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Those hardwood floors in your home are gorgeous—when they’re clean. But if you have a pet who sheds, keeping those floors free of dirt and debris can be a real challenge. Using a heavy upright vacuum intended to plow through thick carpeting can damage your beautiful floors. The best vacuum for hardwood floors and pet hair is one that is gentle on surfaces, lightweight, easy to slip under tables and chairs—but super-powerful when it comes to sucking up pet hair.

Finding the right vacuum for hardwoods can be tricky. While all major-brand vacuums have the power it takes to capture pet hair efficiently, quite a few vacuum cleaners that are great for carpets are just not made for hardwood surfaces. Their stiff brush bristles and hard plastic wheels can scratch or ding, some have floor heads that easily clog with fur, and others have small-capacity dust cups that get quickly overwhelmed—especially if you have multiple hairy pets.


While we’re talking about grappling with pet hair: You can reduce the shedding—and the vacuuming—by scheduling regular grooming sessions for your pet. Book a professional or set aside time to do it yourself. After all, combing your cat or brushing your dog is more pleasant than housecleaning—though these hardwood-friendly vacuums will make your housework considerably easier.

pets with Miele


The Best Vacuum for Hardwood Floors and Pet Hair

Most of the machines on our list have rubber-coated (or rubberized plastic) wheels and high-quality brushes to protect flooring—and, most importantly, powerful suction to remove pet hair clinging to baseboards and stairs. The best of them have low-profile brushes that allow you to reach beneath furniture. A few have LED “headlights” mounted on the brush head to help you spot those drifts of pet hair under the bed or behind the couch.

Ken Raasch, vacuum business manager for Quality Sewing & Vacuum in Western Washington (and pet parent of a Lab mix) adds some insider tips: “If you’re getting a canister vacuum, look for one that vents the filtered air up, rather than beneath or out the back,” he says. That will prevent the dust and fur you haven’t reached yet from flying around the rooms. “And if you are dealing with odors from your dog, look for a vacuum with a very good sealed air system and activated charcoal filters.”

Fortunately, several manufacturers are now offering vacuums specifically designed for both pet hair and hardwood floors that include many of these features. We think you’ll love these machines (even if your pets don’t).

Bissell bagless vacuum for hardwood floors and pet hair

This Bissell upright vacuum is specifically designed for hardwood floors. It features a unique rubber squeegee system that sucks pet hair off the floor and funnels it into the vacuum. The unusual V-shaped foot is designed to make it easier to pick up dirt and pet hair from around table and chair legs. No wonder this vacuum has such a devoted following of satisfied customers (and pet owners!). One Amazon reviewer raves about the quality of this vacuum and notes that she never has to replace the filters—she just rinses them, lets them air dry, and they’re ready to go again.

Notable features:

  • At 7.5 pounds, this lightweight vacuum is easy to carry upstairs
  • 20-foot power cord allows for large movement range without having to unplug and move
  • Rubber squeegees on the floor head attract fine dirt, debris, and dander. There are no brushes to clean and no worries about scratched flooring.
  • V-shaped foot helps clean tough-to-reach spots, including corners

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Eureka upright vacuum for hardwood floors and pet hair

With a variety of tools and attachments (including a deluxe stretch hose that expands to up to four times its original length), Amazon’s best-selling upright vacuum cleaner doesn’t disappoint when it comes to cleaning pet hair off of hardwood floors. If you have a large pet—and a lot of pet hair to manage—this is the model for you. The dust cup holds 2.6 liters of dirt, dust, and pet hair, and the wide nozzle increases efficiency.

