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The kind of flooring you have determines how you clean. And the best vacuums for carpets aren’t all the same.
For example, the vacuum cleaner that’s perfect for the low nap of berber carpets might not be well-suited for high piles like shag or frieze.
In our article today we’ll explore the best vacuum cleaners for different kinds of rugs.
We’ll cover vacuums for carpet and hardwood, and work our way through plush carpets, stairs, and cleaning with robotic vacuums. In this way, you can find what you need as quickly as possible.
You may not want to read this, but here we go. You’re about to reconsider everything you knew about vacuums before you get a new one.
Stick with us—it might save your carpet from disaster. And it could make cleaning up much easier than it ever was before.
Upright vacuum cleaners are one of the most popular kinds of carpet (1). They provide powerful suction and come with useful attachments for cleaning upholstery and more.
One important feature is the rolling brush or beater bar. This exists to loosen dirt from deep inside the nap. It’s essential for many kinds of rugs.
But here’s the kicker: if you have a loop pile or shag carpet, you need the ability to turn off the brush roll.
Why? Because a brush roll will fuzz up the fibers on some kinds of carpet (2). This happens on both low pile and high pile rugs with wool-blend material.
To illustrate, if you have an area rug with a fringe, it’s safer to turn down the suction and turn off the beater bar, or avoid vacuuming the fringe altogether.
So if you have a wool carpet, it’s smart to turn off the brush roll(4) or use a vacuum without one.
The same is true when you go to vacuum hardwood, laminate floors, tile or other floor types.
Moreover, if you have stairs to clean, you might be better off with the next type of vacuum cleaner below, instead of an upright vacuum.
Canister vacuum cleaners are also very popular. They make it much easier to clean stairs and furniture as they have longer air hoses than uprights do. You don’t usually have to manhandle a canister up and down steps to vacuum them.
They provide more flexibility for hard-to-reach places. Again, they tend to come with attachments that extend their basic ability from floor-cleaning to dusting drapes and more. They are excellent for cleaning vehicles, too.
You’ll probably find that a canister vacuum cleaner is best if you have bare floors. You won’t have to worry about a brush roller scratching the surface when you vacuum tile flooring.
Just like uprights, you can get canister vacuums with or without bags.
Variations of those two main styles include stick vacuums, cordless vacuums, and hand vacs. These are convenient for quick touch-ups (and especially can be used to clean wood and tile floors) and vacuuming carpeted stairs and vehicles.
While some may not have the suction power of either a canister or an upright, they are compact and convenient. For example, you might decide to mount one on the wall of the pantry for quick cleanups in the kitchen.
The first successful robot vacuum cleaner became commercially available in 2002 (5). They have evolved from early models that did a decent job on bare floors to robots that vacuum carpet like an upright and even empty their dustbins.
If you’re curious about what kind of robot vacuum to get you can read our Roomba vs Shark showdown for some ideas.
Now let’s get into the reviews of the top vacuums for carpets and rugs. We’ll begin with bagless upright vacuum cleaners.
Perhaps you’ve seen the Bissell Cleanview in a friend’s home because this is a top-selling vacuum. The price per value ratio makes it an easy purchase. Let’s go over the highlights to see why.
First, those of us who tend to clean in a hurry benefit from OnePass Technology. It’s been proven to remove ground-in pet hair and dirt on the first pass. Second, the cyclonic suction system doesn’t allow dirt to cycle back into the room air. It also extends the lifetime of the vacuum and its filter. And third, the two-liter dust bin and washable filter mean you don’t have to clean the vacuum each time you clean the house. We only wish it had a HEPA filter.
There is another downside that you should know. Although you can remove the brush roller, you cannot turn it off. But if you don’t need to worry about delicate flooring, that shouldn’t be a problem. After all, there are five height adjustments.
The package includes a two-year limited warranty and an assortment of attachments. Those include a crevice tool, a soft-bristled dusting brush, an extension wand, and a TurboBrush Tool to remove pet hair from furniture and stairs.
