Hair and dander shed by cats and dogs can impact your health and the cleanliness of your home. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, approximately 10 percent of people with no known allergies in the United States can still experience negative reactions to animal hair and dander exposure. Plus, a buildup of pet hair on surfaces makes an otherwise clean house appear dirty.

best upright vacuum for pet hair 2018

On Picture: Hoover WindTunnel 3 Upright Vacuum

While microscopic dander isn’t visible to the naked eye, this allergen attaches to carpet and fabric just like hair. Since dogs and cats shed outer skin cells every 3 to 21 days, it doesn’t take long for dander to infiltrate your house. What’s worse is regularly groomed animals shed hair and dead skin cells at a faster rate, making this problem unavoidable.

Our Recommended Upright Vacuums for Pet Hair

5) Hoover WindTunnel 3 Upright Vacuum (UH72630PC)

Pet hair removal requires powerful suction, and the Hoover WindTunnel 3 delivers. This 18.5-pound upright vacuum features a turn dial that adjusts the floor head to one of seven heights and a one-pass brushroll you can control via the fingertip button on the looped handle.

Hoover WindTunnel 3 High Performance Pet Upright Vacuum (UH72630PC)

The 15-inch cleaning path of the floor nozzle means you’ll finish vacuuming in record time, and the soft bumper protects the vacuum from accidental damage.

Thanks to its 1,440-watt motor, you get the benefit of amazing suction strength that’s directed through a triple-channel system to lift even the most stubborn tufts of fur. As the 13 cyclones drop large particles into the 1.42-liter dust cup, the reusable carbon-HEPA filter works hard to trap allergens and eliminate odors.

With features like a 40-foot power cord and headlights, cleaning hard-to-reach and difficult-to-see places is a breeze.

The WindTunnel 3 also offers 15 feet of reach for above-floor cleaning chores. To tackle these tasks, the upright comes with a bendable dusting tool for high spots and a pet turbo tool for upholstery cleaning. You also get a crevice tool for vacuuming narrow areas and an extension wand to get as much reach as possible.

Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal

This Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal upright vacuum comes complete with attachments galore to remove pet hair from every surface imaginable. Although it weighs 19.2 pounds, the vacuum cleaner’s large pivoting ball is designed with maneuverability in mind.

Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal

Plus, its ergonomic handle offers an excellent grip. With its 35-foot power cord, you won’t need to play the outlet switching game, saving you time and effort.

You never have to worry about a break in suction because the Dyson upright vacuum cleaner‘s floor head forms a seal around the floor, putting all 180 air watts toward hair and debris removal. The 0.57-gallon dust cup is meant to keep the air and your hands clean with the top-positioned button that opens its bottom lid.

Another plus is that you won’t spend time performing maintenance because there are no filters. The radial tips spin the air, which prevents dust buildup so effectively that this vacuum is certified by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

Where this upright really shines is with its huge array of accessories. You get a non-tangling upholstery tool and a wide mattress tool. The vacuum also comes with a bendable brush for reaching high areas and a slim, soft-bristled brush that removes dust and other allergens from hard objects and surfaces.

There is even a hard-bristled paddle tool for under-appliance vacuuming. Thanks to the smooth-release wand and hose, changing attachments is quick and easy.

Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Vacuum (1650A)

If you have carpets and hard floors that your pets trek through, you can clean them both with the Bissell 1650A Pet Hair Eraser Vacuum. The 18-pound upright vacuum boasts a no-tangle brushroll, which you may turn off for hard floor vacuuming. No matter the plushness of your carpet, you can adjust the floor head to five different heights to get efficient suctioning power.

Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Vacuum (1650A)

While you swivel and push the vacuum by its angled handle, the 1-foot-wide nozzle cleans from edge to edge, reducing the number of passes you need to make. Since the upright uses multiple cyclones to separate hair, dust and debris, the suction stays constant. The suction system collects hair in the 1.5-liter dust bin, spooling it into a tight ball for easy, clean cup emptying, and the Febreze odor-removal filter gets rid of smelly pet odors.

With this upright vacuum cleaner, you get all the tools you need to keep your home hair-free. The 8-foot hose and 30-inch power cord offer amazing reaching power, and the extension wand detaches with just one button press.

You can use the lighted crevice tool to see every strand of hair in deep, dark spaces, and the TurboEraser is ideal for quickly removing clingy hair from fabric. There is even a dual-function pet brush with soft bristles and rubber nubs that gently dust surfaces.

Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away Vacuum in Bordeaux (NV752)

Stairs are no problem for this Shark NV752 Rotator Powered Lift-Away upright vacuum because the canister portion of this vacuum cleaner detaches from the main body. This feature lets you clean your staircase without lugging the entire vacuum up and down the stairs even though the entire vacuum is easy to carry at just 15.4 pounds.

Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away Vacuum in Bordeaux (NV752)

When cleaning floors, the upright swivels while you steer by the soft-grip looped handle, and the pair of running LED headlights provide plenty of visibility.

All the controls you need are within a fingertip’s reach, including the power button and the floor-mode sliding switch. With this switch, you can go back and forth between hard floor and carpet mode with ease.

Since the filtration system is sealed, you don’t have to worry about the vacuum releasing allergens into the air. To save you money, the pre-motor, post-motor and HEPA filters are washable. This vacuum also has a decent dirt-containment capacity of 1.5 quarts.

With this upright vacuum, you get three efficient tools. The TruePet motorized upholstery brush lifts hair from all types of fabric. There is also a duster crevice attachment and multi-tool to meet all your vacuuming needs. You’ll also appreciate the 30-foot power cord and the on-board storage compartment that helps you keep track of the vacuum cleaner’s attachments.

Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Lift-Off Upright Pet Vacuum

What can’t this upright vacuum do? Weighing a mere 17 pounds and featuring a pivoting floor head, you can count on the Bissell Pet Hair Eraser to give you superior maneuverability. The angled rubber handle and the nozzle’s headlights only add to the vacuum’s usability.

Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Lift-Off Upright Pet Vacuum

Its wide cleaning path of 12 inches means it won’t take long for you to vacuum large rooms, and the anti-tangle brushroll can be turned off and on whenever you want.

You can also control the strength of the multi-cyclonic suction, allowing you to safely clean draperies and area rugs as well as hard floors and carpeting. The 1-liter dust cup spins strands of hair into a ball for neat and tidy cleanup. Plus, there is a Febreze filter that combats odors; these filters are situated within a sealed system that prevents indoor air pollution.

For staircase and above-floor vacuuming, the canister can be removed from the vacuum itself. Thanks to the telescopic wand integrated into the handle, the 30-foot power cord and the 8-foot hose, you can reach any surface high or low.

You can attach the dual dusting brush, turbo tool and LED crevice tool to the wand, so you can vacuum ceiling corners, stairs, furniture and more.

Buying Guide

Sure, you love your pets, but you don’t have to love the hair they shed. Upright vacuum cleaners are the best type of vacuum for pet hair removal. However, not every upright was designed with hair in mind. If shed hair has taken over your house, there are certain features you need to look for in an upright vacuum.

best bagless upright vacuum for pet hair

On Picture: Shark NV752 Lift-Away Upright Vacuum


For general vacuuming, air watts and amps would be at the top of the list in terms of suction.

However, the way the suction system is configured takes precedence here. Cyclonic suction will ensure that pet hair won’t clog the suction path because the cyclones will separate them from the fine dust, dropping the hair into the dust cup.

When it comes to cyclones, the more cyclones the vacuum creates, the more reliable the flow of air. Multiple suction paths that come through the floor head also help lift clingy pet hair from carpet.

best upright bagless vacuum for pet hair

On Picture: Shark NV752 Lift-Away Upright Vacuum

Floor Head

You should also pay close attention to the floor head. A slim one will allow you to vacuum under your furniture, which is a common place for cats to hide for a secluded nap, and a floor head with LED lights lets you make sure that you’ve sucked up every chunk of fur.

You can also find upright vacuums with floor heads that pivot, which makes vacuuming around furniture much easier. Some even help the suctioning process by forming a seal around the floor’s surface, so the suction won’t break when you go from carpet to hard floor or vice versa.

best upright bagged vacuum for pet hair

On Picture: Shark NV752 Lift-Away Upright Vacuum


If you’re vacuuming hard floors, the brushroll should be soft. If not, look for a model that lets you control the power to the brushroll, so you can turn it off when necessary to avoid scattering the hair. For carpet cleaning, you need a brushroll with stiff bristles that can work their way through carpet fibers.

The brushroll should also be designed to resist tangles. No matter what kinds of floors you have in your house, you don’t want to spend a ton of time vacuuming. Therefore, a brushroll that offers a wide cleaning path from one edge of the floor head to the other is ideal.

Upright Vacuum for Pet Hair

On Picture: Bissell 1650A Upright Vacuum


While attachments matter less for general-purpose vacuuming, they are essential for suctioning pet hair. To meet the unique cleaning needs of pet owners, manufacturers of uprights pack on a lot of attachments.

