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What's behind our carpet cleaner Ratings?

Experts at our National Testing and Research Center tested 2 models in carpet cleaners to see which ones perform best.
We look for:
  • Overall score
    Based primarily on performance and convenience. The displayed score is out of a total of 100 points.
  • Cleaning
    Shows how well each machine removed muddy topsoil from carpet.
  • Dryness
    Indicates how much solution was left behind. The best left a few ounces; the worst left over a pint in the area cleaned.
  • Ease of use
    Includes machine weight, cord length, and tank access, filling, and emptying.
  • Coverage
    Indicates how much carpet a machine can clean before it needs to be either refilled or emptied.
  • Noise
    A measure of how loud each machine was during operation. None were quiet. All were noisy, some dangerously so.
  • Weight
    Weight is just for the machine. All are heavier once cleaning solution is added.


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Recommended carpet cleaners

Recommended carpet cleaners are standout choices with high scores. They include CR Best Buys, which offer exceptional value. When narrowing your choices, weigh features, price, and attributes that matter to you.
  • Buying Guide
  • Price & Shop
While today's carpets resist stains and soiling better than ever, no carpet is fully stain-proof. Professional cleaning, recommended every 12 to 18 months, does the best job, but can be expensive. Rental machines are also available. If you're looking for information about carpet cleaners, Consumer Reports is your best resource. Consumer Reports’ carpet cleaner reviews will give you honest buying advice that you can trust. Use our carpet cleaner buying guide to discover which features are most important to consider. We also provide unbiased ratings and carpet cleaner reviews to help you choose the best carpet cleaner for your needs.

Carpet cleaner buying guide

Got dirty carpets? There's certainly no lack of cleaning options, including buying a carpet-cleaning machine, renting one, or hiring a pro. We tried them all. While nothing beat the ease and performance of a pro, some of the machines we tested came pretty close for less money.

Before we put the machines to work, we had to prep our lab. By the time we were finished, it looked like a gang of kids wearing muddy sneakers had run amok. Panels of off-white nylon plush carpet treated with stain repellent were embedded with topsoil. After vacuuming, we tested each carpet cleaner with its manufacturer-recommended solution and passed over a soiled area 20 times.

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