Three things in life are inevitable: death, taxes, and vacuuming your carpet. There might be 100 other activities you’d rather be doing, but sooner or later it’ll be time to clean your floors, and when it is, a quality carpet vacuum can help turn a tedious chore into a breeze.
We examined dozens of carpet vacuums to identify the very best, considering a range of factors, including suction power, maneuverability, ease of use, cost, ratings from existing customers, and overall performance. Using our thorough research, we narrowed our search down to our five top picks.
Whether or not you have pets, the Dyson Animal is tough on dirt and leaves no hair behind.
If you’re looking for a carpet vacuum that’s a real powerhouse, we’ve identified the Dyson DC65 Animal Upright Vacuum Cleaner as the best bet. With a specially designed brush bar that digs deep into carpet pile to remove deep-down dirt, plus enough suction power to remove stubborn pet hair from not just carpets, but also upholstery, the Dyson DC65 won’t disappoint. While it’s not the cheapest carpet vacuum you’ll find, reviewers say its cleaning performance justifies its high price tag.
In This Article
The 5 Top-Rated Carpet Vacuums for 2018
|Best Overall||Dyson DC65 Animal Upright Vacuum Cleaner||4.3|
|Runner Up||Shark DuoClean Powered Lift-Away Speed Upright Vacuum||4.5|
|Best Budget Buy||Black+Decker BDASL202 AIRSWIVEL Ultra Light Weight Upright Vacuum Cleaner||4.0|
|Best Lightweight Carpet Vacuum||Bissell 9595A CleanView Bagless Vacuum with OnePass||4.1|
|Best High Pile Carpet Vacuum||Zenith Technologies, LLC Soniclean Soft Carpet Upright Vacuum Cleaner||4.4|
*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change
Our Top Pick: Dyson DC65 Animal Upright Vacuum Cleaner
If you want a carpet vacuum that can tackle anything a busy household can throw at it, look no further than the Dyson DC65 Animal Upright Vacuum Cleaner. This powerhouse of a vacuum is designed to stand up to the rigors of cleaning homes with pets, but you don’t need to have pets to reap the benefits. Anyone with a high traffic home that tends to get dirty quickly will appreciate the incredible performance of this model.
Dyson’s patented Radial Root Cyclone technology provides outstanding suction power, plus the impressive brush bar reaches deep into the pile, which means the DC65 Animal surpasses its competitors when it comes to getting dirt out of carpets. The tangle-free turbine tool sucks pet and human hair from carpets and upholstery, without causing tangles that clog the machine and affect its performance.
Customers love the self-adjusting head, which automatically sets itself to the optimum height for the type of floor or depth of carpet pile you’re using it on, so it seals in the suction and leads to better performance. All these features don’t come cheap, however, as the Dyson DC65 Animal Upright Vacuum Cleaner costs over $500. However, users do think this vacuum is worth the money, thanks to its impressive cleaning power.
Dyson DC65 Animal Upright Vacuum Cleaner Key Features:
- Ball design allows for excellent maneuverability
- Tangle free turbine can suck up pet hair without clogging
- Bar brush is more effective than competitors
- Radial Root Cyclone technology gives extreme suction power
- Self-adjusting cleaner head adapts to different carpet or floor types
Our Runner Up Pick: Shark DuoClean Powered Lift-Away Speed Upright Vacuum
This impressive carpet vacuum can get rid of large debris just as well as fine particles.
It might not have all the features of the top pick, but the Shark DuoClean Powered Lift-Away Speed Upright Vacuum is an impressive machine and, retailing at around $250, it’s much more affordable, too. One of the main selling points of this carpet vacuum is its “DuoClean” feature, which means it can pick up both large piles of debris and fine dust particles equally well. The vacuum’s ability to tackle large debris will be a boon to parents of young children, who regularly contend with spilled food and all the other mess that kids like to spread around.
Users with hayfever and other allergies sing the praises of the HEPA filter and the Anti-Allergen Complete Seal Technology, which can trap 99.99% of allergens, such as pollen, dust, and dander. If you have hardwood or tile floors in your home, in addition to carpet, you’ll love how easy it is to switch between carpet and hard floor modes.
