We will help you find the best carpet cleaner for your home or office. If you are looking to purchase your first machine or simply upgrade from your previous model, then we hope you find this site useful; we offer information on what to look for when buying your new carpet washer plus handy in-depth reviews of the top carpet washer models available in the UK.
First, for those in a hurry we’ll compare the top 5 carpet and rug cleaner models.
What’s the Best Carpet Cleaner in the UK?
Carpet Cleaner Comparison Guide – How to Use
Our comparison guides above features Britain’s top carpet washers (as rated by our researchers).
This guide to the UK’s top carpet cleaners includes the following information:
- Image – Picture of the model in question.
- Model – Brand and model name.
- Heated Clean – Whether the model has a heating function (which is good to have; This feature assists with carpet drying. Hot air/heat is applied to the carpet during the cleaning process)
- Motor – The carpet cleaner’s motor rated in watts (w). The higher the more powerful.
- Weight – The weight of the carpet cleaner in kilograms (kg)
- Review/ Shop – Click to read more in our full product reviews or go directly to Amazon.co.uk to buy
The Cheap and Cheerful Option
Brightly coloured, light (just 5.6 kg) and with a long cord (nearly 6 metres), this has found its way into many homes up and down the country. It’s extremely affordable and suitable for homes with pets. It’s from the trusted Vax brand. It cleans pretty well and is easy to use.
Compromises to get the price down include a lack of attachments, making it less flexible than more expensive machines.
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A Solid Mid-Price Option
Bissell InstaClean Wash
A new entry into the UK market from Bissell, one of the leading brands in this sector. Instead of rotating brushes it uses a static brush, probably to keep the price down. It also has a motor on the low-power end of the spectrum at just 450 watts. But it does have separate tanks for the clean and dirty water, weighs just 6 kilos, and is great for spot cleaning after pet accidents and spillages.
It’s as easy to use as a normal vacuum. Don’t expect miracles with the cleaning, but do expect it to lift of more dirt than you ever imagined being stuck in your rug’s fibres!
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The Best Value-for-Money Model
Vax V124A Dual V
This is the top all round value for money product in this business and has been for a while. Vax offer a 6 year guarantee on it, and it’s packed with features and technology that will make your life easier.
Vax’s Dual V technology features double air paths which deliver even, powerful suction power across carpeting. This ensures that the carpet dries quickly and consistently, even with multiple passes.
The Vax V124A model is equipped with five powerful scrubbing brushes. These brushes work to guarantee an incredibly thorough and evenly consistent clean throughout the entire home. Each of the five brushes spins in tandem with one another, allowing deep grab into the pile of your carpeting and removing embedded stains and dirt. The carpet washer’s heated cleaning capabilities ensure that incredibly hot air is blown onto the carpeting, assisting in speedily drying your carpet, even faster than professional cleaning products do.
The Dual V also comes with an array of tools and a hose, perfect for simple stair and upholstery cleaning (two areas often overlooked when working with heavy carpet cleaners). This gives you the freedom to clean above the floor for a total home clean. Spot stains and spills can be easily removed with our easy to use hose and brush in case of any unexpected spillages.
Also, Vax’s Automix cleaning system provides the correct mix of solution and water for optimum cleaning results and pre-mixes this for you, so you don’t use too much or not enough solution.
The Dual V technology, heated cleaning, and all the tools and attachments make it a great buy. The cord is a very generous 9 metres, though the machine is on the heavy side. It’s very easy to recommend!
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Our Overall Top Pick for 2018
Bissell ProHeat Revolution
Weighs 8 kilos and has an 800 watt motor. Like with the Vax 124A it comes with a 6 year guarantee. In our review we praised it for getting carpets dry so quickly, the useful tools, and the fact that you can easily replace the belts (thus expanding the lifespan of the machine). It might be a tad expensive, but will more than pay for itself by saving you money on professional carpet cleaning services.
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Options For Pet People
Winner: Bissell InstaClean Pet
This product is a good buy if you are looking for something to clean up after your pets have done something untoward. It’s great for smaller jobs, though you could use it as a primary carpet cleaner at a push. Check the Bissell page for our full review if you want more detail and full specifications.
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Runner-up: Vax Rapide Ultra 2
This is the W90-RU-P model, and it’s been cleaning up pet messes for YEARS. In our full review we praise its 1000 watt motor, powered jets, and brush system, while noting that its drying time is also excellent.
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Useful: Dr. Beckmann Carpet Stain Remover
If your pet is generally well-behaved and buying a full-blown appliance would be a bit over the top, you could try this handy product. It works wonders on grime and eliminates odours – even blood stains. Obviously, it’s not suitable for cleaning a whole rug or room, but for the odd spill and accident you can’t beat it!
We featured it in our roundup of carpet cleaner shampoos.
