The 6 Best Vacuums for Thick Carpet of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

By
Claire O
Claire Onidi is a passionate home improvement enthusiast and the dedicated mind behind thehousewire. Over the years, she's cultivated a deep understanding of cleaning techniques, space optimization, and sustainable home practices. The sensation of a freshly cleaned room, the aroma of a newly baked cake from her kitchen, and discovering a new eco-friendly cleaning hack are just a few of the joys that drive her. Through Thehousewire, Claire shares her wealth of knowledge to help others craft their perfect living spaces.
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Updated September 4, 2023
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I love my plush, thick carpet so much. But the biggest challenge of having one is keeping it free of dust and debris.

Best Vacuum for Thick Carpet Main

Unfortunately, the long fibers don’t help as they embed the dirt particles so deeply that even a good vacuum may struggle to dislodge them completely.

So, should you change your carpet? Not necessarily.

While there are no vacuum cleaners specifically designed for thick carpets on the market, some have features that are suitable for cleaning these difficult surfaces.

For example, adjustable and powerful suction combined with a turbo brush are standout features you may want to consider. Comfortable maneuverability is also a key factor to keep in mind.

And since there are many factors to consider and look for (without mentioning the number of models that exist), I did the work for you. Here’s my review of the best vacuum for thick carpets in 2024.

Our Top Picks

  • Best Overall - Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away Vacuum
  • Best Budget - Eureka PowerSpeed Bagless Upright Vacuum Cleaner
  • Best Cordless Stick - Dyson V11 Vacuum
  • Best for Pet Hair - Hoover WindTunnel Performance Vacuum
  • Best Upright - Soniclean Soft Carpet Upright Vacuum Cleaner
  • Best Canister - Kenmore Elite Pet Friendly
  • Pros
    • Large 0.88 quart dust bin capacity
    • Complete anti-allergen seal
    • LED lights on the nozzle
    • 5 years warranty
    Cons
    • Heavy
    The Shark Rotator Powered Lift-away vacuum hits the top spot of our podium for its efficiency on high pile carpets or carpeted areas, versatility, and durability.

    The standout feature is the adjustable and powerful suction combined with an effective brushroll. It’s exactly what you need for an effective cleaning of all types of carpets from low pile, to medium pile and high pile.

    Not only does it allow to clean any type of carpeted area, but it comes with a hard floor setting, too. This setting works simply by turning off the brush roller. And the suction is equally strong on both types of surfaces.

    We also appreciated the led headlights that can reveal hidden dirt and dust in the carpet yarns. It’s kind of a gadget but for a carpet, this is a must. And it turns out to be really helpful to dislodge pet hair from the thick carpet fibers.

    And if you have other carpeted areas such as stairs, upholsteries, or drapes, the attachments, the handheld mode, and the crevice tool are more than necessary.

    However, power and smart features often come with extra weight and bulkiness. This Shark Rotator is the heaviest upright model on our list and is more of a heavy-duty carpet cleaning machine than an all-purpose vacuum.

    Maneuverability is an important factor to consider for a good carpet vacuum, but we don’t think it should come at the expense of power and efficiency.

    The price is on the higher side, too. But for all the features it packs, we believe this Shark is worth the investment.

    Plus, for this price, a 5 years warranty is offered. Just make sure you register your item with the Shark company.

    What Customers Are Saying

    Customers liked the 3 settings offered by this vacuum: hard floors, low pile carpet, and high pile carpet. At the flick of a switch, they could change the mode depending on what type of floor they were cleaning. They also appreciated the lift-away canister, which they found particularly handy to clean the stairs or hard to reach areas.

    However, some users found that this upright vacuum tipped over easily. This was especially true when it was in the handheld mode.

    Price at time of publish: $306

    Technical Specs

    Vacuum Type: Upright/Bagless
    Weight: 16.7 pounds
    Bin Volume: 0.88 quarts
    Cord Length : 25 feet
    Included Accessories: Upholstery tool, pet power brush, crevice tool
    Pros
    • XXL dust bin
    • Easy transition from carpet to wood floors
    • Lightweight
    • Hepa filters
    Cons
    • Noisy
    For a budget-friendly option, just as effective on thick carpets, we found this Eureka Powerspeed upright vacuum cleaner to be the best recommendation.

