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Published Sep 29, 2023 1:55 PM

Pet owners know keeping fur from collecting in corners, couch crevices, and our clothes is a Sisyphean task, but a robot vacuum for pet hair can help. It doesn’t matter if scritch sessions end in a handful of Himalayan or husky; our fate is to vacuum again and again, forever. But that kind of menial, repetitive task can easily be outsourced to a robot vacuum that will never tire—even during seasonal shedding. Since their debut, robot vacuums have gotten smarter, better, and added a bunch of bells and whistles like scheduling, hands-free emptying, and mops so you can delegate more cleaning tasks. Here’s our guide to finding the best robot vacuums for pet hair so that you can spend more time with your furry friend(s) and less worrying about the floors.

How we chose the best robot vacuums for pet hair

As long-time pawrents, we understand fur is nature’s glitter; it’s magically everywhere, hard to remove, and turns up where you least expect it. It takes a combination of frequent maintenance and deep cleaning to keep a house clear of tumbleweeds of fluff and allergens. As much as robot vacuums have stronger suction than they used to (we recommend paying, if possible, for models with at least 2500 Pa—the vacuum force for listing debris), they are best at tackling the frequency part of the equation. Have them do a lap around the house a few times a week (or daily!) to delay how often you need to drag out a traditional vacuum and its arsenal of brushes and tools for furniture. (And here are our suggestions for regular vacuums for pet hair.) With that in mind, we made recommendations based on hands-on experience, research, and reviews to find a reliable robot helper.

The best robot vacuums for pet hair: Reviews & Recommendations

The right robot vacuum depends on how many furry friends you have, their coats, how much they shed, and what floor types need to be cleaned. A house with an American domestic short-hair cat and hard floors may want a machine that can pick up litter and do some mopping. Anyone with a herd of shepherds may want a self-emptying base to minimize how often they dump all that hair. Or maybe you want an affordable machine to supplement your other vacuum. Either way, we’ve got you covered.

Best overall: iRobot Roomba s9+ Self-Emptying Robot Vacuum




  • Robot dimensions: 3.5 inches tall by 12.3 inches wide
  • Robot weight: 8.2 pounds
  • Base dimensions: 19 inches tall by 11.5 inches wide by 15 inches deep
  • Surfaces: Carpets and hard floors
  • Bin size: 60 days of dirt
  • Run time: Maximum 120 minutes


  • Self-emptying design
  • Three levels of cleaning
  • Smart mapping
  • D-shaped robot
  • Dual rubber brushes
  • Customizable no-go zones
  • Alexa, Siri, and Google voice assistant compatible
  • WiFi connected


  • Pricey
  • Noisy
  • Some app complaints

So many intelligent features are packed in the iRobot Roomba s9+ Self-Emptying Robot Vacuum that they’re hard to list. The WiFi-connected robot features smart mapping, programmable no-go zones, and the ability to send it out for spot cleaning. It is also compatible with many voice assistants, including the big three: Alexa, Siri, and Google.

The black-and-bronze robot effortlessly weaves through furniture. Its D-shape allows it to maneuver into corners better than some round machines we’ve tested. Its various sensors help it dodge socks and toys we fail to pick up. The powerful suction and dual rubber brushes easily pick up large debris and ably pull up dog hair ground into the carpet. Occasionally, it leaves a wad of fur in its wake when it goes to empty the bin, but it often picks it up as it shimmies through a second sweep (though not always). Not all robot vacuums have self-emptying bases, but pet owners will find it well worth it to avoid handling a mix of fur and floor grunge. The Roomba s9+ empties itself into a bag, which may need frequent replacing in a high-fluff house.

When the Roomba s9+ debuted, it was the top-of-the-line vacuum with a matching price of $1,000. However, Roomba has released new models and dropped the cost of the s9+ considerably, making it a better value. It can also be linked to iRobot’s Braava Robot Mop (included in our best Roombas guide). Users report two main complaints: the app has occasional weirdness, like losing maps, and both the 2500Pa robot and its dock are loud.

