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Best Carpet Cleaners – 2024

Vacuum Wars

The current Best Carpet Cleaners ranking based on Vacuum Wars’ own independent testing and evaluation.

  • Pros:
    • Exceptionally powerful suction
    • Onboard hose enhances versatility
    • Premium attachment set
    • Dual activated solution dispensing
    • Effective on both wet and dry stains
    • Easy to empty and clean
    • Lightweight and agile for its class
  • Cons:
    • Smaller water tank than competitors
    • Plastic parts may wear over time
    • Only two water modes
  • More:
  • Pros:
    • CleanShot technology for targeting stains
    • Dual tank system for efficient cleaning
    • Deep Clean and Express Clean modes
    • Quick drying in about 30 minutes
    • Includes hose and multiple attachments
    • Excellent at removing deep-seated dirt
  • Cons:
    • Heavier build
  • More:
  • Pros:
    • High water capacity (1.7 gallons)
    • Efficient water usage
    • Exceptional unsealed suction power
    • Versatile forward and backward use
    • Longest hose offered by Bissell
    • Includes tough stain tool
    • Effective on wet and dry stains
  • Cons:
    • Heavy
  • More:
  • Pros:
    • Excellent stain removal
    • Cost-effective compared to competitors
    • Good suction power
    • Lightweight and easy to handle
    • Simple, user-friendly design
  • Cons:
    • Smaller water tank
    • Lacks some premium features
    • No hose attachment included
  • More:
  • Pros:
    • Lightweight, easy to maneuver
    • Impressive suction for its class
    • Effective on light and moderate stains
    • Simple trigger operation
    • Affordable price point
    • Compact size for easy storage
  • Cons:
    • Smaller water tank capacity
    • Lacks hose and advanced attachments
  • More:
1
$299.99$269.99
Pros:
  • Exceptionally powerful suction
  • Onboard hose enhances versatility
  • Premium attachment set
  • Dual activated solution dispensing
  • Effective on both wet and dry stains
  • Easy to empty and clean
  • Lightweight and agile for its class
Cons:
  • Smaller water tank than competitors
  • Plastic parts may wear over time
  • Only two water modes
More:
2
$269.00
Pros:
  • CleanShot technology for targeting stains
  • Dual tank system for efficient cleaning
  • Deep Clean and Express Clean modes
  • Quick drying in about 30 minutes
  • Includes hose and multiple attachments
  • Excellent at removing deep-seated dirt
Cons:
  • Heavier build
More:
3
$411.99
Pros:
  • High water capacity (1.7 gallons)
  • Efficient water usage
  • Exceptional unsealed suction power
  • Versatile forward and backward use
  • Longest hose offered by Bissell
  • Includes tough stain tool
  • Effective on wet and dry stains
Cons:
  • Heavy
More:
Best Mid Level
$199.99
Pros:
  • Excellent stain removal
  • Cost-effective compared to competitors
  • Good suction power
  • Lightweight and easy to handle
  • Simple, user-friendly design
Cons:
  • Smaller water tank
  • Lacks some premium features
  • No hose attachment included
More:
Best Budget
$113.29
Pros:
  • Lightweight, easy to maneuver
  • Impressive suction for its class
  • Effective on light and moderate stains
  • Simple trigger operation
  • Affordable price point
  • Compact size for easy storage
Cons:
  • Smaller water tank capacity
  • Lacks hose and advanced attachments
More:
06/19/2024 02:56 pm GMT

How We Tested and Picked These Carpet Cleaners

We have purchased almost every popular consumer carpet cleaner on the market and put them through various tests. This year, we even introduced a brand-new testing method designed to measure and compare actual performance. 

Keep reading, and we’ll delve into each carpet cleaner’s specifications, features, and the evaluation results crucial in scoring each product. We’ll also share why each evaluation method was chosen, our verdict on the best carpet cleaners, and highlight our top picks in three essential categories.

Best carpet cleaners: the fundamentals

All the carpet cleaners we evaluated operate on the same fundamental principle. You start by filling their clean water tanks with water and the manufacturer-provided carpet shampoo. Then, press the trigger on the handle to release the water and solution mixture onto the carpet, which most models include. 

A close-up of a hand holding the handle of a blue and black carpet cleaner, highlighting the trigger used to release the water and solution mixture onto the carpet.
An example of the trigger mechanism for easy water and solution release. © Vacuum Wars

As you move the vacuum back and forth, the brushes agitate the carpet while the machine draws the dirty water into a separate tank. 

