Consumer Reports: Carpet cleaner machines

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Consumer Reports: Carpet cleaner machines (WLS)

Consumer Reports testers didn't mess around when it came to testing three popular carpet cleaning machines.

So, which one stood up to the test and earned a Consumer Reports recommendation.

"We use a Georgia red clay so that we can see how well these machines are removing embedded dirt from the carpet itself," said Haniya Rae, Consumer Reports home editor.

Testers prepped the samples with a measured amount of the red clay soil and wet it with water.

The samples were left to dry overnight. Then, testers cleaned up any loose granules with a regular vacuum. Then the machines were put to work.

Each carpet sample got a total of eight passes -- two wet, followed by two dry then that cycle is repeated one more time. The residual ground in dirt is measured before and after cleaning.

Testers found some big differences.

"At home you can run it over your carpets as many times as you like and it's not a big deal but in terms of understanding how well a machine is working we have very controlled tests so that we can see that a machine is doing its job," Rae said.

Testers also factored in how well each machine dried the carpet samples.

"We test for drying performance in carpet cleaners because you don't want a wet carpet left for potential mildew or mold growth," Rae said.

Noise was another factor in CR's ratings.

So while the most expensive $70 Bissell Big Green Machine delivered excellent cleaning performance, it's drying, convenience and noise levels pushed it lower in the ratings.

In the end, the Consumer Reports recommendation went to the $260 Bissel Pro-Heat 2X Lift Off Pet Carpet Cleaner.

If the idea of storing and maneuvering these machines seems overwhelming, Consumer Reports said consider hiring a pro for that deep clean and investing in a top-scoring regular vacuum.

All Consumer Reports material Copyright 2018 Consumer Reports, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Consumer Reports is a not-for-profit organization which accepts no advertising. It has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site. For more information visit
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