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7 Best Vacuums for Shag Carpets & High Pile Rugs of 2024

Deep cleaning just got a whole new meaning.

Shag carpets and other high pile options feel luxurious to the feet and are often lovely to look at. But they can be hard to maintain. It can be difficult to remove dust, dirt, or pet hair from these carpets.

Many vacuums aren’t up to the task. The rules of hard floors don’t apply to carpets — especially when dealing with thick, fluffy, high-pile materials. For the best results in vacuuming these, you’ll have to choose a specific machine.

We’ve been there, and we have a solution (or seven) for you. Take a look at the best vacuums for cleaning shag carpets and high-pile rugs, based on our extensive research.

Our Top Picks

We independently assess, research, and evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on the links we provide, we may receive compensation.
Product Comparison Table

Product Image of the Soniclean Carpet Vacuum
Best for Plush Carpets
Soniclean Carpet Vacuum
  • Ultra-soft brush roll
  • Vibrations remove extra dirt
  • Fragrance pod scent your carpet
Product Image of the Dyson Cyclone V10
Best for Pets
Dyson Cyclone V10
  • Torque drive cleaner head
  • Whole-machine filtration
  • Multi-purpose vacuum
Product Image of the Shark Navigator Deluxe
Best Multi-Floor Upright
Shark Navigator Deluxe
  • Extra-long wand
  • Upholstery tool for deep cleaning
  • Brushroll shutoff protects carpets
Product Image of the Eureka NEU182A PowerSpeed
Best Budget Pick
Eureka NEU182A PowerSpeed
  • Adjustable heights
  • Wide nozzle
  • 4.1-liter dust container
Product Image of the Shark Apex (AZ1002)
Best Deep Cleaning
Shark Apex (AZ1002)
  • Tangle-free brush roll
  • Pet-friendly Design
  • DuoClean technology
Product Image of the Roomba 980
Most Convenient
Roomba 980
  • Great for pet hair
  • Online commands via Alexa or Google
  • 2 hours run time
Product Image of the Miele Complete C3 Marin
Best Canister
Miele Complete C3 Marin
  • Automatic setting
  • Six suction control options
  • Comfortable ergonomic handle

Review Methodology: At Oh So Spotless, our professional team conducts extensive research, hands-on testing, and data analysis to provide you with trustworthy information on the best vacuums for shag carpets and high pile. We evaluate each product from a user’s perspective, comparing performance, design, and key decision-making factors such as suction power, maneuverability, and ease of maintenance. Our experts measure and rank vacuums based on criteria like effectiveness, durability, and value, helping you make an informed decision. By sharing our first-hand experience, evidence, and results, we aim to set the standard in product reviews and ensure that you find the perfect vacuum to keep your carpets looking pristine.

The Best Vacuums for Shag Carpets and High Pile of 2024

Here are seven excellent vacuums for shag carpets and high pile, rated according to their power, brush type, capacity, special features, and versatility.

Soniclean Soft Carpet Upright Vacuum

Best Vacuum for Plush Carpets

This vacuum places emphasis on soft carpets. It has patented technology that vibrates to loosen stubborn dirt set on your carpet.

Its EZ-Push adjustable vent system and large wheels allow smooth movement over thick carpets. The Soniclean features an ultra-soft brush roll, which effectively cleans and protects your shag and plush materials.

You can switch between Quiet Mode to reduce noise and Deep Cleaning Mode for your extra-thick carpets. It also works when laid flat for extra reach under furniture. The addition of a HEPA filter means it’s suitable for allergy sufferers too.

What We Like

Ultra-Soft Brush Roll

This vacuum could be for you if you’re worried about damaging your plush carpets. It’s built primarily to preserve the condition of your high pile materials. So, it’s extra gentle while cleaning them.

It Vibrates to Remove Embedded Dirt

Most vacuums only suck up whatever is within reach of their head. This model uses unique, patented technology to drive dirt out of your carpets. By vibrating, embedded dirt comes loose for more efficient vacuuming.

It rotates at a whopping 200 vibrations per second. We don’t think dirt is a match for this vacuum.

Fragrance Pod Included

Don’t you think it’s lovely that Soniclean included this? We do. Your carpets will smell better than ever after you vacuum them, and it removes the need for other products.

The fresh laundry scent will give your home a super clean vibe with very minimal effort from you.

