The Best Vacuums for Shag & High Pile Carpets (2017 Version)

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Your shag and high pile carpets are soft, luxurious and difficult to clean. These high-end carpets need special care, and the wrong vacuum might not even roll over your carpeting. It’s important to invest in the right vacuum if you have one of these softer carpets.

Miele Complete C3 Soft Carpet

Our top choice in 2020

Kenmore Upright Bagless Vacuum Cleaner CJUBL2

Fantastic adjustments and flooring versatility

Oreck Commercial XL2100RHS 8 Pound Vacuum with 4 Bags Bundle – Blue

Best option for older users

But before you go and spend money on a vacuum, let’s learn how to choose your next vacuum.

How to Choose a Vacuum for Shag and High Pile Carpets

Shag carpets have a shaggy appearance. High pile carpets are often referred to as shag carpets. These carpets have fibers that are looser and taller, making them softer.

They’re great carpets until you go to vacuum them.

A dog is lying on carpet

What to Look for in Your Vacuum

When looking at a vacuum’s features, there are a few things you’ll want to look at:

  • Bagless vs Bag Models: Some manufacturers will offer bagless vacuums, while others choose bag models. The main difference is that the bag models will require bag replacements, which will cose you more money in the long-term. Comsumer Reports has a good explanation on the difference between the two models.
  • Height Settings: If you have one of these super soft carpets, you have higher carpet fibers. The height setting allows you to change the depth of the cleaning power and allows you to vacuum up dirt on high pile carpets, hardwood, tile and other flooring types. This is an option to consider if you have multiple flooring types in your home.
  • Accessories: I’m a person who wants to get the most out of my vacuum. How do I get the most out of my vacuum? Accessories. Some models will include accessories that help make cleaning your home easier. These accessories may include upholstery attachments, crevice tools, extensions and the like. If you have a larger home to clean, pay close attention to the accessories your vacuum offers.
  • Filters: Some people prefer filterless models, while others like filters. HEPA filters, for example, are included with a lot of vacuum cleaners because the filter will filter smaller particles that cause irritants, pollutants and allergens to enter the environment.
  • Automatic Height Settings: While height settings have been mentioned, there are also models that will adjust the carpet height automatically. This is great for ease of use and allows you to go from one flooring type to the next with ease. Automatic adjustments offer less control over your cleaning, but it’s easier than having to switch settings when going over multiple flooring types.
  • Power Button Options: Older users may strain to reach the power button on some vacuums. But, there are vacuums that offer a handle-positioned power button that makes operating your vacuum a breeze. There are other models, such as the Oreck below, that is recommended for people with arthritis, so it’s a great choice for older users.
  • Suction Control: Depending on the pile of your carpet, too much suction may get the vacuum stuck. Some models will offer suction control if you’re willing to pay a higher price for them. The suction control of a vacuum makes it versatile and allows you to use it on a variety of different piles.
  • Pivoting: A pivot head or the ability to move the head position of the vacuum to clean in corners or along edges takes cleaning to the next level. If you have a shag or high pile carpet in the corner of the room, you may want a vacuum with a head that pivots or will meet these demands.

A women wiping her nose

You can also consider some of the basics. Pricing, for example, can vary greatly. Commercial and high-end units cost significantly more than low-end models. Reviews are also a must-read.

Vacuums that are designed for these two carpet types are difficult to pick. But the guidance and tips above will help make your choice a little easier. We’ve also provided a few tips below if you need to clean your carpet before ordering a new one.

Things to Consider Before Making Your Purchase

You’ll need a new vacuum if you want to keep your shag carpet in good condition, but there are a few things to consider, too.

  • You can hire a professional carpet cleaner.
  • You can hand remove dirt and debris – but it’s a pain.

Porch has a lot of great recommendations for cleaning these high pile carpets properly. You might even want to take your carpet outside and shake it. The shake allows you to remove a lot of the dirt and debris that’s stuck in the carpet.

And when you shake it clean, or beat it, you’ll also help restore the carpet’s fluffy look. I find that banging the carpet against a banister works very well, or you can hit it against a tree or other hard surface.

