Best Handheld Carpet Cleaners – Steam & Spot Cleaner Reviews

Carpet cleaners have come a long way, and you don't have to resort to a huge, heavy cleaner anymore. You don't even have to rent out a commercial-grade carpet cleaner. There are convenient, handheld machines you can use at home; they're just as efficient, but you can grab them the moment you need to clean up a stain.

Of course, there are dizzying amounts of carpet cleaners out there, and it can be tough to find the right one. We decided to take the challenge and look for the best handheld carpet cleaner or best portable carpet cleaner available.

Here are the spot cleaners that performed well during our tests:

Pros:

  • Very gentle on carpet
  • Uses motorized brushes and strong suction for deep cleaning
  • Works well for car interior stains too
  • Makes hot water fast

Cons:

  • A little difficult to the empty water tank for a portable spot cleaner

More About The Rug Doctor Portable Spot Cleaner

There are plenty of times your carpet has stains and could use a good spot clean. However, those times rarely merit the rental of a big, bulky carpet cleaner. The size is one thing we loved about this portable spot cleaner by Rug Doctor. Although the Rug Doctor portable spot cleaner fairly compact and lightweight, the Rug Doctor is still a hard worker; you can easily give your stairs and rugs a deep clean, or get rid of stubborn stains. Since it has wheels and an extendable handle, it's easy to move it anywhere.

There's no scrubbing required to remove stains with the Rug Doctor Portable Cleaner, so there's very little effort required on your part with this carpet and upholstery cleaner. This makes it a huge bonus for people that love clean carpet but hate the elbow grease needed. Another thing you’ll love is how easy it is to move over the carpet and take anywhere you need it. It's a great way to detail the interior of your car, without the professional cost.

All of this is the reason we chose the Rug Doctor as the best portable carpet cleaner. 

RElated Products

BISSELL 20037

BISSELL 20037 Pet Stain

Bissell Spotlifter Powerbrush

Bissell Spotlifter Powerbrush

COSTWAY Portable Carpet Cleaner

COSTWAY Multipurpose

Hoover PowerDash Pet

Hoover PowerDash Pet

Pros:

  • Extra-long cord (22') gives better reach
  • Takes care of odors from pet stains
  • Includes specialized tools

Cons:

  • Pet hair sometimes tangles in a nozzle

More About The Bissell Spotclean Professional Portable Pet Pro

Any pet owner knows that pet messes and stains can be one of the most difficult things to get out of your carpet. Not just the stain itself, but primarily the odor left behind. That's why it's important to have a good cleaning machine on hand. This Bissell spot cleaner is a quick way to get the mess up and prevent the odor from seeping further into your carpet. Since it comes with a couple of special tools, you have the arsenal you need to keep your carpets in pristine condition.

The nice thing is that you can use it to take care of pet stains anywhere. Even if your furry friend has an accident in your car or on the upholstery, you can use this spot cleaner to take care of it. It’s effective even as an upholstery cleaner. As a bonus, it has a long power cord; you can reach pretty much anywhere that needs a good cleaning, with 22 feet of reach.

Related Content: Best Cordless Handheld Vacuums

RElated Products

BISSELL 20037

BISSELL 20037 Pet Stain

Bissell Spotlifter Powerbrush

Bissell Spotlifter Powerbrush

COSTWAY Portable Carpet Cleaner

COSTWAY Multipurpose

Hoover PowerDash Pet

Hoover PowerDash Pet

Pros:

  • Self-cleaning hose keeps the hose and tank bacteria-free
  • Does great on couch and upholstery stains
  • Picks up debris and pet hair
  • Long hose that easy to maneuver

Cons:

  • A large water tank can be difficult to empty

More About The Hoover Portable Carpet & Spot Cleaner & 

If you're in the market for one of the best portable carpet cleaners for spot cleaning, listen up! This Hoover is a fantastic solution for people that like to get their carpets clean, both on the surface (stains), and where germs like to hide. You can get rid of superficial stains, while also eliminating mildew and microbes. It's a game-changer for busy homes, especially around the cold season. Another highlight of this Hoover is that the hose cleans and sanitizes itself; it's a hands-off way to keep your carpet cleaner in top form.

It's an effective, and honestly one of the best portable carpet and spot cleaners, but it's also a multi-tasker. While a lot of cleaners claim to clean couches and double up as an upholstery cleaner too, not all do a great job. However, this Hoover cleaner makes tired sofas look like new, which was pretty impressive. It even picks up a ton of stains and debris and gets stubborn pet hair off soft surfaces.

