Vacuum recommendation for lots of hair and hardwoods?
November 13, 2020 6:32 PM   Subscribe

I am seeking the best vacuum(s) money can buy for my 3 level home - all hardwoods except for a couple of rugs - where 2 long haired dogs, 2 long haired humans, and 1 short haired human live. Ideally I think I want 1. a robot vacuum and 2. a cordless stick vacuum for random messes/hairballs, but I'm open to being persuaded otherwise. Please give me your recommendations that are tested and true. Thanks!
posted by ohsnapdragon to Home & Garden (20 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I have a Shark robot vacuum and it is competent but not inspired - the hardest part is getting it back to the docking station after it declares it's finished. It's also kind of noisy, but I think that's pretty much a given with these things. Worth every penny, though - it gets pet hair, human hair, dust and cat litter like whoa.
posted by mogget at 7:07 PM on November 13, 2020 [1 favorite]

This seems relevant. I have this Shark because of the Wirecutter recommendation. It's not cordless, but it's been great with my one dog and two cats, including lots of hardword floors. I like that I can see into and empty the cannister easily, without need a bag. Feels a lot less wasteful, and it's very easy to empty.

I used to have a cannister vacuum, and the Shark is much better. Oh, I do have a little rechargeable dustbuster, but I think of that for random little spills and not so much for pet hair--though, it's great for the hardwood stairs, including with hair from my very floofy cat.

If I were going to be really indulgent, I'd get a second vacuum for upstairs. I think I'd vacuum more if I didn't have to bring the vacuum up and down the stairs.
posted by bluedaisy at 7:10 PM on November 13, 2020 [3 favorites]

We have this basic Eufy, selected largely because all the reviews we saw mentioned that Eufys were much quieter than other robot vacuums. It sounds more like a room fan than a vacuum. I assume the fancier models are similarly quiet.

But our full-sized vacuum is a Dyson, and it picks up things the robot misses and vice versa. So I think a regular vacuum is a better adjunct to the robot vacuum. And some sort of a dustbuster is essential for random messes and insects and the like. (Ours is a Dyson, and I swear by it.) Having all three - a robot, a full-sized vacuum and a dustbuster - makes me confident that our carpeted and hardwood floors are really clean, especially since our dog has breathing issues. Honestly, if I had to choose the one I could do without, it would be the robot vacuum although I've actually grown quite fond of Edgar.
posted by DrGail at 7:33 PM on November 13, 2020

Oh, and I must add that the robot does a remarkably good job cleaning the edges and corners of the room. Better than I expected.
posted by DrGail at 7:35 PM on November 13, 2020

I shed hair like a cat and also have a cat that sheds like a cat. I was originally reluctant to get a Dyson cordless stick vacuum because of the expensive price but they now get my enthusiastic recommendation. Works great on both carpet and hard surface floors, also easy to maneuver into tight spaces where tumbleweeds of hair tend to collect.

I also have a basic Roomba vacuum and it's not a bad idea to get one if you have a lot of open space in your house. Running it consistently does help keep the ambient level of dust, tracked-in crud, and hair down—but human and pet hair tends to wind around the brush spindles so you'll have to take it apart to clean that out. However if you have a lot of small/tight spaces or pieces of furniture placed close together I don't recommend it, as the vacuum can get stuck or confused and end up cleaning the same square foot over and over before you rescue it.
posted by 4rtemis at 7:45 PM on November 13, 2020 [3 favorites]

Some of the Roombas have bristle brushes and some have rubber roller “brushes”. I had the bristle brush style and in our hairy household I spent a lot of time de-hairing the robot. I now have the rubber roller brush style and it takes much less maintenance.
Roomba is my ride-or-die appliance. I would save it in a fire.
posted by hilaryjade at 8:03 PM on November 13, 2020 [3 favorites]

I have a cordless Dyson which I was reluctant to spend so much money on.

I decided it was worth the price the first time I turned it on and vacuumed my "clean" floors - that had just been vacuumed with the Shark recommended by the Wirecuttter - and it sucked up soooo much additional cruft. We have a long-haired cat, a short-haired cat, a long-haired human, and a short-haired human, wood and tile floors with a few area rugs, small NYC apartment, lots of problems with hair. I think we have the Dyson v10 model.

