As seen in:
Bissell
Big Green Professional Grade Carpet Cleaner
Hoover
Power Scrub Deluxe Carpet Washer
Bissell
PowerLifter PowerBrush Upright Deep Cleaner
Rug Doctor
Deep Carpet Cleaner
Shark
Sonic Duo Carpet and Hard Floor Cleaner
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Good

Powerful suction. Cord is long (25 feet). Great for carpeted stairs and upholstery.

Lightweight with a 20-foot cord. Easy to use. Includes dual tanks, a rinse option, and hot air blowers for drying.

Lightweight, easy to maneuver, effective, and affordably priced.

Fantastic suction and cleaning. Thorough upholstery attachments. Easy-to-use tanks.

Lightweight. Swiveling handle makes it easy to maneuver. Also cleans hard flooring.

Bad

Heavy. More expensive than some competitors.

Some incidents of leakage and breakage.

Includes no attachments.

Some owners complain that tanks are too small. A small percentage have received faulty units.

Cleaning power gets mixed reviews.

Bottom Line

A heavyweight, pro-grade cleaner that separates itself from the rest of the pact. Delivers performance that rivals that of professional-grade cleaners.

A lightweight, affordable upright from a reliable manufacturer. Suitable for homes with large carpeted areas. The best deal available.

Designed for smaller areas, this powerful machine is as effective as a commercial rental.

A deep shampooer that does a better-than-average job. Most owners are thrilled, but a few have been disappointed by quality control issues.

A low-priced, versatile floor cleaner with many satisfied owners. The best bargain available.

How we decide
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Products received from manufacturers
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Models Considered
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Hours Spent
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Experts Interviewed
153
Consumers Consulted

Shopping Guide For The BEST CARPET CLEANERS

While most homes have a vacuum cleaner, not everyone has a carpet cleaner. Owning a carpet cleaner can save you money in the long run, since renting a cleaner (or hiring someone to do the job) is an expensive proposition.

The following products are five of the market's best carpet cleaners:

Products We Considered

Bissell
Big Green Professional Grade Carpet Cleaner
Hoover
Power Scrub Deluxe Carpet Washer
Bissell
PowerLifter PowerBrush Upright Deep Cleaner
Rug Doctor
Deep Carpet Cleaner
Shark
Sonic Duo Carpet and Hard Floor Cleaner

Considerations

Construction/Design
Some carpet cleaners weigh over 50 pounds, others under 20 pounds. Some come with built-in soap dispensers, others require special cleaning pads or attachments to get the job done. Your needs depend on how much carpeting you have and how dirty and/or stained it is. We discuss the construction and design elements of each contender in this section of our ratings.

Suction Power
Suction power is one of the most important considerations when choosing a carpet cleaner. A cleaner with good suction does a better job. You want your cleaner to remove stains, and you want its suction to remove excess water when you're done. However, extra suction power often comes at a higher price. We examine your options here.

Watch the Bissell tackle spaghetti, wine, and coffee stains in our BestReviews test living room.

Features
Carpet cleaners offer a variety of features, from heating elements for the water tank to the ability to work independently. They may include hoses and other attachments to make cleaning easier on stairs, furniture, and other areas. Some cleaners have pet hair filters that are especially effective in multi-pet households. Some have a rinse cycle that helps you extract soap from the carpet and furniture. We examine the features offered by each contender in this section of our ratings.

Price
A carpet cleaner is an investment. Most are more expensive than a vacuum cleaner, but then again, most carpet cleaners do more than a vacuum cleaner. As a consumer, you'll undoubtedly be faced with a range of carpet cleaner prices. In general, a deep cleaner costs more than a light-duty cleaner – but not always. We help you weigh the pros and cons of each contender's economic value here.

