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Luckily, there’s a solution, and it comes in the form of a portable carpet cleaner.
Portable models are lightweight and easy to work with when it comes to spot-cleaning. For this reason, you might want to check out our best picks and buyer’s guide below.
In a hurry? Here are our top 5 portable carpet cleaners:
- Our #1 Pick: BISSELL, 20037 Pet Stain Eraser Cordless Portable Carpet Cleaner
- Best Spot and Stain Cleaner: BISSELL SpotClean ProHeat Portable Spot and Stain Carpet Cleaner, 2694
- Best Hoover Carpet Cleaner: Hoover Carpet Cleaner, Blue Spotless Deluxe
- Top Option for Pet Owners: BISSELL SpotClean Pet Pro Portable Carpet Cleaner, 2458
- Best Lightweight Carpet Cleaner: Hoover PowerDash Pet Compact Carpet Cleaner, Lightweight, FH50700
|Product Name||Weight||Cord Length/Run Time||Tank Capacity|
|BISSELL, 20037 Pet Stain Eraser Cordless Portable Carpet Cleaner||4.6 lbs||15 min||32 oz|
|BISSELL SpotClean ProHeat Portable Spot and Stain Carpet Cleaner, 2694||9 lbs||15 ft||37 oz|
|Hoover Carpet Cleaner, Blue Spotless Deluxe||5 lbs||5 ft||51 oz|
|BISSELL SpotClean Pet Pro Portable Carpet Cleaner, 2458||13 lbs||20 ft||96 oz|
|Hoover PowerDash Pet Compact Carpet Cleaner, Lightweight, FH50700||12.5 lbs||20 ft||0.5 GAL|
|Bissell Big Green Carpet Cleaner 86T3||48 lbs||25 ft||1.75 GAL|
|Rug Doctor Deep Carpet Cleaner||24 lbs||50 ft||Unknown|
|Rug Doctor Portable Spot Cleaner Vacuum||23 lbs||22 ft||1.9 l|
|McCulloch MC1275 Heavy-Duty Cleaner with 18 Accessories||12 lbs||15.7 ft||48 oz|
|AutoRight C900054.M Red SteamMachine Multi-Purpose Steam Cleaner||9.75 lbs||45 min||40 oz|
Highest Rated Portable Carpet Cleaners for the Money
BISSELL, 20037 Pet Stain Eraser Cordless Portable Carpet Cleaner
(Our #1 Pick)
Bissell Eraser portable carpet and upholstery cleaner is among the best portable carpet cleaners for pet owners. It features triple action, spraying, scrubbing, and sucking in all kinds of messes on your carpet, area rug, stairs, upholstery, car interior, and other similar areas.
It’s a cordless handheld carpet cleaner that’s battery-operated, featuring a lithium-ion battery. It provides some thirty minutes of run time, which should be enough for most of your cleaning tasks.
This handheld carpet cleaner is designed to lift away stains with its powerful cleaning formula and suction. It’s among the best options for deep cleaning soft and hard surfaces that your pet stained.
The cleaning formula sits in this multipurpose portable carpet cleaner, and you don’t have to mix it with water. This means that it’s always ready for use whenever you need a quick cleanup. This Bissell portable carpet upholstery spot cleaner comes with two trial-size formulas.
- Handheld and lightweight
- Washable nozzle and brush
- For all kinds of stains
- Takes up to five hours to recharge
BISSELL SpotClean ProHeat Portable Spot and Stain Carpet Cleaner, 2694
(Best Spot and Stain Cleaner)
This Bissell portable carpet upholstery spot cleaner is an excellent option if you need help with quick spot-cleaning. It has two water tanks, keeping dirty and clean water separated.
The tank capacity is 37 ounces, and both are removable for easy cleaning. It takes a few seconds to remove both tanks for when you need to fill or empty them.
The Bissell SpotClean Professional uses Heatwave technology that helps the cleaner to maintain water temperature as you clean. This allows you to add hot tap water whenever you need to, even if it’s in the middle of the process.
This portable carpet upholstery spot cleaner comes with a deep-reach tool and a 3-inch tough stain tool for cleaning upholstery, stairs, and other similarly hard-to-reach areas. It also comes with a self-cleaning tool for maintaining the cleaner itself.
