The Best Carpet Cleaners for Pets of 2022

Pets may be cute and cuddly, but their messes are far from it. Lift stains and eliminate odors from carpet with a cleaner designed for their messes.

By Brittany Varano | Updated Sep 30, 2022 4:04 PM

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The Best Carpet Cleaner for Pets Option

Photo: amazon.com

In addition to having a pet stain remover, a quality carpet cleaner that’s made for homes with pets is a helpful tool for maintaining a happy home free of pet stains and odors. When shopping for the best carpet cleaner for pets, consider the type, size, power, and suction capability. After selecting your ideal option, you can spend less time cleaning and more time enjoying your furry loved ones.

Keep reading to learn about important factors to consider when browsing for the best carpet cleaners for pets, and check out some of the best options on the market just ahead. Each of the top picks below was selected after an in-depth review of the market and thorough product vetting.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Bissell ProHeat 2X Lift Off Pet Pro Carpet Cleaner
  2. RUNNER UP: Bissell ProHeat Pet Pro Carpet Cleaner
  3. BEST BUDGET: Hoover PowerDash Pet Compact Carpet Cleaner
  4. BEST MIDRANGE: Hoover Smartwash Automatic Carpet Cleaner
  5. BEST HEAVY-DUTY: Bissell Big Green Professional Carpet Cleaner
  6. BEST HANDHELD: Bissell Pet Stain Eraser PowerBrush, 2837
  7. BEST STEAM-CLEANING: McCulloch Heavy-Duty Steam Cleaner
  8. BEST PORTABLE: Bissell 3624 Spot Clean Portable Carpet Cleaner
  9. BEST FOR STAIRS: Rug Doctor Pet Portable Spot Cleaner
The Best Carpet Cleaner for Pets Option

Photo: amazon.com

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Carpet Cleaner for Pets

Before selecting a carpet cleaner for dogs and cats, there are many features to consider, such as the type, corded versus cordless, power and suction, tank capacity, portability, and more. These details can help narrow the options to find the best carpet cleaner for pets.

Type

There are different types of carpet cleaners for pets, including upright, handheld, and portable carpet cleaning machines.

  • An upright carpet cleaner typically is a larger machine that stands vertically and has a push handle and base wheels for maneuvering over carpet.
  • Handheld carpet cleaners are much smaller than upright carpet cleaners and have a lighter weight. They are often cordless and have a rechargeable battery. Handheld cleaners typically weigh less than 5 pounds and are much easier to carry than upright machines, which can weigh 20 pounds or more.
  • Portable carpet cleaners are not always handheld or cordless, but they are more compact and suitable for tackling small messes or tough carpet stains. Portable machines often weigh less than 15 pounds, do not exceed 2 feet tall, and come with built-in wheels for easy maneuvering.

Corded vs. Cordless

Another important shopping consideration is whether a corded or cordless carpet cleaner is best for a household. A cordless machine can usually better reach difficult places that are far from electrical outlets. However, a cordless carpet cleaner must be charged before each use and has a limited runtime that typically lasts about 30 minutes between charges.

A corded carpet cleaner usually is a more powerful machine with sustained power and charge. When considering a corded carpet cleaner, the cord length is important. A cord that’s at least 15 feet long is usually ideal to conveniently reach every corner of an average-size room.

Power and Suction

The air watts rating of a machine represents the suction power of carpet cleaners. The higher the rating, the stronger the suction. A standard upright carpet cleaner may have 100 air watts of suction, whereas a more professional machine may have as much as 220 air watts. The cleaners with the highest suction tend to be corded machines that receive power directly from an electrical outlet. A stronger suction means a deeper clean and more water suctioned away for a quicker-drying surface.

Handheld and cordless carpet cleaners for pets that are powered by rechargeable lithium-ion batteries are a little less powerful, but are still well suited for spot treating stains. Handheld carpet cleaners have a limited supply source with a runtime that often does not exceed 30 minutes between charges. Lithium-ion batteries are powerful, but they cannot rival the strength of suction provided by corded machines with a more substantial power source.

