Finding the best steam cleaner for carpet cleaning is challenging – there are so many models to wade through! With our Top 7 carpet steam cleaners, we hope to provide you with the answers that you’ve been long looking for. Read on to find out what our picks have to offer!
Table of Contents
7 Best Carpet Steam Cleaners Quick Comparison
|Image||Brand & Model||Water Reservoir||Weight||Cord Length|
|Vapamore MR-100 Primo Steam Cleaner||1.6 Quarts||10.5 pounds||18 ft.|
|Hoover Smartwash Automatic Carpet Cleaner||1 Gallon||18.49 pounds||22 ft.|
|BISSELLProHeat 2X Revolution Max Clean Pet Pro||1 Gallon||17.5 pounds||25 ft.|
|Steam & Go 8-in-1 All Purpose Steam Cleaner||0.375 Quarts||5.2 pounds||17 ft.|
|Ladybug XLT2300 TANCS Vapor Steam Cleaner||1.8 Quarts||16 pounds||15 ft.|
|Bissell Big Green Professional Carpet Cleaner||1.75 Gallons||48 pounds||25 ft.|
|Vapor Clean II Home Steam Cleaner||2.3 Quarts||12 pounds||13 ft.|
The Benefits of Steam Cleaners for Carpets
So why would you want to buy a steam cleaner for carpet cleaning rather than stick to good-old vacuuming? Here are a few reasons for steam cleaning your carpets:
- Deeper clean. Steam has high cleaning efficacy thanks to its high temperature and pressure. It can penetrate into the carpet fibers, softening and eliminating dirt and grease. Steam can be especially effective at removing tough, sticky stains.
- Germ elimination. The heat of the steam is also capable of killing germs and bacteria, making steam cleaners suitable for carpet disinfection.
- Steam is eco-friendly and allergen-free. Steam cleaners are intended to be used without any chemicals (though some models may support detergents). With that, steam cleaners are very unlikely to cause any allergic reactions in users.
- Reduced mold & mildew growth. Although steam is gaseous water, it doesn’t form puddles on the cleaned surfaces (though moisture still forms). This allows for a reduced risk for mold & mildew growth on carpets.
7 Best Steam Cleaners For Carpets Reviews
Vapamore MR-100 Primo – The Complete Carpet Steaming Solution
The Vapamore MR-100 Primo is a classical steam cleaner with no fancy features like power brushes or detergent tanks. This machine uses exclusively steam for carpet cleaning, but for most people and carpet messes, this is going to be more than enough.
The MR-100 Primo is very far from being a high-end steam cleaner, but it’s one of the most effective models on our list. Part of the reason for this is the operating pressure – up to 72.5 psi, which is the second-highest on this top.
MR-100 is also suitable for large carpet cleaning jobs – the 1.6-quart water reservoir supplies steam for 50-60 minutes, while the preheat time is 11 minutes. 11 minutes is on the longer side among the reviewed models, which may be due to the relatively low boiler temps (210-220 degrees F).
However, note that cooldown time before refilling is 15 minutes in MR-100, which is quite long. So for very large cleaning jobs, you’ll have to take 15-minute breaks after an hour or so (which isn’t necessarily bad).
Finally, MR-100 Primo has a few neat features for more convenient and safer use. Most notably, it has a high-temperature shutoff, a child safety lock, onboard attachment storage, and heavy-duty rubber wheels for easy transport.
- Very high operating pressure for more effective cleaning.
- Supplies steam for 50-60 minutes on a single refill.
- Boasts a high-temperature shutoff, a child safety lock, and onboard tool storage.
- 20 cleaning attachments included.
- The cooldown before refill is a lengthy 15 minutes.
Vapamore MR-100 Primo is an excellent steam cleaner if you do not want any fancy features. Not only that, but MR-100 Primo offers high cleaning performance for not too much money.
Hoover FH52000 Smartwash – Editor’s Pick
Next list on our roundup is Hoover FH52000 Smartwash, a rather inexpensive yet effective carpet cleaner. Despite its fair price, Hoover FH52000 has a few interesting things to boast that no other steamer on this list has.
