6 of the best carpet cleaners — stain-removing machines from under $110

Refresh your fabric floor covering with one of the best carpet cleaners

Three of the best carpet cleaners from Shark, Bissell, and Kenmore on green abstract background
(Image credit: Future / Shark / Bissell / Kenmore)
Best carpet cleaner: Quick Menu

1. The list in brief ↴
2. Best affordable carpet cleaner: Bissell Little Green
3. Best for pet owners: Bissell SpotClean Pet Pro
4. Best carpet cleaner vacuum: Shark MessMaster
5. Best for large homes: Kenmore KW2001
6. Best for ease of use: Rug Doctor Pet Portable
7
. Best Hoover carpet cleaner: Hoover CleanSlate Plus
8. Comparisons
9. What to consider
10. How we chose

Sometimes it works out cheaper to buy the best carpet cleaner than to have your floors professionally cleaned. These appliances are a great investment, especially if you're a homeowner who's installed fresh flooring, or if you're a renter keen to protect your security deposit.

From red wine to pet mess, we've tested three of the carpet cleaners in this guide, evaluating their stain-removing powers on woven floor covering and rugs. The rest are pending review, but come highly-rated by online shoppers. 

Some machines we've mentioned double up as the best upholstery cleaners, and can be used to refresh furniture, including your couch, accent seating, and dining chairs.

The quick list

In a rush to get rid of that stain? Here's a quick low-down on the carpet cleaners we love the most, and you can click to jump down the page.

The best carpet cleaners we recommend

Why you can trust Real Homes Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

The best carpet cleaner vacuum

Shark® MessMaster Portable Wet/Dry VacuumReal Homes Rated Silver Badge

(Image credit: Amazon)
A carpet cleaner vacuum that will clean any mess to perfection — plus it's self-cleaning and has dishwasher-safe parts

Specifications

Capacity : 128 oz. (clean and dirty)
Cord length: 15 ft.
Hose length: 3 ft.
Attachments: 4
Weight: 9.8 lbs
Size (in.): H13.5 x W16.5 x D10.5
Price: $129.99

Reasons to buy

+
Also a vacuum
+
Carry handle
+
Dishwasher-safe dust cup and accessories
+
Lightweight
+
Easy to clean
+
Affordable price
+
Tool and cord storage on board

Reasons to avoid

-
No formula included
-
Hose and cord aren't the longest

This carpet cleaning machine also doubles as a vacuum cleaner, sucking up debris and pet hair in the process. This means you won't have to use a vacuum before switching on the Messmaster; a total game-changer for busy people.

Despite its multifunctionality, it weighs less than 10 pounds and has a carry handle. Its hose and cord aren't the longest, so if you're cleaning a large room, or one with few power outlets, you might want to get your measuring tape out. The wire can be wrapped around the machine, and the squeegee tool, carpet tool, crevice tool, and extension wand (great for cleaning under furniture) can be stored on board.

It has a tank that you can use with bags to make the machine easier to clean after use. Otherwise, it's surprisingly easy to clean as you only need to vacuum up a cup of clean water to make sure it's ready for next time. Its dust bin is also dishwasher safe for total convenience.

Reviewers on the Shark website rate it 4.7 stars out of five, commending its powerfulness, and compact nature.

Read our Shark MessMaster carpet cleaner review

The best affordable carpet cleaning machine

BISSELL Little Green machineReal Homes Rated Silver Badge

(Image credit: Amazon)
Miniscule but mighty, this carpet cleaner is great for small homes, small budgets, and spot cleaning

Specifications

Capacity: 48 oz. clean / 48 oz. dirty
Cord length: 15 ft.
Hose length: 4 ft.
Attachments: 2, plus formula
Weight: 9.6 lbs
Size (in.): H13.39 x W19.02 x L9.29
Price: $123.59

Reasons to buy

+
Nice and compact
+
Most affordable on this list
+
Easy to use
+
Carry handle
+
Easy to clean thanks to its HydroRinse tool

Reasons to avoid

-
Not for large jobs

The Bissell Little Green Multi-Purpose Portable Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner can be used on any soft surface, from your favorite rug to your entire couch. With a 4.5-star review on Amazon, this is the best carpet cleaner if you live somewhere small or want something compact because you lack cleaning closet space. 

