The 6 Best Robot Vacuums for Pet Hair of 2023, Tested and Reviewed


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Jul 03, 2023

The 6 Best Robot Vacuums for Pet Hair of 2023, Tested and Reviewed

Pet hair cleanup is a breeze with these powerful and effective units. Kat is a writer, editor, author, and mother based in the UK. Jump to a Section We independently evaluate all recommended products

Pet hair cleanup is a breeze with these powerful and effective units.

Kat is a writer, editor, author, and mother based in the UK.

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Real Simple / Henry Wortock

While the average household can get away with skipping daily vacuuming, those with pets know that vacuuming the house each day—sometimes multiple times—is a must. We love our furry friends, but the hair they leave everywhere, especially in shedding season (which, for some, is all year round) is a nightmare, to say the least. To give yourself (and your back) a bit of a break, and enjoy your four-legged friends without thinking, “I must get up and vacuum!” every hour, invest in a robot vacuum that can handle pet hair.

“[Robot vacuums] can automate the cleaning process, especially in between regular manual vacuuming sessions, and help keep pet hair under control,” says Dr. Gráinne Cunniffe, the Science Lead at Allergy Standards Limited (ASL).

We tested 49 robot vacs to find the best heavy duty options for sucking up pet hair. During testing, we thoroughly worked each robot vacuum on various surfaces over a number of months, evaluating each unit’s efficacy on different types of pet hair, as well as its ease of use, setup, cleaning, and storage. We considered an array of factors such as suction power, filtration system, battery life, helpful features, and value for money.

In addition to Dr. Cunniffe, we also talked to Jessica Samson, a Cleaning Expert at The Maids, for expert advice on what to look for when shopping for pet hair-eliminating robot vacuums.


It effortlessly and swiftly maneuvers around furniture and obstacles, and can remember your home’s layout in one session.

There are no power or speed settings, and it doesn’t come with attachments.

We loved the iRobot Roomba j7+ for, among other things, how easy it was to set up. The intuitive iRobot app was a breeze to connect to and understand (it guides you through the process in simple steps after you connect it to Wi-Fi), and it automatically detected the vacuum. The robot was able to learn floor plans with very little adjusting, and it efficiently detected obstacles. Plus, you can even select if obstacles are temporary or permanent in the app. It even shows photos of obstacles encountered during the cleaning run.

This vacuum was very effective at picking up pet hair on both hardwood floors, carpets, and rugs, and transitioned seamlessly from one to the other without any issues. The suction worked impressively well, and the edge-sweeping brush helped clean cat hair and debris along the walls, baseboards, and in tighter areas. It gets under couches and beds, and can even navigate around the legs of a kitchen table. It’s a fairly quiet machine, but the super-handy scheduling capabilities allow you to set it to run in rooms at certain times if you’d rather avoid the noise. While there are no attachments, it does come with an extra filter, dustbin bag, and replacement edge-sweeping brush.

This self-emptying unit empties itself into the enclosed bag system in only a few seconds (although this part is louder than when it’s actually running), and when it’s emptied, the robot will resume cleaning where it left off. It’s a lightweight unit, although you don’t really have to pick it up often. The vacuum fully charges in around two hours and will lightly ding to let you know it’s ready for more work. One charge lasts about 75 minutes. While it’s one of the more expensive robot vacuums, this high-quality and extremely efficient unit is certainly a worthwhile investment.

Price at time of publish: $800

Dimensions: 13.3 x 3.4 inches | Dustbin Capacity: 400 mL | Battery Life: 75 minutes | HEPA Filter: No | Smart Home Connectivity: Yes

Real Simple / Niky Cross Taylor

Real Simple / Niky Cross Taylor


It’s quiet, effective, has a remote control, and is great for those who want to turn on the machine and go without having to sync it to an app.

It’s not the best for getting into corners, and you have to make sure no cables are hanging around.

The ILIFE V3s Pro is great at sucking up dog hair, even under the bed where it's hard to reach with a traditional vacuum. We tested it in an apartment with both hardwood and carpet that’s home to a heavy-shedding dog and plenty of foster pets. After thoroughly reading the manual, its simple setup took only four minutes. The unit did a stellar job of vacuuming bare floors, although it struggled to get some cereal that was stuck in a corner. However, it transitioned from hardwood to carpet well (hesitating slightly over the floor divider, but finally getting it in the end), and was quiet at around 64 decibels.

