Sometimes vacuuming just isn’t enough. People with pets or children can attest to this fact. If a mess is very bad, or if it consists of heavy-duty stains, you need to consider a carpet cleaner for your pets. Since most people have rooms filled with carpet, they need a carpet cleaner that can move around. That is why the best portable carpet cleaners have become the top choice over traditional models.
Portable carpet cleaners can clean your carpet much more effectively than just a vacuum, so they can help remove the toughest mess. Plus, they remove the scrubbing and work of shampooing your carpet by hand. Overall, in terms of reliability, affordability, and convenience portable carpet cleaners are the way to go.
Read on to learn more.
If you’re in a hurry and don't have time for the details, here are our best picks for Portable Carpet Cleaner
- Bissell SpotBot Pet handsfree Spot and Stain Cleaner with Deep Reach Technology 33N8
- Carpet Cleaning Machine | Rug Doctor Portable Spot Cleaner 5.5 Foot Hose
- Bissell Multi-Purpose Portable Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner, 1400B
- Hoover Power Scrub Deluxe Carpet Cleaner Machine, Upright Shampooer, FH50150, Red
- Hoover Spotless Portable Carpet & Upholstery Spot Cleaner, FH11300PC
- What is a carpet cleaner?
- Different types of carpet cleaners
- What makes a portable carpet cleaner?
- Carpet cleaners vs. vacuums
- What to look for in a portable carpet cleaner
- Top 5 Best Portable Carpet Cleaners 2020 - Comparison table
- #1 Bissell SpotBot Pet handsfree Spot and Stain Cleaner with Deep Reach Technology 33N8
- #2 Rug Doctor Portable Spot Cleaner
- #3 Bissell Multi-Purpose Portable Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner, 1400B
- #4 Hoover Power Scrub Deluxe Carpet Washer FH50150
- #5 Hoover Spotless Portable Carpet & Upholstery Spot Cleaner FH11300PC
- When do I need to use my portable carpet cleaner?
- Tips and tricks for getting the most out of your portable carpet cleaner
- Professionals vs. home cleaning your carpet
- Final Words
What is a carpet cleaner?
Carpet cleaners are sometimes called carpet extractors and carpet shampooers. They remove dirt and stains in a carpet. Because they can remove old or particularly stubborn stains, carpet cleaners are best used to give your carpet a good deep cleaning.
You can also find carpet cleaners that are used as spot cleaners, which means that they work the best to remove stains in a certain area of your carpet. You typically will not use a spot carpet cleaner to clean your entire carpet. More on the two types of home carpet cleaners below.
Carpet cleaners all have a few important components.
Pump: This component pumps the water and/or cleaning solution from the tank into your carpet. Pressure levels typically vary from 60-500 psi (pounds per square inch).
Vacuum: The vacuum sucks the dirty water and other material out of your carpet. The type of motor that drive your vacuum varies from model to model.
Solution tanks: Solution tanks hold the water used to rinse the solution out of your carpet. These vary in size from 4.5 to 17 gallons.
Recovery tanks: This is where all that nasty dirt and water go after they have been sucked from the carpet.
Heating unit: Not all carpet cleaners have this component. But, for carpet cleaners that use heat to clean, the heating unit facilitates that process.
Different types of carpet cleaners
Not all carpet cleaners work the same. In fact, there are a number of different ways that a carpet cleaner can was your carpet. There are also variations in the professional carpet cleaning world and home carpet cleaners.
Our focus today is on carpet cleaners for the home market, so we will not go into extreme length about professional carpet cleaners. But, for your own knowledge, there are three ways that a professional will clean your carpet.
Wet Cleaning: This method is very similar to the carpet steamers that you can find in the home market. They use hot water combined with chemicals to clean the surface of your carpet.
Dry Cleaning: Dry cleaning methods do not use water or steam and are extremely popular with modern professional carpet cleaners. There are a variety of ways a carpet can be dry cleaned including using special solvents or foam.
