Best Carpet Cleaner 2019 – Buyer’s Guide

It isn’t an appliance which you are going to use daily, but if you have a carpeted home, a good carpet cleaner may save your flooring on more than one occasion.

They are designed to get deep down into the fibres and do what your vacuum can’t – remove ingrained dirt and liquid spills. You may currently use the old sponge and bucket method, but you aren’t really removing the stain; you’re just rubbing it around until it isn’t visible.

Carpet cleaners work the shampoo into the fabric, and then suck it up again to leave no trace behind. You may often bring in dirt on your shoes, the dog may run through the house after a wet muddy walk, or you might spill your drink on the carpet more often than you’d like. If so, then periodic use of one of these is going to save you having to fork out for a replacement every year, or expensive professional cleaning.

These are the best upright and portable carpet cleaners available to buy online at the moment, whether you want something which can tackle a whole room in one go or something which is lightweight and can get your upholstery looking new once again.

The Best Carpet Cleaner – Our Top Picks

IMAGE PRODUCT DETAILS
VAX Platinum Power Max ECB1SPV1
  • Dimensions: 110 x 34 x 41 cm
  • Power: 1200 W
  • Clean Water Capacity: 3.5L
  • Dirty Water Capacity: 2.9L
  • Accessories: Hard floor tool, Pretreatment wand, SpinScrub wash tool, Upholstery tool
  • Features: SpinScrub brushes, Full reservoir indicator, Quick clean mode
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RUG DOCTOR Mighty Pro X3
  • Dimensions: 94.6 x 28 x 52.5cm
  • Power: 1200 W
  • Clean Water Capacity: 11.4L
  • Dirty Water Capacity: 14.8L
  • Accessories: Upholstery tool
  • Features: One-pass cleaning, Adjustable handle height
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VAX Rapid Power Revive
  • Dimensions: 108.8 x 30.5 x 40.2cm
  • Power: 1200 W
  • Clean Water Capacity: 4.7L
  • Dirty Water Capacity: 4.7L
  • Accessories: Wash tool, Crevice tool
  • Features: AutoMix technology, Foldable handle, QuickDry
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Best Upright Carpet Cleaners

VAX Platinum Power Max ECB1SPV1

Using SpinScrub technology to get deep down into even the highest pile carpets, using this Vax cleaner will make a noticeable difference to the condition of your flooring.

The rotating brush bars work in every angle, so even if you just pull the machine backwards and forwards, it still approaches the fibres from all sides to get a thorough clean.

It can also clean hard floors if you like to make the kitchen and bathroom sparkle without the elbow grease. There are some good attachments included which will help you out with more targeted cleaning, or getting into the corners.

A dedicated upholstery fitting will help you out if you happen to spill a glass of wine over the arm of the sofa, or if the muddy paws of Fido have made a mess that you otherwise wouldn’t get out. The long stretch hose will also make cleaning the stairs or car seats a doddle, without having to lift and trail the Power Max behind you.

An extra large water tank means that you can carry on for longer without having to pause, and the carpets can be dry in as little as an hour so you can carry on with your day-to-day comings and goings.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 110 x 34 x 41 cm
  • Power: 1200 W
  • Clean Water Capacity: 3.5L
  • Dirty Water Capacity: 2.9L
  • Accessories: Hard floor tool, Pretreatment wand, SpinScrub wash tool, Upholstery tool
  • Features: SpinScrub brushes, Full reservoir indicator, Quick clean mode

We like

  • Good pile lift
  • Gets deep into surfaces
  • Good selection of attachments

We dislike

  • Pain to clean after use

Final Verdict

The rotating heads make it easy to move around, and there wasn’t a stain which it didn’t budge

RUG DOCTOR Mighty Pro X3

We won’t lie – the Mighty Pro X3 is a rather scary looking device. It doesn’t resemble a carpet or vacuum cleaner in the slightest, but there is no denying it is one of the best on this list.

One pass cleaning means that in just one movement, your carpets can look pretty much as clean as they were when they were first fitted. This means less going over the same spot again and again, and less aggravation for your arms.

Triple row brush agitation cleans all sides of the pile, so you don’t have to manoeuvre it in all angles and directions in order to get a full clean. The handle is specially designed for your comfort so that it can be pushed and pulled with ease. You also have the pleasure of a quick release catch to free the water tank, so it can be refilled easier.