What We Don't Like

It’s Louder Than Other Options

It’s handy that Soniclean built this with a quiet mode because customers say it’s one of the loudest. Its efficiency is worth the noise, but it might not be ideal around pets or those with sensitive hearing.

It’s Not Bagless

The dirt is collected in HEPA filter bags that come separately bought in packs of seven. This will be an ongoing additional cost.

Mediocre on Hard Floors

Though this model does have multi-floor capabilities, it’s spectacular on carpets but average on hard floors. Users mention that it didn’t meet expectations when switching between the two.

Product Specs

Power 552 watts
Brush roll type Soft nylon bristles
Capacity N/A
Multi-floor? Yes
Special features EZ Push, ultra-soft brush roll, quiet mode, jam protection, full bag indicator light
Accessories HEPA filter bag, Sonicfresh fragrance pod

User Experience

For those with soft carpet, this Soniclean vacuum cleaner is a fantastic choice. It's lightweight, easy to use, and the self-adjusting feature works well on various surfaces including hard floors. The scent pod adds a pleasant touch, but the lack of hose and accessory tools is a minor drawback.

Dyson Cyclone V10 Cordless Stick Vacuum

Best Carpet Vacuum for Pets

The Dyson Cyclone V10 is a cordless model that gives you an hour’s run and three suction modes to choose from. It’s a multi-surface vacuum that you can use on all carpets and floor types.

Advanced whole machine filtration makes this model an excellent choice for pet owners. The Torque Drive cleaner head digs deeper into carpets to remove more dirt and debris, including pet hair.

You also get handy accessories to optimize your carpet cleaning. A crevice tool, combination tool, soft dusting brush, and mini motorized tool are included. Its low suction setting is best for high pile carpets.

What We Like

Torque Drive Cleaner Head

The brush with this machine is engineered to remove more stubborn dirt from carpets. Its motor gives stiff nylon bristles a boost in dislodging dirt embedded between carpet fibers.

On this vacuum’s lowest suction setting — which we recommend for this task — the Torque Drive cleaner head gives you 35 minutes of fade-free power.

Whole-Machine Filtration

Another reason this vacuum is excellent for pet owners is its filtration. It traps up to 99.97 percent of allergens, leaving you with cleaner, fresher air. This is an important feature for shag carpets that could harbor unseen dust, dirt, and other irritants.

The whole-machine filtration also means that you get steadier suction. Your vacuum won’t lose its efficiency, and you’ll get more out of it for longer.

Multi-Purpose Vacuum

This vacuum works well on high pile carpets, but you can use it for so much more. You can easily convert this stick vacuum into a handheld. It’s suitable for floors, furniture, upholstery, fabrics, and car interiors.

We think it’s got great value, and its included accessories will save you money.

What We Don't Like

Inconvenient Sealed Battery

Customers note a design flaw in this model. The battery is sealed and inaccessible. This doesn’t affect its efficiency but means you can’t replace it.

Charging Required Between Uses

It’s great that this vacuum is cordless because it’s easily accessible and maneuverable. The only problem is that it takes almost four hours to charge. This is less time than many other sticks, but it won’t always be ready to go.

Product Specs

Power 25.2-volt lithium-ion battery
Brush roll type Stiff nylon bristles
Capacity 0.75 liters
Multi-floor? Yes
Special features Fade free power, whole machine filtration, acoustic engineering, handheld convertible, three power modes
Accessories Combination tool, crevice tool, mini motorized brush, soft dusting brush
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Shark Navigator NV42 Deluxe Upright Corded Vacuum

Best Multi-Floor Upright Vacuum for Shag Carpet

Customers are happy with this product’s efficiency on shag carpets. It’s an upright, weighing in at just under 15 pounds. The two-liter dustbin is easy to empty. And the extra-long wand adds an extra 10 feet to this vacuum’s reach.

The unit boasts a few advanced features, like Brushroll Shutoff technology for precision. It also includes anti-allergen complete seal technology and is built for lossless suction.

Accessories include a crevice tool, a dusting brush, and an upholstery tool. You can switch between them comfortably for more efficient cleaning of your whole home.

What We Like

Extra-Long Wand

Unlike many other uprights, you can attach a wand to this model and clean above ground. It’s one of the most versatile and maneuverable products of its kind.

