Beautiful as they are, hardwood floors require extra effort to keep them looking top-notch. Add furry friends to the mix and your cleaning repertoire becomes a bit more demanding. If this is what you have to deal with, a powerful yet gentle vacuum cleaner is must-have ammunition.
We tested a couple of sweepers including standard uprights, stick vacuums, and even robot vacuums to see which one best cleans bare floors and picks up pet fur. In the end, we settled for seven that we believe are solid picks.
Below are our recommendations for the best vacuum for hardwood floors and pet hair.
The Best Vacuum For Hardwood Floors And Pet Hair Combo 2019
1. Shark NV501 - Our Top Recommended
The Shark NV501 is not the sleekest upright sweeper we have come across but, fortunately, the vacuum’s slightly old-school design did not come in the way of its cleaning performance.
The many attachable tools that accompany this vacuum really impressed us. With heavy-shedding pets around, we wanted something that would allow us to gently get rid of stubborn hairs embedded on the couches and the soft-bristled upholstery brush did come in handy. In addition to that, you get a suction nozzle that gobbles up larger detritus, a power brush for sweeping pet hairs from carpets, and a multipurpose tool for dusting everything from car seats to carpeted staircases.
The best part about this Shark vacuum is how easy it is to switch from a canister vacuum to an upright vacuum. This is why it is called ‘lift-away;' it is just a matter of lifting the vacuum from one caddy to the other and you are good to go. We used the canister version to clean hardwood floors and then for the carpeted areas, we seamlessly changed to the upright mode, which rolls around effortlessly and even swivels at a 180-degree angle, making cleaning a complete breeze.
The Shark Rotator earns top scores as far as cleaning performance goes. Ours is a pet-heavy household and this vacuum picked up most of the pet hairs, among other debris from the hardwood floors and carpet. The only downside is that we had to do two runs to pick up the remaining traces of hairs and detritus.
Overall, there is a lot to like about this vacuum. The ability to configure around different cleaning needs and to easily convert from a canister to a full-on straight vacuum makes this sweeper a real keeper. If you are shopping on a budget and are looking for something versatile with solid performance, the Shark NV501 is a good bet.
- Comes with numerous helpful accessories for every job
- A versatile vacuum that easily converts from canister to upright when needed
- Solid construction
- The swivel head makes cleaning hard-to-reach areas easy
- Extra-large dust can means fewer trips to the trash bin
- No tool storage to attach multiple accessories at the same time so parts can easily get lost
- Removing the canister might require a little bit of effort
2. Bissell 81L2A – Budget Pick
If you are looking for a no-frills vacuum for quick cleaning jobs, the Bissell 81L2A is worth checking out. What we really loved about this stick vacuum is its light weight and small footprint. Cleaning staircases and taking care of small messes in the kitchen was a complete breeze with this one.
Right from the get-go, you can tell that this vacuum is built for cleaning hardwood floors. The brushes underneath are made out of rubber so we did not have to worry about ruinous scratch marks on our bare floors. The rubberized but tough brushes also help with pulling pet hairs and smaller debris like sand and rice, which are usually tricky to clean up.
An interesting feature is the vacuum’s V-shaped head. Honestly, we were worried that the unusual shape would get in the way of the vacuum’s performance but turns out this sweeper has a clear plan of attack. What the V-shape head does is bring debris to the center and firmly keeps it along the vacuum’s suction path. This solves the issue of dirt spreading around, which tends to be a problem with other stick vacuum models.
Also, the V-shape head is terrific at cleaning around furniture legs compared to conventional stick vacuums. That being said, we were stumped when it came to cleaning along edges and corners; it just was not practical with the V-shape head.
To be sure, this cleaner lacks the vacuuming prowess needed to loosen dirt from low and even high-pile carpet. For this reason, I would recommend looking elsewhere if your house is mostly carpeted. Nonetheless, if you have a pet or two and your house is decked with hardwood floors, the Bissell 81L2A is an absolute steal.
- Lightweight, does not consume a lot of storage space, perfect for small jobs
- Rubber wheels are friendly to hardwood-floors
- Unique v-shaped head keeps dirt from spreading around when vacuuming
- Lacks the suction needed to clean carpet
3. Dyson Ball Animal 2 – Upgrade Pick
Dyson vacuums have a reputation for being reliable, solid performers and so we were excited to see whether the Dyson Ball Animal 2 could hold its own.
The first thing we noticed was how fuss-free this vacuum is—there aren’t many buttons or switches to mess around with. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing though because any adjustments you would need to do, the vacuum automatically does it for you. This Dyson has an auto-adjusting head that, well, seamlessly adjusts to different floor types.
The vacuum comes with the usual accessories including a crevice tool, upholstery tool, dusting brush, and extension wand. There are extra brushes some with soft bristles and others with slightly tougher bristles, which are excellent for pulling out pesky pet fur from seats and carpets. I love that the vacuum comes with tool storage so you can easily start any cleaning job without trying to locate this or that brush. This is something I wish was available in the Shark NV501.
