While a vacuum is important to clean your home on a daily basis, it won’t get rid of stubborn stains the way a carpet cleaner can.
If you live in a heavily carpeted home or apartment, chances are that you’ll have to get down on your knees and rub it all away. But not everyone’s got time for that, and if you find yourself doing it too often or hiring people who do it for you, you might be better off investing in a carpet cleaner.
The Best Carpet Cleaners in 2018
Although there are many different carpet cleaners available for purchase, the two most dominant brands in the market are Hoover and Bissell. These two companies have released near-countless number of different models to choose from, and not all of them are built equal.
We’ve compiled a list of the best carpet cleaner and washers you can buy right now. We also have a buyer’s guide at the end to help you with your purchase.
Our Top Pick
Hoover Power Scrub Deluxe
The Best of the Best
The Hoover Power Scrub Deluxe is a popular, lightweight carpet cleaner that is easy to use and performances very well. This machine features advanced tech that cleans your carpets fast and also greatly aids in the drying process.
The Hoover Power Scrub Deluxe is an Amazon’s Choice product with over 11,000 reviews and a high rating. Given its price point, performance, and reliability, this is by far the best carpet cleaner one can buy.
Hoover PowerDash Pet
The PowerDash Pet carpet cleaner from Hoover is lightweight, portable, and dedicated to cleaning small carpets. It is of great value and serves its job fantastically. This compact machine is perfect for small apartments and flats.
Compact and affordable, yet maintaining the standards and reliability of Hoover is what the PowerDash Pet does. This is an excellent product for individuals on a budget.
A casual look at the Amazon page for the Hoover Power Scrub Deluxe will tell you exactly what you need to know about the performance of this carpet cleaner. With over 11,000 reviews with an average of 4.3/5 stars and Amazon’s Choice tag, this is the go to carpet cleaner for everyone.
This machine uses hot air to dry the carpets, getting rid of one of the biggest problems with carpet cleaners of being unable to dry effectively. At only 19 pounds, the Power Scrub Deluxe by Hoover is easy to handle and move around.
It has 2 tanks – one for clean, hot water, and the other that sucks in dirty water. Each tank has a capacity of 1 gallon. The machine also automatically stops the suction function when the dirty tank is filled. You can continue using the machine then to allow for rinsing the carpet and soapy water till your rug is clean.
This carpet cleaner is easy to assemble and intuitive to use. It comes with five 360-degree removable brushes that counter rotate to extract dirt. It is incredibly effective at what it does, unequivocally making it the best carpet cleaner on the market.
- Excellent performance
- Lightweight and easy to handle
- Reasonably priced for how good it is
- Auto shut-off is a great feature
- Cord length is small
Hoover dominates the mainstream carpet cleaner market, but when it comes to professional level washers, Rug Doctor is often the brand name that is ushered by most.
The Rug Doctor Deep Carpet Cleaner is a professional quality cleaner that is designed to create a much larger suction system. It is packed with features, and for this reason comes in a little heavy. At over 25 pounds when empty and almost 37 pounds when full (yes, you read that right), it is in fact the heaviest product on this list.
This heaviness is due to the very sturdy build quality. Rug Doctor claims that the complex suction technology that also adds into the weight of the machine creates 75% more suction than products from competitors. While we haven’t tested this in a lab, it’s clear that from its rating as Gold for CRI Class Cleaning Performance it is incredible at what it does.
Its dual brushes are powerful and do a great job of extracting dirt from the carpet. There is also a great quick dry feature that allows your carpet to dry in four hours, which is a welcome addition as the biggest problem with cleaning carpets is the sogginess.
- Rugged, strong build
- Powerful suction
- Professional quality cleaning
- Reliable product
- Very heavy
Coming at an affordable price of less than $100, the Hoover PowerDash Pet is a popular choice for users who only need to clean small rugs and carpets. This small yet great performing carpet cleaner weighs only 12 pounds when empty and a weight of 20 pounds when full of a gallon of water.
This makes it lightweight and incredibly portable, which is important as this version comes without any hose or attachment of any kind. While this does prevent you from clean tighter areas such as stairs, it’s important to remember that this is a product designed for smaller carpets.
It’s compact size, affordability, and ease of us is what makes this such a great value product. It doesn’t have as powerful a suction as some of the bigger (and more expensive) Hoover models. It thus takes additional passes to clean most dense carpets.
The Hoover PowerDash Pet however is perfect for the audience it is designed for. It is ideal for small apartments with smaller rugs, and easy to store due to its compactness.
