The vacuum cleaners that were top dogs in our pet hair tests

Consumer Reports News: February 11, 2013 05:18 PM

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Pampered pups are prancing around New York City poised to compete in the Westminster Kennel Club's 137th Annual All Breed Dog Show. Last year a perky little Pekingese named Malachy won Best in Show. Sure, the little furball was handsome but as anyone who has a long-haired dog knows, he likely leaves a trail of dog hair wherever he goes. Knowing owners of breeds like that need help, we looked for a champ among the vacuums tested by Consumer Reports and found a few top dogs.

You'd expect any vacuum cleaner with the word pet in its model name to ace our 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 S 8590 Marin, $1,000, 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 test 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 vac was very good at picking up pet hair but the Bissell Pet Hair Eraser 33A1, $35, got our poorest marks for pet hair.

At Westminster, judging of the breeds takes place today and tomorrow and the dog who earns Best in Show will be named Tuesday night. But judging vacuums at Consumer Reports continues all year long and we'll be sure to let you know the next time we name a model best in show.

Mary H.J. Farrell


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