    Featuring a dynamic motor – meaning it uses a high level of suction without overheating the appliance, the performance is impressive and the suction is incredible.

    Nothing can resist this suction monster – not heavy debris nor stubborn dirt that sticks to high-pile carpet fibers.

    Add to that the 5 height adjustment settings (high pile rugs, low and medium pile, plush carpets, shag carpets, hardwood floors) and the 3 handy tools, and you can tackle any cleaning tasks for a low price point.

    We liked the wide 12.6 nozzle – one of the widest on this list, and the 25 foot long cord. While these features may seem basic, they add convenience and quickness to your cleaning sessions.

    We also noticed that the vacuum seems to have been designed with ease of use in mind. You can retract the cord or empty the dustbin with just the push of a button.

    And since it weighs less than 10 pounds, it’s one of the lightest and most maneuverable options we could find for cleaning high-pile carpets.

    What’s not to love about this Eureka Powerspeed vacuum? Well, with such a low price, you can’t expect to have it all.

    It’s certainly less robust and durable than other higher-end models. But it could make you very happy for several years, at least.

    What Customers Are Saying

    Users were really impressed with how much the dustbin could hold before they had to empty it. Eureka promises this is an XL dust cup and feedback suggests that this is exactly what you get.

    Customers also liked that the handle on this vacuum releases so that you can pull out an extension hose to clean stairs or the tops of curtains.

    But some users thought that this hose was too short for them to easily reach all of those areas.

    Price at time of publish: $79

    Technical Specs

    Vacuum Type: Upright/Bagless
    Weight: 10 pounds
    Bin Volume: 4.1 liters
    Cord Length : 25 feet
    Included Accessories: Upholstery tool, dusting brush, crevice tool
    Dyson V11 Vacuum
    4View on AmazonView on Walmart
    Our Ratings
    • Maneuverability 3.5/5
    • Performance 4/5
    • Maintenance 5/5

    Read Full Review: Dyson V11 Vacuum Review

    Pros
    • Multiple cleaning modes
    • Handheld conversion
    • Long battery life
    Cons
    • Expensive

    While upright vacuums are designed to be powerful on thick carpets, we discovered this Dyson V11 to offer reliable performance and powerful suction for a cordless stick vacuum.

    Initially, we didn’t buy it specifically for cleaning thick carpeting surfaces. But we were pleased with its results on those.

    It has three motor levels – we learned in our testing sessions that it automatically adjusts to the highest level when cleaning carpets.

    We don’t (currently) have pets. But we do have children and Cheerios crumbs. Combined with the torque drive head, we can attest that the Dyson V11 digs deep into the carpet to remove ground-in dirt and … cheerios.

    Plus, this model is extremely lightweight and easy to maneuver on carpeted floors which is a game changer compared to heavier-duty models on this list.

    But you have to manually hold the trigger to use it. This can be surprising at first. But once we got used to it, we were convinced by its practicality. The ability to put power only when we need it is a huge plus. But it’s a personal preference.

    Like any other Dyson models, it includes a bunch of useful attachments. Though, the mini-motorized tool is our favorite.

    We use it in combination with the handheld mode to spot vacuum affected areas of our carpets and on carpeted stairs, couches, and in the car. This versatility is a big bonus.

    Unfortunately, no vacuum is perfect and the Dyson V11 is no exception. Being a very lightweight stick vacuum, it doesn’t stand on its own. This issue can easily be worked around with the provided drop-in docking.

    And no surprise here, the price is quite an investment.

    What Customers Are Saying

    Lots of reviewers were pleased with how well this vacuum performed when cleaning pet hair. For a lighter, cordless model, they didn’t expect it to pick up as much pet hair as heavier, upright models they’d owned before had. But it did!

    As mentioned, several customers weren’t happy with the trigger for this vacuum which you have to hold down constantly while cleaning. They found it could get uncomfortable and sometimes hurt their hand when vacuuming for longer periods.

    More Focus On Our Experience

    Despite not being our top performer, this Dyson V11 proved to be mobile and effective at cleaning thick carpets. We liked how easy it was to move around our house. The vacuum also worked as well on hard floors as it did on high-pile carpets.

    However, this vacuum cleaner is not our first pick because of its construction. Its plastic parts look cheap for the price. It also lacks headlights given this premium vacuum.

