Best Vacuum Cleaner for Carpet

best hoover for carpet

So, my incredible powers of deduction inform me that you have carpets in your home, given that someone living in a home with all hard floors reading a post on the best vacuum cleaners for carpets would be about as much use as my follically challenged father-in-law reading an article about the best hair brushes ;-).

Carpets are an amazing invention in my opinion, and as far back as two or three thousand years ago, people were sinking their toes into sheep and goat wool rugs.

Who was the first person to think “wait, why don’t we put this stuff everywhere?”, is unclear,  but I’m fairly certain it precedes the invention of the vacuum cleaner, so there were probably some proper filthy carpets for hundreds of years.

These days though, thanks to the slightly more recent invention of the vacuum cleaner, a carpet doesn’t have to harbour a whole civilization of microorganisms, so you can come home at the end of the day, take your shoes off and sink your feet into the plush living room carpet without having to worry about kicking up and inhaling all manner of allergens.

But, on that note, it’s worth pointing out that the murky depths of carpet fibres are a perfect hiding place for a wide range of microscopic nasties, including dust, dust mites, dust mite droppings (which are much smaller, and much more common than that of the rocking horse), dead skin (from humans and pets), pollen and other allergens. So investing in the best vacuum cleaner you can, to keep your carpets as clean as possible, is a wise decision.

What Makes the Best Vacuum Cleaners for Carpets?

When it comes to shopping for hoovers, the most important features depend on your floor type. Whether you’re looking for a hoover mainly for hard floors, one for a relatively equal mix of carpets and hard floors, or mainly for carpets, will determine which kind of features you’re going to need the most from your new vacuum cleaner.

Suction Power

When it comes to hoovering carpets, we’re talking about digging the dirt from deep inside carpet fibres, and even if you have mainly short-fibred carpets, it’s still a much bigger challenge for a vacuum cleaner to get at the more stubbornly stuck smaller particles within carpet fibres than it is to simply pick up similar particles from tiles, concrete or wood. 

Yes, as we’ll discuss shortly, the best vacuum cleaners for carpets also have spinning brushes, and that certainly helps, but only in combination with exceptional suction power. So it’s important to be able to see through all the buzzwords, bells and whistles and get to the very simple question, does this hoover possess the necessary suction power to make it a good choice for carpets?

You don’t need to worry about this too much, though, because you’ve made the very shrewd decision to read this article :-), and the suggestions you’ll find here are for vacuum cleaners which have all of the features required to make them among the best hoovers for carpets, including being endowed with the necessary level of grunt to make carpets sparkle, metaphorically speaking, because sparkly carpets would be weird.

Motorised Brush

As I’ve just brushed upon (sorry, couldn’t resist that one), where carpets are concerned, motorised brushes are a must. These are rotating brushes that disturb the deeply embedded debris, allowing them to then be vacuumed.

Motorised brushes and decent suction power go hand in hand when it comes to doing a great job of hoovering carpets. Immense suction power without a rotating brush roll just wouldn’t quite cut the mustard, especially if you have some deeper pile carpets, and the same would be true with a motorised brush on a hoover without the required power to then suck up the dislodged crud.

Pet Tool

Pet tools are brush head attachments with a motorized brush, which are smaller than the main brush head. Yes, of course, this means they’re a great tool for pet owners for eradicating pet hair from sofas, car seats and so on, but even if you don’t have pets, pet tools are brilliant for hoovering carpeted stairs. 

So if you’re looking for a vacuum cleaner mainly for carpets, and you have carpet on your stairs, you may find that you end up switching to the pet tool for stairs, as they can actually be easier and more effective when it comes to carpeted stairs, than the main head.

So with all that said, these are what we believe are the best vacuum cleaners for carpets in the UK:

Shark IZ400UK / IZ400UKT & IZ420UKT Cordless Vacuum Cleaner

Shark just keep getting better and better with their ethos of continuous improvement and the “Stratos” range is their best yet, and I think is probably even making Dyson nervous. Well, it should do in my opinion, especially given that Shark’s brand-new range is designed for everyone, not just those with a phobia of power cables.

Dyson vacuum cleaners are very much on the cutting edge of vacuum cleaner technology, there’s no argument there, but Shark are also very active in developing new technology, some of which it could be argued are more practical with fewer bells & whistle type tech than with some of the Dyson features. The big difference, however, is that to benefit from the latest Dyson features, you have to stump up the cash to go for the latest cordless vacuum cleaners. 