Cleaning the vacuum consisted of dumping the debris box, and was just as straightforward as the setup—minimal effort needed. The robot impressively maneuvered around the house, and was able to find its way without issues. It might not have as many high-tech features as some of the other models on our list, but that’s understandable given its lower price. It still has a clever design, and managed to clean some debris that was half-way under a rug. It even came back to pick up some dirt it had left behind. Not much monitoring is needed either, especially if you don’t have too many obstacles, but you do have to make sure no cables are dangling because it will likely suck them up.

Unlike some other robot vacs, this model doesn’t have an app. This can be either a good thing and a bad thing, depending on your needs. For those who want a straightforward, affordable, and effective unit that you just charge and turn on, this is the perfect option. Those who want something more high-tech with extra features might want to opt for a smart unit instead. This unit does, however, have a remote control, which we felt was super convenient. All in all, this is a nice little machine at a great price that leaves floors looking shiny and mopped (even though it doesn’t have a mopping feature) after each clean.

Price at time of publish: $160

Dimensions: 11.8 x 3 inches | Dustbin Capacity: 300 mL | Battery Life: 90-100 minutes | HEPA Filter: No | Smart Home Connectivity: No

Real Simple / Henry Wortock

Real Simple / Henry Wortock


It has the largest dustbin capacity on our list.

It can sometimes struggle to find its docking station.

The smart Neato D9 easily pairs with its app via Bluetooth, and then connects to the Wi-Fi so you can control it from the app at any time. The app was one of the most intuitive we’ve come across; when you're ready to run the vacuum, simply press the “play” button. You can even schedule it to run when you’re away from home and monitor its progress from your phone. Once on, it takes a few seconds to check its surroundings, and then away it goes. Each time it cleans it saves a map of your space, and you can set “no-go” zones to keep it away from certain areas. Loose objects or dangling cords need to be picked up, but other than that, it works its way around the house, dodging obstacles and cleaning like a champ.

The almost entirely carpeted 850-square-foot apartment we tested this vac on is home to two cats and an owner with seasonal allergies who reported an improvement in symptoms after using this powerful little unit. The vac has a strong and wide brush roll that does an excellent job at picking up dust and hair, and even some embedded cat litter from the carpet. It's slim enough to get under furniture, and even goes over rugs and bath mats without getting stuck. Even though it ran daily, we were surprised to see just how much cat hair, dust, and debris it would pick up from the floors every time. The chamber is very easy to empty after each use—although it’s not self-emptying, so when you empty it some of the dust and debris can waft back into the air.

Once the machine is done, it returns to its docking station; at first, however, the vacuum struggled to find its docking station and we’d have to manually return it. It also got stuck a few times in small spaces and would require manual repositioning, but after learning where it got stuck, we made sure to keep its path clean. The machine seemed to get smarter and more adept at cleaning the space the more we used it, getting better at knowing its surroundings and returning to its charging station without help. After 50 minutes of vacuuming the entire apartment, it still had about 75 percent of battery life remaining, meaning it’s suitable for much larger apartments, too.

Price at time of publish: $500

Dimensions: 13 x 14 x 4 inches | Dustbin Capacity: 700 mL | Battery Life: Up to 200 minutes | HEPA Filter: No | Smart Home Connectivity: Yes

Real Simple / Henry Wortock

Real Simple / Henry Wortock

Real Simple / Henry Wortock


It’s the only robot on our list that comes with a HEPA filter.

It’s not great at obstacle avoidance, and is a little on the loud side.

While it may seem like carpets get dirtier more quickly than hardwood floors, smooth surfaces are magnets for dust. The Shark AI Ultra picks up almost anything from hard floors just as well as it does on carpets, although you’ll have to go over the corners and edges after it’s done as it’s not as adept at getting into those. We tested it in a house with two cats and kids, and it proved very effective at picking up cat hair from both area rugs and hardwood floors without getting stuck anywhere, apart from on a large wrinkle in the rug.

