clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

The 5 Best Carpet Cleaners (2022 Review)

Carpet cleaners remove stains in high-traffic areas and messes from accident-prone children or pets. In this review, the This Old House Reviews Team researched the five best carpet cleaners on Amazon to help you find the one that’s right for you. The products included in this article are available at various retail stores, local home centers, and online retailers like Amazon.

carpet cleaner Adobe

Whether you have a puppy in training or kids with dirty shoes, a carpet cleaner can be a smart investment to keep your floors in good condition. These machines come in a variety of designs, with some focusing on pet cleanups and others harnessing enough power to clean your floors from wall to wall. To help you select a unit, the This Old House Reviews Team researched the best carpet cleaners on Amazon. Here are our top recommendations.

Best Automatic Cleaner: Hoover SmartWash Carpet Cleaner

Instead of pulling a trigger to release your cleaning solution, this carpet cleaner takes the guesswork out of targeting stains by mixing and dispensing the solution for you as you move forward. For tough stains that have sat on your carpet for days, you can use the detachable wand to pretreat them.

Key Features

  • 20.5 pounds
  • 22-foot power cord
  • One-gallon clean water tank
  • Five-year warranty

What Customers Are Saying

Customers liked the design of this carpet cleaner with its large water tank and easy-to-maneuver body. They also said that it could tackle tough stains. However, users who left negative reviews for this carpet cleaner said that it leaked water.

Best For Light Use: Hoover PowerDash Carpet Cleaner

With a 0.5-gallon water tank, this machine is an effective, lightweight, and affordable option for targeting a pet stain or cleaning a throw rug. It has a skinny, upright frame that weighs 12.5 pounds to fit in the corner of a closet when it’s not in use.

Key Features

  • 12.5 pounds
  • 20-foot power cord
  • 0.5-gallon clean water tank
  • One-year warranty

What Customers Are Saying

Customers stated that this cleaner was easy to assemble, made from durable materials, and useful for pet stains. Some users criticized the clean water tank that was located toward the bottom of the machine because it leaked.

Most Portable: Shark Upright Cordless Stick Vacuum

Though this machine doesn’t target stains, it has a two-speed motorized brush head that lifts embedded debris. Its cordless design also makes it lightweight and portable to clean carpeted and hard floors around your home.

Key Features

  • 7.5 pounds
  • Cordless design
  • 0.65-quart dustbin
  • One-year warranty

What Customers Are Saying

Praised for being well-designed, this vacuum had a maneuverable head that could reach tight spaces and a filter that could be removed and cleaned. Those who didn’t care for this carpet cleaner said that it sometimes struggled to pick up any debris besides hair.

Fastest Drying Time: Bissell ProHeat 2X Revolution Carpet Cleaner

This cleaner uses an express clean mode to dry your carpet in 30 minutes after it has been soaked in water and solution. Ideal for pet owners, it comes with three solution samples and a pet upholstery tool to target stains from urine, vomit, mud, and feces.

Key Features

  • 18 pounds
  • 25-foot power cord
  • One-gallon clean water tank
  • Five-year warranty

What Customers Are Saying

Many customers used this carpet cleaner for pet accidents. They said that it was maneuverable and dried their carpets quickly. A common complaint among unsatisfied users was that it didn’t have powerful suction.

Best Commercial Cleaner: Rug Doctor Mighty Pro X3 Carpet Cleaner

This commercial-grade machine cleans your carpets like a professional would with a 3.9-gallon clean water tank, vibrating brush head, and 2.5-gallon dirty water tank. To help you use and store this bulky cleaner, it has a foldable handle, a 22-foot power cord, and two oversized wheels.

Key Features

  • 39 pounds
  • 22-foot power cord
  • 3.9-gallon clean water tank
  • Two-year warranty

What Customers Are Saying

Customers said that this cleaner was built like a professional machine. It was sturdy, durable, and powerful. Unhappy customers mentioned issues with using the hose and communicating with the manufacturer.

Buying Guide

Owning a carpet cleaner is a solid step toward extending the life of your carpet. However, to ensure that you’re purchasing a quality machine, it’s important to understand the below features and factors.

