Looking for a vacuum that’s great for removing hair, dirt, and dust from thick carpets? In this article, we’ve listed our 5 best vacuum cleaners for carpet, along with tips for choosing the right model for your home.
Top Pick: Miele C3 Cat & Dog
Our top pick for a carpet vacuum is the excellent Miele C3 Cat & Dog. It’s one of our highest rated vacuums and is brilliant for carpets.
This model comes with a turbo brush that improves its performance compared with the standard C3, along with powerful suction and efficient filtration. Highly recommended!
While all vacuum cleaners can provide a surface-level clean on carpets, many struggle to remove dirt or fine dust that’s ground into fibres. Pet hair that’s wound around carpet fibres is another problem many vacuums can’t handle.
Fortunately, there are some excellent options if you’re tired of your vacuum leaving behind dust in carpets. We’ve put together a list of the five best vacuums for carpets below. We’ve found that each provides great value for money and, most importantly, is brilliant at cleaning carpets.
Which are the Best Vacuums for Carpets?
Listed below are five of the best vacuums for cleaning carpet. We’ve included several types of vacuum (aside from robot vacuums,) along with models available for a range of budgets, to help you make the right choice for your requirements.
Miele C3 Cat & Dog
Dyson V15 Detect Absolute
Miele Blizzard CX1 Cat & Dog
Henry Pet PET200-11
|Dust Capacity (L)||4.5||0.76||1.3||2||9|
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Best Cylinder Vacuum for Carpets
1. Miele C3 Cat & Dog
Type: Cylinder | Bag Type: Bagged | Price Range: £££ | Dust Capacity: 4.5 litres | Weight: 7.3kg | Pet Tool: Yes | HEPA Filter: No
- Outstanding all-round vacuum cleaner
- Excellent performance on carpets
- Turbo floorhead for carpet fibre agitation
- Pricey for a cylinder vacuum
- Not as convenient as a cordless
One of our top-rated cylinder vacuum cleaners is the excellent Miele C3 Cat & Dog. It’s a bagged vacuum with a universal floorhead, turbo brush (which we found is excellent on carpets) and Active AirClean filtration. The C3 is also cheaper than the bagless CX1 Blizzard range, which is why it’s our top pick in this category.
The C3 Cat & Dog comes with two primary tools. The first is the universal floor head, which is effective for general cleaning – especially on hard floors – but doesn’t have a powered brush bar for digging into carpet fibres.
Unlike the standard C3, the Cat & Dog version also comes with Miele’s TurboTeq floorhead with a rotating brush. We found this fantastic for digging into carpets and removing more dirt and hair. We also found that the vacuum cleaner has more than enough suction to provide excellent carpet pickup.
An additional feature for pet owners is Miele’s Active AirClean filter. This is great for removing allergens from the air, but also includes an activated charcoal layer for absorbing odours. If you suffer from allergies, however, we recommend getting the C3 Total Solution Allergy, as it has many of the same features but also comes with a HEPA13 filter.
While cylinder vacuums typically aren’t as quick to clean large areas of floor as uprights, the C3 is easy to manoeuvre and comfortable to use. We found that the onboard tools and one-touch cable rewind make it much more convenient than many cheaper cylinder vacuums.
Overall, the Miele Complete C3 Cat & Dog isn’t just one of the best vacuum cleaners for carpets – it’s one of the best overall vacuums in the UK. While some people won’t like that it’s a bagged vacuum (although this makes it more suitable for allergy sufferers), we love that it’s great for cleaning carpets, makes quick work of hair, and is easy to use around the home.
Best Cordless Vacuum for Carpet
2. Dyson V15 Detect Absolute
Type: Cordless | Bag Type: Bagless | Price Range: ££££ | Dust Capacity: 0.77 litres | Weight: 2.6kg | Pet Tool: Yes | HEPA Filter: No
- One of the most powerful cordless vacuums on the market
- Capable of effectively cleaning thick carpets
- Range of advanced features
- Very expensive
If you’re looking for a cordless vacuum for carpets, then the Dyson V15 Detect Absolute is our top pick. It’s a powerful vacuum – especially for a cordless – that has a convenient handheld mode and many advanced features. The V15 series isn’t cheap, but it comes with Dyson’s most powerful cordless floorhead that we found is exceptional for digging deep into carpets.
The V15 Absolute comes with two floorheads to suit different floor types. The first is the new Digital Motorbar cleaner head, which has a powerful brush bar for getting rid of dirt in thick carpets. This floor head’s brush roll, combined with the powerful motor, is why the V15 Absolute is so effective on carpeted floors.
The second floorhead is the Fluffy Optic floorhead. This is designed for hard floors and comes with a bright light to illuminate dirt, which we found is very useful for cleaning under furniture.
One of the best features of the Dyson V15 (and all Dyson cordless vacuums) is that the rigid tube can be detached to turn it into a powerful handheld vacuum. This feature is useful for cleaning furniture or carpeted stairs. It also comes with Dyson’s hair screw tool, which we found is highly effective for picking up pet hair.
