The best carpet cleaner for families and pet owners
Take a look at our pick of the best spot and upright carpet cleaners from top brands, VAX, Karcher, Bissell, Rug Doctor and more
Living in a busy household, there's inevitably going to be accidents, spillages, or messes. Whether that's your toddler chucking their dinner on the floor, or big muddy paw prints from your dog running through the house. If your heart drops whenever this happens then you need a carpet cleaner or spot cleaner.
A dirty looking carpet can really ruin the look of your home, even if everywhere else is spotless. Cleaning and vacuuming your carpets frequently can actually help preserve your them and ensure they last longer, and a carpet cleaner gets so much deeper to really get rid of grime and dirt.
Best carpet cleaners at a glance
- Best carpet cleaner for a deep clean: VAX Dual Power Carpet Cleaner, £129
- Best spot carpet cleaner for pets: Bissell SpotClean Pet Pro, £169
- Best vacuum and carpet cleaner: George GVE370 Wet & Dry Bagged Cylinder Vacuum Cleaner, £250
- Best versatile carpet cleaner: Karcher SC3 Easyfix Cylinder Steam Cleaner, £160
- Best carpet cleaner with pre-treatment wand: VAX Platinum SmartWash Pet-Design Carpet Cleaner, £229
- Best carpet cleaner for transporting: Rug Doctor Spot Portable Cylinder Carpet Cleaner, £125
- Best carpet cleaner for large homes: VAX Rapid Power CWGRV011 Revive Carpet Cleaner, £139
- Best handheld carpet cleaner: Bissell 2982E Pet Stain Eraser Carpet Cleaner, £129.99
- Best budget carpet cleaner: VAX Compact Power Plus CDCW-CPXP Carpet Cleaner, £110
- Best cordless spot carpet cleaner: VAX ONEPWR SpotlessGo Cordless Spot Cleaner, £149
It might seem like a small thing, but cleaning your carpet with a slightly more heavy duty carpet cleaner can be immensely satisfying. If you don't believe us, just check TikTok and you'll find a whole range of viral carpet cleaning videos for inspiration. Some of our tester images below show just how dirty our carpets can get without us even knowing. Even if you vacuum regularly, dirt and grime can get trapped deep within the carpet fibres causing odours, stains and other unsightly marks. This is why a more heavy duty carpet cleaner is a great tool to have in your cleaning cupboard.
To help you find a carpet cleaner suitable for you and your family, we thoroughly researched the different types available and asked our Top Tester's Club which carpet cleaner they use and recommend.
If you need a new vacuum to help clean your carpets, then take a look at our pick of the best cordless vacuums and our in depth comparison of top brands, Shark vs Dyson. For cleaning hard floors, we have a roundup of the best mops.
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What to consider when buying a carpet cleaner
Weight – Upright cleaners tend to be heavier than spot cleaners due to their larger capacity and their upright design. It's important to consider whether the carpet cleaner is light enough for you to carry around your house and potentially up and down stairs.
Type of cleaning – There are different carpet cleaners depending on the type of clean you want to do. There are all over carpet cleaners which are suitable for cleaning the whole carpet. There are spot cleaners which are designed to clean up patches of dirt and stains. There are also steam cleaners which are incredibly versatile and can be used to clean pretty much everything, not just carpets.
Capacity – The capacity you need depends on how big the area you need to clean is. Also, if you would rather a lightweight carpet cleaner and don't mind emptying and refilling the tanks more often, then a smaller capacity may not be as big an issue for you.
Attachments – Carpet cleaners can be very useful for cleaning mattresses, sofas, upholstery and car interiors, especially if you get a carpet cleaner with lots of different attachments. If you want to use your carpet cleaner for more than just your carpets then be sure to check the attachments you need are included.
Our pick of the best carpet cleaners
1. VAX Dual Power Carpet Cleaner, £129
– Best for a deep clean
Weight: 5.8kg | Capacity: 1.5L (dirty), 2.7L (clean) | Cord: 8m | Power: 800W
If you want to deep clean your carpets then this Vax cleaner is brilliant. It has dual rotating brush bars which roll deep down into your carpets to remove stubborn dirt and stains. It also features a 30cm wide cleaning head so it enables you to do a large deep clean quickly.
Parent tester Natasha has this carpet cleaner and says, "It's really good, I was shocked at how much dirt came out of the carpets. This was my first go on my landing stairs, I was horrified how dirty it was (pictured above)."
