The Best Pet Vacuums for Controlling Dog Hair at Home


As someone who lives with a walking mountain of floof (aka my rough collie Hazel), I know what it’s like to be consumed by a cloud of dog hair, and lust after the dream of the best pet vacuums. Keeping the house fur-free is an ongoing struggle. I’ll often find strands of hair woven into the carpet (or my dinner) and spy tufts rolling along the floor like tumbleweeds. Wearing black is a risk (if you know, you know). 

It’s no secret that raising a gloriously fluffy dog means a bit of extra work when it comes to grooming and house maintenance. I’ve got the receipts to prove it (I’ve legit spent an embarrassing amount on testing the best pet vacuums at this stage. Hey, I wonder if they’re tax deductible now that I’m writing this article…)

It’s taken me three years, but I’ve finally perfected a vacuum and grooming routine to keep the hair in the home at bay (especially as my human baby loves nothing more than stuffing her face with furballs as she crawls). Make no mistake, if you have a shed-happy dog this is going to be a lifelong battle, so it’s worth investing in your weapon of choice now.

A Robot Pet Vacuum 

Sore backs be gone. Getting a robot vacuum was the best decision I ever made. They are high powered, smart, effective and you get the job done without getting up from the couch. Consider that less time cleaning = more time to cuddle your dog. I have the Neato Botvac D7 Connected. It’s the cream of the crop (with an eye-watering price tag to match at $1400+). It connects to an app on your phone and can map your entire house, making a blueprint to navigate. That way, if your dog is scared of vacuum cleaners, loud noises or moving objects, you can schedule it to run while you are taking them for a walk.  There are plenty of lower cost options on the market too but it’s worth reading reviews on how they deal with pet hair specifically before you buy.

Whilst a robot vacuum does a great job navigating around furniture, it can’t get into those tight spots or the stairs. Which brings us to…

A Handheld / Dustbuster

Go portable! The ultimate option for quick and easy spot cleaning, a handheld vacuum cleaner is a great solution to swiftly reach those hard-to-get-to areas. Cordless, compact and lightweight, you can combat the stairs, furniture, shelves and even the ceiling. They can be pretty powerful little suckers (depending on the make and model you get) and are perfect for visible tufts of fur that build up. 

However, this is not a replacement for a larger vacuum and if you have a lot of dog hair flying around, as you’ll probably have to empty it out very frequently. I have the Dyson V7 Trigger. Functionally designed and pretty damn good looking, the Dyson handheld retails for around $299, making it a fairly reasonable gateway product into the Dyson family. I’d recommend opting for a model that has multiple attachments for different surfaces and uses. The one drawback? It’s great having a cordless vacuum cleaner but from my experience, it’s common for the Dyson cordless products to run out of charge rapidly, especially if you use the max setting.

A Stick Vacuum

You’ve probably seen one of these right? A sleek looking space-aged contraption charging neatly on the wall of someone’s house. If you don’t want to invest in the one-two sucker punch of a robot plus handheld, a perfect one-size-fits-all option is a cordless stick vacuum cleaner. No messy cables, easy to grab for spot cleaning but also powerful enough to give your floors a thorough going over. 

These come with plenty of attachments so provide the clean you need and can even be used as a handheld in many cases. The rise in prominence of these bad boys has actually seen sales in handheld vacuums decline recently. 

I’ve used the Dyson V8 Animal and it’s great (and comes with specific attachments for animal fur). If you’re going to get a Dyson, I’d recommend the V8 model and up (the V11 is currently the best in the bizz). Again, the same issue can arise with the battery life, but the newer models are much better in this respect.

A Fur Roller

These little guys are good to have on hand for clothes, couches and other fabrics–but the kind with sticky peel-off sheets are not so great for the environment. For a more sustainable/reusable option, try a clothing rake.

While we’re on the topic of rakes, a mini carpet rake can work wonders if your dog sheds shorter hairs that get tangled up in your carpet fibres.

Best Pet Vacuum Overall

This is cheating a bit, but technically we think the best pet vacuum is a combo: a robot vacuum plus a handheld for nooks, crannies, couches and stairs.

NOT the Best Pet Vacuums: A Ball or Barrel Vacuum

I used to have a traditional corded vacuum cleaner but quickly gave it up in favour of the  combination above. As effective as traditional vacuum cleaners can be, they’re too clunky to keep out on display. Plus they take that little bit extra effort to set up, making it more likely you’ll put off vacuuming for another day. Plus dealing with cords, powerpoints, and that annoying moment where the barrel is lagging behind and you have to pull it along is all too much. Give yourself a break.

For more consumer advice, check out:

Tackling the Fluffiest Problem: Controlling Dog Hair in the House

Everything You Need to Know about Brushing Dog’s Teeth

An Easy Eco-friendly Dog Guide

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Written by on for Off The Leash

Article last updated on July 27, 2021

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