Last Updated On March 25th, 2020
In the name of research we’ve swallowed hard, rolled up our sleeves and dug into the subject of home carpet cleaners, researching the hundreds of models currently on the market – all in search of the best carpet cleaner.
Of course, determining the top choice isn’t a simple matter, it depends on your particular needs. Some people will use their carpet cleaner regularly, whether it’s because they’re overly neat, they believe in annual or semi-annual deep cleanings, or they simply have to deal with continual messes which rambunctious children and uncontrollable pets (or the other way around) make.
Some people assume that an easy way to choose the top carpet cleaner is by looking for the highest price, but we’ve found that’s a big mistake; some of the most expensive carpet cleaners aren’t worth their inflated cost. After all, a long list of high-tech features doesn’t help if a carpet cleaner can’t efficiently get rid of the mud your son ground into the rug or the “gift” your dog left deep in your carpet fibres, right?
As far as we’re concerned, performance matters more than anything else. This is the primary focus of our carpet cleaner reviews – to help you find the best carpet cleaners for home use.
So, let’s get started. The stains are waiting!
Our Favourite Carpet Cleaners Compared
Top 10 Best Carpet Cleaner Reviews
If you’ve ever struggled to get your stairs and other awkward areas clean, the Vax W90-RU-P Rapide Ultra 2 could be a great choice. Complete with a number of attachments to wash stairs and light furniture, as well as a large capacity – you are sure to get your home gleaming with only one or two fills.
The built-in rotating brushbar loosens and lifts dirt from within your carpet easily, even if it has been trodden deep into the fibres. The accompanying hose and handheld wash tool are perfect for your stairs, and can also be used to rapidly suck up any spillages on both carpets and hard floors. Furthermore, if you encounter a particularly tough stain, simply use the supplied pre-treatment wand and solution beforehand for an effortless clean.
Once done, there’s no need to wait hours for your carpet to dry, thanks to the Dual V technology. This works to efficiently extract all liquid and suds from your carpet, so you can get back to enjoying the room in no time.
However, there are a few drawbacks to be aware of. The most notable of these is that water doesn’t seem to be released evenly, which can sometimes result in a patchy clean. Therefore, you may need to go over certain areas again.
This is confounded by the fact that this carpet cleaner is somewhat bulky and heavy, so it can be quite difficult to move around for extended periods of time. Furthermore, some users complained that they experienced leakages with relatively light use -so you might end up replacing it quicker than you’d like.
Whether you are looking to revive old, tired carpets and for a fresher smelling home or trying to restore lighter colours to their former glory, this budget-priced carpet cleaner from Vax makes a great choice.
Its dual rotating brushbars and 800 watts of power provide deep cleaning leaving your carpet both looking and smelling better. In addition, hidden dust and debris are removed making your home more hygienically clean which is a must for homes with allergy or asthma sufferers. The twin-tank system ensures that your carpets are only washed with clean water and that dirty water is kept separate for disposal.
It is lightweight compared to most carpet cleaners so it is easy to move around as well as bring up and down stairs. Moreover, its narrow floorhead makes it easy to get around and under furniture. However, it does not come with any cleaning accessories for stairs or soft furnishings. So if you are after a carpet cleaner for upholstery cleaning too, then you would be better considering another carpet washer.
As this carpet cleaner is lightweight, the 2.7-litre clean water tank is a little on the small side for large rooms and you may need to stop to refill several times. The main issue with the Vax is how difficult it is to remove fluff from the brushes after cleaning. As the brush bars and fittings cannot easily be removed, this process can be rather frustrating.
This pro-level carpet cleaner from BISSELL features an attractive futuristic design, while also being powerful and lightweight. If you have stubborn stains to attend to, the ProHeat 2X Revolution Carpet Cleaner will help you eliminate them quickly – returning your carpets to their former glory with little fuss.
With built-in separate clean and dirty tanks, its ultra-low profile hugs the carpet, sliding underneath the furniture to reach awkward areas easily. The dual bristle-packed rotating brush bars and ‘HeatWave’ optimally heated warm water reaches deep into the fibres, lifting out embedded dirt for beautiful results. Furthermore, should you wish to clean stairs, upholstery or other furnishings above floor level, simply click the included hose and attachments into place for a fully-flexible cleaning system.