You don't need to worry about the dirty water contaminating the clean water either thanks it its twin tank technology.
Even though it provides a deep clean, it is still lightweight and easy to use. You can empty the water tanks with just the touch of a clip and the cleaning solution can be measured in the screw cap to ensure you get the right proportion of water to cleaning solution.
The VAX ultra detergent is included with the carpet cleaner so you're ready to clean instantly. You also get a 1 year guarantee.
Pros: Provides an all over deep clean, wide cleaning head, twin tank technology, easy to use, lightweight, comes with cleaning solution
Cons: Not as compact as other options
2. Bissell SpotClean Pet Pro, £169
– Best spot cleaner for pets
Weight: 5.9kg | Capacity: 2.8L | Cord: 6.5m | Power: 750W
If you don't want to clean the whole carpet and just want a tool to clean patches, messes or spills on your carpets then a spot cleaner may be just what you need. This Bissell one is ideal for pet owners and comes with an additional 2-in-1 pet tool.
Parent tester Chloe loves her Bissell SpotClean Pet Pro, "I've cleaned everything, sofas, car and carpet. I love it! It removed all my stains". MFM Editor Gemma also has this cleaner and says, "it's made light work of the mess my cat has made, but it is quite noisy to run which is less appealing to our toddler!"
It's smaller than a regular carpet cleaner making it easy to store and easier to quickly get out when a mess does arise. It has powerful suction for hard to remove dirt and stains.
The hose is 1.5m long allowing you to reach under tables or clean other hard to reach areas of your house. For a spot cleaner, it has a large capacity so you should be able to clean for quite a while without having to worry about emptying it.
The spot cleaner comes with an 8cm Tough Stain Tool, a Stain Trapper Tool and Wash & Protect Pet Cleaning Solution. You also get a 3-year warranty.
Pros: 2-in-1 pet tool, spot cleans, compact, long hose, decent capacity, 3 year warranty
Cons: May not be suitable for all over carpet clean, noisy
3. George GVE370 Wet & Dry Bagged Cylinder Vacuum Cleaner, £250
– Best vacuum and carpet cleaner
Weight: 11.2kg | Capacity: 9L (wet), 15L (dry) | Cord: 10m | Power: 1,060W
We all know the trustworthy and friendly Henry. Let us introduce you to his friend George, a vacuum and carpet cleaner all-in-one.
Unlike most other carpet cleaners on this list, this one has the ability to clean both carpets and hard floors. The Dual Scrub Floor Tool helps you with hard-floor cleaning, and the Wash Kit provides you with everything you need to clean and spot clean your carpets and upholstery.
George also has a long 1.9m hose and 10m power cord to make the cleaning as easy as possible. However, he is quite a bit heavier than the other carpet cleaners, over double the weight of some.
With George you will get a mattress nozzle, crevice nozzle, upholstery nozzle, dusting brush, combination floor nozzle, carpet extraction tool, upholstery extraction tool, dual scrub wet pick-up tool and combi floor tool. You should have all the tools you need to vacuum and deep clean your floors, cars and upholstery. It does not include cleaning solution.
Although it is quite big to store, you have to consider that this is a 2-in-1 so you may not need a vacuum as well and it could actually end up saving you space.
You also get a 2-year manufacturer's guarantee.
Pros: Vacuum and carpet cleaner, large capacity, lots of tools, long hose and cord, 2- year guarantee
Cons: Heavy, does not come with cleaning solution
4. Karcher SC3 Easyfix Cylinder Steam Cleaner, £160
– Best for versatility
Weight: 3.1kg | Capacity: 1L | Cord: 5m | Power: 1,900W
This carpet cleaner is actually a steam cleaner, making it incredibly versatile. You can use it to clean just about anything from kitchen grease, bathroom limescale and mould to hard floors and of course, carpets. It's great if you're short on space and need one tool that'll do it all.
Not only is it versatile but the steam means it provides a brilliant hygienic clean too, killing 99.99% of bacteria, using only tap water. No chemicals are needed with this steam cleaner and it heats up ready to clean in just 30 seconds.
The cleaner is very light, weighing just 3.1kg, however, this does show as the capacity is only 1L, much smaller than other carpet cleaners featured on this list.
To help you clean your whole house, the steam cleaner comes with lots of tools; hand nozzle, detail nozzle, round brush, floor cloth, microfibre cover, descaler cartridge and a steam hose with gun.
You also get a 2-year manufacture's guarantee.
