Best Handheld Carpet Cleaners – Steam & Spot Cleaner Reviews

Best Handheld Carpet Cleaner

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 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 interiors too

Cons:

  • A little difficult to the empty water tank

More About The Rug Doctor Portable Cleaner

There are plenty of times your carpet can 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 Rug Doctor. Although it's 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 either, so there's very little effort required on your part. 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.

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 messes
  • 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 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 messes 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 machine bacteria-free
  • Does great on couches and upholstery
  • Picks up debris and pet hair

Cons:

  • A large tank can be difficult to empty

More About The Hoover Portable Carpet Cleaner

If you're in the market for one of the best portable carpet cleaners, listen up! This Hoover is a fantastic solution for people that like to get their carpets clean, both on the surface, 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 carpet 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 debris and gets stubborn pet hair off soft surfaces.

Pros:

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

Cons:

  • Shorter battery life

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 stain 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 stain, 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. 

Pros:

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

Cons:

  • The nozzle can be tough to clean

More About The Bissell Little Green ProHeat

A lot of compact carpet cleaners use only cold water and a mixture of cleaning solution. 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. 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:

  • The tube connecting to solution occasionally loosens

More About The Bissell SpotBot

This is a carpet cleaner that gives you a custom clean, without any work on your part. As a hands-free model, it's nice to know you can use this cleaner and save yourself the strain. 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 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 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 cleanout

Cons:

  • The hose is somewhat short compared to other models

More About The Hoover ONEPWR

Cordless carpet cleaners are one of life's great conveniences, especially when you have plenty of carpet in your home. 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 cleanout.

Functions and Components of a Portable Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner

How does a portable carpet and upholstery cleaner work? 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.

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 debris and moisture left behind from cleaning.

Guidelines in Choosing the Best Handheld Carpet Cleaner

​​Brushes

The majority of carpet cleaners have brushes designed to get dirt and stains out of the carpet. The best carpet cleaners use motorized brushes; not only do they clean more efficiently, but they also cut down on the work you have to do.

​Suction

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

​Size and Capacity

While you want the best carpet upholstery cleaner 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.

Conclusion

When choosing one of the best portable carpet and upholstery cleaners, you should do your research. Carpet cleaners are no longer a professional only option; there are plenty of great carpet cleaners you can keep on hand at home. 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 carpet cleaner for your home and you'll never look back!

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