Select Page

Best Roomba for Pet Hair

By Derek Hales | Updated May 30, 2018
Home » Best Vacuum Cleaner » Best Roomba For Pet Hair

You love your pets, but let’s be honest, pet hair can be a real mess in the house. Roomba is a popular choice for a robot vacuum for its advanced navigation ability and new technology that is a bit more thoughtful of your furry friend.

That being said, the Roomba lineup can be a little confusing as to which model is best for pets. Aesthetically, all five of the flagship models currently on the market look similar, but have different features.

See our favorite Roomba for pet hair below or click here to jump down to the full list.

Best Roomba for Pets

We are supported by readers purchasing products we feature. When you buy products with our links, we earn a commission. Questions? See how Modern Castle works.

Roomba 980

Roomba 980 review

Pros
Excellent cleaning, advanced navigation, wifi connectivity, and long run time.

Cons
One of the most expensive robot vacuums on the market and is a bit louder than comparable models

Best for Pets
The Roomba 980 is best for pets who are busy, hairy, and frequently need to be cleaned up after. The Roomba 980 is up for the task with all of the bells-and-whistles that a top-of-the-line robot vacuum could offer.

Roomba 960

Roomba 960 robot vacuum review

Pros
Good all-around performance, lots of accessories, large dust bin.

Cons
On the heavier side at 13.7 pounds, longer assembly for first-time use, and average maneuverability.

Best For Pets
The Roomba 960 is best for pets who still need to be cleaned up after, but maybe slightly less destructive than the 980 pet, since the main difference between these two models is the inclusion of Power Boost (on the 980 model).

Roomba 890

Roomba 890 robot vacuum review

Pros
Lower price tag, sufficient run time, advanced brushrolls and virtual wall w/ Halo mode

Cons
No digital map reports, power boost, or the ability to “Recharge & Resume” in the middle of a cleaning cycle

Best for Pets
The Roomba 890 is best for pets who have long hair, but may not leave the extra mess than the 960 or 980 pet leaves. The 890 has a reduced run time, but does include the advanced filtration system, Halo virtual barrier, and dual-brushrolls for easy pet hair cleanup.

Roomba 690

Roomba 690 robot vacuum review

Pros
Much lower price than 900 series Roombas, great performance and usability

Cons
Has a short run time vs. others and lacks dual brushrolls, also has less powerful motor and old filtration system

Best for Pets
The Roomba 690 is best for lower maintenance pets who have short hair. The 690 uses the bristle style brushroll which is prone to tangle longer pet hair, but is perfectly fine for shot pet hair. It also uses the older style virtual barrier and is not equipped to protect round areas, like food, water, or pet bed areas.

Which Roomba features are best for pet hair?

While all Roombas have their unique set of features and technology, there are a few features in particular that you may want to pay special interest in if you’re a pet owner.

Roomba Brushroll

PET HAIR LENGTH | It’s important to consider the length of your pet’s hair when selecting the best Roomba. It is likely that a short haired bulldog and a long-haired cat would have different needs when it comes to cleaning pet hair.

Short hair tends to STICK to surface, while long hair tends to TANGLE. The Roomba brushroll plays an important role in cleaning pet hair.

Roomba’s original brushroll was a single bristle style which works well for short-haired pets. For long-haired pets, I would recommend the advanced dual-brushroll system which uses two rubberized brushrolls spinning in opposite directions to help pull the pet hair in, but not tangle it around the axle.

Roomba vacuum AeroForce system brushroll

Roomba vacuum AeroForce system brushroll (as shown on the Roomba 960)

The Roomba 980, 960, and 890 all use the advanced dual-brushrolls, while the Roomba 690 and 614 use the original bristle style brushroll.

Roomba vacuum AeroVac system brushroll

Roomba vacuum AeroVac system brushroll (as shown on the Roomba 690)

Roomba Filtration System

It’s no surprise that pets also produce quite a few additional allergens, along with their luscious locks. For pet lowers who are more sensitive to their allergens, you may want to also consider Roomba’s advanced filtration system—the AeroForce system.

AEROFORCE | This improved filter works in tandem with the improved brushroll on the Roomba 980, 960, and 890 models. The AeroForce filter is redesigned to also allow for 60% more dust bin capacity, a hot commodity for homes with pets and big messes.