Pros: Versatile, hygienic steam clean, no need for chemicals, lightweight, lots of tools provided, 2-year manufacture's guarantee
Cons: Not a very large capacity
5. VAX Platinum SmartWash Pet-Design Carpet Cleaner, £229
– Best for pre-treatment
Weight: 8.95kg | Capacity: 1.9L | Cord: 9m | Power: 1,200W
One of the best things about this carpet cleaner is its integrated pre-treatment wand. You can detach it with a quick release button for convenient stain removal all round your home. If you have tough stains, it's a good idea to pre-treat them with the wand and then do your all over clean with the carpet cleaner.
The wand and carpet cleaner also neutralises odours as well as removes stains and dirt. If you hate the feeling of damp carpets after you've cleaned them then you can use dry mode, your carpets will dry in as little as 1 hour after washing.
Parent tester Hayley loves the heated element which help dry floors quickly and says, "it definitely freshens everything up".
The brush bristles are coated to antimicrobial treatments but when you do need to clean them, or any other components of the cleaner, you will find them very easy to remove.
A lovely addition to this carpet cleaner is the SpinScrub hand tool which has automatic rotating bristles to save you from vigorously scrubbing.
It's clever too, its automix technology means you don't need to measure out the solution as it will sort this all out for you and ensure you have the right proportion of water to cleaner. It also automatically dispenses the correct amount onto the floor.
The carpet cleaner comes with 2 x 250ml VAX Platinum Antibacterial Solution, a 250 ml VAX Pet Stain & Odour Remover and a 6-year guarantee.
Pros: Integrated pre-treatment wand. neutralises odours, carpets dry quickly, antimicrobial treated bushes, SpinScrub tool, automatically measures cleaning solution, comes with 3 solutions, 6-year guarantee
Cons: Quite heavy and large to store, does not come with huge amount of additional tools for price
6. Rug Doctor Spot Portable Cylinder Carpet Cleaner, £125
– Best for transporting
Weight: 7.45kg | Capacity: 1.9L (clean), 1.9L (dirty) | Cord: 4.6m | Power: 1,100W
The Rug Doctor is a very powerful spot cleaner. It has twice the suction compared to most other portable carpet cleaners. However, even though it's quite a bit more powerful and heavier, it's still really easy to transport around the house or to the car thanks to its retractable handle and wheels. You can wheel it around like a suitcase.
The hand tackles deep stains and can be used for carpets, car interior, upholstery and fabrics. It sucks up spills and provides edge to edge cleaning with a safety cut out indicator when the tank is full.
The cleaner comes with a 2-year warranty.
Pros: Easy to transport, very powerful spot cleaner, can be used indoors and outdoors, comes with 2-year warranty
Cons: Quite heavy for a spot cleaner, does not come with cleaning solution
7. VAX Rapid Power CWGRV011 Revive Carpet Cleaner, £139
– Best for large houses
Weight: 8.4kg | Capacity: 4.7L (clean), 4.7L (dirty) | Cord: 8m | Power: 1,200W
If you have a large house or just a lot of carpet to clean then this VAX with an extra large capacity may be just what you need. It has a 4.7L capacity for dirty water and a 4.7L capacity for clean water, meaning you don't have to keep refilling and emptying it.
Parent tester Jo has the VAX cleaner and said, "It does a really good job of cleaning and was very helpful during potty training. Having a dehumidifier helps to speed up the drying time which can limit when you are able to clean". However, Jo did comment that it is quite big and bulky. Parent tester Isabelle also recommends this carpet cleaner, "I absolutely love it, it makes the carpets look like new but also brings up our sofa and staircase lovely. It isn't too heavy and the drying option makes it quicker. It's so satisfying emptying the dirty water out".
The twin tank technology also means that the dirty and clean water will never mix.
It also has dry mode and automix technology, like the VAX Platinum so your carpets can be dry in up to 1 hour and there's no need to measure out your cleaning solution.
This cleaner comes with a SpinScrub brush and provides edge to edge cleaning all the way up to the skirting boards.
The VAX carpet cleaner has a manufacturer's 2-year guarantee, crevice tool, upholstery tool and 250ml platinum solution.
Pros: Large capacity, twin tank technology, carpets dry quickly, no need to measure cleaning solution, comes with SpinScrub brush, edge to edge cleaning
Cons: Quite heavy and large to store
8. Bissell 2982E Pet Stain Eraser Carpet Cleaner, £129.99
– Best handheld carpet cleaner
Weight: 2kg | Capacity: 0.23L (clean), 0.2L (dirty) | Cord: Cordless | Power: 18W
This is one of the most portable upholstery and carpet cleaners you can get. It's cordless and weighs just 2kg.
