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The 5 Best Vacuums For High-Pile Carpet - Winter 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 cleaner for high-pile carpets we've tested. This high-end canister vacuum is impressively effective for 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 some of the most effective carpet-cleaning floorheads on the market. However, you'll need to purchase either floorhead separately or step up to the pricier D4 Premium, which comes bundled with an ET-1 head. 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. 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. 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

    If you're looking for an upper-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 SEBO Airbelt D4, as it creaks and flexes while in use. Its bagless design 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 debris left within.

    See our review

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

    If you want to spend a little less on a vacuum for cleaning thick carpeting, check out the Shark Rotator Lift-Away ADV. Its twin roller floorhead is a little less advanced than the Dyson Ball Animal 3, with no height adjustment and no brushroll off switch to prevent it from getting tangled in thicker carpeting. However, it still performs very well on medium to high-pile carpeting and rugs. Like most of Shark's upright models, It uses the brand's 'Lift-Away' design, which lets you pick up and carry its canister body separately from its floorhead for easier cleaning of tight spots. Its power cord is pretty long, meaning you can clean larger areas without swapping outlets.

    If you prefer using a bagged vacuum to clean your carpets, the Kenmore Intuition Bagged is a solid alternative. While the Shark's onboard HEPA filter helps seal in most fine particles, a bagged vacuum like the Kenmore provides an additional layer of allergen sealing, which makes it a great option if you're particularly sensitive to particles like dust or pet dander. That said, the Kenmore doesn't do as well on carpeting.

    See our review

  4. Best Budget Vacuum For High-Pile Carpet

    The best vacuum for plush 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 Shark Rotator Lift-Away ADV, 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 quite a few parts that need periodic cleaning, and not all of these components are especially easy to access. It 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 deep-cleaning performance of the SEBO Airbelt D4, and unlike the Dyson Ball Animal 3, its floorhead isn't height adjustable, meaning it can get caught on shag-pile carpeting. However, it's easier to grab and use than either of those bulky machines, and its lightweight construction makes it a cinch to pick up and carry from room to room. 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. 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.

    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. If you don't mind exchanging some level of suction power for improved maneuverability on carpets, the Miele Triflex HX1 is a solid alternative.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Miele Classic C1: The Miele Classic C1 is a canister vacuum with great performance on high-pile carpet, even with only a straight-suction floorhead. However, the SEBO Airbelt D4 has better overall performance and even comes with a HEPA filter to trap allergens. 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
  • 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 tights spots. See our review
  • BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser Turbo: 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 robustly built or easy to maintain as a comparably-priced bagged alternative like the Shark Rotator Lift-Away ADV. 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, it falls short in terms of performance next to the Shark Rotator Lift-Away ADV. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. 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.

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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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.