It may be considered a thing of the past, the newest carpet style fad has returned! High pile carpet is now termed as ultra-soft or super-plush carpeting.
Although this type of carpet can cost almost twice that of regular or low pile carpeting, it’s a wonderful feel on your feet. This worthwhile investment comes with another cost—a vacuum worthy of keeping your high pile, plush carpets clean and in good shape.
Regular vacuums may create a big suction cup that whirs your vacuum’s motor into a high-pitched spin, possibly burning it out and destroying your vacuum. With soft, thick, shag-like carpeting growing to more than 10 percent of the carpeting market, there’s an increased need for high pile specific vacuums.
What is High Pile Carpet?
Although many home builders are incorporating newer laminate and vinyl flooring in their homes, carpet is still the favorite for most home buyers. There are many choices for your carpet such as high or low pile, what materials it’s made from, color, patterns, and other options. Once you decide on the type of carpet, you need to decide on the best vacuum cleaner to keep the carpeting throughout your home clean. Clean carpeting is very important for you, your family, and your guests. Dirt that remains stuck in the fibers of your carpeting can cause mold to form, can harbor bacteria and viruses, and can wear out your carpeting faster. No one wants to allow their children play on carpets that could be harmful for them or cause them to get sick.
In the carpet manufacturing world, the term ‘pile’ refers to loops that make up the carpet. These loops of fabric make carpet soft and yet enduring. High pile refers to the loops being longer, taller, and made looser than low pile carpet. Shag carpet is one style of high pile carpeting and provides a comfortable and cozy atmosphere for your home. High pile carpet is fuller looking and feels fluffy under your feet. Even though high pile carpet has taller or longer loops of material, it is not prone to flattening like low pile carpet does. But high pile carpet does pose a challenge when it comes to vacuuming.
Carpeting with a high pile design can be referred to as soft carpeting, plush carpeting, or other terms related to the thickness, texture, height, and material used. All considered, any high pile carpeting requires you purchase the right vacuum to keep it clean and to help it last for years to come.
What Does a Vacuum Need to Keep High Pile Carpet Clean?
Almost any vacuum will work on low pile carpeting, but high pile carpets present a challenge for many vacuums. High pile carpet is plush and dense, giving it the luxurious feel. The taller loops create a thick carpet that doesn’t provide good circulation of air back into the vacuum cleaner’s intake. This makes it almost impossible to move and push the vacuum across your carpet. Regular vacuums have powerful suction made for floors and low pile carpet. This causes the long fibers of high pile carpet to become caught-up in the vacuum and cause a ‘suction lock’ making the vacuum almost ‘stick’ to the rug. These thicker, ultra-soft, high piled carpets are more popular than short pile carpets and vacuum cleaner companies are designing models to work better with these carpets.
Airflow around the loops of the carpet is essential to loosen dirt and allow it to be sucked up into the nozzle. This air flow is increased by being able to adjust the strength of the suction and height of the nozzle itself. It also helps if the brush is motorized so the bristles can ‘comb’ the carpet pile. Large wheels are important to keep the vacuum cleaner from sinking so low into the carpet, that it gets stuck in suction lock. The larger wheels and adjustable height are very important for proper dirt removal.
The weight of a vacuum is very important when it comes to high pile carpeting. A heavier vacuum will sink into the soft, dense fibers and create a tight suction seal that jams the vacuum nozzle and makes it hard to move or worse, cause damage. Lightweight vacuums glide over the carpeting and make it easier to allow air under the nozzle for circulation and proper suction. The weight of your vacuum doesn’t always determine its quality!
Because high pile carpets are very dense and full compared to low pile carpeting an LED light on your vacuum nozzle is necessary to spot dirt and debris easier. The tall loops of material that make up the softer styles of carpet also create more places to hide for pieces of food, small toy parts, bugs, pins and smaller sharp items, and other potentially dangerous objects. High pile carpeting contains up to three times more fibers than low pile carpets. An LED light illuminates the fibers to reveal the dangers buried beneath the surface of your high pile carpeting.