If you are still not convinced, then mentioning that it has been awarded the Carpet & Rug Institute’s Platinum Seal of Approval should do the trick. This basically means it cares for your carpets as well as cleaning them, so if you’re worried about the floor looking a little bedraggled after you clean it, the Pro X3 is gentle and removes the friction between dirt and carpet fibres that can wear your carpet down.

It is an industrial level carpet cleaner, but don’t be put off if you want it for home – the ease of use and great job will leave you feeling the price was worth it.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 94.6 x 28 x 52.5cm
  • Power: 1200 W
  • Clean Water Capacity: 11.4L
  • Dirty Water Capacity: 14.8L
  • Accessories: Upholstery tool
  • Features: One-pass cleaning, Adjustable handle height

We like

  • Fab at deep cleans
  • Very generous capacity
  • Better than rental machines

We dislike

  • Bulky and heavy to move around if full

Final Verdict

Great suction and you get a nice long attachment hose for tackling the stairs. It is a little bulky and heavy, but still comfortable to use

VAX Rapid Power Revive

If you are looking for a carpet cleaner for under £200, the Vax Rapide Power Revive is one you can’t go wrong with. It is hugely popular and has received a host of top reviews – for good reason.

Firstly, it has a feature which we love. Heating function means Heat Blast technology removes bacteria for a thorough clean, so it won’t only look brand new but will be incredibly sanitised too. This is ideal if you have kids who love to play on the floor.

You also have the option to pick Quick Dry mode if you need to get the carpet clean in less than 45 minutes. Perfect for guests coming round, or if everyone’s going to be rushing in after work and you want it to be dry before they make a mess.

AutoMix technology does all of the shampoo mixing for you. It dilutes the solution in the perfect ratio, so you don’t have to worry about measuring out everything by the millimetre to get the best results.

Capacity is huge, which is great if you will be doing entire rooms in one go as opposed to targeted cleaning. You get a wash tool and crevice tool, which helps if you need to get into corners or around the edge of your room.

It is heavy when filled up to capacity, which is understandable, so you may find it easier to only fill around half. The hose is also not the longest, so you may have to do the stairs in two stages. But having said this, it is a great price and you get many of the best features, they are little niggles which are barely recognised.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 108.8 x 30.5 x 40.2cm
  • Power: 1200 W
  • Clean Water Capacity: 4.7L
  • Dirty Water Capacity: 4.7L
  • Accessories: Wash tool, Crevice tool
  • Features: AutoMix technology, Foldable handle, QuickDry

We like

  • Great capacity for big jobs
  • QuickDry and Heat Blast technology
  • AutoMix takes the stress out of dosing

We dislike

  • Heavy

Final Verdict

Very powerful, easy to use and your carpets are touch-dry in quick time. It cleans well too

RUG DOCTOR 93170

Rug Doctor’s have long been seen as the best at the job. They are industrial in terms of cleaning power, and could previously only be rented for those harder tasks.

But some models are now available to buy, which could be a lot more cost-effective for anyone who found themselves renting one often enough for the costs to be mounting up. With 1300W of power, there is plenty of extraction force to get the dirty water back up, leaving the carpets drier than its rivals.

Cross action brush bristles spin to get every fibre cleaned, and they go down deeper than your vacuum can, which will make a huge impact on the look of your floor. There is a Super Boost function for any more difficult areas, such as your living room or hallway which get a lot of feet passing through.

It is rated IPX4 splash proof for outdoor use, so can safely be taken outside to clean the car or caravan. The upholstery attachment will help in this situation, and can also be used on sofas, stairs or even mattresses for more targeted results.

Unlike some others which can also clean hard floors, it will only tackle carpets. But the water tanks feature a nice wide opening for easy filling and removal, and the handle folds down if this makes storage easier. You get a two-year guarantee should you face any issues.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 110.5 x 31.7 x 47.7cm
  • Power: 1300 W
  • Clean Water Capacity: 3.8L
  • Dirty Water Capacity: 4.2L
  • Accessories: Upholstery attachment
  • Features: Suction-only setting for drying

We like

  • Nice and easy to fill and empty
  • Just as good as the rental version
  • Suction-only setting gets excess water up

We dislike

  • Tank could be bigger

Final Verdict

Very easy to pull along the carpet and makes a big impact with the first use

Bissell Revolution 2.0 Pet 20666

If you have to tackle a few really stubborn stains on your carpet as well as giving the overall floor a freshen up, then a heated cleaning machine is the best option for the job.

