The Best Carpet Cleaner for Pets – Full Buyer’s Guide, Reviews, And Tips

Owner cleaning

Owning a pet is quite the engaging experience. Pets bring joy to your home and are generally fun to be around. Still, it can be a little challenging keeping the hygiene at a healthy level, especially when your cat is going around bringing stuff down on the carpet or when the dog decides to dig a hole in your backyard and then go chill on the floor inside. This is why most pet owners rely on having a proper cleaning companion in the face of a good vacuum cleaner that can easily take care of pet stains on your wooden floor or carpet.

In this guide we will go over some of the best carpet cleaners for pet owners and show you the ins and outs of such vacuum cleaners, so that you can make the right choice when shopping for one. If you are having trouble choosing a model for your home, we will show you some of our favorite models for this year which are not only a great bang for the buck but also quite practical.

First, let’s start with a brief comparison between the top models and then we will go over each one of them individually to see their main pros and cons…

Pet Carpet Cleaners Comparison Chart

ProductCleaning PathWet Cleaning2-in-1 ToolRating
Hoover PowerDash
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10 inchesYesNo
Shark APEX
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12 inchesNoYes
Hoover SmartWash
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12 inchesYesNo
Dirt Devil Razor
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12 inchesNoNo
BISSELL Turboclean
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9.5 inchesYesNo

Best All-rounder – Hoover PowerDash Extreme Pet Carpet Cleaner

Hoover PowerDash

Product Rating: (5/5)

The Hoover PowerDash pet carpet cleaner is one of our favorite models for this year mainly due to its wet cleaning capabilities and its compact design. It has a 0.5 gallons clean water tank capacity which is good enough for when you need to clean a single carpet but will require some refills if you are going after the whole house. It features a good brushroll that hardly gets clogged up from pet hair and goes deep into the carpet even when its deep and thick. If you want to learn more about this model, head over to our full review!

Best 2-in-1 Pet Carpet Cleaner – Shark APEX Upright Vacuum

Shark Apex

Product Rating: (4.5/5)

Despite the lack of wet-cleaning, the Shark Apex upright vacuum is still one of the best carpet cleaners there is. It gets to the deepest hardest places thanks to its dual-brushroll system and has a great filtration system that will neutralize pet odor and filter the bacteria out of the air. It also doubles as a handheld portable vacuum cleaner so if you are looking for a 2-in-1 cleaner that is good for upholstery and above-floor cleaning, this should be on your list. The only major downside is the heavy price tag, although it is kind of justified considering what this offers. Click the button below if you want to learn more about it!

Best For Pet Urine – Hoover SmartWash Automatic Carpet Cleaner

Hoover Smartwash

Product Rating: (4.5/5)

The Hoover SmartWash Automatic Carpet Cleaner is definitely one of the pioneers at the budget carpet cleaning industry right now. It is packed full of features and that might be its biggest flaw. Still, the dual-tank system will keep the dirty and clean waters separated at all times. It has a separate container for the cleaning solution you are going to use. It also has a drying option depending on the direction you are moving in. When you move forward the vacuum will use water to clean your carpet but when you are moving backwards it will engage its dryer and start heating up the surface. It also is quite agile for the big thing that it is. Out of all of the cleaners on this list this one is the heaviest, especially when all tanks are full!

Best Budget Option – Dirt Devil Razor Pet Bagless Upright Vacuum Cleaner

DirtDevil

Product Rating: (4.5/5)

The Dirt Devil Razor Pet is one of the best budget options this year thanks to its decent sucking power and flexibility. It comes with an extension wand that is attached to the back of the cleaner, as well as a crevice tool and a pet brush tool that easily takes care of any pet hair on your furniture. The main brushroll can get clogged up if you have a long-haired pet but you can easily access it and clean it up if that is necessary. The swivelling head easily turns around tight corners and its low profile allow you to access tight and narrow areas to clean them. This model also has a 12 inch cleaning path making it good for larger surfaces.