The highlight of the Hoover Smartwash carpet cleaner is the Automatic Cleaning Technology. Thanks to this tech, this carpet cleaner is capable of not only cleaning but automatic drying. The cleaning is done when you push the cleaner forward, while drying is done when pulling it back.
At the core of this carpet cleaner’s cleaning ability is the FlexForce dual power brush. Thanks to this power brush, FH52000 can loosen and lift up dirt, debris, and pet messes.
Additionally, Hoover FH52000 has a cleaning solution dispenser that again has automatic capabilities. More precisely, thanks to Auto Mix technology, the cleaner knows how much detergent to premix and dispense to ensure effective cleaning.
The FH52000 Smartwash auto carpet cleaner notably has a pretty large water reservoir – sized at 1 gallon, it’s one of the biggest water tanks in the reviewed carpet cleaners. You won’t have to refill this cleaner too often, which will be especially nice if there is a lot of carpet surface to clean.
- Not too expensive.
- Does automatic cleaning & drying.
- Precisely dispenses the cleaning solution for better cleaning.
- Features a dual power brush to loosen and lift dirt.
- Large 1-gallon water reservoir.
- May struggle with thick carpets.
If your budget is limited but you have a lot of carpet surface to clean, then perhaps FH52000 is the best option for you. It’s very convenient as well thanks to the auto cleaning and drying, which is another thing that makes this cleaner a nice choice for large carpet areas.
Bissell ProHeat 2X Revolution Pet Pro – Best for Pet Owners
If pet messes are a big problem for you, then perhaps the Bissell ProHeat 2X Revolution Pet Pro carpet cleaner is for you. Hoover FH52000 Smartwash is also pretty decent at treating pet messes, but it’s not as specialized as this carpet cleaner.
The Bissell carpet cleaner comes with dual Dirt Lifter power brushes capable of effectively loosening and lifting stains, dirt, and odors. And like in the Hoover carpet cleaner, ProHeat 2X Revolution has cleaning solution dispensing capabilities.
In fact, cleaning solutions are part of the reason why ProHeat 2X is great for pet owners. This carpet cleaner comes with a few cleaning solutions formulated for pet stain and odor elimination. Bissell even claims that this cleaner can remove skunk odor (though this is challenging to confirm).
For especially tough stains, this cleaner can dispense a concentrated stream of your cleaning solution.
Keep in mind that not all listings include these solutions, so be careful with what you are buying.
What’s also nice about ProHeat 2X is that it disassembles easily to allow for thorough cleaning. Apart from that, this carpet cleaner has a large 1-gallon water tank along with a long 25 feet power cord to allow for more convenient carpet cleaning in large rooms.
- Great for pet messes.
- Effective power brush for dirt removal.
- Can dispense cleaning solutions to treat tough stains.
- Can be disassembled for easier cleaning.
- Long 25 feet power cord.
- Large 1-gallon water tank.
- The carpet may stay wet for some time after cleaning.
This carpet cleaner is an excellent choice for pet owners. This is largely thanks to the proprietary cleaning solutions from Bissell, but if you have long struggled with pet hair or odor, then strongly consider investing your money in ProHeat 2X Revolution Pet Pro.
Steam & Go SAG806D 8-In-1 All-Purpose – Best Budget Pick
For light messes or small carpet areas, an inexpensive steam cleaner like Steam & Go SAG806D likely is the optimal buy. In fact, as the least expensive carpet steam cleaner on this list, this cleaner is an excellent choice for those who have a limited budget.
As a cheap carpet cleaner, the SAG806D doesn’t have the fancy features that we’ve already seen and will see in the next reviews. However, this steam cleaner offers good performance for light messes, and there also are some other things in it that may interest you.
The first eye-catcher is the triangular head – with this cleaning head, accessing corners under furniture will be easy.
