What Is the Best Vacuum Cleaner with Steam for Carpet?

best vacuum cleaner with steam for carpet

If you own a carpet anywhere in your home, then you need a steam vacuum cleaner. A carpet can hold up to four times its weight in dirt, and a lot of that is invisible to the naked eye. You need the best vacuum cleaner with steam for carpet that you can find. But how on earth are you to find such a device?

There was a time when I had carpets in my home. I love carpets. Rugs or hardwood can’t beat that glorious feeling of your toes sinking into a warm, soft carpet first thing in the morning. But carpets get dirty, so I decided to buy a vacuum cleaner with steam for carpet. Unfortunately, I came up empty-handed. If, like me, you’re looking for the best vacuum cleaner with steam for carpet, you aren’t going to find one. By their very nature, vacuum cleaners aren’t designed to handle liquid. They’re designed to suck up dirt and dust, and the combination of water (including steam) can actually ruin them. You could always go for Shop-Vac, which can handle liquid, but your average home vacuum won’t do it.

However, there are decent alternatives to a vacuum cleaner with steam for carpet.

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The Best Vacuum Cleaner with Steam for Carpet: What Exists and What Doesn’t

You can easily buy a vacuum, and you can buy a steam cleaner, but you can’t buy the best vacuum cleaner with steam for carpet — or for anything. They don’t exist. The biggest reason for this is the filter.

Most of what your vacuum sucks up can’t be seen by the naked eye. But there’s a lot of microbial particles all over our homes that your vacuum sends hurtling into its canister (or bag) at high speed. A vacuum cleaner filter protects the cleaner’s motor from microbial particles that can shred the sensitive gear inside. Water damages the fine microfibers in the filter. If you vacuum water, you can kiss your machine goodbye.

Instead, you can use something called a steam-vac (or steam cleaner).

What are steam-vacs?

First, every vacuum steam cleaner for carpet should be designed to work on carpet. Most steam cleaners are for hard floors, such as wood and tile and concrete. Unfortunately, they don’t always tell you that in their labeling until you get it home and start using it. That’s when you realize that your expensive cleaner isn’t doing what it’s supposed to with your carpet.

But if you get a steam cleaner for carpet, you may be under the impression that it’s using steam to clean. The truth is that it’s not. Instead, it’s using chemical compounds to loosen dirt and debris from your carpet and then sucks that up. The chemicals used in a “steam cleaner” break up the water molecules and ensure that the machine’s filter isn’t damaged. Also, because it uses very minuscule amounts of water, there’s not much there to threaten your vacuum. In reality, a vacuum cleaner with steam for carpet hardly uses steam. Unlike the best vacuum cleaner with steam for carpet, a steam-vac mainly uses the heat from steam.

How do they work?

Steam-vacs use light steam from boiled water to warm up the chemicals which will actually do the cleaning work. You need to boil water and add it to a tank inside the vacuum first. You must also use some type of solution, whether from a manufacturer or concocted at home. The steam from the water you boiled moisturizes or warms up the solution. It’s not really the best vacuum cleaner with steam for carpet in the way that you’re thinking, but it gets the job done.

You press the button on the handle to spray the solution on the carpet before the vacuum passes over top of it.

How much do they cost?

The best vacuum cleaner with steam for carpet will cost you between $170 and $500. That may seem like a wide range, but it all comes down to brand, features, and retailer.

How We Reviewed

Because there isn’t that wide a variety of steam vacuums for carpet, we went searching for steam vacs instead. Then we looked over their capabilities and their specs to ensure that these were able to clean carpet. Like we said earlier, you don’t want a hardwood floor steam cleaner if you have carpets because it won’t do the job correctly. Once we had a list of the right cleaners, we read through customer reviews. That gave us a great idea of how each cleaner performed in the real world. We eliminated the models that didn’t meet customer expectations from our list. While we couldn’t find you the best vacuum cleaner with steam for carpet, we were able to make you a list of the best steam-vacs.

