The 9 Best Carpet Steam Cleaners of 2024 - Best Steam Cleaners for Carpet

Whether they do it with steam or steam and vaporized cleaning solutions.

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The 9 Best Carpet Steam Cleaners of 2024 - Best Steam Cleaners for Carpet

It’s safe to say you probably have a vacuum cleaner, but even the most powerful vacuum cleaners can’t pull deep, settled dirt and stains from your carpet. That’s where carpet steam cleaners come in. They’re designed for those hard-to-remove messes and stains like muddy dog prints, your kids’ dinner, or a spilled glass of wine. Even if you don’t have a particular stain to tackle, carpet steam cleaners are great for high-foot-traffic areas where dust and dirt get pushed deep into the carpet with daily use.

Steam cleaners range from lightweight, portable options to multipurpose cleaners that work for a variety of surfaces around your home like upholstery, curtains, tile, and even hardwood. We’ve rounded up the best options and all the most important considerations so you can be sure before you buy.

While every carpet cleaner on this list uses steam to lift stains out of your floors, that does not mean they operate the same way. Some of these cleaners use only water vapor, a.k.a. steam, while others use combinations of steam and vaporized cleaning solutions. These carpet cleaners typically also come with a vacuum feature to suck away the dirty water and dry your carpet as it cleans.

Both types work effectively to remove stains and dirt, but carpet cleaners with scrubbers, cleaning solution, and a vacuum feature tend to be more effective at lifting away settled-in dirt and grime. Traditional steam cleaners that exclusively use steam are better suited for more sensitive items that require cleaning but may not hold up well to scrubbing rollers or concentrated cleaning solution (think upholstered furniture or satin curtains).

Tank capacity refers to the reservoir where the steam cleaner collects the dirty water it extracts from your carpets. This is specific to steam cleaners that come with a vacuuming feature.

Most carpet steam cleaners with a vacuum function have two separate tanks: one for clean water and one for dirty water. These tanks are typically equal or close in capacity. If your entire house is carpeted from top to bottom, splurge for a device with at least a gallon of tank capacity. For small rooms or spot cleaning, you can likely get away with a tank less than one gallon.

Carpet steam cleaners vary in price depending on the size, what’s included, how powerful they are, the brand, and more factors. Generally speaking, commercial steam cleaners are designed for huge areas like school buildings or hotels, and they cost a lot more than consumer-grade options. In addition to the size and power, most commercial steam cleaners are made primarily of durable metal parts that typically last longer than their plastic counterparts.

Some steam cleaners for carpets include attachments for specific uses like cleaning grout, removing pet hair, and steaming curtains, which tend to add to the price.

Most of the cleaners we recommend sit between $100 and $500, with a few budget and splurge options outside of this range. If you’re looking to invest in a heavy-duty carpet steam cleaner that will last for several years, prepare to spend a few hundred dollars.

Many steam cleaners come with additional head attachments designed to more effectively concentrate the steam on certain surfaces or spaces. One of the most common attachments is the upholstery attachment, which is a smaller head designed for navigating the corners of couches and stairs, and it can even un-wrinkle clothes.

Other attachments have scrubbers on the front which work to break down grime on tile or granite surfaces. If you’re looking for a steam cleaner with capability beyond the carpet, pay attention to the available scrubber attachments. Many steam cleaners also come with a separate hose attached to the body that connects to a small head for detail work and handheld use.

Because water needs to be heated before it becomes steam, there is a wait from when you turn on your cleaner to when you can start cleaning. Generally, that wait time falls between one to 10 minutes depending on how large the water tank is and how powerful the heating mechanism is.

Once it’s heated, the steam cleaners we recommend below can provide anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour of steam before needing to be refilled with water or emptied, in the case of a vacuum steam cleaner.

To find the best carpet steam cleaner for a variety of homes, we started by looking at popular options. We reviewed recommendations from our colleagues at Good Housekeeping, as well as customer reviews on retailer sites. Then, we whittled down the options by prioritizing price, tank capacity, versatility, and special features, making sure to only recommend high-value steam cleaners that leave your carpets fresh and feeling new. We also made sure to steer clear from low-cost models that either lack effectiveness or have many user reviews stating they broke easily. Since our focus here is steam cleaners primarily for use on carpets, we avoided any that are meant solely for other surfaces.

Bissell’s carpet cleaner utilizes a four-row roller brush that works to pull deep stains like pet urine and wine stains, while scrubbing to release dirt that traditional vacuums can’t pick up. Each rollers works to disrupt dirt and scrub out stains. The four rollers means, with each push and pull of the cleaner, you get four different passes on the carpet all at once.

