Top rated carpet steam cleaners for your home
There is nothing quite like great carpeting or unique area rugs to help complete a room. But how do you keep them looking their best? You could hire a professional to come in a couple of times a year, but that can be costly. And what about the occasional spills and accidents?
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The solution is to buy your own personal carpet steam cleaner. But choosing the right one to suit your needs can be a bit complicated. With so many brands and models to choose from, it’s hard to know where to begin. But I’ve got you covered with three great selections each geared to unique needs and priorities.
If you’re curious (or in a hurry)
It’s an excellent steam cleaner specifically designed to clean carpets. It also works well on upholstery. It’s light weight and easy to use, and you’ll also find that it’s one of the most affordable carpet steam mops you’ll find online.
If you can get it for under $300, grab it. That’s a great deal on a GOOD carpet steam cleaner! (check current price).
How carpet steam cleaners clean your carpets and area rugs
Carpet cleaners are also known as carpet extractors as they work to remove stubborn embedded dirt and stains.
A carpet cleaning is injected into the fibers along with hot water in order to loosen set-in stains and dirt. The extractor vacuums up the water and embedded dirt into a separate tank. The dirty water is then discarded.
Therefore, the term “steam cleaning is a bit of misnomer since actual steam is not injected into the carpeting. Instead, hot tap water and cleaner is usually used in combination do the hard work of loosening dirt and grime. Most units don’t even have a heating element.
This system is extremely effective in loosening tough stains and extracting them. This is particularly true when the carpeting is pretreated with solutions designed to gently loosen stubborn dirt and grime before the extractive process of pumping hot water into the pile and vacuuming it out.
Having your own personal carpet cleaner ensures that you have a great carpet extraction system at your fingertips any time you need it.
No need to pay professionals twice a year to steam clean your carpets. It saves you money and the convenience of having your own keeps your carpets cleaner all year round.
Best overall carpet cleaner
The Bissell ProHeat 2X Revolution Pet Pro Full-Size Carpet Cleaner, 1986 is my pick for the best all-around steam cleaner. This Bissell carpet cleaner gets absolutely terrific reviews from consumers and testers across the board. Although it is marketed as a carpet cleaner for people with pets, it really doesn’t matter if you have pets or not. If it works well on stubborn pet stains, it will work on just about anything else you can throw at it.
The Bissell ProHeat 2X has may be smaller in size, but it is still packed with great features that make carpet cleaning an easier task.
The machine creates an 11” cleaning path with each pass making it very efficient. The clean water tank holds up to 1 gallon of water, so you don’t have to run to the sink to refill frequently.
The ProHeat 2X has two cleaning modes – Express and Deep Clean. According to Bissell, the Express Clean Mode is more for light cleaning and touch-ups. Carpets dry in about an hour after use which is terrific if you want to quickly clean a carpet. The Deep Clean Mode is designed for major cleaning projects that often include stubborn dirt and stains.
Unlike larger cleaners, Bissell’s ProHeat 2X has a low enough profile work around and under furnishings. This is particularly helpful in Express Mode where the objective is usually a quick “facelift” for carpets. Not having to remove all the furnishings in the room is certainly a time-saver.
There is also a “Clean Shot” foot pedal that releases cleaning fluid directly onto particularly stubborn stains. This allows you to apply additional cleaning fluid directly to problem areas without missing a beat.
The brush roll cover is easy to remove for cleaning. This allows quick access for brush maintenance and cleaning.
The ProHeat 2X comes with an 8 ft. hose attachment for use with the 2-in-1 Pet Upholstery Tool and the 3” Tough Stain Tool for use on upholstery and staircase carpeting.
The entire unit only weighs 19 lbs, which makes it a good deal more user-friendly than larger models especially when navigating awkward areas and stairs.
Most buyers were thrilled with the carpet cleaning ability this Bissell offered. Many are pet owners and if you have pets, you know that they are the ultimate test for a carpet cleaning machine. There are many, many mentions of how great a machine it is for stubborn pet stains in addition to its general performance carpet and upholstery cleaner.
You can read the reviews here.
Most people felt the weight was appropriate and workable for going up and down stairs and the like.
A common complaint about this unit was that the brushes on the carpet cleaner did not stop spinning when using the hose and upholstery attachments were in use. Several consumers said that they solved this problem by resting the machine on a piece of cardboard while using the attachments.
All in all, this is a great mid-sized machine for small to medium-sized homes or larger homes that have more area rugs than wall-to-wall carpeting. It can tackle fairly large jobs as well as larger machines with a much more modest footprint and weight. It is also less expensive, which is an additional plus.
