Best Robot Vacuum for Pet Hair: Robots That Will Keep Hair At Bay

In this review, I will discuss the 5 best autonomous cleaners that’ll clean pet hair for you. Overall I like the Neato BotVac D80 to clean pet hair because it performs well and efficient. It’s one of the first Neato robots to have a side brush and it’s way cheaper than the newer BotVac D7 and D5.

If you don’t mind not having all the bells and whistles like WiFi Connectivity or Alexa compatibility then this is a great option. There are also other options in this list, you can skip to the table of contents section if you’re in a hurry.

Why is a robot vacuum a great option for cleaning pet hair?

Pet hair if left alone can pile up and cause all sorts of issues. You’ll have two options. First would be using an upright vacuum to clean it yourself. Second option would be using a robot vacuum that’ll do it for you.

Ask any pet owner and the biggest headache for them would be cleaning up pet hair off carpet and upholstery.

On upholstery, a handheld vacuum is an essential tool to rid it of pet hair. You’ll need a strong upright vacuum to deep clean carpet.

One big issue with an upright is weight and size. Most uprights weight more than 15 pounds and bulky. That combination is bad if you want to just clean high traffic areas.

How about areas under furniture? Forget about it.

Imagine having a tool that can at least clean floors for you on schedule. Smart enough to clean at least one room and go back to recharge.

These tools come in handy on days you simply don’t have time to bring out that heavy upright or even stick vacuum. It will do the job for you and pick up pet hair before it piles up and gives you allergies.

If you have a few hundred dollars to spend, may I suggest 5 of these robot vacuums that are best equipped to clean up pet hair.

These robot helpers will do the work for you while you are away at work.

All these have scheduling features that allow you to set a time of the day that they’ll automatically clean your home.

And help you keep up with the pet hair shed by your pets.

These machines aren’t perfect. But I’ll give you some practical tips on how to maximize functionality so make sure to read the whole article.

Without further ado, here are the 5 best robot vacuums for pet hair for hardwood or carpet.

Spec comparison

ModelNeato BotVac D80

Neato BotVac D80
Roomba 880

Roomba 880
Roomba 980

Roomba 980
Xiaomi Robot Vacuum

Xiaomi Robot Vacuum
Samsung VR9000

Samsung VR9000
Battery typeNickel Metal HydrideNickel Metal HydrideLithium ionLithium ionLithium ion
Charging timeN/A3 hoursN/AN/A160 minutes
Run time1 to 1.5 hours4 hours2 hours2.5 hours60 minutes

(100 minutes on silent mode)
Multi Room YesYesYesYesYes
Self docking YesYesYesYesYes
Remote controlNoYesNoNoYes
HEPA filterNoYesYesYesYes
Cliff detection YesYesYesYesYes
Self adjusting YesYesYesYesYes
Edge brushesYesYesYesYesYes
Full bin indicator YesYesYesYesNo
Cleaning sessions per week 777Unlimited7
Diameter13.2" (width)13.9"13.8"13.58"14.88"
Weight9 pounds8.48.48.410.5 pounds
Warranty1-year on robot
6 months on battery
1-year on robot
6 months on battery
1-year on robot
6 months on battery
1 year More info1 year on robot

10 years on motor

How to choose a robot vacuum for carpet?

The first thing to look at is the brush roll design.

It has to have a brush roll

Any competent pet hair cleaner should at least have a bristled brush that can pick up pet hair and dust bunnies scattered around.

Neato’s brush roll is one of the most effective designs in the market. Is it uses a combination of a bristle and squeegee. The bristle is effective at pick up pet hair while the squeegee will sweep up larger bits of debris like pet litter.

There are some exceptions to the rule like the Roomba 800 and 900 series that use counter-rotating extractors.

These extractors will clean hair effectively from both bare floor and carpet.

I’d like to caution in to tamper your expectations though as these cleaners will not replace a full sized vacuum.

Remember that these robots will not deep clean carpet. The main purpose of these tools is to do the vacuuming for you everyday so dust and hair don’t pile up. Since it does it autonomously, you don’t have to spend as much time vacuuming.

Buying one would entail spending some $$$ (at least $300) but it will be worth it.

Tips on maximizing the full potential of a robot vacuum

Because robot cleaners are expensive people expect it have the intelligence to do the cleaning for them.

