Quick question. What is the most damaging thing that happens to the beautiful and expensive carpets in your home? You probably respond immediately by saying “foot traffic.” But that’s only partially true. The real problem is what is left behind after they get walked on. Dirt and debris from the soles of shoes have a nasty habit of sticking to the tiny fibers of your carpet. Pet paws and even bare human feet are also famous for leaving behind plenty of dirt.
But let’s face it – no one likes steam cleaning carpets. The job can be backbreaking, messy, noisy and generally just not fun. Despite the hassle, keeping floors and carpets clean isn’t a task you can just ignore. Regular carpet cleaning helps keep your house clean and comfortable. It also prolongs the life and beauty of those expensive carpets. Renting a bulky steam cleaning machine at the grocery store is time-consuming and expensive. First of all, it means you will have to make at least two trips to the store. Once to pick up the machine and then a second trip to return it. Also, it will probably leak water and cleaning solution all over your car.
The solution is to purchase your own carpet cleaning machine. As an added bonus, when that little spill of red wine or a pet accident happens, you don’t have to wait for the next full-blown shampooer rental episode to clean up the spot. Quick and easy!
- Why Should You Trust Us?
- What Are the Benefits of a Carpet Cleaning Machine?
- Who Are Carpet Cleaners For?
- What Features Make a Good Carpet Cleaner?
- Main Types of Carpet Cleaning Machines
- How We Picked and Tested
- Our Top Ten Product List:
- Our Pick: Hoover FH50150 Carpet Basics Power Scrub Deluxe Carpet Cleaner
- Budget Pick: Bissell 1716B Spotlifter Powerbrush Handheld Deep Cleaner
- Advanced Pick: Bissell 86T3/86T3Q Big Green Professional Grade Carpet Cleaner
- A List of 7 Other Products We Reviewed
- A List of Some Other Products We Tested
- Care and Maintenance
Why Should You Trust Us?
We have been studying the carpet cleaning machine market for all four years that we’ve been reporting on this site. We have examined more than 20 machines from small, cheap portable units all the way up to professional level shampooer equipment. To arrive at our 10 top rated carpet cleaners, The Soothing Air team began with about 55 hours of web research to narrow the field. Then we committed a whole week to testing the machines in community-based usage, so we would have real-world reviews from consumers like you.
We also personally tested most of these carpet washing systems ourselves. Our sole purpose is to help you, as a consumer, decide which shampooer is best for you. We’re not promoting any particular brand or style of machine. We only here to help you find the best home carpet cleaner for you.
All of our top rated carpet cleaners have strong points, and weak ones as well. And, while you might be interested in a particular feature, that doesn’t mean everyone is. With this in mind, we studied a wide range of important features as we searched for the best carpet cleaning machine. That’s why our list includes ten machines, and not just one. Of course, in the end, we will present what we consider to be the number one most effective carpet cleaning machine on the market.
What Are the Benefits of a Carpet Cleaning Machine?
While routine vacuuming can remove a lot of the surface dirt and debris from your carpets, it will never completely clean them. Just like your clothes, without regular washing, these small particles will destroy the fibers of your carpeting. How does that happen? It’s actually a matter of creating microscopic scratches on the surface of the carpet fibers.
Think about a piece of see-through plastic, for example, the lenses on a pair of inexpensive sunglasses. Every time a rough particle of sand is dragged across the lens, it creates a scratch. When this happens often enough you won’t be able to see through the lenses anymore. The surface has become dull and light can’t pass through.
The same thing happens to carpet fibers. Dirt rubs against them, scratching the surface of the fiber. It no longer reflects light, which means it loses that like-new luster. Scratch the fiber often enough and it can even break off, causing the nap of the carpet to thin and eventually become “threadbare.”
There’s no escaping it. Carpets need regular washing. You can hire a commercial carpet cleaning service, but purchasing your own carpet cleaner will save you a lot of money in the long run. Children and pets mean spills and accidents can be a daily occurrence. Having your own carpet shampooer allows you to treat stains before they become permanent.
Another benefit to having your own carpet cleaner is that many of the systems you can buy have better features than the rental equipment. Imagine owning a carpet cleaner that employs a series of deep cleaning, rotating bristles that scrub your carpets fibers from every direction. Or a carpet cleaner that forces warm, dry air down through your carpet to speed up the drying process. Even better, picture a revolutionary carpet cleaner that actually cleans itself when the job is done! You won’t find that kind of bonus feature on a grocery store rental unit.
Who Are Carpet Cleaners For?
The short answer is; Everyone. That may sound a little over the top, but think about it. Even if you live in a one-room apartment with hardwood floors, you at least have a chair, a sofa, and a throw rug. Something…red wine, a little tomato soup, some Chinese take-out…something is going to get spilled at some point. How would you rather deal with it? Replace the chair? Rent a shampooer from the grocery store? Or, go to the closet, pull out your handy portable steam cleaner and take care of the problem in an instant?