Next, SAG806D can be used for both floors and carpets. To be fair, its primary purpose is tile, hardwood, or vinyl cleaning, but with the included carpet glider adapter, it can also clean low- and high-pile carpets.
Like previous carpet cleaners on this list, Steam & Go SAG806D has a detergent tank to allow for more effective cleaning. It’s pretty small though – just about 0.25 quarts – so you won’t be able to remove very tough stains with SAG806D.
The water tank is also pretty small – only 0.375 quarts – meaning that this steam cleaner isn’t the best option for large-surface cleaning. On the other hand, the preheating time in this cleaner is just 0.3 minutes, while the steam operating time is claimed at 30 minutes – pretty decent for the tank size.
- Very inexpensive.
- Prepares steam in just 0.3 minutes.
- Lightweight and compact.
- Can dispense detergent for more effective cleaning.
- Can be used for floors and carpets.
- Easy corner cleaning thanks to the triangular head shape.
- Will probably only work for lighter messes.
The Steam & Go SAG806D steam cleaner is a very nice model for light-duty carpet cleaning. Not only that, but this steam cleaner can be used for non-carpet cleaning as well, while the included attachments also allow you to clean upholstery, curtains, kitchen fixtures, and more.
Ladybug XLT2300 TANCS – For Large Volume Steam Cleaning
The Ladybug XLT2300 is the most expensive and the most advanced carpet steam cleaner on our list. It is the perfect option for high-volume and even commercial carpet cleaning jobs.
Ladybug XLT2300 can be used continuously for hours thanks to its 0-minute cooldown between refills. Not only that, but because it has a continuous fill option, you will be able to enjoy refill-free cleaning. XLT2300 also has a 1.8-quart water reservoir for those who want to be more mobile.
This steam cleaner boasts a boiler temperature of 310 degrees Fahrenheit and max pressure of 80 psi. Thanks to these, XLT2300 preheats in just 6-10 minutes and offers highly effective cleaning of very tough messes. Remarkably, XLT2300 is also EPA-certified as a disinfection system.
Ladybug XLT2300 also boasts a wide range of features for safety and convenience, including a pressure gauge, low-water indicator, auto overheat protection, and a child safety lock. This cleaner also includes a variety of attachments (14 in total), making it suitable for tasks well beyond carpet cleaning.
- Excellent for high-volume or commercial carpet cleaning.
- Preheats in just 6-10 minutes and requires no refill cooldown.
- Continuous fill option.
- Has many features for convenience and safety.
- Attachments galore included.
- EPA-certified as a disinfection system.
- Very expensive.
- The power cord is a mere 15 feet long.
If you are ready to pay the money for heavy-duty carpet cleaning performance, then XLT2300 probably is the right option for you. It’s very pricey, but with its zero cooldown between refills, attachments galore, and continuous fill option, it’s the best steam cleaner on this list for high-volume cleaning.
Bissell Big Green 86T3 Professional – Heavy Duty Cleaner
Bissell Big Green 86T3 is in some ways similar to ProHeat 2X we reviewed a little bit earlier. However, 86T3 is a heavier-duty, professional-grade steam cleaner that is better for high-volume carpet cleaning.
The highlight of 86T3 is its dual-tank system that allows keeping dirty and clean water separate, so you can enjoy longer cleaning without refills. Not only that, but the tanks here are huge – the clean water tank is sized at about 2 gallons and the dirty water one at 1.74 gallons.
Of course, the two tanks make this carpet cleaner pretty large and heavy. In fact, it’s the bulkiest and heaviest carpet cleaner on this list.
Bissell 86T3 also has a different power brush assembly than ProHeat 2X – you are getting a single brush, but it’s big and has many bristles, allowing for increased carpet cleaning performance. For further effectiveness, you can make use of the cleaning formulas (some are pet-focused) sold alongside this cleaner.
Notably, the brush assembly cleans both on the forward and backward pass, allowing you to cover your carpet surfaces quicker.