The goal is to shake off the dust and debris, and hopefully, make your carpet a little fluffier. With extended use, high pile and shag carpets will begin to flatten without the right care.

The video below provides a few tips on how to clean shag carpets properly.

Reviews of the Best Vacuums for Shag & High Pile Carpets

Kenmore Upright CJUBL2 Bagless Vacuum Cleaner Review

Kenmore’s CJUBL2 is a bagless vacuum cleaner (great for saving money), and it offers a filterless dust cap, which gathers all of the dirt in your carpet. This vacuum cleaner offers the following features:

  • Bagless design
  • LED headlight
  • 5-position height adjustment
  • Dusting tool
  • Extension wand
  • Crevice tool

Kenmore has one thing that makes this a vacuum work so well on high-pile carpeting: height adjustments. The height adjustment feature offers five height levels that are powerful when cleaning: hardwood, low – high pile carpets, shag carpets and even berbers.

As a bagless model, you’ll be able to clean quickly and simply dump the dust cap. This will save you money on bags in the process.

There is a dusting tool, extension wand and crevice tool to help bring your house cleaning to the next level.

An LED light on the front of the vacuum will illuminate the carpet so that you can ensure every last speck of dirt has been removed from your carpet. It’s a no-frills, upright vacuum that makes vacuuming high profile carpets simple.

The lack of fancy features is a good thing.


  • Height adjustment allows you to clean a variety of flooring types
  • Powerful suction in a lightweight model
  • Filterless design makes changing filters a thing of the past


  • Attachments have difficulty staying in place

Kenmore’s Upright vacuum offers the ability to clean a variety of flooring types in one, lightweight model. Minus the attachments being fickle, this carpet cleaner is a powerful option for shag and high pile carpets.

Panasonic MC-UG471 Upright Vacuum Cleaner Review

Panasonic’s MC-UG471 is an upright vacuum that is corded and comes in a stylish red design. Designed with plastic and metal, this vacuum cleans high pile carpets as well as traditional carpets with ease.

Panasonic includes a set of rich features, too, such as:

  • 12-amp motor
  • Corded design
  • Auto cord rewind
  • 14″ cleaning path
  • HEPA filter
  • Automatic carpet height adjustment
  • QuickDraw tools
  • Headlight
  • Air turbine brush

Panasonic doesn’t promote its carpet cleaner as being a model that’s good for high pile flooring, but it is promoted as a model that’s good for everything from berber to shag. If you can clean a shag carpet with this model, a high pile carpet is a breeze.

Powerful and lightweight, the 14″ cleaning path makes vacuuming much faster.

The HEPA filter does limit the number of allergens in the air – perfect for keeping allergies under control – and there are ample attachments. Quickdraw tools allow you to clean higher surfaces quickly, while the air turbine tools offer quick upholstery cleaning.

And I can’t brag enough about the auto cord rewind feature.

You never have to ravel a cord again. The automatic height adjustment is nice, too, especially when going from shag to hardwood and then tile in the bathroom.


  • Automatic height adjustment makes cleaning faster
  • HEPA filter takes control of allergens and dust
  • Powerful suction works great on thicker carpets


  • Auto rewind cord gets stuck on occasion

The only complaint I have with this vacuum is that the automatic rewind feature gets the cord stuck on occasion. You’ll need to pull the cord and rewind again. A small complaint, but it’s a pain when it does happen.

Oreck Commerical Vacuum Review

Oreck is a leader in the vacuum industry, so it’s no surprise that the company’s commercial vacuum makes our list. This vacuum also comes with four bags to help you get started – a nice little perk.

This vacuum features:

  • 4-bag bundle
  • Blue design
  • 8-pound weight
  • 12-inch cleaning path
  • Automatic floor adjustment
  • 6,500 RPM double helix brushes
  • Helping hand handle

Oreck’s vacuum doesn’t have a filter, so dust will escape, but it does a great job of keeping dirt inside of the bags. Commercial by design, Oreck’s vacuum offers durability and longevity – it will work for years.

A 12-inch cleaning path makes vacuuming fast, while the automatic floor adjustment provides hands-free changing from one flooring type to the next.

The helping hand design includes an on/off switch that is placed on the handgrip. You don’t need to bend over to turn this vacuum on and off, which is ideal for older users.

