7 Best Portable Carpet Cleaners 2021 for Spot Cleaning Stains

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Accidents happen – an overturned glass of red wine, spilled food, even stains on pets. And even if we intend to deal with them as soon as possible, stains still appear. This is where carpet cleaners come into play, with an integrated cleaning solution and a built-in spray on the nozzle to remove wet dirt and stains.

When a full size option is too big or unwieldy, portable carpet cleaners are great for removing minor stains from carpets, upholstery, and even your car. Each machine has two tanks – one contains the cleaning solution (either premixed or you have to dilute it depending on the machine) and the other is for the dirty liquid that is sucked in. They are easy to use: pre-spray the stain, wait a few minutes, then pull the nozzle or machine over the stain to soak up the dirty liquid. Additional applications may be required for heavier stains.

When the Good Housekeeping Institute’s Household Appliances and Cleaning Products Laboratory rates portable carpet cleaning machines, we test how well they remove fresh and stuck stains and how easy they are to fill, empty and clean. We also look at their weight, how easy they are to maneuver, and how convenient they are to use. For this project We ran 38 different tests and logged over 494 data points. In order to understand the effects of noise pollution, we sent the machines for evaluation by Quiet Mark. Devices rated as “quiet” received a 3-star rating, while devices rated as “loud” received a 1-star rating. Based on our tests, these are the best portable carpet cleaning machines you can buy:

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Best overall portable carpet cleaner

Pet Stain eraser PowerBrush Plus

Bissell
amazon.com

$ 119.99

This cordless bissell has A built-in rotating brush for thorough cleaning (Just turn it off if you are using delicate fabrics like woven carpets and velvet). It also comes with a nubby rubber pet tool to help tackle clutter from furry family members. Expect 20 minutes of runtime on one charge.

In our test, this model got the best overall rating for performance, including stain and odor removal, noise, run time, and more. It removed fresh and dried stains that filled red wine and blueberry pie, and the machine was easy to clean and maintain. The testers were enthusiastic about the ease of thumb control. Bissell recommends that you use your own ready-to-use formula.

  • 3-star Quiet Mark Ratinh
  • Practical control buttons
  • Premixed formula
  • 8 ounce tanks require frequent emptying / refilling
  • It takes 4.5 hours to charge

Best Value Portable Carpet Cleaner

PowerDash GO Pet + Spot Cleaner

Easy to carry and store, This corded portable cleaner has a 5-foot hose This makes it easy to pick up spilled material in awkward places like behind the sofa or in the car. Replace the brush head with the pet attachment to remove stuck and embedded stains.

This Hoover received top marks for ease of use. The slim design makes it easy to carry and use on stairs. The tanks stand on their own and are therefore very easy to fill. Use Hoover’s own premixed solution or you risk voiding your warranty. The string wraps around the back and the hose is neatly attached to it. It’s neither the quietest nor the loudest machine: Quiet Mark rated it 2 stars.

  • Stand and lie upright
  • Longest hose of the models tested

Best lightweight portable carpet cleaner

Gamebuster Cordless Game + Spot Cleaner

BLACK + DECKER
amazon.com

$ 99.99

This cordless Black + Decker’s weighs only four pounds Wide neck and powered rotating brush (which can be turned off) deal with wet debris like juice, oatmeal, or chunky soup. Unlike many others, it uses any brand of portable machine cleaning solution. It runs for 30 minutes per charge.

The tank and nozzle are dishwasher safe and therefore easy to maintain. It was second most important in removing mustard stains after the Rug Doctor, and an indicator will signal when it needs to be charged.

