Getting rid of shedded hair and mucky paw prints needn’t be a chore with one of these handy automated home-helpers
A robot vacuum cleaner and a pet owner ought to be a match made in heaven. Few households are in such need of regular visits from the vacuum and mop than those that are shared with furry friends.
However, as with any vacuum cleaner, not all robots are well suited to a life with pets. Their hair comes in all manner of different types, but robot cleaners can often struggle with it, as it sticks to brushes and clogs up pipes.
Strong suction, good carpet agitation and rollers that avoid clogging tend to do well here, so we’ve picked out the best robot vacuum cleaners with the right tools to tackle the worst that our hairy housemates have to offer.
All the robots on this page have been fully tested by our experts, and are great vacuum cleaners in their own right, not just for pet owners.
Below you’ll find a buyer’s guide that goes into more detail about what to look for in a pet-friendly robot cleaner and the key features to consider when making your choice.
Each of the short recommendations comes with a link to the full-length review, available elsewhere on the site. So read on to discover our list of the best robot vacuums for pet hair in 2024.
Best robot vacuum for pet hair: At a glance
|Best self-emptying robot vacuum
|Ecovacs Deebot X1 Omni X1 | £899
|Check price at Amazon
|Best for muddy paws
|Ezviz RS2 | £1,200
|Check price at Ezviz
|Best for dodging pet poo
|iRobot Roomba J9+ | £999
|Check price at iRobot
|Best for powerful suction
|Dyson 360 Vis Nav | £1,200
|Check price at Dyson
|Best for pet hair on hard flooring
|Eufy Clean X9 Pro | £899
|Check price at Amazon
How to choose the best robot vacuum cleaner for pet hair
Which robot vacuum cleaners are the best at picking up pet hair?
As we’ve mentioned, there are a few features that are worth looking out for when choosing a robot to clean up after your pet. Most robot vacuum cleaners are good at picking up dust, crumbs and other loose dirt, and trapping it in their collection bins. Pet hair can be significantly more challenging. It might be embedded into carpet or floating around in clumps on hard floors, but either way it isn’t an easy job for a robot vacuum to clean up.
The first thing to look out for is decent suction. Despite pet hair not being heavy, it can get stuck to things, so the more suction a robot can muster, the better it will be at teasing hair into its collection bin. Basic robots have around 2,000Pa of suction, while more expensive ones can increase this significantly. Many manufacturers will proudly quote their suction power, while others may not. If a robot has a higher suction rating it’s likely to be better at collecting pet hair.
Suction isn’t the only factor at play, though. For a robot to gather hair in its collection bin, the device will also need to rely on agitation, particularly when on carpet. The bristles or fins on a robot’s roller are the key here. Softer ones will be useful on hard flooring but stiffer bristles might help tease hair out of a carpet’s surface.
There’s a downside to brushes, which is the ease with which their bristles trap hair. This is great when the rollers are clean, as hair in the roller is better than hair in the carpet, but brushes can get clogged up over time and will need regular cleaning. The more hair your pet sheds, the more regular cleaning your robot will need.
One alternative is to look for a robot that doesn’t use regular brushes on its rollers, but has different methods for agitating carpet and sweeping hard flooring. There are a number of different options here, from moulded rubber to fins that flick problematic debris out of your carpet and into the path of the suction.
What about other types of pet mess?
Pet hair is problematic, but it’s not the only type of mess that pets leave behind. If your pet likes to roam in and out of the house, then it’s likely that it’s going to leave footprints behind, particularly when it’s wet and muddy outside.
For that kind of problem, you’ll want a robot that can mop as well as vacuum. The quality of mopping varies greatly, with most robots simply dragging a damp cloth behind them as they go. For a better clean, look for robots that offer additional scrubbing or agitation to their mopping systems.
The other pet problem you might be looking for help with is poo. Unfortunately we haven’t found a robot cleaner yet that can follow a puppy around and clean up after all its little accidents.
In fact, the best you can hope for at the moment is that your robot can spot a special pet gift and navigate around it. Only a few robots can reliably do this, so if your house is regularly home to a messy cohabitant, it’s well worth considering this kind of feature.
