Best Carpet Steam Cleaners

Best Carpet Steam Cleaners

Carpeting of any kind is an investment, something of value you’ll want to maintain. Bring on confused pets, enthusiastic children, or bumbling adults, though, and you could have a mess on your hands. The sooner you can clean up that disaster, the better, which is why you’ll want to also invest in a good steam cleaner.

Yes, you can go to your nearest brand-name grocer or big box store and rent a machine when the need arises, but how convenient is that? By the time you’re back with a device that’s been in who-knows-what before you, the spot has dried and become a stain requiring more than a little damp suction to remove.

That’s why you need your own carpet steam cleaner to keep that investment looking like new. A good rule of thumb is considering the grade of floor covering you used and buying at least as good a cleaner if not better. Here’s what you need to know to determine which is the best steam cleaner for your carpet.

6 Best Steam Cleaners for Carpet

Quick Overview
TO MAKE THINGS EASIER for you, we’ve already tested and compared the best products available to narrow the field down to these top choices.

Bissell Proheat 2X Lift-Off Pet
  • Cleans effectively
  • Reduces your keep-off time
  • Dual dirt lifter power brushes
View On Amazon →Check Our Review
Bissell Proheat 2X Revolution Pet Pro
  • Lightweight
  • Easy-to-steer machine
  • Heatwave technology
View On Amazon →Check Our Review
Hoover Power Scrub Deluxe
  • Lift dirt and stains from all directions
  • Well-functioning machine on all levels
  • For budget-conscious consumer
View On Amazon →Check Our Review
Bissell Big Green Machine Professional
  • Big, heavy and high-end
  • Strong suction ensures it works fast
  • Surprisingly maneuverable for its size
View On Amazon →Check Our Review
Hoover Power Dash Pet
  • Compact size and light weight
  • Cleans about 8 square feet per cycle
  • Easy to use
View On Amazon →Check Our Review
Rug Doctor Mighty Pro X3
  • Big suction makes for deep stain removal
  • Fast dry times
  • Dual brushes
View On Amazon →Check Our Review

Best Overall: Bissell Proheat 2X Lift-Off Pet

Bissell Proheat 2X Lift-Off Pet

  • Ergonomics:B+
  • Cleaning effectiveness: A-
  • Drying effectiveness: A
  • Noise: C
  • Accessories: A-
  • Empty weight: 24 lbs.

This machine cleans effectively, dries your carpeting well and reduces your keep-off time, making it our all-around favorite. Added benefits include a lift-off suction unit for use with your accessories, just as if you had a second but smaller spot treater.

Its Dual Dirt Lifter power brushes and pet hair collection basket set it apart, and if you use Bissell’s proprietary antibacterial carpet formula cleaning solution, it can even eliminate pet urine stains that otherwise would set.

Users remark that this machine is easy to maneuver and simple to use, even if it uses a lot of water to clean. With the right cleaning solution, it’s particularly effective to address those pet stains and odors on both carpets and furniture. Stairs are also easy because of the lift-off cleaning pod.

It includes accessories galore, with different-sized heads for different purposes. No significant complaints about design and manufacturing were noted, and the machine comes with a 3-year warranty. This Bissell has all of the best bells and whistles of the brand with the pod system as a special bonus.

Best for Small Areas, Pets: Bissell Proheat 2X Revolution Pet Pro

  • Ergonomics: B+
  • Cleaning effectiveness: B+
  • Drying effectiveness: A
  • Noise: C
  • Accessories: A-
  • Empty weight: 19 lbs.

Rated as a good buy for those who need a lightweight, easy-to-steer machine, this Bissell covers about 32 square feet on one tank, which is a lot of space. The hose length falls in the mid-range at over eight feet, but since it’s light even when full, it can get around to the places you need to clean. Another bonus of this Bissell is its heating technology, keeping your clean water at a temperature that makes steaming it effective.

Users and the pros generally rate this machine as the best for those of us with pets, despite the pet-friendly names of some of our other listings. It has the Dual Dirt Lifter brushes and Heatwave Technology to keep your clean water hot with our previous listing, too. A selection of accessories ensures you have the right tool for almost any job.

