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Best Carpet Cleaners

Updated February 2024
Bottom line
Pros
Cons
Best of the Best
Bissell Big Green Professional Grade Carpet Cleaner
Bissell
Big Green Professional Grade Carpet Cleaner
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Best for Experts
Bottom Line

A heavyweight, pro-grade cleaner with performance that rivals that of other pro-grade cleaners.

Pros

Features powerful suction, a 25-foot cord, and 9-foot hose. Great for carpeted stairs and upholstery thanks to the well-designed stain tool. Easy to push and pull across floors.

Cons

This model is heavy and more expensive than some competitors.

Best Bang for the Buck
Hoover Power Scrub Deluxe Carpet Cleaner
Hoover
Power Scrub Deluxe Carpet Cleaner
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Trusted Brand
Bottom Line

A lightweight, affordable model from a reliable manufacturer that's good for heavily carpeted homes.

Pros

Lightweight with a 20-foot cord. This easy-to-use carpet cleaner includes dual tanks, a rinse option, and hot-air blowers for drying. Hose and attachment tools make for easy cleaning of upholstery, curtains, and hard-to-reach areas.

Cons

Some incidents of leakage and breakage.

Rug Doctor Mighty Pro X3 Commercial Carpet Cleaner
Rug Doctor
Mighty Pro X3 Commercial Carpet Cleaner
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Commercial-grade
Bottom Line

A powerful cleaning system that can clean even deep-set stains with a single pass.

Pros

Sprays, scrubs, and extracts deep stains and odors with professional-grade results. Enhanced motor provides strong suction and faster dry time. Two large-capacity tanks increase cleaning time.

Cons

Very heavy for some, especially with water tanks filled.

Hoover SmartWash Automatic Carpet Cleaner
Hoover
SmartWash Automatic Carpet Cleaner
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Smart Features
Bottom Line

A carpet cleaner that's as easy to use as a vacuum with smart features to improve the cleaning process.

Pros

This carpet cleaner has four automatic features, including auto-cleaning technology—push to clean and pull to dry—and an auto-mixing cleaning solution. Includes pet tool and 8-foot hose.

Cons

The power cord is a bit short, limiting movement and reach.

Bissell SpotClean ProHeat Portable Spot and Stain Carpet Cleaner
Bissell
SpotClean ProHeat Portable Spot and Stain Carpet Cleaner
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Unique Design
Bottom Line

A small, portable cleaner that uses a unique heatwave tech to purify.

Pros

Holds 37 ounces in the water tank. Features tools like the tough-stain tool and the deep-reach tool. Heatwave technology for even temperature. Corded. Good for rugs and stairs. Buyers love how well it works.

Cons

This product can leak water, so use caution. Some issues with the water temperature.

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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. About BestReviews  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. About BestReviews  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.About BestReviews 
HOW WE TESTED

We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

30
Models
Considered
150
Consumers
Consulted
22
Hours
Researched
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Buying guide for best carpet cleaners

Vacuuming your carpets is a must for removing the dirt that builds up from everyday living. Unfortunately, some stubborn stains can’t be effectively suctioned away with a standard vacuum. And there are typically even more messes that require deep cleaning when you have pets and children in your home. That’s where a carpet cleaner comes in handy. 

These useful cleaning machines have a water tank and cleaning solution compartment. As you clean, both fluids are dispensed to the soiled carpet, while brushes in the cleaning head scrub and remove dirt and stains. But that’s only part of the process. The most effective models also deliver suction to extract liquid from the fibers, leaving you with a carpet that’s clean and fresh. 

In the past, consumers rented carpet cleaners or hired a service to periodically give their carpets a deep-down clean. Today, powerful carpet cleaners are readily available for purchase. What’s more, they’re straightforward to use, easy to maneuver and available in different sizes and tank capacities for different cleaning needs. 

Investing in a model like our top pick, the powerful Bissell Big Green Professional Carpet Cleaner, or our value pick, the affordable yet effective Hoover Power Scrub Deluxe Carpet Cleaner, means that you can give your carpet a thorough cleaning any time you want without the hassle of renting a machine. 

