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Carpets and rugs can do a lovely job at hiding messes, and it's often satisfying (and a little gross) to hear the crunchy noise of a quality vacuum suctioning up dirt, dust, and crumbs tucked into a rug's fibers. However, you have to find that vacuum first that'll keep your carpets and rugs clean—that has powerful suction and useful accessories that don't leave any embedded debris behind.
We've purchased over 50 vacuums of all kinds to find the best options for you. We've tested them in The Lab for effectiveness on three types of carpet and hard floors, features, maneuverability, value, and noise level, and at home in real-world situations. Our best overall pick, the Shark IZ462H Vertex DuoClean PowerFins Stick Vacuum, is lightweight and cordless, and has a self-cleaning brush roll to prevent tangling.
Here are the best vacuums for carpets.
Best Overall: Shark IZ462H Vertex DuoClean PowerFins Lightweight Cordless Stick Vacuum
Long battery life
Folds in half for easy storage
Vacuum basically moves itself
Powerful suction on all types of flooring
No provided attachment storage
Dust bin could be larger
Who else recommends it? The Strategist and Bob Vila both picked the Shark IZ462H Vertex DuoClean PowerFins Stick Vacuum.
What do buyers say? 88% of 3,400+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.
Confidently clean carpeting of all sorts in your home with our top pick, the Shark IZ462H Vertex DuoClean PowerFins Cordless Stick Vacuum. In our search for the best vacuum for carpet, this lightweight yet capable model wins points for its effective cleaning, maneuverability, and easy emptying. As part of the Shark Vertex series, this is a cordless vac with enough battery juice to vacuum even high-pile carpet, without experiencing annoying battery fade. In fact, you can use it for up to an hour before it has to be charged, all while enjoying powerful suction and unhindered cleaning.
Speaking of effectiveness, this vacuum cleaned up materials during testing with no problems. We tasked the Shark vacuum with particles large and small, and it grabbed everything in just a single pass, earning it a perfect 5-star rating for effectiveness. The dual PowerFins design ensures that the brush rolls have constant contact with your carpets for the ultimate clean, and says goodbye to any hair wrap. This vacuum will ultimately save you time and energy making repeated passes across the floor, trying to capture that one last bit of debris. In our opinion, the dust bin could be a bit larger, but it was still easy to empty so our tester gave the emptying process a 5-star rating as well.
Some vacuum cleaners have plenty of suction power for carpet fibers, but become difficult to maneuver on high-pile carpeting or rugs. In The Lab, we didn’t experience any of these issues with the Shark IZ462H Vertex Stick Vacuum—in fact, “flawless” is how our product tester described this vacuum’s maneuverability, rating it 5 stars. It glided across all the surfaces, and the body of the vacuum features a hinge point that allows it to flex and reach underneath furniture like sofas and coffee tables. This folding feature also saves space when stowing the vacuum in a closet or corner.
This vacuum also filters 99.99 percent of particulates like dust, allergens, dander, and more, so you can breathe comfortably in your home. All in all, we wish that there was onboard storage for the included attachments, and it would be more convenient if the handheld portion of the vacuum wasn’t so heavy. However, these minor complaints have no effect on the value of this Shark vacuum. It’s compact, powerful, and makes an ideal choice as a vacuum for carpet.
Best Overall, Runner-Up: Dyson V7 Motorhead Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner
Effective on the lowest setting
Three pieces easily click together
Emptying vacuum is a hassle
Lacks HEPA filtration
If your priorities for a vacuum include being exceptionally lightweight and cordless, and you don’t mind a smaller dust bin or shorter battery life, then the Dyson v7 Motorhead is another top choice to consider. It really impressed us with its light-as-a-feather, 5.3-pound build, and it requires minimal assembly. Three pieces click together, and the vacuum is ready for use. For that reason, our product tester gave it 5 stars for its ease of assembly.