Carpet cleaners for pets also may feature different cleaning settings to fulfill different tasks. For example, a carpet cleaning machine may have a deep clean or a heavy-duty setting that employs a more rigorous scrub, or a quick-clean setting that uses less water for an efficient clean that conveniently dries quickly.

Tank Capacity

Tank capacity varies in size depending on whether or not it’s an upright, a portable, or a handheld carpet cleaner. The average upright carpet cleaner has a water tank that can hold about 1 gallon or more of water, whereas a portable carpet cleaner may hold a half gallon, and a handheld carpet cleaner may hold about a quarter gallon.

All carpet cleaners for pets usually have two different tanks to hold clean and dirty water. However, some machines feature a solution tank where carpet cleaner can be stored separately and then automatically dispensed into the clean water tank when in use. However, not every machine has a separate solution tank and may instead instruct users to mix the solution in the clean water tank when preparing it to clean.

Portability

High portability is a valuable feature for a carpet cleaner that can make the cleaning process easier and more convenient. The various components that contribute to the portability of a quality carpet cleaner for pets are the size, handle, hose length, wheels, and weight.

The size and weight of a carpet cleaner affect its portability. A handheld machine typically weighs about 5 pounds and is not usually longer than 24 inches. A lightweight upright machine typically weighs less than 20 pounds and can be as tall as 45 inches. A heavy-duty upright carpet cleaner can weigh as much as 40 pounds or even more.

Upright carpet cleaners with wheels and a long handle are easier to move around and store when not in use. If a carpet cleaner has a hose, the extra length from the hose can help clean hard-to-reach places.

Accessories

Accessories may be included with the purchase of a new carpet cleaner for pets. Many pet carpet cleaners include a specialized pet cleaning brush tool that can be used to spot treat carpet or upholstery for a targeted clean.

Another attachment tool that may be included is designed to pick up hair or remove stains, and some cleaners may come with an attachment hose for greater reach where a bulky machine may not fit. Bonus carpet cleaner accessories may include trial-size cleaning solutions or shampoos.

Our Top Picks

There are many different situations and reasons to use a carpet cleaner for pets, so this list includes options for a wide variety of needs and uses. Read on to learn more about some of the best carpet cleaners for pets that effectively deodorize carpets and wash away dirt.

Best Overall

The Best Carpet Cleaners Option: Bissell ProHeat 2X Lift Off Carpet Cleaner
Photo: amazon.com

Love your pets but hate the mess they can make on your carpet? This powerful machine is designed to remove stains, hair, and odors—it even boasts the ability to remove skunk smell! It comes with a dual DirtLifter PowerBrush with over 10 rows of bristles for deep cleaning carpet fibers. To help with the toughest stains, this model also comes with 1 8-ounce bottle of BISSELL PRO MAX Clean + Protect cleaning solution and an 8-ounce bottle of Deep Clean + Antibacterial Formula cleaner.

There’s also a two-in-one pet upholstery spot cleaning tool to remove odors, stains, and hair from furniture and drapes and a crevice tool for hard to reach areas. Set this model on Max Mode for heavy-duty cleaning or Express Clean for a lighter clean that dries faster. The only downside to this Bissell ProHeat 2X Lift Off Carpet Cleaner is that it weighs 24 pounds, so it is a little heavier than comparable options.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Upright
  • Corded/Cordless: Corded
  • Power Usage: 800 watts

Pros

  • Can remove stains, hair, and odors
  • Multiple built-in cleaning modes
  • Comes with multiple tools
  • 2 8-ounce cleaning solutions included

Cons

  • Heavyweight; may be hard to carry up stairs
  • Expensive price point

Get the Bissell ProHeat 2X Lift Off Pet Pro carpet cleaner on Amazon and at Best Buy.

Runner Up

The Best Carpet Cleaner for Pets Option: Bissell ProHeat 2X Revolution Pet Pro Carpet Cleaner
Photo: amazon.com

The Bissell ProHeat 2X Revolution Max Carpet Cleaner is engineered to target pet stains and odors deep in carpet fibers. This upright carpet cleaner has 12 rows of rotating PowerBrushes that remove dirt. There are a few different cleaning settings, including the MAX Clean Mode for the deepest clean, an Express Clean Mode that cleans and leaves carpets dry in 30 minutes, and a CleanShot stain pretreater.

