The 6 Best Spot Cleaners

Updated March 03, 2017 by Chase Brush

6 Best Spot Cleaners
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 43 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top options for this wiki. Messy kids? No problem. A pet that keeps having "accidents"? Fugeddaboutit. What about a clumsy adult who drinks red wine? Ain't nothing but a thing. All these and more household calamities are quickly scrubbed away with one of these spot cleaners, which feature compact designs and special technology to treat even the toughest of stains. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best spot cleaner on Amazon.

6. Bissell Spotbot

The Bissell Spotbot uses proprietary Deep Reach technology to eradicate even the staunchest and smelliest stains. Its unique spiral brushing action does 400 cleaning revolutions per minute, making it a must-have for dog owners with carpets.
  • cleans from the bottom up
  • conveniently works hands free
  • extremely loud while in use
Brand Bissell
Model 33N8A
Weight 17.9 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

5. Bissell SpotLifter 2X Essential

The Bissell SpotLifter 2X Essential is not much larger than a standard handheld dust buster, yet is powerful enough to break up and lift even the most ingrained of spills and messes. Its supremely compact size makes it perfect for apartments and dorms.
  • works well for odor removal
  • 7-inch wide cleaning nozzle
  • requires lots of charging
Brand Bissell
Model 1719T
Weight 6.5 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

4. Bissell 97491

The Bissell 97491 uses HeatWave technology to maintain constant water temperature throughout the cleaning cycle, allowing it to remove stubborn stains and also pull up odors that other models have trouble with. It also includes a separate container for extra gross messes.
  • easy-access removable water tanks
  • includes supply of cleaning formula
  • may make foam or water suds
Brand Bissell
Model 97491
Weight 14.9 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

3. Rug Doctor Portable

The Rug Doctor Portable has wheels and a retractable handle, making it easy to move from room to room and a cinch to store away when the cleaning is finished. At 22 pounds it is a bit heavy, though, so some may have trouble lifting it.
  • oscillating motorized brush
  • power switch on handle
  • very powerful suction
Brand Rug Doctor
Model Portable Spot Cleaner (
Weight 20.5 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

2. Hoover FH11300PC

Don't let the size of the portable and lightweight Hoover FH11300PC fool you -- it has a powerful motor and rotating brush that scrubs deep into carpet to get ground-in stains. Its reservoir has a large opening, making it easy to refill, plus it can be used on upholstery.
  • self-cleaning hose
  • long power cord is convenient
  • includes detergent and pre-treat gel
Brand Hoover
Model FH11300PC
Weight 13.9 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

1. Bissell 3624 Professional

The Bissell 3624 Professional works just as well as those large sophisticated models you see pros using, only it is neither as bulky nor as cumbersome. It doesn't take a lot of fussing about to get set up, so you can waste less time cleaning and enjoy more time relaxing.
  • flexible hose gets into most areas
  • extra long 22-inch power cord
  • 2-year limited warranty
Brand Bissell
Model 3624
Weight 16.7 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

How A Spot Cleaner Works And Why You Need One

Professional carpet cleaning services may perpetuate the myth that people cannot remove stains on their own, but that's simply not true. Professional cleaners typically charge per room, when often their customers do not need every inch of their carpet cleaned, and only need a few spots removed. This means most people end up paying for unnecessary labor. A spot cleaner can remove stains from one concentrated area. Most models have two tanks; one for your water, a stain removing solution and oxygen booster, and one for dirty water.

These tools simultaneously spray stain remover into the carpet, vigorously scrub with a fast-acting brush, and suction up the staining agent at the same time to eliminate stubborn stains like those from coffee and wine better than a simple spray and hand-scrub method. While you could manually scrub stain remover into your carpet, you couldn't possibly move the bristles back and forth as quickly as a motor-powered spot remover does. That quick scrubbing action is important for activating the stain remover, and the suctioning pulls the dirty particles out of the carpet. The suctioning action also rapidly dries your carpet.

Many spot cleaners can work on upholstery, as well as carpet, so they can help you keep most of your home stain-free. And, since you can put any type of stain remover you want in its tank, including pet stain remover, a spot cleaner can tackle nearly any kind of spill.

Additional Features To Look For

If you regularly need to remove several large stains, look for a spot cleaner with a large cleaning solution reservoir. This will allow you to continuously clean various areas without having to stop to refill your tanks. Many models roll around on wheels, just like a vacuum cleaner, making them easy to transport from room to room. If you are purchasing your spot cleaner primarily for upholstery, look for a lightweight model with an ergonomic grip, so your arm won't tire while you move it over your furniture.

There is a good chance that your stains are creating an odor, too, and you don't even realize it because studies have found that people can't accurately smell their homes. Make sure your spot cleaner also has odor-removing technology so you can pull out the nasty smells along with the stains that created them. Households with pets should look for a brush with a high number of revolutions per minute. This helps to remove all of the nasty bacteria that animals drag inside.

Depending on your stain, you may need hot or warm water to effectively remove it. Some spot cleaners have technology that keeps the water temperature consistent. If you want to move your spot cleaner around your home, without having to plug it in in each room, look for a cordless variety. Some battery-operated cleaners can run for fifteen minutes at full power. A wide nozzle will also let you pick up more dirt and debris in one movement.

How To Prevent Spills And Stains Before They Happen

There are some things one can do to prevent spills and stains, or at least minimize the harm they cause. Put protectors over your most valued furniture like sofas and reclining chairs. Should someone spill here, it's much easier to remove protectors and put them in the washing machine than it is to clean the furniture. Having a no-shoes rule can prevent people from accidentally dragging in stain-causing culprits, like mud and animal feces. If you have pets, keep wipes for their paws by the front door, and clean their feet off the moment they come in from walks.

Parties provide plenty of opportunity for spills. If you are serving hors d'oeuvres, give your guests rigid plates instead of flimsy napkins. This will reduce the chances of them dropping their food. Set up the bar outdoors, or at least away from the carpet. Most spills happen while people are mixing and pouring drinks, so it will help if they do this over non-carpeted areas. You can also choose not to serve the riskiest drinks like red wine which, in spite of several theories that state you can remove it with items in your pantry, is very difficult to remove from a carpet.

You should also carefully select the furniture you put in carpeted rooms. Put a small side table next to each couch, so people have a place to set their drink down when they aren't sipping it. This reduces the chances that guests spill their drinks during a conversation because they were forced to hold them. Make sure coffee and cocktail tables are at a comfortable height for the seating around them, so people will actually use them.

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Last updated on March 03, 2017 by Chase Brush

Chase is a freelance journalist with experience working in the areas of politics and public policy. Currently based in Brooklyn, NY, he is also a hopeless itinerant continually awaiting his next Great Escape.

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