- Lightweight and portable
- Great for small apartments
- Compact and easy to store
- Great value
- No hose
- Requires more passes to clean dense carpets
An Amazon’s Choice product, the succinctly named Bissell ProHeat 2X Lift-Off Pet 1561 is a heavy duty carpet cleaner designed to tackle the toughest stains you’d expect. This machine behaves like a 2 in 1. It is a full size deep carpet cleaner and shampooer and behaves as a portable spot and upholstery cleaner.
The portability of the product is questionable though. It is a weighty 24 pounds when empty and 30 pounds when filled with water and cleaning solution.
However, the weight is also an indication of the carpet’s powerful cleaning capability. The tank of this carpet cleaner is removable and features a useful carrying handle which is very convenient for disposal purposes.
The best aspect of this machine it is how incredibly well it dries out the carpet after cleaning. It’s capacity isn’t the largest, so you might need to refill regularly, but its performance – in particular in drying the carpet – is top notch.
- Excellent drying
- Removable tank is extremely convenient
- Overall great performance
- Short hose
It’s little surprise that Hoover dominates our list with the fifth and final spot for the best carpet cleaner out there. The SmartWash Automatic is a smarter, more automated version of the formula that works so well for Hoover, and for this reason it maintains a fantastic balance between quality, ease of use, and performance.
Unlike most other carpet cleaners, the SmartWash Automatic is motion-activated. Moving the machine back and forth will make the machine detect the motion. It will then react accordingly, dispensing the cleaning agent with any forward movement and absorbing it moving back.
This makes the Hoover SmartWash incredible easy to use. It is also one of the fastest carpet cleaners due to this smart feature. It is also incredibly lightweight considering its features.
Another feature that sets this Hoover model apart from other carpet cleaners is that it comes with three tanks instead of two. There are two regular ones for clean and dirty water, and an additional one for the detergent. This makes life easier and cleaning faster.
The caveat? It’s an expensive product and may not be worth the price. The smart features is great but some individuals would prefer the good old fashioned way of doing things.
- Good performance
- Great automated cleaning
- Convenient and easy to use
If you can’t move it around easily, then there’s not much use of a carpet cleaner. Weight and portability should be an important factor in your decision if you’re buying for home, but they don’t have to be the most decisive if you’re a professional cleaner.
Generally, carpet cleaners can get a bit heavy because of the machinery, material, and the water that is stored in them. You want a carpet cleaner that is as lightweight as possible. Hoover in this regard makes great carpet cleaners because most of them are incredibly light.
Portability is also dictated by the shape and design of the cleaner. You want one that is as compact as possible, unless you need wider coverage.
This is the most important part, for obvious reasons. How well a carpet cleaner performs will depend on how effectively it cleans and just how fast it does. The suction is an important aspect that you should consider.
A carpet cleaner with powerful brushes and ability to extract stains and dirt from the carpet effectively is the one you want.
Suction is important, but it’s not everything. You should also look for a carpet cleaner that performs in such a way that it is easier to dry. Your carpet will be damp, but if it is soggy then your cleaner is not performing and cleaning as effectively as a carpet cleaner can.
More motor amps are usually associated with better cleaning ability, so be sure to research that spec before you buy one.
Often when cleaning rugs and carpets by hand, it’s the corners and hard to reach areas that are the most troublesome. Carpet cleaners don’t have the same fidelity as a cloth or brush, but they can compensate that by offering a hose. Hoses are excellent for reaching tough spots and cleaning areas like the stairs.
Even without a hose, a carpet cleaner should have enough of a wide coverage to clean a sizable surface area in one swoop.
Why should I invest in a carpet cleaner?
If you have a carpeted home and live with children and/or pets, chances are there will be lots of stains everywhere. Not everyone has the time to clean carpets the old fashioned way. Carpet cleaners provide a faster and easier method of cleaning.
Is tank capacity important?
Tank capacity can allow you to clean for longer without having to empty the machine. However, we feel that performance is far more important.
Do I need a cleaner with a hose?
A hose can be useful for reaching nooks and corners that the entire carpet cleaner would struggle to fit in. However, if you have a small central carpet or rug that is easily accessible, the hose becomes optional.
What can I do to speed up the drying process?
CRI, the Carpet and Rug Institute, recommends opening windows and doors as well as using any fans you have available to speed up the drying process after cleaning. Most carpet cleaners nowadays aid in the drying process by the way they clean the carpet.