Bonnet Cleaning: In this method of carpet cleaning a solution is sprayed on freshly vacuumed carpet. It is then removed with a rotary floor machine. This is probably the least expensive professional carpet cleaning option.
The home carpet cleaner that you choose will depend on the type of carpet you have and the way your plan on using the carpet cleaner. There are two common options.
Carpet Steamer: Portable carpet steam cleaners are probably the most popular variety of home carpet cleaner. These use a cleaning solution and hot water to deep clean your carpet. The vacuums attached then remove the chemicals and dirt form your carpet.
Spot Cleaner: Carpet spot cleaner machines are typically smaller than portable carpet steam cleaners. They also use the same steam cleaning techniques, but their small size makes them perfect for smaller messes and spaces with less surface area—like stairs. Carpet spot cleaner machines are also easier to store than their larger counterparts.
To return to the topic of today’s article, either the carpet steamer or the spot cleaner can be a portable carpet cleaner. Carpet spot cleaner machines are more common. But, you will occasionally find portable carpet steam cleaners.
What makes a portable carpet cleaner?
First and foremost, it can move around your home. These are smaller and are primarily used for cleaning a smaller surface area of your carpet. Portable carpet cleaners can look like a traditional upright or barrel vacuum.
Portable carpet cleaners can move around easier because they weigh significantly less than traditional models, have wheels, and usually include long cords and hoses for greater reach length. All of these factors combine to make a great working and flexible appliance.
Carpet cleaners vs. vacuums
Reading the definition of carpet cleaners above, it might occur to you that these machines sounds a lot like vacuums. This is true, but there are some important differences between the two machines.
Vacuums use suction to remove dirt and grim.
No water or cleaning solution need to be used with a vacuum for carpet, which makes it easier to use on a consistent basis. But, it is likely that there will be stains and messes that it cannot handle.
Portable carpet cleaners use hot water and chemicals to give your carpet a deeper clean that it would get with a vacuum.
Because they are typically heavier than vacuums and require more maintenance to use properly, it is unlikely that you will use portable carpet cleaners for everyday clean-up.
In general, we recommend owning both a high-quality vacuum for carpet as well as a portable carpet cleaner. This arrangement will help you keep your carpet as clean and new-looking as possible.
What to look for in a portable carpet cleaner
Because portable carpet cleaners are becoming more popular, there are a lot of models available on the market. The plethora of choices can be overwhelming. But, we’re here to help you.
What follows are some of the most important considerations to take in mind when searching for a portable carpet cleaner.
As with vacuums, the heavier the portable carpet cleaner, the more it will sink into your carpet. This will be most important if you have plush carpet but applies to carpet of any other length as well. Portable carpet cleaners tend to run slightly heavier than vacuums, but if you look for ones with long hoses that allow you to clean a large portion of a room without moving the appliances, you will be fine.
With portable carpet cleaners it is best to pick a model with a good amount of suction. This will enable the portable carpet cleaner to remove as much water from your carpet as possible. You want the machine to do this so that you are not left with wet carpet. Wet carpet can also attract mildew, which no one wants in their home.
You need to know where you plan on storing your new portable carpet cleaner, unless you like the look of an appliance sitting out in a room. Carpet spot cleaner machines tend to be smaller and easy to store. However, these generally do not have the power to clean an entire room.
You may decide to sacrifice some compactness in your portable carpet cleaner in order to generate more power. But, you should always know your needs before beginning to look for a new appliance.
Length of cord and hose
-The longer the power cord and the hose, the easier it will be for you to reach all aspects of a room without have to move the portable carpet cleaner too much. A longer cord and hose will create more things that you will need to navigate.
Your decision on cord and hose length will depend on the model of portable carpet cleaner that you purchase. If you prefer lighter, compact carpet spot cleaner machines, then you won’t need a long cleaning reach. However, if you go with a heavier machine that is hard to move, you will want to make sure it has a long cord and hose.