- 15′ long power cord
- Tough stain tool
- Easy to store
- It leaves the carpet wet
Hoover Carpet Cleaner, Blue Spotless Deluxe
(Best Hoover Carpet Cleaner)
The Hoover spotless portable carpet upholstery cleaner lifts and removes stains with its deep-cleaning tools. It uses Hoover Expert detergents, cleaning even the most persistent stains and pet messes.
This spotless portable carpet upholstery cleaner comes with a multi-purpose tool that can clean stains and prevent mold, bacteria, and mildew from forming in the tool. Also, it uses self-cleaning technology that flushes the 5′ long hose after each use, preventing odor and bacteria buildup.
This spotless portable carpet upholstery cleaner has two tanks, keeping dirty and clean water separated at all times. This means you always know the water is clean when treat the stained area.
Also, this portable cleaner weighs nine pounds and has an ergonomically-designed handle for easier carrying. It’s simple to store away as well since it’s only 15” tall.
- Convenient design
- Self-cleaning hose
- Dual-tank technology
- It may leave some areas wet
BISSELL SpotClean Pet Pro Portable Carpet Cleaner, 2458
(Top Option for Pet Owners)
Bissell Spot Clean portable carpet cleaner is a small but powerful machine. It combines brushing action, and efficient cleaning solution to deliver the best stain removal on all kinds of surfaces.
This portable cleaner is designed to clean your carpet and upholstery, but also stairs, car interiors, area rugs, and other similar areas. You can clean pillows and other soft surfaces that your pet may have stained.
It has a large tank that doesn’t require frequent emptying and filling, meaning that you can clean larger areas in less time. On top of that, it comes with a 22′ long power cable and a 5′ extension hose that makes it easy to reach above-floor surfaces.
It comes with some handy tools, including a stain trapper tool and tough stain tool for extracting even the most embedded dirt.
- On-board cord and hose storage
- Great for tough stains
- For your carpet and upholstery
- It tends to leak when left with full tanks
Hoover PowerDash Pet Compact Carpet Cleaner, Lightweight, FH50700
(Best Lightweight Carpet Cleaner)
Hoover PowerDash is an upright carpet cleaner with a powerful pet brush roll and unique drying technology. This deep cleaner is easy to use as a portable cleaner, although you can use it to clean an entire room as well.
Its Powerspin pet brush roll drives deep into carpet fibers, extracting embedded urine, dirt, vomit, and whatever else has stained your carpeting.
The deep cleaner comes with a trial-size cleaning solution that helps to remove all the stubborn stains. On top of that, its HeatForce Power technology allows faster drying regardless of the type of carpet you’re cleaning.
The cleaner is compact and easy to use. It weighs less than 13 pounds, which means it’s rather simple to push and pull across different surfaces. It’s also easy to carry around from one room to another.
- Dual tank system
- Removable nozzle
- Low-profile design
- The tanks are a bit tricky to clean
Bissell Big Green Carpet Cleaner 86T3
Bissell Big Green is a large carpet cleaner that’s meant for big areas that don’t have as many furniture pieces. It has a tank capacity of 1.75 gallons, which is why it’s bigger than most carpet cleaners we included in our list.
This one comes with a big dirt lifter power brush that’s ideal for embedded stains that require scrubbing. On top of that, it features heavy-duty suction power that helps the area to dry in less time.
It’s important to note that Bissell Big Green comes with a 25′ long power cable and 9′ long hose. It also includes a 6” tough stain tool for spraying and scrubbing tough stains on upholstery, stairs, and other above-floor surfaces. However, it sometimes struggles to dry furniture as thoroughly as it dries carpeting.
- Collapsible handle
- On-board cord storage
- Powerful suction and scrubbing
- It weighs 48 pounds
Rug Doctor Deep Carpet Cleaner
This Rug Doctor portable spot cleaner is among the best solutions for quick cleaning of carpets. It’s a somewhat bulky machine that weighs 24 pounds, but it’s easy to use and store away nonetheless.
