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Pets make pretty appalling house guests. Sure, they offer the occasional affectionate pat or nuzzle but this can be quickly outweighed by the regular snaffling of lunch when a back is turned and the mountains of pet hair that can appear everywhere. Fall in love with your pet again by keeping your home looking and smelling pet-free thanks to a pet hair vacuum.
The best vacuum for pet hair is easy to use and comes with a wide range of tools to tackle wherever pet hair is found. Here are Australia’s top vacuums cleaners for pet hair, drawn from hours of research, including real Aussie consumer insights.
How we picked
We had plenty of sources to draw on to help us decide Australia’s best pet hair vacuums. We started with CHOICE, Australia’s leading consumer advocacy group, to understand how vacuum cleaners performed under test conditions, including pet hair picking-up ones.
We then headed to ProductReview.com.au, Australia’s first consumer opinion site, to see which vacuums Aussies rate. What we discovered is that vacuums seem to be subjective: what 1 Aussie rates, another hates. We’ve tried to take differing opinions into account, highlighting where independent testing hasn’t quite matched real consumer reviews.
We swung by the National Asthma Council Australia Sensitive Choice programme. This helps consumers identify asthma and allergy-aware products. We figured if a vacuum cleaner was approved by these guys, it’s a good indication that their filters are decent at removing dust (including pet dander) from your home.
Finally, Canstar Blue, an Australian a consumer review and comparison website, has compiled a great article on vacuum cleaners for pet hair which we could then cross-reference against CHOICE, ProductReview and Sensitive Choice.
This gave us a good list of potentials. To decide our top picks, we wanted to achieve a balance of independently tested and consumer-rated models with a range of brands and prices. Judging technology is tricky as every manufacturer claims to have patented technology that’s better than everyone else’s. So, we’ve steered away from focusing too much on the tech and instead on the indisputable features that might be handy, like a good set of tools and comfortable use.
Our guide includes barrel and upright vacuums, but not stick or robot vacuums. We have separate guides to both (see stick vacuums or robot vacuums). Our stick vacuum top picks include information about their pet hair picking-up ability so if you’re keen on a stick vacuum, head there.
We’re not sold on robot vacuums and don’t think they have the suction power to be truly effective at picking up pet hair.
The best pet hair vacuum for most
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For best pet hair picking-up, you should consider the SEBO Airbelt K3 Premium. Its claims are backed by CHOICE testing and it reckons its S-Class filtration system is more effective than a HEPA one. It comes with multiple tools and brush heads and a big price: RRP $1,299.
What we love
100% pet hair pick up
This claim is backed by CHOICE.
Easy to use
With ergonomic power control, you don’t need to bend down and adjust the suction of the vacuum. Simply slide the control.
Extra long hose and cord
Which means you can clean more in one go, without having to change power points.
The vacuum’s namesake the Airbelt is a patented 2-layer soft foam bumper. It protects your furniture and walls from damage and helps expel the air quietly.
Which might be better for allergy and asthma sufferers as they’re sealed when full, ensuring no dust escapes into the air when you remove and dispose of the bag.
4-level brush height
This adjusts to different floor heights, giving you maximum power for whatever floor type you’ve got.
Range of tools
The included on-board accessories allow you to get into the smallest spots where pet hair might be hiding.
Great consumer reviews
Aussies on ProductReview.com.au rave about this vacuum, especially its ability to effectively pick up pet hair.
Sensitive Choice programme approved
Which means it’s recognised by the National Asthma Council Australia as an asthma- and allergy- friendly product.
The not so good bits
At RRP $1,299 this is a serious investment, especially as it only comes with a 2-year warranty.
Limited consumer reviews
Consumer reviews might be glowing, but there’s currently not many of them (less than 20).
If you’re serious about picking up pet hair, meet the SEBO Airbelt K3 Premium. It’s both allergy and asthma friendly and boasts 100% pet hair pick up. Which seems like a big claim, but it’s the best performer in 9 consecutive CHOICE tests, which states it’s “Excellent at picking up dirt and pet hair”. It’s also approved by the National Asthma Council Australia Sensitive Choice programme which helps you identify asthma and allergy-aware products.