AeroForce Roomba filtration system

Roomba AeroForce filtration system

AEROVAC | By comparison, the AeroVac system works in tandem with the single bristle brushroll. The filter, itself, has a slight curve to it which was designed to increase airflow and guide debris back into the dust bin. Although it does technically work like that, it also means taking up more space and allowing less space for the actual dust bin.

Filter included with the 690 and 614

Roomba AeroVac filtration system

Roomba Virtual Barrier

The last element to consider is the virtual barrier. Roomba manufacturers two main types of virtual barrier, a Dual-Mode barrier, and the original barrier. The Dual-Mode operates in either Standard Mode or Halo Mode, while the original barrier only operates in Standard Mode.

Roomba Scooba virtual wall barrier

Original virtual wall barrier

Roomba advanced virtual wall barrier halo mode

Dual-Mode virtual barrier

1: Normal Mode: In Normal mode, you can protect up to a 10′ linear straight path, like a doorway, hallway, or even a wider entry to a room.

Roomba Standard Mode virtual wall barrier

2: Halo Mode: In Halo Mode, you can protect up to a 4′ radius around sensitive areas like pet feeding stations, water bowls, or even pet beds.

Roomba Halo Mode virtual wall barrier

The Roomba 980, 960, 890, and 690 all use the advanced virtual wall barriers, while the Roomba 614 uses the old model of barrier which only does Standard mode. There are quite a few other models as well available on Amazon.com which also use the older style barrier.

Roomba Cleaning Pet Hair: The Tests

Beyond the individual features of each Roomba, flooring type is one of the next factors to think about when selecting the right Roomba for you.

DEBRIS TYPES | Each Roomba model responds a little bit different to variable types of debris. To really put cleaning performance to the test, we test each Roomba against four main debris types:

  1. rice
  2. kitty litter
  3. cereal
  4. sugar

FLOOR TYPES | and on three different flooring types:

  1. hardwoods
  2. low pile carpet
  3. and high pile carpet

OUR PROCESS | To identify the best Roombas for pet hair, we have to do a little bit of deductive reasoning, experimentation, and more subjective testing. Unfortunately, pet hair is actually not a common material that you can buy a bag of to use for vacuum performance testing (we’ve tried a couple times…it was an awkward trip to Petsmart).

CHALLENGES | Furthermore, even if you could buy a bag of the stuff, just sprinkling it on the floor would hardly be able to replicate the pet hair in your house. More often that not, pet hair get ground and rubbed into the flooring. Dander often falls off your pet as well and rests on hardwoods floors.

CARPET ISSUES | Carpet retains even more abuse, as hair can really dig in. Think of all the times that your pet has rolled on the carpet or rubbed their head against the floor. Pet dander, particles, and food are other materials that can reside in your carpet, sometimes requiring more suction than that which was necessary for the hardwood floor testing.

HOME TESTS | Since it’s not as easily to test cleaning performance against pet hair in a purely objective way, we looked to real world experiences. To that end, using the Roomba vacuums over a longer time period in homes with dogs and cats. Over time, the successes, failures, and overall performance of the Roomba were more clear.

The charts below show how each Roomba model performs on each flooring type:

Hardwood

  • Roomba 980 100%
  • Roomba 960 100%
  • Roomba 890 98%
  • Roomba 690 98%

Low Carpet

  • Roomba 980 97%
  • Roomba 960 88%
  • Roomba 890 91%
  • Roomba 690 93%

High Carpet

  • Roomba 980 87%
  • Roomba 960 87%
  • Roomba 890 88%
  • Roomba 690 91%

PERFORMANCE | As you can see, all of the Roombas excelled at cleaning up debris from hardwood floors. The Roomba 980 broke away from the pack slightly for cleaning low carpets, but for high carpets all featured models performed at very comparable levels (a little surprising for us, given the PowerBoost feature on the 980).

Bells and whistles aside, if you are truly just looking at cleaning performance and are not considering other issues, like: navigation style, filtration, maintenance costs, battery life, run time, etc., then this chart can be a great way to strictly compare cleaning performance.

OTHER FEATURES | Of course, if you’re more about the fancier features and bells and whistles, check out the Features chart below to see how these four models compare.