Best Compact Option – BISSELL Turboclean Powerbrush Pet Upright Carpet Cleaner

Bissell turboclean

Product Rating: (4.5/5)

Lastly, we wanted to include a carpet cleaner with wet cleaning capabilities that is truly practical and compact. The Bissell TurboClean PowerBrush pet carpet cleaner checks all those boxes. It doesn’t have the largest water tanks in the world but it will get the job done if an emergency occurs. Thanks to its portability and small footprint, you can easily carry it around your house and clean different surfaces with it. Still, due to the 9.5 inch cleaning path it will feel more like a spot cleaner rather than a full-sized carpet cleaner. Either way, that is its main appeal and the budget price tag will only add on top of that. Check out our full review if you want to learn more about its features, advantages, and disadvantages!

Pet Carpet Cleaners Buyer’s Guide

Carpet cleaners are becoming more and more popular within pet owners mainly due to their large diversity. There are lighter models that can easily handle a dirty spot made after you’re pupper puked or peed on the carpet. On the contrary, there are some heavy-duty carpet cleaners that can easily handle your whole carpet in one go. In terms of cleaning capabilities, they are generally divided into vacuums that have wet & dry cleaning capabilities and ones that are just used for dry cleaning.

The form factor of modern pet carpet cleaners is mostly upright although there are some canister models left out there but they are usually smaller and compromise on a number of features. One of the main advantages of modern upright models is that they usually come with a smaller vacuum attached to them. You can use that smaller handheld option to clean out dirty spots on your couch or carpet or even collect the pet hair from hard to reach spaces or your car’s trunk, for instance. Let’s check out which are some of the main types of carpet cleaners out there, and then we will dive into the features that you will need to pay attention to when making your final choice.

Types of Carpet Cleaners

Despite there being a common goal between all carpet cleaners – removing stains from your carpets and upholstery – there are a few essential kinds. Each of them has its own advantages and disadvantages and in order to pick the best one for you, you will need to get to know them better. Here are the main types of carpet cleaners:

  • Heavy-duty

Heavy-duty cleaners can have any type of shape and form (canister, upright, etc) and are meant for those extreme cases where your pet takes it directly onto your carpet after a mud bath. Their main advantage is that there is no stain old and ingrained enough to stand a chance against them. There are also a few disadvantages. The main ones are that these vacuum cleaners are usually too bulky for most small apartments and are equally heavy and hard to manoeuvre around.

  • Upright

Upright carpet cleaners are the most common kind out there and are almost the same as the traditional upright models. Their difference is that they usually have a water tank that is used for wet cleaning of harder stains. For those hard to reach places there are hoses and attachments that come with them (in most cases). They are easy to move around and not as bulky as the heavy-duty ones.

  • Portable/compact

These vacuums are, as the name suggests, quite easy to move around and are mostly canister ones. They usually lack wet cleaning capabilities but are quite easy to move around and are often lightweight compared to some upright models.

  • Cordless or Handheld models

These two types are the most portable out of the 4 main types listed here and are designed to deal with small stains or parts of the couch that you don’t want to bring out the “big guns” for. While they can be generally strong suction-wise, they don’t come with wet cleaning capabilities and are also incapable of handling deeper and older stains. Most upright models today come with a handheld (cordless) accessory vacuum cleaner attached to their top part, giving them a 2-in-1 functionality which is really convenient.

Features To Look For in a Pet Carpet Cleaner Machine

Girl vacuuming

Here are some of the main features that you will need to take into consideration when you browse for your carpet cleaner:

  • Cleaning power
  • Weight
  • Type
  • Stain isolator and pet hair remover
  • Cleaning path and cleaning area size
  • Brush type
  • Attachments
  • Hose and cord length
  • Tank sizes & types
  • Drying capabilities
  • Price

Now, let’s take a look at all of those features individually and see why all of them should play a major role in your choice…

Cleaning power

Carpet cleaners rely on their brush roll in most cases. That is located in the head and spins due to the air suction created there. If the motor is strong, the brush roll will spin fast and won’t stop spinning when it encounters heavy debris or a thick carpet. That, in its own, is the direct correlation between the power of your vacuum and its cleaning capabilities.

