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Cleaning the carpets in your home is a tedious, time-consuming chore. It can be difficult to find the right cleaner for your needs, and it’s hard to know if you’re getting a good deal until you have already purchased it. The following guide will help you identify what type of carpet cleaner would work best for your situation so that next time you are shopping around, you’ll know exactly what to look for!

Portable carpet cleaners are smaller machines that can be used in your home or office to clean soiled carpets. They usually come with a detachable tank, and they may have different settings for specific types of stains (they often include an extra attachment). Some portable carpet cleaning machines may also be able to dry the area once it is finished being cleaned. This will depend on how much water it holds when filled, if its tanks detach easily, and whether you use hot or cold water to fill them up. Most upright models require two people — one person would need to hold up the machine while another pushes it over the spot until it’s completely covered/saturated with cleaner; however there are some newer models which allow one person alone to operate the machine.

It is important to understand that portable carpet cleaners do not have as much water in them and cannot remove stains by themselves like a full-sized, professional cleaner would be able to do. Portable units are meant for spot cleaning when you need it most — such as when your young child has an accident on the living room floor or your husband decides he’d rather eat his dinner off of the carpet than use a plate (yes this happens!) . They can also come in handy when hosting get togethers at home with friends who don’t quite understand what “no shoes inside” means!

Best portable Carpet Cleaners Reviewed

Bissell 3624 SpotClean Professional Portable Carpet Cleaner

Bissell 3624 SpotClean Professional Portable Carpet Cleaner

This Bissell portable carpet cleaner is great for both home use and professional cleaning. It comes with a variety of tools that make it easy to clean stairs, upholstery, and even the dashboard in your car!

The tank capacity on this machine can hold enough water to cover an area about 20″ x 20″ with cleaning solution. This means you don’t have to worry about constantly refilling the tank when in use, especially on large areas of carpet or upholstery!

The Spot Clean ProHeat comes equipped with a professional-strength motorized brush roll that cleans deep down into fibers and gets rid of embedded dirt while lifting out stains at the same time. It also has an easy empty water tank which makes for quick clean ups after use – simply press a button and all dirty water is released from the machine without any hassle!

It’s worth noting this model doesn’t come included with its own chemicals so make sure to purchase some before using it for the first time! The cost per bottle will vary depending on where they’re bought but you can expect them to last anywhere between one and three months as a rule of thumb.

The Spot Clean ProHeat is also lightweight so it’s easy for anyone to carry around without any hassle – even those who have trouble with their back or knees will find the machine is very maneuverable! It isn’t too loud either, which means you won’t need to worry about disturbing others in your household when using this Bissell spot cleaner on a daily basis. As well as that, its sleek design makes it look great wherever you decide to use it!

  • The cleaning solution used in the machine is non-toxic and safe for kids to be around
  • It’s easy to maneuver with its lightweight design, even for those who’ve got mobility issues such as arthritis or any other form of joint pain
  • The cord length on this unit is up to 20 feet which means you won’t need an extension lead. Perfect if there isn’t a power outlet close by!
  • Some people don’t like that it doesn’t come included with any chemicals (although they’re inexpensive and last between one and three months)
BISSELL 5207A SpotClean Portable Carpet Cleaner

BISSELL 5207A SpotClean Portable Carpet Cleaner

This Bissell spot cleaner is great for those who need a machine that’s easy to carry around and won’t take up too much storage space. It comes with an easy empty water tank, one touch controls, and the ability to reach tight spaces without any hassle – what more could you ask from a portable carpet cleaner?

The motorized brush roll on this unit cleans deep down into fibers removing stains as well as embedded dirt at the same time! The removable nozzle tool makes it simple to clean hard-to-reach areas such as stairs or car seats while its self cleaning filter ensures there isn’t anything stuck in your carpets after use.

The SpotClean also comes with a one year warranty which should give you peace of mind when purchasing knowing that your machine is covered for any unfortunate accidents or repairs needed in the future!