Roomba Comparison Chart

 Roomba 980Roomba 960Roomba 890Roomba 690
Roomba 980 robot vacuum reviewRoomba 960 robot vacuum reviewRoomba 890 robot vacuum reviewRoomba 690 robot vacuum review
Runtime~120 mins~75 mins~60 mins~60 mins
Scheduling
Self-Charging
Drop Detection
Full Bin Indicator
Digital Map Reports
Recharge & Resume
Power Boost
Dirt DetectionAdvancedAdvancedBasicBasic
TechnologyAeroForceAeroForceAeroForceAeroForce
Roller BrushesDual rubber (less tangle)Dual rubber (less tangle)Dual rubber (less tangle)Bristle style
Remote ControliRobot HOME App, Amazon Alexa, Google AssistantiRobot HOME App, Amazon Alexa, Google AssistantiRobot HOME App, Amazon Alexa, Google AssistantiRobot HOME App, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant
NavigationAdvancedAdvancedBasicBasic
Virtual Walls (included)2111
Score95%95%95%95%
PriceCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
ReviewRead ReviewRead ReviewRead ReviewRead Review

Roomba 980 Robot Vacuum

The Roomba 980 robot vacuum is the most advanced model that Roomba currently manufactures and it’s packed full of bells-and-whistles. It has a centrally located on-board camera, advanced navigation, exceptional cleaning performance, and an extended 120-minute run time.

Roomba 980 robot vacuum

DESIGN | The Roomba 980 has the classic dark round body with an on-board camera located at the center of the vacuum. The “Clean” button shifted up slightly to make room for the camera. The rest of the design follows classic Roomba lines, with the simple buttons, front bumper, and rear dust bin release.

On the underside, the Roomba 980 has:

  1. Dual brushrolls – These rubberized brushrolls are great for capturing long pet hair, while preventing tangles.
  2. Spinning side brush – This brush rotates as the Roomba drives to help capture dirt and debris from edges and corners and sweeps it into the path of the central brushroll.
  3. Charging contact pins – These contact pins communicate with the charging base and helps to know when the Roomba is officially charging. When these parts connect, the Roomba will let out a short musical chime and you’re good to go.
  4. Dust bin and HEPA filter – This area is where the dust bin and HEPA filter are housed. To open this section, pull the release on the front of the Roomba.
1) rolling brushes, 2) spinning brush, 3) front wheel, and 4) dust bin

1) rolling brushes, 2) spinning brush, 3) front wheel, and 4) dust bin

ACCESSORIES | The Roomba 980 robot vacuum comes with:

  • Filter
  • Two virtual walls
  • Charging station

This robot vacuum comes with simple accessories. The virtual walls are the Dual-Mode barriers, meaning you can block straight paths or radial areas.

CLEANING | Click here to check out the cleaning performance of the Roomba 980.
Roomba 980 hardwood cleaning tests

Roomba 980 hardwood cleaning tests

USABILITY | The Roomba 980 is extremely user-friendly and intuitive. It can be controlled from your smartphone or voice command using Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. Also, if you are cleaning a larger home, the Roomba 980 has the ability to “Recharge and Resume” in the middle of a cleaning if it runs out of battery.

Also, the 980 has a feature called Power Boost which automatically increases suction power temporarily for trouble spots or areas of high traffic. These autonomous features mean less work for you and more effective cleaning for Roomba.

MORE | Want to learn more about Roomba robot vacuums? Check out our brand guide and find out which Roomba is right for you!

I would recommend the Roomba 980 robot vacuum to people who:

  • Want Power Boost: If the increased suction power is an important feature for you, the Roomba 980 is currently the only Roomba that has this feature.
  • Want two virtual barriers: Similarly, the 980 is also the only current model that comes with two virtual barriers. For larger homes or area that have multiple sensitive areas which need to be marked off, these barriers make it easy to do.
  • You have a large home: Roomba 980 has the longest run time, advanced navigation, and re-charge and resume, all of which make it capable of handling a large amount of square footage.

%

Overall Score

  • Overall Cleaning Score 96%

Dimensions

13.9″ dia. x 3.6″

Power

Battery, 3,300 mAh

Run Time

~120 minutes

Weight

8.7 pounds

Maintenance

~$37 / year

Dust Bin Capacity

0.3 L

Roomba 960 Robot Vacuum

The Roomba 960 robot vacuum is one step below the Roomba 980 in terms of features and price. The main differences between the 980 and the 960 is that the 980 comes with two virtual barriers and the special mode for “Power Boost” when cleaning high-traffic areas.

