The Best Portable Carpet Cleaners, According to Parents and Pet Owners

We loved the Bissell Little Green Portable Carpet Cleaner.

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person using portable bissell carpet cleaner inside car
Photo: Courtesy of Amazon

Portable carpet cleaners are also more compact than standard options, making them easy to store in small places. Moreover, their petite size is ideal for tackling little messes as opposed to refreshing an entire room. And it lets you use them in all kinds of tight places, including the stairs, your couch, and car seats. So unless you need to deep-clean your entire home, a portable carpet cleaner is a great option for most everyday accidents.

Your budget, carpet type, and cleaning needs are key factors to keep in mind when picking out the best portable carpet cleaner. If you don't need to treat heavy-duty stains, an affordable portable carpet cleaner with less suction power could work just fine for you. But if you have thick shag carpet, pets, or kids, you might be better off with a more powerful model. Also, consider which areas of your home or car you'll need to clean. Some devices are cordless and better suited for moving; others come with tools for specific needs, like reaching tight corners or gently scrubbing upholstery.

Our favorite, the Bissell Little Green Portable Carpet Cleaner is fit to tackle any size mess and is compact enough to follow wherever you need to go.

Here are nine of the best portable carpet cleaners, according to reviews from parents and pet owners alike.

Best Overall: Bissell Little Green Portable Carpet Cleaner

carpet upholstery cleaners
Courtesy of Amazon

Bissell's Little Green carpet cleaner has been on our radar for a while, and with good reason. The machine is fit for cleaning messes big and small. It has two removable tanks: one for fresh water and cleaning solution, and one for holding dirty water while using the powerful stain tool. Shoppers appreciated how easy it is to assemble and its durability. Plus, the compact design allows you to clean hard-to-reach spots like the stairs, couch, and car. If you need more convincing, check out the more than 15,000 five-star ratings that shoppers have given the portable carpet cleaner on Amazon.

Buy It: Bissell Little Green Portable Carpet Cleaner ($200, Amazon)

Best Lightweight: Bissell Pet Stain Eraser PowerBrush

carpet upholstery cleaners
Courtesy of Amazon

Cordless and weighing in at just 4.4 pounds, this stain remover makes tackling messes easy. It runs on a lithium-ion battery, so you can take it with you to any area in the house or car that needs a deep clean. Once charged, all you have to do is fill the tank with a stain formula (no water required) and let the rotating power brush get to work. The device also comes with a tool designed to lift and remove pet stains. "It's light and easy to take wherever you want," one Amazon reviewer wrote.

Buy It: Bissell Pet Stain Eraser PowerBrush ($120, Amazon)

Most Affordable: Black+Decker Spillbuster Portable Carpet Cleaner

carpet upholstery cleaners
Courtesy of Amazon

If you're looking for an affordable portable carpet cleaner, Black+Decker's Spillbuster is a solid option. Use the cordless, battery-powered tool to vacuum up wet, chunky spills, then press a button to activate a spray and scrub to remove stains. It also has a water tank and a built-in formula dispenser. The best part? The collection bowl and front nozzle are dishwasher-safe. "[I] wish I had had one of these years ago," said one shopper. "[It's] so handy to use for just a spill or mess."

Buy It: Black+Decker Spillbuster Portable Carpet Cleaner ($100, Amazon)

Best for Pet Stains: Bissell Pet Pro Portable Carpet Deep Cleaner

carpet upholstery cleaners
Courtesy of Wayfair

Pet parents will appreciate this portable carpet cleaner that can handle tough messes. It offers powerful suction and scrubbing bristles to remove spots and stains from carpets, rugs, stairs, upholstery, and car interiors. The machine comes with a special cleaning solution, an upholstery tool, a crevice tool, a pet tool, and a hose. Wayfair customers say it's well worth the cost and works wonders on pet stains. "This little cleaner really works," a reviewer wrote. "My dog made a huge disgusting mess that I thought for sure would stain the rug. It came out with no problem!"