  • One touch controls make it simple to use
  • The machine is lightweight and easy for anyone to carry around without hassle
  • No need for an extension lead as the cord length on this unit goes up to 20 feet (but if you don’t have power outlets close by you might want one)
  • Some people have had issues with leaking when used on larger surfaces.
BISSELL Little Green ProHeat Portable Carpet Cleaner

BISSELL Little Green ProHeat Portable Carpet Cleaner

The Bissell Little Green is a great machine for those who want to tackle tough stains but don’t have the budget for something too expensive. It comes equipped with two different speeds depending on what you’re cleaning – lightweight speed ideal for everyday use or high power speed useful when tackling stubborn spots and spills!

It has an easy lift off tank design which means no hassle when transferring dirty water from your carpet after using, as well as being able to reach tight spaces without any trouble.

This model also doesn’t take up much storage space so it would be perfect if you need somewhere safe to keep it out of sight during the day! The cord length isn’t very long though (only about 20 feet) so bear this in mind before purchasing.

  • Perfect for tackling tough stains without the budget to buy something too expensive
  • Lightweight but still powerful, so you won’t need any hassle when carrying it around or cleaning different surfaces.
  • Its compact design means no storage space is needed!
  • The cord length on this machine isn’t very long (only about 20 feet) so bear this in mind before purchasing if you don’t have power outlets close by.
BISSELL ProHeat 2X Revolution Max Clean Carpet Cleaner

BISSELL ProHeat 2X Revolution Max Clean Carpet Cleaner

This Bissell spot cleaner is definitely one of the best portable carpet cleaners out there. It comes with a large tank that can hold up to 32 ounces, as well as an extra-large dirty water capacity meaning you won’t need to empty it after every use!

The ProHeat also has two levels depending on what surface you’re cleaning and how tough your stains are – deep clean or super clean (which gives added agitation). The brush roll agitates carpets at high power dislodging dirt from fibers for deeper cleaning. It also includes a deep reach tool for tough stains requiring more precision cleaning.

The ProHeat is suitable for pet owners as it’s able to remove the most stubborn of messes, including vomit and urine odors! You can use this machine on both low pile carpeting – even berber carpets – as well as hard surfaces like tile or sealed wood floors without worrying about damage caused by too much moisture. There are two settings depending on what kind of floor you’re using it on, but if that’s still not enough then you could always use your own steam mop head instead (which means less washing). Another great feature is its lightweight design which makes moving around easy so whether you need to clean under beds…etc., this machine makes the task easy.

  • Large tank and dirty water capacity
  • Deep clean or super clean mode for more stubborn stains
  • Two settings depending on what kind of floor you’re using it on (carpet/hard surfaces)
  • The cord is short so maneuverability is limited – however, if your home has a small space then this won’t be an issue.
Bissell ProHeat 2X Lift-Off Pet Carpet Cleaner

Bissell ProHeat 2X Lift-Off Pet Carpet Cleaner

If you’re looking for an even more powerful portable carpet cleaner then the Bissell ProHeat is definitely your go-to machine!

This lightweight but powerful appliance comes with a large 32 ounce tank, as well as one of the longest power cords available in this category. This means that maneuverability will not be limited if there are outlets closer to where you need to clean (such as living room). The cord can also be wrapped around its body making storage much easier – another great feature when it comes time to put it away after use.

The ProHeat uses Deep Reach technology meaning that carpets become completely dry within two hours (no waiting half a day before walking on them) and water can still pour out of the nozzle while cleaning which helps lower the risk of damage.

The ProHeat includes several useful attachments such as a TurboBrush for stain removal, upholstery tool to quickly clean sofas and other furniture without having to remove any cushions…etc., tough stains brush which works great on carpets with embedded grime, etc.

  • Large tank and dirty water capacity
  • Long power cord for extra maneuverability
  • Several useful attachments included in the box (turbo brush, upholstery tool…etc.)
  • None.
Hoover Spotless Portable Carpet Spot Cleaner

Hoover Spotless Portable Carpet Spot Cleaner

If you’re looking for a more affordable option then the Hoover Spotless is your go-to machine! The tank has an incredible 40 ounce capacity which means it can hold almost double what many other portable carpet cleaners have. This also means that you won’t need to empty the dirty water after every use…something no one wants to do when cleaning carpets – but this isn’t necessary with this spot cleaner! Another great feature is its lightweight design making maneuverability easy and preventing back strain from using a heavy appliance.