In some areas, 86T3 is similar to ProHeat 2X Revolution Pet Pro – more precisely, it has a long 25 feet power cord and can be disassembled for easy cleaning. Similarities also apply to downsides – 86T3 again leaves some moisture on the carpet, though not as much.
- Great for pet messes.
- Offers commercial-grade performance for not too much money.
- Extra-large power brush.
- Can dispense cleaning solutions to treat tough stains.
- Can be disassembled for easier cleaning.
- Long 25 feet power cord.
- Two large tanks to separate clean and dirty water.
- Very bulky and heavy.
- Carpets may stay wet after cleaning.
Bissell Big Green 86T3 offers professional-level performance without a professional price tag. Of course, this carpet cleaner won’t be as heavy-duty as Ladybug XLT2300, but it’s much cheaper and will be a better suit for many homeowners.
Vapor Clean II Home Steam – Best for Home & Apartment Use
Finally, we have the Vapor Clean II home steam cleaner. If you liked the features of Ladybug XLT2300 but didn’t quite like its price, then Vapor Clean II may be a good alternative.
Some of the key features of XLT2300 can be found in Clean II, including the pressure gauge, child lock, low water indicator, auto overheating protection, and EPA disinfection certification. You are also getting 17 accessories – 3 more than in XLT2300.
So in terms of convenience, Vapor Clean II shouldn’t be too far off XLT2300. Not only that, but with a larger 2.3-quart tank, Clean II will run a little bit longer without refills – for up to an hour.
But, of course, the performance isn’t on the same level. This is partly due to the operating pressure – just up to 65 psi in Clean II. Preheating duration is 12 minutes as well, though the between-refill cooldown is a mere 4 minutes. So Clean II still is a decent option for mid-volume carpet cleaning.
You also don’t have a continuous refill option, but this won’t be a useful feature for many people anyway.
Our main dislike in this cleaner is the power cord length – 13 feet is very short and will probably become a big limitation in large spaces.
- 4-minute cooldown between refills.
- Supplies steam for 60 minutes.
- Has many features for convenience and safety.
- Comes with 17 attachments.
- EPA-certified for disinfection.
- The power cord is just 13 feet long.
If you want convenience and safety, then Vapor Clean II is an excellent steam cleaner to consider. In fact, as mentioned above, Clean II offers comparable convenience to XLT2300 – without the steep price. With that, Vapor Clean II is a better choice for light to medium-duty residential use.
How to Choose the Best Steam Cleaner for Carpets
To help you choose the right carpet steam cleaner, let’s now briefly talk about the key features that you should pay attention to when shopping for the best steam cleaner for carpets.
Head width & shape
We wouldn’t say that head width (also called cleaning path) & shape are critical in carpet steam cleaners – there are more interesting and important features to look for as well. However, you shouldn’t ignore head width and shape when shopping for a carpet steamer.
As you could’ve guessed, the wider the head, the quicker you will be able to cover the carpet surface. Consequently, you will have to do fewer passes to clean your carpets.
If you don’t have much carpet surface to clean, then don’t think about head width too much – pay attention to other features instead. If you have many carpets though, then a wider head would allow you to save time.
As for head shape, it will only matter if you have carpets that cover the entire floor in the room. If this is the case, then a steamer with a triangular head would be optimal since it would allow you to easily reach corners beneath furniture.
If room corners are covered by no carpets or if you can easily access them, then a rectangular head would work just as fine.
Steam temperature & pressure
Not every manufacturer will list the operating steam pressure & temperature, but if you do have these specs, then you may use them for comparison as well.
Steam temperature & pressure matter because the higher they are, the more effective the cleaner will be at cleaning, especially with tougher stains.
Another thing you may pay attention to is boiler temperature – the higher it is, the faster the cleaner will produce steam. But again, not every manufacturer lists this spec.
It’s also important how consistent the pressure is in a carpet steam cleaner. If the pressure is inconsistent, then the cleaner won’t be cleaning your carpets effectively, and you may need to do several passes to get the job done.
