Best Shark Vacuum for Carpets

We recommend our upgrade pick below if you have high-pile carpets, such as shag. 

Nonetheless, we recommend the Shark Navigator Lift-Away NV352 for flat-weave rugs and carpets, as well as low- and medium-pile rugs.

Over 500 vacuum cleaners have been reviewed and dozens have been tested by our team.

There is no high-pile carpet that Shark cannot handle, and it performs admirably on hardwood and tile flooring as well.

Aside from that, Shark provides excellent customer service and a warranty.

It is recommended that you purchase the Miele Compact C2 Electro+ if you have a higher budget and need a machine that will deep clean high-pile carpets.

Aside from its superior suction power, sturdy construction, easy cleaning, and reliability, its height adjustment and suction adjustability make it particularly suitable for thicker carpets.

The benefits of vacuuming carpets are numerous.

We tested our vacuums on rugs of five different thicknesses to determine which would work best on soft surfaces: flatweave, low pile, mid pile, high pile, and shag.

Using a kitchen scale, we determined how much debris the vacuum had collected from each combination of vacuum and pile.

A carpet vacuum with these features is generally considered to be the best:

  • Using a brush roll is necessary to agitate the carpet fibers because suction alone cannot effectively clean carpets. A spinning brush roll can choke lightweight rugs, even though it is excellent for agitating fibers.
  • An adjustable suction or height cleaning head. A vacuum may have difficulty cleaning carpets with high piles (such as shag, frieze, saxony, cable, or long plush). It is possible for long fibers to tangle around brush rollers or block intakes, essentially suffocating the vacuum. It is possible to adjust the height of the floorhead to accommodate carpets with higher piles, and there are various options for suction to prevent the carpet fibres from being sucked into the vacuum hose and clogging it.

Carpets with higher piles are generally more difficult to maintain. In most carpets, debris burrows into the pile’s bottom.

The majority of inexpensive vacuums can be used to clean flatweave carpets and carpets with low- to medium-piles.

However, thicker shag carpets require special machines that are more expensive.

Our pick: Shark Navigator Lift-Away NV352

Our pick

Shark Navigator

Lift-Away NV352

This vacuum is also equipped with Swivel Steering for excellent control when maneuvering around furniture, and has a completely sealed system with a HEPA filter to trap dust and allergens.

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Our choice for the best vacuum has been the Shark Navigator Lift-Away NV352 for the past four years.

Most carpets and rugs can be cleaned with this machine, but shag and other high-pile floor coverings require something a little more powerful.

It picked up cat hair, dry chickpeas, ground coffee, shredded paper, sawdust, and sand in just a few passes, as well as most vacuums on the variety of flooring types found in most homes.

The speed and completeness with which it removed cat litter from plush carpet (two and a half passes) impressed us. We tested it on a medium-pile rug, and it was able to pick up brushed-in cat hair in one pass.

Several Wirecutter staff members have purchased the Navigator Lift-Away since we recommended it four years ago.

Signe Brewster, a staff writer, stated that it was able to pick up cat hair from a shag-like rug in one pass.

At home, Harry Sawyers typically uses a cordless vacuum cleaner, but when he needs to deep clean his rugs, he pulls out the Shark.

Other owners have also reported great satisfaction with the cleaning performance of the Navigator Lift-Away.

To make an honest assessment of the vacuum’s strengths and weaknesses, we reviewed a couple hundred customer reviews on Amazon, including many of the reviews that were voted “most helpful.”

We found that most customers were pleased with the vacuum’s powerful suction.

The Shark picked up a lot of dirt that the Oreck left behind, wrote Amazon reviewer Amrodam after he ran the Oreck over the carpet.

Nonetheless, the Navigator Lift-Away and most other inexpensive upright vacuums do not perform well on high-pile carpets, such as shag or cable cuts.

As a result of the long fibers, the vacuum can sometimes be prevented from working due to clogging of the intake or tangles in the brush roller.

The Shark vacuum did indeed jam when we tested it on a shag rug, but amazingly, the suction alone was able to pick up more than just about any other vacuum we have ever tested.

In order to properly clean shag carpeting and other long carpeting, we recommend the more expensive Miele Compact C2 Electro+ (see below).

By adjusting the level of suction, you can still thoroughly clean medium- to medium-high-pile carpets that are not as long as shag.

When the release valve on the Shark’s hose is opened, the vacuum will have enough suction to roll smoothly without choking on the carpet fibers.

“I have not missed the adjustable height on the varied height rugs I have, and it is not beating up the taller piles,” writes Amazon reviewer LILass in a review voted “most helpful.”.

In addition, the Navigator Lift-Away comes with an impressive five-year warranty and is constructed of durable materials.

At this price point, most vacuum cleaners are covered by a one- or two-year warranty. In addition to honoring the warranty, Shark’s customer service department also provides assistance.

Additionally, the Lift-Away comes with lifetime washable filters, which will reduce operating costs over the long term.

Upgrade pick: Miele Compact C2 Electro+

Upgrade pick

Miele Compact

C2 Electro+

This vacuum is also equipped with Swivel Steering for excellent control when maneuvering around furniture, and has a completely sealed system with a HEPA filter to trap dust and allergens.

Check Price

Our recommendation is the Miele Compact C2 Electro+ if your carpets are particularly thick or high-pile and require special attention.

You are able to adjust the height of the cleaning head according to the length and softness of your carpet’s fibers with this canister vacuum that has six suction settings.

There is no doubt that Miele canister vacuums are among the best vacuums money can buy, and they are designed to last for decades.

Several models and lines of Miele’s canister vacuums are available, but the model that we would be purchasing is the C2. The Electro Plus floorhead comes with the most affordable model from Miele.

A brush powered by electricity is one of the most effective tools we have found for deep cleaning shag and high-pile carpeting. It also works well on other types of rugs.

Miele’s C2 canister offers six suction settings. The highest setting is designed for bare floors, and the lowest setting is for fabric curtains.

The Electro Plus floorhead is included with the C2, in addition to a small parquet floorhead for bare floors.

Our tests showed that the Electro Plus floorhead effectively cleaned all types of carpets. 

Compared to other vacuum cleaners, the C2 sucked up the most flour and sand mixture from five different piles the fastest and with the greatest level of efficiency.

The vacuum head can be adjusted to fit the pile height of your carpets and rugs, and features five height settings.

It is recommended that the head be raised as the pile height increases. Using the SEB 228 Electro Plus power head, start at the highest height setting (should be 5) if cleaning carpet.

As it is lowered, the carpet will start to be agitated / vibrated. A lower setting will result in a loss of airflow. As a result, you will have the best combination of air flow and agitation.”

C2 has been rated highly by users for its performance on carpets. Even the deepest rugs can be cleaned by the Electro Plus floorhead.

The carpet is practically pulled along by the animal… 

Amazon reviewer Anthony Pantliano recommends selecting the area rug suction setting on the canister if you have issues with area rugs being sucked in.

A comprehensive warranty is included with the C2 that is commensurate with its high price.

A one-year warranty is comprehensive, but a seven-year warranty is provided for the body casing and motor.

You are also more likely to find Miele service centers than any other premium vacuum brand if your vacuum requires a midlife replacement.

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