What’s the very best vacuum for pet hair?

Sizing up the issue of pet hair

Based on Cats Worldwide, a typical domesticated cat has 60,000 hairs per sq. inch of pores and skin on its again (and as many as 120,000 per sq. inch on its stomach). Every hair is shed two or 3 times per 12 months. Conservatively estimating typical cat has 227 sq. inches of floor space (that is a 5-by-12-inch cylinder), and utilizing the decrease of the quantity ranges above, this works out to at the least 27,240,000 shed hairs per cat per 12 months, or virtually 75,000 per day.

Even if you happen to vacuum every day, you possibly can see the issue: By the point you vacuum once more, 75,000 new hairs are coating your flooring and fabric. For those who vacuum weekly, the quantity tops half one million.


One cat, one front room, 48 hours’ accumulation of cat hair (and different schmutz), picked up by Tim Heffernan’s Dyson V7. A robotic vacuum can maintain such accumulation underneath management. Picture: Tim Heffernan

In fact not all cat breeds are alike—I shudder to think about the numbers for a Maine Coon—and I have never even tried to determine the quantity for a “typical canine.” However the elementary subject holds true: Most cats and lots of canines shed repeatedly, and few pet house owners can manually vacuum steadily sufficient to maintain up. That is why a robotic vacuum is the very best vacuum for pet hair, arms down.

Robotic vacuums vs. pet hair: Actual-world Wirecutter evaluations

Testing is central at Wirecutter, and we have examined greater than two dozen robotic vacuums over time. However real-world expertise with robovacs is simply as necessary—there is no substitute for the observations gained over months of use. So I requested Wirecutter staffers who personal each a robotic vacuum and a pet to inform me about their experiences.

Three frequent themes emerged. First, everybody sees a transparent, constructive distinction in pet-hair issues once they run their robovac often—which for most individuals means each few days, not continuously. Second, everybody additionally retains a handbook vacuum round for harder jobs and occasional deep cleansing. Robotic vacuums are nice at regular, mild cleansing, however they are not an alternative to the sheer suction energy of corded or cordless, particularly on pile rugs and carpet. Third, robotic vacuums aren’t the autonomous androids of sci-fi movie; you continue to want to assist them by protecting energy cords and stray objects out of their method. However as soon as you have completed that, they’re largely carefree.

Here is what Wirecutter people needed to say:

Alex Arpaia, workers author:

We acquired the Roomba particularly as a result of we all the time had cat fur on the rug, and it has been nice at fixing the issue. Earlier than the Roomba we vacuumed as soon as every week; we run the Roomba two to a few instances every week and there’s a clear distinction when it runs. With out the Roomba, there are clumps of cat hair throughout our principal space rug, however when the Roomba is operating often it all the time appears prefer it’s been freshly cleaned. It is also useful for selecting up errant litter.

The great factor with the Roomba is you do not want to consider it. It by no means will get to the purpose of, “Oh man, the ground appears gross, perhaps I ought to vacuum.”

For some time it was going day by day, however that acquired to be method an excessive amount of. It is simply grating to work at home and must take heed to the Roomba banging round each single day, even when I shut the door. The Roomba is not all the time good and generally it will get caught. When it was operating day by day it was simply too annoying to fret if it was screwing up on a regular basis, since you additionally must do issues like make certain your flooring are clear—no errant cords, and so on. It is all minor stuff, and after a couple of instances of that taking place you study to ensure issues are away earlier than the Roomba runs.

Jacqui Cheng, former editor-in-chief:

I’ve a Roomba that’s programmable, however I have been gradual to really program it, so we run it manually about as soon as every week. (If I acquired round to programming it, I’d most likely have it go as soon as day in the midst of the day or one thing.)

Even simply operating it one time every week does have a noticeable impact on the extent of hair and dirt. We are able to inform not solely due to our allergy ranges, however as a result of we are able to bodily see the distinction.

My husband does normally comply with up with the Dyson V7 on the principle rug in the lounge as a result of he feels the cat hair will get actually embedded into it, and he is proper—the Dyson normally picks up much more hair from the rug, particularly, even after the Roomba has gone over it. The Roomba does a “high-quality” job on the rug however not the very best job.

However so far as the flooring go basically, it’s noticeable total. I ought to notice that our place is completely hardwood flooring, plus a couple of rugs.

James Austin, updates author:

I’ve two cats and a Eufy robovac. It positively appears to hoover pet hair, however I nonetheless must vacuum each different week or so. Plus, 9 instances out of 10, if the curler [on the robovac] is caught, it is as a result of cat hair has wrapped round it and gummed it up.

I’ll say, pairing the robovac with a battery stick vacuum (I am presently long-term-testing our price range decide, by Filth Satan) has labored very well for my small residence. I virtually by no means use my huge corded vacuum anymore.

Tony Kaye, commerce operations affiliate supervisor:

I personal the Deebot [note: our top pick] and a really sheddy Labrottie. Handles it nice, however he has a high-quality, brief coat of fur so it isn’t like selecting up a shaggy golden retriever’s fur. [I run it] each different day; I let it roam till it is full. I’ll actually use the robotic vac to focus on random fur strands round the home, and it will get it up the primary time 99 p.c of the time.

I am very impressed and I continuously get compliments on how good my flooring is—like if I take an image of him and ship it to a member of the family. Small element however it occurs loads.

Additionally price noting: I have never modified the bristles but, nor have I maintenanced it. Working straight by way of for 7 months—prime notch.

Nick Man, senior workers author:

Yoooo. Brief-hair canine. I am amazed at how a lot our robotic vacuum picks up day by day. Like, it makes me really feel actual gross once we do not vacuum, seeing how a lot comes up when the robotic runs.

Summing up

Utilizing robotic vacuum for pet hair is a low-effort and high-reward option to maintain pet hair in your house at a minimal. By vacuuming continuously—or at the least often, and extra usually than most individuals can vacuum by hand—you possibly can maintain all that continuously shed hair from piling up. And by cleansing underneath furnishings, robovacs catch lots of hair that handbook vacuums miss.

They are not good, nevertheless, they usually’re not a whole substitute for handbook vacuuming. Robovacs cannot care for themselves; once more, it’s important to assist them keep away from obstacles like energy cords. (One of many principal causes we like our decide is that it is higher at coping with sudden obstacles than some other robovac we have examined). They usually’re not as highly effective as handbook vacuums, so you may need to use a type of for infrequent deep cleansing, particularly on rugs.

You may learn all the small print of our in depth testing, in addition to in-depth discussions of the iRobot Roomba 614, Eufy RoboVac 11S, and different comparable variants in our full information to robotic vacuums.

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