Best Pet Hair Vacuums of 2017: Top Upright, Stick, & Canister Cleaners for Homes with Dogs, Cats, & Other Animals

Hardwood floors seem deceptively easy to clean. That’s the big reason why people buy a cheap vacuum to clean them, and end up disappointed. Contrary to popular belief, cleaning hardwoods properly requires just as much suction power as carpets, and even more finesse! To do the job properly, you’ll need something with lots of power and protective features.

Throw pet hair into the equation, and you’re looking at only a select few vacuums which are up to the task! For this guide, we’ve rounded up all our favorite cleaning machines for dealing with pet hair on hardwood floors. Our picks will keep your hardwoods spotless, and prevent any scratches while you clean. They’re also fantastic at sucking up pet hair!

Check out the winners!

Top Upright

Top Canister for Hardwoods

Best for Mixed Flooring

Miele H1 QuickStep

 Miele Complete C2

 Miele Compact C2 Electro+

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1. Miele H1 QuickStep

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“by far our favorite stick vac on the market.”

The Miele H1 is by far our favorite stick vac on the market. It’s also one of the only stick models that we think is safe to use on hardwood floors! This thing has the kind of suction you’d ordinarily see only in full-size canister or upright models. It did very well in Consumer Reports bare floor tests and we think it’s highly underrated by other reviewers.

We recommend the Miele H1 to pet owners with smaller living spaces where a stick vacuum is all you need. As long as you don’t have any serious carpeting, it’ll do a great job cleaning up pet hair and dirt without scratching your hardwoods.

Pros:

It has some serious suction power on board! Most stick vacuums are no good at cleaning up after pets, even on hardwoods. They don’t have the power to reach between floorboards or into corners where hair collects. The Miele doesn’t lack anything in the suction department, thanks to its 1000W motor! It compares favorably to most full-size vac’s.

“It compares favorably to most full-size vac’s.”

At the same time, pets in particular will appreciate how quiet it is! The H1 is refreshingly quiet compared to the shrill whines you hear from most stick vac’s. You can also choose from two different suction levels: max when you need to do a big clean, or min when you don’t want to disturb the neighbors.

The floor attachment is very well-designed, and does an excellent job on any hard floors. Miele’s AllTeQ tool has a beveled roller instead of wheels. It’s a bit unusual, but has quickly become our favorite all-purpose tool. The roller is rubberized to protect your hardwoods, and the the wide suction head has brushes all around.

What impresses us the most is how well the suction lock works compared to other stick models. The H1 sucks things easily from the sides, so you can do a very good job on edges without getting out the crevice tool. It’s very good at getting stray pet hair from round the edges of your living space, not to mention dust bunnies!

“very good at getting stray pet hair from round the edges of your living space”

The floor tool also converts to work on flat carpets and rugs, so you don’t need another attachment. You flip a foot-switch, the brushes retract, and you get a steel gliding plate which moves easily over low-pile/flat-weave surfaces.

In the gliding mode, the AllTeQ also has velour and rubber strips in front and in back of the suction mouth. They do an excellent job removing stuck-on hair, even though they can’t scrub ground-in dirt. It’s all you need for most rugs and mats, though we wouldn’t suggest using this for an entire room of carpeting.

It works in several configurations:

full upright, with weight at the bottom

upright with weight on the top, for reaching under beds and tables more easily

without the wand, as a superpowered hand vac

There are two attachments, in addition to the floor tool. The crevice tool is pretty standard, but it’s the upholstery nozzle which impresses us the most. It has velour strips in the front and back, a lot like the gliding rug mode on the floor tool.

You’d be surprised at how effective it is, particularly for something with no spinning or scrubbing brushes. We’ve used it on just about any fabric surface with good results: carpeted pet furniture, chair upholstery, and even car seats. It takes fur off everything, and loosens up dirt and dust at the same time.

Probably the best aspect of the H1 is how easy it is to use! Of course, stick vacuums are usually very convenient, since you don’t have to haul out a canister, wand and hose. Still, the H2 is particularly ergonomic, once you get used to it.

