Best Vacuum for High Pile Carpet

Best Vacuum for High Pile Carpet 2018

A plush carpet can greatly enhance the comfort level of your house over hard floors and rugs, but the thicker the carpet, the more dirt can get trapped between the fibers—and the harder it is to keep clean. If you’ve had thick carpet installed in your home, you might find yourself on a continuous quest for the best vacuum for high pile carpet. Finding a vacuum with the right balance of suction power and usability can be a tall order if you’re not sure where to start.


The first step when you’re looking for a new vacuum is to figure out exactly what kind of carpet you have. The term “high pile” simply means that the carpet’s fibers are longer and more loosely gathered than the typical carpet options. Within this category, though, there’s a lot of variation. Even vacuums designed for thick or heavy carpets may struggle with particularly high pile choices, like shag. Especially delicate carpets made out of materials like silk will also need more specialized equipment to clean than your average high pile carpeting.

Comparison Table

Individual Reviews

The vacuums on the list below cover a wide range of options, features, and price points. No matter what specific style of carpet you need to clean, you’ll find something here that will get the job done right without ruining your nice, expensive carpet. Read the full reviews below to find the one that’s best-suited to your particular needs.

Oreck LW100 Magnesium SP Bagged Upright

Oreck LW100 review

High pile carpeting calls for a vacuum cleaner with a lot of power. The Oreck LW100 Magnesium definitely delivers on this front. It gives you a suction power of over 100 miles per hour. That’s enough power that it feels like it’s pulling itself across the floor instead of you needing to push it, and plenty for getting deep into the fibers of a plush carpet.

The motor has two settings with an easy Quickswitch for toggling between them. Use the lower setting for smooth or delicate surfaces, then crank it up to high when you’re ready for a more serious clean.

You might expect such a powerful motor to need a bulky package, but the Oreck LW100 defies this expectation. It weighs less than eight pounds, light enough to carry up the stairs without breaking a sweat. The swivel steering helps it get around corners and into tight spaces, while the extra brush along the side lets you clean the baseboards while you’re at it. It reclines nearly the whole way to flat so you can get under the couch, bed, or other furniture, rather than having to move it. The wheels are extra large, too, which helps the vacuum to glide more easily over carpet of all thicknesses.

The Oreck Magnesium comes in at a mid-range price level, at just over $350, but it’s still a great value considering the level of performance. The durable construction means you won’t need to buy a new vacuum for years once you’ve got an Oreck. Even the replaceable parts, like the belt, are designed to last as long as possible, for a minimum of required maintenance. All in all, the Oreck Magnesium is an ideal blend of power and convenience for any home.


What we like:

  • Powerful enough to get deep between carpet fibers
  • Long cord (30 feet) and large bag capacity for longer cleaning sessions
  • Large wheels help it move more easily over carpet
  • Approved by the Carpet & Rug Institute for high pile carpets
  • Durable and well-built inside and out
  • Cleans easily under furniture and in corners


What we didn't like:

  • LED headlight is weak and not much use
  • Motor is loud on higher power settings

Soniclean Soft Carpet Vacuum Cleaner/Handheld Combo

Soniclean Soft Carpet Vacuum cleaner review

As you might guess from the name, the Soniclean Soft Carpet specializes in delicate or soft fiber surfaces, including silk carpets, which are notoriously difficult to clean. This package includes both an upright and a handheld vacuum for less than $400, making it a larger initial investment but a great per-vacuum value.

This is the only vacuum that uses sonic technology rather than straight suction power to clean your carpets. It generates over 200 sonic pulses every second. This effectively shakes the dirt and grime loose from deep between the fibers, giving you a deeper clean without needing as much force. This keeps soft fibers from getting damaged or sucked up into the vacuum cleaner. It also uses a specially-designed brush roll with soft nylon bristles that are both gentle and effective.

Maneuvering the Soniclean Soft Carpet is a breeze on any floor type. Large wheels help it roll more easily with less effort from you. The vent that’s on the base can also be adjusted to make it easier to maneuver on particularly tricky surfaces. If fibers or rugs do get caught in the vacuum, it has jam sensing technology that automatically shuts the vacuum off to prevent damage to the motor.