It offers multiple cleaning settings to choose from, depending on the severity of the dirt you are facing. Choose ‘Express Clean’ Mode for general maintenance or ‘Deep Clean’ Mode for those heavy-duty jobs. No matter which mode you choose, its suction is powerful and effectively removes all moisture from carpets and furnishings as you go, leaving a completely dry carpet in as little as an hour. This is especially convenient if you have children or pets in the home as you won’t need to avoid the room for hours after cleaning.
We’re hard-pressed to find fault with this superior carpet cleaner. However, its size and bulk may make it awkward to store if you have limited space. Some users also commented that the assembly instructions were a little difficult to understand. If you’re new to carpet cleaners, this may take a bit of trial and error to get right the first time you use it. Lastly, cleaning the brush rolls and replacing the belts can be quite fiddly, especially if you have a deep carpet pile which sheds a lot of fluff.
Not many carpet cleaners offer the technology to keep water temperature high while cleaning, which is why this BISSELL StainPro 6 stands out from the crowd. Thanks to its Heatwave Technology, you’ll be able to achieve a deeper and more even wash from start to finish.
Showcasing the Edge Sweep Brushes and a stair attachment, it can more easily get close into corners and up against walls, so you won’t need to struggle with hard to reach areas. Dirt, stains and debris are quickly dealt with by six rows of rotating DirtLifter brushes – enabling the StainPro 6 to get deep to the heart of your carpets and rugs.
Furthermore, it is much easier for you to save water with this carpet cleaner, as the dirty and clean water is stored separately. This is particularly useful if you have a small home, as you can save the clean water for next time should you have some left over.
However, there are a few negatives to this product. Most notably, customers experienced issues with the water flow suddenly stopping, causing an unwelcome interruption to their progress. On top of that, the instructions aren’t easy to follow, which may end up leading to further problems and unnecessary delays when they are encountered.
Lastly, the attachment for cleaning stairs and awkward areas, while a great idea, can sometimes spray too much liquid and therefore make them more difficult to wash and dry.
Are you tired of hauling heavy appliances around your home? Then the Vax Compact Power carpet washer is the model for you.
Weighing just 5.7kg, the Vax Compact is the lightest carpet cleaner in the Vax range. Its streamlined design and the narrow head is effortless to manoeuvre. Thus, you can wash large and small spaces without breaking a sweat. Due to its compact shape and low weight, it’s easy to carry up and down staircases without struggling or risking injury, although the length of the head makes it a little difficult to use on stair carpets.
In terms of cleaning power, this model may be small but it still packs a punch. Boasting a reach of 6.7m and a 1.8L capacity, its specialized antimicrobial ‘Aquaspin’ brush bar beats deep into carpet fibres. The brush effectively removes stubborn stains, spills, or pet-related accidents in minutes. Thanks to its ‘Heat Blast’ technology, you won’t have to wait around too long for your carpets to dry afterwards.
Lightweight, effective, and easy to store – there’s plenty of reasons to choose the Vax Compact Power carpet washer. However, like any product, it does have a couple of downsides. The plastic brush cover is prone to coming loose if caught and it’s a little awkward to take apart for cleaning.
Think you need to spend big bucks to get great results? Think again. The budget-friendly Vax Rapid Power Plus Carpet Washer delivers beautifully fresh and bright carpets without breaking the bank.
Offering an Auto-Mix solution system and two huge 4.7L capacity water tanks for both clean and dirty water, this budget carpet cleaner is capable of covering quite large areas in one fill. The generous reach length of 10.5m allows you to get the job done in one session, without having to stop to switch power outlets part-way through.
Tough stains stand no chance against the Vax Rapid Power Plus. Edge to edge ‘Spinscrub’ brushes and spins in alternate directions, working deep into your carpet to effortlessly dislodge embedded dirt and debris. Moreover, the choice of attachments enables you to clean stairs and the tightest of spots with ease. In a hurry? The ‘Quick Clean’ mode cleans and dries carpets in less than an hour, so you can get onto more enjoyable tasks in no time.