Along with strong suction and excellent performance, the V15 stick vacuum cleaner adds several advanced features compared with previous Dyson cordless vacuums.
These include an LCD screen, which displays the current remaining battery life, and adaptive DLS technology. The latter feature means that the vacuum can automatically change brush bar power depending on the type of floor, as long as it’s in “Auto” mode and using the Motorbar floorhead. It also comes with several basic tools, such as a crevice tool and dusting brush.
There aren’t many downsides to the V15 Detect Absolute – aside from its price. It’s one of the most expensive vacuums on the market, but it justifies this by being the best cordless available. If you don’t want to pay this much for a vacuum, however, we think the V8 Absolute could be a good alternative as it’s cheaper but still great on carpets. The V10 Cyclone is another cheaper alternative that shares more features with the V15.
Overall, the Dyson V15 Detect Absolute cordless stick vacuum provides outstanding carpet cleaning performance. If you want a versatile cordless vac that can handle tricky carpets, then we think it’s the best option.
Best Upright Vacuum for Carpet
Type: Upright | Bag Type: Bagless | Price Range: £££ | Dust Capacity: 1.3 litres | Weight: 6.6kg | Pet Tool: Yes | HEPA Filter: No
- Powerful carpet cleaning performance
- Lift-away canister for greater mobility
- Anti hair wrap and pet tool
- Relatively heavy
- Not the best on laminate
The Shark NZ850UKT is a corded upright vacuum cleaner that combines ease of use with powerful performance. We found the DuoClean brushes digs deep into carpets, so it’s great for removing dirt, dust and hair. We also like that this model comes with Shark’s powered lift-away design, a turbo tool for pet hair, and anti-hair wrap technology.
We found that the NZ850UKT provides strong cleaning performance on almost any type of floor. As you may know from our previous reviews, we’re big fans of the DuoClean floorhead, as the combination of two brush bars helps make the NZ850UKT effective on both carpets and hard floors without changing tools.
The NZ850UKT features Shark’s powered lift-away design. This allows you to detach the canister and hold it in one hand, while using the powered floor head in the other. We found the lift-away feature particularly useful for cleaning stairs or under furniture, and you can combine it with the turbo tool for getting rid of hair on upholstery.
A number of other features are included with this vac. Shark has added LED lights to the floor head to illuminate dirt on carpets, plus they’ve included a multi-surface tool and crevice tool. The anti-hair wrap technology also reduces the amount of hair caught around the brushes, which is useful for pet owners.
A downside of this model is that it’s a relatively heavy vacuum and can struggle on laminate – although it excels at carpet cleaning. We also don’t recommend it for people with allergies. While it has a decent filter, the lack of a HEPA filter and relatively messy emptying system makes it a poor choice for allergy sufferers.
In summary, we think the Shark NZ850UKT Lift Away is an excellent vacuum for carpets. The powerful suction and DuoClean floorhead remove plenty of dust and dirt from fibres. We also like the turbo pet tool and lift-away feature, which makes the vacuum cleaner more convenient than many other uprights.
Best Bagless Cylinder Vacuum for Carpet
Type: Cylinder | Bag Type: Bagged | Price Range: ££££ | Dust Capacity: 2 litres | Weight: 5.8kg | Pet Tool: Yes | HEPA Filter: Yes
- Excellent bagless cylinder vacuum with a turbo floorhead
- Strong suction and great carpet performance
- Comes with a HEPA Lifetime filter
- Expensive for a cylinder vacuum cleaner
- Not the most convenient vacuum to empty
Unlike the bagged Miele C3, the Miele Blizzard CX1 series is a bagless vacuum with a cylinder design. The CX1 Cat & Dog is our favourite model for carpet cleaning, due to its strong suction and turbo brush for better carpet agitation. We also like that this vacuum comes with a HEPA AirClean filter and integrated tools.
The CX1 Cat & Dog comes with Miele’s EcoTeq floorhead, which we’ve found is great for cleaning hard floors. The addition of the TurboTeq floorhead is what makes this vacuum more effective for carpets though, as it has a brush bar that we found greatly improves carpet agitation and pickup.
As we’ve mentioned, this is a bagless vacuum that’s powered by a single cyclone. We’ve found it can generate excellent suction power, making it suitable for nearly all cleaning tasks. The 11-metre operating radius and excellent dust retention also make it a great all-round vacuum.
There are a few drawbacks though. The outstanding suction can sometimes be a problem, as it can be difficult to push on thick pile carpets. Fortunately, there are multiple power settings, so you can reduce suction when required. It’s also a relatively heavy vacuum, which is something to keep in mind if you’re going to be carrying it up and down stairs.
Even so, the Miele CX1 Cat & Dog is one of the best vacuums for getting rid of dust and dirt trapped in thick carpet fibres. It’s not cheap, but we think the combination of convenience and cleaning performance make it worth the money.