While the Soniclean upright is the more powerful vacuum, the handheld canister vacuum that comes with it is useful in its own right, and no slouch with 800 watts of power. It’s a portable version of the same sonic cleaning technology, perfect for use on staircases or other harder to reach areas. It has a long and stretchable hose with quite a few useful accessories to handle any cleaning situation.


What we like:

  • Certified Gold from the Carpet and Rug Institute
  • Combo pack saves you money compared to buying vacuums separately
  • Sonic technology for a gentle yet effective clean
  • Large wheels and adjustable vents make it easier to maneuver
  • Included hand held vacuum ideal for stairs or cars


What we didn't like:

  • Not designed for long-fiber carpets like frieze and shag
  • Upright doesn’t have any on-board accessories

Shark IONFlex DuoClean Cordless Ultra-Light Vacuum

Shark IONFlex DuoClean review

If convenience and ease of use are your main requirements, the IONFlex Duo Clean from Shark is the best vacuum for high pile carpet you can buy. It’s one of the absolute lightest-weight vacuum cleaners you’re likely to find, first of all, weighing less than four pounds. It’s also extremely low profile, fitting under furniture that even robot vacuums can’t slide beneath. If you want to use it to clean furniture or curtains, you can also easily convert it into more of a hand-held style device.

The trade-off for the light weight and cordless design is that it’s not made for whole house cleaning. The dust cup has a capacity of just over a cup (.3 quarts) which might not even be enough to get through one room, depending on how dirty the carpet is. It also only comes with one battery, which will last for about 30 minutes on a single charge. You can buy more batteries if you need to use it longer in a single stretch, but as-is it’s definitely designed more for small rooms or spot cleaning than larger projects.

Still, it’s impressive that this little vacuum puts out as much power as it does, considering its compact size and lack of bulk. It uses Smart Response technology that enhances the efficiency and performance, giving you more cleaning power for less energy. The included bristle brush is the ideal tool for getting deep into carpet fibers. You may have to make more than one pass to get all the dirt out of high-pile carpet, but this is certainly the lightest vacuum you’ll find that’s up to the task.


What we like:

  • Super lightweight (3.8 pounds)
  • Cordless operation is highly convenient
  • Quiet motor
  • MultiFLEX handle and low profile head make it easy to clean under furniture
  • Two brush head options for more versatility


What we didn't like:

  • Small dust cup capacity
  • Not designed for whole home cleaning

Hoover Vacuum Cleaner T-Series WindTunnel Pet Rewind Bagless Corded Upright

Hoover T-Series WindTunnel Pet Rewind UH70210 review

If you have thick carpets but you’re also on a budget, this Hoover T-Series bagless upright is the best vacuum for high pile carpets you can get for under $150. Having a bagless vacuum cleaner will also save you money in the long run since you won’t have to buy replacement bags along the way. The company’s patented WindTunnel technology traps dirt particles of all sizes with ease and makes sure the suction power stays consistent, no matter what kind of surface you’re cleaning.

This Hoover WindTunnel has an impressive array of features, especially considering the price. It gives you five different height options for the brush roll, letting work on everything from smooth linoleum to the thickest, plushest carpeting. It even comes with a decent array of accessories, including a powered tool specifically for pet hair, meaning you can use it to clean your whole house, not just your plush carpets.

If there’s one common complaint against this vacuum, it’s the bulk. It’s larger in every dimension than most of the options on this list and weighs over 15 pounds, making it a bit of a beast to carry and store. The handle does fold down so it’s easier to fit into small spaces, and the cord retracts into the vacuum for easy storage.

The design of the WindTunnel Pet Rewind is utilitarian, for sure. It’s not the easiest vacuum to steer and won’t fit under low furniture. Considering the performance for the price, though, it’s one of the best values you’ll find.


What we like:

  • Great for pet owners
  • Most affordable vacuum suitable for high-pile carpets
  • Consistent and reliable suction power
  • Folding handle and retractable cord for easy storage
  • Adjustable brush height for use on a variety of surfaces


What we didn't like:

  • Won’t fit under low furniture
  • Heavier than most of the options on this list

Hoover Power Scrub Elite Pet Carpet Cleaner

Hoover Power Scrub Elite review

Here’s another great choice for pet owners from Hoover, though it’s not strictly speaking a vacuum cleaner. The Power Scrub Elite is an affordable and portable carpet washer, and it’s the tool you need if you have high pile carpets with set-in stains or deeply embedded dirt. Unlike most wet carpet cleaners, it’s still designed just like an upright vacuum, making it a lot easier to use than heavy canister-style steam cleaners.

