Selecting the right carpet cleaner does not have to be a difficult task, but it is easy to get lost in the technical details.
This is where I want to help. I have created a comparison chart with the top 10 buys in the US, an easy and no-nonsense guide to find the perfect cleaner for your needs, and short reviews with videos and comparisons of the 5 best carpet cleaning machines below the chart.
You can also go straight to our full reviews in the menu, where you will find helpful detailed comparisons of the different cleaners as well.
Top Carpet Cleaners 2021– To check price click the product name or the picture (amazon).
|BISSELL Big Green Deep Cleaning Machine Professional Grade, 86T3|| (4.9 / 5)|| Large areas of carpet|
Stains from pets and kids
|BISSELLProHeat 2X Revolution Max Clean Pet Pro Carpet Cleaner|| (4.6 / 5)||Stains from kids and pets|
Tough and embedded stains
Cleans upholstery and collects pet hair
|Hoover Power Scrub Deluxe Carpet Washer, FH50150|| (4.3 / 5)|| Lightweight|
|Hoover PowerDash Pet Carpet Washer|| (4.3 / 5)|| Lightweight|
Pet stain cleaner
|BISSELL SpotClean Professional Portable, 3624|| (4.4 / 5)|| Portable|
Easy to store
Hard to reach areas
|Hoover Smartwash Automatic Carpet Cleaning Machine, FH52000||(4.2 / 5)|| Automatic cleaning technology|
Designed to be very easy to use
|BISSELL Turboclean Powerbrush Pet|| (4.1 / 5)|| Pet stains|
Model: Clicking on the model name or the product image will take you to amazon.com, where you can see the latest pictures and get the latest price of the product.
What to Look for in a Carpet Cleaner 2021?
What kind of carpet cleaner (or carpet shampooer as they are also called) you want to buy depends entirely on what you need it for. We have created a guide for you to help you find the best cleaner for you needs.
You have a large carpet
If you have a large area to clean it is a good idea to buy a cleaner that has a large tank. That way you will not waste any time going back and forward refilling the tank as you work.
BISSELL Big Green Deep Cleaning Machine. Rug Doctor X3, BISSELL ProHeat 2X Revolution all have large tanks.
You have pets
Pets leaves stains and pet hair. To effectively get rid of both the hair and the sometimes smelly stains you would either need a cleaner that is designed specifically with pets in mind, or a very efficient professional cleaner. They will get rid of the stains, the hair and the smell, leaving both you and Fido happier.
Many of the pet cleaners have baskets to collect the hair from the pets. Also make sure to get a cleaning formula that is designed for pet stains and to eliminate odors.
Here is a list of the best carpet cleaners for pets 2021. You can also find helpful tips there on dealing with tough pet stains.
You have small children
If you have small children it is a good idea to get an efficient cleaner that you can use often. There will be accidents again and again ;). If you are worried about using chemicals you can just load the cleaner with a 100 % natural cleaning solution or even just use hot water. The hot water used will still get the carpet clean.
A handy way to clean up the messes as they occur is to use a portable cleaner, that way you can easily bring it out and clean up the mess fast. They are lightweight and store easily. They are not meant for cleaning large carpets though.
You have to remove tough stains
You want the most effective cleaners that deep clean getting rid of the grime and dirt embedded in the fibers. They don’t all do that. If you have the budget for it, we can recommend BISSELL Big Green Deep Cleaning Machine and Rug Doctor Mighty Pro. They are top of the line, they clean extremely efficient, in my experience better than many rental cleaners, and they can deodorize the carpets so by buying you will save a lot in the long run.
A slightly cheaper, but also very effective model is BISSELL ProHeat 2X Revolution.
You are on a tight budget
You can find good budget alternatives in our chart that still cleans efficiently. A great example of this is the Hoover Power Scrub Deluxe Carpet Washer.
You need to clean you stair carpet
Look for a cleaner in our comparison chart that is specialized on cleaning stairs and terrain. They have a special design that will help you clean tough corners and angles.
