1. Home

Before You Buy a Handheld or Portable Steam Carpet Spot Cleaner


Portable or handheld carpet spot cleaners are very convenient for quick removal of spills and stains. If you already have a full-size steam carpet cleaner, it's just more practical and quicker to use a compact spot cleaner rather than setting up a larger unit for a quick cleaning.

Compact Steam Spot Cleaner vs Full-Size Steam Carpet Cleaner

For home use, there are upright steam carpet cleaners and smaller, portable cleaners that are more suited to spot removal, rather than for an overall carpet cleaning. There are also portable steam cleaners. These are not designed for cleaning carpets, but rather for other applications around the home. For purposes of this article, these buying tips will apply to small spot carpet cleaners. Though vacuums and carpet cleaners are both types of cleaners, they are totally different appliances.

Types of Carpet Spot Cleaners

Carpet spot cleaners are not plentiful, with only a handful of models available and Bissell leads the market when it comes to performance. There are three different styles of spot cleaners and though all are electric, one model - the Bissell 1719 SpotLifter is cordless. Though all are designed for cleaning spots on carpets, the most popular type can be used basically hands-free, while others use attachments or are handheld during cleaning. When it comes to cleaning small stains, another option is a can of cleaning solution with an attached applicator for quick, economical spot removal.


Consumers rate the type of spot cleaner that can be set right on the stain and left (hands-free) for a few minutes, as the best performing models. Others require more hand effort and time to effect a good cleaning. While spot cleaners are assumed to generate steam while cleaning, very few models actually heat the carpet to produce steam. Most clean using hot tap water and a carpet cleaning solution, with a rotating brush action. Most have suction to extract the dirty water and solution which helps with drying. Spot cleaners can be used for stain removal on carpets and home or vehicle upholstery.

Best Features & Accessories

A heating feature helps with cleaning. A long cord is convenient as is a hose and attachment for upholstery cleaning. Additional accessories such as a hard surface or crevice tool adds versatility to the spot cleaner. A cordless model can be used in any area - no need to search for an electrical outlet.

Consumer Tips

There are pros and cons to extended service contracts - find out what they are before you sign for one. Reading your manual is a good idea - learn why. If you have problems with your purchase, find out how to handle it and why manufacturers need to know.

More About Floor Care

Before buying this home essential, find out what the best vacuum features are and know what to look for to make sure you're happy with your purchase.

Related Articles

Know the difference between a vacuum and a carpet cleaner? They're both cleaners but very different when it comes to function. Learn all about vacuums, from buying tips to frequently asked questions.

More From Housewares

Learn how practical a robotic vacuum can be and what to expect from one. Read vacuum reviews before shopping for one. Find helpful tips about storage, cleaning and how to organize your home.

Promotional Feature: View this video series to learn how to take good care of your house.

Related Video
Carpet Cleaning Solutions
How to Remove Gum From Carpet

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.