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The 5 Best Vacuums For High-Pile Carpet - Spring 2023 Reviews

Best Vacuums For High-Pile Carpet

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 130 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.

  1. Best Vacuum For High-Pile Carpet

    The SEBO Airbelt D4 is the best vacuum for high-pile carpet we've tested. The top-trim Premium variant comes bundled with SEBO's ET-1 powerhead, which is most effective carpet-cleaning floorhead on the market, with four levels of height adjustment, an automatic shutoff switch, and an indicator light that'll let you know if the brushroll isn't making contact with the ground. If you're having trouble maneuvering the vacuum on thicker carpets, you can adjust its suction power via the handle-mounted controls. The vacuum also incurs low ownership costs since it uses large dirtbags and filters that will last for years without replacement. 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 a variant of the Miele Complete C3 with a powerhead, like the C3 Kona, C3 Marin, or top-tier C3 Brilliant. However, regardless of the C3 variant you go for, it'll have a shorter power cord and higher ownership costs due to its use of smaller dirtbags and less long-lasting filters. Want to go cordless? The Dyson V15 Detect is worth a look too. However, its lack of floorhead height adjustment causes it to get stuck on thicker-pile rugs very easily.

    See our review

  2. Best Upper Mid-Range Vacuum For High-Pile Carpet

    Consider the Miele Classic C1Cat & Dog PowerLine if you want something slightly cheaper. The C1 incurs higher recurring costs than the SEBO, as it uses smaller dirtbags that'll need to be emptied more often and less long-lasting filters. If you don't mind that, it's a wonderful option for cleaning carpets. Its 1200W suction motor puts it in a similar ballpark to the SEBO when it comes to raw suction, but packaged in a slightly smaller, noticeably lighter package. The Cat & Dog variant of the C1 comes bundled with Miele's SEB 228 powerhead, which offers five levels of height adjustment, so you can quickly raise its roller height when cleaning thicker carpeting, as well as a lightweight parquet brush for cleaning hard floors. This model also comes with a miniature turbo brush for cleaning pet hair from upholstered surfaces as well as a post-motor filter containing activated charcoal to cut down on odors as you clean.

    On the downside, its maximum range of a little over 27 feet is only slightly more than half the SEBO's cleaning range, so you'll need to swap outlets when cleaning faraway areas. In addition, while build quality is pretty solid overall, it still feels noticeably less sturdy than the SEBO, not to mention the more upmarket Miele Complete C3. There's no built-in storage compartment either, so you'll need to stow away the included upholstery tool, dusting brush, and crevice tool on the rather flimsy feeling clip that can be attached to the base of its hose.

    See our review

  3. Best Mid-Range Vacuum For High-Pile Carpet

    If you're looking for a mid-range vacuum that can handle debris on high-pile carpet, the Dyson Ball Animal 3 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 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. That said, while it's great for use on high-pile carpet, it isn't a great fit for shag carpeting, as it can get caught on plush rugs even with its floorhead set to its highest level.

    Furthermore, build quality isn't nearly as robust as the Miele Classic C1, as it creaks and flexes while in use. Its bagless design isn't as easy to maintain; the Miele'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 debris left within.

    See our review

  4. Best Budget Vacuum For High-Pile Carpet

    The best vacuum for thick carpet we've tested in the budget category is the BISSELL PowerForce Helix. This basic upright vacuum feels very cheaply built, even when compared to mid-range models like the Dyson Ball Animal 3, and its fixed-angle floorhead makes it trickier to maneuver in cluttered areas. That said, it performs impressively well on high-pile carpets and has a floorhead that offers five levels of height adjustment, making it easier to push around on uneven surfaces. However, there's no brushroll off switch, so it can sometimes get stuck on rug tassels and bogged down on really thick carpeting.

    This vacuum has a few parts that need periodic cleaning, and not all of these components are especially easy to access. This includes its brushroll, which requires you to remove six screws to take it out. Unsurprisingly for a vacuum at this price point, build quality isn't very robust, and the vacuum's poor sealing means that fine allergens can escape from its dustbin pretty easily.

    See our review

  5. Best Cordless Vacuum For High-Pile Carpet

    If you'd rather not deal with the hassle of a power cord when cleaning high-pile carpets, the Samsung Bespoke Jet is worth a look. It doesn't have the raw suction performance of a more powerful corded machine like the SEBO Airbelt D4 or Dyson Ball Animal 3, but it's easier to grab and use than either of those bulky appliances. It also still does a great job of cleaning medium to high-pile carpeting. It comes with a combo charging rack/self-emptying base station as well as a pair of batteries that you can charge simultaneously, which is handy for longer cleaning sessions when using it in its more power-hungry suction modes. 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.

    Unfortunately, its floorhead isn't height adjustable, meaning it can get bogged down on thick shag-pile carpeting. If you don't mind exchanging some level of suction power for improved maneuverability on carpets, the Miele Triflex HX1 is a solid alternative, even with its shorter battery life and smaller dustbin.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser Turbo Plus [Turbo, Turbo Rewind]: The BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser Turbo is a bagless upright that delivers good overall performance on carpeted floors and is fairly maneuverable on shag carpeting. However, it isn't as powerful as the Dyson Ball Animal 3. See our review
  • Hoover WindTunnel Tempo Bagged : The Hoover WindTunnel Tempo Bagged is a budget-friendly bagged vacuum with a height-adjustable floorhead, making it a suitable option for shag-pile carpeting. However, there's little in the way of a noticeable increase in performance when compared to the cheaper BISSELL PowerForce Helix. See our review
  • Shark Vertex Pro Powered Lift-Away: The Shark Vertex Pro Powered Lift-Away is a cordless upright vacuum with a bigger dustbin than the Samsung Bespoke Jet. However, its bulkier design makes it a little harder to maneuver in tight spots. See our review
  • Dyson V15 Detect: The Dyson V15 Detect is a high-end stick vacuum that performs very well on carpets thanks to its powerful suction motor. However, its strong suction force also makes it liable to get stuck on high-pile and shag-pile carpeting compared to the Samsung Bespoke Jet. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. May 10, 2023: Recategorized Dyson Ball Animal 3 as 'Best Mid-Range Vacuum For High-Pile Carpet', replacing Shark Rotator Lift-Away ADV. Added Miele Classic C1 Cat & Dog PowerLine as 'Best Upper Mid-Range Vacuum For High-Pile Carpet' pick.

  2. Mar 14, 2023: Verified that all main picks are still in stock and represent the best choice for user needs. Minor in-text adjustments to improve text clarity.

  3. Jan 13, 2023: Replaced Samsung Jet 60 with Shark Rotator Lift-Away ADV as 'Best Mid-Range Vacuum For High-Pile Carpet'. Replaced Wyze Cordless Vacuum with BISSELL PowerForce Helix as 'Best Budget Vacuum For High-Pile Carpet'. Added Samsung Bespoke Jet as new 'Best Cordless Vacuum For High-Pile Carpet' category pick. Removed less relevant Notable Mentions picks, added Dyson V15 Detect to Notable Mentions.

  4. Nov 15, 2022: Added BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser Turbo Plus and Hoover WindTunnel Tempo Bagged to Notable Mentions. Removed irrelevant Notable Mentions product picks.

  5. 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.

All Reviews

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.