How to Pick the Right Carpet Cleaner

You can either pay a professional carpet cleaning service for your carpets or purchase a carpet cleaning machine (carpet cleaner) and do the job yourself.

If diy (do it yourself) is your preference, here are some of the essential factors to keep in mind when shopping for a new carpet cleaner:

1. How well can it clean the carpets?

This may seem a very obvious one (and it really is), but the only reason people would buy a carpet cleaner will be the machine’s ability to remove different kinds of stains and dirt from their carpets. These machines are generally bought by people who have kids and/or pets, and these people will continuously have to deal with nasty stains.

If you can find such information, try to give specific examples like “it can easily remove oil stains, mud stains, pet pee, etc.”.

The more details you can find out about the cleaning power, the better it will be. You may also want to know if there is a specific technology used in the carpet cleaner that makes it more effective.

2. Does it have rotating brushes?

There are mainly three types of carpet cleaners when it comes to this aspect: Those with no brushes, those with static brushes that move only when you push the unit and those with rotating brushes.

In most cases, carpet cleaners with rotating brushes will be more effective in cleaning the carpets since the brushes will apply an extra force and friction to remove hard stains.

3. Are there separate tanks for clean/dirty water and cleaning solution?

This is another important feature to have. Some carpet cleaners have only one tank where you put the water and the cleaning solution, while some have separate tanks for each.

Normally, the water will run out long before the cleaning solution, and having a separate tank will allow the users to continue cleaning after adding water. Plus, it will be more economic as they won’t have to add cleaning solution that often.

4. How big are the tanks?

The size of the clean/dirty water and solution tanks is also an important factor that affects the efficiency of the carpet cleaner. The bigger the tanks, the less frequent emptying/refilling they will need. On the other hand, bigger tanks will make the unit heavier and may cause it to be harder to push and maneuver.

5. Are the tanks easy to remove and empty/refill?

Another factor that affects efficiency and ease of use. No matter how big or small the tanks are, users will have to empty and refill them with certain intervals. If the tanks are hard to remove and empty/fill, they will lose a lot of time and spend more effort.

6. Is there a long hose attachment and cleaner tool?

Most decent carpet cleaners will be heavy and it is hard to haul them on stairs, etc. So, if there is a long hose and a cleaner tool that attaches to the hose, allowing the users to clean carpeted stairs without carrying the machine, that will be a huge help.

Plus, such attachments will make it possible to clean hard to reach areas like the edges, etc.

7. How fast does the carpet dry?

One of the biggest problems people have after cleaning their carpets is the time the carpets take to dry. In some cases, it can take up to 24 hours, which means that they can’t put the furniture back. It makes the room practically unusable for that period.

The high quality carpet cleaners on the market clean the carpets in such a way that the user can put their furniture back and start using the room again in as low as one hour. This can be a huge plus for some people, especially those who need to frequently clean their carpets because of the mess created by their pets, etc.

8. Are there water/solution indicators?

Some carpet cleaner models have water and solution indicators that warn the user about the need to empty the dirty water tank or to fill the clean water and/or cleaning solution tank. This offers convenience as the user doesn’t need to worry about the tanks until he/she sees the warning light on.

9. Is it adequate for delicate and expensive carpets?

Some expensive carpets (like silk) have very specific cleaning instructions (like not applying a cleaning solution more than once for a specific time). Going against these instructions will render the warranty void and can cost the user thousands of dollars.

10. Is the carpet cleaner light or heavy? Is it easy to maneuver?

Although most decent carpet cleaners will be heavy due to the size of their motors and tanks, some people (especially senior citizens or those who have back problems) will specifically look for lighter models.
If the model you are reviewing is heavier than most other models, what you can do is to direct those people to a lighter model.

11. Is the cord long enough to cover enough space?

Having a long cord is not a performance booster per se, but it adds to the convenience and can be worth mentioning, especially if there is not much information you can give about a specific model.

A long cord means more working time since the users won’t have to continuously unplug/plug the carpet cleaner.

12. Are the container and brushes easy to clean?

The only maintenance people will have to do will be to clean the containers and brushes (if there are any). You’ll want to read up some real user/customer reviews to find out how hard/easy the tanks and brushes are to clean.

Recommended:

Best Carpet Cleaner: Hoover SteamVac Carpet Cleaner with Clean Surge F5914900

F5914900Powerful 12-amp motor; brushes that pop out for easy cleaning; heating mechanism for fast drying of carpet; 8-foot extension hose plus upholstery tool and spinning hand tool; fingertip “Clean Surge” control to dispense extra detergent onto dirtier spots.

Buy from Amazon

PROS:

  • Excellent cleaning performance
  • Effectively dries carpet
  • Easy to use

CONS:

  • Dirty-water tank is quite small

Best Spot Cleaner: Bissell SpotBot Pet Deep Cleaner 33N8A

    33N8A

  • Handsfree Spot & Stain Cleaner: Automatic cleaning cycles allow you to choose your setting and WalkAway while the machine does the work for you
  • Hard to reach cleaning- Use on upholstery, stairs and auto interiors
  • Permanently removes tough stains when used with BISSELL Oxy Gen2
  • Microban Antimicrobial Product Protection: Built into key components of the SpotBot Pet to fight the growth of odor causing bacteria, mold and mildew. Microban protection works continuously to make your BISSELL SpotBot easier to clean and to keep it cleaner and fresher between uses.
  • Buy from Amazon

Browse All Carpet Cleaners