Carpets and upholstery can lend a home warmth and coziness. However, they also require a lot of maintenance, especially if your house sees plenty of traffic from people and pets alike. In this case, a carpet cleaner is a good investment apart from your trusted vacuums. If you’re wondering what are the best carpet cleaners, we’re here to help you out. Below, we’ve narrowed down our top five picks.
Best Carpet Cleaner Comparison Chart
|Hoover SmartWash + Automatic Carpet Cleaner|
|Bissell Little Green Machine|
|McCulloch MC1275 Heavy-Duty Steam Cleaner|
|Hoover PowerDash Pet Compact Carpet Cleaner|
|Hoover Spotless Portable Carpet & Upholstery Spot Cleaner|
Hoover SmartWash + Automatic Carpet Cleaner
Best upright carpet cleaner
Just like vacuums, upright models of carpet cleaners are all about power. The Hoover SmartWash + Automatic Carpet Cleaner has enough of it, thanks to two 10 amp motors. Made from plastic, its transparent body helps you see just how much is pulled from your carpets. It also comes with ample dual tanks and dirt-loosening FlexForce brushes.
But arguably the SmartWash’s biggest appeal is automation. While other carpet cleaners can get intimidating with their size and controls, Hoover’s goes straight to cleaning. Buttons are few, and you only need to push the cleaner forward to clean and then pull it back to dry. The SmartWash also comes with automatic mixing and dispensing of the cleaning solution.
Aside from simple assembly, Hoover’s SmartWash is easy to maintain. Cleaning the unit is a breeze, and the removable water tanks and nozzles make for quick rinsing. If there’s one downside, it has to be the fixed handle. Had Hoover made it adjustable, the SmartWash will be the clear overall winner.
Water Tank: Clean (1 gal), Dirty (0.5 gal) | Power: 10 amps | Drying: Yes
Bissell Little Green Machine
Best portable carpet cleaner
For homeowners who want something they can move easily around the house, we recommend the Bissell Little Green Machine. A favorite by critics and customers alike, this dome-shaped cleaner is a compact appliance with full-sized features. Among them is a flexible hose that gives users tons of room for maneuvering across carpets and upholstery.
Since it’s a smaller unit, the Little Green has a more modest 3 amp motor. Nonetheless, you still get a dual tank system flanking the machine’s body. At the top, you’ll also find a handle that makes it easy to carry the carpet cleaner around. There’s also a hook where you wrap the cord and an ergonomic spray trigger on its handgrip.
The Little Green’s brush mouth is only around three inches wide. As such, the machine is more suitable for targeted cleaning of carpeted stairs, floors, and even car interiors. Thankfully, caring for the unit is straightforward. Bissell includes a self-cleaning tool with the Little Green that rinses your hose in a cinch.
Water Tank: Clean (0.38 gal), Dirty | Power: 3 amps | Drying: No
McCulloch MC1275 Heavy-Duty Steam Cleaner
Best steam cleaners for carpet and upholstery
Aside from being eco-friendly, steam cleaning naturally sanitizes a wide variety of surfaces. If this is something up your alley, consider the McCulloch MC1275 Heavy-Duty Steam Cleaner. Although branded as heavy-duty, the MC1275 only weighs 9.95 pounds. But despite being lightweight, the unit can tackle anything — carpets, clothes, sofas, tiles, and patios.
A lot of it has to do with the 18 accessories McCulloch includes with the MC1275. From stick mop heads to steam clean larger floor areas to triangle nozzles for spot cleaning, the MC1275 is as multipurpose as it gets. And while the 10-foot hose is long enough to cover every nook and cranny of your home, McCulloch still adds an extension wand to the mix.
The MC1275 has 12.5 amps of power and a 0.38-gallon water tank. To create steam, the machine relies on 1500W of heating power to bring water to 200ºF in just eight minutes. Meanwhile, the steam duration can last up to 45 minutes — enough time for cutting through dirt and grime.
Water Tank: 0.38 gal | Power: 12.5 amps | Drying: No
Hoover PowerDash Pet Compact Carpet Cleaner
Best budget carpet cleaner
Although it’s an upright carpet cleaner, the Hoover PowerDash Pet Compact Carpet Cleaner is welcome even in small homes or apartments. It’s a little over 10 inches wide and comes in a sleek, stylish form. The best part is that the PowerDash costs half that of the Hoover SmartWash.
Don’t let its price fool you. While it’s a budget model, the PowerDash offers heated cleaning and drying. It also features a pet-friendly antimicrobial brush to tackle pet stains while warding off odors. Similar to other high-end carpet cleaners, Hoover’s PowerDash has a dual-tank system. You’ll find a clean tank for the solution near the top and a dirty water tank at the base.
Where the unit does cut corners is in power. The PowerDash is equipped with a lower 7-amp motor, about half what you get from the SmartWash. It also lacks the automated features of its more premium siblings. Nonetheless, Hoover’s affordable cleaner boasts several conveniences — from a wide 10-inch cleaning path to removable nozzles for hassle-free cleaning.
Water Tank: Clean (0.7 gal), Dirty | Power: 7 amps | Drying: Yes
Hoover Spotless Portable Carpet & Upholstery Spot Cleaner
Best carpet cleaner for spot cleaning
For fresh set-in stains and messy spots, we recommend the Hoover Spotless Portable Carpet & Upholstery Spot Cleaner. A competition to the Bissell Little Green, the Spotless has the edge in motor power and water tank capacity. Given the latter, you can deep-clean your home longer between refills.
The Hoover Spotless carpet cleaner comes with an Antimicrobial Nub Tool. Made from rubber, the attachment robustly loosens stains from carpet and upholstery. You can purchase a crevice tool for tackling tight spaces and a powered TurboBrush hand tool for stubborn dirt, too.
In terms of design, Hoover’s Spotless draws close comparison to Bissell’s Little Green. Instead of a dome-like form, however, the Spotless opts for a more angular design. The cleaner’s main body is also flanked by water tanks, and you’ll find a built-in carry handle at the top. To make it even a tougher choice over Little Green, Hoover’s Spotless hose has self-clean technology as well.
Water Tank: Clean (0.5 gal), Dirty (0.28) | Power: 3.5 amps | Drying: No
The best carpet cleaners have ample water tank capacity, powerful motors, and hassle-free care routines.
As mentioned, a carpet cleaner is an investment. You certainly want to get your money’s worth. So while all five cleaners reviewed are highly recommended, two stand out for their value.
First up is the Bissell Little Green Machine. This portable carpet cleaner is one of the top-rated models you will find on the market. There’s a good reason for it. The Little Green packs plenty of features in a unique and lightweight design. It’s also easy to operate and costs a little over $100.
When it comes to upright cleaners, we like the Hoover PowerDash Pet Compact Carpet Cleaner more than the Hoover SmartWash. Compared to its higher-priced sibling, the PowerDash has modest motor power and water tank capacity. It also lacks automated features.
But it makes up for these shortcomings by coming in a sleek and compact form that belies its ability to tackle stubborn stains. Plus, it still boasts a drying feature for a unit that costs half that of the Hoover SmartWash.
Upright carpet cleaners are larger than their portable siblings. As such, they tend to house more powerful motors and larger dual-tank systems.
Hoover’s PowerDash Pet Compact Carpet Cleaner comes with a one-year warranty.
The McCulloch MC1275 has a 15.7 feet power cord.
Yes, Hoover has its own catalog of cleaning solutions for carpet cleaners.