If you’re short of cash and looking for an affordable carpet cleaner, this model is clearly an excellent choice. It does have a few drawbacks though. Two large tanks mean it’s pretty heavy to move around and the suction can be somewhat temperamental at times. Lastly, when you need to remove the brushes for cleaning, be prepared to spend some time unscrewing the head to get them out.
A lot of carpet cleaners can be on the bigger or bulkier side because they need to pack in a lot of technology. However, that doesn’t have to be the only way, and the Bissell SpotClean PRO Portable is a great example of that.
This lightweight carpet cleaner packs a lot of portable cleaning power, which means you’ll be able to wash your stairs, upholstery and even car interior with relative ease. Furthermore, despite its small size, its tank is large enough for you to wash an average sized room without needing to be refilled.
These tanks have also been designed so you can effortlessly refill and empty them without any spilling, which is another added bonus. Because of its size, you might expect that it would be tough to tackle larger stains, but the large and tough stain attachments negate this. These attachments enable you to get up close and personal with your stain removal but also means there’s some hefty scrubbing on your hands and knees required.
While this Bissell carpet washer is certainly compact and convenient, it is also incredibly noisy compared to bigger carpet cleaners. This is probably because it has to put in a lot more effort in, in order to provide similar cleaning quality.
Also, the suction isn’t fantastic, so you’ll likely have to tiptoe around damp carpets for a good few hours after cleaning.
If you’re looking for deep cleaning power and convenience, the Vax Rapid Power Revive carpet washer is a great choice.
This carpet cleaner combines twin 4.7L water tanks and five of Vax’s specialized ‘SpinScrub’ brushes for fast and effective results over large areas. Whether you’re battling trodden-in mud, food stains, or pet messes, this heavy-duty model can help.
The edge-to-edge brushrolls spin in opposing directions, penetrating deep into the pile to easily lift dirt out of the fibres. Thanks to their clever design, the brushrolls are able to clean right up to your skirting boards. However, you could always use the crevice tool for this purpose, if you prefer. Above floor cleaning is simple, too. Just attach the wash tool to tackle dirty sofas, car seats, and staircases.
With a choice of two cleaning modes, this carpet washer has something for everyone. Choose “deep clean’ mode to thoroughly clean thick, mucky carpets, or ‘quick clean’ mode to freshen up and dry floors in under an hour. Not sure how much solution to use? The Vax Rapid Power Revive offers an Auto-Mix function, so you can just fill up, switch on, and go.
Due to its size and power, bear in mind that this model is rather bulky to store and quite heavy to carry. It can be a little noisy, too, but we think this is a small price to pay for a fantastic clean.
When you’ve got ‘portable’ in your name, you should be able to live up to it, and this Rug Doctor Portable Spot mini carpet cleaner with hand tool does it spectacularly. Being very lightweight, it’s already easy to manoeuvre; but the inclusion of a retractable handle and carpet-friendly wheels means you’ll find it more effortless to use than many other small models.
Despite its size, it boasts of having suction that is extremely powerful, perhaps enough to rival some of its bigger competitors. Part of this is down to its motorized brush, which loosens up most of the dirt in your carpet before efficiently sucking it up.
Furthermore, if you particularly hate cleaning the stairs, this carpet shampooer could actually make this chore enjoyable. Specifically designed to safely and easily fit on a standard stair, you simply place the unit on the stair below while you wash, without any worry about it toppling off and tumbling down.
However, the compact design has some downsides. Firstly, because of its shape, accurately filling up the area for the cleaning solution is rather awkward, and may lead to spilling until you get the hang of it.
The tanks are also smaller than you’d expect, so you will likely need to empty and refill a lot, leading to the potential for mess. Lastly, when compared to other models we have seen, the Rug Doctor Portable isn’t very long lasting.
Many users found this handheld carpet cleaner started to lose suction after only a few months, which is a disappointment considering given how well the rest of this carpet cleaner works.
Carpet Cleaner Buying Guide
When you buy the wrong carpet cleaner, not only can it be an expensive mistake; it can also lead to hours of discomfort and frustration every time you use it.
