The 7 Best Carpet Cleaners of 2023, Tested and Reviewed

Dotdash Meredith and Yahoo Inc. may earn commission or revenue on some items through the links below.

We recommend the Bissell JetScrub Pet Upright Carpet Cleaner

<p>People / Henry Wortock</p>

People / Henry Wortock

Most people have some carpeting in their home, whether it’s wall-to-wall carpeting or just an area rug or two, and while you likely vacuum them regularly, there comes a time when all rugs need a little extra TLC. That’s where carpet cleaners come in handy. While carpet spray cleaners are beneficial, when you really need to clean your space, a carpet cleaner machine is what you need.

“Regularly vacuuming your carpet is a great way to keep it surface-level clean, but doing a deeper clean annually with a carpet cleaner will help your carpets last longer and get rid of deep-rooted grime,” explains Bailey Carson, home care expert at Angi. “Owning a carpet cleaner can be helpful if you have standard carpets that get dirty regularly or are especially prone to stains.”

However, there are lots of different carpet cleaners out there today, and they vary widely in size, shape, and price. When browsing different models, you’ll want to consider factors like weight and portability, ease of use, and noise level. Naturally, a carpet cleaner’s effectiveness is also a key factor, so we tested 20 of today’s top-rated models to see how they perform on real-life stains.

After testing each cleaner on tough messes like wine and coffee, these seven were the best carpet cleaners that PEOPLE Tested.

Best Overall: Bissell JetScrub Pet Carpet Cleaner

$260 at


  • Despite being an upright model, this vacuum-like machine is surprisingly compact.

  • This cleaner removes stains quickly and effectively.

  • Given its easy-to-use design and excellent results, we think this cleaner is a phenomenal value.


  • The machine's water extraction could stand to be better.

The Bissell JetScrub Pet Upright Carpet Cleaner offers powerful cleaning abilities in a lightweight package. Its upright design saves you from having to scrub stains on your hands and knees, yet it’s easier to move around than the other upright carpet cleaners we tested. The appliance weighs just over 12 pounds, and we liked its narrow form, which features a collapsible handle, making it small enough to tuck into a closet for storage.

This upright carpet cleaner from Bissell has a clean water tank on the front and a dirty water collection tank on the back, and it’s easy to remove and pour down the drain after your cleaning session. Its “DirtLifter” brush head has 10 rows of bristles to pull dirt out of your rugs, and in our testing, the JetScrub Carpet Cleaner was able to remove potting soil, chocolate syrup, red wine, and coffee stains in just three passes, earning it a top spot in terms of performance.

It’s extremely straightforward to operate this carpet cleaner. We appreciate that there are just three buttons — Deep Clean, Express Clean, and CleanShot pretreater — and the unit is simple to clean thanks to its removable nozzle and brushroll. Our only complaint is that the carpet cleaner doesn’t do the best job extracting water out of the rug after cleaning, which means your floor coverings might take a few hours to dry.

How it's held up: We continued to test this cleaner for several months and used it on everything from our new carpets after a move to pet messes. It has made a significant change in the way that our carpets look from when we first started using it to now — brightening up the surface and looking cleaner, in general. We’re still loving how very efficient this little vac-like machine is, sucking up grime from our carpets with ease (even when we forego cleaning solution and just use water). However, we do advise you to opt for something different on tufted surfaces, because the straight-edged mouth didn’t quite work on the curved surfaces of our furniture. Besides this, the JetScrub remains our favorite carpet cleaner yet.

Price at time of publish: $259.99

Style: Upright | Dimensions: 44 x 15 x 10 inches | Weight: 12.34 pounds | Capacity: 0.375 gallons | Cord Length: 20 feet | Cleaning Path Width: 9.5 inches

Best Budget: Bissell Pet Stain Eraser Plus

$100 at

$100 at


  • Coming in at $100, this handheld carpet cleaner is reasonably priced.

  • It has a cordless design, which makes it easy to move around and get into tight spaces.

  • This design doesn't require water in order to operate it.


  • Its small size results in this model having a shorter run time.

  • We don't think this one is the most effective at stain removal.

It doesn’t get more user-friendly than the Bissell Pet Stain Eraser Plus, which also just happens to be the least expensive model we tested. This portable carpet cleaner weighs just three pounds, and it has a convenient cordless design that lets you tackle stains anywhere, even if there’s no outlet nearby. The Pet Stain Eraser Plus doesn’t require any water for operation — you just add cleaning solution into the tank, and you’re ready to go. Our testers loved that they were able to set up the cleaner in less than two minutes, and operating the unit was just as simple.