You need only fill it with water (and cleaner) to its fill line and then turn it on. Use it with the right tool based on the job you're tackling, and keep an eye on its tank to check it's not running empty. It can hold 48 ounces of water, which should last for a decent amount of time. When it comes to cleaning, it has a dedicated tool to use so that it essentially cleans itself, ready for the next use. Make sure you do this or you will be faced with a smelly machine.

It can cope well with pet messes, but might not be the best for larger jobs or deep cleaning as its cleaning head is only three inches wide. If you plan on only using this a couple of times a year and don't have much carpet (mostly rugs) — this is your best bet. It features a built-in handle for portability and comes with a 3-inch tough stain tool, HydroRinse self-cleaning hose tool, plus eight ounces of spot and stain cleaner.

Read our Bissell Little Green Carpet Cleaner review

The best carpet cleaning machine for larger homes

Kenmore KW2001 Portable Carpet Spot Cleaner & Pet Stain VacuumReal Homes Rated Silver Badge

(Image credit: Amazon)
With a long cord and a wide cleaning head, this machine is best for big jobs and huge homes

Specifications

Capacity: 66 oz. clean / 80 oz. dirty
Cord length: 20 ft.
Hose length: 6 ft.
Attachments: 2, plus formula
Weight: 10.23 lbs
Size (in.): H16 x W9 x L14
Price: $149.99

Reasons to buy

+
Handle for easy carrying
+
Wide range — great for larger rooms and messes
+
Largest water tank on the list
+
Lightweight, given its power

Reasons to avoid

-
Larger machine than others

With a 20-foot-long hose and a 6.5-inch cleaning head, the Kenmore KW2001 can quickly cope with heavy messes caused by kids or pets.

Simply fill the clean water tank with solution and water, choose your attachment, and you're ready to go. It has a power button and a button on both attachments for spraying but doesn't have any specific cleaning modes. Instead, you'll need to follow the instructions and clean each water tank, as well as the attachment you've used. Make sure to leave them to dry fully before storing them.

It'll take less time to deep clean an entire carpeted room or even a large couch than smaller models like the Bissell Little Green would. Plus, it comes with a smaller 3.5-inch-wide head for your car, accent chairs, or tight spaces. Its design features a built-in handle and its hose wraps around the unit. There's also onboard storage for tools.

Read our Kenmore SpotLite Portable Carpet Spot and Pet Stain Cleaner review

The best Hoover carpet cleaner

Hoover CleanSlate Plus Carpet & Upholstery Spot CleanerReview in progress graphic

(Image credit: Amazon)

4. Hoover CleanSlate Plus Carpet & Upholstery Spot Cleaner

Great for big deep cleaning jobs or small spot cleans, this tidy machine ticks all our boxes

Specifications

Capacity: 40 oz. clean / 40 oz. dirty
Cord length: 18 ft.
Hose length: 4.5 ft.
Attachments: 5, plus formula
Weight: 9.4 lbs
Size (in.): H13x W10.5 x L14
Price: $169.99

Reasons to buy

+
Still lightweight
+
Comes with a bag for storing attachments
+
Hose Rinse Tool makes it easy to clean
+
Great price tag
+
Still compact

Reasons to avoid

-
Smallest water tank on the list

This machine is best for anyone who is looking to get into the nitty-gritty and wants something that can cope with every type of mess. There aren't many places it won't be able to reach, and if you have lots of carpeted rooms, the 7-inch-wide cleaning tool will do a fast job of deep cleaning. It has the largest water tank on this list, but a relatively small footprint.

Admittedly, because this machine comes with several attachments, you might find it a bit trickier than others to use as you'll spend some time deciding on which is best for the job. After cleaning, use the hose rinse tool to flush the machine with water for easy maintenance. Then, all you need to do is clean its tanks and attachments. 

