Best Vacuum for Shag Carpet: Choose the Right Cleaner

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Shag carpets are great to look at because they have a lot of character. However, like other premium carpets they need proper caring so they don’t get damaged or morph into looking like a rug.

The best vacuum for shag carpet owners aren’t those that come with the motorized rolling brushes. While this sounds counter intuitive, it isn’t. Unlike regular carpets that require a brush roll to help agitate the dirt to make them easier to lift, long fibered carpets like shag, that aren’t dense can be damaged by those harsh high speed brushes.

The bristles can get tangled or pull out the threads, leaving you will some ‘bald’ spots in your carpeting.

Our picks and reviews below, list the top products to use. They all offer high performance suction power. Plus, they also let you turn off the rolling brush’s bristles. This gives you a high powered suction only feature that cleans and keeps your shag carpets safe.

Summary of Our Top Choices


How to Choose a Vacuum for Shag Carpet: Buying Guide

Before going into the features to consider when buying a vacuum for shag carpeting, it’s a good idea to understand the construction and design of shag carpets.

Shag carpets get their names from their shaggy appearance. These types of carpets are made using fibers that form long loops. The loops are so long that they flop over. This is what cause the carpet to look “shaggy”.

Shag carpets are somewhat misleading because they look thick and dense. But, in reality, they are less dense than other types of carpets. Instead, it’s the long strands that flop over that make them look thicker and denser.

Another feature that makes these carpets unique is that their fibers are twisted in a loose design. In comparison, other carpets use tighter twists. As a result, shag carpets loot more luxurious and elegant. The downside to this is that the loose design makes it easier for the yarn and fibers to fray when you’re not careful.

Features to Consider When Buying a Vacuum for Shag Carpets

Now that we know shag carpets are long and delicate because of their loose twists, we have a better idea of what features to get for your vacuum.

1. A beater bar that can be turned off

This is the most important things to have. Shorter, tightly wound carpets work well with beater bars. The spinning brush allows your vacuum to pull out more dirt and debris.

But, because shag carpet fibers are long, have loops and are loosely twister, they can easily get tangled with the vacuum’s brush bristles. These features also make the fibers more prone to getting pulled out or frayed.

Thus, it is essential to turn off your vacuum’s beater bar when cleaning your shag carpet.

2. Adjustable height

In addition to being able to turn off the rolling brush, it is important to have a vacuum with an adjustable height. The longer fibers of shag carpets mean they’re taller. Having an adjustable vacuum head lets you clear the height of the carpet just enough.

This prevents you from forcibly pushing the vacuum’s head on the carpet’s fibers, which will cause the fibers to get tangled with your vacuum’s base. Doing so not only pulls out your shag’s fibers, the sharp edges of your vacuum will also cause the fibers to fray.

3. Weight

The delicate nature of shag carpets make it unique compared to other carpets, especially low pile. Because its fibers can easily be pulled or damaged, a lighter vacuum is a good option. This prevents a lot of weight from rolling over the loosely wound yarns.

4. Suction power

With shag carpeting, you want a vacuum with good suction. You don’t want one that has weak suction. Nor do you want one with the strongest suction.

Too little suction strength won’t be able to get all the dirt and debris from your shag carpets (there will be a lot). Too much suction may cause the long, loose fibers to get pulled into your vacuum.

5. Large Wheels

Large wheels make it easy to get around longer pile carpets. They also cause less friction which helps prevent damaging the delicate fibers of your shag.

6. Bagged Vacuums (for those with allergies and asthma)

Because of its long strands, shag carpets are notorious for collecting a lot of dust, dirt and debris. This means there will be a lot of allergens pulled out whenever you do your vacuuming.

If you or any member of your family is sensitive to airborne allergens, it’s a good idea to get a bagged vacuum. This ensures that the dust and allergens sucked by the vacuum are trapped in the bag, and don’t escape from your machine’s exhaust.


