From dust and stains to pet waste and spills, your carpet takes a fair share of dirt. Even if you vacuum the carpet often, some dirt simply won’t go away without a good wash. To keep your home clean for long, giving your carpet a good wash goes a long way. Only then can you keep it fresh and looking spotless.
There are countless options to choose from if you’re in the market for a new carpet cleaner. Top-rated models in the market tend to be pricey but you can find good budget cleaners when you shop around online. Ultimately, the best carpet cleaner for you is one that meets the unique needs of your home.
1. Best overall - Hoover FH50150 Carpet Cleaner
The Hoover FH50150 Scrub is our top pick for best overall carpet cleaner. The Hoover brand needs no introduction as it makes some of the best carpet cleaners you can buy. The FH50150 particularly stands out because it’s got everything you’d ever need in a great carpet cleaner, including the innovative SpinScrub brush system, among other features.
For starters, this cleaner comes with a set of tools so that you can tailor your cleaning to your specific need. The turbo brush is probably the one tool you’ll be using most as it scrubs different surfaces and hard-to-reach areas.
Then there are two suction tools in medium and large. These are great for giving your carpet a nice clean wash to remove spills and stains in areas that are typically problematic to clean using the brush tool.
Other tools that come with the Hoover include a deodorizer, a bottle of Hoover Clean all-purpose cleaner, a hose, an upholstery tool, and a crevice cleaning tool.
You don’t need many tools to assemble your new cleaner after unboxing. A flathead screwdriver will suffice most of the time.
Although the Hoover FH50150 Scrub has a light build, it is very sturdy. Lightweight machines are reputed for being less durable than heavier ones but the Hoover FH50150 is different. It has just enough weight to give it good stability
“The cleaner functions very well and does a good job. However the SpinScrub brush uses a turbine system made with seemingly cheap parts. It starts to rust as soon as it gets in contact with water, which is just after the first wash.”
Overall, the Hoover FH50150 Scrub is a very solid carpet cleaner and ranks among the best carpet cleaners currently, which is why it is on top of our list. It comes with all the tools you’d ever need to do any type of cleaning. It is lightweight and easy to maneuver, and also includes a nice set of tools for specialized cleaning, including a hose and upholstery tool for cleaning hard to reach areas.
2. Best Professional Grade - Rug Doctor Carpet Cleaner
The Rug Doctor Carpet cleaner is a well-crafted machine that gives professional quality carpet cleaning. ‘Rug Doctor’ is synonymous with carpet cleaners. It’s another highly trusted and reputed brand in the carpet cleaning world, with countless top models that regularly rank as some of the best on the market. Because of their quality (and other factors), Rug Doctor machines tend to be pricier than other competing brands.
This particular model - Rug Doctor 931461 – is highly rated in terms of performance. Particularly, the machine scores highly in water extraction and stain removal tests. The big claim from the manufacturer is that this cleaner features 75% more suction than its closest competitors. While this percentage is not easy to verify separately, independent test results we saw confirmed that the Rug Doctor 931461 outperforms many cleaners in its price range and below.
At 25 lbs, this Rug Doctor model is a shade heavier than most of its competitors but this also means it is sturdier and more stable. And despite its weight, it is not a struggle to move on the carpet.
With the Rug Doctor, it takes approximately 2 hours for the carpet to dry, which is pretty impressive given that the baseline average for the majority of cleaners is 3 hours. This short time to dry is perhaps because of the cleaner’s superior levels of suction.
In terms of accessories, the Rug Doctor is somewhat lacking as it’s equipped with only a hose, an upholstery tool, and a bottle of cleaning solution.
“The Rug Doctor works well, a little better than our previous machine, which was a Hoover. It’s also a more expensive unit.”
The Rug Doctor is superior than most of its closest competitors in terms of cleaning ability. It cleans fast and has great suction capability, allowing carpets to dry faster than average. It has a few downsides – including a cumbersome size and a lack of tools and accessories – but these are not deal breakers. Overall you have one of the best carpet cleaning machines on the market currently in the Rug Doctor 931461.
3. Best Compact - BISSELL ProHeat (14259) Carpet Cleaner
The Bissell Little Green ProHeat carpet cleaner has little competition when it comes to size. It’s obvious that size is its main differentiator but if you look beyond this little machine’s size, there’s a well-crafted and powerful piece of machinery.
