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Best Spot Carpet Cleaner Reviews (2022): Top Portable & Handheld Machines

The best carpet spot cleaners are convenient, effective, and versatile. However, there are an awful lot of lightweight, unreliable models on the market that don’t even begin to clean properly.

In this guide, we’ll introduce you to the best carpet spot cleaners on the market and explain why we’ve chosen these models above the competition!

Best Carpet Spot Cleaner Reviews (2022)

When you’ve got a small-scale pet mess to deal with or a spill-stain that won’t dab out, there’s nothing better than a carpet spot cleaner.

These little machines are much more convenient than hauling out your massive unit just to take care of a tiny area.

Small, handheld carpet cleaners are also the most convenient tool for cleaning carpeted stairways, especially in areas where it’s hard to reach with your big machine’s extension hose.

Which models are the best to use?

Bissell Pet Stain Eraser Cordless Portable Carpet Cleaner

Bissell Pet Stain Eraser Cordless Portable Carpet Cleaner
  • Tank capacity - 8 ounces. Buy Bissell, save pets. Up to $10 donated to the Bissell pet foundation for every pet product purchase
  • Spray, scrub, and suction to remove pet stains and messes from carpet, upholstery, stairs, area rugs, auto interiors, and more
  • Grab-and-go cordless convenience; enjoy the freedom of a lithium-powered, handheld carpet cleaner that lifts away stains using formula and powerful suction
  • Ready-to-use formula-no mixing with water. Formula conveniently stores in the machine so it's always ready for use. Power rating: 7.2 Volt
  • Instantly and permanently removes stains like urine, feces, vomit, dirt, mud, blood, grass, tomato sauce, read wine, makeup, food grease, vegetable oils, coffee, cola, motor oils, and more

This Bissell model is the only cordless carpet cleaner on the market. Since it’s something of an anomaly, it’s hard to compare to the rest of the options out there. We think it’s a great idea, though, despite the fact that we’d like to see some improvements in the next edition.

The Pet Stain Eraser looks a lot like a dustbuster, but it’s actually a full carpet shampooer and scrubber in a tiny package.

It has two separate tanks, one for cleaning solution, and one for dirty water. It also has stiff, stationary brushes, which you can use to manually scrub the area while you shampoo.

There are a lot of things to love about the Pet Stain Eraser. We’re big fans of having a shampooer in a cordless format, since you can reach absolutely everywhere–even your car upholstery!

We also love the fact that you can take it apart for cleaning and to remove hair. It does a remarkably good job and is quite inexpensive. We recommend it to anyone who wants to go cordless with their spot cleaning.

However, there are some major reliability issues with the Pet Stain Eraser that we’re hoping are addressed in the updated model that’s just come out.

It’s prone to developing leaks, in the old version (2003 model number). These are mainly from the cleaning solution tank and have been a persistent problem even with replacement units from the company.

We’ve heard better things about the most recent batch, but we’re still hesitant to recommend the Pet Stain Eraser over the more reliable corded models below.

Bissell Little Green Multi-Purpose Portable Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner

BISSELL Little Green Multi-Purpose Portable Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner, Car and Auto Detailer, Green, 1400B
  • EVERY PURCHASE SAVES PETS. BISSELL proudly supports BISSELL Pet Foundation and its mission to help save homeless pets.Hose Length 4'.Carry Handle : Yes
  • POWERFUL SUCTION. Remove tough pet spots and stains from carpets, upholstery, car interiors, and more.
  • PORTABLE & VERSATILE DESIGN. Easily clean multiple surfaces throughout the home
  • LARGE TANK CAPACITY. 48 oz. tank means you can clean more between refills.
  • REMOVES STAINS & ODORS. Use Spot & Stain formula with Febreze Freshness to tackle tough stains and odors.

This Bissell machine, known as the Little Green, is a good budget option that we recommend to the average buyer who wants something more reliable than the Pet Stain Eraser without splurging on the Professional model below.

