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Top carpet cleaners to buy in 2020

These shampooers will make your carpets look good as new.

Carpet cleaners, also called carpet shampooers, can be used to give the rugs in your home a deep sudsing. They remove dirt and grime more effectively than a regular vacuum can, and are popular among pet owners for removing dander. Choose from top-rated models and get tips for using one.

Compare some of the best carpet shampooers

NameAvg. price
TypeWeight (lbs)Tank size (gal)Purchase
Bissell ProHeat 2X Revolution Pet Pro Full-Size Carpet Cleaner
Bissell ProHeat 2X Revolution Pet Pro Full-Size Carpet Cleaner
$270Upright17.51Buy now
Hoover PowerDash Pet Carpet Cleaner
Hoover PowerDash Pet Carpet Cleaner
$100Upright12.50.5Buy now
Bissell Big Green Professional Carpet Cleaner Machine
Bissell Big Green Professional Carpet Cleaner Machine
$400Upright481.75Buy now
Rug Doctor FlexClean All-in-One Floor Cleaner
Rug Doctor Mighty Pro X3 Family Pack
$242Upright211.5Buy now
Bissell SpotBot Pet handsfree Spot and Stain Portable Deep Cleaner
Bissell SpotBot Pet handsfree Spot and Stain Portable Deep Cleaner
$180Spot cleaner1430.6 ozBuy now
Rug Doctor Deep Carpet Cleaner
Rug Doctor Portable Spot Cleaner
$899Upright241Buy now
Data obtained May 2020. Prices are subject to change and should be used only as a general guide.

What is a carpet shampooer?

Carpet shampooers are home appliances designed to deeply clean your floors. They’re more effective than vacuuming since they wash out dirt embedded deep within the carpet — not just the particles resting on top.

Carpet shampooers use water, concentrated detergent and suction to whip up a lathered foam that breaks down dirt particles residing in carpets.

Do I need carpet shampoo?

Yes. All of the carpet cleaner brands we’ve listed above also offer carpet shampoo to use in the machines. You can buy carpet shampoo online from retailers like Amazon and Target.

What types are available?

You can choose between two main types of carpet shampooers: upright shampooers and spot cleaners.

  • Upright shampooers. A more affordable alternative to professional cleaning, these carpet shampooers are designed for deep cleaning as well as removing dirt and odors. They use a motorized brush to lift dirt from your carpet and have attachments to help you clean hard-to-reach spots.
  • Spot cleaners. Spot cleaners are suitable for specific small areas with tough stains. Though not designed to clean large areas all at once, these handheld devices are compact, light and much easier to store than upright shampooers.

How to compare carpet shampooers

The right carpet shampooer for you will depend on how often you plan to use it and where you plan to use it. When purchasing a carpet shampooer, consider these features:

How to use a carpet shampooer

Before beginning, you might want to vacuum the area to remove debris. Then you’ll need to load water and cleaning solution into the machine, depending on your model. Most models have a trigger or switch that releases the detergent solution into the carpet.

After you release the cleaning solution, move the cleaning brush over the dirty area to help the water seep into the carpet. Next, activate the suction mode, which dries the carpet and removes the cleaning solution. Most manufacturers suggest going over each area of carpet at least twice to make sure all of the solution has been removed.

Top tips for effective cleaning

  1. Patch test. Go over a small, inconspicuous area of carpet to test that your settings are correct. It’s better to realize something is wrong at the start than after you’ve finished your first room.
  2. Don’t use too much solution. When you’re using the trigger to release the detergent solution, it’s better to use a “less is more” approach. If you add too much shampoo, it can sit in the carpet long after you’ve finished cleaning.
  3. Add water. If you’re worried you’ve over-shampooed, go over areas with a tank of clean water to provide an extra rinse for your carpet.
  4. Vacuum. Once your carpet has dried, go over it with a vacuum cleaner to pick up any leftover particles that the shampooer has brought to the surface.

How long will my carpet be wet after shampooing?

Drying times vary, depending on the manufacturer and the individual conditions. Some manufacturers say your carpet will be dry in as a little as two hours, while others say it make take six hours or more to dry completely.

However, there are some steps you can take to quicken drying times, including going over the carpet multiple times with the suction. If you clean your carpets on a hot day or use fans to circulate more air, your carpets will also dry quicker.

Ready to buy? Compare popular carpet shampooers

Bottom line

If you regularly shampoo your carpets, investing in a carpet shampooer of your own could be worth the price tag. Before springing for a pricy machine, compare a few of the most popular options in this guide to get the most cleaning power for your buck.

How did we choose these products?

To choose our list of the best carpet shampooers, we conducted online research to determine some of the most popular models currently available. We compared features like size, effectiveness and prices, taking into account third-party product reviews.

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