Consumer Reports testers don't mess around when it comes to testing these carpet cleaning machines.
We use 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 8 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 we have very controlled tests so that we can see that a machine is doing its job.
Testers also factored in how well each machine dried the carpet samples. CR tests for drying performance in carpet cleaners because you don't want a wet carpet left for potential mildew or mold growth.
So while the most expensive 470-dollar 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-dollar Bissel Pro-Heat 2X Lift Off Pet Carpet Cleaner.