Upright, canister, hand and stick vacuum cleaners that effectively collect the fur left by your pet.
As far as we know, there is no such thing as a vacuum cleaner called the Golden Retriever Fur Reliever, but there are many vacuums that are sold with fuzzy claims and “pet” in the model name. But do they work?
Well, some are generally reliable vacuums, but others are good at picking up pet hair and little else. To test such claims, Consumer Reports devised a very difficult pet hair test for full-size canister and upright vacuums.
Technicians first take 5 grams of long, feathery hair from Maine Coon cats and spread, stomp, and squish the medium-hair rug. Then they do several passes with the test vacuum to see how much hair it picks up. Vacuums with an Excellent rating collect all fur in a bag or container. Average vacuums leave visible patches or fur gets tangled in weeds.
We also tested smaller vacuums, such as stick and handheld models, to collect pet hair. But because we don’t expect them to achieve the deep cleaning of a full-size vacuum, we used half the cat hair for the vacuum test. And with handheld vacuums, we use even less. In other words, we designed our tests to challenge the cleaning capabilities of every type of vacuum we rate.
“Generally, a vacuum that performs well in our carpet and bare floor tests will also perform quite well in our pet hair test,” says Susan Booth, who oversees our vacuum tests. “We do see some exceptions though, so if you have a pet that sheds a lot, look for models that get our highest score on that test.”
Our testers have another tip for pet owners: Consider a bagged vacuum rather than a bagless model, because every time you empty a bagless container, the fur can fly.
Listed alphabetically by type below are some of the best in the pet hair show from our upright, canister, stick and handheld vacuum tests; they all get an Excellent grade on that test. We do not score robotic vacuums on a specific pet hair test. For more options, check out our full vacuum ratings and recommendations.
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