Best carpet cleaner: which machine should you buy to clean your rugs and carpets

These best carpet cleaners can help no matter the size of the job at hand. Restoring your flooring? Or simply remove deep set stains? You won't need to replace a single thread – result!

The best carpet cleaner: Vax ECR2V1P Dual Power Pet Advance Carpet Cleaner in use
(Image credit: Vax)

On the hunt for the best carpet cleaner? Wet weather is upon us which means it's muddy wellies and wet coats season. What to do when one of the kids walks on your new carpet with their dirty, wet shoes? Whack out the carpet cleaner, of course.

Wondering why else you might need a carpet cleaner? A quick vacuum every week or so is simply not enough; a deep clean is recommended on a monthly basis if you're looking to prevent a build-up of grime and maintain a hygienic carpet. If you have kids and pets, you will be shocked by the amount of embedded dirt even in clean-looking carpets...

Whether you're determined to keep a new carpet looking pristine or keen to restore the appearance of a tired-looking floor, our picks of the best carpet cleaners can help it stand the test of time. Below, we've covered all budgets and requirements, so you're sure to find something that suits. 

Head to our cleaning hub page for more advice, or you can find more carpet cleaning tips at our how to clean a carpet feature.

Which is the best carpet cleaner to buy?

The best carpet cleaner is the Rug Doctor Portable Spot Cleaner thanks to its ease of use and effectiveness. Complete with a retractable handle designed to make it easy to move around the house, this spot cleaner is especially useful for spills on the stairs or upholstery that needs brightening up, as well as carpets. Boasting a compact design, this model is also easily stored away in small spaces, so you won't have to worry about it overwhelming your limited cupboard space. 

The best carpet cleaners you can buy right now

Best carpet cleaner you can buy: Rug Doctor Spot Portable Cylinder Carpet Cleaner

(Image credit: Argos)

1. Rug Doctor Portable Spot Cleaner

Best carpet cleaner you can buy: this portable carpet cleaner clears up messes on the spot

Clean Capacity: 1.9ltrs
Cable Length: : 4.6m
Weight: 8.2kg
Reasons to buy
+Compact and portable+Motorised brush
Reasons to avoid
-Not suitable for large areas 

Our top rated carpet cleaner, the Rug Doctor Portable Spot Cleaner is as effective as it is easy to use. Here's everything you need to know about it.

Portable option
Perfect for families, and pet owners, this model is designed to be portable (as the name might suggest). Thanks to its lightweight design and carpet-friendly wheels, moving it from room to room is much easier than you might imagine.

Retractable handle 
In a bid to make it even easier to use, this model was also designed with a handy retractable handle, which is perfect for navigating corners, tackling stairs and getting into hard to reach areas inside the car. 

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. 

If you're planning on using your carpet cleaner to freshen up your car's interior, it's worth noting that this model is splash-proof, so there'll be no need to worry if there's a sudden downpour.

Shop the full range of carpet cleaners available from John Lewis & Partners

Best industrial carpet cleaner: Rug Doctor X3 Mighty Pro

2. Rug Doctor X3 Mighty Pro

Best industrial carpet cleaner: for big carpet cleaning jobs

Clean Capacity: 11.4ltrs
Cable Length: : 8.2m
Weight: 18kg
Reasons to buy
+Enormous capacity+5-year guarantee
Reasons to avoid
-Very heavy, very expensive 

Perfect for those looking for a carpet cleaner that packs a real punch, the Rug Doctor X3 Mighty Pro is the best solution: it has the capacity of a professional machine! Here's everything you need to know about it.

Professional carpet cleaning
Using innovative new technology to transform old, tired carpets, this model allows users to achieve a professional standard clean at a fraction of the price of getting someone to do it for you. While it's a substantial investment if you're only planning on cleaning a small area of carpet, every once in a while, for those with a lot of carpet to clean, it's a worthy investment. 

Easy storage
While you might assume that a professional standard carpet cleaner would be somewhat sizeable, this model proves that doesn't have to be the case. Its compact design means it can be folded up, neatly, for ease of storage.

Thorough cleaning in one sweep
Unlike a lot of models, this offering from Rug Doctor cleans thoroughly in one sweep, meaning that you won’t have to waste time retreading the same ground. Plus, powerful vacuum extraction cuts down drying time for rugs that are ready to walk on straight away, while its unique triple-action vibrating brush loosens ground-in dirt for a superior clean. 

Browse more carpet cleaners available from Amazon

Best carpet cleaner for home: Numatic George GVE370-2

3. Numatic George GVE370-2

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

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.

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. 

Shop more carpet cleaners available from AO

Best carpet cleaner for stairs: VonHaus Wet Dry Vacuum Cleaner

(Image credit: Amazon)

4. VonHaus Wet Dry Vacuum Cleaner

Best carpet cleaner for stairs: multi-functional cleaning? Yes we can

Clean Capacity: 15ltrs
Cable length: 6m
Weight: 8kg
Reasons to buy
+Long hose+Crevice tool

The large-capacity VonHaus Wet Dry vacuum cleaner will mop up spills, suck up dust, and clean hard-to-reach places, all for a budget price. Great value, great for hallways.

3-in-1 multifunctional cleaner
Whether you're looking to vacuum, deep clean, or even spot clean your carpet, this model offers the best of each, meaning you can simply switch between functions, as opposed to investing in – and then having to store – three separate pieces of equipment.

Large capacity
With an impressively large capacity, there's no need to worry about constantly refilling this machine, if you're attempting to clean a large area.

Handy attachments
Complete with a flexible 1.5m hose and an upholstery brush, a crevice tool, and extension tubes that allow you to extend the hose in 44-centimetre increments, this powerful vacuum is a great option for stairs and high-up places like curtain rails, as well as furniture and flooring. Great for cleaning the car, too.

For more carpet cleaners, try Currys PC World

Best carpet cleaner for pets: Vax Dual Power Carpet Cleaner

(Image credit: Vax)

5. Vax Dual Power Pet Advance Carpet Cleaner

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

Clean Capacity: 4.2ltrs
Cable Length: : 10.5m
Weight: 6.4Kg
Reasons to buy
+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.

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.

Browse more carpet cleaners available from Ebay

How to buy the best carpet cleaner 

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:

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. 

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.

Check out more cleaning tips...

While we recommend using a carpet cleaning machine to give your soft flooring a new lease of life, for small clean-ups and quick jobs, a carpet cleaning product may just do the trick instead. For all the best carpet cleaning products, see our guide.