Best Vacuums for Shag, High Pile, Soft Plush Carpet — Vacuum Cleaners for Thick Carpets Reviews & Guide

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High pile carpets or shag carpets are soft, luxurious, and warm. Shag, high plush, Berber, deep pile, and frieze bring a sense of luxurious, welcoming feeling in our homes, but they are difficult to clean. Shag carpet requires a good vacuum cleaner that you can move across the carpet to clean it well. The long piles attract and keep all of the dust to the carpet foundation, and they tend to twist to each other that a casual vacuum is desperately failed to clean.

High pile carpets tend to give your room a high-style and magnificent look. One downside of high pile carpet is that it easily absorbs and traps dirt, dust, and allergens. This downside of high pile carpets can let down families with members prone to allergies or asthma.

We analyze over 50+ models from brands such as Dyson, Shark, Oreck, Bissell, Hoover, and more, to present to you the list of best vacuum for shag carpet, or any similar type, in a variety of designs and price range so you can save your research time and money.

By the way, if you own shag rugs or thick carpet, you may want to pick up a carpet rake to keep it fluffy between cleanings. They are also fantastic for removing pet hair from any carpet before vacuuming. This helps to reduce how much gets sucked up into the dust bin.

You May Also Like: Best Vacuum Cleaner for Tile and Hard Floors

Top vacuums for thick carpets Price Comparison

Before we get to our featured carpet vacuum cleaners for high pile and shag carpets, let’s first take a quick peek at how they compare in terms of cost. Since Amazon is a good indicator of average price across the web (plus they often have great sales), we used their current prices for our comparison.

There are many varieties of vacuums ranging from self-powered Robot vacuums to bagless uprights and canister vacuums. When we put together this list, the products were in order from high to low. However, because prices often change, especially if there is a discount or promotion running, this may vary from day to day.

We also want to note that this table includes several variations of the actual best vacuum cleaners we reviewed. This is because we understand that each person requires different easy-to-use features, and we wanted you to see how different options compare price-wise.

Best-Rated Vacuums for Thick Carpet Reviews 2020

vacuum cleaning thick pile carpet
Close up of the head of a modern vacuum cleaner being used while vacuuming a thick pile white carpet

When it comes to buying the best vacuum cleaner for a high pile carpet, there are some questions you have to ask yourself before making a decision.

  • How MUCH of a high pile carpet do you have? Or, more specifically, do you only have a few spots or area rugs, or is most of your home covered with it?
  • How THICK is the carpet you need to clean? A medium pile carpet and a super thick shag carpet require different easy-to-use features in a vacuum.
  • What TYPE of thick carpet is in your home? Believe it or not, too much suction on a fuzzy plush carpet can actually ruin it. So more power control is NOT always better for thick carpets.

For those of you with only a few thick carpets or who have plush carpets with special needs, one of the best options might be getting a cheap vacuum cleaner, like the Bissell Cleanview, for those areas and then looking at the requirements for the rest of your carpets to determine which is the best vacuum cleaner for the rest of your home.

Within our top vacuum cleaners for a high pile carpet, we have a variety of options to ensure you find the one that is best for your needs. Let’s get started, shall we?

Eufy BoostIQ RoboVac 11S – affordable robot for medium pile carpets

Eufy Robovacs are some of the best rated budget friendly, affordable robot vacuums.

NOTE: The Eufy Robavac is not the only robot vacuum that will work on thick pile and shag carpets. We chose it because it is more affordable than most others. However, if your budget is higher, definitely consider the Neato Robotics D7 Connected Laser Guided Robot Vacuum, the Shark IQ Robot Self-Empty XL Wi-Fi Connected Robotic Vacuum with IQ Navigation, home mapping and self-cleaning brushroll, or the iRobot Roomba i7+ Smart Mapping Robot Vacuum with Automatic Dirt Disposal, Alexa compatibility and Wi-Fi connections. All of these are available on Amazon, but if you go directly to the Neato site you can save $50 on all robots with code NEATOAFF50 until Nov 21.

The Eufy BoostIQ RoboVac 11S is an affordable robot vacuum cleaner designed to clean both bare floors and medium-pile carpets. The unit performs exceptionally well on tile, hardwood floors…like any expensive models from Roomba.

