Vacuum manufacturers seem to like making products specifically geared toward pet owners. It makes sense: They’re fighting a constant battle against fur. Hoover has added a pet vac to its React line of vacuums with sensing technology that changes operation based on hardwood or carpet. The Bluetooth-enabled React vacuums also have an app to help owners keep track of things like filter changes.
We took the Hoover React Professional Pet Plus for a spin over carpet, rugs, and hardwood to put its sensing tech and fur-fighting abilities to the test.
Standing 44 inches tall and weighing 17.5 pounds, the Hoover React Professional Pet Plus isn’t necessarily something you’ll want to be hauling up and down stairs. It does have a carrying handle on top of its 1.5-liter dust bin (or dust cup, as Hoover calls it). The bin is see-through, so you can see the fruits (or debris) of your labor, while the rest of the vac is metallic blue, silver, black, and white. The brush head is about 2.5 inches high. It reached under the shelf of our console table but ran into the couch. There are lights on the brush head to help you see if you can fit the vac under your couchThe Floor Sense display lives on the brush head as well, and will alert you if the brush roll is malfunctioning.
The vacuum’s cord is 30-feet long, and that allowed us to cover a couple of rooms in our 840-square foot condo. The 10.5-foot hose feeds into the handle, which detaches with or without a wand, so you can add attachments.
The cord hooks are on the side of the hose, so you can detach the handle without unwinding all 30 feet. This model of the React comes with a crevice tool, dusting brush, pet turbo tool, and pet upholstery tool. There’s room onboard the vacuum for two tools, so you’ll have to leave a couple behind when you start cleaning.
Below the bin is a rinseable filter, as well as two HEPA filters. Hoover says these two are in a “sealed allergen system” to keep 99 percent of the allergens the vacuum picks up contained.
Dust to dust cloud
As we tested this Hoover, we couldn’t help but make some comparisons with a few Dyson models we’ve tried, like the Cinetic Big Ball Animal + Allergen . After all, both are pet-centric, and Hoover promises its vacuum won’t lose suction, a very Dyson-y claim. Obviously the Hoover is nowhere near the price of a Dyson, and we found its bin-emptying to be much simpler than with the V8 Absolute, for example. For the React, a button on top releases the bin from the vacuum, and another button on the side drops open the bottom. As with any bagless vacuum, emptying the bin can lead to an unpleasant poof of dust.
It reliably sensed the difference between carpet or rugs and hardwood.
When you push the React across the floor, we noticed the brush head tends to shimmy back and forth, even when you’re pushing it straight. This is because it swivels to let you go around corners and get under furniture. The brush spins and has bristles winding around it, which picked up a decent amount of pet hair as we rolled it over carpet.
When the vacuum is on carpet or a rug, its floor-sensing technology speeds up the brush roll’s spin and slows it down on hardwood. We noticed the display would change from carpet to hardwood instantaneously but might take a second or two to switch the other way. It reliably sensed the difference between carpet or rugs and hardwood. You’ll need to have this function toggled on for it to work. The switch is near the top of the canister, close to the power button.
A toggle button slides between regular and max suction on the handle of the Hoover. With some tools attached, we could hear a difference between the two, but with the duster we could feel it as well. With that attachment on the handle, it would suction to the surface on max power. Sliding the button up helped a bit. With the vacuum in regular upright mode, we measured the sound at between 75 and 78 decibels from 1.5 feet away, so it’s not the quietest machine out there.
The turbo tool has a spinning brush and is like a miniature vacuum head. Both the turbo and the upholstery tool are meant for furniture, but we found the upholstery tool to be a little easier to manage. Instead of a roll with bristles — which can be difficult to de-fur — it has bristles along the inside and rubber claws on the outside. We used it on the dreaded cat tree, which was more fur than carpet, and found it worked well. It wasn’t a breeze and required vigorous scraping to clean up the ground-in hair. The tool itself was easy to clean, and we did have to de-fur it frequently throughout the lengthy process.
In terms of our benchmark tests, we found it picked up 90 percent of the rice on hardwood, 92 percent on the rug, and 94 percent on carpet. For cereal, it was 60 percent on hardwood, 87 percent on the rug, and 91 percent on the carpet. For the hardwood and carpet, we used the max suction and the lower setting for the rug, as it was more difficult to push the vacuum with more power.
The Hoover React is equipped with Bluetooth, so you can connect it to the iOS or Android app on your smartphone. The vacuum must be turned on in order to connect. There’s not a lot of functionality in the app. You can customize FloorSense by turning the hard floor setting to brush off or sweep. You can run a system check or receive maintenance alerts. There are also tips and videos in the customer support section. We’re not sure how necessary an app is for a vacuum, but a little bit of smarts doesn’t seem to add too much to its purchase price.
Hoover offers a five-year warranty on the React Professional Pet Plus.Our Take
An app accompanies Hoover’s React Professional Pet Plus, but the floor sensing ability and useful tools are the smartest part about the affordable upright.
What are the alternatives?
As we said, there are no shortage of made-for-pet-hair vacuums. The Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away True-Pet is a bit lighter and a bit pricier at $285 on Amazon, while the Kenmore Elite Pet-Friendly CrossOver ($450) and Miele Dynamic U1 Cat&Dog ($549) are much more expensive.
Will it last?
We found the React to be well constructed and sturdy. We can see how its maintenance-prevention features — like the clogged brush roll alert on the display and alerts from the app — could help you keep it in working shape beyond its warranty.
Should you buy it?
The Pet Professional Plus comes with a slew of attachments and some unique technology. We like that it’s not being touted as a smart vac because those are features some customers likely won’t ever use. Still, at $249 it’s affordable, especially compared to its pet-friendly competition.