Best Carpet Cleaners [2020]

According to the Carpet and Rug Institute, having carpets inside your home provides some benefits.

Its primary function is to filter your home’s air, trapping dust, pollens, and other contaminants that may otherwise stay in your home’s atmosphere.

Best Carpet Cleaners

The CRI also said that new carpet is the lowest VOC-emitting flooring choice available.

A brand new carpet is one of the best investments you may have. But failing to maintain it can turn this passive filter into an existing health hazard.

One of the best tools to have at your disposal outside of a vacuum cleaner is a carpet cleaner. And in this review, we’ll look at the best carpet cleaners available right now in the market.

Not only that, but I’ll also show you how to choose the right one for your needs at home.

Spec comparison

Separate clean & dirty water tank
1.74 hp
12 amps
6.8 amps
5.7 amps
Cleaning path
Cord length
25 feet
15 feet
25 feet
12 feet
9 feet
5.5 feet
8 feet
2 x 20-volt lithium ion
Clean water tank
3.0 gal
1.75 gal
64 oz
1 gal
3/4 gal
Dirty water tank
3.9 gal
1.75 gal
64 oz
1 gal
3/4 gal(combined)
50.5 pounds
40.6 pounds
15 pounds
19 pounds
13.2 pounds
5 yrs
5 yrs
2 yrs
5 yrs
2 years

Why do you need a carpet cleaner?

Lots of people make the mistake of thinking that an upright vacuum is enough to maintain carpet. The truth is, it takes more than just a good vacuum cleaner to keep carpets clean.

You’ll need a device that can dig in and clean deep under carpet fiber and remove any stains that may be present.

Let’s be honest here; no matter how careful you are, spills are inevitable, especially if you have kids. Accidental spills and toddlers who are running amuck go hand in hand.

I know I have an active toddler, and I can’t count how many times he’s vomited or peed on the floor.

Are you a people person and love to have guests over for house parties? These events attract spilled drinks and chips like a magnet.

These are the instances where a carpet cleaner will save you from long term headaches.

Renting versus owning a carpet cleaner

One option a lot of people consider is just renting a carpet cleaner. For example, Bissell offers rentals for around $30 for 24 hours.

One advantage of renting would be space savings because these machines do take up space. There’s also the issue of maintenance since you’ll have to clean the roller brushes and tanks regularly.

It is all well and good if you use a carpet cleaner once or twice a year.

If your home has wall to wall carpeting, you may need to clean more often than that more so if you have young children or pets.

Having a carpet cleaner is paramount to make your home clean and prevent costly carpet repairs or replacement that can run into the thousands of dollars.

How to choose the best carpet cleaner?

Choosing the right carpet cleaner will depend on the size of your home, type of carpet, how much you’re willing to spend, other areas that need cleaning, and the occupants.

Size of your home

Do you live inside a medium or large house with wall to wall carpeting?

If so, you will need a full-sized carpet cleaner that will require fewer trips to the sink to empty dirty water.

Large carpet cleaners like the Rug Doctor Mighty Pro will be more efficient in bigger homes because it has a wider cleaning path and larger tanks.

Its size will not be an issue because there’s more space to work with, and chances are you’ll have a larger storage room to clean such tools.

In smaller homes, such a big carpet cleaner may not be as practice. So you can opt for something smaller like the Bissell ProHeat 2X Revolution.

Type of carpet

The next thing to consider would be the type of carpet you have. When I say the type of carpet, I mean how thick the strands are.

Do you have a thick, plush carpet, or is it a low pile?

Homes with thicker carpets should have a more powerful carpet cleaner capable of deep cleaning dense fiber.

Again, you’ll have to check the size of your home to determine how powerful a machine would suffice.

How much are you willing to spend?

For me, before looking at any brand, set a range on how much you’re willing to spend.

Can it be over $300 or $200 is already pushing it?

Doing this will help quickly narrow down options that you can realistically buy.

However, if you’re fortunate enough to have more disposable income, then, by all means, buy the most powerful carpet cleaner you can afford that’ll fit your home’s needs.

Other areas that need cleaning

Also, consider other areas that need deep cleaning inside your home. Do you have lots of area rugs or fabric upholstery? If the answer is yes, then consider buying something capable of cleaning the areas above floors.

Another option if you don’t want to lug around a massive machine would be buying something more compact. It is an excellent tool to have just in case emergencies arise, like the dog peeing on the sofa or your toddler dropping a glass of milk.

Always prepare for the worst-case scenario.