Sure to stand out, this fuchsia-and-gray vacuum includes a wall-mounted charging station. Reach for it when you need to clean your carpets in a hurry, like when guests arrive or messes occur. The Dyson pick proved to be phenomenal on all surfaces in our testing. It cleaned up cereal, popcorn kernels, and hair in just one or two passes without hesitating, even on medium or high-pile carpet. While hair did get caught in the vacuum before reaching the suction cup, this vacuum still earned a solid 4.5 stars for its cleaning effectiveness. Plus, of all the vacuums our testing team touched, the vacuum stood out for being “super smooth” and was described as “moving with you.” It felt effortless to use this cordless pick on rugs and it earned a 5-star rating for maneuverability. You can also convert it into handheld mode, which we found comfortable, even when reaching overhead.
Its biggest downfall is a somewhat clumsy emptying process. Our tester felt the instruction manual was not very clear and emptying the dust cup required two hands. This is a shortcoming compared to some of the one-touch dust bins we’ve seen on cordless vacuums and resulted in a 3.5-star rating for ease of emptying. The Motorhead designation of this v7 model means it comes with fewer attachments and also lacks HEPA filtration, which may be an issue for some. The battery life is limited to about 30 minutes—so it's not designed for major cleaning marathons either. Overall, though, we’d reach for this vac to clean up carpeted floors in any small home or apartment.
Best Budget: Eureka NES510 Flash Lightweight Stick Vacuum Cleaner
Quick and easy assembly
Floor head features a light
Easily swivels around obstacles
Cord is heavy and bulky
Emptying is a multi-step process
In our testing experience, we were pleased with how easily the Eureka Flash Lightweight Stick Vacuum Cleaner moved across all types of flooring. It earned a 5-star rating for its performance on the samples of hardwood, low-pile, and medium-pile carpet. It grabbed large and small debris in one to two passes, and was only docked for its performance on high-pile carpet. Our tester noted that this vacuum worked harder on high-pile carpeting, with the motor becoming warm. After kicking up the power, we were able to clear large debris from the plush fibers. This resulted in a 4.5-star rating for high-pile carpet cleaning ability, and an overall score of 4.5 stars for cleaning effectiveness.
Now, if you need a vacuum that can stand up to marathon cleaning sessions, the fact that this option is corded will be a plus, since you'll never have to take a break to recharge. This stick vacuum managed our obstacle course well too, and reached way under the low sofa. It hesitated when transitioning from solid surface flooring to carpeting—requiring the user to pick it up—which may prove awkward or difficult for some users. We found the cord to be bulky and a nuisance at times, as well, especially given the ease of our high-performing cordless options. Even still, we give this pick 4 stars for maneuverability. The dust bin is maybe the most challenging part of the product, as it takes multiple steps to detach and empty the canister. We only gave it 3 stars for ease of emptying, but were impressed otherwise.
Best Canister: Miele Compact C1 Turbo Team Bagged Canister Vacuum
Easy to get into tight spaces
Plenty of capacity in vacuum bag
Great suction power
Requires replacement bags
Instructions were a little unclear
Not a good fit for home with pets
This Miele canister vacuum was heavier than we expected out of the box. Plus, there could be better instructions for the attachments, as well as the buttons that control the vacuum’s operation. For the guess-and-check, we gave this model 3.5 stars for ease of assembly. Once it was set up and ready to go, however, we were impressed with most aspects of this canister vacuum’s cleaning capabilities. It was described as “so impressive” by our tester for capturing debris in just one or two passes in most instances.
The vac struggled with hair on medium-pile carpet but revved up its performance on the thicker, high-pile carpeting. Due to its tendency to clog with hair, we wouldn’t recommend it for homes with pets. We docked it a point for this shortcoming, but it still earned 4 stars for effectiveness. In addition, the noise level was noticeable but not harsh, giving this vacuum another 4-star rating. In our Lab living room, we were pleased with how easy it was to reach under the furniture, and we gave this vacuum 4.5 stars for maneuverability. It’s an especially good option if you don’t want to push around a full-size vacuum and aren’t interested in cordless stick vacuums that have a limited battery life and small dust bin capacities.