One feature unique to this machine is the Express Clean Mode. This is for small areas with lighter staining, and the big advantage is that it dries in an hour. If you want to make a small impact on your problem but can’t wait for a longer drying period, this setting makes that easy. That’s like having two machines for the price of one.

Best for Area Rugs, Budget Pick: Hoover Power Scrub Deluxe

Hoover Power Scrub Deluxe

  • Ergonomics: B+
  • Cleaning effectiveness: B+
  • Drying effectiveness: B+
  • Noise: C
  • Accessories: B
  • Empty weight: 18 lbs.

Compared to our previous listings, this Hoover is budget-conscious while being a well-functioning machine on all levels. It cleans about 33 square feet per reservoir with a hose length of eight feet. Its weight when full still makes it easy to move to those places a shorter hose can’t reach.

Heating air to aid drying is part of the suction process, so in addition to good water extraction, it speeds up evaporation of the remaining dampness. That’s a big difference from other models, and it means you’ll be able to replace your furniture faster. Users like the separate detergent tank, allowing the machine to mix the correct amount of solution to the clean water for application.

Proprietary SpinScrub brushes lift dirt and stains from all directions, packing a lot of power into its cleaning cycle according to users. The major complaint is an issue with a component in the brushes system rusting from contact with water. It appears that if the machine is left in a position to allow this area to dry, it’s not a problem, but it is a consistently reported complaint.

Best for Pro-Level Cleaning: Bissell Big Green Machine Professional

Bissell Big Green Machine Professional

  • Ergonomics: B
  • Cleaning effectiveness: A
  • Drying effectiveness: C
  • Noise: C-
  • Accessories: B+
  • Empty weight: 43 lbs.

It’s probably best to think of this as the professional level machine best fit for homes with large spaces that need to be cleaned often. It’s big, it’s heavy and it’s high-end, better than what you can rent at your local big box store. Cleaning on both the forward and backward passes, it pleases its customers on cleaning effectiveness, making deeply discolored carpets look like as clean as the day they were installed.

Users comment that years of grime, cooking and body oils, and sticky dirt are no match for the Big Green Machine. A wide head with strong suction ensures it works fast without shortchanging the cleaning process, and it is surprisingly maneuverable for its size. A 10-foot hose makes reaching the more difficult spots easier and keeps the heavy machine in one spot while you do it.

Users comment that the machine is big, the power can be considered very noisy, its hose and accessories take up even more space, and it isn’t the lightest choice. It doesn’t seem to dry as effectively as its competitors, and it makes even more noise while it’s trying to do so. If your needs are pro-level, you might be able to overlook these issues.

Best for Apartments and Condos: Hoover Power Dash Pet

Hoover Power Dash Pet

  • Ergonomics: B+
  • Cleaning effectiveness: B+
  • Drying effectiveness: B+
  • Noise: C
  • Accessories: C
  • Empty weight: 17 lbs.

Users really like the weight of this machine, both in pounds and in price. Maneuvering it around is easy, and the smaller, narrower head reaches under furniture and into tight corners without trouble. Storage isn’t a problem because of its compact size and light weight.

Its clean water tank size is about three-quarters of a gallon, which cleans about 8 square feet per cycle. That’s a drawback for many, along with the small head size. However, it is easy to use – no measuring of cleaning solution because marks on the tank tell you how much to put in.

A couple of negatives people mention are the lack of a hose and attachments, so you won’t be using this for the furniture or crevasses on the staircase. The short reach of the power cord means you might be moving that around quite a bit too. Available settings cover basic needs, best for use when you don’t have big spaces to clean.

Best for High Traffic: Rug Doctor Mighty Pro X3

  • Ergonomics: C+
  • Cleaning effectiveness: B+
  • Drying effectiveness: A
  • Noise: C-
  • Accessories: B+
  • Empty weight: 43 lbs.

This is the machine closest to what the pros use, and best for people with lots of area to cover and planning to clean often. Water extraction is thorough, translating into no time for mold or mildew to develop. You can walk on your rugs in four hours or less.

