High pile carpet might look and feel great, but when it’s time to clean it can be a real struggle. The average carpet vacuum that excels on low or medium plush carpets can get stuck on high pile carpet. The long fibers can easily get stuck in the brush roll, leading to tangles and damage.
Even worse, it can really wreak havoc on your floors. So if you’ve already got high pile carpet, or you’re planning on installing some, you’ll want to get the best vacuum cleaners for carpet that can handle it.
Best Vacuums for High Pile Carpet
The good news is, there are some great vacuums for high pile carpet out there, and we’ve found and reviewed the top ten. So if your plush carpet is over half an inch long, any of these vacuum cleaners can handle it. The first on our list has a special recommendation from an expert in the field: a major carpet manufacturer.
Shark Navigator Lift-Away Upright Vacuum
This Shark Navigator vacuum cleaner is a two-in-one pro with the ability to be a standard upright vacuum or a lift-away, making it extremely easy to maneuver in various areas of your home. The swivel steering allows you to glide around furniture and get into difficult areas like behind your couch or between other furniture pieces.
The Shark Navigator uses a large capacity canister to collect debris and pet hair and can switch from high pile carpets to hard floors with ease. The HEPA filter system keeps all the dust and fine particles from being exhausted back into your home, keeping the air cleaner. the best part about this vacuum filtration system is that you can wash it and reuse it!
When switching from high pile carpet to bare floors like tile, hardwood or laminate, it doesn’t fluctuate in power or suction from one to the other, but it is best for small areas or shag rugs. It comes with three attachments to make cleaning your home easy.
With a 25-ft power cord and 6-foot long hose, the total cleaning radius is 31-feet. It has LED lights to help you see under furniture as you clean and is easy to maneuver around furniture and into tight spaces like corners. It is one of the best vacuum cleaners that will deep clean high pile carpets and bare floors that is budget-friendly.
Soniclean Soft Carpet Upright Vacuum Cleaner
According to Mohawk carpet manufacturers, this Soniclean vacuum cleaner is the best model to use to clean their super plush carpets. Here’s why they prefer this model:
This vacuum gets deep down into thick, high carpet by using sonic vibrations that help release ground-in debris from the carpet and deep cleaning it more effectively. It’s also equipped with a brush that won’t damage your carpets, since it’s so gentle (that’s for natural and synthetic fibers). You can control the amount of suction, and it’ll automatically shut down if there’s a tangle. The adjustable vent system helps you keep the right amount of suction.
The 35-foot cord is a nice bonus because you won’t have to stop and unplug often. The oversized wheels make it even easier to move the vacuum over shag rugs and plush carpets. Even better, it comes with a lifetime warranty on the belt and a 5-year warranty for the motor.
Miele Complete C3 for Soft Carpet
This is a great canister vacuum for high pile carpets, especially because it includes the Electrobrush head that so many people love. The Electrobrush that comes with this vacuum is designed to work with soft carpets, no matter how difficult they are for other vacuums.
The other best thing about it that it works equally well with other surface heights since you can adjust it to meet 5 different levels, even bare floors. You can use the Parquet Twister to get cleaner wood floors, tile, and laminate.
Sebo 90640AM Airbelt D4 Premium Canister Vacuum With ET-1 Powerhead
This is a great pick for larger homes and spaces, especially since this bagged vacuum has an impressive 50-foot combined cleaning radius. It’s surprisingly quiet too and has rubber wheels that won’t mess with your floors. The 1.5G filtered canister also means fewer trips for emptying it out.
A big bonus for this vacuum is the powerhead (aka floor cleaning attachment) that it comes with. You can adjust both suction and height (there are four different levels), or even choose to shut off the beater bar. With this combination, it’s a perfect vacuum cleaner for those plush carpets you can’t beat.
The powerful head attachment is excellent at removing pet hair and is easy to maneuver, unlike most upright vacuum cleaners, to get those hard to reach spaces under cabinets. The filtration system is hospital-grade, making it the best vacuum for homes with a family that has asthma or allergies and keeps in all the fine dust it picks up.
