What are the top rated carpet cleaning machines for pet owners? Specifically, what are the best models for pet stains, which many carpet shampooers don’t do a good job with? We review and compare some of the best units for 2018 that can handle pet stains like pet urine without redistributing the mess and driving it deeper into the carpet when you try to remove it.
Top Rated Carpet Cleaners Reviewed
1. Hoover Smartwash Automatic FH52000
The Hoover Smartwash FH5200 is, in the opinion of the manufacturer, their best carpet cleaner. The majority of home owners who have used his carpet shampooer seem to support this statement. It’s little wonder that you’ll find this machine listed on most reviews of the best carpet cleaners.
The most remarkable part of this carpet cleaner is the level of automation, making it one of the easiest carpet cleaners to use. It mixes and dispenses the detergent for you. This may be a common feature on many of the best carpet cleaners, but the Hoover takes automation to a new level. It also automatically dries the carpet with heated air every time you pull the machine backwards.
It weighs under 19-pounds and has a pretty impressive 12” cleaning path. The water tank holds 1-gallon and the detergent tank, 20-ounces. It also includes a mini 2-in-1 antimicrobial pet tool and an 8 Ft. hose, along with a storage bag for all your accessories.
There’s very little maintenance involved and this is also made super easy with the single action to unclip the nozzle. The carpet shampooer head has a low profile design, so it can get under most sofas and the powerful Flex force brushes scrub carpets and area rugs perfectly.
As one of the most easy to use carpet cleaners you can buy, the Hoover Smartwash has to be one of the best. There’s no hassle mixing or dispensing your cleaning solution, all this is done for you. It also dries your carpets and rugs as it cleans, saving you time and hassle. When it comes to cleaning and maintain the Hoover, well, that’s about as simple as it gets too.
2. Hoover SteamVac Model F5914900
The Hoover SteamVac carpet shampooer combines affordability and convenience with the power of a large rental carpet cleaner. You’ll easily get professional results from a carpet cleaner that you can afford. This carpet cleaner has the all the power that you could ever want to clean any carpet or your upholstery, the Hoover SteamVac has a 12A motor. This drives their unique SpinScrub brush roll without the use of a belt. This means lower maintenance and you’ll never be inconvenienced by a belt snapping while you’re busy cleaning.
The SpinScrub brush roll does an excellent job of deep cleaning all carpet types and has two speed settings or you can switch it off entirely. You can use the low power setting for light cleaning, the high setting for deep cleaning serious dirt or switch the brush roll off when quickly lifting loose debris from your floors. The brushes have a gentle cleaning action that won’t harm the fibers of your carpets, whilst still providing a thorough cleaning action to remove dirt from deep within the carpets. For particularly stubborn stains, you can apply extra detergent with the touch of a button, using the Clean Surge Control.
By using a heated drying system, the Hoover SteamVac allows your carpets to dry much quicker than a carpet cleaner that simply brushes the carpets with detergent. It has separate water tanks for your cleaning solution and dirty water. Both tanks can be removed independently, making things a lot easier for you.
The Hoover SteamVac is also equipped with an 8-foot stretch hose and an upholstery cleaning tool that attaches to the pipe. Cleaning your upholstery is as easy and effortless as cleaning your carpets with this versatile machine. It weighs 20-pounds, which is reasonably light for a powerful carpet cleaner that can do the job of large heavy rental carpet cleaning machines.
You get a 16-ounce bottle of Hoover Deep Cleansing Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner with your purchase. This provides you with a cleaning formula to match the performance of the machine. The brushes are removable for easy cleaning, hygiene is no hassle with the Hoover SteamVac.
I know that many people respect and trust the Hoover brand. This in itself may be enough to persuade you that the Hoover SteamVac is the ideal model for you. You get an affordable carpet shampooer, backed by a trusted name and a 1-year warranty.