You want a professionally clean carpet
Then you need one of the most efficient cleaners on the market, the good news is that there are extremely efficient carpet cleaners to buy nowadays that will make your carpet look great. If this is a one time thing, obviously renting would be better, but by buying you will save a lot of money in the long run if you will use the machine more than once or twice.
Two top cleaners on the market today is: BISSELL Big Green Deep Cleaning Machine and Rug Doctor Mighty Pro. Both brands are long time established and have a very good and solid reputation.
They are both pretty big machines, they may not be the best option if you have a lot of fixed furniture or uneven terrain.
You have very limited space
Look in the comparison chart for cleaners that are extra small and easy to store. We can recommend BISSELL SpotClean Professional, it is portable and small, which makes it easy to store and handle, but still cleans efficiently and it has received good ratings by customers on the net. It is not a good choice for big areas of carpet though, because of its small tank. Hoover Power Scrub Deluxe, FH50150 is also a lightweight cleaner and a great option for limited space.
You don’t have much strength
Then you have some lightweight options to choose from. A portable unit like BISSELL SpotClean Professional can be a good option if you don’t have to clean large areas. Hoover Power Scrub Deluxe Carpet Washer, FH50150 and BISSELL Turboclean Powerbrush Pet on the other hand are also lightweight but fit to clean larger areas.
Review of the Five Best Carpet Cleaners in the US
These units have been praised by customers, and performs very well in our tests. This is some of the best buys the market has to offer 2021.
The BISSELL #86T3 is ideal for those with large houses, kids, or pets. The reason for this is because of its large-capacity clean-water and dirty-water tanks, and because of its extremely efficient deep cleaning, that cleans both going forwards and backwards. This is one of the things that separates it from the Rug Doctor, Rug Doctor only cleans in one direction, so you need more passes to clean.
To get this kind of cleaning power in a carpet cleaner you need to make it quite large, this model is therefore heavier than the normal models.
It cleans in both the forward and backward direction to cut down on cleaning time and its 25-foot cord provides easy movement throughout a room.
There is also a stair tool for those tricky areas to reach and a tool to clean upholstery.
Our Overall Rating:(4.9 / 5)
The Mighty Pro X3 Pet Pack is made by Rug Doctor and includes a Mighty Pro X3 machine, a combination stair/upholstery tool, a spray container of urine eliminator, and a container of Rug Doctor’s professional-strength carpet cleaner formula.
Like the Bissells Big Green Deep Cleaning Machine, this is a very powerful deep cleaner. The downside to this kind of powerful cleaning is that the machine is larger and heavier than normal carpet cleaners. An advantage with the Rug Doctor over Bissells Big Green is its longer power cord (28 ft vs 25 ft) and better tank capacity (3 gallons vs 1.75 gallons).
The Rug Doctor is especially designed for the tough stains that pets and kids make in the house. Included is a urine eliminator, to clean and remove stains, smells and pet urine.
It is ideal for a large house because of large-capacity separate tanks for the clean and dirty water. Can also clean car upholstery and car carpet.
Our Overall Rating:(4.7 / 5)
This model from BISSELL contains twelve rows of PowerBrushes that rotate to scrub the carpet clean. It also comes with a Stain Trapper tool to get the job finished right.
There is a collection basket to catch pet hair. This along with the odor control cleansing formula will help you eliminate pet stains and pet urine, and get rid of the smell.
That makes this unit ideal for pet owners that need a very efficient cleaner that also removes bad smell.
It is quite similar to the cheaper version, BISSELL DeepClean Premier Pet , 17N4, but it comes with more features to be able to handle tougher stains from pets, such as Cleanshot Trigger technology that adds extra cleaning solution on tough stains.
Our Overall Rating:(4.6 / 5)
The SpotClean Anywhere is perfect for home and office settings to remove stains and spills on carpets wherever they occur.
Its small size makes it very easy to handle for everybody. It is easy to move this machine from room to room with the soft-grip handle on top.
