Thick carpets look luxurious and feel plush underfoot, but their long fibers can make them tough to clean. The wrong vacuum can catch, twist, or fray long fibers, damaging carpets over time. Plus, some vacuums can get stuck trying to maneuver through thick pile, causing unnecessary wear and tear on the machine.
The best vacuum for thick carpet can tackle the challenges while protecting your investment. Some are specially designed to tackle high-pile carpets, while others are traditional machines that feature beater bars, variable-suction power, and height-adjustable heads to clean carpeted floors of all types well. Keep reading for details on our picks for the best vacuum for thick carpets as well as important shopping considerations that will help make choosing the ideal model even easier.
- BEST OVERALL: Kenmore Elite Ultra Plush Lightweight Canister Vacuum
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Eureka PowerSpeed Bagless Upright Vacuum Cleaner
- UPGRADE PICK: Miele Complete Marin Canister Vacuum Cleaner Bundle
- BEST LIGHTWEIGHT: Tineco Pure One Handheld Cordless Vacuum Cleaner
- BEST ROBOT: Ecovacs Deebot Pro+ Laser Navigation Robot Vacuum
- BEST HANDHELD: Dyson Torque Drive Cordless Vacuum Cleaner
- BEST UPRIGHT: Hoover WindTunnel Max Bagged Upright Vacuum Cleaner
- BEST STICK: Shark Rocket Ultra-Light Corded Bagless Vacuum
- BEST FOR PET HAIR: Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Turbo Plus Vacuum Cleaner
How We Chose the Best Vacuums for Thick Carpet
Not all vacuum cleaners work effectively on thick carpeting. In our research, we looked at the aspects of a vacuum that can achieve the best results on challenging plush pile. Our list of recommendations includes a range of options to suit a variety of requirements—from versatile units capable of cleaning a variety of surfaces to specialty machines designed to tackle thick carpets. We made sure to include a range of vacuum types—upright, canister, and stick vacuums—to suit specific user preferences. We also took care to include both corded and cordless options, since we know there are benefits and drawbacks to both types.
Lastly, and most importantly, our research took a good look at suction strength since this is a vital aspect of vacuums that are suitable for thick carpet. We made sure that our top picks are all capable of vacuuming a range of carpet thicknesses and lengths without getting stuck, making it easier for you to adjust the machine as you vacuum. Many of our picks also have adjustable suctions for you to choose your ideal suction power.
Our Top Picks
Regular vacuuming helps dislodge dust, dirt, hair, and dander from thick carpets. Vacuums suited for thick carpets suction grime from dense fibers without damage to the vacuum or carpet. These top picks in a host of different categories can help give thick carpets a thorough cleaning without sticking to or harming the lush, plush pile.
Though suction is important for cleaning, some powerful vacuums can seal to the dense surface of thick carpets, making them difficult to move. Kenmore solves this problem with its Ultra Plush Nozzle Technology: automated inlet vents that break the suction seal between the vacuum and plush pile. Rather than turning down the suction power, the inlet vents provide airflow over the beater brush to avoid a vacuum seal. This allows this canister vacuum to glide smoothly without getting stuck. The vacuum head also features a height-adjustment feature to choose from among four heights.
This model doesn’t stop at deep cleaning carpets. Variable suction settings help it move easily over hard floors and delicate rugs. It also includes four handy tools: a dusting brush, a crevice tool, a floor brush, and a motorized pet hair remover. A high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter system keeps dirt and potential allergy-triggering particles trapped in the vacuum bag.
- Type: Corded canister vacuum
- Weight: 22 pounds
- Attachments: Pet Powermate, dusting brush, floor brush, crevice tool
- Great all-around machine from a trusted brand with ultraplush nozzle designed specifically for thick carpet
- Adjustable head helps get into tight areas, and suction can be varied for different surfaces
- Comes with convenient 26-foot power cord, and has a HEPA filter
- A few people found maneuverability awkward, and at 22 pounds, it’s heavy—even for a canister model
- There have been a few complaints about the filter cover popping off
Get the Kenmore vacuum for thick carpet at Amazon or Walmart.