  • Charges in 2.5 hours
  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • 8 ounce tanks require more frequent emptying / refilling
  • 1 star quiet mark rating

Best stain remover for portable carpet cleaners

Pet Portable Spot Cleaner

Back doctor
amazon.com

$ 149.99

This Rug Doctor is a workhorse that was propelled by our stain tests and did best to get rid of the stain and smell of the yellow ammonia we dropped to simulate pet urine, and the nozzle’s rubberized bristles grip pet hair as it removes stains. The rugged corded model of Rug Doctor’s large tanks hold 64 ounces of cleaning solution, which means fewer refills for large or multiple jobs. Wheels and a handle make it easy to maneuver and move between areas. Adding the cleaning solution to hot water in the solution tank is a little difficult because the tank is not on its own.

  • Excellent stain removal
  • 4-foot hose
  • Retractable handle and wheels
  • Heavy (almost 20 pounds when the tanks are full)
  • 1 star quiet mark rating
  • Relative expensive

Best Portable Carpet Cleaner For Pet Fairs

SpotClean Pet Pro

Bissell
amazon.com

$ 169.98

The four-foot hose, the extra-long power cord and the large tank volume of the Bissell SpotClean Pet Pro make it useful for larger cleaning jobs, especially in hard-to-reach areas. The special “stain trapper” tool prevents nasty animal accidents from reaching the hose or dirty water tank.

During our tests, it was the second most important stain removal agent after the Rug Doctor and was excellent at removing odors. The cleaning formula needs to be diluted before use to make it last longer.

  • Special container system for animal experiments
  • Extra long power cord
  • 1 star quiet mark rating
  • Heavy when full

Best portable carpet cleaner for cars

ONEPWR Spotless GO cordless stain cleaner

vacuum cleaner
amazon.com

$ 149.99

The replaceable battery of the compact Hoover ONEPWR Spotless Go can be charged in less than three and a half hours and can be exchanged for batteries from other ONEPWR devices. The wireless power supply and a two-foot hose make it easy to reach stains in cars and on stairs. The smaller tanks make it pretty light and great for quick cleanup, and tea and red wine stains weren’t up to it. Quiet Mark rated it 2 stars for sound.

  • Tanks are easy to use
  • Removable battery

Easiest to maintain portable carpet cleaner

Little green machine

Bissell
amazon.com

$ 109.99

Holds the primary Good Housekeeping Seal and the Green Good Housekeeping Seal, the Bissell Little Green Machine is a solid, reliable cleaner. The 4-foot hose extends the reach of the machine, and the capacity of the 48-ounce recovery tank means you don’t have to empty it as often. After cleaning With a practical hydro-flushing tool, you can flush the hose out before storage – Goodbye to trapped trash that might start to smell after a while!

  • Hose and cable management systems ensure tidy storage
  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • 1 star quiet mark rating
  • Difficult to hold solution tank when diluting the cleaning formula

What should be considered when buying a carpet cleaner?

  • warranty. Some manufacturers will void the warranty if you do not use their brand of detergent. Check your rug’s warranty or the manufacturer’s website to be sure. Also, check to see if you should use it at full strength or dilute it with water in the solution tank.
  • brush. Consider a carpet cleaner with a rotating brush to effortlessly remove the stain from your carpet. Without a powered rotating brush, you’ll have to manually scrub the stain with the built-in brush.
  • Tank size. Large tanks for cleaning solution and dirty water mean less frequent refilling and emptying for larger jobs. Keep in mind, however, that large tanks weigh more when full and can be heavier when climbing and descending stairs. If you know you remove stains or large stains frequently, a larger machine may be more convenient than a smaller one.
  • Cordless versus corded. Cordless cleaners increase portability. However, be sure to check how long they run and how long they need to be charged if you plan to use them for bigger tasks.
  • Rated capacity: Usually a more powerful motor will produce better suction power – it will also make more noise.
  • Weight: Carpet cleaners with hoses stand on their own but must be carried from room to room and possibly up and down stairs. A 64 ounce tank filled with solution adds 4 pounds of weight to the machine.


Director, Household Appliances and Cleaning Products Laboratory
Carolyn Forte, a consumer products expert, is director of the Appliances and Cleaning Products Laboratory at the Good Housekeeping Institute.

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