Having the weight at the bottom when you use the full stick format works perfectly with the roller, making this by far the smoothest stick vacuum we’ve used. Instead of pushing the thing around like your average upright, you do more of a swinging gesture to “send” it where you want to go.

You have to try it to see what we’re talking about, but it’s incredibly satisfying on hardwoods or tile. It rolls right along, and all you really have to do is point it and swing back and forth.

It does a much better job than other stick models at capturing and disposing of pet hair, dander, and dirt. Like Miele’s canister and upright models, it uses bags. They’re self-sealing, so nothing escapes when you empty the H1. Between the filter bags and the air filters, the H1 captures 99.9% of particles that go in the business end.

It’s the most affordable Miele by a long shot. If you don’t have any real need for a canister system, you can save ~$100 by using this! We think it’s the least expensive model on the market that protects your hardwoods perfectly.

While it’s often treated as a niche product by other reviewers, we can honestly say that this is our favorite vac to use on a regular basis. We use it around the office (which has hardwoods), and one of our reviewers uses it as a primary cleaner in his apartment (also hardwoods).

“we can honestly say that this is our favorite vac to use on a regular basis.”

Miele’s are legendary for their build quality and reliability. This one’s no exception! It’s very, very sturdy for a stick vacuum. We’ve been using ours for 2 years and counting, with no issues. It’s covered by a 1-year warranty.

Cons:

It isn’t meant for whole rooms of carpeting. The gliding-plate setting on the AllTeQ is very good on flat-weave rugs and flat carpeting, but you wouldn’t want to use it on a big scale. We’ve used in on carpeted entries with good results, but you really need a motor brush to do a thorough job.

If you like the convenience and compactness of the H1 but need to clean a room or two of carpeting, we should point out that this one’s actually capable of running a motorized carpet brush.

We’ve tested it with an attachment from one of our Miele canisters, and it works pretty well. We still think the Electro+ is a better choice, though, since its power brush has adjustable height. It’s also better ergonomically to push around a wand on carpet, rather than the entire stick vac. Still, if you have low to medium-pile carpeting, and want to save space, the H1 plus power brush is an effective, convenient solution.

The H1 holds a surprisingly large amount in its bags, but not quite as much as our canister recommendations. You get slightly better filtration on the canister models, too. It’s not something most users will notice, but definitely something to bear in mind if allergies are a concern. The canister models we’ve chosen have completely sealed air systems.

While the convertible stick design is very convenient for most things, it has some weak points. For instance, cleaning overhead isn’t nearly as easy as with a canister model’s wand and hose. Since you have to lift the whole thing, the H1 can get unwieldy above the shoulders

Likewise, it’s good at getting into tight spots, and anywhere the crevice tool/wand will fit. It can’t go around corners easily, though, since the whole thing is one rigid piece. If you need more flexibility, the canister models make better sense.

The H1 is one of a small number of Miele’s that aren’t made entirely in Germany. The components are all German, but the final product is assembled in China. We haven’t found any issues, though.

Note:

We’re aware that many other reviewers have given less-than-glowing feedback on the H1, to put it mildly. Frankly, we’re at a loss to see why so many people don’t love this thing! After some thought, we’ve decided it must be because this is a bit off the beaten path for stick vacuums, and many reviewers didn’t take the time to learn how to use it.

As we’ve mentioned above, you don’t push the Miele around so much as glide it, or swing it. The weight and roller do the hard work for you. So, when we read about how someone found it difficult to push around, that tells us they were treating it more like a standard stick vacuum.

Likewise, when we see complaints about durability, we can’t quite understand what’s gone on in that case. We’ve been using one of these things for 2 years and ours is still practically brand new. It’s got a few scuffs on the casing, but aside from that, you’d never know it wasn’t a brand new model.

So, we think you should buy this with confidence if the stick design appeals to you. Our one word of advice is to read the manual thoroughly, and get accustomed to the funky ergonomics. They work extremely well if you don’t try and work against them!

2. Miele Complete C2 Hard Floor Canister Vacuum

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This Miele C2 is a canister model designed specifically for those with hard flooring. It’s outstanding on hardwoods! The C2 is a canister alternative to the H1, which provides extra versatility and range. We suggest it for folks with larger living spaces, where the versatility of a canister vac is handier than a stick like the H1.