With five adjustable height settings, this upright vacuum from Eureka handles hardwood floors, thick carpets, and everything in between. Adjusting the height is easy with an intuitive dial on the vacuum head. Height settings include options for a shag rug, high-pile rug, plush carpet, low-medium pile carpet, and hardwood floor.
A powerful motor and beater brush work in tandem to get deep into carpet fibers and lift debris. The large bagless dust canister holds 1 liter of dirt. A quick-release handle conveniently detaches the stretch hose, while a crevice tool, dusting brush, and upholstering tool make this model a good choice for a range of other cleaning tasks at a cost-effective price.
- Type: Corded upright vacuum
- Weight: 10 pounds
- Attachments: Crevice tool, dusting brush, upholstery tool
- Remarkably affordable vacuum offers 5 settings to cope with carpet and other surfaces
- Lightweight design makes it easy to maneuver, and soft wheels won’t damage hardwood floors
- Extra-large dust cup means fewer trips to empty so vacuuming is finished sooner
- Constructed primarily of plastic, which gives some concerns about longevity
Get the Eureka vacuum for thick carpet at Amazon or Walmart.
German manufacturer Miele is widely recognized for its high-quality, well-designed home appliances, and this canister vacuum cleaner is a fine example. Miele claims its vacuum’s average lifespan is 20 years, underlining how well it’s made.
This vacuum comes with not one but two cleaning heads: the Parquet Twister for hard floors and the Electrobrush (which has LED headlights) for deep cleaning carpet. Foot controls on the main unit allow suction power to be adjusted without bending. The telescopic suction wand has an ergonomic handle for maximum comfort when cleaning aboveground, and there are nozzles for upholstery, crevices, and dusting. There’s a HEPA filter for pet dander and other small particles, and both the filter and the dust bag alert you when they need changing. Though pricey, the bundle includes a replacement HEPA filter, four motor-protection filters, and 16 dust bags.
- Type: Corded canister vacuum
- Weight: 23 pounds
- Attachments: Upholstery nozzle, crevice nozzle, dusting brush
- Has 2 separate heads—1 for hard floors, 1 carpet—to maximize cleaning efficiency
- High-quality manufacture claimed to provide a 20-year average lifespan
- Bundle includes a replacement HEPA filter, 16 dust bags, and 4 motor-protection filters
- A little heavy, though faults are rare
Get the Miele vacuum for thick carpet at Amazon or Walmart (vacuum only).
The slender design of stick vacuums generally makes them among the lightest vacuum cleaners, but none we looked at were as light as the Tineco Pure One. It’s a fraction over 6 pounds at full size and sheds another couple of pounds when converted to handheld. This makes it easy to use and gives it remarkable maneuverability.
Featherlight handling is nothing without good performance, and the Tineco is packed with smart features to ensure efficiency. The iLoop sensor can detect dirt hidden in carpet pile and adjust suction accordingly. The top flashes red for debris detected and blue for debris cleared. There are also LED alerts for brush roller tangles, air channel blockages, or if the sensor malfunctions. Wi-Fi connectivity and a free app provide performance monitoring and maintenance prompts (when the filter needs to be cleaned, for example). HEPA filtration is provided and runtime on this cordless model is up to 40 minutes.
- Type: Cordless stick vacuum
- Weight: 6.1 pounds
- Attachments: Crevice tool, dusting tool, mini power brush
- One of the lightest vacuums on the market; it converts easily to even lighter handheld weight
- Comprehensive range of smart features, including automatic power adjustment for deep carpet cleaning
- Runtime of up to 40 minutes plus phone app for charging alerts and filter cleaning
- While most buyers are happy, a variety of faults suggest quality control is inconsistent
Get the Tineco vacuum for thick carpet at Walmart or The Home Depot (Pet edition).
A robot vacuum can make a necessary household chore effortless, but not all of these machines excel at cleaning carpet. The Ecovacs Deebot Pro+ overcomes the challenge by automatically increasing suction power when carpet is detected. It’s also capable of mopping floors, yet is engineered not to engage this function near carpet to avoid getting it wet.
The range of user-friendly features is extensive. TrueMapping technology allows the Ecovacs robot to create the most efficient cleaning paths through the home. It uses light detection and ranging (LIDAR) for obstacle avoidance, and custom boundaries can be set to keep it out of designated areas. The included app lets you set schedules and monitor cleaning progress from anywhere. It can also be integrated with Alexa for voice control.
