When it comes to cleaning the carpeting in your home, having the right tools and cleaning supplies that actually get rid of dust or dirt lurking in carpet fibers is the first step. There are tricks to cleaning any type of flooring, but sometimes investing in a machine—like robot vacuums or carpet cleaners—is the only way to get that professional-grade clean feeling.
If you have the storage space, owning a machine is less costly over time compared to renting or hiring a professional carpet cleaning service. Plus, you’ll have the machine on-hand to tackle stains the minute they happen and to do regular maintenance cleanings to help your carpets stay looking better longer.
But that has its own pitfalls because there are a lot of different carpet cleaning machines on the market and knowing which one is right for your circumstances can be difficult. Not to worry. We’ve done the homework for you and determined the best carpet cleaners out there today. Here they are.
How much should you pay for the carpet cleaners?
- Carpet cleaners are available at a variety of prices, but you can typically expect to pay between $99 and $400 for one.
- A high-end model with a large water tank, powerful suction, and powered brushes will usually cost between $200 and $400.
- A budget-friendly machine with a smaller water tank, low to no suction, and fixed brushes will typically set you back between $99 and $130.
5 Best Carpet Cleaners of 2021:
Hoover Power Scrub Elite Pet carpet cleaner is one of the best products the company has and it is known for its power in removing deep-embedded dirt. Due to the 360 degrees brushes and the strong suction, this will be your next help in wet cleaning the stains and hair after your beloved pets.
The large capacity of its tanks is actually 25% larger than other systems and has the ability to separate the dirty water from the clean one.
For those who are willing to use a great lightweight carpet cleaner for pets, along with the best pet carpet cleaner spray or shampoo, then this is the mandatory choice. If you look into the Hoover powerwash vs Bissell powerforce, for instance, I can state that the Hoover’s one is greater and that the 360 degrees brushes will suck any dirt or stain.
I’ve also been impressed by the 2-in-1 antimicrobial pet tool, which is a true advantage if you want to choose between two inserts. Now, although the machine has two tanks, it is lightweight, so it won’t be hard to carry it on the stairs. Don’t forget to enjoy the Quick Clean Mode, and the carpets will dry in less than 45 minutes.
- Dries in less than 45 minutes in Quick Clean Mode
- Automatic detergent mixing
- A spin scrub system, with 360 degrees brushes
- Strong suction, Gentle to the surfaces
- Has a shorter hose than some machines
The Rug Doctor Deep Carpet Cleaner is a mid-range machine that offers a professional-level cleaning job. The Rug Doctor is a little slower to soak up stains than other machines, but it provides a deep clean that dries quickly due to the design of its brush. The excellent brush design offers a wide cleaning area and its side bristles can clean right up to the hard edges.
This carpet cleaner comes with a range of features like the super boost spray, which easily allows you to apply extra soap to tough and stubborn stains. The ability to remove the tool caddy and fold the handle down make it super easy to store. The water tank comes with a handle and can be detached from the machine for easy filling and decanting.
The Rug Doctor Deep Carpet Cleaner excels at water extraction, beating every other machine we’ve tested in this area. We found the Rug Doctor Deep Carpet Cleaner a little heavier than most carpet cleaners, meaning more effort was needed while cleaning, but this didn’t impact our ability to control the machine.
- Superior water extraction
- Hose and attachments included
- Most expensive machine we tested
- Heavy and bulky
The PowerDash from Hoover is a pet-oriented upright that’s light, reasonably powerful and features the company’s HeatForce technology to facilitate shorter drying times. It’s highly maneuverable, great for area rugs and small to mid-sized rooms and it takes care of urine stains, pet vomit and more with relative ease (though you might have to clean twice to remove all the odor).
While the marketing says you can clean high traffic areas with it we’d say that for really dirty, high traffic areas you’ll likely need something just a bit more robust.
The Hoover Power Dash Pet Compact is a low cost carpet cleaner which does not have a hose or any accessories. However, if you want a basic cleaner or a more robust spot cleaner this model the best cheap carpet cleaner.
- One of the lightest carpet cleaners on the market at just 12.5 pounds
- Does a good to an excellent job handling pet stains and odors
- The 7 amp motor is decent enough for a small to mid-sized room
- It will clean stubborn stains though you might have to go over it twice
- Not ideal for larger rooms or more than one room at a time
This cleaner is your carpet’s new best friend. This full-size machine deep cleans and works on stairs, upholstery, and can even tackle pet hair. One of this Bissell’s innovative features is a targeted spray nozzle for stains.
