In the last year alone there have been over a hundred new high pile vacuums introduced in the market. So how do you know which is the best vacuum cleaner for thick carpets?

Well, my team and I got together and tested all the most popular brands to bring you this roundup. And we've included a buying guide at the end for your convenience.

Top 10 Vacuums for High Pile and Thick Carpet

1

Soniclean Soft Carpet Upright

This Soniclean Upright model is ideal for carpets that are one inch thick. It glides over long fibers easily due to its wheel size.

It comes with a sonic cleaning bar that vibrates at 200 pulses per second, which has been shown to knock loose pet hair and grime.

After countless positive reviews, we could see that this product was one of the best.

This is a bagged model so that means you won’t have to worry about any allergens when throwing out the bag.

Based on our testing, this vacuum cleaner had powerful suction compared to its competitors. We weren’t a big fan of having to buy the bags separately, but overall this model was effective at picking up small dirt particles on wood floors.

PROS
  • Large wheels
  • Vibrating sonic bar
  • Hospital-grade HEPA filter
  • Soniclean ventilation system
CONS
  • Needs extension cord for large staircases
2

Dyson Ball

The Dyson Ball Animal is one of the best vacuum cleaners for getting in and out of those hard to reach places due to its pivoting ball.

It features a self-adjusting cleaner head that should make it adaptable for multiple carpet lengths and hard floors.

Many users reported enjoying the quick release receptacle. The cord is 31 feet long, which gave us a good amount of reach when vacuuming the whole house.

Our team didn’t care much for the hose attachment. It tends to want to spring back into its shortened length so it can be tiring to use.

PROS
  • Pivoting ball
  • 31-foot long power cord
  • Self-adjusting cleaning bristles
  • One-click canister emptying
CONS
  • Difficult to use the hose attachment
3

Hoover WindTunnel

This Hoover WindTunnel vacuum comes with a ton of useful attachments that were helpful for all floor surfaces.

The included pet hair tool worked well on couches and troublesome spots. It comes with a multi-floor brush roll that can be turned on and off.

It should be turned on for thick carpets and rugs to loosen up the dirt. We liked that this model came with a quick rewind power cord.

Although, you should make sure that the power cord isn’t tangled when you try to push the rewind button. If it is, then it can end up knocking you in the shins as it makes its way back to the vacuum.

PROS
  • Quick rewind power cord
  • Pet attachment included
  • Odor-absorbing carbon assistance
  • 2 wind tunnels
CONS
  • Weak power belt
4

Shark Navigator Professional

If you’re looking for a slightly less expensive vacuum cleaner for carpet, then this one might work for you.

Many users report that it is the best 2-in-1 model, because you can use it as an upright or a canister vacuum cleaner.

By removing the canister, we could use this vacuum cleaner for carpets that were normally hard to reach. It comes with attachments such as a crevice tool for corners.

Our team likes that the Shark Navigator is a dual system machine. You get the best of both worlds. You can use it on plush carpet or bare floors.

The swivel steering system is also top-notch. It is quite a heavy vacuum cleaner compared to other models.

PROS
  • 2-in-1 system
  • 8-inch crevice tool
  • Anti-Allergy Seal with HEPA filter
  • Large capacity dust bin
CONS
  • Heavier than other models
5

Oreck Magnesium

We were impressed with this model’s suction power. It’s easy to maneuver in tight places with its swivel steering design.

It’s a lightweight vacuum and features a 5-layer HEPA filter bag, which needs to be replaced.

This is an upright model for high pile carpets and other floor types.

One unique feature is the auto shut off function. It will immediately turn off the belt if something gets jammed.

This feature can save your vacuum cleaner from overheating problems. It’s one of the best vacuums that requires minimal effort to push on plush carpets.

PROS
  • Super lightweight design
  • 5-layer HEPA filtration system
  • Auto shut off
  • 7-year warranty with five free tune-ups
CONS
  • Lower suction power
6

Miele Compact C1

This may be one of the best canister vacuums for hard to reach places.

It should get the job done on different floor types and surfaces. It comes with a 3.5-liter dust bin capacity with an air clean seal technology.

The Miele complete technology offers a 6-stage variable speed system.

It comes with an easy click Miele complete locking system, so you can quickly unlock the canister.

The stainless steel telescopic handle is impressive and it provided swivel steering and deep cleaning.

The suction wasn’t as good as other models, so I wouldn’t recommend this canister vacuum on the thickest shag carpet. If you have a half-inch thick carpet, then this may do the trick.

PROS
  • Large canister vacuum for pile carpeting
  • Best for getting around furniture
  • Great on bare floors
  • Sturdy brush rolling tube
CONS
  • Not ideal for really plush carpets
7

Bissell Rewind

This model has a similar feature to the Hoover model that I reviewed above. It comes with the power cord rewind button.

