The best carpet cleaners are machines that will leave your floors far cleaner than if a simple vacuum had passed over them.  Fortunately, you no longer have to hire the pros to show up with their machines for you.  There are now carpet cleaners available for home use that can match the performance of commercial machines.  The five listed below are just a few of the absolute best ones.

Bissell Big Green Deep Cleaning Machine 86T3/86T3Q

Bissell Big Green Deep Cleaning Machine 86T3 86T3Q

This professional-grade carpet cleaner uses rotating PowerBrush technology to lift dirt and debris right from the carpet.  It also has a built-in flow indicator for convenience.

Pros

  • Very large collection and solution tanks
  • Long power cords
  • Great cleaning performance

Cons

  • A bit of a monster size-wise

Let’s get it straight: this is not a small, easy-to-maneuver tool, especially if you’re a relatively petite person.  It’s also not exactly bargain-basement-cheap at around $400.  What it is, though, is effective.  This is a strong and sturdy carpet cleaner that really does give the professional carpet cleaning machines a run for their money, getting spots and stains out of most carpets without much fuss.  It’s also easy to set up, so you can get right to cleaning after getting it out of the box.  Overall, it’s definitely well worth the cost and has earned a solid place in this lineup.

Rug Doctor Mighty Pro X3 Pet Pack

Rug Doctor Mighty Pro X3 Pet Pack

This high-amperage, 1.74HP machine comes with a vibrating brush that helps lift dirt right from the very base of the carpet.  It tolerates hot water cleaning, has an adjustable handle, and has a 10.8-in cleaning path.

Pros

  • Long (5-year) warranty
  • Cleans more effectively than most competing “regular/home-use” models
  • Very sturdy build

Cons

  • Tanks are hard to fill in the sink
  • Lower suction than many other commercial-grade models

The Rug Doctor is arguably the best-known carpet cleaner available for homeowners today.  It stands up well to its famed reputation as it is relatively easy to use, effective, and very durable.  It does suffer from low suction power, though, as this means it tends to leave carpets wetter than other models do.  Like most of its competitors, it’s also relatively unwieldy if you’re not that muscular.  Still, it does its job and for a reasonable price, at under $400.

Hoover FH50150 Power Scrub Deluxe Carpet Washer

Hoover FH50150 Power Scrub Deluxe Carpet Washer

This lightweight cleaner sports the rotating brushes of Hoover’s Spinscrub technology and uses a dual V nozzle to help dry carpeting with heated air.  It also comes with an 8-foot hose and upholstery attachment.

Pros

  • Switch lets you choose whether to use the cleaning solution or plain water
  • Easy to assemble
  • Easy to maneuver

Cons

  • Small size means you have to work a little harder and make more refills to cover as much area as the bigger models

It’s necessary to have some home-use models on this list, of course—the FH50150 is the first of them.  Naturally, it costs less than the two models preceding it in this lineup, which are both commercial-grade units: it costs only $140.  Despite that big cut in costs, it’s not a shabby buy at all.  It cleans most stubborn stains quite well and the forced-air mechanism does help dry carpet faster.  It’s not as powerful as the bigger models, of course, but for most homeowners, this is a pretty good machine to have in the closet anyway.

Bissell SpotClean Professional Portable Carpet Cleaner

Bissell SpotClean Professional Portable Carpet Cleaner

This professional-grade carpet cleaner is designed specifically for spot removal.  It comes with upholstery and stair tools and a flex hose for easy cleaning in tight spaces.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Long cord
  • Effective at spot removal

Cons

  • Noisy

This isn’t a quiet machine, but it is pretty cheap for its performance.  It costs only $130 and delivers some impressive spot cleaning capable of taking on some of the worst pet messes.  However, it’s not exactly ideal if you want an overall carpet cleaner.  It’s not a steam cleaner, either.  It’s really just for spot cleaning, but that’s what most people want to do when deep cleaning carpets, anyway.

Bissell Deep Clean Deluxe 36Z9

Bissell Deep Clean Deluxe 36Z9

Formulated specifically for pet-owning households, the 36Z9 uses a Cleanshot Trigger for easier stain pre-treatment removal as well as a pet hair basket for trapping shed fur.  It also has Heatwave Technology to ensure warm water flow and dual power brushes.

Pros

  • Heatwave technology keeps water warm
  • Tank is large
  • Cleanshot Trigger is great for pretreating stains

Cons

  • Carpet remains rather wet after cleaning

This is a good choice if one of the reasons you want to clean your floors is pet presence. In addition to cleaning stains, it drags up a surprising amount of pet hair. The presence of only one tank may throw people off who may be used to two units, though—a piece inside the tank still keeps dirty water out of the clean one, but it’s basically just one tank you’ll be wrestling with come cleaning and pouring-out time.  That’s not exactly a good thing, as it can be a headache to work due to the design.  Still, this remains a very nice machine for under $250 and will definitely be useful for a lot of pet owners.

Conclusion

If what you need is a serious carpet cleaning machine, the best buy in this list is still the first item, which is the Bissell 86T3.  It’s big and can be hard to store/maneuver, yes, but carpet-cleaning wise, it’s second to none.  Of course, not everyone needs a pro-grade machine.

For lighter-use buyers, the Hoover model is perfectly adequate and should cover most of their needs with nearly as much efficiency as the Bissell 86T3.  Finally, those who prefer to vacuum most of their carpets and just do occasional spot-cleaning may enjoy the SpotClean model from Bissell, as it fits their needs perfectly.

If you’re interested in either of the household Hoover or Bissell models on this list, you might also want to check out our article comparing Hoover vs Bissell Carpet Cleaners, which reviews a few other similar models.