Every time someone sets foot or paw on the carpet in your home from the great outdoors, dirt, bacteria, and a host of other microscopic nasties make themselves right at home. Regular carpet cleaning not only helps keep your house clean and comfortable. It also prolongs the life and beauty of those expensive carpets.
Hiring a professional or dealing with rental equipment are things we tend to put off because they are costly and time-consuming. Your carpets pay the price. But if you buy the best carpet cleaner that suits your needs, those carpets will get cleaned more often and last longer. Even if you live on a tight budget, owning your own machine is a cheap decision.
What Features Make a Good Carpet Cleaner?
There are some very clear answers that apply to any decision to buy the best carpet cleaner out there. Then there’s an entirely subjective set of features that may or may not interest you, depending upon your specific needs. Of course, the best carpet cleaning machine has to do a great job of cleaning your carpets. How that happens is what matters.
Applying the cleaning solution
First, it has to evenly lay down a properly-mixed solution of detergent and water. Most systems require you to mix the fresh water and detergent, while others have separate tanks and do the mixing for you.
Although the term steam cleaning is often applied to the process, it’s not really true. None of the systems actually inject steam into the process. Many machines rely on you to fill them with hot tap water. More expensive machines do actually heat the water, and some even force hot air into your carpet at the same time.
Scrubbing the carpet
Once the cleaning solution is applied, a system of brushes is needed to thoroughly scrub your carpet fibers. This is perhaps the most critical step, and the type of brushes a machine uses is an important consideration. Do the brushes on a given machine perform the tasks you need? This might require thinking about the type of carpet you have in your home. A tightly woven carpet with shorter fibers may be fine with a roller-type brush system, but deeper pile carpets might do better with brushes that rotate vertically.
It is essential that the extractor has enough suction power to draw the dirty water and debris up out of your carpet as completely as possible. Water and soap residues that remain in your carpet become sticky. When new dirt particles are deposited in your carpet, they glue themselves to this residue and your carpet becomes dirty again in no time. Having a thorough extractor system is critical.
Water Tank Design
The size and design of the water tanks are very important. Larger tanks mean you can do more area with fewer stops to refill. But smaller tanks are generally lighter and easier to fill and empty. You will have to assess which is right for your needs. Any carpet shampooer that you chose should at the very least have separate holding tanks for clean water and spent cleaning solution. Any system that simply recycles the recovery water into the same tank it came from doesn’t belong in your shopping cart.
More subjective features include the sale price, as well as the size and weight of the machine. If your home has lots of stairs, you don’t want to be lugging a heavy commercial grade machine up and down. But lighter weight machines tend to be made of lower quality materials. A cheap machine may be a bad value, and you’ll find yourself replacing it too soon.
Other features should also be considered. Some have long hoses and power cords, making them useful for stairs and upholstery. Some have powered upholstery tools. Again, these are considerations that you will have to make based on your needs.
Main Types of Carpet Cleaning Machines
There are two main types of carpet cleaning machines. A standard carpet washer does exactly as the name says. It washes the carpet. But it doesn’t pick up debris and loose dirt before the washing action. You must vacuum the carpet thoroughly before using this type of machine, or you will effectively be grinding that dirt even deeper into the carpet fibers.
Multi-function, or two-in-one carpet cleaners vacuum as well as scrub your carpets, hence you can clean your carpet without a vacuum cleaner. This isn’t necessarily better. It’s just different, and you need to know which type of system you are working with to generate the best results.
There’s one other type of machine to consider. We’re talking about small, portable cleaners. They are usually fairly cheap, but worth their weight in gold when Aunt Mable spills a glass of wine or her poodle Spot leaves a, um, spot on your carpet. Just pull the little shampooer out of the broom closet, and in minutes the accident is history.
How We Picked and Tested
Deciding which is the best carpet cleaner for you is a tough decision. It wasn’t easy for us, either. In four years of reporting and updating this guide, we narrowed our prospects for the best home carpet cleaner down to about 20 models. Then we tested most of them. Frankly, none are perfect. But some of them come pretty close.
Next, we spent almost two months studying them in community-based usage to see how well they performed with the operation guides on and off. We analyzed their performance. We factored in a host of issues such as their tank capacity, versatility, and length of hoses. We examined the materials they were made of, and how much maintenance they required. We looked at every feature on each piece of equipment and judged its usefulness and quality.
We have done careful research, used these products, and consulted a lot of other users. Then we compared our notes and narrowed the field to find the best home carpet cleaner. We are confident that the top rated carpet cleaners listed here are the best that money can buy. You won’t see exact prices here, because it’s not uncommon for these machines to go on sale. So a specific price we quote may not be accurate.