This is specially designed for busy families, especially pet owners and can be used to clean up stains and dog messes on carpets, stairs, upholstery, area rugs, car interiors and more.
It has a powerful rotating DirtLifter PowerBrush to help remove any tough stains.
The cordless carpet cleaner has a runtime of about 20 minutes.
As you would expect due to its size, it does have a very small capacity, however, it does still separate the clean and dirty water to stop it getting contaminated.
The Pet Stain Eraser comes with a 2-year manufacturer's guarantee.
If you like the look of this handheld carpet cleaner then you might want to take a look at our roundup of the best handheld vacuum cleaners.
Pros: Lightweight, cordless, removed tough stains, 2-year guarantee
Cons: Can only be used for 20 minutes, has a small capacity, not suitable for all over clean
9. VAX Compact Power Plus CDCW-CPXP Carpet Cleaner, £110
– Best budget buy
Weight: 5.47kg | Capacity: 1.8L (clean), 1.5L (dirty) | Cord: 6.7m | Power: 840W
VAX is quite clearly dominating the carpet cleaner market – as you can probably tell. So, for the best budget option it only seemed right to choose the most affordable VAX, as we know our Top Testers love them. Parent tester Katie said she, "rates it highly" and thinks it does a great job but wishes she's spent a bit more for some extra attachments for upholstery.
For an upright carpet cleaner it's quite lightweight and it comes with 3 solutions; Platinum Solution, Pre-treatment Solution and Post-Treatment Solution.
It can reach into small areas and can tackle deep stains and suck up spills. The only downside, other than the lack of additional attachments, is that the capacity is quite small, so you may need to refill and empty it more often.
The carpet cleaner come with a manufacture's 1-year guarantee.
Pros: Affordable, lightweight, comes with 3 solutions, can reach small areas
Cons: Not many attachments, small capacity
Available from: Appliances Direct
10. VAX ONEPWR SpotlessGo Cordless Spot Cleaner, £149
– Best cordless spot washer
Weight: 3.2kg | Capacity: 0.16L (clean), 0.28L (dirty) | Cord: Cordless | Power: 18W
A cordless spot cleaner can make cleaning up messes on the go even easier. It has a compact design and weighs just 3.2kg making it easy to both carry and store away. However, it does have a small capacity, but this should be sufficient for spot cleaning.
The cleaner can be used on carpets, hard floors, windows, upholstery and car interiors. With a full battery you will get up to 15 minutes runtime and it takes 90 minutes to charge back up to full.
It has an active jet spray to target the stain. It also comes with lots of tools; multi purpose tool, pet attachment tool and the squeegee tool.
The cleaner comes with a 250ml bottle of ONEPWR Multi-Floor Solution too.
Pros: Cordless, lightweight, compact, active jet spray, lots of tools included
Cons: Only 15 minutes run time, small capacity, not suitable for all over clean, no warranty included
Available from: Very
How did we choose our 10 of the Best?
When testing and selecting the best carpet cleaners, we considered weight, type of cleaning (spot or all over), attachments, solutions included, capacity, additional technology and value.
Our 10 of the Best lists are compiled by qualified and experienced parenting journalists. They rely on a number of sources, including our independent reviews, testing undertaken during the MadeForMums Awards, and feedback from our home testing panel and Top Testers Club. Each year thousands of products are put through their paces by hundreds of parents across the country on behalf of MadeForMums, to ensure we’re bringing you honest and true reviews and recommendations.
Our list is not an ordered ranking from 1-10, instead it is a carefully selected group of tried-and-tested products, each of which we believe is best for a different situation or requirement. We don't just tell you what is best, we help you discover what is best for your family.
About the author
Chloe is a Digital Reviews Writer and Coordinator for Immediate Media's Parenting team, specialising in household and trying to help parents save money. She researches and writes articles, recommending the best products, ranging from best cordless vacuums to best playpens. She has a First-Class Honours Psychology degree where she developed a strong interest in child development.
Chloe is a Digital Reviews Writer and Coordinator for Immediate Media's Parenting team, specialising in household and trying to help parents save money. She researches and writes articles, recommending the best products, ranging from best cordless vacuums to best playpens. She has a First-Class Honours Psychology degree where she developed a strong interest in child development. During her teenage years she worked as a play worker and Brownie volunteer to support children's play.
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