Cleaning time is up to 110 minutes, and the robot vacuum will automatically return to the base station if the battery gets low. It is also self-emptying, with a hypoallergenic dust bag that seals automatically when removed.
- Type: Automatic robot vacuum
- Weight: Not provided (there is seldom need to lift it)
- Attachments: Not applicable
- This robot vacuum uses sensors to double suction power when it detects carpet
- TrueMapping technology can create an efficient path through the home on several floors
- Wi-Fi allows remote monitoring and control via smartphone app as well as integration with Alexa
- May not have the ability to climb deep carpet edges
- Recharging takes at least 4 hours
Get the Ecovacs vacuum for thick carpet at Amazon or Walmart.
Dyson shook up the vacuum cleaner industry with its “vortex” suction technology and continues to produce high-quality, innovative appliances—including this lightweight handheld vacuum that combines excellent performance with ergonomic control. Efficiency centers around the Hyperdymium motor that spins at an impressively rapid 125,000 revolutions per minute. In combination with 14 cyclones, an in-line dust path, and a choice of three cleaning modes, this handheld hotshot can tackle all surfaces, including thick carpet.
This Dyson is acoustically engineered for low noise, and it features whole-machine filtration to capture particles as small as 0.3 microns (0.0001 inch). Runtime is up to 60 minutes, and an LCD electronic display on the top of the device provides an easy-to-read countdown timer.
- Type: Cordless stick vacuum
- Weight: 6.6 pounds
- Attachments: Hair screw tool, crevice tool, combination wide nozzle and brush
- A combination of powerful motor and in-line suction path provide excellent performance
- Whole-machine filtration traps 99.99 percent of particles down to 0.3 microns
- Up to 60 minutes runtime with useful charge indicator on the top of the device
Get the Dyson vacuum for thick carpet at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Walmart.
Upright vacuum cleaners are sometimes seen as old-fashioned compared to bagless canister and stick models, but this Hoover WindTunnel can compete, delivering excellent performance at competitive prices. It’s a solid choice for folks who prefer a machine with a large disposable bag rather than a canister that requires more frequent cleaning.
The Hoover WindTunnel offers six height settings for carpet, with three suction channels designed to pull dirt from even the thickest pile. There is also a hard-floor setting. The 15-inch-wide head, larger than many competitors, covers more ground more quickly.
The handle conceals a telescopic extension hose that reaches an impressive 17 feet, making it easier to clean air vents, ceiling fans, up stairs, and other hard-to-access areas. There is also 30 feet of cord so users needn’t keep unplugging and replugging while vacuuming.
- Type: Corded upright vacuum
- Weight: 18.4 pounds
- Attachments: Crevice tool, dusting brush, turbo tool
- Very competitively priced yet loaded with features, including 6 different carpet settings
- 15-inch-wide head and 3 suction channels provide efficient debris collection on all surfaces
- Telescopic extension hose for aboveground cleaning reaches an impressive 17 feet
- Extensive use of plastics reduces weight but gives us concerns about durability
Get the Hoover vacuum for thick carpet at Amazon or Walmart.
Stick vacuums are popular for their light weight and easy handling, and the Shark Rocket offers these benefits at a surprisingly budget-friendly price.This Shark is designed to tackle bare floors, carpet, and upholstery and switches effortlessly to handheld mode for hard-to-reach areas and detailed cleaning. The swivel steering head means easy maneuvering and the low profile makes it a breeze to reach under furniture. A suction control slider is built into the ergonomic handle.
The Shark Rocket is tremendously popular and offers good value, but it’s not at its best on very thick pile. Also, some users found it frustrating that the dust canister cannot be removed from the handheld part for emptying or cleaning.
- Type: Corded stick vacuum
- Weight: 8.5 pounds
- Attachments: Upholstery tool, crevice tool, anti-allergen dust brush
- A budget-friendly stick vacuum with swivel steering for easy maneuvering
- Strong suction for carpet cleaning with upholstery tool that’s particularly good with pet hair
- Corded power means no fading of performance and no stopping to recharge the battery
- Some find it a little frustrating that the dust canister cannot be removed
Get the Shark vacuum for thick carpet at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Target.