Roomba 960 robot vacuum

Roomba 960 robot vacuum

DESIGN |  Aesthetically, the design of the Roomba 960 looks similar to the 980 model, with the same on-board camera and overall design orientation. The “Clean” button is located right above the camera, with a bumper up top and the release hatch for the dust bin at the bottom.

On the underside, the Roomba 960 has:

  1. Spinning side brushes -The side spinning brushes rotate as the Roomba drives to help capture dust and debris from edges and corners, and sweeping them into the path of the central brushroll.
  2. Charging contact pins – These charging pins communicate with the charging station and help the Roomba to know when it has found “home base”. Once the pins are aligned with the charger, the Roomba will emit a chiming noise to verify that it’s officially charging.
  3. Dual brushrolls – These rubberized brushrolls work together by spinning opposite directions of each other as they agitate and capture debris. By spinning opposite directions, they are able to suck up the debris without snagging or tangling particular messes, like pet hair or long human hair.
  4. Dust bin and HEPA filter – From the front of this vacuum, this bit can be released and opened. It simple slides out and allows you to access the dust bin and HEPA filter for quick and easy regular maintenance.
1) spinning brush, 2) front wheel, 3) debris extractor, and 4) dust bin

1) spinning brush, 2) front wheel, 3) debris extractor, and 4) dust bin

ACCESSORIES | The Roomba 960 robot vacuum comes with:

  • Filter
  • One virtual wall
  • Charging station

The accessories that the Roomba 960 comes with are basically identical to the accessories with the Roomba 980. The only difference is that the 980 model gets two virtual walls while the 960 model only comes with one.

CLEANING | Click here to check out the cleaning performance of the Roomba 960.
Roomba 960 robot vacuum hardwood cleaning test

Roomba 960 robot vacuum – hardwood cleaning test

USABILITY | The usability of the Roomba 960 is comparable to the Roomba 980. It’s intuitive and easy to use, including features like wifi-connectivity, voice control, and scheduled cleanings. Similarly to the 980 model, the 960 can also “Recharge and Resume” if the cleaning area is too large or complex for Roomba to complete in a single cycle.

I would recommend the the Roomba 960 robot vacuum to people who:

  • Want the bells and whistles: If you can foot the bill, the Roomba 960 is a great option since it includes many advanced features over the 800 series Roomba, including Recharge and Resume, a more powerful motor, advanced navigator (straighter lines), advanced dirt detection technology, and digital map reports.
  • Want advanced navigation: As mentioned above, the Roomba 960 navigation is more advanced over that of the 890, 690, or 614. This advanced navigation means cleaning in straighter lines and with more methodical movements. The on-board camera helps the 900 series Roombas to create a digital map of the space. When the cycle is done you can actually pull it up on your smartphone using the iRobot app and see if the Roomba missed any spots.
  • You have a larger home: Just like with the Roomba 980, the 960’s advanced navigation, larger battery, and re-charge and resume allow it to clean larger homes. The battery isn’t quite as large as the 980, but it has re-charge and resume, which makes the battery difference a little moot, in my opinion.

%

Overall Score

  • Overall Cleaning Score 94%

Dimensions

13.8″ dia. x 3.6″

Power

Battery, 2,600 mAh

Run Time

~75 minutes

Weight

8.6 pounds

Maintenance

~$35 / year

Dust Bin Capacity

0.3 L

Roomba 890 Robot Vacuum

The Roomba 890 is the least expensive Roomba model (still in production) that uses the advanced dual-brushrolls. It has a 60-minute run time, wifi connectivity, drop detection, and the full bin indicator light. Unlike the 900 series, the 890 lacks the Digital Map Reports, Power Boost, and the ability to recharge and resume cleaning in the middle of a cycle.

Roomba 890 robot vacuum design

Roomba 890 robot vacuum – features

DESIGN | The design of the Roomba 890 is aesthetically a little different from the 900 series. There is no centrally located camera on the top, and instead this Roomba relies on sensors around the vacuum to identify obstacles and navigate the space.