A carpet cleaner in action, with the cleaning head moving over a stained area of carpet, visibly removing the stain and cleaning the carpet fibers.
Effective stain removal in action. © Vacuum Wars

However, some models do not have triggers; they automatically switch between water application and suction-only modes instead, which enhances user convenience. The ones with this feature earned extra points in our evaluation.

A comparison chart highlighting four carpet cleaners with auto water dispensers: Shark EX201 CarpetXpert, Hoover Smartwash, Tineco Carpet One, and Shark EX121BRN CarpetXpert, each marked with a green check mark.
Top carpet cleaners featuring automatic water dispensers. © Vacuum Wars

Additionally, we gave a lot of extra points to the carpet cleaners with a hose option. That means they include a hose, ranging from 7 to 12 feet in length, and at least one attachment for tackling upholstery, stairs, or stubborn stains. 

A set of carpet cleaner attachments including a long hose, two different cleaning heads, a cleaning tool, a storage bag, and bottles of cleaning solution.
Essential carpet cleaner attachments and accessories. © Vacuum Wars

Most models we reviewed included a hose feature, except ultra-budget options like the Hoover PowerDash Pet and the Bissell TurboClean Powerbrush Pet. 

A comparison chart showing five carpet cleaners that do not have a hose option: TurboClean Powerbrush Pet, Hoover PowerDash Pet, Hoover PowerDash Pet ADV, Shark EX121BRN CarpetXpert, and Dirt Devil FD50300, each marked with a red cross.
Carpet cleaners without a hose option. © Vacuum Wars

Notably, the Shark CarpetXpert features an onboard hose, which means it’s more or less permanently attached for easy access, similar to an upright vacuum.

A side view of the Shark CarpetXpert carpet cleaner, highlighting its onboard hose attachment and various components.
The Shark CarpetXpert features an onboard hose. © Vacuum Wars

Evaluation and performance

In our quest to determine the best carpet cleaners, we evaluated more than the basics. Let’s examine more evaluation outcomes, highlighting key findings and how they translate into real-world usability. 

Power and suction

We assessed each carpet cleaner’s power in multiple ways. For example, we measured suction using maximum power at the hose and/or base. 

A comparison chart showing the top six carpet cleaners for sealed suction: Rug Doctor Mighty Pro X3, Hoover Smartwash, Shark EX201 CarpetXpert, Tineco Carpet One, Kenmore KW4070 RevitaLite Pet, and Proheat 2X Revolution Pet Pro Plus, with their respective suction measurements.
Sealed suction performance of the top six carpet cleaners. © Vacuum Wars

We also evaluated usable suction—the suction power measured at the head on a flat, unsealed surface—which we consider a more useful metric. It provides a better practical indication of performance. 

A comparison chart showing the top six carpet cleaners for unsealed suction: Shark EX201 CarpetXpert, Shark EX121BRN CarpetXpert, Big Green Professional, TurboClean Powerbrush Pet, Hoover PowerScrub XL Pet, and Hoover PowerScrub Deluxe, with their respective suction measurements in kPa.
Shark CarpetXpert models lead in unsealed suction performance. © Vacuum Wars

Interestingly, both the Shark’s premium and budget models demonstrated superior suction power, significantly outperforming their competitors in this vital aspect.

Specs and Features

We considered various features and specifications, such as the tank size of each carpet cleaner. Notably, the Bissell Big Green Professional and the Rug Doctor Mighty Pro X3 had the largest tanks. This makes them particularly suitable for large areas or frequent use.

A comparison chart showing the top six carpet cleaners for water tank capacity: Rug Doctor Mighty Pro X3, Big Green Professional, Hoover PowerScrub XL Pet, Proheat 2X Revolution Pet Pro Plus, Revolution Hydrosteam, and Kenmore KW4070 RevitaLite Pet, with their respective tank capacities in gallons.
Rug Doctor Mighty Pro X3 leads with the largest water tank capacity among the top six carpet cleaners. © Vacuum Wars

Also, if you have a very large area to clean or plan on using your carpet cleaner daily, consider the commercial-type models. The larger tanks reduce the need for frequent refills and emptying, enhancing efficiency for extensive cleaning tasks.

Bissell Big Green Professional

Bissell Big Green Professional

Best Professional

Plus, commercial-grade models are built to a much higher standard. You’ll commonly find them in rental fleets. Because of this, finding replacement parts for these carpet cleaners is easier. 

Water modes

Another critical criterion in our evaluation was the availability of multiple water modes. Models with adjustable water modes got extra scores due to their added flexibility. For instance, using less water is a considerable advantage for people who want their carpets to dry more quickly. 