Big suction makes for deep stain removal and fast dry times – but also big noise, louder than others on our list. That also means the motor is substantial, along with the reservoirs, so consider this a very heavy model. It can be difficult to figure out how much cleaning solution to add, since measuring is not simple.

Features include dual brushes that make fast work of dirt and stain removal. Hose length is close to 13 feet, which means you can leave the machine at one end of your room and probably touch the other. Tank size is almost three times the average. You can cover about 28 square feet before having to empty or refill.

Users say this is a user-friendly machine, despite some of its drawbacks. Size didn’t seem to make a difference in terms of moving the machine around. It’s heavy on accessories, like a premium upholstery tool for stained and odor-ridden furniture, so if you have the space to store this Rug Doctor, it can be justified as a good cleaning investment.

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The Complete Steam Cleaner Buyer’s Guide

How a Carpet Steam Cleaner Works

If this part of our discussion sends you to snooze-ville, move on to the FAQs and machine characteristics sections of our article and pick your winner. Often, though, it helps to understand how something works so you know why a feature is important. This is where you find out why bigger is better when it comes to steam cleaning.

Bigger begins with more power. That power takes many forms, from heating to beating, size to suction. Add in drive and durability, and you have the full cleaning package.


Your cleaner will create steam, or as the manufacturers like to call it, vaporized water. Why? I haven’t a clue, but it sounds stronger than steam, doesn’t it? Add cleaning solution approved for your carpeting or rug type and you have an attack plan for the day-to-day dirt your flooring suffers from.

The more effective the heating elements in the water system, the hotter the steam can become (short of vaporizing altogether). Hotter steam does a better job loosening stains and dirt for removal. The more force used in spraying this on your carpet, the deeper the steam can reach, helping you remove even more debris.

The steam is delivered through nozzles that infuse it into your carpet. If the steam is not hot enough, you’ll soak the rug with little effectiveness other than to make a sopping wet mess, a common user complaint about some equipment. You want your machine to make hot steam and keep it that way while it’s being applied and manipulated by our next feature.


Back in the day, brushes in vacuums were called beaters, because they beat the fibers to release the dirt. The term beater hearkens back to eras past when annual spring cleaning included hanging the throw rugs over a line outside and beating it with a broom to get rid of the winter’s dirt residue. Take that, dirty carpet.

All manufacturers recommend you give your carpet a good vacuuming before you use your steam cleaner. You don’t want the machine clogged with loose debris that could easily be removed with suction alone. Too much of this kind of dirt means the cleaner can’t apply as much steam and that defeats the purpose of using it in the first place.

Even though the primary purpose of a steam cleaner is to push vaporized water into the fiber, machines also have a way to shake the dirt free. Today, brushes come in many forms, including rotating cylinder bars, circular heads, and interlocking spinners. These moving bristles add to the scrubbing power of your machine.


This is one of the big differentiators between equipment. Once the steam loosens the stains, dirt and odors, you’ll want it to be whisked away. The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) recommends avoiding over-wetting a section as you’re cleaning and spending more time than you think you’d need extracting the dampness through the suction phase. The more you pull out of the carpet, the more of the yucky stuff that will come with it.

Suction power depends on the power of the motor in the machine. That creates noise, which is the chief complaint many people have about their steam cleaner. You’ll want to pay attention to the noise ratings if that’s something you’re sensitive to.


Steam cleaners have two liquid reservoirs, one for clean water and one for the sucked up dirty stuff. The larger the tanks, the longer you can clean before you need to fill or empty them. Some also have a separate tank for cleaning solution which the machine mixes in the correct proportion with clean water during the cleaning setting.

But – and this is important to consider – water weighs something. A gallon equates to eight pounds, so a machine with tanks with a gallon capacity will weigh that much more, and that can make moving the machine around more challenging on some kinds of rugs. Think deep pile or texture and how hard it might be to roll the cleaner along as it weighs more.

