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5 best vacuums for cleaning the carpets in your home 

Cleaning carpets with a vacuum requires the right attachments and suction, experts say.
When trying to dislodge dust and debris out of your carpet make sure you have the right level of suction.
When trying to dislodge dust and debris out of your carpet make sure you have the right level of suction.Shark; Miele; Amazon

Cleaning carpets embedded with debris is difficult to manage if you don’t have the right vacuum. A mess can quickly build up, so keeping on top of vacuuming is a priority for every cleaning schedule. You may think that any vacuum can get the job done, but not every model offers the same technology and attachments that are ideal for cleaning carpets. There are many different types of carpets and each one has different cleaning needs depending on its thickness.

To help you pick a vacuum we contacted cleaning experts to find out what kind of technology and specifications work best for cleaning every type of carpet. We also got recommendations on the best types to buy.

SKIP AHEAD How we picked the best carpet vacuums | The best vacuums for carpets in 2024 | What are the different types of vacuums? | How to shop for a carpet vacuum

Selected.Our top picks

How we picked the best vacuums for carpets

Cleaning carpets can be a nuisance depending on their thickness. Choosing a vacuum that has certain levels of suction power is what will determine whether it will be efficient at picking up dust and debris. With so many types on the market, we got input from experts on how to determine which ones are best. Here’s a summary of what influenced our recommendations.

  • Suction: Vacuums with powerful suction are the most ideal for carpets, especially when they’re thick. A spinning brush roll is a must-have attachment when trying to pick up trapped hair, dust and crumbs.
  • Canister vs. non-canister: Canister vacuums offer powerful suction while also being great for allergies given their bag secures dust. Non-canister vacuums usually have dustbins that are washable but still allow dust to escape.

The best vacuums for carpets in 2024

Each vacuum recommended below has key details our experts highlighted that effectively clean carpets.

Best overall vacuum: Miele C1 Turbo Team PowerLine

Miele is a favorite among experts not only for its canister design and suction abilities but also for leaving carpets fresh after each use. “With a canister vacuum, you can pick up the tool and drag it in the direction of the carpet so you don’t have any streaks or uneven marks,” Malcolm Berman, owner and founder of Green Clean NYC, says. “You can pick up the tool at the end of your stroke, pull it back, and groom the carpet all in one direction so it looks pristine when you’re done.” For extra assistance when removing hair and lint on carpets, a turbo brush is included. It’s important to note that this brush works best on low to medium-pile carpets, according to Miele. Other highlights include adjustable height, 1200-watt suction power, soft parquet brush, crevice and upholstery tool attachments.

Type: Canister | Run time: Corded | Dustbin capacity: 4.8 qt.  | Weight: 13 lbs

Best budget pick: Kenmore 200 Series Bagged Canister Vacuum

This canister vacuum by Kenmore is a good budget option if Miele is out of your price range. It can lift dust and dirt efficiently thanks to its dual motor with “effective brush rotation and powerful suction,” according to the brand. The built-in HEPA filter tackles and traps any allergens while cleaning. The 24-foot cord automatically rewinds and covers adequate floor space so you don’t have to constantly unplug your vacuum. It can adjust to four heights and includes three attachment heads — a dusting brush, a crevice tool and a bare floor tool.

Type: Canister | Run time: Corded | Dustbin capacity: 9.07 kg.  | Weight: 22.6 lbs

Best cordless stick: Dyson V11 Torque Vacuum

Dyson is a beloved brand when it comes to vacuuming. This specific model has a “high-torque” attachment head that changes suction power depending on the floor type, using “stiff nylon bristles” and “anti-static carbon fiber filaments” to get deeply ingrained dirt and dust, according to Dyson. There’s an LCD screen on the top of the dustbin that shows run time, power mode and performance stats. “If you have an area rug or a low pile, a lot of times you can get away with a cordless,” says Jill Koch, a cleaning expert.