The upright may come with hinged tools that bend at an angle to help you clean hair that floats to above-floor surfaces like ceiling fans. Other tools may be made to tackle the hair that lands on upholstery, such as accessories with a motorized brushroll or rubber fingers, both of which are adept at grabbing onto hair.

Other helpful tools include wide brushes made for mattresses and crevice tools with LED lights.


A wide assortment of attachments is great, but this won’t do you much good if you don’t have sufficient reach. Take a look at the length of the upright vacuum’s flexible hose and wand before you make a purchasing decision.

The length of both components combined should offer 5 feet of reach or more. To help you get the reach you need, some models may come with a telescoping wand while others have a canister that detaches from the main body of the vacuum.

Best Upright Vacuum for Pet Hair 2018

On Picture: Bissell 20874 Pet Hair Eraser Upright Vacuum

best upright vacuum for pet hair

On Picture: Shark NV752 Lift-Away Upright Vacuum


The filtration can make or break an upright vacuum’s performance, especially when it’s used to clean pet hair on a regular basis. A HEPA filter makes sure that the dander and other allergens that go hand-in-hand with pet messes aren’t released into the air, and one with a carbon layer keeps odors at bay.

There should also be a pre-filter, which traps the larger particles that shorten a HEPA filter’s lifespan. If the vacuum doesn’t contain a pre-filter, it should at least be equipped with radial cyclone tips that rapidly move to shake loose suction-blocking dust.

Regardless of the filter inside, the entire filtration system needs to be airtight to prevent leaks. With the wear and tear caused by vacuuming pet hair, a filter that is washable and reusable will save you money on replacement filters.

Upright Vacuum for Pet Hair 2018

On Picture: Bissell 1650A Upright Vacuum

Dust Cup

You’ll be surprised at how much room hair takes up in a vacuum’s dust cup. Therefore, you want one with an extra-large capacity, so you won’t have to make many trips to the garbage can during whole-house cleaning sessions.

It’s also important to find an upright vacuum that doesn’t make a mess when you empty it. Many dust cups open from the bottom to minimize the amount of dust and hair released into the air. There are also uprights that spool the hair into a ball as it suctions, so no loose strands can escape.


What’s the Best Tool for Pet Hair Removal?

Where does that leave you in terms of keeping hair buildup under control? Obviously, you shouldn’t stop grooming your pets. Even if you did, that won’t put a halt to hair shedding. Dusting can help reduce the amount of hair on surfaces; however, a lot of hair will fly away in the process, landing in other spots.

Essentially, dusting shuffles more hair than it removes. Like most people, you probably have a vacuum cleaner, which helps reduce the prevalence of hair. Unfortunately, if the vacuum isn’t designed for cleaning animal fur, you won’t get the performance and adaptability you need to clean every area of your house thoroughly and efficiently.

Luckily for you, there are upright vacuum cleaners that are made just for people who own hair-shedding pets.

best upright vacuum for hardwood floors and pet hair

On Picture: Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal Plus Allergy

Why Are Uprights Preferred Over Canisters?

Canister models are excellent for general vacuuming. They have more suction power than stick vacuums. Plus, these vacuum cleaners are well-adept at cleaning under furniture and other above-floor areas because their floor heads are extremely slim, and they have a lightweight pole instead of a bulky body. However, a canister’s suction power is no match for an upright vacuum.

Also, uprights always have a brushroll in their floor head, which helps remove stubborn hair. There is also the matter of comfort. To move a canister vac, you must pull it behind you, which can strain your back or shoulders. However, these issues are less likely to occur when you use an upright because you push it in front of you.

How Does the Brushroll Come Into Play?

Suction alone cannot effectively lift pet hair from carpets, fabric and upholstery. An upright’s brushroll usually has one or more rows of long bristles. As you push the vacuum cleaner along the floor, the bristles of the brushroll reach in between the floor and the hair to loosen the hair’s grip to the carpet fibers.

At the same time, the airflow of the suction pulls the hair into the vacuum. Without a brushroll, a lot of hair gets left behind when you vacuum.

best upright vacuum cleaner for pet hair

On Picture: Hoover WindTunnel 3 Upright Vacuum

What About Hard Floor Vacuuming?

The wall-to-wall carpeting that dominated the flooring market in the 1950s is long gone. Today, homeowners covet the beauty of hardwoods and the affordability of laminate and vinyl.

Ceramic tile has also gained a foothold, and it’s practically a mainstay in homes across the Southwest. If you don’t have carpet, or you have a combination of floor types, a bristled rolling brush may damage your hard floors and bat around the hair. To combat these problems, some upright vacuums give you the option of turning off the brushroll, so you can clean hard floors without scratching them or blowing away the hair you’re trying to remove.

