These Portable Machines Will Keep Your Carpets and Upholstery Stain-Free
This story was updated in October 2022 to ensure all recommendations vetted and tested by the Good Housekeeping Institute Home Care and Cleaning Lab were both current and in stock.
Food spills, pet messes and dirt stains from normal wear and tear can make carpeting, upholstery, even the interior of your car look dirty and worn. While you could go to work with a carpet stain remover spray and a cloth, a corded or cordless portable carpet cleaner can suck up wet spills better than a cloth and powers through stains often better than you can by hand, and they're nimble and easier to use than a full-sized carpet cleaner.
When the Good Housekeeping Institute Home Care and Cleaning Lab evaluates portable carpet cleaning machines, we test how well they lift fresh and set-in food, dirt and other stains and how easy they are to fill, empty, clean and store. We also assess their weight, how easy they are to maneuver and how comfortable they are to use and hold. Finally, we have each tested and scored by Quiet Mark, an outside organization that evaluates products and appliances for sound on a scale of 1 to 3 stars — “quiet” appliances get a 3-star rating, while those deemed “loud” get a 1-star rating. In our last category test of portable carpet cleaners, we conducted 38 separate tests and assessed nearly 500 data points!
Our top picks:
As you read through this guide, you'll learn more about each of our recommended portable carpet cleaners, how we test them, what features you should look for, what to consider when buying a portable carpet cleaner and why Good Housekeeping's recommendations are so trustworthy.
Our cleaning experts tested portable handheld carpet cleaners to find the best machines at erasing spills and pet stains from cars, home, upholstery and more.