Attachments

Carpet cleaners come with an assortment of attachments that traverse hard-to-reach areas and scrub tough stains. Select a model that comes with the attachments you need. One of the most popular accessories is an upholstery tool that cleans stairs and furniture.

Tanks

Many carpet cleaners come with a tank for clean water and a tank for dirty water. The size of your cleaner’s tanks dictates how long you can clean before stopping to refill or empty them. Most clean water tanks hold around a gallon of water, with dirty water tanks holding a little less. If you’re looking for a whole-house carpet cleaner, choose a machine that can hold several gallons of clean and dirty water.

Size

The size of your carpet cleaner should match the type of job you need it to do. For spot cleaning, consider a compact carpet cleaner. If you want to clean your carpet from wall to wall, a commercial-grade cleaner may be a better option.

Weight

The weight of your carpet cleaner is usually tied to the size of its water tanks. Weight needs to be balanced alongside your needs. If your home requires a deep cleaning, you should expect a heavier model.

Types of Carpet Cleaners

Carpet cleaners typically fall into one of the following categories.

Spot

Compact and lightweight, spot cleaners are designed to take care of small stains. Though affordable, they aren’t usually equipped with spinning brush heads or large water tanks.

Pet

Some carpet cleaners are designed with pets in mind, offering high-powered brush rolls and handheld attachments. In addition to targeting pet stains, they’re also useful for high-traffic areas around your home. The downside to pet-focused carpet cleaners is that they don’t have the tank capacity for a wall-to-wall carpet clean.

Whole-Home

Although not as affordable as job-specific machines, whole-home cleaners deep clean your entire carpet with few or no stops to empty or refill the water tanks.

How a Carpet Cleaner Works

Take a look at how a carpet cleaner restores your dirt- and grime-filled carpet.

Spray

To start the cleaning process, carpet cleaners wet your carpet to break up the debris that has wedged itself into the fibers. A mixture of water and stain-fighting solution is typically injected into your carpet.

Scrub

Once your carpet is wet and the embedded particles are loosened, your carpet cleaner uses a brush head to pull dirt to the surface. Most machines are equipped with a rotating brush, but some spot models require manual scrubbing.

Suction

All carpet cleaners utilize vacuum-like suction to lift the dirt that’s brought to the surface, leaving behind a clean carpet. The dirt is stored in the dirty water tank, which you empty after every cleaning session or sooner if it gets full.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do carpet cleaners heat water?

Most household carpet cleaners don’t heat the water, which is why manufacturers recommend putting warm water in the tank. Some models do have a heating element that dries the carpet after a clean.

Should you vacuum before using a carpet cleaner?

Yes. Use a vacuum cleaner to remove loose dirt and debris from your carpets. This limits how much work your carpet cleaner has to do.

How often should you use a carpet cleaner?

How often you use your carpet cleaner largely depends on how much foot traffic your carpets get and whether you have pets or kids that bring a lot of debris to your carpets. Giving your carpet a deep clean monthly ensures that it stays fresh, but you can do it twice a month or once a week if you need to.

Why Trust The This Old House Reviews Team

This Old House has empowered homeowners for more than four decades with top-notch home improvement content in the form of television programs, print media, and digital content on its website and social media platforms. The This Old House Reviews Team focuses on creating in-depth product and service review content to help inform your purchasing decision for just about any item or resource that you might need for your home. The This Old House Reviews Team has written over 1,000 reviews on products in the home space, from cordless drills to kitchen trash cans, lawn mowers, and dining room decorations.

We recommend products in each review using an intensive research process, spending hours combing through the best available models on Amazon. For a product to make our list of top picks, it must hold a solid sales record on Amazon, have consistently positive customer reviews, and offer unique features, among other factors. After narrowing down our list of recommendations, we conduct additional research and sometimes in-person testing to ensure that the products meet our standards. Once we conclude the research phase, we craft a well-rounded, user-friendly article that includes our recommended products and additional information to help homeowners like you make the right purchase.

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews Team at reviews@thisoldhousereviews.com.