These are the best robot vacuums for thick carpets

Last Update:

We use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on purchases. Learn more

best robot vacuum for thick carpets

Robot vacuums have become an everyday part of our lives.

Starting in the early 1990’s with the first iRobot Roomba, the industry has exploded in recent years with brands, features and accessories to make the most out of the robots.

For homes with hard flooring, your choices are more open.

However, for carpeting, especially thicker carpets, the viable robot options dwindle.

This article will examine the best robot vacuums for thick and high-pile carpets and help you decide which model is right for you.

Here are Our Top 5 Picks:

Styles, abilities and controls may change, but these are the best performers of 2022:

  1. Best Robot Vacuum for High-Pile and Thick CarpetiRobot Roomba I7 Robot VacuumLarge wheels, auto-adjustable cleaning height and extra powerful suction make this the best choice for high-pile carpet.
  2. Best Choice for Medium-Pile CarpetiRobot Roomba 675 Robot VacuumGreat value for medium and low-pile carpets. Not ideal for high-pile carpets.”
  3. Best Budget Choice for Thick CarpetiRobot Roomba E5 Robotic VacuumLarge wheels, powerful suction and brushless rubber rollers at a budget price.”
  4. Runner Up, Best Budget Choice – RoboVac 11S BoostIQ Robot Vacuum for Medium-Pile CarpetGreat price and good for thick and medium-pile carpets.”
  5. Honorable Mention Eufy RoboVac 30C BoostIQ

How Thick and High-Pile Carpets Affect Robot Vacuums

Robot vacuums have a lot of advantages over uprights, stick and 2-in-1in vacuums. They can be scheduled to run when you aren’t even home, or programmed to clean specific areas. They have a lot of features and pretty things, but the bottom line comes down to performance.

When it comes to your carpets, robot vacuums are either hit or miss. We generally think of vacuums for cleaning carpet, yet there are robot vacuums on the shelves marketed for hard flooring only.

Most robots will clean carpet, but the type and style of carpet will vary. To be safe, we can assume that all robot vacuums are decent on low-pile, tight-woven carpets. These carpet types are usually not very plush, less expensive and don’t have deep fibers.

However, medium-pile carpeting, loose fiber carpet weaves and even thicker, high-pile carpets are common in homes today. The way a robot cleans can be the difference between clean, thick carpet and a robot that gets stuck every few feet.

iRobot Roomba i7+
Best choice for thick and high-pile carpets:
  • Auto-adjustable cleaning height
  • Powerful suction
  • Large wheels

Here Is What You Need to Know to Find a Great Robot Vacuum for Your Carpet or Rug

robot vacuum buyers guide

The right robot vacuum will perform well on low-, medium and even some high-pile carpeting. There is a lot more to it than that, though. Below are several factors to consider when selecting your next robot vacuum.

Battery Efficiency

Battery size isn’t very important when it comes to robots.  Most will market their cell-power in milliamp-hours (mAh) and you will see ranges from 1800mAh to 5600mAH.  While bigger is generally better, it all depends on how the battery is used.

Instead of focusing on the biggest battery size, look at the rate of discharge and recharge. On average, an efficient robot will  last between 90 and 120 minutes and be able to fully recharge in about 3 hours .

Filtration

Because robots run more frequently than our upright models, their filtration is important, too. HEPA filtration is still seen as a luxury in the robot market and not every brand or model will carry them.

HEPA filtration reduces in-home allergens like pet dander, dust mites and pollen. However, you will notice that robots with HEPA filtration tend to cost more.

If you don’t worry about this or use your upright vacuum with HEPA filtration regularly, you may be able to save some money on a non-HEPA robot.

Floor Types

Versatile robots are still important. Even with the focus on thicker carpets we still have rooms in our home with low-pile carpeting or hard flooring like vinyl or laminate.

Each robot will have different levels or cleaning abilities on different floor types. In addition to picking the right robot vacuum for thicker or high-pile carpets, find the model that will also clean hardwood floors or thinner carpet just as well.

Control and Containment Options

With multiple brands comes multiple control options.  Mobile app control along with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant voice commands are among the easiest and most robust methods.  There are also some models with infrared remote controls, or push-button local control methods.

You should also look at containment options, if any. Magnetic tape is one method that requires a bit of arts and crafts to make it work properly. Battery operated infrared beams and even all-digital containment options through the mobile apps are also available.

Additional Features

Robot vacuum manufacturers will add features and options to their line of robots to help entice a sale. Most of these features aren’t necessary, but do make things easier on you.

For example, one of the most common additional features is to include extra filters, side brushes or even containment items. Some models have slight upgrades for a nominal price, too, like extra suction power or better extraction rollers.

When looking at the various models, you should compare the added features and items with the increase in price. Determining the cost to value ratio will help you decide which is the better deal.

Price and Warranty

Obviously the price is going to play a large role in your final decision. You may have noticed there are a couple of highly-capable robots left off of our “best of” list. Namely the iRobot Roomba i7 and s9+ models or the Neato D7. As each of these has a quite high price the value ratio goes down significantly.

While each of these models will handle any type of carpet handily, they are not cost-effective solutions. However, other models can still get expensive so you should pay attention to the final cost.

Warranties also play a large role in the decision making process and you should understand what is required for the warranty and how long you have to file a claim.

These 8 Robotic Vacuums Work Great on Thick Rugs and Carpet

Each model has been rated and reviewed based on effectiveness of medium-pile (or thicker) carpet, cost, efficiency and user-friendly features.

1. Eufy RoboVac 11S BoostIQ Robot Vacuum for Medium-Pile Carpet

Eufy makes quite a few different models and each one is affordable for most budgets. However, the 11S may be their most popular model to date. The BoostIQ feature raises the performance bar higher, too.

With BoostIQ,  the Eufy robot increases the motor speed, extraction roller speed and suction power when it detects carpeting . This is done automatically by the robot, too, so you don’t have to worry about adjusting settings.

The local controls are limited, though. You can press the button to start a cycle or a second time to send the robot back to the charging station.

The real controls come in the programmable infrared remote. Here you can select the power, cleaning style and even create a schedule. It isn’t as advanced as the mobile app varieties, but for simple cleaning sessions, it does the job well.

The HEPA rated filters collect particles down to 3 microns in size, and only need to be replaced about every 4 months.

Your purchase includes the robot, a  2600mAh battery pack , the remote control, charging station and power cord, extra filters, 4 side brushes and some cable ties.

There isn’t any form of containment for the Eufy and that is the biggest drawback. To keep the robot in specific rooms you will need to close doors, or physically block the area with items from around your home.

The S11 will run for about 60 to 100 minutes on a single charge. It will return to the charging dock on its own, but does have some trouble docking on occasion.

With a  30-day money back promise and a 12-month warranty , you have nothing to lose. Except a lot of dust and dirt from your floors.

Floor TypesBare floors to medium-pile carpeting
FiltrationHEPA rated
Control OptionsLocal controls, infrared remote
Collection Bin Capacity0.6L
Battery Size2600mAh
Warranty30-day refund, 1-year limited

2. Ecovacs DeeBot N79S Robot Vacuum

The Deebot N79S is an upgrade from the N79 model. It combines 50% more power and suction and has extra control features added. On carpet, the N79S cleans deep and thorough but is gentle enough to clean hard flooring surfaces without scratching.

The dual side brushes work to get into corners and along edges or baseboards while the center-mounted brush roller agitates carpet and sweeps hard floors.  The suction power is about 1250pa on standard mode which allows the 2600mAH battery to run for up to 110 minutes. 

You can put the N79S in Max mode, which increases speed by about 50% and the suction to about 1900pa. In max mode, the battery will drop to about 55 minutes of runtime, but it will take on low and medium-pile carpeting without issue.

You also have control options. The robot ships with a remote that can be used to program scheduled cleanings or select the cleaning modes. You also have the Neato mobile app that will allow you even more control over the robot.

With the N79S voice commands through Alexa and Google devices are also introduced. They are limited in their capabilities, but you can start and stop a cleaning session, or return the robot to the charging dock just by using your voice.

The  1-year warranty covers everything except the filters and brushes . The battery is covered only to the point of normal performance. However, lack of holding a charge (except initially) and other issues such as overheating or quick discharge are not covered.

Floor TypesBare floors to medium-pile carpeting
FiltrationStandard
Control OptionsLocal controls, infrared remote, mobile app, voice commands
Collection Bin Capacity0.5L
Battery Size2600mAh
Warranty1-year

3. iRobot Roomba 960 Robot Vacuum for Thick Carpet

iRobot’s Roomba line has been the top of the list and the benchmark for all other robot vacuums since their inception in the early 90s.  The 900 series that includes the Roomba 960 is still among the best robots ever created. 

The 900 series is led by the Roomba 980 and only that model is higher than the 960. Aside from a drastic increase in price, the only difference between the two models is the included accessories that come with the robots and the motor.

The 960 has the second generation motor that only has 2 speeds, while the 980 has the 3rd generation with three speeds. The cost to value ratio makes the 960 a much better purchase and the reason it is on this list.

