Best Portable Carpet Cleaner for Tough Stains and Messes

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Carpets are beautiful and comfortable, but they are not easy to clean. If you aren’t careful, stains can soak deep into your carpet and introduce unpleasant odors into your house. If you have carpets in your house, it is important to have the best portable carpet cleaner so you can immediately address spills, stains, and accidents the moment they happen. In this article, we’ll take a look at the best portable carpet cleaners on the market today, so you can choose the perfect carpet cleaner for your home, lifestyle, and needs.

The Best Portable Carpet Cleaner FAQ

Carpet cleaners are similar to a vacuum cleaner with the addition of a water element that helps scrub and clean the floors. The cleaner sprays water onto the carpet, scrubs the surface either with a motorized head or by the action of the operator, and then sucks the soiled water back up into a tank. Even the best portable carpet cleaners leave a damp carpet, but most of these devices are very efficient at removing stains and eliminating odors.

1. What Is the Best Portable Carpet Cleaner?

Baby walking on carpet
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Choosing the best portable carpet cleaner depends on your unique living situation and your personal needs. If you only need occasional spot cleaning, a handheld unit might be the most efficient. If you are primarily concerned with cleaning cars and upholstery, a narrow cleaner with a crevice tool might be your best option. Finally, if you have an industrial space with massive carpet areas like in a hotel, you might need an industrial cleaner. Whether your needs are pets or large surface areas, rest assured that there is a best portable carpet cleaner for your unique needs.

2. What Are the Water Tanks?

Most of the best portable carpet cleaners have a clean tank and a soil tank. The unit applies the clean water to the carpet and then vacuums it back up into the soil tank. The best portable carpet cleaners have tanks that are easy to remove for cleaning and filling.

3. What Is a Motorized Head?

The head is the assembly on the carpet cleaner that is drawn across the surface and applies and retracts the water. Some units feature a motorized head that spins without any action of the user. Other units only have a brush that dislodges material as it passes. Motorized heads are more efficient, but they can damage expensive or delicate upholstery.

How We Reviewed

Puppy on gray carpet
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We reviewed the products on our list of the best portable carpet cleaners on a variety of factors. First, we took a look at the unit’s pricing. Then we discussed the dimensions and weight of the unit. We noted what the unit was specifically designed to address and how effectively it handled the job. We also discussed the tanks, hoses, power cord, and cleaning head. Finally, we added a list of pros and cons related to each unit and provided warranty information.  

Overall Price Range

The products in our best portable carpet cleaner survey ranged in price from $60 to $250 dollars. The less expensive units tended to be smaller, handheld, and with a smaller reservoir capacity. The more expensive units were larger and more suited to industrial use. More expensive units also had motorized heads, larger cleaning surfaces, and additional hose attachments.

What We Reviewed

  • Bissell 3624 SpotClean Professional Portable Carpet Cleaner
  • Rug Doctor Portable Carpet Cleaner
  • Bissell 1400B Multi-Purpose Portable Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner
  • Hoover Spotless Deluxe Carpet Cleaner
  • SpotBot Pet handsfree Spot and Stain Cleaner
  • Bissell 5207F SpotClean ProHeat Portable Spot Cleaner
  • Rug Doctor Deep Carpet Cleaner
  • BISSELL 14259 ProHeat Portable Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner
  • Bissell 1716B Spotlifter Powerbrush Handheld Deep Cleaner
  • Bissell 7786A SpotClean Auto Portable Cleaner

Bissell 3624 SpotClean Professional Portable Carpet Cleaner

Bissell 3624 SpotClean Professional Portable Carpet Cleaner

Features

The Bissell 3624 SpotClean features a large capacity, ¾ gallon tank that allows you to clean a large surface area between refills. The 5-foot long hose is convenient and allows you to clean in a wide perimeter, and the 22-foot long power cord keeps you from having to find new outlets every few minutes. The whole unit is compact and well designed with holsters and hooks for all the components, so it packs away for easy storage. The bristles on the cleaning head are durable enough to get your cleaning done, but they are not so abrasive that they damage your rugs or furniture. It measures 10 by 10 by 14 inches and weighs 16.75 pounds.