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FAQs about Carpet Steam Cleaners

Carpet cleaners come in many designs, with some looking like sleek power rockets and others difficult to tell from your average vacuum. What’s the best one for you? The one you’ll use, rather than letting that stain become a permanent feature you attempt to hide with strategically placed furniture.

In reality, cleaners are divided into two big categories, home (occasional use) and professional (frequent use). Home cleaners usually have smaller reservoirs, fewer features, and less flexibility in steaming and suction. Professional versions come with more power, features and durability.

That’s not to say you won’t be fully satisfied with a home steam cleaner. It depends on what you can expect in terms of regular wear and dirt on your carpeting, and on what kind of carpeting you’re cleaning. Let’s look at what you’ll want to consider.

How much traffic does my carpet receive?

Imagine an urban house with two working adults and one short-haired cat. The humans are gone for most of the day, and when they’re home, they tend to be focused on relaxation. The cat is, well, a cat all day.

Contrast this with a suburban setting, large yard, and two active kids and a medium-sized dog with those two adults (and maybe even the cat). The opportunity for dirt and accidents goes up exponentially with the number of people and critters and the amount of time spent tearing around. Wear marks can become obvious in a very short amount of time.

If you think you can keep your carpet clean enough with only the occasional spill to take care of, a portable machine designed to fix small messes might be adequate. If you have children with energetic feet and pets to play with, count on needing a steam cleaner you feel fine whipping out on a very regular basis.

Carpet Steam Cleaner Best for Cleaning Effectiveness Accessories
Bissell Proheat 2X Lift-Off Pet Best Overall A- A-
Bissell Proheat 2X Revolution Pet Pro Best for Small Areas, Pets B+ A-
Hoover Power Scrub Deluxe Best for Area Rugs, Budget B+ B+
Bissell Big Green Machine Professional Best for Pro-Level Cleaning A B+
Hoover Power Dash Pet Bests for Apartments and Condos B+ C
Rug Doctor Mighty Pro X3 Best for High Traffic B+ B+

What kind of carpet am I going to be cleaning?

Think pile and texture here. A deeply sculpted wall-to-wall carpet has plenty of cracks and crevices in which to capture every leaf, stray piece of popcorn, and dust and dander. The dog might take care of the popcorn but think about the slobber.

Even if your carpet has a low pile, normal use grinds in dust and debris through the carpet if ignored. Along with capturing cooking smells and hair, rugs are magnets for anything in the air of your home. Think of the mold and allergens left behind.

Clearly you want to maintain wall-to-wall with more diligence than freestanding (what we commonly call ‘throw’) rugs. It’s permanent, for all intents, while you can roll up a throw rug and tote it down to your favorite commercial cleaner. But even throw rugs benefit from regular attention with a good steam cleaner.

What quality of carpet am I cleaning?

Carpet quality equates to things like tightness of the weave and backing, stain resistance, and durable materials. Obviously, higher quality also can mean a bigger investment, and that translates into your need to have a bigger focus on keeping it in shape. You’ll consider two areas when you consider quality, the surface and what happens down below.

Your average carpet responds well to a good vacuum with decent suction and reliable beaters or brushes. If your carpet has a higher stain resistance rating or has been treated for stain resistance, you might be able to sop up the worst of accidents before they become semi-permanent. Something will still seep through, though, which means you want big suction on your cleaner to remove the hidden problems.

How much carpet do I need to clean regularly?

If you’re cleaning throw rugs you use as accents in your rooms, a smaller machine (maybe even a handheld steam cleaner) will probably meet your needs. You can make a few sweeps of the machine over the area and you’ll be done. In a worst case scenario, you can lift the rug to clean underneath, or even turn it over and do the underside itself.

On the other hand, if you have wall to wall carpet throughout your house or condo, that’s a lot of square footage. You’ll want a wider machine (usually found in professional grades) with lots of power to suck up anything and everything. (Okay, everything is impossible, even when renting a commercial pro machine.)

The more area you have to cover, the more emphasis you should place on power and size in your decision. This means bigger reservoirs and tanks too, so you won’t be needing to empty or fill as often. Features such as a heater in the clean water tank and separate cleanser dispenser make shorter work of big areas too.

