Bissell leads the market in consumer ratings when it comes to carpet spot cleaners and with several models to chose from, it can get confusing when you're trying to find the right carpet spot cleaner for your needs. There are a few Bissell brands to chose from in the portable spot cleaner category and though some of these may look alike, they do have different features to consider. They also vary in price.
A portable carpet spot cleaner is basically a machine that is designed for quick cleaning of spots and stains on carpets, carpeted stairs and home or auto upholstery. Typical carpet spot cleaner appliances are compact machines that use a specially formulated cleaning solution and are either held in place on the stain or have such features as handsfree operation. The term 'carpet spot cleaner' could also refer to upholstery and spot cleaning sprays which often have a built-in brush applicator, or it could relate to the range of carpet cleaning solutions, formulated for use with carpet cleaners in general. For purposes of this article, we'll look mostly at portable carpet spot cleaners.
In general, a carpet spot cleaner is very handy for cleaning stains as they happen. It often eliminates the need to clean the entire carpet with a larger, upright carpet (steam) cleaner - a task that can take several hours. Common uses for carpet spot cleaners include removing carpeting or area rug stains, pet stains, spots on entrance mats as well as furniture, vehicle or RV upholstery or carpeted mats. However, for upholstery, by design, they are mostly limited to flat areas, unless the unit has appropriate accessories or hand tools.
The SpotBot® and Little Green® machines are both registered Bissell® brands and they are designed to help clean carpet spots and stains. Both are portable easy-to-carry carpet spot cleaners that require a special cleaning solution. Though some models may look similar, prices vary mainly because of their design features. Both Bissell brands are consumer favorites and have garnered high ratings for performance and convenience. Note that each SpotBot has several versions or model releases, and though they can look a little different, there are basically three types of SpotBots.
The Little Green line offers three choices, an Earth-friendly model, a Pet series and a Multipurpose Cleaner. These cleaners are slightly more compact than SpotBots and have less features, which is evidenced by the lower prices. Two models in particular have onboard water heating, which is a good feature to have. And then there's the newest member of the family - the SpotClean Pro™, which I've listed first since it appears to be a rising star.
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The Bissell SpotBot Pet Carpet Spot Cleaner has been the most popular of this style with consumers for awhile and I'd recommend this model, even if you don't have pets. It has more stain-fighting features than the regular Bissell SpotBot Deep Cleaner and if used along with the recommended Pet Stain and Odor Advanced formula, it can tackle odors, as well as stains. It also has microban protection, but no water heater.
There are two preset cleaning cycles that can be used 'handsfree' - one for surface stains and the other for deep cleaning of tough stains that have set in. That means you can lay it on a stain, choose the type of stain and let the brush action and solution do the work for you. Other features typical of SpotBots are dual water tanks and accessory tools which vary with each model. Recommended use: Carpet, Upholstery, Auto, Stairs, Low Pile Carpet. Color is Silver Sparkle & Jus Tin Silver - looks like a type of blueish silver. It retails for around $130
While the Bissell Auto Care was designed for spot cleaning of vehicle upholstery and mats, it's a handy spot cleaner and consumers find it very convenient for in the house as well as the car. It has dual water tanks but has an added feature that makes removing stains easier - a built-in water heater (ProHeat), so you can maintain heated water to better dissolve solution and stains, while you clean. You can also spray, clean, suction and dry to make it easier to finish the job quickly. The Auto Care model sells for around $99 and has some handy cleaning tools that make this model more versatile.
The Bisell SpotBot Deep Cleaner is just a few dollars cheaper than the Pet model and while it does have two cycles, they vary somewhat. There's a WalkAway handsfree preset setting and a manual one if you'd like to stay around and see the job done quickly. That's also the best option for furniture spots. The scrubbing action uses a Unique Spiral Brushing and Auto Smart system which chooses the right amount of water and solution for the job. It has dual water tanks and a 3" stain tool. This model does not have a water heater. This Aloeminium color model is sold in several model series for around $120.
Similar to Bissell's SpotBot Deep Cleaner, this red ProHeat model has some of the same features including two cycles - manual cleaning and a WalkAway handsfree preset cycle. But it also has a water heater (ProHeat) making it more efficient for cleaning and removing carpet stains. It is sold as model 12U9 series. Note that this model has been discontinued by Bissell, though there are some models still available on the market.
What makes this Bissell Little Green model so Earth-Friendly, is that it is made from recycled plastics and is designed to be used with earth-friendly cleaning solutions. It combines a spray action and a 3" cleaning path with strong suction to deep clean stains out of carpets and upholstery. It also has a handy cleaning attachment. Consumers give this model a pretty good rating for ease of use and performance. There's no water heater, but it does have dual water tanks and is a good value choice at $79.
Compact and ease of use along with good performance makes this Little Green ProHeat model a good buy. An onboard water heater (ProHeat) helps to dissolve the solution and improves cleaning performance. At 13 lbs, it's still light and compact and a long cord adds convenience. The Little Green ProHeat is sold in a wide range of series 1425 cleaners. It's recommended for carpet, upholstery, auto, stairs. MSRP $99 makes it an affordable cleaning tool.
The Little Green ProHeat Pet is similar to the ProHeat MultiPurpose except for the formula used and an added turbo tool for best stain removal. The Turbo Tool is a very nice attachment to have, making it ideal to clean upholstery with less effort than with the standard stain removal hand tool. The price of $99 for the ProHeat Pet 1425W is comparable to the MultiPurpose model, but the turbo tool makes this unit the better buy, if you want to be able to more easily clean upholstery.
Bissell makes two models of their smaller handheld SpotLifter Spot Cleaners - the 2X which is a cordless model and a corded cleaner with a PowerBrush. Of the two models, the Cordless is the most popular with consumers, simply because it's easy to use anywhere. With 15 minutes of run time and a dual water tank system, this little handheld cleaner works hard and offers very good value for a $45 price tag.
Actually a steam cleaner, the Hoover Spot Scrubber is getting some pretty fair ratings for performance and ease of use. It's designed for steam cleaning spots and has some handy cleaning tools. Use it to steam clean spots on hard surface floors, carpets bathroom shower and other cleaning.
If a compact carpet spot cleaner is inadequate to meet your needs, you should consider another type of carpet cleaner - an upright model with or without steam. There are various steamers available, some of which are designed for general all-purpose cleaning.
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