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Portable Spot & Upright Home Carpet Cleaners Comparison

Portable Carpet Cleaners Upright Home Carpet Cleaners
Bissell SpotClean Professional 3624 Portable Carpet Cleaner Bissell Proheat 2x Revolution
Purpose For small spots and stains For rooms and entire floors
Weight 10 to 15 lb typically 20 to 25 lb typically
Water Tank Capacity 30 to 60 oz 128 oz (1 Gallon) typically
Storage Small and compact. Under 15″ in height typically. Takes more space. 40+ inches in height typically.
Average Pricing $80 to $140 $150 to $200
Examples Click for Reviews Click for Reviews

When purchasing a carpet cleaner for home use, most people choose either a Portable Spot Carpet Cleaner or an Upright Carpet Cleaner. While both types of machines are able to clean carpets using similar technologies, they are designed for different levels of clean-up jobs. In short, a portable spot cleaner is meant for cleaning up small areas and spots, while an upright carpet cleaner is meant for cleaning up rooms and entire floors.

A lot of households own both types of machines as well, as they are designed to be used at different times. Let’s compare these two types of carpet cleaners in greater detail, so you can pick the one that suits your needs best.

Hoover Carpet Basics Power Scrub Carpet Cleaner FH50150



Portable spot cleaners, like upright home carpet cleaners, use water extraction technology to clean out stains. They both have brush heads for scrubbing, and mechanisms for dispensing water/detergent and suctioning back the dirty water mix. Portable spot cleaners have smaller brush heads since they are meant for cleaning up small messes and stains. They are typically around 3 to 5 inches.

In comparison, upright home carpet cleaning machines typically have much wider cleaning path width of 10 to 12 inches. However, upright machines will often have attachment hoses that allow them to work with smaller 3 to 5 inch brush heads to clean up spots and upholstery.

Different Purposes

The purpose of a spot carpet cleaning machine is to clean up small spots and stains as they occur. The machine is small and portable, which makes it easy to bring out and use. They can be used for cleaning up food stains like spilled spaghetti sauce, tea or coffee stains, pet stains like urine and vomit, or just domestic traffic stains and dirty footprints. These machines can also be great for cleaning upholstery, or auto carpets.

Upright Carpet Cleaners Are All-In-One Machines

Hoover Power Scrub cleaniing stairs

Using the Hoover Power Scrub to clean stairs. Image credit: Hoover.com. Read Hoover Power Scrub Review

Upright carpet cleaners are all-encompassing. They are sometimes referred to as all-in-one machines. Whatever can be cleaned by a small portable cleaner can usually also be cleaned through using a larger upright cleaner with the use of attachments.

Most upright machines come with longer attachment hoses that will work with smaller brush-heads for focused spot cleaning, reaching small narrow areas, or to clean upholstery and sofas. Despite this, many homes either opt to purchase a separate portable carpet cleaner, or else purchase a spot cleaner as their only in-home carpet cleaning machine.

So, Why Portable Spot Cleaners?

Here’s why: Convenience. Portable spot carpet cleaners typically weigh around 10 to 12 lbs, which is much lighter than upright carpet cleaners that usually weigh 20 lbs and more. Besides being heavier, upright carpet cleaner are also more bulky, so it can be tiring to pull them out every so often to clean up small spills and stains.



In addition, portable carpet cleaners are much easier to store. These units are small and compact, and can be stored under the sink. Spot cleaners are often 15 inches or less in height, compared to 40 inches and higher for upright cleaning machines. For someone living in a small space with limited storage, a portable spot cleaner could make the most sense. Another option is to choose a lightweight upright cleaner.

Price Difference

In terms of prices, portable spot cleaners are slightly cheaper, although the gap is not substantial. A portable spot machine costs around $80 to $140, while an upright cleaner costs around $150 to $200.

In Conclusion

In an ideal world, it would be great to have both types of units in the convenience of your own home. Where it is not feasible, consider getting the type of machine you are more likely to use, and that will help you achieve your carpet cleaning goals. If this is your first home carpet cleaner, getting either type of machine will allow you to enjoy much cleaner carpets with ease. This article outlines the 4 main types of home carpet cleaners in the market.

Looking to buy a Bissell Carpet Cleaner but not sure which type of machine to pick? Check out this article: Portable Spot or Upright Bissell Carpet Cleaner

Browse Best Home Upright Carpet CleanersHoover and Bissell models dominate

Shop Best Portable Carpet CleanersBissell and the Rug Doctor portable machine models dominate

Emmeline Chu







About Emmeline Chu

Emmeline Chu is the Chief Reviewer on this site. She likes to keep all things clean, especially carpets and rugs. Emmeline admits to a quirky obsession with carpet cleaner machines. Since 2014, she has been writing reviews on carpet cleaners. She shares her story here.

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