We did hands-on testing for the carpet cleaners we reviewed to bring you our best recommendations.
Considerations

Construction/Design

Hoover Carpet Basics Power Scrub Deluxe Carpet Cleaner

The Hoover Power Scrub carpet cleaner is an upright machine with dual tanks for dirty and clean water. Detergent mixes automatically into the water. There's a rinse option if you want to go over your carpet with plain water after cleaning. (This is a good way to get more detergent out!) The Hoover weighs about 18 pounds (8.1 kilograms), making it one of the lightest models on our shortlist.

Bissell PowerLifter PowerBrush Upright Deep Cleaner

At 22.5 pounds, the upright Bissell PowerLifter PowerBrush is fairly lightweight and easy to push across carpets. It is designed to use hot tap water for better cleaning, and owners say it is quiet. They also say it is durable and cleans well enough to replace a rental cleaner.

Although good carpet cleaners have been synonymous with them being weighty, recent innovations are introducing comparatively lighter machines which claim to do as good a job as their heavier counterparts.

Bissell Big Green Deep Cleaning Professional Grade Carpet Cleaner

The upright Bissell Big Green Deep Cleaning Machine is, as the manufacturer says, a professional-grade carpet cleaner. At 55 pounds, it is significantly heavier than its competitors, but it does have an extra-long power cord (25 feet) and two tanks (one for clean water and one for dirty). Users report that it is reliable, durable, and cleans carpets better than some rental machines.

Rug Doctor Deep Carpet Cleaner

Rug Doctor's Deep Carpet Cleaner is a 25-pound upright model. It's not the lightest cleaner on our list, but it's certainly not impossible to maneuver. In fact, owners rave about the upholstery attachments because they do such a great job on heavily soiled stairway areas! Owners also compliment the wide openings of the two tanks, although some say the tanks don't hold as much liquid as they would like. The ergonomic handle folds down for convenient storage.

Shark Sonic Duo Carpet and Hard Floor Cleaner

Shark's Sonic Carpet/ Hard Floor Cleaner is the only product on our shortlist that also functions as a hard floor cleaner. It's an upright model with "swiveling" action that allows users to maneuver it easily. At just 18 pounds, it's as light the Hoover Power Scrub, but it's more versatile because you can also clean your hardwood, vinyl, tile, and stone flooring with it. This machine comes with plenty of parts which, thankfully, are color-coded based on their function. Instead of filling a tank with water, you fill a small bottle and attach a microfiber pad to the machine. (There are pads for cleaning hard floors and pads for cleaning carpeting. The pads can be used about 20 times before they must be replaced.) Bottles of cleaning solution are also included with the package. Some owners have complained that buying supplemental solution bottles is quite expensive.

The Bissell Big Green was chosen as our Best of the Best for its powerful suction and durability.
Considerations

Suction Power

Hoover Carpet Basics Power Scrub Deluxe Carpet Cleaner

Owners say they're happy with the Hoover Power Scrub Deluxe Carpet Washer's level of suction. Indeed, this machine has the ability to remove long-standing stains and debris that haven't been removed by vacuuming alone. If you remove the brush assembly and go back over the carpets again, suction power increases, thereby resulting in cleaner and drier carpeting.

Bissell PowerLifter PowerBrush Upright Deep Cleaner

The Bissell PowerLifter has surprisingly good suction for a small cleaner. It leaves carpets only slightly damp, which means it pulls nearly all the water out of the fibers. The suction will also pull up embedded pet hair, so potential owners should note that they would need to vacuum the carpet before cleaning it. For its lower price and light weight, this is a powerful cleaner indeed.

Bissell Big Green Deep Cleaning Professional Grade Carpet Cleaner

The Bissell Big Green cleaner has powerful suction. Users report that it does the job better than many rental cleaners and even some professional services. The hose is nine feet long and features a wide opening for easy use. This powerful machine makes use of rotating "DirtLifter PowerBrushes" that, when used with Bissell's special formula, can eradicate even the toughest of pet stains. The Bissell Big Green's extra suction has the added benefit of leaving carpets much drier than many other competitors on the market.