Pros

  • Large capacity tank
  • 22-foot long power cord
  • Efficient design that stores easily

Cons

  • Brush doesn’t rotate
  • Hose is poor quality
  • Limited replacement parts available

Warranty

Strict 2-year warranty  


Rug Doctor Portable Carpet Cleaner

Rug Doctor Portable Carpet Cleaner

Features

The Rug Doctor Carpet Cleaning Machine is an attractive red unit that pulls across the floor with ease. The product features a 5.5-foot hose and an extending handle like a carry-on bag to make it easier to move around when in use. The motorized brush does the work for you, and the bristles are not going to damage your furniture or carpeting. Two tanks keep the clean water separate from the dirty water and can be easily removed to empty. Measuring 16.1 by 11 by 15.7 inches and weighing just under 20 pounds, this a compact, efficient, powerful unit.

Pros

  • Motorized head
  • Extending handle
  • Water separating tanks

Cons

  • Head is bulky
  • Tank shape makes it hard to fill when it’s out of the unit
  • Prone to leaking

Warranty

Five year limited customer warranty  


Bissell 1400B Multi-Purpose Portable Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner

Bissell 1400B Multi-Purpose Portable Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner

Features

The Bissell Multi-Purpose Portable Carpet and Upholstery cleaner is an extra compact unit that measures 8.25 by 17.25 by 12.5 inches and weighs only 9.65 pounds. This unit does not come equipped with wheels, so you’ll have to move it around by hand. The cord is 15 feet long, and the tank capacity is only 37 ounces. The unit features a 3-inch tough stain tool that is easy to maneuver and works great. The tanks are convenient, and the whole unit is easy to clean and maintain.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Easy to clean
  • Nimble cleaning head
  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • No wheels
  • Small capacity tank
  • 15 foot power cord

Warranty

Strict 2-year warranty


Hoover Spotless Deluxe Carpet Cleaner

Hoover Spotless Deluxe Carpet Cleaner

Features

The Hoover Spotless Deluxe Carpet Cleaner is a very compact unit measuring only 9.7 by 13.9 by 15 inches and weighing only 5 pounds. The unit features a self-cleaning hose that flushes clean after each use. Multiple tool heads provide a large amount of cleaning versatility, and antibacterial protection prevents mold and mildew from building up. Two tanks separate clean and dirty water, and the purchase price includes a trial size cleaning solution. It is great for cleaning stairs and for cleaning up after small pets.

Pros

  • Compact
  • Inexpensive
  • Multiple tool heads to clean a variety of surfaces

Cons

  • No wheels
  • Small capacity
  • Does not recover very much water

Warranty

90 day limited warranty  


SpotBot Pet handsfree Spot and Stain Cleaner

SpotBot Pet handsfree Spot and Stain Cleaner

Features

The Bissell SpotBot Pet Hands Free Spot and Stain cleaner measures 16.9 by 9.1 by 12.5 inches and weighs 12.5 pounds. The “hands-free” means that you can use this unit without the hose and cleaning head. It has a brush system installed on the bottom of the unit, so you can simply pick it up, set it on the stain, start the machine, and walk away. There is also a hose and cleaning head to address stains on hard to reach places. This is a really unique design concept for anyone with a messy pet.

Pros

  • Hands-free feature
  • Effective brush system
  • Efficient design

Cons

  • No wheels
  • May leak during storage

Warranty

2-year limited warranty.  


Bissell 5207F SpotClean ProHeat Portable Spot Cleaner

Bissell 5207F SpotClean ProHeat Portable Spot Cleaner

Features

The Bissell SpotClean Portable Cleaner is a cleaner with a slim, vertical design. The product measures 6.5 by 12 by 14.5 inches and weighs 11.6 pounds. The dimensions of the unit make it a good choice for cleaning vehicles or other hard to reach places. The cord is 15 feet long. The unit includes a tough stain tool and a deep stain tool, but neither tool has a motorized head. Tanks are easy to remove for filling and cleaning.

