best vacuum for shag carpet

We’ve tested tons of vacuum models and determined our best vacuum for cleaning your shag carpet options.  Each of these vacuums includes features made specifically to get shag carpet clean. Keep reading to learn about each of these vacuums and decide which model may be the right one for you.

We all love shag carpets. They’re soft, warm, and look great. But their deep and luxurious pile does have a tendency to trap anything small that comes into contact with it – from dust to pet hair and more. This can make cleaning a little tricky. Fortunately, there are vacuum cleaners on the market that are specifically designed to tackle tough jobs like this one, so you can enjoy your shag without the added hassle of trying to brush it clean, or use a vacuum that just gets stuck on it. With this in mind, we’ve brought ten of the very best vacuum cleaners for shag carpet together. It was hours and hours spent, but we’ve managed to find vacuums suitable for your medium and deep shag carpets. We’ve read hundreds of customer reviews, product features, and special instructions on cleaning shag carpets to put together our top list.

best vacuum for shag carpet

Electrolux Corded UltraFlex Canister Vacuum EL4335A

The Electrolux Ultra Flex Vacuum is  a corded, canister vacuum model.  This vacuum is designed to perform well on shag carpets. This vacuums FlexPro Performance System  includes an on/off brushroll switch and 3-level height adjustment  so that you can clean any surface. Even though this vacuum is excellent for shag carpet, it will also work well on hard-surface floors.

This vacuum includes a  HEPA filter that will pick up over 99% of allergens and debris,  so its excellent for allergy sufferers. The design of the vacuum is slim, making it easy to store.  The vacuum is bagless and contains a dust cup that is easy to remove and empty.  This vacuum will easily twist around the furniture in your home.

The Electrolux UltraFlex Canister Vacuum includes several features that are specific for cleaning shag carpets.

Features for Vacuuming Shag and High Pile Carpets

  • Large back wheels and a low center of gravity for maneuvering on shag carpet
  • Adjustable suction power to gently clean shag carpets
  • Removable brushroll to safely clean shag carpets

This vacuum includes a 21-foot cord and an 8-foot hose. You should be able to clean any room from top to bottom without unplugging the vacuum. It is also easy to use on stairs.

Miele Complete C3 for Soft Carpet

The Miele Complete C3 for Soft Carpet provides amazing cleaning power for almost any surface. The vacuum  includes adjustable suction control,  which can be turned on or off using a convenient foot pedal located directly on the canister. This vacuum is a sturdy option and weighs in at 20 pounds.

Make sure you’re prepared for a heavier model if you select this vacuum.

This vacuum is an excellent choice for allergies sufferers. It  includes a HEPA AirClean Filter as well as an AirClean Sealed system  that retains almost 100% of particles that might otherwise float into the air. The Miele Complete C3 also comes with three extra accessories.  These accessories include a crevice nozzle, dusting brush, and an upholstery tool. 

Of course, the Miele Complete C3 for Soft Carpet is excellent for cleaning shag carpet.

Features for Vacuuming Shag and High Pile Carpets

  • The SEB 228 SoftCarpetElectrobrush – This includes five-level height adjustment, so it can clean any carpet from low-pile to shag
  • The Parquet Twister–This provides  180 degrees of vacuum rotation  that provides your floors with a thorough but gentle cleaning
  • The SoftCarpet Mode – Turn the vacuum to this mode to give your shag carpet a gentle clean

This is an excellently engineered vacuum that far outperforms other soft carpet models.  The Miele Complete C3 cleans hard-surfaced floors just as effectively as shag carpet.  It also has marked settings when you’re ready to switch to “soft carpet” and clean your shag floors.

Kenmore Elite Pet-Friendly Ultra Plush Vacuum 81714

The Kenmore Elite Pet-Friendly Ultra Plush is a unique vacuum because it is highly effective at cleaning shag carpet but can still pick up pet hair. It has been  designed to easily clean extra plush carpets.  Like other models on this list, this vacuum  includes the HEPA filtration system  that is a necessity for allergy sufferers. This vacuum uses Canister HEMPA bags which are easy to replace.  If you have a pet, then this may be your perfect vacuum.  It includes a PetPowerMate attachment that will pick up even the hardest-to-reach pet hair.  Additionally, the vacuum’s double-wall design keeps the air running steadily through the vacuum. This helps the debris go straight to the bag and keeps it from getting caught in the filter.

