10 Best Portable Carpet Cleaners – Thorough Cleaning for Fresh Aura

Whether or not you have pets, kids, or both, your carpets need a little care and attention now and then. It’s necessary not only to protect your health but also to improve the look and feel of it. While regular vacuuming is important and recommended, it just doesn’t quite cut it. Sure, it will remove dust, debris and make your carpet look clean on the surface, but what about the mess that’s buried deep? Only the best portable carpet cleaner can extract the dirt from deep within your carpet. Besides, they move easily from room to room and take up less space.

So which is the best carpet cleaner? What are the features to look for? How much should you spend? With so many options, it can be insanely difficult to pick the right one for your needs. That’s where we come in.

Instead of sifting through countless models, we’ve done the hard work for you. Our top picks for the best carpet cleaner include analyses of consumer reports, customer reviews, test results, and overall value. In our Buying guide, we’ll break down everything you need to know about carpet cleaners, from the obvious to the not-so-obvious.

Overview table

As the name suggests, a portable carpet cleaner makes your cleaning experience better as it’s easy to use, easy to carry and easy to travel with. Here’s a quick snapshot of our top ten picks:

Editor choice 1 Rug Doctor Portable
Rug Doctor Portable
(Best Versatile Portable Carpet Cleaner)

A compact design machine with a commercial cleaner performance. It features a powerful suction that eliminates tough stains and odors buried deep within the carpet.

2 Hoover SteamVac
Hoover SteamVac
(Best Value for the Money Carpet Cleaner)

A relatively lightweight carpet cleaner that’s easy to maneuver. Hoover offers efficient deep cleaning at a reasonable price. It does an excellent job of removing old stains as well as new ones.

3 Rug Doctor Deep
Rug Doctor Deep
(Best Solid Portable Carpet Cleaner)

A professional-grade cleaner with dual cross action brushes that scrub away the grime and heavy stains, leaving your carpet looking brand new.

4 Bissell Little ProHeat
Bissell Little ProHeat
(Best Portable Carpet Cleaner for Small Spaces)

This little monster’s powerful spray and suction does away with strain from constant wand passes and scrubbing. The motor is capable of cleaning the carpet on the first few passes. For smaller cleaning jobs, nothing beats the convenience of the Little ProHeat.

5 Bissell ProHeat
Bissell ProHeat
(Best Splurge Portable Carpet Cleaner)

A splurge-worthy machine that offers superior performance. It’s packed with innovative features for a smooth and efficient cleaning experience.

6 Bissell SpotBot
Bissell SpotBot
(Best Easy to Use Carpet Cleaner)

An automatic carpet cleaner that does almost all the work for you. It’s very compact and lightweight with good suction.

7 Hoover PowerDash
Hoover PowerDash
(Best Budget Portable Carpet Cleaner)

A budget-friendly machine that gets the job done efficiently and effectively. It’s one of the lightest carpet cleaners on our list.

8 Bissell 3624 SpotClean Pro
Bissell 3624 SpotClean Pro
(Best Compact Carpet Cleaner)

Among the best portable spot cleaner on the market that will do your dirty, stained carpet justice. It comes with a few accessories to make cleaning even easier.

9 Hoover Spotless
Hoover Spotless
(Best Lightweight Carpet Cleaner)

A strong contender in lightest and most compact corded carpet cleaners’ category. Weighs only 9 pounds yet it delivers a remarkable and satisfying performance.

10 Bissell Pet Stain Eraser
Bissell Pet Stain Eraser
(Best Cordless Carpet Cleaner for Everyday Cleaning)

The lightest option on the list courtesy of its cordless operation. This model takes convenience to a whole new level.


1 Editor choice

Rug Doctor Portable – Best Versatile Portable Carpet Cleaner


  • 5.5-foot hose
  • Motorized brush
  • Carpet friendly wheels
  • Weight: 20.2 pounds
  • Cleaning tank: 0.5gal
  • Collecting tank: 0.5gal
  • 15-foot cord length

Rug Doctor is a well-known brand in the cleaning industry, and this model is an absolute beast at deep cleaning and removing tough stains. In fact, it’s one of the most powerful portable carpet cleaners available on the market.

