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12 Best Steam Vacuum Cleaners for Carpets: Reviews & Buying Guide

by  Lawrence -  Last updated on February 8, 2021
Best Steam Vacuum Cleaners for Carpets

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People ask us if they can use a steam cleaner on the carpet. They want to know if steam mops are good for rugs.

That’s why we decided to discuss the best steam vacuum cleaners and other carpet cleaning machines.

So we can be clear about the differences between carpet steam cleaners and other options.

We hope our reviews help you find the products that make cleaning your home super easy.

The Best Steam Vacuum Cleaners

People are catching on to the advantages of steam-cleaning.

They’ve realized that it’s superb choice for sanitizing surfaces because it kills nearly 100% of germs.

Steam makes it easy to remove stains and clean without detergent or chemicals.

Steam-cleaned floors dry quickly, too.

So are the best carpet cleaning machines steam cleaners?

Not necessarily.

Steam cleaners are beneficial if they’re compatible with your type of carpet. They allow you to vacuum up debris and wash the carpet fibers with a single machine.

Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of steam cleaners available for home use. Most are commercial models.

Moreover, the best carpet cleaning machine for your home might be one without steam.

You may find that a traditional carpet cleaner with detergent or a professional service that dry cleans carpets is better for your cleaning needs.

A carpet cleaning machine for residential use uses hot water or heats water, but it’s not the steam that cleans the rug. The hot water activates the detergent to remove dirt. Then the machine vacuums up the dirty water (1).

Otherwise, cleaning your carpets with a regular steam cleaner is slow and might require that you mop up the excess moisture with towels.

On the other hand, you can freshen up your rugs with a steam mop that has a carpet glider attachment. It won’t lift ground-in dirt, but it might eliminate stains, odors, and dust mites.

Should you decide that a steam cleaner is ideal for you, here are the features to consider.

Features to Look for in a Steam Cleaner

When shopping for a carpet cleaner, consider the power cord’s length and the hose (if there is one).

Think about where you’ll need to store it and what accessories come with it. Will you want to use it to clean furniture, upholstery in the car, or mattresses?

Finally, carpet cleaning machines tend to be noisy, and those that steam can burn you if you’re not careful. Wear appropriate clothing and protective gear.

How to Steam Clean Carpet

When you steam clean carpet, slow and steady is the key. Each step takes about 2 seconds.

Walk-in lines across the room instead of using short strokes like when you vacuum. Slightly overlap each line on the one before it (2).

Once you’re done, give the carpet plenty of time to dry. Check the instructions that come with your machine. They may recommend up to 24 hours.

Now let’s discover the best steam cleaners.

Top 12 Steam Vacuum Cleaners (2021 Update)

1. Hoover SteamVac Plus Carpet Cleaner with Clean Surge – F5914901NC

Hoover’s SteamVac Plus ensures that your carpet dries as quickly as possible. It puts out heat that speeds up drying time.

But that’s not the only reason to take a second look. The machine has Hoover’s own Spin Scrub 360 Brushes that rotate in opposite directions. They ensure that every inch of your carpet fiber is clean. Plus, there are three speeds to protect delicate rugs or deep-clean filthy ones.

When you hit an especially bad stain, squeeze the trigger to apply extra detergent.

Next, it has a separate water tank for clean and dirty water respectively. Both tanks are straightforward to fill and empty.

Finally, switch to Tool Mode so that you can pause the brushes to scrub the sofa and protect hardwood floors. The steam cleaner package includes a powered upholstery and stair tool.

2. BISSELL PowerBrush Full-Sized Carpet Steamer and Carpet Shampooer, 1623

Bissell’s PowerBrush Carpet Steam Cleaner doesn’t mess around. If you struggle to keep your floor clean, then this easy to use machine will be of great help. It shampoos away pet messes and ground-in food.

First, it features a DirtLifter brush roller with stiff bristles that scrub away deep-set grime. Then the potent suction removes the dirt.

Second, the 7-foot-long hose and attachments of Bissell steam cleaner make it possible to clean furniture and steps with no trouble.

Bissell recommends pre-treating difficult stains. Then inject detergent while pressing the trigger and passing over the carpet. When you release the trigger and move the machine, it vacuums up the dirty water.

3. Rug Doctor Deep Carpet Cleaner

Everyone knows Rug Doctor machines. We’ve all seen them for rent at the local supermarket.

This steam cleaner is made for home use, so it’s not as large as a commercial machine. It’s still rated Gold for Best in Class Cleaning Performance by the Carpet and Rug Institute. It shouldn’t void your carpet’s warranty.

When you attach the upholstery or spot cleaning tools to the 7.7-foot hose, you can take care of vehicles, stairs, mattresses, and furniture.

It all sounds good so far, but is this machine a beast to maneuver? Users say no, it’s easy to drive. It’s also straightforward to fill and dump. There’s no assembly once you unpack it from the box. And you can collapse the handle for storage.

Other benefits include very powerful suction that reduces drying time to 4 hours or less. Once you’re done, your carpet should look great and feel plush.

4. Rug Doctor Mighty Pro X3 Pet Pack

Take your carpet cleaning to the next level with the Rug Doctor Mighty Pro X3 steam cleaner. It’s a commercial machine that’s up to tackling the big jobs.