We wouldn’t recommend this vacuum unless it worked excellently on shag carpets.

Features for Vacuuming Shag and High Pile Carpets

  • Ultra-Plush Nozzle – This nozzle uses powerful airflow to clean even your deepest carpet
  • Variable Power – The different power settings mean you can ensure a gentle clean on your shag carpet
  • Swivel-Steering System – This system makes it easy for you to maneuver across your shag carpet and around the rest of your home

If you have stairs in your home, you can use this vacuum’s  Stair Grip which allows the vacuum to rest on the stairs.  This is a long-lasting vacuum with an easy-to-use hose that will pick up debris of any size. Check this vacuum out here.

HOOVER T-Series WindTunnel Pet Rewind Upright Vacuum

The Hoover T-Series WindTunnel Pet Rewind is another option for those with shag carpet who also own pets. This vacuum weighs just under 18 pounds. It includes a Folding Handle that makes it incredibly easy to store anywhere in your home.  One of the best features of this vacuum is the retractable 25-foot cord.  No more walking around to pick up your vacuum cord.

If you have a pet, then you can use this vacuum’s Air-Powered Pet Hand Tool which will help you easily clean pet hair from the floor. The  Pet Upholstery Tool  is great for removing pet hair from your upholstered furniture. It also has a  12-inch extension wand  that’s excellent for cleaning pet hair from the hard-to-reach areas of your home.

Features for Vacuuming Shag and High Pile Carpets

  • Five position Carpet Height Adjustment – This feature allows you to adjust to all floor types, including ultra-soft shag carpeting

The Hoover T-Series WindTunnel Pet Rewind is an affordable option for those who need a multi-purpose vacuum.

Eureka AirSpeed EXACT Pet Bagless Upright Vacuum Cleaner AS3001AA

This Eureka vacuum features AirSpeed technology which helps move more air and remove extra dirt for the deepest clean possible. This vacuum includes an 8-Foot Deluxe Stretch Hose, so you can easily clean your walls and ceilings. The hose will allow you to clean pet hair from your home’s corners and crevices. If you have pets, you can use the vacuum’s Pet Power Paw Turbo Nozzle.  The nozzle will help you clean pet hair from upholstered furniture. The Washable Dust Cup Filter is environmentally friendly and easy to remove from the vacuum machine. This vacuum is great for those who have allergies, and can efficiently clean any stairs in your home.

Features for Vacuuming Shag and High Pile Carpets

  • Five-Setting Height Adjustment – This allows you to adjust the vacuum to work on everything from hardwood floors to the plushest shag carpets
  • Smooth-Glide Pivoting System – This feature helps your vacuum maneuver around shag carpet and across every surface in our home

This vacuum comes with a variety of tools to help you keep your home clean. You can see the vacuum at work in this video. The Eureka AirSpeed EXACT is another excellent option for those who have shag carpets and pets in their home.

Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide

A comprehensive guide that will give you all the information you need on how to buy a new vacuum.

Getting Started

Deciding on the perfect vacuum for your home can be tricky. There are a lot of styles, functions and high-tech features to choose from. So which one is right for you? This guide has been created to make your vacuum shopping experience as easy as possible. So let’s dive in!.Shop Vacuums


There are a few different types and styles of vacuums that we are going to address in this buying guide. We are sure you will find just the one to fit all of your cleaning needs.

Upright Vacuums


This style of vacuum is going to be the most popular type of vacuum that can be found in many households today. It’s the best go-to vacuum for removing dust and dirt from carpeting, and is able to clean large areas of carpet quickly. They also work well on area rugs and hard floors.However, it is good to note that not all upright vacuums can be used on hard floor surfaces, since doing so might cause damage to some floors and vacuums. If this is an important factor it’s smart to do research on the brand of vacuum you are looking into, to make sure it works well on hard floors too. A brush on/off switch is recommended, as it will help protect the finish on bare floors.Some other things to look for when deciding on your upright vacuum are onboard attachment, bag-less or not, and the weight of the unit. Upright cleaners come in a variety of styles and sizes, each varying in weight. Some uprights include edge cleaning, which picks up dirt under the entire area of the head. This is a helpful feature especially when cleaning wall-to-wall carpeting. Suction control is another useful feature to look at when cleaning draperies and upholstery.Shop Upright Vacuums

