Even if you use the best vacuums to clean your carpets regularly, there will still be dirt and dust that settles deep into your carpet, not to mention the stains and odors that can build up over time. To keep your floor coverings looking fresh and clean, you’ll occasionally want to wash them using a carpet cleaner.
While you can typically rent these machines from home improvement stores, it’s often more convenient to simply purchase an at-home model that you can use more frequently. Many of today’s carpet cleaners are roughly the same size and cost as vacuums, and for homes with a lot of carpeting, they’re a worthwhile addition to your cleaning arsenal.
There are several sizes of carpet cleaners, including commercial-grade, full-size, and portable models. Commercial-grade options are typically the models available to rent, and while they have large water reservoirs, they’re very expensive and heavy. Full-size models, which look similar to upright vacuums, are a popular choice for your average home, as they’re easy to use and moderately priced. Finally, if you only need to clean stairs or furniture, you might prefer a portable option, which are ideal for spot cleaning.
Other factors to look at while shopping for a carpet cleaner include water capacity and features. Models with larger water reservoirs can clean for longer without needing to be emptied and refilled, making them better suited for large rooms. Further, some models have additional features such as built-in hand tools, heated drying, stain pretreatment, and more.
To provide carpet cleaners that fit a variety of lifestyles, we looked for the top-rated models in each available style and at a range of price points. I’ve personally conducted firsthand testing on several of the most popular carpet cleaners available today, and I used my own insights to recommend the best models for different situations based on their real-life performance. Additionally, we took into account factors such as brand reputation—for instance, Hoover, BISSELL, and Rug Doctor are the three most trusted carpet cleaning manufacturers—features, weight, water reservoir capacity, and overall value.