Dyson made the bold (daft?) decision a while back to completely forget about powered vacuum cleaners, where their new models are concerned. The problem with this is that not everyone needs or wants cordless, or is prepared to pay the premium of corded vs cordless, so Dyson have turned their backs on all of these people who may have purchased a Dyson if they weren’t forced to either stick to older technology, or go cordless.

Shark on the other hand, put their latest developments into both corded and cordless vacuum cleaners, and this is quite significant when we’re talking about the best vacuum cleaners for carpets if you live in a home with mainly carpeted rooms because while some of the latest Shark & Dyson cordless battery powered vacuum cleaners do have the kind of suction power that can rival corded options, they can only do so for a finite period before a recharge is required.

Powerful Suction 

This is Shark’s most powerful cordless vacuum cleaner yet, and also their best cordless vacuum cleaner so far when it comes to cleaning time on a single charge. In fact, Vaccum Wars tested this model against other Shark cordless vacuum cleaners and many others including the Dyson V12, and the Shark came out on top for suction power, being the only one tested to score a perfect 100/100 score on their carpet deep clean test.

Increased Battery Life

The IZ400UK is actually one of the very best cordless vacuum cleaners on the market for battery life. That being said, it’s still worth keeping in mind that the stated figures you’ll read on marketing blurb really need to be taken with a pinch of salt, for example, Shark claims up to 60 minutes of cleaning time from a single charge, yet if you look at the small prints, that’s on Eco power mode, without the powered brush head. 

In reality, testing has shown that you’ll get around 10-11 minutes on max power mode, and while this might not sound great, it’s simply a limitation of battery-powered hoovers, and this is about the best you’ll get at the present time in terms of cleaning time with any modern cordless vacuum cleaner. With the auto-mode, however (Clean Sense IQ) which automatically sets the power required by sensing how much power is required, you’ll get roughly twenty to thirty minutes on a single charge, which is plenty long enough for most homes.

Clean Sense IQ

As I’ve just mentioned, this is their nifty phrase for “auto mode”, and it’s a very clever feature that can detect how much power is needed to clean whatever surface you’re hoovering at that point. I think this is a really smart feature and is one of the examples of what I mean about Shark delivering really useful features rather than purely bells and whistles. 

OK, “Clean Sense IQ” does sound like a bells & whistles type feature, and it does make me roll my eyes when I hear made-up terms like this, it’s almost as bad as some of the freshly created terminologies we hear on radio commercials for skin care products ;-), OK maybe not quite as bad, but anyway, although it sounds a bit daft, the feature is really good. If like most people, you tend to have some areas of the home that get more traffic & therefore more muck, than others, it detects when more or less power is required, in order to save battery life.



See full review of the Shark IZ400 / IZ400UKT / IZ420UKT Cordless Vacuum Cleaner


Shark Stratos HZ3000UKT Corded Stick Vacuum Cleaner

Another winner from Shark with this model in their Stratos range. It’s upgraded on every level from the previous year’s range and delivers exceptional cleaning performance and great value for money. So much so that i use it in my house daily. Find out more in my full review:

See full review of the Shark Stratos HZ3000UKT Corded Stick Vacuum Cleaner




Shark IZ300 & IZ320 Cordless Vacuum Cleaner


If you’re looking for a lightweight cordless vacuum cleaner for your carpets, but you’re looking for something on a slightly slimmer budget than the latest Stratos, going for the previous model is a way to get most of Shark’s latest features while getting better value for money than going for the very latest model.

If you’re a sucker for the latest model of smartphone, you’ll probably realize that you’re usually going to be paying quite a premium for upgrading to the very latest model, and you’d save money by going for a slightly earlier model. While many people knowingly spend more money on the latest smartphone because this is something they’re glued to almost 24/7, most people don’t have quite the same interest in vacuum cleaners. 

So if you’re not all that bothered about being at the leading edge of vacuum cleaner technology, you can save a few quid by going for a what was the latest model until they released the new latest model…

This model has most of Shark’s best features, including Anti Hair Wrap which stops hair from winding around the brush, Duo Clean – which is a two brush-roll system designed to increase performance across all surfaces, powerfins which dig into carpet fibres to help extract deeply embedded dirt and also which help to give hard floors a polish.

You can see the fins in action in this short video:

It also has the Flexology wand, a feature they developed which consists of a hinge in the wand to enable you to hoover under sofas, tables and so on without having to do yourself a mischief. Click the button below for a more detailed explanation of the full review of the IZ300 & IZ320



See full review of the Shark IZ300 & IZ320 Cordless Vacuum Cleaner


Shark NZ801 / NZ850 / PZ1000 Corded Upright Vacuum Cleaner

When you choose a corded vacuum cleaner like this one the inconvenience of the cord and having to plug it in are more than offset by the benefits you get.