With straightforward setup and W-iFi connectivity, this machine impressed us with the way it sucked up everything within reach, and how it transitioned between different floor types. We did, however, have to make sure the floor was clear from obstacles because it didn’t seem to avoid objects like socks or USB cords. On the plus side, not only does this machine vacuum, but it also mops the floors. The mop function did a thorough job of detecting sticky areas before cleaning them, and also sucked up spills, leaving no residue behind. The floor was only left a little sticky when we spilled a ton of syrup on it, but we can give the machine some slack in this instance.

Whenever we used this robot vacuum, the floor looked shiny and new. The bin is very easy to empty, and it clicks back in effortlessly. The vacuum also alerts you when the battery level is low, or if a brush needs to be changed. The app allows the vacuum to map out your entire living area, and you can add zones that are off limits. You can also schedule or control the unit with the app. The noise level isn’t exactly low, but it’s much quieter than most stand-up vacuums.

Price at time of publish: $200

Dimensions: 13.52 x 3.48 inches | Dustbin Capacity: 416 mL | Battery Life: 90 minutes | HEPA Filter: Yes | Smart Home Connectivity: Yes

Real Simple / Henry Wortock


It’s quiet, super powerful, has excellent obstacle avoidance, and empties itself.

The air freshener isn’t already installed as stated in the instructions, but this is easy enough to do.

The Ecovacs T9+ allows you to clean your floors every day without ever lifting a finger. You can even work it when you’re not at home. After each cleaning session, this machine empties itself, providing a truly hands-free experience. While it’s more expensive than other units, we found that it’s well worth the investment thanks to its clever sensors, quiet operation, and strong suction. We tested this vac in a home with hardwood and tile floors, that’s home to a fluffy, shedding dog. It worked equally well when picking up pet hair, dust, and dirt that was inadvertently brought in from outside.

Setup only took around six minutes (the instructions say that the air freshener is pre-installed, but we had to install this ourselves), and syncing the robot to the app was simple to do. After pairing the vacuum, you conduct the initial smart cleaning for the machine to map the interior of the house—a process which took the unit two hours. After each clean, the dust bag was full of everything from pet hair, dust, crumbs, hair ties, bobby pins, and even some screws and cut-up zip ties from a recent renovation. It did a fantastic job of keeping the house hair-free, and we even noticed less pet hair on our socks.

The app allows you to conveniently set up specific cleaning periods, i.e., every day, once a week, during the workweek, on weekends, etc.). Its TrueDetect 3D technology enables the vac to sense and stay away from objects and furniture without bumping into them. It would even reroute when the dog was laying in its direct path. One of the most impressive things about this unit is how quiet it is—so quiet, we could hardly hear it when it was in another room, and even the dog remained unfazed when the vac approached. It mopped well, too, and the disposable mopping pads are a nice addition. They might not be as eco-friendly as reusables, but they sure are quick and convenient.

Price at time of publish: $800

Dimensions: 13.9 x 3.7 inches | Dustbin Capacity: 420 mL | Battery Life: 175 minutes | HEPA Filter: No | Smart Home Connectivity: Yes


It’s truly hands-off, and won’t accidentally mop carpet.

You can’t add detergent to the water container for mopping.

Once you’ve tried out a robot vacuum and mop combo, there’s pretty much no going back. If it can sweep and mop simultaneously like the Ecovacs Deebot N8 Pro+, it’s game over! After we set up this robot, it promptly scanned the perimeter of the room before working methodically around furniture. There’s a quick-start guide which was easy to follow, but if you want the full manual, you have to find it online. The home we tested it in has two cats and a dog, and all pet hair, debris, and kitty litter was promptly and efficiently removed from every inch of the floor with each cleaning session in a timely manner.

It effortlessly transitioned from the hardwood to the rug and cleaned it with ease—no visible mess remaining. It swiftly moved around the room, including around chairs and under the couch. It did, however, get stuck on the cords and took them with it. This was an easy fix, however. The sensor on the front of the device allows it to detect objects in its way so that it doesn't get stuck. It also returns back to its docking station once cleaning is complete, and empties any dust/dirt into a built-in vacuum bag. At around 68 decibels, the vacuum is quiet during operation, although much louder when it’s self-emptying (thankfully this doesn’t last long).