Kenmore Elite 81714 Pet-Friendly Ultra Plush Bagged Canister Vacuum
This canister vacuum has a head attachment that excels where others fail: on high pile carpet. It doesn’t drag or get stuck on the carpet, making it even easier to use. It even comes with a motorized attachment and special tool to pick up pet hair and dander from your carpets and upholstered furniture.
This vacuum has a variable power option for better control over the suction and brush power for those more delicate carpets and rugs in your home, preventing any further damage to them. The mobile brush head makes maneuvering it into hard to reach spaces, like corners a breeze.
It features a hidden space to store the four attachments under the cover for easy storage. The long hose makes it versatile for reaching cobwebs in ceiling corners, window blinds, and shelves to help you more thoroughly deep clean your home. While capable of cleaning up hard floors, the brush may cause damages to softer woods and laminates, so caution is advised with this vacuum cleaner.
The Kenmore vacuum cleaner uses a sealed HEPA filtration system, making it an ideal carpet vacuum cleaner for households with allergy and asthma sufferers. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation found the filter quality to be so high, that they even certified it. The HEPA filter even traps mold and bacteria that can cause allergies and even minor illnesses.
Oreck LW100 Magnesium SP Bagged Upright Vacuum
This Oreck vacuum is another one that contains a HEPA filtration system, which helps contain allergens. It automatically seals to keep dust and allergens from escaping back into the air when removing the bag.
Because it’s such a lightweight upright vacuum, it’s very easy to move over the thick, plush carpet, while being gentle enough to avoid damaging soft carpet fibers.
This vacuum cleaner features a two-speed brush control located on the handle for easy access when going from hard floors to carpets and rugs.
The side brushes help keep flooring edges clean and get into the hard to reach crevasses of baseboards. The larger wheels also help make it easy to maneuver on thick carpet. As is the Oreck policy for their vacuums, it comes with a 7-year warranty and 3 yearly maintenance checks.
Miele 41HAE032USA Dynamic U1 Maverick Obsidian
Miele is a company known for producing high-quality vacuums, and this model is the ideal choice for cleaning heavily walked on, soft, thick carpets. It has adjustable heights to clean surfaces from hardwood floors to shag rugs and even curtains. If you do use this on ‘ultra plush’ carpeting, be careful since the included Electrobrush packs a lot of power. The Electrobrush auto-adjusts for the carpet pile thickness, making it one of the best vacuum for thick carpets.
There’s a lot to love about this vacuum, especially the swivel steering that makes it easy to maneuver around your home. Its ability to flatten out to reach tough, low areas most other vacuum cleaners can’t reach, is due to its sleek design. The flexible hose and 33-foot power cord extend its cleaning reach to 46-feet.
The HEPA filter and sealed filtration system is another big bonus since you know it’ll get 99.99% of those allergens up and contained. The powerful suction of this vacuum is perfect for deep cleaning dust and dirt from your carpets and even bare floors.
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Kenmore Elite 31230 Pet-Friendly Crossover Ultra Upright Bagless Vacuum
Not only is this a great choice for pet owners, but it also works really well on high pile and super plush carpet floors. The amount of suction is well balanced; strong enough to clean effectively, while still allowing movement over the carpet. Most people that use this for the first time are pleasantly surprised about how much more debris it picks up compared to their previous vacuum cleaner.
Since it’s also meant for homes with pets, it comes with plenty of accessories, including a pet hair tool and led lighting. Added to the super long 35-foot power cord and fill sensors, it’s a solid choice for homes with pets. It has a quick-draw telescoping wand tool along with other tools to clean those hard to reach spots around your home. It also comes with a special brush roll for cleaning up pet hair from furniture upholstery.
This vacuum also has swivel steering technology for easy maneuvering through your home and around bulky furniture. It has a powerful 2-motor system to lift away stubborn dirt and pet hair from any surface.
It’s multi-purpose and use is a major bonus as it can detach and be carried for cleaning stairs, blinds, and ceiling fan blades with the quick release wand. Being bagless, it still keeps all the dust, dander, and allergens contained in the canister. The HEPA filter traps in particles as small as .3 microns, leaving the air cleaner for you and your family.