3. Bissel TurboClean PowerBrush Pet
It’s not often that a carpet cleaner that’s this affordable can hold its own among the best carpet cleaners on the market. This, on its own, makes the Bissel TurboClean PowerBrush Pet a remarkable feat. It has outstanding performance. The combination of powerful suction and the rotating DirtLifter PowerBrush, consisting of four rows of strong bristle brushes, make this a formidable cleaning machine. It also has small brushes on the side of the carpet cleaner to clean right up to your walls. This Bissel model is designed specifically for pet owners and does an outstanding job of loosening and removing stubborn dirt, typically found in a home with pets and young children. You also get a free sample bottle of the Bissel Deep Clean + oxy-based cleaning formula, which is one of the best for removing stubborn dirt, stains, and odors.
One of the aspects that we look for when deciding on top performing machine is convenience. On this level, the Bissel TurboClean PowerBrush Pet has a lot to offer. It’s super-light, weighing only 12 LBS. The collapsible handle makes it very easy to store, even where space is limited. It has a removable nozzle, making it really easy to clean before storing. The two half-gallon tanks make for easy working, there’s one tank for your cleaning formula and another to collect the dirty water that’s sucked from your carpets. The 20 Ft power cord gives you a good range within which to work.
While the mighty little Bissel TurboClean PowerBrush Pet may not have all the features found on the best and most expensive carpet cleaners, it offers you a lot for your money. This means that this carpet cleaner isn’t just the best for its price, it’s one of the best you’ll find – even amongst much more expensive alternatives. It comes with the backing of the Bissel brand and a 1-year warranty.
4. Hoover Power Scrub Carpet Washer Model FH50150
Staying with the Hoover brand, we’re stepping things up here in the form of the Hoover Power Scrub Carpet Washer (FH50150). This incredible carpet cleaner shares all the same great features of the SteamVac with some additional ones. Making this one of the best Hoover carpet shampooers. The Hoover Power Scrub has the same SpinScrub roller brush as the other Hoover model. Why change, when this is already one of the best brush roll systems used on a carpet cleaning machine. It also has the dual, easy to use water tanks – one for the clean water and one for the waste, dirty water. In addition to this, the Hoover Power Scrub has automatic mixing for the cleaning formula. This means no measuring and mixing, the Hoover will ensure that you always have the correct ratio of clean water to the cleaning formula.
The Hoover Power Scrub takes convenience to a new level. It’s even lighter than the SteamVac (only 18.1-pounds) and it has four handles, placed so that you carry it very easily in a number of positions. You have a better cleaning range with this carpet cleaner, thanks to a 20-foot power cord. Another feature that makes the Power Scrub one of the top rated models is the DualV nozzle that channels the air perfectly to increase its suction power. You get a fantastic selection of additional cleaning tools with the Hoover Power Scrub. These being a SpinScrub hand tool; an upholstery cleaner and a crevice tool. It has the same 8-foot hose as the SteamVac and you get a mesh storage bag for the accessories, as well as a sample bottle of Hoover cleaning solution with your purchase.
This machine also has the advantage of heated cleaning that blasts hot air onto the carpet, allowing it to dry faster. Then there’s the rinse feature that enables you to use the Hoover Power Scrub without applying any detergent. If you’ve been doing some heavy cleaning, you may have carpet shampoo residue left on your carpets and this feature will let you go back and clean this up.
So there are few reasons why it’s worth paying extra for the Hoover Power Scrub. If you’re lucky, you can sometimes find the Power Scrub at a largely discounted price. This means that you could find the Power Scrub at the same price as the SteamVac, making it all that more fantastic as the best value deal. This model comes with a 2-year warranty.
5. Bissell ProHeat 2X Revolution Pet Pro 1986
If we’re going to be writing a review of the top performing carpet shampooers, the Bissell name is bound to come up. In this case, we’re talking about the Bissell ProHeat Revolution Pet carpet cleaner. Not only is this an ideal machine for pet lovers, but Bissell also has the best cleaning products for homes with pets. When using this carpet cleaner together with the Bissell Professional Pet Urine Eliminator + Oxy formula and the Antibacterial formula that goes with it, you’ll get the best results when cleaning up after your pets. Bissel claims that the Pet Urine Eliminator carpet shampoo is able to remove even skunk odor. So if you own a skunk (like so many people do), there can be no better carpet cleaner.
