The 8 Best Carpet Cleaners of 2020

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Our Top Picks
"This top-rated model is packed with sought-after features like dual water tanks, an auto-mixing soap dispenser, and heated drying."
"At less than 13 pounds, this lightweight, compact model is ideal for small apartments and homes."
"This hefty machine weighs more than 40 pounds but it delivers unbeatable suction and cleaning power."
"With a special pretreat function, a pet upholstery tool, and a Max Clean mode, this carpet cleaner was designed for those with pets."
"This carpet cleaner has four rows of brushes as well as EdgeSweep Bristles which help clean along baseboards."
"The compact, portable cleaner features a 15-foot power cord that lets you reach up the stairs or across rooms without unplugging"
"This machine delivers bursts of 275-degree steam which is hot enough to kill 99 percent of bacteria and viruses."
"This method is more labor-intensive than a traditional carpet cleaner but it removes three times more dirt than vacuuming alone."

Carpet cleaners can eliminate stains from high-traffic areas while also restoring fluff to carpet fibers. These machines are an affordable way to combat messes from pets, kids, and more while extending the life of your carpets.

Carpet cleaners come in a range of models and prices, depending on your household needs. Each type has its own pros and cons, so we've researched the top options in those categories and more to help you find the perfect fit for your home.

Here, the best carpet cleaners for eliminating all types of stains.

Best Overall: Hoover SmartWash Advanced Pet Upright Carpet Cleaner

For a professional-grade carpet cleaner that can handle even the dirtiest rugs, you've got to go with the Hoover SmartWash Advanced Pet Upright Carpet Cleaner. This top-rated model is packed with sought-after features like dual water tanks, an auto-mixing solution dispenser, and an auto-dry setting which uses to heat to extract water. Plus, it’s reasonably priced compared to its competition.

The Hoover SmartWash Carpet Cleaner weighs around 19 pounds, and it’s simple to use—just push it forward to clean the carpet and pull it back to dry. It automatically mixes your added soap with water, saving you the hassle of having to measure out your solution, and the FlexForce power brushes get deep down into carpets to pull up dust, pet hair, and more. Plus, it includes a two-in-one antimicrobial pet tool and hose to help you clean up smaller, targeted messes. 

This carpet cleaner has two water tanks—one for clean water and one for dirty—and its trigger-less design is easy to operate. According to reviewers, the Hoover SmartWash Carpet Cleaner will exceed your expectations, leaving your carpets cleaner than you thought possible. Several even go so far as to call it the best carpet cleaner they’ve ever used.

Best Budget: Hoover PowerDash Pet Compact Carpet Cleaner

Large carpet cleaners can get quite expensive, but the Hoover PowerDash Compact Carpet Cleaner will give you great results for less. This model weighs less than 13 pounds, and it manages to deliver twice as much cleaning power as other lightweight options. Its antimicrobial PowerSpin Pet Brush Roll gets deep into carpets to pull up dirt and pet hair, and the machine is equipped with HeatForce technology for faster drying. 

The Hoover PowerDash has two water tanks to keep clean and dirty water separate, and its removable nozzle is easy to take off and clean. Plus, the unit’s compact profile won’t take up too much space in your home, unlike other carpet cleaners. Reviewers say this small unit is great for compact apartments or homes, and while it may not have some of the fancy features of high-end models, it still delivers powerful cleaning action.

"Each time we used the PowerDash, we noticed a significant amount of pet hair had been sucked up into the tank."—Angelica Leicht, Product Tester

Best Professional: BISSELL Big Green Professional Carpet Cleaner

If you have a large home or just really dirty carpets, you’ll get professional-grade results from the Bissell Big Green Carpet Cleaner. This hefty machine weighs more than 40 pounds, making it a workout to push around your home, but it delivers unbeatable suction and cleaning power.

This Bissell Big Green has an extra-large powerbrush to pull out deeply embedded dirt, and its powerful suction pulls water out of carpets to speed up drying time. The machine has two large water tanks that let you clean for longer before needing a refill, and it comes with a 6-inch hand tool and 9-foot hose, so you can also use it on stairs and other hard-to-reach areas. Even though the Bissell Big Green Carpet Cleaner is expensive, reviewers say it’s a worthwhile investment as it's powerful enough to tackle tough messes and large floor plans.

Best for Pets: BISSELL ProHeat 2X Revolution Pet Pro

Pet hair and accidents can make a mess of your carpets, but even the worst pet stains are no match for the Bissell ProHeat 2X Revolution Pet Pro Carpet Cleaner. With a special pretreat function, a pet upholstery tool, and a Max Clean mode which gets deep into carpets, this carpet cleaner is designed specifically for homes with pets. Plus, it can be used with a variety of Bissell cleaning solutions, including those formulated to nix pet urine.

