The 5 best carpet cleaners in 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky
  • Carpet cleaners for home use allow you to remove stains and dirt without having to call in a professional.
  • Some cleaners can be used on multiple surfaces such as upholstery, tile floors, and even in your car.
  • Our top pick, is lightweight, easy to use, and fast-drying, making it ideal for home use.

Pets, kids, and just general wear and tear can leave your carpeting looking lackluster, but hiring professional carpet cleaners can get expensive and time-consuming. Instead of calling the pros, buying a carpet cleaner can be a sound investment, keeping your carpet (and in some cases, your upholstery) in good shape. In the best cases, a good carpet cleaner can even buy you extra years before you have to recarpet.

We've evaluated and selected the best carpet cleaners for their overall performance, versatility, durability, ease of use, and value. The products in this guide can tackle stains, ground-in dirt, and more, leaving your carpeting looking refreshed and revitalized. They're easy to operate right in your home and available at a variety of price points. There are even a few options that are suitable if you're tight on space or just need a carpet cleaner that's quick and easy to use.

Here are the best carpet cleaners in 2021

The best overall
Bissel carpet cleaner

Suitable for both carpeting and upholstery, the Bissell ProHeat 2X Revolution Pet Pro features an Express Clean Mode that can dry carpeting in as little as 30 minutes. 

Pros: Shorter drying-time option, dual brush rollers, removable roller cover, targeted spot pretreating, pet upholstery tool

Cons: Doesn't include an actual heat function

The Bissell ProHeat 2X Revolution Pet Pro is a versatile carpet cleaner that can tackle carpeting, upholstery, and area rugs while also meeting the challenge of cleaning stains in homes with pets. Weighing just 19 pounds, this cleaner is easy to wheel through your home, and its 1-gallon tank capacity allows for plenty of continuous cleaning. It also has an 11-inch wide cleaning path that allows you to cover a significant area in a single pass.

The Bissell ProHeat 2X Revolution Pet Pro carpet cleaner has many features that make for easy use and impressive performance, and it's designed to tackle stains with low physical exertion. It's also designed for the challenges of cleaning up after pets. Its two-in-one handheld pet upholstery tool features both a dry and a wet mode to remove pet hair and odors. 

While you can use the Max Clean Mode for embedded dirt and stains, the Express Clean Mode provides a lighter, faster cleaning. According to Bissell, the Express Clean Mode can dry in as little as 30 minutes. This mode is ideal when you're in a hurry or have to try to keep kids off of the carpet as it dries.

The handheld tool and the cleaner's generously sized 8-foot hose can go where the body of this carpet cleaner can't, allowing you to tackle upholstered furniture, tough-to-access spaces in your rooms, pet beds, vehicle upholstery, and more. 

When it comes to cleaning and maintaining the unit itself, the brush rollers feature a removable cover, allowing you to easily access the rollers for hair removal and maintenance.

The best for big jobs
Big Green carpet cleaner

The Bissell Big Green Machine Professional Carpet Cleaner with dual 1.75 gallon tanks offers serious stain-removing power to tackle big jobs.

Pros: Offers powerful cleaning, long-reach hose makes cleaning stairs easy, strong enough to remove deep stains, two generously sized tanks allow for longer cleaning between refills

Cons: A little bulky, heavy when filled with water

The Bissell Big Green Machine Professional Carpet Cleaner is a powerful carpet cleaner ideal for tackling cleaning jobs without having to rent a professional cleaner. This machine is equipped with an extra-large power brush, which scrubs and removes deeply embedded dirt and stains both as you push the unit forward and as you pull it backward, saving you time and maximizing efficiency.

With a cleaning path of 10.5 inches, it also allows you to quickly clean larger areas. When you pull the trigger on the handle, the cleaner sprays out a water-and-formula solution that the power brush scrubs into the carpet.

This Bissell Big Green Machine comes with a 25-foot cord and a 9-foot spot cleaning hose, allowing you to access tight spots like carpeted stairs. Its 6-inch-wide Tough Stain Tool allows you to spray and scrub stains in spots the main body unit can't access, like upholstery, pet beds, and more.

The flow indicator allows you to monitor and recognize when it's time to add water and detergent. This machine's large capacity dual 1.75-gallon tanks allow you to clean an entire room before pausing to empty the dirty water tank and refill the clean water tank. Plus, the design of the cleaner, with an anti-tip wide base, helps to keep the machine stable.

While the Bissell Big Green Machine is powerful and similar to rental cleaners, it's compact enough to be stored away in a closet. It's one of the heavier carpet cleaners, though, weighing 41 pounds. 

The best on a budget
Hoover carpet cleaner

The Hoover PowerDash Pet Carpet Cleaner is lightweight and powerful, and while it's full of features, it's still offered at a highly affordable price.