This cleaner is 15 inches by 12.5 inches by 43.5 inches and weighs about 18 pounds. The ProHeat also has a low-profile foot for maneuvering around furniture and increased portability. A bonus 3-inch stain tool and pet upholstery brush tool are included. There is no separate solution tank, so carpet cleaner should be added to the clean water tank.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Upright
  • Corded/Cordless: Corded
  • Power Usage: 800 watts

Pros

  • Can remove stains and odor
  • 1-gallon water tank
  • 25-foot power cord
  • Additional tools included

Cons

  • May not reach far under furniture
  • Pricey

Get the Bissell ProHeat Pet Pro carpet cleaner on Amazon, Best Buy, and Target

Best Budget

The Best Carpet Cleaner for Pets Option: Hoover PowerDash Pet Compact Carpet Cleaner
Photo: amazon.com

The PowerDash by Hoover is a lightweight and compact pet carpet cleaner that is 15.2 inches by 10.13 inches by 43.5 inches and weighs 12.5 pounds. It has a 20-foot power cord and a half-gallon water tank. This upright machine may be small, but its size makes it easier to deliver a powerful clean in tight spaces.

The carpet cleaner base utilizes Hoover’s Powerspin Pet Brush Roll that lifts and suctions pet messes easily, while the built-in HeatForce Power speeds up the drying process. A trial size of Hoover carpet cleaner is included and can be mixed directly into the clean water tank before use.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Upright
  • Corded/Cordless: Corded
  • Power Usage: 840 watts

Pros

  • Built-in Powerspin Pet Brush Roll and HeatForce power
  • Trial size cleaning solution included
  • 20-foot power cord
  • Lightweight design

Cons

  • Some users report loud operation volume

Get the Hoover PowerDash Pet carpet cleaner at AmazonThe Home Depot, and Target

Best Midrange

Best Carpet Cleaner for Pets Option: Hoover Smartwash Automatic Carpet Cleaner
Photo: amazon.com

Constructed with automatic cleaning technology, the Hoover Smartwash is a quality midrange pick with convenient features, such as its ability to switch between wash and dry with a simple change in direction. This upright carpet cleaner has a sturdy frame that is 18.9 inches by 13 inches by 43.5 inches, and it weighs 18.49 pounds. The machine’s base has FlexForce PowerBrushes that are gentle on carpet fibers but work hard to remove pet dander, dirt, and messes.

The built-in Auto-Mix function takes the guesswork out of mixing cleaning solution with water by doing it automatically. This carpet cleaner for pets has a 1-gallon water tank, a 22-foot-long power cord, and a triggerless handle. It also comes with an upholstery pet brush tool, a cleaning solution sample, and an 8-foot hose.

Product Specs

  • Type: Upright
  • Corded vs. Cordless: Corded
  • Power Usage: 1,200 watts

Pros

  • Automatic cleaning technology integrated; wash and dry feature
  • FlexForce power brushes built-in
  • Comes with a cleaning solution sample
  • Additional tools included

Cons

  • Some users report issues picking up cat hair

Get the HOOVER Smartwash carpet cleaner at Best Buy.

Best Heavy-Duty

The Best Carpet Cleaner for Pets Option: BISSELL Big Green Professional Carpet Cleaner
Photo: amazon.com

Bissell’s Big Green Professional Carpet Cleaner is a heavy-duty machine that is 20.5 inches by 11 inches by 42.25 inches and weighs 48 pounds. The water tanks can hold up to 1.75 gallons. While its size and weight do not make it ideal for portability, it can provide a powerful cleaning punch that rivals professional machines.

Key features include an XL DirtLifter PowerBrush lined with eight rows of bristles that penetrate dirt embedded into carpet fibers. The cord is 25 feet long, and the cleaning hose is 9 feet long for increased reach. This cleaner comes with 8 ounces of carpet cleaning solution and a 6-inch wide stain tool that roots out pet messes.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Upright
  • Corded/Cordless: Corded
  • Power Usage: 1,440 watts

Pros

  • XL DirtLifter PowerBrush; 8 rows of bristles
  • 1.75-gallon water tank
  • 9-foot long cleaning hose
  • 6-inch tough stain tool

Cons

  • Large, heavyweight design; may be hard to carry and/or store
  • Pricey

Get the Bissell Big Green Professional carpet cleaner at Amazon and Lowe’s.