RElated Products

BISSELL 20037

BISSELL 20037 Pet Stain

Bissell Spotlifter Powerbrush

Bissell Spotlifter Powerbrush

COSTWAY Portable Carpet Cleaner

COSTWAY Multipurpose

Hoover PowerDash Pet

Hoover PowerDash Pet

Pros:

  • Very lightweight and compact
  • Ready to use; you don’t need to add water
  • Cordless and easy to use anywhere
  • Effective against pet stains

Cons:

  • Small tank and no hose

More About The Bissell Pet Stain Eraser

When your pets have more frequent accidents (especially if you have young pets), it can get exhausting to scrub the stains on your hands and knees. That's especially true if it happens more than occasionally. It can be a pain to get a heavy carpet cleaner out every time, too. We loved how compact and lightweight this carpet cleaner and upholstery is. It's roughly the size of your typical handheld vacuum, and just as easy to use. You don't even have to add extra water before you clean up. The formula is stored in the cleaner itself, so you just have to top it off when it's low.

The cleaning formula sprays right on the stains, so it's targeted only where the mess is. Then, the brushes take care of all the scrubbing work, while powerful suction pulls up the mess. This spot cleaner’s suction is strong, so you don't have to worry about cleaning the solution being left behind on your carpets. It's one of the best portable carpet and upholstery cleaners options on this list. 

RElated Products

BISSELL 20037

BISSELL 20037 Pet Stain

Bissell Spotlifter Powerbrush

Bissell Spotlifter Powerbrush

COSTWAY Portable Carpet Cleaner

COSTWAY Multipurpose

Hoover PowerDash Pet

Hoover PowerDash Pet

Pros:

  • Low profile cleans under furniture and tough areas
  • Includes crevice and tough stains tool
  • Comes with special cleaning formula for stains and odors

Cons:

  • The hose nozzle can be tough to clean

More About The Bissell Little Green ProHeat

A lot of compact cleaners use only cold water and a mixture of cleaning solution to remove stains. Sure, that can get your carpets looking clean. But adding a water heater and using hot water is the best way to take care of really stubborn stains. The way this Bissell steam cleaner heats the water before cleaning definitely makes it stand out from its peers in the market. Your carpet will just plain feel cleaner afterward. Not all carpet cleaners use steam, so if you want a your carpets to be sanitized, choosing on of the recommended steam cleaners rather than just a carpet cleaner is the way to go.

The handle and regular brush are well designed to tackle stains. While the handle is slim, it's also wide enough to cover fairly large areas with a single pass. Since it's slimmer than a lot of brushes, you can get under furniture and other often neglected spots. For those tough, set-in stains, it comes with a special 'tough stain' tool. You can even get those cracks and crevices cleaned up with the special 2 in 1 tool designed to do just that.

Pros:

  • Two cleaning modes with three cleaning steps
  • Just set it on stains, no work
  • Offers deep three-stage cleaning

Cons:

  • Small tank for the size of the unit itself

More About The Bissell SpotBot

The Bissell Spotbot is a carpet cleaner that gives you a custom clean, without any work on your part to remove stains. As a hands-free model, it's nice to know you can use this cleaner and save yourself the strain of scrubbing stains. You can even choose between having it do a light surface clean, or having it do a thorough deep clean. Just set the kind of clean you need, set the SpotBot down, and let it get to work for you. It even cleans just like you would, but more efficiently, of course.

Whether light spot or deep cleaning, it goes through a three-step process to clean. It'll spray the stain with cleaner, scrub it out of the carpet, and suck up all the dirt and moisture.

It's an effective spot cleaner for any home, but apartment dwellers can see this as a real lifesaver. It takes up virtually no storage space and fits in any cleaning closet or under the sink storage area. If you have pets and heavy traffic areas, this is one of the most hassle-free ways to clean your carpets.

Pros:

  • Wireless and easy to maneuver
  • Gets into tight, difficult spots to clean
  • Easy to empty and clean out
  • Great for removing dirt stains on high traffic areas like stairs

Cons:

  • The hose tool is somewhat short compared to other models

More About The Hoover ONEPWR

Cordless cleaners are one of life's great conveniences, especially when you have plenty of carpet in your home that may have dirt stains. That's one reason you will like this Hoover. You can take it to clean anywhere, even when a plugin isn't available. Just because it's cordless doesn't mean it skimps on power though; there's still plenty of suction to get ground-in dirt out of the carpet. Once you run this carpet cleaner over a stain, you'll never look at your floors the same way again.

You’ll appreciate how easy to maneuver it is. Being able to get tight spots clean makes a huge difference in how your carpet looks. Another thing you’ll like is that it's easy to use from start to finish, which is a huge bonus since a lot of carpet cleaners are notoriously difficult to clean.

The tank is also large, and does the job for multiple cleaning sessions on stairs and more.