As a rule of thumb, the thicker and deeper your carpet is, the harder it will be to get the stains out and therefore you will need a more powerful motor. Apart from the wattage, take a look at the type of motor in the model you’re interested in. Most motors today are between 1 and 4 horse power and around 1000-1500 watts.

Another very important thing to look for is for how long the motor can keep it up. Some motors might need to be shut off after 20-30 minutes of cleaning due to being too powerful which results in a lot of heat being produced.

Weight of the Machine

A full-sized pet carpet cleaner shouldn’t weigh more than 20 pounds. Of course, there will be some ultra lightweight models that are around 10-12 lbs but in general, most models nowadays average at around 20 pounds with everything attached to them. Weight isn’t such a huge factor, though, if the manoeuvrability of the vacuum cleaner is good. Still, don’t forget that all the weights that we’ve listed (and that manufacturers give you in general) are of the empty models. If your desired model has a two-tank system for the wet cleaning, it might weight quite a lot when that and the dirt tank is full. Some models might add up more than 10 pounds to the total weight when full.

The right tank size can help you avoid a lot of issues but we will get more into that further down.

One other thing you need to take into account when it comes to the weight of your cleaner is whether or not you will be carrying it up and down too much. If you have a second (or a third) floor where you need to clean up something after your pet, a 2-in-1 vacuum cleaner might be a great choice since you will be able to take the smaller cordless vacuum upstairs while leaving the main cleaner behind. A lightweight easily-portable model will do the job just as good but remember that those don’t usually pack as much power.

Type

best carpet cleaner for pets

We already discussed the various types of carpet cleaners but it is still an important feature to take into consideration. If you are looking for a multi-function cleaner that will easily take care of all sorts of areas in your house, then go for a full-sized upright or heavy-duty model. These cleaners are, in most cases, perfect for carpets, upholstery, and other parts of your home, especially if they come with a smaller portable vacuum cleaner.

Portable (or spot) carpet cleaners are usually super handy if you just want something that will take care of occasional emergencies on an isolated location on your carpet. They are also a great alternative for people who live in small apartments and don’t have as much free space to store a full-sized cleaner. Don’t expect those to be able to handle everything in your apartment, though.

We constantly get the question of whether heavy-duty cleaners are worth the investment. Simply put, you need to figure out how often will you deep-clean your carpets and how dirty they get as a whole. If you want to clean them thoroughly just once or twice a year it might be a better choice to pay a local carpet cleaning service to do the job for you since heavy-duty equipment is expensive and in most cases hard to work with.

Stain isolator and pet hair remover

The stain isolator and pet hair remover are, as we call them, the “pet-specific” features of a carpet cleaner. These two features aren’t mandatory for cleaning up the mess after your pet but as we all know, no two pets are alike, so having some extra cleaning tricks up your sleeve might not be such a bad idea after all.

The stain isolator is a unique feature that allows for any potential dog or cat pee (or other heavy-duty stains) to be removed without going into the cleaner’s main water tank. That way you won’t have to clean up the tank as well afterwards, rather just that small attachment which usually is a small tank of its own and sits near the nozzle. These isolators are also a brush-like head for your vacuum but, as we pointed out, they have a tank that keeps the liquids from the stain isolated in a separate compartment. Their volume isn’t big at all so they are narrowly focused on cleaning up occasional spot-stains. Pee or vomit is the go-to stain for this attachment and if your pet tends to go down that road, it might be a good idea to look for a model that has it.

Pet hair removers are almost a standard attachment at this point and most new carpet cleaners come with a head that has brushes specifically designed to hold pet hair and even not get clogged up by it. It picks up hair and danger quite efficiently and avoids hair buildup in the corners of your room. Having that extra attachment will also prolong your cleaner’s main parts (tubes, nozzle, brushes, etc) and can be used on its own every time you want to free up your living space from the second hair-carpet that your dog created when shedding.