Regardless of what carpet shampoo you choose to use, the Bissell ProHeat Revolution has what it takes to deep clean any carpet – removing even the toughest stains. The DirtLifter Power brushes use what they call heatwave technology, though I’m not exactly sure what this means. Whatever it does, these brushes are excellent at working the detergent into the carpet and lifting away seriously ingrained grime which is then sucked into the dirt collection tank. It has a CleanShot pre-cleaner that sprays heated cleaning formula directly onto stubborn stains when needed. This is really effective at removing stains that many competing models aren’t able to do.
If you want your carpets to dry quickly, you can forgo the deep cleaning mode and opt for the express clean mode that will leave your carpets dry after about an hour. This would depend on weather conditions though, on a cold rainy day it’s obviously going to take longer for the carpets to dry. It also comes with a 2-in-1 wet/dry pet upholstery tool. This can be used as a dry vacuum to remove pet hair from your furniture and can also clean your upholstery when using the wet mode.
The Bissell ProHeat Revolution isn’t all that bulky, the extra pipes and 2-in-1 upholstery cleaner come in a separate bag, reducing the size of the machine. It has a reasonable weight for a powerful carpet cleaner at 20-pounds. What may well be the most outstanding feature of this Bissell model is in that it’s so easy to clean. The brush cover can be removed with a quick unclipping action. This means that you have easy access when you need to clean and maintain the carpet cleaner. It’s clear that the Bissell ProHeat 2X Revolution Pet Pro 1986 is an excellent choice for homes with pets. For that matter, it’s one of the best even if you don’t have pets and it comes with an outstanding 5-year limited warranty.
6. Hoover FH50251PC Power Scrub Elite Pet
Hoover is to home cleaning appliances, what Coca-Cola is to soft drinks. It’s a name we’ve all grown up with. When you compare the Hoover Power Scrub Elite to any of the units on this list, one thing really stands out – the price. I’m not saying that this is the cheapest carpet cleaner on the market, but amongst the best of them, the Hoover Power Scrub Elite emerges as one of the most affordable.
Which carpet shampooer is actually the best, will be a matter of personal opinion but the Hoover Power Scrub Elite has all the features to be considered as one of the best – especially for pet lovers. One area where this carpet cleaner shines, and may well be the best in this regard, is in its Quick Clean mode. The Hoover Power Scrub Elite has the advantage of HeatForce technology which blasts hot air onto the carpet – drying it rapidly. When you switch the Power Scrub Elite to Quick Clean mode it won’t clean as deep, but your carpets will be dry enough to walk on within 45 minutes. This is perfect for the busy family home.
The SpinScrub brush and incredible Dual V suction technology give the Hoover amazing cleaning power. When used in the deep clean mode, the Hoover Power Scrub Elite will power through really tough dirt, cleaning deep into your carpets. The cleaning head also has side brushes, cleaning right up to your walls and runner boards. It has an additional Antimicrobial Pet Tool and an 8-foot extension hose. This tool is designed for cleaning up those unpleasant pet messes that can leave a rather nasty odor. It has a rubber insert that won’t collect the pet mess like one would when using a bristle brush. You can just as easily use the brush insert for cleaning stubborn dirt and stains. The Antimicrobial Pet Tool is small enough to get in anywhere, so you clean areas where many other carpet cleaners cannot.
The Hoover Power Scrub Elite can easily be the best when it comes to convenience. It weighs only 18.5-pounds and has four really convenient carrying handles. The clean water and dirty water tanks a bigger than most, each holding 1.25-gallons and the detergent is mixed automatically. The water tanks are removable, as are the brushes.
There’s no doubt that Hoover can proudly proclaim the Power Scrub Elite to be one of the top performing models for homes where pets and kids run free. It has all the features that you’ll need and at a very attractive price. The Hoover brand is a trusted household name and you get a 2-year warranty on this product.