The dynamic swivel steering makes it easy to maneuver the Shark DuoClean Powered Lift-Away Speed Upright Vacuum around furniture, and the LED lights let you see under couches and in dark nooks to make sure you haven’t missed a spot.
Shark DuoClean Powered Lift-Away Speed Upright Vacuum Key Features:
- HEPA filter and Anti-Allergen Complete Seal catch and trap allergens
- DuoClean technology can tackle tiny particles and large debris
- Features two brush rolls; one for hard floors and one for carpet
- Extendable wand lets you clean far under furniture and in other hard-to-reach areas
Best Budget Pick: Bissell 9595A CleanView Bagless Vacuum with OnePass
The Bissell 9595A CleanView proves you don’t have to break the bank to get a quality vacuum.
Don’t let its $79.99 price tag fool you; the Bissell 9595A CleanView Bagless Vacuum with OnePass is no slouch when it comes to getting carpets spotless. One of its standout features is its OnePass technology, which combines powerful suction with an innovative brush design, so that it picks up more dirt on the first pass. This means you usually won’t have to vacuum the same spot twice, making for quick and efficient cleaning.
The multi-level filtration means you’re not just blowing dust and small particles of dirt back into the air as you vacuum. The main motor filter is washable, which helps keep suction levels strong. At just 15.1 pounds, this carpet vacuum is reasonably lightweight, making it easy to maneuver and lift.
Comes with a range of tools that fit on the extension hose that take the hassle vacuuming those awkward nooks and crannies.
Bissell 9595A CleanView Bagless Vacuum with OnePass Key Features:
- The multi-cyclonic system provides incredible suction that lasts
- Features a large, easy-empty dirt bin
- The turbo brush tool packs a punch
- Lightweight design is easy to carry and maneuver
Best Lightweight Carpet Vacuum: Black+Decker BDASL202 AIRSWIVEL Ultra Light Weight Upright Vacuum Cleaner
An excellent budget choice that offers exceptional suction power, considering how lightweight it is.
You might expect a compact, lightweight carpet vacuum that costs under $60 to perform poorly, but users praise the Black+Decker BDASL202 AIRSWIVEL Ultra Light Weight Upright Vacuum Cleaner for its solid suction. Sure, it’s never going to match the sheer power of our top pick or runner up, but it will more than suffice for the average household.
Weighing in at just 8.8 pounds, this vacuum cleaner is lighter than many alternative, so it’s easy to carry up and down stairs, even if you have limited strength. Coupled with its 170-degree swivel steering, the Black+Decker BDASL202 is highly maneuverable and steers around furniture with ease.
The 12-inch cleaning path is larger than many lightweight and budget models, and means it can vacuum open areas more quickly. Plus, it features an extendable hose with a 2-in-1 crevice tool and small brush, allowing you to easily clean corners, stairs, and other areas that can be difficult to vacuum using the main cleaning head.
Black+Decker BDASL202 AIRSWIVEL Ultra Light Weight Upright Vacuum Cleaner Key Features:
- 170-degree swivel steering for maneuverability
- Large 2-liter dust cup capacity means less frequent emptying
- Washable reusable filters
- Ultra lightweight, which means it’s easier to carry and maneuver
Best High Pile Carpet Vacuum: Zenith Technologies, LLC Soniclean Soft Carpet Upright Vacuum Cleaner
If you need a vacuum that will penetrate deep into high pile carpets, this is our favorite contender.
The Zenith Technologies, LLC Soniclean Soft Carpet Upright Vacuum Cleaner is specially designed for use on soft, high pile carpets. Its soft nylon brush roll is able to clean deep without damaging even the most delicate high pile carpets.
Not only does the direct-air paramagnetic motor offer excellent suction, but this vacuum also emits 200 sonic vibrations per second, which helps loosen dirt stuck deep in the pile, where even the brush roll might not reach it. Users love the large wheel design and adjustable vent system, which lets it easily move over soft, plush carpets, where standard vacuums often sink in and become cumbersome to push. This vacuum’s patented HEPA filtration system makes dust disposal easy and hygienic, which is good news for allergy-sufferers.
At a little over $300, the Soniclean Soft Carpet Upright Vacuum Cleaner isn’t the cheapest option on the market, but its superior cleaning power on even the deepest, plushest high pile carpets makes it well worth the outlay.
