Best Robotic Vacuums for Pet Hair

Some of these little robots pack a powerful punch

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Two cats looking at a robotic vacuum Photo: Getty Images

Picking up pieces—or piles—of your pet’s hair can be all in a day’s work for a robotic vacuum. But our tests have found that not all of these little vacs do the task well.

At Consumer Reports we test robotic vacuums from a number of brands, including Ecovacs, Eufy, iRobot, LG, Samsung, and Shark. Vacuums from iRobot Roomba dominate in our test for pet-hair pickup.

“Most iRobot Roombas have a dual brush system with all-rubber brushes,” said Alex Nasrallah, CR’s test engineer for robotic vacuums. “They don’t have bristles or nylon fibers, which typically cause hair to get stuck. With an all-rubber brush, the hair doesn’t get stuck as often.”

Roombas at the top of our ratings rule at pet-hair pickup, but you can still find models from other brands that do a great job in that test—and cost significantly less. One feature to look for? A turbo setting, which helps the robot better tackle the plushness of an area rug that might capture more hair than other floor types. 

While we’re on the topic of pets and vacuums, let’s debunk a myth that’s about as old as this category of cleaners. You may have seen videos of pets riding around on robotic vacuums. As funny as that might seem, it’s not wise to place your furry pals on top of your vac as the machine goes about its routine.

Nasrallah says you might be covering the sensor, which can cause the robot to navigate poorly. It might also trigger an error if there is—ahem—too much weight on top of the vac.

Below we cover five of the best pet-hair-devouring robotic vacuum cleaners from our tests. They’re from Eufy, Roomba, and Samsung, and they’re listed in alphabetical order. All of them come with a turbo setting or booster mode, which we find factors into how well a vacuum picks up an ounce of pet hair on a medium-pile carpet.

For complete test results and even more options, see our robotic vacuum ratings. You can also check out our vacuum buying guide to compare the different types of vacuums.

CR’s take: Designated a CR Best Buy, the Eufy is one of the lower-priced vacuums in our ratings and earns a Very Good for pet-hair pick-up. This vacuum comes doesn’t have an all-rubber brush roll and instead has a mix of bristles and rubber. There’s an added comb tool to help remove pet hair from the roll itself. (All-rubber brush rolls tend to be easier to clean and don’t get pet hair tangled as easily.)

CR’s take: The dual counter-rotating rubber rollers helped this Roomba 960 pick up debris in CR tests on a variety of floor surfaces. This model is also good when it comes to picking up pet hair, though it may not do so as quickly as the other iRobot models here. But it boasts a number of other features that make it worth considering for the price. After a second or third pass, the Roomba 960 picked up the pet hair in our tests, though the hair was stuck between the brush roll and the bin. 

CR’s take: The I3+ iRobot Roomba (and the similar i3) earn an Excellent rating in our pet-hair tests, thanks in part to their rubber brush rolls. It’s one of the bigger models on this list and took on electrical power cords with ease. One downside: You have to purchase replacement vacuum bags for the base.

CR’s take: The IRobot Roomba S9+ features an easily removable rubber brush roll that moves in a counter-rotating motion. That helps the vac earn an Excellent rating for its ability to pick up pet hair on a medium-pile carpet. This vac also earns an Excellent rating in our bare-floor and navigation tests. It picks up pet hair easily and doesn’t cause any problems with the brush roll.

CR’s take: The Samsung POWERbot R7040 earns a Very Good rating for pet hair. It also gets top marks in our tests for carpet and bare-floor cleaning. This model had some difficulty placing hair in the bin, but the brush roll was easy to remove for manual cleaning. That being said, it’s not as effective as the others above when it comes to picking up pet hair. But there’s a compelling plus: It has a shutter that extends down to capture dirt when approaching walls, which is different from most robot vacuums that feature traditional side brushes, and that helps it grab dirt from tight spots.

Anthony Medina Intern

Anthony Medina

I'm a multimedia journalist working toward a master's degree at the City University of New York's Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism. I've written spot news, features, and profiles for online and hyperlocal publications, covering neighborhoods across New York City. I'm always finding new ways to tell stories through photos, videos, and online resources.