Credentials aside, it has the features you’d expect. This includes a power brush for deep cleaning of your carpets and rugs, where pet hair is most likely to hide. The brush has an electronic alert system, which indicates the correct height setting for best cleaning performance for the floor height. If you don’t need a brush roller all the time, you can switch to suction only mode with a simple button push.
SEBO vacuums use S-Class (‘s’ standing for Schwebstoff, or airborne particles) filtration, rather than HEPA. SEBO reckons this electrostatic charged micro-fibre material attracts and captures dust particles from the airflow, removing more than 99.9% of allergens from the carpet and ambient air. In comparison, a HEPA filter removes 99.97%. Which means SEBO claims their filtration systems are more effective than a HEPA filter. But only slightly, and it’s doubtful whether any of us would notice the difference.
It comes with a range of on-board accessories including dusting, crevice and upholstery tools to help you get into the smallest nooks and crannies. As well as the power brush, it has a parquet and combination floor tool. This helps you tackle every floor type in your home.
Unlike Dyson, SEBO believes that bags are best, especially for asthma and allergies sufferers. That’s because dust is safely retained within the filter bag, allowing you to cleanly and easily dispose of it in a bin.
This German-made vacuum comes with a 2-year warranty and a steep price: it’s RRP $1,299, making it the most expensive pet hair vacuum we reviewed. It currently has almost 5 stars on ProductReview.com.au, but from a very limited number of reviews.
Related: The Best Vacuum Cleaner
The best vacuum cleaner for easy use
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Lightweight, extra-long reach and featuring Dyson Ball technology, the Dyson Light Ball Multi Floor + is designed for easy use. The automatically adjusting head ensures the best performance while bag-free technology minimises your ongoing costs. It’s also far more affordable than the SEBO Airbelt K3 Premium.
What we love
Easy to carry
It only weighs 6.3kg.
Easy to store
40% smaller than the Dyson Ball, it’s a compact vacuum.
For more easier manoeuvring around furniture.
For getting into those hard-to-reach crevices where pet hair lurks.
Commended by the College of Chiropractors
Which means you might find it more pleasant to use.
1-click bin emptying
Making it very quick and easy to empty.
Washable lifetime filters
This reduces your ongoing maintenance costs.
Although offering less tools than the SEBO, it does have a stair and combination tool and a soft dusting brush.
Automatically adjusting head
As you move between different floor types, it’ll automatically adjust the head for best cleaning performance.
At RRP $599 it’s affordable.
Approved by Sensitive Choice programme
Which means it’s recognised as an asthma- and allergy-aware product.
The not so good bits
None, apart from a limited number of middling consumer reviews. A few Aussies seem unhappy with the quality of this machine, calling it ‘cheap’ and ‘flimsy’. That could be because it’s a lighter weight product, so it might feel less solid than other Dysons.
For a good alternative to our SEBO top pick without the price tag, consider the Dyson Light Ball Multi Floor+. It has a RRP of $599, making it about half the price of the SEBO.
The Dyson Light Ball Multi Floor+ is the replacement of the Dyson Small Ball Multi Floor. That model was approved by the Sensitive Choice programme and tested by CHOICE. This one hasn’t been. But given our research shows the 2 models are basically identical, we’re comfortable that their recommendations apply here too.
It has a self-adjusting cleaning head, which means it automatically adjusts between carpets and hard floors. The powerful motor allows the bristles to be pushed deeper into carpet to help pick up stubborn pet hair. The Ball technology means it can manoeuvre easily around furniture, obstacles and into difficult places. For even more user-friendliness, it has an instant release high-reach wand to help you reach high up your curtains or blinds. Because yes, pet hair gets everywhere.
Dyson vacuums are famously bag-less, unlike the SEBO. Dyson reckons there’s quick 1-click bin emptying and it comes with washable lifetime filters.