Buy It: Bissell Pet Pro Portable Carpet Deep Cleaner, $160 (originally $228), Wayfair

Most Versatile: McCulloch Heavy-Duty Steam Cleaner

carpet upholstery cleaners
Courtesy of Amazon

There's no need to buy special cleaning solutions when you have this versatile steam cleaner from McCulloch. Not only can it clean carpeted areas without chemicals, but it also comes with 18 accessories to help you remove stains from all kinds of home surfaces, including tile and wood flooring. It heats up in eight minutes and provides 45 minutes of continuous steam. "It is extremely efficient," according to one Amazon shopper. "I steam-cleaned my entire bedroom, clothing, bed, box spring, desk, closet, living room couches, and the foyer carpets within a few hours."

Buy It: McCulloch Heavy-Duty Steam Cleaner, $140 (originally $200), Amazon

Best Hands-Free: Bissell SpotBot Hands-Free Spot and Stain Cleaner

carpet upholstery cleaners
Courtesy of Amazon

With its hands-free feature, this portable carpet cleaner does the hard work for you. It comes with preset cleaning cycles that will automatically spray, brush, and suction to spot-clean stains with the press of a button. The machine has two settings: one for quickly cleaning new stains and another for deep-cleaning set-in stains. It also comes with a 5-foot hose for manually cleaning stairs, upholstery, and more. To top it off, more than 4,600 Amazon shoppers have given the device a five-star rating.

Buy It: Bissell SpotBot Hands-Free Spot and Stain Cleaner ($180, Amazon)

Best Cordless: Hoover Onepwr Spotless Go Cordless Carpet Cleaner

carpet upholstery cleaners
Courtesy of Amazon

Take on carpet stains with Hoover's cordless portable cleaner. It weighs just 7 pounds and comes with a removable battery you can recharge between uses. All you have to do is add a cleaning solution to the tank and start cleaning. You'll also get a removable hose and a multipurpose pet tool to erase pet messes all over the house. Amazon shoppers say despite its small size, it cleans like a full-size machine. One even called it a "little beast."

Buy It: Hoover Onepwr Spotless Go Cordless Carpet Cleaner, $130 (originally $150), Amazon

Best Heavy-Duty: Rug Doctor Pet Portable Spot Cleaner

carpet upholstery cleaners
Courtesy of Amazon

If you're dealing with serious messes on a regular basis, consider buying a heavy-duty machine, like Rug Doctor's portable spot cleaner. With a retractable handle and large wheels, it's easy to move around carpeted surfaces. It comes with a pet tool that has rubberized bristles to suck up pet hair and embedded dirt, and remove tough stains. "This thing is amazing. We have beige carpet, two dogs, and a clumsy coffee drinker in our house," wrote one reviewer. "This spot-cleaner worked wonders. It removed coffee stains, pet stains, and red mud tracked in from the back yard."

Buy It: Rug Doctor Pet Portable Spot Cleaner ($150, Amazon)

Best Spot Cleaner: Bissell Pet Stain Eraser Deluxe Portable Carpet Deep Cleaner

carpet upholstery cleaners
Courtesy of Wayfair

Portable, cordless, and lightweight, this little carpet cleaner is just the thing for spot-cleaning small messes and stains. It's ideal for cleaning upholstery, stairs, area rugs, and car interiors—just give it a full charge and it'll be ready to run for 15 minutes straight. To use, add a cleaning formula to its tank and spray it onto dirty spots. Then use the built-in brush for scrubbing and suction power to remove dirt and debris. It also comes with a detachable window tool so you can clean yet another hard-to-reach area. Many of the more than 1,000 Wayfair shoppers who rated the handheld carpet cleaner five stars say it's lightweight and easy to use.

Buy It: Bissell Pet Stain Eraser Deluxe Portable Carpet Deep Cleaner, $100 (originally $110), Wayfair

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