Cleaning path and cleaning area size

This is yet another important factor that you need to take into account when you’re getting your carpet cleaner. Depending on your carpets sizes or the size of your living area, you might need a vacuum with a larger cleaning path. Most models typically have around 10-14 inches of cleaning path, while the spot cleaners have a much more narrow head that is designed to target a specific stain spot rather than help you clean the whole carpet at one go.

Here, it really boils down to the area you are cleaning on a regular basis. Smaller rooms allow you to get a smaller model with a more compact footprint while larger open spaces and large carpets will be much easier to clean if you get a bigger model that can handle all that without having to empty the tank multiple times during the cleanup.

Brush Type

brush

Brush types are quite diverse nowadays with most models having their own proprietary type of brush. Single-roll brushes are good and strong against hair but tend to get clogged up quite quickly if your pet has long hair. That is why brands like Bissell have developed dual-rotary brushes which swirl around two axles and are far more difficult to clog up. Avoid any cleaner that comes with no brush at all since those only tend to suck up the dirt from your carpet and leave the hair behind. They also struggle with stains that have deeply penetrated the carpet.

If you want to go more in-depth in the topic of cat/dog hair cleaning, check out our full article on the topic.

Attachments

We won’t go too deeply into attachments since there are a ton out there and every company seems to be doing them however they seem fit. Just make sure that your model comes with some since they can be extremely handy. Extension wands and hoses are excellent if you want to clean hard to reach places. Crevice tools work great for your couch and narrow places where you can go with the carpet cleaner.

Hose and cord length

Depending on your room/home size, you might have to think about these two factors as well. Hose length is important if you want to clean areas besides the carpet which are somewhere high or away. Most models do come with a hose attachment but some don’t so pay attention to that if it’s on your checklist. People who have to clean stairs benefit the most of having a hose to their carpet cleaner, especially if its an upright model.

Larger homes also tend to always have their power outlets too far away from every zone so you will either have to constantly unplug and plug it again in a new place or just get a vacuum with a longer cord. Check the power cable lengths in the product descriptions if you don’t want to deal with that.

Tank sizes & types

When it comes to tanks, most wet-cleaning carpet cleaners come with two of them – one for the clean water and one for the contaminated one. Each of those tanks has a separate amount of water volume that it can hold. As a rule of thumb, the larger the water tank, the fewer refills or trips to the sink you will have to do while you are cleaning. One thing to consider, though, is that they can add significant weight to your cleaner when full and if your model weighs 20+ pounds, it can easily reach 30-35 when loaded with all of its attachments and has its tanks full.

As for the types, there are dual-tank cleaners and single-tank ones. Avoid the carpet cleaners with a single water tank as they can spread the stain out if its too bad, even though they have systems in place to prevent such occurrences.

Drying capabilities of a Carpet Cleaner Machine

When in wet-cleaning mode, some carpet cleaners will come with the feature of being able to dry your carpet as they are cleaning it. This is one of our favorite features since it expedites the whole process and avoids any unnecessary moisture hanging out in your living room after you’re done cleaning.

Wet carpets, in general, are also easier to get dirty. That is especially true if your pet decides to have a walk over them right after you’re done. This is yet another reason why drying is important.

The bad side to this is that this feature usually bulks up the price quite significantly, so think it through before getting a model equipped with it.

Price

Last but not least we must talk about the price. Figure out your budget beforehand since with carpet cleaners it is really easy to go overboard, especially if you go crazy on features such as a ton of extra attachments, dual-tank wet cleaning, carpet drying capabilities, and so on. Set a bar and pick the best product in your established price point. That is the only way to keep your budget safe.

Final Words on Selecting Best Pet Carpet Cleaners

If you want to get the best carpet cleaner for pets you will need to take a lot of features into account. Some of the more important ones are the type of the cleaner, how big of an area you will need to clean with it, and most importantly – how much of a mess your pet makes on the carpet. Thick carpets usually require a little more power to be thoroughly cleaned. Get a 2-in-1 model if you want to have a smaller vacuum to easily access upholstery or things in a different room or floor. If you are having trouble picking the right model for your household, shoot us an email and we will help you out!