Notable features:

  • Washable, reusable filter reduces maintenance costs
  • Five height adjustment settings allow you to clean a variety of surfaces, including hardwood floors
  • Features an extra-large (and easy-to-dump) 2.6-liter dust cup
  • Equipped with a brush tool, extra-long crevice tool, upholstery tool, and a quick-release handle that transforms into a cleaning wand

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Dyson Cyclone vacuum

Dyson uprights are some of the most innovative, if expensive, vacuums on the market. If your pet loves to get into hard-to-reach spots (like under the couch or behind your furniture), then you’ll want to take a look at this model. Not only is this vacuum specifically designed for pet hair (it features a tangle-free turbine tool that easily removes pet hair—including on hardwood floors), but its ball steering connection makes it easier to get into hard-to-reach nooks and crannies. Reviewers rave that it’s great for picking up cat litter granules as well as pet hair. It includes several tools to add on for different surfaces and areas.

Note: Dyson’s V11 Torque Drive, V11 Animal, and Cyclone V10 Absolute are all designed to handle pet hair, but the Cyclone is reported to be the gentlest on hardwood floors. Also, check out the similar Cyclone 10 Animal.

Notable features:

  • Soft roller cleaner head (nylon and carbon fiber) for hard floors
  • Three power modes to suit the task
  • Up to 40 minutes of fade-free run time (using soft roller cleaner head)
  • HEPA filtration system traps allergens and bacteria inside the machine
  • Lightweight—just 5.9 pounds
  • Charge at the drop-in docking station or with a power cable (included)

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Bissell corded bagless canister vacuum in action on hardwood floor

Want heavy-duty performance in a lightweight machine? This Bissell corded canister vac is a good choice. It has a large dustbin that can handle long cleaning jobs and comes with a special tool for hardwood floors designed not to scratch or scuff. A low-profile floor head and a swivel handle gives you easy access to those areas under furniture where pet hair collects. Some users report this vac is somewhat awkward to use if you have a lot of stairs because the power cord is on the short side at 18 feet.

Notable features:

  • Hard-floor turbine foot is tough on dirt, gentle on your floors
  • Easy-empty dirt tank opens from the bottom for no-mess disposal
  • Compact and lightweight design for easy carrying and storage

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Oreck upright vacuum cleaner for hardwood floors and pet hair

Don’t let the old-school look fool you. This new Oreck model is an Amazon’s Choice item, and was endorsed by a reviewer at the Chicago Tribune as “strong enough to handle frequent cleanings in homes with plenty of pet hair.” It moves smoothly between carpets and hardwood floors by auto-adjusting to flooring height.

Notable features:

  • Balanced brush roll with double-helix brushes
  • Lightweight (9 pounds)
  • Auto-adjusts to the right floor height
  • Rubber wheels protect your hardwoods

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blue Miele canister vacuum for hardwood floors and dog hair

When you’re vacuuming hardwood floors, you need a vacuum that’s powerful enough to suck up pet hair, but also gentle enough not to damage your surfaces—this Miele model finds the perfect balance. Miele’s 1200-watt Vortex motor provides serious power—while the six different suction settings allow you to adjust that power to best suit whatever surface you’re vacuuming (including hardwoods). This model also features a soft parquet brush that’s perfect for sensitive floors as well as a variety of integrated tools (including a crevice tool, upholstery tool, and dusting brush) that make getting rid of pet hair simple and fast—no matter where it may be hiding. A HEPA filter is available, but not standard.

Notable features:

  • Six-setting suction control via an easy-to-use rotary dial allows you to easily adjust the suction for different surfaces
  • Generous 33-foot operating radius allows you to clean larger rooms without having to unplug
  • XL Parquet Twister Floor Brush provides 180-degree rotation for agile and thorough (yet gentle!) cleaning of hardwood floors
  • Lightweight, ergonomic design

Bonus: Mieles are renowned for their quiet operation, and our review of the top-of-the-line Miele C3 bears that out—the reviewer’s normally-scared-of-the-vacuum-cleaner chow mix stuck around to observe the cleaning action.

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Shark Navigator Pet Pro upright vacuum

Tired of cleaning pet hair that got wrapped around your vacuum cleaner’s power brush? Check out the Shark Navigator upright vacuum. It doesn’t just remove pet hair, it includes a system that removes pet hair from the brush roll.