Keep in mind that this is a bagged vacuum cleaner, which keeps dust and allergens sealed inside until the bag reaches capacity. You’ll have to buy replacement bags, but the design allows for a hassle-free emptying of the vacuum cleaner. Like most canister vacuums, this model is corded, so you’ll likely need to switch outlets when moving from room to room. However, our product tester found the auto-rewind cord to be a handy feature that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Best Upright: Shark NV151 Navigator Swivel Pro Complete Upright Vacuum
Has an 11-foot hose
Relatively quiet operation
Difficult to reach under furniture
Lacks a self-cleaning brush roll
The Shark Navigator Swivel Pro includes settings for both carpeted surfaces and bare floors, making it an ideal choice for homes with a mix of surfaces. Some picks push around debris or leak large particles, but this model impressed us with its cleaning ability on low, medium, and high-pile carpets. On medium and high-pile carpets, it required an extra pass or two to completely clear the debris, but this "problem" wasn’t significant enough to disqualify this vac from a five-star rating for overall cleaning effectiveness.
By design, upright vacuums usually weigh more than stick vacuum cleaners. This is true of this vacuum, which weighs 15 pounds. We noticed the extra heft when assembling the vacuum (Assembly took a total of three minutes and was given a 4-star rating.), but it moved surprisingly well on a range of surfaces as well as in our Lab’s living room-inspired obstacle course. Part of the brand's Navigator series, it features swivel steering that improves maneuverability. Our tester even noted that it was possible to use just one hand to push the vacuum across low-pile carpet and hardwood floors. Now, the bulky design did make it more difficult to reach under furniture and it required some help to transition from hard surface floors to carpeting. We docked the vacuum for these inconveniences, giving it 3 stars for maneuverability.
Another thing you should know is that this vacuum has a large dust bin, at 0.87 quarts, that empties so quickly and easily. We give the dirt disposal process five stars. In addition, the vacuum itself is sealed to trap allergens and it also is equipped with a HEPA filter. Given the power it poses, we were satisfied with its noise level, too.
Best Cordless Stick: Samsung VS15T7032R4 Jet 70 Pet Cordless Stick Vacuum
Has multiple power settings
Can transfer surfaces easily
Very quiet operation
Hair gets caught in the filter
Not very effective on hardwood
If you want the convenience of a cordless stick vacuum, but don’t want to sacrifice suction power and cleaning ability on carpets and rugs, the Samsung Jet 70 is an ideal option. In our testing, this vacuum had the most trouble chasing down large debris on hardwood floors, but cruised across carpets leaving no hair, cereal, or popcorn kernels behind and giving this vac an overall cleaning effectiveness rating of 4 stars. We did have to increase power on high-pile carpet, but this is easy to do with the touch controls built into the vacuum’s handle.
Our tester noted that the power settings are very easy to use, making it simple to increase and decrease suction power as needed. Plus, unlike some other cordless stick vacuums that require you to hold down a trigger during your entire cleaning session, the Samsung vac has a power button that gives your finger a break and keeps the vacuum running until you turn it off—or until it runs out of power, after around 40 minutes of use. While we like the streamlined controls, the dust bin could use some refinement. There is no easy-release button and the canister has a lid you must unscrew. Hair also got stuck in the filters and it required hands-on help to clear it from the dust bin. We rated it 3 stars for its ease of emptying.
Our product tester noted the lack of swivel steering as a bit of a letdown, too. All in all, the Samsung Jet 70 earned 4 stars for maneuverability and was described as “solid,” but not stellar in this area. Notably, it converts into a handheld vac, which is nice for giving your sofa a clean sweep. It’s not impossible to use, but might not be the most ergonomic way to reach cobweb-filled corners, though, as it's pretty heavy.
Best for Pet Hair: Dyson Cyclone V10 Animal Cordless Stick Vacuum
Easy to navigate
Long run time
Hair can get stuck around filter
It shouldn't come as a surprise that our pick for pet hair is the Dyson Cyclone v10 Animal. This vacuum comes with seven attachments that make vacuuming your whole house a breeze, plus it can last up to 60 minutes before needing to be charged. While we recognize the upfront cost of Dyson products is quite an investment for most households, our tester said that after using this vacuum in The Lab, she was convinced that it was worth the price and it might even help her enjoy vacuuming.