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Electrolux EL4335B Corded Ultra Flex Canister Vacuum
The Electrolux is easy to get around; it has a 33 foot cord, and it’s lightweight. It also has a HEPA filter, and a self cleaning system for the brush roll, which means less work for you. It’s so easy to use, it’s even bagless
You can turn off the roller if you need to clean hard surfaces, and choose between three different height adjustments. One of the best parts? It comes with a 5 year warranty.
Kenmore Elite 31150 Pet & Allergy Friendly Upright Vacuum
This vacuum cleaner is great for any home with multiple floor surfaces, and pets. It has 5-position height adjustment levels for cleaning your floors, from hardwood floors to plush carpeting, it can tackle them all without sacrificing airflow and suction power. As a huge cherry to top it off, it even has a sensor that tells you when that spot is actually clean and the vacuum is no longer picking up dirt.
The tools it comes with are perfect for deep cleaning your home from top to bottom. The telescoping wand and hose give you an additional 10-feet of powerful suction cleaning for those hard to reach spaces. This vacuum also comes with Kenmore’s Pet Handi-Mate attachment to pick up all the pesky pet hair from your furniture.
The 35-foot power cord allows you to clean larger rooms without having to stop and switch outlets. Combine that with the additional 10-feet from the telescoping hose, and you have yourself one deep cleaning machine to get the job done fast.
Included in this amazing machine is a HEPA Filtration system that goes the distance to keep the air in your home clean and fresh. It doesn’t have just one HEPA filter, it has 3 to ensure the air it exhausts is dust and allergen-free.
While it is a bagged vacuum cleaner, it does not affect the suction power of this cleaning machine. The motor has the power of 3 combined, and the power flow design ensures there’s no lack of power or suction for cleaning.
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Maytag M1200 Upright Vacuum Cleaner
This is a great choice for people with high pile carpet, and it’s a reliable choice too. The metal parts are reinforced to make it extra durable and gives it a longer lifetime. That said, the belt does come with a lifetime warranty in case you ever need it.
This hefty vacuum cleaner has a 35-foot power cord with a 17-foot cleaning radius, but it does not lack in power or suction. It has two motors for maximum suction and air intake.
The M1200 allows you to switch between six different height adjustments, so you can go right from vacuuming a shag rug to the hardwood floors in your kitchen, just with the push of a button on the handle.
The best feature of the M1200 is the 6 layers of advanced HEPA filtration. Its filtration system is designed to trap all allergens, dust, pet dander, and whatever else finds itself trapped by the filters. This feature alone makes it the best vacuum cleaner for families with severe allergies to dust and pollen. The bag is self-sealing, making it impossible for dust and pollen to escape back into the air when it needs to be changed out.
With its powerful suction, Hepa filters, and tools, it is easily one of the best vacuums that clean carpet and hardwood floors.
What is a High Pile Carpet?
There are a couple of ways to distinguish high pile carpet from others. First, it feels different. If you push on it, you’ll feel a slight sinking sensation. Or, if you’d like to be really specific, it measures at least a half-inch thick from the carpet base. Measurements are easier to get if you’re in the process of purchasing (or recently purchased) your carpet and started installing it. Still, you can get a ruler or measuring tape to test it yourself if you’re not sure.
High pile carpets aren’t as tight a low pile carpet, so they have a looser feel. While the material isn’t as tightly packed as low pile carpets, it’s significantly thicker. This is where high pile carpets get the cushy, plush feeling.
What You Should Know Before Buying A Vacuum For High Pile Carpets
High pile carpets are a little more difficult to clean since they trap debris more than low pile carpets. While they may be more difficult to take care of, that doesn’t mean you should simply choose the vacuum with the strongest suction and call it good. You need to make sure you choose the best one that will have the power and suction capabilities to thoroughly clean your carpets and lift away dirt and allergens.
Vacuum cleaners are a major investment for the care of your carpets and the health of your family and home. Choosing the wrong one can lead to some costly repercussions and a lot of frustration.
