The 4 Best Robot Vacuums for Pet Hair of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

On the hunt for a robot vacuum to free up your time so you can give more attention (and treats) to your pets? I totally get it. A robot vacuum is often a shortcut to a cleaner home—but, finding one that’s efficient enough to keep up with a shedding pet, and advanced enough to avoid toys, food dishes, and even occasional accidents, is a tall order.

Here at The Spruce, we’ve been testing vacuums in The Lab and in our homes since 2021, among them more than 40 different robot vacuums and robot vacuum-mop combos. We are confident enough in the models below to recommend them to fellow pet owners, and I’ve identified as many details as I can to help you decide, drawing on my own experience as a dog owner and a seasoned vacuum tester.

Our favorites feature HEPA filters (so that pet hair isn’t released back into the air), floor mapping (for avoiding your pet’s napping area), emptying stations (so you don’t have to handle all that picked-up pet hair yourself), built-in air fresheners (for sprucing up the air, too), and more. They excel when it comes to their effectiveness, features, design, and value.

Editor’s Note: This review was published in May 2024, highlighting our four favorite robot vacuums for pet hair, based on our extensive testing.

Shark RV2610WA Matrix Plus 2-in-1 Robot Vacuum and Mop



Somewhere, there’s a joke to be made about the predatory nature of sharks (the animal), and how Sharks (the vacuums) prey on the messes our animals leave behind. All puns aside, this is an impressive vacuum-and-mop combo machine that has enough bells and whistles to make your life easier, while not being over-the-top with unnecessary extras that inflate the price. 

What makes it so great? I’m going to introduce a few features that are included with this robot vacuum that are going to come up again among our picks.

  • Self-emptying: Since robot vacuums are fairly compact, they don’t hold a ton of dirt and grime (compare the size of an upright vacuum’s dust bin to that of a robot vacuum and you’ll see what I mean). So, after (or in some cases, during) a robot’s cleaning session, the dust that’s been collected needs a place to go. Older robot vacuums would require the user (you or me) to open up the vacuum, remove the container, and empty it into the trash manually. (But remember how small it is? It would need to be frequently emptied, a pain for users). However, many newer models, like the Shark Matrix Plus, have a larger container within the charging base, and an automated mechanism that transfers the dirt from the robot vacuum into, essentially, a larger holding chamber that needs to be emptied far less frequently (up to 60 days, according to Shark, but your mileage may vary depending on your home, cleaning habits, and how much your furry friends shed).
  • Mapping: Remember how, when robot vacuums hit the scene in the early aughts, they were a bit awkward and bumped into things? They’ve come a long, long way since then. As you can probably guess by the term “mapping,” they’re now engineered to assess your space and create their own path—maps—around furniture and other obstacles. Depending on the model, this map may even be interactive via an app, and something you can use to set up cleaning areas. Now, the effectiveness of each robot’s mapping is going to vary, but in the case of Shark Matrix Plus, we were very pleased. There’s an app, and setting up the cleaning zones can feel tedious, but it’s a small part of ownership so we’re not sweating it too much.

Still with me? Great! These two functions—self-emptying and mapping—are what really make newer robot vacuums, including this one, feel like a game-changer in your cleaning routine. Along with these top-notch features, the Shark Matrix Plus also serves as a robot mop, with a small water dispenser designed inside the vacuum and a corresponding mop pad that cleans and scrubs when this setting is in use.

Now, as wonderful as it is to have a machine mop your floors for you, know that the mop setting does affect this robot’s ability to self-empty into the charging stand, so you’ll need to stay on top of that (the microfiber mop pads will need to be washed too; they are reusable). 

The other notable perk with this robot vacuum, though, is that it features a true HEPA filter to collect and contain microscopic dust and dander as small as 0.3 microns. All of our recommended robot vacs have effective filters, but certified HEPA filters aren’t a given among them (our runner-up is the only other pick on our list that offers it). This type of filter makes this pick a great choice for homes trying to curb allergens, too. 