With just a single pass, Dyson aced cleaning debris, kitty litter, and pet hair from our hardwood floors. It certainly did a better a job than some of its competitors when it came to cleaning carpets and shaggy rugs.
However, we noticed that the vacuum struggled with picking up fine debris such as sugar and flour and instead kept spreading the stuff around the bare floor in the kitchen. That being said, we usually got the floor squeaky clean after about three quick passes.
Cleaning under low-lying furniture has always been a real struggle so we were really jazzed by the low-profile rotating head that lay flat and allowed us to get to those hard-to-reach areas and to clean around obstacles.
For a vacuum of this caliber, we were a bit disappointed that it lacked a retractable cord. However, considering how almost perfectly well this vacuum cleans, this is a downside we can live with. The Dyson Ball Animal 2 does not come cheap but if you are looking for a steadfast sweeper, this one gives you value for money.
- Has an auto-adjusting head for easy and safe cleaning of different floors
- Tool storage makes it easy to start any vacuuming job
- The low profile swivel head makes cleaning underneath and around furniture a complete breeze
- The vacuum has powerful suction so keeping it in motion might require extra effort
4. SOWTECH 2 in 1 Lightweight Stick Vacuum
Having a super lightweight and low occupancy vacuum close by is always appreciated especially in households with pets and kids who make a mess all the time. If this is something you are looking for, we would recommend the SOWTECH 2 in 1 stick vacuum.
Admittedly, this little vacuum does not come with lots of extras but it is hard not to be impressed by the ease of use and its cleaning ability. You can use it in the typical upright mode when cleaning larger areas or convert it to a hand vacuum and attach the respective brushes to complete smaller jobs.
Given how lightweight this vacuum is, we completely underestimate it until we saw how well it gobbled up all types of dirt including cheerios, food particles, and even freshly shed pet hair. However, we noticed that it had a bit of trouble picking up pet hair that had been stepped on especially around the carpeted areas in the house. It did, however, leave the hardwood floors spotless.
The dust can is also quite spacious and does not throw up a large dust cloud when emptying it. It is also cool that the can is transparent so you can keep an eye and easily know when it is time to empty it.
The only downside is that the vacuum’s cord is shorter than we would have liked it to be. If you only have a single socket in a room, you might need an extension cable. Additionally, because it is small, this vacuum is wonderful for quick cleanups; it will not replace the need for a standard vacuum.
Overall, the SOWTECH 2 in 1 stick vacuum is worth looking at if you want an inexpensive but reliable vacuum for sprucing up smaller spaces.
- Powerful suction: Cleans hardwood and low-pile carpet very well
- Can be used as a straight vacuum and as a handheld vacuum as needed
- Extremely lightweight and easy to carry around and up and down the stairs
- Large transparent dust can helps with timely emptying
- The cord is considerably short and can make cleaning a larger room awkward
- Connecting the stick to the vacuum head can be a bit difficult
- Does not clean high-pile or really dirty carpets well
5. Kenmore Elite 31150
The Kenmore Elite 31150 is marketed as a pet-friendly vacuum, and naturally, as a pet-heavy household, we were eager to see whether it lived up to its promise. The vacuum has a nice modern design but it is also heavier than competitors such as the Dyson Ball Animal 2 and definitely bulkier than our top pick, the Shark NV501.
That being said, when it comes to suction, this Kenmore vacuum does not joke. It is fitted with a 3D inducer motor, which produces a whole lot of airpower. This, and its relatively broad cleaning path means the vacuum picks up a large amount of debris and pet hair and we were able to cover a lot of ground fast
Additionally, the fast-spinning brush roll underneath makes this vacuum terrific at picking up pet fur from hardwood floors and on the low-pile carpets. It did not perform very well on the high-pile rugs placed around the house.
One thing though, you have to adjust the height of the head to medium or high to avoid scratching hardwood floors. We wish the vacuum could automatically adjust itself because severally, I forgot to change the setting and ended up scratching our precious hard floors.
Another thing we noticed is the vacuum was a bit overzealous with its suction power. Instead of venting air toward the rear, the air blew out strongly from the sides causing pet hairs and other debris to scatter around. This just gave us additional work and definitely lowered the cleaning experience.
That being said, there are other things to like about this sweeper. Probably due to its powerful motor, this vacuum has strong self-propulsion so very little hand effort is required to keep it in motion. There is also tool storage so you can start a session quickly without messing around with multiple parts.
All in all, the Kenmore Elite 31150 is a solid performer, especially for pet-heavy households. However, the extra suction power, which blows dirt and debris about, might force you to do extra work.
- 3D inducer motor gives the vacuum extra suction, which thoroughly cleans bare floor and thin carpet
- The fast-spinning rolling brush is gentle on bare floors but tough on pet hair
- Broad cleaning path reduces cleaning time
- Strong self-propulsion makes it easier to move the vacuum around
- Powerhead does not automatically adjust when it encounters different floor types; you have to manually adjust the settings
6. Hoover UH70210
Right out of the box, the Hoover UH70210 is a stunner but does its performance match up to its looks? Set up takes up a bit of effort as you will have to pop out a sealed screw and then screw the handle in, but this was not a deal-breaker at all.