This sounds like an ad, but this thing actually makes me kind of enjoy vacuuming? Like tbh any cordless model is SO MUCH BETTER than a corded one, yeah I know blah blah the corded ones have more sucking power but that DOES NOT MATTER if I am NOT GOING TO USE IT because winding and unwinding the cord and untangling it from my furniture is MISERABLE. I didn't hate using the Shark either, as it was also cordless. This one just sucks up more dirt faster and more efficiently and kind of feels like a space laser gun too.

I also have the $30 Black and Decker dustbuster which is great. The Dyson has some dustbuster-y attachments too, including a small rotating brush head, which I'll use to like, really get deep into the cat furniture or couch or whatever, but for daily small messes the small dustbuster is way more ergonomic. I like having both options.
posted by sparkling at 10:10 PM on November 13, 2020 [6 favorites]

I'm seconding sparkling's recommendation. Dyson cordless vacuums are worth the money. We used to have to vacuum every few days because our large dog shed like nothing else. Having to do that with a corded vacuum would've destroyed my will to live. Dysons are impressively powerful considering how small and light they are, and the only way our apartment could ever feel legitimately clean.

Be careful with the robot vacuums. I've seen some horrific videos online of dogs having an accident, and a Roomba smearing it all over everything. While Roombas are good for maintenance (I had one pre-dog), they don't really get things super clean. Long hair was almost impossible to remove from the brushes. And when it broke down just a couple years later, I didn't find I missed it. The Dyson is just so easy to whip out and do a quick vacuum that I don't mind doing it myself.
posted by keep it under cover at 1:25 AM on November 14, 2020 [2 favorites]

I don’t know if the roller setup in the roomba has changed, but when we had a long haired dog, the rollers would get completely encased in his hair literally every time we ran the roomba, and it was a very tedious several minute process to clean them out. It took all of the convenience out of the roomba.
posted by obfuscation at 5:13 AM on November 14, 2020

Thirding the cordless Dyson. We previously had the Wirecutter pick Shark non-cordless, and we thought it was terrible. YMMV.
posted by primethyme at 6:53 AM on November 14, 2020

I recommend against the Robot. Go Dyson cordless. Reasons below.

Two cats, one long-haired human, one long-haired dog. I know of what I speak. We have mostly hardwood and some tile/lino and an area rug.

The robot was SO NOISY and needed to run every day to keep up. It constantly got stuck or lost and needed to be rescued. More importantly, it did not love my long hair and needed very very regular cleaning. You will hate having to spend 20-30 minutes cleaning the damn thing, snipping hair out of the bristles etc.

Our solution is also the Dyson handheld, which seems to be the winner here anyways. the upholstery attachment is great for pet hair.

We also have a rubber carpet broom which I ought to recommend as well. It is great for the whole house but helps get the fine undercoat hairs off the carpet that the vacuum inevitably misses.
posted by dazedandconfused at 8:48 AM on November 14, 2020

I used to clean residential and construction for a living, and that's where I first met this weird vacuum you carry like a messenger bag.

It's the best. I bought one for myself after like 3 days at work, and then mine got totalled in a flood and I replaced it immediately even though our house had central vac! We have three cats and a dog and I shed a lot and this is the perfect vacuum for more than a cleanup like a stick, but less than a big canister you drag around.

when we had a robot it just got tangled and lost constantly, but we didn't have a Roomba, which I DO think are smarter.
posted by euphoria066 at 9:01 AM on November 14, 2020

Seconding sparkling's comment that: it does not matter how powerful the suck is, or how long lasting the vacuum will be IF YOU DON'T USE IT ALL THE TIME. We got a Dyson cordless stick vac as an open box deal and it was still expensive. But we use it all the time because it is so convenient and easy and lightweight to use.

We also have the Shark model mentioned here (or similar) that we use for the few carpets and sometimes for other things. But the Dyson gets used all the time because it's just so easy to grab, use and put away.

Ultimately, more frequent vacuuming is better than some super-powerhouse 30-year lifespan vacuum that doesn't get used as much.

Highly recommended.
posted by SoberHighland at 10:09 AM on November 14, 2020

Our household is two humans (one long haired, one short). Two LARGE dogs (one short haired, one with insane amounts of very long hair). One cat with medium hair. Also we live in a river valley and the dust is off the charts. I would go mad without my Dyson cordless and my Roomba (pet version). I've tried lots of other brands. The Dyson and The Roomba are light-years better than the others I've tried.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 11:49 AM on November 14, 2020

Dyson cordless, for all the reasons mentioned above. In fact, like sparkling I also have a (cordless) dustbuster and I use it the same way.

