If you own pets or begin to notice stains in your carpets that are difficult for you to get rid of by hand, you know how annoying it can be to look at. But that’s only half of the issue. Bacteria and debris can easily grow inside the fibers of the carpet, both above and underneath the surface. Lint and dust don’t come out easily, but one of the best ways to eliminate such particles is to use a carpet cleaner. No longer are cleaners the bulky monstrosities they were once known as.
Current models are lightweight but extremely powerful, able to vacuum up grime and restore carpets back to their original appearance. Reviewed below are five brands that will make this possible, all without leaving your arms feeling as if you’ve just finished a gym workout. And to help you decide on the options available, the best handheld carpet cleaner Buyer’s Guide follows, having lots of great tips that won’t make your purchase regrettable.
5 Best Handheld Carpet Cleaners of 2020 Reviewed
|Product||Power||Weight||Number of Attachments|
|Shark Rocket Corded Ultra-Light|
|Shark ION W1|
|Bissell 3624 SpotClean Professional||Wired||14 lbs||2|
|Hoover Spotless Spot Cleaner FH11300PC||Wired||9 lbs||1 (More Optional)|
|HoLife Cordless Vacuum Cleaner||Wireless||3.2 lbs||3|
Shark Rocket Corded Ultra-Light Hand Vacuum – Best Carpet Cleaner For Handling (Editor’s Choice)
You can move it around quickly, and it also manages to cover areas that other carpet cleaners of the same height have difficulty reaching. As you work with it, you’ll notice a significant difference is the amount of dirt that lifts from the carpet if used alongside brands of lesser quality. And the separate attachments come on an off quickly. If you’re looking for the absolute best in power, maneuverability, and suction, then the Shark Rocket has everything that most find essential to a great carpet cleaner.
Shark ION W1 Handheld Vacuum – Best For Hard-to-Reach Areas (People’s Choice)
Taking things to an even smaller level than the previously reviewed product, the Shark ION W1 is a wireless lover’s dream. The cleaner weighs only 1.4 pounds, making it the most lightweight brands shown in the reviews. But what it lacks in weight is made up for suction power, and the cleaner will pick up those tough-to-beat stains that a simple scrub job wouldn’t. The handle and comfortable, and glide across surfaces without requiring multiple passes to handle problematic areas.
The brush is a little on the small side though, and the device gets surprisingly loud for its size. If you consider these to be non-issues, try out the Shark ION when you need a cleaner that will handle the jobs that larger machines cannot feasibly complete.
Bissell 3624 SpotClean Professional Portable Carpet Cleaner – Best For Vacuum Power
The Bissell 3624 SpotClean is larger than the carpet cleaners that have been evaluated so far, but it’s also very powerful in strength and suction action. Deep stains and heavily soiled carpets will come up to a level that’s comparable to a professional steam cleaning job, and the power cord’s length allows the machine to travel far away from its source outlet. If you have a large home with stairways and square footage that’s made up mostly of carpet, this is the right cleaner for you.
The water reservoir is also very large, so you won’t have to make multiple trips into the kitchen to change it out in between cleaning jobs.
Hoover Spotless Portable Carpet & Upholstery Spot Cleaner, FH11300PC – Best For Thin Carpets
The Hoover Spotless Portable Carpet Cleaner is outfitted with a large handle at the top, making it a little bit easier to lift its 9 pounds in weight. The Vacuum is powerful and an ideal way to clean up carpets that are thin, particularly those when hardwood floor underneath. And while it doesn’t leave lots of water on the floor when you’re done, the cleaner appears to vacuum in a way to makes drying a chore that could be longer than anticipated. The tank, while well-built, may also leak small amounts of water on the floor when you’re taking out the reservoir.
Be careful when you do this because the liquid that you get rid of will consist of dirty water that can end up on your freshly cleaned carpet again. This could cause serious frustration over time, so you will have to get into the habit of carefully removing it without spilling anything simultaneously. It’s not a major issue though, and most users shouldn’t have any worries.
