Robot vacuums have become an incredibly convenient way of cleaning your home. Why bother going to the effort of pushing around a heavy vacuum cleaner when you have a device that can do it all for you? This convenience also means you can clean your home more often, which results in less dust and debris, and a much more pleasing aesthetic.
One of the biggest unknowns that consumers face when deciding whether or not to purchase one of these robot vacuums; how do they handle things that are hard to pick up, especially when it comes to pet hair. Pet hair gets everywhere and can be very hard to clean away, and many wonder the robot vacuum they are considering is up to the task.
In this article, we’ll look at everything surrounding this topic. We’ll help you figure out if you can replace your regular vacuum with a robot vacuum that works with pet hair. Not only this, but we’ll even show you some of the best robot vacuums for pet hair as well.
Can Robot Vacuums Completely Replace Your Regular Vacuum For Pet Hair?
Many of you have probably got a preconception of robot vacuums that they’re just a little toy and won’t really do much cleaning. Now, while a robot vacuum in the past may have been guilty of falling into this description, modern ones are far more refined. So much so that there are plenty on the market that can clean up pet hair and a lot more.
The question is, can you completely replace your regular vacuum with one for pet hair? In all honesty, the answer depends on many things, such as the number of pets, type of hair, and the vacuum you are considering, specifically how good the brushes are are assisting pick up the hair without getting tangled in it, and the amount of suction the vacuum has. We generally would not suggest throwing out your old vacuum cleaner when your shiny new robot vacuum arrives, but having the right robot vacuum assisting with the daily maintenance will likely keep you miles ahead, while still occasionally you will need to do a proper deep clean of curtain carpets and hard to reach spots. But, to stop pet hair build up and to keep things neat, you can use a robot vacuum almost every day.
Is There A Difference For Hardwood Vs Carpet?
Different people have different surfaces on the floor in their home. It’s likely most of you will have a combination of carpet and hardwood floor. Is there a difference to a robot vacuums ability to pick up pet hair on these two surfaces?
The answer is yes, there is. Robot vacuums will find it a lot easier to pick up pet hair on hardwood surfaces. This is simply because hair can become ingrained and pressed into the carpet fibers, making it harder to suck up. With hardwood surfaces, the hair is just loose on the top, and it’s easy to pick up.
So, if you have a lot of carpet in your home you will want to pay extra attention to the amount of suction the robot vacuum has that you are considering. A common way that people measure the total amount of “suction” or power the robot has is in Pascals (PA), unfortunately information is sparse and different manufacturers print information in ways that make it very hard to compare. But we have done some digging on this topic and will share what we have found.
The Best Robot Vacuum For Pet Hair
If you have a pet that sheds a lot of hair, you need a robot vacuum to help pick up after them every day. Naturally, not all robot vacuums are capable of doing this. So, we’ve handpicked some of the best robot vacuums for pet hair, and put them in the list below:
iRobot Roomba 980 (and 960)
Roomba vacuum cleaners have been around for a long time. They were probably the first robot vacuums people heard of. The Roomba 980 is a very high-quality product and has so many amazing features that make it perfect for the task at hand. Specifically, it has an AeroForce Cleaning System that amps up the suction power on carpets and rugs. This means the air power increases and can help you get those stubborn pet hairs out from your carpet fibers. It also has tangle-free extractors to avoid pet hair build up and to prevent the air flow from dropping due to blockages. We wrote a full review on this the iRobot Roomba 980, so feel free to check that out if you want to see the complete picture. When it comes specifically to pet hair however, the combination of it 1670 PA suction, tangle free extractors, and Aeroforce cleaning system intelligently increasing the power when needed on carpet, we think you will find the 980 to be a solid choice to battle Fido or Kitty’s worst shedding months. The 980’s filter is also HEPA certified. Also worth noting is that the dirt bin is around or slightly higher than the industry average coming in at 14 oz. We feel the Roomba 980 is the best choice when you want the most reliable hands-off experience and do not mind paying the premium price tag that comes with this particular robot vacuum.