Best self-emptying: Shark RV912S EZ Robot Vacuum with Self-Empty Base




  • Robot weight: 12.2 pounds
  • Base dimensions: 11.4 inches tall by 18.5 inches wide by 13.4 inches deep
  • Surfaces: Carpets and hard floors
  • Bin size: 30 days of dirt
  • Run time: Maximum 60 minutes


  • Self-emptying base
  • Bagless
  • Room mapping
  • Google and Alexa compatible
  • WiFi connected
  • Can schedule cleaning


  • Noisy
  • Not great at edges and corners
  • Some users have difficulty with the app

You don’t have to drop a fortune to get a self-emptying base for a robot vacuum. The Shark RV912S EZ Robot Vacuum with Self-Empty Base is an older but reliable model that empties itself into a bin with no bag. Just dump the container after about a month of cleanings. The EZ Robot goes row by row to clean a room and can resume a cleaning where it left off should it recharge before the room is done. Google Assistant, Alexa, or the app can be used to control and schedule cleanings, though some users report issues with the app connecting. The round bot is a little clunky. It has a built-in bumper, which is good because it sometimes bumps into furniture.

Best for hardwood floors: Bissell SpinWave Hard Floor Expert Pet Robot, 2-in-1 Wet Mop and Dry Robot Vacuum




  • Robot dimensions: 4 inches tall by 13 inches wide by 14 inches deep
  • Robot weight: 7.5 pounds
  • Surfaces: Hard floors, low- to medium-pile carpets
  • Run time: 130 minutes


  • Vacuums and mops
  • Two-tank system
  • Uses cleaning solution specially designed for wood floors
  • Donates money to support homeless pets with every purchase
  • Cleans with reusable pads
  • Can schedule cleaning
  • WiFi connected
  • Quiet


  • No mapping
  • Sometimes bumps into furniture
  • Must use Bissell cleaners or warranty is voided

Bissell has long made wet/dry vacuums, but the Bissell SpinWave Hard Floor Expert Pet Robot, 2-in-1 Wet Mop and Dry Robot Vacuum is its first robot that does both. Swap in the dry tank to have it vacuum, or put in the water tank to mop with two spinning, washable pads. This versatility helps out pet parents with a lot of hard floors to keep clean. At this mid-range price, the SpinWave delivers more than expected, like an app that offers customized cleaning priorities, the option to build a cleaning schedule, and quiet operation.

Even though it doesn’t have advanced mapping features, the SpinWave cleans in tidy rows instead of bumping around randomly. The mopping mode avoids carpets with a soft surface sensor and is safe for hardwood floors, vinyl, and tile. The SpinWave also uses Bissell’s range of proprietary cleaners instead of the plain water most robot mops suggest. However, the solution evaporates rather than being suctioned up, so furry friends should be kept out until dry.

Best vacuum-and-mop combo: ECOVACS Deebot X2 Omni Robot Vacuum and Mop




  • Robot dimensions: 3.7 inches tall by 13.9 inches wide by 12.6 inches deep
  • Base dimensions: 20.8 inches tall by 15.5 inches wide by 17.4 inches deep
  • Surfaces: Carpets and hard floors
  • Bin size: Reported 90 days of dirt
  • Water tank size: 4 liters
  • Run time: Maximum 210 minutes


  • 3D mapping
  • Four cleaning modes: vacuum only, mop only, vacuum before mop, vacuum and mop
  • Mop pads lift when not in use
  • OMNI station automates emptying, water refilling, and drying
  • AI-controlled obstacle avoidance
  • Lidar sensor
  • YIKO voice assistant
  • WiFi connected


  • Pricey
  • Durability to be determined

While the Ecovacs Deebot X2 Omni Robot Vacuum and Mop isn’t The Jetsons’s Rosey, it’s getting close. The newly launched flagship model comes stacked with high-tech features like artificial intelligence to suggest how to clean up a mess and a LiDAR sensor, a type of laser detection and ranging technology used on self-driving cars and other autonomous vehicles. It maps in 3D and can be sent to spot clean by pointing it out on the app. It also comes with a voice assistant and can make two-way video calls if you want to see what your pet is up to. We haven’t done an in-home test yet, but we saw a demonstration where the squared-off robot successfully dodged toys, power cords, and expensive short-throw projectors on hardwood, holding a tight line with a wall while also sensing the need to lift its mop pads as it went over a carpet. 