Best carpet cleaner for large homes with a lot of carpeting
Bissell Big Green Professional Carpet Cleaner Machine, 86T3 is the granddaddy of all carpet cleaners, and it sets the standard by which all the others are judged. The Big Green Professional Carpet Cleaner came by its reputation the old-fashioned way,… it earned it.
If your budget allows it, this is the way to go! Many professional carpet installers recommend it to their customers.
It gets rave reviews on Amazon for getting stubborn deeply embedded stains out of carpeting with a minimum number of passes. Consumers report that their carpets turn out clean, fresh, and looking their best. Remarkably few are dissatisfied with this purchase.
This machine is particularly good for large homes with a lot of carpeting. Big Green can really tackle big jobs with ease.
It has a large 1.75 clean water tank. This means fewer trips to the sink to refill the tank during cleaning which is a big time saver.
There is a 25-foot cord that allows you to tackle areas without having to find another outlet. Another logistical advantage..
The unit comes with a 9 ft hose and an upholstery attachment which can also be used for stairs and edges.
The Big Green Machine continues to clean during both forward and backward passes, so it is very efficient. It has a 10.5” path width for each pass.
There is a flow meter which stops spinning when it’s time to refill the clean water tank which is easily visible to the operator.
The bristle brushes are removable for easy cleaning, There is no need for a Phillips-head screwdriver and mechanical skills!
As mentioned previously, most people are over the moon about how the Big Green Machine managed deeply embedded stains and dirt. Whether deep pile or low pile Berber, the results were uniformly positive. Customers loved how their carpets were revived to their former glory after cleaning. Some people specifically addressed how well Big Green managed different carpet piles and styles.
You can read the reviews here.
The main complaints are that it really is large and heavy. This limits maneuverability and makes the process more difficult for those who are not good with heavy objects.
The machine has a “footprint” of 11” x 20.5” and a height of 42”. Certainly, edges and tight spots like the carpeted stairs that require the hose attachment can be somewhat awkward given the fairly large surface area the machine covers. A few purchasers felt the machine was too heavy and bulky to be practical, though these commenters were very, very much in the minority.
If you have arthritis or any other condition that makes moving something heavy an issue, this might not be the carpet cleaner for you. You can use the wheels at the base to roll it up and down the stairs. However, at nearly 41 lbs. without water, this is not for the faint of heart or someone in poor physical condition. When moving the machine up and down the stairs, some people mentioned that they carried the tanks and brushes up the stairs separately from the main body due to the weight.
Bissell Big Green Professional Carpet Cleaner has two models that can create some confusion among purchasers. The 86T3 and the 10N2. The 10N2 which also is called the Walk Behind Carpet Extractor, 120V, 26 psi.
The main functional difference is that the 86T3 model of the Big Green Machine comes complete with a 9 ft. hose and attachment for deep cleaning upholstery, stairs, and the edging of wall-to-wall carpeting, while the other unit does not. Most people want to have the upholstery option available.
Best carpet cleaner for small spaces and light cleaning
If you are looking for a simple, no frills carpet steam cleaner that is smaller and easier to manage than the larger models, the Hoover Power Dash Pet Carpet Cleaner may be the solution.
This type of carpet steam cleaner is one of several upright carpet cleaners that are something of a cross between the larger carpet cleaners designed to tackle large jobs and small spot cleaners.
This is a surprisingly powerful machine in a small package. It is similar to larger, more expensive machines when it comes to comes removing stains and general cleaning ability but weighs only 12.5 lbs. It gets high marks for effectively extracting dirty water from the carpet as well. This is a great solution for those who simply don’t have space for a large machine or really don’t want to deal with the size and weight of a full-sized carpet cleaner.
It’s also a great option if you’re on a budget and just need a lower priced carpet steam cleaner.
The PowerDash can be a good solution for spot cleaning stains. Most spot cleaners for carpets make you get down on your hands and knees to attack the problem area. But this carpet cleaner is light and flexible enough to be an attractive alternative.
Obviously, this cleaner will cover a smaller area with each pass and the tanks will have to emptied/filled more frequently than on a larger machine.
The main downside to Power Dash apart from the size issue, is that there is no hose and there are no attachments for cleaning stairs and upholstery.
Most consumers were very happy with the results they got with the Hoover PowerDash. They felt it was surprisingly powerful and effective despite its small size. Most were not irritated at having to refill the half-gallon clean water tank fairly frequently since it is easy to do.
The primary complaints were that it was difficult to clean after use. You have to remove several screws to access the brushes which need to be cleared of debris. You can read the reviews here.