They use heat to really tackle the difficult marks, similar to your washing machine. You also get a Tough Stain Tool if you need more targeted results, from mucky paw prints to wine which was spilt the night before.

You also get the standard intelligent rotating brush bar which works deep into fibres, to budge deep-down stains when used as an upright. When you need to tackle your seating area or curtains, an upholstery tool can be used which will do the job without agitating the fibres too much. This also works on the stairs for that everyday dirt which you can’t avoid.

With just one use, it makes a notable difference in the condition of the flooring. It is nice and easy to set up too, so even if you just have to bring it out to tackle a spillage emergency, you aren’t going to spend hours fitting it all together.

You may have seen that the word ‘Pet’ is in the title. Not only can it remove the mess which animals often make on our floors (muddy paws, damp fur smells and toilet accidents), but when pet hair is inevitably lifted, the brush bar can be removed for easy cleaning. No matter how great your vacuum is, there will likely be hairs captured on your carpet cleaner brush. This can often be hard to get rid of, but the Bissell makes it a simple procedure. The heated cleaning also works to tackle the germs which will be residing in these areas.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 61 x 35.3 x 46.2cm
  • Power: 800 Watt
  • Clean Water Capacity: 3.7L
  • Dirty Water Capacity: 4.5L
  • Accessories: Nozzle Clean Up Tool, Tough Stain Tool, Upholstery Tool
  • Features: Heated cleaning

We like

  • Rotating brush easy to remove
  • Heated cleaning for tougher stains
  • Good selection of tools

We dislike

  • Not lightweight when full of water, as advertised

Final Verdict

Easy to use, fit, fill and empty, and gives results which we were very impressed by

Numatic Henry Wash HVW 370-2

Henry’s cylinder vacuum cleaner is a best-seller, so we were really happy to see that their Wash version lives up to the hype too.

While it isn’t the most ‘upright’ on the list, it is still much easier to move around than most traditional uprights. There is a handle on the top for easy carrying, and wheels at the base to make it easy to pull behind you. Perfect if you want something in-between this and a portable handheld.

It gives good results on both carpet and hard flooring, so whether it be the hallway or the kitchen, the floor can be like new again. The brush bar rotates to lift out the deepest dirt, and thanks to a high power level, it can all be sucked up and taken away.

Easy store functionality means it can be popped away even if you are low on space. It is still very easy to build up again though, which is great for those spills which need to be caught almost immediately. There is a great range of tools supplied, which will help with cleaning furniture or the car, and you also get the floor head for larger areas.

With a huge cleaning reach of 26m, it is going to get your whole room and home done without any fuss or difficulty – which is something which will appeal to everyone no doubt.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 51 x 37 x 36cm
  • Power: 1060W
  • Clean Water Capacity: 5L
  • Dirty Water Capacity: 9L

We like

  • Easy store
  • Brush bar visibly lifts dirt
  • Great capacity

We dislike

  • Unless you're used to cylinder vacuums, it may take a bit of getting used to navigating it around the room

Final Verdict

The power of Henry, but does what ordinary vacuums can’t and gets deep down into the fibres

BISSELL StainPro 4 Upright Carpet Cleaner

With a cleaning width of 27cm and operating radius of 10m, you will be able to clean your rooms in no time with this Bissell.

There are four rotating DirtLifter brushes, which all help to loosen the dirt. The shampoo then gets down into the fibres and the suction power lifts it all up for a thorough clean. EdgeSweep helps you to get right to the edges of the floor around the skirting boards, reducing the need for you to use the handheld attachments.

When you do need to switch to the handheld accessories however, the change is easy. The built-in hose is long enough to reach areas which are usually a bit too difficult to get to, and the nozzle gives perfect targeted action.

You also get an upholstery tool, which makes an impact on any soft furniture you have. Whether it be worn from excess use, or from not usually getting a frequent clean, it will not only look a lot nicer but also be more hygienic.

