Best carpet cleaner: 6 best machines to deep clean your carpet | Real Homes

Best carpet cleaner 2020: 6 top machines to deep clean your carpet

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!

best carpet cleaner
(Image credit: Rug Doctor)

On the hunt for the best carpet cleaner? Whether you're a pet owner and want to get rid of pet hair, or you're doing a deep spring clean, a carpet cleaner is a must for a proper result.

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. If you have kids and pets, you might find yourself shocked by the amount of embedded dirt even in clean-looking carpets...

Whether you're determined to keep a new carpet looking pristine or hoping 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.

Need a new vacuum too to really up your cleaning game? Check out our guide to the best vacuum cleaners.

The best carpet cleaners you can buy right now

best carpet cleaner

(Image credit: Hoover)

1. Hoover Power Scrub Deluxe Carpet Cleaner Machine

Best carpet cleaner you can buy: this multi-functional model covers all your carpet-related needs

Clean Capacity: 1 gallon
Cord Length: 20 ft.
Weight: 18.5 lbs.
Reasons to buy
+Multi-tasking+Lightweight+Under $150
Reasons to avoid
-Smaller tank capacity than heavy duty models

This lightweight carpet cleaner packs the punch of heavy-duty versions, plus its got a long list of options and features more often reserved for higher-priced models. It's value price-point and pro-grade results make it our top-pick overall.

Lots of features
For its price point, this model is packed with features. A few highlights? Automatic detergent mixing, an 8' hose for reaching hard-to-clean areas, and a forced hot air mechanism for shorter drying times.

Whether your intention is to clean stairs, carpets or upholstery, this model will do the trick. It comes with three attachments to help you tackle every inch of your home. 

Long cord and lightweight

The 20 foot cord means you can clean most rooms without having to plug it in more than once, and at under 19lbs., this carpet cleaner is one of the lightest on our list.

  • Buy the Hoover Power Scrub Deluxe Carpet Cleaner Machine

Rug Doctor Rug Doctor FlexClean Carpet Cleaner

(Image credit: Argos)

2. Rug Doctor FlexClean Carpet and Hard Floor Cleaner

Best dual-clean carpet cleaners: this carpet cleaner will leave your carpets and hard floors spotless

Clean Capacity: .9 gal.
Cord Length: 22 ft.
Weight: 35 lb
Reasons to buy
+Compact and portable+Motorized brush+Works for carpet and hardwood floors
Reasons to avoid

Looking to save on space? Skip the steam mop, because this is the only cleaner you'll ever need for your floors. 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 is up to the task. Oh, and it can even clean furniture.

Large capacity
The dirty water tank on this machine will hold up to .9 gallons– enough to clean the whole house without needing to empty tanks. This is important for this substantial and somewhat heavy model. 

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 motorized 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. 

  • Buy the Rug Doctor FlexClean

best carpet cleaner

(Image credit: Bissell)

3. BISSELL Big Green Clean Machine - 86T3

Best heavy duty carpet cleaner: professional quality carpet cleaning

Clean Capacity: 1.75 gal.
Cord Length: 25 ft.
Weight: 42 lbs
Reasons to buy
+Powerful+Large tank size
Reasons to avoid

The large-capacity BISSELL Big Green Clean Machine – 86T3 will mop up spills, suck up dust, and clean even the most stubborn stains.

Multifunctional cleaner
This powerful machine is a whiz at cleaning carpets, of course, but that's not all it does. It's also great for cleaning upholstery, and removing stains and odors from your sofas, arm chairs, ottomans and more. 

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.

Powerful and convenient
Designed to rival the best professional carpet cleaners, the BISSELL Big Green Clean Machine features powerful suction, two extra-large DirtLifter brushes to loosen dirt and stains, and cleaning ability in both the push and pull directions for faster cleaning and dry time.

  • Buy the BISSELL Big Green Clean Machine – 86T3

Best industrial carpet cleaner: Rug Doctor X3 Mighty Pro

4. Rug Doctor X3 Mighty Pro

Best industrial carpet cleaner: for the largest carpet cleaning jobs

Clean Capacity: 3.9 gal
Cord Length: 27 ft.
Weight: 39 lbs.
Reasons to buy
+Enormous capacity+5-year guarantee
Reasons to avoid
-Very heavy-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. 

  • Buy the Rug Doctor X3 Mighty Pro

best carpet cleaner for pets

(Image credit: Hoover)

5. Hoover SmartWash PET Complete Automatic Carpet Washer

Best carpet cleaner for pets: A pre-treater wand and scrub brush tackle stains with ease

Clean Capacity: 1 gal
Cord Length: 22 ft.
Weight: 20.5 lbs.
Reasons to buy
+Integrated pretreater tool +Scrub brush releases pet hair+Superior suction

The Hoover SmartWash PET Complete carpet cleaner is perfect for anyone who loves their pets but hates the mess they leave behind. Not only did it suck up pet hair we never knew was buried in our carpets, but it has a pre-treating wand built in to tackle pet stains, and it works with specially designed cleaning solutions that neutralize odors. In fact, we'd also call this a good buy for parents, or anyone who regularly finds themselves treating spots on rugs and upholstery. 


Our favorite part of this carpet cleaner was the Spot Chaser Stain Removal Wand, which is built into the handle of the machine. You load the wand with stain-removal solution, and then when you come across a stain on a rug or upholstery, you release the wand with a button and it pulls away from the machine. It reminded us of a squirt gun (fun!), and it was super was also super handy and effective.  In addition to the Spot Chaser, the machine comes with a hose and pet hair tool with a rubber brush-style attachment that's meant for scrubbing out stains, but also does an awesome job of releasing pet hair that's woven itself into upholstery. 

Excellent suction

One of the biggest surprised with this machine was how much pet hair it sucked up. We vacuumed our carpets right before using this cleaner, but it still managed to pull out furballs-worth of hair from every surface we tried it on. 

Easy dry

When you push the machine, it's in cleaning mode, and then when you pull it back, it automatically switched to dry mode. 

best carpet cleaner

(Image credit: Bissell)

6. Bissell ProHeat 2X Revolution Carpet Cleaner 1551

Best express carpet cleaner: Express clean mode dries carpets faster

Clean Capacity: 1 gal.
Cord Length: 22 ft.
Weight: 17.5 lbs.
Reasons to buy
+Great for pet stains+Express mode+Easy to empty+Lightweight
Reasons to avoid
-Large to store

Perfect for those on a budget and if you own a pet, the Bissell ProHeat 2X does a top notch job of cleaning carpets, especially for its price. Here's everything you need to know about it.

Pet-lovers, rejoice! This carpet cleaner includes a dedicated pet stain tool designed to tackle odors and messes from furry friends. It also has a 3" tough stain tool and detachable hose. 

HeatWave technology
The machine's proprietary HeatWave technology keeps water and detergent at an optimal temperature for stain removal.

Express Clean mode
Don't have all day to stay off of wet carpets? Use the express clean mode and your carpets will be dry in about an hour. The machine has a deep clean mode for tough jobs, too. 

  • Buy the Bissell ProHeat 2X

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 keeping 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 vacation rental 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 closet with ease.

Cord length
The same things can be said for cord length. The longest cord 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.

Which is the best carpet cleaner to buy?

The best carpet cleaner is the Hoover Power Scrub Deluxe, thanks to its power and versatility. Lightweight yet  impressive, the machine features a large water tank and attachments that let you clean virtually any surface in the house. An all-in-one investment that will leave carpets, kitchen floors, and even mattresses like new.

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.