This machine is famed as the best-selling spot cleaner and it’s not hard to see why. Independent test results we researched rank it as the best carpet cleaner for spot treatment. It pulls up stains from a carpet really well.
The Bissell Little Green also comes with a built-in water heater that heats up water to the most conducive cleaning temperature within 30 seconds.
One potential downside to the Bissell Little Green is its tank capacity. At only 48 ounces, it is a considerably smaller than average. As such, we cannot recommend this cleaner for commercial purposes or to people living in big houses.
The Bissell Little Green comes with just enough accessories for cleaning. First, there is a crevice tool to take spot cleaning a notch higher. Then there’s a stain tool for uprooting deep stains. The Little Green also ships with a cleaning formula
“This cleaner is an upholstery life saver. For a cleaner its size, it sure does an impeccable job but it’s certainly not for large scale cleaning.”
Overall, the Bissell Little Green is a solid compact carpet cleaner that specializes in a particular type of cleaning and does it really well. It is purposely build small so that explains the smaller than average water tank. This cleaner isn't ideal for every situation but it’s one of the absolute best for small, targeted cleaning.
4. Best Value - Bissell 3624 SpotClean Portable
If you’re a fan of Bissell carpet cleaners and need something a little bigger and more powerful than the Bissell Little Green machine, you might want to consider the Bissell 3624 SpotClean Pro carpet cleaner.
It’s made with the same great features as it’s famous compact sibling the Little Green cleaner but packs more size and power. Thus, you can expect excellent spot treatment from this machine. That said, this machine stays true to Bissell’s focus on spot cleaning.
The Bissell 3624 is very lightweight, weighing only 13 pounds when dry. That means maneuvering it on the carpet is a breeze. Although lightweight machines may have durability issues, the various owner reviews we perused suggested otherwise.
Top accessories included with this machine are a 3-inch stain tool and a 6-inch stair cleaning tool, which are basically identical except for size. You also get a bottle of Bissell’s much-acclaimed cleaning formula as part of the accessories package.
There are many other optional tools that you can purchase separately.
The Bissell SpotClean gets most of its props from its excellent spot cleaning capability. If you want to remove spills and stains without a lot of scrubbing, this machine perfectly suits you.
The machine also has excellent suction, which means your carpets won't be taking too long to dry.
“The Bissell worked great for the first few times we used it, then suddenly the sprayer stopped spraying the cleaning solution out.”
The Bissell SpotClean Pro 3624 is certainly not made for everyone. Its intended purpose is clear: small cleaning tasks that you’ll do frequently. It's also excellent for cleaning upholstery and car interiors.
5. Best Budget - BISSELL SpotLifter 2X Portable (1719) Deep Carpet Cleaner
The Bissell SpotLifter 2X Portable Deep carpet cleaner brings a totally different experience to carpet cleaning. The SpotLifter combines the stain removing power of the Bissell brand with ultra-portability to give you hassle-free carpet cleaning. You get up to 15 minutes of cordless cleaning, so obviously this works perfectly for specific situations, especially emergencies such as spills, pet waste, and kids’ messes.
The SpotLifter employs the same working format as other carpet cleaners from Bissell. It takes in water and cleaning formula and then sprays out the mixture to loosen spots and mud in the carpet fibers as the brush lifts up the dirt. The machine then sucks out the dirty mixture, leaving the carpet spotlessly clean.
It terms of size, the SpotLifter is one of the most compact cleaners you can find, measuring a mere 17.35” by 7” by 10”. Despite the compact build, the SpotLifter is pretty efficient, ideal for speedy cleaning when expecting guests. It’s also often used to clean car interiors and lounge furniture. Because it is very lightweight (weighs just 6.25 lbs), cleaning with the SpotLifter is quite effortless compared to heavier machines.
“A very handy cleaner. Portable and easy to use. Great for cleaning up small messes on carpet. I prefer a bigger cleaner for larger areas but this is ideal if you have little kids spilling things around. ”
In all, the Bissell SpotLifter is not your usual carpet cleaning machine. Clearly, it is designed for very specific uses which it executes with great efficiency. You can carry this machine with you on weekend trips as it conveniently fits.
6. Best High End - Bissell Cleaning Carpet Cleaner (86T3/86T3Q)
Here’s another powerful machine from Bissell: the Big Green 86T3/86T3Q is a top rated machine that packs a ton of power and gives great performance. Bissell’s major claim is that the Big Green cleans better than your typical rental carpet cleaner. That’s obviously an assertion that’s hard to verify independently but based on hundreds of owner reviews we’ve read, it’s easy to see why.
