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Published Oct. 8, 2021

Nothing beats the comfort of a fuzzy, clean carpet. Unfortunately, while they’re aesthetically pleasing and cozy, carpets are all too easy to dirty. Gravity is the enemy of a clean carpet. Pets shed. Kids spill. Dust builds up. No matter how hard you try, your carpet will get dirty sometimes—but with a good carpet cleaner, it’s not a big deal. The best carpet cleaners are easy to control, powerful, and, most of all, effective. A clean carpet means less dust and dander, improving air quality and the overall ambience of the room. Plus, when you pick out the best carpet cleaners for your carpet type, the job goes surprisingly quickly. To help you find that kismet cleaner, we’ve tracked down the leading solutions available, along with some tips on making the right pick. 

How We Selected The Products 

Methodology

Finding the top carpet cleaners is all about balance. First, it’s leveling the formula intensity with the carpet material. Most carpets are made of synthetic polymers, nylon, and polypropylene. To prevent exothermic chemical reactions or corrosion, checking the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) of the cleaning solutions was top priority. Next, we aimed to balance the price of a commercial cleaner versus a simple scrubbing solution. By tracking down the most reliable carpet cleaners that are both durable and safe to use, we crafted a shortlist. The final candidates represent a cross-section of the best options available, with commercial, personal, and chemical cleaners all represented. 

Best Carpet Cleaners Reviews & Recommendations

Best Overall: Hoover PowerDash Carpet Cleaner

Thorough Cleaning at a Fair Price

Professional quality cleaning for the price of a standard vacuum.

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Why It Made the Cut: This powerful but lightweight model is easy to use, dries quickly, and comes with extra tools for your deepest clean yet. 

Specs:

  • Tank Capacity: 0.5 gallons
  • Cord Length: 20 feet
  • Weight: Under 13 pounds

Pros: 

  • Powerful cleaning for homes with pets
  • Uses HeatForce feature to speed up drying process
  • Lightweight design for ease of maneuvering

Cons:

  • Requires regular use to get proper effects
  • Not heavy-duty enough to address serious damage
  • Only comes with a trial-size container of cleaner

First on the list is the Hoover PowerDash Carpet Cleaner, a lightweight solution that looks just like a standard vacuum but has far more benefits. Using steam technology, the tank connects to the cleaner trigger. It sprays the solution onto the carpet, and the vacuum goes over the stain to lift it out of the fibers. The vacuum suction then channels the dirty water into a separate tank. Both receptacles are clear, enabling you to see the progress as you go. 

The cleaner meets the floor through a powerspin brushroll, it picks up hairs and lifts stains. The removable nozzle makes it easy to maintain and helps ensure a smooth clean. The cherry on top is the HeatForce drying component, meant to speed up the whole process. Powerful, durable, and complete with a 20-foot cord, this carpet cleaner is a solid choice overall. 

Best Value: Bissell TurboClean PowerBrush Pet Upright Carpet Cleaner Machine

Retractable Handle

This uses a four row power brush to remove dirt buried in your floors.

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Why It Made the Cut: The powerful brush and suction combination work together to lift and remove grime stuck deep in your carpet. It’s also just 12 pounds, making it easy to maneuver and transport. 

Specs: 

  • Tank Capacity: 0.5 gallons
  • Cord Length: 20 feet
  • Weight: 12 pounds 

Pros: 

  • Collapsible handle for easy storage
  • Works on carpet and area rugs
  • Two-tank system

Cons: 

  • Much smaller than other carpet cleaner machines

Cleaning your carpet shouldn’t blow your budget, which is what makes the Bissell TurboClean PowerBrush Pet such a great value pick. The PowerBrush is used alongside a suction mechanism to scrub away stains and lift out deep-seated dirt. The machine’s bristles help tidy up edges and furniture corners, while the two-tank system helps separate dirty water from clean water. While this machine doesn’t come with additional supplies, you can get the TurboClean + Pet solution or the TurboClean and Pet Pro solution for a slightly higher cost.  

Best Heavy-Duty: Bissell Big Green Carpet Cleaner

Formulas Included

Efficient model that can handle even the most intense stains

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Why It Made the Cut: This provides consistent, even cleaning on any carpet, allowing you to use this industrial-quality model in any situation. 

Specs: 

  • Tank Capacity: 1.75 gallons
  • Cord Length: 25 feet
  • Weight: 41 pounds 

Pros: 

  • Features a 25-foot power cord for extra reach
  • Compatible with several different chemical cleaners
  • Works powerfully and consistently on all carpet types

Cons: 

  • Comes at a fairly high price point relative to the competition
  • Nine-foot hose can kink or tear when navigating corners 
  • Bristles require maintenance for peak performance

The Bissell Big Green Carpet Cleaner is a heavy-duty option if there ever was one. Comparable to the models you would otherwise rent, it features two large tanks (one for clean and the other for dirty water). It also comes with an adjustable handle for height changes, and the nine-foot hose and 25-foot power cord provide even more flexibility and ease of use.

Included with the cleaner are six attachments, each primed to address a certain type of stain or damage. Running on a 12-amp system, the machine powers the cleaner outwards, using the steam and chemical to lift damage. 