Carpets can be dry within the hour, which is good going, and shows that even though the power levels may not be the highest on paper, they still make a huge impact.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 120 x 30 x 50cm
  • Power: 800 W
  • Clean Water Capacity: 2.8L
  • Dirty Water Capacity: 2.8L
  • Accessories: Tough stain tool, Upholstery
  • Features: EdgeSweep

We like

  • Easy to push around
  • Good operating radius and hose length

We dislike

  • Have to go over difficult stains more than once

Final Verdict

A nice all-rounder to get the whole house done

Bissell Stain Pro 6 20096

Six rows of rotating DirtLifter Power Brushes, Heatwave technology for tougher stain removal and easy sweep brushes for a deeper clean by baseboards and near furniture all make this a worthy addition to any home.

It is one of the most popular cleaners in Bissell’s range, so we had high expectations on its power. We were really pleased with the results too. Surround suction removes a lot of the excess water from the carpet, which is great to boost drying times and leave it all looking very clean.

This also gives it a larger coverage possibility, so your room can be cleaned a lot quicker. You can still take care of the stairs or upholstery however, thanks to the attachments and hose fitting. Just turn the dial to switch between upright and handheld, and it is ready for the task at hand.

The brush bar and cover can easily be removed for better cleaning, which will keep it working well and also help it perform at its best. The Stain Pro 6 also uses a 2-in-1 tank system, so this is the only fitting you need to deal with when filling and emptying the machine.

If you use the dedicated Wash and Remove Pro Total carpet shampoo, which contains Febreze and Oxy Action, the carpet will not only look nice but will smell lush too.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 51 x 110 x 29 cm
  • Power: 800W
  • Clean Water Capacity: 3.7 L
  • Dirty Water Capacity: 3.7L
  • Accessories: Upholstery tool
  • Features: Heatwave Technology™

We like

  • Relatively quiet in use
  • Good at sucking up water to leave the carpet almost dry

We dislike

  • Instructions aren’t great - a bit of intuition needed

Final Verdict

Easy to put together when it arrives (once you get over the shoddy instructions), and a great price for the level of cleaning it offers

Best Portable Carpet Cleaners

Bissell SpotClean Pro 1558E

Able to clean both carpets and hard floors, which makes it an ideal floor cleaner for the whole home, this Bissell has a lot of appealing qualities.

The 2.8L capacity is huge for a product of this type, which will keep you cleaning for longer without needing to stop and refill. When the time does come, the tank is easy to remove and fill under the tap.

It features heated cleaning, so tough stains will be no more. Whether it be spaghetti Bolognese sauce on the sofa or muddy dog paw prints on the nice new rug in the living room, dirt will be lifted and carried away to leave not a single sign behind.

There is a dedicated Tough Stain Tool as well, which gets deep into fibres. It pulls a surprising amount of water back out of the carpet, which leaves it pretty dry. This also makes it perfect for use on the stairs, in the car, on mattresses and upholstery.

It was the handheld which best matched up to the power of uprights in our reviews, so great if you will need something which is tough but still very user-friendly.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 35.6 x 36 x 25cm
  • Power: 750W
  • Clean Water Capacity: 2.8L
  • Dirty Water Capacity: 2.2L

We like

  • Capacity
  • Really great at spot stain removal
  • Small but mighty

We dislike

  • A little noisy

Final Verdict

Not a pain to use and a really good capacity for a handheld. We couldn’t wish for an easier item

RUG DOCTOR 93306 Portable Spot Cylinder

Using a handheld motorised brush to work deep into the materials, this small portable Rug Doctor almost gives you the power of the larger upright versions, but on a much more transportable scale.

It has a retractable handle and wheels which are carpet-friendly, so can be transported around the home with ease. An IPX4 splash-proof rating makes it ideal for using outdoors to clean the car or caravan.

The tanks are easy to remove, and the lids open wide enough to make them simple to refill or empty out the dirty water. There is a dedicated storage area for the hose at the front of the machine, so it won’t become a pain to pop away in between uses.

The hose isn’t massively long, so it isn’t for those jobs which require a reach, but still gives great results and is sturdy enough to get the job done. One of the best for spot cleaning as the name suggests.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 40 x 41 x 28cm
  • Power: 1100 W
  • Clean Water Capacity: 1.9L
  • Dirty Water Capacity: 1.12L

We like

  • Easy to fill and empty
  • Quick to bring out of storage

We dislike

  • Hose isn’t very long

Final Verdict

A little hard to get all the water collected unless you go over it a couple of times, but still gives good cleaning power