This machine doesn’t use steam or heat like other units on the list, but rather a powerful suction that captures dirt and other ugly messes on carpets. Since the power is twice as much as other spot removing cleaners, you’ll get the job done quickly and efficiently.

The motorized brush does an exceptional job of scrubbing and eliminating anything deep within your carpet, from pet poop, stains like wine, pen ink, odors, and just about anything. Besides, the hose has a decent length which makes it easier to clean the narrow and hard-to-reach areas. It should also be enough to clean a short flight of stairs. Plus, the 15-foot cord provides a long reach for continuous cleaning of large area rugs.

Rug Doctor Portable -1

It weighs around 20 pounds which is a bit on the heavy side. However, it has a retractable handle and wheels that are designed to be pulled behind you without raking your ankles with each step. This will make everything a bit easier as you clean from room to room. The wheels are also carpet friendly, so they won’t damage your carpet or leave stains on the freshly cleaned area.

The Rug Doctor Portable Spot Cleaner features two removable tanks that carry clean and dirty water. The separate tanks prevent cross-contamination. For your convenience, the tanks are transparent so you’ll know when to empty dirty water or refill the clean tank. What’s more, the design allows you to drain and fill the tanks with ease.

While touted as a carpet cleaner, the Rug Doctor is more than capable of handling your car seats and upholstery despite its weight. Cleaning formulas are included in the package, and a 2-year manufacturer warranty backs the product.

  • Motorized brush does the job faster
  • Two separate and transparent tanks
  • Retractable handle and carpet friendly wheels
  • Exceptional job of deep cleaning
  • Cost-effective
  • A bit heavy

Hoover SteamVac – Best Value for the Money Carpet Cleaner


  • Powerful 12-amp motor
  • Rotating, removable brushes
  • Dual tanks
  • 8-foot hose
  • Clean surge control
  • 3-speed brush roll control
  • 20-foot cord length
  • Weight: 20 pounds
  • Heated drying

Although it’s referred to as SteamVac, the Hoover doesn’t use steam cleaning but, rather hot water extraction. Steam is visible, yes but it’s nothing more than just hot water. On that note, the SteamVac features spinning brushes that make it easy to clean even in narrow corners. It effortlessly blasts through new/old stains, built-up grime, pet fecal stains, odors and other messes for a sparkly clean carpet.

Besides, it has 3 brush roll speeds that let you choose between normal cleaning, gentle brush, and spill pick up cleaning. This makes cleaning up messes and spills easier and quicker. The brushes are removable for easy cleaning. This is really important if you have pets as their hair tends to get stuck on the brushes.

The clean surge is another standout feature. With a simple press of a button, it adds an extra boost of detergent to heavily soiled areas and stubborn stains. What’s more, the 12-amp motor provides a powerful heated air to the carpet for fast dry time. It’s an entirely beltless operation; hence, it may last longer.

Like, most deep cleaners on our list, the SteamVac has two separate translucent tanks, one holds clean water while the other dirty suctioned water. The hot water and solution automatically mix so there’s no hassle of mixing the cleaning solution yourself.

The Hoover SteamVac comes with an upholstery tool that works amazingly well on furniture and stairs. The 8-foot stretch hose makes it even easier to clean the stairs, upholstery and hard to reach spaces. The power cord is also long enough to cover large rooms with ease.

At 20 pounds, this deep cleaning cleaner is reasonably lightweight for a powerful model. The machine comes with a 1-year limited warranty which is not quite as satisfying considering it’s a few dollars more than the Rug Doctor Portable Spot Cleaner. But all things considered, it’s a good value for the money.