The reality is while robots have evolved and clean better that ever before, it won’t be as smart as humans in terms of obstacle avoidance.

Letting a robot run in a room with wires, scattered toys and junk all over the place is a recipe for disaster.

So here are some tips to maximize it.

1. Remove or tidy up wires

Wires is the kryptonite of any robot vacuum with a side brush.

If there are any wires laying on the floor, chances are it’ll stop the robots on its tracks.

So before running any robot make sure tidy them up or better yet get them out of the way.

2. Clean area rugs separately

If you have area rugs laying around, it’ll be best if you clean it separately.

Robots are allergic to light area rugs with tassels on the sides. These loose pieces of thread can wrap up around the side brush or brush roll.

The only exception for not removing area rugs is when it’s heavy and it does not have any tassels on the sides.

3. Take off the chairs

Robots can go around chairs but the problem is these can reduce efficiency.

In some cases the robot traps itself around the legs. So the best solution for this issue would be removing the chairs.

It doesn’t take long and the rewards far outweigh the benefits of a cleaner floor and more efficient robot.

Our Pick: Neato BotVac D80

The Neato BotVac D80 is one of the best value for money options available in the BotVac lineup. It doesn’t have the top-of-the-line features like WiFi, Alexa compatibility or the fancy app but this variant is cheaper easily by a few hundred bucks. In terms of cleaning pet hair, this robot is capable thanks to the predictable navigation and brush roll that performs.

What makes this a good option?

  • Efficient navigation capable of cleaning multiple rooms with minimal risk of getting lost
  • Good value for money option for a Neato product
  • Pretty good performance on bare floor or carpet

Some issues

  • No WiFi and Alexa connectivity
  • Not as powerful as the newer Neato BotVac robots

Neato really has upped its game with the release of the BotVac series. They’ve made improvements in several key areas where consumers found lacking.

First they have added a side brush, hallelujah!

This omission has been one of the biggest complaints by consumers when they’ve used the Neato Robotic products and they’ve finally added one.

This improves edge cleaning and when you add the wider motorized brush.

You have a more efficient cleaning machine that will pick up a lot of pet hair particularly on bare floors.

Better navigation

Navigation also gets an upgrade thanks to the brand new QNX operating system that improves its robots capability to avoid objects altogether. But the laser based navigation system is not perfect.

Since it cannot “see” objects, only “feel” it, it will bump onto overhanging obstacles out of the line-of-sight of the laser sensor.

An upgrade from the BotVac 80

This particular model is an upgraded version of the BotVac 80. It is equipped with a more powerful motor and an upgraded motorized brush that is better at picking up pet hair on both hardwood and carpet.

Both the D80 and D85 are the same machine. But they different in what accessories it comes with.

In terms of cleaning pet hair, this machine has better performance compared to more expensive robot cleaners like the Roomba 980, 880 and Samsung VR9000 (all of which I featured here).

Unlike the Roomba, this does not come with a remote control so you have to schedule this directly on the robot itself.

Bottom line:

Neato addressed one of the biggest issues with their older robots – the lack of a side brush. It isn’t the latest nor does it have any WiFi connectivity. But if you don’t mind the lack of premium features then save yourself a few hundred dollars and buy this variant.

Bristle-Less: Roomba 860

The Roomba 880 was the first Roomba that came with the rubber extractors that did away with bristles. While that robot was good it had one flaw – a NiCad battery that was prone to power fade and short lifespan. The Roomba 860 solves this since it comes with a lithium ion battery. One big reason I like this for cleaning pet hair is the rubber extractors that require much less maintenance than a traditional brush.

What makes this a good option?

  • Tangle free rubber extractors requires less maintenance
  • Lithium ion battery will last longer than the older 880
  • Thorough cleaning pattern
  • Cheap Roomba option

Some issues

  • Inefficient navigation
  • Performance not as good as the Roomba 980

While other robot cleaners use a bristled or squeegee brush for agitation, engineers from iRobot took another direction and designed a brand new system called the AeroForce extractors that has eliminated the need for bristles all-together.

No bristles means less maintenance

This means you’ll spend less time removing pet hair caught up on the bristles.

But if you live with someone with longer hair you’ll still have to clean this up.

Even if Roomba cleans this to be maintenance free, it really isn’t. You’ll have to clean up long hair that may wrap around the extractors.

