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Kenmore Elite Pet Friendly Review

For those with tons of carpet to clean, this is a top-notch choice
Kenmore Elite Pet Friendly
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Price:   $350 List | $301.63 at Amazon
Pros:  Great for cleaning carpet, easy to use, exceptional at picking up pet hair
Cons:  Heavy, hard to handle
Manufacturer:   Kenmore
By David Wise and Austin Palmer  ⋅  Jul 12, 2017
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69
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 10
  • Carpet Cleaning - 35% 8
  • Ease of Use - 25% 7
  • Handling - 20% 4
  • Hard Surface Cleaning - 10% 6
  • Pet Hair - 10% 9

Our Verdict

Scoring well across most of our metrics, the Kenmore Elite Pet Friendly vacuum cleaner is a solid choice for those with pets or kids. While this bagged vacuum is a little on the larger side and lacks some of the maneuverability of other models, it's a great pick for someone who is primarily interested in cleaning carpets or wants to stick with a traditional bagged collection system. Still, it's quite heavy and the accessory hose doesn't have a very long reach, so if your house has stairs or lots of obstacles to navigate, we recommend considering something else.

Compare to Similar Products

 
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Price $350 List
$301.63 at Amazon
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$200 List$88 List
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$73 List
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Pros Great for cleaning carpet, easy to use, exceptional at picking up pet hairGreat at pet hair, excellent cleaning abilities, easy to useGood price, cleans carpet very well, picks up pet hair with easeInexpensive, great for pet hair, solid carpet cleaningInexpensive, maneuverable, solid at picking up pet hair
Cons Heavy, hard to handlePriceyNot particularly impressive at cleaning hard floorsLackluster at cleaning hard floors, so-so ease of useDoesn't clean hard floors or carpet very well
Bottom Line For those with tons of carpet to clean, this is a top-notch choiceIf you are looking for something that sweeps the rest of the competition under the rug, this is our current favorite vacuumIf you are searching for a new vacuum on a budget, then this is a great betIf you are shopping on a particularly tight budget for a new vacuum, this is a good optionThis cheap vacuum isn't terrible, but there are far better options for the same price
Rating Categories Kenmore Elite Pet F... Shark Vertex Navigator Lift-Away... Eureka PowerSpeed BLACK+DECKER AirSwi...
Carpet Cleaning (35%)
8.0
9.0
7.0
6.0
3.0
Ease Of Use (25%)
7.0
7.0
7.0
5.0
5.0
Handling (20%)
4.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
8.0
Hard Surface Cleaning (10%)
6.0
9.0
6.0
3.0
3.0
Pet Hair (10%)
9.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
Specs Kenmore Elite Pet F... Shark Vertex Navigator Lift-Away... Eureka PowerSpeed BLACK+DECKER AirSwi...
Vacuum type Upright Upright Upright Upright Upright
Model Number 31150 AZ2000W NV356E NEU182A BDASL202
Bag Type Bag Bagless Bagless Bagless Bagless
Cleaning Path Width 13.75" 12" 11.25" 13.25" 12"
Measured Brush Width 12.75" 10" 9" 10.5" 11"
Measured Weight 21.1 lbs 16.3 lbs 14.4 lbs 10.1 lbs 9.4 lbs
Variable Suction Control No Yes Yes No No
Brush On/Off Switch Yes Slow Yes No No
Measured Maximum Reach 37' 32' - 40'+ 31' 25' 20.8'
Measured Power Cord Length 34' 30' 30' 24' 20'
Automatic Cord Rewind No No No No No
Measured Noise 72.5 dBa 75 dBa 73 dBa 76 dBa 75.4 dBa
Swivel Head No Yes Yes No Yes
Carry Handle No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Soft Bumper Yes Yes No No No

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Kenmore Elite Pet Friendly does a fantastic job at cleaning carpets. This model is a much more traditional design, relying on bags instead of a reusable collection bin. While a bit heavier, clunkier, and nowhere near as maneuverable as some of the lighter and more agile models, its carpet cleaning and excellent pet hair collection abilities are notable.

Performance Comparison


The Kenmore Elite, a great choice for carpeted floors.
The Kenmore Elite, a great choice for carpeted floors.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Carpet Cleaning


We compared the skill of each vacuum at collecting rice, flour, Cheerios, and oatmeal from both shallow and fluffy carpet.

The Kenmore Elite performed excellently when it came to cleaning...
The Kenmore Elite performed excellently when it came to cleaning carpets.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

The Pet Friendly did awesome in our first test: rice collection. This vacuum only required two passes to collect everything on both shallow and fluffy carpet. However, there are some plastic bars on the underside of the vacuum that inadvertently collected some rice along the way as well.

The performance of this model dropped a bit in our flour test. The Pet Friendly did a mediocre job at collecting flour from low-pile carpet, but redeemed itself on fluffier, medium-pile carpet, tying for one of the best overall cleaning jobs.

The Kenmore struggled slightly with the flour on low-pile carpet.
The Kenmore struggled slightly with the flour on low-pile carpet.
Credit: Austin Palmer

In our cereal collection test, the Pet Friendly was stellar, picking up all of the Cheerios we tossed on the floor with two passes. The bars on the undercarriage again collected the Cheerios and sometimes pressed them into the carpet, but the vacuum would usually suck them up on the backstroke.