Our Top Ten Product List:
Once all of our research was collected, we put it together and arrived at a list of 41 of the most important features to look for when choosing the best carpet cleaner. By comparing this data along with the user feedback and relative value of these machines, we arrived at our decisions.
But even at this point, we invite you to study our research for yourself. The only way to know for sure which is the best carpet cleaner for your home is to use our data to inform yourself. Our compiled research report is open for you to view. To view the report, see the link below.
Why is this product our Pick?
Hoover FH50150 Power Scrub DeluxeGet It On Amazon
The very best vacuum out there
The Hoover is a brilliant and classic carpet cleaner. It is stacked full of features that will help you clean and is really highly rated and reviewed by everyone who owns one!
- Of those 41 important features we analyzed, this product contains the maximum number of positive features. It is a unique combination of positive features by which only the best carpet cleaning machine can be measured. Take a look at our research report, and see for yourself. This product utilizes the Spin Scrub Technology, which means the scrubbing bristles generate 360-degree cleaning that surrounds the carpet fibers. This machine is lightweight, weighing less than 19 pounds. This product also has an 8-Foot Ready-To-Use Hose and Upholstery Tool to deep clean your stairs and hard-to-reach areas. It also has a Wash/Rinse Selector.
- You can buy this product in an affordable price range. The Hoover FH50150 sells for about $165.
- To find out what real consumers think, we compared the online rating frequency of each of these products. To judge how often the best carpet cleaners were being reviewed, we studied the most recent 30 posted ratings. We found this product is receiving ratings at a very fast rate. It received its first 10 ratings in 1 day, second 10 ratings in 1 day and third ten ratings in 1 day. Simply put, that means a lot of customers are buying this machine, and they are happy with it.
- This product holds the rare combination of many of the most important features when compared to the other products we have tested. For example, unique to this product is that it has 4 Easy To Access Handles that allows for easy transport.
The Hoover Carpet Basics Power Scrub Deluxe is a feature-rich machine that easily runs away with our Top Pick honors. There simply isn’t a carpet cleaning task that this multi-purpose unit can’t handle. Hoover has thought of it all and put it into this one lightweight but powerful machine.
High-performance scrubbing and suction
The Carpet Basics Power Scrub Deluxe features Hoover’s SpinScrub technology. That means it uses rotating brushes with bristles that surround the carpet fibers with powerful dirt removing force. Counter rotating dirtlifter brushes swirl the carpet fibers in the opposite direction to make sure dirt and debris don’t simply get trapped beneath the carpet fibers. Then, the Dual V nozzles finish the job by distributing a powerful suction force, evenly pulling the soapy water up and away from your carpet.
Speaking of the soap, The Soothing Air team really likes the automatic detergent mixing system. It takes the guesswork out of how much carpet detergent to mix in the water. Simply pour your cleaning agent into the separate detergent tank and let the machine figure out the correct water-to-soap ratio.
The easy to fill, empty, and clean smart tank system eliminates messy spills. The fresh water tank holds one full gallon. The recovery tank even has a handy pour spout to make sure that dirty water doesn’t end up back on the floor.
After the dirt has been sucked away, the Hoover Scrub Deluxe takes cleaning one step further. Flip the wash/rinse selector and the machine lays down a spray of water only, allowing you to take a second pass at rinsing away any remaining dirt and soap residue.
A carpet cleaning task isn’t complete until the carpet has dried. The Hoover Carpet Basics Power Scrub Deluxe forces heated air down through your carpet to evaporate moisture at a much quicker pace. Your carpets will be clean and dry in no time!
The 8-foot ready-to-use hose has 3 attachments. The stair tool makes it easy to clean stairs. The crevice tool is good for hard to reach areas behind heavy sofas. Then switch to the upholstery tool to quickly make that sofa as clean as new, too. The hose and attachments can be stowed away in a handy mesh bag.
The 20-foot cord means you’ll be able to easily reach the corners of your rooms without having to stop to move the cord to a new outlet. Hoover also throws in a 2-year warranty to help you protect your investment.
- Loaded with helpful features
- Automatic Detergent Mixing
- Lightweight and easy to carry
- Heated Cleaning
- No on-board caddy for hose and attachments
Since every home has different needs, no carpet cleaner on our list is perfect for all. So to determine which machine would become Our Pick, we looked for the widest range of features and highest performance, while still maintain a great value. The Soothing Air rates this Hoover product very high in all of those areas. It easily claims the top spot on our list for Top 10 Best Carpet Cleaners available.
Why is this product our Budget Pick?
Bissell 1716B Spotlifter PowerbrushGet It On Amazon
Can’t be beaten on price
The Bissell has a very very low price compared to our other picks. You can see why when it comes to the lack of attachments, but it has a big tank and can still handle deep cleaning with its dual brush.
