Most people think of two types of flooring when they think of their interior surfaces: carpet and hardwood. For the most part, vacuum manufacturers respect this divide and have created products that either appeal to one or the other. Bare floor vacuums, for example, usually have stationary brushes to help funnel debris into a pure suction chamber, while carpet-focused vacuum cleaners use motorized brush rolls to agitate the carpet fibers and help release deep-seeded debris into the air.
Not all carpets are created equally, however, so while motorized brush rolls are very handy for Berber carpet and other low-pile carpet fibers, these same brush rolls can prove problematic for shag, heavy nylon, and high-pile carpeting. Anyone who’s ever pushed a brush roll-enabled vacuum cleaner across a thick carpet can attest that it seemed more like an arm workout than a cleaning job. Both the carpet and the vacuum cleaner can also be damaged, as long strands of nylon and string can be pulled from the carpet and tangled around the brush roll.
For those homeowners left scratching their heads over how to deal with their longer-pile carpets, we’ve assembled our top four picks for the best vacuum to tackle such scenarios. Each of these four comes with functionality designed to counteract the brush roll problem and help clean your home without posing a risk to flooring and rugs. After going over these products, we’ll investigate the brush roll problem as well as other key factors that can make or break a long carpet vacuum cleaner. Finally, we’ll offer a few concluding insights that might help you pick out the vacuum cleaner that’s right for you.
- Miele Complete C3 Cat and Dog SGEE0
- Proposing an all-encompassing solution and boasting the most functionality, versatility, and features, the Miele Complete C3 lives up to its name. It offers a variable brush roll for long carpet as well as features to tackle pet hair, upholstery, and other above-ground surfaces.
- Kenmore Elite Pet-Friendly 31150
- With a focus on HEPA filtration and pet hair removal, the Kenmore Elite Pet-Friendly 31150 is great for those who want to clean longer carpet but with an upright design. The heavier weight can put some strain on dense carpet, but otherwise the adjustable brush roll and allergy focus is appealing to many.
- Dyson Ball Animal 2
- Dyson’s famous ball design proves itself a qualified contender with other vacuum cleaners on our list. Powerful suction and a self-adjusting brush roll make this vacuum one of the easiest products to use on long carpeting, but it falls short in its adjustability.
- Soniclean Soft Carpet SFC-7000
- Soniclean’s simple solution to sensitive carpets is highly limited in versatility, but what it does clean, it cleans effectively. The adjustable vent system and unique brush roll won’t damage carpeting but in some cases might struggle to completely clean them.
- Vacuum Cleaner For Long Carpets Buyers Guide
- The Brush Roll Problem
- Are Bags Better?
- Weight & Ergonomics
- Final Thoughts
Canister | 24 ft cord | Bagged | Active AirClean Filtration | 19.4 lbs | 10 ft Hose | ✓ Brush Roll (on/off)
Proposing an all-encompassing solution and boasting the most functionality, versatility, and features, the Miele Complete C3 lives up to its name. It offers a variable brush roll for long carpet as well as features to tackle pet hair, upholstery, and other above-ground surfaces.
- High-quality attachments and variable motor great for long carpets
- Long hose can clean all floors and above-ground surfaces
- Accessories remain on the unit for easy access
- Motor can be adjusted to be gentle on carpet
- Heavy and difficult to pull around larger homes
- No HEPA filtration out-of-the-box
- Six-speed variable motor controlled via foot-switch
- Powerful 1,200 Watt Vortex Motor
- Attachments: Electro Plus Electrobrush, Parquet Twister, Mini Turbobrush, upholstery tool, crevice tool, dusting brush
- Warranty: 1-Year Limited, 7-year Body & Motor Warranty
The Miele line of vacuum cleaners has a reputation for being the apex of home cleaning appliances. With the Miele Complete C3 Cat & Dog SGEE0 vacuum, that reputation holds true.
This Miele model is the pet-focused variant of the Complete C3 bagged canister design, which puts particular focus on cleaning just about anything you put in front of it.
The Electro Plus Electrobrush is also a powerful tool to take to carpeted flooring as it can also be adjusted in height. Larger wheels on the Complete C3’s canister make it easy to cross over from hardwood to shag without strain.
The only real downfall of the Complete C3 is the higher-than-average cost: it can be hard to find this product for under four figures, making it the most expensive product on our list by a considerable margin. In addition, a larger canister is needed to hold the Miele bags and attachments, resulting in a heavier product. Still, if you want a vacuum that can clean long carpet, short carpet, bare floors, and just about anything else, the Complete C3 is the way to go.