On the underside, the Roomba 890 has:

  1. Wheels – Two large wheels on each side and one small wheel at the front help to drive the Roomba forward and easily transition across different flooring types, cords, or the occasional pet toy.
  2. Spinning Side Brush – This brush rotates as Roomba cleans and helps capture dirt, dust, and debris from edges and corners, an area that could otherwise be missed due to Roomba’s round shape.
  3. Charging Contact Pins – These pins are what alert the Roomba that it has successfully found the charging station. Once connected, you should hear a short chime which means that Roomba is charging and preparing for the next cleaning cycle.
  4. Dual Brushrolls – These advanced brushrolls work together, spinning alternate directions from each other to help capture debris, while resisting tangles or clogging.
  5. Dust bin and HEPA filter – This dust bin has a release latch on the side of the vacuum, which pulls out the entire bin with HEPA filter. It’s easy to clean the filter, empty the bin, slide it back in, and you’re ready to go.
  6. Edge Sensors – Edge sensors at the edges of this vacuum help the Roomba to identify drop hazards, lofted areas, or other sensitive spaces that should be handled with caution.
Roomba 890 robot vacuum how it cleans features

Roomba 890 robot vacuum – how it cleans

ACCESSORIES | The Roomba 890 robot vacuum comes with:

  • Filter
  • One virtual walls
  • Charging station

The accessories are pretty basic for the 890 and typical of most other Roombas in the lineup. The virtual wall that comes with the Roomba 890 is the first model to have the advanced virtual wall (with Halo mode). All previous models have the older style virtual wall which doesn’t have the “Lighthouse” technology.

CLEANING | Click here to check out the cleaning performance of the Roomba 890.
Roomba 890 robot vacuum hardwood cleaning test

Roomba 890 robot vacuum – hardwood cleaning test

USABILITY | The usability of the Roomba 890 is intuitive like most all other Roombas. It has wifi-connectivity, a charger, virtual wall and central clean button. Start a cleaning cycle by pressing the button,

I would recommend the the Roomba 890 robot vacuum to people who:

  • Want the most affordable option with the advanced brushroll: For pet owners of long-haired furry friends, the advanced dual brushroll system is nearly required in order to prevent tangles and messes. The Roomba 800 series were the first models to use the advanced brushrolls.
  • Want a larger dust bin: The Roomba 800 series (890 included) is the first series to introduce the AeroForce filtration system. This redesigned system allows 60% more room in the dust bin and a more efficient HEPA system.

%

Overall Score

  • Overall Cleaning Score 93%

Dimensions

13.9″ dia. x 3.6″

Power

Battery, 1,800 mAh

Run Time

~60 minutes

Weight

8.6 pounds

Maintenance

~$34 / year

Dust Bin Capacity

0.3 L

Roomba 690 Robot Vacuum

The Roomba 690 is the only Roomba featured in this guide for pets that does NOT have the advanced dual brushroll. While it’s true that the dual-rubberized brushroll is better for cleaning long pet hair, that doesn’t necessarily dismiss all older model Roombas.

For pets with short hair that doesn’t tangle, the Roomba 690 is still a fine contender. If you have a short-haired pet, the Roomba 690 could be a better value for you also, considering the lower initial cost compared to the 900 series Roombas.

iRobot Roomba 690 robot vacuum features

iRobot Roomba 690 robot vacuum – features

DESIGN | The design of the Roomba 690 is basic compared to the Roomba 900 series robots. The body style mimics the look of the Roomba 890 with the central “CLEAN” button (1), the lift-top handle (2), the front bumper for protection (3), and the release for the dust bin and HEPA filter (4).

On the underside, the Roomba 690 has:

  1. Wheels – There are two large wheels on each side and one small wheel at the front to help the Roomba 690 navigate and transition different flooring types.
  2. Spinning Side Brush – This side brush is used to capture dirt and debris from corners and edges and sweeps it into the path of the Roomba brushroll as it drives along.
  3. Charging Contact Pins – These contact pins communicate to the charger and when the two connect, you’ll hear a little chiming sound. This is an indication that the Roomba is charging up and preparing for its next clean.
  4. Bristle Brushroll – The 690 doesn’t have the dual-brushroll, but it does have a bristle brushroll. This is certainly not ideal for long pet hair, but still worth including for the sake of short pet hair.
  5. Dust bin and HEPA filter – This bin houses the dust canister as well as the HEPA filter. To open the hatch, simply pull the latch on the top side of the robot.
  6. Edge Sensors – Sensors at the edge of the vacuum help the Roomba to identify and avoid trouble spots, like drop zones, stairs, or other elevation hazards.
Roomba 690 robot vacuum how it cleans