Although we love great stuff at The Soothing Air, that doesn’t mean we want to pay any more than we have to. And frankly, at under $50, the Bissell Spotlifter Powerbrush Handheld Deep Cleaner sucks up the competition like last night’s marinara spill on the dining room rug. In fact, that would be a perfect job for this little gem. It is the lowest price unit in our test, but don’t call it cheap! This powerful little machine makes quick work of spot stains.
Most handheld spot carpet cleaners have a fixed brush. It’s up to you to swish the brush back and forth by hand to generate any scrubbing action. Not so with the Bissell Spotlifter Powerbrush. As the name implies, this handheld machine has a powerful dual roll brush system that rotates it’s cleaning bristles to help remove stains faster and more completely. It does the scrubbing for you!
You have fingertip control with a manual spray trigger that lets you apply exactly as much cleaning solution as you need for the task at hand. The continuous suction feature of the Bissell Spotlifter Powerbrush makes sure that the dirt and debris that those rotating bristles have loosened is quickly whisked away, even as the suction helps dry your carpet or upholstery.
The 18-foot long power cord means you can reach everywhere. You’ll never run out of battery power to keep those bristles spinning at their optimum speed. Filling and emptying the separate 12-ounce capacity clean and dirty water tanks is a snap. They each just slide on and off at the back end of the machine.
Clean-up is a breeze, too. The brush cartridge can be removed for thorough and easy cleaning. And, if you use your Bissell Spotlifter Powerbrush as often as The Soothing Air does, you’ll be happy to know that the brush cartridge is replaceable.
- Motorized dual brush for deep cleaning
- Very low price
- Relatively large 12-ounce tanks
- Limited to fairly small jobs
- No attachments, so getting into small spots is limited
This is a small, hand-held machine, so its uses are limited to small spills and, perhaps, a routine cleaning on your auto upholstery. Don’t expect to clean your carpet stairs with a unit this small. However, even if you have a full-sized carpet cleaner, the single-handed ease of using the Bissell Spotlifter for those little accidents can’t be beaten. And for a sale price of less than 50 bucks, no home should be without one!
Why is this product our Advanced Pick?
Bissell 86T3 Big Green ProfessionalGet It On Amazon
A state-of-the-art Choice
This is a really advanced pick, with tonnes of progressive features. It has an extra long hose, flow indicator and it can clean both forward and back!
If you want a no-nonsense, heavy-duty professional grade carpet cleaning machine, look no further than the Bissell Big Green 86T3. Take a look under the hood on this machine and you’ll see that it practically scares the dirt out of your carpets. The Bissell Big Green Deep Cleaning Carpet Cleaner is a force to be reckoned with. Make no mistake, this is a professional grade machine.
The massive, rotating dirtlifter powerbrush generates a deep scrubbing action that gets down low to loosen even the most ground-in dirt. The high-volume extractor system then forcefully draws the deep-down dirt right out of your carpets. The Soothing Air team likes that the Bissell Big Green carpet cleaner cleans on both forward and backward passes, getting your carpets cleaner in less time. There are no wasted motions with this professional-grade machine.
The clean and dirty water tanks on the Bissell Big Green each hold more than a gallon. That means you can do the entire rug in most rooms without having to stop for a refill. The machine will tell you when it’s time to do that, too. An onboard flow indicator lets you monitor water and solution levels at a glance. The tanks can be removed separately, reducing the weight and making spills less likely. The used water tank has a large top opening for easy emptying and clean-up.
Big Green has a whopping 9-foot long hose and a tough 6-inch wide stain tool. The 25-foot cord is one of the longest in our test, and the 5-year warranty is a chart-topper. Those are the kind of features you usually only find on commercial machines.
- Cleans both forward and back
- Onboard flow indicator to gauge water levels
- Extra long 9-foot hose
- 5 year Warranty
- High price
- Weighs more than 50 pounds
It may be hard to believe that a carpet cleaning machine could actually make you smile while you’re doing the job, but Bissell’s Big Green might do just that. It’s over-powered motors and over-sized dirtlifter powerbrush means that the dirt in your carpet has met its match.
At almost $400, this is the highest priced machine to make the Top 10 Best Carpet Cleaner list and the second highest price of all the machines we studied. But don’t let the price scare you. This is a high-value machine that packs a lot of bang for the buck.
A List of 7 Other Products We Reviewed
Bissell 3624 SpotClean ProfessionalGet It On Amazon
Everything you need to clean
This is great for cleaning your car, as well as your home. It has a high capacity tank, great hose and a good warranty to keep you reassured.
