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
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.
Best carpet cleaner vacuum
This 2-in-1 vacuum-carpet cleaner comes with a range of attachments and is super powerful. It has dishwasher-safe parts and is the second most affordable on this list.
This small and affordable machine is the perfect buy if you want something you'll only use occasionally. It cleans furniture, targets carpet stains, and stows away in a cleaning closet.
Best for large homes
Opt for this carpet cleaner if you're dealing with a large or particularly messy home. Its 6.5-inch-wide attachment means you can clean messes up faster. And, thanks to the long cord and hose, it has the widest reach of all of the cleaners on this list.
This do-it-all machine comes with a range of attachments to reach and clean pretty much anywhere in your home. It can reach high, low, and tight spaces. It has a cleaning mode and is also nice and compact as well as lightweight.
Best for pet owners
Dubbed Bissell's most powerful carpet cleaner, this machine uses a specially designed head to clean water-based spills and pet messes. It's bigger, heavier, and pricier than the Little Green, but has a longer reach.
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The best carpet cleaner vacuum
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.
The best affordable carpet cleaning machine
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.
The best carpet cleaning machine for larger homes
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.
The best Hoover carpet cleaner
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
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
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
|Hoover CleanSlate Plus
|Great all-rounder for deep cleans and spot cleaning at a good price.
|BISSELL Little Green
|Most affordable on our list, best for spot cleaning and smaller spaces.
|BISSELL SpotClean Pet Pro
|Ideal for pet owners and specially designed to suction spills.
|2-in-1 carpet cleaner vacuum that comes with several tools and is very affordable.
|Great for larger homes thanks to its long cord and wide cleaning head.
|Rug Doctor Pet Portable
|Great 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...
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
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.