The Best Carpet Cleaners For Removing Stubborn Stains

Restore your carpets to a "like-new" condition with our handpicked selection of carpet cleaners.
Tried & Tested: See Our Testing ↓
Written & Tested By: Richard Morgan | Updated:
Best Carpet Cleaner
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Although vacuum cleaners can remove most surface dirt, they struggle to remove stubborn stains or dirt deep inside your carpets. Luckily, dedicated machines are far cheaper than you’d expect and they are a worthwhile investment that’ll save you money in the long run because some professionals may charge as much as the machine itself.

To assist you in selecting a carpet cleaner, our handpicked selection lists top-performing models, chosen based on our first-hand experience cleaning nylon and wool carpets. Our testing and up-to-date research further ensure the quality of our recommendations.

BISSELL ProHeat Revolution Carpet Cleaner
Best Overall: BISSELL ProHeat Revolution
Rug Doctor Deep Carpet Cleaner
Best Professional: Rug Doctor Deep Carpet Cleaner
Vax Compact Power Carpet Cleaner
Best Value: Vax Compact Power
BISSELL SpotClean Pro Portable Cleaner
Best Portable: BISSELL SpotClean Pro
Vax Rapid Power Plus
Best Heavy Duty: Vax Rapid Power Plus
Russell Hobbs Refresh & Clean Carpet Cleaner
Best Budget: Russell Hobbs Refresh & Clean

How The DIY Works Team Tests & Rates The Carpet Cleaners

As we own several properties (rentals and Airbnb’s), we find ourselves cleaning carpets quite regularly to return them to a “like new” condition. Whether we’ve been carrying out various DIY projects that have stained the carpets (i.e. plastering or decorating) or the carpets have simply become dirty due to them not being cleaned for a while, owning a carpet cleaner has certainly paid for itself several times over.

Over the years, we’ve had the pleasure of using multiple (as shown in the images below) and putting them to the test on multiple types of carpet and dirt. When testing the carpet cleaners, we are always amazed by the amount of dirty water that fills the tank after using them. As you can see from our before and after photos below, the carpet cleaners certainly made a big difference.

best carpet cleaner uk

Richard Morgan/DIY Works
best home carpet cleaner

Richard Morgan/DIY Works

During our testing of the carpet cleaners, we analyse the machine’s performance, ease of use, all of the modes it offers as well as its portability. To keep up our commitment to reviewing and testing the latest carpet cleaners (for this article), we are continually testing the latest offerings from top brands in the UK. This means that when we notice that a brand has released a new model, we attempt to upgrade our current machine for testing.

best carpet cleaner machine

Richard Morgan/DIY Works
best professional carpet cleaner

Richard Morgan/DIY Works

As well as our testing and experience of using a range of carpet cleaners, we also based our recommendations on the latest research and several factors. Some of the factors that we took into consideration included the machine’s performance, usability, portability and manoeuvrability, functionality, warranty and value for money.

The Best Carpet Cleaners

At DIY Works, our content is 100% independent and we would never recommend a product that we wouldn't use ourselves (read our editorial standards and how we test products).

1. Best Overall: BISSELL ProHeat Revolution

(How We Review →)

By far the most popular carpet cleaner in the UK is the BISSEL ProHeat and for good reason too. This is because it’s a powerful yet lightweight machine that achieves professional results and it also comes at a great price too.

To provide your carpets with a deep clean, it uses 12 “DirtLifter PowerBrushes”, which agitates any dirt hidden deep in the fibres of the carpet. It also uses a patented technology known as “HeatWave”, which maintains the temperature of the water in the tank for a more effective clean.

Another unique and desirable feature is the two modes, known as “Express” and “Deep Clean”. The “Express” mode provides quick and easy cleaning whereas the “Deep Clean” mode is used for additional cleaning power.

Pros
  • Choice of two power modes
  • "HeatWave" technology to maintain water temperature
  • Two rotating brush rolls with 6 power bristles on each
  • 2-in-1 tank that keeps clean and dirty water separate
  • Low profile foot for cleaning under furniture
  • Supplied with carpet shampoo samples
  • Dual 3.7 litre clean and dirty water tanks
Cons
  • Relatively expensive when compared to the alternatives

To conclude, the BISSELL ProHeat is by far the best carpet cleaner on the market that combines performance with value for money. It’s an excellent all-round machine that provides quick and easy professional results. Its popularity is a clear indication of its quality and it really does tick all the boxes.

2. Best Professional: Rug Doctor Deep Carpet Cleaner

(How We Review →)

The ultimate carpet cleaner that’s designed for deep cleaning is by the Rug Doctor brand. It’s an award-winning machine that’s recently been improved and targets all types of stubborn dirt found in your carpets.