  • Easily accesses narrow spaces
  • Budget-friendly
  • Spinning brushes for faster, efficient cleaning
  • Upholstery tool
  • Powerful motor
  • Separate tanks
  • Heavy when filled up with cleaning solutions
  • Dirty water tank is a bit small

Rug Doctor Deep – Best Solid Portable Carpet Cleaner


  • Dual cross-action brushes
  • Powerful suction power
  • Super boost setting for high traffic areas
  • Upholstery and spot cleaning tool
  • 7.7-foot hose
  • 28-foot-long power cord
  • 12-inch cleaning path width
  • Separate tanks with a simple lift
  • Weight: 37 pounds
  • 2-year limited warranty

Rug Doctor is a household name for exceptional carpet cleaning machines, and the Deep Carpet Cleaner is right there at the top. It thoroughly cleans heavily soiled carpets and upholstery. Hence, it earned a Gold rating from the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI).

This deep cleaning machine boasts 75 percent more suction power than other similar cleaners. This means quicker cleaning and dry time. It uses dual cross action brushes that rotate and oscillate to reach into every nook and cranny within your carpet and scour away tough, ground-in dirt and other stains. This will keep your carpet looking new and fresh and extend its lifespan.

The 12-inch wide suction nozzle ensures quick cleaning of large rooms. The upholstery attachment has a 7.7-foot hose to clean the stairs effectively. The power cord is also extra-long so you can easily clean the stairs and other hard to reach places without the need to move the cleaner. The carpet friendly wheels ensure your carpet is not damaged when getting up and down the stairs.

The Super Boost Spray features come in handy when dealing with deep stains or heavily soiled sections of the carpet. It sprays more cleaning solutions on the affected areas. The sprayer is located at the back of the machine, which makes it easier to aim at the stained spots.

Filling the clean tank as well as emptying the waste tank is easy thanks to the simple lift feature. However, you should be careful with the dirty tank as it needs a bit of tilting.

Despite the weight, it’s easy to store the machine in a non-messy way. The caddy tool is removable, and the handle is collapsible. This makes it one of the best portable carpet cleaners on the market. As far as price goes, this model is among the most expensive on the list. But considering the commercial-grade performance, it can be a great addition to your home.

  • Faster drying time
  • Earned recognition from Carpet & Rug Institute
  • Effective deep cleaning
  • Easy to handle the water tank
  • Large wheels and collapsible handle
  • Easy storage
  • Weighty
  • A bit expensive

Bissell Little ProHeat – Best Portable Carpet Cleaner for Small Spaces


  • Built-in water heater
  • 9-amp power rating
  • 2-in-1 crevice tool
  • 4-foot hose
  • 15-foot power cord
  • 3-inch tough stain tool
  • Carry handle
  • 13 pounds
  • 1-year limited warranty

This little beast from Bissell requires no assistance keeping your carpet spotlessly clean. It easily cleans up stains, pet mess, and spills courtesy of the powerful spray and suction.

In addition to its lightweight design, the built-in heating mechanism is a big selling point too. Unlike most units where you have to add hot water to the machines, the Bissell Little ProHeat heats tap water to 25 degrees. Since the water stays hot longer, it removes ground-in dirt more effectively. Additionally, coming with a 2-in-1 crevice tool deep cleans the inaccessible spaces like between the cushions of your sofa. It has a 3-inch stain tool for extra agitation when needed.

While the hose is a bit shorter compared to other products on the list, its lightweight and compact design aids in delivering fast and easy cleaning. It also stores away just as effortlessly as it cleans.
The 48-ounce dirty water tank is translucent, making it easy to see when the machine is full. However, it can be a bit harder to clean, but nothing overly complicated. Just follow the manufacturer’s recommendations, and you’ll be good to go. It comes with a 1-year warranty and a cleaning formula as a bonus.

While it may not have a powerful suction as other products here, it still does a commendable job of cleaning deep stains. However, it’s an exceptional tool if you need to regularly clean coffee or juice stains, dog urine, and other small spills on your carpet or upholstered seats.