This Bissell carpet cleaner has 12 rows of bristles on its brush head, and the unit is less than 18 pounds so it’s not too hard to push around. You can choose between Max Clean mode for a deeper clean or Express Clean Mode, which leaves carpets dry in around 30 minutes. There’s also the option to use the machine’s Clean Shot treatment which delivers a concentrated burst of soap onto tough stains. When you’re done cleaning, you can easily remove the unit’s brush roll cover to get out any pet hair. 

According to reviewers, Bissell ProHeat 2X Revolution Max Clean Pet Pro is a must-have for pet owners as it removes dirt and pet hair from carpets with minimal effort on your part. Several even say it rivals a professional cleaning!

Best Lightweight: BISSELL TurboClean PowerBrush Pet Carpet Cleaner

Many carpet cleaners are quite heavy, but not the Bissell TurboClean PowerBrush Pet Carpet Cleaner. This model weighs just 12 pounds and is outfitted with a collapsible handle and 20-foot cord which not only make it easy to maneuver, but also easy to store.

The Bissell TurboClean PowerBrush Carpet Cleaner has four rows of brushes for a more thorough clean, and it keeps clean and dirty water separate with two tanks. It even has EdgeSweep Bristles to help clean along baseboards! When used with Bissell Oxy cleaning formula, this machine will make quick work of pet and food stains and it gets the seal of approval from reviewers, who love its lightweight, compact design and impressive cleaning power.

Best Portable: BISSELL Little Green ProHeat Portable Carpet Cleaner

If you only want to spot clean your rugs, you can get away with a portable unit like the Bissell Little Green ProHeat Portable Carpet Cleaner. Don’t be fooled by its compact size, though—this 8.5-pound machine packs a big punch! It has a built-in heater that warms up water for a more efficient clean, and it has strong spray and suction to get water and soap deep into carpets to remove stains

The compact cleaner also comes with a deep-reach pet tool, tough stain tool, and spraying crevice tool, plus it has a long, 15-foot power cord that lets you reach up the stairs or across the room without unplugging. According to reviewers, the Bissell Little Green is ideal for pet accidents, food stains, high-traffic rugs, and stairs, and most agree that it is surprisingly powerful and a breeze to use.

Best Steam Cleaner: Dupray NEAT Steam Cleaner

Traditional carpet cleaners use soap and water to get stains out of rugs, but you can also spot clean your floors with a product like the Dupray Neat Steam Cleaner. This machine delivers bursts of 275-degree steam which is hot enough to kill 99 percent of bacteria and viruses on a variety of surfaces. If you're looking to not only clean your home but also detail and sanitize, it makes for a compelling option.

This compact steam cleaner provides up to 50 minutes of cleaning time on one fill and it includes a 6.5-foot hose as well as a variety of accessories, including different cleaning heads, microfiber pads, nylon brushes, and more. What’s nice, though, is that you can also use the steamer with regular cloth towels—which means you don't have to buy additional supplies.

You can use the Dupray Neat Steam Cleaner in a variety of ways from cleaning grout to sanitizing your kitchen appliances. It can steam clean furniture, leather, and mattresses and many reviewers have used it on carpets with great results. Many users note how it's able to break up stains and even help reduce odors.

Best Manual: Resolve Pet Expert Easy Clean Brushing Kit

Most carpet cleaners plug into an electrical outlet for maximum power, but if you don’t need a heavy-duty machine, you can get this manual carpet cleaning kit from Resolve. The Pet Expert Easy Clean Brushing Kit functions like a Swiffer Wet Jet, just for rugs rather than tile. It has a brush head where you insert a can of carpet cleaner and the handle includes a trigger that dispenses solution where needed. From there, you brush it back and forth over the trouble area to break up stains. After you’re done treating stains, you simply vacuum up any remaining residue. 

This method is more labor-intensive than a traditional carpet cleaner, but the Resolve Pet Expert Easy Clean Carpet Cleaner is extremely affordable and compact—plus, it removes three times more dirt than vacuuming alone. Reviewers say it works efficiently on pet and food stains, and many like that you can use it on furniture as well.

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.

Why Trust The Spruce?

This roundup was written by Camryn Rabideau, a freelance writer for The Spruce who is an expert on all things home. She has conducted product testing on several of the carpet cleaners listed here, as well as other household cleaning tools.

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