Best carpet cleaner: the best buys for spotless carpets

These are the best carpet cleaners for stains, deep cleaning, and leaving your carpet smelling sweet and looking pristine

Bissell Hydrowave in a living room with hardwood flooring and a rug, with two white doors behind it
(Image credit: Bissell)

The best carpet cleaner will deliver a deeper, wet clean to tackle mud, stains, and stubborn debris that your vacuum simply can't. To make it onto our best carpet cleaner list, the machine should also be easy to use, empty and (ideally) not too heavy.

Figuring out how to clean a carpet couldn't be more straightforward with our edit of the best options of the market. Our pick of the very best carpet cleaners will restore your carpet to its just-bought condition; we've covered all price ranges, so that you can choose a carpet cleaner that best suits you, and our clever widgets display the best prices for each product today. 

To complete your carpet cleaning arsenal for pristine floors, find the best vacuum cleaners in our buyer's guide.

What are the best carpet cleaners?

In our opinion, the best carpet cleaner is the Rug Doctor FlexClean (opens in new tab) thanks to its power and versatility. Weighty and impressive, the machine features a large water tank and attachments that let you clean virtually any surface in the house. It's an all-in-one investment that will leave carpets, kitchen floors, and even mattresses like new.

Looking for something handy and lightweight though? Opt for the Bissell Spot Clean Pro (opens in new tab) for its powerful stain removal and handy attachments. Or maybe you want an all-in-one, multi purpose cleaner? The Bissell CrossWave Cordless Max (opens in new tab) ticks all the boxes with its easy to use 3-in-1 cleaning power. 

Want to keep looking? No worries: keep scrolling to read more of our top carpet cleaner recommendations. 

The best carpet cleaners you can buy right now

Rug Doctor Rug Doctor FlexClean Carpet Cleaner


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1. Rug Doctor FlexClean Carpet Cleaner

Best carpet cleaner you can buy: this carpet cleaner will leave your carpets and hard floors spotless

Specifications

Clean capacity: 3.7ltrs
Cable length: 6.7m
Weight: 9.5kg

Reasons to buy

+
Compact and portable
+
Motorised brush

Reasons to avoid

-
Weighty with water tank full

The only carpet cleaner for your floors you'll ever need, the Rug Doctor FlexClean will adjust to almost any type of flooring.

Multi-use
Whether you're deep cleaning a carpet, a wooden floor, or kitchen tiles, this cleaner will cope admirably. Oh, and it can even clean furniture!

Large capacity
The dirty water tank on this machine will take 4.7 litres – enough to clean the whole house without needing to empty tanks. This is important for this substantial and somewhat heavy model. 

Power
This carpet cleaner has twice the suction power of other machines, making getting down into your carpet's pile easy; it's also one of the only cleaners on the market with a motorised brush. 

Clean cars, furniture, and more
The excellent upholstery tool on this machine allows you to clean a lot more than just floors. Try it to clean your sofa or mattress

Numatic George GVE370-2 in green


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2. Numatic George GVE370-2

Best carpet cleaner for home: this multi-functional model covers all your carpet-related needs

Specifications

Clean capacity: 9ltrs
Cable length: 10m
Weight: 8.8kg

Reasons to buy

+
Multi-tasking
+
Built to last

Reasons to avoid

-
On the pricier side (understandably) 

One of Henry and Hetty’s lesser-known cousins, the Numatic George GVE370-2 is a friendly-faced chap who performs three tasks in one, effectively. Here's everything you need to know about it.

Wet and dry options
In addition to functioning as a standard vacuum, this 3-in-1 Cylinder Wet and Dry Vacuum Cleaner also offers wet carpet cleaning to help you keep your flooring free of dust, as well as tackling dirt.

Attachments
Whether your intention is to clean stairs, carpets or your car's interior, this model comes with plenty of attachments to help you tackle even the most difficult to reach areas.

Long cord and large bag
This model also comes with an impressively long cord, and a bag with a large capacity, making it perfect for larger homes. 

