3 factors to consider when buying a carpet cleaner

December 30, 2014

While normal vacuums can remove surface dirt, carpets occasionally need a deeper clean. That’s when you’ll need a carpet cleaner that thoroughly leaves them looking like new. Consider these three important factors when choosing one.

3 factors to consider when buying a carpet cleaner

1. Types of carpet cleaners

Vacuum cleaner
Standard vacuum cleaners use suction and rotating bristles to pick up dirt from your carpet.

  • They usually come with separate attachments for cleaning stairs, furniture and hardwood or tile floors.
  • Some machines pick up dirt in a canister while others use replaceable paper bags.
  • Inexpensive models will manage light cleanup, but it’s worth investing in a top-quality machine for reliable long-term service.

Carpet sweeper
Lightweight and convenient, carpet sweepers use little rotating bristles to pick up dirt.

  • They’re manually operated and very quiet, but not capable of picking up more than surface dust, hair and crumbs.
  • They’re best reserved for quick cleaning between more thorough vacuuming chores.

Carpet shampoo
Carpet shampooers use low suds shampoo, hot water and suction to draw dirt out of carpets.

  • Meant primarily for residential use, these machines are easy to use and lighter than full-sized professional cleaners.
  • A quality model does a good job of cleaning up stains and dirt, something you'll appreciate especially during spring cleaning time.

Steam cleaner
These cleaners use steam to clean and sanitize carpets.

  • Steam cleaners are available in lightweight models intended for home use.
  • Industrial-type cleaners are bigger and more powerful and do a better cleaning job.
  • You can invest in one of your own or rent one at some grocery stores.

2. Weight

Industrial cleaners are heavy. If you need a heavy-duty steam cleaner, look for a self-propelled machine to minimize strain.

  • Larger models may have detachable wands for getting into hard-to-reach places.
  • Portable carpet cleaners may have less power, but they’re easier to use, especially on stairs and upholstery.

3. Extra features

Additional features can make carpet cleaning easier and more effective, so look at the extras available in a better machine. What's more, since reliable carpet cleaners can be expensive, find a machine with features you’ll actually use so you’re not wasting money on superfluous options. That includes:

Cord and hose length
An extra-long cord and hose will save you from frequently unplugging and plugging in your machine.

Tank size
Larger tanks with separate compartments for chemicals and water will save you from constant refilling.

Extra attachments make your carpet cleaner more versatile, turning it into an upholstery cleaner, steam wand and more.

Adjustable heights
Cleaners with height adjustment give your thicker carpets the deeper clean they need.

Most vacuums and cleaners use a belt engine that wears out with time. Belt-free models require less maintenance.

Manufacturers recommend carpet cleaning every three to six months, so you may want to invest in your own machine over a steam cleaner rental. If you do, you now know what to look for in a reliable carpet cleaning machine.

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