Most User-Friendly: Eureka Lightweight Powerful Upright Vacuum

Five Height Settings Available

This agile carpet cleaning machine comes with a quick-release handle, dusting brush, upholstery tool, and additional equipment.

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Why It Made the Cut: Cleaning carpets of all types, this model comes with multiple attachments for improved accessibility and is ideal for those with less demanding chores and smaller carpeted spots. 

Specs:

  • Dust Cap Capacity: 3.9 liters (1.03 gallons)
  • Cord Length: 25 feet
  • Weight: 11 pounds

Pros: 

  • Upgraded model with increased speed and suction
  • Works on all types of carpets and hard floors
  • Powerful suction reaches deep into the carpet fibers

Cons: 

  • Only features dry vacuum technology 
  • Requires a separate stain remover for ingrained damage

The Eureka Lightweight Powerful Vacuum is a solid choice for those dealing with smaller messes. It works in between steam cleanings or, in conjunction with a chemical cleaner, as a full-service carpet cleaner. Equipped with five height options, you can adjust the vacuum to find the proper depth for the type of carpet in your home. This prevents carpet damage, especially when considering the PowerSpeed features. 

The vacuum features a seven-foot hose that connects to an attachment on one side while the other hooks up to a quick-release lever. Together, this makes it easy to clean and maintain the vacuum between uses.

Best Steam: McCulloch Heavy-Duty Steam Cleaner

McCulloch Heavy-Duty Steam Cleaner

Efficient cleaning using steam to ensure safety for kids and pets.

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Why It Made the Cut: This comes equipped with 18 accessories for deep cleaning power. A tough option ideal for long-term, personal use, this cleaner is built to last. 

Specs:

  • Tank Capacity: 48 ounces (0.375 gallons)
  • Cord Length: 15 feet
  • Weight: 10 pounds

Pros: 

  • Balances power with affordability
  • Steam cleans instead of using chemicals
  • Works on all different carpet types

Cons: 

  • May require separate chemical supplement for some stains
  • Tank size only allows the vacuum to function for up to 45 minutes
  • Chemicals placed in the tank will damage the system 

Backed by a two-year warranty, the McCulloch Heavy-Duty Steam Cleaner is a safe option for those looking to avoid chemicals during regular cleaning. The 48-ounce tank heats up in fewer than ten minutes. It steams the carpet for up to 45 minutes, though using the continuous stream function can deplete it more quickly.

Though the tank may run out, it still cleans efficiently thanks to the heavy-duty design and focused steam. So long as you use the correct accessory (and the set comes with 18 of them), it can tackle stains and dander with ease. With a seven-foot cord and nine-foot hose, you can easily roll the cleaner around and reach tougher spots without changing plugins.

Things to Consider When Buying Carpet Cleaners

Buying a carpet cleaner is all about balancing the upfront investment with savings over time. Consider the following when making your plans.  

Type and Size of Carpet

A thick shag carpet and a thin rug are two entirely different beasts. The shorter the individual carpet strands, the easier it will be to clean. Denser, heavier carpets require more effort. Size is another factor in picking the right cleaner. Larger carpets take longer to clean, making it worth the cost of a bigger cleaner. Smaller carpets are easier to clean by hand, so it’s less viable to invest in a costlier system. 

Safety of Ingredients

Checking the safety of any chemical cleaners is essential, especially if you have kids or pets around the house. You can always find the ingredients and risks of any cleaner by looking at its material safety data sheet (MSDS). Many industrial cleaners can be irritants, so it may be better to opt for a steam cleaner. 

Budgetary Considerations

Finally, think about how much you are willing to spend to own your carpet cleaner. Weigh the cost of the cleaner against the rental price (and tedium of actually renting one). Understanding how long it will take to recuperate your investment is an essential factor. It’s between $25 and $50 to rent a cleaner for a day. Consider how often you will use the cleaner to determine how long it will take to make your money back. 

FAQs

Q: How do I clean my carpet myself? 

You can use a scrub brush, a bucket, and vinegar water to clean a carpet without risk of stains or chemical interactions. If you have a small enough carpet, it can be a good pick. However, larger carpeted areas are far harder to tackle. In this case, it’s better to go with a machine cleaner.

Q: How much does it cost to rent a carpet cleaner?

Depending on where you rent the cleaner, it can run between $25 and $50 per day. Often, the rental comes with one bottle of cleaner, though most tasks require roughly three bottles. Heavily trafficked carpeted areas benefit from cleanings upwards of once per month, so it’s usually cheaper to buy rather than rent.

Q:  What do professionals use to clean carpet?

Professionals either steam clean or dry clean, depending on the carpet. A steam cleaner uses water to lift dirt and stains where the vacuum feature uses suction to clean. Dry cleaning is used for lighter-duty cleaning, but it isn’t powerful enough for stained or worn carpets. 

Final Thoughts

Determining the best carpet cleaner for you is entirely situational. It’s important to look into your specific carpet type and what may be unsafe for the other living beings (a.k.a., little ones and pets) in your home. The Hoover PowerDash Carpet Cleaner is our pick for the best overall carpet cleaner machine because of its lightweight, durable design and deep cleaning brush and suction technology. 

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