Bissell Spot Clean Pro


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3. Bissell Spot Clean Pro

Best carpet cleaner for stairs: powerful stain removal, compact design

Specifications

Clean capacity: 2.8ltrs
Cable length: 6.7m
Weight: 6kg

Reasons to buy

+
Great at stain removal
+
Separate clean and dirty water tanks

Reasons to avoid

-
Tanks are quite small
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Noisy

The nimble and light Bissell carpet cleaner is exactly what you need for targeting areas such as the stairs.

Powerful stain removal
This carpet cleaner is equally good at sucking up fresh spills or tackling old stains (this options works even better if you use a detergent at the same time). Just don't reach for this machine in the middle of the night – you will wake up the neighbours with the noise. 

Separate tanks
Clean and dirty water are kept in separate tanks, which enhances the cleaning ability and makes cleaning the machine easier.

Handy attachments
Do you have a large spill you need to suck up as quickly as possible, or a tough stain that really needs zoomed in, powerful suction in a single spot? This cleaner has attachments for both scenarios.

The best carpet cleaner for pets: Vax Dual Power Carpet Cleaner


(Image credit: Vax)
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4. Vax Dual Power Pet Advance Carpet Cleaner

Best carpet cleaner for pets: banish pet stains in a flash

Specifications

Clean capacity: 4.2ltrs
Cable length: 10.5m
Weight: 6.4Kg

Reasons to buy

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Great for pet stains
+
Comes with tools
+
Easy to empty

Reasons to avoid

-
Large to store

Perfect for those on a budget and if you own a pet, the Vax Dual Power Carpet Cleaner does a decent job of cleaning carpets, especially for its price. Here's everything you need to know about it.

Tools
Featuring an onboard wash tool to tackle stairs, upholstery and car seats with ease, the Vax Dual Power Pet Advance Carpet Cleaner offers the best of both worlds – it's an upright model with handheld capabilities, too.

Dual rotating brush bars
Thanks to a handy dual rotating brush, this model boasts double the cleaning action, allowing users to tackle stubborn stains and deeply embedded dirt, such as muddy paw prints on a white carpet – we've all been there. Plus, its 30cm wide cleaning head means it's easier than ever to cover large areas, quickly.

Fill and empty with ease
Much like you'd empty a standard vacuum cleaner, this model comes with tanks that can be emptied at the touch of a clip. Plus, there are two separate tanks for clean and dirty water, meaning you won't have to worry about the two crossing over.

Bissell Proheat 2X Revolution Pet Pro carpet cleaner


(Image credit: Bissell)
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5. Bissell Proheat 2X Revolution Pet Pro

Best carpet cleaner for pet hair: this cleaner will leave your carpets and upholstery hair-free

Specifications

Clean capacity: 3.71 litres (dirty water); 3.71 litres (clean water and cleaning solution)
Cable length: 7m
Weight: 7.94kg

Reasons to buy

+
Cleans very well
+
Handy attachments for stains

Reasons to avoid

-
Noisy

The Bissell Proheat is a powerful carpet cleaner that is great for busy homes where spills, stains, and pet hairs are a frequent occurrence. 

Deep clean for carpets and upholstery

Our reviewer has praised this carpet cleaner's visible cleaning results, including on upholstery and deep pile carpets. It's also very effective at picking up pet hairs (owners of long-haired pets will be particularly thankful).

Spot cleaning for spills and stairs

It can also be used for quick spills and has a tool for furniture and the stairs – all those small spots the bigger carpet cleaners will miss.

Powerful but noisy

The only thing to bear in mind is that all this power comes at the cost of quite a bit of noise. 

Bissell Hydrowave


(Image credit: Bissell)
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6. Bissell Hydrowave Ultra Light Carpet Washer

The best carpet cleaner for a deep clean: watch how it removes muddy prints

Specifications

Clean capacity: 0.6 litres
Cable length: 6 metres
Weight: 10.2 Kg

Reasons to buy

+
Good for deep cleaning
+
Long cord
+
Comes with detergent

Reasons to avoid

-
Instructions are a guessing game
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Noisy on carpets and area rugs
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Long drying time

Great for a deep clean

This Bissell Hydrowave carpet cleaner really makes a difference on carpets and rugs, particularly those that see regular heavy use with stains and paw prints. There is a satisfying and very visible difference between where you've used and where you haven't.

