Shag rugs and carpets have long been popular for the look, comfort, and warmth they bring to any space. While these rugs look and feel amazing, they are rather difficult to clean, at least when compared to other types of carpeting. Because of this, if you own this style of carpeting, you need to purchase the best vacuum for shag carpet.
Do You Have Shag Carpet?
If shag carpeting makes you think of 1970s décor, you likely have a very specific look in mind—one you might not have in your home. But shag carpeting is broader than you might realize. Shag carpet refers to any carpet or rug that has long fibers and a deep pile height, which includes modern designs, such as frieze carpet.
If your carpet is considered shag carpet, you have to keep in mind its unique needs when cleaning and maintaining it. Let’s take a look at some of the challenges you will encounter when caring for shag carpeting.
The Beauty and the Burden of Shag Carpeting
Many vacuums claim that they can be used on all types of flooring. However, this is almost never true. What the companies mean with this claim is that their vacuums can be used on hardwood, tile, and most carpet—but not all. Usually when the description says a vacuum can handle carpet, it means low-pile carpeting; think Berber, level loop, and Saxon.
High-pile carpeting is very different from low-pile carpeting in many ways, and using a vacuum designed for low-pile carpeting on it will result in inefficient cleaning at best, and damage to your rug and vacuum at worst. Some challenges specific to shag carpeting include:
Long carpet fibers make it difficult to reach the dirt at the base of the carpet. While strong suction can pull out more of the dirt, this leads to another problem.
Strong suction can damage the carpet fibers. The shaggy look that gives shag carpet its name comes from the loose way in which the fibers are woven together. Strong suction can pull them further apart and wear on the fibers, creating a frizzy appearance rather than a shaggy one.
The long strands of shag carpeting easily get caught in beater bars on traditional vacuums. This can damage both the carpet and the vacuum.
Finally, the plush pile of the carpeting can make it difficult to push the vacuum across the carpet, putting more physical strain on you.
Does this mean that you need to get rid of your shag carpeting? Not at all. But it does mean that you need to purchase a great vacuum for shag carpet. Let’s take a look at the qualities a good shag carpet vacuum needs.
What to Look for in a Vacuum for Shag Carpeting
Larger Wheels: Small wheels just get caught up in the thick pile of shag carpets. Larger wheels, however, can easily move over the carpet without getting caught in it or damaging it.
Gentle Suction: Vacuums with stronger suction will cause the fibers of the carpet to become fuzzy, leading to the replacement of the carpet.
No Beater Bar or Brush: Vacuums with beater bars are great for low-pile carpeting, but high-pile carpeting gets tangled in it and damages the carpet and the vacuum. Brushes can cause the fibers to fray.
Air Filter: Because shag carpeting is excellent at harboring dirt and debris, and thus allergens, having clean air and a clean home means using a vacuum with an air filter.
Lightweight Body: A heavy vacuum is a problem with any type of carpeting, but it is worse with shag carpeting. The more the vacuum weighs, the more it sinks into the carpeting, making it more likely that it will become stuck.
Other Considerations: There are other features that you might want to look for depending on your needs. For example, if you are looking for a vacuum that will work on multiple types of flooring, you might want one that comes with various attachments, including a rolling head with a brush and beater bar, making it easy for you to customize your approach to the needs of the surface you are cleaning. If you have fewer outlets in your home, cord length might be a concern. If you have stairs, you might want an option that is also a good vacuum for stairs, or if you have pets, an effective vacuum for pet hair.
Best Vacuum for Shag Carpet 2017 - Top rated For The Money
With thousands of different vacuums to choose from, it can be difficult to determine which one is the right option for you. To help, we compared the top models suited to shag carpeting and narrowed them down to the five best
Beater Bar or Brush?
|Electrolux EL4335A Corded Ultra Flex Canister Vacuum|
|Yes, and you can adjust for more powerful suction||Yes, but you can switch them on and off.||Yes, a premium HEPA filter|
Yes; 11.6 pounds
|Panasonic MC-CL945 Plush Pro Bagless Canister Vacuum|
|Yes, but the adjustable height reduces risk of damag||Yes, a HEPA filter|
Somewhat; 27.2 pounds
|Miele Complete C3 Soft Carpet|
|Yes, and you can adjust for more powerful suction||Yes, but the adjustable height reduces risk of damage||Yes, a premium HEPA filter|
Somewhat; 20 pounds
|BISSELL Zing Rewind Bagless Canister Vacuum|
|Yes, and you can adjust for more powerful suction||No, it does not.||Yes, it has a three-stage filtration system|
Yes; 6.2 pounds
|BISSELL 9595A Vacuum with OnePass|
|Yes, but the attachments provide greater flexibility||Yes, it uses a multicyclonic system and filter|
Yes; 15 pounds
1. ELECTROLUX EL4335A CORDED ULTRA FLEX CANISTER VACUUM
While shag carpeting is luxurious, it isn’t the only surface you will need to vacuum in your home. Chances are you have some mixture of high-pile carpeting, low-pile carpeting, tile, and hardwood in your home, and if possible, it is best to have a vacuum that can handle it all, which the Electrolux EL4335A can. Its adjustable suction ensures that you can get precisely what you need for the task and the beater bar and brush can be turned off to use this model as a suction-only vacuum. The large wheels allow it to roll over any surface with ease and the canister style allows you to use it in any space, including on the stairs.