How many are in the house? Do you have pets or young children? Homes with pets and children will be more prone to “accidental” spills, so you may want something lighter so that dragging and storing it wouldn’t be an issue.

Our Pick: Rug Doctor Mighty Pro X3

Rug Doctor is universally known for manufacturing high-quality carpet cleaners. To be more specific, they specialize in making full-sized, deep cleaning machines.

Perhaps the biggest strength of the Mighty Pro X3 would be its ability to deep clean even plush carpet.

If you need a deep cleaning for plush carpet inside a large home, then this is a no-brainer option.

But this machine won’t be cheap. This machine will cost around $400 on Amazon. It’s a lot of money but a worthwhile investment that’s not a lot of money considering the cost of hiring a professional these days.


  • Has deep cleaning power that can keep the carpet clean and free of allergens
  • Wide cleaning path means fewer passes which makes it more efficient
  • Despite the bulk, it is easy to move around
  • Comes with a 12-foot hose and nozzle for cleaning stairs and upholstery
  • Long warranty


  • A bulky machine will take up some real estate
  • Heavy – you’ll need some strength to move this up and down a flight of stairs
  • Expensive

Another feature I like with this Rug Doctor would be the size of the water tank. The 3-gallon tank is capable of cleaning a small to medium-sized room without having to empty.

However, the ability to clean a whole room in just a tank of cleaning solution would also depend on how dirty the carpet is—the more stained the carpet, the more cleaning solution and passes.

This machine also has some versatility thanks to the 12-foot hose and nozzle. You can use this combo to clean stairs and upholstery. Take note that it won’t be long enough to clean a tall flight of stairs. So if your home has such, then invest in a compact carpet cleaner.

Bottom line: In terms of performance and price, the Rug Doctor Mighty Pro x3 provides excellent performance without breaking the bank. It gives you professional-grade performance at a reasonable cost. Four hundred dollars sounds a lot of money, but remember that you’ll be using this for years, so it’ll be all worth the money you’ll spend.

Rug Doctor Alternative: Bissell Big Green

Let’s say spending $400 is a little out of your range, then the Bissell has a more affordable alternative – the Big Green.

This full-sized carpet cleaner has almost the same power as the more expensive Rug Doctor but nearly $100 cheaper.

In terms of design, both the Bissell and Rug Doctor have similar design cues. These machines use a foldable handle, large water tank, and roller brush at the bottom for agitation.

However, the Rug Doctor does have a bigger water tank at 3 gallons versus the 1.75 gallons of the Bissell. It means that you’ll have more trips to the sink to empty the dirty water tank.

That’s the bad part. The good news is this machine is more compact and lighter, which makes this a better option in smaller homes.


  • Great agitation thanks to the DirtLifter PowerBrush’s stiff bristles
  • Cheaper than the Rug Doctor Mighty Pro X3
  • Long 5-year warranty
  • Both water tanks are removable which makes it easy to clean and empty


  • At over $300 this machine isn’t cheap
  • Noisy and heavy at 40 pounds

Like the Rug Doctor, you can also use this machine to clean upholstery and stairs thanks to the nozzle and 9-foot hose. It isn’t as long as the Rug Doctor’s hose but still good enough, at least for upholstery.

Bottom line: Bissell gives consumers a cheaper option if spending $400 for a carpet cleaner is too much. It offers almost close to the same power and agitation thanks to the stiff bristles. It will fit in medium-sized homes because it’s a little bit small and lighter than the Rug Doctor.

Compact Option: Rug Doctor Spot Cleaner

More often than not, you don’t need to lug around a heavy carpet cleaner. When the inevitable occurs, it’s the spot cleaner that will save the day.

For every spill and potty training that didn’t go well, is where a compact carpet cleaner shines.

Parents with young children around know that these things are bound to happen no matter how careful you are.

Pet owners, too, know how messy their four-legged friends are. No matter the unconditional love, these messes will get to you if you don’t have the right tool for the job.

The Rug Doctor Spot Cleaner is one of the most potent compact carpet cleaners available right now thanks nozzle that vibrates 1,200 times per minute. It is the only small cleaner that I know of that has vibrating bristles.

Combine that with Rug Doctor’s powerful cleaning agents makes this a reliable spot cleaner that can tackle spills, pet litter, and much more.


  • Vibrating bristles give this portable cleaner great agitation on upholstery and carpet
  • Larger the usual water tank (versus other brands) allows this to cover more area
  • Wide cleaning nozzle allows it more efficiency
  • Great suction


  • The large body makes cleaning stairs a little tricky
  • Short hose lacks reach
  • The bulky nozzle may be too big inside vehicles

The power and agitation make this one of the better options for cleaning pet hair and spills on carpet and upholstery.