With a 4.4 rating and nearly three-thousand positive reviews during our study, the Bissell SpotClean positions itself as nicely at number 4 in our list of Top 10 Best Carpet Cleaner. This may be a portable carpet cleaner that you can carry anywhere in the house for quick clean-ups, but it so much more.
The ¾ gallon tank is as large as you will find on some full-sized machines. That high capacity means the Bissell 3624 SpotClean is a handy unit to use for much larger jobs than just the little occasional spill. You can call easily on this machine for cleaning stairs, area rugs, and upholstery.
Its hose clamps securely around a holder on the side of the machine and is ready for you to deploy in an instant. The hose has an amazing 5-foot reach to allow you to clean up and down those stairs, or anywhere in your car, with ease.
The business end of the hose sports a 6-inch stair tool with 4 rows of bristles, and a 3-inch tough stain tool. The 22-foot power cord means this little beauty is perfect for doing the carpeted stairway without having to run up and down the stairs to re-plug the unit.
The Soothing Air thinks the Bissell 3624 SpotClean is the best carpet cleaner to take outside to give your car upholstery a good detailing too. You can clean the entire car with just a single fill. Also, a hefty 2-year warranty is included.
- Large capacity water tank
- Powerful Suction for better cleaning
- Long reach 22-foot cord
- Stair tool requires manual scrubbing
- No water heater
Usually selling for around $130, the Bissell SpotClean is one of the higher-priced of the small spot cleaning machines. But its full-sized power and versatility to take on larger jobs make it a solid value. So, before you buy this one, do a careful examination of your needs for a spot cleaner. If you want to put it to use on the stairs, go for it! But if the sole purpose is for small, quick clean-ups, this one might be more than you need.
BISSELL 1622 PowerLifter PowerBrushGet It On Amazon
The economical choice for you
This model does a lot for its price. Its 2-in-1 tank is great for cleaning your small home. If you have a small place to clean and a limited budget, this one is for you.
At under $100, the Bissell Powerlifter Powerbrush Upright Deep Cleaner is one of the least expensive units in our survey. But don’t let the low price fool you. It’s actually one of the factors that makes this an excellent carpet cleaning machine worthy of the #5 position on our list of Top 10 Carpet Cleaner systems. For one thing, owners of the Bissell Powerlifter give it a rating of 4.4 out of 5. Clearly, the people who own it are more than satisfied. The Soothing Air likes that this unit sports a very respectable 11 of our favorite features.
For starters, we find that it’s simply an easy to use carpet cleaner. That ease begins with a 2-in-1 tank system that holds an impressive ¾ of a gallon. You can empty and refill the one-piece unit it in a single trip to the sink. There’s even a built-in measuring cup so you always use the right amount of cleaning solution.
The tanks are mounted down low on the main part of the unit, not up high on the handle, so accidental spills are eliminated.
Once you’re set to begin your carpet cleaning task, the Bissell Powerlifter has an 11-inch wide rotating Powerbrush. It sports 4 inter-twined rows of dirt-seeking bristles that get down deep into the carpet to remove that ground in debris. Then, after the powerbrush has done its dirty work, the machine has plenty of high-velocity suction to draw the soil and stains away.
Clean-up is easy with this machine. The nozzle is removable, so you can easily rinse it out in the sink. It also features a pop-out lint screen to make cleaning the unit a snap.
- Low Price
- 2-in-1 water tank
- Relatively narrow cleaning path
- No water heating system
- No hose or upholstery attachments
Typically on sale for under $100, the Bissell Powerlifter Powerbrush Upright Cleaner is a strong contender on a tight budget. But the low sale price is one of the main points of this machine. It is not a good choice for a large home that needs a heavy-duty steam cleaner. But for a modest-sized apartment or townhouse, this might be just the right machine.
Hoover F5914900 Carpet Cleaner MachineGet It On Amazon
All the features you could want!
This model has loads of the features you’ll be looking for. It has both powered bristles and a clean surge nozzle, at a really low price. Packed with features and great value!
The feature-rich Hoover Carpet Cleaner SteamVac with Clean Surge really caught our eyes. And we weren’t alone. More than 8,000 reviewers chimed in with positive reviews of this versatile machine, giving it a rating of 4.2 out of five. The Soothing Air counts a remarkable 13 features that we really like about the Hoover SteamVac with Clean Surge.
Let’s begin with the term “Clean Surge.” What that means is that there is a fingertip control that allows you to add extra cleaning power to high traffic areas or a really stubborn stain. Just squeeze your index finger on the trigger under the handle. A special nozzle releases a mist of extra detergent and that persistent little blemish will be washed away for good.
The 5-headed SpinScrub brush system features multi-directional brushes that spin 360 degrees to make sure your carpet fibers are thoroughly cleaned from every side. And speaking of the brushes, the Hoover Carpet Cleaner SteamVac with Clean Surge Carpet Cleaner is one of only a few units in the Top 10 Carpet Cleaner review that features multiple speed settings.