The downside to all portable carpet cleaners is reduced cleaning power and smaller tanks. This means you have to refill more often and it takes more work to clean bigger areas of carpet. Spot cleaning is the goal with this machine, and it is not good for working larger areas.
It is lightweight, even lighter than the portable carpet cleaner BISSELL SpotClean Pro 3624.
The Stain Trapper Tool sprays the cleaning solution on the stain and then scrubs and suctions the dirty liquid into a removable container so it does not mix with the cleaning solution.
This carpet shampooer is great for apartment owners as it is slim and small, and hides away in a closet easily.
Our Overall Rating:(4.3 / 5)
Hoover Power Scrub Deluxe is no exception to Hoover’s long history of providing quality products. This is a lightweight cleaner at only 19 pounds, but it cleans as well as some heavier models with its SpinScrub® Technology.
This model is ideal for people who do not have a need for, or the strength to handle, the heavier carpet shampooers, but need more power than what the portables have to offer. It is one of the best carpet cleaners on the market and an excellent budget choice.
There is an upholstery tool with an eight-inch hose attachment for cleaning difficult areas such as the stairs and couches. This carpet cleaning machine was a best seller in 2018-2020, and it seems to do very well in 2021 too.
Our Overall Rating:(4.3 / 5)
How we Review the Carpet Cleaning Machines
Most of the machines I have personally tried, and some I own (Bissell Big Green and Hoover Power Scrub Deluxe) but for some machines we drew knowledge from industry contacts and user reviews online.
We judge on:
- Design – Is the design smart and user friendly? Weight of the machine, location of tanks, cord length and good handles are some of the things we look at.
- Ease of use -Is the carpet cleaning machine easy to operate and learn?
- Efficiency – How well does it remove stains and clean the carpet? There is a big difference between the different price classes in this factor. So for tougher stains, old stains, and smelly pet stains you will not want the budget carpet cleaners. Other factors are suction, drying time, cleaning path and maneuverability.
- Accessories – Here we grade the amount of tools the cleaner comes with. Does it have stain removal tools, stair tools, tools for upholstery, tools for car upholstery, pet hair collector etc.
- Help & Support – How long is the warranty? How responsive and helpful is the company?
As I review the top carpet shampooers for home use I have found that going for quality is always best.
The big brands like Bissell and Hoover not only provide the best bang for your buck (with some machines even below the 100 dollar mark), they also have the expertise to provide you with quality cleaners especially when it comes to using carpet cleaners for pets and pet stains.
Best Carpet Cleaner Brands and Why
You’ll recognize most of our top brands – two of them are household words, and offer dozens of carpet and floor cleaning choices. Check out our top five carpet cleaner brands .
Bissell rules the carpet cleaning and vacuum cleaner industries, along with Hoover. According to the Bissell website, the company sells upright, portable, and canister carpet cleaners. Bissell also sells replacement parts, attachments for all their current machines, and even some older models. You’ll find anything for your carpet cleaning needs from Bissell.
Bissell has over 140 years of innovation in carpet cleaning, vacuums, sweepers, and steam and hard floor cleaners. The company’s products are available just about anywhere you shop, from appliance stores to Wal-Mart and other big-box retailers as well as Amazon.com
The Hoover name is even more iconic than Bissell when it comes to carpet and floor care. Hoover offers portable, upright, and deluxe home carpet shampooers, as well as models made to tackle tough pet stains. Like Bissell, Hoover provides its own line of cleaning solutions, from Paws and Claws to get rid of pet messes, and tough Oxy stain remover for red wine or coffee stains.
The company was founded in 1908, and its legendary products include WindTunnel vacuum cleaners and the ONEPWR line of cordless battery-powered carpet cleaners, hard floor washers, and vacuums.
Hoover products are available at most large retail stores and online at their website, Amazon, and other appliance sites.
You may have seen Rug Doctor carpet cleaner machines for rent at your local supermarket, but the company also sells home carpet cleaners. Although they only have a few home models, the special features are in the same league as Bissell and Hoover cleaners.
