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While a vacuum is essential to keep your home clean on a daily basis, you might also want to invest in a carpet cleaner — they’re great for treating stains, plus they keep your carpets fresh and looking spotless. Whether you’re in the market for a whole carpet cleaner or a spot cleaner, we’ve done the research, compiled a list of top options, and even tested one of our favorites out for ourselves.
01 of 09
Best Overall: Hoover FH50150 Carpet Basics Power Scrub Deluxe Carpet Cleaner
A number one best seller in its category, this carpet cleaner from Hoover wins the top award for its performance. Featuring a SpinScrub Brush System, it can clean the fibers of the carpet from all angles to get the most thorough wash. Using water and detergent first, the device then rinses the fibers with just water to remove any residue. Heated air is also released to help lift stains and dry the area quicker. And if you’re working with stairs or hard-to-reach places, there’s an eight foot hose and upholstery tool that can assist. Weighing in about 18 pounds, it’s one of the lightest uprights available.
Customers who have purchased this carpet cleaner have been mostly satisfied with it. One said they used it on carpet that hadn’t been washed since it was installed almost 10 years ago, and it came out looking as though it had just been installed. Another said it removed almost all the pet urine on the floor from a dog who was not yet house-trained with just a couple of cycles. In terms of critical reviews, some have reported water leaking from the bottom or parts breaking over time. But the majority of customers were satisfied with the product and would recommend it to others.
02 of 09
Best Budget: BISSELL Proheat Advanced Full-Size Carpet Cleaner
For a full-sized carpet cleaner, this one by Bissell is a bargain. Customers rave about it and are amazed by its ability to get out tough stains like mud, food and spilled drinks.
It uses Bissell Heatwave Technology to get to dirt that’s deep down in the carpet fibers, and it maintains the water temperature while you do it. A hose and stain tool with a 3" brush are included for getting at those hard-to-reach spots like stairs and furniture. EdgeSweep brushes give baseboards and furniture a dusting while you’re at it.
It weighs just 18.5 pounds, so it’s also a lot lighter and easier to maneuver than other full-size carpet cleaners. The hose is 7', the cord reaches 22 feet. While most reviewers would recommend it, one drawback some found, however, is that the water tank is small and requires frequent filling and emptying.
03 of 09
Runner-Up, Best Overall: Bissell 3624 SpotClean Portable Carpet Cleaner
For those who are looking for a more portable option, this compact spot cleaner from Bissell is a great choice. Weighing in at 17 pounds, it’s light enough to carry around the house and also includes a long, 22-foot power cord to move around easily. There’s no assembly required for your first use, and it’s foolproof to operate. Just fill the tank with cleaning formula, plug it in, turn it on, and clean away. It has powerful suction that helps lift stains, and a 3-inch tough stain tool for those spots that are really set in.
Customers who have used this have been mostly satisfied with the product. Many praised how easy it is to use and how well it gets the job done. One said even though it’s compact, it works just as well as the industrial ones you can rent. Those with pets said it’s great for dealing with animal mishaps, with one adding it does a much better job than just a regular carpet spray. Some have reported issues with the hose splitting after some use, but the majority of customers have said they’re happy with the product.
04 of 09
Best Professional Grade: Rug Doctor Deep Carpet Cleaner
If you're looking for a professional quality clean the Rug Doctor Deep Carpet Cleaner is a smart option for those who need to deep clean often. Similar, if not the same to many versions you can rent, this machine has 75% more suction than similar brands, which equals more lifting of deep stains.
At 37.4 pounds it is the heaviest of our picks but it packs a big punch with dual brushes that get in deep. The quick dry feature leaves your carpets dry in four hours so you don't need to worry about mold or mildew setting in. Plus, the included upholstery tool lets you tackle stains on couches rugs and more making it a smart choice for busy households or those with pets.Continue to 5 of 9 below.
05 of 09
Best High End: Bissell 86T3/86T3Q Big Green Deep Cleaning Carpet Cleaner
Looking to invest in a high quality carpet cleaner? This one from Bissell carries a five-star rating from customers for its performance. It has large capacity tanks, which is a time-saver since that means fewer trips back and forth to the sink, if you have a larger home. It cleans on both the forward and backward passes and has rotating DirtLifter power brushes that give the carpet a deeper clean. Weighing 51 pounds, it’s not a lightweight appliance, but you can be assured that it’s sturdy and durable.
Customers who have purchased this machine have been extremely satisfied with it. Many have uploaded pictures to show the effects of the carpet cleaner, and you can definitely tell the difference between the clean and dirty areas. Many have praised it also for the fact that the carpet dries quickly after use since the machine sucks up the water as it’s working. Some have called it the best carpet cleaner they ever used. Some of the critical reviews deal with issues of it needing repairs or issues with it leaking dirty water. However, the majority of those who bought it would recommend it.