Shed pet hair can leave carpets looking fuzzy and less than fresh. The upright Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Turbo Plus helps banish pet hair and other allergens via a tangle-free brush roll designed to prevent hair from wrapping around the roll. A beater brush picks up both pet hair and human hair from carpets, and for extra-long or delicate carpet fibers, the brush roll can be switched off to prevent catching.
The SmartSeal Allergen System keeps fur and allergens inside. The bagless canister has a hands-free empty feature: At the push of a button, it opens and allows the contents to drop into a trash can. To tackle a host of messes, reach for a crevice tool; dusting brush; and the Pet Turbo Eraser, a handheld attachment with a mini beater brush to lift pet hair from fabric furniture and carpeted stairs.
- Type: Corded upright vacuum
- Weight: 13.75 pounds
- Attachments: LED crevice tool, Pet Turbo Eraser, pet dusting brush
- Tangle-free brush roll is great for picking up hair without blocking the vacuum
- Extension wand with specialized pet tools and SmartSeal system to trap allergens
- Hands-free emptying means users don’t come into contact with debris
- Although normally reliable, there are some reports of loss of suction
Get the Bissell vacuum for thick carpet at Amazon or Bissell.
What to Consider When Choosing a Vacuum for Thick Carpet
Vacuum type, suction strength, and maneuverability are key features to keep in mind when shopping for any vacuum. When choosing a model for thick carpet, look for one designed to handle plush pile or one with either a height-adjustable head or variable-suction settings. (Adjustable settings can help a vacuum tackle both thick carpet and smooth flooring.) Evaluate vacuums for the factors and features detailed below to find the right model for plush pile.
Vacuums come in a range of types, including upright, canister, stick, handheld, and robot.
- Upright vacuums have a powerful motor, strong suction, and large capacity—features that make them a solid choice for thick carpets. All their parts are in a single upright unit, which is convenient but can constrain maneuverability somewhat.
- Canister vacuums have the motor and dust container within the canister as well as a separate hose, pole, and vacuum head. The canister can accommodate a powerful motor and large capacity, while the hose and pole provide more reach and flexibility than upright vacuums.
- Stick vacuums are compact, lightweight, and easy to maneuver—and there are cordless models available for even more versatility. However, their smaller size often means a less powerful motor and suction. Stick vacuums also tend to lack adjustment features compared to upright and canister vacuums.
- Handheld vacuums are small and highly portable for cleaning minor messes wherever they occur. They are ideal for clearing crumbs and dirt from tables, furniture, and car interiors, yet while they can clean small messes from thick carpets, they’re too small to vacuum an entire carpeted room.
- Robot vacuums are fully automated devices that require virtually no effort from the user beyond emptying the bin. However, these models are less well suited to thick carpets because they typically have a small dust capacity and small wheels that may have trouble rolling over plush pile.
Corded vs. Cordless
Most vacuums are corded, plugging into an outlet to provide powerful suction. Corded vacuums won’t run out of charge, but they are constrained by the length of their cord. Corded models also tend to have a larger capacity than cordless vacuums. Upright, canister, stick, and handheld vacuums are available in corded options.
Cordless vacuums are designed for portability. Most often in a stick, handheld, or robot style, cordless vacuums are convenient for cleaning all around the house. Their light weight is ideal for flooring, stairs, and even shelving and walls. However, their smaller size means they often have a smaller capacity and may be less powerful. They are also limited by their battery life, which is typically between 15 and 45 minutes on a charge.
Powerful suction is important for deep cleaning carpets, but too much suction, and the vacuum can get stuck in place. This is especially true for thick carpets, where the suction can cause a seal against the dense fibers, becoming difficult to move. Very high suction strength can also damage some carpets and rugs.
A feature to consider in a vacuum for thick carpets is adjustable suction-strength settings. This will allow you to tailor the power for different carpet thicknesses. Simply bump up the suction strength to suck up small particles like sand and dirt or, if the vacuum is having trouble moving, reduce suction strength for easier maneuverability.
Vacuum filters trap particles and prevent them from being released back into the air. A high-quality filtration system makes for a cleaner home, trapping dust and dirt for good. Vacuum filters can be made out of cloth, foam, or specialized filtering materials. Most vacuums include more than one filter, and they can be either washable or disposable.
