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Best Carpet Cleaners

Updated April 2024
Bottom line
Best of the Best
Bissell  Revolution HydroSteam
Revolution HydroSteam
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Pro-Grade Power
Bottom Line

The only model we tested that produces steam, this carpet cleaner can deep-clean stubborn stains such as ink and mud.


It heated and began producing steam in just 56 seconds during testing. It removed all stains, including blue ink, in two passes or less. The Quick Dry feature allows the removal of stubborn stains and dries in less than an hour. The 25-foot cord makes it easy to clean large areas without switching outlets. It includes tools for cleaning more than just carpets.


At over 22 pounds, it is heavy and bulky and difficult to carry up and down stairs.

Best Bang for the Buck
Bissell  Little Green Multi-Purpose Portable Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner
Little Green Multi-Purpose Portable Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner
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Best for Upholstery
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This convenient machine quickly cleans carpets and upholstery and allows you to access tight areas, like along stairs and inside your car.


It’s compact and weighs under 10 pounds, making it easy to move and store. Its 15-foot cord and 4-foot hose made navigating around furniture and other obstacles easy; we didn’t have to move the machine much during cleaning. It removed various types of stains in two passes or less. Treated spots took less than an hour to fully dry.


Its clean-water tank can sometimes leak when not in use, which can make a mess.

Bissell ProHeat 2X Revolution Pet Pro Plus
ProHeat 2X Revolution Pet Pro Plus
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Most Comprehensive
Bottom Line

Remove stains, odor-causing bacteria and urine with this heavy-duty carpet cleaner that excels at cleaning pet messes.


You'll be able to remove the worst pet stains and odors with this Bissell pet carpet cleaner. You'll get quick drying time so you don't have to wait all day to walk on your carpets after cleaning. Double brushes remove deep-down stains. This comes with the pet upholstery tool and tough stain tool to spot-clean your furniture.


The machine is quite bulky and can be a challenge to maneuver.

Hoover  SmartWash+
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Best for Regular Use
Bottom Line

This upright carpet cleaner is so easy to use and provides such a deep clean that you won’t mind taking it out and using it regularly.


It removed years-old stains from the carpeting in our testing area. Its dry-only cycle extracted enough moisture to allow our carpet to dry fully in eight hours. The included attachments were easy to connect and made simple work of cleaning carpeted stairs and upholstery. It offered the easiest maintenance of all the upright carpet cleaners we tested.


It requires a lot of cleaning solution to clean an entire carpet. It is somewhat heavy

Hoover  PowerScrub Deluxe
PowerScrub Deluxe
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Lightweight Design
Bottom Line

With its lightweight design, this upright carpet cleaner can easily move around large areas, especially up and down stairs.


It was the easiest upright model to push across heavy carpet during cleaning. Its lightweight design and special tool make it easy to clean carpeted stairs. Carpeting required only six hours to dry thanks to its HeatForce technology. The water tanks were easy to fill and empty. Utilizes a dual-tank system to keep clean and dirty water separate.


It’s more complicated and time-consuming to use than similar upright carpet cleaners.

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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. About BestReviews  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.About BestReviews 

We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for Which carpet cleaner is best?

Vacuuming your carpets keeps them free of dirt, hair and other debris, but some grime is too stubborn for a vacuum to tackle. Whether it’s from a spilled beverage, a pet accident or tracked-in mud, carpeting can stain easily. Over time, it takes on a dirty, dingy look. But when you own a fantastic carpet cleaner, you can take care of these messes as soon as they happen.

The BestReviews Testing Lab researched and tested many top-selling carpet cleaners to find the very best. To see how effectively they cleaned, we used them on specific stains such as mud, wine and ink as well as areas of general dinginess. We evaluated how well each carpet cleaner extracted water after cleaning and how long the carpets and rugs took to dry. We also considered each machine’s maneuverability, versatility and ease of use so we could determine which models were most comfortable to use. 

