair?

Written by James Hall | 0 Comments| Last Updated: January 3, 2018

One of the hardest jobs for a vacuum cleaner is picking up dog or cat hair – especially once it’s become trapped around carpet fibres. This page lists our top picks for the best vacuum for pet hair.
Cats and dogs can cause unpleasant odours

If you have a dog, cat or any other indoor animal that sheds, you may have found your current cleaner struggles to get fur out from carpets. This can lead to an increased amount of allergens floating around your home, along with a general feeling of uncleanliness.

Fortunately, there are many pet vacuums designed with the power and functionality to pick up animal hair, leaving your home feeling cleaner and reducing allergenic particles. If you or anyone else in your home suffers from allergies, this can make a difference to sneezing, runny noses and other reactions.

Why Buy a Pet Hair Vacuum?

So what’s the difference between the best vacuums for pet hair and a “regular” model? The simple answer is removing fur requires two things – strong suction and a brush to stir up the carpet. While most models claim to have both, in reality there is a huge difference in performance between an average cleaner and one that excels at removing hair.

To help you make an informed decision, we’ve put together a list of our top pet fur vacuums below. As with all our vacuum cleaner reviews, we’ve considered a variety of factors – but with a bias towards models that are great for homes with pets.

Which are the Best Vacuum Cleaners for Pet Hair?

Before we get to the reviews, here's a comparison table. Each of the models 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.

 ImageNameTypeCapacityWeightBagged?View Price
Miele C3 Cat and Dog PowerlineCylinder4.5 litres5kgBaggedView Price
Dyson DC40 AnimalUpright1.6 litres7kgBaglessView Price
Vax H85-GA-P18 Gator PetHandheld0.3 litres1.8kgBaglessView Price
Dyson V8 AbsoluteCordless0.54 litres2.61kgBaglessView Price
Vax Air Pet U87-MA-PeUpright1.5 litres4.9kgBaglessView Price
Shark Rocket True Pet HV380UKTStick1 litre4.65kgBaglessView Price
Dyson Cinetic Big Ball AnimalCylinder1.6 litres7.7kgBaglessView Price

1. Best Pet Vacuum: Miele C3 Cat and Dog Powerline

Miele C3 Cat & Dog

One of the most popular cylinder pet vacuums is the excellent Miele Complete C3 Cat and Dog Powerline. It’s a 1200W model that’s built to remove both fur and odours, due to its TurboBrush feature and efficient filter.

While the 1200W motor is nothing to scoff at, Miele claims their technology outputs the power of a 2000W model, which is why it excels at getting stubborn hairs our of carpets. It uses bags, which adds to the total cost but means it's easier to empty without releasing dust and other allergens.

Other features include a hardfloor brush, adjustable power settings and an “A” rating for cleaning performance on hard floors. It also comes with an additional turbo-head.

As you would expect, the C3 Cat and Dog PowerLine makes short work of pet fur. So whether you own an excessively shedding Labrador or long-haired cat breed, it's a great choice. The C3 is also relatively quiet and does a good job on carpets.​

If you’re looking for a powerful cylinder pet vacuum, then the C3 Cat and Dog could be the perfect option. It removes hair far more efficiently than other models, and is also a bagged model which is important for people with allergies. In our opinion, it's the best pet vacuum available at the moment. Click here to read our full review of the Cat and Dog.

Key Features:

  • 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


  • Price Range: £££
  • Power: 1200W
  • Weight: 5kg
  • Dust Capacity: 4.5 litres
  • Filter Type: Washable

2. Dyson DC40 Animal

The DC40 Animal is an excellent cleaner for hair

The Dyson DC40 Animal is a cyclonic upright that, like the Miele C3 above, has been designed to excel at getting rid of animal hair. While there are newer models from this brand, it’s still our pick for a Dyson upright pet hair vacuum due to its excellent performance and reliable design.

One thing to note is that the DC40 is a bagless model (like all Dyson vacs). This saves money on bags, but bagless models are often more difficult to empty without spilling dust. Fortunately, it's easy to empty - although if you have allergies make sure you do it outside.