Avoiding Damage to Your Carpets
Regular vacuums can damage high pile carpets, especially if they don’t have the proper settings you can adjust. Before you buy a vacuum to take care of your plush carpets, make sure there are at least a few different suction and brush roll settings. If you need the strongest suction for a tough mess, you can use it. When you need to do maintenance cleaning, a lower setting gets the mess up, without wearing on the fabric of your carpet.
Another important adjustment to look for is surface cleaning height. If your vacuum only cleans at a height designed for low pile carpets, you can damage your carpet and your new vacuum. When you adjust the cleaning height of a vacuum, you’re telling it where the surface of the fabric is in relation to a low or bare floor.
This isn’t much of an issue for low pile carpets. However, high pile carpets have a taller surface level. If you can’t adjust your vacuum’s cleaning height, it’ll end up getting stuck. It can also decrease airflow, which means you’re not getting the full cleaning power (and making more work for yourself as you push your vacuum).
Size and Weight
We’ve discussed height and suction, but the weight and ‘bulk’ of your vacuum is important too. Nobody likes dragging around a heavy vacuum, but it’s certainly easier on low carpet or hard floors. With a high pile carpet, it’s even harder to push around a heavy vacuum.
The muscle strain is enough to convince anyone to look into a lighter vacuum. Even so, heavy vacuums aren’t good for thick carpet either. The heavier a vacuum is, the more it sinks into your carpet, especially if it’s a high pile material. Over time, it might do some real damage to your carpet. The more lightweight your vacuum is, the better.
Look at the filtration system before you choose a vacuum for high pile carpet. The thicker the material is, the more dust and debris it traps. A HEPA filter is a standard in efficient filtration. Other filters are fine, but try and find one as close to HEPA efficiency as possible.
Remember, HEPA filters contain a minimum of 99.97% of particles and allergens. This improves the air quality within your home, and it’s a game-changer for allergy sufferers.
How To Choose an Effective Vacuum For Thick Carpet
Now that you know what to look for, choosing the vacuum you want is the next step. Of course, there are hundreds upon hundreds of different vacuums out there. Each different model presents something different, and it can be dizzying to try and choose the right one. Keep in mind that what works in one home may not be the best fit for yours. When it comes down to it, there are certain things that are must-haves for high pile carpet. Then, there are other things that depend totally on you, your home, and your cleaning needs.
Make a list of must-haves to boil it down so you can choose the most effective vacuum for your high pile carpet. Then decided what additional features you want your new vacuum cleaner to have from the results of your first list.
Begin With Your Budget
First, start with a budget in mind. If you don’t know how much you’re willing to spend, you’ll end up taking more time comparing prices than features and efficiency. There are vacuums under a hundred dollars, and there are vacuums nearing a thousand. That’s a huge range.
More expensive doesn’t always mean a better value, but oftentimes you get what you pay for. At the very least, figure out a ballpark range that you’re willing to spend. Then, start comparing features.
Look at Tools and Accessories
What accessories are absolutely necessary for you? Extra cleaning tools can mean a big difference in price. If you have a lot of corners and tough to reach places, look for vacuums that include extensions or a crevice tool. Pet hair is often the bane of cleaning for pet owners.
If your home is full of furry family members, you’ll want a special pet hair cleaning tool. Sometimes you’ll find vacuums that are sold with and without accessories, with the option to buy the tools separately.
What Kind of Vacuum is it?
The style of your vacuum is important too. While there are plenty of different styles of vacuum cleaners that suit high pile carpets, think about what you actually want to use. Of course, the style you prefer will also affect how much you spend.
Cordless and robotic vacuums may be more expensive, but they’re also more convenient for smaller, hands-off cleaning jobs. Upright and stick vacuums are always a popular and reliable choice, with many at budget pricing.
How Much High Pile Carpet is in Your Home?
Another thing to consider is how much you’ll need your vacuum for high pile carpet. If you have a few area rugs with high pile material, you probably don’t need to invest as much in the vacuum. However, you will want to ensure you get a vacuum that works for different types of flooring altogether.
If you have an even mix of hard flooring (like tile or laminate) alongside thick carpet, a versatile vacuum is important. If your whole home (or close to) is carpeted with thick, high pile material, you may want to invest more in your vacuum since you’ll use it much more often and in a much larger area.