The Bissell Revolution HydroStream emerged as the top carpet cleaner. It deep-cleans with steam and produces results similar to those you would get from a professional-grade model. It offers a quick-drying mode for when you don’t have time to wait for your carpet to dry, and it’s so user-friendly that you can start cleaning nearly as soon as you get it out of the box.

Reading the instructions for your machine and using the correct cleaning solutions for your carpet cleaner is very important.
BestReviews Cleaning Expert

Our top picks

Bissell Revolution HydroSteam 

Bissell Revolution HydroSteam
The testing team was impressed with the Bissell Revolution HydroSteam’s performance.

Best Professional-Grade Carpet Cleaner

Product Specifications

Clean Tank Capacity: 1 gal | Weight: 22.5 lb | Cord Length: 25’ | Warranty: 5-year limited warranty | Accessories: Tough stain tool and 2-in-1 pet stain tool

The Bissell Revolution HydroSteam is the only carpet cleaner we tested that heats water to create deep-cleaning steam. During testing, it took just 56 seconds to heat up and begin producing steam. It also has a pre-treatment steam feature to help release tough stains before cleaning. 

We used it to treat stains from mud, red wine, tomato sauce and blue ink. Each stain took less than 30 seconds to loosen. When we switched to cleaning mode, it took two passes or less to remove each mess fully. We were especially impressed by how effectively it removed blue ink, leaving behind no trace of the stain. 

The Revolution HydroSteam offers two cleaning modes: Quick Dry and Max Clean. When we used the Quick Dry feature to clean a medium-pile carpet, it took 45 minutes to dry completely. In Max Clean mode, the carpet needed eight hours and 25 minutes to dry completely. While Max Clean provided a deeper clean, the Quick Dry setting effectively removed stains like mud and tomato sauce, and we didn’t have to wait hours for the carpet to dry.

On top of these benefits, the Revolution HydroSteam has an incredibly user-friendly design. The buttons to switch between the steam, clean and dry modes are on the front of the handle, so we only had to recline it to access them. However, at 22.5 pounds, it was the heaviest model we tested, and it was cumbersome to carry up and down stairs. Still, we rated it 5 out of 5 because it rendered the deepest clean of all models we tested and because we appreciated its straightforward, intuitive operation and versatile, multisurface tools. 

Bissell Little Green

Bissell Little Green
The testing team found the Bissell Little Green worked wonders on stains and picking up pet hair.

Best Carpet Cleaner for Upholstery

Product Specifications

Clean Tank Capacity: 48 oz | Weight: 9.7 lb | Cord Length: 15’ | Warranty: 1-year limited warranty | Accessories: Tough-stain tool and spraying crevice tool

Unlike the Bissell ProHeat 2X Revolution Pet, the Bissell Little Green isn’t an upright carpet cleaner. Instead, it is a compact, portable model that weighs under 10 pounds when empty. When filled with water, it weighed 10.8 pounds, which was easy to carry around our testing area. And despite its smaller size, its cord and hose were long enough that we could easily clean larger areas when necessary. When not in use, the cords wrap easily around the machine for convenient storage.

While it may be compact, it delivers excellent cleaning results. We used it to treat fresh stains from mud, tomato sauce, coffee, iced tea and ice melt residue from a winter storm, and the Little Green removed all the stains in two passes or less. Because we used it to spot-clean our carpeting, the areas took just 35 minutes to dry. 

We were also impressed with how well it removed pet hair from upholstery, picking up approximately 92% of the hair. The only downside to using it for hair removal is that the strands sometimes clumped inside it, so it was tricky to clean completely.    

In addition to the tool attachments, the Little Green comes with a Bissell cleaning solution. None of the stains were more than six hours old, but we found the solution highly effective at removing mud, tomato sauce and ice melt residue. Ultimately, we gave the Little Green a rating of 4.5 out of 5 for its compact design and highly effective spot-cleaning on carpet and upholstery. 

Bissell ProHeat 2X Revolution Pet Pro 

Bissell ProHeat 2X Revolution Pet Pro-best-carpet-cleaner on carpeted area
The Bissell ProHeat 2X Revolution Pet Pro removed 95% of pet hair from a couch during testing.