In terms of cleaning pet hair, the 880 still cannot beat the XV signature pro in cleaning pet hair on low and mid-pile carpet as well as hardwood so I have it ranked at number 3.

Better option than a Roomba 780

This is a much better option than the Roomba 790 if you’re looking to clean pet hair.

Like the Roomba 700 series, this vacuum still use a random pattern that will take longer to clean a room.

The random pattern also make this prone to bumping furniture and expect some minor scrapes here and there.

If you’re concerned about this, you’ll be better off with a Neato BotVac.

Newer Roomba robots

It’s been a few years since I’ve written this article and iRobot has since introduced new products.

These include the Roomba 960 and 980 that have the new navigation system in tow.

The new navigation is much more efficient but it’ll be more expensive.

It does come with a remote control that uses infrared signal so you don’t need to aim it at the robot for it to work.

Bottom line:

Despite being an older variant, the 880 remains one of the best options when it comes to cleaning pet hair. It has extractors that require much less maintenance than traditional bristles. The Roomba 800 series still uses a random cleaning pattern .So don’t expect this to be efficient. Being old isn’t necessarily bad because you can get a better deal.

WiFi Ready: Roomba 980

The 980 is the one of the latest Roomba vacuum that now has WiFi connectivity. It’s one of their best performing and more efficient robots. With the release of the I7, the price of the Roomba 980 will eventually drop so it’s high time to buy this robot.

What makes this a good option?

  • Efficient cleaning pattern capable of cleaning larger homes
  • Strong suction will pick up a lot of pet hair
  • WiFi connectivity and Alexa compatibility
  • Rubber extractors needs less maintenance

Some issues

  • Expensive option
  • Can’t deep clean carpet

This means you can download an app into your smartphone and use it to control this machine as long as you have internet access and a router at home.

This is a great leap forward because it allows users to turn on their robots even when they are not at home.

Another improvement would be navigation

Instead of using a random cleaning pattern, engineers at iRobot overhauled the system that once used an infrared and object sensors as its main navigational aid.

More predictable

The 980 now integrates a camera to the navigation system. And instead of a random cleaning pattern, it now uses a predictable back and forth grid pattern which is more efficient.

This machine still retains the same extractors found in the 880 and will provide better pet hair cleaning performance than the 880 on carpet. It still lags behind the BotVac 85 and D85 so I cannot rank this higher.

Bottom line:

The Roomba 980 represents the best of what iRobot has to offer in terms of efficiency, easy of use and performance. Of course all of this comes at a cost – at almost $900, the 980 is perhaps on of the most expensive robot cleaners in the market. If this is too expensive for you then opt for the cheaper 960.

Neato for Less: Xiaomi Robot Vacuum

The Xiaomi robot vacuum has the exact same features as the Neato BotVac Connected but a few hundred dollars less. In fact, it has a larger motor and battery that helps it run longer. This means comparable performance and efficiency. One thing that holds this back is the lack of a Alexa compatibility.

What makes this a good option?

  • Cheaper option than the Neato BotVac Connected
  • Efficient and thorough cleaning pattern
  • Long run time
  • Feature rich smartphone app

Some issues

  • No Alexa compatibility
  • Small dirt bin
  • Struggles with cleaning edges

A brand new Neato BotVac connected robot will set you back around $600.

Even the scaled down version, the D5 costs almost $500. I’m a big fan of Neato. Their products are great, even better than a Dyson 360 Eye in my opinion.

Cheaper option

But their products are still expensive when you compare it to Xiaomi.

And if you’re having second thoughts with the Neato because of its price this is a good alternative. Xiaomi offers the same features for about half the cost of a Neato.

The MI robot has a similar feature set as a Neato BotVac. That means it has the same laser-guided sensor on top, combination brush roll, SLAM algorithm and a smart phone app that allows you to control the robot remotely even from your work place.

To give you an idea how this robot vacuum performs.

Watch this video where I test it cleaning 70 grams worth of oats and baby powder…

Take note that when I did the second test I’ve upgraded the firmware which resulted in a more thorough cleaning performance.

Small bin

One of the biggest downsides with this product is the bin which is only around 0.45 liters big. And if you have a lot of pets, you may want to consider using this as a maintenance cleaning tool in between cleaning sessions to keep hair from piling up.

The combination brush as you’ll see below will be a good job picking up pet hair on carpet and bare floor. So pick up should not be an issue. And according to Engadget this robot has actually more power than the Roomba 980.

