To have a pet is to have an endless source of unconditional love — and an unyielding amount of loose fur. An additional member of the household, no matter how small and cuddly, always adds more housework. While there are many traditional vacuums that can do the job, an easier way to manage constant shedding (and dirt tracking) is by programming a robot vacuum to do a daily sweep for you.
The hardest part of this process is picking the right robot vacuum for your home. If you have carpeting or rugs, you need a device with more suction. If you have a bigger home, you want an option with a long battery life. And if you have a skittish pet who might be wary of a seemingly sentient machine, you need a quieter model.
To help you find the right robot vacuum for you and your pet, we spoke to a dozen pet owners and pet-care entrepreneurs about their favorites. Read on for the ten robot vacuums they recommend, any of which will help you keep a clean home without even thinking about it.
Best overall | Best (less expensive) | Best self-emptying | Best (less expensive) self-emptying | Best quiet | Best wet-dry | Best mop
What we’re looking for
Run time: Any cordless-vacuum owner has experienced this: You’re in the middle of a clean when it abruptly turns off. (This is, naturally, the cost of not being connected to an outlet.) Knowing the run time helps you avoid the aforementioned scenario — and will give you a sense of how long your robot vacuum will actually be buzzing around your house.
Capacity: All robot vacuums are bagless, but some have larger bins or dust boxes than others. Those will usually be able to pick up more dust, dirt, and pet hair and clean more for longer.
Best overall robot vacuum for pets
Up to 100 minutes | 0.7 liter capacity
Since we last updated this post in October 2021, our choice for the best overall robot vacuum for pets (the Neato D7) has been discontinued. However, the brand still comes highly recommended by pet-care experts and owners across the board, so we’re naming the Neato D8 as our best overall pick, because it shares many of the same features beloved by owners of the D7. That includes its zoning features, which canine-behavior expert and trainer Shelby Semel likes (and is why she recommended the Neato D7 to her clients). “You can block off and control sections of a room from your phone,” she explains, marking virtual no-go zones for the vacuum to avoid. Ryeon Kim, co-founder of pet e-commerce retailer Little Beast, says you can focus the Neato vacuum on specific areas in a home: “I use the app to move the vacuum around and spot clean.”
And not only is it good for pet hair, it’s also good for sand and other debris. That’s according to Dr. Jamie Richardson, veterinarian and chief of staff at veterinary start-up Small Door, who got this model when she was living beachside in Bermuda with her dogs. “There was a lot of sand all over my house, so I found myself vacuuming nonstop,” she said, and she loved the D-shape of the vacuum because it got into all the nooks and crannies of each room.
Tiziana Agnello, founder of status dog-bag brand LoveThyBeast, and Erica Cerulo, bunny owner and co-founder of Of a Kind, also recommend robot vacuums from Neato, though they each own a now discontinued model — and while the Neato models are pricey, Cerulo has owned hers for over six years, attesting to the longevity of the vacuums.
Best (less expensive) robot vacuum for pets
Up to 100 minutes | 0.6 liter capacity
You don’t have to pay a lot for a sleek, high-tech robot vacuum. Art director and long-haired-cat mom Minha Khan loves this affordable robot vacuum because, at 2.85 inches tall, it’s slim enough to slide under the couch. “My cat tracks litter and sheds everywhere, so I love that the vacuum reaches areas that my stick vacuum can’t,” she explains. Premium features include self-charging, an infrared sensor, and a glass top cover to protect against scratching and damage. Strategist senior writer Liza Corsillo also loves this model and went so far as to call it the “robot vacuum that helped me avoid couples therapy.”
Best self-emptying robot vacuum for pets
Up to 75 minutes | 0.1 gallon capacity
Winnie Au, a photographer who regularly features dogs in her work, wanted the iRobot Roomba s9, but couldn’t justify the $1,200-plus cost. So she went for the next best thing that’s more than a quarter cheaper: the i7+. Though she has had other Roombas before, she was always annoyed by the need to empty the vacuum, which fills up easily, after every usage. In her opinion, she says “it defeats the purpose of having a Roomba.” But this model does it for you: After each cleaning session, the vacuum empties the dirt into a disposable AllergenLock bag located inside the charging dock. The bag holds 60 days worth of vacuuming, so you don’t have to do anything but stare pleasingly at the map of your home on the iRobot HOME app, which the vacuum learns as it vacuums your home. (Au’s home has stairs, and this vacuum can memorize multiple floor plans.)
Best (less expensive) self-emptying robot vacuum for pets
N/A | 0.1 gallon capacity
If you’re looking for a slightly less expensive self-emptying vacuum, Kadi Dulude, owner of the cleaning service Wizard of Homes, recommends this one that she’s been using daily for over six months. (With a Labrador who sheds a lot, Dulude prefers the self-emptying robot vacuum because she found the process of constantly cleaning the bin herself too tedious.) “I love that I just press the button, check to make sure there are no obstacles on the floor, and forget about it,” she says. “I have a large floor surface in my home, so it goes back to the base several times to empty and sometimes even recharge, but it gets the entire floor done every day.”
With the money you’re saving on this model over the previous one, you do lose some smart features, like the ability to set “keep-out zones” where the vacuum won’t go and an on-board camera that allows for slightly more accurate room mapping.
Best quiet robot vacuum for pets
Up to 180 minutes | N/A
If your pet is scared of fireworks and loud sirens, you will want the quietest robot vacuum possible — even if your pet is in another room while it’s running, and especially if you’re not home. “Stressing your dog out when you’re not home and they have no one to protect them can honestly have lasting effects,” Semel explains, which is why she recommends this robot vacuum to all her clients with skittish dogs. But don’t be deceived by the S6’s hush: It has enough suction power to lift AA batteries, and has a mop setting, too. Amazon reviewers also rave about the Roborock’s ability to pick up dog-food kibble, cat litter, and fur. Like other high-end robot vacuums, it maps, recognizes, and saves the layout of specific rooms in your home.
Best wet-dry robot vacuum for pets
Up to 110 minutes | 0.3 liter capacity
If you’re looking for a robot vacuum that can also take on wet messes, Anna Harasim, owner of Anna’s Cleaning Service N.Y., recommends this multitasking option. Harasim, who owns a German shepherd and a Pomeranian, says it’s very effective at getting rid of hair on a daily basis. While it doesn’t “suck the dust from rugs” like a more expensive option might, she likes that this budget pick features a water tank that automatically dispenses water when it’s time to mop.
Best robot mop for pets
Smart charge | N/A
This is not a vacuum — but because it pairs with the Roomba i7+, we thought it worth to include here — because if you have both like Au does, you have a daily cleaning team to replace the need for a professional housecleaner. This Braava is “basically a glorified Swiffer,” says Au. “You can put Swiffer pads on it, or you can get the non-disposable pads if you hate throwing stuff away.” She loves it because you can put both dry and wet pads in it so that it can dust or mop your floors. Her basset hound is scared of loud noises, but the Braava is noiseless and unobtrusive. “It’s very quiet,” Au says, “It just kind of moves around.” By programming it to run daily, Au has been able to limit her handheld vacuuming — and spooking Clementine — to once a week.
Tiziana Agnello, founder of LoveThyBeast
Winnie Au, photographer
Erica Cerulo, bunny owner and co-founder of Of a Kind
Liza Corsillo, Strategist senior writer
Anna Harasim, owner of Anna’s Cleaning Service N.Y
Minha Khan, art director
Ryeon Kim, co-founder of Little Beast
Dr. Jamie Richardson, veterinarian and chief of staff at Small Door
Shelby Semel, canine behavior expert and trainer
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