Last updated: 19 November 2018
Dogs may well be a man’s best friend, but they’re a thorn in the side when it comes to cleaning. Dogs and cats naturally shed old hair – some twice yearly, some all the time. If you’re the owner of a high-shedding pet, a good vacuum cleaner is a must.
When pet hair is trodden into carpets or rugs it can be particularly hard to get out, as it tangles in the carpet fibres. Cosy sofas and the dark corners of your stairs can be fluff magnets, too.
The right vacuum cleaner can make whisking away pet hair a quick and easy task. But we’ve tested some that find fur and fluff a real trial, struggling to pick it up and leaving you going over the same spot repeatedly.
See which vacuum cleaners we recommend in our round-up of the best vacuum cleaners.
Good vacuum cleaners for pet owners
Some vacuum cleaners are specially designed for shifting stubborn clumps of fur. The right tool can make picking up fluff quick and easy, while a cumbersome design can make it harder to reach tangled tufts.
There are plenty of vacuums around with features designed to tempt frustrated pet owners. Dyson claims that its tangle-free mini turbo tool will pick up hair without getting clogged up, thanks to its soft rubber nodule design. Other vacuums have easily removable brush bars for quicker detangling.
However, we’ve found all-rounder vacuum cleaners that have trumped the specialist pet models in our tests. So if you want the best possible clean, a pet vacuum may not be the right choice.
Find out how the latest pet vacuum cleaners compare with everyday vacuums in our vacuum cleaner reviews.
Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal – the ultimate pet solution?
We’ve tested the latest Dyson cylinder vacuum cleaners – the Cinetic Big Ball Musclehead and Big Ball Animal. Both cost around £420. They offer hi-tech features, such as a self-righting body that can withstand sharp corners, and cyclone technology that eliminates the need for separate filters. This means you won’t need to wash or replace them to maintain performance.
The new models also feature Dyson’s ‘hygienic dirt ejector’, also found on the Dyson V8 cordless range. This is a rubber sleeve inside the dust container that pushes dirt out when you empty it. If pet fluff routinely clogs your bagless vacuum, this feature could be handy.
The Animal version comes with a mini turbo tool and a turbo floor tool – the standard pet vacuum accessories. Our tests have shown that turbo floor tools aren’t always the best option for pet owners, though, so check our Dyson vacuum cleaner reviews to find out if the Animal lives up to its name.
Choosing a pet vacuum
Here are a few key things to consider before you buy a new vacuum cleaner, if you’ve got pets at home:
- Upright, cylinder or cordless? Cylinder vacuum cleaners are useful for stairs and hard-to-reach places, but some struggle with pet hair – so be sure to do your research. Uprights cover large areas of floor more easily, but the brush bar in the floorhead can get tangled easily. If you want to keep on top of pet hair, a cordless vacuum might make quick clear-ups more easy, especially if you opt for one that converts into a handheld vac.
- Maintenance – bagged vacs can mean less contact with dust and pet dander, but you’ll have to shoulder the ongoing cost of replacement bags. Washable or lifetime filters can cut down these costs.
- Extra tools Some vacs come with extra nozzles and tools, including specialist ones for pet hair. Mini turbo tools with a rotating brush bar can be useful for picking up fluff in places where you can’t use the main floorhead, such as sofas or stairs.
Vacuum cleaner reviews for 2017
We’ve just put a new crop of vacuum cleaners through our tough lab tests. You can click on the individual links below to get straight to the latest pet vac reviews:
- Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal – £419
- Shark Rocket True Pet HV320UKT – £150
- Thomas Aqua+ Pet & Family – £284
- Vax Air Pet U87 MA-PE – £105
To see all our reviews, including seven cheap vacuum cleaners which cost less than £100, head to our vacuum cleaner reviews.
Prices correct as of 3 March 2017.