The feature-packed Big Green is equipped with a bunch of tools that provide excellent professional grade cleaning. One standout feature is Bissell’s proprietary DirtLifter brushing technology that helps to lift deep-seated dirt and grime from carpet fibers. This kind of cleaning is ideal for busy places that are frequently soiled.
The Big Green is also equipped with front and backwards cleaning capability. This may not seem like a big deal but consider the time saved when cleaning a big area. The ability to clean forwards and backwards does not affect the machine’s suction power in any way.
The Big Green’s variable height handle allows you to set a suitable height by which to handle the machine. This way you can handle the machine where you feel most comfortable for faster cleaning.
While Bissell’s regular grade cleaners typically use a single tank, the Big Green is equipped with a two-tank system to separate clean from dirty water.
“This is a huge, powerful carpet cleaner. A true workhorse and I'm very impressed with its quality. Does a superb job of cleaning carpets.”
The Bissell Big Green is a pricey machine but well worth every penny. It is a professional grade cleaner built with durable parts. It cleans carpets fast and efficiently. It’s a must-have for large scale carpet cleaning.
7. Best for Pets - BISSELL DeepClean Carpet Cleaner, 17N4
The Bissell DeepClean Premier carpet cleaner is purposely designed to tackle unique challenges related to pet messes, including dirty paws and shedding hair, among others. The DeepClean carries all of the great features you find on the Big Green cleaner but it can also vacuum as well as scrub.
For regular carpet cleaning, the DeepClean’s heatwave technology gives it an edge when it comes to uprooting dirt from carpet fibers. In simpler terms, the machine maintains a certain optimum temperature while cleaning, which gives the cleaner more power to eliminate stains.
Another hallmark of the Bissell DeepClean Premier Pet cleaner is the Surround Suction feature. Unlike other machines, the Surround Suction feature built into the DeepClean allows the cleaner to suck water from all sides, instead of only in the front.
That said, results from independent tests are not on DeepClean’s side. The machine ranks lower than competitors in spectrometer stain removal test results we saw. The DeepClean also ranks lower than close competitors in rinse tests, which brings doubt to claims of Bissell’s superior Surround Suction technology.
Nonetheless, the DeepClean seems to excel in one particular area – cleaning pet waste. The built-in pet tool does a decent job of removing pet stain. In terms of overall performance though, the DeepClean has some serious competition, even from within Bissell’s own lineup.
“The DeepClean rocks my world. I have two elder pets that really mess up my carpet but this cleaner washes everything thoroughly.”
The Bissell DeepClean Premier pet carpet cleaner makes some big and bold claims, but in reality, it falls short of expectations. If you’re looking for a highly specialized cleaner that tackles pet waste with great capability, this might be the machine for you. However, the DeepClean is certainly not a good pick for a multitasking carpet cleaner, no matter the claims.
8. Best Multitasker- Hoover F7452900PC Hardwood Floor & Carpet Cleaner
The Hoover F7452900 Max Extract carpet cleaner is built for high performance and frequent cleaning use particularly on hardwood floors. The Max Extract is equipped with unique features and technology that enables it to clean highly trafficked areas with efficiency.
For cleaning purposes, the Hoover Max Extract has two modes: rinse and wash. ‘Rinse’ mode normally works with wood flooring and the machine will only release water to clean while in this mode. In ‘wash’ mode, the machine automatically mixes cleaning formula with water as it sprays it to the carpet. With this mode, you always have the right amount of cleaning formula and water.
You can also switch between SpinScrub brush or spill pick-up settings. The brush has several settings as well that apply to different cleaning situations.
The Hoover Max Extract is pretty heavy, weighing a whole 30 lbs. You’ll feel the real effects of this weight when you start cleaning. Slow movements give better cleaning results so this isn't a machine you can rush.
“Cleans superbly although a bit heavy.”
The Hoover Max Extract F7452900 is no doubt a top performer when it comes to carpet cleaning. It’s superior ability to lift deep seated dirt is instantly eident once you start using it.
9. Best Overall, Runner up - BISSELL (1622) PowerLifter Shampooer
The Bissell PowerLifter Shampooer and Carpet Cleaner is a general-purpose cleaning machine that is best suited to regular carpet cleaning. Unlike Bissell’s more specialized models, the PowerLifter isn't built to excel in a particular function. Instead, this machine is built to handle mundane cleaning tasks such those you’d do more frequently.