Because it’s battery-powered, the Pet Stain Eraser Plus needs to be charged up before use, which usually takes around four hours. It can run for up to 15 minutes per charge, so it’s best suited for cleaning up small spills and stains — not scrubbing whole rugs. In our tests, the cleaner was able to fully remove coffee and wine stains, as well as most of the dirt stains. It wasn’t as effective on the chocolate sauce, which was still quite visible after cleaning, but overall, it’s tough to beat the portability, ease of use, and value of this compact cleaner.

How it's held up: Throughout our months of testing, this portable carpet cleaner has been a game-changer when it comes to spot-cleaning our furry friends’ messes. It’s extremely easy to use, and because it’s cordless, we’ve been able to reach all of those nooks and crannies that can accumulate grime. When we clean fresh messes, there’s never a trace of staining (or signs that a mess was ever there), and we noticed that our old, set-in stains have become significantly lighter after a treatment or two with this Bissell. We wish it were a little more comfortable to hold, but since it’s a dream cleaner, we really can’t find much to complain about.

Price at time of publish: $99.99

Style: Portable | Dimensions: 17.75 x 5 x 8 inches | Weight: 3.3 pounds | Capacity: 8 ounces | Cord Length: N/A | Cleaning Path Width: 3 inches

Best Commercial: Rug Doctor Mighty Pro X3 Commercial Carpet Cleaner

$505 at

$529 at


  • Because of it's large size, this cleaner is ideal for large carpeted areas or big rugs.

  • Its powerful jets and brushes make this model phenomenal at removing stains.

  • While its price is high, it's actually a very good value for a commercial machine.

  • The suction head provides great water extraction while it cleans.


  • It's pretty large and has a bulky design, which makes it a little tough to store.

  • Because of its powerful suction, this model is quite loud when its running.

If you’re tired of renting a commercial carpet cleaner every year, it might be time to invest in a model for your home. In particular, we recommend the Rug Doctor Mighty Pro X3 Commercial Carpet Cleaner, which is actually a great value considering its size and cleaning abilities. It’s larger than standard upright models, weighing close to 40 pounds, but it has a three-gallon water tank that allows you to clean large spaces without needing to refill. Plus, its 12.5-inch cleaning path allows you to cover more ground — ideal for rooms with wall-to-wall carpeting.

As you might expect, our testers found this machine was slightly bulky to operate, and it takes some trial and error to figure out the best way to maneuver it around your home. However, it’s unbeatable when it comes to stain removal, passing all our tests with flying colors thanks to its powerful cleaning jets and vibrating scrub brushes. It also sucks up an impressive amount of water after cleaning, and our testers reported that the rug was dry again within two hours. The Rug Doctor Mighty Pro X3 is quite loud during use, so you won’t be able to watch TV or hold a conversation while you clean your rugs, but overall, it’s a worthwhile investment for homes with lots of carpeting that needs regular cleaning.

How it's held up: This industrial-looking machine has lived up to its name over several months of testing, providing a “mighty” clean every time we power it on. We’ve seen our carpets and rugs look significantly cleaner, lighter, and overall better every time we use this model — so much so that we’ve cut ties with our previous carpet cleaning service in favor of this Rug Doctor. Sure, it’s heavy and big, but it’s worth it for the professional-level clean that we consistently achieve.

Price at time of publish: $504.74 (orig. $599.99)

Style: Commercial | Dimensions: 36 x 21 x 12.5 inches | Weight: 39.5 pounds | Capacity: 3 gallons | Cord Length: 22 feet | Cleaning Path Width: 12.5 inches

Best Portable: Bissell Little Green Pet Deluxe Portable Carpet Cleaner

$140 at

$140 at


  • This machine is relatively inexpensive for a highly-rated carpet cleaner.

  • Its dome-like structure and built-in handle makes this model pretty easy to carry.

  • Surprisingly, it's pretty quiet during operation.

  • This one self-cleans, so you won't have to do any extra grunt work after cleaning up your carpet.


  • When the machine is turned off, some of the connections can leak.

  • While it's great at tackling certain stains, it doesn't remove all of them.

The Bissell Little Green Pet Deluxe is our top pick for a portable carpet cleaner. This compact model weighs less than 10 pounds when empty, and our testers liked that its handle makes it easy to move around — they were even able to carry it with just one hand! Not only is it small and lightweight, this portable carpet cleaner is also quite affordable, making it ideal for anyone who’s shopping on a budget.