If you're just looking for something for spot cleaning, a cheaper model with fewer attachments might suffice. Its design features an integrated handle and it's easy to store, otherwise, both its cord and hose are long enough to reach around larger rooms. Bear in mind that you will need to clean your floors beforehand, using a cordless vacuum or an upright model to get rid of debris.

This machine has a 4.4-star rating from almost 6,000 reviewers on Amazon. Shoppers say it's easy to use and that it's surprisingly lightweight given its power.

This carpet cleaner is currently in review.

The best carpet cleaning machine for pet owners

BISSELL SpotClean Pet Pro Portable Carpet CleanerReview in progress graphic

(Image credit: Amazon)

5. Bissell SpotClean Pet Pro Portable Carpet Cleaner

Pet owner? This is a must-have — and it's Bissell's most powerful carpet cleaner

Specifications

Capacity: 96 oz. (clean and dirty)
Cord length: 20 ft.
Hose length: 5 ft.
Attachments: 2, plus formula
Weight: 13.25 lbs
Size (in.): H14 x W14 X L10
Price: $175.09

Reasons to buy

+
Long power cord
+
Carry handle
+
Two bottles of formula included
+
Five-foot long hose wraps around machine

Reasons to avoid

-
Not for cleaning an entire carpeted room
-
Not the easiest to clean

This cleaner works the same way as the others in the way it has a dirty and clean water tank. You need only fill the clean tank and choose an attachment and you're ready to clean. After use, it's not the easiest to clean admittedly, but don't let that put you off. There are just several different parts that need cleaning. It's recommended to clean the hose by suctioning up some clean water and running it through the machine.

This machine is ideal for pet owners mostly, or if you're after something for spot cleaning only. Though its cord is nice and long at 20 feet, you wouldn't want to deep clean an entire carpet with its 3-inch wide head as it would take forever. The other head it comes with is for cleaning up spills, from red wine to pet urine, which is handy. This special head keeps the liquid in its tiny onboard tank rather than putting it into your machine. It comes with two bottles of solution that are specially designed to target pet stains and odors, plus it's said to be great for cleaning pet beds. 

More than 11,000 Amazon reviewers gave this carpet-cleaning machine a 4.5-star rating. Lots of shoppers comment on how easy it is to use and call it the miracle machine. Most people say it's brilliant for spot-cleaning furniture, rugs, and carpets. They say it's a handy machine to have at home, just in case.

This carpet cleaner is currently in review.

The best easy to use carpet cleaner

Rug Doctor Pet Portable Spot Cleaner with labradorReview in progress graphic

(Image credit: Amazon)

6. Rug Doctor Pet Portable Spot Cleaner

On wheels and designed with a retractable handle, use this to clean targeted stains

Specifications

Capacity: 64 oz. clean / 64 oz. dirty
Cord length: 14.07 ft.
Hose length: Not listed
Attachments: 1, plus formula
Weight: 18.96 lbs
Size (in.): H15.63 x W10.94 x L16.02
Price: $189.99

Reasons to buy

+
On wheels
+
Retractable handle
+
Easy to use
+
Cord and attachment can be kept on board

Reasons to avoid

-
Heavy at almost 19 lbs
-
Only one attachment head
-
Power cord isn't the longest
-
Most expensive on our list

If you're a pet owner and are looking for a powerful machine to tackle pawprints, poop, or pee, this is your best bet. It's portable thanks to wheels and a retractable handle and, according to Amazon shoppers, it's good at banishing odors that come with the aforementioned stains.

Much like all other carpet cleaning machines, this one has a separate dirty water tank from its clean water tank. You need to fill up the clean one with water and solution and you're good to go. The one attachment included is fitted with lots of mini brushes to make scrubbing easy. Once you're finished, it's recommended to keep your machine on for 15 seconds to allow everything to flow out of its hose and into the dirty water tank. Otherwise, it doesn't have any special cleaning mode, you just need to wash the parts by hand and dry them ASAP.