Everything about this carpet cleaner is designed for user convenience. It uses special antimicrobial brushes that prevent bacteria from forming, meaning less maintenance to prevent odors and germs inside the vacuum. The tank has a capacity of 1.25 gallons so you won’t have to stop and empty it as often. It even mixes the detergent in the correct ratios for you within the vacuum so you don’t have to think about it. While it’s not the lightest machine, it does have four different carrying handles so it’s more convenient to move around your home.

There are three modes of operation on the Hoover Power Scrub. The Deep Clean Mode will get the whole way down into even the thickest carpets for the ultimate clean, and is what you’ll need for high-pile floors. There is also a Quick Clean option that applies heat to speed up the drying process and a Rinse Mode for removing any soap residue from the carpet fibers.

A wet cleaning machine isn’t going to be as practical of a choice for everyday cleaning, but if you need the absolute most thorough possible clean for high-pile carpets, it’s the way to go. Pet owners will be especially impressed by its ability to remove deep-set stains and lingering odors.


What we like:

  • Ideal choice for cleaning pet stains
  • Three cleaning modes for every situation
  • Carpets dry in as little as 45 minutes
  • Large clean water tank capacity
  • Removes even embedded and set-in dirt
  • Antimicrobial brushes prevent formation of bacteria and odors


What we didn't like:

  • Will need to move furniture for a complete clean
  • Dirty water tank on the small side and may need to be emptied frequently

Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional

For the final option on our list, we bring you the Shark Navigator, one of the most popular options from the company’s Lift-Away line of home vacuum cleaners. All of the vacuums in this series offer a convenient 2-in-1 construction, giving you both an upright and a hand-held in one super-affordable package.

The upright mode is the one you’ll want to use for high pile carpets. The Shark Navigator has powerful suction and a firm-bristled brushroll, which can be easily shut off at the push of a button when you need to instead clean your hard floors or shorter carpets.

The Shark Navigator has nearly a ten inch cleaning path, letting you vacuum large areas more efficiently than you can with other models. It also has a fairly large dustbin capacity of 2.2 quarts, which should be plenty to let you clean your whole home without stopping to empty it.

While this vacuum can clean deep between the fibers of high pile carpet with no problem, it is not intended for more delicate materials, like silk. You can only turn the brush on or off, not adjust its height or power, so you have no way to prevent damage to these kinds of surfaces.

Overall, the Shark Navigator is an excellent option if you want a vacuum that’s versatile and easy to use. It uses swivel steering for navigating around furniture without exerting a lot of effort. It’s a fairly standard weight as an upright—around 12.5 pounds—but that weight’s cut almost in half when you convert it to a hand-held, letting you carry it up stairs or get into tight spaces much more easily. This makes it a good choice as an all-purpose vacuum cleaner, not just a specialized tool for your thick carpets.


What we like:

  • Easily converts from an upright to a hand-held
  • Good array of included accessories
  • Large dustbin capacity
  • Swivel steering for easy navigation
  • Very affordable
  • Picks up both large and small particles with ease


What we didn't like:

  • Not designed for delicate carpets or shag
  • Attachment hose is short and doesn’t stretch

In Summary

As you can see, you can get a complete clean of even the thickest, most delicate carpets if you know what you’re looking for. More difficult cleaning situations may require spending a bit more money to get a machine that can handle them, but even the most expensive option on this list is under $500—not too much in the overall grand scheme of vacuum cleaner options.

If pressed to pick just one top choice, we’d say the Soniclean Soft Carpet is the best vacuum for high pile carpet. It can clean the widest variety of different flooring styles, including more delicate options like silk fibers. The best part about the Soniclean Soft Carpet, though, is that you know for a fact all of the dirt and dust will be dislodged from between the fibers, thanks to the advanced sonic technology.

Of course, there are a lot of different factors that may play into your decision. If the price is a serious consideration for you, for example, you may want to choose one of the options from Hoover, especially if you have a more standard style of high pile carpeting that won’t be at risk of being damaged from high suction power. Whichever way you go, though, you can count on all of these vacuums for a deep and dependable clean.

About the Author Jason

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