The double brush roll features a 6,500 RPM, which moves debris right into the inlet thanks to the double helix brushes. You’ll also find that while Oreck doesn’t promote this vacuum for high pile, it works great on shag and high pile carpets.


  • Strong suction power is ideal for high pile carpets
  • Lightweight design and power button on the handle is great for older users
  • Automatic floor adjustments make cleaning different flooring types quick


  • Very loud when in use

Oreck’s extreme power makes this vacuum very loud. It’s expected with a high suction power, so if you want a vacuum with lower noise production, move on to another model.

Otherwise, Oreck has impressed again with their commercial quality vacuums.

Hoover WindTunnel 2 Review

Hoover is another household name, and the WindTunnel 2 provides a powerful vacuum backed with dual-cyclonic air passes. The cyclonic air passes filter air and dirt from the path of the air to remove more dirt than the competition.

The WindTunnel 2 features:

  • 2 channel suction
  • Dual cyclonic air passes
  • HEPA Media Filter
  • 10-feet cleaning reach
  • Accessory package
  • 5 position height adjustment
  • Cord rewind feature
  • Easy-rinse filter
  • Turbo tool
  • Dusting brush
  • Crevice tool

Hoover’s vacuum comes packed with power, and the cyclonic air passes eliminate the need to go over the same area twice. There are also 2-channel suctions to dig deep into carpet fibers to leave your carpets cleaner.

The accessory pack allows you to clean upholstery, crevices and air vents.

An easy-rinse filter makes buying new filters a thing of the past, and there are five position height adjustments. When it comes time to rewind the cord, the unit will automatically retract the cord for you.


  • Accessory package offers tools to clean the entire home
  • Strong suction and dual cyclonic passes eliminate going over the same spot twice
  • Bagless design and bottom release cup make cleaning simple


  • Heavy with a short cord

This is a heavy vacuum, and the shorter cord means you’ll need to reposition the vacuum often. While not a huge deal, it does make vacuuming a little more tedious.

Miele Complete C3 Soft Carpet Vacuum Review

Miele offers the Complete 3, which is a soft carpet vacuum. Miele has designed this vacuum from the ground up to be used for soft vacuums, and it’s one of the best in its class. This model is simply different.

When choosing the C3, you’ll receive:

  • Adjustable suction control
  • 5-stage adjustable height
  • HEPA air filter
  • Built-in storage compartment
  • 180-degree pivot
  • 36-feet operating radius
  • 3 parquet twister
  • 20-year tested usage
  • Vortex motor system
  • Nimble design

Miele is for serious users. You can even control the suction level – something very few vacuums offer. There’s also the built-in storage compartment that comes in handy when trying to remove stains and needing a cleaner.

Pivot the head of the vacuum with the 180-degree pivot for easy cleaning of hard-to-reach places. The long range also for 33+ feet of cleaning.

You can clean even the largest room without needing to change electrical ports. Designed for soft carpets, you can adjust the height of the vacuum to clean tile, hardwood and low pile carpets, too.


  • Long cleaning radius makes cleaning fast
  • 180-degree pivot allows for cleaning even in tight spaces
  • Suction power control makes cleaning high pile carpet more customizable


  • Carpet head takes practice to master positioning

The only bad thing I can mention about this vacuum is that the cleaning head is difficult to keep flat on the carpet. You’ll get used to it, but it’s different than a typical upright vacuum.

Aside from this, Miele offers a vacuum that’s been designed from the ground up for soft carpeting, and it’s one of the best in the business.


Miele’s C3 vacuum is the best-of-the-best for shag and high pile carpets in 2020. This high-end vacuum is designed for soft carpets, and the suction adjustments makes vacuuming more personal.

The head of the vacuum can be turned 180 degrees, so you can get into corners with ease.

And the long radius makes it easy to clean an entire room without needing to change power outlets. Vortex cleaning removes more dirt from carpeting, too.

Then you have to consider that the Miele is tested for 20 years of use. This is a vacuum that can last a lifetime under the right conditions. A lot of other vacuums will last 3 – 7 years, so a 20-year lifespan is very rare.