This Eufy Robovac is capable of cleaning medium pile carpet with the highest climb of 0.63’’ and efficiently cleaning the carpets with a pile height of about 1’’.

The wheels of Eufy Robovac 11S are also 16% bigger than previous models, so it can climb on the Berber, frieze without being stuck. However, with its slim design, it has a clearance of 2.87 inches to fit under lots of furniture.

The suction of this Eufy Robovac Slim is also improved. While a standard unit often uses 1000 Pa, this model motor is 1300Pa which is stronger than rivals.

This motor combines with exclusive boosting power technology (IQBoost), allows the unit to automatically increase suction when dealing with tough cleaning tasks like cleaning shag and deep pile carpets.

Some other great benefits include Wi-Fi connection, Alexa voice compatibility, big dustbin (0.6L), anti-scratch cover, strip bumper. The unit has 100 minutes of run-time per charge.

If you have area rugs, shag carpets in bedroom, living room (in average size and medium pile height), Eufy Robovac 11 Slim is a reliable robot cleaning machine.

You should notice that any robotic vacuum cleaner will perform poorly on dark floors and high pile carpets (the maximum pile height that Eufy Robovac 11S can clean is 0.87’’). Check your floor color and carpet pile height carefully if you are about to get a robot vacuum cleaner.

Shark Navigator NV356E – best Shark upright vac for all surfaces

UPDATE: In September 2020, Shark released brand new DuoClean PowerFins technology. We are still in the process of researching and reviewing several of Sharks newly released vacuums, but the Shark AZ2002 Vertex DuoClean PowerFins Upright Vacuum with Powered Lift-Away Self-Cleaning Brushroll and HEPA Filter is already becoming a favorite of many homeowners.

Part of the Shark NV355 series, the model NV356 Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional is one of the most common choices as an upright vacuum cleaner for not only shag cleaning but for all surfaces. It is one of Shark’s most popular upright vacuum cleaners among 100+ Shark models over the years.

This upright unit has a brush roll on or off feature that allows you to use direct suction from the motor to clean shag and high plush carpet without damaging the fibers. To accommodate different surface types and materials, you can adjust the unit’s suction power (3 level settings).

Shark Navigator NV356E is a well-constructed upright model in every detail. It has great motor power (12 amps), super large dustbin (2.2 dry quarts, a casual upright unit dustbin size is about 1.5 dry quarts), lightweight (only 13.7 lbs.), swivel head, ergonomic handle, HEPA filtration and cheap price.

The downside of Shark Navigator NV356E is the hose length which is about 5 ft, a bit shorter than the standard length (6-7 ft.).

If you need an upright vacuum for home use, no matter what is your surfaces can be, then Shark Navigator NV356E is a perfect choice in terms of performance, convenience and price value.

While we love this affordable fan favorite, if your budget is a little higher, we recommend going for a Shark Navigator with Zero M anti-tangle technology, especially if you have pets or people with long hair in your family. We did a complete review of the Shark Navigator® Speed Upright Vacuum with Lift-Away® & Self-Cleaning Brushroll if you want to learn more about it.

Bissell Cleanview Swivel Pet – Best upright vacuum under $100

Bissell CleanView® Swivel Pet Vacuum Cleaner Overview

The Bissell Cleanview Swivel Pet Upright Bagless Vacuum Cleaner is another full-size upright machine designed for whole-home cleaning. This model is also as popular as Shark Navigator NV356E, but it is cheaper in price.

There are several different Cleanview versions, and we are looking at the highly-rated Bissell Cleanview 2252. These models don’t have brush rolls on/off feature like Shark Nv356E, but it does have Bissel’s triple action brush roll + scatter free technology. You can adjust the roller height to clean both bare floor, hardwood floor (and does not scratch the surface) and high pile carpets.

However, you also need to pay attention to that as you can’t control the suction power (this unit uses a single suction level setting), and the brush roll can’t be switched off. So it is best suitable for high pile carpets with high abrasive grade types. It is not the first recommendation for soft plush carpets.

The Bissell Cleanview vacuums’ other benefits are the low cost (most models are under $100), powerful Multi-Cyclonic Suction vent System, easy-to-empty 1.0-liter dustbin, standard weight ( about 17 lbs), a lot of tools, large capacity and 2-year warranty from Bissell. We also love the swivel action that makes maneuvering easy.