Best for Pet Owners 

Product Specifications

Clean Tank Capacity: 1 gal | Weight: 17.5 lb | Cord Length: 22 ft | Warranty: 3-year limited warranty | Accessories: Tough-stain tool and pet-stain tool

The Bissell ProHeat 2X Revolution Pet Pro is a full-size, upright carpet cleaner that impressed us with its professional-quality cleaning results. It tackled mud, tomato sauce and pet vomit stains with little effort, removing all stains in two passes or less. We found its Express Clean mode especially effective for spot-cleaning fresh stains and loved the Deep Clean setting for more stubborn marks and overall cleaning. 

The ProHeat 2X also did a solid job extracting water after cleaning, removing approximately 38% of the water. Overall, the 8’ x 10’ rug we cleaned took 4 hours and 45 minutes to fully dry, though it never felt overly wet. 

While the ProHeat 2X is fairly heavy and bulky, it was still easy to navigate around the furniture in our testing area. Carrying it up and down stairs was a bit of a challenge, though, so we didn’t find it the best option for cleaning carpeted stairs. The machine was otherwise comfortable to use, with minimal vibrations that made it easy to handle even after nearly 40 minutes of work. Its handle was situated at a good height and featured a comfortable grip that prevented hand fatigue, too. 

The ProHeat 2X includes a Tough Stain tool for scrubbing stubborn spots and a 2-in-1 pet tool designed to remove pet hair from upholstery. It removed over 95% of the pet hair on the surface of the couch in our testing area, which housed two dogs of medium to large size that shed regularly. We scored the ProHeat 2X a 5 out of 5 for its deep-cleaning abilities, versatility and ease of use. 

Hoover SmartWash+

Hoover SmartWash+ on beige carpet
The testing team found the Hoover SmartWash+ to be the easiest to use.

Best Carpet Cleaner for Everyday Use

Product Specifications

Clean Tank Capacity: 1 gal | Weight: 18.5 lb | Cord Length: 22’ | Warranty: 5-year limited warranty | Accessories: Wide tool and stair tool

An upright carpet cleaner, the Hoover SmartWash+ was the easiest to operate among those we tested. Instead of pulling a trigger, we only had to push the machine forward to clean and pull it back to dry. This made the process as easy as vacuuming. 

In addition to being user-friendly, this machine produced top-notch results. The carpet in our testing area had stains that were years old, and the SmartWash+ removed the largest spots with minimal effort. Even though it removed a good deal of water after cleaning, we loved the dry-only cycle, which allowed us to go over the carpet to extract additional moisture. The carpet took eight hours to dry completely, but that was a small price to pay for such a deep clean. 

The SmartWash+ comes with two attachments: a stair tool and a wide tool. Both were easy to attach because they connected directly to the hose and worked well on several services. We used the wide tool on large, stubborn spots and the stair tool on our baseboards. We also used a wide tool to clean a sofa with dingy upholstery. The result was an effective clean that didn’t leave the fabric soaked.

When it comes to maintenance, the SmartWash+ was one of the easiest models to clean. The machine disassembled fully, allowing us to clean each component and make sure it dried completely before reassembly. We gave the SmartWash+ a rating of 4.5 out of 5 for its thorough cleaning and ease of operation and maintenance.  

Hoover PowerScrub Deluxe 

Hoover PowerScrub Deluxe
The lightweight design of the Hoover PowerScrub Deluxe made it easy to maneuver during testing.

Best Lightweight Carpet Cleaner

Product Specifications

Clean Tank Capacity: 1 gal | Weight: 17.1 lb | Cord Length: 20’ | Warranty: 2-year limited warranty | Accessories: 360 spin-brush powered hand tool, crevice tool, stair tool and upholstery tool

While the Hoover PowerScrub Deluxe is a full-size upright carpet cleaner, it stood out during testing as one of the most lightweight and easy to maneuver. We had no trouble navigating around furniture and pushing it back and forth across heavier carpeting. Paired with its included stair tool, we could even clean carpeted stairs without much fatigue. It has an upholstery tool that allowed us to clean furniture and a crevice tool that made it easy to clean tight spots, like along the baseboards of our testing area.  