It’s also light and easy to carry and store. It weighs just 6.3kg. It comes with a stair tool, carbon fibre soft dusting brush and combination tool and a 2-year warranty.
It gets around 3.5 stars from a handful of reviews on ProductReview.com.au.
Related: The Best Stick Vacuum
The best budget pet hair vacuum
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We reckon the Bosch GL-30 Free'e ProPower is your best budget pet hair vacuum. It comes in around $350 and boasts a light and compact design, 4 wheels for stability, adjustable power levels and a removable and washable HEPA filter. CHOICE recommends it and it pleases some Aussies.
What we love
Light and compact
Weighing just 4.3kg, it’s easy to move around and store.
Which is great for the price. It’s removable and washable so no ongoing maintenance costs.
It can hold up to 4L of dirt. When it’s time for a bag change, it’ll let you know.
Adjustable power level
Need some extra grunt? You’ve got it.
For extra stability and to avoid toppling over.
You can clean the whole house thanks to the carpet / hard floor brush, upholstery nozzle and crevice tool.
Recommended by CHOICE
Which gives you some confidence in its performance.
It has an affordable RRP of $349.
The not so good bits
The hot air comes out of the top, rather than the back, which means you could get a bit hot and sweaty using it.
Automatic cable rewind
Rather than pressing a button, the vacuum automatically rewinds the power cable. Some consumers reckon this happens way too often when they’re vacuuming and accidently tug too hard on it.
No on-board storage
It comes with some great accessories, but you can’t store them on board.
In between the food, toys, flea and worm treatments and ridiculously expensive bedding, you might decide you’re spending enough on your pet. In which case, you might like our budget pet hair vacuum pick - the Bosch GL-30 Free'e ProPower. It has a RRP around $300.
But it doesn’t compromise on suction power. In fact, CHOICE recommends it.
This German-made vacuum cleaner has a light (4.3kg) and compact design which makes it easy to use and store. It measures just 26cm x 28.7cm x 40cm. Yet it can hold up to 4L of dirt. When the bag’s full, it’s got an indicator to let you know. We love that it has a HEPA filter, even at this price. It’s removable and washable so you don’t have any replacement costs.
It also has an adjustable power level, so you can up the power when dealing with stubborn dirt. For stability, it has 4 wheels which helps stop it tipping over when you’re using it.
It comes with a carpet / hard floor brush, a hard floor nozzle, upholstery nozzle and crevice tool. As well as being reviewed and recommended by CHOICE, it gets around 4 stars on ProductReview.com.au from over 20 reviews.
What’s the downside? Well, there’s no on-board storage for your accessories. Some Aussies also complain about the hot air venting out the top rather than the back; the automatic cable rewind which kicks in when they’re using it; and the wand not staying that well in the hose.
Related: The Best Barrel & Upright Vacuum
Others worth considering
The teal coloured Hoover Action Pet Vacuum Cleaner is a bit of a design statement. We’re not sure in a good way. Looks aside, it’s packing a deep-cleaning powerhead and a hand turbo tool. This is designed to help remove pet hair from furniture.
The bag is 2.5L so it shouldn’t need constant emptying. It also has a washable HEPA filter to help save you money on replacements. There are LED lights on the brush head so you can see as you’re cleaning dark areas (like under the sofa). It comes with a great range of accessories, including a crevice tool, dusting brush and upholstery tool. It has variable power to give you greater control of your cleaning.
It’s Sensitive Choice-programme approved, has been reviewed by CHOICE and gets around 4 stars on ProductReview.com.au. The biggest complaints are that it only has a 5m cable and it tips over a lot.
Again, this is a vacuum specifically aimed at removing pet hair. The Miele Complete C3 PowerLine Cat & Dog comes with a dedicated TurboBrush and Mini TurboBrush to nix pet hair. Plus, the anti-odour filter helps neutralise pet smells.