    Price at time of publish: $494

    Dyson V11 tested on a thick carpet

    Technical Specs

    Vacuum Type: Stick/Bagless
    Weight: 5 pounds
    Bin Volume: 0.2 gallons
    Cord Length : N/A
    Included Accessories: Combination tool, crevice tool, wall dock, charger
    Pros
    • Large dirt cup
    • Various carpet height options
    • Easy to assemble and use
    Cons
    • Noisy
    If you’re the happy owner of a pet, you’ll be pleased to find this Hoover WindTunnel Performance vacuum to clean your thick carpet.

    Many positive reviews complimented how much pet hair was cleaned up from their thick carpets – compared to when they’d used previous vacuums on the same floors.

    Its construction is compact and built to last, too. This may place this vacuum on the heavy side, but it’s counterbalanced by its easy one-hand carry and the extra 40 feet long cord.

    And since we usually don’t buy a vacuum just to clean one type of surface, we appreciated that this mighty vacuum comes with an adjustable brush roll.

    So whether you have hardwood floors or carpeted areas at home, this won’t be an issue. Simply raise the brush roll when you vacuum delicate wooden floors to prevent debris from scattering. The rest of the time you can leave the carpet setting.

    It also comes with attachments that will really excite pet owners: the turbo tool, the pivoting dusting brush (+ the classical crevice tool). You can virtually remove stubborn pet hair from everywhere.

    This is a bagless model so at some points, you’ll have to empty the dustbin. This may be a disadvantage if you’re allergy sensitive. Speaking of allergens, we appreciated knowing that the Hoover Windtunnel has a carbon HEPA filtration system.

    Not only will the filters trap dust, small particles, and allergens, but it will also retain pets smells and odors.

    While this vacuum is well constructed and overall impressive, it has a few limitations. To start, it isn’t exactly quiet. And since you own pets, this might not please them.

    Also, the suction is almost industrial, which can make it difficult to push on carpeting. But you can be sure it will leave your carpets clean for a long time.

    What Customers Are Saying

    Customers liked how easily they could empty the dust bin. You just need to press a button to lift the dirt cup from the vacuum body, hold it over your trash bin, and then press the release lever.

    Some customers found this vacuum cleaner difficult to move around due to its weight. It was hard to maneuver it upstairs. So if you have more than one floor in your home or limited mobility, it might not be the best option for you.

    Price at time of publish: $179

    Technical Specs

    Vacuum Type: Upright/Bagless
    Weight: 18.1 pounds
    Bin Volume: 1.42 liters
    Cord Length : 40 feet
    Included Accessories: Pet turbo tool, pivoting dusting tool, crevice tool
    Pros
    • Gentle brush roll
    • Much quieter than many other vacuums
    • Long cord
    Cons
    • No attachments
    Looking for something designed specifically for (thick) carpeting and rugs? Your best bet is the Soniclean Soft Carpet Upright Vacuum.

    Everything has been built with carpet in mind.

    To start, this upright model uses a sonic cleaning technology (patented). In other words, this technology uses high-frequency sound waves to agitate dirt and debris from carpeted areas, making them easier to suction.

    Combined with a special ultra soft brush roll, the vacuum gently sucks up the carpets while being extremely effective.

    We also appreciated the adjustable vent system and the large front wheels which is especially helpful when gliding the vacuum across soft, thick or plush carpets.

    Packed with so many smart features, we expected the Soniclean vacuum to be a hefty upright machine. Well, it’s not. It’s actually one of the lightest options on this list, weighing in at just 10.5 lbs.

    Of course, it includes a HEPA filtration system. But it is worth noting that the system is hospital grade — a plus for anyone, but especially those with allergies or sensitivities.

    All these remarkable features have earned it gold certification from the Carpet and rug institute (as of the date of publication). To obtain this certification, the vacuum must meet performance criteria of more than 55% of soil removal (amongst others), which is a guarantee of quality.

    However, while this vacuum is extremely powerful and efficient on carpets, it doesn’t include any attachments to clean other surfaces. It does have a hard floor setting tough. But that’s pretty much it.

    So if you’re looking for a vacuum to clean carpeted areas exclusively, you can purchase this Soniclean. Otherwise, you’ll be frustrated by its limitations, especially given its premium price.