Zenith Technologies, LLC Soniclean Soft Carpet Upright Vacuum Cleaner Key Features:
- Advanced jam protection shuts down the vacuum if there’s an item jammed in the brush roll, which helps protect the belt
- Compatible with Sonicfresh Fragrance Pods to infuse a pleasant scent into your carpet as you vacuum
- Extra long 35 foot power cord means you can clean from room to room without changing outlets
- Sonic cleaning technology helps remove dirt from deep in the pile
Who Should Buy a Carpet Vacuum?
Perhaps the better question is who shouldn’t buy a carpet vacuum? If you live in a home with a floor and you’re responsible for your own housekeeping, then you probably need a carpet vacuum. Despite the name, most vacuum cleaners can tackle hardwood, tile, and other non-carpeted floors, too, so it if you don’t have carpets, you might still need a carpet vacuum.
Although you can find alternative methods of cleaning your carpets (with a broom or a manual carpet sweeper, for instance), a carpet vacuum is much more effective. The suction power means that you get far cleaner carpets and fewer allergens, such as dust and pollen, lurking deep in the pile.
Whether or not you have pets, the Dyson Animal is tough on dirt and leaves no hair behind.
Important Features to Consider
A carpet vacuum should have a few important features. Here’s what to consider when selecting a carpet vacuum:
- Suction power. If a carpet vacuum doesn’t have adequate suction, it’s not going to adequately perform its main job— cleaning your carpet. The vacuum cleaners with the best suction often have cyclone technology or similar, but the best way to check whether your chosen model has good cleaning power is to look at reviews on Amazon from existing customers.
- Filtration. All carpet vacuums need some kind of filtration system, otherwise they’d simply be blowing out clouds of dust and debris through the exhaust port. The best vacuum filters are HEPA filters. To be certified as an HEPA filter, it must catch and contain 99.97% of particles that are 0.3 micrometer of larger in diameter. This means that HEPA filters trap the vast majority of environmental allergens, such as pet dander, pollen, and dust.
- Cleaning path. The cleaning path of a carpet vacuum is the measurement of how wide an area your vacuum can clean in a single pass. Carpet vacuums with a wider cleaning path require fewer passes to clean a given area, and therefore tend to make the task of vacuuming much quicker. That said, models with very large cleaning paths aren’t very maneuverable, so are only suited to large, open rooms, where you won’t have to turn a lot of corners or navigate around much furniture. As such, it’s necessary to find a happy medium between cleaning speed and maneuverability.
- Upright vs. canister. One of the main decisions to make is whether to choose an upright or a canister carpet vacuum. Upright models tend to have spinning brushes, which makes them good at cleaning dirt from deep in carpets. Their cleaning paths also tend to be wider, so they’re quicker at vacuuming large, open rooms. On the downside, it’s harder to maneuver around and clean under furniture with an upright vacuum, and due to the way they’re constructed, the motor size is limited. Canister carpet vacuums can have larger motors and therefore have the potential to be more powerful than their upright counterparts. Since the cleaning head is on the end of a hose, it’s much easier to vacuum in hard-to-reach corners and under furniture. Canister vacuum cleaners are also quiter than uprights, due to increased room for insulation. However, canister vacuums require the user to bend over more often, which isn’t ideal if you have a bad back. Plus, they usually have smaller cleaning paths, meaning it takes longer to vacuum large spaces.
- Carpet height adjustment. Vacuum cleaners work more effectively when you’re able to adjust the height of the brush roll in relation to your carpet. The brush roll should be higher on thick pile carpets and lower on thin pile carpets or non-carpeted floors. The ability to switch the position of the brush roll is known as “carpet height adjustment.” Some high-end carpet vacuums have automatic carpet height adjustment; the machine can sense when you move from one type of flooring to another, and automatically adjusts the position of the brush roll. However, on the majority of vacuums, you still have to change the position of the brush roll manually. Look out for models that offer simple carpet height adjustment at the flick or a switch or the press of a button.
- Tools. Most carpet vacuums come with a range of tools to perform additional tasks. At the very least, your chosen vacuum should come with a crevice tool to allow you to easily clean in the right angle edges where the carpet meets the wall or where one stair meets the next. However, many vacuum cleaners also include tools for dusting, cleaning upholstery, and more.