Unfortunately, the short hose and large frame limit its capabilities as a stair cleaner.

The body of this carpet cleaner is bigger when you put it side-by-side with other brands like the Bissell.

So it may not fit on the stairs. If you’re looking for something for such, opt for something smaller.

Bottom line: The Rug Doctor Compact Carpet Cleaner is an excellent option if you’re looking for a spot cleaning machine that has both power and agitation. This variant is easily one of the most potent options in its class. Unfortunately, the size of the body limits its reach on the stairs. So you may want to look elsewhere for a stair cleaner.

For Small Homes: Bissell ProHeat 2X

Two of the three products above are massive machines that may not fit inside a small home less than 150 square feet.

Let’s say you live in an apartment complex; a Rug Doctor Mighty Pro may not be the best option.

Fortunately, Bissell offers something lighter and smaller in the ProHeat 2X.

Don’t worry about performance because this machine is capable of deep cleaning carpets.

Just in case you’re wondering, the 2X stands for the double roller brushes this machine has.

Bissell calls this the Dual DirtLifter system that uses two rows of stiff bristles to agitate carpet.


  • Excellent agitation thanks to the Dual DirtLifter system
  • Cheaper than the Rug Doctor FlexClean
  • Has an option that allows you to clean area rugs
  • Two water tanks prevent cross-contamination
  • Hose and nozzle gives this some versatility
  • Long 5-year warranty


  • Noisy
  • Small water tank when you compare it to full-sized cleaners
  • Short Hose

This machine only has a 6.8 amp motor, which is almost half less than the Bissell Big Green. So don’t expect this to have the same performance. But it is very effective at what it does.

Pet owners will like this machine because it is capable of cleaning pet stains on carpet and upholstery.

Since suction isn’t as good as the Big Green, you’ll have to go slower to maximize the efficiency of this machine.

The one-gallon tank isn’t as big as the other options here, so expect lots of trips to the sink.

Bottom line: The Bissell ProHeat 2X is an excellent option in small or even medium-size homes where space is a premium. It won’t take as much space as the Bissell Big Green but still provides decent enough agitation to make it a worthwhile choice.

Great Inside Vehicles: Bissell SpotClean Professional 3624

Last but not least, the Bissell SpotClean Professional, the second cheapest option among the five options here.

If the Rug Doctor spot cleaner is too expensive, then have a look at this cheaper variant from Bissell.

Like the Rug Doctor, this variant specializes in cleaning spills on both carpet and upholstery.

One feature that this lacks is vibrating bristles, which gives it less agitation.

The compact size of this machine makes it a handy tool to have for cleaning upholstery and stairs.

It has two nozzle options. The three and six-inch nozzles both work well for agitation. You can use the smaller nozzle inside vehicles where there are plenty of tight spaces.


  • Excellent at removing stains on fabric upholstery and carpet
  • Compact size will not take up a lot of space
  • Smaller nozzle make this usable inside a vehicle
  • Decent 22-foot power cord


  • Hose tends to come off the nozzle – you’ll have to be careful not to pull too hard
  • Hard to clean water tank

On the plus side, this cleaner performs well despite not having as much power as newer compact carpet cleaners.

However, you’ll need the help of a presoak to clean dry stains because this machine does not have vibrating bristles.

Bissell recommends using hot tap water and cleaner mixture. Don’t use boiling water because it will deform the plastic tanks.

Bottom line: If you need something compact but does not compromise on performance, the Bissell SpotClean Professional is a great option. It won’t break the bank at just a little under $130 and still provides the same versatility as the more expensive Rug Doctor.

The verdict

There you have it, 5 of the best carpet cleaners available right now. I know I did not cover them all, but you won’t go wrong with any of these options.

Choosing one again will depend on the need and budget. For large homes with lots of carpets, go with the Rug Doctor Mighty Pro or the Bissell Big Green. Smaller houses in need of a full-sized carpet cleaner will benefit from the Bissell ProHeat 2X.

If size is a concern, then the Rug Doctor compact cleaner or Bissell SpotClean Professional make good options. The Rug Doctor will have better performance, but the Bissell will work better in tighter areas.

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About the author: Garrick Dee Garrick is the founder of the Cordless Vacuum Guide has been testing cordless vacuums for the past 10 years, and writes about them on this website. When he’s not writing reviews, he enjoys spending time with his wife and son, traveling and tasting different cuisines.