The mop feature was just as effective and cleaned most of the wet messes with only very little residue left on the floor. After testing it on syrup, the brushes did stay sticky and had to be manually cleaned. When in mopping mode, the vacuum will only release water when on a hard surface, meaning your carpets will never accidentally get soaked. You can only add water in the water compartment for mopping as adding a floor detergent can clog up the tubing (the ability to add a nice-smelling floor cleaner would have been nice). We also love that you can set it to work when you’re away so you come home to a clean house every day.

Price at time of publish: $700

Dimensions: 13.9 x 3.7 inches | Dustbin Capacity: 420 mL | Battery Life: 110 minutes | HEPA Filter: No | Smart Home Connectivity: Yes

Real Simple / Henry Wortock

If you’re after the best robot vacuum for pet hair on the market, you can’t go wrong with the iRobot Roomba j7+ Self-Emptying Robot Vacuum. As our overall best pick, this powerful machine is easy and quick to set up, maps your home during its first ever clean, and detects and avoids obstacles. It works on all floors and can even get into the corners and tight spaces. It’s quiet, empties itself, and only takes two hours to fully charge, providing 75 minutes of go time with each charge.

Over a period of at least six months, we tested 49 robot vacuums. Included were vacuum-mop combos and self-emptying models, as well as traditional robot vacuums. We evaluated the machines on their performance, efficiency, design, size, and battery power. Each robot vacuum was tested on hardwood and other hard floors, like tile and vinyl, and also on carpets and rugs. If the vacuum had a mopping function, we tested its effectiveness on the relevant flooring.

We closely read and followed each unit’s setup instructions to determine how understandable they were, how easy setup was, and how long it took. We also took into account each vacuum’s noise level, measuring this with a decibel meter, and its special features, putting each one carefully to the test multiple times. We evaluated how easy each robot vacuum was to maneuver, empty, clean, and maintain. If a unit had smart features, we set these up, and paid attention to how easy or challenging the process was. We also kept an eye on how each unit performed over time, and whether it lost any power or diminished in quality and efficiency.

The battery life of robot vacuums can provide anywhere from one to three hours of run time. The machine’s docking station remains stationary and plugged into an outlet. As opposed to regular cordless vacuums that you have to remember to manually put on charge, the robot usually returns to its docking station for charging whenever it’s done cleaning, or whenever its battery is starting to run out, giving you one less thing to worry about.

The amount of battery you opt for in your robot vacuum depends on the size of your home and lifestyle. “Longer battery life is advantageous, especially for larger homes, as it allows the vacuum to clean for a longer duration before requiring recharging,” says Dr. Gráinne Cunniffe of Allergy Standards Limited (ASL). However, for small apartments that don’t take long to clean, you could buy a robot vacuum with a shorter battery life, which will also likely be more affordable, too.

A robot vacuum’s noise level can be anywhere from 65 to 80 decibels. Opting for a quieter model might prove a little more expensive, but it will also be less of an annoyance, and, as Dr. Cunniffe tells us, will “avoid causing stress or disturbance to pets.” The noise of a vacuum at 65 decibels can be compared to the low hum of a refrigerator, whereas an 80 decibel model will be more like city traffic.

All of the robot vacuums we tested and recommend come with a filter, but only one (the Shark AI Ultra 2-in-1 Robot Vacuum and Mop) comes with a HEPA filter. For those with pets, and particularly anyone with allergies, a highly effective filter will keep the air clean and reduce allergy symptoms.

“Prioritize vacuums with effective filtration systems and high-quality filters, such as HEPA filters, to maximize capture of allergens and minimize the spread of pet dander, and reduce their release into the air,” says Dr. Cunniffe.

Robot vacuums are quite advanced little machines, and in addition to providing a thorough cleaning of almost any type of flooring, have many extra features that can make day-to-day cleaning much easier.