Upholstery Tool for Deep Cleaning Furniture

We like that this upright comes with an upholstery tool. This model is an excellent choice if you’re looking for powerful cleaning beyond your carpets. Use this to clean your couches, chairs, and even rugs.

Brushroll Shutoff for Safer Cleaning

You can control the brush roll in this model. This makes it a tremendous multi-floor vacuum that gives you more control in cleaning your shags. Your high piles are safe from damage.

What We Don't Like

Cord Is Unsatisfactory

The design of the vacuum could be a little more ergonomic. While the cord is 25 feet long, some users say its placement is inconvenient. It’s difficult to reach. Customers also mention that it can get in the vacuum’s way.

Frustrating Assembly

A few users say that attaching the accessories is not easy to do. Working with the detachable canister also takes some getting used to. Regardless of these criticisms, customers are happy with the vacuum’s efficiency.

Product Specs

Power 1200 watts
Brush roll type Stiff
Capacity 2 liters
Multi-purpose? Yes
Special features Brush roll shutoff, anti-allergen complete seal technology
Accessories Crevice tool, dusting brush, upholstery tool, extra-long wand
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Eureka NEU182A PowerSpeed Bagless Upright Vacuum

Best Budget-friendly Vacuum for Shag Carpet

Here’s a vacuum that gives you the best of carpet cleaning and saves you money too. It includes a dynamic motor that works with its brush roll to lift stubborn dirt and debris. Its 12.6-inch nozzle covers more ground in less time.

This multi-floor vacuum has five adjustable heights, including a “High Carpet” setting. It’s suitable for both carpets and hard floors. Smooth wheels prevent scratches, imprints, and other damage on your floors.

What’s nice about this machine is that it has an extra-large dust container that can hold 4.1 liters of dirt. Accessories included are a crevice tool, upholstery tool, brush tool, and detachable wand.

What We Like

Adjustable Height Head for Various Flooring

You can choose between five different levels of cleaning. We like that you can be specific for your different floorings. This makes cleaning your shags easier and safer.

Wide 12.6 Inch Nozzle

A 12.6-inch cleaning path is helpful on high pile carpets that generally take longer to clean. It also saves effort if you need to go over a spot more than once.

4.1-Liter Dust Container

Compared to most other vacuums, a 4.1-liter dust container is a lot. You’ll be able to contain more dirt, which means you’ll spend less time emptying it.

Combined with the wide cleaning path and ample 25 feet cord length, this is a wise choice if you want to save time.

What We Don't Like

It’s Clunky

Customers say that this machine, although efficient, is not the smoothest. It’s not the heaviest upright, but it is large. Users mention that when switching to different floors, some effort is required.

Quite Noisy

Customers have also said that this vacuum makes a fair amount of noise. Regardless of the criticism, both in its size and sound, most people are satisfied with its power.

Product Specs

Power 960 watts
Capacity 4.1 liter
Multi-floor? Yes.
Special features Five adjustable heights, 12.6-inch cleaning path, dynamic motor.
Accessories Crevice tool, upholstery tool, brush tool, detachable wand

First-Hand Impression

My experience with this vacuum has been fantastic, especially with its powerful 8-amp suction, which easily tackles dirt and pet hair. As a long-hair cat owner, the pet-hair mini roller brush was a great addition for cleaning small spaces. The vacuum is lightweight, making it easy to carry and maneuver around my home. Although the vacuum doesn't swivel side-to-side and has a taller build, the overall performance and usefulness of the attachments make it a worthwhile investment for any household.

Shark Apex AZ1002 Upright Vacuum

Best Deep Cleaning Vacuum for Shag Carpet

This model has a few features you’ll appreciate. For one, its Zero-M technology resists tangles, so it’s an excellent choice for pet homes with high pile carpets. It features a Powered Lift-Away canister for extra reach and versatility.

A dual brush roll system penetrates deep carpets and polishes hard floors. It’s one of the best multi-floor vacuums on the market.

Accessories include a crevice tool, upholstery tool, and a Pet Power Brush.

What We Like

Tangle-Free Brush Head

This vacuum won’t only clean your floors; it will clean itself too. The Zero-M brush roll is designed to automatically remove hair and other fibers from its bristles. You’ll save a lot of time on maintenance.