This stick vacuum easily glides from carpet to hard flooring with no issues and can fit under furniture and around tight corners. The boost function also easily cleans high-pile carpet and large debris. Our tester said this vacuum was easy to carry around as well as assemble out of the box. She especially loved the click-in attachments, which helped her to know they were properly installed. When it's time to clean upholstery or a pet bed, this model easily switches to a handheld vacuum with the hair screw tool and avoids hair wrap on the motor head.
Finally, our tester said this vacuum was also easy to empty thanks to a button that releases the dust bin's hatch, but she noted there was some hair stuck around the filter that she had to manually remove. Although this vacuum is quite the investment, we highly recommend it for its all-in-one attachments, lightweight and maneuverable design, and powerful suction capability that handles pet hair and large debris with ease.
Best Robot: iRobot Roomba s9+ 9550 Wi-Fi Connected Robot Vacuum
Expertly handles pet hair
Does a great job on corners
Empties debris into base
Can have trouble docking itself
Put your cleaning routine on auto-pilot with the help of the Roomba s9+. We recommend this robot vac for carpets because of its enhanced suction and added sensors that help it to navigate over even dark-colored rugs (a problem for some previous generations of iRobot Roombas). Our at-home product tester gave this model free rein across nearly 900 square feet of carpeted living space, and rated it 4 stars for its superior cleaning ability. While the noise level was louder than expected, they just chalked it up to the top-notch suction power that this vacuum poses. In fact, iRobot has equipped this model with 40 times the suction power of the Roomba 600 series, which notoriously struggled on anything but low-pile rugs and carpet.
The enhanced suction plus vSLAM technology means that the Roomba s9 gives carpets (or any flooring) a through clean, with row-by-row cleaning and map navigation. The battery lasts for 120 minutes, but if the vacuum runs out of power, it will charge up on the dock before resuming cleaning where it left off. At times, this vacuum struggled to dock itself successfully and needed a helping hand. Plus, its price tag is quite steep. However, our tester has two dogs and three cats, and never received an error message due to tangled pet hair. That gives us further reason to recommend this robot vacuum for carpets, which are pros at collecting fur from your four-legged friends.
If you opt for the Roomba s9+, the charging station includes a dirt disposal bin, which can hold up to 60 days of dirt. Our tester was dubious of this capacity estimate and found it needed to be emptied after a few weeks, but points out that small homes or those without pets may be able to go longer. All in all, it's quite the helpful cleaning tool to have in your home.
We recommend the Shark Vertex DuoClean PowerFins Cordless Stick Vacuum as the best vacuum for carpets. It impressed us with its ability to clear debris from low, medium, and high-pile carpet in a single pass. Plus, it wowed us with its ability to maneuver our living room-inspired obstacle course. For a more basic and budget-friendly vacuum, we also think the Eureka Flash Lightweight Stick Vacuum Cleaner is a worthwhile pick. This versatile stick vacuum only required a few passes to clear debris from all types of flooring. The dust bin wasn’t as easy to empty, but all in all, this is a handy, affordable vacuum for carpets.
How We Tested the Vacuums for Carpet
We've tested over 50 vacuums side-by-side in The Lab during our multiple vacuum tests, and before and after at home. To start, in The Lab, we unboxed and completed the setup for each one, timing how long the process took and how clear the instructions were. We then evaluated each pick's effectiveness by spilling measured amounts of hair, popcorn kernels, and Cheerios on four types of surfaces: hardwood flooring and low, medium, and high-pile carpets. During this part of our test, we rated each model on its portability and how many passes were needed to clean up the spilled materials. We also noted if hair got tangled in the beater bar.
Then, we challenged the vacuums' maneuverability by navigating them through a living room–inspired obstacle course that consisted of a low-sitting coffee table and couch. We evaluated how well each pick transitioned from smooth floors to the carpeting, before noting the ease of emptying each vacuum, whether it had a bin or a bag. Our testers also collected insights on the noise level of each product and how long cordless models stayed charged. At home, additional product testers rated other models on the same attributes while putting vacuums through their paces in real-world settings. To conclude, our editors took all of this consistently applied testing data and boiled it down to determine the overall value of the best vacuums for carpeted surfaces in your home.