Canister Vacuums


Canister Vacuums are portable and easy to use. They are well suited for people who clean a variety of surfaces but are most popular for those who have little carpeting and like to vacuum their hard surfaced floors. They tend to be lighter than other vacuum designs, plus they have a highly maneuverable power head that can reach tight spots with ease.Canister vacuums have the motor and bag in a separate unit, which is usually mounted on wheels to help with maneuvering. The canister itself is connected to the vacuum head by a flexible hose. By using a revolving brush system or brush agitator, it can dislodge dirt particles from the carpet so they can be picked up easily; this comes in handy when picking up things like pet hair. Without a built-in revolving brush, canister vacuums use straight suction to clean. Most canister vacuums have a bag that needs to be replaced, however there are bag-less models available, which eliminates the additional cost of buying dust bags.Bottom line, this style is perfect for vacuuming hard-to-reach spots and furniture; it’s also great for cleaning cars and drapes as well.Shop Canister Vacuums

Handheld & Stick Vacuums


These types of vacuums are the smallest and lightest options available, they are often cordless and operate on batteries. They also offer lots of convenience when it comes to a variety of cleaning tasks around the house.Handheld vacuums are perfect for cleaning closets, vents, blinds, upholstery or car interiors, and made mostly for above-the-floor cleaning. They’re best used for tasks such as cleaning up small spills, getting cobwebs out of corners or vacuuming dirt out of windowsills.Stick vacuums are very similar to upright vacuums. The design is the same, but stick vacuums tend to be a lot lighter in weight and usually do not come with any attachments. If you have a multilevel home, a stick model vacuum is great to keep on the second floor and eliminate the need to carry your main one up and down the stairs. Not to mention, there are certain models out now which have been designed with handheld features, making it easy to clean stairs, ceiling fans and more.Shop Handheld & Stick Vacuums

Robot Vacuums


Robot cleaners are completely hands-free, battery-operated vacuums. They seek out and suck up dirt, debris and dust from carpets and hard surface floors. They are a great choice for light, daily cleanings and extremely popular with pet owners, allergy sufferers, busy households, or just anyone who wants their floors to stay constantly clean.A robot vacuum is self-propelled and programmable, so you don’t have to do any extra work when it comes to vacuuming. These nifty gadgets use sensors to avoid obstacles and stairs, while smart enough to still easily clean underneath furniture. If you’re someone who simply does not have enough time to vacuum regularly, a robot vacuum can help you solve this problem.Shop Robot Vacuums

Commercial & Garage (Wet & Dry) Vacuums

Wet & Dry

Commercial and garage vacuums are often referred to as shop vacs. They offer extra power when it comes to professional-sized messes. These vacuums are the perfect type when it comes to cleaning up things such as sawdust in basements, dirt and water in garages, or any other mess, wet or dry. Many labor workers use them on job sites as they can handle that kind of debris. To choose the right commercial or garage vacuum, one must think about how they will use it and where it will be stored.Smaller models will be easier to move around, but they will not be able to handle larger messes.Shop Commercial & Garage (Wet & Dry) Vacuums

Carpet/Steam Cleaners

Carpet/Steam Cleaners

Carpet cleaners come in a variety of different styles ranging from uprights to portable spot cleaners, even smaller handheld carpet cleaners, all of which are capable of cleaning and disinfecting furniture, drapes or rugs.Even if you vacuum your carpets pretty regularly things such as dirt, pet dander, bacteria and dust mites remain deep in your carpet’s fibers. To fix this issue, carpet cleaners use moisture and heat to loosen the dirt and stains that a regular vacuum can’t suction. Not to mention, they can also disinfect carpets by killing unwanted germs. If you’re looking for a deep clean, a carpet cleaner is your best bet.Steam cleaners have become very popular in recent years because they are considered the healthy and “green” alternative to cleaning. Many steam cleaners look like upright vacuums, they have a large tank that dispenses hot water with a cleaning solution, while another tank holds the dirty water. If you or anyone in your home suffers from allergies and chemical sensitivities, a steam cleaner is a healthy way to deep clean a variety of surfaces without aggravating allergy symptoms. You and your family can live healthier and breath better by using a steam cleaner on a regular basis.Shop Carpet/Steam Cleaners