How much cleaning does my carpet manufacturer recommend?

If your carpeting is relatively new, it probably came with a manufacturer’s warranty. Perhaps your installer offered an additional bump too. Refer to those to determine how frequently they recommend you clean your rug.

Many will also recommend a brand of cleaner, though that is just what it is, a recommendation. We’ve never run across a warranty that demands a brand, but that’s not to say they don’t exist. You’ll want to look at the features of what they recommend, because you want to find something close to those bells and whistles when you’re making your buying decision.

Is dodging furniture and getting tight against walls a factor?

The downside of bigger cleaners is that you give up some maneuverability. Do you need to clean under low clearance sofas or tables? Wider heads and bigger machines make that harder to accomplish, which means you’ll want to pay closer attention to the accessories and attachments to reach those unreachable places.

Think too about how close you’ll need to come to walls, and how many transitions between flooring materials you’ll be coping with. Again, you might be able to suck right up to the baseboards if you have the right small-headed attachment to add on for the task.

What’s the klutz factor in our household?

This one’s easy. How often do you or someone in your household spill something – over the carpet? Or how frequently does a pet have an accident?

If you believe you’ll be pulling this steamer out on a daily basis to keep up with messes, consider two machines, or a big machine with a lift-off smaller cleaner. You’ll need a full-sized steam cleaner to keep the whole space healthy. Even if your big machine comes with a spot treater attachment, you might not be as willing to pull it out and use it because it is attached – yes, you guessed it – to the big bulky behemoth.

For those little spots you want to tackle before you’ll be thinking of them as part of your décor, buy a portable machine defined as a spot treater. We’ve compared those elsewhere on this site.

How much storage space do we have?

If your household is like ours, you put things like the carpet steam cleaner in the basement, only to see the light of day when there’s a pressing emergency need or when cleaning the rugs is on the regularly cycled to-do list. If you have a place to put the machine and all the things it came with and space is not an issue, you’re lucky.

Let’s say you live in a condo or apartment. Do you have a closet with enough room to house the monster when it lives in its cage?

What healthy household issues do we face?

This is a biggie for many people, because carpeting attracts irritants, and I’m not talking about the material here. Pet dander might seem more plentiful than people dander, but what about pollen, mold and other nasties you can’t easily see? These microscopic motes and flakes gravitate to carpet like meat bees to your favorite steak.

If someone you care about suffers from allergies, you’ll want a more powerful machine to capture even more out of the carpet. The same could be said for those of us with pets that spend time outside, since all sorts of little hitchhikers come back in no matter how hard you try to keep that dog or cat clean. And if you happen to walk or jog on a public path or street, think of what your shoes track in unless you shed them at your front door.

In short, we all need to steam clean our carpets to keep the bad stuff out of our homes. Think of it this way – the fewer toxins, dust particles and germs we’re exposed to, the greater our chances of staying healthier. Even the healthiest among us don’t need the aggravation of an intruder we often can’t see.

How frequently will I be willing to clean the carpet?

Come on, be honest now. Unless we’re obsessed with keeping our white rugs brilliant or have pressing health issues that require a Class 100 Clean Room environment, we won’t steam the rugs as often as we believe we will. It’s a fact of life that cleaning the carpet falls behind other priorities, like bathing the dog or having that root canal.

Longer periods between cleanings means more dirt and allergens accumulate. Stains set. Odors become ground in along with the dust and silt of everyday life.

You’ll need more power to clean it up, or more patience and fortitude to go over the same area multiple times. Even then, machines have their limits. It’s a good idea to buy as much power as you can afford (and then use it) to maximize the life of your carpeting.

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Our Selection Criteria for Steam Cleaners

There are plenty of features to think about when you buy your steam cleaner, and which model works best depends on your specific conditions. When you select a machine that better matches your needs, you’re more likely to use it, and that means you’ll enjoy cleaner carpeting and rugs in your home. Here are the features we analyzed in our comparison.


Many comparisons wouldn’t put ease of use and machine ergonomics first, but we include it first here for a good reason. If you find it difficult to use, you won’t use it. Why buy something you won’t use?