The Rug Doctor Deep Carpet Cleaner, with its dual cross-action brushes and easy to use lift tank, received a Gold Certification from the Carpet and Rug Institute. Rug Doctor carpet cleaners tend to be a bit more expensive than Bissell or Hoover cleaners, since they’re made by a manufacturer best known for professional and rental products.
If you do a lot of heavy cleaning on your carpets, a Rug Doctor carpet cleaner may work for you. The company was founded in Texas in 1972. They offer a wide selection of cleaning products, attachments, and replacement parts in addition to their rental and home carpet cleaners.
McCulloh offers compact home carpet steamers with a distinctive yellow and black design. These steamers clean carpets, most types of flooring, furniture, upholstery, even windows, and barbeque grills.
This company’s products are best if you have a small amount of carpet to deep clean, and prefer the steam method. McCulloch steam cleaners are a good choice if your home is mostly tile or hard flooring, with some carpeting.
McCulloch offers regular-sized, portable, and handheld steam cleaners. McCulloch was founded in 1943, and originally produced chainsaws and other power tools for home use. The heavy-duty series of PowerSteamers are their only floor/carpet cleaning products.
Shark is best known for its lightweight stick vacuum cleaners, but it also offers carpet cleaner machines and hard floor cleaning systems with the same compact design. The Sonic Power scrubbing action offers over 1000 scrubs per minute. Shark sells no-rinse carpet cleaning solutions and other cleaning products for carpets and hard floors.
Shark has a limited number of carpet shampooers/cleaners, and the ones it makes are made to clean both hard floors and carpets. If you like to use a lightweight cleaning mop, and have more hard flooring in your home than carpet, Shark is another brand to consider along with McCulloch.
Home Carpet Cleaner FAQ
If you’ve never used a home carpet cleaner before, you may wonder about what you can and can’t do, and if the machine can damage certain materials. Here’s a rundown on the basics of using a carpet cleaner (sometimes called a carpet shampooer).
Can I Clean Upholstery with My Carpet Cleaner?
Some people use their carpet cleaners on mattresses, curtains, upholstery, and car seats. If you want to use your carpet cleaner on these items, make sure it comes with attachments to clean furniture and draperies. Even if a cleaner has attachments to clean curtains, don’t use it on silk or velvet items.
For cleaning floors, choose a steam cleaner or steam mop. Some carpet cleaners come with tools so you can use them on plain floors as well as carpets. Read the manufacturer’s directions to find out if you can use a carpet cleaner on a particular item.
What Sort of Cleaning Solution Should I Use with my Carpet Cleaner?
Your carpet cleaner manufacturer will recommend a particular product, and you should use that if possible. If you don’t like the way that solution works, you may substitute another cleaning product unless the manufacturer directions indicate that it would damage the machine.
How Long Will It Take Before My Carpet Dries?
The drying time varies, depending on the type of carpet you have and its thickness. Some carpet cleaners aid with the drying process, while others soak up dirt. Strategically place box fans in the room after you’ve cleaned the carpet to help the carpet dry faster. Most carpets will dry completely after a few hours after you’ve cleaned them.
Can I Clean Carpet on my Stairs with a Home Carpet Cleaner?
Clean carpeted stairs by using the nozzle accessories that come with your carpet cleaner. An upholstery nozzle will clean rugs and carpets on stairs, as well as upholstery. Always check your user manual for details.
Can I Use a Carpet Cleaner on All Types of Rugs and Carpets?
Carpet cleaners are safe to use on most carpets. Some cleaners can’t be used on Berber carpeting or wool carpeting unless you use cool water and refrain from getting the material too wet. You can use carpet cleaners on most area rugs and wall-to-wall shag carpeting.
Don’t use carpet cleaning machines on the following materials:
- Cashmere rugs
- Sisal carpets
- Hand-loomed wool rugs
- Braided rugs
- Jute carpets
If a rug manufacturer recommends dry cleaning, don’t use a carpet cleaner on it, even to remove spot stains.