Pros:

It has more under the hood than the H1. The C2 has a 1200W vortex motor, where the H1’s is 1000W. It’s not a massive difference, but an extra 20% does come in handy when you’re cleaning a larger living space. You’ll find that the AllTeQ pulls even further to the sides and does an even better job around the edges of your rooms.

In addition to being powerful, the C2 gives you lots of finesse. That’s a key reason we prefer it to Dyson canisters, which technically achieve (very slightly) higher suction. You have more suction levels to choose from, so you can customize the machine for each task. After all, what’s the point of having power if you can’t control it?

The C2’s multiple suction settings allow you to crank up suction for cleaning pet furniture, and tamp the suction down to clean curtains and other pet fur magnets more gently.

Having a canister instead of a stick compartment to work with also makes for a larger capacity! The C2 leaves more room in the bags than the H1, which is another reason it’s more practical in bigger spaces. That’s especially true when you have lots of fur to contend with. It’s bags are self-sealing, just like the H1’s. The only difference is the size.

Lastly, since there’s more space inside the casing, you can store the attachments inside the canister itself, rather than on clips! How’s that for convenience?

The C2’s canister format also gives you some extra versatility. The H1 is versatile in its own right, but you have to pick up the whole motor unit when you use it above floor level. The C2 is  more ergonomic, since you’re only lifting the weight of the wand and attachment. It’s better for cleaning overhead and in far places, especially stairs.

Because you’ll have a flexible hose, you can also reach around corners and into tight spots more easily. If those are common in your house, you’ll want to get this instead of the H1. Pet hair is sure to get into those nooks and crannies, so you want to be able to get after it!

There are lots of impressive points on the C2s suction channel design. Firstly, the build quality on the stainless steel telescopic wand and crush-proof hose is fantastic. More importantly, unlike so many canister models, the suction channel stays open and fairly straight all the way to the bag. Dyson models are notorious for getting clogged up at the joints when you use them on animal hair; this one doesn’t have any issues.

You get two different floor tools:

One is the convertible AllTeQ that comes on the H1. As we mentioned in our H1 review, it’s a good choice for both hardwoods and tile, as well as any low/flat-woven rugs. Since we did a detailed breakdown in our H1 review, we’ll gloss over the details here (scroll up to see all our thoughts on the AllTeQ). Suffice it to say that this is the ideal all-purpose tool for a canister vac.

“much better for hardwood stairs, and for anywhere you need a smaller implement.”

You also get a dedicated parquet attachment. It’s much better for hardwood stairs, and for anywhere you need a smaller implement. This one does better than the AllTeq at fitting under baseboards, furniture, and anything else with little clearance.

It has a shallow mouth but a wide coverage path, so stairs are an absolute breeze with it. The gaps in the bristles also provide avenues for hair to go into the vacuum, rather than getting stuck to the floor tool.

The C2 comes with the same attachments as the H1, plus one more. You get the same standard crevice tool, the excellent upholstery nozzle, and a natural-bristle dusting brush.

The whole thing is as user-friendly and ergonomic as the H1, if not more so! The canister’s body has foot switches for power and cord rewind. The power cord winds itself into the canister, so you don’t have to wind it up yourself. Both floor heads swivel very easily, and you don’t have to lift the motor as you clean stairs or above your shoulders.

“It fully lives up to Miele’s high reputation for build quality.”

It fully lives up to Miele’s high reputation for build quality. The casing is super sturdy, and so are all the implements. The canister and attachments are all highly protective of hardwoods, too, thanks to rubberized wheels and natural bristles.

The C2 is made entirely in Germany, from start to finish. It’s covered by a longer warranty than the H1, too. The motor and casing are covered for 7 years, while everything else gets the same 1-year policy as the H1.

Cons:

Like the H1, the C2 is not a good choice for living spaces with whole rooms of carpeting. Since it doesn’t have a powered brush head, it can’t scrub ground-in dirt from carpets. Like the H1, it does a good job with flat-weave rugs and small areas of flat carpeting, though. For those of you with serious carpeting as well as hardwoods, the C2 Electro+ below is the ideal cleaning machine!