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Vax Carpet Cleaner Guide
This section contains all the information you could ever want to know about Britain’s leading carpet cleaner brand, Vax, and answers many commonly asked questions about their products.
Formed in 1977 by Alan Brazier with a prototype carpet cleaner, its first major product launch came in 1979. Its iconic ‘orange tubs’ were a huge, instant hit and broke new ground in the flooring industry.
Today the company has over 400 employees, mostly working in Droitwich and Birmingham.
The Top 5 Vax Carpet Cleaners Compared
Which Vax Carpet Cleaner Is The Best?
As you can see in the comparison table above, the Vax range of carpet shampooers spans a lot of price points, motor power, and weight. There’s no doubt the V124A is the most popular model in the UK and it’s the only one with heated clean. On the whole, it’s the leading Vax model.
However, it is on the heavy side, so if you have back problems or just don’t want to be totally exhausted after cleaning your carpets, maybe look at the VRS801 – it’s powerful but light, and a fair bit cheaper than the 124A.
Vax Carpet Cleaner Reviews
We’ve reviewed most of the models you’re likely to run across, whether it be in a supermarket, local retailer, or eBay. If you have an idea of which model you’d like to know more about, go take a look! Our reviews are honest, independent, and detailed.
- VRS18W Power Max
- VRS5W Rapide Spring
- W87RPC Rapide Classic 2
- VRS801 Dual Power Max
- Rapide Ultra 2 (W90-RU-P)
- Dual V (V-124A)
- 6131T 3-in-1 Multivax
- Rapide Deluxe (V-026RD)
- All Terrain (V-125A)
- Rapide Ultra (W90-RU-B)
- Rapide Spring Clean (W91-RSBA)
Vax: Frequently Asked Questions
Do Vax Carpet Cleaners Work?
Yes, they really do. As you’d expect, they aren’t as effective as professional models but they’re more than good enough for most needs. Especially if you haven’t cleaned a room for a while, you’ll notice a huge difference. You’ll see after a few seconds how dirty the water in the tank gets – and to think that was buried in your carpet not long ago!
Here’s a great demonstration of a Vax in action. Skip forward to 27:00 minutes to see the results. Quite clear!
How Good Are Vax Carpet Cleaners?
They are very good. Not all popular things are good, but when it comes to cleaning our homes, we British tend to make rational decisions. Vax are the highest-selling brand in the business.
That said, I really like the new range of Bissell machines, and if you have the budget and a large home, you should consider the Rug Doctor models. (Follow the links in the menu if you’re interested.)
Are Vax Models Good for Pets?
Good enough for most cases. If you just want to clean up ‘accidents’ – perhaps involving some urine – then maybe a small portable cleaner is best so you can just target the affected area. If we’re talking about lots of pets shedding hair all over the place, then get the most powerful model you can afford.
Do Vax Carpet Cleaners Kill Fleas?
Vacuuming alone should be enough to kill fleas, so when you add the potential for drowning and heating the little pests, a carpet cleaner would seem to be effective in reducing their numbers. I haven’t seen any really good studies about it, though. My guess is that the V124A is your best bet against carpet mites and the rest, since it has a heated cleaning component.
What Accessories Are Good?
Any nozzles or attachments that let you clean upholstery or stairs are really, really good to have. These will normally let you clean under the skirting board and in your car, too, so it’d be worth paying a little extra to get them.
Where Can I Buy a Vax Carpet Cleaner (and Solution)?
We always recommend Amazon because it’s an extra layer of customer protection, but these are popular products so you can find them in Asda, John Lewis, Tesco, your local hardware stores, and even sometimes in Lidl!
Vax Carpet Cleaner Instructions
Instructions for Vax Carpet Cleaners
You can find user manuals for most models here. They contain assembly instructions and explain the various quirks of the various machines. A typical problem is with the trigger – should you use it when going forward or pulling backwards? Does it release shampoo or suck up water? It varies from model to model so you should really have a quick look through the manual of the machine you book. Annoying, I know!
As an example, with the V125 you squeeze the trigger to release the shampoo onto the carpet when pushing forward (slowly, of course!). You keep hold of the trigger on the backward stroke, then you repeat this whole procedure but with the trigger released. So you have 2 ‘wet’ motions and 2 dry ones. (Of course you can do more dry strokes if the carpet is still damp.)
How to Use a Vax Carpet Cleaner on Stairs
Basically the same as on a normal carpet, but using the attachment and special nozzle. If your model doesn’t come with these you won’t be able to clean your carpets. Look for models with long cord lengths so you can reach the middle of the stairs with few problems. Also consider buying a portable carpet washer – it’ll be much easier than trying to balance a heavy machine precariously on your stairs.