Upright | 35 ft cord | Bagged | HEPA Filtration | 20 lbs | 4 ft Hose | ✓ Brush Roll (on/off)
With a focus on HEPA filtration and pet hair removal, the Kenmore Elite Pet-Friendly 31150 is great for those who want to clean longer carpet but with an upright design. The heavier weight can put some strain on dense carpet, but otherwise the adjustable brush roll and allergy focus is appealing to many.
- Great for pet owners
- Powerful HEPA filtration
- Adjustable brush roller
- Larger wheels easily roll over carpet
- Longer cord reduces time spent re-plugging
- More affordable than many vacuums on our list
- Heavy weight can be unwieldy
- Short hose
- Height adjustment can be clunky
- LED lights for easier debris detection
- HEPA filtration and fully hypoallergenic
- Attachments: telescoping wand, dusting brush, crevice tool, pet handi-mate
- Warranty: 1-year Limited
Kenmore Elite Pet-Friendly 31150 vacuum is one of the best Kenmore models available and provides enough adjustability and ease of use to earn its spot as the most affordable vacuum cleaner for longer-pile carpets.
This pet-focused product aims to please those who need to contain pet hair without casting debris into the air. The result is a vacuum that’s pretty well equipped for longer carpet. The adjustable brush roll is a bit clunky and will require effort to push, but once you master the settings, the brush roll won’t damage long carpeting. The upright design can also seem heavy and puts a strain on more sensitive longer carpet strands. At the same time, it isn’t the easiest vacuum to maneuver around tight corners, push on thick carpet, or carry up staircases. Nevertheless, it’s the most affordable vacuum on our list and performs on longer carpeting well enough to appeal to those with pets and sensitive noses.
Upright | 35 ft Cord | Bagless | HEPA Filtration | 17.35 lbs | 15 ft Hose | ✓ Brush Roll (on/off)
Dyson’s famous ball design proves itself a qualified contender with other vacuum cleaners on our list. Powerful suction and a self-adjusting brush roll make this vacuum one of the easiest products to use on long carpeting, but it falls short in its adjustability.
- Great suction on long carpet
- Self-adjusting brush roll work wonders on long carpeting
- Ball design easily crosses carpeting
- Included turbine tool helps clean above-ground
- Upright design
- No method to turn down powerful suction
- Can damage sensitive carpet
- Brush roll can clog easily
- Self-adjusting cleaner head
- Hygienic bin emptying
- Attachments: Stair tool, combination tool, tangle-free turbine tool
- Warranty: 5-year Limited
Though Dyson has a bit of a complicated reputation in the vacuum cleaner industry, variant on their ball design is one of the best Dyson vacuum cleaners currently available. The Dyson Ball Animal 2 comes with Dyson’s infamous ball design, which allows easy movement over carpeting and also cuts a striking figure. The self-adjusting bush roll is also one that works well on all but the tallest of carpets, so there’s little to fear in this department.
Dyson adds to the features on the Ball Animal 2 a turbine tool to make this product a great all-in-one home cleaning solution. All of the ease of use, though, means that there isn’t much homeowners can do to adjust the product’s motor speed or ergonomics. Because of this, and taking into account some quality control issues with the brush roll and heavier weight of the product, we recommend the Dyson Ball Animal 2 for homes that need to clean longer carpets only some of the time.
Upright | 35 ft Cord | Bagged | HEPA Filtration | 10.5 lbs | X Hose | ✓ Brush Roll
Soniclean’s simple solution to sensitive carpets is highly limited in versatility, but what it does clean, it cleans effectively. The adjustable vent system and unique brush roll won’t damage carpeting but in some cases might struggle to completely clean them.
- Hyper-focused on sensitive carpet cleaning
- Great for very long carpet
- Lightweight design puts little strain on carpet
- Unique brush roll features nylon bristles
- No attachments
- Cannon clean non-carpeted surfaces
- Not great for big messes
- Cannot turn off brush roll
- Adjustable vent system for easy maneuverability on sensitive carpets
- Soft nylon brush roll for gentle carpet cleaning
- Attachments: N/A
- Warranty: 1-year Limited, 5-year Motor Warranty
The Soniclean Soft Carpet SFC-7000 upright vacuum is hyper-focused on cleaning carpeting and pretty much nothing else. A vent on the front of the vacuum can be open or closed to make it easier to push along thicker carpeting. The real feature to focus on here, however, is the brush roll.