If you are serious about price, the Bissell Cleanview Swivel Pet is a nice option for whole-home cleaning. You should check your carpet materials to make sure the vacuum is suitable.

For pet owners who have a slightly higher budget, our recommendation is for the Bissell Cleanview Swivel Rewind Pet Upright Bagless Vacuum Cleaner.

Miele C1 classic – premium canister Vacuum for all floor types

Why choose a Miele canister vacuum? Comparison of Miele canister vacuums.

When it comes to vacuum cleaners in the States, Miele is not as well known among many homeowners. But don’t let that stop you from considering this quality brand. They have a wide variety of powerful, premium and commercial quality vacuum cleaners. Today, we are looking at their popular canister vacuums which are fantastic choices for pet owners.

Miele has 3 popular canister vacuum cleaner series: Miele C1 classic, Miele compact (C1 and C2), Miele C3 complete. Miele C1 and C3 are made in Germany (C1 is cheaper than C3). Miele compact is made in both Germany and China, so it might be confusing because the models made from China are cheaper but do not have all of the features like those from Germany.

Miele C1 classic canister vacuums are high-end product lines. They are featured by the massive airflow (up to 158 CFM) to give huge suction power.

With the Miele Classic C1 Cat & Dog Canister Vacuum Cleaner, you can adjust the suction level at 6 different settings. Combining with premium tools such as electrically-driven carpet tools, mini turbo tools, and parquet floor head, Miele C1 classic can cater from bare floors, low pile carpets, high pile carpets, rugs, plush… efficiently.

While having such massive suction, the Miele canister vacuum has great construction, and many models are equipped with silent technology. Therefore, they are very silent when compare with any vacuum cleaner from any brand.

Other benefits of the Miele canister unit are all about the ergonomic value and the machine’s durability. On the convenience side, the Miele canister has a generous dustbin (size up to 4.5 Liters) with airclean sealed system, HEPA filtration or Activeclean filter (optional to upgrade to HEPA), comfort handle, practical locking system allowing the hand tool and wand to fit each other with an acoustic click, automatic shutting off the system when dealing with obstacles, a full set of accessories, noise reduction technology….(these benefits will vary model by model).

On the durability side, most of Miele canister vacuum has exceptionally long warranty time up to 7 years.

The downside of the Miele canister vacuum is that it is an expensive machine. A Chinese-originated Miele canister vacuum will be in the range of 300, and a German-manufactured Miele canister unit will be up to 600.

If you have expensive shags and soft plush carpets, a Miele canister is often recommended by experts to take care of these dedicated carpet types.

Vacuum for shag, high pile, soft plush carpet

Dyson Absolute Vacuum – best cordless stick on the market so far

Dyson V8 vacuums quickly transform between stick and handheld mode.

NOTE: Our true recommendation for Dyson stick vacuums is the newer Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute Lightweight Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner and the Dyson V11 Animal Cordless Vacuum Cleaner. However, we understand that many homeowners are on a budget. For this reason, we are going to talk about the Dyson V8 Absolute model. But if you can afford it and you like what the older model has to offer, you will love either of these.

The Dyson V8 Absolute Stick Vacuum Cleaner has all of the ergonomic value of a cordless design. It is lighter in weight than most competitors, has a long run time (40 minutes), and strong suction power with 2 suction modes available(up to 115 AW in Max mode). It has an easy-dirt particles release system, a full set of accessories for cleaning from ceiling to floors, and comes with a 5-year warranty from the Dyson brand.

Dyson V8 Absolute has 2-floor cleaning tools. The direct-drive cleaner head has a stiff bristle that will clean deep into the carpet fibers. The soft-roller has both carbon filaments for cleaning fine dust and a hard bristle for picking up pet stains and hair.

You can use the direct-drive cleaner head attachment of Dyson V8 to clean thick and deep pile carpets, while the soft-roller is designed for bare floor surfaces. The Dyson V8 Absolute Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner is also recommended for pet owners. It is equipped with a mini motorized tool to pick up pet hairs on upholstery, car, and bedding.

You all know that you have to clean your high pile carpets thoroughly and frequently routinely. One of the things we love about Dyson V8 vacuums (as well as newer V10 and V11) is how easily they can switch from stick vacuum to portable handheld vacuum. This makes it easy to reach high places or to take it outside to vacuum your car. The fact that they are cordless vacuums makes it super convenient.