This feature might be novel, but we don’t know if it is always necessary on an upright vacuum cleaner.

This Bissell model has an edge to edge bristle bar, which could be useful on a high pile vacuum.

It helps you accomplish more in less time. We like the bagless design on this vacuum for high pile carpet.

It comes with a multi-cyclonic suction system that is fantastic for lifting dirt on a plush carpet. It has a washable multi-level filter that traps debris well.

PROS
  • Edge to edge bristle bar
  • Bagless, multi-level filter
  • Multi-cyclonic suction system
  • No scatter on bare floors
CONS
  • Hose doesn’t attach well to base
8

Oreck Commercial

If you’re looking for high-speed commercial cleaning, then this upright vacuum cleaner would probably be an option for you.

One nice feature is that it comes with six extra bags, which is good because you can get started right away.

The roller brush spins at 5000-6000 RPMs, which should work well on soft nylon, high pile carpets, and hardwood floors. We thought the inclusion of a nonmarring bumper bar was a bonus.

Many users reported that you don’t have to worry about scuffing up your furniture. It is lightweight at only 9 lbs, which makes it easy to transport for an upright vacuum cleaner.

PROS
  • Non-marring bumper bar
  • Includes six bags
  • High-speed roller brush
  • Commercial carpet cleaning vacuum
CONS
  • No groove to wrap cord
9

Hoover T-Series Rewind Plus

Here is another model from Hoover, which we know makes impressive high pile carpet vacuum cleaners.

This model comes with WindTunnel technology which, according to the manufacturer, is supposed to trap 99.7% of dust particles.

In combination with the HEPA filtration system, this vacuum cleaner can remove dirt down to 0.3 microns.

We thought that all of the attachments that come with this vacuum cleaner are some of the most useful available.

It comes with a crevice tool, a dusting brush, and a powered hand tool. The best vacuum will offer you the most efficient tools to keep your carpet clean.

PROS
  • WindTunnel technology
  • Lots of extra attachments
  • Five height levels
  • Two filter units
CONS
  • Not best for very thick carpets
10

Eureka NEN110A

This is another canister style vacuum cleaner made by Eureka. It comes with oversized wheels, which make it easy to push around soft carpet.

Eureka included an airflow control that can be switched on the fly. The settings are upholstery, hard floors, and carpet.

The telescopic handle would be useful when trying to clean high areas.

Our team thought the bagless design seemed pretty easy to empty and clean. You can rinse them out as needed. The multi-level suction system is a bonus because you can change it for high pile or soft nylon fabrics.

PROS
  • Dusting brush for baseboards
  • Can rinse all filters
  • Budget-friendly price
  • Low profile
CONS
  • Not great for pets

Buyer’s Guide for High Pile Carpet Vacuums

high pile carpet

Suction Power

Medium to high pile carpets requires delicate or low suction because the fibers may come loose. If you want your carpet to last longer, then you should check out the adjustable suction models. They are often the best and easiest way to ensure that you get the best airflow at all times.

Dirt, especially sandy dirt, is incredibly abrasive to fibers like wool [1]. It is imperative that you use a vacuum made for medium to hile pile rugs to lift dirt but avoid damage.

Wheel Size

Nothing is more annoying than trying to push your vacuum cleaner carpet across the floor and it doesn’t budge. The reason this happens is that the wheels are not large enough to move over the high pile. If the wheels are too small, they often get buried in the long fibers. Avoid vacuums with smaller than 3-inch wheels.

Sometimes the fibers can even get wrapped around the wheelbase and rip them out if you keep pushing. A larger wheelbase will give your vacuum a low center of gravity so that it won’t tip over as easily. An upright vacuum cleaner especially needs larger wheels of at least more than 4.5 inches in diameter.

Type of Filter

There are many different types of filters to consider, but why are they important? The best vacuum filters will protect your family from exposure to hazardous materials. Most of the vacuums that we have reviewed come with paper, HEPA, foam, or microfilters. They also come with different filtration systems such as cyclonic or mechanical.

HEPA filters are designed to remove and trap almost all contaminants from your high pile carpets.

“What many people don’t realize is that HEPA isn’t just a label that vacuum manufacturers can apply to their products. It’s a designation that requires filters to be individually tested and verified that they are 99.97% efficient.”

- Nilfisk, Industrial Vacuum Industry Experts

 

Another type of filter that is often used in vacuums is a paper filter. It is found in most types of bagged vacuums. Air can pass out of it, though not dirt, so it effectively acts as a filter; the air is sucked into the bag and then escapes through it, leaving the dirt behind inside it [2].

