6 best carpet cleaners – best carpet cleaning machines

Good housekeeping

While a vacuum cleaner removes everyday dust and dirt from your home, a carpet cleaner promises a lot more.

There are some stains and stains that a regular vacuum cleaner just can’t remove, and while steam cleaners can freshen up your carpets, you’ll need a specialty carpet cleaner to really get rid of stubborn stains or remove lingering odors.

We tested 11 carpet cleaners, and here are the ones that passed our rigorous tests:

What is a carpet cleaner?

Carpet cleaners use a combination of specially formulated cleaning solutions and powerful brush heads to dig deep into your pile of carpets and remove dirt and buried debris. In many cases, carpet cleaners will also restore and lift carpets so they look refreshed and almost new.

You work with one clean and one dirty tank. The water and cleaning solution are stored in the clean tank. After you pull the trigger, this solution is sprayed onto the carpet and then sucked into the dirty water tank.

They are also a versatile part of the kit. Many of the models we tested offer hard floor, upholstery and even stair cleaning functions.

How often should you clean your carpet?

Our experts at the Good Housekeeping Institute recommend that you clean all carpets thoroughly once a year. However, if you have allergies or pets, clean them thoroughly every six months.

If a stain appears on your carpet – especially a notoriously difficult to remove stain like wine, mustard, or curry – treat it right away.

What does a good carpet cleaner cost?

A good carpet cleaner costs between £ 100 and £ 300 and can save you a lot of time and hassle. The top brands include Vax, Bissell and Rug Doctor.

If you’d rather not buy a machine, you can hire professional cleaners to thoroughly clean your carpets. This will cost around £ 200. Or you can rent a machine from companies like Rug Doctor for around £ 20 a day (with an extra £ 10 for laundry detergent).

How we test

When testing carpet cleaners at the GHI, we put a pre-measured amount of dirt on carpet, hard floor and upholstery. We kick the dirt into the ground and let it set overnight. We then use each carpet cleaning machine a set number of times to see how well it cleans the dirty area.

We assess whether the floor is soaked, damp or completely dry after use. We examine the carpet and pile of upholstery to see if it has been restored and lifted, and also look at the color of the carpet and upholstery.

To make it easier to use, we evaluate how easy the machine is to assemble and what additional tools are available.

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1

Best carpet cleaner

Vax ECB1SPV1 Platinum Power Max Carpet Cleaner

Result: 98/100

There’s not a lot we don’t like about this carpet cleaner. In the test, the performance on carpets was excellent. We used it with the Vax Platinum Carpet Wash and it only took a couple of passes over a stain to completely remove it. Overall, the carpet looked and felt refreshed even after cleaning.

We found the pretreatment wand useful as it allows you to tackle deep stains, while the 4.6 meter hose makes cleaning the stairs a breeze. A hard floor cleaning tool is also included that fits easily onto the base of the carpet cleaner, leaving the floor clean and dry. After all, we love the upholstery, which makes cleaning sofas and car interiors easier. A great all-rounder.

Key specifications
Clean tank capacity: 3.5 liters
Contaminated tank capacity: 2.9 liters
Tools included: Upholstery cleaning tool, brush, hard floor cleaning tool, pre-treatment stick, pre-treatment solution, cleaning solution
Weight: 9.6 kg

2

Runner-up carpet cleaner

Bissell Compact HydroWave 2571E carpet cleaner

Score: 96/100

The Bissell Hydrowave is more compact than our successful Vax model and a good choice for houses with thick carpeting. We tested it with the Express Clean and Deep Clean settings. The former removed mud and tea stains in two passes and completely removed most of our wine stain, while the latter completely removed all of the stains in one pass.

The head is slim enough to easily clean stairs so that no carpet area is left untouched. Our only problem is that the cleaning solution comes out in a thin stream rather than a wide spray, which means it covers less area at once.

Key specifications
Clean tank capacity: 1.7 liters
Contaminated tank capacity: 0.6 liters
Tools included: Cleaning solution
Weight: 5.6 kg

3

Best for pet owners

Bissell ProHeat 2x Revolution Pet Pro

Score: 96/100

This large carpet cleaner was developed for carpets, stairs and upholstery and is equipped with a variety of useful attachments.

In terms of performance, we found it hard to make mistakes. We tested all three settings. Express Clean removed stains after a series of passes and is best for everyday dirt, while Deep Clean and Max Clean removed stains in a single pass. However, we recommend using Max Clean only once or twice a year to protect your carpets.

The upholstery and stair mountings were equally useful. The upholstered head cleaned sofas and seat cushions well and applied the cleaning solution evenly and easily in corners and crevices. However, it is noisy in use and the upholstery was a bit wetter than we would have liked after cleaning it.

Key specifications
Clean tank capacity: 3.7 liters
Contaminated tank capacity: 4.5 liters
Tools included: Upholstery cleaning tool, stair tool, hose, accessory bag
Weight: 8 kg

4th

Best for upholstery

Bissell ProHeat 2X Revolution Carpet Cleaner

Score: 90/100

This is the original model in Bissell’s ProHeat 2x Revolution range. Most cleaning tasks are easy to complete, whether you’re cleaning the entire carpet or freshening up the sofa overdue. We have seen brilliant results on our carpet, with around 80% of the stains removed after a few runs. Deeper stains took a little more work, but the carpet stayed damp rather than wet as the machine also lifted the pile of carpets to make the entire carpet look new.

We love the hand-held upholstery attachment that allowed us to target the cleaning solution to specific areas. Its shape allows you to get straight into crevices and corners for a more thorough cleaning.

Key specifications
Clean tank capacity: 3.7 liters
Contaminated tank capacity: 4.5 liters
Tools included: Upholstery cleaning tool, 2-in-1 splitting tool, nozzle cleaning tool, hose and accessory bag
Weight: 8 kg

5

Best for stairs

Rug Doctor Portable Spot Cleaner

Result: 83/100

This compact portable stain cleaner is great for cleaning carpets and upholstery, but is not the best option for hard floors. However, the tanks have a generous capacity so you can clean a large area before you run out of water and cleaning solution.

We also love the motorized brush head that goes straight into the carpet pile. We found that almost all of the stains were removed after just a few passes of the brush and only a few passes were required for the carpet to look new. The brush handle also makes it easy to clean the upholstery and gives great results.

We didn’t see such impressive results on our hard floor test. While the solution was applied evenly, the soil was completely soaked after use.

Key specifications
Clean tank capacity: 1.9 liters
Contaminated tank capacity: 1.12 liters
Tools included: Motorized brush head
Weight: 8.2 kg

6th

Best inexpensive carpet cleaner

Russell Hobbs Aqua RHCC50AS01 Carpet Cleaner

Result: 81/100

This lightweight, affordable machine is designed for carpets only. We were pleased with how well it tackled dirty carpet and removed mud and tea stains with minimal effort. The carpet was more damp than wet, and the pile of carpets had risen too. The carpet color stayed the same and the fibers stayed separated rather than matted.

It really struggled with red wine stains, however, and left a dark stain after several passes. The spray trigger also had to be squeezed quite hard to dispense the cleaning solution, which put some strain on the wrist and fingers. It’s a solid budget buy that cleanses everyday grime well.

Key specifications
Clean tank capacity: 1.8 liters
Contaminated tank capacity: 1.75 liters
Tools included: N / A
Weight: 6 kg

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