What is the Best Vacuum Cleaner for a Shag Rug?

July 21st, 2011Buying Tips Cleaning and CareComments Off on What is the Best Vacuum Cleaner for a Shag Rug?
three vacuum cleaners for shag rugs

The Miele Callisto has 5-Different Height adjustments for different pile carpeting. It’s also lightweight and can be carried up and down the stairs with ease. 
Cleaning your shag rug requires some forethought (see “How to Clean a Shag Rug”).  It is crucial to determine whether your vacuum cleaner is appropriate for the type of rug you wish to buy, as the wrong purchase could ruin your rug.

Depending on the length of your shag, ensure your ability to switch off the beater bar (or brush roll) on the vacuum in order to use the hard surface suction. The beater bar rotates within the vacuum, which aids in cleaning but may cause tangling. If left on by mistake, the bar can easily catch and tear delicate fibers from your rug with just one pass across the surface.

Sometimes the carpet setting can be set high enough to keep the rotating bar from tying up your rug fibers, but you won’t know until you purchase the vacuum and test it.

Thus, the turn on/off option is ideal.


BAD ADVICE Found on a Store Vacuum: “Turn brush roll on for carpet cleaning.”

For more delicate shag rugs and carpets, or shag of unproven durability, you should TURN OFF the brush roll or at least, TEST the vacuum in an area of the shag.

This is what happens when you follow the advice of a mass market vacuum manufacturer, not a luxury shag owner.


As mentioned, if the suction of your vacuum is not powerful enough, you won’t be able to suction out dirt and other items from deeper shag rugs.

The best solution is to shake out the rug. If that’s too cumbersome, then use a vacuum that has a hose with an attachment tool, such as a rake. As long as your vacuum hose is 1.25″ opening and isn’t proprietary, you can buy a generic attachment. Just be ginger with your care.

This kind of attachment at Amazon might be exactly what you need:

Another buyer’s tip: If you can’t walk outside with the vacuum, pet owners may want to consider purchasing a vacuum cleaner that has disposal bags. From personal experience, this author’s home was taken over by fleas from a dog that came into contact with a raccoon.

Once you vacuum up a flea, it is more likely to escape from the container of bagless vacuum cleaners than from a bag that can be sealed and thrown away in an outside garbage container. Just a thought…

A last consideration is the weight and location of your vacuum cleaner. If your shag rug is on the main floor, and you have no room to store your large vacuum cleaner on that floor, do you really want to lug it up or down stairs?  You may want to double-check the size or weight of your vacuum before ordering online. Or make sure it has a good handle.

What matters most is finding a vacuum that strikes a balance between the delicacy of the rug fibers, the power you need and your personal situation. Below are highly-rated models on Askville by Amazon and wize.com:

Best Vacuum Cleaners for a Shag Rug:

(Note for shoppers: model numbers of vacuum cleaners change frequently, but clusters of features generally continue with model lines of similar numbers.)


• Kenmore Progressive 25615, approximately $300

Dyson DC-24, approximately $399

Dyson DC41 Animal, approximately $600

• Canister Type:

• Bosch Formula Electro Duo Hepa BSG71360UC, approximately $800

• Miele S558 Red Velvet, approximately $1250


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