We also want to mention here the Roomba 960 which is almost the same machine as the 980 with some minor changes. They include a smaller battery (75 min instead of the 980’s 120 minutes) and the lack of the carpet boost feature. We want to mention this here, because at about $200 cheaper than the 980, if you do not have many carpets to worry about, the carpets are not hard to clean or your pet problem is not disproportionate, we recommend you consider saving the $200 for the cheaper model. Remember, to help offset the smaller battery size the 960 will return to recharge itself and then continue where it left off, so really the big feature missing is the carpet boost.
iRobot Roomba 690 (and 890)
The Roomba 690 doesn’t have the same features as the 980, and even though it still has some great connected features, we cannot recommend it if you have a lot of pet hair, especially if you have carpet. It lacks the tangle free extractors, so you are going to spend more time removing tangled up pet hair from the moving parts. Nor does it have the Aeroforce system, and is rated for less suction. Finding official information on this has proved challenging, however, iRobot claims the Aeroforce system gives a 5x boost to cleaning power, so if you work that backwards you get the idea… (and it is not good). In fact it doesn’t even know when it’s dust bin is full as the others do. If pet hair is a concern and you really want a Roomba, we recommend stepping up to the Roomba 890, while it lacks the intelligent SLAM based iAdapt system of the 980, it has most of the same cleaning features such as the Aeroforce system (although it does not have a capet boost) and the tangle free extractors
Neato Botvac Connected
The Neato Botvac Connected is a pretty good choice for situations where pet hair is a concern, while the overall suction is a bit less than the Roomba 980, the Dyson 360 eye and Xiaomi Mi it is still a respectable 1400 to 1500 PA. It has a feature here is the Turbo Mode setting that gives you an extra amount of suction power. The Botvac Connected has the largest dirt bin we looked at, coming in at a whopping 24 oz. But the battery does not have the same amount of staying power compared to the 980, so you may not actually ever fill it up. The filter is not HEPA certified, but is considered to a ‘high performance’ filter, meaning that it should do well separating the smaller pet residue from the air so it does not just blow it back out. While we like many of the features of the Neato Botvac Connected (we feel that it’s Laser based SLAM system has an edge over the Visual based SLAM systems) we cannot list it as a top performer for pet hair. That is not to say we don’t think it won’t hold it’s own in most circumstances, we just don’t feel it has all the specs required to be listed as a top contender.
Samsung POWERbot Turbo Robot Vacuum (R9350)
The Samsung POWERbot series is probably the most premium series of domestic robots on the market. When it was released, Samsung claimed it was the most powerful robot vacuum on the planet, quantifying the claim with real numbers proves to be difficult however. We can say that is a very powerful robot vacuum and cleans as well or better than the Roomba 980. It did an excellent job of picking up pet hair on all types of surfaces, especially carpet. It has a specially designed Combo Brush that picks up pet hair with ease. The brush has been manufactured to avoid tangling up pet hair which helps keep suction at a consistent level by reducing blockages. This model is the most expensive we reviewed as well coming in around $1200.00 (it can be had often for $1000). A couple of other notes: It is also a very tall robot vacuum, easily 1-2 inches taller then most of it’s competitors, this will affect how well it can get under your furniture to get all the lingering pet hair that found it’s way out of sight. Lastly, the dust bin is larger the most (but smaller than the Neato Botvac Connected) at about 20 oz. Our conclusion? The 9320 is an amazing robot vacuum for pet hair, but it comes at a price.
Samsung POWERbot R9250
The R9350 is one of the most expensive robot vacuums out there, so, it’s understandably out of many people’s budgets. If you’re looking for a Samsung robot vacuum that still picks up pet hair easily, but for a good $200 less, the POWERbot R9250 is for you. Samsung says the suction power is about ¼ less than the turbo 9350, but it’s still right at the top of the power tables compared to other brands. Plus, the CycloneForce Technology means there are fewer blockages, and the power remains consistent. For the money we think the R9250 is a solid choice and we like that most of the other features of the turbo 9350 come down to the 9250 such as the size of the dust bin, and the overall strong build quality of the unit. Both also share the VSLAM mapping capability.
Dyson 360 Eye
It took the awhile, but Dyson finally released their robot vacuum, and it’s called the Dyson 360 Eye. On paper it is remarkably powerful having a rated 1800-2000 PA suction which comes in above the rating for the iRobot Roomba 980. Numbers do not tell the whole story though as while we did find this vacuum did pretty well with pet hair (slightly better than the 980) it did not do as well as the Samsung POWERbot Turbo, and it did not perform as well as either with many other cleaning challenges. It does have a full-width brush bar that helps collect hair and prevent any tangling from occurring. It’s dirt bin is on the smaller side though at 11 oz (the smallest we looked at). Overall, while do not rate the Dyson poorly at all for pet hair specifically, we were underwhelmed with it’s performance overall, especially for the money.
All in all, there are many great options available if you want a robot vacuum for pet hair. We hope that our side by side evaluations looking at each through the specific lens of pet hair performance has been helpful.
If you’re interested in more robot vacuum and Roomba reviews, then feel free to have a look at some of our other articles. You’ll find the best robot vacuums here, and our in-depth reviews will help you figure out which one is perfect for your home.