What else should I consider?
Aside from general performance, there are a few other considerations that are likely to impact the speed and efficiency with which any model can clean your floors.
- Navigation: If you have a relatively small home, navigation won’t be a problem – most robots can find their way around a couple of rooms without too much bother. If you want your robot to cover a number of rooms, however, or your room layout is complex, navigation starts to become more important. Robots with LiDAR tend to be the best navigators, though there are other techniques that work, too.
- Speed: Most robots travel at a similar speed, cleaning a square metre in around 1-2 minutes. However, the length of time that they take to cover larger areas can depend on their battery life and other factors. It’s worth bearing in mind that a vacuum with a short-lived battery may need to return to its base to recharge part way through a clean. Likewise, models with tiny capacity bins may need emptying and mops with small water tanks may need refilling more regularly.
- Bin capacity: Robot vacuum cleaners don’t have the largest capacity collection bins and pet hair can take up a fair amount of space compared to dust and debris. If you’ve got a heavy shedder it’s probably worth making sure your robot’s collection bin is reasonably sized.
- Self emptying: Even the robots with the largest capacity still need emptying when they’ve finished, especially if they’re stuffed with pet hair. To reduce the amount of time you spend on this chore, look for a robot with a self-emptying base. These have secondary vacuums with powerful suction that empties the collection bin into a larger bag, which doesn’t need emptying as often.
- Height: Pets often find their way into places you don’t normally go. If you want to vacuum under furniture in areas that your pets use as dens, you may want to check that your chosen robot vacuum cleaner can also fit underneath. Here LiDAR turrets can be your enemy, because their extra height can stop them from accessing particularly low spaces, such as under the shelves on coffee tables.
How we test
When buying a robot vacuum cleaner for pet hair, its ability to pick the stuff up should clearly be high on the list. We test all robot vacuums with mixed dog hair, salvaged from a professional groomer. We scatter it on both hard flooring and carpet, and rub it in where possible before measuring exactly how much the robots can pick up.
We also test every robot vacuum cleaner with spillages of rice and flour, both of which are tough tests, even for the best vacuum cleaners.
If a robot also has the ability to mop, we test that, too. We use a trio of spillages – blackcurrant squash, tomato ketchup and a muddy footprint – all of which are left to dry out before cleaning is attempted.
Cleaning ability isn’t much use on its own if a robot can’t get to the mess, so we also test how well a robot can navigate its way around a challenging domestic space, and how easy or otherwise it is to set up and control.
READ NEXT: Best robot vacuum cleaners
The best robot vacuum for pet hair you can buy in 2024
1. Ecovacs Deebot X1 Omni: Best self-emptying robot vacuum and mop for pet hair
Price when reviewed: £699 | Check price at Amazon
With 5,000Pa suction, the Ecovacs Deebot X1 Omni has enough power to pick up most loose dirt. Coupled with its brush bar, with both bristles and rubber fins, it offers the best of both worlds when it comes to cleaning.
Then there’s the mop. This uses rotating pads to add extra motion to its clean, on top of the simple forward motion of the robot itself. This puts a lot more cleaning power into each mopping run, and is good enough to pick up muddy paw prints.
The X1 Omni comes with a huge base station, but it’s packed with features. Not only is it a place to return to for charging, but the X1 also empties the vacuum’s collection bin into a larger bag, and it stores both clean and soiled water, which is used to fill the robot and automatically rinse through its mopping pads.
Read our full Ecovacs Deebot X1 Omni review
Key specs – Size: 362 x 362 x 104mm; Weight: 4.4kg; Battery life: 4hrs 20mins; Charge time: 6.5hrs; Bin capacity: 0.4l; Wi-Fi connectivity: Yes; Decibel volume: 67dB
2. Ezviz RS2: Best robot mop for muddy paws
Price when reviewed: £1,200 | Check price at Ezviz
If your biggest pet-related problem is muddy paw prints, the Ezviz RS2 has got your back. It mops and vacuums in a single unit, with a decent mopping action that uses two pads that rotate in opposite directions to apply more agitation to its cleans.