EXPERT TIP
Reading the instructions for your machine and using the correct cleaning solutions for your carpet cleaner is very important.
BestReviews Cleaning Expert

Carpet cleaners and accessories

Bissell Big Green Professional Carpet Cleaner

This professional-grade Bissell carpet cleaner is built to tackle tough carpet cleanup jobs, from heavily trafficked areas to frequent pet messes. It tops our list of favorites for its useful features and reliable performance. It combines an eight-row scrub brush with powerful suction for cleaning dirt and stains embedded deep in carpet fibers. The on-board stain tool and 9-foot hose come in handy when cleaning challenging areas like stairs and upholstery. 

The Big Green has large dual tanks that are easy to fill and clean. The 25-foot cord is long enough that you won’t have to unplug it frequently to clean a large area. You can also adjust the handle for optimal comfort. Although it’s somewhat heavy and pricey, this professional Bissell carpet cleaner is a solid investment for keeping your carpets looking their best. 

Hoover Power Scrub Deluxe Carpet Cleaner

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to keep your carpets clean. This feature-packed Hoover carpet cleaner has a lot to offer at an affordable price. It has lightweight dual tanks that are simple to use and easy to maneuver. In addition to giving carpets a thorough cleaning, this appliance completes the process with a rinse function and built-in blowers to reduce drying time. And all the areas in your home that you want to clean are in reach thanks to the 20-foot cord.

Not only is this machine ideal for carpet cleaning, but it’s also capable of other cleaning chores throughout the house. It comes with a trio of cleaning tools designed for curtains, stairs and furniture. Powerful suction and reliable 360-degree brushes work together to remove messes and moisture while scrubbing away stains as effectively as many cleaners that cost more. 

Rug Doctor Mighty Pro X3 Commercial Carpet Cleaner

Do you have a puppy that frequently makes messes or a youngster who’s prone to spilling drinks and food? Cleaning up after pets and kids can be a full-time task, but a professional-quality carpet cleaner can help. Rug Doctor is a trusted name in carpet care, and its Mighty Pro X3 rivals the machines you can rent, with its numerous cleaning functions and strong motor that powers impressive suction to remove stains, spills and messes in a snap. 

With two large tanks, a foldable handle, 22-foot cord and vibrating brush, the Mighty Pro X3 scrubs and extracts deep down in carpet, leaving it stain-free and smelling fresh. Keep in mind that this is a large, heavy machine, but it’s worth the effort and cost if you need a dependable model for serious cleaning jobs. 

Hoover SmartWash Automatic Carpet Cleaner

This Hoover carpet cleaner stands out for smart features that simplify cleaning and drying carpets, taking the guesswork out of the task. It offers four automatic functions, including automatic mixing of cleaning solutions, motion-sensing auto-clean, auto-push cleaning and proprietary HeatForce drying. This fairly lightweight machine can be moved through rooms and around furniture with ease. 

The SmartWash is also a good choice for homes with pets. It comes with a pet tool that removes hair and dirt in hard to reach areas. Another nice bonus is the durable silicone mat for storage that keeps water from dripping from the machine onto clean floors. This top-selling model is a good value at a mid-range price. 

Bissell ProHeat 2X Revolution Pet Pro Carpet Cleaner

The Bissell ProHeat 2X Revolution is one of the best carpet cleaners for anyone who has pets. We brought it into our lab and tested its effectiveness at removing stains and making soiled carpets look better, and we found that it delivers strong suction and convenient capabilities for refreshing all types of carpet. It’s easy to maneuver, and the tank is easy to fill and not overly difficult to clean. 

In addition to on-board pet tools for reaching tight spaces, the Bissell ProHeat 2X Revolution also offers an Express Clean Mode that helps dry carpets and a Max Clean Mode that cleans heavily soiled carpets down deep. All of these features make this machine a good choice for homes with pets. What’s more, it isn’t very noisy to operate and has a streamlined design that fits nicely in a small area or closet for storage. 

Bissell SpotClean Pet Pro Portable Carpet Cleaner

Designed with pet owners in mind, the small but mighty SpotClean Pet Pro boasts powerful suction and useful tools for cleaning messes that can lead to stains and odors. The scrubber brush head is designed to grab debris from deep down in carpet fibers. It also comes with a stain tool for major messes.

