If you need a carpet cleaner for larger jobs but don't have the funds or the space to store one, renting a carpet cleaner is a relatively cost-effective option. However, rental carpet cleaners come with a few caveats. The editors of Good Housekeeping warn that rental machines may not be in the best condition, and the difficulty of getting the rental machine home and returning it to the store afterward is a consideration. Finally, editors caution renters not to overlook the cost of cleaning solution when calculating rental costs. The cleaning fluid generally is not included with the machine and must be bought separately.
The Rug Doctor, which offers machines for both home and commercial use, is probably the best-known brand of rental carpet cleaner, but Bissell carpet cleaner rentals are nipping at their heels. Both Rug Doctor and Bissell carpet steam cleaner rentals (Est. $25 per day and up) are available at more than 33,000 outlets nationwide, including a number of supermarket chains. A store locator on each company's website helps customers find a rental in their area.
The machines that Rug Doctor and Bissell rent are the same two reviewed in our "Best Carpet Cleaners" category, the Rug Doctor Mighty Pro X3 (Est. $400) and the Bissell Big Green Deep Cleaning Machine (Est. $470) . In addition, Rug Doctor rents the Rug Doctor Wide Track (Est. $700).
As noted in our reviews in the "best of" category, both machines are neck and neck as far as performance goes, and are top-reviewed steam carpet cleaners by both professionals and owners. When choosing one of these rentals, if it just comes down to availability, you can't go wrong with either machine. Renting one for a day could be a great way to pick one to purchase if you'd like to try before you buy.
Elsewhere in this report:
Best Carpet Cleaners: Which upright carpet cleaner is the best? Editors evaluate several models from Rug Doctor, Hoover and Bissell. The Hoover comes out on top.
Best Spot Cleaners: What's the best spot carpet cleaner? Editors compare the lightest, most portable carpet cleaners that still do a good job of getting stains out.
Buying Guide: What should you know before shopping for a carpet cleaner? Editors suggest you consider the following before buying a carpet cleaner.
Our Sources: Links to the expert and user reviews we used to select the top carpet cleaners, along with our assessment of each reviewer's expertise, credibility and helpfulness.