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 110 vacuums, and below are our recommendations for the best vacuums for high-pile carpet 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.
If you're looking for an upright, the Eureka FloorRover Elite NEU630 is among the best vacuums for high-pile carpets that we've tested. This bagless model does a fantastic job of sucking up pet hair as well as fine and large debris on high-pile carpet, with minimal loss in suction performance as its dustbin fills up. Its dirt compartment is also quite large, so you shouldn't need to empty it too frequently.
While you can't raise this vacuum's floorhead height, you can adjust its suction force using the 'Suction' control setting on its hose or stop the rotation of its brushroll, which is handy if you want to avoid getting stuck on really thick carpets. This vacuum's bagless design and washable filters help keep recurring costs to a minimum. You can also keep the vacuum upright while cleaning hard-to-reach areas with its hose and range of attachments, including a turbo brush and a crevice tool.
Unfortunately, this vacuum's mainly plastic construction does feel somewhat fragile in places, especially its dirt compartment, and it flexes and creaks while in use. It also has a few parts that need regular cleaning, though they're easy to access. Overall, its strong performance on high-pile carpet makes it a great option if you need an upright.
If you prioritize the cleaner means of debris disposal that come with a bagged vacuum, take a look at the Kenmore Intuition Bagged. Since you need to replace its dirtbags and filters periodically, this upright vacuum incurs higher recurring costs than the Eureka FloorRover Elite NEU630. However, it has an onboard HEPA filter and uses dirtbags made of HEPA-rated media, resulting in superior air-filtration performance. Once you fill up its dirtbag, you can drop it from its housing into a trash bin with the press of a single latch. The Kenmore also delivers impressive overall performance on high-pile carpet, though the Eureka is more effective in dealing with fine debris. Unfortunately, its bulky dirtbag compartment can get in the way when cleaning under tables and chairs. There's also no way of adjusting its floorhead height, but thankfully, it does have a brushroll off switch, lowering the chances of getting stuck on loose obstructions like rug tassels.
Get the Eureka if you want superior performance on high-pile carpet, but consider the Kenmore if you're more sensitive to fine allergens.
The best vacuum for thick carpets with a stick/handheld design that we've tested is the Dyson V15 Detect. This cordless stick vacuum does a fantastic job cleaning pet hair and fine or large debris from this surface type, with minimal loss in suction performance as its dustbin fills up. Using it in its 'Auto' power mode allows it to automatically adjust its suction power depending on the surface that it's on.
This vacuum should provide anywhere between 10 to 75 minutes of runtime, depending on your settings and attachments. Its bagless design and washable HEPA filter keep recurring costs to a minimum, while its lightweight construction allows you to pick it up and carry it with minimal effort. You can quickly reconfigure it into a handheld vacuum for cleaning tight spots. It comes with a relatively wide assortment of tools and accessories, including a turbo brush and a combination upholstery tool/soft-bristle dusting brush.
Unfortunately, this vacuum doesn't feel especially sturdy, which is somewhat disappointing at this price point. Its strong suction force makes it hard to push and pull around on very dense carpets and can even cause it to drag around some lighter rugs. If you're looking for a cordless stick vacuum that can easily handle messes on high-pile carpet, it's a great option.
If you're looking for a more affordable stick vacuum but don't want to give up much in the way of performance on high-pile carpet, consider the Simplicity S65S. It comes with far fewer accessories than the Dyson V15 Detect and lacks a surface-type adjustment feature. However, it's significantly cheaper and amazingly effective when clearing debris from high-pile carpet, though it struggles a little more with debris like baking soda. Few parts need regular cleaning, so maintenance requirements aren't very demanding. Its allergen-trapping HEPA filter is also the only part that occasionally needs replacing, so recurring costs are impressively low. Unfortunately, its maximum battery life of over 30 minutes is significantly lower than the Dyson. However, this can vary in the real world. Overall, it's one of the best vacuums for high-pile carpets that we've tested.
Get the Dyson if you want a wider assortment of tools and accessories, but consider the Simplicity to save some money without sacrificing capability.