Cordless vacuum cleaners with strong suction are really expensive compared to corded vacuum cleaners with strong suction. This Shark hoover has really strong suction but it is cheaper than an equivalent hoover with the same suction because batteries cost a lot of money and this doesn’t need one.

There is no charging requirement and no concern over whether the battery will last and no switching between power levels to preserve battery life.

There is the NZ801 / NZ850 and the PZ1000. The only difference between the 3 of them is the size of the waste container so if you have a large home and you want to empty the waste container as little as possible then the PZ1000 has a huge 1.6 litre capacity. Most homes will be fine with either the NZ801 with 0.83 litres and the NZ850 1.3 litres

This cleaner has everything you need to deep clean your carpets easily and it won’t cost the earth. Here are some of the things it can do:

Duo Clean. It comes with an excellent motorised brush that spins through your carpet fibres and into the very strong suction port ensuring nothing gets left behind.

Pet power brush. A great attachment if you have pets or people in your home with long hair. It’s brilliant on above-floor surfaces like carpeted stairs, cars and sofas and has a motorised brush so it works just like the floorhead brush. The NZ801UK comes without the pet tool but the NZ801UKT is well worth it if you want to control all of the hair all over your home.

Powered lift away. The central section of this hoover literally lifts away making it super easy to go up and down stairs and manoeuvre into places quickly and easily that would be much tougher or not possible without this feature.

Anti-hair wrap. It can be really annoying when the suction power is reduced because hair gets wrapped around the roller and then you have to spend ages cutting it out with a pair of scissors. Sharks anti-hair wrap technology ensures you never need to worry about that again. Hair will never stick to the roller with this vacuum.

This video shows powered lift away in action:

See full review of the Shark NZ801 / NZ850 / PZ1000 Corded Upright Vacuum Cleaner






Vax Air Lift Steerable Corded Upright Vacuum Cleaner

If you are on a budget then this is probably the best low-cost vacuum out there for carpets. It’s not the cheapest you can buy but its the cheapest that does a good job. Vax have sold several million of these so it’s liked by a lot of people.

You get very good suction and a motorised brush roller that is perfect for carpets and not something that is standard on hoovers at this price level.

It also has a lift-away option similar to Shark vacuums that allows you to detach the central section of the hoover for easy cleaning on stairs and tight spots.

There is a three in one accessory tool that clips onto the side of the cleaner so it’s always in reach and you’ll never lose it. The waste container is very large at 1.5 litres ensuring you won’t have to empty it after every clean.

There are a lot of very mediocre vacuums out there at this kind of price but this really does represent excellent value for money.



See the full review of the Vax Airlift Steerable vacuum cleaner


Vax Evolve Cordless Upright Vacuum Cleaner

This is great because it is cheap, made for cleaning carpets, is low cost and has great suction. It doesn’t come with all of the features that the more expensive hoovers above come with but that just adds to the price. This will clean just as well as hoovers that cost twice as much so if you are not bothered about all the added extra and you just want something simple that cleans well take a closer look.



See the full review of the Vax Evolve Cordless Upright Vacuum Cleanert vacuum cleaner


Shark ICZ160 & ICZ300 Cordless Vacuum Cleaner

If you want the convenience of no cables or plugs then this is Shark’s best cordless vacuum cleaner and in our opinion the best cordless vacuum out there bar none. It’s not cheap but it’s got the lot.

You’ll get 50 minutes of battery life with the ICZ160 and 60 minutes with the ICZ300 on the standard power setting and 20 minutes if you keep them on full power the whole time. If that’s not enough then you can buy an extra battery that you can just switch in easily and then you’ll never run out of battery.

It comes with powered lift away so you can remove the central unit for easy cleaning everywhere and the suction power is excellent and combined with the motorised brush head nothing will be left behind.

With the ICZ300 it comes with “powerfins” which is another innovation from Shark that produces their best ever cleaning performance on the carpet due to the plastic fins fitted to the roller that help get right into every carpet fibre. This is how it works:

If you are prepared to spend the money then you’ll get superior cleaning performance.





See full review of the Shark ICZ160 & ICZ300 Cordless Vacuum Clean


Shark IZ201 & IZ251 Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner

This is an excellent option for small to medium sized homes as it provides the same level of cleaning performance as some of the more expensive Shark vacuums but it just doesn’t have a very large waste container or lift away capability.

