How to Find the Best Vacuum Cleaner for Carpet

best vacuum cleaner for carpet
Disclosure: We receive compensation from the companies whose products we review. We are independently owned and the opinions expressed here are our own.

With all the options available today, how can you know which is the best vacuum cleaner for carpet? After all, keeping your carpet clean is important. It helps your carpet last longer, look better, and has a significant impact on the air quality in your home.

With so many options on the market, we want to make it easy for you to find your new carpet vacuum, so we’ve done the research you don’t have time for. Read on for our take on the ten best vacuum cleaners for carpet on the market today.

How We Choose Our Ratings

We sift through countless reviews, research company reputations, accessory options, long term durability, side-by-side comparisons, and more. All of these things are incorporated into how we rate the best vacuum cleaner for carpet.  

There are great options for hard floors out there, too, but today we’re just talking about the best options for cleaning the carpets in your home.

The 7 Best Vacuum Cleaners for Carpet

Which one of these vacuum cleaner choices should you bring home?

1. Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional

Shark NV356E S2 Navigator Lift-Away Professional Upright Vacuum with...
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The Shark Navigator is an interesting hybrid machine. It is an upright vacuum with a powerful brush head that’s removable. When you detach the body of the vacuum from the rotating brush head it becomes a bagless canister vacuum. The Shark Navigator gives owners the best of both worlds in one mid-market machine.

The suction is great on the Shark Navigator. While it does not have a pile height selector, you can adjust the amount of suction the machine provides via a vent collar on the handle.

This is also the vacuum with the most extras in the mid-market range, including both the brush head for carpets, small pet hair/upholstery head, dusting brush, long bristled brush and a hard floor head that comes with a removable Microfiber Pad.

The only caveat we’ve seen with the Shark Navigator Lift-Away is to double-check exactly which model you’re buying since each model comes with a different attachment kit. We recommend the Professional model for the most complete set of included options.

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Shark NV356E S2 Navigator Lift-Away Professional Upright Vacuum with...
  • Dust cup capacity 2.2 quarts; Lift away; Press a button to lift the canister away and easily clean hard to reach areas
  • Anti-allergen complete seal technology plus a HEPA filter; Traps 99.9 percent of dust and allergens inside the vacuum
  • Powerful and lightweight; Portable and versatile at 13.7 pounds

2. Miele Compact C2 Electro+

Miele Compact C2 Electro+ Canister HEPA Canister Vacuum Cleaner with...
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Miele makes high-end vacuums designed to last for a minimum of 10 years and the Compact C2 is no exception.  If you want to own a Miele, expect to pay more than you would for a Dyson. It also requires a lot less maintenance than most uprights and can typically be repaired for less than the cost of a mid-market replacement vacuum.

The Compact C2 is the only canister vacuum on this list. It’s also a bagged unit – something you’ll want to keep in mind when considering the long-term cost of ownership.  Using bags makes this a great option for people with allergies, but not the ideal choice for pet owners since animal hair will fill the bags quickly.

The Compact C2 Electro+ has the best suction of any of Miele’s vacuums under four figures.  This canister vacuum comes with a powered floor head with five height options and is the only model on this list specifically geared for all pile heights. Don’t worry if you have hard surfaces to clean, too. The Compact C2 also comes with a dedicated hard floor head, something you can’t get in an upright model.

The Miele Compact C2 weighs 18.1 pounds, about the same as a quality upright, but, because it is a canister vacuum you won’t be pushing all that weight around on every pass. Best of all, this is the quietest model on our list.

Miele Compact C2 Electro+ Canister HEPA Canister Vacuum Cleaner with...
  • Bundles Includes - Miele's AH50 FJM Performance Pack - Comes With 16 Genuine Miele FJM Airclean FilterBags, 1 Genuine...
  • The Miele Compact C2 Electro+ has a 20-Year Average Life-Span - Extremely Lightweight and Powerful - Only 10 lbs!
  • Comes with Miele SEB 228 Powerhead - Electrically Driven Carpet Tool with an Extra Wide Brush Roll lets you Adjust...

3. Dyson Ball Animal 2

Dyson Ball Animal 2 Total Clean Upright Vacuum Cleaner, Blue
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The Dyson Ball Animal 2 is the second generation of Dyson’s Animal, one of the first vacuums designed primarily for pet owners. This premium vacuum includes whole-machine HEPA filtration and is certified by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

Weighing in at 17.35 pounds, the Animal 2 is a little heavy. The smooth motion provided by the Dyson ball makes this vacuum so maneuverable it feels lighter than expected when in use.

One of the best features of this bagless upright is the release button for the dust cup. It’s mounted on the top of the cup so you don’t have to worry about spilling carpet debris on yourself when you empty it.