7. Bissell Pro-Heat 2X Revolution Pet 1548
How could we write an article about carpet cleaning products without including Bissell? The Bissell Pro-Heat 2X Revolution Pet Carpet cleaner is one of several Bissell carpet cleaning machines that we’ll be reviewing. It all starts with the Dual DirtLifter Power Brushes which consists of two rotating brushes with 12 rows that give it superior deep cleaning abilities without harming your carpets. This carpet cleaner is designed with the pet lover in mind. Not only is the Power Brush system brilliant at removing pet grime, but it also has a Pet Stain Tool to get rid of tough dirt left behind by your four-legged friends – no matter where these might be. It has a hose attachment at the base for the extra tools which also includes a 3-inch Tough Stain tool.
If you’re looking for a lightweight carpet cleaner, the Bissell Pro-Heat Revolution is one of the best in this category, weighing only 17.5 LBS. It has an extra-low-profile cleaning head, perfect for reaching under low furniture. If you don’t have the time to wait for your carpets to dry, the two cleaning modes will come as good news. It has a deep cleaning mode and an express cleaning mode. It also has hot air rapid drying that could leave your carpets dry enough in less than hour – external weather conditions permitting.
More good news for pet owners is the fantastic range of Bissell cleaning products, formulated to provide you with the best cleaning results for homes with pets. As part of your package, you’ll get an 8-ounce bottle of Bissell Deep Clean + Anti-Bacterial formula and an 8-ounce bottle of 2X Professional Formula. This gives you the opportunity to try these products and decide if they give you the best results. Along with all these incredible features and a 1-year warranty, you have the confidence that you’re buying a high-quality carpet cleaner from one of the best brands in the business.
8. Rug Doctor Deep Cleaner
As one would expect from Rug Doctor, this is a professional grade carpet cleaner. The industrial strength and power of this machine have earned it a Gold rating from the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI). Out of the top-end upright carpet cleaners tested, the Rug Doctor proved to be 75% more powerful than any of the others.
Of course, having a commercial-grade carpet cleaner does mean that you have to deal with a larger, heavier machine. The Rug Doctor Carpet Cleaner weighs 25-pounds – quite a bit more than the other carpet cleaners in this review. The engineers have done a lot to make this carpet cleaner more manageable, considering its size and weight. It has a large grip at the top of the handle, making it easy to use with both hands. The large rubber-clad wheels aid its maneuverability and won’t harm your floor surfaces. When it comes to storage, the Rug Doctor may even be better than the smaller machines. The handle folds down to make it more compact when storing.
With its professional-grade dual action cross brushes, consisting of 14 rows and the improved suction, the Rug Doctor easily has the best cleaning power of any home carpet cleaner. The high suction of this carpet cleaning machine removes more water from the carpet than most others. This means a shortened drying time of 4-hours. This doesn’t look too impressive when compared to the carpet cleaners with heat-assisted drying, but for a heavy-duty commercial grade machine, this is one of the best. You can boost your cleaning for heavy traffic areas and serious stains, by easily applying extra cleaning solution with a control at your fingertips.
The separate clean and dirty water tanks are really large, each holding 1.1-gallons. This is fantastic for large homes with a lot of carpeted flooring. These tanks have over-sized openings for easy filling. It has a 12-inch cleaning path and an upholstery cleaner that uses a 7.7-foot hose. Another advantage when cleaning large areas is the extra-long 28-foot power cord. All the cleaning attachments and the hose fit into a neat caddy that attaches to the machine. This is a convenient storage system that gives you quick access to the tools at any time.
For those of you who want a carpet cleaner that matches the cleaning capabilities of a commercial grade machine, the Rug Doctor is bound to impress you. Naturally, a carpet cleaner of this caliber is going to cost more than most, but it can easily be considered as the best in its class. The 2-year limited warranty for domestic use has basically no real limitations – you really have to abuse the carpet cleaner to nullify the warranty. It also has a 1-year commercial warranty, proving that this machine is up to the task of heavy-duty commercial work.
9. Steamvac Carpet Cleaner by Hoover, Model F5914900
It cleans quite well given that there are similar pet stain specific cleaners that cost twice as much. The separate clean water and dirty water tanks help you dump the dirty water without having to man-handle a much larger combined tank.
The SteamVac by Hoover offers a hand tool for cleaning upholstery. This does a decent job of cleaning up small urine stains and pet fur on furniture. It won’t handle wet or soggy messes.
