For an introduction to carpet cleaning machines, check out the Home Carpet Cleaning Machines Intro guide.
Type of Carpet Cleaning Machine
There are currently several types of carpet cleaning machines sold in the market today for home use. These include upright deep cleaners of varying power and effectiveness: professional grade, regular home use, lightweight upright; canister and portable spot cleaners. To see examples of these different types of cleaners, check out these Home Carpet Cleaning Machine Models here.
The most common type of carpet cleaning machine purchased for home use are regular home upright deep carpet cleaners. They offer near professional quality results without the heavy price tag. However, more and more home users are choosing to purchase professional grade machines. They do clean better and last longer, making them good investments.
Rinse Only Mode
Rinsing carpets at the end is recommended to remove remaining detergent from the carpets. Having a a rinse only mode or setting on the machine means that no detergent is added into the clean water tank and mixed with the water when cleaning. Traditional machines do not have this feature. To rinse, users traditionally needed to empty out the tanks with detergent mixed with water and fill it with clean (no detergent) water only.
Nowadays, a lot of newer machines incorporate this rinse only setting feature, which could make the cleaning job easier. It’s a nice option to have, though not mission critical.
Cleaning Path Width
Wide path machines allow for more carpet to be cleaned with the same number of cleaning strokes. Though wide path machines usually have a somewhat higher weight, the benefits of faster cleaning more than makes up for it for many users. This is especially important for users with larger areas to clean, or if they want greater efficiency when cleaning.
In-Built Water Heater
The feature of a built-in water heater inside the carpet cleaning machine could be it’s selling point. With most carpet cleaning machines, users will add hot water to the machines for cleaning the carpets. A select number of models from Bissell’s ProHeat 2X series of machines include built-in water heaters. For sure, this is a helpful feature because it heats up the water internally. At the same time, it makes the machine’s more complex and increases the risk of malfunctions. This is not a mission critical feature, but something available if you feel the pros outweigh the cons.
Some models have heated drying that will quicken the time it takes for the carpets to dry after cleaning. This can shorten the dry time to about 3 to 4 hours after cleaning, compared to 8 hours and longer.
Number of Water Tanks
Home carpet cleaners typically come with either a dual tank (one for clean and one for dirty water) or single tank set up. Bissell’s regular home-use models typically have a one tank system, with a “bladder” pouch separating the clean and dirty water. While this makes it easy to take to the sink, some users find the handling itself rather inconvenient and messy. Other machines have a two-tank set-up. This demands more physical space, but could be more convenient to refill and dump. For more details, check out this post.
Water Tank Size
The tank size directly affects how often the carpet cleaner needs to be refilled. Keep in mind though those big tanks mean heavier equipment, especially when full. Regular sized upright carpet cleaners typically have a 1 gallon clean water capacity, which is good for most users. A commercial grade cleaner may feature a higher capacity like 1.75 – 2.5 gallons and more.
Carpet Cleaning Machine Weight
Carpet cleaning can be a laborious process. A heavier machine may require greater physical exertion. It is also harder to move the machine around, especially if you need to bring it up or downstairs. Fortunately, regular upright deep cleaners these days weigh as little as 19 lbs (eg. Hoover Power Scrub Deluxe Carpet Washer FH50150). There are also lightweight models that weigh around 13 lbs (eg. Hoover Power Path Deluxe Carpet Washer FH50951).
Cord Reach/ Hose Reach
What areas or items are you looking to clean? Look for something that can be easily moved around the house without making things too hard for you. Hoses can extend as much as 8 or 9 feet in length. These lengths are suitable for reaching difficult and narrow areas. Cord lengths can be anywhere between 15 to 30 feet. That allows for much cleaning to be completed through a wide area, without having to plug and unplug the machine all the time.
If you only need a machine for stairs or upholstery cleaning, there are also rechargeable portable models today which should be a good choice for up and down homes.
Handtools & Attachments
The right handtools and attachments extend the use of the carpet cleaning machine beyond just cleaning rooms. Basic attachments are included in the price of the machine package. A basic attachment that would be helpful is carpet and upholstery tool that attaches to an extended hose. This allows users to clean upholstery, furniture, hard to reach corners, stairs and automobile interiors.
Some machines also offer powered scrubbing handtools. They are helpful because instead of needing to exert lots of physical effort to scrub the carpets manually, the powered scrub offers more cleaning power with less effort.
The warranty usually covers parts and labor, and are limited by terms like the machine must be “used and maintained in normal household use and in accordance with the Owner’s Manual.” One usual requirement is that the machines must use recommended cleaning detergents or else their warranty will be voided. Most regular machines usually have a warranty of 1 year. There are exceptions, such as the Hoover PowerScrub Deluxe or the Bissell Professional SpotClean machine, which have two year warranties. A one-year extended warranty for carpet machines costs $20 and up. A longer warranty period is a good feature that offers protection just in case.
Commercial grade machines typically have a minimum of 3 years warranty and longer. They feature a much higher level of workmanship and construction and there are far fewer problems reported about them. Still, a good warranty offers help just in case, and should be expected for the price of the machine.
Obviously, cost is a big factor for many buyers. Fortunately, finding an inexpensive carpet cleaning machine is no longer as tough as it used to be. Home users can choose between different brands and set aside a budget of $150 to $500, depending on their personal requirements. Choose one that fits your budget, and that provides adequate cleaning power and other features you like.
Don’t forget to read up reviews about the brands and models. Check the detailed reviews on this site and other sites like Amazon.com or the manufacturer’s websites to understand what the pros and cons are of each machine. If you are unsure about what to pick, you can also compare the reviews for a few machines and pick the one that meets your needs best. This Compare Carpet Cleaning Machines Chart may help you.
Keep in mind that the best carpet cleaning machine for one person might not be the ideal choice for you. Hence, take the time to judge a device based on your own set of standards before purchasing the carpet cleaning machine for sale.