The Miele Complete C3 Alize PowerLine is the best vacuum for thick carpets with a canister design that we've tested. While this variant of the Miele Complete C3 doesn't come with an electrobrush or turbo brush floorhead, it still does a fantastic job of sucking up pet hair and larger material on high-pile carpet, though it can struggle somewhat when it comes to dealing with finer material. Its seven-level suction power adjustment feature lets you adapt to varying surface types, ranging from curtains to dense carpet, with the press of a foot pedal.
This vacuum feels very well-built, with a high-grade plastic canister body, dense rubber wheels, and a telescopic wand made of stainless steel. It's also remarkably easy to maintain and isn't very big, meaning you can maneuver it in tight spaces with minimal effort. The vacuum has an onboard storage compartment for its dusting brush and its crevice and upholstery tools, and its power cord retracts with the press of a button.
Unfortunately, like most bagged vacuums, you need to dispose of its dirtbag once it's filled. Its filters also need periodic replacing, meaning recurring costs can add up over time. Its allergen-trapping HEPA filter does have a wear strip that lets you easily determine when it's time to replace it. Its hose is also a little short, making it hard to reach high-up shelves and counters. Still, it's a great option if you're looking for a well-rounded vacuum that feels well-built, and it's also one of the best bagged vacuums that we've tested.
The best vacuum for plush carpet with a robot design that we've tested is the yeedi vac station. This robot vacuum has a self-emptying function that lets it dump any accumulated debris from its internal dustbin to an external dirt compartment built into its charging dock, slightly reducing hands-on maintenance requirements. It also features many other automation functions, including virtual boundary markers and scheduling cleaning sessions for individual areas.
This vacuum's performance on high-pile carpet is impressive, as it easily cleans pet hair and the majority of fine debris like baking soda. However, it may need to make an extra pass to fully clean up larger materials like sand. Its surface detection feature enables it to adjust its suction power mode automatically once it starts rolling on carpets. Depending on suction power mode and usage habits, it supplies anywhere between 80 minutes to roughly three hours of runtime on a single charge, which should be more than sufficient for most homes.
Its brushroll can occasionally get stuck on rug tassels, and the manufacturer recommends tucking them under carpets to prevent this from happening. It also lacks a HEPA filter to trap allergens as it cleans. Recurring costs are high, and many parts need periodic cleaning. Still, it's a good choice if you're looking for a robot vacuum that can easily handle messes on carpets.
The best vacuum for plush carpet we've tested in the budget category is the Wyze Cordless Vacuum. This cordless stick/handheld vacuum performs remarkably well on high-pile carpet, easily cleaning pet hair as well as fine and large debris. It has a three-level suction power adjustment feature that allows you to adapt to different surface types on the fly. You can also swap power modes by tapping on the LED screen at the back of the vacuum.
This vacuum's lightweight construction makes it easy to maneuver or pick up and carry from room to room. It has a HEPA filter to trap allergens as you clean, and as long as you clean it according to manufacturer recommendations, you shouldn't need to worry about recurring costs. Depending on your choice of settings and usage habits, you can expect roughly anywhere between 10 minutes to an hour of continuous runtime on a single charge, enough for vacuuming most areas.
Unfortunately, parts of this vacuum's plastic construction feel a little flimsy, like its easily scratched floorhead and fragile dustbin. It also doesn't have a brushroll on/off switch, so it can occasionally get stuck on rug tassels. Still, its budget-friendly price point, superb performance on high-pile carpet, and lightweight design make it one of the best cordless stick vacuums we've tested.
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.
Oct 08, 2021: Replaced Neato D8 with yeedi vac station as 'Best Robot Vacuum For High-Pile Carpet' pick. Added Neato D8, Roborock H6 Adapt, and Wyze Cordless Vacuum to Notable Mentions. Removed Miele Dynamic U1 PowerLine, Shark ION P50, and Neato Botvac D7 from Notable Mentions due to current availability.
Aug 10, 2021: Replaced Dyson Ball Animal 2 with Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away Upright as 'Best Upright Vacuum For High-Pile Carpet' pick. Replaced Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away Upright as 'Handheld Configuration Alternative' pick with Kenmore Intuition Bagged as 'Bagged Alternative' pick. Added Dyson Ball Animal 2 to Notable Mentions.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best vacuums 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.