It comes with a washable filter, for filtering of tiny allergens and bacteria, a 9.6 metre operating radius (making it perfect for large houses) and several accessories.

Most importantly, the DC40 is great at removing fur.​ Cat and dog hair just seems to disappear when using this machine, and it even does a good job at removing matted hair. There is a miniature turbine tool that's great for getting rid of hair on stairs or upholstery too.

It's also more effective on carpets than its bigger brother (the Dyson DC41 MK2), which is why we recommend it over this model. It's relatively loud though - so it's not the best choice for vacuuming at night or when children are asleep.

Despite the noise, the Dyson DC40 Animal 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 DC40 Animal is our choice for the best upright vacuum for pet hair. 

Key Features:

  • Powerful suction and efficient filtration
  • Performs well on both carpets and hard floors
  • Great performance on stubborn fur


  • Price Range: £££
  • Weight: 7kg
  • Dust Capacity: 1.6 litres
  • Filter Type: Washable

3. Vax H85-GA-P18 Gator Pet

Vax H85-GA-P18 Gator Pet

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 Vax H85-GA-P18 Gator, which boasts a cordless design, crevice tools, powered turbo head (which is great for hair) and a 20 minute charge time.

Other features include an easy to empty bin, 18V battery and lightweight 1.8kg design, making this our pick for the best handheld vacuum for pet hair.

Considering this is a lightweight handheld model, the Gator picks up hair surprisingly effectively. Its small design also makes it great for cars or cleaning above the floor.

If you want to keep your home clean from animal hair without an expensive, bulky new model, the Vax H85-GA-P18 Gator 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.

Key Features:

  • Powerful suction and efficient filtration
  • Long 4.6 metre hose
  • Great performance on pet fur


  • Price Range: £
  • Weight: 1.8kg
  • Dust Capacity: 0.3 litres
  • Filter Type: Washable

4. Dyson V8 Absolute/Animal

Dyson V8 Absolute

The jewel in the crown of the Dyson cordless range is the outstanding V8 Absolute. It's a powerful machine that improves on the previous V6 version in several key areas - with the most important being a longer battery life. It's also one of the best cordless vacuum cleaners for pet hair.

The biggest difference between the previous V6 and the V8 Absolute is the longer run-time. The V8 is capable of running for up to 40 minutes on a single charge, which should be plenty of time for most cleaning tasks.

Most importantly for dog or cat owners, it also 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 improved hair pickup, while the "whole machine filtration" system reduces dander re-emission.

As always, there are some drawbacks . ​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.

​Even with these minor issues, you won't be disappointed in the V8 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 V6 range. It's our current top pick for the best Dyson vacuum for pet hair.

Note: On our list of the best cordless pet vacuums, we put the V8 Animal ahead of the Absolute. This is because for most people the Animal provides excellent performance at a lower cost. They are both similar vacuums, but the Animal is cheaper yet still has a direct-drive cleaner head for carpets. Go for the Absolute if you need maximum brush bar power or the hardwood floor head​ though.

Key Features:

  • One of the best cordless vacuums for pet hair
  • Comes with the "Fluffy" floor head for hard floors
  • 40 minute run-time


  • Price Range: ££££
  • Weight: 2.61kg
  • Dust Capacity: 0.54 litres
  • Filter Type: Whole Machine

5. Shark Rocket True Pet HV380UKT

Shark Rocket True Pet HV380UKT

If you're looking for a pet hair stick vacuum, but don't want a cordless, the Shark HV380UKT is one of the best options. It's fantastic at quickly picking up cat or dog hair and is also great on carpets.

One of the most interesting features of the Shark is the Duo floor head. Instead of a single brush bar, the True Pet comes with two​. This allows the Shark to clean more deeply and remove almost any type of debris from hard floors and carpets, including hair and smaller particles. This design also allows the Shark to remove fur that's become tangled into the carpet.

In addition to the ​duo floor head, the HV380UKT also has a miniature turbo tool for pet fur. This is great for upholstery - especially as it has a handheld mode. The Shark is also built with an easy-to-manoeuvre design that's great for getting around and under furniture.