(I have had a robot vac before and I found that the amount of time I spent cleaning and charging the thing was not worth it. Also I felt like I had to pre-clean before using it -- move all the cords, move the one rug that it would try to eat, block the path it never seemed to remember was a dead end... )
posted by sm1tten at 12:35 PM on November 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

I have mixed feelings about Dyson. We have a cordless v6 Fluffy we got in 2017 because of our two super-shedding long-haired cats. I love how convenient it is to grab it, and it does do a good job. BUT we bought it because we thought the high Dyson price would be justified by frequent, long-term use. Unfortunately, we'd only had it a little over three years before a small rubber part developed a tiny hole that made the main attachment stop working. Dyson said it wasn't a replaceable part, and since we were beyond the 2-year warranty, we'd have to buy a whole new attachment. The attachment costs $150 -- about as much as other companies' entire vacuums. When I politely complained, they offered me 20% off. I was still unhappy because a 3-year life seems really short for such a pricey product, and because it seems like Dyson purposely prevents repairability. They have service centers, and even if I was willing to pay there, they still couldn't replace the small part.

I did find a third-party eBay replacement part for ~$10, and in fact, it wasn't too difficult to swap it in myself. I'm not sure whether it works quite as well as the original did. If I needed a vacuum again, I'd look at other companies and hope that something other than Dyson would be worth a try.
posted by daisyace at 3:12 PM on November 14, 2020

I was in love with my Dyson Cordless vac (v10) for the first year, but I now find it erratic. Sometimes it has good suction, other times it does not. Sometimes the battery lasts for 20 minutes, sometimes it won't even start. It's better on the carpet than the hardwood. The normal roller head isn't great for along edges, I need to switch to a crevice tool.

I also have a Roomba of the self-emptying variety that I absolutely love. It goes under furniture and keeps my place generally much more dust free. It doesn't do well with clutter or furniture that is close together, though. But it is amazing to have it vacuum the kitchen every night after we're done with dinner.

I have very long hair and two cats. The cat hair is no problem for either vacuum. My hair winds around the Dyson roller and needs to be cut off. It winds around the Roomba rubber rollers as well, but slides right off the rollers.
posted by miscbuff at 3:15 PM on November 14, 2020

I feel that in the spirit of informed consumerism, one should always point out in any conversation about Dysons that James Dyson was an ardent Brexiter who promptly relocated his company headquarters to Singapore once the vote once in.
posted by Faff at 2:07 AM on November 15, 2020 [3 favorites]

House with 3 cats, 3 dogs & two humans, one with long hair. I got an Ecovacs Deebot a little over a year ago. Primarily as it was on offer and got decent reviews, not anywhere near the cost of a Roomba. All of my floors are wood/tile with some rugs. I would never go without it now.

It doesn't learn any paths just randomly bumps into surfaces but still manages to get the rooms clean. I turn it on almost every day in different rooms while out with the dogs and it has made a huge difference.
I am not someone who ever hoovered enough, this means the job actually gets done. Yes, the brushes need to be cleaned and the dustpan emptied, but that takes maybe five minutes, even with all the fur/hair floating about. I also live in the country and one of the dogs is very low to the ground so his belly is permanently covered in mud these days.
My husband still takes out the regular hoover once a fortnight or so to get under furniture etc, but for our usual everyday cleaning the robot hoover is the way to go.
posted by Fence at 5:53 AM on November 15, 2020

Response by poster: Update: I was gifted a Shark IQ self-emptying robot vacuum for Christmas, and daily use of that has been a blessing. It does get stuck on cords easily, and clogged when trying to pick up larger chunks of debris, but it's easy to fix and saves me so much time that I'm happy to do so. I do recommend daily use as it seems to work better with frequent light cleaning than trying to pick up a week's worth of dust and hair at a time.

I also bought a Dyson v10 Absolute which seems like it was a mistake since I barely use it now that I have the robot. Still, it has a lot of nice attachments for deep cleaning. Currently I keep that upstairs for quick touchups (just one room and bathroom), and the robot takes care of the main floor. Whenever my kitchen is not a pit of construction, I will probably keep the Dyson down there for daily cleaning and take it upstairs as needed. By the way, the v10 is WAY better than my old v6, mostly because the emptying mechanism is so much easier and cleaner. Battery life is a lot better too.

Thanks, all.
posted by ohsnapdragon at 9:26 AM on March 17, 2021 [1 favorite]

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