The PowerScrub Deluxe did a solid job removing years-old stains, though we found it was a bit more complicated to use than the Hoover SmartWash+. The cleaning process took longer because we had to do two passes while squeezing the trigger to release the cleaning solution in the wash setting, and we then had to do two dry passes without squeezing the trigger. Next, we had to use the rinse setting for two passes, and then we did another two dry passes. Overall, it took nearly twice as long to clean as the SmartWash+. 

The PowerScrub Deluxe excelled at drying the carpet after cleaning. It took only six hours to dry completely, whereas the SmartWash+ took eight hours. The PowerScrub Deluxe’s tanks were easy to fill and empty, too. We gave it a score of 4 out of 5 for its lightweight design, drying efficiency and assortment of accessories. 

Expert Tip
Cleaning your carpet in even and straight lines will help your carpet dry faster.
BestReviews Cleaning Expert

How we tested

To see how well the carpet cleaners performed, we tested them on different types of stains. We used them on carpeting and rugs and even cleaned some furniture and other upholstered items. 

Handling wet stains

To assess each machine’s ability to remove wet stains or substances with a thinner consistency, we used coffee, ink, iced tea and red wine. We poured a pre-measured amount of each liquid onto the carpet or rug and noted how many passes were needed to remove the stain using each carpet cleaner.

Handling heavy stains

We evaluated how well the carpet cleaners handled heavier stains and substances with a thicker consistency using tomato sauce, ketchup and mud. We dabbed a pre-measured amount of each substance onto the carpet or rug and recorded how many passes were needed to remove the stains completely. 

Handling pet hair

Since many of the carpet cleaners we tested came with pet tools, we tested their ability to remove pet hair by placing pre-measured clumps of pet hair on carpeting and furniture. We then recorded how many passes the carpet cleaners needed to remove all of the hair. 

Evaluating general cleaning

In addition to removing specific stains, we tested how well the carpet cleaners could remove general dirt and grime from carpeting. We used the carpet cleaners on a small area of a larger carpet or rug and then compared the color and overall cleanliness of the treated section to the rest of the carpet. 

What to know before buying a carpet cleaner

Size and weight

The size and weight of a carpet cleaner greatly affect how easy it is to use. Large, bulky cleaners are difficult to push; some professional-quality carpet cleaners can weigh as much as 50 pounds. Smaller carpet cleaners and those designed for spot cleaning can weigh 20 pounds or less. 

Many of the upright carpet cleaners for home use we tested, including the Bissell ProHeat 2X Revolution Pet, Hoover SmartWash+ and Hoover PowerScrub Deluxe, weighed between 17 and 18.5 pounds, making them easier to navigate. Because of a heating component that produces steam, however, the Bissell Revolution HydroSteam weighs 22.5 pounds, making it more difficult to maneuver. 

The portable models we tested, like the Bissell Little Green and Bissell SpotClean ProHeat, weighed under 10 pounds and were very easy to move and carry from room to room. 

If you plan to use your carpet cleaner on multiple floors in your home, check whether you can easily lift and carry it. It’s a good idea to test the weight of a carpet cleaner before you purchase it. Keep in mind that a carpet cleaner weighs more when filled with water and cleaning solution. 

A large machine usually doesn’t need to be refilled as often as a small, lightweight machine. Of course, you could always carry your cleaner up the stairs with the reservoir empty and fill it before you use it. 

If you want a large, upright model to carry between floors, look at the Hoover PowerScrub Deluxe. It’s a lightweight carpet cleaner that was extremely easy for us to move around our testing area.

Suction power

A carpet cleaner’s most important feature is its suction. It should effectively extract moisture, cleaning solution and dirt from the carpet for a pristine clean. 