The lightweight build and long hose also make the SpotClean an outstanding tool for cleaning upholstery and stairs. It moves around the house with ease, even for individuals with limited strength. Additionally, the portable design and user-friendly features make it ideal for cleaning carpet and upholstery in vehicles. While it isn’t the best choice for whole-house carpet cleaning, this reasonably priced model comes in handy for quickly cleaning sudden messes that don’t require a full-size machine.

Hoover PowerDash Pet Compact Carpet Cleaner 

If your top priorities in a carpet cleaner are maneuverability and an upright design, the PowerDash is worth considering. At just 13 pounds, it’s one of lightest models of its kind on the market. However, it extracts messes and moisture effectively, scrubs down deep to eliminate stubborn stains and finishes the cleaning process with proprietary HeatForce technology that helps carpets dry quickly. A nozzle tool for quick cleanups and hard to reach spaces is also included. 

Many people have limited storage for cleaning tools and gadgets, but storage isn’t an issue with this compact, upright carpet cleaner that doesn’t take up much space. Like other models by Hoover, it comes with a silicone mat that catches drips when it's in storage. 

How we tested

We put the Bissell ProHeat 2X Revolution Pet Carpet Cleaner to the test in our lab to see if it cleans as well as rental machines, which is what the company claims. We assessed how effective it is at cleaning pet messes. We also wanted to know how easy it is to set up, use, maneuver and empty. 

Ease of use 

  • Setup: We tested this carpet cleaner to determine how easy it is to assemble right out of the box. We were able to complete the process in minutes with minimal help from the instructions. 
  • Maneuverability: When we evaluated the machine, we noted that it has a substantial feel but is easy to roll across all types of carpet and around furniture. 
  • Tank maintenance: In our testing, we found that the tank is simple to fill and isn’t prone to leaking. Although emptying it isn’t a pleasant job, it isn’t difficult to do.
  • Storage: We found that the Bissell ProHeat 2X Revolution is easy to store thanks to the streamlined upright design similar to that of a standard upright vacuum. 

Quality 

  • Suction: In our testing of the Bissell ProHeat 2X Revolution, we discovered that it has impressive suction power that leaves carpets looking and smelling refreshed.
  • Stain removal: We tested the machine to see how effective it is at removing pet and other types of stains.
  • Versatility: We wanted to know if the cleaner worked well when used on different types of carpet. 
  • Noise: We assessed the noise level of the carpet cleaner and found it to be a bit quieter than a vacuum. 

Useful features 

  • On-board tools: When we tested the Bissell ProHeat 2X Revolution, we evaluated the performance of the included tools.
  • Express Clean Mode: We tested the machine’s Express Clean Mode and found that it helps carpets dry quickly.
  • Max Clean Mode: We tested the Max Clean Mode and determined that it is highly effective at deep-cleaning grimy carpets. 
Expert Tip
Cleaning your carpet in even and straight lines will help your carpet dry faster.
BestReviews Cleaning Expert

What to know before buying a carpet cleaner

Size and weight

The size and weight of a carpet cleaner greatly affect how easy it is to use. Large, bulky cleaners are difficult to push, and some professional-quality carpet cleaners can weigh as much as 50 pounds. Smaller carpet cleaners and those that are designed for spot cleaning can weigh 20 pounds or less. 

If you plan to use your carpet cleaner on multiple floors in your home, check whether you can easily lift and carry it. It’s a good idea to test the weight of a carpet cleaner before you purchase it. Keep in mind that a carpet cleaner weighs more when filled with water and cleaning solution. A large machine usually doesn’t need to be refilled as often as a small, lightweight machine. Of course, you can always carry your cleaner up the stairs with the reservoir empty and fill it before you use it.

Suction power

A carpet cleaner’s most important feature is its suction. It should effectively extract the moisture, cleaning solution and dirt from the carpet to ensure that it’s fully clean. (It’s also handy to have a rinse feature on your carpet cleaner that allows you to go over the carpet after you’ve cleaned, using clean water for a final rinse.)

Powerful suction is also necessary to get rid of stubborn stains. The more effective the suction, the more quickly the carpet will dry when you’re finished cleaning. Carpet cleaners at the higher end of the price spectrum tend to offer the most powerful suction, while budget-friendly options are usually weaker. 