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Dyson Ball Animal 2 Total Clean Upright Vacuum Cleaner, Blue
  • Strongest suction of any vacuum. Suction tested to ASTM F558 at the cleaner head, dust-loaded against upright market.
  • Dyson technology helps create a cleaner, healthier home - Our vacuums and purifiers are scientifically proven to capture...
  • Engineered for homes with pets: With features and tools that dig out dirt, hair and allergens everywhere your pet gets

4. Kenmore Elite Bagged 31150

Kenmore Elite 31150 Pet Friendly Bagged Upright Beltless Vacuum w/Pet...
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The Kenmore Elite Bagged 31150 is an upper mid-market option that is ideal for homes where allergies are a concern. It offers HEPA filtration and is certified by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

This high-power vacuum uses an inducer motor for 20% more air power than most uprights. One of the best features of the Elite Bagged 31150 is its dual-motor belt-less direct drive system – meaning no belts to replace for you. The three total motors on this vacuum do make it a little heavy at almost 20 pounds, though.

This vacuum features 5 height options as well as sleek onboard storage for the 35-foot power cord, 5-foot extension hose, wand, and accessories. You won’t have to worry about knocking off stored accessories when you go around corners.

Kenmore also has great customer service and, since they are affiliated with Sears, you can often get local repair or warranty service.

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Kenmore Elite 31150 Pet Friendly Bagged Upright Beltless Vacuum w/Pet...
  • BAGGED UPRIGHT VACUUM: Remove pet hair, dust and more with this multifloor, multi-surface designed vacuum for use in...
  • PET HANDIMATE: Air driven turbine spins roller brush to high RPM easily removing dander, stubborn pet hair and other...
  • TRIPLE HEPA FILTER SYSTEM-AAFA CERTIFIED: Enhanced HEPA filter system traps 99.7% of debris, trapping dander and dust...

5. Bissell Cleanview Vacuum 1831

Bissell Cleanview Upright Bagless Vacuum Cleaner, Orange, 1831
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The Bissell Cleanview is one of the most powerful vacuums on this list. You may even notice the vacuum actually lifting the carpet off the floor a little if you watch any of Bissell’s videos.

Several Cleanview owners reported vacuuming their carpet with their old vacuum before this one arrived and then vacuuming again with the Cleanview. They reported being horrified at how much dust and dirt was apparently still in their carpet – and delighted by how well this little Bissell upright picked it all up.

This is a lightweight 15.4-pound  bagless vacuum featuring Bissell’s One Pass Technology with multi-cyclonic action so that you spend less time vacuuming. The vacuum comes with all the accessories you’ll need, a 6-foot extension hose, the small TurboBrush for cleaning furniture and stairs, a dusting brush, crevice tool, and extension wand.

The only issues we’ve seen with this unit are that the 25-foot cord is a little short for some folks and the extension hose is a little stiff.

Bissell Cleanview Upright Bagless Vacuum Cleaner, Orange, 1831
  • Every purchase saves pets
  • One pass technology with powerful suction and innovative brush design to clean on the initial pass (removes most surface...
  • Powerful, multi cyclonic suction system for lasting suction that captures and keeps dirt in the bin, where it belongs

6. Oreck Commercial XL

Oreck Commercial XL2100RHS Commercial Upright Vacuum Cleaner XL,Blue
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The Oreck Commercial XL is the lightest vacuum we recommend, weighing only 8.2 pounds.

This basic bagged upright is a simple workhorse. It has 1 speed, a narrow 12-inch head, a fixed 35-foot cord, and zero attachments or options. The handle folds almost completely flat while in use to get under beds and other furniture.  Simple but effective, this is a machine built for one job -– to clean your floor -– and it does that job very well.

One surprising feature is the roller bar. It’s made out of wood and will last a long time. It’s also belt driven, so replacement belts need to be figured into the long term ownership cost. The only complaint we’ve seen about the Oreck Commercial XL is that you need a star-tipped screwdriver to remove the roller bar for cleaning.

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Oreck Commercial XL2100RHS Commercial Upright Vacuum Cleaner XL,Blue
  • LIGHTWEIGHT: Easy to use at only 9 lbs and light in hand with the Helping Hand handle
  • ON/OFF SWITCH: Thumb control for on/off switch integrated into the handle for easy convenience
  • LOW PROFILE DESIGN: Lays flat to tackle hard-to-reach under beds and furniture with bumpers to protect walls and...

7. Hoover Windtunnel 3 High Performance Bagless Corded Upright Vacuum

Hoover WindTunnel 3 High Performance Pet Bagless Corded Upright Vacuum...
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Hoover has been making vacuum cleaners for a long time and it shows in the quality of their products. They understand what people want out of a vacuum. Though it is a little heavy at just over 18 pounds, the Windtunnel 3 is a great mid-market option.