How to Assemble a Vax Carpet Cleaner
Assembly instructions come in the manuals, but for a general idea of how to put one together skip to around the 13 minute mark in this video:
How Much Solution Should I Use In My Vax Carpet Cleaner?
Let’s ask Vax themselves: “For carpet washers without a separate solution tank, add 40ml of solution to every 1L of water.” For models with a tank, it should say in the manual how much to use. (There’s no one size fits all answer, unfortunately.)
Why Won’t My Vax Carpet Cleaner Work?
There are 2 main reasons:
The water sprays might be blocked. Use a pin or similarly slender object to clear them. They can be found under the brush – you’ll likely need to remove a panel to get at them.
There’s also the possibility that some cleaning solution has hardened and blocked some pipe somewhere. Pour some boiling hot water into the tank and run the washer for a couple of minutes, using the trigger now and then. This should help blast away whatever is congealed inside the machine.
It’s a good idea to give your machine a little ‘warm-down’ after each use to prevent this shampoo build-up. You can use the method outlined above, but you’ll only need to use warm water since there isn’t any blockage and the shampoo will come out easily.
Why Is My Vax Carpet Cleaner Leaking?
It might be because of the rubber seals. What’s supposed to happen is that your water tank sits in the unit and is flush against the edge, snug against the rubber seals. When that happens properly, there’s no leaking.
If the tank isn’t ‘sat’ properly in the unit, there can be some leaking. Try to get the unit to sit properly and all should be well.
My Vax Carpet Cleaner Is Overheating
Most probably a blocked hose or nozzle – check those first.
How To Unblock My Vax Carpet Cleaner
This official (and terribly low quality) video from Vax is about a vacuum cleaner, but should be helpful:
My Vax Carpet Cleaner Has No Power
First, check the fuse. Swap your fuse with the one from your kettle (which you know is working). That’s going to solve the majority of problems. Other causes might be a power cut, a problem with the electricity outlet, or a problem with the cable.
It’s also possible that your model overheated – many modern machines have a thermal cut-out – which means they turn off when they get hot. It takes a couple of hours for it to cool down to the point where it might turn on again. Read more on that here.
My Vax Carpet Cleaner Isn’t Picking Up Water
The most common solution to this problem is to remove the brush bar (underneath at the front).
Where Is The Serial Number on a Vax?
Go here and click ‘see how to find your model number’.
Bissell Carpet Cleaner Guide
This page contains all the information you could ever want to know about the carpet cleaner brand Bissell, and answers many commonly asked questions about their products.
Anna Bissell ran a small store in Michigan and the bee that harrassed her bonnet was sawdust – it got everywhere and beating the carpets was a temporary and ineffective solution.
Her husband Melville got on the case and he created a mechanical carpet sweeping machine that was an instant hit. By 1883 there was enough demand for this new labour-saving decide to warrant building a factory around it, in the city of Grand Rapids. Anna became the first female CEO in America and presided over a rapid expansion.
More than a century later, the company is still determined to bring deep cleaning solutions into our homes.
The Top 5 Bissell Carpet Cleaners Compared
Which Bissell Carpet Cleaner Is The Best?
As you can see in the comparison table above, the Bissell range of carpet shampooers spans a lot of price points, motor power, and weight. The Cleanview Proheat has the highest number of satisfied customers, but the other models are newer and will probably catch up quickly.
The Cleanview is one of the classiest on paper, especially in terms of value for money, but the newer models are lighter and have some interesting new technologies inside. You can read about them all in our full reviews (see next section) but if we had to pick one to recommend, it’d be hard to choose between the 2X Revolution and the StainPro 10.
Bissell Carpet Cleaner Reviews
We’ve reviewed most of the models widely available in the UK. Here are the links to those articles, with the latest reviews listed first:
- PowerClean StainPro 10 Review
- InstaClean Pet Review
- PowerClean StainPro 6 Review
- PowerClean StainPro 4 Review
- ProHeat 2X Lift-Off Review
- ProHeat 2X Revolution Review
- CleanView Reach (37Y8E) Review
- CleanView ProHeat (34T2E) Review
- CleanView QuickWash Review
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Bissell Carpet Cleaners Work?
Absolutely. In this video you can see a chap who brought his Bissell with him on holiday (!) – and he was right to, for his dogs made a mess on the carpet. It’s a good video but you can skip to the 10 minute mark to see a kind of before/after shot.
Note how much dirty water you get – all that dirt was in your carpet, and after using the machine, it isn’t. So I think yes, these machines totally work!
How Good Are Bissell Carpet Cleaners?
They are very good. Vax is the most popular in the UK, but I feel like Bissell is catching up in terms of reputation and sales, and their focus on offering a heated clean in most of their models is slowly but surely paying off. Bissell models tend to be a bit more expensive than Vax, partly because they come with the heated clean apparatus.
