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Best Vacuum for Area Rugs in 2022

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Updated June 27, 2022

What are the features that make the best vacuum for area rugs? Even the best vacuum cleaner can’t efficiently clean area rugs without the ability to adjust suction power, height, and beater bar functionality. Area rugs come in all shapes, sizes, and thicknesses, meaning you’ll need a vacuum that can easily adjust to the task at hand.

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You may also want to consider an option that can clean both dry messes and eliminate stains. Area rugs can get stained very easily and a wet/dry vacuum for area rugs can be an incredibly helpful tool to clean up those same stains. Or, a great shop vac can handle these rugs, too.

Finally, there are a variety of different vacuum cleaners for cleaning area rugs. The type you purchase should fit your needs. If you’re looking for portability, consider a handheld vacuum. If you need more power and functionality, then an upright vacuum cleaner is best.

Keep reading to learn more about the best vacuums for area rugs and how to pick the best one for your needs.

Top Vacuums for Area Rugs

 #1  Eureka NEW200 Vacuum Cleaner

Award: TOP PICK

WHY WE LIKE IT: It won’t leave unsightly streaks behind after you’re done cleaning. It also uses a two-tank design to keep the freshwater away from the dirty water. There is a wide range of surface compatibility, too.

Pros
  • Doesn’t leave streaks behind
  • Uses a two tank design
  • Wide range of surface compatibility
Cons
  • Hose might be too short

This is an all-in-one method for cleaning. You’ll be able to complete all steps in your routine at once, from vacuuming to mopping. This vacuum has powerful suction that tackles everything from tough dirt to liquid spills. It also washes the floor as you use it. Unfortunately, some consumers report that the hose attachment the vacuum comes with is a little on the shorter side. This might make tight spaces more difficult to clean.

It will provide the deep cleaning required of a traditional vacuum cleaner. This model doesn’t leave unsightly streaks on your hard flooring and has a two-tank system. This system allows it to keep dirty water separate from clean water, helping you maintain a cleaner environment while getting messes taken care of. It has a lightweight design with swivel steering for easy usage and high maneuverability.

 #2  Bissell, 2554 CrossWave Vacuum Cleaner

Award: HONORABLE MENTION

WHY WE LIKE IT: This powerful model makes the most of its 36V lithium-ion battery You’ll get up to 30 minutes of continuous usage so that you can be sure that every cleaning session will be complete. There is also an improved edge-cleaning system.

Pros
  • Uses a 36V lithium-ion battery
  • Up to 30-minutes of continuous usage
  • Improved edge cleaning system
Cons
  • Might be on the loud side

A multi-surface option with much to offer, this model will both vacuum and wash your floors simultaneously. You can count on it to cover surfaces like rugs, linoleum, upholstery, hardwood, and tile. The self-cleaning system feature frees up a lot of your time since you no longer have to worry about deep cleaning your machine as often. Unfortunately, this self-cleaning system tends to be incredibly loud. It only lasts for around thirty seconds, however.

This cordless model offers around 30 minutes of run-time. This is plenty of time to get an entire room clean with some time to spare due to the high-power suction. It pulls its power from a 36-volt lithium-ion battery, a durable, secure option. Improved edge cleaning capabilities are another reason to love this model. It can easily pick up any pet hair or other debris that has been settling in the cracks or crevices.

 #3  VMAI V8 Pro Vacuum Cleaner

Award: BEST FOR STICKY MESSES

WHY WE LIKE IT: This all-in-one model can handle sticky messes and liquids as quickly as it tackles stuck-on grime and dirt. It has a high capacity for power that helps it speed through cleaning with ease. It also has a built-in system to clean itself.

Pros
  • All-in-one model
  • Great capacity for power
  • System to clean itself
Cons
  • Might be prone to overheting

If you need a wet-dry option, this is a fantastic choice due to several features like the dual-tank system it uses. It even has an upgraded chip to stay current on the best practices in vacuum cleaner technology. The 3,000mAh battery powers a capacity to clean an entire room quickly and efficiently. Just be careful when using it for long periods on heavy-duty cleaning jobs. Some consumers report an issue with overheating and shutting down while in use.

The separate water tanks make sure that you aren’t cleaning your floors with dirty water, which makes traditional mopping options unhygienic. It has a self-cleaning mode that helps the vacuum cleaner stay odor-free and clean at all times. This cordless option also offers voice assistance, which lets you know about the status of the vacuum during daily operation. It’ll also let you know when it’s time to shut off the self-cleaning feature.