  • Great for picking up small spills
  • Simple to operate
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Built-in water heater
  • Crevice tool to access hard to reach spots
  • Affordable
  • Moderate suction power

Bissell ProHeat – Best Splurge Portable Carpet Cleaner


  • New Max clean, Express and Deep clean modes
  • 2-in-1 Pet upholstery tool
  • Removable brush roll cover
  • CleanShot Pretreater
  • Heatwave technology
  • 12 Row Dual DirtLifter power brush
  • Power cord: 25 foot
  • Hose length: 8 foot
  • 5-year limited warranty
  • Weight: 19 pounds
  • 11-inch cleaning pathwidth

If you’re on the hunt for a highly functional and efficient carpet cleaner, the Bissell ProHeat 2X Revolution Cleaner is among the best on the market. This mighty and well-designed machine comes with functional features that can achieve your desired cleaning results. Best part? It is a combined vacuum cleaner and carpet cleaner. Most carpet cleaners only come with the wet upholstery tool.

The DirtLifter Power Brush is among the notable features of this beast. Combined with heatwave technology, it delivers incredible scrubbing action that efficiently beat out deeply sitting dirt and remove embedded pet hair, stains, and other messes. Its complemented with a CleanShot pre-cleaner that sprays extra cleaning solution directly onto nasty and tough stains when needed. There’s also the express clean mode for quick cleaning. It will have your carpet dry in about an hour.

The ProHeat 2X Revolution comes with a long detachable 8-foot hose to reach those tight spots and an extra-long 25-foot power cord for easy maneuverability. The 11-inch cleaning path also works great for cleaning large areas.

Bissell ProHeat -5

It features dual 1-gallon water tanks which will give you ample time to clean several rooms without emptying the tanks. You should be extra cautious when taking off the water collection tank. ‘It’s quite firm, and if you pull too hard, you might spill the contents.

This model is a bit pricey compared to other models here, but with a 5-year warranty and stellar performance, it’s worth every penny. The product comes with a bottle Bissell pet urine eliminator, oxy, and antibacterial formula. The brush roll cover is removable for easy cleaning and maintenance.

If you are a pet owner and ‘don’t mind paying for true quality, you’ll be happy with the Bissell ProHeat 2X Revolution.

  • Can be used as a dry vacuum cleaner and wet cleaner
  • Well-designed cleanup system
  • Long cord and hose
  • Excellent warranty
  • Great at removing pet stains and messes
  • Expensive but worth it
  • Slightly heavy

Bissell SpotBot – Best Easy to Use Carpet Cleaner


  • Hand-free, automatic cleaning
  • Two preset cleaning cycles
  • DeepReach technology
  • Tough stain tool
  • On-board hose
  • Lightweight and compact design
  • Weight: 14.1 pounds
  • 16-foot power cord
  • 2 year limited warranty

Having an automatic carpet cleaner makes cleaning a breeze since you only need to choose a setting and walk away. The SpotBot will do all the work for you so you can concentrate on other things. What’s more, you don’t have to monitor the progress; it will alert you when the job gets done.

The Bissell SpotBot Spot & Stain Cleaner is equipped with two preset cleaning cycles; the surface stain cycle and the set-in cycle. The surface stain cycle is for use on fresh carpet stains from pets, food, beverages, and other substances. The set-in cycle, on the other hand, is for stains and messes that have already set in. So with a push of a button, the machine sprays cleaning formula directly onto stains/dirt, scrubs and lifts away from the mess with powerful suction. But of course, you have to set the machine on the stain.

The SpotBot uses the Bissell patented Deep Reach technology for extra deep cleaning action. It sends the cleaning formula deep into carpet fibers to loosen the tough stains. In addition, the two rotating brushes offer excellent agitation to pick up dirt, dust and remove those stains from your carpet.

This easy-to-use carpet cleaner is equipped with a 32-ounce tank, which is adequate considering the size of the machine. It includes a 5-foot hose and hand tool for manual cleaning. This is a plus when cleaning upholstery, auto interiors, and stairs. The 3-inch tough stain tool also comes in handy for tackling tougher stains. Pleasantly, the machine comes with an added bonus of Bissell pet cleaning formulas.

