As far as we know there’s no vacuum called the Golden Retriever Fur Reliever, but there are a lot of vacuums that make fuzzy claims and use “pet” in the model name. Do they work?

Well, some are capable vacuums overall, but others are good at pet-hair pickup and little else. To test such claims, CR devised a very tough pet-hair test.

First, we take long, feathery fur from Maine coon cats and strew, stomp, and smash it into medium-pile carpet. Then we make multiple passes with the test vacuum to see how much of the hair it picks up. Vacuums that score Excellent on this test keep the fur from flying. Average vacs leave behind visible patches or fur becomes tangled in the brush. Here are some of the champs in our tests:

Uprights. The Miele Dynamic U1 Twist and Miele Dynamic U1 Cat & Dog top the list, but many others are also excellent.

Canisters. The Miele Complete C3 Marin makes no pet-hair claims but edged out the Kenmore Elite Pet Friendly CrossOver 21814.

Stick vacuums. Every Shark and Dyson in our tests got excellent marks for light pet hair.

Handheld. Our top handheld, the Shark Pet Perfect II SV780, is good but not great.

Pet Peeve
Our testers have another tip for pet owners: Consider a bagged vacuum over a bagless model, because every time you empty a bagless bin, pet hairs go flying. For more choices see our full vacuum ratings and recommendations.