Need a great upright vacuum to clean up after your pets? Want the best vacuum for handling pet hair? Pet hair, dander, fur, skin and feathers are a constant source of dust, dirt and allergens and challenge to clean. To most effectively clean your home, you're going to need super strong suction to remove your pets' shedding. Here are five of the best upright vacuum cleaners that I found that specialize in pet hair.
(If you are looking for a powerful handheld vacuum, here's our recommendations for the Best Hand-Held Vacuum Cleaners For Pet Hair Suction.)
WHICH UPRIGHT WILL WORK FOR ME?
Whether you need to clean deep carpets, tight stairs or delicate bare wood floors, these powerful pet vacuums are all excellent machines but they have different features that are appealing to different customers as I have tried to detail below. Arbitrarily, they are arranged from most expensive to least expensive.
In choosing a vacuum cleaner, you need to choose how much suction power and features you want vs. ease of use and weight of machine. All of the machines here have been chosen for having the best cleaning ability for the type of machine they are, but a lightweight stick is not going to have the power of a hefty and heavy machine. If you have a lot of carpet or deep pile rugs, you will need more suction power than if you have uncarpeted floors. If you have lots of stairs or lots of furniture, make sure to focus on maneuverability and how easy it will be for you to use the machine in your home. If you can't decide or don't know, try the Shark Rotator (#3) below.
The Miele Dynamic is probably one of the best vacuums you can buy for your money.
The Miele is a terrific choice for allergy sufferers This vacuum promises 99.9 percent capture of dirt, dust, and allergens that will not leak back into your house when you change the vacuum bag. Not only is the vacuum's air filter at work, but its dust bag locks instantly as it is removed from the machine.
It is smartly styled, with a thin body and an easy swivel sweeper, both essential to getting under furniture. The "SwivelNeck" sweeper glides easily along borders as they curve so you don't miss a spec as your vacuuming. It has a unique electro brush that follows the contours of your floor for consistent vacuuming of all floor types. All of the controls are on the handle so you can switch from carpet to floor smoothly. An extra-long hose helps your reach as you employ the attachments conveniently stored on the back of the vacuum body - a dusting brush, upholstery tool, and crevice nozzle.
The Miele Dynamic Dog & Cat Upright Vacuum Cleaner is a high-end vacuum with a price tag to match, but its features and its 7 year warranties on the motor and casings are unmatched.
I really like Dyson Vacuums. They are all extremely powerful.
My favorite vacuum from Dyson for pet owners is the Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Vacuum. It has ridiculously strong suction. I especially like the Cinetic Big Ball vacuum together with Dyson's Tangle Free Turbine Tool, a specialized tool for handling pet hair. What makes the Cinetic Big Ball even better than the other Dyson vacuums is that it has no filter. They improved their suction technology so that it is even better at grabbing microscopic particles and there is no filter to wash out and it never loses suction. So with no vacuum bags to change and no filter to wash, all you need to do to keep your Cinetic working well is to empty out the dust bin when it is full. I get way too much satisfaction at seeing how much junk my Dyson dust bin collects when I vacuum. Dyson offers the Cinetic Big Ball Animal (which is the Cinetic Big Ball machine and includes the Tangle Free Turbine Tool) but you may want to just get the Cinetic Big Ball Multi-floor which is the same machine in a different color and get the specialized pet brush separately since it costs less to do that.
The Cinetic Big Ball Multi Floor is the one I recommend but the other Dysons may be better for your needs.
What's the difference among the Dyson uprights? As I mentioned, the Dyson Cinetic Multi-floor Vacuum is the same vacuum as the Cinetic Big Ball Animal, in a different color and without the pet hair brush. You can just order the special pet brush with it to get it for cheaper than ordering the Cinetic Big Ball Animal.
The Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Plus Allergy is basically the same machine but with even more tools so it costs more. The Dyson Ball Animal Complete does not have the cinetic technology so it has a filter you need to wash regularly and it costs a bit less. Of course, Dyson offers a canister version which reviewers seem to love for the combined flexibility and power. You may want the Animal version as it has the tangle free turbine tool to handle pet hair but if you want to save a few dollars and you don't have a big problem with pet hair, you can get the multi-floor version or just order the pet hair tool as an add on (which is cheaper than getting the animal version). Basically, you need to decide if you want to pay more for a cinetic version which means no filter to change, and then you need to look at the tools it comes with. If it is cheaper, you may want to order any tools (like the pet brush) you want separately.
This Dyson is certified 'asthma friendly' by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. It has an extra long extension with a 'beater bar' that can easily be used to clean upholstery, pet beds, and other items where pet hair collects. Like the Miele (above), the Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal glides easily around corners and in crevices with its 'ball-technology." Note that the Dyson swivel is quite a bit higher so it does not get under cabinet and furniture overhangs as easily but their extension tool works well for those tasks. This machine also feels heavy, especially on deep pile rugs. With its strong suction, you are going to have to really push hard to move this vacuum around. But nothing else I have tried has the consistent suction power of this machine.
The Dyson is a powerful and hefty machine with a higher price tag that reflects that. If you want the convenience of a lightweight instead, look at the other vacuums reviewed below.