There are a few downsides to this cat and dog vacuum though. While the filter is reasonably effective, it can be difficult to empty the dust container without dust escaping. It's a lightweight vacuum, but this comes at the expense of dust capacity. At 88dB, it's also noisy. 

Overall, we think the Shark True Pet is one of the best vacuum cleaners for pet hair on carpets. This is largely due to its "Duo" brush bars, which help remove more hair and dirt from carpet fibres, and the mini motorised brush for fur. The lightweight design with optional handheld mode also makes it a versatile pet vacuum cleaner.

Key Features:

  • Great at removing pet hair from carpets
  • Motorised cat and dog hair attachment for upholstery
  • Relatively lightweight


  • Price Range: £££
  • Weight: 4.65kg
  • Dust Capacity: 1 litre
  • Filter Type: Washable

6. Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal

Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal

Dyson are probably best known for their uprights, but the company also produces some excellent cylinder vacuum cleaners. The Cinetic Big Ball Animal is probably our favourite - and it's also great for pet owners.

As you would expect from Dyson, the Big Ball Animal has a number of interesting features. We like the "self-righting" function, which means it returns to upright when knocked over. The emptying system also has a sheath that removes debris from the sides of the bin, so you don't need to pull it out manually.

Most importantly for pet owners, the Big Ball makes quick work of pet hair. Whether you own a long-haired dog or a short-haired cat, it can easily remove hair from carpets and hard floors.

One of the great things about the Cinetic Big Ball Animal for pet owners is that it has an A rating for dust re-emission - yet the Cinetic technology means you never need to replace or wash a filter. While this is especially important for allergy sufferers, everyone can benefit from fewer particles of pet dander, bacteria and dust floating around their home.

There are a few things that hold the Animal back though. Firstly, the carpet pickup is surprisingly average for a Dyson vacuum. While it does a great job with animal hair, there are better options for general carpet cleaning.​ It also has a relatively small capacity for a cylinder.

Despite these drawbacks, the Cinetic Big Ball Animal is one of the best cylinder vacuums for pet hair. It's also great for hard floor cleaning - although it might not be the best choice if your house is mainly carpeted.

Key Features:

  • Great performance on pet hair and hard floors
  • Excellent filtration without needing to clean a filter
  • Powerful suction


  • Price Range: ££££
  • Weight: 7.7kg
  • Dust Capacity: 1.6 litres
  • Filter Type: Whole Machine

7. Vax Air Pet U87-MA-Pe

Vax Air Pet U87-MA-Pe Upright Vacuum

If you're looking for a cheap pet vacuum, the Vax Air Pet U87-MA-Pe is probably one of the best options. While its retail price is £200, many online stores sell it for considerably cheaper - yet it provides animal hair vacuum performance that rivals pricier models.

As you would expect from a cleaner named "Air 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.

Another great feature of the U87-MA-Pe is that it's a HEPA pet vacuum. This is great for removing allergens and bacteria from the air, so you don't need to worry about pet dander being pumped around the home.

One area the Vax struggles is laminate flooring though. It seems to have trouble removing smaller particles from smooth surfaces, which is something to keep in mind if your home has laminate floors. The hose also isn't long enough to clean stairs without moving the vacuum cleaner both to the top and bottom.

While the Vax Air 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 £300+, it's one of the top choices for an upright pet vacuum.​

Key Features:

  • Powerful suction and efficient filtration
  • Long 4.6 metre hose
  • Great performance on pet hair


  • Price Range: ££
  • Weight: 4.9kg
  • Dust Capacity: 1.5 litres
  • Filter Type: HEPA 13
Cats can cause allergic reactions

How to Choose a Dog & Cat Vacuum

We’ve written many guides for 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, several of which claim to be able to handle animal hair. 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 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 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 Dyson DC41 MK2 Animal (listed below), and provides excellent suction with 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, and may even have a motorised hand tool. Others 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 below would be suitable for homes with either cats and dogs (or both).


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 Vax is a good option, while the Dyson is probably the best upright vacuum cleaner for pet hair.

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