Because of its portable design, this carpet cleaner only has a small 3-inch hand tool for cleaning. (In other words, it’s not a model that you can use to clean wall-to-wall carpeting.) It’s best suited for scrubbing spills and stains out of rugs, and during testing, it was able to remove the majority of the wine, coffee, and dirt stains. However, it was only able to remove about half of the chocolate stain.

Our testers loved that the Bissell Little Green Pet Deluxe was quiet during operation, but they did note that some of its connections can leak, especially when the machine is turned off. However, a benefit of this particular model is its self-cleaning tool, which makes it quick and easy to rinse out the hose after use and ensures it’s ready to go for future cleaning sessions.

Price at time of publish: $139.99

Style: Portable | Dimensions: 19.3 x 14.2 x 11.2 inches | Weight: 9.65 pounds | Capacity: 48 ounces | Cord Length: 15 feet | Cleaning Path Width: 3 inches

Related: The 11 Best Handheld Vacuums and Dustbusters of 2023, Tested and Reviewed

Best for Spot Cleaning: Rug Doctor Pet Portable Spot Cleaner

$152 at

$190 at


  • We're fans of this model's retractable handle, which allows us to transport it around our homes easily.

  • Its powerful suction was very effective when it came to stain removal.

  • This machine had good water extraction, which prevents mold from growing.

  • The scrubber's rubber bristles capture pet hair, too, making this the ultimate cleaning machine.


  • Because of where the opening is placed, it's somewhat hard to fill the water tank.

  • Since it has some serious horsepower, this cleaner is louder than average.

When it comes to spot cleaning, the Rug Doctor Pet Portable Spot Cleaner is one of our top-performing models. It’s a little larger than other portable cleaners, weighing over 18 pounds, but it has a convenient retractable handle, similar to a suitcase, that makes it a breeze to roll around your home. (It was one of our tester’s favorite features!) The cleaner has a 0.5-gallon water tank that lets you work for longer before needing to refill, and the hand tool is equipped with rubberized bristles that help to capture loose pet hair and remove dirt and stains from carpeting.

When put up against tough stains, the Rug Doctor Pet Portable Spot Cleaner did a superior job. It was able to tackle coffee and wine stains in just one pass, and the dirt and chocolate stains were fully removed after three passes — much faster than most other portable models. The water tank was still half full after cleaning all four stains, and the machine extracted enough liquid from the rug that it dried within two hours.

However, we did find a few downsides to this machine. First, it’s pretty loud, especially when compared to other portable models. Second, the water tank can be tricky to fill — the opening is on the bottom of the tank, but because the top is curved, you can’t simply rest it on the counter or in your sink. And since it's slightly heavier than the Bissell Little Green Machine, we named this one best for spot cleaning instead of the best portable option.

How it's held up: Spot cleaning has never been easier since implementing this specialized cleaner into our routines. When our tester's pets made the occasional mess, they were able to remove those stains from their carpets easily, and it also lightened old stains, as well. Since this particular cleaner is made to target smaller areas, they weren’t able to clean their entire carpets with it — but for those small spots, we can’t recommend this portable carpet cleaner enough.

Price at time of publish: $189.99

Style: Portable | Dimensions: 17.75 x 17.75 x 12.5 inches | Weight: 18.34 pounds | Capacity: 0.5 gallons | Cord Length: Not listed | Cleaning Path Width: Not listed

Related: The 11 Best Robot Vacuums of 2023, Tested and Reviewed

Best for Pet Owners: BISSELL 2117A SpotBot Pet Spot and Stain Portable Deep Cleaner

$182 at

$186 at


  • With its drop-and-go design, this machine provides hands-free stain removal.

  • Compared to some of the others we tested, this one has a noticeably shorter cleaning time.

  • "Quick Clean" mode dried our carpets quickly while cleaning them thoroughly.

  • It's a self-cleaning tool, so you don't have to deal with any extra messes.


  • With some serious stamina, this model is a bit louder than average.

  • The handle is placed in an awkward spot, which makes it harder to carry.

We love them, but our pets can make a mess of carpeting with their dirty paws and occasional accidents. If you have a multi-pet household, you won’t regret investing in the Bissell SpotBot Pet Portable Carpet Cleaner — not only is it lightweight enough to carry around your home, but it has a unique hands-free design that does all the scrubbing for you. All you have to do is place it over the stain, and the machine automatically dispenses water and cleaning solution, then scrubs away dirt and other debris using its rotating spiral brushes. It also has a separate hand tool that you can use on stairs or to manually remove spots and stains.