- Bagged vs. bagless. Many modern carpet vacuums are bagless, but note that bagless models don’t have superior performance to equivalent bagged models. The only advantage of bagless models is that they’re more convenient, as you don’t have to worry about changing bags or buying replacements, you simply empty the dirt container into the trash.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a carpet vacuum and how does it work?
A carpet vacuum is a machine that cleans your carpet by sucking up dirt, dust, and other debris. It works thanks to the motor, which powers a fan that sucks air in through the intake port and subsequently forces it out through the exhaust port. Since the air pressure drops below the fan, this creates a partial vacuum, which in turn creates suction. As such, dirt and debris is sucked up from the carpet and deposited either in the bag or the dirt container.
How many times a week should you vacuum your carpet?
How often you should vacuum your carpet really depends on the foot traffic in the house, whether you have pets, and your personal ideas about cleanliness. Experts generally recommend you vacuum the whole house once or twice a week, and more often in high-traffic areas or areas where pets have access to. Some people even suggest vacuuming daily if you have pets or in areas that get a lot of foot traffic.
However, there’s also an individual element to it. If you’re not too worried about a bit of dirt on your carpet, you’ll probably vacuum less often than someone who likes to keep their carpets spotless.
Is vacuuming too much bad for a carpet?
Although it’s true that vacuuming does create an amount of wear and tear on a carpet, regular vacuuming does far less damage to your carpet than the effects of dirt and dust. So, overall, you’re prolonging the life of your carpet by vacuuming it regularly. An excessive amount of vacuuming could potentially cause do more harm than good, but, generally speaking, carpets can stand up to being vacuumed several times a week, or even daily, without adverse effects.
Can you vacuum a rug?
Whether or not you can safely vacuum a rug depends on the rug material. Rugs made out of carpet fibers should be completely fine to vacuum (though take care with any very high pile rugs), but mileage may vary with other kinds. We’d generally recommend turning the brush roll off for vacuuming rugs, especially if they contain long fibers that could get wrapped around it. If you have an antique or very delicate rug it may be best to avoid vacuuming it altogether.
Other Carpet Vacuums We Reviewed
Whether or not you have pets, the Dyson Animal is tough on dirt and leaves no hair behind.
We looked at 20 other carpet vacuums. Even though they didn’t make our 5 best carpet vacuums list, they’re the best of the rest and each is still a great option for cleaning your home. The information you’ll need to compare each one is included with the listing.
With a wide range of features, including Hard Floor Hero, an HEPA filter, brush roll shutoff, and swivel steering, the Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional is an excellent choice for anyone who needs a versatile carpet vacuum.
- Lift-Away canister allows you to vacuum those hard-to-reach areas
- Lightweight and easily maneuverable
- Anti-Allergen Complete Seal Technology® and HEPA filtration
A classic, yet powerful upright vacuum from Hoover that includes a bonus handheld canister for cleaning areas that the upright can’t reach.
- Included canister means you get two for one
- WindTunnel technology produces excellent suction power
- HEPA bags trap allergens
Thanks to the 2 motor system and Power Flow technology, this carpet vacuum has incredible suction, while the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America-certified HEPA filtration keeps allergens trapped inside.
- Doesn’t lose suction over time
- Automatic carpet height adjustment
- Telescoping wand to clean under furniture or in awkward corners
Whether you own dogs or cats, or you simply get a lot of foot traffic, you’ll appreciate the extra cleaning power of this vacuum. Plus, the TruePet Motorized Brush and Pet-Multi Tool extracts hair deep from within the carpet pile.
- Impressive HEPA filtration captures and traps pet dander and other allergens
- Simple fingertip controls make it easy to use
- Lift-away canister for corners and under furniture
While it might be basic, this canister carpet vacuum packs a surprising punch, and it’s highly affordable, too! An excellent choice for anyone on a budget.
- Variable suction control
- Easy carpet height adjustment
- Telescoping wand for hard-to-reach areas
Don’t be fooled by its adorable floral design, this canister vacuum really is a devil when it comes to sucking up dust and dirt. Don’t expect lots of bells and whistles, but it gets the job done.
