How To Find Out The Best Vacuum For Shag Carpet?

How To Find Out The Best Vacuum For Shag Carpet?

Shag carpeting can be stylish, but it can also trap more dirt and debris than traditional short pile carpets. Keeping it clean requires a powerful vacuum that can handle the extra thick piles without getting tangled or clogged. Not all vacuums work well on shag though.

What Makes Vacuuming Shag Carpet Difficult?

Before jumping to vacuum suggestions, let’s understand what makes shag carpeting tricky when it comes to cleaning:

The long, dense piled fabrics are thicker than regular carpets

All that fabric hides more dirt, dust, and debris you need to extract out

Lackluster vacuums can get tangled in the long fibers instead of pulling them up

So, you need strong suction and air flow to penetrate deep while lifting particles to the surface. Cleverly designed brushrolls also help capture and pull up the shag without getting snarled.

Key Considerations for Shag Carpet vacuum cleaner

Here are the most important factors to consider when choosing Best Vacuum for Shag Carpet:

· Brush roll –

Needs adjustable height to match the carpet pile and entangle fibers to lift debris. Bristles suited for carpets prevent tangling strands.

· Suction –

Strong suction is required to thoroughly clean thick shag fibers all the way to the backing. Prioritize more power.

· Filters –

HEPA filtration is ideal for trapping irritants and allergens within shag strands so they can be removed from your home.

· Attachments –

Look for a specialized electric turbo tool designed for cleaning thick, long carpeting. Hoses should also reach under furniture.

· Corded vs battery –

While sticks offer flexibility, corded uprights and canisters have more consistent suction for deep cleaning high piles.

Keep these tips in mind while shopping to find your perfect shag carpet vacuum match. Now let’s explore top upright, canister, stick, and robot recommendations specifically geared for conquering shag!

Upright Vacuums

Upright vacuums are designed for effectively cleaning wall-to-wall carpeting in large rooms or open floor plans. They generate exceptional suction power right at the cleaning nozzle thanks to motors and fans located in the head of the vacuum.

This allows them to thoroughly deep clean carpets by lifting dirt from below the surface piles.

When considering an upright vacuum, there are several benefits that make them advantageous for whole home carpet cleaning:

Pros to consider:

  • The motor and fan placement near the floor makes for very strong suction power. This allows upright vacuums to really lift grime from within thick or dense carpet fibers where debris often hides.
  • Uprights almost always come with a powered brushroll. The spinning and combing motion pulls up sticky dirt while helping refresh matted pile areas. This makes debris extraction from carpets more complete.
  • Large capacity dust bins perfect for cleaning most homes only need occasional emptying. This allows efficiently cleaning even large spaces between stops.
  • Adjustable brushroll heights let upright vacuums adapt to the specific pile length in different rooms. Clean heads can plunge deep into plush carpeting for a deeper clean.

Cons to consider:

  • Most basic upright brushrolls use simple bristle types that can sometimes snag on the loops and tufts found in shaggier carpet styles.
  • The integrated motor, fans, and bag/bin systems that make uprights powerful also add substantial heft. Many weigh over 15 pounds making lugging them up stairs or maneuvering under furniture frustrating.
  • The fixed head and body connected to wheels makes navigating tightly around furniture legs or accessories a challenge requiring greater clearance.

So, there are clear benefits but also limitations to evaluate when deciding if an upright vacuum’s strengths suit your flooring needs.

When choosing an upright vacuum for shag carpet, look for ones with a powerful motor, specialized brushroll design to resist tangles, and height adjustments to clean even longer piles.

Canister Vacuums

Canister vacuums are another option well-suited for shag carpeting. They have the same powered floor nozzles as upright vacuums but with more versatility to clean various areas.

Pros to consider:

  • Canister motors generate robust suction just like uprights. When paired with an electric powered cleaning head, the brushrolls and suction combine for deep carpet cleaning abilities.
  • The lightweight, compact canister body coupled with a maneuverable power head allows cleanly around furniture tightly. The flexible hose also makes reaching under beds or tables simpler without having to move them.
  • That same flexible hose also extends your cleaning radius tremendously. The long reach helps access corners more easily or allows cleaning cobwebs from ceilings without needing a ladder.
  • Typical canister weights under 10 pounds are much lighter to carry up stairs or over thresholds compared to bulkier uprights. Less muscles needed for operating makes cleaning less tiring.

Cons to consider:

  • To maintain a lightweight body, dust bin capacities run smaller than uprights. This necessitates more frequent trips back to the trash can to empty the canister.
  • Although the hose and wand provide great maneuverability for open floor areas, cleaning stairs can be trickier without an integrated handle to grip.
  • The three piece system often needs more storage space to house the power head, long hose, and canister body when not in use. Self-contained uprights tuck away much simpler.

Focus on canister vacuums with large dust bins, specialized carpet nozzles, and height adjustments when shopping for shag carpet cleaning.

Stick Vacuums

Stick vacuums provide a convenient, lightweight cleaning option for shag rugs. They have the maneuverability of a canister but in a slim, upright-style body.