With the gentle nylon brush roller, sensitive rugs and carpeting gets agitated without pulling on the fibers. The result in a gentler clean and a product that’s a must-have for the most sensitive of carpeting. This focus comes, though, at the cost of versatility. You won’t be cleaning any above ground surfaces or bare floors, and while the product is lightweight, it still comes with the issue of upright design we’ve mentioned previously.
For those who want more options, our other picks might be best. For those who need a sensitive carpet cleaning and nothing else, however, the Soniclean Soft Carpet upright is tailor-made to be the ultimate solution.
Vacuum Cleaner For Long Carpets Buyers Guide
As you can tell, many manufacturers have approached the problem of longer carpet fibers in different ways. Some have buckled down on carpet cleaning only, while others use unique designs and attachments to give homeowners more options. To cut through the noise and find the vacuum cleaner that is right for you, consider the following:
The Brush Roll Problem
Like we’ve mentioned before, brush rolls pose both a unique problem as well as a solution to cleaning longer carpeting. Brush rolls that spin too quickly, are lowered too close to the carpet’s surface, or are made of hard bristles will pull too hard on carpet fibers and eventually remove them entirely. Agitation is important, though, for cleaning carpets and lifting debris so that it can be picked up by the suction power of the vacuum.
Each of our four picks approaches the brush roll problem in different ways. The Complete C3 Cat & Dog uses a canister design to take the weight of the vacuum off of the brush roll and allow for more adjustability in suction power and brush roll height. The Dyson Ball Animal 2, meanwhile, features a self-adjusting brush roll for ease of use. The Kenmore 31150 Pet & Allergy comes with manual height adjustment, and the Soniclean Soft Carpet upright has both ventilation adjustment options as well as a sensitive nylon brush roll.
Generally, what’s important to keep in mind is how thick or how long your carpets are. For longer carpeting, you’ll need gentler brush rolls or brush rolls with little weight behind them. For medium carpeting, the weight poses less of an issue and agitation becomes more important. For the longest of carpet fibers, you may want to consider turning the brush roll off entirely.
Are Bags Better?
You’ll notice that many of our picks feature bagged designs. For those unfamiliar, bagged vacuum cleaners have consistently pleased homeowners and have enjoyed a significant resurgence in recent years. This shift is in part because bagged vacuums are generally more hygienic than bagless vacuums, as they never putting the homeowner in contact with the debris after it’s been vacuumed up. Bagged vacuums also typically offer stronger filtration, but this feature will in turn require ongoing expenses.
For more information on bagged vacuums and whether they are right for you, be sure to check out our Bagged vs. Bagless Vacuum Cleaner article.
Weight & Ergonomics
You may have noticed in our profiles that we noted the weight of the vacuum cleaner when it pertained to upright vacuums.Vacuums in an upright configuration put 100% of the vacuum’s weight onto the carpet itself. Most of this weight is intended to be in the wheels, but some of it will inevitably end up on the brush roll itself.
The more a brush roll is pushed into longer carpet fibers, the greater the risk is of damaging the carpet fibers and pulling them for the carpet completely. That’s why those with shag or longer carpeting need to focus on brush rolls that are either highly adjustable or seek out lightweight upright or canister vacuums. The more sensitive the carpet and the longer the fibers, the more important a light brush roll is.
Keeping the brush roll off of the bulk of the fibers also comes with the silver lining of ergonomics. Pushing a vacuum cleaner across thick carpeting can be difficult, and the less the brush roll touches the fibers, the easier pushing the product will be.
With four unique and varied vacuum cleaners such as these, there is no one product that will truly match all of the needs of every home. That being said, let’s reflect a bit on our findings.
The Miele Complete C3 Cat & Dog is the top-of-the-line solution to many different cleaning problems. If you want premium quality and longer carpet cleaning alongside other features, this is the vacuum for you.
The Kenmore Elite 31150 Pet & Allergy is a great choice for those who need affordability, have pets, or otherwise are sensitive to allergens in the air. The adjusting brush roll should suffice for most long carpet types.
The Dyson Ball Animal 2 is perfect for those with all types of flooring and who need a simple solution for cleaning. Finally, the Soniclean Soft Carpet upright is perfect for those who want a model that’s gentle on expensive or sensitive flooring and rugs.
Choosing one of these products and opting for a dedicated vacuum that can handle your longer-pile carpet is essential to ensure the long-term viability of your investment. The right vacuum cleaner will stop damaging your floors and start cleaning them.