Best Budget Vacuum for Carpet
Type: Cylinder | Bag Type: Bagged | Price Range: ££ | Dust Capacity: 9 litres | Weight: 8kg | Pet Tool: Yes | HEPA Filter: No
- Floor tool improves performance on carpets
- 4 wheels for extra mobility
- Surprisingly quiet for such a powerful vacuum
- The turbo tool is thinner than the regular floorhead so cleaning takes longer
- Heavy and bulky vacuum
Everyone has heard of the Henry Hoover, but we recommend the Henry Pet PET200 for people who want better carpet cleaning performance.
The Henry Pet has the same features as the standard Henry, but also includes a charcoal filter and Numatic’s HairoBrush floor tool. While these features are great for pet owners, we found the new floor tool improves the vacuum’s carpet performance regardless of whether you have pets.
As you probably know, the Numatic Henry Hoover range is designed to be a “no-nonsense” vacuum cleaner. While the model has always provided powerful suction, a huge capacity and easy manoeuvrability, it doesn’t come with many extra or advanced features.
In most ways, the Henry Pet is the same. The biggest difference is that it comes with Numatic’s “HairoBrush” floor tool (also sometimes called EcoBrush 190.) This is effectively a turbo tool with a rotating brush bar, and we think it’s fantastic for cleaning carpets more thoroughly than the original Henry. It’s also great for getting rid of pet hair, which is something the Henry struggles with.
Other features include an activated charcoal filter, which minimises odours released by the vacuum, and HepaFlo bags. It’s also a surprisingly quiet vacuum and has excellent energy efficiency.
There are some minor niggles with the Henry Pet. The motorised tool is great for cleaning carpets, but it’s thinner than a standard floor head. The circular shape of all Henry vacuums also makes it difficult to balance on stairs – although the stretch hose somewhat makes up for this.
In summary, we think the Henry Pet PET200 is a great vacuum for cleaning carpets – especially considering the low price compared to the Miele vacuums. It doesn’t have advanced features and can be difficult to use on stairs, but for carpet cleaning, there aren’t many vacuum cleaners that can match its value for money.
Note: The Henry Pet has replaced the Numatic Harry, but shares many of the same features. Read our full review of the Harry.
How to Choose a Vacuum for Carpets
Let’s talk about what we look for in a high-quality vacuum cleaner that excels at carpets. Some of the key considerations include:
- Cleaning Performance. The most important factor when choosing a vacuum is its cleaning performance. This includes how well it picks up debris of varying size (from cereal down to fine dust) and how it performs on a variety of floor types, including both low pile and high pile carpet. The vacuum cleaners on this page all have excellent cleaning performance on carpets.
- Floorheads. While vacuum manufacturers like to boast about the strength of their model’s motor, it’s often the floorhead design that makes the difference when it comes to cleaning. Look for models with an effective floor head on carpets – preferably with strong brush bar power. Some models also come with multiple floor heads for different surfaces, which can be useful if you have a mixture of hardwood, vinyl and carpeted floors.
- Ease of Use. A vacuum might have the strongest suction, but if it’s heavy and difficult to use, it’ll be frustrating to clean with. The best carpet vacuums also need to cover large areas of floor quickly while being easy to manoeuvre.
- Filtration. All vacuum cleaners come with a filter, but the effectiveness varies greatly. For allergies, we recommend looking for a model with a HEPA filter. A bagged design is also the better choice for allergy sufferers.
While there are plenty of excellent vacuum cleaners, the most important thing is to choose a model that meets your requirements. Factors such as the type of floor in your home, pets, allergies and stairs all affect the best choice.
There are also a variety of types of carpet. Most vacuums struggle with deep pile, so you’ll need a model with a strong brush bar if your carpets are thick and difficult to clean. On the other hand, a shag carpet requires a more delicate clean.
If your carpet has a stain, you’ll also probably need a steam mop or carpet cleaner. For surface cleaning, you could even consider a cheaper carpet sweeper – although they are no good for deep cleans.
In this article, we’ve focused on powerful vacuums that are great for deep cleaning, but be aware that these may not be suitable for delicate types of rug or carpet.
Many vacuum cleaners struggle with thick pile carpets – especially if dust or hair has been ground into fibres. The good news is that the best vacuum cleaners for carpets can make short work of most cleaning tasks, leaving you with a clean and dust-free carpet.
Our top pick in this category is the Miele C3 Cat and Dog . It’s a powerful bagged vacuum that has great carpet performance. It’s also cheaper than the Dyson V15 or other high-end cordless models.
Do you have any questions about choosing the best vacuum for carpet? Or do you think we’ve missed a model that should be on this list? Let us know in the comments!
Page Update History
19th September 2023
Updated to new Spotless Vacuum design. Added several new vacuum cleaners.
- Dyson V15 Detect Absolute (replacing the Dyson V11 Absolute)
- Miele Blizzard CX1 Cat & Dog (replacing the Miele Blizzard CX1 Excellence)