Pros to consider:

  • With no bulky body or canister dragging behind, stick vacs occupy minimal storage real estate. Their closet-friendly shapes include wall mounts for grabbing without hassle.
  • Weighing 5 pounds or under, even cordless stick models feel feather-light. You can comfortably carry them anywhere without feeling worn out – big bonus for multi-story homes.
  • The low profile cleaner heads skim under sofas, beds, and other furnishings with zero stooping or squatting to reach tight spots. No more backaches after cleaning!
  • Cordless, battery-powered options provide untethered cleaning freedom. Most modern sticks run from 20 up to 60 minutes to finish multiple rooms per charge.

Cons to consider:

  • Battery-powered operation trades continuous high power for portability. Motors and suction fall noticeably below heavier corded vacuums.
  • Finite battery life invariably forces recharging breaks after 30-60 minutes of cleaning. For larger homes this disrupts workflows.
  • Without the constant floor pressure from heavier uprights, sticks sometimes lack the compression power to thoroughly clean shaggy high pile carpets.
  • Look for stick vacuums with motorized brushrolls and carpet height adjustments when choosing one for shags. Corded electric models tend to be more powerful than cordless.

Robot Vacuums

Robot vacuums provide automatic, scheduled cleaning sessions on shag carpeting. They have sensors to methodically navigate and clean open floor areas.

Pros to Consider:

  • After mapping out floor plans, robot vacums can clean autonomously on schedules tailored around pet activity or human foot traffic. No need to actively operate them each time.
  • With automatic recharging and debris emptying, some robots can provide weeks of intermittent cleaning with no ongoing maintenance needed. Just periodic oversight.
  • For homes occupied inconsistently, robots handle upkeep dusting and debris pickup without needing someone physically present. Great for frequently vacant vacation properties.
  • Being small and nimble, robots slip under beds, sofas, and other difficult spots most regular vacuums can’t access without moving heavy furniture items.

Cons to Consider:

  • Struggling with limited airflow and tiny brushrolls, autonomous vacuums lack the power to tidy shaggier carpet piles. They fare best on low to medium pile rugs.
  • Elaborate tassels or fringe along certain ornate rugs can sometimes snare robot vacuums stopping movement. This requires manual rescue to free trapped units.
  • With miniaturized components weighed down by batteries, robotic vacuum suction pales compared to corded full-size vacuums. Temper expectations for debris pickup.
  • Less systematic navigation coupled with lower power inevitably misses areas which need occasional manual spot cleaning to cover completely.
  • Look for robot vacuums with carpet boost modes, tangle resistant brush designs, and mapping navigation when shopping for shag capabilities. Wi-fi connectivity for remote control is also helpful.
Vacuum TypeSuction PowerManeuverabilitySpecialized ToolsWhole House CleaningSpot Cleaning
UprightExcellentFairBrushrolls, Height AdjustExcellentGood
CanisterExcellentExcellentBrushrolls, HosesGoodExcellent
StickGoodExcellentBrushrolls OptionalFairExcellent


Do I Really Need A Special Vacuum For My Shag Carpet Or Will Any Vacuum Work?

Due to the long fibers and thick pile of shag carpeting, you do need a heavy-duty vacuum that is up for the challenge. Standard vacuums often tangle in the shag fibers and lack the suction power to pull debris from the base of high piles.

Investing in a vacuum made specifically for cleaning carpets with high piles will make the job much easier and produce better cleaning results.

Are Upright, Canister, Stick Or Robot Vacuums Best For Shags?

Upright and canister vacuums tend to have the most powerful motors and turbo brush tools purpose-built for shag carpeting. Stick vacuums offer great portability but may lack the suction capabilities for deep cleaning extremely thick shag fibers.

Robotic vacuums can maintain shags well but cannot match the thorough cleaning of full-size corded vacuums.

What Vacuum Features Should I Look For?

Key features to seek out are adjustable carpet pile height settings, specialized brushrolls designed to resist tangles, strong suction capabilities, large dust bins, and extras like high efficiency filters. Canister vacuums with powered turbo floor heads also excel at shag cleaning.

How Often Should I Vacuum My Shag Carpet?

Industry experts recommend vacuuming shag carpet at least twice per week since the piles easily trap debris below reach. Slow, deliberate strokes across smaller sections are most effective to lift dirt from the base without scattering it. Also use a carpet rake or groomer monthly to lift crushed fibers.

Can I Use A Stick Vacuum For Quick Cleanups Between Deep Vacuums?

Stick vacuums work nicely for quick touch-ups on shag carpets. While they lack the deep cleaning power of larger vacuums, their lightweight maneuverability and cordless convenience make them ideal for rapid surface cleaning when needed between deeper vacuuming sessions.

Just don’t expect the same thorough debris extraction from their less powerful suction.


With so many vacuum types and models available today, finding the right one for shag carpeting can get overwhelming. Focus on key specifications like suction capabilities, customized brushrolls, and pile height adjustments when evaluating options to cut through the clutter.

Upright vacuums tend to offer the best end-to-end large area shag carpet cleaning with canisters providing flexibility for localized spot cleaning. Stick designs work well for quick cleanups in homes with lots of stairs.

And robot vacuums deliver autonomous scheduled cleaning of shag carpets day in and out when properly equipped with tangle-resistant features.

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