  • Automatic system
  • Manual cleaning option
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Reasonable priced
  • Easy to use and store
  • Works great on spots and spills
  • 2-year warranty
  • Not suitable for cleaning large surfaces

Hoover PowerDash – Best Budget Portable Carpet Cleaner


  • PowerSpin brush roll
  • HeatForce technology
  • 2X more cleaning power
  • Removable nozzle
  • 0.5-gallon clean water tank capacity
  • Weight: 13 pounds
  • Cord length: 20 feet
  • Cleaning path: 10 inches
  • 1-year warranty

If you’re looking for a decent budget-priced carpet cleaner, this capable of tackling your carpet cleaning jobs, the Hoover PowerDash Carpet Cleaner is a handy tool. The cleaning efficiency of this machine is quite impressive for the price.

The featured PowerSpin brush roll gets the tough stains and spots out while offering antimicrobial protection to keep it clean from bacteria, mildew, and mold. The HeatForce technology applies hot air to the cleaned area, facilitating shorter drying times.

Weighing only 13 pounds, the PowerDash is among the lightest units here. You can easily carry it up the stairs with no fuss or move it from one room to another. Besides, it has a slim, compact design for easy cleaning and storage.

Hoover PowerDash -1

The clean water tank has a capacity of 0.5 gallons, which is a bit small, especially if you’re planning to clean a large area rug. The easy detachment from the main unit along with the weight, however, makes it bearable to refill. It also includes a removable nozzle that makes it easy to clean and maintain. You’ll also appreciate the lower profile cleaning head. It makes it easy to get into those tight spots as well as under furniture.

While the PowerDash performs superbly, it doesn’t come with any accessories. It was specifically designed for carpet cleaning. The warranty is also short at only one year.

  • Highly portable
  • Easy to operate, store and maintain
  • Brush roll with antimicrobial protection
  • Affordable
  • Faster drying time
  • Low
  • Small water tank
  • No upholstery tool

Bissell 3624 SpotClean Pro – Best Compact Carpet Cleaner


  • Power rating of 5.7 amps
  • 22- feet power cord
  • 5-feet hose
  • 3-inch stain tool
  • 6-inch stair tool
  • 0.75-gal tank capacity
  • Weight: 13.2 pounds
  • 2-year limited warranty

While it’s not packed with tons of features, the Bissell 3624 is among the most powerful spot cleaners. Don’t be deceived by its small size. It has a great suction that effectively cleans dirt and stains hidden away in your carpets.

The hose attachment, on the other hand, gets into tight corners, in between pieces of furniture, under vehicle seats without trouble. At 5 feet, the hose is relatively short, but the weight and compactness help offset this shortcoming. It nearly as light as the Bissell Little ProHeat but a bit more compact.

It includes a 6-inch hand tool for cleaning stairs, upholstery and weaker stains and a 3-inch tool to remove tough deep-buried stains. With a long reach 22 feet power cord, you can comfortably navigate around a large room.

Bissell 3624 SpotClean Pro -4

The 0.75-gallon tank capacity is quite impressive for the size. It allows you to clean one or two middle-sized rooms without the need for emptying or refilling. Like all portable carpet cleaners here, the Bissell 3642 has separate clear tanks. It’s easy to remove, fill, and clean both tanks.

Since it comes with fewer distinctive features, this unit very easy to use. It’s backed by a 2-year warranty as other bigger models. For your convenience, an 8-ounce professional-grade cleaning formula is included in the package. Given its impressive cleaning performance, ease of use, and reasonable price tag, the Bissell 3624 is among the best portable carpet cleaners you can buy.

  • Lightweight and compact
  • Upholstery tools
  • Easy to use
  • Excellent cleaning performance
  • 2-year limited warranty
  • The hose attachment is short

Hoover Spotless – Best Lightweight Carpet Cleaner


  • Self-Clean technology
  • Crevice and stair tool
  • 2-in-1 antimicrobial multipurpose tool
  • 51-ounce clean water capacity
  • Dirty water capacity: 36 ounces
  • Weight: 9 pounds
  • Water level indicator
  • 2-year limited warranty

If you’re in search of a highly portable cleaner capable of handling tough stains and embedded dirt, this model from Hoover is a fantastic choice. It only weighs 9 pounds, making it one of the lightest portable carpet cleaners on our list. Its compact design makes it even easier to move and store in small spaces.