It’s also handy to have a rinse feature on your carpet cleaner that allows you to go over the carpet after you’ve cleaned it, using clean water for a final rinse. While it took longer to use than other upright models we tested, we appreciated the rinse setting of the Hoover PowerScrub Deluxe. 

Powerful suction is necessary to get rid of stubborn stains. The more effective the suction, the more quickly the carpet will dry after you wash it. The Hoover PowerScrub Deluxe offers a dry-only setting, so while we spent more time cleaning our carpet, it dried 25% faster than the carpet we cleaned with the Hoover SmartWash+, which didn’t have a dry-only setting. 

Carpet cleaners at the higher end of the price spectrum tend to offer the most powerful suction. Budget-friendly options tend to be weaker. 

Keep in mind that some carpet cleaners don’t have suction power at all. You must run a vacuum cleaner over the carpet after you’ve scrubbed the surface to remove dirt and moisture. But all the carpet cleaners we tested, including the Bissell Revolution HydroSteam, Bissell ProHeat 2X Revolution Pet, Hoover SmartWash+ and Hoover PowerScrubs Deluxe, had their own suction power. This made them much more convenient and quicker to use. 


Carpet cleaner brushes scrub the carpet with a cleaning solution to remove stains and dirt. Some brushes are fixed; they don’t move on their own. Others rotate via power provided by the machine.

The upright carpet cleaners we tested — the Bissell Revolution HydroSteam, Bissell ProHeat 2X Revolution Pet, Hoover SmartWash+ and Hoover PowerScrubs Deluxe — all featured powered brushes. The portable models we tested, like the Bissell Little Green and Bissell SpotClean ProHeat, had fixed brushes or cleaning heads we had to manually move over the testing area. 

Powered brushes usually provide the deepest clean because they scrub carpet fibers more effectively. Carpet cleaners with fixed brushes tend to be more budget-friendly machines.

Cord and hose

The longer the cord, the larger the area you’ll be able to clean without unplugging and replugging your machine. Look for a model with a cord that’s at least 15 feet long. 

The Bissell Revolution HydroSteam, Bissell ProHeat 2X Revolution Pet, Hoover SmartWash+ and Hoover PowerScrubs Deluxe all had cords at least 20 feet long, so we could clean a large area without switching outlets. Even the portable Bissell Little Green had a convenient 15-foot cord.

Some carpet cleaners come with a hose that allows you to clean stairs and elevated areas without having to maneuver the entire machine. For the most versatility, choose a cleaner with a hose that’s at least 9 feet long.

Accessories and attachments

Some carpet cleaners come with accessories and attachments that allow you to clean more easily or work on additional types of surfaces. Depending on how you plan to use the cleaner, you might want to look for a model that comes with handheld attachments for cleaning upholstery, pet stains, stairs or tight corners.

We were big fans of the stair tools that came with the Hoover SmartWash+ and PowerScrub Deluxe. They allowed us to thoroughly clean carpeted stairs and the baseboards along a room’s edges. The pet stain tools that come with the Bissell Revolution HydroSteam and Bissell ProHeat 2X Revolution Pet were some of our favorites. These tools helped us remove pet hair and stains from upholstered furniture quickly and easily. 


When you consider the size of a carpet cleaner, pay attention to the size of the tank. The larger the tank, the fewer times you’ll have to refill it when cleaning. 

However, carpet cleaners with large tanks tend to weigh more, so they might be more difficult to use. The upright carpet cleaners we tested, including the Bissell ProHeat 2X Revolution Pet, Hoover SmartWash+ and Hoover PowerScrubs Deluxe, all had clean-water tanks that could hold a gallon or 128 ounces of water, so we could clean large areas without having to refill. 

The portable models we tested, like the Bissell Little Green, had tanks that held less than 50 ounces. This meant we had to refill them when we cleaned larger areas. For example, when we used it to clean our area rug, we had to refill the clean-water tank twice. 