The Best 3 Steam-Vacuums on the Market

Because there aren’t many of these to choose from, narrowing the list down to the best was difficult. All of the cleaners we reviewed were great, yet they all had their weaknesses. With life and with vacuums, it seems nothing is perfect. But you don’t need perfect. You need good enough to steam clean your carpet. That’s exactly what we got for you. When we realized that we couldn’t find the best vacuum cleaner with steam for carpet, we checked out the shampoo vacuums.

Note that these aren’t in any particular order.

1. Hoover SteamVac Carpet Cleaner with Clean Surge

The Hoover SteamVac carpet cleaner is one of the best steam vacuums you can buy. We love that giant 12-inch powerhead for its massive cleaning area. Of course, this thing is heavy. We’re talking over 30 pounds, so be prepared to get some exercise if you’re going to tackle stairs. However, every steam cleaner for carpet is heavy. If you have carpeted stairs, you’ll be doing some heavy lifting.

Another thing we really enjoy about the Hoover SteamVac is the “Clean Surge” feature. There are different-angled spinning brushes in the powerhead that scrub the fibers from three sides. If you come across a tough stain, simply press a thumb button on the handle and a jet of powerful cleaning solution will spray onto the area. Then powerwash it with those fantastic brushes. Voila, stain all gone! There is a downside to this cleaner, however. Because there’s no internal boiler, you need to add hot water yourself in order to get steam. That means you’ll constantly be refilling the water tank if you have a large area to vacuum.


Despite the lack of self-boiling for steam, the Hoover SteamVac comes with some fantastic specifications. Make no mistake; this is a powerful cleaner that will get your carpet looking almost-new. There’s a powerful 12-amp motor that can tackle anything you put in front of it. Also, the unit is nice and tall for easy operation. No need to bend over.

  • Dimensions: 19.5 by 14 by 30 inches
  • Weight: 29 pounds
  • Model number: F5914900
  • Motor: 12-amp


The Hoover SteamVac comes with two separate water tanks for clean water and dirty water. Having separate tanks ensures that you’re not steaming the cleaning solution with dirt. Also, you can control the brushes with a three-speed setting switch, which is great for tougher dirt or carpets with different fibers. Finally, it looks really cool. That is a modern-looking machine that you’ll love to pull out every time. The only problem, as we said, is how heavy it gets to maneuver around. Of course, the best vacuum cleaner with steam for carpet is going to weigh a lot, thanks to that internal water tank.


You can buy the Hoover SteamVac F5914900 for between $125 and $200. Also, it comes with a limited one-year warranty which covers the motor and brushes in the U.S., Canada, and at U.S. military exchanges. However, it does not cover the vacuum if you make the claim in the state of Ohio, for some reason.

Customer reviews

On Amazon, customers gave the Hoover SteamVac a respectable 4.1 out of 5 stars. Most people said it worked very well at cleaning their carpets and getting them to look new again. One woman said it worked great at getting dog poop out of her carpet, but she did mention that the water needs to be scalding hot for it to work. Which brings us to many of the customer complaints about the vacuum. The water needs to be extremely hot, or the vacuum doesn’t work well. Also, people complained that it starts to fall apart after a year of use.

2. Bissell ProHeat 2X Lift-Off Pet

Next, we chose the Bissell ProHeat 2X Lift-Off Pet, model number 15651. You’ll like having this machine around because it can do two things at once. It can scrub and clean your entire carpet or act as a spot cleaner. The water pod lifts off easily, making it easy to dump dirty water and add new hot water.

Also, there are multiple power brushes which grind the dirt off your carpet finders. Thanks to the help from the cleaning solution and heat from the hot water, there’s nothing in your carpet that stands a chance against the Bissell. We particularly like that the ProHeat includes an internal heater which keeps your water hot. Unlike other steam-vacs, you don’t need to add new boiling water to this machine constantly.


The Bissell ProHeat 2X Lift-Off Pet is a fearsome machine if you have pet hair or microbes hiding in a carpet. There’s enough power here to win every fight, so you might as well surrender.