 #4  AlfaBot T36 Vacuum Cleaner

Award: BEST FOR ALL-IN-ONE CLEANING

WHY WE LIKE IT: With this model, you don’t have to worry about running over or getting tangled up in a long cord because it lacks a power cord. This makes it an extremely portable model with an easily maneuverable design.

Pros
  • Doesn’t rely on a cord for power
  • Extremely portable model
  • Easily maneuverable design
Cons
  • System might start leaking

This hassle-free design doesn’t rely on a tangled cord for power. It instead works off of 2,600mAh lithium-ion battery to clean entire rooms in less time than many competitors can manage. You can get up to thirty minutes because the suction power is intelligently optimized for using less energy to create more power. Unfortunately, this system is prone to leaking a little bit after prolonged usage. This isn’t a common complaint, but you should keep an eye out for it anyway.

You can even buy an extra battery pack to ensure you have enough time to clean the entire house. This model has a self-cleaning feature, so you don’t have to worry about getting dirty trying to clean your machine. You don’t even have to hand-clean the roller brush. A voice assistant also provides technical support and tells you to add more water, empty the dirty water tank, and more.

 #5  CELLAY Vacuum Cleaner

Award: BEST FOR ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY

WHY WE LIKE IT: An advanced digital display is provided in this model. This allows you to see the battery, power level, obstructions, and more. It also has a two-tank system that keeps dirty and clean water separate.

Pros
  • Provides a digital display
  • Features a two tank system
  • Multiple indicator lights
Cons
  • Suctions is not quite as strong

You’ll enjoy that this model is powered by a 36-volt lithium-ion battery that packs in a big punch. Because of this, it has powerful suction that can bring embedded dirt and grime up to the surface of your rug, carpet, upholstery, and more. It can take care of messes from pets or children, stains from liquids like red wine, and more. The biggest problem is that the suction leaves something to be desired. If you require something with powerful suction capabilities, this isn’t the model for you.

It has a dual-tank system to keep the clean and dirty water separate. Not only is it a vacuum, but it also works as a mop. Keeping your floor clean and streak-free is the aim of this machine. You’ll save tons of time by being able to vacuum and then spray the cleaning solution to mop right after. There is a one-touch self-cleaning system so you can set it and forget it until the cycle is over. It features an ultra-quiet 256-watt motor.

 #6  Stealth ECVP01 Vacuum Cleaner

Award: BEST FOR LIQUIDS AND SOLIDS

WHY WE LIKE IT: This model can tackle multiple locations in your home with ease. Almost any floor type is compatible. You’ll also enjoy the ability to use it on liquid spills. This model doesn’t use a cord for power.

Pros
  • Multiple applications for surfaces
  • Able to clean liquid spills
  • Doesn’t use a cord
Cons
  • Struggles with uneven floors

There are endless surfaces that this model can handle. It features a handy roller brush that will bust through stuck-on dirt and grime to deliver a better clean every time. You’ll be able to go over tile, hardwood, linoleum, carpet, rugs, and more. Unfortunately, some consumers do report that this model struggles with uneven surfaces. If you have a lot of ridges, dimples, or bumps on your floor, it won’t be a great fit.

It features a cordless design that runs on a lithium-ion battery with seven cells and a 2,600mAh capacity. This makes it a lightweight model that still has much power under the hood. It only weighs 9.48 pounds. You can run it in both a max mode and an eco mode for better control over your cleaning job. It also takes 60 seconds for the built-in self-cleaning system to work, so you can spend less time cleaning and more time on what matters.

Beginner’s Guide to Vacuums for Area Rugs

What Are Vacuums for Area Rugs?

Vacuums for area rugs are household cleaning tools used for picking up types of debris like dirt, dust, and pet hair from carpet and rug fibers in your home. These vacuum cleaners also typically feature various modes and settings so you can clean other surfaces like high-pile carpets, low-pile carpets, hardwood floors, tile, and upholstery. However, for the best cleaning job, you’ll want to look into the best steam cleaner for upholstery, which cleans even deeper.

Vacuums for Area Rugs vs. Traditional Vacuums

Generally, vacuums for area rugs are essentially the same thing as traditional vacuum cleaners when it comes to base functionality. Both cleaning products use an electric motor to create powerful suction, which pulls in debris.

Where area rug vacuum cleaners differ from traditional household vacuum cleaners lies in the variable suction power, settings, and attachments. The top vacuums in this category offer plenty of customizability in cleaning performance so you can adjust their settings to fit the type of area rug you’re cleaning.