Central Vacuum Systems

Central Vacuum Systems

Central vacuum systems are the most durable options available. Although they may be a bit more expensive up front, the lack of maintenance and longer lifespan often make up for the cost and then some. Unlike traditional vacuums, the motor and collector of a central vacuum system is installed into the home, typically in the basement or garage. From there, vacuum piping runs through walls, crawlspaces, or other out of the way areas of the home to floor or wall-mounted inlet valves in a handful of locations around the house. By attaching a hose to these inlets, like those used by canister vacuums, you’re able to vacuum all of the areas of your home without lugging around a heavy canister or upright vac. The hoses are typically 30 feet long, allowing you to vacuum multiple rooms from a single inlet. These systems also offer all the same kinds of attachments you’d find on traditional types of vacuum cleaners, from wands to crevice tools to pet brushes.Installing a central vacuum system offers a number of benefits over traditional models. In addition to their longer lifespan, central vacuum systems also provide far greater suction capabilities when compared to other types of vacuum cleaners. More powerful motors translate to greater cleaning potential, allowing you to pull more particles out of thick carpets or upholstery.

Central vacuum systems are also significantly quieter than their portable counterparts. Without the motor roaring next to you as you clean, the only sound is that of fast-moving air. Additionally, central vacs promote cleaner air quality by extracting and containing dust particles, allergens, and other contaminants, whereas other types of vacuum cleaners can end up releasing their smaller particles back into the air, often when being emptied.There are a handful of qualities to look for when deciding between central vacuum systems. First and foremost, you want to be sure to use a trusted brand. While you may save a few dollars opting for a cheap system, you’ll likely end up paying more in the long run with service calls and/or a shorter lifespan. For the best indicator of suction strength look at the Air Watts specification, with higher numbers signifying stronger suction. You also need to make sure the system offers enough suction to cover every corner of your home. Choosing a model that boasts a coverage area greater than the square footage of your home is a good idea as these numbers are calculated with perfect conditions in mind.Lastly, you’ll need to decide between bag systems, those that use filters, a hybrid of the two, or a cyclonic system.

Bagged systems use a bag inside their collector canister to contain debris. Although they don’t require outside venting, using a vent will reduce noise and odor. Filter systems similarly don’t require venting but benefit from it. These systems use one of a handful of filter types to protect dirt from contaminating clogging the motor, filing a canister or bag that needs to be emptied every three to six months. Cyclonic systems are the only ones that require outside venting. Most of the dirt is captured with the canister with a small percentage of tiny particles venting outdoors. Hybrid systems, those that use filters and bags are a great choice. They help keep the motor running clean and offer an easy to dispose of container for debris.Shop Central Vacuum Systems

Useful Features to Consider

Before settling down and picking a vacuum that will work best for you, take a look as some additional features that may be important or become important long-term:


Bag-less designs probably offer the utmost convenience by allowing you to simply detach the container unit from the vacuum. You can then quickly dispose of any dirt inside, without having to pull out and replace a bag. However, bag designs are still nice because they can usually keep dust contained a lot better, since the bag itself seals the dust away. This prevents any further messes from occurring when cleaning out your vacuum. Not to mention, if allergies are a concern the bag is definitely a smarter choice.

Multi-Surface Flooring

If you have a combination of hard surfaced floors and carpets, or lots of hard floors, a multi-surface vacuum is the best way to go. Multi-surface vacuums allow you to turn the brush roll on and off, so you can avoid scratching your hard floors when transitioning from carpets.


Filters are a must-have for anyone who is sensitive to dust or pet hair, as well as allergic to pollen. HEPA filters are considered to be the best because they remove particles such as dust, dander and allergens from the air. Some vacuum models feature a filter that needs to be replaced regularly, while some have started to include reusable filters that allow you to remove, clean and replace the same filter as necessary. Reusable filters would be the ideal kind to use, as they are a great money-saving option.Shop Vacuums

Vacuum Accessories & Attachments

If you’re looking to do more than just vacuum the floors around your home, you may need to consider certain vacuum accessories and attachments. In order to properly clean drapes, sofas and chairs, dust shelves, and get to all the nooks and cracks in your home, you’ll need the right attachments.A crevice tool is great for cleaning corners and tight spaces. A dusting brush can be used to gently dust shelves and tables, as not to scratch them. An upholstery tool is perfect for vacuuming your furniture without causing any damage. Turbo brushes can offer a deeper clean for longer carpets.