One of its cons could very well be a pro for some users: it offers a plethora of adjustments and attachments, which can feel overwhelming. Also, some users note that the cord isn’t long enough to give it the right reach for large spaces. Finally, the carpet attachment is fairly heavy, adding to the weight of the vacuum and making it difficult for those with back problems to use the vacuum.
- Designed to handle any surface in your home
- Can be used as a suction-only vacuum
- Large wheels
- Fits on stairs
- Complicated to use
- Shorter cord
- Heavy carpet attachment
2. PANASONIC MC-CL945 PLUSH PRO BAGLESS CANISTER VACUUM
This model offers all the basics that you need for cleaning the whole house, including shag carpeting, but it also includes some small, bonus features that help it stand out. The first is the retractable cord. While it is common on upright models, it is less common on canister vacuums like this one, and the retract feature on the Panasonic MC-CL945 is one of the best on the market. The pet hair attachment is highly effective and works well on upholstery as well as flooring. Finally, it is designed to easily fit on most stairs.
Its biggest downside is its weight, coming in at close to 30 pounds. It does not offer a way to hold the handle in place while the vacuum is running, so you will need to turn the vacuum off if you need both hands to move furniture, toys, etc. Some users report the wheels being stiff at first, making it harder to roll the vacuum around, but this seems to resolve itself with use.
- All-surface cleaning
- Retractable cord
- Quality pet hair attachment
- Good for stairs
- Fairly heavy
- No handle prop
- Stiff wheels when first used
3. MIELE COMPLETE C3 SOFT CARPET
Miele vacuums are designed to last, with many users reporting their models have lasted them 15 years or more. This particular model is designed to work on all types of flooring with special features designed to make cleaning soft carpet easy and effective. The adjustable controls can easily be operated with your feet, putting less strain on your back. Built-in tool storage ensure that you do not need to run back and forth between the vacuum and your linen closet to adjust your approach. It also features a nearly silent motor, making it a good choice for homes with anxious pets.
As for problems with this model, the biggest once again is weight, coming in at 20 pounds. Also, many of its features that make it ideal for soft carpeting are found on their other, more affordable options, with the difference here being there is a specific setting. Beyond this, the primary complaint that users have is that it is only available in one color.
- Special soft-carpet setting
- Controls can be operated by foot
- Built-in tool storage
- Nearly silent motor
- A bit heavy
- Same features are offered on less-expensive models but require more steps be completed by the user
- Only comes in one color
4. BISSELL ZING REWIND BAGLESS CANISTER VACUUM
Out of all the vacuums on this list, the BISSELL Zing is the lightest option, making it great for stairs and those who have back problems. Its three-stage filtration system ensures that your home and air are incredibly clean. Finally, the dirt canister is designed to be easy to remove and clean, with minimal dust escaping when dumped.
The primary issue with this model is that the attachments are a bit flimsy, which can make them harder to control and clean effectively. Compared to the previous models on this list, it offers less suction, but for shag carpeting, this is a good thing. Finally, the hose connection does not swivel, which ultimately results in kinks in the hose.
- Incredibly lightweight
- Quality filtration system
- Easy to clean
- Lower-quality construction
- Less powerful suction even when adjusted
- Hose kinks easily
5. BISSELL 9595A VACUUM WITH ONEPASS
While canister vacuums are great, they aren’t for everyone. Unfortunately, there are few upright vacuums designed to handle shag carpeting, but the BISSELL 9595A is one of them. Despite being an upright model, it is still lightweight and it is very easy to maneuver. The handle reclines to an almost flat position, making it easy to get underneath furniture, and it can be adjusted for surfaces other than shag carpeting.
Many users have found that despite the use of OnePass technology, a single forward pass is not enough to thoroughly clean carpeting, especially shag carpeting. When emptying the bin, not everything comes out, so you will need to use your hand to pull some of it out into the trash. Finally, the hose is a bit short when compared to other models.
- Upright design
- Significant recline
- Requires multiple passes to clean shag carpeting
- Difficult to empty bin
- Shorter hose
Your shag carpeting is an investment, and you must select the correct vacuum in order to protect it. We have selected five excellent models that will help you keep your shag carpeting in top shape for as long as possible. Which one is right for you? That will depend on your needs and the needs of your home, but we are confident that one of our choices will be the best vacuum for shag carpet.