The Swivel Rewind Pet Upright version of the Bissell Cleanview has some advantages over the standard model. To begin with, the swivel steering makes it a breeze to work around furniture. Next, the automatic rewind button retracts the 27-foot power cord in seconds. And finally, superior edge cleaning and specialized pet attachments make sure you get every last bit of fluff.
Hoover is a household name in vacuum cleaners so much that some folks will say they’re going to “hoover” the floor. The highlight is their WindTunnel Technology that maintains suction, avoids scattering debris, and lifts embedded dirt from the carpet. There are five carpet height adjustments for everything from hardwood floors to plush carpet.
One of the highlights is the HEPA filtration system. The prefilter is washable, but the actual HEPA filter will need to be replaced every couple of years. A second highlight is the one-button rewind of the 25-foot power cord.
This 10-pound upright vacuum from Eureka Pet Hair Upright Vacuum is considerably lighter and easy to use than competing models. It also has more than a foot-wide cleaning path. The five suction settings range from bare floor to area rugs to deep carpet, too.
Although it doesn’t have a HEPA filter, the filter it has is washable. Plus, the dirt bin is 2.6 L in size, substantially larger than similar vacuums have. Then, all accessories like the dusting brush and crevice tool store onboard.
Black and Decker’s AIRSWIVEL is even lighter than the Eureka above. At only 9.1 pounds, you might not mind hauling it up and downstairs. It has a 2-liter dust bin with washable filters to cut down on maintenance. Also, the clear nozzle window will clue you in immediately if you can’t tell by the sound that you just vacuumed up something you shouldn’t have. Other people-pleasing features include a 30-foot power cord with a 10-foot extension hose.
Shark makes a variety of vacuum cleaners. One of their most popular models for allergy sufferers is the Lift-Away Professional NV356E. That’s because it has a HEPA filter combined with Anti-Allergen Complete Seal Technology which maintains 99.9% of allergens inside the vacuum. That’s the case even though this isn’t a bagged cleaner.
But there are other highlights to appreciate. To demonstrate, this vacuum converts from an upright to a canister. One button press separates the two parts and makes cleaning stairs and furniture much easier.
Those of you who have shag carpet take note: you can shut off the brush roller on this model. That way you protect laminate flooring and plush carpet alike.
The only downside we discovered was that the cleaning path is only 9.5 inches wide. On the upside, that could be convenient if you have a lot of tight spaces or not a lot of room for storage.
The Shark Rotator Lift-Away NV502 may cost a little more, but it strives to be your go-to solution for all-around your home. It includes a car detail kit, a power brush for pet hair, LED lights, and other accessories. Like the model above, this vacuum is easy to use separates to become a portable canister perfect for stairs. But once again, you’re limited to a 9.5-inch cleaning path when it’s in the upright configuration.
This Shark vacuum has LED lights whether it’s used as an upright or a canister vacuum. Also, it’s a Hard Floor Hero model that cleans bare floors without harming them. Just press a button on the handle to switch from carpet to bare floor mode. Also, you can keep the brush roller spinning when it’s in canister configuration. Just imagine how much simpler it will be to vacuum up dog fur from your car now.
The HEPA filter plus Anti-Allergen Complete Seal Technology keep nearly 100% of the allergens and dust inside the vacuum even though it doesn’t use bags.
The Shark Ninja DuoClean NV801 picks up everything from invisible dander to large debris on both bare floors and carpets. Customers say that the superior suction handles everything from dusting curtains to ground-in pet hair. They love the fact that the canister is easy to use and easily detaches to simplify cleaning overhead, underneath beds, and on steps.
Dyson makes premium upright vacuums that come with a five-year warranty. Persons with asthma and allergies love them because of their potent suction and whole-machine HEPA filtration. Additionally, they self-adjust as they transition between bare floors and carpet.
The Dyson Ball Multi-Floor 2 model has the advantage of a 31-foot power cord with a 40-foot maximum reach because of the quick-release wand.
Dyson’s Ball Animal 2 claims to have the strongest suction of any vacuum according to tests the company performed. It’s rated for 306 AW, more than 50 units above the regular Dyson Ball. Moreover, it has a longer power cord (at 35 feet) than the other Dyson above. Of course, it comes with features like a whole-machine HEPA filtration system, and a five-year warranty.
