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Best robot vacuums for pet hair in 2021

Best robot vacuums for pet hair
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

We all love our cats, dogs, and other furry friends, but sharing a home with loyal companions also means sharing fur and hair. The best robot vacuums for pet hair will save you a ton of cleaning effort, giving you more time to go outside and play fetch with Clifford. Plus, you can schedule a robot vacuum to clean your home at least once a day so that you can keep up with the fur Clifford leaves behind.

The best robot vacuums for pet hair range in price from $128 to $1,099 with plenty of capable bots in between. In fact, the lowest priced and highest priced models offered very similar performance when picking up pet hair. Our picks include robot vacuums in all price ranges that earned high marks on our pet hair pick up lab tests.

What are the best robot vacuums for pet hair?

Based on our lab tests and general performance, the best robot vacuum for pet hair is the iLife V3s Pro. It’s a basic, budget-friendly robot vacuum that picked up an average of 99.5% of all pet hair. For $128, this bump-and-clean bot may be light on features, but you’re able to schedule cleanings using the included remote control, so it’s easy to keep on top of shedding.

If you’re looking for more features, such as app connectivity, area-specific cleaning, and no-go zones, the iRobot Roomba s9+ is an excellent choice. This full-of-features robot vacuum sucked up an average of  98% of pet hair. The Roomba S9+ also comes with the Clean Base, which not only recharges the robovac, but  empties the dustbin onboard the vacuum and collects debris in a bag that you only have to empty approximately every other month. However, the Roomba s9+ with the self-emptying base is a pricey $1,099.

Looking for something in between? The $429 Roborock S4 Max is our current favorite robot vacuum for its mix of cleaning performance and useful features. In our lab tests, the S4 Max earned an overall average pet hair pick up rate of 94%. It was especially good on hardwood floors where it collected 100% of the dog hair in the test area. The Roborock S4 Max offers laser navigation, room-specific cleaning, and avoidance zones to keep the bot out of trouble – or at least away from Rover’s bed.

Read on for all of the best robot vacuums for pet hair.

The best robot vacuums for pet hair you can buy today

Best robot vacuums for pet hair: iLife V3s Protom's guide top pick

iLife V3s Pro (Image credit: iLife)

1. iLife V3s Pro

Best for budget-friendly cleaning

Cleaning Performance: 97
Pet Hair Score: 99.5
Bin Size: 600 ml
Smart Home Compatibility: None
Size: 11.8 x 11.8 x 3 inches
Weight: 4.5 pounds
Reasons to buy
+Excellent pet-hair-cleaning performance+Fantastic hardwood performance+Inexpensive
Reasons to avoid
-Loud-Inconsistent cleaning pattern

Who would’ve thought that one of the best cheap robot vacuums available is also one of the best for tackling pet hair? The inexpensive iLife V3s Pro is light on bells and whistles, but big on keeping your floors free from fur. This bump-and-clean robot sets itself apart with a 3-inch suction opening instead of a brush roll for ingesting debris. Not only does that aid in picking up dog hair, but it also makes maintenance easier since you won’t need to spend time removing hair from a brush roll.

The iLife V3s Pro really shines on bare surfaces, such as hardwood floors and tile, though it works well on thinner rugs, too. The random cleaning pattern of the V3s Pro means it might miss a few spots or, as we found in our review, get fixated on a certain area. Thankfully, there are arrow buttons on the included remote control to guide the V3s Pro back towards the dirt. If you’re okay with providing the iLife V3s Pro a little supervision, this incredible value will serve your floors well.

Read our full iLife V3s Pro review.

Best robot vacuums for pet hair: iRobot Roomba s9+

iRobot Roomba s9+ (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

2. iRobot Roomba s9+

Best for avoiding contact with hair and dander

Cleaning Performance: 96.3
Pet Hair Score: 98
Bin Size: 0.4 quarts
Smart Home Compatibility: Alexa, Google Assistant
Size: 12.3 x 12.3 x 3.5 inches
Weight: 8.2 pounds
Reasons to buy
+Attractive, premium design+Mapping was quick and easy+Easy-to-use mapping controls in app
Reasons to avoid
-Loud vacuum, loud dustbin-Very expensive-Have to buy replacement disposal bags

If you’re going to drop a lot of bills for a robot vacuum, you want to make sure it’ll pick them all up. Luckily, the iRobot Roomba s9+’s performance matches its hefty price tag – especially when dealing with pet hair. The Roomba s9+ stands out from the pack for its self-emptying Clean Base, which automatically empties the onboard dustbin when it’s full or when it completes a job. This automatic emptying does more than save you some work — it keeps the hair and dander the machine just picked up from re-entering your home when it’s time to empty the bin. A disposal bag inside of the base neatly closes up when it’s time to remove the full bag. It’s a lot better than dumping the robot’s dustbin into your kitchen garbage can.