Designed With Pets In Mind

The brush roll, HEPA filter, and Pet Power Brush are a testament to how pet-friendly this vacuum is. It won’t just remove hair and dander from your high pile carpets; it will also clean the air around you.

DuoClean Technology

This excellent multi-floor vacuum deep cleans carpets and shines hard floors. It goes above and beyond in cleaning all types of floors.

What We Don't Like

It’s Heavy at 16 Pounds

Customers say that this is a hefty machine that can be awkward and cumbersome. But it is an upright model, so its weight and mobility are within reason.

It Cuts Out Sometimes

While users are satisfied with the efficiency of this vacuum, a few have mentioned that it cuts out without warning sometimes. This is a mild inconvenience that not all users experience.

Product Specs

Power 1350 watts
Brush roll type Tangle-free
Capacity 1.13 liters
Multi-purpose? Yes
Special features Zero-M Brushroll, DuoClean technology, Powered Lift-Away Canister
Accessories Crevice tool, upholstery tool, Pet Power brush

User Experience

I recently purchased a vacuum that exceeded my expectations with its bagless design, strong suction, and long hose. After using it for about an hour on various surfaces, I was impressed by its power, quiet operation, and versatility as both an upright and handheld vacuum. The only downside I noticed was the cheaply made pet brush attachment, but overall, I believe the vacuum is well worth the investment.

iRobot Roomba 980 Vacuuming Robot

Most Convenient Vacuum for Shag Carpet

Widely regarded as the best robot vacuum for high pile carpets, this model isn’t lacking in features. It has ten times the suction power of previous Roombas. Plus, it can last for up to 120 minutes a run.

It comes with a filter, dual multi-surface rubber brushes and uses the Premium 3-Stage Cleaning system. The iAdapt 2.0 Navigation leads it effortlessly around and under furniture.

You can schedule this vacuum to run at any time, and it is compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant. So if you don’t feel like getting up off the couch, sit back, relax and order this vacuum about.

What We Like

Great for Pet Hair

The multi-surface rubber brushes have many uses, but our favorite is removing pet hair. These brushes co-operate to manage all types of dirt. They resist clogs and tangles as well.

Online Command Compatible

You can use Alexa and Google Assistant to operate this vacuum through voice commands. There’s also the option to monitor and control the vacuum through the Roomba app.

2 Hours Run Time

Two hours of run time is a lot by robot vacuum standards. It’s more than enough time to deep clean high pile carpets. When the battery runs out of juice, the Roomba will find its way to its charging station.

What We Don't Like

Small 0.6 Liter Dust Container

It’s a robot vacuum, so don’t expect too much from its capacity. It holds 0.6 liters of dirt, which is not bad for a robot vacuum. Still, customers say that they wish it were larger to reduce maintenance.

No Remote Included

Unlike other robot vacuums, this one does not come with a remote control. You will have to use your smartphone or virtual assistant to operate it.

Product Specs

Power Ni-MH Battery, 14.4V; Capacity: 4500mAh, 64.8Wh
Brush roll type Rubber
Capacity 0.6 liters
Multi-purpose? No
Special features Self-charging, scheduling, Google Assistant and Alexa compatible, Roomba App
Accessories N/A
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Miele Complete C3 Marin Canister Vacuum

Best Canister Vacuum for High Pile Carpets

This canister vacuum will work well on all carpets, including shags and rugs. The five height adjustments make for a quick transition from hard floors to carpets.

The automatic setting makes it effortless and safe when switching between surfaces.

With a massive 4.5 liter capacity, it will efficiently complete vacuuming most homes before needing to be emptied.

The ergonomic handle is a comfortable addition. Six-stage suction control, an LED headlight, and a telescopic wand are added for your convenience. It also features an automatic cord rewind and a bumper strip.

The standard accessories include a dusting brush, an upholstery tool, and a crevice nozzle.

What We Like

Automatic Setting Depending on the Floor Type

Not many canister vacuums have automated features, so this one is ahead of its class. Beyond the sophistication, it means that all of your floors — not just your high pile carpets — are protected.

The vacuum automatically adjusts depending on the type of carpet it detected.

Six Suction Control Settings

You can choose between six suction levels, which are excellent for your shag rugs. We recommend starting on the lowest setting to see which one works best for you.

Comfortable and Ergonomic Handle

Canister vacuums are not always easy on your hands, so we like the ergonomic handle. Lifting and carrying this model is easy and won’t cause strain, pain, or discomfort.