Now let’s move on to easy to use bagged vacuums as they have some unique advantages over bagless cleaners.
The Soniclean upright is highly recommended by carpet companies like Mohawk (4). That’s because it protects plush fibers from fuzzing and tearing. At the same time, it lifts away deeply-embedded dirt to prolong the lifetime of the fibers. Its magic lies in two essential features.
First, the adjustable vent system ensures that the vacuum is easy to push on your carpet. Second, the large front wheels also increased maneuverability and prevent tangling. Third, the super-soft nylon bristles in combination with the ultrasonic vibrations of the bar loosen up dirt without being too aggressive on the carpet. You can also lay the vacuum flat to clean underneath furniture.
But what makes this cleaner special isn’t just the suction or maneuverability. It also has hospital-grade HEPA filtration. Yes, that includes H13 filter bags that capture very fine dust, pollen, and even bacteria.
In conclusion, the sonic clean has the Seal of Approval from the Carpet and Rug Institute. It’s part of their Green Label Vacuum Cleaner Program.
The bagged version of the Hoover upright is also easy to use and caters to the fact that no one likes to get their hands dirty. The press of a button releases the bag into the trash, so you never have to remove it manually. The bags are made with HEPA media that catches grains as small as 0.3 microns. But the filters are still washable.
Oreck’s Commercial XL Upright is a popular choice for home use simply because it’s very lightweight and powerful. It weighs just 8.2 pounds, has a 12-inch cleaning path with edge brushes, and switches automatically between rugs and bare floors. Furthermore, the Helping Hand handle is approved by the Arthritis Foundation for easy use by persons with limited mobility.
Sanitaire’s commercial upright offers an appealing extra for people who are sensitive to smells. It has both allergen filtration and the Arm & Hammer Odor Fighter. It lays flat to sweep under furniture and has an unusually long 50-foot power cord.
Now let’s switch to stick vacuum cleaners. This is a type of ultralight upright.
The Eureka Blaze is a three-in-one because it transforms from a stick upright to a stair vacuum or a hand vacuum. You can clean anything from tile floors and hardwood to low pile carpet to vehicles and upholstery with it. The swivel steering and four-pound weight make it very maneuverable. It comes with a crevice tool and a washable air filter.
Shark’s IONFlex Cordless Stick Vacuum switches between upright and reaches modes. This allows you to clean hard surfaces, carpet, underneath furniture, stairs, and in tight corners. Since it runs on two removable lithium-ion batteries, it’s very portable and a perfect choice for sweeping vehicles, too. Just be sure to clean all the filters according to the directions.
The Shark Rocket isn’t cordless, but it weighs just 7 pounds and converts between upright and hand vac. It’s good for hardwood or tile and rugs. Besides, it includes a Dust-Away attachment specifically for dusting bare floors.
The Spiffy Maid Bagless Broom is ideal for quick cleanups. It features a HEPA filter, a 30-foot power cord, and a crevice tool that stores on board. One of the other features we liked is the variable suction control which helps when dusting delicate surfaces.
Our next category is for canister vacuums. You may find that their flexibility and maneuverability suits you better than an upright.
One of the top vacuum cleaner manufacturers is Miele. But the price is worth it to thousands of owners worldwide. Their warranties range from 5 to 10 years long. And their vacuums tend to be less noisy and more powerful than most competitors.
The Miele C1 Cat and Dog isn’t their most expensive model, but it’s a solid choice for all types of flooring especially if you have pets that shed. It includes a host of features that cater to pet owners. For one, the Active Pet Hair Clean Filter contains activated charcoal layers to neutralize odors.
Next, the array of accessories includes a Parquet Twister floor head that protects hardwood and laminate from scratches. After that, the Electro Plus floorhead has five height adjustments for all types of delicate carpet. Both include adjustable suction.
To learn more about Miele vacuums, check out our guide here.
