A soft carpet with a high pile is a luxurious indulgence, adding a touch of sensual elegance to a room. If you’re familiar with shag carpets, you’ll know how important it is to have the correct vacuum cleaner to cope with the soft plush texture of these carpets. If you’re thinking about fitting soft carpets or have recently done so, you’ll find that you may have to replace your current vacuum cleaner because it simply doesn’t work on soft carpets.
What Makes Soft Shag Carpets So Different?
The high pile and soft texture of the fiber used to create the luxurious feel of shag carpets cause the vacuum cleaner to suck down into the carpet. Just like a car becomes bogged down in soft snow or mud, the vacuum cleaner will plow into the soft pile of the carpet making it difficult or even impossible to move the suction head. In the same that you wouldn’t head off into SUV country in a regular sedan, you can’t use a vacuum cleaner on soft carpets with a high pile, unless it’s specifically designed for this purpose.
There are a number of design principles that engineers use to develop a vacuum that is capable of handling soft carpets. These vacuum cleaners need to be able to handle the depth of the shag design and be gentle on the soft fibers that make up the carpet. Here are some of the features that you need to look out for.
What You Need in a Vacuum Cleaner for Soft and High Pile Carpets
Adjustable Rollers – Though not all soft carpet vacuum cleaners will have roller brushes with a height adjustment, it is a useful aid. When you’re using a vacuum on wood or tile floors, you want the roller brush to be as close to the floor surface as possible and for this, you want a low roller brush setting. As your carpet thickness increases, you want to be able to raise the roller brush so that it doesn’t dig too deeply into the pile of the carpet and get entangled. The roller brush is going to cause resistance that will make it difficult to move the suction head across the carpet.
Bigger Wheels -Even if a vacuum cleaner doesn’t have an adjustable roller brush, larger wheels can help. Just like the SUV that has larger wheels to cope with difficult terrain, the wheels on your vacuum cleaner will do the same. This is of particular importance for upright vacuum cleaners that have the entire weight of the machine resting on the suction head. Large wheels mean that as the vacuum cleaner sinks into the soft pile of the carpet, the suction head doesn’t fall too deeply into shag which will cause it to suck into the carpet and prevent it from moving smoothly. With a canister vacuum cleaner, larger wheels make it easier for the canister to move across the softer surface as it follows you.
Adjustable Vents – Having vents on the suction head that can be adjusted to control the airflow is a big plus when it comes to preventing the vacuum cleaner from sucking down on soft carpets. If all the suction power is concentrated at the bottom of the suction head, it is going suck down hard on the carpet and make it difficult or impossible to move it across the floor. Being able to adjust the airflow, lessens the pressure at which the suction head is pulled into the carpet pile.
Soft Roller Brushes – Brushes made from hard nylon are very abrasive and can damage the soft fiber used in shag carpets. They are also not the best for wood floors that scratch easily. A roller brush that is made from a natural fiber or soft nylon will protect both soft carpets and wood floors. Your plush carpet is quite an investment, so protecting it from damage is pretty important.
A good quality vacuum cleaner is going to be with you for many years and can cost a bit. So, you want to choose wisely. You’re going to want a vacuum that is going to give you the best results and stand the test of time. Not only do you want to thoroughly clean your carpets, drapes and other areas of your home but also ensure that the air in your home is as clean as possible and free of allergens. If have pets that shed a lot of hair, I don’t think I need to point out the significance of having the right vacuum cleaner for removing hair and lint.
When looking at air filtration (which is important if you suffer from allergies or asthma) the international standards for air filtration have certain gradings and this how they work. All air filters are graded by their collection efficiency percentage, in other words, the percentage of the particles that they remove from the air. The bottom end of the filtration rating system is known as Efficiency Particulate Air Filters (EPA), these filters are categorized as E10 (85%); E11 (95%) and E12 (99.5%). The next level is known as High-Efficiency Particulate Air Filters (HEPA) and fall into the following categories, H13 (99.95%) and H14 (99.995%). Finally, you get Ultra Low Penetration Air Filters (ULPA) being U15 (99.9995%); U16 (99.99995%) and U17 (99.999995%). Filters with a U rating are for extreme situations like laboratories and medical facilities that require air that is completely sterile. When looking at vacuum cleaners, you can consider machines with an E rating as being reasonable at the bottom of the range and good at the top (EPA-12). A vacuum cleaner with a rating of HEPA-13 or 14 is as good as you’ll find and are excellent for people with medical conditions or allergies requiring very pure air.
Now that you have a good idea of what you’re looking for, take a look at our suggestions for the best vacuum cleaners for soft shag carpets. As always, we’ve researched the best available options in terms of price, features and general quality. Whether you’re looking for a top end machine or reasonably priced alternative, you’ll find what you’re looking for. We’ve made sure that we’ve only selected excellent vacuum cleaners that come highly recommended so that you can have confidence in the decision that you make.