What We Don't Like

Requires Some Care When Using

Customers who rated this vacuum highly say that you must be careful. It works well for shag rugs and high pile carpets but has powerful suction. So you shouldn’t use it on extra-delicate carpets. It might get stuck on shag carpets on its higher suction settings.

Not Budget-Friendly

This model is one of the more costly ones on our list. Compared to most other canister vacuums, it has advanced features, so it’s justified in our books.

Product Specs

Power 1200 watts
Brush roll type Electro brush
Capacity 4.5 liters
Multi-purpose? Yes
Special features HEPA filter, six-stage suction control, automatic cord rewind, LED light, ergonomic handle, bumper strip, telescopic wand, Parquet twister floorhead, five height adjustments
Accessories Upholstery tool, crevice tool, dusting brush

Product Comparison Chart

Product Award Power Brush roll Capacity Multi-floor?
Soniclean Carpet Best For Plush Carpets 552 W Soft nylon bristles N/A Yes
Dyson Cyclone V10 Best For Pets 25.2-V Stiff nylon bristles 0.75 L Yes
Shark Navigator Best Multi-Floor Upright 1200 W Stiff 2 L Yes
Eureka PowerSpeed Best Budget Pick 960 W N/A 4.1 liter Yes.
Shark Apex Best Deep Cleaning 1350 W Tangle-free 1.13 L Yes
Roomba 980 Most Convenient 14.4V Rubber 0.6 L No
Miele C3 Marin Best Canister 1200 W Electro brush 4.5 L Yes

Shag vs. High Pile: What’s the Difference?

In the carpeting world, “pile” describes the height or density of your rug. Carpet fibers longer than half an inch are considered high pile, while those longer than 3/4 of an inch are plush. (1).

Shag is a superficial title that refers to the look of some high pile carpets. They vary in size, shape, material, and length, but each has a common denominator. Shag carpets are deliberate in their unkempt appearance, hence the name.

Shag carpets and high pile carpets are designed for comfort. Sure, they protect your floors as all rugs will, but they are much cozier.

Their drawback is that they attract more dirt. It’s easier for dust, dander, and hair to cling to the lengthened fibers of high pile carpets. These materials are also excellent at harboring dirt that you can’t see.

Why You Need a High Pile Vacuum

The easiest way to combat this extra, hidden dirt is to buy a high pile-specific vacuum cleaner. We’ll cover individual specs once we’ve convinced you that you need one. For now, here’s what a high pile vacuum can do for you.

Sufficient Suction

There’s a problem with vacuuming high pile carpets. If your machine’s suction is too low, it won’t have much effect, so dirt, dust, and other allergens will remain.

On the other hand, if it’s too high or rough, it could damage your carpet by pulling the fibers apart.

Choosing a vacuum made with high pile carpets in mind will ensure that neither of these will be a problem. You’ll get ample suction to clean your carpets efficiently without the worry of ruining them.

Specialized Features

If you choose your vacuum wisely, you can get extras that protect your carpets too. These could be advanced features, such as adjustable rollers or suction. Or, it could come with attachments designed explicitly for high pile carpets.

Quick Tip

Don’t use the same head or tools that you would on a low pile carpet. The bristles can be too stiff or strong. This could destroy the fibers of your shag.

Higher Capacity

Vacuums for high pile carpets tend to have larger dirt capacities than those intended for harder floors since there is typically more dirt build-up.

Always look at the dirt tank capacity. Our list ranges from 0.6 liters to 4.5. If your carpet is particularly shaggy, we recommend choosing one that’s at least one liter large.

Great for Pets

It looks like high pile vacuum manufacturers assume that if you have a shag rug, hair will be your biggest problem. So these vacuums almost always have the correct features or attachments to remove them.

This is a big help to pet owners, who may be surprised by how much pet hair their plush carpets hold. Some vacuums come with HEPA filters, which work wonders for people with allergies. Since decreased suction is best for shags, you might find that a high pile-specific machine makes less noise.

Less Effort

Some people think that a carpet rake is an excellent alternative to vacuuming. But this is not true. Carpet rakes are meant to restore dull fibers but won’t remove dust that’s embedded between them.

You might think that sweeping is a good alternative, but it’s not recommended for shag carpets. Instead of picking it up, a broom pushes the dirt around and might damage your high pile.

