With so many different models of carpet cleaners for sale on the market, trying to select just one out of the bunch is no easy task for shoppers. Most people just don’t have the time to review and research all of the different carpet shampooers out there. But that’s where we can help. By doing the legwork for you, we hope that we can help make your purchasing decision a bit easier.
After investing over 29 hours into researching, reviewing and comparing over 50 different models of carpet cleaning machines, we chose seven units which we consider to be the cream of the crop. When making our selections, we took into consideration a number of different factors, including cleaning power, features, ease of use, build quality and price.
Best Overall: Bissell 86T3 Big Green Carpet Cleaner
The Bissell 86T3 Big Green is, in our opinion, the best carpet cleaner currently on the market. It is our top pick and we give it our highest recommendation. The Bissell 86T3 Big Green is a commercial quality carpet cleaner that has a very powerful motor to suck up dirt and grime from your carpets. It also has a second motor that powers its rotating cleaning brushes, which break up the dirt in your carpets before the machine sucks it up. These brushes clean in both forward and backward directions, allowing you to push and pull the machine as you clean. This feature not only saves you time, but you get a considerably better clean as it requires fewer passes.
Another great feature of the Bissell Big Green is that it has one of the largest water tanks of any carpet cleaner currently on the market. This is a significant advantage because a larger water tank means fewer trips to the sink to refill it. It also comes with a handy 9′ foot hose attachment that’s great for cleaning stairs and other hard to reach spots. The Bissell Big Green also dries faster as well due to the machine’s strong suction power.
The only potential drawback of this machine is that it’s a bit larger and heavier than some of the other models out there, but it’s still maneuverable enough that it shouldn’t be an issue for the vast majority of users. As far as cleaning power goes, the Bissell 86T3 Big Green simply can’t be topped. It attacks and removes stains and caked-on dirt like no other carpet cleaner out there.
Rug Doctor Mighty Pro X3 Carpet Cleaner Machine
The Rug Doctor Mighty Pro X3 is another commercial quality carpet cleaner and is quite possibly the most well-known home carpet cleaner on the market today. And like the Bissell Big Green, it is an extremely effective cleaning machine. One of the reasons why is because it has a very strong 1.74 horsepower motor that gives it the ability to suck up even the most deeply embedded dirt and grime from carpets and rugs.
Additionally, the Rug Doctor Mighty Pro X3 has brushes that vibrate, which enables the machine to loosen up caked-on dirt before vacuuming it up. Users will also like this carpet cleaner’s simple two tank system, which makes it easy to dump out the dirty water and refill the clean water tank. The Mighty Pro X3 comes with two accessories: a 12″ hose and an attachment for spot cleaning upholstery and stairs.
One major weakness of this carpet cleaner that consumers should be aware of is that, unlike the Bissell Big Green which brushes and suctions both when pushed forward and pulled backwards, the Rug Doctor Mighty Pro X3 only does so when doing the latter. Also, at just under 40 pounds, this machine is certainly on the heavier side as far as carpet cleaners go, and some users may find that the machine’s size and weight makes it a bit unwieldy.
Having said that, however, keep in mind that the Mighty Pro X3 was built to last and it was designed for heavy-duty cleaning jobs that other, lesser carpet cleaners just can’t handle. Also, not many carpet cleaners come with a 5 year warranty like the Rug Doctor Mighty Pro X3 does.
Best Pet Carpet Cleaner: Bissell 1986 ProHeat 2X Revolution
The Bissell 1986 ProHeat 2X Revolution is a great all-around carpet cleaner that utilizes a dual-tank system and an innovative water heating system Bissell calls Heatwave technology, which will maintain the temperature of the water that you pour into the clean water tank (up to 140 degrees). Using warmer water can give you a more thorough clean, so this is a useful feature that not many other carpet cleaners have.
Additionally, the Bissell ProHeat 2x Revolution offers two different cleaning modes: Deep Clean and Express Clean. Deep Clean mode gives you a more thorough clean for when you need to tackle hard-to-remove pet stains or extremely dirt-ridden carpets and rugs. And when you want to just do a quick once-over on your carpets, you can use the machine’s Express Clean mode, which will leave your carpets dry in about one hour after you finish cleaning.
The ProHeat 2x Revolution uses a patented brush technology, which incorporates two brush rollers with 12 rows of bristles. This gives it tremendous deep cleaning power. Moreover, the machine also comes with a number of handy attachments including a 7′ hose and a Pet Stain Tool for working those ultra stubborn pet stains. And you can use it in conjunction with Bissell’s Deep Clean solution and anti-bacterial formula, both of which are included with your purchase of the carpet cleaner, to sanitize your carpets and rugs.
4 Rug Doctor 93146 Deep Carpet Cleaning Machine
The Rug Doctor 93146 is the “lite” version of the Rug Doctor Mighty Pro X3. Although it’s well designed and constructed, this is not a commercial-grade carpet cleaner, so its suction power isn’t quite as strong as its bigger brother. It does, however, have its advantages, the main one being that because it is lighter and more compact, cleaning with this carpet cleaner machine is less strenuous. It also takes up less storage space (the handle can even be collapsed to further reduce its size).
And like the Rug Doctor Mighty Pro X3, the Rug Doctor 93146 also uses a dual-tank system for easier refilling/dumping. Additionally, this machine comes with a long 28 ft. power cord, which is a big plus as it reduces the need to unplug/replug the cord. The Rug Doctor uses Dual Cross Action Brushes that incorporates 2 rows of bristles, allowing it to clean from multiple angles. For especially soiled areas on your floor, you can use the unit’s “Super Boost Spray” feature to give the spot a more thorough cleaning.