In addition to the kind of tech that can keep a vacuum from knocking over a pet’s water bowl, and 8000Pa suction to get all the stray kibble and undercoat, the X2 Omni has a mode where vacuuming and mopping happen simultaneously. It’s a time saver and a big plus if vacuums stress out your pet (after all, we want to clean up any puppy puddles, not inspire new ones). The dock, dubbed the Omni station, automates a lot of the floor care that most people don’t want to deal with, like emptying the dust bin, refilling the robot’s water tank, and cleaning and drying the dual mop pads after use. The convenience comes at a recommended price of $1,499, but we’ve seen launch deals that knock a couple hundred off.

Best budget: eufy BoostIQ RoboVac 11S MAX




  • Robot dimensions: 2.9 inches tall by 12.8 inches wide by 12.8 inches deep
  • Robot weight: 5.7 pounds
  • Surfaces: Carpets and hard floors
  • Run time: Maximum 100 minutes


  • Inexpensive
  • Quiet
  • Remote control
  • Amazon Echo compatible


  • Not “smart”

Look no further than the eufy BoostIQ RoboVac 11S MAX for an affordable robot vacuum. It’s a bit old-school because it doesn’t map or go row by row. Instead, it cuts a random path through a room but features anti-collision technology and drop-sensors so it doesn’t fall down stairs. It has about 100 minutes of cleaning time, 2000Pa of suction, and is relatively quiet. It’s also under three inches tall, easily fitting under couches where fluff transforms into dust bunnies. At around $250 (and often on sale), it’s a highly rated model for people looking for simple operation without apps or cameras.

What to consider when buying the best robot vacuums for pet hair


As robot vacuums have become more common, their prices have dropped while the features you can get for your money have increased. Entry-level robot vacuums can start around $100, but they’re often made by obscure or unknown brands and have that erratic, bump-and-go style. Determine your budget and think about how smart—or not—you want the robot to be. Remember that more expensive connected smart-home models often have advanced features, like sophisticated sensors, voice control, and mapping technology.

Robot height and shape

In the robot vacuum world, short kings reign supreme. It’s worth measuring low furniture to see how much clearance is available. Can a robot move freely under a platform bed, or will it get trapped? A robot’s shape can impact cleaning, too. D-shaped or squared-off bots can get closer to corners and edges than round ones.

Room for a dock

A regular vacuum can live in a closet or a spare corner, but a robot vacuum needs space around its dock. Manufacturers’ guidance varies, but they often recommend a foot and a half to three feet of space on either side of the dock and four feet of empty space in front of it. And you’ll need a power plug.


All smart tech comes with privacy concerns; robot vacuums are no different. Robots that map our homes are inherently collecting private data. Devices that connect to WiFi open the possibility of that data being accessed by someone else by accident or design. The advanced cameras some models use to map and identify objects also capture images of our home’s interior and potentially our family members. If this freaks you out, opt for a bot that doesn’t connect to the internet or has cameras, but it won’t be able to avoid pet waste.


Q: How do pets react to robot vacuums?

Your pet’s reaction will be highly individual. The internet is full of videos of cats triumphantly riding robot vacuums and dogs barking aggressively at them. My doggo gives robot vacuums plenty of space, preferring to monitor them from the top of a couch and occasionally giving them a suspicious sniff when they’re docked. She doesn’t care for traditional vacuums, either.

Q: Can robot vacuums avoid pet waste?

After stories of a Roomba smearing dog poo went viral back in 2016, iRobot unveiled a P.O.O.P. (Pet Owner Official Promise) for select models to replace a vacuum if it runs over solid waste. Since then, many manufacturers released models with avoidance technology, like advanced cameras and artificial intelligence, but those aren’t standard features.

Q: Does pet hair get stuck in a robot vacuum?

Pet hair and human hair can both get stuck in a robot vacuum, though rubber rollers seem to avoid this better than bristle brushes. Like all vacuums, regular maintenance will be required to keep brushes, rollers, filters, and bins from getting clogged.

Final thoughts on the best robot vacuums for pet hair

Robot vacuums were practically made for pet owners, saving time and effort. While we think the self-emptying base, advanced mapping features, and ability to block out no-go zones make iRobot Roomba s9+ Self-Emptying Robot Vacuum the best overall pick for a robot vacuum, all of the options on this list can ably cut down fur and dander without a ton of human effort.

Why trust us

Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.

Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.