It has 6,000+ ratings on Amazon with an average score of 4.1 out of five stars. Most customers say it's best for rugs, furniture and, spot cleaning. However, it can be tricky to use in cars, tight spaces, and, on stairs.

This carpet cleaner is currently in review.

Carpet cleaner comparisons

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Product type<Notes
Hoover CleanSlate PlusGreat all-rounder for deep cleans and spot cleaning at a good price.
BISSELL Little GreenMost affordable on our list, best for spot cleaning and smaller spaces.
BISSELL SpotClean Pet ProIdeal for pet owners and specially designed to suction spills.
Shark® MessMaster2-in-1 carpet cleaner vacuum that comes with several tools and is very affordable.
Kenmore KW2001Great for larger homes thanks to its long cord and wide cleaning head.
Rug Doctor Pet PortableGreat for spot cleaning, most expensive on the list but it does have wheels and a retractable handle.

What to consider when buying a carpet cleaner?

When it comes to buying the best carpet cleaner to suit your needs, there are a few factors worth considering...

  1. Does it have a large capacity? The machines in this guide all have separate dirty water and clean water tanks, so you're never going to be cleaning your floors with dirty water. With that in mind, all of their capacities are pretty generous. Some might even be too large for spot cleaning and you'll probably have to throw cleaning solution away that you've not ended up using. If you do have a large home or any particularly large rooms that you're planning on fully cleaning, you might have to empty and refill your tank with some of the smaller capacity machines on our list. Think about what you'll be using your machine for before you invest in one of these models.
  2. How long is its cable and its hose? This is another factor that you won't need to worry about if your home is small or if you'll be using this machine solely to spot clean. Don't think that you need a huge hose or cord if your home is smaller as this will only make your machine heavier to carry and more cumbersome to use.
  3. Does it come with any attachments? All of these machines have two removable water tanks, one for clean water and another for dirty water, as well as a hose. The hose will attach to a head, and some machines come with several heads in various shapes to make it easier to clean different things. If you know you'll only be using your carpet cleaner for targeted messes, such as a red wine stain on a rug or a dog puke stain on a sofa, then the general attachment will do just fine. Otherwise, if you'll be taking yours out to your car or using it on your stairs or in nooks and crannies, you might want to check out machines that come with more than one attachment. All bar one of the machines listed come with formula included.
  4. How heavy is it? If you don't own stairs, then this won't be a massive biggie, but for anyone who does and will be lugging this up and down them, we'd go for something under ten pounds, especially because these machines can get quite heavy when they are filled with dirty water. One of our picks has wheels and a retractable handle if you have limited mobility.
  5. Is it easy to clean? It's imperative that you clean your machine after each use or it will get smelly — fast. Some machines are designed with a special self-cleaning tool, while others are irrigated using clean water. As a reminder, the Shark MessMaster (available on Amazon) comes with dishwasher-safe parts. But, whatever model you choose, be sure to dispose of the tank's contents responsibly.

How we chose these carpet cleaners

Bissell Little Green Portable Upholstery Cleaner 1400B on cream tufted carpet

(Image credit: Future)

All of these carpet cleaning machines have been featured because they have either been reviewed or are due to be tested by one of the Real Homes team. We test these devices for a minimum of two weeks, using them at least three times over this period (similar to how we test vacuum cleaners). The items pending review were chosen based on their brilliant customer ratings. Shoppers love these carpet-cleaning machines, so we thought we would put them to the test ourselves.

Christina Chrysostomou
Acting head ecommerce editor

Hi, I'm the acting head ecommerce editor at Real Homes. Prior to working for the Future plc family, I've worked on a number of consumer events including the Ideal Home Show, Grand Designs Live, and Good Homes Magazine. With a first class degree from Keele University, and a plethora of experience in digital marketing, editorial, and social media, I have an eye for what should be in your shopping basket. I'm the in-house appliances expert and have gone through the internal customer advisor accreditation process.

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