The Main Vacuum Types

There are five primary shapes of vacuum cleaners, each performing a slightly different function, although some combine those forms in order to provide more bang for your buck. Being aware of the expectations you have of your vacuum cleaner can help you more intelligently and decisively pick one of the following.

1. Handheld

Handheld vacuums are perfect for getting those painfully hard-to-reach areas that desperately need a cleaning. The most common example for use is in vacuuming cars, since, as the name suggests, this model can be held in only one hand. Its versatility makes it a dream for suctioning up dirt and debris in a variety of tight places, but it would not serve well for general flooring cleaning, which would take a long time to clean with a handheld. This type of vacuum cleaner comes in all sorts of different forms with equally different price tags.

2. Canister

Canister vacuum cleaners are a happy medium between the upright model and the stick model. They are powerful like the upright cleaners, but feature a slender frame, like the stick cleaners. In this case, a separate canister is attached to a long wand which can be used to maintain not only carpeted areas but also bare flooring as well. This style of vacuum cleaner tends to be one of the most expensive options, given its technologically-forward and multi-functional design.

3. Upright

These cleaners are perhaps the most popular and sought-after forms of vacuum cleaners. When you imagine a vacuum cleaner or see one advertised in media, the image you picture is probably that of an upright machine. These models provide the most powerful clean-up for your house, and offer the comforting benefit of usually easy-to-understand functions and accessories, since most people have used an upright vacuum cleaner at least once in their lifetime. Most models provide settings that allow these vacuum cleaners to be used not only on carpeted surfaces but also bare floors.

4. Stick

While perhaps the least powerful of the vacuum models, stick vacuums have a knack for getting into narrow places and doing a tremendous job on hardwood floors, area rugs and light carpeting. This type of vacuum features a long stick-like handle and a slender construction. The slimness of this model makes it a perfect addition to any closet space, as it tucks neatly into most corners after its purpose has been served.

5. Autonomous / Robot

Robot vacuum cleaners have gained a lot of popularity in recent years, mainly due to the fact that they require little effort on your end. These vacuums are able to roam freely around your home, sucking up any small mess in its way. They not only save you time, but they are also able to reach places that larger vacuums wouldn’t be able to, such as under the couch. One main drawback of robot vacuums is that they typically come at a steep price.

Vacuum Cleaners

Location, Location, Location

Do you have primarily hardwood floors throughout your house? Are these floors covered with area rugs, or are they bare? Is your home filled with wall-to-wall carpeting? These are considerations you must make before taking the leap and purchasing your very own vacuum cleaner.

Bare Floors:

If you have bare floors, you’re better off with models that provide a number of attachments and which don’t have quite as much heft as some of the others. Using a regular upright vacuum on flooring like hardwood poses a number of problems, which includes scratching your smooth and coveted floors and being counterproductive by scattering debris across their surfaces. Some upright vacuums do provide settings that function better on non-carpeted areas, but for the most part your best bet would be with a model like the canister vacuum, which can also take care of your area rugs if you have any. These vacuums usually come with a bare-floor brush, which makes keeping your floors squeaky clean and scratch-free a piece of cake.


On the other hand, if you have wall-to-wall carpeting, it’s definitely worth considering a model with different advantages than a vacuum cleaner suited for hardwood flooring and tiling. You won’t need to worry about scratching the surface of your carpet, and in fact, you’ll want something powerful that pulls up all the lingering debris from the carpet strands. In this instance, an upright cleaner is a great way to go. There are all sorts of extra conveniences that upright vacuums have recently come out with, including a dirt sensor which makes sure you get that last speck of grime.

Know the layout of your flooring and what sorts of surfaces you’ll be dealing with to ensure your needs will be met with your new vacuum cleaner.

To Bag or Not To Bag

The general consensus is that, whether you have a bagged vacuum or a bagless vacuum, your house will be clean either way (as long as you keep using it). However, there are a few small differences that may make or break your decision to buy one or the other.


If you or any of your family members are sensitive to allergens or have asthma, the bagged vacuum is probably more for you. Dust exposure is minimized when the bag is emptied and most bags are guaranteed to trap all but .03% of the dust and pollen in your carpeting. You do have to replace the bags on a regular basis, although these are typically available at most supermarkets.


If you are environmentally-minded and prefer to not have to deal with replacing bags, the bagless vacuum is more for you. These vacuums usually have a see-through canister which gives you perfect access to seeing how full the vacuum is, which can help you determine when you need to empty it out.

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