It’s nearly twice the price of the H1. If you only have an apartment to clean you probably don’t need this. People who are cleaning an entire house will find the C2 is worth the extra money.

It takes more room to store than the compact, self-contained H1.

While the C2 has a sealed air system with Miele’s AirClean filtration, it doesn’t have a HEPA filter onboard. The difference is mostly a technicality, since Miele’s own filters remove 99.9% of airborne particles, and HEPA’s standard is 99.7%. Still, if you want a HEPA-certified filter, you’ll need to buy the replacements in that version.

3. Miele Compact C2 Electro+

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“our top recommendation to pet owners with a mix of hard and carpeted flooring types.”

The Miele Compact C2 Electro+ is by far the best vacuum here. The Electro+ is an absolute beast on carpeting, and it’s just as effective on hard floors as our other recommendations. This is the most versatile, capable vacuum on the market! The Electro+ is built like a tank, and ought to clean up after you and your animals for years.

It’s overkill if you only have hardwood flooring, but it’s our top recommendation to pet owners with a mix of hard and carpeted flooring types.

Pros:

It’s the only one of our picks that works on carpeting as well as hardwoods. That’s because it has a large brush head with an electric motor! It’s much better than air-powered turbo brushes like you’ll see on most Dyson’s. Having a motor makes for more consistent performance, and it prevents the kind of random lock-ups that we’ve run into with Dyson’s attachments.

You can also adjust the height to suit your carpet pile, which is something else Dyson’s don’t offer. That makes the Electro+ far more versatile on different types of carpeting which can stymie a single-setting attachment. We suggest this for anything from flat-weave rugs to deep shag carpeting.

“it doesn’t tangle, and it doesn’t jam! “

In every carpet we’ve tested it on, it doesn’t tangle, and it doesn’t jam! This thing has a nice wide coverage path, too, so you can cover ground quickly and get back to spending time with your pets.

You’re also well-equipped for hardwoods, thanks to the inclusion of the same parquet  attachment as the other C2. As we noted in our other review, it’s great for all hardwoods, especially stairs and tight spots. Since it’s the primary hard floor tool on this model, you’ll really appreciate the gaps between the bristles for hair to pass into the suction head!

A more compact canister design makes this C2 even more unobtrusive than the Hard Floors model. It’s very space-efficient, and sits easily on stair landings. Best of all, it still offers lots of room in the bags for pet fur and other debris.

The Electro+ shares most of the features of the C2 Hard Floors (find detailed writeups of each above!):

  • 6-level adjustable suction
  • 1200W vortex motor
  • crush-proof hose
  • automatic cord rewind
  • foot controls for on/off and cord rewind
  • protective, scratch-free rubber wheels
  • self-sealing filter bags
  • 99.9% of particles captured
  • completely sealed air system

 

It’s made entirely in Germany, like the Hard Floors version above. Like the other C2, it’s covered with a 7-year warranty on the motor and casing, with 1 year of coverage for all the other components.

Since it’s priced about on part with Dyson’s best canisters, we think a comparison is useful.

“this one is unquestionably the best on the market for pets and mixed flooring!”

The Miele Electro+ gives you an adjustable carpet tool, where the Dyson’s can’t be tweaked. It has a gentle parquet tool for hardwoods, where the Dyson’s floor tool has stiff nylon bristles which can damage finishes. The Miele’s wheels are rubberized, while the Dyson’s are hard plastic.

Dust and fur disposal is also much more sanitary and neat with the Miele. Dyson’s new suction systems do a good job separating dirt, but they’re not very good at disposing of hair clumps.

And in build quality, there’s absolutely no comparison between the brands. The Miele is sturdy and rugged, while the Dyson feels cheap and gimmicky.

Overall, this one is unquestionably the best on the market for pets and mixed flooring!

Cons:

Unlike the other C2, you can’t store the attachments inside the canister. You’ll use a clip which attaches to the hose near the canister. It works quite well, but it’s not as nifty as being able to keep everything inside.