The Bissell Zing is a happy compromise between price and power. If you wanted to invest in a canister vacuum without spending a lot of money, try this one. It’s bagless and has an easy-empty dirt cup with washable filters. It weighs 8 pounds but only has a 15-foot power cord. On the bright side, the variable suction makes it straightforward to switch from small rugs and curtains to carpet and bare floors.
Okay, here’s the truth. We know sometimes you want someone else to do your cleaning for you. In that case, let’s look at the robotic vacuums.
Here’s the deal: there is an older Roomba, the 690, that you can get for a song these days. But the 980 is better at vacuuming carpets. So this is where we’ll begin.
The 980 is suited to large homes with plenty of foot traffic as well as pet owners. If you have people with long hair, you’ll appreciate the improved brush design that cuts down on tangling. It’s straightforward vacuum to clean.
Also, there’s a high-efficiency filter that catches allergens and dust as small as 10 microns in size. It’s not a HEPA filter, but it helps.
This robotic vacuum runs up to two hours before it needs a recharge. And the new Carpet Boost mode has suction up to 10 times better than earlier robots could manage on rugs. It also raises and lowers the brushes according to whether it’s on bare floors or carpet.
Finally, it’s Wi-Fi enabled. You can schedule it and monitor its progress by way of an app on your smartphone or through voice commands.
Neato’s D7 has laser technology. But don’t fear the robot. It’s only guidance technology, not weaponry. Instead of random bumping and meandering, it works with a purpose. Therefore, you can tell it to take care of specific trouble spots instead of the whole house at once.
Additionally, you can control this robot with a smartphone app, your Apple watch, or voice commands through Amazon Echo and Google Home. It runs up to two hours on a charge.
eufy has developed its RoboVac so that it’s very low-profile and can handle low-pile carpets. It offers 1500Pa of suction power, which sounds impressive until you do the math. That translates to about 6 inches of water lift when uprights from Hoover start at 30 inches.
But there are other advantages to this little robot. It’s inexpensive, for one. Plus, it slips easily under furniture as it’s only 2.85 inches tall. And a charge provides 100 minutes of cleaning at a noise comparable to microwave in operation.
Some of the handy extras include a charging base, a 13.2-foot magnetic boundary strip that doesn’t need batteries to operate, and remote control.
Here is the highlight of our section about robotic vacuums. We looked forward to the day this would happen.
The Roomba I7+ dumps its debris bin when it goes back to the dock (charging base) to recharge. Yes, you read that correctly. You won’t need to pop out the tray and dump it every time it vacuums.
On the other hand, you will eventually need to empty the large collection bin on the dock. But it holds up to 30 full trays of trash.
This isn’t a one-trick pony, though. This robot has ten times the suction that early-model Roombas had. It’s perfect for carpets. Furthermore, it filters allergens like pollen from the air.
Of course, it’s Wi-Fi-connected so you can control it through the app or voice commands. And it learns the layout of your home so that you can tell it to just clean the kitchen or the living room instead of the whole house.
If it’s out of your budget, you can buy Shark Ion 750 or Roomba 690 Vacuum. They closely match the cleaning power of i7+.
Have you heard about the Carpet and Rug Institute? They set standards for carpet manufacturers. Their Seal of Approval Program is an easy way for you to determine which products will be safest for your flooring.
If you see that a vacuum cleaner or carpet stain remover has the CRI Seal of Approval, you know that you can trust it.
Here are two tips that the CRI recommends for cleaning your carpet:
Make cleanup less problematic with weekly vacuuming. It extends the lifetime of your carpet and ensures that you don’t have to clean it as often.
No matter what kind of rugs you have, there’s likely to be a vacuum cleaner that’s perfect for you. Today’s technology ensures that you can protect your carpets and still achieve the desired deep cleaning.
While you shop, just keep in mind what other surfaces (like bare floors, furniture, vehicles, steps) you want to clean with your vacuum. That ensures your best chance of finding the ultimate tool for maintaining your home.
If you’ve discovered the vacuum cleaner of your dreams, we want to know. Leave us a comment to tell us which one it is and why you love it.
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