How to choose the best carpet cleaner for every home

How to choose a good carpet cleaner that is suitable for your home

Last update 17th July 2019

Selecting a carpet cleaner will be simple if you already know what features you are looking for.

If you want a carpet cleaner for general use such as cleaning carpet, thin carpet, area rug, stains, carpet stair, upholstery, pet vomit, pet urine, you should pick an upright model.

An upright carpet cleaner generally has a wide brush cleaning path, allowing you to wash and rinse the floor carpet easily. In most case, there is a long extended hose for you to wash the sofa, carpeted stair and pet beds.

Advanced upright carpet cleaners often have 2-speed modes: a quick cleaning mode that is suitable for using daily and a deep cleaning mode that will remove stains, soils, pet hairs out of the carpets.

When choosing an upright model, there are a few other features you might need to check such as the weight (under 17 lbs. can be considered as a lightweight machine), the water tank capacity (1 Gallon or bigger is better), long hose, long cord, 2 year warranty (or more), and a strong motor power to give more suction.

When delving into details, you may see some models will have a low profile brush head (so that you can clean under furniture without removing them), an internal-heater (to keep water at optimal temperature for washing), more brush units, or more accessories.

Recommended upright carpet cleaners in 2019

Hoover Smartwash FH52000 is highly recommended for most of apartments. This model is the newest design from Hoover, featuring Dry Only benefit and automatic technologies.

Hoover Power Scrub Elite FH50251PC can also be your second option if you can spare a little bit more.

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This model is a refresh of Hoover Power Scrub Deluxe, with the addition of a nozzle sprayer (so you can add more detergent to the stains and pet messes) and a bigger water tank (1.25 Gallons vs 1.0 Gallons). Besides, the Elite version has 2 cleaning modes. The benefits are quite clear.

A third recommendation is Bissell Proheat 2X Revolution series. You can either take the Bissell Proheat 2X 1548 or Bissell Proheat 2X Pet 1986. These models are highly recommended for pet owners.

best carpet cleaners 2020

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The key value of Bissell Proheat 2X series versus Hoover Power Scrub series is that Bissell models have a low-profile brush head, longer hose (8 ft.), and heatwave technology to maintain the warm temperature during cleaning.

In addition, Bissell Proheat 2X Pet 1986 has a 5-year warranty, making it more worthy to invest for long time use.

If you are seeking for a spot cleaner for pet urine, pet stains, accidental spillage, sofa cleaning, auto-interior detailing jobs, then a portable carpet cleaner will be your best companion.

Most of spot carpet cleaners on the market use a hose and different cleaning tools (stair cleaning tool, stair tool, pet tool…) to tackle the stains, but there are some special models with a brush system to clean the stain on carpets.

Spot carpet cleaners often have a small water tank size, moderate motor power and very affordable. Some models have circular shapes, others have slim profiles so that you can bring into tight spaces (auto) to clean easily.

Unlike the upright carpet washer, a spot carpet washer can be corded or cordless. Generally, a cordless model can run for 15-30 minutes before recharging, making it very convenient for bringing outdoor (to clean the car interior for example). Cordless spot cleaner is not as popular as the corded one.


The most inexpensive, reliable spot carpet cleaners for general uses are Bissell Spotclean Professional 3624 and Hoover Spotless FH11300PC. They are capable of cleaning stains, stair, urine, pet messes….amazingly.

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Bissell Spotclean 3624 has a bigger motor power ( around 6 amps) which is 2-fold more than Hoover Spotless and a generous water tank (0.75 Gal). Besides, it has a bunch of tools for difficult tasks. The downside is the weight (13.2 lbs.) and its circular shape making it a little bit cumbersome for those who want to bring it inside the car

best carpet cleaners 2020

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Hoover Spotless FH11300PC, on the other side, has a moderate motor (similar to most of the spot cleaners on the market), a slim profile and a decent water tank size. It features auto-hose fluxing technology which will prevent the dirt and bacteria get stuck in the hose and cause bad odor.

A third option that you may consider is Bissell Spotbot 33N8, the unique spot cleaner with an automatic feature. Bissell Spotbot 33N8 features 2 brush units underneath therefore it can clean the pet stains with its pre-set cleaning cycles. This model is perhaps a good choice for pet owners.

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If you are looking for a professional-grade carpet washer to clean soiled carpets, you can check for Bissell Big Green or Rug Doctor Mighty Pro.

In certain conditions, an upright carpet cleaner will be insufficient for cleaning your carpets, for example, if you run a hotel or cleaning hospital, school…At this time, you have to look for a more robust, powerful model with big water tank capacity. Bissell Big Green 86T3 is the first choice and Rug Doctor Mighty Pro can be a great alternative too.

best carpet cleaners 2020

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These models are featured by strong motors, big water tank (up to 3.75 Gal per each tank) and they are designed for deep cleaning the carpet.

The downsides of these models are price and weight. Even though they can out-perform most of the residential use carpet cleaners, you should consider their weight (up to 40 lbs.) before buying them.

How to maximize carpet cleaning performance

In order to get the best results, there are a few steps you have to prepare before washing your carpets.

Vacuum first. Always vacuum the carpets, rugs, to remove the dust, pet hair…before washing because it will not only fasten the cleaning process but also let the carpet cleaner works easier.

Pre-treat old stains. Unlike fresh stains, old stains are extremely difficult to remove because they have settled down inside the fibers. You have to use special detergents for old stains or some DIY formula to pre-treat them.

A common formula for removing old stains is the mixture of water, baking soda, vinegar, and a few drops of essential oils.

Use warm water (not over 50 Celcius degrees). Warm water helps a lot of dirt and stain removal. However, if you are having a lot of urine on your carpets, use cool water only otherwise it will evaporate and cause the whole room smelly. You may use some enzymatic cleaners to pre-treat the urine to get the best results.

Wash the carpet with the carpet cleaner. At this time, use the carpet cleaner to wash your carpet, you may have to go up to 2-3 strokes per areas if it is too dirty. After that, rinse the carpet with the fresh water to remove excessive detergents and leave air dry.

Further readings

How to choose a spot cleaner for stains, urine

How to choose a vacuum for high pile carpets

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