When buying online, there’s no way for you to assess how consistent the steam delivery will be. The only viable option is to check buyer reviews – if there are any issues, you should be able to find out.
Water reservoir size
Carpet steam cleaners require water for operation. Most commonly, water is supplied via an integrated water reservoir – you just fill the tank, turn the steamer on, wait until it’s ready to produce steam, and start cleaning your carpets.
Larger reservoirs will probably be ideal for most people since they allow for less frequent breaks for refilling. On the other hand, steam cleaners with large reservoirs are heavy and bulky, so you will need to check the size & weight of the desired cleaner to see if they are alright for you.
We wouldn’t say that reservoir size will be a critical spec for everybody. If you don’t have much carpet surface to clean and aren’t expecting to have to do steaming often, then you won’t benefit much from added reservoir size.
Otherwise, if you have many carpets, then it would be a better idea to get a carpet steam cleaner with a larger tank. With such a steam cleaner, you wouldn’t have to waste as much time refilling the cleaner and waiting for the water to heat up.
Also, know that some steam cleaners have hose hookups in addition to reservoirs, allowing for continuous filling. But to make use of this feature, you will need to have a water source nearby.
Steam cleaners are generally quieter than vacuum cleaners. You shouldn’t have to worry about noise too much, but if you do absolutely want a quiet steam cleaner, then check out how noisy it is.
The easiest way to assess how loud a carpet steam cleaner is is to have a look at its noise level in the specs, measured in decibels (dB). Decibels will allow you to determine roughly how loud a steam cleaner will be, as well as will allow you to compare different cleaners with each other.
Unfortunately, not every steam cleaner has noise levels in the spec sheet. In this case, you could have a look at buyer reviews. However, this method won’t be very precise because noise is subjective.
Also, know that a more powerful and effective steam cleaner will probably be noisier. This means that you shouldn’t compare the noisiness of steam cleaners that are of very different performance levels.
Noise comparison makes sense if the cleaners are more or less close to each other spec-wise – in this case, go for a quieter carpet cleaner (given that other features are fine for you).
Attachments & accessories
Carpet steam cleaners come with some basic attachments to allow you to do general carpet cleaning. For just carpet cleaning, you won’t need anything other than the stock cleaning head.
If you want more, then you could get a steam cleaner that comes with additional attachments, such as:
- Pet attachments for hair and odor removal.
- Additional cleaning brushes for upholstery or corners.
- Jet nozzles.
- Crevice tools.
- Fabric tools.
- Extension tubes.
Size & weight
Finally, consider size & weight.
These are pretty simple. With size, keep in mind available storage space and don’t get a steam cleaner that you won’t be able to store comfortably. As for weight, lighter would probably be preferable for most people, but know that a more capable cleaner will probably be heavier.
As with noise, there is no point in comparing the weight of steam cleaners of different capabilities – a steam cleaner that is better at cleaning will probably be heavier. So again, compare the weight of steam cleaners that perform similarly and go for the lighter cleaner.
Tips After Steam-Cleaning Your Carpet
- Although steam cleaning is rather dry, it’s not completely moisture-free. It may take up to 12-24 hours for your carpet to fully dry.
- Don’t walk on the carpet until it has fully fried.
- Keep your carpets clean to avoid steam-cleaning again for as long as possible. Vacuum at least twice a week and place doormats at every exterior door for footwear wiping.
- Don’t steam clean your carpet too often. 2-3 times per year is optimal for most carpets. Otherwise, your carpets may start fading.
- If there are debris left after steaming, you may vacuum the carpet to remove them. In most cases, just steaming will probably be enough.
Before purchasing your first carpet steam cleaner, think whether you truly need one. For one-time jobs, you can rent a steam cleaner and save hundreds of dollars!
We’d recommend buying a steam cleaner for carpets only if you are expecting to do steam cleaning frequently. In this case, having your own cleaner may be more money-saving than renting one multiple times throughout the year.
Try to determine how often you will need to clean your carpets, and try to make the most financially sensible decision. Good luck!