Best Handheld

The Best Carpet Cleaner for Pets Option: Bissell Pet Stain Eraser PowerBrush, 2837
Photo: amazon.com

For an effective clean against pet stains and odors, the Bissell Pet Stain Eraser is a handheld device that spot cleans stains well. It uses rotating DirtLifter PowerBrushes to loosen dirt and pet dander along with strong suction to remove it from the carpet. This cordless carpet cleaner is powered by a 7.2-volt lithium-ion battery with an extended runtime of approximately 20 minutes between charges.

This carpet cleaning device weighs less than 4.5 pounds and is 18.25 inches by 10 inches by 7 inches. This carpet cleaner comes with a stationary pet tool and 2 bottles of the PRO OXY Spot and Stain cleaning solution that scrubs away tough pet messes.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Handheld
  • Corded/Cordless: Cordless
  • Power Usage: 7.2-volt lithium-ion battery; 2,000 rpm

Pros

  • Built-in rotating DirtLifter PowerBrushes
  • Additional tool and 2 cleaning solutions included
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Limited runtime compared to similar options
  • 8-ounce tank; may require frequent refilling for tough stains

Get the Bissell Pet Stain Eraser PowerBrush carpet cleaner at AmazonLowe’s, and Bed Bath & Beyond

Best Steam Cleaning

The Best Carpet Cleaners For Pets Option: McCulloch Heavy-Duty Steam Cleaner
Photo: amazon.com

This steam cleaner weighs 12 pounds and provides up to 45 minutes of pressurized steam for reaching the deepest fibers of the carpet to remove pet stains and odor. Spray the steam via the 9-foot hose to deep clean carpet and upholstery. At 212 degrees Fahrenheit, the steam is also deadly to lice, fleas, and bedbugs that could attack you or your pets and removes 99.9% of germs and bacteria.

The versatile steam cleaner comes with 18 accessories that pet owners can rely on, including a floor mop, scrub pad, and utility brushes for various surfaces your pets may have been on or stained. Be sure to fill the 5/8-gallon tank according to manufacturer recommendations to get through the toughest residues and odors.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Portable
  • Corded/Cordless: Corded
  • Power Usage: 1,500 watts

Pros

  • 45 minutes of pressurized steam per cleaning; 212 degrees Fahrenheit
  • 9-foot hose
  • 18 accessories included
  • Lightweight construction

Cons

  • No variable steam options

Get the McCulloch Heavy-Duty Steam carpet cleaner on Amazon.

Best Portable

Best Carpet Cleaners for Pets Option: Bissell 3624 Spot Clean Portable Carpet Cleaner
Photo: amazon.com

Bissel’s SpotClean Pro Carpet Cleaner is a compact and lightweight machine that is 10 inches by 14 inches by 14 inches and weighs 13 pounds. It has a power cord that reaches 20 feet, a suction hose that is 8 feet long, and a water tank that can hold up to 96 ounces of water.

This cleaner does not have wheels on the base, but its rounded handle makes the machine easy to carry from its storage spot to the carpet. Included with every purchase is a 6-inch tool that removes pesky pet hair and dander from stairs, a 3-inch tough stain tool, and a PRO MAX Clean and Protect sample.

Product Specs

  • Type: Portable
  • Corded vs. Cordless: Corded
  • Power Usage: 700 watts

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • 20-foot power cord
  • Holds up to 96 ounces of water
  • Rounded carrying handle
  • Cleaning solution sample

Cons

  • No wheels

Get the McCulloch Steam Cleaner at Wayfair.