Our testers liked the compact design of this carpet cleaner, noting that it was easy to move around during testing, though the recessed handle is a bit awkward to hold. When we tested the hands-free cleaning setting, we were impressed that it was able to remove all four of the stains, and it took less time than manually scrubbing — a win-win! There’s also a Quick Clean mode, which proved to be best for lighter stains and left rugs dry within a few hours of cleaning. Our testers noted that the water tanks on this carpet cleaner are easy to empty and fill, and the machine also comes with a handy self-cleaning tool that lets you rinse out the hose after use.

How it's held up: We’re happy to say that even after months of testing, the SpotBot is still working as well as it did when we took it out of the box. This cleaner’s efficient performance has never worsened or changed in the months we’ve been using it, and we have found ourselves using it quite a lot (like when our pets have accidents or our kids drop things onto the rug). What’s been the most helpful is the scrubbing element, because we can just plop the machine down where we need it, press a button, and let the cleaner do its thing.

Price at time of publish: $181.18

Style: Portable | Dimensions: 17 x 13.5 x 9 inches | Weight: 12.5 pounds | Capacity: 30.6 ounces | Cord Length: 15 feet | Cleaning Path Width: 3 inches

Related: The 12 Best Pet Hair Vacuums of 2023, Tested and Reviewed

Best Splurge: Bissell Big Green Pet Pro Carpet Cleaner

$443 at


  • This model has a large water tank, which means you can cover more ground.

  • Despite its larger size, this machine is pretty easy to maneuver.

  • Its deep-cleaning suction and scrubber head make this carpet cleaner excellent at removing stains.

  • It comes with hand tools for easier cleans on upholstery and fabrics.


  • Because of its size, this model is pretty heavy and hard to store if you live in a smaller space.

For busy households or those with lots of carpeting, we recommend a heavy-duty model like the Bissell Big Green Pet Pro Carpet Cleaner, which will make it easy to clean large areas quickly. It’s an upright model with a large 1.75-gallon clean water tank, and while it does weigh more than 40 pounds, our testers said it was still easy to drive around the floor thanks to its large wheels.

This heavy-duty carpet cleaner has eight rows of stiff bristles that help remove dirt, odors, and stains from your rugs, and in our tests, it was able to remove all four stains completely. The wine and coffee stains were gone after three passes with the machine, and while the dirt and chocolate stains did require a little extra scrubbing with the Tough Stain Tool, they eventually came out of the rug, leaving it fresh and clean. The machine also comes with an upholstery tool and a 9-foot hose that makes it easy to treat furniture, stairs, and any other surface that may have stains.

The biggest downside of the Bissell Big Green Pet Pro Carpet Cleaner is its sheer size. It’s heavy and bulky, and it’s going to take up quite a bit of space in storage. Plus, there’s no convenient way to stash its included accessories, but if you can find a good spot to park this machine when it’s not in use, we think the cleaning benefits are worth the splurge.

How it's held up: One thing about this “big green” cleaner — it gets easier to use each time you power it on. We’ve found that the clean water tank needs to be refilled frequently, but despite this slight inconvenience, we think its consistent (and efficient) cleans are worth the extra trips to the sink. It’s usually hard to really clean those high-traffic areas of your carpet, but this model seems to excel in those spots, working overtime to suck up dirt and grime to leave our carpets looking good as new. Our tester saw drastic improvements across all of their carpets, and we highly recommend this commercial carpet cleaner model if you’re willing to put a little bit of muscle into it.

Price at time of publish: $442.99

Style: Upright | Dimensions: 43 x 11 x 21 inches | Weight: 44 pounds | Capacity: 1.75 gallons | Cord Length: 25 feet | Cleaning Path Width: 10.5 inches

Related: The 13 Best Vacuum Cleaners of 2023, Tested and Reviewed

Things to Consider Before Buying a Carpet Cleaner


There are several types of carpet cleaners available today, including upright, portable, and commercial models. Upright cleaners look similar to upright vacuums, and they’re easy to operate, as you don’t have to bend down or do any manual scrubbing. Portable models, such as the Bissell Little Green Pet Deluxe, are more compact and lightweight, making them easier to store, and they’re ideal for spot cleaning and stain removal. Finally, commercial carpet cleaners are the largest, bulkiest, and most expensive option, but they’re often the most efficient for cleaning large spaces with wall-to-wall carpeting.