06 of 09
Best for Pets: Bissell ProHeat 2X Revolution Pet Pro Full-Size Carpet Cleaner
If you have pets, you know the struggle is real when it comes to messes on the floor. Having a carpet cleaner on hand is important for any kind of accident which may arise. While any carpet cleaner should be helpful for stains from pets, there are some that specialize in cleaning homes with animals in them. This one features exceptional pet-stain and odor-removal technology as well as a pet hair collection basket. It also has Dual DirtLifter Power Brushes and comes with an antibacterial carpet formula that will even eliminate tough urine stains.
Those who have purchased this machine have been mostly satisfied with its performance. Some have said it’s even better than professional cleaners they’ve used in the past, as it removes pet stains well and makes carpet look brand new again. Many have also been happy with how much hair it removes. Critical reviews have noted that this machine does not have enough suction power. However, the majority of people who’ve purchased it would recommend it.
07 of 09
Best Compact: BISSELL Little Green ProHeat Compact Carpet Cleaner, 14259
Looking for a little machine that still gets the job done? This 13-pound one is easily portable and does a great job of deep cleaning floors. Featuring a built-in water heater and separate clean and dirty water tanks, it also comes with a flexible hose, a special brush for tough stains, and a spraying crevice tool. It’s also one of the more eco-friendly models since it’s made of 50 percent recycled plastic.
Most customers who have reviewed the Bissell Little Green Carpet Cleaner were satisfied with its performance. While it’s not a steam cleaner, it does have good suction to clean the floors, said one reviewer. Customers have also praised its attachments and the built-in heater. Those who weren’t happy with it reported leaking and poor suction. But most who rated it said they were pleased with the machine and its performance.
08 of 09
Best Multitasker: Hoover F7452900PC Carpet & Hardwood Floor Cleaner
For those homes that contain a mix of carpet and hardwood floors, this is the carpet cleaner to consider. Not only will it shampoo that shag rug, but it's also safe enough to use on your wood flooring in place of mopping.
The dual tank enables you to wash with detergent and water and follow that with a clean water rinse to make sure your floors are completely spotless. And the included attachments mean you can clean your upholstered furniture and even parts of your bathroom, like your shower doors, with the same appliance. We'd call this a master multitasker.Continue to 9 of 9 below.
09 of 09
Best Cordless: Bissell® Pet Stain Eraser™ Cordless Upholstery & Carpet Cleaner
Cords can be cumbersome when trying to clean carpets, but they’re not a worry with this cordless carpet cleaner from Bissell. It’s also equipped with a place to hold a bottle of cleaning solution, so can take everything you need straight to the carpet that needs cleaning. It’s not the machine you’re going to want to use to clean your entire carpet, but for getting out spots, this one is spot on.
It’s perfect for pet messes as the name (Pet Stain Eraser) implies, but even if you don’t have pets, this cordless carpet cleaner is great to have on hand to get out spots anywhere. It’s lightweight (4.6 pounds), so it’s easy to use on stairs, in your car or wherever else stains may happen. The price isn’t heavy either. Customers give it high markets for design, ease of use, quality and value, though a few have reported problems with leaking.
How We Tested
Our reviewers spent 27 hours testing one of the most popular carpet cleaners on the market. To ensure the most thorough feedback possible, we asked our testers to consider the most important features when using this carpet cleaner — from its performance to its size and weight — and we've outlined them here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.
What to Look for in a Carpet Cleaner
Spot vs. whole carpet A whole carpet cleaner is best for a busy home — they’re more powerful but are heavy and can be hard to maneuver. For smaller or less trafficked homes, a spot cleaner is enough, because they’re lightweight and easy to operate even if you have physical limitations.
Pets Pet owners should always buy a carpet cleaner, particularly if their cat or dog sheds excessively. Many models often contain removable baskets that collect pet hair so the machine won’t clog.
Tank A large tank requires less frequent attention but can make the carpet cleaner unnecessarily heavy and hard to maneuver. Some carpet cleaners offer dual tanks — many find this more convenient since dirty water needs to be emptied more frequently than cleaning solution needs to be replaced.
Test Results: Hoover FH50150 Carpet Basics Power Scrub Deluxe Carpet Cleaner (Best Overall)
What We Like
Makes carpets noticeably cleaner
Dries quickly with heated air
What We Don't Like
Heavy when full
Wash/rinse dial in an inconvenient spot
Our testers were overwhelmingly satisfied with this carpet cleaner. One reviewer said her carpet looked noticeably cleaner after only one use: “I could see how dirty the water was, which was shocking,” she said, “but after the carpet dried you could definitely see it was much cleaner.” The cleaner’s hose and upholstery tool also worked very well, with one tester reporting that it made a “very visible” difference in the upholstery on her couch.