For maximum cleaning flexibility, it comes with an upholstery nozzle, crevice tool and dusting brush. We like its hands-free foot settings too, which allows you to choose the right setting while you’re using it.
Although it's not been reviewed by CHOICE, it's loved by Aussies with around 200 of you taking to ProductReview.com.au to award it around 4.5 stars. It also comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can try before you commit.
As the name suggests, the Zoo'o ProAnimal is aimed at pet-owning households. It features both a carpet / upholstery nozzle and hard floor nozzle to effectively clean all floor types. These are complemented by a huge range of accessories, including a crevice nozzle, furniture brush, upholstery nozzle, universal nozzle and turbo nozzle.
It has a washable HEPA filter and a Bionic Filter, which Bosch claims helps to eliminate odours –another plus for pet owners.
It comes with a 2-year warranty, has been tested by CHOICE and has good but limited consumer reviews.
The bottom line
Pets are great. Their ability to shed hair everywhere, less so. To reclaim your home from pet hair quickly, consider buying a vacuum for pet hair. The best pet hair vacuum easily tackles a build-up of pet hair. It safely stores it away until you can empty it, and perhaps even neutralises any odours, thanks to a decent filter. It comes with a range of tools to help you remove hair from wherever it is – down the sofa, on the bed, in the curtains.
If you’re serious about picking up pet hair, we reckon the SEBO Airbelt K3 Premium is Australia’s best vacuum for pet hair. Its big claims have been backed up by CHOICE and it’s National Asthma Council Australia Sensitive Choice programme approved too. The power brush deep cleans carpets and rugs and it uses S-Class filtration which is slightly more effective than HEPA filtration. With a range of on-board accessories, this German-made vacuum comes with a 2-year warranty and a RRP of $1,299.
For a good alternative to our winner without the price tag, consider the Dyson Light Ball Multi Floor+. It has a RRP of $599, making it about half the price of the SEBO. Because it’s lightweight and has Dyson Ball technology, it’s easy to use, move around and store. It has a self-adjusting cleaning head, bag-free technology to minimise your ongoing costs and a stair and combination tool and a soft dusting brush.
If you’d rather not spend the big bucks on a pet hair vacuum, meet the Bosch GL-30 Free'e ProPower. It comes in around $350. It has a light and compact design, 4 wheels for stability and adjustable power levels. We love the fact that it comes with a removable and washable HEPA filter. CHOICE recommends it and it pleases some Aussies. The downside? No on-board storage for your accessories and small niggles around the top vent and automatic cable rewind.
Features to consider
These are the features we think you should be considering in a pet hair vacuum.
Power head or turbo head
A power head has a motorised rotating brush. These are good at picking up pet hair from carpet because they agitate the pile, which releases more hair.
A turbo head has a non-motorised rotating brush, relying on airflow to spin the brush. They’re usually less effective than a power head.
Look for a power or turbo head for better pet hair picking-up power.
As any pet owner knows, pet hair gets everywhere. To thoroughly purge your home of it, try to get a vacuum with tools including a crevice nozzle (hello narrow corners and around chair cushions), upholstery brush (for your sofa and other soft places your pet may like to perch) and a dusting brush. Even better, look for models that have on-board tool storage.
To make vacuuming easier, ensure it comes with a telescopic wand. You can adjust it to suit your height, which means you can avoid bending too much when vacuuming.
Got different floor types in your home? An adjustable height head ensures the best clean for the floor type.
HEPA filters are meant to be the gold standard of filters and are used in hospitals. Standing for High-Efficiency Particulate Air filtration, it’s an international standard. HEPA filters trap a huge amount of minute particles: at least 99.97%. They can be helpful for asthma and allergy sufferers – CHOICE has a great article about this. To get the best out of a HEPA filter, you’ll need to clean or replace it regularly so factor that into your ongoing costs.
What you get if you spend more
Pet vacuums pretty much all pack the same features. Pay more, and you might get a better-known brand (Dyson) or European manufacturing (SEBO) but other than that, they’re very similar.
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