1) wheels, 2) spinning brush, 3) charging pins, 4) roller brush, 5) dust bin, and 6) edge sensors

ACCESSORIES | The Roomba 690 robot vacuum comes with:

  • Filter
  • One virtual wall (one style)
  • Charging station

The Roomba 690 comes with basic accessories, including a HEPA filter, charging station, and virtual wall. It’s important to note that this virtual wall is the older style, therefore does not have the ability to protect round (Halo) spaces, like food, water, or pet bed areas.

CLEANING | Click here to check out the cleaning performance of the Roomba 690.
irobot roomba 690 hardwood test

Roomba 690 – hardwood cleaning test

USABILITY | The usability of the Roomba 690 is intuitive like most all other Roombas. it has wifi-connectivity, a charger, virtual wall and central clean button. Start a cleaning cycle by pressing the button, using your smartphone, or via voice control.

I would recommend the the Roomba 690 robot vacuum to people who:

  • Don’t have pets with long hair: The Roomba 690 does have the older style of brushroll and filtration system (the AeroVac), but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t good. The AeroVac system and bristle style brushroll can still be great options for home with short-haired pets.
  • Want the most affordable option with the advanced virtual barrier: The advanced virtual barrier is also a great addition for pet owners, who may want to block off round areas, like for food, water, or pet beds. The previous model of virtual wall  can only block off straight lines, like for doorways, or open areas.
  • Want the best value – for both pets and all-purpose use, the Roomba 690 remains the best value Roomba we have tested to date. And arguably is the best value of any robot vacuum currently on the market.

%

Overall Score

  • Overall Cleaning Score 93%

Dimensions

13″ dia. x 3.6″

Power

Battery, 1,800 mAh

Run Time

~60 minutes

Weight

7.8 pounds

Maintenance

~$32 / year

Dust Bin Capacity

0.3 L

What’s the best Roomba for dogs & cats?

So that’s the run down. As you can see, it’s hard to go wrong with a Roomba for tackling pet hair, but when you’re making the final decision be sure to consider the following features. The top features for homes with pets include:

Virtual Walls (Advanced vs. Basic)

The advanced virtual wall (with the Roomba 980, 960, 890, and 690) has the ability to block off spaces with an infrared light in a straight pattern (up to 10′) or around a sensitive object, like a pet feeding, drinking, or bed area.

The basic virtual wall (with Roomba 614 and other older models) can only protect areas in a straight pattern (up to 10′), like for doorways or halls.

Filtration Systems (AeroForce vs. AeroVac)

The AeroForce system uses a more efficient and effective HEPA filter as well as the dual-brushrolls with rubberized texture for capturing long pet hair.

The AeroVac system uses a slightly less efficient filter and the bristle style brushroll system, which can tend to tangle long pet hair… but perfectly acceptable for short pet hair.

Run Times (Recharge & Resume vs. Limited)

If you have a large home, large pet, or just a lot things to clean, you may want to consider a Roomba model with the Recharge and Resume feature, something that was developed for the 900 series Roomba (Roomba 960 and Roomba 980).

This feature allows the Roomba to automatically recharge itself in the middle of a cleaning cycle and then resume cleaning wherever it left off when the battery is full. This is included with the Roomba 960 and Roomba 980 models.

Older models without this technology do have a shorter run time, but still 60 minutes, which is pretty lengthy, all things considered. This include the Roomba 890, Roomba 690, and Roomba 614. Additional models may be included in this list as well, but for the sake of this review, we chose to only feature our favorites.

Do you already have a Roomba and a pet? Want to throw in your two-cents about how these models work for your furry friend? Drop us an email and let us know.

Also, if you need help selecting which Roomba works for you, please send us an email. We’d be happy to assist!

Sign up here to get the latest giveaways, discounts, updates, and more from Modern Castle!

Congrats! You're in :) Check your email for a confirmation.