The carpet steam cleaner is lightweight, making it easy to maneuver around as you work your way through your house. This cleaner also comes with a cleaning formula you can add to the water to lift up tough stains more easily.

With over a half gallon of tank capacity, this cleaner should be effective in large living spaces without needing to be constantly refilled. If paired with the Bissell cleaning formula, the device will both remove stains and eliminate odors like pet urine.

This is one of the few steam cleaners that falls below the $100 price point, and it works well, too. Its versatility and lightweight design make it easy to take from room to room.

This steam cleaner is not just designed to tackle carpets, but also furniture, glass, mirrors, hardwood, and tiles, so it can tackle cleaning every part of your house.

With a heating time of 30 seconds and an adjustable dial that controls how much steam is produced at once, you can bang out about half an hour of cleaning (depending on the setting you choose) to finish cleaning up in no time.

If you have a pet who loves exploring in the dirt and mud, this is a carpet steam cleaner worth considering. The vacuum-style bottom comes with 12 scrubbing rollers which work to break down any lingering stains before being sucked away.

Built specifically for handling pet messes from urine to mud, this option from Bissell goes beyond just cleaning your carpet, to actually removing odors when paired with a Bissell cleaning formula.

With its included 2-in-1 pet upholstery tool, you can vacuum or clean up close on couches and furniture. The tool is attached to a hose and can be used wet, with steam and cleaning formula, or dry, as just a vacuum.

You can’t go wrong hiring a professional to steam clean your carpets, but it costs a lot more in the long run that buying yourself a professional-grade device like this one from Costway.

This dual-tank steam cleaner works on carpets, hardwood floors, tile, and windows to remove unwanted stains and dirt from surfaces. It features two-rolling wheels and a 16-foot power cord for easy mobility, so you can take it around your house without constantly unplugging and re-plugging it in.

It also comes with 19 different accessories to choose from for many cleaning needs including a microfiber pad, mop head, scrub pad, water funnel, triangle brush, carpet glider, nylon brush, and bass brush.

If you’re going to spend hundreds of dollars on a carpet steam cleaner, then you might as well choose one that does more than just clean the carpet.

This is the most expensive one on our list, but it has professional-grade features in return.

This steam cleaner has a massive 3.9-gallon water tank and a universal hand tool that works on pet beds, rugs, upholstery, stairs, car interiors, and more. Plus, it even has a one-year limited warranty if anything were to happen to it after the initial purchase.

Another portable option, this steam cleaner from Bissell works best for carpets and upholstery. Unlike other portable choices, the device comes with an internal water heater to ensure consistent water temperature as you work.

The steam cleaner also comes with a unique scrub head shape that works best in the small nooks and crannies that most large carpet steam cleaners can reach on their own.

So, if you have carpeted stairs, this cleaner is perfect to lifting years of foot traffic dirt away in minutes.

Portable carpet cleaners come in handy for those people who have multiple floors in their home or need something compact for travel between multiple properties. At just under 10 pounds, it’s light enough to carry without having to break an arm and a leg.

Whether you’re looking to clean stairs or closet corners, the Hoover CleanSlate has wide and tight tools to help you navigate more efficiently and get those hard-to-reach areas.

The carpet steam cleaner also comes with its own cleaning concentrate, which can help to remove pesky stains whether that’s dog urine, wine, or mud from your last adventure.

This carpet steam cleaner takes the elbow grease out of household chores with its automatic cleaning design. All you have to do is push forward to clean, and pull it back to dry the area you just cleaned.

The device also mixes the cleaning solution for you, so you don’t have to lift a finger.

It’s one of the more expensive options we recommend, but it does include a 12-foot hose, a sample bottle of cleaning solution, a storage mat, and an accessory bag. It is a bit heavy so if you need to use it on multiple floors, make sure you can lift 25 pounds first.

Add a little technology to your carpet cleaning with this smart steam carpet cleaner from Tineco. With precise technology that heats the water to an exact temperature, and a moisture sensor that tells you how dry your carpet is, you can clean up efficiently.

After the initial cleaning with heated water, this carpet cleaner gently scrubs, vacuums, and blows hot air to dry your carpet faster than just vacuuming alone.

You can even take this power to your stairs and upholstery with attached, portable spot cleaner.

Tom Price is an Associate Editor of Reviews for Popular Mechanics, and also contributes to Runner's World, and Bicycling. He has previously covered product reviews, startup news, and even professional wrestling. In his free time, he enjoys watching pretentious TV, low-brow movies, and exercising for beauty, not health. If you are interested in exploring more of his work, check out his website.

Casey Clark is a freelance journalist who specializes in beauty, health, and style-related commerce content. She graduated from Hofstra University with a degree in journalism. Her work has been published in Women's Health, Forbes, Better Homes & Gardens, and more.

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