On carpeting, the 960 can traverse high-pile carpet. The 980 is better at cleaning high-pile, but the 960 does make a difference. Medium and low-pile carpeting as well as hard flooring are also all handled by the 960.

The rubber extractors don’t scratch any floors and will actually reverse direction to free themselves from larger debris (like socks) or if they get caught on cords. The camera based navigation makes the robot clean in human-like patterns for a detailed and thorough clean.

The  large capacity 3300mAh battery allows the robot to run for up to 120 minutes . The 960 will also pause the cleaning and recharge the battery (about 3 hours) when it gets low. If the cleaning session isn’t completed, the Roomba will undock and resume cleaning from where it left off until the job is complete.

While it is a little more expensive than other options on the list the Roomba 960 is among the leaders for thick carpeting and bare floors alike. 

This is our best buy robot vacuum for thick carpets 2022.

4. Goovi D380

Goovi is relatively new to the robot vacuum game and their D380 model is making a big splash.  The slim robot fits under most furniture, has a long battery life and cleans carpet better than most others in the price range. 

With 1600pa of suction power, low and medium-pile carpeting get cleaned down to the pad. The robot has carpet sensors that alert it when it moves from bare floors to carpeted floors. The robot moves a little bit slower but it allows the brush roller to agitate deeper for a more thorough clean.

Unlike the Roomba 960, the D380 doesn’t have a mobile app or voice commands. It does come with a remote control, though.

You can set cleaning times and duration, but you cannot control which rooms it cleans or doesn’t. However, if you need it to clean for half an hour and start it in the living room, for example, you can do that.

The Goovi D380 has HEPA rated filtration (labeled as “high-efficiency”) which helps eliminate in-home allergens from your floors. The battery leaves a bit to be desired, though.  At 2200mAh, you get about 100 minutes of runtime.  However, it takes a little over 4 hours to recharge.

As one of the more affordable options on the list, though, the battery is only a slight nuance. Easily overlooked with the detail it gives to your carpeting, the D380 is bound to be around for years to come.

Floor TypesBare floors to medium-pile carpet
FiltrationHEPA rated
Control OptionsLocal controls, infrared remote
Collection Bin Capacity0.5L
Battery Size2200mAh
Warranty1-year

5. Eufy RoboVac 30C BoostIQ Robotic Vacuum

The Robovac 30C is an upgraded version of the Eufy 11S series model. For most situations they are nearly identical, with the same capacities, batteries, and collection methods.

There are a few differences though, which make the 30C a slightly better robot vacuum but add to the cost considerably.

The first difference is the WiFi connectivity of the 30C. With this feature, the 30C can use the Eufy mobile app as well as voice commands through Alexa enabled devices. This feature is not available on the 11S, which has the remote control.

The  RoboVac 30C also has the remote control, so you can pick the best control method for your needs . Most users find the mobile app the only control option they end up using. It is fairly straightforward and user-friendly.

The 30C also has a faster, more powerful motor that produces about  300pa more suction power . This enables the robot to do a deeper and more thorough clean on medium-pile carpeting.

All in all, the 30C is an upgrade over the 11C. However, the slight increase in power and use of wireless communications aren’t enough to lift it to the top spot due to the inflated price compared to the 11S.

Floor TypesBare floors to medium-pile carpet
FiltrationHEPA rated
Control OptionsLocal controls, infrared remote, mobile app, voice commands
Collection Bin Capacity0.6L
Battery Size2600mAh
Warranty30-day return, 12-month warranty

6. Roborock S5

Smart navigation, mobile app controls, extra large battery and high powered suction put the Roborock S5 near the top of the class. While it isn’t all as great as it could be, Roborock is making strides to improve the robot vacuum market and the S5 is a step in that direction.

The S5 is  the only robot on this list that also mops . It comes with a water tank (140ml capacity) that wets the floor and a microfiber mopping pad cleans it up. The robot tries to know where the carpet begins, but it doesn’t always work out that way. When mopping, the robot needs to be watched closely.

On carpet, though, the S5 is a beast.  With 2000ps of suction power, it is one of the top rated suction robots on the market.  It has a large capacity dust bin and laser guided navigation. With a runtime of up to 150 minutes, it can take care of your floor space, usually on a single charge.

If the battery runs low, the Roborock S5 will pause and recharge before resuming its session. The main problem here is that the larger battery pack takes at least 5 hours to fully recharge.

The S5 does have a new mobile app and with it comes digital containment. You can use the app to mark on the map places you want the robot to avoid, or to concentrate on. There are reports of the app not working well but it is being updated constantly by Roborock.

For all of the little negatives, the price and performance outweigh them heavily. If you need a reliable and easy to operate carpet cleaning robot with a lot of extras, the S5 is a solid option. Just know you will be going through several updates to fix issues over the next couple of years.