    What Customers Are Saying

    Many users said that the big, wide wheels made it easy to push and pull this upright vacuum around their house. And they’re made of rubber if you have hard floors to clean too.

    For some users, this vacuum cleaner was too expensive. It didn’t offer as good value for money as some of the other picks. So check the price if you’re on a budget.

    Price at time of publish: $399

    Technical Specs

    Vacuum Type: Upright/Bagged
    Weight: 10.5 pounds
    Bin Volume: N/A
    Cord Length : 35 feet
    Included Accessories: N/A
    Pros
    • Pet-friendly features
    • Large capacity
    • LED lights on the nozzle
    Cons
    • Needs replacement bags

    Canister vacuums aren’t necessarily the most suitable vacuums types for thick carpets. Yet this Kenmore Elite Pet friendly will make change your mind.

    We didn’t test this canister vacuum, but during our research, we were impressed by its reported high performance on thick carpets.

    It’s the only vacuum on our list to use a dual-motor system. The main benefit of this system is to provide more power than single-motor systems. And you won’t be disappointed: the suction power excels and catch the smallest particles that are dug deep into the carpet fibers.

    We were pleased with the variable power mode and the added versatility. Depending on the pile height of your specific carpets, the vacuum cleaners simply adapt.

    The four attachments are extremely useful and include a dusting brush, the crevice tool, a pet tool, and another floor brush – all of them stored in the canister body and within easy reach.

    Plus, we couldn’t ignore the 26-foot-long cord which is retractable, and the telescoping wand that makes cleaning high areas a breeze. The swivel steering is also more than appreciated to navigate around your carpeted areas.

    But it’s a bagged canister, so you’ll have to add the replacement bags to the overall premium cost. But the bag’s capacity is quite large so you won’t have to change the bags too frequently.

    What Customers Are Saying

    Many reviewers commented on how quiet this vacuum is. They could get their cleaning done at any time of the day and not have to worry about disturbing anyone.

    However, some customers found this canister vacuum difficult to move around. They thought it was on the heavy side and could be tiring to push around.

    Price at time of publish: $429

    Technical Specs

    Vacuum Type: Canister/Bagged
    Weight: 16 pounds
    Bin Volume: 4.5 liters (bag)
    Cord Length : 25 feet
    Included Accessories: Upholstery tool, dusting brush, crevice tool

    Other Options We Picked

    Oreck 12in Commercial Upright: this Oreck model is a commercial vacuum and comes with industrial features that might not be suitable for home purposes. This is why we didn’t include it in our top pick. However, it has impressive qualities to clean thick carpets for a low price point (it’s currently CRI gold certified). The suction is powerful enough to make your house look like the day you moved in. Weighing 9 pounds, it’s very portable, especially on the stairs. It also has the longest cord we could find (40 feet). Finally the height adjustment is automatic. But with all these features come also loud noise and no attachments.
    Hoover WindTunnel 3 High Performance:This is another model that received the gold certification from the CRI and it’s easy to understand why. Many users report that it has a phenomenal suction on thick carpets. It’s easy to assemble, easy to use, easy to push, and easy to empty. The multiple cleaning tools are really handy and add to its overall versatility. However, some complaint about its efficiency on hard floors and its loud noise. And on more recent models, the switch between floor and hose function no longer exist. This is why we preferred to include its counterpart the Hoover Windtunnel 3 Max performance, believing that it’s more versatile.

    How We Picked and Selected the Vacuums for Thick Carpet

    To identify the best vacuums for high-pile carpets, we did extensive research on the factors to consider when buying such an appliance.

    We reviewed articles and forums discussions from carpeting and cleaning experts as well as carpet manufacturers. We also read many blog posts from the Carpet and rug institute and reached out to them. We watched many Youtube videos of testers vacuuming thick carpets too.

    Based on these criteria, we analyzed the market and identified dozen of vacuum cleaners.

    We narrowed down our list to the most promising models based on customers reviews, experts’ advice, and the best suitable features such as:

    • Adjustable suction
    • Strong suction power
    • Portability and maneuverability
    • Special carpet attachments
    • Extra features: HEPA filtration system, LED headlights, height settings
    • Bonus: CRI certification

    We also took into account other factors such as the price, the brand reputation, and the after-sale conditions (warranty or quality of customer support).