This vacuum features a wider than average 15-inch cleaning head and a 40-foot cord for plug and go cleaning.  With seven variable height settings, the Windtunnel 3 can handle anything from bare floors to high pile carpet with ease. The Quick Pass brush roll is motor-driven and makes for deep, fast cleaning since you don’t have to pass over the same area multiple times with this model.  The Windtunnel 3 also uses Easy Rinse filters so there are no extra filters to buy after you get your vacuum.

If you have any issues with the Windtunnel 3, you can also take advantage of the 5-year warranty from one of America’s oldest vacuum manufacturers.

Hoover WindTunnel 3 High Performance Pet Bagless Corded Upright Vacuum...
  • Our Best Cleaning Bagless Upright
  • QuickPass Brush roll – 2X Faster Cleaning - Clean surface debris without having to pass over the same area multiple...
  • Exclusive WindTunnel 3 Technology - Creates 3 channels of suction to lift and remove surface debris and deep down...

Buying Guide

You know our choices for the best vacuum cleaner for carpet, but how do you know which one is right for you? Below are some things to consider when choosing which vacuum to buy for your home.

Floor Surface

What kind of vacuum cleaner you need depends on how much of your floor is carpeted and how much is a hard surface. If the bulk of your flooring is carpet, one of the machines on this list is sure to fit your home.

If most of your home has tile, wood, or other hard surface flooring, then choose a vacuum that performs well on those surfaces. Something that cleans them without damaging the floor is a better choice than selecting a model based on how well it cleans the carpet.

Type of Carpet

Do you have thick, high pile carpets? What about dense, closed-loop carpet? Are you living in a 70s house that still has a shag carpet?

Your vacuum cleaner needs to work well on the carpet you have. Check with the carpet manufacturer or seller to find out which type of vacuum they recommend for the carpet in your home.

If you’re not sure what kind of carpet is in your home, and you own the home, cut a small sample from an inconspicuous area –- closets are great for this. Take the sample to a carpet or flooring store and ask them to tell you what kind of carpet it is. If you’re renting, ask the owner or property manager if they know what kind of carpet you have.

Accessories

How important is it to you to have all the bells and whistles? Do you actually use your vacuum cleaner to dust your home?  Do you need that crevice tool? Is an upholstery brush a must-have for you?

These are all things to consider when choosing a vacuum cleaner. Some of the best vacuums for carpets don’t come with a lot of extras. When you’re selecting your new vacuum cleaner, keep in mind all the ways you want to be able to use it.

Weight

Do you have a two-story home? Or a medical condition that makes carrying weight difficult?

You want to keep things like this in mind when selecting your new vacuum cleaner since you will be moving it a lot. A 20-pound vacuum that is no issue for one person to push around may not be feasible for another to move and up down stairs easily.

Lifestyle

Do you vacuum a little or a lot? Have airborne allergies? Have a lot of pets? Do you have, or have someone living with you who has long hair?

If you don’t vacuum a lot, or if airborne allergens are not an issue in your home, you may want to look into budget machines that will do well for limited usage. A typical budget vacuum cleaner will probably stop working well in a year or two of moderate usage. If you don’t use yours that often, a budget model may be best for you. Just remember, if you vacuum infrequently, the machine you buy will be working harder those few times you do use it.

Airborne allergies are a serious health concern for many. Almost every upright vacuum on the market right now has some form of HEPA filtration and many have multiple filters. If allergies are an issue, you want to ensure the vacuum cleaner you select will not make it worse. Allergy doctors recommend bagged vacuums for indoor air allergens to remove the allergens from the air and seal them away where they cannot escape.

Pets

Pets make a house a home. They also make a house hairy. No matter how well-groomed or frequently brushed a dog or cat is, it will still shed all over your home. That means you’re going to be vacuuming up a lot of pet hair. Pet hair is sometimes hard to remove because of static attraction, so you want to make sure that the model you select has enough suction to get the job done.

Pet owners should also keep in mind that pet hair takes up a lot of space in a vacuum bin or bag. If you have a lot of pets, replacing your vacuum bag frequently can get to be expensive. If allergies are not an issue, bagless is the way to go for pet parents.

People with long hair frequently complain about the hair they’ve shed getting wrapped around the brush roller of their vacuum cleaners. If this is the case in your house, you want to make sure you choose a model that offers a removable brush bar for easier cleaning.

Budget

Buying a new vacuum cleaner that works well on carpet is not a cheap proposition. High-end models available today can cost into the four figures. Low-end models can be as little as two figures.

With many, but not all budget vacuum cleaners –- the Oreck XL Professional is a stand out in this market – you will get what you pay for. Typically that is 12 months of great vacuuming followed by a year or 2 of poor performance before you decide you have to replace it.

The Best Vacuum Cleaner for Carpet

There are a lot of great options on the market when it comes to vacuum cleaners. We’ve shown you the ones we think are the best. Only you can decide which is the best one for you.

Last update on 2021-03-01 at 13:08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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