Takes a while to dry

Be patient with this carpet cleaner – it gets rugs really quite wet, and can take hours to dry, so make sure pets/children don't run around on the clean surface before it's dry. For the same reason, it's not really suitable for hard flooring. 

Noisy

Like other Bissell products, this isn't exactly quiet, but you do get used to the noise quite quickly.

Bissell Powerclean 2889E Series


(Image credit: Bissell)
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7. Bissell Powerclean 2889E Series Carpet Washer

Best carpet cleaner for ease of use: this carpet cleaner will leave your carpets looking and smelling fresh

Specifications

Clean capacity: 2.36 litres
Cable length: 6m
Weight: 5.61kg

Reasons to buy

+
Easy to use
+
Lightweight and compact
+
Cleans carpets effectively
+
Easy to clean after use

Reasons to avoid

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Not effective at cleaning old, deep stains
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Not suitable for large carpeted areas
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Doesn’t have any extra attachments for cleaning upholstery or stairs

Lightweight and easy to manoeuvre

Our reviewer remarked on how at just 5.6kg, the Bissell Powerclean is the lightest in Bissell’s extensive range of carpet washers. The carry handle and compact design makes it very easy to transport around the house, even up and down stairs. 

Better for regular spot cleaning 

Due to its lightweight design, it's great for regular spot cleaning of fresh stains. The Bissell Powerclean 2889E Series comes with four rows of motorised “DeepReach PowerBrushes”, which are said to aid in double the amount of cleaning power versus Bissell’s previous light weight carpet washer.

Quieter than other cleaners

This isn't exactly quiet, but it's definitely a lot less noisy than other Bissell machines. .

Vax SpotWash Carpet Cleaner cleaning a spillage on carpet


(Image credit: Vax)
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8. Vax SpotWash Spot Cleaner CDCW-CSXS

Best carpet cleaner for everyday mess: this carpet cleaner is a must-have for busy homes where accidental spills are a common occurrence

Specifications

Clean capacity: 1.5 litres
Cable length: 4.5m
Weight: 3.9kg

Reasons to buy

+
Lightweight and compact
+
Cleans multiple surfaces including carpet, hard floors, car seats and upholstery
+
Effective and versatile
+
Easy to clean after use

Reasons to avoid

-
Doesn’t completely remove deep stains on first wash
-
Not designed for large areas

Super lightweight and easy to use 

At only 3.9kg, the Vax SpotWash Spot cleaner is incredibly light and easy to carry around the house and up and down stairs. The two attachments for the hose make it easy to clean multi-surfaces, including stairs, car interiors and even sealed hard floors.

Great for busy families with mucky pets

Due to its lightweight design, it's great for regular spot cleaning of fresh stains. It isn't designed for cleaning full rooms of carpet like a larger upright carpet cleaning machine – instead it is the perfect helper for stains, spills, stairs, car seats and upholstery cleaning. 

Great price

For what we think is a relatively low price, it will perfectly complement your other cleaning tools for a stain-free home.

BISSELL CrossWave Cordless Max


(Image credit: BISSELL)
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9. Bissell CrossWave Cordless Max

Best carpet cleaner for multi purpose cleaning: this multi-surface cleaner vacuums and mops your floors simultaneously

Specifications

Battery life: 30 mins
Cable length: Cordless – stand cable measures
Weight: ‎9.4 kg
Clean capacity: 1 litres

Reasons to buy

+
30-minute battery life
+
Easy to use
+
Incredible results on carpet
+
Covers a large area
+
Great for picking up pet hair
+
LED headlights

Reasons to avoid

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Heavy to carry
-
High price tag
-
Difficult to store
-
Loud when in use – especially when self-cleaning
-
Can't be used on stairs

Smooth to use with great suction

Whether going over pet hair or cleaning spillages the Bissell CrossWave Cordless Max breezes through it. 

