What’s the Best Vacuum for Carpets?

Carpets are a blessing and a curse. They keep your feet comfortable, beautify your home, provide noise reduction, and give toddlers a soft place to land. But they also harbor dirt, dander, mold, pollen, and pollutants that hide deep inside their fibers.

If your home has lots of rugs and carpets of different piles and textures, you need a powerful, well-balanced vacuum with a light touch to tackle all of that grossness without damaging your rugs.

After testing dozens of vacuums, we have four to recommend that will gently and effectively clean your carpets and rugs.

Our pick

This stylish, bagged upright vacuum offers formidable cleaning power, and it’s adjustable to suit different carpet types.

Available in different colors and patterns, the SEBO Felix Premium is so beautiful that you may very well find an option that complements the color schemes of your carpets. This vac is a powerful cleaner with excellent filtration, yet it’s also relatively light and user-friendly. The Felix Premium was the best-performing, most innovative upright vacuum we tested.

Its powerful cleaner head has its own motor and can be adjusted to suit different carpet piles. The Felix Premium has a sliding suction control on its ergonomic handle; this is convenient and allows you to lower the suction when tackling high-pile rugs.

The Felix Premium vacuum comes with an excellent warranty—up to 10 years for the motor and seven years for parts and labor when you buy from an authorized dealer and register your machine.

Our pick

This bagged canister vacuum excels on carpets, and it has many adjustment options to suit different types. It should last for the long haul.

The SEBO Airbelt K3 Premium is our top-performing canister vacuum, combining excellent cleaning power and filtration with comfortable handling and thoughtful design.

The Airbelt K3 Premium’s powerful electric cleaner head is height-adjustable, to suit different types of carpets and rugs—it effectively (and effortlessly) propels itself across even rugs with thicker piles. This model is quiet and comfortable to use. Its sliding suction control is conveniently located on its ergonomic, height-adjustable handle, so transitioning from low-pile to high-pile carpeting is a breeze.

Like the SEBO Felix Premium, this model comes with the same generous warranty.

Budget pick

Though far from perfect, this bagless upright is one of the best vacuums you can buy for under $200. It works well on most types of carpets.

The Shark Navigator Lift-Away NV352 is inexpensive and basic yet reliable. This cleaner effortlessly picks up fur, fine dust, and small debris on most low- and medium-pile carpets. But it balks at thicker rugs and at medium- to high-pile carpets, making it virtually impossible to push.

Though it lacks many of the features of our top picks, the bagless Navigator Lift-Away requires little maintenance and has essentially no recurring costs. But its five-year limited warranty covers only the motor; if anything else breaks, you’re out of luck.

Also great

If you live in an apartment with just a few rugs or one or two small carpeted rooms, this versatile cordless vacuum might be all you need.

The battery-powered, reasonably priced Ryobi 18V One+ HP Cordless Pet Stick Vac Kit with Dual-Roller Bar performed above average in our cordless stick vacuum tests. Its powerful all-terrain cleaner head agitates carpet fibers, and its extra-large bin doesn’t need emptying mid-cleaning. Unlike those of our SEBO top picks, the Ryobi 18V One+ HP’s cleaner head isn’t height-adjustable, which poses a problem on shaggy rugs. (The brush roll can be turned off, though.)

This model’s battery runs for a good 35 minutes, and its two-hour charge time is one of the fastest among those of the stick vacs we tested. In addition, you can easily exchange the battery and use it in a variety of Ryobi tools.

The Ryobi 18V One+ HP stick vac has a three-year warranty.

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