Best Vacuum for Shag Carpet Reviews

Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional Upright (NV356E)

Best Vacuum for Shag Carpet: This is our top pick because it gives you the flexibility of adjusting to the carpeting you have. While it does have the powered roller brush that helps agitate the threads and fibers, you’ll probably need to turn that off to keep your shag carpet safe.

To explain, if your shag carpet is about an inch high or so, which very few are, you can try and use the brush roller to help pull out more dirt from the carpeting. However, if it is any longer than that, which shag carpets often are, you’ll want to use the hard floor setting or hose suction instead.

This sounds contradictory but it works better.

The reason is shag carpets are long pile but not thick or dense. This makes them more sensitive and delicate. The harsh rolling brush can get tangles or pull out those fibers, leaving you with a not so good looking expensive carpet.

To keep safe, you do sacrifice not using the rolling brush and instead go with suction power. This is why we chose this machine. It is very powerful and offers high performance, no loss suction. Plus you can use it in upright mode or the canister with just the hose.

This gives you clean shag carpets that last for a very long time.

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Hoover T-Series WindTunnel Pet Rewind Bagless Upright Vaccum, UH70210

This is another solid machine that offers excellent suction and the ability to turn off the brush roller. To add to that, it has a height adjustment feature that lets you raise the cleaning head so it and the brush don’t come in contact with your precious carpeting.

This keeps you investment safe at the same time clean. This Hoover upright vacuum also comes with headlights that help you see the surfaces better as you clean.

We also like that it comes with a hose attachment. You can choose to use the hose for certain areas of your carpeting. This lets you apply suction only without possibly harming the threads.

For the rest of your home, you can use this device for hardwood as well as bare floors. It is designed to pick up pet hair as well. The power supplied by the 12 amp motor is one of the reasons we chose this as it has enough suction to pick up pet hair as well as dirt that’s embedded into rugs and carpeting.

With a folding handle and a bagless design, this is an easy to maintain machine that does not require a lot of replacing.

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Dyson V6 Cordless Vacuum

As with the other picks in our best vacuum for shag carpet reviews, we are going with products that offer good suction power. Those who prefer a lightweight cleaner that can be used all throughout the home, can go with this machine.

This is another multi-floor device that lets you clean bare floors, standard carpets and rugs as well as shag carpets. As with the others, we recommend turning the motorized rolling brush off when vacuuming your shag carpeting.

You can use this feature when going through rugs and other carpeted surfaces like stairs where the fabrics aren’t as delicate. With shag, do use the suction only setting which is the same as the hard floor setting.

This way you rely only on the motor’s suction ability and there’s nothing that can get tangled or pull out any of your carpet’s threads.

This is a great 2-in-1 device where you can remove the extension pole and floor tool. Without them, you get a more compact handheld vacuum that’s very powerful. Plus the cordless design lets you go anywhere with it.

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Dyson Ball Multi Floor Upright Vacuum

For more power, we rely on Dyson’s upright machine. Compared to its canister and stick models, this offers more suction power at it runs on a higher performance motor. With a total suction ability of 245 air watts, it offers a hard to match vacuuming power.

The suction power comes in handy with shag and other premium carpeting. The reason being that we aren’t using any rolling brush to agitate the surface to assist the motor. This means that it has to perform well on its own.

What makes the machine very efficient is also its root cyclone design. This allows optimal air flow through the passages in the machine, separating any dust or dirt particles so they don’t get in the way.

This is a great all around home cleaning device as it works on rugs, carpets, and flat surfaces like tiles and wood. The addition of a stretch hose, extension wand and hose attachments also allow it to clean walls and areas above the ground.

While it is a bigger investment than other brands, we like the power and quality of the machine specially if you want to protect your other home investments like your shag.

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Choose Right and Enjoy Your Beautiful Carpet

Select from those we listed above and you’ll be able to know that you not only clean your shag carpeting but also keep them safe from any possible damage.