The Best Carpet Cleaner

best carpet cleaner

The best carpet cleaners are not the most expensive ones and are now so affordable that it is a much better option to buy a carpet cleaner than it is to rent one.

One manufacturer is the runaway winner when it comes to cleaning your carpets and that is Bissell.

They may not be a household name like Dyson or Vax but they are huge in America, have been around for a very long time and have sold millions of units to a vast number of happy customers.

In tests they outperform their rivals on all the important metrics like overall cleaning ability and suction power to get all the dirty water out of your carpet as quickly as possible allowing it to dry very quickly.

Not only that but they are surprisingly cheap for the power and performance they deliver.

Over time your carpets will accumulate dirt that cannot be removed by your everyday hoover and germs and bacteria will develop.

If you can’t recognise the colour of your carpet anymore but you don’t want to splash out for a new one then a carpet cleaner is a great way to bring your carpet back to life with a thorough deep clean.

Here are the best carpet cleaners on the market:

Bissell Proheat 2X Revolution Carpet Cleaner

This looks and works just like a regular upright vacuum cleaner that you will be used to using on a regular basis. There is nothing new to learn and it’s pretty much plug and go straight out of the box.

We were ready to go within 5 minutes of opening it and at 8.6kg this is one of the lightest full-size carpet cleaners available making it easy to manoeuvre around and take up the stairs.

You get two cleaning settings, express clean and deep clean. Express pushes less water and cleaning solution into your carpet and enables you to be able to walk on it within 30 minutes.

The express setting is ideal for unexpected stains that are fresh as the strong motorised brush and suction power will quickly eradicate anything that hasn’t been there for long and needs cleaning in particular pet mess.

For dried-in stains and carpets that haven’t been cleaned for years, the deep clean option works wonders that can be evidenced in the dirty water tank that will accumulate dirt from your carpet that you didn’t even know was possible.

For super tough stains there is a cleanshot button that allows you to put extra cleaning solution onto a particular area before going over it with the main cleaner. Its worth soaking stain spots in this first and letting it soak in to break up the carpet fibres. 

It comes in two different models. The basic one does a great job and comes with a crevice tool attachment for cleaning above-floor surfaces and the “pet pro” comes with a bunch of other attachments including a tough stain tool, 2 in 1 pet upholstery tool, stair tool, upholstery hose and nozzle cleaning tool.

There is normally only a small price difference between the standard and the pro and for the extra you get the pro is definitely worth it if you plan to use it for cleaning above floor level.

An excellent carpet cleaner that really does deliver the goods at an affordable price.



See the full review of the Bissell Proheat 2X Revolution carpet cleaner


Bissell Stain Pro Carpet Cleaner

Another Bissell recommendation that delivered superior results at a reasonable price. The Stain Pro range comes is available in 3 different models, the Stain Pro 4, Stain Pro 6 and Stain pro 10.

The numbers within each model represent the number of motorised brushes that revolve through your carpet during the cleaning process.

We found that the Stain Pro 6 represents the best value for money because it did an amazing job on carpets that we can’t imagine would be bettered by the 10 brush version.

A good feature as well with the 6 and 10 is that they both come with heatwave technology that keeps the water in the tank hot before it is dispensed onto the carpet.

Carpet will always clean better when the water is hot so the upgrade to the 6 brush version with heatwave technology is definitely worth considering.

Unlike most carpet cleaners that have two water tanks, one for dirty and one for clean water, the Stain Pro range of cleaners only has one tank that is cleverly separated by a divider to make sure the dirty water doesn’t mix with the clean.

This makes the cleaner more compact and easier to fill and refill.

This cleaner has more brushes than the average carpet cleaner and will do a great job on carpets that have been left untreated for a long time.


See the full review of the Bissell Stain Pro carpet cleaner


Bissell Spot Clean Pro Portable Carpet Cleaner

This is a perfect choice if you don’t need to clean large areas of carpet but you want to have the power and performance of something that cleans like a full-size carpet cleaner.