Of course, you might want to buy British, in which case know that Vax is based in Droitwich while Bissell is American.
Are Bissell Models Good for Pets?
Yes. See the video above for proof! They also have special models designed with pets in mind – see the InstaClean Pet Carpet Washer in the comparison table above.
Do Bissell Carpet Cleaners Kill Fleas?
They will kill most fleas – the heated clean should finish them off, and it’d be a very lucky flea indeed that survived the whole cleaning process (including vacuuming the carpets before you washed).
What Accessories Are Good?
In the video above you can see a great demonstration of the usefulness of the ‘crevice tool’. Anything that lets you get into corners, small spaces, anything for stairs or cars – these will all add a LOT of value to your purchase and are worth paying a few pounds extra to get.
Where Can I Buy a Bissell Carpet Cleaner (and Solution)?
These products are widely available in local retail stores, and of course, online. We recommend buying from Amazon for an extra level of customer service, but you might have a shop nearby with friendly staff who know their carpet cleaning onions.
Carpet Cleaner Buying Guide
Step 1 – Why do you want a carpet cleaner?
Take some time to think about exactly why you want to purchase a carpet cleaner. You probably will have carpets in your home and those carpets get dirty quickly (or show the dirt quickly). Or, you may have a pet and want to keep your carpets, rugs, and home smelling fresh. Would it be easier to rent a washer instead or pay a professional to do all the hard work for you? Even cheap models start at the £100 price so you need to be sure to get a return on your investment! If you are renting carpet cleaners on a regular basis (that is, more than 3 times per year), then we would recommend you purchase your own. Having your own also gives you the freedom to use it whenever you want; this is especially useful in “emergency” spillage situations or for pet owners looking to refresh their carpets.
Ask yourself: Do you really need a carpet cleaner and how often will you use it?
Step 2 – How often will you use your carpet cleaner?
This is another important point to consider. Do you intend to use your cleaner to “deep clean” your carpets in the Spring and Autumn or do you require a unit that you can quickly use to tackle spills, “accidents” or to remove pet odours? The weight of each model varies considerably (quality carpet cleaners with heaters often weigh more than 10kg) so you need to bear this in mind if you will be using your carpet cleaner on a more frequent basis.
Some Bissell models weigh under 6kg so these could be a suitable option if your are cleaning your carpets on a very regular basis. Generally, if you plan to use your carpet cleaner on a more regular basis then opting for a lightweight, easy to use and easy to store model is optimal (take a look at the Vax Rapide Deluxe).
Ask yourself: How often will you use your carpet cleaner and is weight important?
Step 3 – What features are worth paying for?
In terms of features, manufacturers will push all types of “gizmos” and benefits but here are the most important ones:
a) Cleaning head – what type of head does the carpet washer have? The most commons ones are brush rollers or individual rotating small brushes. The roller brushes are generally kinder to delicate carpets whereas individual brushes get much deeper into the fibres. Typically the higher priced models have more individual rotating heads (5 or more). Look for machines with more heads or cleaning brushes if deep cleaning is your number one priority.
b) Hot air drying – one of the downsides of cleaning carpets is having wet carpets in your home for several hours. Some models from Vax and Bissell et al have built-in hot air drying systems to speed up the drying process. A word of caution here: if you have a very delicate carpet, check if this feature can be used. Is this useful feature? We would spend more money on cleaning and treat this as a “nice to have” but very handy feature. A carpet cleaner with a high powered motor will do an equally good job – improved suctions means dryer carpets.
c) Powered cleaning tools – most carpet cleaners come with a selection of accessories for cleaning upholstery, stairs and small crevices. These hand tools can also be used to clean car seats. Some models have accessories with air powered brushes to give a deeper and more effective clean. We would consider this a useful feature.
d) Motor – generally, the more powerful the motor the better both cleaning and drying/suction performance will be. Some washers have 500w motors compared to the 1850w motors found in more expensive ones. A 1000w motor generally offers a good combination of price and performance.
Ask yourself: What features do you really need?
Step 4: How much do you want to spend?
By now you are probably thinking that you want the most premium, most fully-featured carpet cleaner! However, they can exceed the £200 mark so just think back through the above questions: importantly, how often will you use it and what type of features do you really need? The right carpet cleaner does not have to be the most expensive.
Ask yourself: what is your budget to spend on your carpet cleaner?
Step 5: Read reviews before purchasing
If you have decided that you really want a carpet cleaner and know what features you need then you need to read our reviews. In the comparison table above we have listed the top carpet cleaners available with details on key features and price. If you would like to read one of our in-depth and 100% independent carpet cleaner reviews for UK models (e.g. Vax or Bissell), then simply select from the menu bar at the top of this page.
Ask yourself: Have you read an unbiased review of the product you are interested in?
Hopefully this information will allow you to make an informed choice – happy shopping!