Not recommended for high-pile carpets.

Floor TypesBare floors to medium-pile carpeting
FiltrationHEPA rated
Control OptionsLocal controls, mobile app, voice commands
Collection Bin Capacity0.6L
Battery Size5200mAh
Warranty1-year

7. Shark IQ AutoEmpty Robot Vacuum Cleaner for Thick Carpet

The Shark IQ AE (AutoEmpty) attempts to keep up with the top models in the industry and for the most part, it does a good job.  It uses LIDAR navigation to map and maneuver through your home while producing enough suction to deep clean even high-pile carpeting

The mobile app, and wireless voice commands are robust and user-friendly.  The best feature, though, is the auto-emptying charging station.  When the robot docks to recharge the battery (or at the end of the session) the charging dock sucks the dirt and debris from the collection bin and stores it in the dock’s tower.

The  tower can hold about 30 to 40 bin’s worth of debris before you need to empty it out manually . This saves you time and effort. However, the robots collection bin fills quickly, so you may find it returning to the dock more often than other models.

Because it does exceptionally well on carpet of all types, it made this list. However, the price point is still a little high for most budgets. This doesn’t mean the robot isn’t worth the cost, but for those on a plan or maintaining a budget may want to look for an alternative option.

Floor TypesBare floors to high-pile carpet
FiltrationHEPA rated
Control OptionsLocal controls, mobile app, voice commands
Collection Bin Capacity0.45L
Battery Size3600mAH
Warranty1-year

8. Ecovacs Deebot 500

The Deebot 500 is another EcoVacs model. This one is highly similar to the N79S listed above. There are a few differences, though, and they may make all the difference.

The most obvious difference is the price. The 500 model is much less expensive than the N79S. It is considered entry-level or low-tier. The price reflects that, as well as the lowered abilities and features.

The filtration is one area the Deebot 500 takes a hit. Instead of HEPA filtration, standard filtration takes its place. The standard filters work just fine, but they don’t reduce in-home allergens like HEPA filters do.

Another difference is the suction. The N79S has about 1000ps of suction power while the 500 only has about 800pa of suction. However,  the 500 model has a Max Mode that increases the suction to just over 1000pa .

When Max Mode is engaged, the battery discharges faster but the robot is capable of cleaning low and medium-pile carpeting much more efficiently.

Like the N79S, the 500 also has wireless capabilities, giving you the chance to use the mobile app and limited voice commands. While it may not be the best on thick carpets over larger areas, small spaces will find great use for it and savings on top.

It will not work well on high-pile carpeting, and is not the greatest on medium-pile carpeting.

Floor TypesBare floors to low-pile carpeting
FiltrationStandard
Control OptionsLocal controls, mobile app, voice commands
Collection Bin Capacity0.5L
Battery Size2600mAh
Warranty1-year

Cleaning Thicker Carpet – Robot Vacuums Vs. Other Types

When it comes to keeping your floors clean, you aren’t without options. Robot vacuums are only one solution. How do they stack up against other carpet cleaners? Let’s take a look.

Robots Vs. Stick Vacuums

Stick vacuums, like robots, have made drastic changes in recent years. Stick vacuums now have more power and longer lasting batteries. However, the longer the battery runs, the less productive stick vacuums are.

Because of their design, most brands aren’t intended to replace your standard upright. For small apartments, condos or homes with limited carpeted areas, they can do well. Robots, on the other hand, work well in all sized homes.

The stick vacuums on thicker carpet tend to drop off rapidly, much like the competition for robot vacuums. Only the best make it through thick carpet on either side. Stick vacuums, though are difficult to push on plush flooring and do better with low pile and hard flooring surfaces.

As a general rule, the only real advantage stick vacuums have over robot vacuums is they are less expensive. You can get a decent stick vacuum for less than $70, while most thick-carpet rated robot vacuums start well over $150.

Robots Vs. Upright Vacuums

The main goal behind the original robot vacuums was to eventually replace the need for upright models altogether.

That hasn’t quite worked out for most homes, though. Robot vacuums are still not as powerful as their upright counterparts. The amount of energy and power it requires to create enough suction to clean like an upright hasn’t been realized in the robot world. At least not yet.

Aside form the lack of comparative power,  the robot vacuums are capable of helping your floor cleaning chore day instead of adding to it . You can create schedules, start and stop cleaning sessions and best of all, work on other things while the robot is cleaning.

The downside is that most robots require more frequent maintenance. The collection bins are smaller, the brush rolls need more cleaning and they may not get everywhere you need them to clean.