Have a look at our vacuum cleaner picks for soft carpets
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Even though they tend to be expensive, I’m a huge fan of Miele appliances. Their vacuum cleaners have a proven reputation for longevity, they just don’t give up. What’s more, their many years of experience in making vacuum cleaners that outlast even the best means that you will continue to get bags, filters and spare parts for many years to come. What’s the point of having a vacuum cleaner that’s going to last for decades, if can no longer get the parts that you need?
The Miele C3 soft carpet vacuum cleaner is designed for use on all floor types with a simple electronic selection for soft carpets. You don’t need to make any adjustments when moving to a plush carpet, you simply touch the button and the Miele will select the best settings for these conditions. The 5 stage power brush is adjustable for any floor type and all the controls are simple and easy to use. This includes a foot control to adjust the power up or down electronically. The motor has 7 power settings.
Like all Miele products, this machine is designed with elegance and sophistication in mind. It’s also one of the quietest vacuum cleaners ever built. The suction head can rotate 180 degrees which makes it very easy to move into corners and up against walls. Though, its sturdy weight factor of 20 LBS makes it quite a hefty machine to carry about.
Air filtration is the best in its class, an HEPA-13 classified filter (with filter change warning) provides an incredible 99.99% filtration of dust and other particles. It has an additional Miele patented air clean sealed system which guarantees that the air is free of 99.99% of all lung damaging particles. This is probably the best vacuum cleaner for people who rate air purity as being of great importance.
Accessories are very standard with a dusting brush, upholstery cleaner, and crevice nozzle. All of the accessories pack neatly into an easy-access compartment at the top of the vacuum cleaner. It has a versatile 36 Ft cleaning range.
When it comes to the Miele brand, it’s hardly worth mentioning that you’re getting the best quality in German engineering. Their excellent 7-year limited warranty is a testament to their commitment to outstanding quality and workmanship. I’ve also found Miele backup service to be excellent. They have service centers everywhere and you’ll never have a problem getting parts, filters or any other accessory for as long the machine keeps going – which is always an extraordinary length of time.
The Electrolux brand has been around for a long time and we’ve come to depend on them to provide a great level of quality at a reasonable price. They tend to fall in the middle of the price range when it comes to vacuum cleaners. To this end, they may not be top of the range machines but can compete very comfortably with the best of them. This combination of affordability and quality is an Electrolux hallmark.
The Electrolux EL4335A continues this legacy. Years of experience in the vacuum cleaner business has led to this being an excellent machine specifically designed to make it a breeze to keep soft carpets immaculately clean and keep them in pristine condition, as well as provide the highest level of cleaning for all other applications.
Apart from being a particularly beautiful machine, the Electrolux EL4335 is packed with all the technology required to make it a fully comprehensive vacuum cleaner for all surfaces. The roller brush can be turned on or off and has 3 height settings so it will effortlessly glide over any floor surface. What’s more, the brush is equipped with self-cleaning technology. This means that you can remove tangled debris from the brush with absolute ease.
The adjustable suction settings allow for deep cleaning where needed and extra soft suction for delicate curtains and soft fabrics. It has a cyclonic suction system that keeps the suction constant. Large rear wheels with an excellent center of gravity make the Electrolux EL4335A a pleasure to move on any surface and it’s super easy to maneuver around the maze of furniture and obstacles in your home. Something many will find to be a distinct advantage, especially those who need to carry it up and down stairs, is that the Electrolux EL4335A weighs only 11.6 LBS. You won’t easily find a machine of this size any lighter. It is also very versatile. An 8 Ft hose with telescopic wand and 21 Ft cord, means it has a total working range of 33 Ft. The cord retracts automatically and the machine can stand upright for quick and convenient storage.
Instead of a bag that needs to be replaced or cleaned, it has a dust canister that is super easy to remove and empty. It offers a high level of filtration at 99.97%, placing it well within the HEPA-13 filtration bracket, excellent for people with allergies. The filters are washable which reduces waste and long-term operating costs. You’ll find all the standard accessories that you’d expect, like a crevice tool for cleaning into tight spaces, a dusting brush, an upholstery cleaner and a bare floor nozzle.
For affordable quality with great features, you can’t go wrong with this vacuum cleaner. Add to this, it’s exceptionally lightweight design and it can be an outright winner in many people’s eyes – just because of the weight advantage. Something that can definitely add to your peace of mind is the fact that Electrolux offers a 5-year limited warranty for this product.