It does come with flexology which is basically a bendy central wand that allows you to get underneath furniture and sofas without bending down and it also makes it easy to store.

The brush roller is excellent as is the suction and it can easily convert into a handheld to do the stairs so this is a perfect vacuum for carpets.

It also comes with Sharks anti-hair wrap technology that ensures no hair will be caught up in the roller ever again.

You can choose from a single battery (20mins on full power / 40 mins standard power) with or without the pet power tool or a twin battery with or without the pet power tool making this an extremely flexible hoover that accommodates every different household whether you have pets or not and whether you need extra battery power.

Here is a short video that explains anti-hair wrap technology: 



See the full review of the Shark IZ201 & IZ251 cordless vacuum cleaner


Henry The Hoover

Good old Henry is one of the all-time classics, although it’s worth pointing out that he’s been kept up to date over the years, the trade mark smiling face has remained the same, but the current version delivers higher suction power with a greatly-reduced 620W motor, for much better energy efficiency. 

Henry has been one of the best-selling cylinder vacuum cleaners for decades now, and the fact that the majority of professional cleaners tend to use Henry (or his sister, Hetty) is probably the best endorsement Henry could hope for. Have you ever seen a cleaner with a Dyson or a Shark, probably not? I’m not saying that to detract from Shark or Dyson, but just to give Henry the credit deserved, as he’s so much more than just a pretty face.

The reason the professionals tend to stick to Henry is a combination of great cleaning performance, huge capacity of the waste bin, durability & cable length. All of these things are a winning combination that has stood the test of time. 

The main con of cylinder vacuum cleaners is their weight, not in terms of dragging him around as the wheels make this a very easily manoeuvrable hoover, but when it comes to hoovering stairs or carrying up and down stairs, this is where the much lighter uprights and stick vacuums come into their own. But for many people, this doesn’t represent a big enough problem to warrant the additional cost. 

Cylinder vacuum cleaners are the best vacuum cleaners for carpets and/or hard floors where value for money is concerned, and Henry is the undisputed champion of the cylinders. 



See the full review of Henry the Hoover


Miele C3 Powerline Cylinder Vacuum Cleaner

If you feel safer with a premium brand then you won’t be disappointed with the Miele C3. Miele normally operates at the top end of the market with their washing machines and dishwashers but this is a premium product without the premium price and that makes it really attractive.  

This is a brand you know you can trust and they build their appliances to last with high-quality component parts. The suction power is so powerful that most of the time you will never use it on maximum which is ideal for carpets.

A long 8.5 metre cable ensures less changing of plug sockets and it comes with a large 4.5 litre waste container so you can go many cleans without changing the bag.

The long hose makes it easy to clean the stairs and there is a pedal for automatic rewind of the cable.

All of the accessories are stored onboard making them easy to access when needed.

A top brand at a budget price for what you get.



See the full review of the Miele C3 Cylinder vacuum cleaner


Shark HZ400UKT Corded Stick Vacuum Cleaner

Amazing suction power at a great price this Shark corded vacuum may need to be plugged in but it is going to give you all the suction power you ever need to get deep down into every fibre of your carpet.

You can also remove the central wand and clip the main floorhead into the top part turning it quickly into a large handheld cleaner perfect for stairs and sofas and it comes with or without a motorised pet tool depending on your needs.

This is a really effective hoover for carpets at a very reasonable price for the performance it delivers.



See the full review of the Shark HZ400UKT corded vacuum cleaner

The Best Type of Vacuum Cleaner for Carpets

Corded or Cordless for Carpets?

If money is no object, then good for you, and in that case one of the very latest Shark or Dyson cordless vacuum cleaners will do a great job of cleaning your carpets and other floor types, and your Ferarri or McLaren. Not everyone needs the specific features that the priciest cordless hoovers tend to deliver, though, so even if you can afford the lightest, shiniest-looking cordless, it’s worth remembering that cost isn’t necessarily the only consideration. 

There are pros for cordless vacuum cleaners, but there are cons too, and the main cons simply relate to the fact that cordless means batteries. With all of the developments that the likes of Dyson and Shark are continually making to cordless hoover tech, the most important area is the one area that has developed the slowest, generally speaking, which is battery technology. 

Some of the very latest and highest ticket cordless options can compete with corded vacuum cleaners for power, and this is often included in the blurb as a boast, but how can it be a boast that the vacuum cleaner you’re spending between three to five times the cost of a cylinder vacuum cleaner can just about compete for suction power? Not only that, but even the ones that can compete for suction power, can do so on max power mode or boost mode, for a matter of minutes before a recharge is required. 

