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Consumer Reports test: Carpet cleaner machines

Think you’ve got dirty carpets? You should see the mess Consumer Reports just made to test three popular carpet cleaning machines. See if they stand up to the tests and earn a Consumer Reports recommendation.

Consumer Reports testers don’t mess around when it comes to testing these carpet cleaning machines.

Consumer Reports uses a Georgia red clay so that we can see how well these machines are removing embedded dirt from the carpet itself. Testers prep the samples with a measured amount of the red clay soil and wet it with water. The samples are left to dry overnight. Then, testers clean up any loose granules with a regular vacuum.Then, the machines are put to work.

Each carpet sample gets a total of eight passes  -- two wet, followed by two dry then that cycle is repeated one more time. The residual ground in dirt is measured before and after cleaning. Testers found some big differences.

At home, you can run it over your carpets as many times as you like and it’s not a big deal. But in terms of understanding how well a machine is working, Consumer reports has very controlled tests so that they can see that a machine is doing its job.

Testers also factored in how well each machine dried the carpet samples. Consumer Reports tests for drying performance in carpet cleaners because you don’t want a wet carpet left for potential mildew or mold growth.

Consumer Reports recommends the $260 Bissel Pro-Hear 2X Lift-Off Pet Carpet Cleaner.

So while the most expensive $470 Bissell Big Green Machine delivered excellent cleaning performance, it’s drying, convenience and noise levels pushed it lower in the ratings. In the end, the Consumer Reports recommendation went to this $260 Bissel Pro-Heat 2X Lift-Off Pet Carpet Cleaner.

All Consumer Reports material Copyright 2018 Consumer Reports, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Consumer Reports is a not-for-profit organization which accepts no advertising. It has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site. For more information visit consumer.org.