It also cleans itself out, which means no more running to the kitchen or backyard to dump out the icky mess in the interior by hand. Once you’re done with the floor, just pour out the dirty water and you’re good to go.
[Upgraded Version]Handheld Vacuum, HoLife Cordless Vacuum Cleaner – Best Portable Carpet Cleaner
The HoLIfe Cordless Vacuum Cleaner is another small wireless device that has a very attractive look and feel. The handle is well made and fits the hand without issue. However, this would have been better if some sort of rubberized padding were put in place toward the back of the handle itself, which consists of plastic alone. You can charge it with an adapter that plugs into the wall. Charging time it about one-to-two hours. The length of time it will remain operational when used is only 30 minutes, so keep this in mind if you plan on cleaning large areas. You’ll be better off sticking to such items as furniture, vehicle interiors, and bedding. Floors can be cleaned though, but rugs might be better suited with the vacuum.
For that alone, this tool is suggested for people that plan on using it for nothing more than minor cleanup duties. But it is easy to transport and could make a great way to get a small home or vehicle clean without reliance on a heavy model. Those with hardwood floors that contain the occasional rug could also find this useful. It won’t be necessary to invest in a large carpet cleaner that will only be used infrequently.
Handheld Carpet Cleaners Buying Guide
Carpet cleaners are vastly different from your standard vacuums. They require good maintenance and upkeep, along with an understanding on how to operate the machines themselves. Not every brand is alike, and some definitely hold an advantage over others.
Unfortunately, good attributes aren’t always easy to spot. The Buyer’s Guide below will help you know the differences between a good carpet cleaner, and one that’s better left with the seller. Once you’re finished done with the section, you will be confident in picking a device that’s guaranteed to restore your carpets back to their former glory.
Maintenance after Cleanup
Like any cleaning device, you’ll have to maintain proper upkeep in order to ensure that it remains functional. It’s easier to do this with some carpet cleaners than others. The smaller varieties are the best, and can usually be cleared of dirt buildup by simply washing the interior pieces in water, or going over their surfaces with a wet cloth.
If you think that it’ll be easier for you to clean your carpets or other woven furniture with something that won’t take just as long to maintain in the end, then stick to the smaller carpet cleaners. They are lightweight, and can also be stored faster than the heavier brands. Still, if power is what you want most, getting a wired and/or heavy-duty machine shouldn’t be off the table.
How Efficiently the Cleaner uses Water
Water is the primary ingredient to carpet cleaners. Yes, a good cleaning solution is also important but would be pointless without water to help lift up stains that are hard to clean by hand. Cleaners can generally take tap water but you may want to read an online manual, particularly if you know that your water has lots of minerals. The reason for this is that clogs can happen with some models, and also age the interior parts in water that isn’t filtered. It’s a small issue though, something that won’t likely become a problem. Still, if concerned, try to use either filtered or distilled water for your cleaning.
If you read descriptions of a carpet cleaner that claim the product produces lots of water that seems to stay on the carpet (when it should be vacuumed by the machine itself), you may want to look elsewhere. This is especially so if your home is carpeted. If a brand doesn’t do a good job at getting up the water from the floor, it will take a long time for it to dry, which also increases the number of bacteria that have time to regrow. With this in mind, always ensure that the wattage is sufficient to suck up solid and liquid materials into the reservoir.
Many of the carpet cleaners shown in the reviews above contain brushes or extensions that can fit brushed onto their chute. The material in which they can make can vary but it oftentimes synthetic. Good brushes will help raise the fine hairs and link balls from the carpet that are difficult for the vacuum to move. Try to get a brand that has long brushes that will penetrate deep into your carpet. Of course, this won’t be a huge issue if your carpets material consists of small fabric.
Those with longer fabric materials should get longer brushes. And make sure the spin rotation is fast as well (if it’s not manually operated). A fast-moving brush with good spin will reduce the number of times you’ll need to pass over the areas that you’re cleaning.