It only gives you the same attachments as the other C2, no extras. Unlike the pricier Cat & Dog models, it doesn’t include a turbo tool. You can still buy one, though, and for less than the price difference between this and a Cat & Dog.

The only substantial downside of the Electro+ is the high price tag. Having said that, it’s barely more expensive than Dyson’s flagship canister models (even though the Miele is vastly better). It’s overkill if you don’t have entire rooms of carpeting, but worth its weight in gold if you do!

 

See Also

Miele C1 Cat & Dog

 

We haven’t included this C1 among our main recommendations because it doesn’t have a completely sealed air system. The C2 models above meet that criteria, while the C1 offers filtration on par with the H1. That is to say, very good but not perfect.

If you don’t have any allergen concerns, this is still a very worthy choice. Miele’s system is certified to remove nearly all particles anyway, and the Cat & Dog also offers odor filtration!

It includes the same power brush as the C2 Electro+, as well as a Parquet Twister attachment which we think is actually better than the smaller parquet tools on the C2 models above.

It also comes with a special turbo tool that’s amazing on pet furniture or upholstery. The velour tools on the other models do very well, but this one does the scrubbing for you!

 

Clarification

You’ll no doubt have noticed by this point that we’ve only included Miele’s here.

That’s mostly because with pets, we find bagged vacuums to be the best solution. Emptying bagless vac’s is always a mess, but it’s especially bad when you’re emptying wads of pet fur and dander. The dander comes up in a cloud, and the fur usually wads around the filters, so you have to pull it out by hand. No thanks! The self-sealing Miele bags aren’t messy in the slightest, and they do a far better job keeping what goes in the vacuum from getting back into your home.

And as we note on our homepage, Miele’s have the best protective features on the market when it comes to your hard floors. While Dyson and other brands have some very popular pet-branded models on offer, they’re not very good at keeping the finishes on your hardwoods scratch free.

Miele’s all have rubberized wheels and rollers, instead of the hard plastic you see on the competition. The bristles on Miele’s attachments are also natural fiber, as opposed to stiff nylon. Overall, these are going to be far better for the longevity of your floors.

So, while we’re always on the lookout for new, better vacuums from any brand, Miele’s lineup remain our favorites at this point.

Which Pet Hair Vacuum Should You Buy?

There are a few great models that effectively tackle pet hair on hardwood floors, and the best pick for you is a matter of your personal preferences and your budget.

The best solution for folks with smaller living spaces is the Miele H1. It’s the most convenient model here to just grab and go. The H1 has suction to rival most canister vacuums, and it’s very versatile for its size and price. This one’s perfect for pet owners in apartments and smaller home with hardwood floors.

It can get a bit unwieldy on stairs, though, and it’s no good for carpeted rooms. If you have more than a couple rugs to clean, get the Electro+. If you live in a larger space, with have lots of overhead nooks or stairs to clean, you’ll probably find that the C2 Hard Floors is a more practical option.

Our favorite canister model for hardwoods without any carpeted rooms to speak of is the Miele C2 Hard Floors. It gives you a lot more room to maneuver than the H1, and you don’t have to lift a motor in the air to clean overhead. This one’s a better option for large living spaces, for whole houses rather than apartments. It’s especially good for hardwood staircases.

Like the H1, though, the C2 Hard Floors can’t handle more than flat-woven rugs and small carpeted areas. If you have entire rooms of carpeting, it’s worth investing a bit more to get the Electro+.

If you have a mix of hardwoods and carpets, you should go for the Miele C2 Electro+. It’s the only vacuum here that can really agitate carpet fibers to loosen up ground-in dirt and fur. This one’s by far the best on the market for entire rooms of carpeting, especially deeper pile. We don’t think you need it if you only have a couple small rugs, but there’s nothing better for cleaning up after pets on big area rugs and carpets.

The only real downside of the Electro+ is the steep price tag. Still, it’s no more expensive than a Dyson canister, and the Miele gives you a heck of a lot more control, versatility, and reliability. Not to mention protection for your hardwoods.  It’s worth the investment!

What’s Next?

We’ve picked our favorites, but there are lots of other great hardwood vacuums for pet owners—check out the best selling hardwood vacuums!