Look at Material Length
Remember that while high pile carpet starts at around half an inch tall, it can be even longer than that. Some carpets can reach an inch tall, or even slightly more. If you’re not sure, measure your carpet or look up the specifications.
Most vacuums made for these types of carpets can handle most heights (or have adjustments that allow it to), but it’s better to be sure. Check the vacuum details from the manufacturer, and if in doubt, go for a vacuum that can handle the tallest carpet materials.
Maintenance and Warranty
Finally, look at the maintenance and warranty. Typically, the lower the price, the more maintenance you can expect to take care of. If you don’t mind doing maintenance yourself, then you can expect a decent price cut for your efforts. However, even more expensive models can require some maintenance. Most vacuum manufacturers include details about regular maintenance, and it’s certainly worth looking into before you buy.
Make sure you check to see what guarantees and warranties the vacuums include. Longer warranties are always preferable. You’ll have more time to get repairs and replacements covered if something goes wrong. At the very least, your vacuum should come with some kind of warranty from the manufacturer. Check the warranty details so you know what’s covered, and for how long. Good quality vacuums should last a while, and if they don’t, the manufacturer should be happy to fix the issues.
What You Need To Know Before Buying High Pile Carpet or Rug
We already know some of the main differences between high and low pile carpets, at least when it comes to the material height. That said, there are other differences between the two that are worth considering before making the purchase such as material composition and cleaning requirements.
Make sure your new carpet meets your needs and wants, while also being as easy to care for as possible with the vacuum cleaner you already have, or will be buying soon.
Maintenance and Cleaning
There are a ton of benefits that come with thick carpet, but easy maintenance and cleaning isn’t really one of them. Because they trap more debris and particles, they’ll need more care and attention. People with bad allergies or respiratory issues might be better off avoiding high pile carpet for this very reason.
If you’re not up to getting a special vacuum with a really efficient filtration system, the maintenance might be too much. Using the wrong tools to clean and vacuum high pile carpet can damage it, and much more so than with low pile carpet.
Placement Makes a Difference
Think about whether you want a full-floor high pile carpet or just a plush rug. The more surface area you cover with thick carpet, the more work and time it’ll take to clean. There’s a big difference between using high pile carpet in low traffic areas versus high traffic areas. We’ve discussed how much more debris they can hold, so be careful about carpeting a high traffic, high mess area with it.
A high pile rug is easier to maintain in high traffic areas than full-on plush or high pile carpeting. If you really want that cozy feel, but also want less work, consider a rug instead. This will give you the look and feel you want, without the extra hassle on cleaning and maintenance.
Rugs come in a greater variety of colors, patterns, and styles than carpets, which make them best for adding character to your home.
They Help With Insulation
One area high pile carpet really succeeds is in adding extra insulation. If you’re someone that absolutely can’t stand your feet hitting a cold floor, you’ll love the warmth of a high pile carpet. While people in warm climates may not see a huge difference, you definitely will if it’s cold in your region for most of the year.
Tall, thick carpeting doesn’t just keep the floor warmer. It also makes a pretty big difference in how warm the entire room stays. If you’re always freezing, or looking for ways to keep your home warmer without spending more on heating costs, consider high pile carpet. It just might be worth the maintenance for the warmth you get in return.
There’s Definitely a Certain Appeal
Everybody has different aesthetic tastes. That said, high pile carpet is a popular choice because it’s so appealing. Whether you use a thick rug or go for full room carpeting, it’s a classic. You can always find colors best for your your interior decor, but the texture and effect it gives a room has a clear difference from low pile carpet, or thinner area rugs.
Naturally, if you’re not a fan of the look, it won’t make much of a difference to you. Still, there’s the look of it, and then there’s the feel of it. Low carpet simply doesn’t give you the same cozy feeling.
There are canister and upright vacuums (with plenty of different attachments) that work well for high pile carpet. The most important things to consider are venting, adjustable heights, filtration system, and a brush roll you can shut off. Be sure to take your time in selecting the best vacuum cleaner for carpets and rugs in your home.