The downside of the unit is that it only works for a few months if you are using it heavily.
10. BISSELL Deep Clean Premier Pet 17N4
As the name suggests, the Deep Clean Premier Pet Carpet Cleaner is close to being the best in the Bissell range of high-quality carpet cleaners. At a price that comes close to that of the commercial grade Rug Doctor, you’re going to expect some exceptional features from this carpet cleaner. In this regard, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
There are quite a few reasons why many might see the Bissell Deep Clean Premier as being the best for pet owners. It has a highly advanced pet cleaning tool that uses rubber needles to apply the cleaning formula deep into the carpet. This makes the Bissell Premier Pet Carpet Cleaner the best at removing pet odors and deeply ingrained dirt. In addition to this, the dirty water tank has a pet hair filter that collects all the pet hair before it enters the tank. Bissell pride themselves in making pet-friendly cleaning appliances and, in this case, they’ve exceeded their already impressive record as far these features go. A second tough stain tool attaches to the same hose as the pet cleaning tool and is perfect for cleaning your upholstery and hard to reach areas.
The Bissell Deep Clean Premier uses their dual rotating PowerBrushes with 12 rows of bristles to give it the superior cleaning power that can compete with any of the best commercial-grade carpet cleaners. It has side brushes that assist you in cleaning up to your runner boards. The drying time is improved by using the same heatwave technology that’s used on most of the best Bissell carpet cleaners. The dual water tanks are massive (1.25-gallons) and are easy to remove for refilling and emptying. At a weight of 25-pounds, it’s not the best when it comes to carrying the machine up stairs. Then again, this is a powerful upright carpet cleaner and is very much in the same league as commercial-grade machines. Along with the amazing pet and upholstery cleaning tools, you also get a bottle of Bissell 2X Pet Stain and Odor cleaning formula.
Most of you will already be familiar with the Bissell brand and know why so many people consider this to be the best name when it comes to high-quality carpets cleaners. In this regard, the Bissell Deep Clean Premier can almost be seen as the best of the best and it comes with an amazing 3-year warranty.
11. Bissell 1887 Proheat Essential Deep
As you can see, Bissell models dominate the list. This is due, in part, to their popularity in being high-quality machines and their extensive range of products in all price categories. The Bissell 1887 Proheat Essential carpet cleaner is on the lower end of the price scale. The lower price, when compared to other high-end carpet cleaners, is not so much because this is an inferior model but rather that it’s smaller. The Bissell Proheat Essential is, therefore, is a good choice for smaller homes or less carpet areas to clean.
One of the cool factors in having a smaller carpet cleaner is that this model is more compact and lighter than most other Bissell models. The Bissell Proheat Essential weighs only 19.8-pounds. This does mean that it’s not going to clean a large area as quickly as the others, but it still has the superior cleaning abilities of all the others. The smaller Dirt Lifter Power Brush has six rows of rotating brushes and is also very effective at deep cleaning your carpets. Despite being a smaller machine, it still has a large capacity 2-in1 water tank (for its size) at 1-gallon.
The Bissell Proheat Essential doesn’t have any specialized pet tools. This is one of the few Bissell models that is not the best for homes with pets. It does have a crevice tool and a handy upholstery cleaning tool. Both these smaller tools come with a power spray nozzle that allows you to apply extra formula for intensive cleaning. This is something that you won’t find on many carpet cleaners. Most only have a detergent spray nozzle for the carpet cleaning head, not the other tools as well.
Like most Bissel carpet cleaners, this model also uses heatwave technology to speed up the carpet drying time. It has great suction to remove all the dirt and allergens from your carpets and you’ll get a free 8-ounce bottle of Bissell Professional formula when you buy the Bissell Proheat Essential. So for a smaller home or apartment without pets, the Bissell Proheat Essential is an affordable machine that offers many of the amazing features found on their more expensive carpet cleaners.
12. BISSELL DeepClean Deluxe Pet Model 36Z9
If you’re looking for a good carpet cleaner for a home where pets rule supreme, the Bissell Deep Clean Deluxe Pet Model will certainly impress anyone. It shares many of the pet cleaning and other features that you’ll find on the Bissell Deep Clean Premier. Though this model takes things a step further, making it even more effective as the ultimate carpet cleaner for handling pet mess. It also has a 3” cleaning tool for upholstery and tight areas.