There’s a version of this machine with an onboard heater, too, but we’ve found that it’s pretty unreliable and doesn’t make a noticeable difference in cleaning results.

The Multi-Purpose is a complete shampooer and extractor, like the Pet Stain Eraser and our full-size recommendations.

Even though it’s corded, it’s still very easy to get out and get cleaning. We’ve found this does a good job on most surfaces, even if it’s not as good for larger projects as the Professional model below.

You can use it anywhere from carpeted flooring to upholstery and car surfaces. It’s more reliable than anything else for the price and isn’t difficult to use.

This is far from a perfect machine, though. It’s hard to clean thoroughly after use. The plastic cap over the bristles and the gasket on the dirty tank are particularly tricky to deal with, though they’re manageable once you get the hang of it.

Suction isn’t as powerful as the Professional version, either.

It’s built pretty cheaply and can leak after extended use, too. That mostly comes up if you’re a pet owner who’s going to use theirs on a weekly basis.

All in all, we’ve found the Little Green doesn’t last all that long, although the only more reliable alternative we’ve found is the Professional model below. Plan on getting 1-2 years from it, but only 1 is guaranteed under warranty.

Bissell SpotClean Professional Portable Carpet Cleaner

Bissell 3624 Spot Clean Professional Portable Carpet Cleaner - Corded , Black
  • Every Bissell purchase helps save pets. Bissell proudly supports Bissell pet foundation and its mission to help save homeless pets.
  • Our most powerful portable spot and stain cleaner for carpets, stairs, upholstery, auto interiors, and more.
  • Combines superior suction, scrubbing action and professional cleaning solution to remove stubborn pet stains, embedded dirt and more.
  • Provides a deep clean that leaves you with professional-style results.
  • Permanently removes tough messes and protects from future stains with the power of stain protect.

We recommend this Bissell SpotClean Professional to anyone who can afford it. One possible exception would be folks who are dead-set on going cordless, in which case the Pet Stain Eraser is the obvious choice.

However, we should stress that this corded model is by far the most effective and reliable setup for spot cleaning carpets available.

In a lot of ways, this is a very similar setup to the Little Green above. It has two tanks, a hose, and attachment heads for cleaning various carpeted and upholstered surfaces.

There are some key upgrades that we think make this one the better buy, though. For one thing, the tanks are substantially larger, so you can deal with more little projects at a time. You also get an extra cleaning tool–the 6” stair head.

It makes for faster cleaning on vertical carpeting, especially on stairs and pet furniture. We’ve also found that it’s a more efficient way to get your car interior clean.

Between its extra features, longer extension hose, and extended warranty, we think the Bissell SpotClean Professional is the best handheld model on the market right now.

It’s not perfect, but it’s a lot better than the other options–especially in the reliability department.

Which Portable Carpet Cleaner Is for You?

Which of these portable spot carpet cleaners should you buy?

The Pet Stain Eraser is a good choice if you’re dead-set on finding a cordless model.

It’s the most compact option and the most convenient to boot. It’s the only product of its kind on the market and actually does a very good job.

Overall, when taking into account price, popularity and quality, the best spot carpet cleaner so far is the Bissell Pet Stain Eraser Cordless Portable Carpet Cleaner.

The Bissell Multi-Purpose is an older model, but it still continues to be the best bet for the average buyer. It works well and is significantly more reliable than the cordless Eraser.

It’s not as powerful or well-equipped as the Professional model, though. It also comes with half the warranty coverage. So, there are some definite reasons to spend more if you’re able.

The SpotClean Professional is our recommendation to anyone who can afford it. It’s the most reliable of the bunch and is guaranteed to work the longest, thanks to the extended warranty coverage. It also does a better job, and has the most versatile set of attachments.

What’s Next

We hope you’ve found our guide to the best carpet spot cleaners helpful. If one of our recommendations seems like a good tool for you, click on the links in our reviews to learn more about it and check current prices.

You can also head over to our carpet cleaner guide to find the best carpet cleaners on the market!

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