Can I Clean my Carpet with Just Water?
The cleaning solution that comes with your carpet cleaner is made to mix with water and clean your carpet thoroughly without damaging it. Most carpets are pre-treated, but you still need to clean them regularly with water and cleaning products to banish dirt and dust.
Using only water won’t remove dirt and stains from your carpet.
Is it Cost-Efficient to Own a Carpet Cleaner?
A carpet shampooer machine is relatively inexpensive, with most brands offering models for between $75-$200. Some models are a bit more or a bit less. Renting professional equipment or hiring a carpet cleaning service costs much more, and you won’t have the convenience of doing quick touch-ups on your own.
Professional service might be a good idea if the cleaning is a one time thing, if your carpet is very damaged by dirt, or if you are not very mobile.
Should I Vacuum before Cleaning my Carpet?
Vacuum once or twice before using your carpet cleaner. The cleaner your carpet is before you shampoo it, the more dirt it will remove.
How Often Should I Clean My Carpet?
How often you clean your carpet depends on the traffic in your house. If you have pets, young children, or throw a lot of parties, you’ll need to clean your carpets every two or six months.
If you don’t have children or pets and don’t have a lot of visitors, a once-a-year cleaning might be enough.
Clean your carpet every six months if you or anyone in your household smokes.
What is the Best Way to Use a Carpet Cleaner?
Read the directions for your carpet cleaner and follow the directions carefully for best results. Use the appropriate cleaning solution for your shampooer.
After you’ve removed furniture, thoroughly vacuum the area to be cleaned with a powerhead vacuum cleaner. Make sure you pick up paper clips, coins, small toys, and other objects that could jam the vacuum cleaner or carpet cleaner before you start the cleaning process.
Vacuuming and picking up stray objects will expose carpet stains.
Prepare the carpet cleaner by filling the water tank and adding a cleaning solution per the manufacturer’s recommendations. Never use more shampoo than recommended, as this will leave more residue on the carpet and cling to dirt.
Remember to use attachments to clean tight areas and corners.
What Should I Know About Cleaning Solution?
It’s important to remove all soap from the carpet, and also extract the water to prevent a soggy or mildewed carpet. Leaving the detergent on the carpet will make it look dirtier, and it will be harder to clean the next time you use the shampooer.
There are several types of carpet cleaning solutions you can use with your machine. Most companies (Hoover, Bissell, etc.) offer a standard solution, a scent, and allergen-free one, a solution specifically for households with pets, or a general extra-strength solution.
If you have pets, you may have to use other methods in addition to a carpet cleaner to keep your rugs and carpets clean.
How Can I Keep My Carpet Looking Great?
Vacuum your carpet once or twice a week, depending on how much traffic it receives. Remove stains quickly using spot stain remover or a carpet cleaner attachment. Avoid leaving stains to settle in the carpet because you think you can remove them later when you do your scheduled carpet cleaning. The stains will be harder to remove and may remain in the carpet.
Finding the Best Carpet Shampooer: Final Words
If you have never used a carpet cleaning machine before and will not be cleaning too large areas of carpet, I would recommend the Hoover Smartwash. It is a machine that is very easy to use, and it works very well.
For tougher carpet stains I always recommend the BISSELL Big Green. It is a high quality machine, and one of the most successful carpet cleaning machines in recent years.
If you are on a budget you will not go wrong with Hoover Power Scrub Deluxe. It has been around for a while, but it is lightweight, cheap, easy to use and effective. It is in my opinion the best budget carpet cleaner right now.
When dealing with pets I can highly recommend the BISSELL ProHeat 2X if you deal with tough pet stains. With many pet attachments and features this cleaner qualifies for the best pet carpet cleaner right now. The Hoover Powerdash Pet is a great option if you want a cheap but good carpet cleaning machine.
We hope this article has been of use for you and we will keep updating it as new models come out on the market.