It has the same Dual Dirt lifter Power Brush (with 12 rows of brushes) that you’ll find on all the best Bissell carpet shampooers. It also has Heatwave technology to dry your carpets in the fastest possible time. One of the remarkable tools that set this carpet cleaner apart from the rest is the Stain Trapper tool. If you have to clean up pet mess that is particularly foul, this is the tool for the job. It traps the mess inside the tool and doesn’t allow it into the machine. This means that you won’t have the odor collecting inside the carpet cleaner.
Another amazing feature on the Bissel Deep Clean Deluxe is the powerful surround suction. Unlike many others, that simply use brushes to clean along walls and baseboards, this carpet cleaner actually uses the machine’s powerful suction to clean these areas. It has a pet hair filter to trap the hair before it enters the dirty water tank.
The dual water tanks are a great size – 1.25-gallons and it has conveniently long 22-foot power cord. As with the other large and powerful Bissell carpet cleaners, this one isn’t too light, weighing 25-pounds. As is to be expected, Bissell provides you with a free bottle of carpet formula with the machine, the Bissell 2X Pet Stain and Odor Carpet Cleaning Formula.
This is probably the best carpet cleaner for pet lovers. Bissell can easily be considered the leaders in this field. As part of quality assurance, the Bissell Deep Clean Deluxe Pet Model has a 3-year warranty.
13. BISSELL Power Lifter Power Brush Model 1622
The Bissell PowerLifter 1622 is a basic and very affordable carpet cleaner from one of the best brands. This means that even if you don’t have all that much to spend, you can still take advantage of the superior quality that Bissell has to offer. You just won’t be getting all the fancy stuff that their top models have to offer.
This carpet cleaner has the dual PowerLifter brush that Bissell is famous for. Though on this cheaper model it has four rows of brushes, quite a bit less than the high-end Bissell carpet cleaners. The powerful suction of the baby Bissell model is up to the task and it will make light work of your carpet cleaning jobs.
This is a remarkably small and light carpet cleaner, weighing only 16-pounds. This means that it doesn’t have quite the same capacity as the bigger machines and the 2-in-1 water system holds only 0.75-gallons. It doesn’t have any extra cleaning attachments, the only additional item that you’ll get is a bottle of standard Bissell Carpet Cleaning formula.
The Bissell PowerLifter 1622 is one of the best deals for the smaller home. You’re not paying for any extras. Instead, you’ll be getting a high-quality carpet cleaner that is able to clean most carpets very effectively. This is perfect for those of you who are just starting out. You may not have much extra cash to splash out on a carpet cleaner, but that doesn’t mean that you need buy cheap junk. This model offers you affordable quality with a 1-year warranty from a respected brand.
The Hoover Steam Vac is an excellent choice if you want a spot cleaning machine that can clean where the puppy peed on the couch, and costs less than renting the professional unit three or four times. The Hoover Power Scrub is the better choice if you need to get all of the soap residue out of the carpets before letting children and pets run around on the carpets.
The Bissell model 1548 model is a good choice for those who want to use a different tool to clean up where the dog barfed than risk having that same matter potentially steamed into a larger section of floor.
The Rug Doctor product is a good choice for having almost immediate use of the floor is more important than having to make several passes to get everything up.
Bissell’s more expensive full sized carpet cleaners let you clean large areas with warm water so the cleaning power doesn’t degrade over time. The Model 17N4 and Model 36Z9 are just as good as handling pet hair, while the more expensive Deluxe Pet is the better choice if you want to minimize expensive pet specific soap mixture usage.
The Hoover model FH50220 is the best choice for those who have problems handling some of the nested water tanks or heavy dirty water tanks joined to the soap reservoir.
The Bissell model 1622 is an affordable basic carpet cleaner for your home. It will tackle most messes with a little work. The more expensive Bissell 24A4 handles much larger areas before needing an emptying and refill.