Weight and Size

As we mentioned above, carpet cleaners can vary quite substantially in size, commonly ranging from 10 to 40 pounds or more. You’ll want to consider how much weight you can comfortably carry when deciding which option is best for your home. If you want to be able to move the carpet cleaner up and down stairs easily, you’ll likely want a lighter portable model, such as the Bissell SpotBot Pet Portable Carpet Cleaner. However, if you mainly plan to clean one room, a larger upright model might work just fine.

Features and Tools

Some carpet cleaners have simple designs with just one or two settings, while others offer additional features and/or tools for cleaning your home. Some popular features you might want to look for include a built-in water heater, stain pre-treatment, and a separate hand tool or upholstery tool. Some carpet cleaner machines, such as the Bissell SpotBot, even come with self-cleaning hoses to make the cleanup process easy.

Drying Time

You should also look at drying time when purchasing a carpet cleaner. Some cleaners, such as the Rug Doctor Mighty Pro X3 Commercial Carpet Cleaner, are more efficient at extracting water for a faster drying time. In general, your carpet should not take more than a few hours to fully dry.

How We Tested

In total, we tested 20 of today’s most popular carpet cleaners and put them through their paces both in the lab and at home.

  • Setup: Our testers started by setting up each model, timing how long it took, and noting whether the process and instructions were straightforward.

  • Ease of Use: Next, we filled each machine with water and carried it around the testing area, evaluating if it was cumbersome to move around — after all, chances are that you’ll have to carry it around your home at some point.

  • Stain Testing: We applied potting soil, chocolate syrup, and red wine to each rug 72 hours before testing, letting each stain dry completely. We also created a fresh coffee spill. We used each carpet cleaner to remove all the stains, noting how many passes it took and if any special tools were needed. We also measured the noise level of each machine and noted how long it took the carpeting to dry after cleaning.

  • Overall Value: After testing was complete, we rated each product on its setup, effectiveness, ease of use, portability, noise level, and overall value. In the end, our top pick was the Bissell JetScrub Pet Upright Carpet Cleaner, which earned an almost perfect score.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are home carpet cleaners worth it?

Carpet cleaners are often a substantial investment, but for many households, it’s a worthwhile purchase. If you've purchased rugs or carpets for your home and regularly rent a carpet cleaner or find yourself scrubbing at stains by hand, a carpet cleaner — even a portable one — will help to streamline the process and save you money. On the other hand, if you’re just looking to have your carpets deep cleaned one time, you may simply want to hire a professional carpet cleaning company or rent a machine for the day.

How often should you clean your carpets?

The Carpet and Rug Institute recommends deep cleaning your carpet every 12 to 18 months, but you may need to do it more frequently if you have pets or a particularly busy household. If you have wall-to-wall carpeting, you’ll also want to check the warranty details, as many brands require professional cleaning on a regular basis.

How long does it take carpets to dry after using a carpet cleaner?

It generally takes between two and four hours for rugs to dry after cleaning, according to Bissell. However, this will largely depend on how much water is used during cleaning, as well as how much water your cleaner can extract. You can speed up the drying process by using a high-powered fan or even by opening the windows.

Why is my carpet still dirty after using a carpet cleaner?

When you’re dealing with a particularly dirty carpet, you may see stains reappear after cleaning, and this is often a result of what’s called “wicking.” Essentially, the original stain may have soaked into the carpet’s backing, and while you cleaned the carpet fibers, the padding may still have residue in it. When the fibers are wet from cleaning, this residue gets soaked up into the carpet again, making it seem as though the stain has reappeared. Your rug may need additional cleaning to fully remove these types of stains.

Why Trust PEOPLE?

Camryn Rabideau is a freelance writer and product reviewer whose work has also appeared in many outlets. To compile this review, she consulted our testers for their impressions of a range of carpet cleaners, taking into account style, size, weight, and various design features. Staff writer Alyssa Brascia later updated this story with our testers' long-term insights after six months of continuous use. This allows us to give our readers the most up-to-date information on these recommendations as possible.

Meet Our Expert

Bailey Carson is a home care expert and the head of Book Now at Angi.

What Is PEOPLE Tested?

We created the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval to help you find the very best products for your life. We use our unique methodology to test products in three labs across the country and with our network of home testers to determine their effectiveness, durability, ease of use, and so much more. Based on the results, we rate and recommend products so you can find the right one for your needs.

But we don’t stop there: We also regularly re-review the categories in which we’ve awarded the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval — because the best product of today might not be the best of tomorrow. And by the way, companies can never buy our recommendation: Their products must earn it, fair and square.

In short, PEOPLE Tested provides recommendations you can trust — every day, every purchase.

For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on People.