A comparison chart showing the top six carpet cleaners for water modes: Revolution Hydrosteam, Proheat 2X Revolution Pet Pro Plus, Proheat 2X Revolution Pet, Shark EX201 CarpetXpert, Shark EX121BRN CarpetXpert, and Tineco Carpet One, with their respective number of water modes.
Revolution Hydrosteam, Proheat 2X Revolution Pet Pro Plus, and Proheat 2X Revolution Pet lead with the most water modes. © Vacuum Wars

Some carpet cleaners feature a rinse-only mode, which allows you to use only water to clean your carpets—perfect for a quick refresh without any soap residue.

Unique features

Some of the carpet cleaners have unique features. For example, the Bissell 2X Revolution Pet Pro features a “Clean Shot” technology, which allows you to target stains directly by pressing a button with your foot—functioning like a pre-treatment.

The Bissell 2X Revolution Pet Pro carpet cleaner in action, showcasing its "Clean Shot" technology for targeted stain treatment on a beige carpet.
Bissell 2X Revolution Pet Pro demonstrating “Clean Shot” technology. © Vacuum Wars

The Bissell HydroSteam is the only model that uses steam. Similarly, the Tineco Carpet One is the only one we evaluated that uses hot air to dry carpets and keep the water warm. It’s also the only carpet cleaner with a dirt sensor and an automatic suction adjustment feature. That means it will raise suction power up or down based on the level of dirt detected in the carpet.

A close-up view of the Tineco Carpet One's digital display screen, highlighting the auto suction adjustment feature with the settings showing 100% battery and "Max" suction mode.
Tineco Carpet One’s auto suction adjustment feature preview. © Vacuum Wars

With every contender for the best carpet cleaner, we also considered practical aspects such as weight, cord length, and the number of attachments provided in our evaluations.

Stain test

For the stain evaluation, we went with a newly refined approach aimed at delivering unbiased scores for each carpet cleaner’s stain removal abilities. First, we applied equal amounts of juice to a white carpet and allowed it to dry for several days. 

Two stains on a white carpet used in evaluations: one made with 10 ml of grape juice and the other with 10 ml of HP juice.
We used grape juice and Hawaiian punch in our evaluations. © Vacuum Wars

To ensure consistency across all evaluations, we used the same batch of cleaning solution mix. We also used identical brands of carpet shampoo and the exact same water-to-shampoo ratio to ensure the results were due to the given carpet cleaner, not the solution. 

A bottle of Bissell Pro Max Clean + Protect with text that reads: "5 oz Bissell Pro Max Clean + Protect, 1 Gallon of Water, Room Temp."
Mixing solution for carpet cleaner evaluations. © Vacuum Wars

Additionally, we introduced a new testing method with this year’s competition, where we measured each stain’s perceptual lightness or CIELAB L data using a spectrophotometer both before and after the assessment. We took five readings for each stain, discarding the highest and lowest measurements and averaging the remaining three, resulting in over 400 precise measurements.

A notebook displaying over 400 precise measurements for stain perceptual lightness, written in detailed rows and columns.
400 precise measurements for stain perceptual lightness. © Vacuum Wars

We ran each machine over the stains, doing four five-second back-and-forth passes at maximum power. Then, allow the stains to dry for 24 hours before measuring the lightness again. 

It’s important to note that we did not use any pre-treatment sprays; our goal was to leave a slight residue to measure post-cleaning. However, pre-treating is recommended if you’re trying to remove similar stains at home.

The results of our stain evaluations were quite revealing. The Shark EX201 CarpetXpert led the pack, closely followed by the Kenmore KW4070 RevitaLite Pet and Bissell Big Green Professional

A comparison chart showing the top six carpet cleaners for stain test results: Shark EX201 CarpetXpert, Kenmore KW4070 RevitaLite Pet, Big Green Professional, TurboClean Powerbrush Pet, Hoover PowerDash Pet ADV, and Hoover Dual Spin Pet Plus, with their respective scores.
Shark EX201 CarpetXpert tops the stain test results. © Vacuum Wars

Surprisingly, ultra-budget models such as the Bissell TurboClean Powerbrush Pet and the Hoover PowerDash Pet also performed well, making the top six list in stain removal efficiency.

Best carpet cleaners: final scores

After meticulous scoring across evaluations, the top contenders overall, with and without price taken into account, looked as follows.