The Kenmore only left behind a few residual Cheerios.
The Kenmore only left behind a few residual Cheerios.
Credit: Austin Palmer

For the final test of this metric — oatmeal — this model's performance was also excellent. On low-pile carpet, it once again picked up all of the debris with only two passes. On fluffy carpet, it took about six passes to totally clean the carpet, while other models took over 10 to finish.

Ease of Use


This metric made up a quarter of the total score for each vacuum and consisted of evaluating noise level, maximum reach, how easily the device transitioned from hard to soft floors, and its ability to clean under furniture and close to edges. The Pet Friendly did here, landing in the top half of our tested models.

In addition to a solid cleaning performance, the Kenmore was also...
In addition to a solid cleaning performance, the Kenmore was also exceptionally easy to use.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

That said, it wasn't the easiest to transition between hard and soft floors. There is a knob on the front of the vacuum that changes the height of the rollers when adjusted — this design is substantially more difficult than the button built into the handle of other models. You can turn off the rotating brush for hard floors though.

The Pet Friendly does clean in extremely close to walls. We spread rice along an edge and tight corner to test this, with this model collecting everything in a single pass.

The Kenmore did exceptionally well in this test, leaving practically...
The Kenmore did exceptionally well in this test, leaving practically no debris behind.
Credit: Austin Palmer

When it came to cleaning under furniture, this vacuum could reach 7" under our simulated sofa. This was better than some, but not even close to the 12"+ of some of our top models. However, the Pet Friendly has one of the longer maximum reaches, making it 37' away from the outlet when plugged in.

The Kenmore didn't reach particularly far under our test "sofa".
The Kenmore didn't reach particularly far under our test "sofa".
Credit: Austin Palmer

Additionally, this was also one of the quietest models we tested, measuring in at 72.5 dBa on our SPL meter. In addition to measuring the sound with the meter, we had a panel of judges rate the sound produced. There were no excessively annoying tones produced and the panel felt that it was relatively quiet.

Handling


Ranking next in terms of importance, this metric accounts for 20% of the final score for each vacuum. It is comprised of a trio of tests: maneuvering, pushing/pulling effort, and cleaning a flight of stairs. This set of tests proved to be the most difficult for the Pet Friendly.

The Kenmore wasn't the easiest to handle, being relatively heavy.
The Kenmore wasn't the easiest to handle, being relatively heavy.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

This model took moderate effort to push and pull, mainly due to the fact that it is the heaviest vacuum in our lineup. It was also reasonably difficult to clean a flight of stairs, as the Pet Friendly has a short reach when using the accessory cleaning hose — only about 6.5 stairs. This means you have to move it more times than other models, an uninviting task due to its weight. However, the weight does make it stable, so it's not prone to tipping over when using the cleaning hose.

To evaluate maneuverability, we made a small obstacle course for each model and attempted to clean our way through it with each vacuum, taking particular note of areas that we weren't able to satisfactorily clean or places that entrapped the vacuum. The Pet Friendly performed very poorly in this evaluation — the worst of the entire group. We found this vacuum to be big and clunky, taking much more work to maneuver around obstacles and hard to fit, tight spaces.

Hard Surface Cleaning


Tests for this metric were conducted in an identical fashion to the carpet cleaning tests. Once again, we spread rice, flour, Cheerios, and oats on a section of hardwood floor, rating each vacuum on how much it picked up and how long it took.

The Kenmore did alright on hard floors, though it wasn't amazing.
The Kenmore did alright on hard floors, though it wasn't amazing.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

The Pet Friendly did quite well in our rice test, collecting all of the debris laid out in two passes with the hard floor setting engaged. It would have done it in one, but small bumpers on the vacuum pushed rice out of the way on the first pass. Performance dropped when it came to flour, with the Friendly doing a below-average job. It didn't clean the cracks of the floor at all and collected tons of flour on its wheels.

As shown, this vacuum struggled substantially with the flour test.
As shown, this vacuum struggled substantially with the flour test.
Credit: Austin Palmer

Things improved a bit when it came to collecting cereal, with the Pet Friendly getting most of it with two passes. However, it struggled a little with oatmeal, tending to plow and push the debris around, rather than sucking it up.

Pet Hair


Responsible for the remaining 10% of each score, this metric was one of the better ones for the Pet Friendly. We spread 5 grams of pet hair on a medium-pile carpet, then vacuumed it up, rating each model on the amount collected. This vacuum collected 90% of the hair, putting it at the top of the test group.

Value


The Elite Pet Friendly is a bit pricey compared to its performance, with other models being better value picks.

Conclusion


The Kenmore Elite Pet Friendly is an all-around competent vacuum, with the exception of handling. Its traditional bagged design is a little larger and clunkier than other models, but with its heft comes power. This model does an excellent job at cleaning carpets, especially fluffier, medium-pile carpets. It doesn't maneuver around clutter quite as well as others, but for those with expansive carpeted areas to clean, this is a fine choice.

David Wise and Austin Palmer