The Bissell Powerlifter is a value offering that doesn't ship with a lot of tools and accessories. Obviously this means you don't get the same versatility as you would get from a full-featured cleaner. Still, the Bissell PowerLifter has a particular cleaning need it fulfils, thanks to its unique brush design that lifts dirt off carpets with ease.
One notable upside to this cleaner is its compact size, making it easy to carry from one room to the next without much hassle.
The Bissell PowerLifter is equipped with a 3-quart tank that is split into 2 compartments, one for holding dirty water and the other for the cleaning solution. If you lie in a moderately small apartment then this tank capacity is ideal. It’s definitely not for bigger homes.
Based on several owner reviews we read, this cleaner performs well overall. However some users report running into issues, which on close scrutiny seem to mostly be inconveniences rather than significant problems.
Spectrometer readings for this cleaner show a noticeable improvement in stain removal but they don't come anywhere near the top performers. This is expected given this machine’s price point. Based on the same test results we saw, the PowerLifter also performed dismally in rinse tests.
“It’s the cheapest of all cleaners I own. It seriously lacks in some areas and it’s definitely not the cleaner you need for upholstery and cleaning hard-to-reach places.”
The Bissell PowerLifter Shampooer and Carpet Cleaner is a decent carpet cleaner that’s very affordable. It is built for general purpose cleaning and it’s compact size allows easy movement. The PowerLifter lacks top tools and accessories so you shouldn't expect to extract top performance out of it.
10. Best for Maneuverability - Bissell DeepClean Premier
The Bissell DeepClean is one of the best carpet cleaning machines for pet waste as it is specially designed to deal with stains from pet messes. Whether you live with one or several pets, you know that pet odor can be a huge problem in the house if you don’t clean your carpet often.
The Bissell DeepClean is equipped with innovative features that allow for seamless stain and odor removal. The cleaner features 12 rows of rotating brushes, a feature that’s exclusive to the Bissell DeepClean premier carpet cleaner. With this unique brush design, not only will the cleaner uplift deep seated dirt but also restore your carpet pile.
This machine’s standout feature is the pet stain tool that’s specialized for tackling particularly stubborn pet waste stains. The DeepReach pet stain remover works best with the optional Pet Stain trapper that features a detachable container for suctioning and holding bigger pet messes before they reach the cleaner. These specialized tools give this cleaner an edge when it comes to cleaning after pet waste. They give precision control and powerful suction, resulting in effortless cleaning of even the worst stains.
The Bissell DeepClean also features a pet hair basket, a neat feature that prevents pet hair from clogging the cleaner’s water tank. It’s a nice little feature that’s missing on most top cleaners on the market.
The Bissell DeepClean also ensures a steady supply of warm water courtesy of its built-in Heat Wave technology. Water temperatures are kept up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, making stain removal a lot easier and faster.
This cleaner allows you to clean close to the walls with ease, thanks to its EdgeSweep feature.
“I can't live without this machine. Been using it for a few months now and there’s a whole lot of a difference in how my carpet looks and smells.”
Most owner reviews we read for this cleaner were full of praise. Most users claim that the Bissell DeepClean does a thorough job cleaning after pet waste and is overall a top performing machine.
Carpet Cleaner Buying Guide
Buying a carpet cleaner is unlike anything else. There are so many types and models on the market that, for many buyers, choosing the best easily gets confusing. There’s a lot to consider too, including size, build, performance, tools and accessories, among others. Price is also important for many buyers.
Fortunately, there is a cleaner at every price point. At the lowest end, you have to make many sacrifices particularly in terms of performance. At the highest end, you get top performance and advanced features but you also pay through the nose.
Besides price, other top considerations when buying a carpet cleaner include: ease of assembly, ease of operation, noise level, tools and accessories package, water tank capacity, brush system, and suction power.
The top-pick for our list of best carpet cleaners 2017 is the Hoover FH50150 Scrub. It’s a solid cleaner with powerful features that effortlessly tackle stains and embedded dirt. The Hoover PowerScrub has some serious competition, however, including the equally powerful Rug Doctor and the top performing Bissell 86T3/86T3Q Big Green Deep Cleaning Carpet Cleaner.
There are several highly specialized cleaners that tackle specific cleaning scenarios, notably the Bissell DeepClean Premier Pet Carpet Cleaner. In the end, you should choose a cleaner that best suits your unique home circumstances and also offers the best value for your money.