Bottom line:

If the Neato BotVac is too expensive for you then have a long look at the MI robot vacuum. This Neato clone has similar features at half the cost!

Point and Nav: Samsung PowerBot VR9000

The Samsung PowerBot VR9000 is probably the most high tech option in the list. But unfortunately this does not translate to performance. The cyclonic filtration makes this robot vacuum too tall to clean under a lot of furniture.

What makes this a good option?

  • Efficient back and forth cleaning pattern
  • Large dirt bin
  • Wide cleaning path

Some issues

  • Can’t fit under low profile furniture because it’s too tall
  • Poor cleaning performance

When it comes to robotic cleaners Samsung is a new kid on the block. But they’re looking to challenge the dominance of Roomba and Neato with the VR9000.

It comes with some really cool features that only found in this robot that may entice you to even consider it.

At first glance, this machine looks like a Duracell battery because of the gold cylinder on top that actually houses the vacuum motor.

Cyclonic filtration

When you look closely at the dirt bin, you’ll see a cyclonic filtration system not commonly found in robot vacuums.

The only other robot cleaner with this functionality is the $1200++ Dyson 360 eye.

While this feature supposedly should make this a better performing cleaner compared to a Roomba or Neato, it still could not surpass it based on reviews and controlled tests.

It did a better job than the Roomba 880 in cleaning pet hair. But it wasn’t able to beat the Neato BotVac.

The presence of the cyclonic system also increases the height. This means it will have a hard time fitting under furniture lower than 5.3 inches.

One of the neat features of the VR9000 is the pointer navigation system.

In manual cleaning mode you can use the laser pointer and point where the robot will go next. This is easier than pressing arrows in my opinion.

It has a wide 12″ cleaning path which is 5 inches more than the 880. But it doesn’t have any side brushes.


Samsung utilizes a camera based navigation with bumper sensors to avoid obstacles. It has a more efficient back and forth pattern compared to the Roomba 800 series.

But it isn’t smarter than a Neato BotVac or Xiaomi because it does not tract it’s position. It’ll just clean an area until battery is low.

In essence it is like a Roomba 800 or ILIFE only with a more efficient cleaning pattern.

I’ve recorded a video of the Samsung PowerBot in action. It’s not the same robot.

But both have the same camera and sensors stuffed in so it’ll navigate pretty much the same.

The biggest drawback of the VR9000 is the price, it was over $700. But the price has come down to $200+ more or less.

This machine easily doubles the price of the BotVac 80 and is a few hundred dollars more expensive than the Roomba 880.

It does come with a 1 year warranty on the robot and get this, 10 years for the motor so there is some peace of mind.

Bottom Line:

The Samsung VR9000 is high tech alright. But in terms of cleaning performance it is still a notch below the robot vacuums mentioned above and when you combine that with a still exuberant $700. It is way to much to pay for something that under performs. But price has gone down to a more affordable $380.

To wrap up

These are the 5 best robotic vacuums that’ll help you clean pet hair so it doesn’t pile up on carpet.

Keep in mind that robot vacuums will not replace an upright and deep clean carpet. But it’ll help keep dirt from piling up so you’ll won’t have to bring out the upright as often.

Even without the WiFi feature, the Neato BotVac D80 is still a great option for cleaning pet hair. It’s cheaper than the BotVac Connected but still will perform almost as well.

Roomba 880’s counter rotating extractors are great because it literally pulls pet hair off bare floor and carpet. It does not have any bristles so there’s less maintenance. If the 880 is too expensive then opt for the cheaper 860.

If you’re willing to spend a few hundred more $$$ then go with the Roomba 980. It has WiFi Connectivity, stronger motor and a lithium ion battery that’ll run for 2 hours max.

Xiaomi provides a cheaper alternative to the Neato BotVac. It has a powerful motor, great app with features not found in the Neato app and a very long run time.

I’m a big fan of Samsung appliances but not a big fan of their robot vacuums. Their robots are too tall and over engineered and doesn’t function as well as the other on this list.

What’s great about these autonomous cleaners is that they at least keep pet hair from piling up. The biggest advantage would be the ability of these machines to go under furniture.

Remember that you should combine these robots with a good pet inhaling hand vacuum or upright vacuum.

If you have any other suggestions, please let me know by commenting below. I’d love to hear from you.

Recommended Reading