Of all the upright carpet cleaners we researched, the Hoover SteamVac with Clean Surge F5914-900 (*Est. $145) earns the fewest complaints and best feedback from professionals and users. This carpet cleaner's 4.5-star rating on Amazon.com is rather amazing, considering the high number of reviews it has received -- more than 2,400 at last count. It also has a near-perfect score at BestBuy.com and a fairly high average rating on Viewpoints.com (85 out of 100). On other sites, such as Target.com and Epinions.com, it earns good (though not outstanding) scores, but carpet cleaners in general tend to receive lower overall average ratings on these sites. Customers should be careful to check model numbers when shopping for a Hoover upright carpet cleaner, though, as similar Hoover models receive fewer positive reviews.
The Hoover SteamVac with Clean Surge F5914-900 has a 12-amp motor that powers five spinning brushes. The SteamVac holds clean, hot water in one of its two tanks; dirty water is fed into the other. The automatic detergent mixing system combines detergent with the hot water, and the rinse feature removes detergent residue. Its signature feature, the Clean Surge, dispenses an extra squirt of cleaning agent at the touch of a button for tougher stains. On-board tools include a spinning hand tool, 8-foot hose and upholstery tool. This carpet cleaner weighs 20 pounds and comes with a one-year warranty.
In one professional test, the F5914-900 did a very good job of cleaning and an excellent job of extracting water from the carpet afterward. On the other hand, its score for ease of use was only average, and it got below-average marks for noise level -- complaints which also appear in user reviews. Users say the SteamVac's spinning brushes are powerful and do a great job of lifting stains. Of all the carpet cleaners we reviewed, this one seems to do the best job of removing excess moisture from the carpet, a task with which many carpet cleaners struggle.
The most common complaint, users say, is that the dirty water tank often must be emptied before the clean water reservoir is depleted, meaning lots of stops and starts to fill one tank or empty the other. Many users also wish that the carpet cleaner came with an internal water heater, which would keep the water hot and allow you to fill it with unheated tap water. Several owners suggest adding boiling water to the clean tank for better results. We also found a few complaints about the many extra parts; owners say they're difficult to attach to the unit and a bit cumbersome to use.
We found some complaints about durability; the most commonly cited problems are that the machine lost suction, its powered brushes stopped turning or its plastic parts (such as the water tanks) broke. While these problems seem to be common to all Hoover carpet cleaners, a smaller percentage of users report them for the Hoover SteamVac with Clean Surge F5914-900 than for other models.
The Hoover MaxExtract Dual V Widepath Carpet Washer F7412-900 (*Est. $170) earns equally positive feedback from about 700 reviewers at Amazon.com. Editors at Good Housekeeping magazine praise this carpet cleaner for its ease of use; both the clean and dirty water tanks are equipped with handles, making it easy to transport them when full. It also has several features typically found only on more expensive machines, such as automatic shutoff and a spill pickup function. Despite its size, it's easy to maneuver, although it can be heavy when the water tank is full (true of most carpet cleaners).
The Hoover MaxExtract Dual V Widepath Carpet Washer has a 12-amp motor with rotating brushes, three speeds and a handheld tool for upholstery or stairs. A removable tool caddy and an 8-foot hose are also included, and it's backed by a one-year limited warranty. Owners do note a few shortcomings, saying it tends to use a lot of cleaning solution, the cost of which can add up quickly; many owners recommend using white vinegar as a substitute. A number of owners also recommend cleaning the unit and brushes after every use.
The reviews we found for the Hoover MaxExtract All Terrain Carpet Washer F7452-900 (*Est. $250) are somewhat mixed. This carpet cleaner has the same powered brushes as the SteamVac with Clean Surge, but it also can be used on hard floors. The MaxExtract All Terrain is the top performer in one professional test, and it earns 4-star average ratings from roughly 420 users on Amazon.com and nearly 280 users at Walmart.com. However, it gets only middling reviews at and Epinions.com, with an average score of 2.5 stars out of 5 in fewer than 40 owner reviews.
Most owners agree that the MaxExtract All Terrain carpet cleaner does a great job on stains and removes most of the water from the carpet after cleaning, allowing carpets to dry quickly. It's easy to use, owners say, and they praise the auto-mixing and auto-rinse features. On the down side, some complain that its water tank and hose attachment leak and the machine's plastic parts break easily. Many users also report failures of the powered brushes or the motor, and several say it's noisy and hard to maneuver.
The Bissell ProHeat 2X Pet 9200 (*Est. $200) scores well in one professional test, earning very good scores for cleaning, ease of use and drying. This carpet cleaner includes 10 rows of powered brushes and a built-in water heater. It also allows the user to adjust the amount of cleaning formula used. However, owner feedback is mixed. At Viewpoints.com, the Bissell earns an overall score of 82 out of a possible 100 from about 10 users, who praise this carpet cleaner for its versatile cleaning capabilities. Owners say it works well on carpet, upholstery and hard floors.
Users at Amazon.com give the Bissell ProHeat 2X Pet 9200 middling scores, however, awarding it 3 stars out of 5 on average in about 125 reviews. Users on both sites say the carpet cleaner cleans well and is easy to use, but a number of Amazon.com users say it has weak suction and leaves the carpet wet. Owners note that the Bissell carpet cleaner is very sensitive and can lose suction power if jostled. We also found several complaints about breakdowns within the one to two years after purchase. The Bissell ProHeat 2X Pet 9200 is backed by a one-year warranty.
There are fewer reviews for the Bissell ProHeat 2X Healthy Home Deep Cleaner 66Q4 (*Est. $240) , but about 70 owners between Amazon.com and BestBuy.com contribute to an overall average rating of 4 stars out of 5 on both sites. The Bissell ProHeat 2X Healthy Home Deep Cleaner lands near the middle of the pack in one professional roundup of nine carpet cleaners, earning very good scores for ease of use and cleaning, but slightly lower ratings for leaving the carpet a bit wet compared to others.
The 66Q4 has 12 rows of brushes and a built-in water heater, in addition to a slightly wider than average 12-inch cleaning path and a 30-foot power cord. It comes with four attachments: a crevice tool, a powered brush, a stain-removing tool and a stair tool. Customers say the ProHeat does a great job, comparable to professional steam cleaning, although we found enough complaints about parts breaking to cause concern. Also, some owners complain that the 2-in-1 water tank, in which the clean water reservoir sits inside of the dirty water tank, requires frequent refilling, while others dislike tank's design itself. The Bissell ProHeat 2X Select carpet cleaner comes with a one-year warranty.
The Bissell ProHeat Deep Cleaning System 25A3 (*Est. $170) does fairly well in professional tests, with very good scores for cleaning and drying and fair scores for noise, coverage and ease of use. However, user reviews at BestBuy.com and Amazon.com are mixed. While most owners agree that the carpet cleaner cleans and dries well, we read more complaints of leaks and breakdowns for this model than for other Bissell cleaners. Still, many users consider it a good value for the money.
The Bissell ProHeat Deep Cleaning System has six rows of brushes, and like the 66Q4 it has a built-in heating system and 2-in-1 water tank. User feedback is also similar to the 66Q4, with complaints that the cleaning solution requires frequent refilling and that the heating mechanism doesn't heat the water much. There are also numerous complaints that the unit clogs very easily; owners recommend cleaning the brushes thoroughly after each use. Like other Bissell carpet cleaners, the 25A3 is backed by a one-year warranty.