You can read the great overall reviews for the Dyson Cinetic Big Ball here. I personally use the cordless Dyson V6 Cordless (which is one of my favorite things in the world) for my quickie vacuuming needs and use my Cinetic Multi-Floor (which is a lot heavier) for my more thorough weekly cleanings.
Best Pet Upright Vacuum Number 3: Shark Powered Rotator Professional Lift-Away Tru-Pet Vacuum Cleaner - Model NV752
I think the Shark Powered Rotator Lift-Away Tru-Pet is one of the best all around machines for pet owners, with a nice balance of power and convenience.
The Shark Powered Rotator Tru-Pet is the vacuum I would try first if you are confused about which vacuum will work best for you.
If you want the ease of using a canister vacuum but wish it had the power of an upright, the Powered Rotator may be the perfect vacuum. The Powered Rotator is the transformer of vacuum cleaners and with it's wonderfully flexible design, it can clean your whole house easily. You can use the vacuum in three basic ways: 1) use it as an upright vacuum, 2) pull off the canister and you have a canister vacuum with the power of an upright but the thinness of a stick vacuum and 3) if you need the flexibility of a simple hose, just lift out the detachable wand (i.e. the Lift-away) and reach those difficult to clean spots easily.
The Powered Rotator is not just convenient, it is also has great suction power. While I don't think it has the power of the Dyson, it is powerful enough for almost anything. It lifts almost every bit of pet hair, dust, and dirt from your carpet and seals it up with its Anti-Allergen Complete Seal Technology. The vacuum includes a bunch of tools, including one for dusting bare floors with microfiber pads. It also has a stretch hose, crevice tool, and a premium motorized pet hair power brush.
Shark has lots of great vacuums. So what is the difference between them?
Shark has a Powered version and a less expensive Professional version of the Rotator vacuum. The Powered version comes with a motorized head for the main brush as well as a great mini motorized tool with the Tru-pet brush. So rather than just having a brush with suction with the Professional version, you get a motorized brush with suction with the Powered version. For folks with lots of pet hair to clean up, the Powered version simply works better.
The Rotator version is similar to the much cheaper Shark Navigator which also gets rave reviews. I prefer the Rotator since it has a led headlight to make things easier to see, it has great swivel steering, and a bunch of other upgrades. I also think it has a lot more suction power. But if you need a cheaper machine and can live without the additional features, the Shark Navigator is an excellent basic vacuum.
Customers caution that the first time you vacuum with the Shark Rotator Lift-Away you will be in shock at the amount of pet hairs, dust, and actual dirt you find in the dust cup. Customers keep giving the Shark Rotator Lift-Away Vacuum Cleaner rave reviews for cleaning power and flexibility and I highly recommend this machine for pet owners.
If you are looking for a vacuum that is super light and super powerful, the Shark Rocket Tru-Pet Vacuum may be the perfect vacuum for you. The Shark Rocket is an ultra-light vacuum weighing in at less than 8 pounds with all the power of a traditional upright vacuum. It cleans bare floors beautifully (even those with uneven tiles) and for carpets it has a TruePet Motorized Brush especially designed for catching pet hairs and pet dander.
Being so lightweight and having a quick release foot pedal and wand, the Shark Rocket offers many of the benefits of a hand-held vacuum but with the serious power of an upright. It has a motorized hand tool that pivots and bends like one of those fancy men's razors to cover curves in your furnishings or your stairs. It comes with a large sized removable canister that collects all the dust and debris so that you can toss the mess out easily after after vacuuming. The Shark Rocket Tru-Pet Vacuum gets excellent reviews from folks who have bought and tried it. If you need something light and easy, this is the choice for you.
Of course, there's a Hoover among the top five pet vacuums, but this particular Hoover Linx is a sleek, modern Hoover that's light weight (10.5 pounds) and cordless! The Hoover Linx Cordless Stick Vacuum operates on an 18 volt lithium ion battery, a feature that has a two-year warranty. (Don't store the battery in the charger!) And one of the neatest features of the Linx is that it has a battery power reader so that you know when it's getting low.
Pet owners are so pleased with the Linx. They love the way it handles, with great maneuverability (swivel base), the low profile base (making it easy to get under furniture), the brush rollers on the sides of the base, the flip button handle switch from carpet to floor, and mostly, the wind tunnel suction so great for sucking up pet hairs. Oh, did I mention, the Hoover Linx Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner is also bagless? This is a great machine if you have mostly uncarpeted floors or you need something for quick cleaning. (If you are going to use the vacuum mostly for hardwood floors, I'd consider the Bissell PowerEdge as I think it does a nicer job on hardwood floors.)
So do you agree with my picks for the best upright vacuum cleaners for pet hair and homes with cats and dogs? Do you own any of the vacuums I have mentioned in this article? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments below.
Reducing Pet Hair Tip: I recently tried the Magic Pro Deshedding Tool for Dog Hair. It is making a noticeable difference in the amount of dog hair I'm finding flying around the house. So you may want to check it out and see if it works for you. I've tried lots of deshedding tools and I think this one is really good.
If you use one of these vacuums AND the deshedding tool, your floors will be clean enough for your dogs to want to sprawl all over it like this little cutie.
Image: Via reddit.
That's the buzz for today!
Originally published on November 2012 and updated frequently. Last updated December 2016.