Foam filters are found in many high pile vacuums. They can be removed and rinsed out as needed. These filters are nice since they don’t require replacements often. Microfilters are usually placed over the motor of vacuums. The felt filters eliminate even bacteria-sized particles from escaping.

vacuum on carpet

Attachments and Brushes

The types of attachments and brushes that we will cover in this section include a crevice tool and a brush roller.

The crevice tool is ideal for reaching those difficult corners. It can be helpful in accessing baseboard corners. The cleaning head of these attachments is normally shaped like small triangles with bristles.

A roller brush is one of the most important attachments for your vacuum for high pile carpets. It is a long horizontal brush that extends from the vacuum and spins to dislodge dirt and pet dander. The best vacuums will include one of these for pile carpets.

Keep in mind that sometimes a roller brush can be too intense for some high pile carpets, such as shag rugs which tend to be the thickest.

You should not use your vacuum’s power brush head on a shag rug.”

- Anne Reagan, Furniture and Interior Design Expert

Bags vs Bagless

The two main types of vacuum cleaners are bagged and bagless. This factor will determine how you dispose of the dirt once you are done cleaning. A bagged vacuum for high pile will suck in the dirt and trap it inside a paper filter. These are beneficial since they trap in the dust and you toss the whole bag into the trash. They are great for allergy sufferers.

Bagless vacuums do not contain a paper filter but instead, they have a container that holds the carpet grime. It can be emptied by pulling the container out and pushing a button to expel dirt. These are ideal for people that don’t want to buy bags but would rather quickly empty the canister.

Both bagged and bagless vacuums work efficiently, but you should choose one based on your needs. If you suffer from allergies, then we recommend a bagged model. On the other hand, if you don’t want to buy bags, then go for the bagless model.

Precautions for High Pile Carpets

While high pile carpets are luxurious, they can be difficult to clean and maintain. One consideration is that high pile carpeting can be a pain to clean. Some machines have way too much suction and may cause damage. Another consideration is that thick carpets may not be ideal if you have people with allergies in your home.

Thick Carpet Vacuum FAQs

How often should I replace the filter on my high pile vacuums?

Depending on the type of filter that you have, you should replace it either once it’s full or needs cleaning. This will usually be every 3 to 6 months. With a bagged vacuum for high pile, you simply replace the bag once it’s full. For a bagless model, you should clean the filters as needed and replace them once they show signs of wear and tear.

How do I clean a high pile carpet?

Vacuuming high pile carpet is different than vacuuming low pile carpet. It requires that you take extra precautions such as spot treatments. You should probably avoid using an extremely powerful suction vacuum. Follow the tips below to ensure that you clean your thick carpet correctly.

Don’t use a powerful brush roller on the thickest carpet styles. Instead, opt for a model with a high pile setting.

Remember to spot-treat stains with the proper cleaner. You don’t want to run a power brush over a heavy stain and damage the fibers.

Is a HEPA filter a necessity for high pile carpet?

While HEPA filtration devices are not mandatory, all of the best vacuums include them. It can reduce the number of allergens and dust in the air significantly. For households with a lot of pet dander, you should consider a HEPA filter since they block the dander from entering the atmosphere. It is not completely necessary, but I highly recommend it.

What is the best vacuum for high pile carpet?

In this buyer’s guide, we have reviewed the best models on the market including a high carpet upright vacuum, a soft carpet upright vacuum, and the best cleaners you can find. The best vacuum for high carpets includes Hoover, Bissell, and Oreck brands. The best vacuums for you will depend on your needs and desires.

What is considered high pile carpet?

A high pile carpet is between ½  and 1 inch thick. Some shag style rugs may be up to 1 ½ inches thick

Can I vacuum a high pile rug?

Yes, you can vacuum a high pile rug with the models that we have reviewed above. These vacuums are designed to have suitable suction. The best vacuum for high rugs will glide easily over the fibers.

Can I use a standard vacuum on high pile carpets?

We do not recommend using a regular vacuum on a high pile carpet. It can rip the fibers out and cause more damage than it’s worth. The best vacuum cleaners are made to handle long woven fabric with specially designed bristles and attachments.

Conclusion

We have spent hours testing over 25 vacuums to bring you the best. While all of these models are impressive in certain ways, there’s one that our team thinks stands out. The best high pile carpet vacuum cleaner based on our research is the Soniclean Soft Carpet Upright because of its delicate suction and many positive customer reviews.

It comes with a hospital-grade HEPA filter and vibrating sonic that customers claim loosens up dirt and pet hair. The large wheels were preferred with many consumers as well.

Soniclean Soft Carpet Upright

Our #1 Recommendation

  • Large wheels
  • Vibrating sonic bar
  • Hospital-grade HEPA filter
  • Soniclean ventilation system

Gregory Covington

Gregory has been working in the industry for over ten years. Now a full-time editor with Trusty Joe, he loves to break down technical jargon and to make highly informative but easy to understand content for our readers.