The Best Vacuum for Shag Carpet of 2023

Soft shag carpets look and feel cozy, but their plush pile can trap dust and dirt. Give your shag carpets a deep clean with a vacuum that can handle thick carpets.

By Jasmine Harding | Updated Jan 10, 2023 7:12 PM

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The Best Vacuum For Shag Carpets

Photo: amazon.com

Cozy shag carpets may look luxurious and feel soft on the feet, but their long and dense fibers are known for trapping dust, dirt, and hair, making these carpets tough to maintain. To keep shag carpets clean and plush, users will need a vacuum that’s up for the job.

The best vacuum for shag carpet should be able to gently pick up dust, dirt, and other particles without causing any damage or tangling to a rug. To ensure users can cover all floor types, consider purchasing a vacuum with adjustable suction power or a height-adjustable vacuum head. This way, users will be able to clean hardwood floors and shag carpets with one machine. Read on to learn how to choose the best vacuum for cleaning shag carpets. Users will also see a list of the top picks to make a well-rounded decision before making a purchase.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Kenmore Elite 81714 Ultra Plush Canister Vacuum
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Eureka PowerSpeed Turbo Upright Vacuum Cleaner
  3. BEST UPRIGHT: Hoover WindTunnel 2 Whole House Rewind
  4. BEST CANISTER: Miele Grey Classic C1 Pure Suction Canister Vacuum
  5. BEST STICK: Hoover ONEPWR Evolve Cordless Upright Vacuum Cleaner
  6. BEST FOR PETS: Kenmore 31140 Pet-Friendly Upright Vacuum
The Best Vacuum For Shag Carpet Option

Photo: istockphoto.com

How We Chose the Best Vacuum for Shag Carpet 

We researched the most sought-after vacuums for cleaning shag carpets in their respective categories and discovered that the best models are determined by their type, power source, weight and maneuverability, included accessories, and other special features included by top brands.

After extensive product research, we compiled our list of top picks, which included canister, upright, and stick vacuums to suit multiple consumer preferences. We also included vacuum cleaners with bagged and bagless constructions and large dust, debris, and pet hair capacities of 2.5 to 3 liters to make light and heavy cleaning jobs a cinch.

As for ease of use and convenience, we selected vacuum cleaners that could tackle any vacuuming job from cleaning low- and high-pile carpets, furniture and upholstery, draperies, tight spaces, and more with the help of floorheads, crevice tools, brush heads, a dusting brush, wand brushes, upholstery tools, and more. Plus, many of these vacuum cleaners come with telescoping wands, long power cords, and cordless designs to tackle rooms of all sizes.

Our Top Picks

The best vacuum for shag carpet will dislodge dirt, dust, hair, and crumbs from deep within the carpet with ease. They have adjustable settings to clean thick carpets as well as other floorings without causing tangles or damage. The top picks listed below were designed to keep shag carpets fluffy, plush, and pristine.

Best Overall

The Best Vacuum For Shag Carpet Option: Kenmore Elite 81714 Ultra Plush Canister Vacuum
Photo: amazon.com

The Kenmore Elite Ultra Plush Vacuum features a specially designed vacuum head ideal for shag carpets. The Ultra Plush nozzle head has automated inlet vents that respond to carpet thickness depending upon whether you are cleaning low or high pile carpets. The inlet vents let in a stream of airflow to prevent a suction seal between the vacuum and thick carpets. This feature ensures smooth rolling without the need to turn down the suction power.

For even more flexibility, this corded vacuum has adjustable suction power, making it easy to switch the suction strength for other cleaning tasks. A dusting brush, crevice tool, floor brush, and motorized pet hair remover are included with this vacuum. This bagged canister vacuum also features a HEPA filter system to ensure that dust and allergens are trapped for good.

Product Specs

  • Type: Canister
  • Corded vs. cordless: Corded
  • Bagged vs. bagless: Bagged
  • Special features/accessories: HEPA filtration system, LED lights, telescoping wand, stair grip, and 4 nozzle attachments

Pros

  • Dual motor system allows for impressive suction power
  • Suitable for use on multiple surface types: flooring, upholstery, and draperies
  • HEPA filtration tackles dust, debris, and pet hair
  • Integrated stair grip allows for resting the canister on the stairs

Cons

  • Pricey compared to similar options
  • Bag must be changed frequently or the motor will burn out

Get the Kenmore Elite canister vacuum on Amazon.