It works with just the press of a pedal and without having to stop, bend down, and use a separate product. The 2-in-1 Pet Upholstery Tool works dry to pull out stubborn pet hair and wet to zap stains on furniture fabrics and mattresses. Carpet machines of the past have been bulky, but this one is lightweight and gets a high-five from the GH Cleaning Lab for its brush roll cover that removes for cleaning.
Thanks to the included accessory attachments, you can easily access all hard-to-reach areas. The ProHeat 2X comes with a stain-trapping tool, a pretreatment tool, a stair tool, and a two-in-one pet/upholstery tool. This carpet cleaner has 12 rows of brushes underneath a removable cover, which makes it easy to maintain. It weighs just over 18 pounds and is easy to carry and maneuver around your home. And since Bissell backs this product with a five-year warranty, you can have peace of mind about your purchase.
- Includes an attachment for tough stains
- Express mode has carpets dry in about an hour
- Brush roll cover is removable for easy cleaning
- No on-board tool storage
Looking for a premium cleaner to assist you with carpet cleaning? We have one of the best products in the market. This is brought to you by Bissel, which provides 2 years warranty for this product. To remove tough stains from your carpet, upholstery, and stairs, this is the best product you can have.
This has 5 flex hose that helps cleaning spot stains. It also has 8-ounce deep cleaning formula, 3 tough stain tool, and 6 stain tools. The power cord helps to reach long distances for cleaning and it is a 22-power cord. The power rating for this machine is 5.7 amperes and the tank capacity is 3/4th of a gallon.
Once you start using it this will seem as you are a professional carpet cleaner because the perfection this machine does with cleaning is excellent. This is always better than spray and foam cleaning because they combine warm water and specific cleaning formula along with powerful suction and targets the spots that need cleaning. If you have stains of tea, coffee, wine, etc not to worry, the machine will have you covered. This product also helps in cleaning your car efficiently.
- 5-foot-long hose for extra reach
- 3/4th gallon tank, which is good
- Light in weight, hence portability is easy
- Powerful portable spot cleaner
- For some user’s hose broke only after little use
- Lacks consistency in performing
What kind of carpet cleaners do I need?
There is confusion over the difference between carpet cleaners and steam cleaners. Steam mops and carpet cleaners operate differently and clean in different ways. There are a few different styles of carpet cleaners to consider:
- Shampoo Cleaners: Most of the cleaners feature in this review are shampoo based cleaners. These cleaners used heated water and soap to clean old and worn carpets, and treat them chemically to bright them up a little. They are generally a surface level clean and do little to remove the bottom layers of dirt.
- Steam Cleaners: Steam cleaners operate on a different principle to carpet cleaners, and are not limited to cleaning carpets alone. They heat water into steam to create pressure and release jets of steam that penetrate deeper than a carpet cleaner, shaking loose the underlying dirt.
- Spot Cleaners: Spot cleaners are smaller, handheld versions of a full sized shampoo carpet cleaner. These small machines don’t offer the same level of deep cleaning or whole carpet cleans as a full sized model but they are great for cleaning up after puppies or kids on a daily basis.
- Multi-Surface Cleaners: Multi-Surface cleaners are not as dedicated as a shampoo carpet cleaner for washing carpets. However, these multi-surface cleaners can be used more regularly, across a range of sealed hard surfaces in addition to carpets while doing the vacuuming.
How does a carpet cleaner work?
Most carpet cleaners employ a tank that holds water and a compartment to hold a cleaning solution. As you roll the cleaner over the carpet, it emits the water and cleaning solution. Meanwhile, brushes scrub at the carpet fibers to remove embedded dirt and stains.
The cleaner then uses suction power to remove the dirt, debris, and moisture from the carpet. However, some models don’t have suction power so you must go over the carpet with a vacuum cleaner afterward to remove the loosened dirt.
Expert Allen Rathey explains, “Carpet cleaners are engineered to be safe, but it pays to take extra precautions when dealing with water and a plugged-in appliance. Whenever possible, plug your carpet cleaner into a GFCI outlet, which will shut the power down if it detects abnormal current activity.”
There are some stains and marks that a regular vacuum simply can’t get out, and while steam cleaners can refresh your carpets, you’ll need a dedicated carpet cleaner to really eliminate tough stains or get rid of persistent smells.
Take note that these machines are powerful—and heavy. The best easily remove embedded dirt and stains without leaving a trail of water and a soggy stretch of carpet behind.