Battery Life: 90 minutes | Mapping: Yes | Self-Emptying: Yes | Smart Capabilities: Programmable schedule, object avoidance, Matrix Clean Navigation, CleanEdge Technology, sonic mopping

Ecovacs Deebot X2 Combo



What We Like

  • Most maintenance tasks are automated

  • Included cordless stick vacuum uses same charging station

  • Can be programmed for use on multiple floors

  • HEPA filter in stick vacuum

This is the very machine that’s in my house right now, and it’s turned me into someone who tries to work vacuums into casual conversations so I can talk about it (and yes, I am fun at parties, why do you ask?). It’s really the best of both worlds—or to be specific, the best of three worlds: a robot vacuum, a robot mop, and a cordless stick vacuum (that even converts to a handheld vacuum). And not only does the Ecovacs Deebot X2 Combo masterfully handle each one, but it also exceeded my expectations across the board. 

To illustrate how this machine has made a marked difference in the condition and appearance of my floors, I have a few stories about what life with this robot is like:

  • One time, I thought I could outsmart it by putting it on the lower level of my home and “tricking” it into vacuuming there, but it could tell immediately that it was in a new space, and it automatically started mapping it. This “incident” is also how I figured out that it’ll map and then clean multiple spaces. I just needed to allow it to map the second level, and now I can toggle between maps on the app. Single-floor usage is a frequent pain point among robot vacuums that’s slowly but surely getting remedied by models like this one; and this element makes it a much better fit for my split-level house than expected.
  • At any given time, there are multiple vacuums in my house (I write and test for The Spruce; it comes with the territory), but the cordless stick vacuum that comes with this set is one that I will go out of my way to use for spot-cleaning and on stairs. It’s not quite as strong as the upright Shark vacuum I also use regularly (that is the Shark AZ1002 Apex Powered Lift-Away Upright Vacuum, for the record), but this slimmer vac is downright efficient, has a HEPA filter, and handles stairs and baseboards better than similar cordless stick vacuums from other brands. 
  • When I neglected to run this robot vacuum for a few days, all of a sudden, I started noticing small paw print-sized marks on our hard floor, a testament to how well it had been handling these subtle smudges. 

The robot itself (which is sold alone as the Deebot X2 Omni) does impressively well with self-emptying, and it self-cleans, too. On that note, the automatic mop pad washing is the sort of stuff that dreams are made of. I’ve used enough carpet and upholstery cleaning machines to understand (and sometimes dread) the real reality of maintaining a machine that has clean and dirty water tanks. This vacuum set makes that a non-issue. You have to refill the clean tank and empty the dirty tank, but I haven’t touched the mop pads at all—even after weeks of running this machine multiple times every week. The mop pads are both washed and dried after usage, and the robot even steers itself back to the base to wash them at regular intervals during cleaning sessions, so it’s not smearing dirt and grime while it runs.

The Ecovacs Deebot X2 Combo is the priciest pick on our list, and it can feel like a luxury opposed to a cleaning necessity, which is why we’ve given it a “best overall, runner-up” designation. But, once the sticker shock has worn off, it’s important to note that what you’re getting is about as close to full-service floor cleaning as we’ve seen. It’s not perfect; I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re tech-averse. Relatedly, some features feel buried in the app, so you need to spend some time exploring to really take full advantage.

I have also had to unclog hair in the dust bin of the cordless vacuum, which isn’t ideal. But, if you’re in the mood to splurge and ready to turn into someone who works floor cleaning into your everyday chit-chat (like me), it’s the set for you. 

Battery Life: 210 minutes (robot) | Mapping: Yes (robot) | Self-Emptying: Yes (both robot and stick vacuum) | Smart Capabilities: Programmable schedule, 3D mapping, AI-powered obstacle avoidance, voice assistant

Ecovacs Deebot T9+ Robot Vacuum and Mop



I don’t know how the wizards at Ecovacs managed to make such a high-performing robot vacuum for less than $500, but I’m here for it. Since it’s from the same brand behind the best overall, runner-up combo set I gushed about above, you can expect some of the same perks and features, but in a more stripped-down package that requires a bit more hands-on effort from you. 

To start, the Ecovacs T9+ Robot Vacuum and Mop has all the basics covered. It has effective suction and smooth mopping that you can run simultaneously, and it maps rooms and maneuvers well (it has what the brand calls TrueDetect 3D technology which translates to “it steers around any temporary obstacles like a snoozing pet”). The programming is also reliable—during our months-long testing process, it updated us when the brush and filter needed replacing.