You can also expect these vacuum cleaners to have extra-strong suction to enhance the vacuum’s lifting power when the brushroll isn’t in operation.

Can an Upright Vacuum Work for the Size of My House?

The larger the house, the more animal fur there will be if your pets are allowed to roam free throughout your home. If your house has over 2,000 square feet of floor space, you need an upright vacuum that cleans quickly.

Therefore, the floor head should be wide enough to accommodate a long brushroll, and the dust cup or bag should have a large capacity; otherwise, vacuuming your house will take too much time.

On the other hand, a smaller home calls for a different set of features. Typically, the main problem with small homes and apartments is limited storage space. While an upright with a massive floor head sounds appealing, your focus should be on finding an upright vacuum that is compact and won’t take up a ton of room in your closet.

Upright for Pet Hair

On Picture: Bissell 1650A Upright Vacuum

Is a Bagged or Bagless Upright Better for Pet Hair Cleanup?

Bagged versus bagless has always been a debatable topic. Uprights that have a bag to collect dirt, dust and debris make less of a mess when you remove the bag because the opening is just a tiny hole.

On the flip side, you can’t use a bagged vacuum without the bag, which means you’ll have to spring for regular replacements. Plus, changing a vacuum cleaner bag is a time-consuming task.

It used to be that emptying the dust cup of a bagless vacuum was messy business. However, manufacturers have discovered ways to make the process cleaner. From self-spooling cups that compress hair into a ball to bottom-release cups that dump the contents straight into the garbage can, dust cups aren’t as dirty as they once were. They also take less time to clean out in comparison to changing a bag.

what is the best upright vacuum for pet hair

On Picture: Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal Plus Allergy

How Do Upright Vacuums Address Pet Hair on Furniture?

Pet hair plus upholstery equals a filthy disaster, but attachments can restore upholstery back to a pristine condition. While a crevice tool and dust brush are great for bookshelves and door thresholds, they won’t be able to grab onto pet hair.

Instead, you need attachments that are designed just for pet hair removal. One of the best attachments to use for cleaning pet hair from upholstery is a motorized power brush. Inside of this brush, there is a smaller version of the full-size rolling brush in a vacuum’s floor head. Basically, a motorized power brush harnesses the hair-lifting ability of a floor head in a size that is suitable for couch cushions and bedding.

best upright vacuums for pet hair

On Picture: Shark NV752 Lift-Away Upright Vacuum

Will an Upright Spit Out the Hair It Collects?

An upright vacuum’s ability to retain the hair it suctions depends on its filtration system. If you have an allergy to pet hair or dander, the filters in the vacuum are crucial. What you need is a series of filters that are collectively called a three-stage HEPA filtration system.

This system consists of a pre-filter, a HEPA filter and a post-motor filter. As the air that carries dirt, dust and hair enters the dust cup, these particles go through the pre-filter, which catches any dirt and hair that made it out of the cup.

However, the pre-filter isn’t built to for trapping smaller particles – That’s the HEPA filter’s job. Almost 100 percent of the dust, dander and other allergens the vacuum suctions are caught by the HEPA filter. Finally, the post-motor filter prevents the .03 percent of particles the HEPA doesn’t capture from exiting through the vacuum’s vent.

best upright vacuum cleaners for pet hair

On Picture: Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal Plus Allergy

Are Cordless Uprights a Good Choice for Vacuuming Pet Hair?

When it comes to convenience, cordless upright vacuum cleaners have a lot to offer. Since there is no power cord, you don’t have to worry about how far the cord stretches. However, the need to make room for the battery leaves less space for the motor.

Therefore, cordless uprights tend to have smaller, weaker motors, which means they don’t deliver the suction strength that’s necessary for picking up hair. For vacuuming pet hair, it’s best to stick to the more powerful corded models.

Overall Recommended Upright Vacuums
Best of the Best! Best Seller Best Filter
Shark Navigator Zero-M Self-Cleaning Brushroll Pet Pro (ZU62) Upright Vacuum, Pewter Grey Metallic BISSELL Cleanview Swivel Pet Upright Bagless Vacuum Cleaner, Green, 2252 Shark Navigator Lift-Away Deluxe NV360 Upright Vacuum, Blue
Shark ZU62 Bissell 2252 Shark NV360
 • 25″ Cord Length
 • 2,6L Dirt tank
 • 19.5 lbs
 • HEPA Filter
 • 27″ Cord Length
 • 1.0L Dirt tank
 • 15 lbs
 • -
 • 25″ Cord Length
 • 11,3L Dirt tank
 • 13 lbs
 • HEPA Filter

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