But stopping pet hair and dust from recirculating in your home isn’t the Roomba s9+’s only trick. This Wi-Fi-connected robot vacuum can be commanded by its accompanying app, iRobot Home, to clean specific areas of your home, such as the area around the kitchen table, and avoid others. Don’t need that much granularity? Tell the s9+ to clean the whole kitchen at 8:30 every night. Want to come home to a clean home? The s9+ can be triggered via geofencing: Leave home to walk the dog, the vacuum starts cleaning. Come home and choose to have the vac continue the job or head back to the base, making it an excellent feature for households with pups who fear vacuums.

Read our full iRobot Roomba S9+ review.

Best robot vacuums for pet hair: Roborock S4 Max

Roborock S4 Max (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

3. Roborock S4 Max

Best for overall cleaning performance

Cleaning Performance: 96.3
Pet Hair Score: 94
Bin Size: 460 ml
Smart Home Compatibility: Alexa, Google Assistant
Size: 13.5 inches x 3.8 inches
Weight: 4.9 pounds
Reasons to buy
+Fast mapping+Excellent cleaner+Quiet vacuum
Reasons to avoid
-Room dividing could be better

It should come as no surprise that our top pick for the  best robot vacuums is also one of the best at cleaning up after pets. The Wi-Fi-connect Roborock S4 Max has a lot to offer in addition to its pet hair pick up ability. In our review, we found that it quickly created accurate maps on our home’s layout, with the ability to store up to four maps. It’s able to vacuum just one room, multiple rooms, or a whole level on a whim or on a schedule. Plus, the S4 Max can be customized within the Roborock app to make up to three cleaning passes in one run. It also supports no-go zones, so you can keep it from bumping into Fido’s food bowls.

The Roborock S4 Max will increase suction when it detects carpeting, to better remove all the hair from Garfield’s favorite afternoon sun spot on the living room rug. Speaking of cats, the S4 Max performed well in our kitty litter lab tests, too. The vacuum picked up a combined average of 96.38% of litter on carpet and hardwood. Plus, should you find yourself trapped in a chair due to a cat on your lap, you can command the S4 Max to clean via Alexa or Google Assistant.

Read our full Roborock S4 Max review.

Best robot vacuums for pet hair: Neato D4

Neato D4 (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

4. Neato D4

Best for homes with pets and carpets

Cleaning Performance: 91.3
Pet Hair Score: 91.3
Bin Size: 700 ml
Smart Home Compatibility: Alexa, Google Home
Size: 13.2 x 12.6 x 3.9 inches
Weight: 7.4 pounds
Reasons to buy
+Quick mapping+Supports “no-go” zones+Solid cleaning performance
Reasons to avoid
-Mapping doesn’t support individual room cleaning

The D-shaped Neato D4 is good at ferreting out dust bunnies hiding out in corners. The D4 picked up 95% of the pet hair in our carpeted test area. There’s a single roller brush positioned at the very front of the vac, much like an upright vacuum, which helps the D4 collect stray MeowMix under counters and along walls.

Though the mapping on the Neato D4 isn’t as feature-rich as the mapping on bots like the newer Roborock S4 Max, the D4 still holds its own. Using laser navigation, the D4 is a fast map maker and, although it’ll only save one floor plan at a time, it is capable of creating no-go zones. It also supports a daily cleaning schedule and can be commanded to clean via Alexa, Google Assistant, and even the Apple Watch. For apartments and smaller homes, the D4 is just what you need to keep up with Fluffy’s fur.

Read our full Neato D4 review.

Best robot vacuums for pet hair: iRobot Roomba i7+

iRobot Roomba i7+ (Image credit: iRobot)

5. iRobot Roomba i7+

Best for daily cleaning

Cleaning Performance: 90.4
Pet Hair Score: 90.5
Bin Size: 379 ml
Smart Home Compatibility: Alexa, Google Home
Size: 13.3 x 3.7 inches
Weight: 7.4 pounds
Reasons to buy
+Excellent navigation+Able to clean just one room+Clean Base is easy to empty+Fast cleaner
Reasons to avoid
-Clean Base is very loud-Cleaning could be more thorough

The iRobot Roomba i7+ was the first robot vacuum with a self-emptying base. Though the base is loud enough to wake your cat from his mid-morning nap, it’s also powerful enough to suck out all of the dander and hair collected from your floors. A disposable vacuum bag inside the Clean Base keeps dust and debris at bay.