This machine makes it easy to clean your carpet, stairs, furniture, and other upholstery owing to its powerful suction power and deep cleaning tools. The crevice tool gets into those narrow and hard to reach spaces while the stair tool makes quick work of any cleaning job with stairs.

Hoover Spotless -2

The antimicrobial shield is also a great addition. It prevents mold, mildew, and odor-causing bacteria from attacking your tools. The self-cleaning hose is quite a unique feature as none of our other options are equipped with it. It is easy to plug the hose into the cleaning port at the back and turn the machine on. It flushes out dirt and all other debris trapped on the tool.

It features separate water tanks, but one has a bigger capacity than the other. The dirty water reservoir is relatively small at only 36 ounces. Hence, you may need to empty the tank more often. Luckily, it’s easy to remove and fix. Also, the water level indicator brings that added convenience.

The Hoover backs this machine with a 2-year limited warranty and includes a cleaning solution, pretreat gel, and accessories bag.

  • Very light and compact
  • Strong motor
  • Antimicrobial tool protection
  • Self-cleaning hose
  • Affordable
  • 2-year warranty
  • Short hose
  • Small dirty water tank

Bissell Pet Stain Eraser – Best Cordless Carpet Cleaner for Everyday Cleaning


  • Grab-and-go cordless operation
  • Fifteen minutes run time
  • 3-inch cleaning path
  • 7.2-volt power rating
  • Tank capacity of 8 ounces
  • Weight: 4.6 pounds
  • 2-year limited warranty

The Bissell Pet Stain Eraser wraps up our list of the best portable carpet cleaners. It combines a strong spray and suction to combat tough pet stains and messes, spills and spots. Its only 4.6 pounds, making it the lightest portable carpet cleaner here and probably on the market.

This unit is in a class of its own in terms of design. Besides, it’s the only cordless option on the list. The convenience that comes with being cordless makes it one of the easiest carpet cleaners to use and store. Its small size and lightweight also play a huge role.

Bissell Pet Stain Eraser -2

Using a lithium powered battery, this machine can run for about 15 minutes after being charged for 4 hours. At only 8 ounces, it has the smallest tank capacity here.

While most models here offer deep cleaning scrubbing action, the Pet Stain Eraser was designed to help with light everyday stains and messes. It might not come with the most powerful suction neither are the batteries long-lasting, but it’s an affordable model and will get the work done. So, it works best on smaller rugs and areas.

  • Cordless convenience
  • Affordable
  • Simple to operate
  • Very lightweight
  • Thoughtful design
  • Stores away easily
  • Might be suitable for cleaning small areas
  • Small tank
  • Run time is a bit short

Buyer’s Guide

Finding the perfect portable carpet cleaner for your needs isn’t just about getting something within your budget and hope for the best.

There’re a lot of factors that come into play in today’s market. From water tank capacity, suction power to cleaning accessories. You should note, however, a powerful motor doesn’t necessarily translate to a higher suction power. It’s all about the design and features of the machine. Hence, it’s difficult to deduce a machine’s suction power. Be sure to check the user reviews to get a clear picture of the machine’s cleaning ability.

Nonetheless, the higher the suction power, the better your chances are of eliminating all the grime and gunk buried deep with the carpet.

In addition, there are different types of carpet cleaners from corded to cordless, handheld to hands-free and more. We know sifting through all of the options to find something that works for you and your family is difficult. That’s why we’ve prepared this buying guide to point you in the right direction.

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Look through the following features, that will help you to opt for a perfectly-designed cleaner:

Water Tank Capacity

While all our options have dual water tanks, there are some carpet cleaners with only one tank. Dual tanks are more convenient as they allow clean and dirty water separation. For added convenience, some cleaners like the Hoover SteamVac even go an extra mile of automatically mixing the solution and water for you within the tank.
Regardless, you have to take heed of the capacity of the tanks. Large water tanks save you the hassle of trudging back and forth to empty the dirty tank or refill the clean tank. On the flip side, they tend to be heavy to move around.

A slightly bigger dirty tank is a good choice since it needs to be emptied more often than a cleaning solution tank. The Bissell ProHeat has the biggest tank capacity; hence, you can clean several rooms without having to empty the tank.