Help and Resources

Carpet Cleaner Buying Guide

Types Of Carpet Cleaner

  • Upright: Best for larger areas and tackling entire carpeted rooms at once, just like an upright vacuum cleaner. They often have attachments and hoses as well, so can be used on upholstery and stairs
  • Portable: If you need something which can be carried around and is designed to be brought out in emergencies, a portable option could be best. They often provide more targeted power and better attachments than uprights with handheld options
  • You may also want to check if your chosen cleaner is a 2-in-1 or not. If it is, it could reduce the amount of vacuuming you do before cleaning as it can also pick up solid bits of grit and mud. But do be aware they still don’t match up to the power of dedicated vacuums, and they could become damaged if you push them too far

Power

The power of a carpet cleaner is more important than with a vacuum. This shows how well it can pick up the water it leaves behind. The higher the power, the better it can suck up the water left on the carpet, which will leave them drier to touch sooner.

This is particularly relevant if you have a deep pile carpet, as the water can really soak in to the fibres so needs an extra boost to be lifted.

Some Things To Look Out For

You may be wondering what the most useful carpet cleaner features are. We have rounded up a few specifications you may wish to look for:

Heat

You may want to look for two things here.

Heated tanks can help to clean the carpet, as the higher water temperatures will tackle the tougher stains which cold water and shampoo alone can’t remove. It also helps with germs and bacteria removal as the higher temperatures give more sanitisation. This could be ideal if you have children who spend a long time on the floor, or pets who bring in things on their feet or may have accidents.

You may also want heat which can dry the carpet quicker. This will work with the suction action, to dry the fibres just like a hairdryer.

Attachments

Most carpet cleaners will come with several attachments which can be used as handheld devices. This may include a rotating brush for more targeted stain removal, an upholstery attachment which is tough yet gentle on furniture, a Turbo tool for tougher stains or a standard crevice nozzle for spraying and collecting water and getting into corners.

Hose Length

This will matter if you are going to be using your cleaner on the stairs or in the car. You want a product which can reach all areas with little effort. If you’re going to be cleaning stairs, look for a hose long enough which will allow you to keep the cleaner in one place as you clean the entire flight, as opposed to carrying it with you and resting it perilously on each step. It will make it much easier, and also much safer.

Auto Mix

This feature will mix the detergent and water of its own accord. You usually pop both liquids in separate chambers. It will save you time, and also ensure you get the perfect amount of both for the job.

Price

You can grab a carpet cleaner for less than £100, and an expensive one could set you back about £400+. Our tests show that unlike some appliances, spending that bit more really can make a difference.

While not everybody needs the most powerful model on the market, those which were around £200-£250 did shine through.

FAQ’s

I Have A Deep Pile Carpet – Which Carpet Cleaner Is Best For Me?

You will need one with rotating brushes on the bar and one which is very powerful in order to collect the water again. This is because the pile is thicker, so water soaks further down, and it is also more complicated to remove dirt.

You may also want one with a Turbo attachment, so if you have any difficult areas and stains to budge, it can give it a deeper clean.

I Have Hard Floors. Can I Still Use A Carpet Cleaner On Them?

While they’re best for softer surfaces, some can also be used on tile and stone. Check the specifications before you buy, and make sure it is the best option for you. There are dedicated steam mops out there which may be a bit less troublesome.

Never use a carpet cleaner on unsealed laminate or wooden floors, as the water can damage the surface.

Can I Not Just Hire A Carpet Cleaner?

Models such as Rug Doctors are available to rent from most DIY stores and large supermarkets, such as Asda, Morrisons, Tesco, Homebase, B&Q, Johnsons Cleaners, Timpsons and The Range. 24 hour hire can start at around £25 currently, and 48 hour at just under £30. While this is cheaper in the short-term, think about how much you will be using the cleaner.

If you will use monthly, the cost could creep up and be the price of a decent machine anyway, so the ease of having one to hand is no doubt a winner. The same applies if you regularly spill drinks or bring mud in and have to sponge clean it on your hands and knees, leaving it all looking a little lacklustre.

If you use a cleaner once a year to freshen up the house, then renting one (or paying for a professional cleaner) could make more sense.

Will I Be Able To Use Any Shampoo?

Manufacturers usually recommend that you stick to their own brand of cleaner to ensure no issues with the machine and that you get the best clean. A sample or full bottle will be included with your purchase and if there are good results, you should stick to that particular make.

Many popular brands do make general machine-suitable detergents however, such as Vanish, 1001 and Vax. You may have to experiment with ratios and strengths.