The Wi-Fi-connected iRobot Roomba i7+ accurately creates maps of your home’s levels and supports area-specific cleaning and no-go zones. The iRobot Home app will even make cleaning recommendations based on the season, such as suggesting more cleaning runs during Spring shedding season. Like its more expensive sibling, the Roomba s9+, the Roomba i7+ also supports geofenced vacuuming, meaning the vacuum will start when it detects your phone has left the house. No one wants to miss their cat riding a Roomba, so you have the option of continuing the job should you return home before it's completed.

One thing – aside from price – that sets the Roomba i7+ apart from the Roomba s9+ is its gentle navigation. In our Roomba i7+ review, we noted that the vac barely disturbed the dog food bowls in our kitchen while cleaning around them. The Roomba s9+ was a little more aggressive, pushing the mat and bowls askew from their usual location.

Read our full iRobot Roomba i7+ review

How to choose the best robot vacuum for pet hair

There are a few factors you’ll want to consider before deciding on which robot vacuum will best serve you and your pet’s needs. Think about how many pets are in your home and how much they shed on a regular basis, not just during shedding season. Consider your other cleaning needs, too. Afterall, a robot vacuum is more than just a self-propelled throne for King Whiskers.

Price is likely going to be a large factor in your decision. While the iLife V3s Pro is very budget-friendly at $128, it doesn’t offer app connectivity, mapping, or no-go zones. The $299 Neato D4 offers all of those options. Likewise, our current favorite, the Roborock S4 Max offers multiple maps and room-specific cleaning for about $150 more.

Best robot vacuums for pet hair

Photo of Scout, the Incredible Shedding Test Dog (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Don’t forget about allergies, too. If the person who’s in charge of emptying the robot vacuum’s dustbin has bad allergies, consider a vacuum with a self-emptying base to cut down on re-releasing dust and dander into the air. Regardless, if you have pets, you’re going to want to make sure your robot vacuum is well-maintained so it can be its most effective. Here are six robot vacuum tips and tricks for keeping your home clean.

Depending on your pet’s temperament, your dog might be terrified of the vacuum. While traditional vacuums might scare pets based on noise alone, robot vacuums have the added attraction of being loud and moving on their own, possibly bumping into your dog or cat. Give your pet time to adjust to the new device by only running it for a few minutes at a time and making sure the bot doesn’t “chase” your pet.

One last note: If your pets don’t have the best bathroom habits for whatever reason, be sure that any mistakes are cleaned up before running your robot vacuum around the house. It’s a mess that no one wants to deal with and will likely kill your vacuum. Just trust us on this one.

Robot vacuum pet hair test results
Overall Pet Hair ScoreHardwood Pet Hair ScoreCarpet Pet Hair Score
iLife V3s Pro*99.510099
iRobot Roomba s9+989997
Roborock S4 Max9410088
Neato D4*91.2587.595
iRobot Roomba i7+*90.58893

*Same test performed in a larger 15’ x 15’ area.

How we tested the best robot vacuums for pet hair

All of the robot vacuums we review are subjected to both our lab tests and in-home, real world use over several days. The test results, user experience, price, and features relative to competing models weigh into our overall star rating.

In evaluating the best robot vacuums for pet hair, we primarily chose them based on their scores in our pet hair pick up lab tests.

The lab tests are three separate tests run twice – once on hardwood and once on low pile carpet. In a 5-foot-by-5-foot area, we measure how effective each vacuum is at picking up 2 grams of dog hair (primarily sourced from an English Cream Golden Retriever), 20 grams of kitty litter, and 20 grams of Cheerios cereal. As long as the dog hair is collected by some part of the robot vacuum, such as the side brush or main brush roll, it’s counted. Older models were subject to the same tests, but in a larger 15-foot-by-15-foot area.

Real world testing isn’t as rigid as our lab tests, though we test all of the features in each vacuum. Most commonly, this includes mapping out the first floor of the reviewer’s home and evaluating it for accuracy. This also includes how easy or hard it is to make map adjustments, such as room divisions and drawing no-go zones. Our reviewer looks at the dustbin: Is it hard to access? How much force is needed to open the dustbin? Does dust go flying everywhere? How easy is it to clean the brush roll, side brush, and wheels?

Household terrain is also considered. Does the robot vacuum get caught up on small rugs? Is it able to cross a common threshold? Does it get stuck in a maze of dining room chairs? How about under the couch? These are just some of the questions our reviewer answers when evaluating each robot vacuum.