Therefore, when choosing the best carpet cleaner, you need to make sure you have taken into consideration the following features before making your final decision:
If you’re accustomed to using cordless vacuum cleaners or traditional cleaners, you’ll quickly discover a key difference when you shop for your first carpet cleaner. Most vacuum models weigh about the same when you’re wheeling or toting them around, but when it comes to carpet cleaners, the weight varies considerably – for a reason that makes a lot of sense when you think about it.
Those designed to be used in big houses will have big tanks to match, and thus, this naturally adds to the overall weight and bulk. However, that’s not to say you should always opt to buy a smaller model.
Using an undersized carpet cleaner in your home will force you to repeatedly stop to empty the dirty water and refill the clean water tank – taking you much more time than necessary to finish the job.
Another important consideration when you buy is whether you or not you want a carpet cleaner with a tank heater.
Using heated cleaning greatly increases the ability of the solution to break down dust, grime and stain removal of dirt wedged deep inside your carpet fibres, but unfortunately, the heated cleaning also adds weight and bulk. In fact, units with built-in heaters can often weigh 10kg or more.
The bottom line is that a large carpet cleaner, particularly those with an integral heater, can be extremely difficult to manoeuvre. That might not be a deal-breaker if you’re just going to use it once or twice a year but can quickly become tiresome if you clean on a regular basis.
Therefore, determining how large a machine you need, and whether the heated cleaning is important to you, are some of the first steps you should take before you buy.
Standard or Multi-Purpose
The next decision to make is whether you prefer a multi-function (sometimes called a two-in-one) model or those that are strictly for washing your carpets. A two-in-one model also be a vacuum cleaner, so the same unit can clean up the loose dirt sitting on top of the carpet before shampooing.
A multi-function carpet washer can, therefore, save time and effort but can also be an advantage if storage space is at a premium in your flat or small home. However, the vacuum in the two-in-one model is usually simply not as powerful or effective as dedicated vacuum models. If we’re honest, we’re not crazy about them.
That said, several other upper-level carpet washer functions are particularly useful and should at least be considered.
The first is heated carpet cleaning, this type blows hot air onto the carpet during the shampooing process. This speeds up drying time considerably but may cause damage to particularly delicate rugs.
The second convenient feature you can choose when you buy is an automix system that pre-blends water and carpet cleaning detergent in the right proportions. This saves not only time but also the hassle of getting the combination perfectly right whenever you have to fill the cleaner.
Effectiveness, of course, largely depends on the technology the carpet cleaner uses, and the performance of a carpet cleaner is generally based on its cleaning heads and motor.
New higher-level models typically have separate rotating brushes or brush heads (containing a number of smaller brushes) which dig deeper into the carpet, while lesser models will usually have a single head. If required, you can also find some units with brush rollers which don’t penetrate as deeply but are more gentle and therefore ideal for use on delicate rugs.
Motor size usually ranges from 500-1850 watts and is generally a good measure of carpet cleaning performance and suction, as well as how quickly your carpet will dry on its own once you have finished.
The final consideration involves attachments or powered carpet cleaning tools.
Among the most useful are air-powered brushes that provide deeper clean, smaller brushes for spot cleaning, upholstery tool for furnishings, and a hand tool or crevice tool for hard-to-reach areas. Many carpet cleaning machines will now come with attachments which are specifically designed for use on the stairs, which are well-known as one of the most difficult areas to clean.
We obviously love all of the products featured in this review, otherwise, we wouldn’t have chosen them. However, we have to decide upon a winner, and as far as we’re concerned, the best carpet cleaner just has to be the Vax W90-RU-P Rapide.
We were super impressed with the features packed into this carpet cleaner; from the large water capacity that enables thorough carpet cleaning, to the built-in rotating brushbar which creates incredibly fresh and clean results with every use.
Furthermore, the accompanying hose and handheld wash tool are ideal for tackling your stairs and mean you won’t have to spend any more time than necessary getting the job done. Not only will your carpet be gleaming and free of detergent, but thanks to the Dual V technology, it will also be dry double-quick, leaving you to enjoy your clean carpet without any inconvenience.
And as if this wasn’t enough, the Vax W90-RU-P Rapide also comes complete with a variety of specially designed attachments, so you can give your sofa, rugs and car interior a spring clean too.
Overall, we think you’ll agree that the Vax W90-RU-P Rapide has to be one of the best carpet washers on the market today.