Using an inappropriate vacuum could, similarly, be problematic. In the end, it may even require more work than necessary.

Instead, a good vacuum for shag carpets typically has optimized suction. This will save you both time and effort. You won’t have to break a sweat when you use them because they effectively remove even deep-set dirt and debris.

Types of High Pile Vacuums

You can choose any vacuum you prefer, provided that it’s equipped for high piles. There are many kinds to choose from, and here’s what we recommend:

Upright Vacuums

Uprights are sometimes seen as the original and best. Though they’re not the most versatile machines, they work exceptionally well on carpeted and hard floors.

Upright vacuums are an excellent choice for high piles because what they lack in features, they make up for in suction and efficiency. They’ll clean your carpets more consistently than other types of vacuums will.

They’re an affordable option too and are easy to use. An upright’s shape is the most ergonomic you can find, and it’s unlikely that you’ll strain your back while using one.


  • Usually multi-floor, with the ability to work on hard floors as well as carpets.
  • Easy to store due to the slim upright shape.
  • Affordable, with many budget-friendly options available.
  • Better for your back since they’re ergonomic and upright.


  • Not versatile since you can’t usually use them for upholstery and stairs.
  • Heavier than others, with some options weighing up to 15 pounds.
  • Usually lack accessories, making them useless for deep-cleaning corners and furniture.

Canister Vacuums

Canister vacuums are designed very differently to uprights. Rather than containing the machine’s motor, dust bag, and head in the same unit, canisters have independent components. The wand is attached to the case with a hose, and the machine trails behind you as you work.

These models are wonderful when it comes to versatility. They usually come with a range of accessories that make it easy to clean various objects. You can use them on drapes, upholstery, mantles, and picture frames.

A great benefit of canister vacuums in carpet cleaning is that you can easily switch out the brush roll to match your needs. This is useful in preserving the condition of your shag carpets.


  • Versatile since you can use it for upholstery, mattresses, and more.
  • Accessories are typically included so you can deep clean various surfaces.
  • Great for most surfaces, including hard floors, shag carpets, and more.
  • Affordable, with many budget-friendly options available.
  • Lighter to use since you only need to hold the wand.


  • Storage is a hassle since the canister element is bulky.
  • Decreased control over the machine’s path.
  • Assembly and dismantling are required.

Stick Vacuums

If you don’t want a chunky vacuum, consider a stick. You can even choose a cordless model if you like. Stick vacuums may fall short of uprights and canisters in some areas, but they’re fantastic for cleaning your whole home.

Stick vacuums are designed to have higher dirt capacities and stronger suction in a more compact and versatile machine. They also often convert into handheld vacuums.

Almost all stick vacuums are multi-surface. You can use them to clean your car’s interior just as easily as your floors.

Stick vacuums are great for high pile carpets because of how easily you can control them.


  • Most versatile; you can use them for floors, upholstery, stairs, and your car.
  • Could be a handheld convertible which gives you more flexibility.
  • Cordless and corded options are available.
  • Storage is a breeze since the vacuums are so thin.
  • Most portable due to the lightweight design.


  • They’re expensive, with many options sitting around $400-500.
  • Less suction than traditional vacuums.
  • Not as durable as traditional vacuums.
  • Requires charging between uses if you choose a cordless model.

Robot Vacuums

Robot vacuums are the new kid on the block, and very few models are designed to cope with shag and high pile carpets. But some have large wheels that auto-adjust the height of the vacuum.

This helps the robot move easily on different surfaces. It also ensures that they can apply optimal suction for that surface.

They’re not for everyone, but they could change how you clean your floors. The idea is that you don’t have to think about cleaning at all. Robot vacuums are automated, and no manual effort is needed to operate them.


  • No manual effort is needed (apart from maintenance and recharging).
  • Often include automatic floor adjustment between hard floors and carpets.
  • Battery operated; no cord gets in the way.
  • They’re compact, making them great for small homes.
  • Quieter than other vacuums.


  • Low dirt capacity, so you will need to empty it often.
  • Charging is required between uses.
  • They have blind spots, so you might not achieve a deep clean.

Take Note

Commercial vacuums are highly efficient. But there’s an increased risk that the suction could be too intense for delicate carpets. Also, avoid handhelds; they’re often too small and weak to handle shag or entire floors.