For people living in small spaces or those who just have area rugs and perhaps a pet, this carpet cleaner can be just the right fit.
How to deep clean your carpets
Before cleaning, clear the room and move furnishings out of the way.
Vacuum the carpet you are going to clean. Vacuuming prior to cleaning is important to remove loose debris.
Prior to cleaning, spray a pre-treatment formula over spots and stains.
Fill the water tank as per manufacturer’s instructions with hot water and your cleaning formula of choice and attach back onto your carpet cleaner.
Cleaning your carpet
Start the cleaning process by first making a wet pass over a small area. Then make a dry pass vacuuming up the dirt and excess water. Continue passing over this area with wet and dry passes until the wastewater is clean. You can make additional dry passes to remove excess water from the carpet.
Continue this process on the entire carpet.
You can then add rinse passes using plain water over the carpet to remove excess solution. Be sure to include enough dry passes to extract as much water as you can.
Don’t move furnishings back in place or use the carpet until it is dry. Drying time will vary from situation to situation, as well as humidity.
Rinse out both the clean and dirty water tanks.
Clean the nozzle (in most cases, this is removable), and clean the debris off the brushes.
Please note that taking these simple post-cleaning steps with your carpet steam cleaner will help keep your machine running smoothly and effectively.
Video: How to deep clean your carpet with Bissell
Keeping your carpets fresh between deep cleanings
Now that you have sparkling clean carpets, you will want to keep them that way for as long as possible. So here are some tips for maintaining your carpets between major cleanings.
Wipe your feet before entering your home. Make sure you have mats for this purpose at every entrance and then use them.
Remove your shoes. You don’t have to walk around barefoot to keep the floors clean.. A great alternative is to have a designated pair of shoes or slippers to use inside your home. By changing your shoes when you get home, you keep the great outdoors away from your carpets.
Take care of accidents when they happen. Don’t let stains set-in. The faster they are attended to, the less difficult they are to remove.
Test stain removers before use. Find a small hidden area on your carpet and test products for color-fastness prior to use. This can save a lot of heartaches.
Vacuum frequently. Although most vacuuming can be done once a week, areas with high traffic should be vacuumed 2-3 times a week. This prevents these areas from looking dirty too quickly and reduces the amount of dirt that can become set-in.
The Carpet Rug Institute (CRI) recommends vacuuming in all areas at least once per week and deep cleaning every 12-18 months. Not only will this keep the area clean and fresh, but it will also help your carpets last longer.
Use a carpet protector spray. Even if you have stain-resistant carpets, it’s a good idea to treat your carpets to a carpet protector spray. This will refresh your carpets ability to resist stains.
Final thoughts on best steam cleaners for carpeting
Relax and enjoy your wonderful clean carpets. If you take care of them, you will be enjoying them for years to come.
Related floor cleaner articles:
- Best vacuum for hardwood floors
- Best steam cleaner for tile floors
- Less expensive alternatives to Roomba vacuums
- Cheaper, but super high quality vacuums you can use if you can’t afford a Dyson
- Best upholstery cleaner for pet owners
10 thoughts on “Best Carpet Steam Cleaners – 2020 Reviews”
I was wondering if the tank size was the referring to the size of the clean or dirty water tank? Or are the always the same size?
Hi Angela, Thank you for asking. It can be confusing. The tank size reflects the size of the clean water tank. They clean and dirty water tanks are not always the same size.
Do some people use a spot cleaner that is more for upholstery just to do small area rugs?
Hello Antonia, That’s a good question. If the area rugs are really small, you might be able to get away with that. If you have a back problem or a problem with your knees, I wouldn’t suggest it, because you would be on your hands and knees for the entire process. You would also have to get up every time you had to empty a tank. So, it’s doable, but not practical for anything but small runners or area rugs.
When would you use “express mode” to steam clean your carpets?
Hi Cynthia, Express mode is used for a quicker cleaning. The carpets dry faster, so it’s great for a touch up or for when you are having guests and want to give the carpets a facelift.
How do you clean carpet stairs with something as large as the Green Clean Machine?
Hi Sandy, For stairs you would need to use the hose attachment. Since the hose is 9 feet in length, it you should be able to easily access your steps with that attachment while the machine remains secure on one of the landings.
If you just have a couple of area rugs, would something like the Hoover Power Dash be enough?
Hi Bailey, The Power Dash is made for just this sort of purpose. If all you have is a couple of area rugs, you really don’t need a large carpet cleaner that was designed to clean an entire house full of wall-to-wall carpeting. The smaller machine takes up less space and is easier to maneuver.