The RS2’s enormous base station has a 5.5l clean water tank. This is more than enough to keep the robot’s 150ml tank topped up many times over, and is also used to rinse through the mopping pads when a clean has been completed. Dirty water is pumped away to a separate tank. Both are easy to lift out for emptying or refilling.
When you want to vacuum, the robot will return to the base station and remove its own mop pads, so it can vacuum on carpet and rugs without getting them wet. The vacuum has a decent 4,000Pa suction power, and has a roller with both brushes and fins for cleaning any surface.
Read our full Ezviz RS2 review
Key specs – Size: 365 x 365 x 103mm; Weight: 4.6kg; Battery life: 2hrs 20mins; Charge time: 3hrs; Bin capacity: 0.4l; Wi-Fi connectivity: Yes; Decibel volume: 64dB
3. iRobot Roomba J9+: Best robot vacuum cleaner and mop for dodging pet poo
Price when reviewed: £1,249 | Check price at iRobot
The iRobot Roomba Combo J9+ has a few pet-friendly features, but its best is arguably its ability to dodge poo. If your pet is prone to leaving little accidents on the floor, the J9+ will spot them, recognise them and steer a path around them. The only thing it won’t do is pick them up.
Another pet-friendly innovation is its dual rollers, which are rubberised so that they don’t get hair trapped in any bristles. The two rollers move in opposite directions, drawing dirt, debris and pet hair straight into the path of the suction inlet. In our tests, however, they performed better with pet hair on hard flooring than on carpet.
The Combo J9+ also has a mopping function. The mop pad uses an extendable arm to deploy it behind the robot, and can be set to make additional backwards and forwards movements while mopping to help combat stubborn dried-on paw-prints.
Read our full iRobot Roomba Combo J9+ review
Key specs – Size: 348 x 348 x 87mm; Weight: 4.07kg; Battery life: 3hrs; Charge time: 3hrs; Bin capacity: 0.4l; Wi-Fi connectivity: Yes; Decibel volume: 70dB
There are a lot of things that count in the Eufy Clean X9 Pro’s favour when it comes to life with pets. In our hard floor tests it performed brilliantly, managing to collect all the hair we put down. Its 5,500Pa suction power clearly helps, as do the rubber fins on the roller, which avoid getting clogged up with hair.
The X9 Pro also comes with one of the best mopping systems out there, handy if you find yourself regularly following your pet around the house, cleaning up its muddy footprints. It has two rotating mop pads, which add an extra dimension of cleaning agitation to the simple forward motion of basic robot mops.
Its base station contains water tanks to hold both clean and dirty water, so the robot is refilled with clean water automatically, and the mop pads are rinsed through and the dirty water collected when it’s finished. It even dries the mop pads too, so they don’t stay damp and get musty.
Read our full Eufy Clean X9 Pro review
Key specs – Size: 326 x 352 x 112mm; Weight: 4.74kg; Battery life: 2-3hrs; Charge time: 4hrs; Bin capacity: 0.41l; Wi-Fi connectivity: Yes; Decibel volume: 65dB
5. Dyson 360 Vis Nav: Best robot for powerful suction
Price when reviewed: £1,200 | Check price at Dyson
When it comes to suction power, the Dyson 360 Vis Nav is the most powerful model we’ve seen. In our tests, pet hair simply leapt into the vacuum cleaner from hard flooring, and it’s impressive on carpet, too. If you have a pet that sheds a lot of hair, which other models might struggle to collect, the 360 Vis Nav could be the answer.
It has an innovative roller that incorporates both a fluffy roller for hard floor and bristles for agitating carpet. It also has a distinctive edge-sweeping tool that extends out of the side of the robot and brings its suction power closer to the edge of the floor than most other robots.
We found that the increased suction meant that the battery didn’t last as long as we’d like, and the robot needed to go back for a recharge during cleaning missions. However, if you’re cleaning a smaller space or have plenty of time on your hands, that shouldn’t cause too many problems.
Read our full Dyson 360 Vis Nav review
Key specs – Size: 320 x 330 x 99mm; Weight: 5kg; Battery life: 65 mins; Charge time: 2.75hrs; Bin capacity: 0.5l; Wi-Fi connectivity: Yes; Decibel volume: 62dB