Best Bang For The Buck

The Best Vacuum For Shag Carpet Option: Eureka PowerSpeed Turbo Upright Vacuum Cleaner
Photo: amazon.com

To clean all floor types, this corded vacuum from Eureka features five height-adjustable settings for low or high pile carpets. With the twist of a dial, this upright vacuum can go from hardwood floors to thick shag carpet with ease.

The vacuum head features a transparent brush roll cover that allows users to see the beater brush while vacuuming. This feature makes for easy maintenance and means users can check that thick carpet fibers don’t get caught in the brush roll. A large 4.1-liter-capacity dirt cup holds plenty of dirt and debris. Once full, the one-button design makes for mess-free emptying.

This vacuum offers an affordable floor-to-ceiling clean: A quick-release vacuum hose offers 8 feet of reach to clean up-high ceilings or under appliances. Accessories include a Pet Turbo mini cleaning brush, two-in-one upholstery tool, and flexible crevice tool.

Product Specs

  • Type: Upright
  • Corded vs. cordless: Corded
  • Bagged vs. bagless: Bagless
  • Special features/accessories: Brush roll cover, quick-release vacuum hose, Pet Turbo mini cleaning brush, 2-in-1 upholstery tool, and flexible crevice tool

Pros

  • 5 height settings for multiple carpet piles
  • Large 4.1-liter-capacity dirt cup for larger cleaning projects
  • 1-button design for quick adjusting and emptying
  • 8 feet of reach for cleaning upholstery and draperies

Cons

  • No automatic cord rewind
  • Roller belt must be cleaned periodically to prevent malfunctioning

Get the Eureka PowerSpeed vacuum on Amazon.

Best Upright

The Best Vacuum For Shag Carpet Option: Hoover WindTunnel 2 Whole House Rewind
Photo: amazon.com

This upright vacuum from Hoover features five adjustable height settings to deep clean bare floors and shag carpets. To switch from hard to soft flooring, the brush roll has an on and off switch. These adjustable features help to optimize cleaning depending on the floor type.

For cleaner air, the comprehensive bagless filter system includes a HEPA filter and a carbon filter to trap dust, allergens, and odors. One impressive feature of this corded vacuum is its 16-foot reach: The vacuum includes an extra-long hose with an extended reach wand. Accessories include a crevice tool, a Pet Turbo tool, and a dust brush to clean all indoor surfaces.

Product Specs

  • Type: Upright
  • Corded vs. cordless: Corded
  • Bagged vs bagless: Bagless
  • Special features/accessories: Bagless filter system, brush roll, extended reach wand, crevice tool, Pet Turbo tool, and dust brush

Pros

  • 5 adjustable height settings for multiple flooring types
  • 16-foot reach for cleaning draperies or hard-to-reach places
  • HEPA filtration system catches dust, debris, odor, and pet hair

Cons

  • Heavier than comparable options; may be hard for homes with stairs

Get the Hoover WindTunnel 2 vacuum on Amazon or at Best Buy.

Best Canister

The Best Vacuum For Shag Carpet Option: Miele Grey Classic C1 Pure Suction Canister Vacuum
Photo: amazon.com

The Miele Classic C1 has six different powerful suction levels, which correlate with the floor or fabric surface that needs cleaning, so users can pick the ideal pressure for the job at hand. It uses an easy-to-replace bag system for collecting dirt, debris, and pet hair and the Miele AirClean system leaves a room’s air cleaner than when the user started vacuuming.

It comes with a combination floorhead, dusting brush, upholstery tool, crevice tool, an AirClean Filter, and the AirClean Filter bag. When the bags run out, order more. This vacuum weighs just under 11.5 pounds—light considering the 12 amp motor. It also has a power cord that is almost 30 feet long, allowing users to tackle two or three rooms without unplugging.

Product Specs

  • Type: Canister
  • Corded vs. cordless: Corded
  • Bagged vs. bagless: Bagged
  • Special features/accessories: Combination floorhead, dusting brush, upholstery tool, crevice tool; an AirClean Filter; and an AirClean Filter bag

Pros

  • 6 different types of suction power
  • Bag is easy to replace
  • Lightweight and easy to maneuver
  • 30-foot power cord allows for cleaning large areas

Cons

  • Replacement bags sold separately

Get the Miele canister vacuum on Amazon or at Bed Bath & Beyond.

Best Stick

The Best Vacuum For Shag Carpet Option: Hoover ONEPWR Evolve Cordless Upright Vacuum Cleaner
Photo: amazon.com

Some stick vacuums sacrifice adjustable features for a lighter design—this vacuum isn’t one of them. The Hoover ONEPWR Evolve fits a host of features into a cordless design. This small but mighty stick vacuum weighs less than 9 pounds, but it still packs a cleaning punch.