In order to tackle heavily soiled high-traffic areas, it has a “Super Boost Spray” function, which allows you to tailor the spraying to best suit your requirements. It also uses dual cross action brushes, which clean each and every side of the carpet fibres for an unbeatable clean.

Pros
  • Powerful dual cross brushes
  • "Super Boost Spray" functionality
  • High suction that removes far more moisture
  • No assembly required from the box
  • Simple lift tanks and removable tool caddy
Cons
  • Most expensive within our roundup

Overall, the Rug Doctor Carpet Cleaner is a professional-grade machine that provides outstanding results. The only drawback is its premium price tag but the results speak for themselves and it makes it a worthwhile investment.

3. Best Value: Vax Compact Power

(How We Review →)

Another popular carpet cleaner in the UK is the Vax Compact, which is an affordable and lightweight machine. It’s the brand’s latest model that’s designed to tackle everyday stains and pet messes with ease.

Compared to the brand’s alternative carpet cleaners, the Compact model is the lightest and weighs just 5.7 KG.

Pros
  • Twin tanks that separates clean and dirty water
  • Narrow floor head for tight spaces
  • "Aquaspin" brush bar that tackles all dirt
  • Compact design that weighs just 5.7 KG
Cons
  • During testing of this model, we found that cleaning carpeted stairs was quite a challenge

To conclude, the Vax Compact is the best carpet cleaner for the money and is perfect for those looking for a powerful yet lightweight machine. Although it doesn’t have as much suction power as the premium alternatives, it’s more than powerful for most homes tackling light to medium dirt and stains.

4. Best Portable: BISSELL SpotClean Pro

(How We Review →)

Portability is a key feature that many people will require for tackling carpets around the house. Therefore, if this is a feature you require, the most popular portable carpet cleaner on the market is the BISSELL SpotClean Pro.

Unlike many of the alternative portable machines, the SpotClean Pro features separate clean and dirty tanks for improved cleaning results. Many cheaper alternatives mix the tanks, which means you need to empty them more often.

Pros
  • Compact design with powerful suction
  • Separate clean and dirty water tank
  • Supplied with cleaning tools
  • 1.5 metre flexible hose
Cons
  • During testing, we found it to be distinctively louder than other machines

Although the brand offers smaller portable machines, this “Pro” model is certainly worth paying the extra and this is mainly because it provides far superior cleaning power. The BISSELL SpotClean Pro is by far the best portable carpet cleaner on the market and during our testing, we were really impressed by its power.

5. Best Heavy Duty: Vax Rapid Power Plus

(How We Review →)
Vax Rapid Power Plus

Another carpet cleaner by Vax is the Rapid Power Plus, which is designed for tackling heavy-duty dirt or stains. This is made possible by the patented technology it uses known as Spin Scrub, which penetrates deep into the carpet fibres to pull up dirt from deep down. The brand also states that it leaves carpets dry within one hour, which is due to the impressive suction power.

To reach all the tight corners and spaces, it comes with antimicrobial and crevice tools. There is also a motorised “SpinScrub” tool, which makes cleaning certain areas such as the stairs much easier.

Pros
  • 5 x "SpinScrub" brushes
  • Large 4.7 litre dirty and clean tanks
  • Supplied with cleaning tools and a storage bag
  • Heat Blast technology for faster drying (within a hour)
  • Quick Clean mode for tackling light dirt
  • Total cleaning reach of 10.5 metres
Cons
  • Relatively expensive when compared to the alternatives

To conclude, the Vax Rapid Power Plus is the brand’s flagship model and is packed full of features for impressive cleaning results. It does come with a premium price tag but it’s justified by the intuitive functionality and results.

6. Best Budget: Russell Hobbs Refresh & Clean

(How We Review →)

One of the cheapest carpet cleaning machines that’s actually worth buying is the Russel Hobbs Refresh & Clean. It’s a lightweight cleaner with dual clean and dirty water tanks and is suitable for all types of carpets or rugs.

Pros
  • Lightweight design that weighs just 6.0 KG
  • Long cleaning reach of 8 metres
  • 24 cm wide jet spray
  • Available in black or white
Cons
  • Construction quality could be improved

Overall, the Russell Hobbs Refresh & Clean is a cheap yet effective carpet cleaner that won’t disappoint. It isn’t going to provide professional results for high-traffic areas but it’s more than suitable for light to medium dirt and stains.

Conclusion

Considering that a professional may charge as much as one of our recommendations, investing in a carpet cleaner may be a cost-effective solution. They are simple to use and are more than likely going to last multiple years of use.

All of our recommendations are suitable for all budgets and include separate clean and dirty water tanks. However, we strongly advise avoiding cheap machines as they often leave the carpets wet, which can lead to odours and further dirt.

If you require further information regarding any of our carpet cleaner recommendations, feel free to get in touch and we will try to provide our assistance where possible.

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