You'd expect any vacuum cleaner with the word pet in its model name to ace Consumer Reports' tough pet fur test in which cat hair is embedded into carpet piles. And most of the pet vacuums in our current Ratings did just that. Unfortunately, some of those that excelled at pet hair removal were lackluster at other tasks. In fact, only one of the full-size pet vacuums made our recommended list, the bagged upright Hoover WindTunnel T-Series Pet UH30310, $150. It was excellent at pet hair removal and cleaning bare floors and very good at cleaning carpet.
If you want an all-around top performer, don't be swayed by pet hair names and claims. The Miele Complete C3 Marin, $1,100, and the Kenmore Progressive 21714, $400, are at the top of our list of canister vacuums and both are excellent at pet hair removal. Our top upright, the Kenmore Elite 31150, $350, was very good on that task but two of its brandmates, the Kenmore 31140 and the Kenmore Progressive 31069, aced it. They both cost $200 and are CR Best Buys.
Of the pet models we tested, we found eight that were excellent at pet hair removal but had subpar performance on other tasks. Unfortunately, we also found some real dogs among the pet models. The canister Dyson Cinetic Animal, $550, was only fair at removing pet hair and was also mediocre at cleaning carpet although it did well on the bare floors test. The canister Dyson Ball Compact Animal, $450, scored only 34 out of a possible 100, but did a decent job at picking up pet hair.
Two hand vacuums in our tests also make pet hair claims. The Shark Pet Perfect II SV780, $60, our top hand vacuum was very good at picking up pet hair but the Bissell Pet Hair Eraser 33A1, $35, got our poorest marks for pet hair.
Judging vacuums at Consumer Reports continues all year long and we're always looking for a champ among the vacuums we test. Luckily, we usually discover a few top dogs. To see how other vacuums fared see our full vacuum Ratings and recommendations.