The most effective vacuum filtration systems include a HEPA filter, which removes up to 99.97 percent of particles measuring as small as 0.3 micrometers. These filters can trap dust, dirt, and very tiny particles. They help trap common allergens like dust mite debris, pollen, pet dander, and even mold and smoke particles.
Vacuums can feature bagged or bagless dust collectors. Bagged vacuums siphon dust and dirt into a bag, which needs to be swapped out when full. New vacuum bags are an extra cost to consider with these models. The main benefit of a bagged vacuum is easy disposal; just toss the bag in the trash with no need to touch the gunk trapped inside.
Bagless vacuums have a dust-collecting canister that requires emptying when full—simply snap off the bin and dump the debris in the trash. One downside to bagless vacuums is dust exposure when emptying, which can bother allergy sufferers. Also, should dirt and dust get clumpy and stick to the bin, you’ll need to clean out the mess manually.
Weight and Maneuverability
A too-heavy vacuum is tough to maneuver, especially on thick carpeting. Stick and handheld vacuums, which typically weigh under 10 pounds (some as little as 4 pounds), are easy to maneuver. Upright vacuums weigh between 12 and 18 pounds on average, while canister models typically weigh between 8 and 22 pounds. If choosing an upright or canister model, look for one with larger wheels for greater maneuverability on thick carpets. Small wheels can have trouble rolling across thick carpet fibers.
Additional features can help a vacuum deep clean thick carpets. Common features include beater bars, height-adjustable heads, variable-suction settings, and a range of brush attachments.
- Beater bars: A beater bar is a rotating brush that ruffles carpet fibers to loosen dust and dirt. This feature works well on low- and medium-pile carpets but can tangle some thicker and longer fibers. Some vacuums have tangle-free beater brushes that are specially designed for thicker carpets. Others have height-adjustable heads to adjust the bar further from long carpet fibers. Another option is to use a vacuum that allows you to switch off or remove the beater bar.
- Height-adjustable heads: If you choose a vacuum with a beater bar, consider one with a height-adjustable head. These designs allow the vacuum head (which holds the beater bar) to adjust for different carpet heights. This feature can prevent the beater bar from catching or tangling in thick carpets.
- Variable-suction settings: Powerful suction is a double-edged sword. While it will help suck up grime, it can also cause a vacuum to get stuck in thick carpeting. An adjustable suction setting is a wise choice for multisurface homes. Use higher suction on hard flooring and low-pile carpets and lower suction on high-pile carpets to avoid getting stuck in place.
- Brush attachments: A variety of brush attachments can help with cleaning jobs around the home. Some popular brush attachments include stiff brushes for banishing pet hair, crevice tools for tight corners, and soft brushes for upholstery and furniture.
Regular vacuuming keeps dust, dirt, and dander at bay. However, vacuuming thick carpets can pose a bit of a challenge, so to maximize cleaning power, reach for a model suited to long, plush pile. If you want further info on choosing and using the right vacuum for your home, consider the answers to these frequently asked questions.
Q. Can I use a standard vacuum cleaner for my thick carpet?
Yes, some standard vacuums will work on thick carpet if they have a beater bar plus a height-adjustable head or adjustable suction. Models with no beater bar or a beater bar that can be switched off will also be safe to use on thick carpet, but cleaning might not be as effective.
Q. Which vacuum has the most powerful suction?
Corded vacuums offer the most powerful suction, with upright and canister vacuums usually offering the highest suction power.
Q. How do you vacuum thick-pile carpet?
Use a vacuum designed for thick carpet, or adjust your current vacuum cleaner to the appropriate settings (for example, adjusting the beater brush and suction settings). Slowly and steadily sweep the vacuum across the carpet to pick up dirt and debris. Cleaning pros recommend vacuuming in two directions: north to south and east to west. Occasional shampooing is also recommended.
Q. How do I maintain my vacuum cleaner to make it last longer?
Make sure to empty the vacuum bag or dirt canister regularly to prevent dust and dirt buildup. When emptying the vacuum, inspect the beater bar, belt (the piece that spins the beater bar), hoses, and other parts, and clean them when necessary. Also, consult the directions on how often to change or wash any filters to prevent clogging.
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