It is quite easy to assemble and use the device. At the flick of a switch, you can set the SpinScrub brushes to spin at a high rate of speed for normal carpet cleaning, low speed for a more gently scrubbing action, or turn the brushes off completely to pick up water spills. This system lets you decide how much scrubbing action is needed.
Even the small spill and upholstery hand tool on the Hoover SteamVac with Clean Surge is a powered scrubber. Most hand tools simply have a static brush mounted neat the nozzle, and it’s up to you to supply the elbow grease to generate a scrubbing action. Not so with this machine. The 8-foot hose and self-powering 360-degree action of the scrubber make cleaning stairwells and upholstery just as easy as the rest of the carpet. When you’re finished, the hand tool stows neatly inside the machine’s handle.
- Clean Surge nozzle for extra cleaning power
- Powered bristles on the hand tool
- Low Cost
- Small fresh water tank
- A bit complicated to clean properly
With an eye-popping 13 of our favorite features and well over eight-thousand positive reviews, The Soothing Air thinks the Hoover Carpet Cleaner SteamVac with Clean Surge Carpet Cleaner Model F5914900 from Hoover is a real good value in the $150 price range.
Hoover FH50220 Pressure ProGet It On Amazon
Unique pressure cleaning system
This Hoover has a unique pressurised system that forces warm air down for quick drying. It has a nice design, and comes in at a good value price.
As the name implies, the Max Extract Pressure Pro Carpet Deep Cleaner from Hoover really puts the pressure on dirt and grime in your carpets.
Not content with letting gravity do its part, this carpet cleaner actually forces a pressurized wall of water down deep into the fibers of your carpet, flushing the dirt loose.
Then the six 360 degree counter-rotating brushes take over, scrubbing the carpet fibers from every direction to make sure no dirt gets trapped behind them. Those brushes are working with a perfect mix of water and cleaning solution that is accurately measured by an automatic detergent system. A set of edge bristles helps you get close to corners and edge moldings.
Once the scrubbing is complete, the expended cleaning solution is drawn out of your carpets by a forceful extractor, sucking dirt and spent cleaning solution through the super-wide 13-inch Dual V nozzle. This double-chambered extraction system results in the edge-to-edge elimination of dirty water for a spotless clean. You can even use this machine on sealed wood floors and tile.
A carpet isn’t “clean” until it’s dry. Sometimes, that can mean you have to stay off the carpet overnight. But this entry from Hoover adds a wonderful twist to help speed up drying time. A powerful motor forces heated air out through your carpeting to make it dry even faster.
Smart tank technology on the Hoover Max Extract 60 Pressure Pro means the system is equipped with separate tanks for clean water and spent solution so you can easily fill, empty and rinse each tank as needed.
And did we mention that this Hoover carpet cleaner cleverly uses forced heated air to cut drying time? Yes, we did. But we’re mentioning it again. The Hoover Max Extract 60 Pressure Pro Carpet Deep Cleaner takes the pressure out of getting your carpets clean by applying its own pressure to the dirt and debris lurking within the fibers.
A hose and a fairly ordinary upholstery tool are part of the system.
- Every action is pressurized
- Forces warm air down for quick drying
- Automatic Detergent System
- Water tanks could be larger
- Lackluster upholstery tool
The pressurized systems on this entry and forced air heating to speed up the drying time are very positive features. It is an impressive design. This carpet washing system carries a price tag in the $150 neighborhood and gets a solid 4 out of 5 rating in our survey.
HOOVER FH11300PC Spotless PortableGet It On Amazon
Small but perfectly formed
The Hoover is a cheap model, with some really helpful features. Not only is it self cleaning, which will save you time, it also comes with an animocrobial scrubber!
That’s three in a row for Hoover in our Top 10 Best Carpet Cleaner list. (Spoiler alert! Hoover will claim a total of 5 spots before we’re finished!) But where the first two were full-sized carpet washing systems, this little winner is Hoover’s top entry into the portable spot cleaning category. It makes a great complement to Hoover’s other full-sized carpet washers.
This spot cleaning unit has an exclusive feature that no other carpet cleaner in our survey does. The Soothing Air thinks the remarkable self-cleaning aspect of the Hoover Spotless Portable Carpet & Upholstery Spot Cleaner is sensational. We need to say that again. The Hoover Spotless Portable Carpet & Upholstery Spot Cleaner not only cleans your carpets and upholstery.
It cleans itself! When you’re finished using it, simply insert the hose into a special port on the unit and it flushes the inside of the hose clean all by itself! The concept is so revolutionary that Hoover’s Self-Clean Technology is patent-pending.