Some carpet cleaners have two tanks: one for clean water and one for dirty water. Others have a single tank with a bladder: The clean water is housed in a smaller container that sits inside the larger one where dirty water is collected, keeping them separate. All the carpet cleaners we tested had separate clean-water and dirty-water tanks, which made them easy to fill and empty. 

Also consider the type of dispenser the carpet cleaner uses for the cleaning solution. Some mix the solution directly with the water. Others apply it to the carpet separately from the water.

Remembering to use non-slip shoes while cleaning your carpet will help.
BestReviews Cleaning Expert

Tips for using a carpet cleaner

  • Avoid getting the carpet too wet when cleaning. Some carpet cleaners don’t have enough suction power to fully extract the moisture they put down. This could potentially lead to the growth of mildew and bacteria in the carpet.
  • Treat stains as soon as possible. You can usually remove 99% of carpet stains if they’re treated within the first few days. 
  • Test the weight of the carpet cleaner before you buy. Check a display model to determine if you can lift it easily, especially if you must carry it up and down stairs.
  • Before using a carpet cleaner on an area rug, check the rug manufacturer’s tag to make sure it’s safe to clean. It’s also a good idea to test an inconspicuous spot to check that it won’t alter the rug’s color. 
  • Use the right cleaning solution for your carpet. If your carpeting has a built-in stain repellent, check the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the type of cleaning solution to use. Using the wrong solution could damage your carpet.
  • Help carpets dry as quickly as possible. You can reduce the drying time for your carpet by turning on a fan, dehumidifier or air conditioner in the room.
  • Avoid damage to hardwood floors beneath your carpets or rugs by placing a waterproof material over them before cleaning. A plastic sheet or tarp works well. 
  • Use mats in entryways. As much as 75% of the dirt in carpets is tracked in from outside. Placing a mat at each entrance to your home can help cut down on the grime.

A note on cleaning solutions

Using the correct cleaning solution is just as important as finding the right machine for your needs. If you have an upright carpet cleaner, choose a solution formulated for upright machines. For portable carpet cleaners, opt for a portable carpet cleaner formula to get the deepest clean. 

Also consider the types of stains you need to clean. Pet urine, vomit and other related messes require a deeper cleaning formula because of the odors associated with them. An enzyme-based cleaner usually works best, especially if you clean the spots as soon as they happen. Heavily pigmented stains from wine, coffee, blood or juice respond well to cleaning formulas that contain peroxide, which can break down organic stains. 

All the carpet cleaners we tested came with at least a sample of brand-specific cleaning solution. Most manufacturers recommend using one of their formulas to avoid damage to the machine.     


Q. How much does a carpet cleaner cost? 

A. That depends on factors like size, power and tank capacity. Typically, you can expect to pay between $100 and $500 for a carpet cleaner from a trusted brand. 

If you’re on a budget or your floors don’t get extremely dirty, you can find smaller models and spot cleaners in the range of $100 to $250. High-end and commercial-grade models cost between $250 and $500. 

Keep in mind that pricier models offer better suction, powered brushes and more tools for multiple cleaning tasks. 

Q. What type of carpet cleaner works best on heavy stains?

A. Carpet cleaners with rotating brushes are usually the best option for heavily soiled carpets. They scrub the carpet fibers very effectively to loosen and remove deeply embedded dirt.

Q. Is there a risk of carpet damage with a carpet cleaner?

A. If you purchase a carpet cleaner with rotating brushes and your carpet has fragile fibers, such as Olefin or PTT, the cleaner could tear or rip the carpeting. You could also damage the carpet if you use a carpet shampoo or cleaning solution that’s too harsh. Spot-test the cleaner on an inconspicuous area before using the solution over all of it.

Q. How long does it take the carpet to dry after using a cleaner?

A. The type of carpet, the thickness of the pad and how wet the carpet gets all impact how long it takes to dry. In general, it’s best to give the carpet four to eight hours to dry.

Our expertise

Jennifer Blair has covered home-cleaning products and other home goods for BestReviews since 2017. At home, she uses a portable carpet cleaner to tackle stains left by her dogs, but she has also tested several other portable and upright models for BestReviews.