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 model with more suction. If you have a bigger home, you want a model 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 12 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 robot vacuum for pets
This is the all-star robot vacuum recommended by pet-care experts across the board. Canine behavior expert and trainer Shelby Semel recommends this vacuum to her clients because of its zoning feature. “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, also loves the vacuum’s ability to focus on specific areas in a home. “I use the app to move the vacuum around and spot clean,” he explains. Dr. Jamie Richardson, veterinarian and chief of staff at veterinary start-up Small Door, 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. With all the sand in her home, she loved the D-shape of the vacuum because it got into all the nooks and crannies of each room. All Botvac models D6 and up feature the Spiral Combo brush, which is designed especially to pick up pet hair on most surfaces. Tiziana Agnello, founder of status dog-bag brand LoveThyBeast, and Erica Cerulo, bunny owner and co-founder of Of a Kind, also recommend the brand, thought they own a now discontinued model. 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
You don’t have to pay a lot for a sleek, high-tech model. 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 writer Liza Corsillo, who also loves this model, called it the “robot vacuum that helped me avoid couples therapy.”)
Best affordable robot vacuum for pets with Wi-Fi-compatibility
“I wanted to treat — yes, treat — myself to a robot vacuum, but not drop a considerable amount,” Britt Smith, the content and community manager at cat food start-up Smalls, says. She owns an older, now discontinued iRobot model, but this one offers the same things that Smith loves — a long battery life and surface versatility — as well as a couple new features like Wi-Fi, Google Home, and Alexa compatibility at half the price of some of iRobot’s other models. It runs for 90 minutes fully charged and features iRobot’s patented dirt detection technology, which allows the vacuum to detect dirtier areas in your home that require extra TLC. Parisa Fowles-Pazdro, CEO and founder of Max-Bone, keeps it going daily because her dog “sheds a lot.” She typically has him in a sweater to “keep the hair more controlled,” but the vacuum is what makes the biggest difference in keeping her home as fur-free as possible. “We had the Roomba around the office back in 2013 to clean our puppy play area and I was so mesmerized by it that I ended up buying one for my apartment after that,” says Stacie Grissom, director of content at Bark. Because she brings home a lot of toys from the company’s toy workshop, there’s a constant stream of fluff on her floor. “The Roomba busily cleans up toy fluff I’ve missed from the night before while I’m at work with [my dog] Pimm, but is quiet enough not to drive Pimm crazy if I turn it on while she’s home,” she says. She considers the customer service at iRobot to be a top feature, noting that they sent a replacement battery when her vacuum was acting up.
Best self-emptying robot vacuum for pets
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 after every usage, which fills up easily. 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.) The i7+ syncs with the Braava Jet M6, so if you have both like Au does, you have a daily cleaning team to replace the need for a professional housecleaner.
Best robot vacuum for pets on hard floors
“It’s 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.
Best less expensive robot vacuum for pets on hard floors
This budget-friendly robot vacuum does almost everything — and lasts up to 120 minutes fully charged. Kate Jaffe, Pet Trends Expert at Rover, considers the slim 2.7-inch tall vacuum to be the best value for your wallet due to its array of accessories: a high-efficiency filter, four side brushes, cleaning brush, remote control, charging dock, and an adaptor. And while it does work on carpet, if you buy the additional water tank and cleaning mop attachment, you can transform the vacuum into a wet mop.
Smartest robot vacuum for pets
“This is a favorite robot vacuum that my colleagues love,” Winson Wong, head of Mars Petcare’s Kinship Labs and dog dad, says. The auto-adjust cleaning head allows the robot vacuum to glide over different surfaces, but what really makes it smart is the mapping technology — the vacuum maps and tracks the location it cleans, and you can view its progress on the iRobot HOME app. Despite its powerful suction, the vacuum’s battery life lasts up to 120 minutes, and it recharges automatically at its dock (and will go back to cleaning unfinished spots once fully charged). The only thing you need to think about is cleaning the high-efficiency filter once in a while (especially when it clogs up with pet hair).
Best robot vacuum for pets scared of loud noises
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. Like other high-end robot vacuums, it maps, recognizes, and saves the layout of specific rooms in your home.
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