A comparison chart showing the top six carpet cleaners overall and the top six adjusted for price.
Shark EX201 CarpetXpert ranks first both overall and when adjusted for price. © Vacuum Wars

As you can see, the Shark EX201 CarpetXpert secured the top spot in both cases, with the Bissell 2X Revolution Pet Pro Plus runner-up. And with that note, here are our top picks for best carpet cleaners.

Three carpet cleaners representing different categories: Shark EX201 CarpetXpert as Best Overall, Kenmore KW4070 RevitaLite Pet as Best Value, and TurboClean Powerbrush Pet as Budget Pick.
Best Overall, Best Value, and Budget Picks. © Vacuum Wars

Best Overall: The Shark EX201 CarpetXpert

The Shark CarpetXpert had excellent suction power, the best stain reduction capabilities, and considerable versatility with its onboard hose and additional features. It’s also available at a competitive price despite its premium features. The only potential drawback we found was the somewhat small water tank. However, previous evaluations showed it has pretty good water efficiency.

Shark CarpetXpert Upright Carpet Cleaner EX201

Shark CarpetXpert

Best Carpet Cleaner

BISSELL ProHeat 2X Revolution Pet Pro Plus 3588F Carpet Cleaner

ProHeat 2X Revolution Pet Pro

Runner Up

Best Value: The Kenmore KW4070 RevitaLite Pet 

The Kenmore RevitaLite Pet ranked second in the stain reduction assessment. It’s priced significantly lower than the Shark CarpetXpert and Bissell 2X Revolution but offers most of the same features. This makes it an outstanding value purchase.

Kenmore RevitaLite Pet Portable KW4070 Carpet Cleaner

Kenmore KW4070 RevitaLite Pet

Best Value

Best Budget Option: The Bissell TurboClean Powerbrush Pet

Finally, the Bissell TurboClean did very well in the stain evaluation. It’s also super lightweight and affordable compared to the others. However, it has minor potential limitations, specifically the smaller water tank, a lack of extra features, and no hose attachment.

Bissell TurboClean PowerBrush Pet 2987 Carpet Cleaner

Bissell TurboClean PowerBrush Pet

Best Budget

These options cater to various needs and budgets, all capable of delivering impressive cleaning results for your home. Whether you prioritize efficiency or seek the best bang for your buck, these models make excellent selections.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the different types of carpet cleaners available and what are their primary uses?

  • Compact Carpet Cleaners: Ideal for spot cleaning or small areas. They are lightweight and easy to use but have smaller tank sizes, requiring frequent refilling for larger spaces. A notable downside is the lack of hose and attachments for manual spot cleaning.
  • Budget and Premium Mid-Size Carpet Cleaners: Suitable for cleaning entire houses with larger tank capacities and hoses for manual cleaning. These models often feature dual or spinning brushes for enhanced cleaning efficiency. Budget options often do not have hose attachments.
  • Commercial Carpet Cleaners: Designed for frequent use or large-scale cleaning with larger water capacities and more powerful motors, making them highly efficient for extensive carpeted areas.

How does suction power impact the performance of a carpet cleaner?

Suction power is crucial for a carpet cleaner’s performance as it directly affects its ability to remove water and dirt from the carpets. Strong suction ensures better water pickup, contributing to faster drying times and more effective cleaning.

Why are hose attachments important for a carpet cleaner?

Hose attachments significantly enhance the versatility of a carpet cleaner. They allow for spot cleaning, easy cleaning of upholstery, and reaching into tight spaces. Premium attachment sets with different brushes can also provide more effective cleaning on a variety of surfaces.

What should I consider regarding the tank size of a carpet cleaner?

A larger tank size means less frequent refills, making it more convenient for larger cleaning tasks. However, it also makes the machine heavier and potentially harder to maneuver. It’s important to find a balance between tank size and the efficiency of water use to suit your space and cleaning habits.

Can I use a carpet cleaner to wash hard floors?

While some devices are designed to handle both carpets and hard floors, such as certain hard floor cleaners, it is crucial to check the manufacturer’s guidelines for your carpet cleaner. Using a carpet cleaner in ways not intended by the manufacturer can damage both the floor and the cleaner. Always refer to the user manual to ensure compatibility and proper use.

Carpet Cleaner Review Details

View additional details on the current Vacuum Wars Best Carpet Cleaners. Read our review summary and discover the highlights as well as the pros and cons of each vacuum. Vacuum Wars provides an unbiased, independent evaluation for each (based our our proprietary vacuum testing methods.

