The best carpet cleaning machines

Looking for the best carpet cleaner for your needs? Prepare to be floored...

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When it comes to which parts of our house typically get the most care, our poor carpets tend to be the last thing many of us think of, leaving them lagging behind in the ranks and, as a result, often looking a little lacklustre. That’s where our list of the best carpet cleaners comes in, helping you restore those well-worn fibres to their former glory.

But first, some things to consider. The weight: will you be able to lug it around the house for hours at a time? The capacity of the tank or tanks: will you constantly be having to go back and empty the waste water? The length of the power cord: is it long enough to let you reach all the bits you need to, or to take out to the car?

If your home is a mix of hard floors and carpeted areas, check to see if the model you have your eye on is suitable for use on multiple surfaces — just be sure not to use carpet washers on unsealed wooden or laminate floors, to eliminate the risk of damage.

Finally, carpet washers are great for getting deep-seated dirt out of carpet fibres, but don’t pick up loose bits and debris. A two-in-one vacuum and carpet cleaner will do double duty, good if you’re short on space, are moving out for the first time, or can’t dedicate the time to two separate tasks, but probably not a worthwhile investment if you already own a good-quality vacuum cleaner.

1. Bissell Cleanview Proheat

The power of an industrial cleaner in a front-room-friendly form

Best for: Allergies
Clean Capacity: 3.4L
Cable Length: 8m
Weight: 9kg
Reasons to buy
+Onboard heater+Separates dirty water
Reasons to avoid

The Bissell Cleanview Proheat packs all the features you’d expect from an industrial model into a neat, lightweight package. The built-in heater which gives the model its name is a nifty feature, keeping the water in the tank warm while you do the rounds for more effective and consistent cleaning, and its rotating DirtLifter brush gives carpet fibres a thorough clean, making it great for allergy sufferers who need to take a fine-tooth-comb approach to dust and dirt. 

2. Rug Doctor Portable Spot Cleaner

This portable carpet cleaner clears up messes on the spot

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

Its retractable handle means it’s easy to tote around the house, and its wheels make navigating corners and crannies a breeze. It’s one of the best spot cleaners for carpets for its suction alone, twice that of some other comparable models. With no fiddly hoses or clips, this ultra-compact model is especially useful for spills on the stairs or unloved upholstery that needs a bit of brightening up. 

3. Rug Doctor X3 Mighty Pro

Trust him, he’s a doctor

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

The X3 Mighty Pro has an apt moniker, packing, as it does, professional power into a domestic cleaner. Unlike a lot of models, it cleans thoroughly in one sweep, so you won’t have to waste time retreading the same ground. Powerful vacuum extraction cuts down drying time for rugs that are ready to walk on straight away, and its unique triple-action vibrating brush loosens ground-in dirt for a superior clean. 

4. Bissell Cleanview Quickwash

Quick and easy cleaning for everyday

Best for: Everyday Use
Clean Capacity: 2L
Cable Length: : 7.6m
Weight: 6kg
Reasons to buy
+Light and easy to manoeuvre+Good value
Reasons to avoid
-Small capacity 

The little brother of our number one, the Bissell Cleanview Proheat, this more lightweight and inexpensive model is great for everyday cleaning. Easy to fill, use, and manoeuvre, it aims to clean carpets effectively without leaving soggy patches in its wake, as is the case with some other cleaners — instead, it just leaves clean, soft, great-smelling and rejuvenated carpets. 

5. Numatic George GVE370-2

A green giant of a different sort

Best for: Multi-tasking
Clean Capacity: 9L
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, George is a friendly-faced chap who happily and ably performs three tasks in one. He takes wet and dry vacuuming, scrubbing and drying hard floors, and upholstery cleaning in his stride, and superior suction means he’s even a dab hand at unblocking sinks. His long cord and considerable bag size for dry cleaning make him ideal for cleaning big houses and larger areas.

6. Vax 6131T 3-in-1 Canister Vacuum Cleaner

Multi-functional cleaning? Yes we can.

Best for: Best Value
Clean Capacity: 4L
Cable Length: : 10m
Weight: 8kg
Reasons to buy
+Long hose+Crevice tool
Reasons to avoid
-No retraction slot for cable 

The futuristic-looking (and sounding) Vax 6131T is a multi-functional carpet cleaner and hoover that handles a range of tasks admirably well, especially for the price. It has a considerable 2.5m hose and three-part extension tubes for easy manoeuvrability and fuss-free cleaning, even on stairs and high-up places like curtain rails. It also features a crevice tool for hard-to-reach nooks and crannies, including notoriously tricky car upholstery. 

7. VAX W85-PP-T Dual Power Pro

It ain’t heavy, it’s our cleaner

Best for: Hardwood Floors
Clean Capacity: 2.7L
Cable Length: : 8m
Weight: 5.8kg
Reasons to buy
+Separate clean/dirty water compartments+Squeegee for hard floors
Reasons to avoid
-Small capacity 

With a spinscrub and multiple rotating brush-bars — not to mention powerful suction that leaves fibres touch-dry in its wake — carpet cleaning should be easy breezy with the Dual Power Pro. But it’s on hard surfaces that it really shines. The front-and-centre squeegee makes for effective, streak-free cleaning on hard floors, and the wide cleaning nozzle allows you to clean large areas quickly and thoroughly. Whatever the task at hand, at an incredibly lightweight 5.8kg (the lightest on our list by far), you can rest assured that this cleaner won’t weigh you down.