If you have thick rugs or fluffy high-pile carpet in your home, you probably know how difficult it can be to get debris out. Some vacuums don't provide enough suction to pick up small debris like sand. Others may have heads that are too tall, so they end up gliding over dirt. An ideal vacuum for cleaning high-pile carpet should have a brushroll and a turbo brush for agitating carpet fiber and dislodging debris. It should also have a surface-type adjustment feature that lets it adapt to better suit your carpet.
We've tested over 125 vacuums, and below are our recommendations for the best vacuums for thick carpets you can buy. These picks were selected based on their performance on both low and high-pile carpet and also their design, feature set, and price. For more buying recommendations, look at our lists of the best vacuums for carpets, the best cordless vacuums, the best Shark vacuums, and the best vacuums.
The SEBO Airbelt D4 is the best vacuum cleaner for high-pile carpets we've tested. This high-end canister vacuum is impressively effective when dealing with debris on high-pile carpet, even with just a basic straight suction floorhead. It's fully compatible with SEBO's ET-1 and ET-2 powerheads, which are highly effective in dealing with debris on carpeted surfaces. However, you'll need to purchase this attachment separately or step up to the pricier D4 Premium variant to have this floorhead included in the box. Suction power is strong and remains consistent even as its dirtbag fills up. The vacuum also incurs low ownership costs since it uses large dirtbags and filters that are expected to last for years. Its three-stage filtration system does a great job filtering out fine particles, and its allergen-sealed body feels remarkably robust, if somewhat heavy and bulky.
If you're looking for a lighter, more maneuverable canister vacuum that still performs very well on high-pile carpets, you could consider the Miele Complete C3 Alize PowerLine. However, this vacuum has a shorter power cord and incurs higher ownership costs due to its use of smaller dirtbags and less long-lasting filters. If you'd prefer not to deal with the hassle of a power cord, the Dyson V15 Detect is a flagship stick vacuum that's remarkably effective in dealing with debris on carpeting. However, its lack of floorhead height adjustment causes it to get stuck on thicker-pile rugs very easily.
If you're looking for an upper-mid-range vacuum that can handle debris on high-pile carpet, the Dyson Ball Animal 3 Extra is a great choice. This bagless upright vacuum's floorhead offers three levels of surface adjustment, making it significantly easier to push along on dense carpeting when compared to its predecessor, the Dyson Ball Animal 2. Combined with its powerful suction motor, this vacuum has no trouble at all clearing away debris embedded deeply within low and high-pile carpet fibers. The floorhead also features built-in plastic vanes that are remarkably effective in capturing pet hair and preventing it from getting tangled around the vacuum's brushroll.
Unfortunately, build quality isn't nearly as robust as the SEBO Airbelt D4, as it creaks and flexes while in use. Its bagless design also isn't as easy to maintain; the SEBO's disposable, self-sealing dirtbags make disposing of debris very easy, whereas you'll need to shake out the Dyson vacuum's dirt compartment and occasionally wash it to make sure there isn't any leftover material left within its internals.
Consider the Samsung Jet 60 Pet if you're looking for a vacuum well-suited to cleaning carpets at the cheaper end of the price spectrum. In terms of overall performance, it clears away an impressive amount of debris on low and high-pile carpeting, with a minimal loss in suction performance as its dustbin fills up with debris. That said, it isn't as good a fit for cleaning larger areas compared to corded models like the SEBO Airbelt D4 or Dyson Ball Animal 3 Extra, as it can only run for a little over five minutes when used in its most powerful suction mode. It forces you to work quickly when cleaning stubborn messes on dense carpeting, though you can extend its runtime drastically by using it in its default power setting. You'll also need to weigh down some smaller shag-pile rugs when vacuuming them, as its floorhead can get stuck on them.
This vacuum is pretty lightweight, even by the standards of other cordless stick vacuums, and is consequently easy to maneuver on a wide variety of surface types. It also features a five-stage filtration system that's remarkably effective in sealing in fine allergens like pet dander. Still, if you aren't convinced by cordless vacuums and prefer sticking to a corded model, the Kenmore Intuition Bagged is a good option. Its significantly heavier upright design makes it more of a hassle to maneuver, but it does have a brushroll off switch that you can use to prevent it from getting caught on shag-pile carpeting.
The best vacuum for plush carpet we've tested in the budget category is the Wyze Cordless Vacuum. While this cordless vacuum feels less robustly made than the Samsung Jet 60 Pet and takes considerably longer to recharge, it does offer similarly strong performance on carpets at a budget-friendly price point. It easily handles pet hair and fine and large debris on this surface type, though not quite to the same extent as pricier corded models with more powerful suction motors. Still, it does have a three-level suction power adjustment feature that allows you to adapt to different surface types on the fly. While its filtration system is simpler than the Samsung, it does have a HEPA filter to trap allergens as you clean, which is another rare feature for a vacuum at this price point. Its bagless design and washable filters also ensure you won't need to worry about recurring costs. Unfortunately, like the Samsung, its runtime is short in its most powerful suction mode, so you'll need to work fast when vacuuming dense carpeting.
This vacuum doesn't have a brushroll on/off switch, so it can occasionally get stuck on obstructions like rug tassels. If you don't mind using something considerably bulkier and aren't convinced by cordless designs, the BISSELL PowerForce Helix is an even more affordable bagless upright with brushroll height adjustment, meaning you're less likely to get stuck on rug tassels or shag-pile carpeting. However, its plastic construction feels even less robust than the Wyze.
Sep 16, 2022: Removed less relevant product recommendation categories. Added Dyson Ball Animal 3 Extra as new 'Best Upper Mid-Range Vacuum For High-Pile Carpet' category pick. Added Samsung Jet 60 Pet as new 'Best Mid-Range Vacuum For High-Pile Carpet' category pick. Removed less relevant picks from Notable Mentions section, added Shark Cordless Vertex Pro Powered Lift-Away to Notable Mentions section.
Jun 01, 2022: Article restructuring to better-align with user expectations. Added SEBO Airbelt D4 as new 'Best Vacuum For High-Pile Carpet' pick. Added Shark Cordless Vertex Pro as new 'Best Cordless Vacuum For High-Pile Carpet' pick. Added Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+ as new 'Best Vacuum For Spot-Cleaning High-Pile Carpet' pick. Added Dyson V15 Detect, Samsung Bespoke Jet, and Eureka FloorRover Elite NEU630 to Notable Mentions.
Apr 05, 2022: Replaced Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away Upright with Eureka FloorRover Elite NEU630 as 'Best Upright Vacuum For High-Pile Carpet' pick. Added SEBO Airbelt D4 to Notable Mentions.
Feb 03, 2022: Ensured all main picks are still available and represent the best fit for user needs and expectations.
Dec 07, 2021: Replaced BISSELL PowerForce Helix with Wyze Cordless Vacuum as 'Best Budget Vacuum For High-Pile Carpet' category pick. Removed Roborock H6 Adapt from Notable Mentions due to current availability, added LG CordZero A9 A916BM to Notable Mentions.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best vacuum cleaners for high-pile carpet for most people. We factor in the price, feedback from our visitors, and availability.
If you would like to do the work of choosing yourself, here is the list of all our vacuum reviews ranked by their performance on high-pile carpet. Be careful not to get too caught up in the details. While no vacuum is perfect for every use, most are good enough to please almost everyone, and the differences are often not noticeable unless you really look for them.