This model uses HeatWave technology which heats cold tap water up through three internal chambers resulting in hot steam being dispersed while working on stains, etc., giving extra agitation needed for tough stains without adding any harsh chemicals like bleach or enzymes.

Additionally, this cleaner has four adjustable cleaning levels to ensure the best results with any carpet type – from high pile carpets to low-pile shag rugs! The Hoover Spotless comes complete with a crevice tool attachment and upholstery brush for added versatility which is great if you’re looking for an all in one solution. It also includes two microfiber pads (one pre-treated) that are reusable making it more environmentally friendly than most models of portable cleaners on the market today.

  • Large tank capacity (40 oz.)
  • Lightweight design (under 12 lbs)
  • Heats water to provide hot steam for added agitation and stain removal without harsh chemicals or enzymes.  Four adjustable levels ensure best results on any carpet type.
  • Includes crevice tool attachment, upholstery brush, reusable microfiber pads, carrying bag with shoulder strap, etc.
  • None
Rug Doctor Portable Spot Cleaner

Rug Doctor Portable Spot Cleaner

If you’re looking for a portable cleaner that can tackle almost any mess, then the Rug Doctor is your best bet.  It has an incredible 70 ounce tank capacity which means less time refilling and more time spent cleaning!

This model also uses HeatWave technology to heat tap water up through three internal chambers resulting in hot steam being dispersed while working on stains giving extra agitation needed without adding harsh chemicals or enzymes.  However, using this machine does require some assembly – it comes disassembled but includes directions making putting together quick and easy. It’s lightweight design makes maneuverability easy as well as preventing back strain from carrying a heavy appliance around. The Rug Doctor Portable Spot Cleaner has four adjustable levels ensuring optimal results with any carpet type from high pile to low-pile shag rugs. It also includes a crevice tool attachment and upholstery brush for added versatility which is great if you’re looking for an all in one solution.

The Rug Doctor Portable Spot Cleaner comes complete with two reusable microfiber pads that are pre-treated making it more environmentally friendly than most portable carpet cleaners on the market today while also using less water! Pros: Huge tank capacity (70 oz.) Heats tap water up through three internal chambers resulting in hot steam being dispersed while working on stains giving extra agitation needed without adding harsh chemicals or enzymes.  Four adjustable levels ensure optimal results with any carpet type from high pile to low-pile shag rugs.

  • Comes disassembled – including directions – making assembly quick and easy.
  • Lightweight design makes maneuverability and carrying around less strain on the body than other models of spot cleaners.
  • Four adjustable levels ensure optimal results with any carpet type from high pile to low-pile shag rugs.  
  • Unclear why but this model doesn’t heat water as hot as some other portable cleaners with HeatWave technology (not a big deal for most people).
Bissell SpotBot Pet handsfree Spot Cleaner

Bissell SpotBot Pet handsfree Spot Cleaner

The Bissell SpotBot is a handsfree spot cleaner that makes just about any carpet cleaning task simple, quick and easy.

It has both direct spray technology for tough stains as well as deep reach cyclonic agitation to remove even the toughest of dirt without all the hard work!  This unit uses an internal pump so there’s no need to worry about adding anything extra – simply fill up with warm tap water (not hot) or use distilled white vinegar mixed 50/50 with water which helps keep your carpets looking fresh longer between cleanings while also removing odors. The tanks are removable making it easier to refill if necessary but this model does have a smaller tank capacity than others on our list today at only 15 ounces meaning you’ll need to refill more often.

The SpotBot Pet handsfree carpet cleaner comes with a pet upholstery tool which is great for cleaning the stairs, bedding and furniture or even your car interior!  It’s also very easy to maneuver due in part because of it’s lightweight design (only about 11 lbs) making this one of the most portable spot cleaners on our list today – perfect if you’re looking for an all-in-one solution that can tackle any mess while still being easy enough to store when not in use.