Great for carpets and hard floors

We think that this multi-surface cleaner performs very well on low-pile carpets and rugs, getting rid of the need for vacuuming then mopping. It manages to remove an impressive amount of debris, leaving your floors (or rugs) looking practically brand new.

Hefty in price and weight

You may want to bear the 9.4 kg weight in mind – especially if you'll be carrying it up and down your stairs – and the high price tag.

Vax Platinum Smartwash CDCW-SWXS Carpet Cleaner


(Image credit: Vax)
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10. Vax Platinum SmartWash carpet washer

Best carpet cleaner for washing and drying carpet: this easy-to-use carpet washer tackles spills and stains, and it dries, too

Specifications

Cable length: 9m
Weight: 7.4kg
Clean capacity: 3.5 litres

Reasons to buy

+
Washes and dries
+
Long cable for easy manoeuvring
+
Straightforward to use
+
Hose and hand tool for hard-to-reach areas

Reasons to avoid

-
More than one clean may be required
-
Large machine to store
-
Quite a weight to take up and down stairs

Easy to set up and simple to clean with

The Vax Platinum SmartWash is easily filled and the machine automatically dispenses the cleaning solution and clean water. Its motion sense technology means you don't need to push it forward with much effort. With a 9 metre cable, it's easy to use it over a wide area without the need to swap sockets.

Lifts stains easily

Our reviewer gave the machine top marks for freshening up a tired carpet. It came out looking clean and with the pile revived.

Expensive but worth it

The Vax Platinum SmartWash is in the most expensive part of the carpet cleaner market but it’s a worthy competitor to its rivals with great cleaning and carpet-refreshing results, as well as effective drying.

How to buy the best carpet cleaner 

Where to buy a carpet cleaner

John Lewis & Partners carpet cleaners (opens in new tab)
Argos carpet cleaners (opens in new tab)
AO carpet cleaners (opens in new tab)
Currys PC World carpet cleaners (opens in new tab)
Ebay carpet cleaners (opens in new tab)

When it comes to buying the best carpet cleaner to suit your needs, there are a few factors worth considering if you're looking to get the most for your money. We'd recommend bearing the following in mind:

Capacity
If you're planning on cleaning a large, completely carpeted home, on a regular basis, or have a lot of carpets to clean – perhaps you're an Airbnb or holiday apartment owner – look for something with a large capacity that won't require constant refills. Similarly, if you're simply looking to clean a small area of carpet on an irregular basis, pick something that's portable and can be stored in a cupboard with ease.

Cable length
The same things can be said for cable length. The longest cable possible is a must in a large space, but less of a priority in small homes, or where there's only one carpet that requires cleaning, say, in the bedroom. 

Attachments
You'll want to make sure your carpet cleaner does exactly what you want it to do; whether that be cleaning upholstery, stair carpets, car interiors, curtains, and more. Ensure the model you choose comes with the appropriate attachments to get the job done.

Carpet cleaners vs. vacuum cleaners 

Why do I need a carpet cleaner if I already own a vacuum cleaner, you may ask? Two reasons: stain removal and deodorising action. 

While vacuum cleaners are perfectly good for everyday cleaning, a carpet cleaner delivers a deeper clean, often with the assistance of a carpet shampoo. Think of it as an 'as well' rather than an 'instead' product.

If it's a small stain you're dealing with, you could use one of the best carpet cleaning solutions to try to get it out, instead. The choice is yours.

Hebe Hatton
Hebe Hatton

Hebe joined the Real Homes team in early 2018 as Staff Writer before moving to the Livingetc team in 2021 where she took on a role as Digital Editor. She loves boho and 70's style and is a big fan of Instagram as a source of interiors inspiration. When she isn't writing about interiors, she is renovating her own spaces – be it wallpapering a hallway, painting kitchen cupboards or converting a van.

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