When to go Wireless
Wireless carpet cleaners aren’t new, but they sure have gotten a lot more powerful than they were in year’s past. You can now clean your entire carpet with these types of machine, instead of saving them for alternative uses (such as cleaning a car interior). They also tend to be lighter in weight and dimensions that the wired models. Wireless cleaners may operate with different types of batteries, but all must be charged.
Charging times can also vary but tend to take about a handful of hours at most to reach full power. The power cords of the chargers are short though, so make sure that you have enough space around an outlet for the cleaner. A kitchen or laundry counter works well, so look around these locations to see if there’s an adapter within reach of the cleaner’s charging wire length.
Suction is the heart of every carpet cleaner. Without it, it wouldn’t be of any use in the first place. You probably want the best in terms of vacuuming power. If this is true, look at the wired machines first, since the continuous electric power that’s fed to the motor won’t be reduced. Those that rely on batteries (the wired cleaners) may lose strength as they power supply dwindles. Yes, they can be charged again to function normally, but this isn’t an issue with most of the brands that much be plugged in to operate. And the vacuum should be able to lift everything except the carpet itself: water, debris, stains, and hair should be visible in the filter when you’re done with cleaning.
The only drawback could be noise level, as the most powerful vacuums tend to make lots of sounds that can easily be heard in rooms that are far away from the cleaning location.
Just as described in the last previous section, carpet cleaners sometimes emit loud noises that seem to travel far away from the device. Some of them sound like ordinary vacuums, but there are brands which emit fewer sound waves than you may expect. If you have any sort of hearing issues, such as tinnitus or sensitive eardrums, try to look for a carpet cleaner that’s built to minimize noise. When this feature is given on a brand, it will often be shown in the product’s description. If not, you could also look at videos of each device when they’re available.
Not everyone can lift household cleaning devices easily, especially the disabled. If you’re getting a cleaner that must be operated without the user (or yourself) feeling fatigued around the wrists, always factor in the total weight of the cleaner itself. Weight can range from as little as 3 pounds to well of 20 in some models. The cleaners shown above are mostly lightweight, but there are some models that are definitely on the heavier side.
Handheld carpet cleaner works well under this predicament, and come with the added benefit of being easy to hook up and put away when cleaning is done. But don’t get the bulkiest and largest machine if you have had problems with similar devices in the past, especially if you’re going to be cleaning stairways. But if you must get something with a little weight, ensure that the brand is easy for you to move. Some models feature wheels at the bottom that can be pushed instead of lifted.
Dealing with Leaks
Leaks are a common problem with carpet cleaners. But its something that can usually be avoided with proper maintenance of and upkeep. There are models that do leak easier than others though, some right when they are taken out of the box. Look at photos of the filter when they are posted, and inspect the fill line. Leaks can also be caused by the position of the reservoir itself. And there’s removal. When you take off some filters or reservoirs for cleaning, they may leak dirty water on the carpet.
If you hear the product described with such a feature, then it’s possible that you could end up getting the carpet dirty in the spot that the water hit. Little annoyances such as this could irritate you when cleaning large carpets, so take note if these descriptions when you see them.
Now that you have an understanding of what kind of carpet cleaner you want, it’s recommended that you read up on the Buyer’s Guide if you haven’t done so already. A cleaner shouldn’t be purchased because of its image alone, and the majority of your buying decision should be based on weight and suction power, among other things. But maybe you’re having a hard time picking from the five that where provided. If this is the case, there are two that were evaluated that stick out from the others.
The Shark Rocket and Shark ION W1 are winners in just about all attributes associated with the devices. If you want the best in terms of power, weight, and overall ease of use, then it gets no better than this. And the others will also manage to clean your carpets with good results, with features that could help those with specific needs (such as a heavier machine). Overall, you’re guaranteed to get the best carpet cleaner you’ll find anywhere.