Welcome to our competition to see which is the best vacuum cleaner for pet hair and pet owners in general. We put these vacuums through about 16 tests on things that are important for pet owners, like pet hair pickup, deep cleaning, and filtration, and gave them scores based on the results.
First, a little about our competitors and why I chose them:
– We have the Kenmore Elite which we chose because of its really high rating on Consumer Reports.
– The Sebo Felix 1 which is the most expensive vacuum in this competition.
– The darling of many vacuum enthusiasts, the Sharp Rotator True Pet which shows up on many lists of best vacuums for pets.
– The Bissell Pet Hair Eraser which Bissell says they engineered for homes with pets and has a special brush that resists pet hair tangles.
– Of all the Shark DuoCleans, we chose the new Shark APEX Zero M because it’s currently the only Shark DuoClean with Zero M technology, which like the Bissell, prevents pet hair tangles on the brush.
– And finally, we have two Dysons: the Dyson Multifloor 2 and the Dyson V10 Absolute cordless vacuum, which has won our best cordless vacuum competition and is the only cordless vacuum that cleans good enough and has a long enough battery life to compete at this level.
So let’s start with the power. Here we measured suction as well as airflow at the hose and at the cleaner head. We then added the numbers and found that the Kenmore Elite is leading with pretty much a three-way tie for second place.
With pick up tests, we tested all types of debris from fine debris, like sand, to medium and even extra-large debris, but with an emphasis on pet hair pick up on both hard floors and carpet. Here the big winners were the Shark APEX and the Dyson V10 Absolute in part because of their amazing hard floor performance with their soft rollers, but the APEX is basically unparalleled with both hard floor and carpet pick up.
Some quick points on the losers in this area. The Dyson Multifloor 2 was not good at all on hard floors with pet hair or other debris and the Bissell was only decent with pickup and it also has a pretty major blind spot due to the belt being near the middle of the roller.
The carpet deep clean test where we rub sand deep into the carpet is done on a pretty thick medium pile carpet. So it’s actually two tests in one. When we tested cordless vacuums, the V10 was the only one to get a perfect 100 in this test, and I rubbed the sand even deeper in this test, but even so there were four perfect scores, with the APEX getting 98, Sebo Felix and Kenmore were the only ones with a slightly lower score here at 92 and 90 respectively.
As far as thick carpet performance, the main loser was the Dyson Multifloor 2 which was incredibly difficult to push on thicker carpets and it stalled out several times. The Shark True Pet also stalled out a few times on thick carpets, but at least with the Shark it has a switch which reduces the suction for thick carpets and when we tested it with its thick carpet settings selected, it ran perfectly. All the others passed this test with no issues so here are the results for these two tests.
Two other tests that are important for pet owners is the filtration and the attachment set. With the filtration, the Kenmore Elite, Shark APEX, Dyson V10, and Shark True Pet all had sealed systems with HEPA filters and passed our test with a perfect score. The Sebo and Bissell have sealed systems but not HEPA filters, and the Dyson uprights have never really done well with this test presumably because of a bad design around the seal of the HEPA filter so here are the filtration results.
With the attachments, the Shark True Pet NV752 and the Dyson V10 came out on top with among other useful tools for pet owners, they have a really cool motorized brush included in the base model. They work well on upholstery or stairs. The APEX has one of these motorized tools available as an optional upgrade but doesn’t come with a base model.
Some of the others come with similar tools only suction powered instead of independent motors, like the Bissell and the Kenmore, though the Kenmore tool was really prone to clogs, and like the APEX, the Dyson Multifloor 2 base package has an optional suction based tool sold separately.
With the weight, ease-of-use, and maneuverability tests, vacuums like the Kenmore Elite lost big as its incredibly heavy and not maneuverable at all. The Bissell also lost ground here for being just plain hard to use. The Sharks picked up points here for having the lift away mode for suction based tasks and the powered lift away mode for lightweight vacuuming and getting under hard-to-reach places. The V10 also got a lot of points here for being both maneuverable and very lightweight.
We also found that the anti-tangle technology of the Shark APEX Zero M and the Bissell Pet Hair Eraser really did work. They didn’t get any pet hair wrapped around the brush roll during all of our tests and they got 30 points each for this really helpful feature.
There were many other things we factored in, like crevice pickup test, cord length, and of course, the current list prices where they all got points inversely proportional to their costs. We added it all up and here are the results. The Shark APEX Zero M with DuoClean won with the Shark True Pet and the Dyson V10 Absolute coming in right behind it.