Best For Stairs

Best Carpet Cleaners For Pets Option Rug Doctor Pet
Photo: amazon.com

Lugging a large unit up and down stairs can be dangerous and difficult, making your cleaning time longer and harder. For a model that pet owners can rely on for portability, the Rug Doctor Pet Portable carpet cleaner is easy to carry and store at 16.02 by 10.94 by 15.63 inches. It comes with a handheld dual-action power tool with rubberized bristles and a 4-foot hose for pet hair and odor. The power cord is 15 feet long which should be enough for longer staircases.

Though it may be heavy for some to carry at 18 pounds, this portable carpet cleaner has built-in wheels and a retractable handle for maneuvering. The dual-tank system holds 64 ounces of water, but keeps dirty and clean water separate for an enhanced clean.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Portable
  • Corded/Cordless: Corded
  • Power Usage: 1,200 watts

Pros

  • Dual-action power tool; 4-foot hose and rubberized bristles
  • Built-in wheels and retractable handle
  • Dual water tanks; dirty and clean water is kept separate
  • Compact design

Cons

  • Meant for spot cleaning only
  • No cleaning solution provided
  • Heavyweight when tanks are full

Get the Rug Doctor Pet Portable carpet cleaner on Amazon.

Our Verdict

Selecting the best carpet cleaner that pet owners can rely on is difficult when there are so many options available today. One of the best options overall is the Bissell 2X Lift Off carpet cleaner with its 800-watt power output, multiple built-in cleaning modes and tools, and 2 bottles of cleaning solution. Alternatively, if you are in need of a budget-friendly pick, the Hoover PowerDash carpet cleaner delivers 840 watts of power, Powerspin Pet Brush Roll and HeatForce power, and 1 trial-size bottle of cleaning solution included.

How We Chose the Best Carpet Cleaners for Pets

The right carpet cleaner can lift pet stains and odors without the elbow grease of scrubbing or buying multiple cleaning solutions. We researched the most sought-after carpet cleaners in their respective categories and discovered that the best options include high power outputs, multiple cleaning modes and attachments, and easy-to-use features.

The above carpet cleaners include upright models for cleaning whole spaces or large carpets, handheld options for small spaces, and portable models for stairs or spot cleaning. Each corded or cordless option offers powerful wattages or battery life with most ranging from 800 to 1,500 watts of power.

As for tackling your pet’s worst messes, attachments like brushes and power tools with multiple layers of bristles, steam cleaning, heated drying, and automatic cleaning are included in select carpet cleaners listed above. Included cleaning solution and dual or singular water tanks also aid in odor removal and easy aftercare.

FAQs 

Now that you know more about pet carpet cleaners, there may be new or lingering questions. Here are some of the most common questions and answers about shopping for the best carpet cleaner for pets.

Q: Are carpet cleaners bad for your carpets? 

Though you may think a carpet cleaning machine may harm the integrity of your carpet fibers, the suction power of most models won’t damage or rip your carpeting.

Q: Is an upright model better than a portable carpet cleaner?

Upright carpet cleaners are ideal for cleaning large carpet surfaces, whereas portable carpet cleaners are best for spot cleaning or removing pet stains from smaller carpet surfaces.

Q: Can I use a pet carpet cleaner with just water? 

Though it is recommended that you use a cleaning solution in your carpet cleaner’s water tank for tough stains, you have the option to just add water to your model for everyday carpet cleaning.

Q: Does a pet carpet cleaner need hot or cold water? 

For best results, hot or warm water should be used in your carpet cleaning machine. Boiling water should never be used.

Q: Should you vacuum after carpet cleaning? 

Vacuuming should be done before and after cleaning a carpet to ensure that dust, debris, and larger materials do not end up in your carpet cleaner’s water tank.

Q: How often should carpet be cleaned?

Carpets in homes with pets benefit from a carpet cleaner washing approximately three to four times a year. Vacuuming at least twice a week will help pick up loose pet hair and dander between cleanings.

Q: Can I walk on my carpet after using a carpet cleaner? 

While some carpet cleaning machines have a heated drying function built-in, some models may leave your carpet wet for over 6 hours after use.

Q: How should a carpet cleaner be stored to prevent it from growing mold or bacteria?

To prevent mold and bacteria growth, make sure the carpet cleaner is fully dry before storing it away. Carpet cleaners can be air-dried or wiped clean.