Lots of people who have pets look for portable carpet cleaners. They are much better than vacuums at cleaning up potty training accidents and all of the other messes that come with having pets—especially dogs. While all portable carpet cleaners can be used with pets, some are specifically designed for homes with them. So, if you are a pet owner in the market for a portable carpet cleaner, make sure to look for the word “pet” on the label.
Portable carpet cleaners work so well in homes because they are smaller and lighter than traditional carpet cleaners. However, this means that their tank size—both for water and cleaning solution—will be smaller.
If you are planning on doing heavy cleaning with your portable carpet cleaner, you need to buy a model with a bigger tank. Those only looking to spot clean occasionally will do fine with a smaller tank.
As with many appliances, it is always better to buy a product that comes with a warranty for one to two years. Portable carpet cleaners are no different. Most companies will provide a limited warranty that covers defects and parts. Your chosen product should at least provide these services.
-Do you want or need extra attachments for your portable carpet cleaner? Unlike vacuums, many portable carpet cleaners do not come with extra attachments. Some models will offer tools that are specially created for pet messes, upholstery, and/or crevices.
If these attachments are important to you, you will need to search for a model that comes with them. Lucky for you, our handy top five list takes all the guesswork out of purchasing a portable carpet cleaner.
Top 5 Best Portable Carpet Cleaners 2020 - Comparison table
#1 Editor’s Choice
Tough Stain Tool
3-inch Tough Stain Tool
Stair Tool, Upholstery Tool, Crevice Tool
Top Five Best Portable Carpet Cleaner recommendations:
#1 Bissell SpotBot Pet handsfree Spot and Stain Cleaner with Deep Reach Technology 33N8
Bissell’s portable carpet cleaners are some of the best on the market, so it is no wonder that they manufacture our top pick. The Bissell SpotBot Pet 33N8 has everything you may want in a portable carpet cleaner. It is light, only fourteen pounds, and comes with a two-year warranty. The only thing to keep in mind is that it only has one tool included, the tough stain tool.
If you want multiple accessories, then this is probably not the portable carpet cleaner for you. However, you will not miss having multiple accessories with Bissell’s SpotBot Pet since the included brush included DeepReach Technology. This technology helps to put the cleaning product and water deep into your carpet fibers. The powerful motor sucks all of the moisture away to ensure a dry carpet when you’re done.
Finally, and most importantly, the Bissell spot cleaner pet is an automatic, hands-free device. You can select from two preset cleaning cycles on the machine and walk away while it cleans up the mess. If you want to retain control over the cleaning, the SpotBot Pet also comes with an attached hose and tool.
#2 Rug Doctor Portable Spot Cleaner
Rug Doctor has also created a spot steam cleaner for carpet that will get any tough job done. This product does not have the automatic, handsfree function of the Bissell portable carpet cleaner and it is heavier—20.2 lbs. Even so, it comes in a close second and will allow you to clean anywhere, any time.
Like the Bissel spot cleaner pet, Rug Doctor’s Portable Spot Cleaner uses technology that helps to clean deep into your carpet. It doesn’t use heat or steam, instead the machine uses two times the suction power of other portable carpet cleaners to get the job done. It is also highly portable and uses wide-set, large wheels to make it easy to use on carpet despite its heavier weight.
#3 Bissell Multi-Purpose Portable Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner, 1400B
Bissell is such a huge name in the portable carpet cleaner industry, that we had to include another one of their products on this list. The Bissell Multi-Purpose Portable Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner 1400B is compact and powerful. It only weighs 9.6 lbs., so it is extremely easy to take it to the mess.
Bissell cares about the environment, and so include parts made from post-consumer recycled plastic and PVS-free tanks and hoses. Not only will this help keep the Earth healthy, but it will protect you and your family as well.
#4 Hoover Power Scrub Deluxe Carpet Washer FH50150
You can’t make a list of the top portable carpet cleaners or vacuums without including Hoover. The company’s Power Scrub Deluxe Carpet Washer FH50150 is an upright portable carpet cleaner. This makes it slightly heavier at 18.1 lbs., but it does include three separate cleaning tools, the most of any product on this list.