The vacuum boasts a true HEPA filtration system, which is great if you are prone to allergies but since it is bagless, you will still have to empty the contents in the dust can into the trash bin. Still, I appreciate that removing and emptying the can is a snap. Also, there is a nifty system check indicator that lets you know when the filter is full and needs rinsing.
Underneath, you will find a rubberized roller brush that does all the cleaning work. This vacuum uses wind funnel technology to pull pesky pet hairs from carpets and upholstery. With two or three passes, the vacuum sure does leave carpet and bare floors looking spotless. A small foot pedal sits neatly on the powerhead; you can use this to switch the roller brush on and off as you transition from one floor type to another.
The hose is long and flexible, which came in handy for reaching higher nooks where the cat likes to snuggle. The vacuum comes with two pet hand tools that you can connect to the hose to sweep pet hairs from floors and upholstery. It took a bit of effort to get the floors clean with these tools and in the end, we opted to stick to cleaning with the main vacuum head.
What makes this Hoover vacuum stand out is the 25-inch retractable cord. I, like most people I know, do not like messing around with the vacuum cord so I was thoroughly impressed that I could retract the cord in this vacuum as needed just by toggling a nifty button on the side.
The Hoover UH70210 is not the lightest vacuum we have come across but true to its name, it earns top scores for picking up pet hairs from hardwood floors and thin carpets. However, its competitors such as the SOWTECH 2 in 1 have more dependable accompanying attachment tools for completing smaller jobs.
- Retractable cord makes for quick and easy storage and prevents incidences of tripping when vacuuming
- System check indicator tells you when HEPA filter needs rinsing
- The vacuum uses wind tunnel technology which improves pickup rate for pet hairs
- Convenient foot pedal lets you turn rolling brush on and off when cleaning different floor types
- Attachment tools do not clean pet hairs too well
- This vacuum is comparably loud
7. iRobot Roomba 690
A standard canister or upright vacuum is always great to have but nothing beats the convenience of a robot vacuum for those quick in between jobs. We were excited at the prospects of having a little robot waltzing around the house and picking up annoying pet hairs while we sat back to watch the action.
Robot vacuums let you enjoy a hands-free vacuuming experience. You can schedule cleans for different days of the week, choose cleaning modes, and with smart ones such as this Roomba 690, you can do all this from your smartphone.
With this robot, not much is required for set up; just plug it in to get a full charge, which takes about 2 hours. Meanwhile, you can download and set up the iRoomba app. We love that the app is minimalist and straightforward. You can even use Alexa to command the robot to get to work.
In addition to scheduling or immediately starting a cleaning session from the app, you can also so see the status of the robot and receive alerts, for example, if the little bot is stuck somewhere and needs your help. The best part was being able to kick off a cleaning session even when no one was at home and come back to spotless floors.
This vacuum has a low profile and easily cleans underneath low-lying furniture without getting stuck. It was also pretty cool to watch how well the bot maneuvered around furniture legs and tight corners. At the end of a clean, it always went back to its home base until next time.
For its tiny size, the Roomba 690 pleasantly surprised us with its cleaning performance. It did not have trouble transitioning from hardwood floors to carpet. When it was time to empty the bin, we were blown away by the sheer amount of pet hair the robot had picked up. That being said, we noticed that it cleaned bare floors better than it did carpet.
The robot’s movements were a bit random and sometimes it missed some spots on the first pass but it would get the job done on subsequent passes. All in all, if you are looking for a robot vacuum that is easy on the pocket but still delivers solid performance, the Roomba 690 is a great choice.
- Hands-free cleaning experience
- Wi-fi connectivity lets you schedule cleans and control the vacuum remotely
- Compatible with Alexa for quick, voice commands
- Multi-surface brushes pick up small debris and stubborn pet hair off bare floors and low-pile carpet
- Self-charging vacuum
- Cleans in a random pattern and can miss spots on the first run
- Does not clean thick carpets too well
Whether you are looking to complete large jobs or to clean up small messes, each vacuum we have recommended here will serve as a dependable sweeper.
However, the Shark NV501 earns top scores for picking up pesky pet fur and other debris from hardwood floors. It boasts plenty of accessories that come in handy for sprucing tiny corners and sweeping pet hairs off delicate upholstery.
And of course, the best part about this sweeper is that you can conveniently use it in both the upright and canister mode to suit your cleaning needs, giving it an edge overall as the best vacuum for hardwood floors and pet hair.
Hello, I’m Rita! Editor of Home/Made. We began this blog as a passion project geared toward sharing our love of all things home related. From DIY to cleaning tips, homemade wares to home living guides, We have truly found our proverbial muse in everything that goes into making a living space into a home.