For example, if you have thick area rugs, you’ll need powerful suction to pick up debris like pet hair and crumbs from the heavy fibers. However, you’ll also need to be able to turn off the vacuum’s beater bar to preserve the carpet’s integrity. Then, once you’re done with your area rug and want to move onto bare surfaces, you should be able to adjust these same settings for optimal cleaning performance.

How Vacuums for Area Rugs Work

Both standard vacuum cleaners and those meant for cleaning area rugs work in the same essential way. The exact form factor and design depend on the specific type of vacuum you purchase, but most options sport the same core features: an electric motor, a bag or canister for housing debris, and both intake and exhaust ports.

After turning your vacuum’s power on, the electric motor will spin, which in turn spins a fan to push air out of the exhaust port. This movement of air causes the air pressure to drop near the intake port and create a vacuum effect. Once this happens, the vacuum generates powerful suction.

Once your vacuum picks up the mess, the powerful suction force carries it into the vacuum’s canister or bag. If you have a bagged vacuum, it will catch the debris. If you have a bagless vacuum, the debris is kept in the canister using a filter.

Do You Really Need a Vacuum for Area Rugs?

The best vacuum for area rugs is an incredibly flexible cleaning tool. While a versatile vacuum cleaner like this is well-suited for cleaning all kinds of area rugs, its variable settings and power modes also allow for cleaning different surfaces throughout your home.

Whether you’re looking to replace an outdated vacuum cleaner or you’ve recently purchased area rugs and need a machine that can handle all kinds of surfaces, then a vacuum for area rugs is an excellent choice.

Is a Vacuum for Area Rugs Worth Buying?

  • You Have Area Rugs in Your Home: The biggest reason to purchase a vacuum to clean area rugs is that you actually have area rugs in your home. Since these vacuums are made specifically to handle any kind of area rug, you’ll be well-equipped to keep all of your floor coverings as clean as the day you bought them.
  • You Also Need to Clean Other Floor Types: Area rug vacuums aren’t limited to just cleaning rugs. If you want to switch back and forth between bare floor, carpeted areas, and rugs, then any of these vacuums will perform well at the task.
  • You Want to Customize Your Cleaning: In order to clean any area rug, your vacuum will need adjustable settings for suction power, beater bar power, and brushes. If you want to customize the way you clean depending on the mess, then a vacuum for area rugs can be an ideal choice for you.

Why a Vacuum for Area Rugs May Not Be For You

  • You Don’t Have Any Area Rugs: If you don’t own any area rugs, then there really isn’t a point to purchase a vacuum made specifically for cleaning them. Instead, consider the best vacuum for Berber carpet or an option for hardwood floors, depending on the exact type of flooring you need to clean.
  • You Need Something Portable: Most vacuums for cleaning area rugs are upright, meaning they’ll be full-sized vacuums. If you need something more portable, you may want to consider cordless vacuums or handheld vacuums, like the best vacuum for apartments.

How Long Will a Vacuum for Area Rugs Last?

The vast majority of vacuum cleaners should last around five to seven years, according to professional cleaning companies like Classic Cleaners, who have years of experience. Of course, this eight-year average lifespan only applies when you use the vacuum as the manufacturer intends.

If you don’t perform regular maintenance on your vacuum, like washing or replacing the filter, emptying the canister, and replacing bags, then your vacuum for area rugs won’t last you nearly as long as it should.

How to Choose the Best Vacuum for Area Rugs

In order to get the best vacuum for area rugs, you should first and foremost find an option that can vacuum the types of rugs you have in your home without ruining them. Continue reading below to learn more about the additional features and functionalities you should consider in your new vacuum to ensure you purchase the right option for your area rugs.

Vacuum for Area Rugs Key Factors to Consider

1. What type of vacuum is best for cleaning area rugs?

Since you can clean an area rug with virtually any type of vacuum, it’s important to know what options are available. Take a look at the different types of vacuums, along with their pros and cons, to determine which works best for your needs:

  • Upright: This is the most common type of vacuum cleaner today. As their name suggests, upright vacuums stand straight up, using their intake nozzles and brush rolls as a base on which to balance. These powerful vacuums offer a wide variety of different uses and can clean multiple types of floor surfaces. Upright vacuums are most likely to offer adjustable suction settings, making them ideal for cleaning carpets and area rugs.
  • Stick: This type of vacuum is technically considered an upright vacuum, but with a more portable and lightweight design. Instead of providing bags with which to capture debris, stick vacuums feature canisters. A cordless stick vacuum runs on battery power, giving you even greater portability and versatility in cleaning hard-to-reach areas like tight corners.
  • Handheld: If you’re looking for the ultimate portable cleaning experience, then you can’t go wrong with a handheld vacuum. You can operate these vacuums with one hand. While they may not be the best suited for cleaning large area rugs, handheld vacuums are an excellent choice for quick spot cleaning.
  • Canister: This type of vacuum offers similar suction power and cleaning capacity as upright vacuums. The form factor is the only difference here. A canister vacuum features a large canister on wheels with a long intake hose. This option can be more gentle on area rugs since you typically won’t need to wheel the entire canister vacuum onto the rug, risking carpet fibers and fringe getting caught in the wheels.
  • Robot: This vacuum type is completely autonomous, meaning you aren’t manually operating it 100% of the time. Instead, you can set schedules and create mapped paths for the robot vacuum to follow. While they are getting better, robot vacuums aren’t the best for area rugs since they can’t differentiate between normal rug fibers and fringe, which is more easily caught in the vacuum.

2. What adjustable settings do you need on your vacuum for area rugs?

One of the most important considerations to make when purchasing one of these types of vacuums is the amount of adjustability you get for things like variable suction power, brush height, and beater bar power. We recommend purchasing a vacuum with plenty of adjustable settings so you can adjust appropriately depending on the type of area rug you’re vacuuming.

Models with variable suction control typically feature a twist dial that opens a hole in the intake hose, which lessens the overall suction power. Advanced models feature a button with two or three different suction power settings.

Models with different height settings typically feature a knob or pedal that you need to manually operate. For thicker area rugs, a higher setting is better. The opposite is true for thinner area rugs.

Models with a beater bar typically allow you to turn it on and off as needed. This is important for antique and delicate area rugs. While the beater bar is helpful for vacuuming thick carpet, it may cause damage to your more delicate area rugs, including those with fringe.

3. Do you need to clean stains off your area rug?

If your area rug is stained, either from spills or high traffic, then you may want to consider a vacuum for area rugs that offers wet/dry functionality. With wet/dry vacuums, you get the ability to add soap or carpet shampoo to your vacuum, along with a tank of water, so you can clean stains and liquid spills.

If you’re interested in this dual functionality, make sure you purchase an option specifically called out as a wet/dry vacuum. Many carpet cleaners look just like standard household vacuums, but they clean dry messes.

4. Do you need a portable or compact design for your area rug vacuum cleaner?

If you have a lot of rugs spread throughout your home, then you may want to consider a handheld vacuum or a cordless upright vacuum for better portability. These lightweight vacuums will help you more easily move throughout your home without getting worn out.

If you opt for a portable vacuum, make sure you consider battery life and canister capacity, which both affect how long you can use the vacuum before needing to recharge or empty debris.

5. Do you need any vacuum attachments or accessories to clean area rugs?

Most vacuum cleaners include some kind of attachment or accessory like a crevice tool. However, you may wonder if these are useful for cleaning area rugs. While something like a crevice tool may not do much for you, there are fortunately a few accessories that are worth purchasing.

For example, there are shag rug rake attachments, which are incredibly useful for combing out and cleaning shag rugs. You may also want to consider a pet hair vacuum attachment if there are pets in your home that shed a lot. There are also wide vacuum nozzles like an upholstery tool, which can help clean rugs faster.

Consider your home and rug, then look at the accessories available for the vacuum you want to purchase. If you see any that help improve your overall efficiency, then it never hurts to use them.

Vacuum for Area Rugs FAQs

What is better for cleaning area rugs, bagged or bagless vacuums?

Regardless of the cleaning job, both bagged and bagless vacuums perform exceptionally well with carpet and area rugs. However, bagged vacuums are better at containing all the dust and debris that accumulate in carpets and area rugs. As such, you may find maintenance easier with bagged vacuums. However, bagless vacuums don’t require you to constantly buy new bags.

Do standard vacuum cleaners work on thick carpet?

Yes, as long as it has the appropriate adjustable settings. To clean carpet and area rugs, look for a standard vacuum cleaner with adjustable suction power, a beater bar, and adjustable height.

Can a robot vacuum clean carpet and area rugs?

Some robot vacuums are good at cleaning these soft surfaces, but the vast majority of the options available today don’t offer enough clearance or suction power. Plus, they still can’t differentiate between the rug fibers and fringe, meaning you may run into snags if you have any area rugs with tassels.

Do vacuums for area rugs also clean stains?

Only vacuums marked as wet/dry options are able to clean the stains on your area rugs. If you’re interested in this dual functionality, you’ll need to look for a vacuum that specifically offers and markets itself as offering the wet/dry function.
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