“When shopping for the best robot vacuums for pet hair, consider the specific features that would be beneficial for this type of cleaning task,” says Dr. Cunniffe, before giving us a breakdown of exactly what these features are.

Robot vacuums for pet hair vary greatly in price depending on their capabilities. Models can be priced anywhere between $150 and $1,200, with machines that offer a larger capacity, more features, and a longer run time being on the more expensive end of that spectrum. “Determine a budget and find a balance between the desired features and the price range that suits your requirements,” Dr. Cunniffe advises.

Samsung Jet Bot AI+ Robot Vacuum with Object Recognition: This high-tech model picked up all objects in its path, but had a hard time transitioning to rugs. When we manually moved it onto a rug, it cleaned well and maneuvered flawlessly around furniture, avoiding socks, cables, and pet mess. The station is rather large compared to other models, and the unit is also quite pricey at over $1,000. However, if you love high-tech gadgets and can splash out, this could be a good option for you.

Ecovacs Deebot T10 Plus Robotic Vacuum and Mop: This is a super smart and efficient cleaning machine that picked up almost everything in its path, apart from a few strands of hair. It also comes with air filter pods for different scents. The only downside is that it’s a fairly expensive machine, and it takes 6.5 hours to fully charge.

“Yes, robot vacuums can effectively work on pet hair and help improve indoor air quality,” says Dr. Cunniffe. “Many models are designed with features like strong suction power, specialized brush rolls, and filtration systems to specifically tackle pet hair and dander. However, the effectiveness may vary depending on the specific model and the characteristics of the pet hair and home (e.g., length, quantity, type of surface).”

Samson adds: “If you pay up and get a nice robot vacuum it will definitely pick up pet hair. However, if you go with one of the cheaper models you might find that it has trouble picking it up.”

“I think they are,” Samson says. “They won’t pick up everything, and certainly not every pet hair on your floor, but they will make cleaning so much easier for you when you do manual deep cleaning. It will be one less thing you need to spend a lot of time on, and you can clean your home much faster if you have a robot vacuum working around the clock to clean your most frequented areas.”

Another reason robot vacuums are worth it for pet owners, according to Dr. Cunniffe, is that they can help in reducing pet dander buildup (in addition to pet hair) on floors and carpets, making maintenance cleaning more convenient. “However, it's important to choose a model that is specifically designed for handling pet hair and has the necessary features to effectively clean up after pets.”

“Robot vacuums can be a valuable addition for pet owners, but they typically cannot completely replace a regular vacuum cleaner, especially when it comes to cleaning areas that are difficult to reach for the robot vacuum,” says Cunniffe. “Robot vacuums are more suitable for regular maintenance cleaning and keeping pet hair at bay between more thorough cleanings with a traditional vacuum. Combining both types of vacuums can provide the best results for a pet-friendly household.”

Hopefully in the near future, robot vacuums will be able to do everything that a regular vacuum cleaner can do, but at the moment, as Samson informs us, normal vacuum cleaners are much more powerful. “Frankly the robot technology isn’t mind-blowing at the moment, so you will still need to vacuum your home occasionally,” she says. “But it will be a much more pleasant experience if you have a robot vacuum, too.”

This article was written by Kat de Naoum, who has over 10 years of commerce-writing experience. Kat is also the Commerce Editor-at-Large at Thomas-Xometry, the leading US online platform for supplier discovery and product sourcing. For this article, we tested several of the best robot vacuum cleaners for pet hair on multiple floor surfaces over a period of six months, paying particular attention to each model’s efficiency, battery life, bin size, power, features, design, and value for money. Kat also spoke to Jessica Samson, Cleaning Expert at The Maids, and Dr. Gráinne Cunniffe, the Science Lead at Allergy Standards Limited (ASL).

Next to each product on this list, you may have noticed a Real Simple Selects seal of approval. Any product appearing alongside that seal has been vetted by our team—put through tests and graded on its performance to earn a spot on our list. Although we buy most of the products we test, sometimes we do get samples from companies if purchasing a product ourselves isn’t an option. All products go through the same rigorous process, whether they are purchased or sent by the company.

Love our recommendations? Check out more products that have earned the Real Simple Selects, from humidifiers to cordless vacuums.

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