Type: Cordless | Run time: 60 minutes | Dustbin capacity: 0.2 gal | Weight: 6.68 lbs

Best robot: Roborock Q5 Robot Vacuum

Vacuuming on the go is made easy with a robot vacuum. “It can be any robot vacuum — it does an amazing job and picks up an entire third cup full of dust and debris,” says Berman. “I find them effective and convenient.” This model by Roborock allows you to control, schedule and adjust suction power remotely through its app. It uses 3D mapping so you can see and plan its exact route while also preventing the vacuum from entering specific areas. Once it hits the carpet, suction power increases for a thorough deep clean, according to the brand. It has a 180-minute run time that can handle up to 3230 square feet and you can use voice commands right from your couch to tell the vacuum which area to clean. A “floating rubber brush” scans the ground at all times to snatch pet hair, dust and other debris effectively, according to Roborock.

Type: Robot | Run time: 180 minutes | Dustbin capacity: 4.70 mL  | Weight: 7 lbs

Best upright: Shark Stratos Upright Vacuum

Koch loves upright vacuums—specifically models from Shark. This one combines two brush rolls that grip onto dirt, debris, dust and hair embedded in carpets, according to the brand. The brush roll self-cleans, which means hair won’t get stuck in between cleanings. The vacuum has a built-in “odor neutralizer” for combating bad smells when cleaning up distinct messes, while the dustbin is washable.

Type: Upright | Run time: Corded | Dustbin capacity: 1.48 qt. | Weight: 16.71 lbs

What are the different types of vacuums?

There are many types of vacuums to help clean carpets efficiently. We distinguished each type that we recommend to narrow down which option is best for you.

  • Canister: This wheeled vacuum style includes a bag in the canister to secure dust and debris, making it ideal for anyone who struggles with allergies. It has a long hose making it versatile for many types of attachments. “They can also have both electric motorheads and motorized spinning brushes, so they can emulate an upright vacuum without the weight,” says Berman. “They also have turbo heads that are driven by the suction of the back in the air passing over turbines in the brush roller, spinning the brush without any additional power.”
  • Cordless stick: These vacuums are very maneuverable and lightweight, which makes them one of the most popular models because they can be easily stored away.
  • Robot: If you have no desire to vacuum, a robot model should be your top pick. You can control and schedule cleanings remotely through an app while you’re away. Many have technology that can map out your entire floor to memorize routes and they can empty themselves.
  • Upright: These may not be everyone’s top pick for modern vacuums, but they still are efficient at cleaning carpets. They tend to offer more suction compared to lightweight models and have wider suction heads. These are often heavier, but get the job done. “If you have a fully carpeted home, I think you can’t beat an upright that plugs in just because the power in the suction is going to be better than a cordless,” says Koch.

How to shop for a carpet vacuum

Certain aspects make select vacuums a better option than others for carpets. The cleaning experts we spoke to gave us some tips on things to look out for.

  • Suction: Both of our experts agree that good suction is ideal for cleaning carpets. Berman specifically recommends a turbo head, which is a spinning brush roll, versus an electric powerhead with a separate motor. “That’s good for medium to high dense pile carpeting because it agitates the fibers and allows the vacuum to suck up dirt that may have worked its way down into the base of the carpet,” says Berman. “Low pile and flat weave rugs, you don’t need either one of those—you’re better off with a flat tool and just straight suction.”
  • Canister vs non-canister: “So, canisters are tried and true,” says Berman. They’re easily maneuverable — you’re only holding the weight of the hose in the wand and the tool as opposed to the motor itself.” This vacuum type depends on personal preference and how dense your carpet is. Robot models do the work for you, while upright and cordless vacuums have a dramatic difference in weight. Upright vacuums may offer strong suction, but Koch says she recommends upgrading to a canister vacuum when dealing with thick carpets.

Meet our experts

At NBC Select, we work with experts who have specialized knowledge and authority based on relevant training and/or experience. We also take steps to ensure that all expert advice and recommendations are made independently and with no undisclosed financial conflicts of interest.

  • Malcolm Berman is the owner and founder of Green Clean NYC, which offers residential, commercial, allergy and specialty deep cleaning services. 
  • Jill Koch is a home organizing, cleaning and lifestyle who published DIY Cleaning Recipes for the Non-Toxic Home.

Why trust NBC Select?

Nicolette Accardi is a freelance writer whose beats include tech, home appliances and smart home devices. For this article, Accardi spoke to two experts in the home cleaning space about how to shop for the best vacuums for carpets. She compiled their recommendations, along with top-rated vacuums that include similar specifications.

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