Pros: Compact upright design saves space, lightweight, low profile foot allows you to clean underneath furniture and tight spaces

Cons: Smaller water reservoir requires frequent filling, some users found the cleaner doesn't pick up enough water

If you're living in an apartment or small house and only have occasional carpet cleaning needs, you don't want a large, bulky carpet cleaner taking up valuable storage space. The Hoover PowerDash Pet Carpet Cleaner is compact, has an upright design, measuring 15.2 inches by 10.1 inches by 43.5 inches. It offers a 10-inch cleaning path and can hold up to half a gallon of clean water at a time, yet weighs only 12.5 pounds.

This cleaner is equipped with many valuable features that make it efficient and easy to use. One of its better features is the HeatForce, which applies hot air to the carpet that you're cleaning to speed drying. It also has an antimicrobial SpinScrub Brush System, a patented system that is treated with antimicrobial materials. As the brushes rotate and clean dirt from the carpet, these antimicrobial materials help to keep odor and bacteria from developing in the brushes and in the carpet cleaner. 

The dual tank system is easy to fill, empty, and rinse and keeps the clean water separated from the dirty water for more effective cleaning. One of the most convenient designs is the low-profile foot, which allows you to fit this carpet cleaner underneath furniture to access stains almost anywhere.

The best steam cleaner
Dupray carpet cleaner

The Dupray Neat Steam Cleaner utilizes the pressure of steam to offer chemical-free sanitization that can be used on floors, grout, and so much more.

Pros: Chemical-free cleaning, steamer operates on just tap water, heats up in seven minutes, works on multiple surfaces, backed by a two-year warranty, up to 50 minutes of cleaning time

Cons: No suction or vacuum function, steam can be dangerous so careful handling is needed, need to continuously hold down a button to operate steam function

The Dupray Neat Steam Cleaner brings the power of steam cleaning to your home at an affordable price. In just seven minutes, this unit heats steam to 275 degrees, allowing you to quickly get cleaning. This low-moisture steam works on all surfaces, including floors, furniture, mattresses, ceramic and tiles, grout, and even car interiors. It's more than just a carpet cleaner, and its versatile design makes it suitable for use throughout many areas in your home. 

This steam cleaner cleans, disinfects, sanitizes, degreases, and deodorizes without using chemicals, relying instead on the cleaning power of pressurized steam. Steam cleaning can loosen dirt and kill threatening substances like dust mites, bacteria, mold, and allergens. Additionally, the hot steam dries quickly. Because this cleaner uses just water, you also don't have to worry about buying (or running out) of cleaning products. 

You can operate the Dupray Neat Steam Cleaner with just tap water and it offers up to 50 minutes of continuous cleaning time. This 18-piece kit includes everything you need to do a full-house cleaning, including a rectangular floor tool, three microfiber pads, a window tool, two extension tubes, one lance, one microfiber cloth, one triangular tool, one triangular tool microfiber bonnet, five nylon brushes, one brass brush, and one AddFresh Fragrance Disc.

The unit weighs just 9 pounds and is on wheels, so you can roll it through the house. It also features a 16-foot power cord and a 6.5-foot steam hose, allowing you easier access to hard-to-reach spaces.

The best portable carpet cleaner
Bissell pet cleaner

Weighing under 5 pounds, the Bissell Pet Stain Eraser Portable Cordless Carpet Cleaner is compact, versatile, and easily portable.

Pros: Cordless and lightweight design; ideal for removing pet stains; built-in scrub brush; versatile enough to use on carpets, upholstery, and auto interiors

Cons: Requires recharging, doesn't include any power scrubbing features, limited capacity means it's best for small jobs

Rather than lugging out a heavy carpet cleaner, the Bissell Pet Stain Eraser Portable Cordless Carpet Cleaner gives you cleaning power that's easily portable. Weighing only 4.6 pounds, this little cleaner can go just about anywhere, meaning it can clean stains on carpeted stairs, upholstery, area rugs, and vehicle interiors. It's cordless and battery-powered, further adding to its agility, and makes cleaning stains an easy, fast process.  

This carpet cleaner may be small, but it still does a great job of cleaning up stains. Just spray the cleaning solution, use the built-in scrubber, and then suction the cleaner and stain out of the carpet. You can store the cleaning solution right in the machine, so it's always ready to go. The fully charged battery offers up to 15 minutes of use, and recharging takes about four hours. 

This Bissell Pet Stain Eraser Cordless Carpet Cleaner is a go-to in my house. I can tuck it away in a closet until I need it. I particularly like that I can fit it underneath furniture like tables, making it easy to clean up small messes on my rugs without having to move any furniture.

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