Given that suction power and a powered brush roller are the most important ingredients when it comes to the best vacuum cleaners for carpets, we have to say that corded are the best option overall, certainly where value for money is concerned. 

Floor Head Types

When it comes to deep cleaning your carpets, choosing a vacuum cleaner that comes with a motorised brush in the floor head will make a big difference. These are floor heads with a spinning brush with bristles that dig in between carpet fibres to then be sucked up into the hoover’s suction port.

Cylinder vacuum cleaners often have a large open port without a brush head, and these types of floor heads aren’t the best choice for carpets, especially deep pile carpets. A lot of the cheaper cordless vacuum cleaners also don’t have motorised brush heads, so whatever type of vacuum cleaner you’re looking at, if you want all of the dust and debris to be removed from your carpet with every clean then look for a vacuum cleaner with a motorised brush head.

It’s very common to think that you have been cleaning your carpets well and then when the old hoover dies and you upgrade to a powerful vacuum with a powered brush head you won’t believe how much extra dirt it picks up compared to the old one.

Also, the larger the floor head the easier it’s going to be to cover the area you are cleaning as quickly as possible so that’s well worth keeping an eye out for.


Most homes have rooms with tight areas which require some flexibility where manoeuvrability is concerned, and the best way to make sure you’re going to be able to properly hoover in tight areas like this is to look for a vacuum cleaner which has plenty of rotation on the floorhead. The latest vacuum cleaners from popular brands such as Shark, Miele & Vax will usually come with a floorhead with 90 degrees of rotation which makes them easier to get into corners.


Lighter vacuum cleaners often come at a premium, and your particular requirements for a vacuum cleaner will determine how much of an issue weight is to your vacuum cleaner purchase, so understanding how important the weight of your hoover is to you, will help you to ensure you’re investing wisely.

If the builders of your home couldn’t be bothered doing the upstairs and decided to “bung a low roof” on it instead (ah, the old ones are the best), and you’ll rarely need to actually pick up your vacuum cleaner, then weight probably isn’t as much of an issue, so just be mindful of not being convinced to spend extra money on a feature that isn’t necessarily needed in your particular circumstances.

Someone living in a bungalow or an apartment without stairs is far less likely to be as concerned about the weight of their hoover than someone living in a duplex apartment or house with lots of stairs to hoover, and for someone like this, a lighter-weight vacuum cleaner is going to pay dividends in the long term. The good news is that there are many sub-5 kg hoovers on the market these days, which are classed as lightweight vacuum cleaners.

You can find out more about lightweight hoovers in this article:

Best lightweight vacuum cleaner


If you’re investing in a vacuum cleaner with a motorised brush and the suction power to retrieve all kinds of microscopic muck including allergens, the last thing you want to do is to send them airborne, extracting them from where they were doing little harm and firing them out into the air to be inhaled!

You’d be surprised at how many cheap hoovers don’t retain all of the dust that gets picked up, simply because most vacuum cleaners these days are bagless, so the filter is part of the vacuum cleaner itself, and sometimes, even if they do have what appears to be a great quality filter, they don’t have a perfect seal around the filter, which means in some cases the hoover is firing pollen, dust mite faeces and who knows what else, into the air.

Leading vacuum cleaner brands including Shark have technology which combines HEPA filters (which filter out over 99.9% of dust and allergens) with complete seals. With Shark, this feature is ingeniously called the “complete seal” ;-), and although Shark could maybe do with re-thinking the names of some of their features, this is another Shark feature which makes their vacuum cleaners some of the best on the market overall.

Robotic Vacuum Cleaners For Carpets?

At the moment, at least, we’d have to say probably not – or at least not exclusively, unless you’re willing to drop a HUGE wad of money on a robot hoover (like £600 – £1500 or even more…). 

If you’re looking to spend a relatively modest amount of money on a robo hoover, as many people are, just to keep floors looking relatively clean until you get time to give them a proper hoovering, then these kinds of robo vacuum cleaners are fine, particularly for hard floors. 

If you want a robot hoover with motorised brush heads though, and the suction power required to properly clean carpets, then you’re probably going to need something along the lines of the Deebot T10 or the Roborock S7, which some would say is verging on the ridiculous when it comes to the price tag. But hey, if you’re a premier league footballer, or maybe an MP with a penchant for creative expenses (this wouldn’t be as bonkers as a floating duck island or repairs to the bell tower on your stately home!) then each to their own.

For more on robot vacuum cleaners:

Best robot vacuum in the UK

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