- Powerful 10 amp motor for impressive suction
- Extendable wand
- Comes with a range of handy tools
Looking for a powerful canister that can tackle all the dirt your pet leaves in his wake? The dual motor system and Power Flow technology means no dirt gets left behind and you won’t experience loss of suction.
- HEPA filtration
- Comes with motorized pet hair brush
- POP-N-GO floor brush negates the need to bend down to change tools
If you’re looking for a feature-rich canister vacuum at a more affordable price than some of the high-end models, look no further.
- Cyclonic power for excellent suction
- HEPA filter
- Pet brush and other useful tools included
With its powerful vortex motor, sealed AirClean filtration system, and overall solid build, this is one of the most impressive canister carpet vacuums on the market.
- Six setting suction control
- AllTeQ combination floorhead for carpets and hard floors
- 360-degree swivel wheels
This canister vacuum’s 12 amp motor means it gives your carpet a deeper clean than many of its competitors, and it comes at a pleasantly reasonable price, considering the quality.
- Sealed three-stage HEPA filtration
- Impressive airflow of 107 cubic feet per minute
- Extendable wand comes with a range of tools
Want a canister vacuum that can move from plush carpets to hard floors with ease? This Kenmore model is well worth considering.
- Powerful two motor system
- HEPA filter
- Two different nozzles to suit varying floor types
For more, see our full list of The Best Canister Vacuums
Weighing in at just over 10 pounds, this compact upright vacuum is easy to maneuver and carry up and down stairs, but with cyclone technology and a powered brush roll, it doesn’t sacrifice on cleaning power.
- Extreme recline handle lets you vacuum far under furniture
- Automatic carpet height adjustment
- Edge to edge cleaning
Ever imagined being free from the constraints of your power cord while vacuuming? Well, now you don’t have to just imagine, you can live it. This is hassle-free vacuuming at its finest.
- Comes with two rechargeable batteries, so you can charge one while using the other
- Includes a deep cleaning bristle brush and a soft brush roll
- Reach mode lets you bend the stick for access to hard-to-reach areas
This might not be the most powerful carpet vacuum on our list, but at just 4 pounds, it’s certainly one of the lightest available. Plus, it offers some impressive features, considering its bargain price.
- 3-in-1 design transforms from a stick to a hand or stair vacuum
- Swivel steering for eay maneuverability
- Larger dust cup compared to similar models
Not only is the eufy cordless, so you never have to worry about switching from outlet to outlet again, it also weighs just 5.5 pounds, making it one of our lightest offerings. The swivel steering, coupled with its low weight, make it extremely maneuverable.
- Large 0.9 liter dirt container
- Powerful cyclone suction
- Runs for up to 50 minutes between charges
Stands out for its powerful cyclonic suction and overall impressive cleaning power, especially considering it weighs in at under 7 pounds. However, some users state it does better on hard floors than carpets.
- Powerful 10 amp motor
- Easy-empty one-touch dirt container
- Low profile nozzle for cleaning under furniture
Another powerful cordless model, this 2-in-1 stick and handheld vacuum features a powerful lithium ion battery and a 20 minute run time, which should be sufficient for most smaller homes.
- Cyclonic system for powerful, consistent suction
- Motorized brush roll
- Swivel steering for maneuverability
Looking for a lightweight cordless vacuum that can rival the power of a plug-in model? Not only does it have excellent suction power, it can run for 60 minutes at full power, which should be long enough to vacuum the whole house.
- Grab and go canister
- Dirt container can compress its contents so you don’t have to empty it as regularly
- Touchscreen controls
We might not quite be in sci-fi territory yet, but this robot will do one of your chores for you at least. With WiFi connectivity and Alexa compatibility, this robot vacuum is extremely easy to program.
- Dirt detect sensors mean the Roomba works harder in areas where it’s more dirty
- Intelligent sensors let the Roomba easily navigate your home
- Dual multi-surface brushes with automatic height adjustment
Hate vacuuming? This robot vacuum will do all the work for you! All you need to do is program it, and away it goes. With a 0.55 liter dirt container, it can collect more than you’d expect before it needs emptying.
- Comes with remote control to program it
- Automatically returns to charging dock
- BoostIQ technology increases suction power when needed