Carpet cleaner

Best Portable Carpet Cleaner | FOX31 Denver

Which portable carpet cleaners are the best?

No matter how demanding or clean you are, carpet stains are inevitable. Even in homes without children or pets, carpet attracts dust and dirt. To keep your carpets clean and looking like new, you can use a portable carpet cleaner. The BISSELL SpotClean Pro Portable Carpet Cleaner is the perfect solution for those looking to quickly deal with spills, dirt or pet stains before they settle permanently. Its powerful suction quickly removes small messes and its compact design offers easy storage.

What to Consider Before Buying a Portable Carpet Cleaner

Whole house cleaning

Portable carpet cleaners are great for cleaning your floor and restoring color and volume to small rugs after removing muddy footprints, fallen makeup, spilled drinks or other common household messes. However, they are not a substitute for the equipment and solutions used by professional cleaners and are not suitable for deep cleaning your entire property.

Set your expectations

Today’s portable carpet cleaners are powerful devices that can get rid of most messes quickly. However, not all dirt is created equal. Stains that may have taken hold or particularly stubborn spills involving wine, chewing gum, or hair dye may never completely disappear, even with professional cleaning services.


Although portable carpet cleaners are the same shape as upright vacuums, they tend to be a bit wider due to their water tanks. For this reason, they can be difficult to store. Consider where you will keep your carpet cleaner and make sure it will be in an area that can withstand the occasional spill of water or cleaning solution.

What to Look for in a Quality Portable Carpet Cleaner

Ease of use

Similar to a vacuum cleaner, some portable carpet cleaners are meant to be moved around the room. Consider that these carpet cleaners are heavier than most other devices due to their liquid storage and select a model that you can navigate your home without difficulty. If you’re using a model designed for spot cleaning, make sure it has an ergonomic handle and an easy-to-use handle.

Suction and heat

Some models heat their water tanks using the same motor they use to generate suction. Therefore, you may find that heated models provide less suction power. Consider the use of your carpet cleaner to determine the best way to split the difference between these two characteristics. More suction allows for deeper cleaning, but it can also be frustrating when cleaning small rugs or floor mats, as they tend to stick to the cleaner nozzle.

Tank capacity

A smaller tank makes the device lighter, but it will require more frequent water changes during long cleaning sessions. Larger tank capacity will allow you to work longer without interruption, but poses a challenge when moving up and down stairs.

Fixing accessories

Many carpet cleaners include a range of attachment attachments designed to make certain cleaning situations easier and your device more efficient. From brushes designed for cleaning furniture and upholstery to nozzles for car interiors, selecting a model with a wide range of attachments will increase the usability of your vacuum cleaner.

How much you can expect to spend on a portable carpet cleaner

Handheld carpet cleaners cost as little as $100 and as high as $400 or more for advanced models designed with extreme cleaning power.

Portable Carpet Cleaner FAQ

What kind of soap does my portable carpet cleaner need?

A. Handheld carpet cleaners require specially formulated shampoo, and many come with a bottle to get you started. Never use soap or shampoo in your machine that is not designed for cleaning carpets, as this could damage both your carpet and your device.

Do carpet cleaners kill bed bugs?

A. No. Bedbugs or other insect infestations require the services of a professional exterminator.

Can I use a portable carpet cleaner in my car?

A. Yes. Some models include accessories specially designed to allow you to clean the interior of your automobile, including the upholstery. Never use carpet cleaner on leather or vinyl interiors.

What is the best portable carpet cleaner to buy?

The best portable carpet cleaner

BISSELL SpotClean Pro Handheld Carpet Cleaner

What do you want to know: This portable carpet cleaner from Bissell is an effective stain remover and is popular with pet owners.

What you will love: Designed to target spots and stains, this cleaner is a great addition to any household that experiences frequent spills or pet accidents. Ideal for auto cleaning, it’s compact and includes product samples so you can figure out which shampoo you like best.

What you should consider: Designed for spot cleaning, this device is not intended for heavy-duty jobs.

Or buy: Sold by Amazon and Bed Bath & Beyond

Best portable carpet cleaner for the money

Hoover PowerDash Compact Pet Carpet Cleaner

Hoover PowerDash Compact Pet Carpet Cleaner

What do you want to know: Lightweight and inexpensive, this carpet cleaner is gentle on your back thanks to its upright design.

What you will love: This cleaner can be used like you would use a vacuum cleaner. Its powerful brushes and heating technology deep clean and even dry your carpet.

What you should consider: No attachments are included.

Or buy: Sold by Amazon, Home Depot and Bed Bath & Beyond

Worth checking out

Vacmaster Wet Dry Shampoo Vacuum

Vacmaster Wet Dry Shampoo Vacuum

What do you want to know: For a more professional cleaning job, consider this high-suction model from Vacmaster.

What you will love: This portable device is loaded with attachments, making it an all-purpose carpet cleaning powerhouse. With controls placed within easy reach on the unit’s handle and a port for draining the tank, this cleaner is powerful and convenient.

What you should consider: This the tank of the cleaner is made of plastic that is too thin and too fragile for certain applications.

Or buy: Sold by Amazon

Carpet cleaning tips

  • Plan ahead to make your cleaning job as easy as possible. Move furniture out of the way and try to clean your rug at a time when it’s less likely to be walked on while drying.
  • Follow the instructions carefully. Using too much cleaning solution can leave soap scum on your carpet, causing even more dirt and grime to stick.
  • Use caution when cleaning carpeted stairs. Not only is falling a possibility, but dropping your cleaner can lead to a messy spill if the tank accidentally opens.

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Derek Walborn writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their buying decisions, saving them time and money.

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