To call this a carpet cleaner undersells it hugely. For pet owners that need to clean up unwelcome stains, this is going to make them disappear in minutes as if they were never there and importantly with the minimum of fuss.

With a full-size cleaner, any task is like a big exercise where you have to lug a great big appliance out of the cupboard just to clean up a small spill or stain.

This is about the size of a ruler. It’s that small. Any job that needs doing can be done and dusted in no time and you can get back to doing something more important.

This is brilliant on anything above floor level like sofas, mattresses and cars because it is so light at 6kg and very easy to move around.

It cleans as good as one of Bissells full-size cleaners but it’s about 20% of the size and it costs less.



See the full review of the Bissell spot clean pro portable carpet cleaner


Vax Rapid Power Plus Carpet Cleaner

Vax have been around for decades and in the 1980’s and 1990’s they dominated the vacuum cleaner market alongside Hoover but they have fallen away over the last 20 years or so as Dyson and Shark have come in and made a big name for themselves.

All that cleaning knowledge that Vax have has enabled them to produce a carpet cleaner that does things a little differently to produce really good results.

Most carpet cleaners have brushes that rotate one way to dig into the fibres of your carpet but the Vax rapid power plus brushes rotate and spin in different directions and attack the carpet fibres from a number of angles and it works.

We also like the really big water tanks that both hold 4.7 litres of water making sure you won’t have to make regular trips to the sink to empty the dirty water or replenish the clean water.

There is a quick clean and a deep clean option and the quick clean will have your carpet dry and ready to walk on in about an hour.

With the large water tanks and really good suction power to remove the dirty water from the carpet quickly this is an excellent cleaner for large areas of carpet and the motorised brush attachment will do as good a job on stairs and sofas as the main brush head does on carpeted flooring.



See the full review of the Vax rapid Power Plus carpet cleaner


George Wet & Dry Vacuum Cleaner & Carpet Cleaner

George is the brother of Henry, one of the best selling cylinder vacuum cleaners of all time. George does everything that Henry does and much more. 

This is a true all in one cleaner that has 5 main functions. Its a vacuum cleaner so you can use it for your main weekly clean. Its also a wet cleaner as well so will pick up liquid spills just as well as the dust and dirt around the home.

It also cleans carpets and comes into its own for deep cleaning all above-floor surfaces such as sofas and car seats and it also cleans hard floors as well.

It has a large 9-litre waste container so you’ll hardly ever need to empty it and its one of the few remaining quality cleaners still manufactured in the UK. 



See the full review of George multipurpose all in one carpet cleaner


Rug Doctor Deep Carpet Cleaner

This company only does carpet cleaners and they have been doing them since 1972. Any company that has been around for that long and have focussed all of their energy on products that clean carpets immediately get our attention because they must be doing something right as they have no other products to fall back on if the carpet cleaners don’t do a good job.

The Rug Doctor deep carpet cleaner is extremely efficient at removing dirt, dries the carpet quickly after cleaning and is a strong, sturdy, extremely well-built product that will last for many years.

It’s not light at 17kg but that’s because of the quality component parts that it is made of. It really is built to last.

Here is a short video showing it in action:



See the full review of the Rug Doctor deep carpet cleaner

Should you rent or buy a carpet cleaner?

Because you hardly ever give your carpets a deep clean the first reaction when you realise that your carpets are filthy is to want to rent a carpet cleaner.

You haven’t cleaned the carpets for years and you don’t intend to clean them for several years after you have cleaned them this time so you might as well rent one and forget about it, right?

Well, it depends on what you want to use it for. “Carpet Cleaners” are made to be used for cleaning a lot more than carpets these days and also come in useful for a lot more regular jobs as well.

Sure you can rent one for £50 for a day or two and give the house a good going over before giving it back and if you only intend cleaning your carpets every 3 years then that may well be the best option for you.