As cost is concerned, uprights can be similar in price, but for an upright that cleans thick carpet, you have a lot more options in terms of styles, capabilities and price ranges.

Robots Vs. 2-in-1 Vacuums

2-in-1 vacuums, or convertible vacuums transform from an upright to a handheld. In most cases, though, it is a stick vacuum with a removable stick. So you don’t get a lot of extra power, like with a standard upright.

Compared to a robot vacuum, suction levels are about the same, but 2-in-1 models surpass robots in terms of versatility. 2-in-1s are ideal for cleaning stairs, carpets, automobiles and furniture. You can even use them to clean overhead.

Compared to robot vacuums that cannot clean on stairs or furniture and not in your car, they have a more limited area of expertise.

2-in-1s also have smaller price tags, and can therefore be seen as better options. However, when it comes to cleaning thicker carpet, 2-in-1s mirror stick vacuums for the most part, limiting suction and being difficult to push around.

Likes and Dislikes

Robot vacuums tout their advantages, and rightly so. However, each one also has a down side. Let’s examine the good and the bad about robot vacuums here.

Likes

  • Scheduling features allow you to clean your floors even when you aren’t home.
  • Recharge and resume functionality means you don’t need to worry about the charge level of the battery or if the robot will finish the job.
  • Various control options give you the power to take full control, from anywhere at all times.
  • Self emptying models reduce the amount of cleaning and maintenance required. Note, this is a newer feature and not all models will come with this ability.
  • Containment options allow you to set boundaries or protect items from being vacuumed.
  • Priced for every budget, there is a brand and model that will clean well in your price range.

Dislikes

  • Collection bins fill rapidly causing more frequent stops.
  • Some models don’t have any containment options.
  • Prices for replacement parts such as filters or rollers may be expensive.
  • As new models are released, older models are harder to find.
  • Cheaper models do not return to the charging dock on their own.
  • Because of the sensors many robots confuse dark colored carpet as a drop and will avoid it completely.
  • Depending on the extraction methods, hard flooring surfaces may be susceptible to scratches.

FAQ

robot vacuum faq

Here I will answer questions about the robot vacuums in general. If you have other concerns or questions, use the comment section below the article.

Q. Do robot vacuums clean in straight lines?

  1. Not all robots have the capability to clean in straight lines, or human-like patterns. This requires navigation sensors such as lasers, GPS cubes or cameras. Only a select few brands offer this capability, and some models can get quite expensive because of it.

Q. Can robots clean in the dark?

  1. Many robot owners prefer to schedule cleanings for when they aren’t home. If your home is dark, it won’t affect the cleaning of robots that use touch-based sensors to navigate your home. However, camera and laser (LIDAR) based navigating robots won’t be able to perform without some form of light.

Q. How long do most robot vacuums last?

  1. A lot will depend on your cleaning and maintenance routines as well as how often you replace essential parts. With proper care, regular replacement of filters, brushes and batteries can make your robot last quite a while. For cheaper vacuums the average life span is between 3 and 5 years. However, top end brands like iRobot Roomba and Neato have been in homes for decades without problems. 

Q. How often should I run the robot vacuum?

  1. The batteries get better life if they are used on a regular basis. To get the most performance from your robot it should be run at least three times per week. Daily use is also advisable if you have larger spaces or shedding pets. The more you can use the robot and run through battery drain cycles, the longer it will last.

Q. I already have an upright vacuum, should I get a robot vacuum, too?

  1. This is a personal call that only you can make. However, having a robot vacuum to help out is never a bad idea. Robot vacuums can run at all hours (when you aren’t home, for example) and with constant use, you will find that you need the upright less often. This prolongs the cleanliness of your floors as well as saving wear and tear on your upright, making it last longer, too.

Wrapping Up

The right robot vacuum for you may not be the top-of-the-line model currently selling for over $1000. You may find that your high pile or thick carpet requires less features and just better cleaning.

Thicker carpets do require special robots to be able to traverse the carpeted area as well as clean it thoroughly. The right mix of suction, power and maneuverability leads you to the right vacuum.

Hopefully, this article has shed some light on things you should consider before buying, as well as the perfect robot for your high-pile carpet. If not, take another look at the top pick. The Eufy RoboVac 11S is an ideal candidate. With great suction, user-friendly features and thicker carpet capabilities, it is a great value.

Photo of author

AUTHOR

Nora has more than 5 years experience in the floor covering industry, acquiring vast knowledge about installation and material selection. She now enjoys working as a writer and an interior decorator. Her work has been featured in The Spruce, Homes & Gardens, Southern Living and Real Homes. See full biography here.

Leave a Comment

4 × five =