Adulting isn’t always the most fun, especially when it comes time to shop for all of those adult necessities we need for the house. The weed eater. The washing machine. And, the carpet cleaners too. But that’s what we’re here for you. We do the homework, so you don’t have to. Today we’re showcasing five of the absolute best portable carpet cleaners around.
For those with kids, pets, or just a penchant for making a mess every now and again, these are absolute must-haves to have inside of your home. Your carpets will stay fresh, and you won’t have a total meltdown next time your four-legged friend has an accident in the corner of the living room. Instead, you’ll be able to trot over to the closet and grab one of these instead!
Wait, What’s A Carpet Cleaner Again?
Just in case you need a bit more of a definition before diving into the buy, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page here. A carpet cleaner helps to remove dirt and stains from your carpet. Essentially, it’s exactly what it says it is, and they’re the best way to keep your carpets (and rugs) nice and fresh inside of your home. Don’t get them confused with vacuums, though. Although one of their essential components is vacuum attachments, it’s not to be used to just get rid of crumbs on the floors – like our traditional vacuums are – instead, this is too deep to clean the grime that those machines can’t do for us.
Sometimes carpet cleaners are known as “spot cleaners” because instead of being used to shampoo every square inch of your rug, they’re used to clean areas that need some extra help – just as when a spill or accident happens. And every carpet cleaner has a few essential pieces that you may want to know about, including:
Tanks: Carpet cleaners have two different types of tanks. One is called the “solution” tank, which is used to hold the solution and the clean water. And then another is called the “recovery” tank, which is where the dirty water will end up.
Pump: One of the essential pieces to the carpet cleaner puzzle is the pump. It helps make it possible for the water and cleaning formulas to move throughout the machine.
Heating Unit: This isn’t an essential piece of carpet cleaners, but it doesn’t hurt to have. This helps to keep the water at the same temperature throughout the entire cleaning process.
Vacuum: This is how the suction happens. Without it, you won’t be able to grab that dirty water and all of the other yucky stuff out from your carpets.
There are a few different types of carpet cleaners too. Keep in mind that some carpet cleaners are portable while others are a bit larger and more difficult to handle. Let’s have a quick look at a few different options. They include:
Spot Cleaner: We’re highlighting some of the best spot (portable) cleaners today. These are usually smaller models that can be carried easily throughout the house and used to clean up smaller messes and stains. They’re designed to take care of smaller square footage and not the entire carpet throughout the entire home.
Full Carpet Cleaner: These models are what you can usually rent locally and use to clean your entire home with. They are designed for shampooing full-size floors filled with carpet or large area rugs.
Wet Cleaner: Wet cleaners are closely associated with carpet steamers (see below). They use hot water and cleaning solutions to clean carpets or rugs.
Dry Cleaner: You know how some of us have to dry clean our clothes? Well for those carpets and rugs that need that same type of care, dry cleaners come into play and don’t use water at all.
Carpet Steamer: These can be interchangeable with spot cleaners as well. They use a cleaning formula and hot water to clean carpets, and its vacuum attachment helps to remove the dirt and other stains.
5 of the Best Portable Carpet Cleaners Around
The Bissell SpotBot Pet Spot & Stain Deep Cleaner will help you get rid of everyday messes – both big and small – without ever touching it with your bare hands. This design is hands-free and easily portable for easy access in and around your home. You won’t ever have to scrub; instead, that’s what this deeper cleaner will do for you.
It comes with a clean tank capacity of just over 30 ounces and a dirty tank capacity of 29. Its preset cleaning cycles automatically spray, brush, and suction to remove some of the toughest stains – all with the easy push of a button. Notice that this particular machine is able to switch between two different hands-free cleaning modes depending on the type of stain you encounter. Do you want to know what the best part of a Bissell purchase is? The fact that Bissell donates up to $10 for every product purchased to the Bissell Pet Foundation.
- Hands-free cleaning modes
- Compact design
- Hose inclusion
- Occasional leaks may occur
Moving on to the Bissell SpotClean ProHeat Portable Spot & Stain Carpet Cleaner, this design helps to maintain consistent water temperature while cleaning. It helps take care of tough, set-in stains and will help you take care of messes on stairs, upholstery, and other hard-to-reach places in and around your home with its deep-reach tool.
It’s important to note that this cleaner comes with a self-cleaning tool, making cleaning the actual machine user-friendly, and the water tank is easily removed to making refilling and emptying a no-stress job. It fits inside closets without too much trouble either, and its price point is comparable to other nice brands on the market.
- Includes deep reach tool
- Removable water tanks
- Heatwave technology
- Occasional leaks may occur
For a design that’s a bit more compact and lower in price, try taking a look at the details behind the Bissell 20037 Pet Stain Eraser Cordless Carpet Cleaner. You’ll be able to spray, scrubs, and suction every bit of the stain you’re trying to rid yourself of. The carpets, the stains, the upholstery, throw or area rugs, even in the car, can be kept sparkling clean and free from the uh-ohs of everyday life.