Each battery charge offers extensive cleaning time, with 35 minutes of runtime. A relatively large dust cup holds up to three times more dirt than other cordless vacuums and empties with the push of a button.

To tackle bare floors or thick carpets, this vacuum has three suction power settings: multisurface, carpet, or brush off. When switched on, the antimicrobial brush roll dislodges dirt without collecting bacteria or odors.

Product Specs

  • Type: Stick
  • Corded vs. cordless: Cordless
  • Bagged vs. bagless: Bagless
  • Special features/accessories: 3 suction settings and an antimicrobial brush roll

Pros

  • Light 9-pound construction; suitable for those with staircases
  • 35-minute runtime allows for plenty of cleaning time per charge
  • Large dust cup holds ample dust, debris, and pet hair

Cons

  • Pricey compared to similar options

Get the Hoover ONEPWR vacuum at The Home Depot.

Best For Pets

The Best Vacuum For Shag Option: Carpet_Kenmore 31140 Pet-Friendly Upright Vacuum
Photo: amazon.com

The long, dense fibers of shag carpets can trap pet fur and dander. This vacuum from Kenmore features four height adjustment levels to clean pet hair from bare floors and shag carpets. This pet-friendly and allergen-friendly vacuum is also certified by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). It features a bagged, upright design and triple-HEPA filter system to keep fur and allergens trapped.

The Kenmore 31140 also comes with a variety of accessories including a dusting tool, crevice tool, Pet HandiMate, and extension wand that can be used with each tool. The Pet HandiMate tool has a mini beater brush to clean pet hair from furniture, pet beds, and car interiors.

Product Specs

  • Type: Upright
  • Corded vs. cordless: Corded
  • Bagged vs. bagless: Bagged
  • Special features/accessories: Triple HEPA filter system, dusting tool, crevice tool, Pet HandiMate, and extension wand

Pros

  • 4 height adjustments for multiple shag carpets’ piles
  • Pet- and allergen-friendly suction system
  • Suitable for those with pets; Pet HandiMate tool has a mini beater brush

Cons

  • Pricey compared to similar products
  • Heavier than comparable options; may be difficult to carry up stairs

Get the Kenmore upright vacuum on Amazon.

Jump to Our Top Picks



What to Consider When Choosing the Best Vacuum for Shag Carpet

A multifloor vacuum with adjustable suction or vacuum head height can handle high-pile carpet in addition to other flooring types. When shopping for a vacuum for shag carpet, consider the vacuum type, design, filtration system, and additional attachments and cleaning features.

Type

Most vacuums that can handle shag carpets are upright, canister, or stick vacuums. These full-size vacuums have the power and adjustability features needed to clean thick carpets.

Canister vacuums, as the name implies, have a canister that contains the motor and dust container, and a separate hose, pole, and vacuum head. The canister includes a generous dust bin capacity and a powerful motor for strong suction. The long hose and pole can provide decent reach to clean up high as well as across floors. Most canister vacuums are corded.

Unlike canister vacuums, upright vacuums consist of a single upright unit. Despite their shape, upright models can still accommodate a powerful motor and large capacity. Most upright vacuums are corded, and their stiff, upright shape can make them tougher to maneuver. However, many have extended hose features to handle non-floor surfaces such as drapes and furniture.

Stick vacuums are lightweight, small, and easy to maneuver, much like most canister vacuums. They’re similar to upright vacuums but are much more compact: All of the parts of stick vacuums are contained in one skinny unit. Cordless options are available for added flexibility.

Corded vs. Cordless

Corded vacuums plug into an outlet for power. This consistent stream of power ensures that they’ll have enough juice to get users through chores, but they will be constrained by the length of the cord. Canister, upright, stick, and handheld vacuums come in corded versions.

Cordless vacuums are battery powered and don’t need to be plugged in. Designed for portability and flexibility, these vacuums are lightweight and easy to carry. To make them as lightweight as possible, many have a smaller capacity and smaller motor, making most cordless options less powerful. Instead of being limited by a cord, they’re constrained by their battery life, which usually lasts between 15 and 45 minutes on a charge. Stick, handheld, and robot vacuums come in cordless designs.