Another important benefit of the Dyson V8 Absolute is that this is one of the rare cordless vacuum cleaners with HEPA filtration certified by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

You should pay attention that Dyson V8 has 2 suction modes, therefore it can be powerful for cleaning deep pile, shag, Berber. But if you need a cordless stick to clean expensive soft plush, you should test if the suction is too much for your carpet fiber or not.

By the way, for pet owners, we also recommend the Dyson V8 Animal Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner, which retails in the same price range, but was actually on sale for less on Amazon when we last checked.

Shark Ionflex Duoclean – affordable cordless stick for plush carpet

Meet the Shark® IONFlex™ DuoClean® Cordless Ultra-Light Vacuum

Shark IONflex Duoclean cordless stick vacuums are a Dyson V8 Absolute alternative if you need a cheaper cordless stick unit that can efficiently clean carpets like plush or shag. There are several different models within this line. Still, since we want to give you an affordable stick vacuum option, we will be discussing the Shark IONFlex DuoClean Cordless Ultra-Light Stick Vacuum.

As we mentioned earlier, in the Fall of 2020, Shark released the Shark Vertex DuoClean PowerFins Lightweight Cordless Stick Vacuum, which is showing great promise. The Shark Rocket DeluxePro Ultra-Light Upright Corded Stick Vacuum is another good option for high pile carpets if you want a vacuum that costs even less than the Shark IONflex.

The Shark IONflex Cordless Stick Vacuum has powerful suction, Duoclean brush head and Smart Response technology, allowing you to pull up dirt from high pile carpets as much as a full-size corded model.

The Shark IONFlex DuoClean Cordless Ultra-Light Vacuum has a removable battery pack (Dyson V8 battery is not removable). Therefore you can take the battery out of the vacuum for charging. Because the battery is removable, you can upgrade the vacuum runtime by buying a separate battery pack to have a continuous cleaning process. This ensures a long-lasting battery life.

The Duoclean brush of Shark can be regarded as the innovation of this vacuum cleaner. The brush roll has a soft roller to pick up fine dust and a hard bristle to pick up larger debris simultaneously. Therefore, when cleaning the carpet, the Duoclean brush head will be able to pull up more dirt and debris than any previous brush design.

This brush roll is not advanced as Shark Zero-M Rocket stick vacuums when dealing with long hair, but they will get the job done if you don’t need anti-hair technology. Besides, Shark Rockets are not best suited for thick or shag carpets as great as they work.

Some other benefits of Shark Ionflex Duoclean include the fact that has an anti-allergen sealed air system, LEDs on brushroll, lightweight, 180 degrees bending stick to clean under furniture, long warranty time.

On the downside, this model is a bit weighty, bulky when using as a handheld unit, and it tends to tip over when standing free on its own. The connection tube is also longer and bigger than the Dyson models. Therefore, you might expect it will be a bit awkward to clean places that are not easy to maneuver.

Best vacuum for shag, high pile, soft plush carpet

Choosing a Vacuum for Shag Carpet – Definitive Guide for Finding the Best Vacuum for High Pile Carpet in 2021

children laying on clean thick pile shag carpet with soft pet bunny
Thick pile carpets trap dirt deep down – you want a vacuum that cleans so well you would lay on it!

NOTE: We are in the process of updating this buying guide for 2021. More information coming soon.

When choosing a vacuum for shags, soft plush carpets, you should check if the machine is designed for cleaning carpets or not. There are some important factors you should look for, such as powerful suction, variable suction control, adjustable brush height, brush roll on/off feature, brush roll designed for picking up embedded dirt and pet hairs.

A machine with these features will allow you to clean the carpets well.

Besides, it would be best if you also thought of the machine’s flexibility, as most of the households are covered by carpets and hardwood, laminate, bare floors…too.

Check for the brush-roll construction if it is suitable for use on these floor types (check the attachments for each model’s floor cleaning).

Some other attributes may be important to some users such as low noise level, HEPA filtration, LEDs light, price, …depending on your needs, you may take a unit with the full set of features to have the best for your home and your health, or you can cut some features to save more money.

How to Fluff Carpet Between Cleanings – Courtesy of Rendall’s Certified Cleaning Service

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