So if you’re planning to clean a large area, it’s a good idea to get a cleaner with a bigger tank that’s not too heavy. You should as well consider easy-to-remove water tanks to avoid making a mess.

Best Portable Carpet Cleaners

Weight When Filled Up

The weight of the carpet cleaner increases with the volume of the cleaning solution. We’ve only listed the weight of the machines when empty. Filling up the tank with cleaning solution adds about 5 to 15 pounds to the weight of the cleaner. Luckily, most of our recommendations are under 20 pounds, so the weight increase will not be that significant. The Rug Doctor Deep Carpet Cleaner is our largest unit at 37 pounds while the Bissell Pet Stain Eraser is the lightest, weighing just 4.6 pounds.

Ease of Use

Just like everything else, no one likes appliances that are difficult to operate. In respect to this, the best portable carpet cleaner should be easy to use; in the sense that, you don’t have to constantly refer to your manual to get anything done.

Rug Doctor models on our list, for example, have well-designed tanks that make it easy for you to access, refill, empty and clean. But there are also some cleaners like the Bissell ProHeat with collection tanks that are be a bit tricky to take off. Luckily, it’s nothing complicated; you just need to be gentle when handling it to avoid spilling the dirty water.

A removable cleaning head is an excellent addition, especially if you have pets. It makes it easy to remove pet hair so the machine won’t clog. The Hoover SteamVac is among the cleaners with this impressive feature.

Retractable handles and large wheels are also a great plus. The handles for easy maneuvering and space-saving storage and the wheels for easy movement. Consider the handle’s height as well for more comfortable cleaning.

Additionally, keep in mind that, some carpet cleaners work in one single motion – they only clean in a backward motion.

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Pet Capabilities

Pets can be messy. If you have them in your home, you should consider a carpet cleaner that can effectively deal with the muddy paw prints and the dreadful stains. While all carpet cleaners have the ability to deal with this kind of issue, some machines are specifically designed for pets.

The Rug Doctor Portable Spot Cleaner, Bissell SpotBot Spot & Stain Cleaner as well as the Bissell Pet Stain Eraser are some of the best options for the job. These machines can deal with the pet stains and smells from your carpet pretty quickly. They are also a wiz at removing pet hair without clogging up the machine.

Length of the Hose

Often overlooked but the length of the hose is essential, especially if you’re planning to use it on your stairs. Their lengths vary greatly, from Bissell Little ProHeat 4 feet hose to Bissell ProHeat long 8 feet hose.

A long hose gives you extra reach for those hard-to-reach places such as the stairs and couches. While longer is always the better, a cleaner with a short hose might be a bit easier to push around. So you should first assess the size of your carpet to determine if a shorter hose can work for you. But if your stairs have carpeting, a longer hose is ideal.

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Cleaning Accessories

Additional accessories can really come in handy. Not only do they increase the effectiveness of your carpet cleaning but also helps in maintaining your machine. Upholstery cleaning hand tool, crevice tool, extension hoses are some of the attachments you need to look out for.

Most of the carpet cleaners on our shortlist come with upholstery tool to help you clean the stairs, couches, and car seats. Some units like the Bissell Little ProHeat are equipped with a crevice tool that works very well in tight spaces and difficult to reach areas.


The first order of business is to understand what the warranty covers as well as the terms and conditions. Most portable carpet cleaners come with a 1 or 2-year warranty while some manufacturers like the Bissell offer generous warranties on some of their units. The ProHeat, for example, is backed by an exceptional five-year warranty covering any manufacturer defects throughout the warranty term.

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Portable carpet cleaner prices can vary greatly. And just like everything else, an expensive option doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best carpet cleaner. You can still get a decent machine within your budget. To find an ideal model, you need to identify your cleaning demands first.

If you’re on a tight budget and want a cleaner to help with everyday pet messes, you can consider the Bissell Pet Stain Eraser. It’s very affordable, lightweight and compact. For deep cleaning, you can get a machine-like Hoover SteamVac that offers a solid performance at affordable price.

Besides, our recommendations above come in various price ranges with an emphasis on value, performance, and function. You will surely find a portable carpet cleaner that offers the best bang for your buck.