Professional vacuum cleaners do a better job of mopping up a mess so that there is no noticeable damage on your carpet, they also cost more than double that of the others. In today's market, you can get a pretty good carpet cleaner for even a moderate sum.

Rug Doctor Deep Carpet Cleaner

Rug Doctor boasts that its Deep Carpet Cleaner gives consumers 75 percent more suction than leading brands. Many owners agree that this cleaner has better suction than they've ever experience before. Some say their carpeting comes clean with one pass; others say that two passes are necessary. The general consensus is that you must not hurry while using the Rug Doctor; slower is better. (This is true for many carpet shampooers.) Unfortunately, some owners have had problems getting their Rug Doctor to emit its cleaning spray. One handy owner who experienced this problem disassembled his Rug Doctor and fixed a power lead connection on the circuit board. After that, his machine worked very nicely. Not everyone is this handy, though, and the malfunction shouldn't occur in the first place. If you get a Rug Doctor that functions correctly – and most people do – it does phenomenal work.

Shark Sonic Duo Carpet and Hard Floor Cleaner 

In terms of suction, the Shark Sonic Duo Carpet and Hard Floor Cleaner functions in a different way than the other contenders on our shortlist. The machine administers a chemical cleaner, agitates surface dirt, and penetrates carpet fibers with its "Trap and Remove" technology. This process dehydrates embedded dirt and releases it from carpet fibers, but the Shark doesn't actually remove the dirt from the carpet. Rather, owners must use a vacuum cleaner to remove dried, loosened dirt particles after the Shark has been used. Some owners are very satisfied with the results they get; many pet owners say that seemingly permanent stains (and smells) have been lifted from their carpeting with the help of the Shark. Other owners are not as positive. They say the Shark is an "adequate" machine, but it's not outstanding.

The budget-friendly Hoover Power Scrub has a good level of suction that can remove older stains and debris that vacuuming alone cannot.
Considerations

Features

Hoover FH50150 Carpet Basics Power Scrub Deluxe Carpet Cleaner

The Hoover Power Scrub Deluxe Carpet Washer has a good many features that make it a desirable carpet cleaner. The power cord, at 20 feet in length, is long enough to stretch across most rooms. The dual tanks are easy to remove, refill, and replace. Hot tap water may be used for best-result cleaning. There's a rinse option that allows you to remove excess detergent from your carpeting and a hot air blower that helps carpeting dry faster. The Hoover Power Scrub also comes with stair and upholstery tools, a hose, and cleaning solution.

Bissell 86T3/86T3Q Big Green Deep Cleaning Professional Grade Carpet Cleaner

In addition to an extra-long power cord, the Bissell Big Green carpet cleaner comes with an attachment kit that includes a nine-foot hose and a six-inch stair tool. It's ideal for cleaning carpeted stairs and upholstery as well as "regular" carpeted areas. Owners with children and pets rave about its efficiency! Because the tanks have a large capacity (1.75 gallons), they don't have to be emptied as often as the tanks of smaller shampooers. Owners report that the tanks are easy to empty and replace.

Carpet cleaners come with a wide range of mind-boggling accessories, laying claim to a numerous task list that they can perform. Do not be carried away by the number of accessories that come with a machine, or how many activities they perform; judge instead by your true requirements and which fits the bill.

BISSELL PowerLifter PowerBrush Upright Deep Cleaner, 1622

The Bissell PowerLifter doesn't come with attachments, but its smaller size means it's best suited for smaller areas, anyway. The tank sports a "two-in-one" design: the machine's heavy-duty bladder rests inside the tank and holds the clean water, while the dirty water surrounds it. Notably, the two tanks of water do not mix. A lint screen prevents pet hair from getting inside the machine, and a built-in measuring cup for water and detergent make it convenient to use.

