The Best Robot Vacuums for Long Hair 2021 [Reviews & Buying Guide]

written by Sam Harris
part of Robot Vacuums
created on September 23, 2020
updated on May 26, 2021

Do you have long-haired dog breeds or live with people who have thick, long hair? Are you getting frustrated with hair tangling the brush roll of your robot vacuum or are you bothered with the need to frequently empty the minuscule dustbin?

You’re in the right place if you’re looking for a capable robotic vacuum cleaner that can handle the long hair of your Afghan hound, Chihuahua, Border Collie, wife, or daughter(s).

This post focuses on thick, long hair vacuuming needs. Follow this link for robot vacuums suited to general/less demanding hair cleaning requirements.

Reviews of three of best robotic vacuum cleaners for long hair

Without further ado, here are three of the best robotic vacuum cleaners for long human and animal hair.

iLife V80 Max

ilife_v80_max_robot_vacuum
ilife v80 max

At number #1 on this list of the best long hair robotic vacuum, is the iLife V80 Max. Talking about its long hair vacuuming ability, the iLife V80 Max at 2000Pa suction ensures effective pick up on hardwood, tile, laminate, concrete floor, etc. The INLET/SUCTION NOZZLE of the  V80 Max which replaces the bristle brush commonly found in other models eliminates the need for upkeep, maintains peak performance while saving you money on buying replacement brushes. Additionally, the iLife V80 Max cleaning robot with 750ml dustbin ensures prolonged cleaning while reducing the frequency of emptying. Different from the V3 and V5 models which take random paths to clean, the V80 Max is optimized for reach and coverage thanks to its Gyro methodical navigation.

It’s worth mentioning though that the iLife V80 Max’s navigation is decent at best. It may get confused if you move mid-session. While gentle, movement isn’t as precise. Also, the iLife V80 Max lacks the mapping, self-resume, and self-cleaning functions.

Powerful, capable, and affordable (typically selling under $300), consider the iLife V80 Max robotic cleaner if you…

  • Have long hair or live with long-haired animals or humans
  • Are on a budget
  • Aren’t interested in personalization. Consider the Narwal T10 (also a suction-only robot) or the Shark AV1002AE if you do.
  • Live in an apartment
  • Don’t have carpets or rugs
  • Don’t have a complicated layout or cluttered setup
  • Aren’t interested in the mopping feature
  • Don’t plan running completely unattended

Roomba 960 or i3+ room cleaning robot

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Roomba 960
roomba_i3_self_emptying_vacuuming_robot
Roomba i3 plus

Assuming the iLife V80 Max offerings aren’t convincing enough you have another option: iRobot 960 or i3+. These two have superior cleaning systems (read: STRONG SUCTION AND BRUSHLESS ROLLERS) that support efficient and convenient vacuuming of long pets and human hair. Your ultimate choice will depend on personal preferences, budget, or additional needs.

Take, for example, in addition to your long hair that needs to be vacuumed, you may have V-shaped chair legs, tricky floor plans, a mix of carpets and hardwood floors or tiles, and power cables and kids’ toys. In a situation like this, the iRobot 960 suffices, given its dedicated navigation and mapping.

For the i3 Plus, yes, it’s more expensive but with a squad of Border Collie, German Shepherd or Lab, and a wife with long, thick hair and daughters who are also likely going to have long hairs, the self-emptying base of the i3 robot can quickly pay for itself in helping to keep up with the molting while improving hygiene and air quality. 

Remember neither the 960 nor i3 Plus have smart mapping or other similar functions such as virtual barrier, room cleaning. Navigation is also powered by Optic Eye + Gyroscope vs cameras in the Roomba i7 and s9. This has the advantage of being able to clean in the dark but navigation may not be precise plus there’s no obstacle avoidance feature. As a result, the i3 Plus would fare better in a house with a simple floor plan or one you have walked.

Shark AV1002AE vacuuming robot

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shark iq av1002ae

The Shark AV1002AE concludes this list of the best robot vacuum and mop. Similar to the i3 Plus (number #2 on the list), the Shark AV1002AE SELF-CLEANS making it an ideal choice if you’re struggling to keep up with the long hair of your dog or if your long hair is overwhelming your current robotic cleaner. More so, the auto emptying tower of the Shark is a bagless system which means zero ongoing cost on dirtbags plus the canister can hold up to a month’s worth of debris.

Another key highlight that positions the Shark AV1002AE for long hair vacuuming is its uniquely designed center brush that removes hair as it cleans–effectively cutting down on routine maintenance while helping to maintain peak performance.

Because the AV1002AE isn’t suction-based like the iLife V80 Max (#1 on the list), there are ongoing expenses on replacement brushes. These are available on the Shark’s website for about $20. Most manufacturers recommend replacing the extractor of a robot vacuum about twice a year. When this needs to be done would be communicated through the Shark app.

And although not directly related, but maybe worth mentioning–the Shark AV1002AE while it maps floors and supports the room select function, however, doesn’t support app-based barriers or multi-level mapping.

Continue reading: Shark AV1002AE self-emptying robotic vacuum cleaner review (includes details on its mobility in addition to a complete list of pros and cons)

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Robot vacuum for long hair–What to look for when buying, and why

It bears mentioning that while some of the recommendations below are specific to long hair vacuuming situations, aka must-haves (e.g. navigation, dustbin size, suction inlet or self-cleaning brush rolls, etc.), a few others (full bin indicator, WIFI, etc.) tends to more general-purpose cleaning.

With that mentioned, here are a few things to keep an eye on when shopping for long hair robotic floor cleaners and why these are important.

Full bin indicator

Robot vacuums WITHOUT the full bin sensors don’t know when their bin fills. Cleaning will continue anyway, suction will diminish, thus leading to a shoddy cleaning job. iRobot Roomba robot vacuums, particularly the 960 & i3 Plus (second on the list) have the full bin detect sensor, therefore, know when their bin fills and would return to base to empty (applies to the i7+ and s9+ that supports automatic dirt emptying), stop cleaning while sending notifications via the app. 

Dust bin size

People who own robot vacuums and pets especially long hair, heavy shedding breeds can reckon with two things: 

(a) The dustbin on robot vacuums is generally small.

(b) Some dog breeds can shed enough to make a new one.

Similar to how a larger battery counts for less if it has the recharge and resume function, the same is true of the small and big dustbin of a floor robot. Or in plain English, if you’d be getting a robot without the emptying tower (often sold separately from the main unit), get one with a larger dustbin to reduce the frequency of emptying. The iLife V80 Max at 750ml has the biggest dustbin of any of the items mentioned above.

Auto recharge & resume

This is the ability of a robot to automatically return to its docking station to boost power and to resume cleaning right at where it left off before the charge break. Although automatic recharge is a standard on most robots these days, the automatic resume function is just as important.

Besides robots with the automatic-recharge-only function have increased docking problems, you’d also be required to physically move them when charging is completed. In my experience, even those times I was able to return the robot to the area it last cleaned, my command/preference usually gets disregarded/overruled as the robot would instead start cleaning however it deems fit (whether that means starting all over or heading straight into another room entirely).

On the other hand, robots with the auto-recharge and resume functions give zero docking issues plus support uninterrupted, hands-free & effective cleaning. The Roomba 960, i3, and Shark AV1002AE have the auto-recharge and resume function.

Smart navigation & obstacle avoidance

Floor robots such as the Roomba 800 and E series would’ve been perfect for long hair SAVE for their random path. This perhaps explains why they didn’t feature. The thing with random navigation robots is they move around, with the aid of sensors, and without plan or logic; essentially, they miss spots, are much more hands-on, plus it takes a longer time to complete cleaning jobs.

On the other hand, navigation of the intelligent robots has their paths optimized for accuracy, convenience, and efficiency. They’re better at negotiating items of furniture and other obstacles. This is because their movements are guided by advanced navigation systems–lasers as found in the Neato, Ecovacs & Roborock; cameras as found in the Roomba; and very recently, lasers + cameras (as found in the Ozmo 960, T5, T8 AIVI, and Roborock S6 MaxV.

WIFI

Besides the WIFI of a robot grants access to some helpful functions such as digital barriers and zone cleaning, WIFI-supported floor robots also can receive software updates for bug fixes and usability improvements.

Suction inlet/self-cleaning rollers

Robot vacuums with suction inlets are usually my recommendation for long hair cleaning purposes. The only problem is robot vacuums with suction (instead of a center brush) are fewer and limited in functionality.

And because even the best tangle-free robots still require taking them apart for a clean. This is normal–except it quickly becomes an extra chore when done every day or two or in between cleaning runs.

To reduce tangling issues and for easier upkeep, get a robot that has been designed with hair in mind–suction-based like the Life V80 Max or Narwal T10; silicone, dual rubber rollers of the iRobots and the Roborock S7; or the single style silicone + fins of the Shark AV and RV line.

Strong suction and airflow 

Given it’s textured, getting hair out of rugs is more challenging than getting a robot to pick hair on hardwoods or other solid surfaces. Therefore, a stronger force (aka suction) is required to push through the fibers of the carpet to loosen/lift the hair lurking within, while an equally strong force (aka airflow) is required to finally suck the hair into the robot’s dustbin.

For thorough cleaning results, assuming a carpet vacuuming situation, get a robot with strong suction + extractor–brushless extractor highly recommended, of which the Roomba 960 and i3 (#2 on the list) fit this description. 

Conclusion

So there go three of the best smart home robotic cleaners to solve your long hair issues. 

As you go shopping for your item of choice, remember some of the recommendations in the second part of the article. Highlights such as suction and airflow, navigation, suction port/brush design, auto-dirt bin, and full-bin sensor are critical for maintaining peak performance and getting desired results.

The iRobot i3 Plus is my top pick given its reputation as an intelligent, hardworking, hygienic, and reliable robot for clearing dust bunnies, allergens, dirt, food crumbs, sand, seeds, humans & animal hair off of flat surfaces.

Regardless of the anti-tangle potential of a vacuum cleaner, though, it isn’t uncommon to find hair intertwined on the main brush roll or the suction passage blocked, especially if it’s been a while since you vacuum. It helps to run the vacuum every day so hair doesn’t build up. You should also take advantage of the little cleaning tool that comes with most models.

Lastly, this post focused on long human and pet hair problems. Go here if you have exclusively pets hair vacuuming requirements.