    Next, we conducted a real-life testing session of several vacuum cleaners from our shortlist. We tested the models on different types of carpets: high piles but also short piles to evaluate their ability to pick up dirt, dust, hairs, crumbs, or fine particles.

    We also evaluated their versatility by testing them on other types of surfaces such as hard floor areas or if the vacuum can be transformed into a handheld model. We also looked at their ease of use, maneuverability, level of noise, and durability.

    We then reported all of our results, including testing sessions in a spreadsheet giving for each criterion a rating out of 10.

    By weighing all these factors, we were able to select the top picks for thick carpets and identify the best category for each of them.

    What To Look For In A Vacuum For Thick Carpets

    Vacuum Types

    While any type of vacuum work on thick carpets, they all have particularities.

    Upright vacuums have an all-in-one design and often boast powerful suction and large dustbins. But as mentioned several times, they’re relatively heavy and can be difficult to pull and push in some situations.

    The first alternative that comes to our mind is the stick vacuum. With a sleek design and lightweight, some models are not less much powerful. But they’re usually cordless. And with a battery comes limited autonomy.

    A good compromise is a canister vacuum. They have a slim wand and a smaller cleaning head. Since the main body of the canister vacuum is on wheels, the canister is dragged along behind you as you move the wand. Depending on the model, it may get a bit stuck on thick carpets.

    Filters

    Since thicker carpets are more likely to harbor allergens, such as dust and pollen, than lower pile carpets, the best filtration system you should have is with HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air).

    HEPA filters trap 99.97% of airborne particles that are larger than 3 microns, a serious option to consider for cleaning carpets, whether you have allergies or not.

    Just for you to know that most vacuums on our list include a HEPA filter or a complete sealed system such as the Shark Rotator – but not all. This wasn’t a primary criterion for us, so double-check the model if it’s your case.

    Weight

    Vacuums for thick carpets should be designed with maneuverability in mind. Cordless vacuums or stick models tend to be more lightweight than upright and canister models.

    But, you also need to consider the suction power. Lighter models won’t be as powerful and as good as cleaning up areas that have a lot of dust and dirt. For this, you’ll need a heavier model.

    You’ll find the weights of each model in the technical specs but the lightest of our list is the Dyson V11 Vacuum.

    Attachments

    Besides a motorized soft brush roll, there are several useful attachments you should focus on.

    To add versatility, favor a model that can convert into a handheld vacuum. Combined with a mini motorized tool, you’ll be able to tackle more cleaning tasks than just deep cleaning carpets.

    Crevice tools are quite standard and you’ll find them in almost every model – except with the Soniclean Vacuum Cleaner which doesn’t include any attachment at all.

    Led headlights are also extra smart features that can make cleaning chores more fun and enjoyable.

    FAQs

    How Often Should a Thick Carpet Be Vacuumed?

    As with any type of carpet or floor, you should vacuum thick pile carpets at least once a week.
    However, if you have a busy household, kids, and/or pets, target three times a week – if not more.

    Can Vacuum Too Much Ruin My Thick Carpet?

    No, there is no such thing as “vacuuming too much” a carpet. Actually, it’s the contrary. Frequent vacuuming extends the carpets’ life.

    The Carpet and Rug Institute says that there’s data that proves that a clean carpet will last longer than a soiled one. But no need for data to understand this – this is pure logic.

    If you want to stay on the safe side and are worried about ruining your carpet by vacuuming it, let’s say, every day, purchase a vacuum that has the gold CRI certification.

    This certification rewards the vacuums that won’t affect the “texture appearance of the carpet more than a one-step change based on one year of normal vacuum use.“

    Other Reviews And Articles You May Find Helpful

    Why Trust The HouseWire ?

    Claire has been a professional editor and writer since 2013 and writes for Thehousewire since 2018. She’s also a testing expert and a household organization and cleaning enthusiast. For this article, she researched the best products based on the features, the benefits, the reviews and other criteria such as the Carpet Rug Institute approval or carpet manufacturers recommendations. She also relied on her own testing session of some models, at her home or at her parent’s and friends’ homes. Speaking of the Carpet Rug Institute, she reached out to the communications department for an added opinion. All of the vacuum cleaners on this piece meet the quality standards of a good vacuum for thick and high-pile carpets.

    Sources

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