Rug Doctor Deep Carpet Cleaner

As mentioned above, the Rug Doctor Deep Carpet Cleaner's two tanks aren't as large as some owners would like, but their wide openings make them easier to fill than some other carpet cleaner tanks on today's market. A convenient soap-measuring cap is included, but there's no water heater – hot water from the tap must be used. This isn't necessarily a drawback, but potential buyers should know that no on-board water heater is included. We really like the fact that users can customize their cleaning experience via the "Super Boost" mode: high-traffic areas get the vigorous cleaning they need, and low-traffic areas get the gentle treatment they require. We also like the Dual Cross Action Brushes that have helped earn this cleaner its good reputation. These features, in combination with the Rug Doctor's upholstery tools, result in a thorough cleaning that can remove long-standing stains and raise the nap of your carpeting.

Shark Sonic Duo Carpet and Hard Floor Cleaner (ZZ550)

One of the Shark Sonic's most outstanding features is that, in addition to shampooing your carpets, you can also clean and polish your hard floors with it. For those with a healthy mix of area rugs, vinyl, tile, and even stone flooring, this could be an appealing option. The manufacturer simplifies the Shark's many parts by color coding them based on their function. You won't be confused about which cleaning pads are for carpeting and which pads are for hard flooring unless you're color blind and can't see the difference between purple, green, and orange. Users can customize their cleaning experience by choosing between two scrubbing speeds. Perhaps one of the Shark's best features is the fact that, according to several people, its swivel steering and long handle make the work easy on your back

The Bissell PowerLifter sports a lint screen to prevent pet hair from getting inside the machine, and a built-in cup for measuring detergent.
Considerations

Price

Hoover FH50150 Carpet Basics Power Scrub Deluxe Carpet Cleaner

With a price tag of $153, the Hoover Power Scrub Deluxe falls in the mid-range of most home carpet cleaners. Owners say it cleans well and that they've saved money by not having to rent a carpet cleaner. This machine's rinse option and extra tools make it a good buy for homes with large carpeted areas and/or carpeted stairs. Some owners have complained of water leakages and breakages. This is an unfortunate occurrence, but such defects are bound to occur when a manufacturer makes as many products as Hoover. Overall, Hoover's reliable products have generated plenty of high ratings from satisfied customers over the years.

Bissell 86T3/86T3Q Big Green Deep Cleaning Professional Grade Carpet Cleaner

At $284, there's no question that the Bissell Big Green Deep Cleaning Machine costs significantly more than most carpet cleaners. However, users report that it does a much better job than rental machines. If you expect to do a lot of carpet cleaning, it makes sense to invest in Bissell's Big Green Deep Cleaning Machine! Conveniently, this machine uses standard Bissell carpet cleaning solution, which is readily available in stores and online. The package includes a bottle of cleaner to get the new owner started.

BISSELL PowerLifter PowerBrush Upright Deep Cleaner, 1622

The Bissell PowerLifter cleaner is priced right at $80. Packaged with a bottle of detergent and a fiber-cleansing formula, this efficient, commercial-grade machine is a true value. The majority of users say it cleans as well as a rental machine, so for the price, it's definitely a great buy. Note: while many say this machine can handle tough stains, a few owners have mused that the PowerLifter works best on carpets that aren't very dirty to begin with. Of course, the amount of detergent and the temperature of the water you use could affect this!

In today's market, professional carpet cleaners are getting a run for their money by lighter, more feature-friendly, and competitively priced counterparts which, even if not as good as the professionals, still manage to do a more than decent job of cleaning up stains.

Rug Doctor Deep Carpet Cleaner

At a cost of $227, consumers expect to receive a near-perfect package when they order the Rug Doctor Deep Carpet Cleaner. The majority of buyers are indeed very happy with their purchase, saying that the Rug Doctor is the most thorough deep cleaner they've ever used. Unfortunately, more than a handful of consumers have received faulty units that do not spray the water/cleaner solution as they should. The fix is reportedly quite easy (if you're handy), but it you're not handy, the problem can be quite frustrating. Rug Doctor customer support is available if the need arises, but many of those who received faulty units ended up returning and exchanging them for something else. In short, if you want one of the best carpet cleanings you've ever had, you may want to purchase this product, but it's somewhat of a gamble due to an unfortunate quality control issue.