But the thing is most people don’t realise the state that their carpets are in because you see them day in day out and forget how good they look when they are clean not to mention how unhygienic they are having not been cleaned properly for a number of years.

The longer a carpet stays uncleaned for the less likely it is that you will be able to bring to back to an “as new” condition.

If you want to keep your carpet in the best condition possible for as long as possible then you should give it a proper clean with a carpet cleaner once or twice a year depending on how heavy the footfall is in each area.

Perhaps the bedrooms only need doing once a year but the stairs and the hallway that people trample over every day need doing once every six months.

The same rule applies to carpets as it does for many things in life. If you look after them they will last a lot longer and look a lot better.

If you rent a carpet cleaner then you will definitely clean your carpets less than they need to be to keep them in tip-top condition for as long as possible.

Also, a rented carpet cleaner will almost certainly be super heavy and cumbersome to use because it will be many years old as the rental shops do not renew them for at least 10 years or more.

If you rent a carpet cleaner then it will probably only be good for cleaning your carpets but if you buy a carpet cleaner then it will come with a hose attachment so you can clean many different surfaces above floor level.

Stairs, sofas, mattresses and car seats are all areas within your home that you should be cleaning thoroughly throughout the year.

When you buy a carpet cleaner it is also available at all times to deal with unexpected stains that can be dealt with immediately.

If you spill wine or coffee on your carpet it’s going to be almost impossible to get it completely out of your carpet without a carpet cleaner especially if it gets left to dry in over time.

Do you have pets? If so a carpet cleaner will come in useful for unexpected mess.

I have woken up a number of times to find the cat has been sick on the carpet or rug that would have been a nightmare to try and deal with by manually scrubbing which just tends to spread the problem to a wider area anyway.

But with the hose attachment on a carpet cleaner you can tackle spot stains on any carpet in a few minutes.

The action of squirting the offending area with water and detergent whilst scrubbing with a motorised brush and sucking up the dirty water all at the same time removes the stain in 2 minutes and the carpet is left looking as if nothing ever happened.

Prices have come right down in recent years and a decent carpet cleaner is now within the reach of most people’s budget.

If you choose correctly a low price does not mean inferior performance and therefore the benefits of buying a carpet cleaner far outweigh any savings you make on renting one.

For the sake of an extra £150 or £200 over renting you are getting an appliance that has multiple benefits and will last for many years.

What should you look out for when buying a carpet cleaner?

Weight. Rental cleaners are super heavy and very cumbersome to use.

The latest home use machines operate just like a regular upright vacuum cleaner and can weigh as little as 7kg or 8kg

Ease of use. You don’t need a whole bunch of extra functionality when it comes to carpet cleaners. A powerful motorised brush is a must and so is really good suction power to get the dirty water out of the carpet once its been cleaned.

The rest is just a nice to have but doesn’t really provide much benefit. You’ll pay for any extras so ask yourself if you really need them and if the answer is no then save yourself some money.

Setup. You don’t want to have to take a course in DIY to enable you to put your carpet cleaner together when you take it out of the box so check that it’s simple and no tools are required.

We have been careful to check that set up is easy for all of our recommendations and most are good to go straight out of the box without so much as a screwdriver required.

Price. In the past carpet cleaners have been very expensive and could easily cost £500 or more but that is no longer the case.

If you choose wisely you can pick one up in the £200 – £250 price level that will delivery cleaning performance as good as the best rental machines that cost an awful lot more.

Carpet cleaners are not one of those products where the more you spend the better it gets.

Brands. We don’t normally recommend recognised brand names when it comes to many products especially vacuum cleaners because you end up paying more than it’s worth because of the high levels of advertising spend that gets passed onto you, the customer.

With carpet cleaners it’s different. There are not many manufacturers of good carpet cleaners and the ones that do make good ones happen to be the big recommended brand names.

Not only that but the pricing is very reasonable for the quality that they produce so sticking to Bissell or Vax or Rug Doctor is a good idea.

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