If you have a large home, you’ll love the large water tanks that don’t need refilling or emptying often.

Use the Rug Doctor urine eliminator spray to pre-treat pet messes, and you won’t need to spend a lot of time going over the dirty spots.

Then clean your sofa, mattresses, and car seats with the handheld attachment.

5. Bissell Big Green Professional Carpet Cleaner Machine, 86T3

Bissell’s Big Green Carpet Steam Cleaner comes with a 5-year limited warranty. One test showed that it out-cleans the leading rental carpet cleaner.

This is the machine you want if you have carpeted stairs. It has a 9-foot-long hose with an attachment. Additionally, it has a 25-feet long power cord.

If you use Bissell’s detergent, it has Scotchguard protection to prevent stains in the future. Luckily, the package includes a trial-sized bottle.

6. BISSELL Little Green ProHeat Portable Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner, 14259

Bissell’s Little Green portable cleaner can hide away in a cabinet until you need it. It weighs 13 pounds and has a 4-foot hose with a 15-foot cord. Those characteristics make it suitable for spot cleaning and washing furniture, but not so handy for long flights of stairs if you don’t want to have to carry it up and down.

The machine heats water to get the most out of the detergent you’re using. The indicator light will let you know when it’s ready to use. Then you can spray and suction in one step.

7. Hoover PowerDash Pet Carpet Cleaner, FH50700

Hoover’s PowerDash is ideal for pet owners without a lot of carpet or furniture to clean. It scrubs out stains and uses heat to reduce the drying time.

Other benefits include a low-profile foot to reach underneath furniture, a removable nozzle, and a compact shape. The brush roller has antimicrobial protection against bad odors.

8. Bissell ProHeat 2X Revolution Pet Pro Full-Size Carpet Cleaner, 1986

Bissell’s ProHeat 2X Revolution full-size carpet cleaner is best for homes with multiple pets and many areas to clean.

It weighs only 18 pounds and is easy to maneuver under and around furniture. It comes with an upholstery tool that sucks up pet hair and scrubs out stains from vomit, urine, and feces.

When you use Express Clean Mode, your carpet should be dry in about half an hour.

Furthermore, the brush roll cover makes cleanup a snap.

One interesting fact is that Bissell’s detergent can even remove skunk odor in combination with this machine.

9. Hoover Smartwash Automatic Carpet Cleaner, FH52000

Hoover’s Smartwash carpet cleaner is mind-numbingly easy to operate. Push it forward to clean and pull it back to dry. There’s no trigger to hold.

The HeatForce air-dries the fibers so you can walk on your carpet sooner rather than later.

Moreover, the Auto Mix feature ensures that you always have the right mixture of cleaning solution and water. You never have to measure.

This carpet cleaning machine comes with an antimicrobial pet tool attachment, an 8-foot hose, and a sample of cleaning solution.

10. BISSELL PowerFresh Steam Mop, Floor Steamer, 1940

We mentioned that some people like to clean their carpets with a steam mop. Manufacturers of steam mops for tile floors sometimes include a carpet glider attachment for this purpose.

The Bissell PowerFresh steamer has digital controls for high, medium, or low steam. It sanitizes the surface to “refresh” it. You can also use the included fragrance discs to perfume the air.

But it won’t deep-clean your rugs by any means.

Injecting your carpet with water vapor and wiping it with a microfiber or mop pad isn’t as effective as using a carpet cleaning machine that scrubs fibers and vacuums up dirt.

11. O-Cedar Microfiber Steam Mop

If you want to try a cheap steam mop as an experiment on your carpet, this one from O-Cedar is a bargain for what you get. It comes with a removable carpet glider.

The mop is ready to use in 20 seconds and has adjustable steam power. At full strength, it kills 99.9% of E. coli bacteria.

The triangular head and 5-pound weight make it uncomplicated to maneuver across floors and up shower walls.

12. McCulloch MC1385 Deluxe Canister Steam System

McCulloch’s Canister Steam System is a traditional steam cleaner for a variety of surfaces and tasks. It has a mop attachment for hard floors plus other accessories. With it, you can clean everything from the barbecue grill to the bathtub to the car.

Since this is an actual steamer, it takes about 12 minutes to heat the water over 200°F. But then the two-quart water tank lets it run for two hours of continuous steam. It even provides up to 58 PSI of pressure.

You’ll find that there seem to be a lot of people that use this to steam-clean their carpets. We recommend that you check with your carpet manufacturer about the possibility.

On the upside, the high temperature and pressure ensure that pests like dust mites and bedbugs don’t have a chance to survive.

Conclusion

We hope you discovered a carpet cleaning machine today that makes maintaining your floors a pleasure. There’s nothing quite like having clean rugs.

We’d love to know how your new steam cleaner or carpet shampooer is working for you. Let us know in the comments below.

Resources:

1. https://www.angieslist.com/articles/dry-carpet-cleaning-vs-steam-cleaning-methods.htm by Doug Bonderud, published December 11, 2015, accessed June 24, 2019

2. https://www.wikihow.com/Steam-Clean-Carpet by Michelle Driscoll, published March 29, 2019, accessed June 24, 2019

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