Pampered pups are prancing around New York City poised to compete in the Westminster Kennel Club's 137th Annual All Breed Dog Show. Last year a perky little Pekingese named Malachy won Best in Show. Sure, the little furball was handsome but as anyone who has a long-haired dog knows, he likely leaves a trail of dog hair wherever he goes. Knowing owners of breeds like that need help, we looked for a champ among the vacuums tested by Consumer Reports and found a few top dogs.
You'd expect any vacuum cleaner with the word pet in its model name to ace our tough pet fur test in which cat hair is embedded into carpet piles. And most of the pet vacuums in our current Ratings did just that. Unfortunately, some of those that excelled at pet hair removal were lackluster at other tasks. In fact, only two of the pet models made our recommended list, the Hoover WindTunnel T-Series Pet UH30310 and the Miele S 7260 Cat & Dog. Both were excellent at pet hair removal and cleaning bare floors but the Miele was a bit better at cleaning carpet and makes less noise.
If you want an all-around top performer, don't be swayed by pet hair names and claims. Two Kenmores, the Intuition 28014 and the Progressive 21714, top our list of canister vacuums and both are excellent at pet hair removal. Our top upright, the Hoover WindTunnel Anniversary Edition U6485-900, did not ace that test, but did well enough on others to earn top marks overall.
Of the pet models we tested, we found six uprights that were excellent at pet hair removal and three that were very good but none made our list of top picks because of subpar performance on other tasks. Unfortunately, we also found some real dogs among the pet models. The Bissell Lift-Off Multi-Cyclonic Pet 89Q9 was only fair at removing pet hair and was also mediocre at cleaning carpet although it did well on the bare floors test. The Dyson DC39 Animal canister was fair at both carpet cleaning and pet hair removal and excelled on the bare floor test.
At Westminster, judging of the breeds takes place today and tomorrow and the dog who earns Best in Show will be named Tuesday night. But judging vacuums at Consumer Reports continues all year long and we'll be sure to let you know the next time we name a model best in show.
—Mary H.J. Farrell