  • Direct spray technology provides tough stain removal without harsh chemicals or enzymes
  • Deep reach cyclonic agitation removes tough dirt quickly
  • Easy assembly requiring no extra tools
  • Comes complete with pet hair accessory kit
  • Small tank capacity

What to know before you buy a portable carpet cleaner

Types of portable carpet cleaners

There are many different types of portable units to suit anyone’s needs depending on the situation. Outlined below is a list of some common models and their specific uses:

  • Standard upright machine with handle

Usually weighs less than 20 pounds and comes equipped with wheels for easy transportation. The tank can be detachable or built into the body, however it will always require hot/cold water mixed with cleaning solution in order to clean an area (the liquid may drip out onto your floor as you move around). These units generally cost between $50-$100 dollars, however there are also full sized higher end options available that might work better if you need something more heavy duty like those used by professional companies.

  • Upright machine that can be used as a hand-held unit

These models usually come with a detachable tank and require the user to push them along in order for it to work. They will not have wheels, however they are much lighter weight (usually around 15 pounds) which makes them easier to carry up/down stairs or move from room-to-room if needed during different stages of cleaning.

  • Bagless upright machines

This type is similar to those previously mentioned except without any additional tanks for liquid storage; instead you simply detach the base from the handle once your area has been covered completely — there may also be an option for a hose attachment so that you don’t need both hands free while operating it. Tipping it over or having to hold the base can be quite difficult for some people however, so keep that in mind.

  • Portable handheld units

These are smaller than hand-held upright machines and usually weigh around five pounds; they work by spraying water/solution onto stains directly rather than using gravity like the larger models. They will not have any detachable tanks, hoses or wheels because their size requires them to be held with two hands while moving across an area (they also don’t need as much pressure applied when cleaning).

  • Canister cleaners

This type of machine is generally either used on stairs/carpets that cannot fit under fu  rniture, which makes them ideal if you’re tight on storage space at home! Like upright machines, they will have a detachable tank for liquid storage and may also require hot/cold water mixed with cleaning solution.

Corded or cordless

If you have an outlet near the area that needs cleaning then perhaps a corded unit would be best for your needs. This means you’ll never run out of power while it’s in use, which is ideal if the battery only lasts 20 minutes before needing to recharge!

On the other hand, there are some portable carpet cleaners available with batteries so they don’t need to be plugged directly into an electrical socket – this can come in handy when using them on stairs/furniture upholstery where access isn’t possible due to lack of space. However, these units tend to cost more since they require batteries and chargers too; additionally their suction decreases as its charge depletes (so remember not to let it drain completely).

Hose cleaning port ability

A lot of portable carpet cleaners come with a detachable hose which can be connected to the unit when in use. Although this isn’t essential since some machines work just as well without it, having a rigid pipe that you can easily attach is very helpful if you’re looking to clean stairs or upholstery too! The best handheld units have telescopic hoses so they adjust depending on your height and how much reach you need over any given surface. With no attachments needed its easier than ever before for anyone to give their home an instant deep-clean from top-to-bottom!

Suction Power

Even the best portable carpet cleaner needs to be relatively powerful too; if it’s not then hot steam won’t reach deep into your fabrics (even though it’ll still kill off any bugs present). A unit with a suction power of at least 1500 watts is recommended for quickly eliminating allergens and dust mites.

Some machines are designed specifically for carpets, while others can work on all floor types so you should always check before buying! If you know that there will be stubborn stains or marks left after cleaning then choose one with an additional brush roller attachment since this will help scrub away grime much more effectively than using just heat alone.

Ease of cleaning

A good portable carpet cleaner will have a removable water tank that’s easy to empty after use, particularly if it uses hot tap water as its cleaning solution. This is more convenient than having to mix up special formulas each time you’re ready to clean since this can save you money too – some machines also come with chemicals included so the only thing left for you do is press a button!

Tank Capacity

Having a larger tank capacity is always beneficial since it means you won’t have to stop in the middle of cleaning to refill/empty it. Plus, some machines come with multiple tanks so while one fills up completely you can use the other which maximizes your time spent on cleaning!