Keep in mind that some carpet cleaners don’t have their own suction power. They require you to run a vacuum cleaner over the carpet after you’ve scrubbed the surface in order to remove the dirt and moisture.

Brushes

A carpet cleaner uses brushes to scrub the carpet with a cleaning solution and remove stains and dirt. Some employ fixed brushes that don’t move on their own, while others use rotating or powered brushes that move independently from the cleaner itself. Powered brushes usually provide the deepest clean because they scrub at the carpet fibers more effectively. Carpet cleaners with fixed brushes tend to be more budget-friendly machines.

Cord and hose

The longer a carpet cleaner’s cord, the larger the area you’ll be able to clean without unplugging and replugging the machine into outlets. Look for a model with a cord that’s at least 15 feet long. 

Some carpet cleaners come with a hose that allows you to clean stairs and elevated areas without having to maneuver the entire machine. For the most versatility, choose a cleaner with a hose that’s at least 9 feet long.

Accessories and attachments

Some carpet cleaners come with accessories and attachments that allow you to clean more easily or work on additional types of surfaces. Depending on how you plan to use the cleaner, you might want to look for a model that comes with handheld attachments for cleaning upholstery, pet stains, stairs or tight corners.

Tank

When you consider the size of a carpet cleaner, pay attention to the size of the tank. The larger the tank, the fewer times you’ll have to refill it when cleaning your carpet. However, carpet cleaners with a large tank tend to weigh more, so they might be more difficult to use.

Some carpet cleaners have two tanks: one for clean water and one for dirty water. Others have a single tank with a bladder: the clean water is housed in a smaller container that sits inside the larger one where the dirty water is collected, keeping them separate.

Also, consider what sort of dispenser the carpet cleaner uses for the cleaning solution. Some mix it directly with the water while others apply it to the carpet separately from the water.

Tips for using a carpet cleaner

  • Avoid getting carpet too wet when cleaning. Some carpet cleaners don’t have enough suction power to fully extract the moisture, which can lead to the growth of mildew and bacteria.
  • Treat stains as soon as possible. You can usually remove 99% of carpet stains if they’re treated within the first few days. 
  • Test the weight of the carpet cleaner before you buy. Check a display model to determine if you can lift it easily, especially if you’ll need to carry it up and down stairs.
  • Use the right cleaning solution for your carpet. If your carpeting has a built-in stain repellent, check the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the type of cleaning solution to use. Using the wrong solution could damage your carpet.
  • Help carpets dry as quickly as possible. You can reduce the drying time for your carpet after cleaning by turning on a fan, dehumidifier or air conditioner in the room.
  • Use mats in entryways. As much as 75% of the dirt in carpets is tracked in from outside. Placing a mat at each entrance to your home can help cut down on the grime.
EXPERT TIP
Remembering to use non-slip shoes while cleaning your carpet will help.
BestReviews Cleaning Expert

FAQ

Q. How much does a carpet cleaner cost? 

A. That depends on factors like size, power and tank capacity. Typically, you can expect to pay between $100 and $500 for a carpet cleaner by a trusted brand. 

If you’re on a budget or your floors don’t get extremely dirty, you can find smaller models and spot cleaners in the $100 to $250 price range. High-end and commercial-grade models cost between $250 and $500. Keep in mind that pricier models offer better suction, powered brushes and more on-board tools for multiple cleaning tasks. 

Q. What type of carpet cleaner works best on heavy stains?

A. Carpet cleaners with rotating brushes are usually the best option for heavily soiled carpets. They scrub the carpet fibers very effectively to loosen and remove deeply embedded dirt.

Q. Is there a risk of carpet damage with a carpet cleaner?

A. If you purchase a carpet cleaner with rotating brushes and your carpet has fragile fibers, such as Olefin or PTT, the cleaner could tear or rip the carpeting. You can also damage carpet if you use a carpet shampoo or cleaning solution that’s too harsh. Spot test the cleaner on an inconspicuous area of the carpet before using the solution over all of it.

Q. How long does it take carpet to dry after using a cleaner?

A. The type of carpet, the thickness of the pad and how wet the carpet is will determine how long it takes the carpeting to dry. In general, it’s best to give the carpet 4 to 6 hours to dry.

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