Before you use the self-cleaning function, the system has to be good at spot cleaning, and this Hoover model does a fine job. It has plenty of suction power to draw the dirt and cleaning solution up and out of your carpets. The Hoover Spotless Portable Carpet & Upholstery Spot Cleaner is a handy spot cleaner for those everyday spills and accidents.
There are separate tanks for fresh water and recovery. On some small spot cleaning systems, the water tanks just sit in place and are prone to coming off or leaking. Not so on this portable. They firmly lock in place. The recovery tank can easily be disassembled for complete cleaning.
The multi-purpose cleaning tool uses a good-sized pad of antimicrobial rubber nubs to provide a deep scrubbing action even as it helps rid your home of bacteria, mold and mildew. It is lightweight, has a 14-foot power cord, and is a definite go-to machine for a variety of jobs from minor spills to stairwells and auto upholstery.
- Self-cleaning hose
- Antimicrobial scrubber
- Limited tank size
- Shorter hose than some other small cleaners
Nobody likes to spend time cleaning the machine that is supposed to do the cleaning. That’s why the clef-cleaning feature on this machine is worth its weight in gold. Checking the boxes for an amazing 14 of our favorite features, the Hoover Spotless Portable Carpet & Upholstery Spot Cleaner gets a 4.3 out of 5 rating in our consumer reviews and carries a fairly cheap price tag under $100. We have even seen it go on sale for less.
Rug Doctor Deep Carpet CleanerGet It On Amazon
The serious cleaning machine
This model means business. Its design is of commercial quality, as are some of its features. It has a great high volume suction capacity, and a super boost nozzle, which makes it well worthy of our top 10.
This professional grade entry from Rug Doctor is serious stuff. And it sports a couple of unique features that really made us sit up and take notice. More than a thousand reviews have given this sturdy machine a rating of 4.4 out of 5.
The quality of the Rug Doctor Deep Carpet Cleaner Upright becomes noticeable the instant you fill the large 1.1-gallon fresh water reservoir. That’s enough to do most rooms with just a single fill. Flip the power switch and you’ll really know what we mean when we say this is a professional grade machine.
Dual cross action brushes with 14 rows of bristles go to work deep into your carpet. They scrub way down in there from every direction to make sure no residue is left behind. There’s no need to panic when you come upon those high traffic areas. Just flip on the “Super Boost Spray” and watch as the added cleaning solution practically melts away the dirt.
All that cleaning action doesn’t do any good if a carpet washer doesn’t do a good job of extracting the dirt and spent cleaning solution. That’s where the Rug Doctor Deep Carpet Cleaner Upright really rises above the competition. Rug Doctor says the extractor on this machine uses 75 percent more suction than comparable machines to get your carpets cleaner and dry quicker.
Even after cleaning the carpet, this Rug Doctor model continues to amaze us with a detachable caddy for the hose and upholstery tool. The Rug Doctor isn’t going to be making a big show of fitting in your closet. With a handle that folds down, this carpet washer only needs a small footprint for storage.
- Commercial quality design
- Super Boost Sprayer nozzle
- High volume suction
- Nozzle can’t be removed for cleaning
- Above average price
This is Rug Doctor’s only entry in our Top 10, but it is a worthy contender. Large tanks, high-performance cleaning, and an amazing extractor system elevate this system’s standing. The Rug Doctor Deep Carpet Cleaner has a very respectable 11 of our favorite features and is priced under $250.
Hoover F7452900PC Carpet CleanerGet It On Amazon
A reliable 2-in-1 option
This is the only machine in our top 10 that can clean both carpet and hardwood. If your home has lots of rooms with both types of floor, then this great value model is perfect for you.
We close out our Top 10 Best Carpet Cleaner list with a twist. A machine that does it all! This Hoover (the fifth Hoover model to make it in our Top 10 survey) isn’t just for your carpets. It is designed to deep clean your hardwood floors and to keep them sparkly clean!
The Carpet Cleaner Max Extract Dual V All Terrain uses the same patented 360-degree SpinScrub set of 6 brushes as the other full-sized Hoovers in our list. Each brush rotates in the opposite direction as the brush next to it, so the scrubbing action is as thorough as it can be. The brushes are working with a perfect cleaning solution because this machine also automatically mixes the detergent with fresh water and then heats the mixture as it is applied to your carpet or hardwood floor.
This machine also sports the Hoover three-speed brush system to let you control the amount of scrubbing or none at all. With a hefty 13-inch wide nozzle and edge cleaning bristles, you will need to make fewer passes to finish the job at hand.
Once the deep scrubbing action has done its job, the Dual V extractor design forcefully sucks your carpet clean, depositing the spent mixture in its own tank separate from the fresh water supply tank. But the cleaning doesn’t end there!