So, what warrants the price difference between this and other options from the brand that are two and three times the cost? The biggest difference users will experience is maintenance. You’ll install the disposable mop pads yourself and add water to the machine when it’s time to mop, and then you will also remove the disposable mop pads and toss them after cleaning, too. (This means you will want to be prepared to purchase more when it’s time to replace them, or swap them for this washable set, which will require cleaning, too.) These aren’t difficult steps, but they are steps nonetheless that are noticeably absent from more expensive models. 

Plus, when we tested this in a home with a Shiba Inu mix, it sometimes needed some extra attention to accommodate the copious amounts of fur, which meant more frequent checking and emptying of the dust bin (every other day or so). People with smaller animals or breeds that don’t shed as much will likely be able to go longer, though. 

There is one feature this option has that none of the others do, though; a built-in air freshener that you use by installing small capsules. Your usage of this option comes down to personal preference though, and full disclosure, it didn’t really prove to be a game-changer for us during testing. But we could see it being a huge plus for some households (not pointing fingers at any specific animals or breeds though!).

Battery Life: 180 minutes | Mapping: Yes | Self-Emptying: Yes | Smart Capabilities: Programmable schedule, object avoidance, flooring identification, 3D mapping, mobile fragrance

iRobot Roomba j7+ Self-Emptying Robot Vacuum



What We Like

  • Equal performance on hard flooring and carpet

  • “Pet Owners Official Promise” for if doesn’t avoid animal waste

  • Reasonably quiet operation

Yes, you can still find robot vacuums that don’t have built-in mops, and Roomba j7+ is an excellent example. It’s just as technologically slick as other options, but the sum total of its awesomeness isn’t divided between both a vacuum and a mop—it’s all vacuum (from well-known brand iRobot Roomba, at that). 

In practice, that means great suction power on carpet and hard flooring, reliable mapping, and an intuitive app where you manage it all. For pet owners in particular, we didn’t really find a difference in its effectiveness based on the flooring type; whether it was on a hard surface or a rug, it zapped up pet hair and other dirt well. It has a side-sweeping brush (many robot vacuums do nowadays), and we noticed how, in particular, it does a nice job clearing fuzz from baseboards and other edges. 

It’s subtle and quiet in its operation, too—so if your pets (or any human members of your household) are very sensitive to noise, it’s unlikely to bother them too much. The one exception to this rule is when it self-empties into the charging base; that mechanism is louder than its standard operation (I’ve yet to meet a robot vacuum where this isn’t the case, though). 

The j7+ also promises to avoid obstacles, including temporary ones like pet toys that rolled in front of it or surprise messes like pet accidents. Roomba has given this feature the tongue-in-cheek name of P.O.O.P, which stands for Pet Owners Official Promise. The brand even promises to replace your j7+ if it doesn’t avoid certain cat or dog messes. 

If you’re considering this robot vacuum, you should know that after our months-long testing, we noticed a slight uptick in fur and hair getting caught in the rollers, and felt it necessary to revisit the map and reset its route—both of these are easy and minor fixes though, and we’re otherwise still raving about this vacuum-only pick. 

Battery Life: 90 minutes | Mapping: Yes | Self-Emptying: Yes | Smart Capabilities: Alexa and Google compatible, smart charge and resume, visual navigation, custom cleaning routine, on-demand cleaning, obstacle avoidance

Final Verdict

We think the best overall robot vacuum for pet hair is the Shark Matrix Plus 2-in-1 Robot Vacuum and Mop, which is a highly efficient vacuum-and-mop combo with self-emptying and mapping capabilities. Right on its heels is the Ecovacs Deebot X2 Combo, which backs up a splurge-worthy price tag with a slew of automated features (including self-cleaning abilities) and an included cordless stick vacuum for spot-cleaning. 