The size will depend on how much flooring space there is that needs steaming – for example if you just want something small then opt for a handheld device instead. Portable carpet cleaners are available in all different shapes and sizes depending on what type of surface types they’re designed to clean floors effectively, but rest assured that most units aren’t any bigger than an upright vacuum cleaner – meaning they don’t take up too much storage space either!

Hands-free cleaning

You might have guessed that there are certain functions you can activate on some machines via a simple button press. For example, the handle-less Bissell Spot Clean ProHeat is hands free so once its cleaning solution has been released it begins to work automatically – this means no dirty water will drip onto your flooring while in use!

If you’re looking for something more budget conscious then consider an option which does not feature any of these buttons; however, keep in mind they’ll require more effort during operation since you need to manually spray/vacuum when needed (and empty tanks too).

Length of Cord and Hose

Check the length of cord and hose included in your chosen machine before buying to ensure it will be long enough for you to reach all areas of your home without needing re-plugging/re-adjusting.

Some units come with a very short cord (between one and two meters) which can limit how far its suction power travels; however, if there’s no need for any extended reaches then this isn’t such an issue. However, if you’re looking at machines that have longer hoses or cords make sure they’ll fit where ever you plan on using them – don’t forget hallways are often wider than rooms too! If not, look out for models like Bissell PowerEdge Pet Hard Floor Corded Vacuum.

Pet Capabilities

Allergy sufferers need not worry! While some machines are certainly better at removing pet hairs than others, they’re all designed specifically to eliminate allergens – even the best portable carpet cleaner will work wonders on your carpets no matter what type of animal hair is present.

Cats and dogs aren’t the only pets that cause allergies so it’s advisable to look out for models which have a motorized brush roll too; these types move back-and-forth while cleaning in order to reach deep into fibers where dust mites might be lurking (an issue especially common if you’ve got kids or babies living with you).


Is an upright model better than a portable carpet cleaner?

An upright model is certainly more powerful than a portable carpet cleaner and you won’t have to worry about refilling or recharging batteries when using an upright. They’re also much easier to store away in between uses whereas portables tend to be bulkier making it harder for some people, especially those living in smaller homes or apartments, find the spare storage space required for them.

Portable models can clean areas that are slightly out of reach with their larger nozzles and longer hoses but an upright will always hold its own against carpets better due to having greater suction power – this means they don’t require as high of a setting on your vacuum which could end up damaging your carpet over time if set too high from frequent use!

Should I clean the tank of a portable carpet cleaner?

It’s always best to clean the tank of your portable carpet cleaner after every use. This will prevent any leftover residue from harming your carpets fibers and ensure that you’re getting thorough cleaning each time!

The tanks are usually easily removable so it should be simple enough for anyone to carry them outside or over to the sink allowing you easy access to scrubbing out all those stubborn stains, especially if there is pet messes involved!

Do professional cleaning companies use portable carpet cleaners?

Portable carpet cleaners can be purchased and used by anyone but many professional cleaning companies do tend to use them as well.

They’re great for those with smaller homes or apartments who may not have the space required for larger, bulkier machines such as an upright model – they also come in handy if you don’t want your carpets cleaned too frequently as hiring a company to clean your carpets every few months will certainly cost you more than buying one of these units yourself!

Can portable carpet cleaners remove old stains?

Portable carpet cleaners can be used to remove old stains but just know that they won’t work miracles. There’s no way of knowing what kind of permanent damage you might have done to your carpets by letting those stains set in for so long and while a portable cleaner will get the majority, if not all, of it up there is still a chance some could remain depending on how deep down into the fibers these marks were embedded.

It’s always best practice to treat fresh spills as soon as possible with either soap and water or an enzymatic treatment which acts almost like a magnet drawing out any unwanted residue from within the carpet itself!


A portable carpet cleaner is a device that cleans carpets without the use of an external water source. This means they are able to clean more efficiently, with less work from you. Portable machines come in two forms – either as a handheld or backpack machine. The former requires no effort on your part and can be used quickly for spot cleaning at any time while traveling; the latter needs some assembly before it can be used but offers greater flexibility when cleaning larger areas of carpeting. Both types have their pros and cons, so make sure to choose which one suits you best! Which type do you think would suit your lifestyle? Have you tried using a hand-held or backpack model yet?