Its dual cross action brushes rotate to scrub your carpet at every angle. These are efficient in cleaning even the most stubborn stains, leaving your carpets plush and soft.
This carpet and upholstery cleaner lifts the dirt, while also drying the area so that you can walk over it immediately after cleaning. Also, it comes with a 28′ long power cable and a 7.7′ long hose that provides some extended reach.
As far as tools, this carpet and upholstery cleaner has spot-cleaning and upholstery tools that make it easy to clean above-floor areas like stairs, pet beds, upholstery, and others. Keep in mind that it has a Super Boost feature that boosts its power for some heavily soiled areas.
- Removable tool caddy
- Collapsible handle
- Great for deep cleaning
- Small water tank
Rug Doctor Portable Spot Cleaner Vacuum
Rug Doctor Portable Spot Cleaner is an ideal choice if you need a sturdy but compact carpet and upholstery cleaner for little messes. It has two 0.5-gallon tanks that hold clean and dirty water, ensuring that the two don’t get mixed.
This carpet and upholstery cleaner offers strong suction, using it to remove all stains and odors from your carpets, upholstery, and other soft surfaces. It has a 5.5′ long extension hose that makes it even easier to reach areas that are otherwise tricky to reach.
It’s meant for more than pet stains as it can remove everything from coffee, oils, wine, and makeup. Its pristine technology scrubs using rotating bristles. It doesn’t use any heat or steam that could damage your carpets.
This stain cleaner features a retractable handle that adds more to its portability even though it weighs nearly 20 pounds.
- Shorter drying time
- Features two carrying handles
- Two tanks
- It’s a bit heavy
McCulloch MC1275 Heavy-Duty Cleaner with 18 Accessories
McCulloch MC1275 multi purpose portable carpet cleaner uses hot, pressurized steam instead of a cleaning solution or any chemicals. It eliminates grime, stains, grease, and mold from carpets, but also tile, sealed wood flooring, and car interiors.
The spot carpet cleaner has a 48-ounce tank that heats in less than eight minutes, providing some 45 minutes of steam. Also, its lockable steam trigger provides continuous steam flow, allowing more comfortable use.
This spot carpet cleaner comes with a measuring cup and eighteen different accessories including nylon brushes, a scrub pad, mop pads, squeegee, floor mop, and more.
Keep in mind that its cord measures 15.7 feet while it also has a 9′ long steam hose. Its steam rate is at 33-37 g/min with a steam pressure of 43 PSI. This is truly one of the most versatile portable machines.
- 18 accessories included
- For soft and hard surfaces
- 45 minutes of continuous cleaning
- Loud operation
AutoRight C900054.M Red SteamMachine Multi-Purpose Steam Cleaner
AutoRight C900054.M is a carpet cleaning steam machine that uses 290° pressurized steam to loosen grease, grime, and all other types of dirt.
This steam cleaner is one of the best choices for cleaning and disinfecting soft and hard areas. It can deep clean carpets, upholstery, leather, windows, dashboards, and other similar surfaces.
It’s important to note that this one comes with eleven different accessories, providing a versatile performance. It includes nozzles, brushes, and several attachments that lift and remove stains without any chemicals.
This portable spot cleaner has a 40-ounce boiler tank and provides some 45 minutes of continuous steam. It comes with a detailed user manual, 8′ long power cord, and 8′ long extension hose.
- Run Time: 45 min
- Weight: 9.75 lbs
- Tank Capacity: 40 oz
- Includes eleven accessories
- 55 PSI steam
- Quick heating
- Could burn delicate materials
How to Choose the Best Portable Carpet Extractor
Cleaning carpets is rather simple when you have the right tools. For this reason, it’s critical to have the best portable carpet cleaner for the particular carpets you have.
Still, choosing among as many quality carpet cleaners isn’t always as straightforward because they all offer a wide range of features and functions. Take a few minutes to read the guide below as we share the most critical buying factors that can help you make the right decision.
Weight & Design
Portability is a critical factor for these carpet cleaners and is greatly affected by weight and design. Although most people go for super lightweight cleaners, even heavier ones can be easy to carry and transport.