Pros

  • Slim design
  • Comes with Bissell 2x formula
  • Two cleaning heads

Cons

  • Expensive
  • No wheels
  • No motorized heads

Warranty

2-year limited warranty  


Rug Doctor Deep Carpet Cleaner

Rug Doctor Deep Carpet Cleaner

Features

The Rug Doctor is a large unit that is best designed for cleaning large carpeted areas as you might find in a hotel. It is shaped like a vacuum cleaner and is operated by pushing around the extra-wide, 12-inch, suction head. The unit also features a handheld 7.7-inch, stairs and upholstery attachment that connects by an extension hose. The unit is very easy to steer and maneuver, and this product is a perfect choice if you have very large carpeted areas to clean. The unit measures 22.8 by 14.2 by 28 inches and weighs 24 pounds.

Pros

  • 12-inch suction head.
  • 7.7-inch handheld head
  • Easy to maneuver

Cons

  • Large
  • Expensive

Warranty

90-day factory warranty  


BISSELL 14259 ProHeat Portable Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner

BISSELL 14259 ProHeat Portable Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner

Features

The Bissell Little Green ProHeat Cleaner measures 8.2 by 17.2 by 12.5 inches and weighs 13.7 pounds. The unit has no wheels and comes with a 15-foot cord and a 3-inch tough stain tool. The purchase price also includes a 2-in-1 crevice tool and a stain & odor cleaning formula. A built-in heater helps ensure that you’ll be cleaning with warm water. This unit is effective for upholstery, carpets and rugs, stairs, and auto interiors. Dual tanks are easy to remove, fill, and clean.

Pros

  • Built-in heater
  • 15-foot cord
  • 3-inch stain tool

Cons

  • No wheels
  • No motorized head

Warranty

1-year limited warranty  


Bissell 1716B Spotlifter Powerbrush Handheld Deep Cleaner

Bissell 1716B Spotlifter Powerbrush Handheld Deep Cleaner

Features

The Bissell SpotlifterPowerbrush is a handheld device that measures 18.5 by 9.8 by 7.4 inches and weighs only 4 pounds. This is an extremely convenient design with an 18-foot power cord and a 12-ounce dirty tank capacity. The rotating brush gets in for a good clean, and the cleaning head is capable of spray, suction clean, and drying all in one step. The motorized dual brush roll cleaning head is 3-inches wide and is ideal for all surfaces.

Pros

  • Handheld
  • Good cleaning head
  • 18-foot power cord

Cons

  • Heavy when full
  • Tanks are hard to remove
  • Cordless would be better

Warranty

Limited 1-year warranty  


Bissell 7786A SpotClean Auto Portable Cleaner

Bissell 7786A SpotClean Auto Portable Cleaner

Features

The Bissell SpotClean Auto Portable Cleaner is specifically designed for carpets and cars. The unit measures 16.4 by 10.9 by 14.4 inches and weighs 13 pounds. The unit is designed to be slim and vertical, so it fits easily between the seats of a vehicle. Two large capacity tanks are easily removed for filling and cleaning, and it separates clean and soiled water. The unit comes with a 2-in-one spraying crevice tool effective for car interiors, mats, and upholstery. This is a very good unit to consider if your primary need is to clean a vehicle.

Pros

  • Vertical design is great for cleaning vehicles
  • 2-in-one spray tool
  • Separate and convenient water tanks

Cons

  • No wheels
  • No self-cleaning
  • Head is better for car cushions than carpets or home furniture

Warranty

1-year limited warranty


The Verdict

Any of the products on our best portable carpet cleaner list would make a great choice depending on your individual needs. Products like the Bissell Spotlifter Powerbrush are small enough and inexpensive enough that they would make a reasonable purchase for any household in addition to a larger cleaner.

Our favorite portable carpet cleaner was the Rug Doctor Portable Carpet Cleaner. The large cleaning head on both the main unit body and the handheld unit made cleaning fast and efficient. The Rug Doctor is a great choice to keep your home clean, sanitary, and smelling great.

Featured image by Pixabay via Pexels.

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