Vacuum Cleaners for SmartStrand Carpet

SmartStrand carpeting from Mohawk and Karastan is becoming very popular because it both looks and feels good. But it can be a little tricky to clean.

Our favorite vacuum cleaner for cleaning SmartStrand Carpeting for 2016 is the Miele C3 Complete SoftCarpet.

Cleaning SmartStrand High-Pile Carpet

Miele SEB228 Power BrushMany vacuum cleaners get “stuck” in high-pile SmartStrand carpeting. Either the wheels will sink into the carpet, or the long, soft fibers stop the brush from rotating. To find which Mohawk SmartStrand vacuum can overcome the challenge, we tested over a dozen vacuums from Miele, SEBO, Dyson, Electrolux, Sanitiare, Hoover, Eureka, Kenmore and Bissell.

The first thing we found is that while some upright vacuums will move through the carpet, pushing and pulling a 15-20 pound upright on high-pile SmartStrand carpet can be very tiring. The second is that most vacuum cleaners with height adjustment will not clean deep down past the surface when raised high enough to be easy to push.

In order to push the vacuum through the SmartStrand, you have to raise the cleaner head so far off the carpet that you lose a great deal of suction. Most machines just don’t have the airflow to create enough suction to compensate. So you end up just “sweeping” the top of the carpet. You never get deep down into the fiber where the dirt gets embedded.  Lowering the head back down increases the suction and cleaning performance, but then makes the machine difficult to push.

The best all-around performer we found is a Miele canister vacuum coupled with the SEB228 power brush. The power brush nozzle on a canister-style machine weighs only a few pounds, so it won’t push the brush down into the matting of the carpeting as much as an upright, and the design of the SEB228 offers the best balance of “deep down” clean and “able to push without a torn rotator cuff.”

The Miele SEB228 power brush is different from other canister power brushes because it has extra-wide wheels that won’t “sink” into the carpet. It also has a height-adjustable bottom with a suction sealing strip that allows it to be raised very high to accommodate ultra plush weaves with minimal suction loss. These features combine with the powerful suction of a Miele canister vacuum to let you push the power brush easily and safely across the carpet, picking up dirt and debris without it getting stuck or damaging the carpet fibers.

The SEB228 power brush is standard with the Miele C3 Kona and Miele C3 Cat & Dog vacuums. It also is available as an option on any other Miele canister vacuum equipped with an electric brush, including the Miele C1 Delphi, Miele C1 Titan and Miele C2 Topaz canister vacuum cleaners.

Cleaning SmartStrand Loop-style Carpet

Miele SEB285 Floor ToolVacuums with rotating brushes should not be used on SmartStrand loop-style carpets. A floor tool with a spinning brush is too abrasive. It can break the fibers so that they stand straight up, detracting from the look as well as wearing the carpet out long before it otherwise would.

Instead, use a suction-only nozzle that deep cleans with intense suction, but has gentle velveteen thread lifters to help guide dirt and debris off the carpet and into the suction nozzle without harming the loops.

Both Miele and SEBO brands make excellent tools for this type of carpet. The Miele 285-3 Combination Rug & Floor Tool has no rotating brush. Large rubber wheels and a smooth metal bottom plate help glide the tool safely across the top of the rug. In addition, two thread lifter strips around the intake gently work through the carpet fibers to pull debris towards the intake.

This floor tool also has retractable synthetic bristles used to sweep smooth floors surfaces. It’s standard on several Miele canister vacuums and can be added as an option to any Miele canister.

The Sebo Kombi Tool, included with the Sebo K2 and Sebo D1 canister vacuums and the Sebo Felix Kombi, is another suction-only floor tool that works well to safely clean these delicate carpets. The Twin-Stream suction system and the crescent-shaped stripes with natural bristles guarantee dust will be collected for edge-to-edge cleaning on hard floors, as well as delicate loop pile. It also has two lint removers also pick up thread and fluff.

8 Responses

  1. Margaret Robertson says:

    I live in New Zealand and have Smartstrand carpet. We can’t access the Miele canister cleaners that you recommend. The closest is a C3 comfort electro plus powerline SGPAO. Would you be able to tell me if this is similar please?

    • Megan K says:

      Hi Margaret,

      The carpet brush that comes with the vacuum won’t work all that well on the SmartStrand due to how thick it is. Without the adjustable height, you won’t have any airflow. This particular vacuum does, however, come with a combination rug and floor tool. This will work on the SmartStrand better than the included carpet brush, but it won’t clean as deeply as the SEB228 powerhead. The Complete C3 Comfort Electro Plus PowerLine – SGPA0 would be the closest match to what was suggested, as it’ll give you the ability to control the airflow with the height adjustment settings, so you’ll be able to find the right kind of suction with a height that you like.

  2. CindyJo says:

    What about an I Robot
    Have elderly mother with smart strand carpet and it is difficult for her to vacumn

    • Megan K says:

      Hi CindyJo,

      Unfortunately, an iRobot, or any robotic vacuum, would not be recommended for SmartStrand. Due to the smaller wheels and how the motor and suction works, the vacuum would just get bogged down and stuck in one spot. SmartStrand really requires a vacuum that will allow for a lot of airflow while still allowing enough suction to get down and really clean the carpet.

  3. Gary says:

    We have. Dyson vacuum and we are going to have smart strand carpet installed do we need to change vacuum cleaners

    • Hate to be the bearer of bad news but most likely. Dysons tend to seal really close to the pile of carpeting which can jam or overheat the brushroll when used on carpets that have a more substantial carpet tube like the Smart Strand does. It is important to get a vacuum that will let you manually lift the brush up from the carpeting allowing the bristles to work through the pile and air to get into the vacuum. If you love your Dyson I would first try it out on your new carpeting, it won’t hurt it. If the Dyson’s brushroll is stopping or the motor sounds like it is straining that means it is time for a new vacuum.

      Our best bet with Smart Strand has been a Miele canister with a 228 powerbrush, that brush is height adjustable and aggressive enough to handle the load your new carpet will throw at you. Something like the Miele Kona would work wonderfully.

      If you have a strong preference to uprights the Sebo G1 Essential works the best because it will have a manual height adjustment to lift the vacuum up when moving to your carpeting.

  4. Chris says:

    Any tips on selecting the right height and suction for the SEB228 to clean high pile carpet? Thanks.

    • Mark Davis says:

      SoftStrand comes in many styles from loose frisee to thick plush. You really have to try different setting combinations between the suction adjustment and height adjustment to find out what works for your carpet. But between the two adjustments you can hit a sweet spot that gives you good cleaning without too much resistance.

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