It depends on the design and whether or not the machine was made to be portable. So, if the carpet cleaner of your choice is heavy, make sure that it has a handle, wheels, or another similar feature to help you move it.
Still, lightweight carpet cleaners are usually a better choice if you’re looking for simple portability.
Carpet cleaners and vacuum cleaners are two different types of cleaning machines. In other words, don’t expect your carpet cleaner to pick up pet hair and debris like a vacuum would.
However, portable carpet cleaners still have some suction that allows them to dry the surface. Your cleaner applies water and a cleaning solution to the area, which leaves the area wet. With suction power, the machine sucks out the excess liquid, leaving the area dry.
Although most of them can’t really perform as vacuum cleaners since they’re not intended to, they can still pick up a few things here and there.
The heating unit of your portable carpet cleaner is among the most critical components you should consider. It’s what allows the cleaner to extract even the most persistent stains.
You probably know that it’s easier to clean any stain when using hot water instead of cold. With that said, it’s safe to say that carpet cleaners that provide heated output are somewhat more efficient than those that provide cold water output.
Also, the heat can shorten the time that it takes for specific areas to dry after using water and cleaning solutions.
Since most portable carpet cleaning machines are also compact, you probably won’t have any issues with storage. However, you should still check if the cleaning machine fits your needs and preferences when it comes to how you can store it.
In most cases, small carpet cleaners can be stored in cabinets and shelves in your garage or storage room. Most of them also have on-board storage for accessories, power cord, and extension hoses.
Larger carpet cleaners are a bit trickier to store. If you’re interested in a larger cleaning machine, you should make sure that it has a collapsible handle and a similar on-board storage system.
Cleaning Solution Tank
At this point, you probably noticed that not all portable carpet cleaners use cleaning solutions. Some use nothing but water or steam to extract stains from your carpets.
Those that do use cleaning solutions are considered more efficient and versatile. The solution of your choice almost always goes into the transparent water tank.
However, some machines have a separate tank that holds the solution. It’s usually a small tank that releases some of the solution with a push of a button or another similar system.
The recovery tank is otherwise known as a dirty water tank. It’s found in dual-tank carpet cleaners that have clean and dirty water separated into two tanks.
Once the cleaner runs water through to clean whatever stain you’re dealing with, it then sucks in the excess water in order to dry the area as much as possible.
Recovery tanks are also available for separate purchase in case your original one breaks. However, make sure to go for the right model that fits the particular carpet cleaner you have.
Nearly every portable carpet cleaner has an extension hose that adds a bit to its overall reach. A hose can make it easier to clean above-floor areas, cleaning stains from upholstery and other similar surfaces.
Still, it’s always important to consider the length of the cord because it tends to differ among the portable units.
Although any hose is better than no hose at all, you still want to go for the best one you can find. It should be long enough to allow you to clean above-floor surfaces with ease. In most cases, they are between 5′ to 10′ long.
A pet owner can definitely benefit from a portable carpet cleaner. These cleaners are designed to deliver deep cleaning and removal of all kinds of stains that your pet can create.
The best portable carpet cleaner can extract vomit, urine, and other pet stains with ease. And, you can even use it as a spot cleaner to remove even the smallest stains the moment they appear.
Nearly every portable carpet cleaner features a few accessories that make it easier for a pet owner to clean after their pet.
Related post: Top Rated Carpet Cleaners for Households with Pets
As you probably noticed, most cleaners come with very few accessories and attachments. This is because these cleaners are designed to complete nearly all tasks with their primary tool.
Still, you’ll come across some attachments that affect the overall ease of use and versatility. Those that have more accessories are usually considered more versatile since they’re suitable for cleaning all surfaces.
A portable carpet cleaner with nothing but a carpet tool can only clean your carpeting. On the other hand, having a few more attachments at hand allows you to clean upholstery, stairs, car interiors, and other similar surfaces.
Think about the cleaning tasks you’re usually facing to determine what would be the best portable carpet cleaner for your needs. Portable cleaners are quite versatile, but some are definitely meant for more tasks than others.
Think about the number of carpets you have and whether they’re all the same type. For example, cleaning an area rug isn’t the same as cleaning a plush carpet. You’ll need a few attachments and maybe even variable power to clean both surfaces.