1
Shark CarpetXpert
$299.99 $269.99

We think that the Shark CarpetXpert carpet cleaner is a standout in its class, asserting itself as a leading choice in carpet cleaning solutions. From its powerful suction and innovative onboard hose to its premium attachment set, this machine delivers exceptional cleaning performance. The CarpetXpert's dual activated solution dispensing system enhances its effectiveness, providing a notable boost in cleaning power that was evident in our rigorous testing. Additionally, its ease of emptying and overall user-friendly design contribute to its standout status among competitors, making it an excellent investment for thorough carpet cleaning.

Pros:
  • Exceptionally powerful suction
  • Onboard hose enhances versatility
  • Premium attachment set
  • Dual activated solution dispensing
  • Effective on both wet and dry stains
  • Easy to empty and clean
  • Lightweight and agile for its class
Cons:
  • Smaller water tank than competitors
  • Plastic parts may wear over time
  • Only two water modes
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
06/19/2024 02:56 pm GMT
2
Bissell ProHeat 2X Revolution Pet Pro Plus
$269.00

We think that the BISSELL ProHeat 2X Revolution Pet Pro Plus 3588F Carpet Cleaner is a powerhouse in the realm of home carpet cleaning, especially for those with pets. Its innovative CleanShot technology allows for precise targeting and treatment of stubborn stains, enhancing its effectiveness. The dual tank system maintains the separation of clean and dirty water, optimizing the cleaning process. With multiple cleaning modes, including a quick-drying Express Clean and a comprehensive Deep Clean, this machine is adept at handling a variety of cleaning tasks. Additionally, the inclusion of a hose and multiple attachments extends its utility to upholstery and stairs, making it a versatile tool for thorough home cleaning.

Pros:
  • CleanShot technology for targeting stains
  • Dual tank system for efficient cleaning
  • Deep Clean and Express Clean modes
  • Quick drying in about 30 minutes
  • Includes hose and multiple attachments
  • Excellent at removing deep-seated dirt
Cons:
  • Heavier build
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
06/19/2024 03:21 pm GMT
3
Bissell Big Green Professional
$411.99

We think that the Bissell Big Green Professional Carpet Cleaner is an exemplary model that stands out for its durability and efficiency. Designed to handle the rigorous demands of large area cleanings, this machine boasts a construction quality robust enough for rental fleet use, implying its longevity and reliability. It offers a superior water capacity of 1.7 gallons and demonstrates efficient water usage, ensuring extended cleaning without frequent refills. The Bissell Big Green also excels in suction performance, especially at the floor head where it's most needed, outperforming its competitors in both forward push and backward pull operations. With a long hose and versatile attachments, it proves to be an excellent choice for those seeking a professional-grade carpet cleaner.

Pros:
  • High water capacity (1.7 gallons)
  • Efficient water usage
  • Exceptional unsealed suction power
  • Versatile forward and backward use
  • Longest hose offered by Bissell
  • Includes tough stain tool
  • Effective on wet and dry stains
Cons:
  • Heavy
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
06/19/2024 03:46 pm GMT
Best Mid Level
Kenmore RevitaLite Pet
$199.99

We think that the Kenmore RevitaLite Pet is an impressive carpet cleaner that offers excellent value for its price. Standing out for its effective stain removal capabilities, it is a reliable choice for those who need potent cleaning without the hefty price tag of premium models. The Kenmore RevitaLite boasts a balance of features typically found in more expensive machines, such as good suction power and a user-friendly design. It's particularly suited for pet owners or anyone dealing with frequent spills and stains who require a robust, yet budget-friendly, cleaning solution.

Pros:
  • Excellent stain removal
  • Cost-effective compared to competitors
  • Good suction power
  • Lightweight and easy to handle
  • Simple, user-friendly design
Cons:
  • Smaller water tank
  • Lacks some premium features
  • No hose attachment included
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
06/19/2024 03:51 pm GMT
Best Budget
Kenmore RevitaLite Pet
$199.99

We think that the Kenmore RevitaLite Pet is an impressive carpet cleaner that offers excellent value for its price. Standing out for its effective stain removal capabilities, it is a reliable choice for those who need potent cleaning without the hefty price tag of premium models. The Kenmore RevitaLite boasts a balance of features typically found in more expensive machines, such as good suction power and a user-friendly design. It's particularly suited for pet owners or anyone dealing with frequent spills and stains who require a robust, yet budget-friendly, cleaning solution.

Pros:
  • Excellent stain removal
  • Cost-effective compared to competitors
  • Good suction power
  • Lightweight and easy to handle
  • Simple, user-friendly design
Cons:
  • Smaller water tank
  • Lacks some premium features
  • No hose attachment included
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
06/19/2024 03:51 pm GMT

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