Just like the Top Pick for our Top 10 Carpet Cleaners, this Hoover has one more trick up its sleeve. With the flip of a switch, the system changes from using soapy water to a clean stream of fresh water for a final deep rinse to remove any remaining traces of soap residue and keeps your floors cleaner, longer.
It has an 8-foot ready-to-use hose and removable tool caddy. There is an extension tool for upholstery and a SpinScrub tool that makes quick work of everything from stairs and cars to even things like removing the soapy residue inside shower doors. When they say “All Terrain” in the name of this machine, they’re not kidding. If you can imagine it, you can probably clean it with the Hoover Max Extract.
- Cleans carpets and hardwood floors
- Heated cleaning
- Clean water rinse cycle
- Powered SpinScrub brush on upholstery tool
- Some users complain about leaking issues
This might be the last machine on our Top 10 list, but if your home has a lot of hardwood floors as well as carpets and throw rugs, the Hoover Carpet Cleaner Max Extract Dual V All Terrain Hardwood Floor and Carpet Cleaner certainly deserves your attention. In all, it boasts a very respectable 14 of our favorite features and scores a 3.9 out of 5 rating. It sells for a good bit under $200, so it is a good value.
A List of Some Other Products We Tested
- Rug Doctor Mighty Pro X3 Pet Pack, Deep Carpet Cleaning Machine>>>6 Positive Features as seen on our research report
- Rug Doctor Portable Spot Cleaner>>>6 Positive Features as seen on our research report
- BISSELL ReadyClean Full Sized Carpet Cleaner, 40N7 – Corded>>>5 Positive Features as seen on our research report
- BISSELL 1400B Multi-Purpose Portable Carpet Cleaner, Green>>>10 Positive Features as seen on our research report
- Bissell 1548 ProHeat 2X Revolution Pet Full-Size Carpet Cleaner>>>12 Positive Features as seen on our research report
- Hoover Carpet Cleaner Max Extract 77 Multi-Surface Pro Hardwood Floor and Carpet Cleaner Machine FH50240>>>9 Positive Features as seen on our research report
- Hoover Carpet Cleaner Max Extract Dual V WidePath Carpet Cleaner Machine F7412900>>>11 Positive Features as seen on our research report
- BISSELL SpotLifter 2X Portable Deep Carpet Cleaner, 1719 – Cordless>>>7 Positive Features as seen on our research report
- BISSELL Little Green ProHeat Compact Multi-Purpose Carpet Cleaner, 14259 – Corded>>>9 Positive Features as seen on our research report
Care and Maintenance
Just like the carpets you use your steam cleaner on, dirt and moisture are the enemies of your equipment. A thorough washing of the parts and containers that come in contact with water and dirt is the final step to any carpet cleaning job. But in most cases, it’s not difficult.
Start by making sure the tanks are clean. If your clean tank uses a pre-mixed solution, run some fresh water through to flush any detergent from the system. Then clean, rinse and dry both the fresh water and recovery tanks.
Most extractor nozzles are detachable and can easily be rinsed off in the sink. The nozzle gets down and dirty during a steam cleaning session, so make sure all lint and debris is washed away, and then wipe it dry. Run some fresh water through the hose to get it as clean as possible on the inside. A dirty, wet hose can be a breeding ground for mold and bacteria, so you want to be as thorough as possible to stop mold growth. Let it dry before storage.
Clean the brushes. Hair, stray fibers, and other debris can get caught up or wrapped around the brushes, damaging them and decreasing your equipment’s cleaning power. Remove any caught-up materials and then rinse the brushes under tap water.
Now give the exterior of the machine a quick wipe-down and make sure everything is dry before you put it away.
Which Is Best for You?
That’s a very good question and probably the only one that The Soothing Air can’t answer for you. But with the research and real customer feedback we have compiled for you to consider, you’re off to a great start. Look over the attached report and dig into the many specific pieces of information contained there. Then decide which of the features we have examined is important for you. Also, be sure to watch for a special sale on the steam cleaner of your dreams.
If, for example, you live in an apartment or small condo and need a full-sized machine that folds up for storage in a small place, our #9 pick, the Rug Doctor Deep Carpet Cleaner Upright might be the best for you. On the other hand, if you live in a large home with three kids and two dogs, you might want to take a serious look at our Advanced Pick, the almost commercial grade Bissell 86T3/86T3Q Big Green.
The Hoover FH50150 Carpet Basics Power Scrub Deluxe Carpet Washer takes the Grand Prize as our Top Pick for 10 Best Carpet Cleaner. It’s an all-around terrific machine. But, at the same time, all of the carpet cleaning machines in our top 10 deserve your consideration. Be sure to check our detailed report to find the best carpet cleaner as per your own needs and get rid of all the dirt and debris lurking in your carpet. Happy cleaning!