Another consideration is whether or not the vacuum has a jam control built in to automatically shut off the vacuum when a jam occurs in the nozzle. Not all vacuums have this feature, but if you find one that does, it’s very helpful when cleaning high pile rugs. If the vacuum has a high enough height setting and a reduced suction control, jams should not be a problem.
Best Vacuums for High Pile Carpets Reviews
1. Oreck LW100 Magnesium SP Bagged Upright Vacuum
Our top pick is this Oreck Magnesium vacuum cleaner. It’s a light yet strong vacuum that can tackle all your tough cleaning and especially on high pile carpets. Whether you have Shag, Frieze, Saxony, Cable or Plush carpets, the two power levels, large wheels, and light weight of this vacuum make it a winner for high pile carpet!
2. Oreck Magnesium RS Swivel-Steering Bagged Upright Vacuum Corded
This is a light-weight vacuum with a lot of power and a swivel nozzle for easy maneuvering. There are two heights to adjust for low or high pile carpeting and this vacuum has a QuickSwitch to change to power level.
- Fits between and under furniture
- Vacuum only weighs 7.72 pounds
- Side brushes help when cleaning between furniture
3. Prolux Tritan Canister Vacuum HEPA Sealed Hard Floor Vacuum With Powerful 12 Amp Motor
This Prolux Tritan Canister Vacuum is great for all floor types and carpeting, but it also has all the needs for high pile carpets. Adjustable suction, height, and large wheels are a few of the options with this HEPA compliant vacuum.
- Adjustable Suction
- 3 foot retractable cord
- 6 foot hose
- 36 inch extendable wand Weight 15 lbs
4. New Miele Complete C3 Brilliant Canister Vacuum Cleaner
Miele’s Complete C3 Brilliant vacuum cleaner includes an Electro Premium electrobrush with five height levels to accommodate all flooring and carpets. This makes it a good choice for high pile carpets. It also has a self-adjusting setting for floors to carpets or low pile to high pile carpeting. With a well-built floor-head and lighted nozzle, this vacuum is a great choice for high pile carpets.
- Silence motor with 6 speed settings
- Automatic motor setting
- 36 foot operating radius
- LED lighting on sides and bottom of the canister
5. Miele Complete C3 Soft Carpet
With a five-level height adjustment and an independent motor, the SoftCarpet Electrobrush delivers the ultimate in cleaning power on all flooring types, including soft carpet. A perfect choice for larger rooms with medium to deep pile carpeting or ‘soft’ carpeting.
- Silence motor with 7 speed settings,
- 36 feet operating radius
- HEPA AirClean filter
- SEB 228 SoftCarpet Electrobrush
What About Robotic Vacuum Cleaners?
Certainly there are many new choices in robotic vacuum cleaners. These automatically clean floors and carpets and when finished, can be programmed to return to its docking station for recharging. Although these are easy alternatives to pushing and dragging around a vacuum cleaner, they cannot handle the long fibers and loops of a high pile carpet. Most of these vacuums don not have suction control and are very close to the floor, preventing proper air circulation for soft, plush rugs. By far, canister and upright vacuum cleaners made to aide in the care of high pile carpets are still the best choice for keeping your carpets clean.
Remember, Your Vacuum Cleaner is As Important As Your Carpet!
If you decided to include high pile carpeting in your home, you obviously enjoy the luxury of soft, cushioned carpeting to walk on and live with. High pile carpeting is gorgeous in almost any interior design setting. Although many people think of high pile carpeting like shag carpeting to be ‘old-fashioned,’ it is still a popular type of carpeting found in many homes.
Be sure to choose the right vacuum cleaner to make cleaning and vacuuming easy and to protect your carpet. Vacuums made for low pile carpeting or floors may have too much suction and not enough height possibly causing damage to the vacuum cleaner or your rugs. When you get ready to have that beautiful soft carpet laid down on your floors, be sure to have chosen a vacuum for high pile carpeting first!