Q: Can I make my own carpet cleaner solution?

A: Yes, you can. The manufacturers of these machines, however, advocate the use of their cleaning formulas which can be a bit expensive. The most important thing is to find a recipe that works great and get the stains out.

Q: How often should I clean my carpet?

A: This usually depends on whether you have kids and pets. Although factors like the colour of your carpet, shoe traffic, carpet warranty, people with allergies in the household also play a role in determining the cleaning frequency. Keep in mind: vacuuming doesn’t count as carpet cleaning!

A home with children should clean the carpet every six to twelve months while a household with fur-babies at least three to six months. For carpet with warranties, it’s best to adhere to the cleaning schedule. A carpet that’s subjected to high shoe traffic or persons with allergies requires cleaning more often.

However, you should never wait until your carpet starts to show signs of soiling. Heavy accumulation of dirt can cause your carpet to break down prematurely. It also lessens the chances of restoring your carpet’s original color, texture, and even appearance.

Q: Should I buy a carpet cleaner or seek professional carpet cleaning services?

A: This mainly depends on the carpet cleaning frequency, how you want to spend your time and your budget. As mentioned above, the amount of traffic in your home and other factors can help determine the cleaning frequency for your carpet. So, if your carpet is more vulnerable to dirt and stains, getting a cleaner makes more sense from a financial and health perspective.

Cleaning your carpet properly takes time. It’s up you to decide if you want to spend your weekend cleaning your rug or doing the things you love instead.

Which option makes more sense to you moneywise? Typically, having a professional come to clean your carpet costs more than buying one. Seeking professional cleaning services once a year is highly recommended, though.

Q: How long does it take for a carpet to dry after deep cleaning?

A: Anywhere between 2 to 10 hours to completely dry. This will depend on the cleaning method, type of cleaner, weather, how you clean it, air circulation, and more. On average, the dry-cleaning method takes 2 to 4 hours while hot water extraction takes 6 to 10 hours. And if weather conditions are favorable, your carpet will dry quickly.

Some portable carpet cleaners have built-in water heaters that assist in drying carpets faster as well. It’s important to avoid over-wetting your carpet when deep cleaning. It can increase drying time and also leave behind a musty smell.

Best Portable Carpet Cleaners -9


We cannot dispute professional cleaners do a more thorough job than at-home DIY carpet cleaning. However, these services can be an expensive venture especially if you require frequent cleaning. Portable carpet cleaners can deliver amazing cleaning results if you use the right cleaning solutions.

Most of them come with additional features and attachments to make your cleaning job even easier. The Bissell ProHeat, for instance, features a host of innovative features that levels it with some commercial-grade carpet cleaners out there. While it’s a beast of a machine, we loved the Rug Doctor Portable Cleaner more just because it delivers the best in deep carpet cleaning.

Keep in mind: a good carpet cleaner is always a worthy investment!

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  1. I really like the Rug Doctor Portable cleaning machine. It’s slim, portable, with compact design for easy cleaning. Can you recommend a cleaner to use with it?

    • Thank you for your question,Betty! You should use trusted Rug Doclor cleaner for deep spots and stains over your house. Don’t use other cleaners, because they can harm the machine and void the warranty. Let us know if we can answer any other questions concerning the product.

  2. I don’ t want a big carpet cleaner and Bissell Pet Stain Eraser looks quite portable and easy-to-use. What power source does it have?

    • Thank you for your question, Jessica! The Bissell Pet Stain Eraser is a cordless carpet cleaner, which uses the lithium ion battery offering 15 mins of run time. When you use the cleaner for the first time, make sure the unit is fully charged. (4 hours of charging for maximum run time) Battery is fully charged when all three of the blue status lights are illuminated.

  3. What is a “Super Boost” function in the Rug Doctor Deep carpet cleaner?

    • Thanks for your question, Slanley! Some old stains require extra attention and “Super Boost” function is made right for that! It cleans up heavily soiled and high-traffic areas, pet stains, coffee, wine and juice. Let us know if we can answer any other questions.

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