Hoover specifically designs their portable carpet cleaner to work amazingly well. The Power Scrub Deluxe comes with a DualV Nozzle that provides equal and powerful suction. Additionally, the machine uses forces heated air to dry your carpet faster. Finally, the SpinScrub Brush System ensures that your carpet will completely clean faster.
#5 Hoover Spotless Portable Carpet & Upholstery Spot Cleaner FH11300PC
Hoover doesn’t just create upright portable carpet cleaners, they also make spot smaller spot cleaners. With the Spotless Portable Carpet & Upholstery Spot Cleaner FH11300PC you get a lightweight and storable product that also has the power to clean up any mess. Plus, it is versatile, as it can reach and clean carpets and stairs in addition to upholstery like furniture and drapes.
If you like your appliances as sanitary as possible, the Spotless portable carpet cleaner is for you. The multipurpose tool comes with antimicrobial materials, which means it will never spread bacteria, mold, or mildew. The hose has Hoover’s patented Self-Clean Technology. And the portable carpet cleaner uses two tanks to keep clean and dirty water separate.
When do I need to use my portable carpet cleaner?
If you are planning on using your portable carpet cleaner only for spot cleaning, then you should haul it out when a spot or stain gets on your carpet. However, if you plan on using a portable carpet cleaner to clean entire rooms, there is a useful schedule that you can follow.
- Vacuum often, some recommend at least twice a week.
- Carpet clean before your carpet looks filthy. The dirtier the carpet is, the harder it will be to clean.
- Most experts recommend cleaning your carpet whenever spots are notices or about 12 months for light and medium soiled area and every 3-6 months for heavy soiled rooms.
- If you have pets, children, or you smoke, you may need to clean your carpet more often.
- Clean stains immediately. Start with water first, then try detergent, and finally use your portable carpet cleaner.
Tips and tricks for getting the most out of your portable carpet cleaner
When cleaning your carpet with a portable carpet cleaner, there are a few things you should keep in mind. By following these tips and tricks you will create the clean and luscious looking carpet you’ve always wanted.
- Vacuum before and after using your portable carpet cleaner.
- If you are using a spot carpet cleaning machine, make sure to lightly mist the area with detergent before carpet cleaning. This will ensure that all of the mess gets take up by the appliance.
- Try not to make the carpet too wet. This will likely mean that you make more passes with the portable carpet cleaner without the water turned on than you do with it on.
- Clean stains immediately, or they can be impossible to remove.
- If your carpet is too wet after you are done cleaning, dry it with fans or towels. You don’t want your carpet to be too wet.
Professionals vs. home cleaning your carpet
You may be wondering whether to just spend the money and hire a professional carpet cleaning service. For some people this may be a good option. However, you can save quite a bit of money using your own portable carpet cleaner.
Another benefit of cleaning your carpet yourself is that you can clean up any accidental spills or stains that occur. You will not have to wait for an appointment, all the while that stain is latching itself onto your carpet. Instead, with your own portable carpet cleaning machine, cleaning a spill or stain is always a possibility.
There are some drawbacks to using a portable carpet steam cleaner. The first is that it will take time to clean your carpet properly. If you are someone without much time, this may make it hard for you to clean your own carpet.
Secondly, portable carpet cleaners do not make the water as hot as professional machines. And they are not as powerful in general. This means that it will be harder for your home cleaner to clean as effectively or dry your carpet as well after cleaning. However, this trade off may be acceptable to you because of the cost savings that occur when using a portable carpet cleaner.
Buying a portable carpet cleaner is a great way to keep your home carpet looking good. But, with the rise in popularity of these appliances, there are been a flood of them on the market. If you are confused, all your need to do is to follow our live of the best portable carpet cleaners and buyer’s guide to help point you in the right direction. Any of our picks will give your carpet the facelift you’ve been waiting for.