The Spruce / Dera Burreson

How We Tested the Robot Vacuums for Pet Hair

We’ve tested over 40 robot vacuums in The Lab and at home. Our process has grown over time, but usually looks something like this:

  • We plug-in, charge, and start the vacuum, assessing each step of the setup process along the way. When there’s an app, we download and use it to fully consider how it feels to run the robot vacuums for the first time.
  • Once a robot vacuum is on the move, we see how it handles various kinds of messes. In the lab, we’ll use regular household debris like hair and food crumbs. When we test at home, we use the vacuums to clean any and all of our regular buildup (in my house, this means dog fur and scraps of playground bark that come out of my kids’ shoes). When there’s a mopping feature, we’ll run that too.
  • We assess maneuverability based on how the vacuums do in our living room-inspired obstacle course or home, depending on the testing site (this is the part where we watch to see if it bumps into anything!). We also take note of any related features or settings, like mapping and obstacle avoidance.
  • We empty each machine (or take note of a self-empty feature) to see how straightforward the process is, and if users come in contact with anything messy.
  • Once the entire process is complete, we consider each vacuum’s overall performance alongside the price and effectiveness of other machines, and ultimately decide whether we’d pay our own money for it to determine if it’s a good value.

What to Consider When Shopping for a Robot Vacuum for Pet Hair

Not All Features Are Created Equal

The price range of our favorite robot vacuums starts at roughly $400 and goes up to $1,600, and if you look beyond our picks, there’s more variation among robot vacuum prices. There are exceptions, but as a general rule: the more parts of the cleaning and maintenance process that are automated, the higher the cost of the machine (case in point: our best overall, runner-up, the Ecovacs Deebot X2 Combo, which is super hands-off to operate, is also the priciest). 

My recommendation is to identify the exact features you want from your robot vacuum (or vacuum-mop combo), and the parts of the maintenance process that you can tolerate. Not only will this help you narrow down the products that are going to best suit you, but it will help you tailor your budget, too.

The Spruce / Meredith Luksetich

Real Talk: Maintenance Expectations

I’ve been covering robot vacuums for The Spruce for a while now, and I have yet to find a model that doesn’t require at least some maintenance and upkeep. No matter how sleek it is, eventually you will need to, at the very least, empty out the collection bin (whether it’s housed in the vacuum itself, or the charging station), clean or replace the filter, manage the schedule and settings, and watch out for other updates and fixes. Some vacuums (especially those with mops), will also require more—and I don’t know any models that will require less. 

Now, these are all relatively simple tasks, and far less effort than manually vacuuming a home by hand—but they’re tasks nonetheless. So if you’re dreaming of a cleaning machine that you can plug in and never have to think about again, we’re not quite there yet (although, the way some of these brands are innovating, it’s probably closer to the market than we think!). 

The Big Question: Do You Still Need a Regular Vacuum?

I’m not going to tell you how to live, but for 98% of us, the answer is yes: you still need a regular vacuum. (The other two or so percent are unicorns, or people who live next door to generous neighbors who like to share their household supplies, and thus can rely on borrowing a vacuum when the need arises). 

Seriously though, I like to put it this way: robot vacuums are great for everyday maintenance and general upkeep, and for extending the amount of time in between deep cleans. But they don’t do deep cleans. By design, their motors are fairly small (otherwise they’d knock over chairs while they were zooming around your home!), and their capacities are limited. They also don’t get into corners and edges nearly as well as manual vacuum attachments do. 

Real Simple / Joe Morales

For context, since I’ve been using the Deebot X2 Combo machine, I’ve tended to run the robot vac three to four times a week, and I still grab the stick vacuum for touch-ups and spot cleans once or twice a week. I usually use the stick vacuum for quick, 30-second spurts on my stairs, and a pass along the ridge underneath my cabinets, which the robot vacuum is hit-or-miss with (I’m also a nerd who likes vacuuming, but I digress). Something else to consider is whether or not you have multiple floors in your home, and if you’re getting a robot vacuum that can transition accordingly.

The bottom line? It’s extremely likely that you’ll be able to find a robot vacuum that performs enough cleaning to satisfy you, cuts down the time you spend manually vacuuming, and requires no more maintenance than you’re comfortable handling—as long as you take a few moments to identify what that ideal balance is, since it’s different for everyone. But, having another vacuum at your disposal is helpful and potentially necessary, too.

Why Trust The Spruce?

This article was written by Dena Ogden, associate editor at The Spruce focusing on technology, appliances, cleaning, and organization. Ogden has firsthand experience with products from Shark, Bissell, and Hoover, and is currently testing the Ecovacs Deebot X2 Combo, named our runner-up.

For this roundup, she considered testing insights from The Lab and our home testing to inform her selections, looking at the effectiveness, ease of use, and features of each machine. Her family dog, Griz, is the best boy and is tolerant of all the vacuums. He also approves this list. 

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