  • 12-inch powerhead
  • Weight: 23 pounds
  • Dimensions: 19 by 13 by 44 inches
  • Cord length: 22 feet
  • Motor: 12-amp


In addition to some top-of-the-line specs for a vacuum, this Bissell also boasts some great features to make cleaning your carpets a breeze. You really need to see these power brushes in action to believe them. The entire 12-inch width of the powerhead consists of spinning, whirring brushes that literally scrub every fiber of your carpet. We haven’t seen anything like this in a vacuum until now.

Then there’s the detachable, portable pod which you can use to clean your car interior or your stairs. While the main vacuum is quite heavy, the fact that the main pod can detach makes it extremely portable. That feature alone easily makes this the best vacuum cleaner with steam for carpet.


You’ll pay between $300 and $400 for the Bissell ProHeat, which is well worth the price for the amount of cleaning power you’re getting. Add to that a decent three-year warranty, and you’ve got what we might consider the best vacuum cleaner with steam for carpet.

Customer reviews

Customers on Amazon gave this Bissell 4.1 out of 5 stars. Almost everyone raved about the suction power of this machine. Those brushes and that motor are fan favorites, with one customer writing that it cleaned years worth of dog hair and dirt in one pass. However, like many other customers, she complained that it powers through cleaning solution “like a bear through a butcher shop.” Others also complained that those powerful brushes shred older carpets. Ouch.

3. BISSELL PowerBrush Full Sized Carpet Steamer and Carpet Shampooer

Finally, we have another Bissell. This time it’s an older model, the PowerBrush carpet steamer and carpet shampooer. Consider this the older, more established version of the Bissell ProHeat. The PowerBrush, as its name implies, relies on super brushes to get the job done. While it calls itself a “carpet steamer,” it’s no different than the other machines we’ve reviewed. You must first add boiling water, and the shampoo/steam mix pretreats the carpet before you vacuum it. That means waiting up to 20 minutes for the shampoo to take effect, by which point there’s no steam at all.


We found the Bissell PowerBrush wasn’t all that far removed from a regular vacuum cleaner, with the addition of a water tank and the ability to shampoo a carpet. Other than that, this looks like a vacuum from 20 years ago.

  • 12-amp engine
  • Five rows of rotating power brushes
  • 3/4-gallon water tank
  • Dimensions: 19 by 11 by 44 inches
  • Weight: 17.5 pounds


The first thing you’ll notice when you see the Bissell PowerBrush is that big thick powerhead. That’s where five rows of power brushes spin to grab and lift dirt. There are also a couple of tools for cleaning crevices and corners. Because it’s a thick vacuum, it doesn’t maneuver very easily. You’ll also have a hard time cleaning stairs with this machine, thanks to its weight and bulk.


The best thing about the PowerBrush is its price. It only costs between $100 and $150, so if you’re on a budget, this could be a decent option. Also, you’ll get Bissell’s industry-leading three-year warranty.

Customer reviews

Customers gave it 4.0 out of 5 stars on Amazon. Most people loved the machine, saying it works great and makes their carpets look good and their house smell clean. One woman raved that she loves this vacuum and has used it several times since she bought it, and it works every time. The main complaint from customers seems to be that it falls apart after a year of use.

Some Final Thoughts

The best vacuum cleaner with steam for carpet that we recommend is the Bissell ProHeat 2X Lift-Off Pet vacuum. This machine is one seriously useful vacuum that came with great reviews and a fantastic warranty. If you feel a little disappointed that you won’t be able actually to steam your carpets as you vacuum them, that’s understandable. However, if you want a similar result, the Hoover SteamVac or the Bissell ProHeat will do the job. Also, you can hire a professional cleaner to come in and treat your carpets. Finally, you can rent a carpet steamer from Home Depot. In all of those cases, you’ll be treating your carpet with chemicals and allowing it to dry before you vacuum. Maybe it’s time to consider hardwood floors?

Last update on 2023-02-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API