The amount of suction a powerful machine generates is great for removal of the wet stuff but can make some machines try to adhere to the carpet and therefore be unwilling to move.

Depending on their size and placement, wheels might work more effectively on one height of rug than another. Add in differences in brush heads, and you’ll understand why not all machines are as easy to move as others, depending on what you’re cleaning.

Ergonomics is a combination of multiple factors, including head width, reservoir sizes and others. We note if users generally found the selected machine as user-friendly as they would have expected. Here are the data points to consider.

Reservoir size

We’ve already discussed how size matters for reservoirs. Manufacturers also note that some machines have indicators to let you know when you’re running out of clean water or when your dirty water tank is full. That dirty water side is nice if you go over the carpet more than once in an area to suck up debris.

Width of head

A wider head means you can cover an area faster. If you have a lot of carpeting or rugs to clean, you’ll want something wider to finish faster. The trade-off to size is the places it can’t reach, though, so if you have tight spaces like under furniture or near walls, you’ll need to pass judgement on how wide is too wide.

Power cord length

This may not sound like a big deal but consider this – electricity and water do not play nicely together. Consumer Reports recommends you plug the cord into a GFI (grounded) electrical outlet to be on the safe side. It’s a plus if this is somewhere you won’t be steam cleaning.

Cleaning effectiveness

How well a steam cleaner works on your carpeting and rugs is a function of how hot the steam can become, how well you can treat spots without extra effort, and how easy it is to apply the right amount of cleaner. We’ll cover each of these separately here.

Steam temperature

You’re looking for hot steam that stays that way, as we mentioned before, because otherwise, you’re only adding water to create a soggy mess underfoot. Not all machines have a feature to ensure clean water stays hot. You’re looking for something that steams as fast as you can move that machine back and forth over the carpeted area.

Cleaning solution dispenser

In some machines, you add your cleaning solution directly to the clean water reservoir. While this might seem convenient, it also raises a risk of adding too much, making the carpeting sticky and more likely to attract debris faster.

At the same time, you might not add enough, which reduces the effectiveness of your cleaning process as well. Having a separate dispenser means the machine calibrates how much solution is required and adds it during the steaming process, plus it shuts off and allows you to rinse with clean water. Make sure you use the type of solution called for by the machine manufacturer in any case.

Spot treating

Cleaners with separate dispensers and cleaners for spot treating can help you add more solution to those high traffic areas or work on those stubborn stains. You’ll need to be careful to avoid over-applying cleaning solution, though, because you’ll be spending more time applying clean water and suctioning it up to pull out what you’ve added. Still, having an applicator to add more suds when and where you need it is a useful benefit.

One important piece of information many people overlook in spot treating is that CRI and most steam cleaner manufacturers do not recommend using your big machine to remove pet pee in the carpet. Urine soaks into the carpet and padding quickly, and steaming it only sets it deeper and sets the odor – quickly.

For this issue, you need a pet-rated machine that has a special attachment for that task (or a small spot-treater machine only for that purpose) and a pet-specific cleaning solution.

Drying effectiveness

A powerful suction motor is as vital as hot steam, because the longer the water sits on the carpet, the longer you, furniture and everything else needs to stay off it. In addition, too much liquid remaining in the fibers can seep down into your padding and the floor surface below, creating a new set of issues, like mold, and none of want that in our homes. The more powerful the suction capability of the machine, the faster and more thoroughly you can remove the dirt.


There’s no getting around it, powerful motors in home or professional machines make noise. That’s the suction working for you. Decibel ratings are not always readily accessible for this equipment, and that’s probably no surprise since no machine could be called quiet by any stretch of your imagination.

Carpet Steam Cleaner Best for Noise
Bissell Proheat 2X Lift-Off Pet Best Overall C
Bissell Proheat 2X Revolution Pet Pro Best for Small Areas, Pets C
Hoover Power Scrub Deluxe Best for Area Rugs, Budget C
Bissell Big Green Machine Professional Best for Pro-Level Cleaning C-
Hoover Power Dash Pet Bests for Apartments and Condos C
Rug Doctor Mighty Pro X3 Best for High Traffic C-

Consumer Reports mentions using ear protection to save your hearing if you plan to use the machine for large areas or long periods. This becomes more complicated if you have small children to protect or pets that hate the whine and whine themselves. If you can put distance and doors between them and the noise, all the better.