Important Features of an Effective Carpet Cleaner / Shampooer
What are the most important features in an effective carpet cleaner? What features are over-hyped or counterproductive when it comes to these machines?
An effective carpet cleaner needs strong suction to pull as much shampoo out of the carpet as possible. Carpet cleaners with powerful water jets and heavy duty brushes but weak suction will leave carpets clean but damp, at best taking hours before you can walk across them and at worst taking days to dry while nurturing mold growth.
Carpet cleaners don’t actually use steam, though some generate so much water vapor they seem to use steam. However, some units not only use hot water but heat up the water. The ideal carpet cleaners can heat up lukewarm water, but good ones can keep the hot water you add warm. This keeps the cleaning solution warm and effective as you continue to work.
Thorough Scrub Brushes
An often overlooked but critical feature of carpet shampooers is the quality of their scrub brushes. Will they remove dried juice stains, that mess the puppy made or where the cat threw up out of the carpet? And will they remove not only the goo on the surface but what seeped into the carpet itself? Another factor to consider is how hard the brushes are on the carpet. If you put the carpet cleaner on a spot to scrub out a deep stain and it rips up the carpet in the process, it isn’t a fair trade-off.
Carpet cleaning machines tend to be heavier, bulkier and harder to move around than vacuum cleaners. Even spot cleaners are harder to use compared to handheld vacuum cleaners.
Ease of Emptying the Dirty Water Tank
The ease of emptying the dirty water tank is more important than the ability to put clean water in the unit because spilling dirty water creates a new, nasty mess while spilling clean water is solved by drying the area with fans. Too many units, too, use dirty water tanks that are nested inside of the clean water tank so that you have to manipulate both in order to empty the dirty water. The ideal machines have separate dirty water tanks that are easy to remove without touching the clean water tank.
Another aspect of this is how easy it is to get all of the dirt and debris out of the dirty water tank. If the dirty water tank has nooks and crannies that trap debris or gunk in it so you can’t get it all out, the machine will start to stink over time.
Separate Dirty and Clean Water Tanks
This feature is too often overlooked, but it is an essential feature if you want truly clean floors when doing more than spot cleaning. If you have a single water tank for clean water and dirty water, the dirt that you just pulled up gets pumped into the tank that gets progressively dirtier. The end result is that the last areas you clean may end up dirtier than they were before.
Less Important Features
The set-up of the clean water tanks in the carpet cleaners matter but not as much as the features above. If the machine meets the criteria above, one of the next features to look for are separate clean water and soap reservoirs. You want soap and clean water reservoirs separate so that you only have to add as much soap as required.
Spin scrub hand tools that let you scrub a particular area. These tools tend to be weaker than the full unit, but it is the only way to thoroughly spot clean upholstery. Crevice tools are rarely useful, since it is hard to get these nooks and crannies in furniture dry after you’ve shampooed them. Tools like hard floor attachments rarely do as good a job as an old-fashioned mop, and they become outright dangerous if someone takes the machine onto a hardwood floor.
Trigger spray dispensers on carpet shampooers are a nice to have. They are considered essential since you have the options of spraying the solution via a spray bottle on your own or making multiple passes with the shampooer. And these trigger spray dispensers separate from the standard shampoo jets and are prone to clogging, which is a reason you may not want them at all.
The ability to have a separate rinse of clean water is another luxury that is not needed as often as others claim. You may need to make more than one pass to lift up the stain or give it a pass with a standard vacuum cleaner to lift up all the moisture. If the shampooer model has a tendency to spray too much shampoo and sells its water sprayer as the solution, it is better for you to use a model that doesn’t waste that much soap and risk leaving floors too sticky from soap residue.
One reason why many carpet cleaning machines have a single large water tank where the debris builds up over time is because of the size and bulk of the tanks. Yet you need a large clean water tank if you don’t want to have to make multiple trips to refill it. Conversely, you want a large dirty water tank so you don’t have to make five trips to the sink to empty it. The challenge is balancing the capacity of the clean and dirty water tanks with the ease of emptying them. Overall, we consider the ease with which you can empty the dirty water tanks more important than the need to take two or three trips to the sink to empty them.