Bagged vs. Bagless

Bagged vacuums collect dust, dirt, and whatever else is lying on the floor into a disposable bag, which needs to be swapped out when full. When it comes time to empty the vacuum, just toss the bag in the trash—no need to touch the dirt and grime inside. This low-contact emptying can benefit allergy sufferers, as the bag keeps everything contained. However, buying new vacuum bags will be an ongoing cost with these models.

Bagless vacuums have a canister or dust cup that holds dirt and dust. When full, these canisters are emptied into the trash. This raises the risk of allergen exposure, and users will need to get their hands in there to clear any stuck gunk or hairballs. The upside to bagless vacuums? No vacuum bags to purchase.

Suction Power

Suction power is an important feature to consider in a vacuum for shag carpets. While strong suction is crucial for cleaning, too much suction can be detrimental. If suction is too strong, it can form a seal between the vacuum head and dense carpet fibers. This seal can make it difficult—or even impossible—for the vacuum to sweep back and forth across the carpet’s surface. The high suction can also damage or tangle some shag carpets.

To prevent this problem, consider a vacuum with an adjustable suction-strength setting. This feature allows users to adjust the power for dense carpets. A strong suction setting is useful for sucking up heavier particles, such as sand and dirt. If the vacuum gets stuck, reducing the suction strength will make for a smoother run.

Filtration

High-quality vacuums have a filter system to trap particles and prevent them from recirculating back into the air. Soft shag carpets can hold on to dust, dander, and allergens, so an effective filter is a must for a cleaner home. Many vacuums have a multistep filtration system, and these filters can be disposable or washable.

Those with allergies may consider a vacuum with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. HEPA vacuums filter up to 99.97 percent of particles measuring 0.3 microns. These fine filters can trap common allergens like dust, pet dander, mold spores, and pollen. An effective filtration system traps these particles in the vacuum, leaving cleaner surfaces and cleaner air behind.

Attachments

There are a number of attachments that can make a vacuum more convenient to use. While vacuums are designed to clean floors, cleaning attachments can help them tidy other indoor surfaces.

Common attachments include upholstery, brush, and crevice accessories. Crevice tools are ideal for cleaning along baseboards and in corners, soft brushes for wiping upholstery and furniture, and stiff brushes for picking up pet hair. Some vacuums for pet hair include a mini brush head attachment with a beater bar to clean fur from furniture and pet beds.

Additional Features

Between shag carpet types, there can be a range of textures, density, and pile heights. Some shag carpets have thick and twisted fibers, while others have a fine, fur-like texture. To effectively clean shag, as well as other flooring in the home, consider a vacuum with additional features like an optional beater brush, height-adjustable vacuum head, and large wheels.

  • Beater brush: Most carpet vacuums have a vacuum head with a motorized rotating brush. This beater brush feature agitates carpet fibers to dislodge dust, hair, and dirt. A beater brush works well on low- to medium-pile carpets, but it can be too rough or cause tangles on high-pile shag carpets. For this reason, consider a height-adjustable vacuum head. This feature means you can raise the beater brush high enough to prevent entanglement. Some beater brushes can be switched off to avoid this issue.
  • Height-adjustable vacuum head: A height adjustment feature allows the vacuum head and beater brush to adjust to different carpet heights. This feature prevents the beater bar from tangling in thick carpets. It can also move the beater brush out of the way for hard floors.
  • Large wheels: Large wheels ensure that the vacuum can roll over thick shag carpet without getting stuck. Most medium wheels will do the trick as well. Wheels with a larger diameter than the carpet thickness should roll smoothly.

FAQs 

The best vacuums for shag carpets clean and maintain plush pile without causing any damage. To protect the look and quality of your plush carpet, reach for a vacuum that’s suited for dense carpets. For more information on choosing the right vacuum for your home, consider the following frequently asked questions and answers.

Q. How do I vacuum thick shag carpet?

Vacuuming thick shag carpet can be a difficult task without the right tools. To make things easier, use a vacuum that’s designed to handle thick carpets. Once you’ve found the right machine, adjust the vacuum height and/or suction to the appropriate settings (for example, adjust the head height and beater brush so it will not tangle). Slowly sweep the vacuum across the carpet, ensuring you don’t miss any spots.

Q. How often should I vacuum my shag carpet? 

Shag carpet should be vacuumed once per week to remove dust, dirt, hair, and other allergens.

Q. How often should I replace a carpet? 

Most modern carpets last from 5 to 15 years, depending on the carpet quality, level of foot traffic, and attention to maintenance. Periodically check the quality of your carpet, noting any threadbare spots, stretching, warping, odors, or stains. These factors will give you clues on when it’s time to replace an old carpet.

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