The selection of accessories is one criterion you’ll need to consider based on your household. Do you have steps, lots of upholstered furniture, or delicate flooring where pets like to loll around? Consider if these reside on the machine or need their own storage area too.

Usability for carpeted steps

Sometimes it seems like carpeted steps gather more dust and dirt than any other covered surface in a house. Couple this with difficult in cleaning those kinds of spaces and you can have a real challenge on your hands. You’ll want three things to avoid dragging the machine and balancing it behind or next to you – a long hose, a stair accessory, and a long power cord (pick the first two over the last if you must).

Furniture accessories

Any horizontal surface in the home can accumulate dirt and odors, and that includes upholstery on furniture. Why not use the steam cleaner on them too? This is easy to accomplish if you have a furniture attachment (usually a small version of the big head on the cleaner) and a hose long enough to reach the corners.

Other accessories

Depending on the brand and the model, your system might come with attachments for other purposes. My favorites cover the places my dogs venture, like the SUV seats and cargo area and the cushions on the patio furniture.

Tally up the many places we sit (dining room chairs), lay down (mattress) and walk (even bare floors) and you’ll realize that the right tools will come in very handy in keeping your environment as clean as the day it was built (maybe better).


Machine weight is your starting point, and from there, add eight pounds for each gallon of water in the clean water tank. (We’ll assume you’re cycling through from clean to dirty in one pass.) If you have to move the machine between floors in your home or otherwise need to wrestle it around tight spots, consider that maneuverability factor.

Size relates to storage. The machine has a footprint, plus vertical space needed for the upright vac portion. If you don’t have closet or basement space to devote to it, consider where you can put the machine and its accessories.

As a final reminder, when things break down, each manufacturer has their own terms and conditions about the length of a warranty period and what it covers. Study these to determine what added value they bring you. Ditto on regular maintenance the machine may require.

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Yvonne Kohano

About Yvonne Kohano

Yvonne Kohano never met a remodeling project she didn’t like – almost. Ditto on tools to keep things looking great. She is a fiction author of romantic suspense and psychological thrillers, book/business coach for creatives, and nerdy student of human behavior and the natural world.

6 thoughts on “Best Carpet Steam Cleaners”

  1. Avatar
    COVID-19 stay at HomeJoe

    Still Searching;
    When there is no heating element how can “steam” be acheived much less be used as a label or description by the Manufacturer ? .
    Misled entirely .

  2. Avatar

    Have the hoover smart wash and it is absolutely junk… will most definitely not buy anything hoover again. What a chincy belt they put on it and it’s hard to change. We paid $350 for it, it was regularly $550 I am actually surprised how long the piece of junk lasted once I took it apart everything is just not built to last on it. Very dis-apponted

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    I agree with a previous comments that note that these ARE NOT STEAM cleaners. This is a significant difference. Steam (@212 deg F, 100 deg C) is needed to more completely disinfect. This is especially important for use with pets.

  4. Avatar

    Sorry but this list is useless as these carpet cleaners are NOT “steam cleaners”. If you look at the product descriptions on the Amazon links provided, it’s clear that they do not heat the water to steaming, as the “How a Carpet Steam Cleaner Works” section on this page claims. The machines advertised typically keep the water heated to whatever temperature it is when you put it in, but you can’t put it in boiling. So these machines are categorically different than steam cleaners. These are good pet/carpet cleaners though, but not good for really steam cleaning the carpet.

  5. Avatar

    Hi, I do have the Rug Doctor. Yes, it’s heavy if you lift it, but I’m 4 foot 11, and I have no problem maneuvering it while cleaning the carpet. But the most important thing is, this cleaner doesn’t work in forward as it states in your review. It works pulling back, so that might be why whoever did the review had such a problem. Thank you, Wendy.

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