Functions and Components of a Portable Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner

How does a portable carpet and upholstery cleaner work to remove a stain? Every piece of the machine has a purpose and a function, so let's look at what each part does:

The tanks hold liquids from the cleaner, but there are two tanks. One holds a cleaning solution or cleaner water, while the other keeps dirty water separate. Its essential to keep the dirty water away from the clean water, otherwise you're just cycling the dirty water back into your stairs or upholstery.

The pump connects to the tank with a cleaning solution to spray the cleaner onto your carpet. While the pressure the pump exerts can vary somewhat, it's usually a minimum of 60 psi.At times, it can go up to 500 psi.

The vacuum component of your carpet cleaner is what provides the suction. It picks up any dirt, debris and moisture left behind from a spot cleaning job.

Depending on the specific model you choose for your cleaning, you have have a different brush, different capacity to remove a set in stain, different usability and more from model to model. The brush should be anti tangle, and the unit itself should be able to handle a fresh stain, whereas a more powerful unit can handle a set in stain.

Guidelines For Choosing Handheld Carpet Cleaner

​​Brushes

The majority of carpet cleaning machines have a brush that's designed to get dirt and stains out of the carpet. The best cleaners use motorized brushes; not only do they clean more efficiently with more power, but they also cut down on the work you have to do.

The brushes you should look for should be anti-tangle, and gentle enough to be used on all surfaces. Just because a brush is soft and "gentle" doesn't mean it won't do a good job cleaning. Most surfaces don't need to be brutally scrubbed unless you're deep cleaning heavily soiled areas. 

The brushes are what help lift up dirt from the spot you want to clean, while the hot water from the water tank cleans and sanitizes the surface. If you have a pet stain, you'll need soft brushes and powerful suction to clean carpet and upholstery effectively.

Pet owners! If you have a dog or cat that sheds excessively, the brushes are the most important factor to consider when shopping for a handheld cleaning products. Simply opting for the smallest cleaning machine that is easy to store could lead to a bad experience. Pet owners have more unique needs than those without pets. 

​Suction Power

Hose suction performs two tasks; first, it gets debris out of your carpet, and second, it sucks up the dirty water left behind on the spot. The more powerful the suction of your cleaning machine, the better your cleaner will work on a spot. Of course, good cleaning suction also ensures a quicker dry time, since less moisture is left behind. A quick dry time also helps to keep carpets looking great.

Not all cleaners are created equally! Normally, lower priced portable spot cleaners will work great at first, but you may run into issues down the road with loss of suction. If you're on a budget, we recommend getting the highest quality cleaning machine you can afford, and cleaning it frequently. By cleaning your machine at least once every 4-5 uses, you dramatically increase the its lifespan. 

​Size and Capacity

While you want the best carpet upholstery cleaning machine that's efficient, you also want to make sure it's compact enough to store easily and retrieve whenever you need it. However, you should still look for a carpet cleaner with a tank capacity of at least 30 ounces, so you can get a thorough clean without pausing to refill it.

If you have space, you can get a bigger carpet cleaner with a larger tank, especially if you have plenty of carpeted floors. If you live in a tinier space and don't have much carpet to worry about, you can get a carpet cleaner with a smaller tank. Just be sure it'll work for the areas you need to clean.

A portable carpet cleaner may or may not have a power cord. In fact, some of the best best lightweight cleaners are cordless. Either way, it should be lightweight enough to carry around and use on areas like stairs, or in your car. The size and weight are what technically makes a cleaner portable, and should be something you consider.

Tools

Not all cleaners come with a range of tool options, but some of them do. If you have a hose tool attachment, you'll be able to get into tighter spaces to clean more messes in hard to reach areas. You should also consider if the machine has wheels or not. Wheels and attachments are a great tool for maneuverability if you're cleaning a larger area like a staircase.

You should also consider the tanks ability to hold water. Messes won't get cleaned without clean water in the tank. Depending on the model you get, you may need hot or cold water to dig up a stubborn stain. Various attachments can be used for spots and stains, depending on the type of machine you have. 

Conclusion

When choosing one of the best portable carpet and upholstery cleaners, you should do your research and not just buy one on the spot. Carpet cleaners are no longer a professional cleaning only option; there are plenty of great portable carpet cleaners and portable spot cleaners you can keep on hand at home for messes.

They're a tool you can use for years, and a tool you can rely on to save you money in the long run. You'll be shocked at the difference it makes in how your floors look. No need to fret over old, ugly stains, just choose the best handheld cleaning tool for your cleaning your home and you'll never look back!

Depending on the model you choose, they may either just clean spots, or they may be able to tackle a bigger stain. You should also consider the machines ability to get a stain out of multiple surfaces such as carpet or upholstery. Attachments are also an important thing to add to your list of things to consider, as is the power of the brush roll, and the power of the model itself. 

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *