Putting Vacuum Cleaners To The Cat Hair Test

Among the seven different tests that our science-minded sibling publication Consumer Reports used for its most recent vacuum ratings, the one that seems to get the most attention is the fur test. Steven Colbert once accused CR — jokingly, we hope — of killing cats and tearing their fur off. Fortunately for everyone involved, that’s not how it works.

In truth, a cat groomer send Consumer Reports bags of fur brushed from a Maine Coon cat. The fur is then weighed out into equal portions and pressed into the test carpeting with rollers.

Each vacuum then has 14 tries to passes over the fur to pick it all up. Afterward, the tester weighs the hair remaining on the carpet. He also weighs the hair that gets stuck in each vacuum’s brush and roller mechanism.

According to CR’s latest tests:

Kenmore’s Intuition 31100, a CR Best Buy at $250, is among the uprights that aced that new test without letting us down on regular carpet cleaning, which is still a vacuum’s toughest challenge. If you prefer a canister, Kenmore’s Progressive 27514, $300, a CR Best Buy, was also impressive in our pet-hair and carpet tests. Panasonic’s MC-CG902, $210, also a CR Best Buy, cleaned carpets comparably for less.

For all of Consumer Reports’ vacuum ratings, head over to their website or pick up the current issue of the magazine.