Because of its cordless convenience, it really is one of the easier machines to take around to every hard-to-reach space (including the cars!). You’ll need to buy the formula separately, but it never needs to be mixed with water, so it’s another no-fuss feature that you will come to appreciate and love about this option.
- Easily mobile
- Cordless convenience
- Increased tank design
- Sprayer malfunction
Here’s another Bissell brand machine that we know can withstand the test of time and stains. The Bissell Multi-Purpose Portable Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner, also known as the “little green” machine, has been a favorite on the market for years. It easily tackles the touches of stains with its strong spray and powerful suction (trust us, we have this one ourselves!).
Its removable water tank makes it super easy to refill and clean. And let’s not forget to mention that its tank capacity is a whopping 48 ounces. Use its Hydro Rinse tool to easily clean the hose after each spill has been cleaned up and taken care of. Then, you can easily store it away in the closet until next time!
- Removable water tanks
- Hydro rinse tool included
- Powerful suction
- Occasional leaks may occur
We had to have a Hoover on the list too! And we chose the Hoover ONEPWR Spotless GO Cordless Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner because of its killer features and the real-life customer reviews that rave about its quality and ease of use. It’s higher on the price list than some others on the list, but don’t let that stop you from learning a bit more about what you get upon purchase.
It’s an easy grab-and-go model that will help with any spills or pet accidents that may arise. It’s cordless, making it an even easier way to clean, and it’s incredibly lightweight, so anyone in the house can get the job done when disaster strikes. Because of its compact design, there’s no problem with storage, and it comes with a multi-purpose pet tool to make sure every mess can be tackled with full efficiency.
- Cordless convenience
- Multi-purpose pet tool inclusion
- Lightweight and easily mobile
- Higher price point
So, What Should You Look For When Shopping?
Although we did a lot of the work for you, we realize that you still may want to shop around a bit. Here are some areas that you may want to pay attention to when deciding on the best machine for you and your needs:
Portability: What do you need your cleaner for? If you need it to clean inside the home and your cars too, make sure you can move it around easier. Sometimes the more compact models will make this dual-location job a lot more efficient.
Weight: The weight of the machine goes hand-in-hand with its portability factor. You don’t want to lug around a cleaner that weighs a ton. But also keep in mind that the heavier the design is, the more likely it will be to sink into your carpet, making it harder to push (for those going against a portable model).
Suction: No one wants a carpet cleaner with weak suction. This is where the magic happens in the cleaning and removing stain process! You need a model with a strong suction that’s know to get the hardest of jobs done without too much fuss.
Tank Size: Depending on the type of cleaning you anticipate doing, it depends on the size of the tank. For those anticipating needing the model for heavier, more frequent jobs, a larger tank size may be a factor you want to pay attention to.
Cordless/Corded: Do you want to fight with a cord? Smaller models tend to be able to come cordless, which makes mobility a breeze, especially when getting into the harder-to-reach area. Just check out this feature before making your final decision.
Stain Fighters: What kind of solution does the model call for? Does it have good reviews? What kinds of chemicals does it use? Make sure you don’t have any allergy to it, and check out what it’s best at fighting to be sure it aligns with your needs.
Warranty & Price: Although we are all for savvy shopping, sometimes quality is the way to go, and shelling out just a bit more is useful. You don’t want to buy a product that you’ll have to repurchase and end up spending more than you would have if you bought the better design from the beginning. It’s also important that you decide on a machine that comes with a warranty that covers any defects or part malfunctions in the first two years.
Okay, I Bought It, Now How Often Should I Clean?
Well, most of these spot cleaners and portable models are to be used when a mess arises. That may be every day, or it may be once a month! Just be sure to keep your machine clean, so when it does need to be used, it’s ready and waiting for the action.
In the meantime, here are some suggestions on how to keep your carpets clean and fresh:
- Vacuum throughout the week! We suggest at least twice a week to get rid of heavy debris and clear the house of excess dust.
- Your carpets should get a thorough shampooing – in full – once every 12-18 months. This will keep them fresh and never looking dingy or drab. Keep in mind that children, pets, and smokers may need to do this deed more often.
- Don’t allow stains to sit. The longer a stain sits, the more it settles. If you see a mess happen, tackle it ASAP.
We know that at the end of the day, vacuuming the nooks and crannies of our homes just won’t cut it. Instead, there are times where we need to take an extra tool or two to the carpet to get out the funk! Whether that be ketchup, crayon, or even pet urine…these are the kinds of machines that can do that job so much easier to manage. And they can be relied on! Whether you’re working on getting out one of the heaviest, most set-in of stains or you just need a light touch-up, we’re confident in these choices.