The Pet Pro is designed to switch easily between carpets and hardwoods (just adjust the suction) and has a high-capacity dust cup for all the pet hair you collect. And while it looks like an upright, it can also behave like a canister vac, with an extendable hose that reaches 12 feet to make cleaning the stairs easy. It includes HEPA filtration to remove allergens and odors. Look for the ZU60 or the ZU62 (with duster brush accessory).

Notable features:

  • Anti-allergen seal technology and HEPA filter
  • Lightweight design
  • Adjustable suction allows you to easily transition from hardwood floors to carpet
  • 25-foot cord allows you to move freely around the room (and from room-to-room throughout your home) without having to unplug
  • Accessories (for use with the hose) include a crevice tool and a wide-surface upholstery tool for removing pet hair from chairs and couches. The ZU62 has a duster brush as well.

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Shark Rocket cordless stick best vacuum for hardwood floors and pet hair

Need a smaller, lighter, vacuum that still packs a lot of power? Check out the 7-pound, battery-powered Shark Rocket. It gets rave reviews for its ability to get pet hair off hardwood floors (use the “Bare Floor” setting), thoroughly and quickly. It’s easy to detach and use the powerful handheld vacuum to get into tight areas. Tip: Look for models IZ162H and IZ162HC of the Rocket Pet Pro—their batteries are removable and can be charged either on or off the vacuum.

Notable features:

  • Lightweight design (7.7 pounds)
  • Adjustable suction allows you to easily transition between hardwood floors and carpet
  • 25-foot cord allows you to move freely around the room (and from room-to-room throughout your home) without having to unplug
  • LED headlights on floor nozzle help you spot the pet hair
  • Washable HEPA and foam filters

A corded version of the Shark Rocket won Rover’s Bissell vs Shark: The Ultimate Handheld Pet Hair Vacuum Cleaner Smackdown, with our reviewer commenting “the Shark Rocket is more versatile, achieves better suction, generates less fan air and noise, works better on different floor types and conditions, and is easier to operate and clean in general.”

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Pure Clean robot vacuum cleaner for hardwood floors and pet hair

Go hands-free for getting the pet hair off your hardwoods. The Pure Clean has eliminated the rotating underbrush of early robotic vacuums and relies on powerful suction to collect pet hair. Two exterior brushes move dirt from corners into the vacuum’s path. The low profile allows the unit to scoot under couches and beds. While this tiny robotic device has fewer features than most vacuums (and some other robots), users report that it is quiet, efficient, and gentle on your floors. Note: Make sure you are getting the newer (V2) version of the Pure Clean, with the lithium battery, four-hour charging time, and 90-minute run time.

Notable features:

  • A one-touch power button starts the hands-free cleaning
  • Rechargeable lithium battery has a 4-hour charging time and 90-minute work time
  • Two spinning side-sweeper brushes catch dirt and debris in corners and on hardwood floors
  • Cliff sensors enable the unit to sense stairs and avoid falls

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Eye Vac touches stationary vacuum

And now, for something completely different. No lugging, no storage, and absolutely no risk of damaging your beautiful hardwood floors. This 1400-watt bagless canister vacuum is a fixture in hair salons—you can see where we’re going with this. It can also be your home solution for drifting pet hair. Just grab a soft-bristle broom (such as this one from OXO Good Grips) and sweep the hair toward the EyeVac Pro—as soon as its sensor detects the sweeping motion, powerful suction turns on at floor level and draws up the pet hair. This could be the perfect solution if you are frequently touching up hardwoods or tile in your living areas or kitchen and don’t want to pull out a full-size vacuum every time.

Notable features:

  • Touchless activation
  • Six-foot cord for easy positioning along a wall
  • Two high-efficiency filters remove dust and debris from the air

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Further reading

Featured image via Pixabay/Fran_Mother_Of_Dogs

Categories: Pets