You’ll also like the fact that the machine comes with a solid 2 year warranty for added peace of mind. All in all, the Rug Doctor 93146 is a top-notch carpet shampooer and it’s one of the best professional grade carpet cleaning machines you can buy.
5 Best Value: Hoover FH50150 Power Scrub Deluxe Carpet Cleaner
If you’re looking to get the best “bang for your buck,” look no further than the Hoover FH50150 Power Scrub Deluxe. It’s one of the most versatile carpet cleaners around, and with a price of just under $150, we feel it’s an absolute bargain. This lightweight carpet cleaner weighs a mere 18 pounds, making it easy to carry up stairs. It also utilizes a “two tank” system in which one tank holds your water and solution and another holds your dirty water. What’s great about this machine is that it automatically mixes the water and solution for you, giving you just the right balance of each for optimal cleaning efficiency. Additionally, the tank has a nifty pour spout that allows you to conveniently empty the contents of the tank out into your sink.
The Hoover Power Scrub utilizes a set of counter rotating brushes that clean deep into your carpets, loosening up dirt and picking up pet hair along the way. It also dries your carpets using hot air, resulting in much quicker drying times. Furthermore, it comes with an 8′ foot hose and a number of different attachments, including a SpinScrub powered hand tool, a crevice tool, a stair tool and even a tool storage bag to keep everything neatly organized.
All in all, this is a terrific machine, and if you’re looking to get the most value for your hard earned money, then you’ll be hard pressed to find a better deal than the Hoover FH50150 Power Scrub.
6 Best Portable Spot Cleaner: Bissell 3624 SpotClean Professional
Upright carpet cleaners are great for cleaning large areas and rooms, but for tackling specific areas, upholstery (especially vehicle upholstery) and stairs, spot cleaners are much more practical and better suited for handling these types of tasks.
For spot cleaning, there is probably no better carpet cleaner on the market than the Bissell 3624 SpotClean Professional. Its lightweight and compact design allows you to easily carry it around as you move from stain to stain. It comes with two different brush tools – one 6″ brush and a smaller 3″ brush. The larger brush is ideal for cleaning stairs and rugs, as well as car interiors, and the smaller brush tool is designed to be used for especially stubborn or hard to remove stains.
The Bissell Spotclean Professional has a long 5′ flex hose that provides ample slack to get around furniture and reach into corners. Additionally, even though this portable carpet cleaner is fairly compact, it has a relatively large water tank, allowing you to do quite a bit of cleaning before needing to empty/refill the tank.
This machine won’t replace your upright carpet cleaner, but it’s a very useful appliance for people who want to clean small areas here and there in between major cleaning sessions.
7 Best Budget Model: Bissell 1622 PowerLifter Carpet Shampooer
If the other two carpet cleaning machines above are out of your price range, but you still want to get something that’s of decent quality and that won’t break down after only a few uses, then the Bissell 1622 PowerLifter is your best bet. At just under $100 (as of the time of this writing), it’s a bargain and is a great choice for those who just want to clean their carpets every now and then with minimal hassles.
The Bissell 1622 PowerLifter may be a relatively cheap carpet cleaner and it certainly doesn’t have all of the latest and greatest features of some of the more advanced units on the market, but it’s still a decent quality carpet cleaner that will suit most people’s needs.
This carpet cleaner uses what Bissell calls a “DriftLifter” brush, which has four rows of very stiff bristles that are arranged in a wavy pattern, and are designed to give the carpet a good scrubbing before lifting the dirt up and out of the carpet. And although it can’t compete with a high-end carpet cleaner like the Bissell Big Green, it does offer a fairly decent 6 amps of vacuuming power. Moreover, it’s fairly lightweight and easy to handle, and its relatively slender build allows for easy storage as well.
How To Select The Best Carpet Cleaner
One of the most important aspects of a good carpet cleaner is its suctioning power. The higher end carpet cleaners tend to have bigger and stronger motors that allow it to suck up more dirt (especially deep, ground-in dirt/grime) and liquid from your carpets than the lower quality models. This not only leaves your carpets looking cleaner, but it also results in quicker drying, as more of the water is removed from the carpet.
Water Tank Size
Carpet cleaners with larger water tanks are generally better because they allow you to clean a larger surface area before having to pause your cleaning session to refill the water tank. This does have the downside of adding a bit of weight to the machine, but the advantage of the reduced trips to the sink far outweigh the slight increase in weight.
Features and Accessories
If purchasing an upright carpet cleaner, always look for a model that has a hose accessory with an accompanying brush attachment, so that you can clean stairs and sofas. Additionally, some models come with a built-in basket that collects pet hair as you clean, while others come with the ability to blow hot air out onto the carpet for faster drying.
Size and Weight
If you lack strength, then it may be better for you to opt for a lighterweight model, or even a portable spot cleaner. However, do keep in mind that the smaller, more compact carpet cleaners tend not to be as powerful as the bigger, bulkier ones (more powerful motors tend to be heavier). So if you want to get a professional quality clean, you’ll have to get a machine like the Bissell Big Green, which is a bit on the heavier side as far as carpet cleaners go.
A carpet cleaning machine will typically run you anywhere from $70 to $400+. We realize this is a wide price range, so it’s a good idea for you to first decide how much you can or are willing to spend before doing too much research, in order to narrow down your choices to only those units that are within your budget.
Our Top Pick
Bissell 86T3 Big Green
Hoover FH50150 Power Scrub
Best Budget Model
Bissell 1622 PowerLifter
Best Pet Carpet Cleaner
Bissell 1986 ProHeat 2x Rev
Best Spot Cleaner
Bissell 3624 SpotClean Pro