How to Choose the Best High Pile Vacuum

Though there are many to choose from, you shouldn’t buy a vacuum solely based on the type you like most. Its specs, features, and capabilities matter more. Here’s what you should look out for when purchasing one.


This could present itself as either suction or bristles, so it’s best to pay attention to both. You may be able to get away with powerful suction if the machine’s brush roll is built for soft carpets. But if both the bristles and the suction are too strong for delicates, they probably are for your shag or high pile.


Check for shag carpet-specific accessories. Keep in mind that these won’t be the same as the accessories for low pile rugs.


High pile carpets are thick, so using a heavy machine could be challenging. Bigger vacuums will surely give you more range and speed. Just make sure that they don’t weigh a ton. Anything over 10 pounds might feel cumbersome to use.


Does your home have hard floors too? If so, you’ll want to get a vacuum that can handle both with ease. Many models have different modes for hard and soft floors, and some might adjust automatically.

How to Vacuum a Shag Carpet

We have a few helpful tips that you can use once your new vacuum arrives. They will supplement your machine and make your cleaning so much more effective. Plus, they take little effort and are worth considering.

1. Shake It First

For rugs, shake them outside to loosen dirt. That way, the vacuum won’t struggle when it sucks it up.

Another method is to hang your rug over a clothesline and gently beat it. Don’t be too aggressive with it, especially if you have a plush rug. The objective is to loosen the dirt, not tear your rug apart.

Using both of these methods can send dirt flying straight into your face. So, try to position yourself so that the wind will carry it away from you. This is even more important if you have allergies.


There’s an old wive’s tale that leaving your rug out in the sun will kill bacteria. If you do this, your rug can get sun-bleached. And, if it’s synthetic, it can also dry out or, in extreme circumstances, melt.

2. Don’t Use Shampoo

Dry shampoos work well on carpets because they penetrate the fibers and loosen dirt inside them. For shag carpets, though, the risk of damage is too high. The chemicals are often too harsh, and you could be left with a stained or ruined carpet.

If you have stains or caked-in dirt on your high pile rugs, it’s better to get them professionally cleaned.

3. Upholstery Attachments Work Well

Upholstery tools are designed to handle fabric. Some are even built to tackle delicates, so they’ll work well on your plush carpets. They’re usually made with smaller surfaces in mind, so you may not be able to clean wall to wall with one.

They can be more efficient on smaller rugs, though.

If you don’t mind the effort, they’re a great way to care for your shags. These tools are considered standard, and many models come with them included.


Can You Use a Regular Vacuum on Shag Carpet?

You can use a regular vacuum cleaner on shag carpet, depending on the shag depth and the vacuum’s capabilities. We like the Soniclean Soft Carpet Upright because it vibrates to remove more dirt and has ultra-soft brushes that protect the carpet.

It also has a fragrance pod to help your shag carpet smell nicer after vacuuming.

How Often Should You Vacuum Shag Carpet?

You should vacuum your shag carpet at least twice weekly to remove ground-in dirt. Shag carpets are highly susceptible to dust build-up because the long fibers trap more debris.

Is a Shag Rug Hard to Vacuum?

A shag rug can be hard to vacuum because the deep fibers cause the brushes and rollers to clog. Choose a vacuum cleaner specializing in deep shag for the best results, like the Soniclean Soft Carpet Upright.

Can I Put My Shag Rug In the Washing Machine?

You can put your shag rug in the washing machine and even dry them in the tumble dryer. Most shag rugs are made from wool or synthetic fibers that can cope with the rigors of a washing machine.


See? Cleaning your shag carpets doesn’t have to be a pain, and it doesn’t have to cost you a fortune either. Vacuums suited to your needs are easier to find than you may think.

The best vacuums for shag carpets and high pile rugs take precautions to protect your floors.

Make sure the vacuum you choose specifies the type of floors and fabrics it’s best suited for. This will remove any confusion and save you from any damage to your precious rugs and carpets.

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About the Author

Amy Anthony

Amy Anthony is a cleaning expert, author, and contributing writer for Oh So Spotless, a leading online resource for all things related to cleaning, organizing, and maintaining a spotless home. With over 15 years of experience in the cleaning industry, Amy has gained extensive knowledge and expertise that have made her a trusted authority on best practices, efficient techniques, and innovative cleaning solutions.