Shark Sonic Duo Carpet and Hard Floor Cleaner (ZZ550)

At a price of $329, the Shark Sonic Duo Carpet and Hard Floor Cleaner isn't the cheapest carpet cleaner on our list, but it's not the most expensive, either. For the money, you get a versatile tool that does require some additional investments down the road (replacement pads and cleaning solutions). You also must own (or have access to) a working vacuum cleaner if you want to shampoo your carpets with the Shark, because while the Shark loosens embedded dirt very well, it does not physically pull it out of the carpet. Nevertheless, many people – including pet owners – have been amazed by the thorough cleaning they get from this easy-to-maneuver machine. In short, if you're looking for a multi-purpose, light-duty cleaner that's not too expensive, this could be the solution for you.

People who use Bissell's Big Green Deep Cleaning Machine report that it does a much better job than a pro-grade rental!

BEST OF THE BEST

While a price of $284 may seem high, the Bissell Big Green Deep Cleaning Machine is the Best of the Best carpet cleaner on the market. Users consistently report that it is a powerful cleaner, yielding better results than rental cleaners and even professional cleaning services!

The Bissell Green Machine's extra-large tanks hold far more water than many of its competitors. Conveniently, this means that the tanks don't need to be emptied very often. It comes with a hose and upholstery attachment for easy cleaning of stairs, furniture, and hard-to-reach places. Standard, store-bought carpet cleaning solution works just fine with this unit; buying a pricey "professional" cleaning solution isn't necessary. Owners rave that the Big Green machine removes even the oldest of set-in stains, including pet stains. And, because of its powerful suction, your carpet is nearly dry when you finish using this Bissell model.

The Bissell Big Green Deep Cleaning machine makes use of rotating "DirtLifter PowerBrushes" that, when used with Bissell's cleaning formula, can eradicate even the toughest of stains.

For homes with children, pets, and lots of carpeting, the Bissell's Big Green carpet cleaner will pay for itself in better-looking carpets. One owner commented that her machine paid for itself after just two uses! We can't say enough good things about this carpet shampooer. It consistently out-performs the competition, and we have no doubt that you would be happy with this Best of the Best product.

BEST BANG FOR YOUR BUCK

At a low cost of just $153, the Hoover Power Scrub Deluxe Carpet Washer packs plenty of punch for the money. It cleans carpets as well as a rental cleaner, it's lightweight and easy to maneuver, and the unit itself is easy to clean.

Perfect for smaller homes or apartments – or for homes with area rugs – the Hoover easily glides across the floor. Hot tap water adds to its cleaning power. Detergent mixes automatically into the water, and there is a rinse option which lets you go over the carpet a final time with plain water in order to polish it off.

This carpet cleaner is not much more expensive than a small vacuum cleaner, so even buyers on a budget can afford it. Considering the cost of renting a carpet cleaner and buying solution, this Hoover's carpet shampooer pays for itself after just a few uses.

People with bad backs say the 18-pound Hoover Power Scrub is a refreshing change from the heavy, unwieldy upright machines they've tried in the past.

A few owners have complained that the Power Scrub didn't give them the thorough clean they were hoping for. However, we note that the way you approach the task of shampooing your carpet – how hot you make the water, how much detergent you use, how many times you go over tough spots, whether you pre-treat stains – can have a positive or negative effect on your results.

The majority of owners agree with us that the Hoover Power Scrub Deluxe Carpet Washer is a true economic value and the Best Bang for Your Buck.

The team that worked on this review
  • Amy
    Amy
    Writer
  • Heather
    Heather
    Content
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Jimi
    Jimi
    Product Analyst
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Editor