What to Look for in a Vacuum for Carpet
While all vacuums for carpet are designed to suck up debris, their operation style can vary. Upright vacuums require push-and-pull operation and often boast more suction and larger dust bins. This style is good for whole-home cleaning, but takes up more storage space in your cleaning closet. An alternative is the stick vacuum, which has a more streamlined design and is usually more nimble to use. However, you’ll have to settle for a smaller dust bin. Somewhere in between these two styles is the canister vacuum. This type of vacuum has a motor and dust collection system housed inside of a canister on wheels. A hose connects the vacuum to a wand and floor head, giving you flexibility to reach under, around, and behind furniture.
Bagless vacuums have been increasing in popularity since they don’t require you to purchase new bags and you can easily empty the dust bin after each cleaning session. However, not all dust bins are created equal; some require more "hands-on" help to fully empty. A bagged vacuum cleaner for carpets provides a simpler approach to disposing of dust, dirt, and allergens. When it's full, remove it from the vacuum and toss it in the trash. However, you’ll have to keep replacement bags on hand and be ready to change it whenever the existing bag becomes full.
A vacuum for carpet can be versatile enough to reach crevices and corners, or to clean other areas of your home, such as carpeted stairs or upholstery. For example, many of the vacuums we tested converted into a handheld mode that is especially useful for above-floor cleaning. You’ll also find a crevice tool is a standard attachment that can extend the reach of your vacuum. In addition, a vac may come with a dusting brush or upholstery tool that are good for furniture clean-up. Pet owners may also find a motorized brush attachment to be helpful in loosening hair from furniture or a pet's bed.
How do I use a vacuum cleaner on carpet?
If you want to clean your carpet thoroughly, take your time. Remove obstacles and even large debris by hand before getting started. After, start vacuuming slowly in neat, slightly overlapping rows. If you rush this process, you're more likely to miss dirt that's especially embedded into the carpet's fibers. Once you reach the end of the carpet, go over it again in the opposite direction in order to make sure you get every last bit of dust and dirt.
How often should I vacuum carpet?
As a rule, you should vacuum carpet once per week. Depending on the foot traffic and activity that your carpet sees, you may need to vacuum more frequently. Pet owners in particular may need to clean their carpets more often than others, and as much as three times per week.
Is a bagged or bagless vacuum better for cleaning carpet?
Carpets can be magnets for dust and dander, so you might benefit from using a bagged vacuum that more effectively seals off the debris it collects. Burke notes that bagless vacuum cleaners have been known to recirculate allergens in the air, but is also quick to point out the advantage of a bagless model: "Because bagless vacuum cleaners don't need to be emptied as often, they are convenient." Bagless vacuums can be effective on carpet as well, and do not require replacement bags that must be purchased separately.
Why Trust The Spruce?
Erica Puisis has been a writer for The Spruce since 2017, specializing as a product researcher for both large and small appliances. For this piece, she compared the features, benefits, and uses of some of the most popular vacuums on the market. She also relied on testing reports from The Lab, along with insights from at-home testers and trends among reviews. For additional insight on how to pick out the best vacuum for carpet, she spoke with Nicholas Burks, CEO of Neet Home.
Marisa Casciano is the senior commerce editor for appliances, cleaning, and organization for The Spruce, and has been in The Lab for our vacuum tests. She has firsthand knowledge of how they were developed and performed, and where each product excelled or fell short. She considered new and improved technology, practicality, and real-life cleaning situations when selecting the vacuums to test. She also considered price, features, and design.
What Is Spruce Approved?
Here at The Spruce we want to ensure we fully stand behind every product we recommend, and that when we say something is the best, we mean it. You might have noticed The Spruce Approved badge next to the products on this list. Every product with this badge has been rigorously tested in person and carefully selected by our expert team of lab testers and editors. In most cases, we buy all these products ourselves, though occasionally we get samples provided to us directly by companies. No matter how we procure products, they all go through the same tests and must meet the same strict criteria to make the best-of cut. We also pride ourselves on transparency and will always let you know if we received a product for free.