Coming in at a very reasonable price, the Soniclean Soft Carpet Vacuum Cleaner is the only upright model on this list. It has the advantage of a small handheld additional vacuum which is ideal for cleaning stairs and the car. The small handheld device is super-light and easy to carry about.
With large front wheel and adjustable vents, this Soniclean model has been developed to make it as easy as possible to effectively clean soft, plush carpets. Something that sets this machine apart from all the others is its sonic cleaning technology. The Soniclean Soft Carpet Vacuum Cleaner produces sonic vibrations at a rate of 12000 per minute or 200 per second. This helps it remove stubborn dirt without any abrasive action, making it ideal for soft fibers. In addition to this, the soft nylon brush is extra gentle on your soft carpets.
Another outstanding element of this machine is its highly efficient 4.6A motor which uses around 50% less electricity most other large vacuum cleaners. This is all thanks to its extreme suction, direct air technology that uses a digitally controlled multi-speed motor. It has HEPA-13 filters so it can stand proudly alongside the best of them when it comes to pure air quality. You also have the option of getting the Sonicfresh fragrance dispenser that will fill the air with a light and fresh fragrance as you clean. At a weight of 16 LBS, it might be a bit cumbersome when getting it up a flight of stairs but the large wheels help make it easy to move about and you can wheel it backward when traversing a staircase. It has a 35 Ft cord that gives it a very good working range.
The separate, 800W handheld unit has a 4 to 1 stretch hose with a 15 Ft power cord. It comes with a full range of accessories – a hard floor attachment; crevice tool; dusting brush; turbo tool; upholstery cleaner and a two piece wand. It also has a shoulder strap for easy handling and all the accessories store neatly and conveniently into a tote bag.
If you prefer an upright vacuum cleaner, this is your best option for cleaning soft, shag carpets. It comes with a 5-year warranty on the motor and 1-year warranty for parts. The belt has a lifetime warranty and it has a gold certification from the Carpet and Rug Institute.
For a machine that really doesn’t cost a lot, the Kenmore Elite is excellent value for money and provides you with some really great features.
The Ultra Plush™ automatically adjusts when it detects that it’s moving over a soft carpet. You don’t have to do a thing. The suction head has excellently designed vents that will adjust to give the maximum efficiency for every floor type. The 7FT hose may be slightly limiting but is quite sufficient and the telescopic wand has a LED light built into it so you can see clearly into dark corners.
The Pet PowerMate™ feature is great news for pet owners. This is a motorized attachment designed to effectively remove pet hairs from your carpets and furniture with the least amount of effort. Apart from this, it has all the regular accessories for upholstery, dusting and crevice cleaning. Filtration is good with HEPA level filtration – I couldn’t get the exact figures, but being within the HEPA range means that it’s up there with the best of them.
If you don’t like lugging a heavy vacuum cleaner around, this one might be a little disappointing as it weighs 28.6 LBS. For the rest, it’s a fantastic machine that offers excellent value for money with a 1-year warranty.
The Panasonic MC-CL945 Plush Pro is by no means a cheap machine. Then again, Panasonic products have a great reputation for quality. This machine’s space-age design goes beyond its futuristic looks and it includes some really innovative design.
The really big wheels and excellent center of gravity make it super easy to move across any surface. This compensates for its rather heavy (but robust) 27.2 LBS weight. It’s also a very nimble little machine to maneuver, thanks to this original design concept. The list of advanced technology is endless and includes Jet Force technology that gives ultra efficient cleaning power from a low-energy consumption 12A motor that is very quiet. The air circulation into the dust cup is controlled to maximize air filtration and keep the suction power constant as it fills up. The dust cup means no bags and it’s easily washable.
As with all these vacuum cleaners, the Panasonic MC-CL945 has excellent HEPA air filtration. In their endeavor to design the ultimate vacuum cleaner for soft plush carpets, the Panasonic engineers developed a unique Air Infusion system that channels the air around the adjustable roller brush to give deep, high suction cleaning without it being hard to move on soft carpets or damaging the gentle fibers. It works just as well on hard floors and regular carpets.
Among all the regular accessories, this one also has a double-roller pet hair removing attachment which easily removes even the most clingy pet hairs. The telescopic wand is one the best with a soft grip handle that makes it easy to use when cleaning high, difficult to reach places. You have perfect control over the cleaning head, even when cleaning into the corners of the ceiling. All the accessories attach neatly to the wand when not in use, this means that are easily accessible at all times.
Probably one of the best thought out appliances that I’ve seen in a long time. The guys at Panasonic have taken everything into consideration from user ease to advanced cleaning and molded it into a very unique looking package. If you’re looking for the most advanced vacuum cleaner designed for soft carpets, you’ll find it all in this spectacular little machine. It comes with a 1-year warranty.