Do you want to clean upholstery as well? For this, you’ll need a portable carpet cleaner with an extension hose and an appropriate accessory.
Portable cleaners are usually smaller in size, which means they also have a narrower cleaning path. The size of the cleaning path determines how much you can clean in a single session.
For this reason, you should think about the cleaning tasks you’re dealing with. This will help you determine what would be the best cleaning path size for your needs.
Ideally, you should go for a portable carpet cleaner that has a few attachments that vary in size. This would allow you to clean larger areas and use it as a spot cleaner as well.
Portable Carpet Cleaner Types
As you noticed, there are more than just one type of portable carpet cleaner. Although having many options to choose from is great, this many cleaners can make it tricky to choose just one.
The first thing you should do is learn a bit about each carpet cleaner type. This way, you can easily figure out which type is the most suitable for the particular carpet you have.
Wet Vac Carpet Cleaner
Wet vac cleaners are probably the most popular type. These use a combination of cleaning soap or solution along with powerful brushes. The combination is efficient enough to extract even the most persistent stains.
These are ideal for restoring and lifting your carpet, giving it a plusher look. In most cases, a wet vac carpet cleaner has two tanks, separating dirty from clean water.
There’s a trigger you have to pull in order to spray the water and soap onto the surface before going over it. It’s then sucked in and into the dirty tank.
Related post: Our Top Picks of Commercial Carpeting Cleaners
Dry Carpet Cleaner
Dry carpet cleaners are actually powder products that you’re supposed to sprinkle onto the stain. Let’s say you have a spaghetti stain on your carpet. You should first remove the big chunks and blot the area to remove as much moisture as possible.
Once you do that, you can apply a dry carpet cleaner powder of your choice. Read the instructions on how to use the particular dry carpet cleaner you have so that you can achieve the best results.
In most cases, all you have to do is sprinkle and brush the powder in, leave it for a while and then vacuum the area.
Carpet Spot Cleaner
Carpet spot cleaner usually comes in the shape of a spray product. It’s a liquid solution designed specifically to tackle pet, food, oil, and makeup stains.
Spot cleaners are ideal for quick cleanups, especially when it comes to pet vomit and urine stains, but only if you treat the stain quickly after it appears. If you wait too long, you may not be able to get rid of it using a spot cleaner.
These are suitable for deep cleaning but only in small areas. You’d need a lot of product and too much time to clean your entire carpet this way.
In most cases, people use them to complement their carpet cleaner or vacuum. They’re perfect for when you don’t want to drag a heavy cleaner out to spot clean a tiny wine stain on your carpet and upholstery.
A carpet steamer uses hot water to loosen the dirt in your carpet. It then extracts it from the fibers using powerful suction, sending it straight into the dirty tank.
Although these are called steam cleaners, they actually use water instead of steam. The cleaner sprays hot water onto the area, loosening all the dirt and forcing it from the fibers into the tank.
Most of these cleaners are similar to one another, although a few features and specifications vary. What differs the most is the water temperature they use. Some cleaners allow you to set the water temperature to your preference.
Water temperature is something you should pay particular attention to. Water that’s too hot could damage your carpet, while water that’s not hot enough may not have any effect at all.
Cleaning your carpets is rarely ever fun, but a portable carpet cleaner can do a lot to make a process less tiring. Portable carpet cleaners are ideal for maintaining the floors spotless, which is particularly tricky for pet owners and parents.
Although spot cleaners are also efficient, nothing can beat a portable carpet cleaner when it comes to cleaning power, efficiency, and ease of use.
The best portable carpet cleaner makes it easy to deep clean your carpet and upholstery. It’s a handy cleaning machine that doesn’t take up much space and is simple to use at any time.
All you should do is find a portable carpet cleaner that fits your needs and preferences. Consider the factors we discussed in our buying guide, and we’re sure you won’t’ have any issues choosing among the best portable carpet cleaners we reviewed.
Sources and Resources
- Carpets and Healthy Homes
- Do Carpets Impair Indoor Air Quality and Cause Adverse Health Outcomes: A Review