While our top recommendations for home-based carpet cleaners are the Big Green in 1st place and the Rug Doctor in 2nd, we realize that not everyone has the budget or room to use such massive (though wonderfully capable) appliances. So what’s the next best thing? That’s what we’re here to discuss. If you can stretch your budget to $200, the good news is that there are actually a number of respectable carpet cleaning solutions that’ll do a comparable job to what you’d get from a high end Bissell or Rug Doctor; the trick is to have realistic expectations and know where to spend your money. Today we take a closer look at 3 of our favorite carpet cleaners at the $200 or under price point and compare their strengths and weaknesses: the Hoover Power Scrub FH50150, the Hoover Max Extract 60 (FH50220), and the Hoover Max Extract WidePath (F7412900). All three do great jobs, but your favorite won’t necessarily be ours, so read on to learn more.
We were most taken by the Power Scrub and found it a tremendous value at its price point. At 19 pounds, it’s the lightest of the 3 carpet cleaners but also features heated cleaning, which is the equivalent of a hair dryer attached to your carpet cleaner to dry your carpets in significantly less time than through typical air drying. It wasn’t as effective as the heating system in the 60, but it dried carpets more quickly than the WidePath. We also like the presence of separate tanks, a feature that makes filling, emptying, and rinsing each much easier than when dealing with combination tanks.
The setup couldn’t be more straightforward out of the box: you screw in a pair of screws to connect the handle and you’re done. We found it did a good job with a range of carpeted and upholstered surfaces and equaled the other two Hoovers in this comparison despite costing significantly less. The only thing we’d like to see from it is a greater ability to work out certain pet stains; the two Max Extracts were stronger in this area. Naturally, we’d also like it to run a bit more quietly to avoid scaring the pets (while our dogs didn’t mind the sound, one of our cats treated it like a vacuum cleaner and fled the room).
The Max Extract 60 is the cleaner you want if your priorities are cleaning (where it did a great job) and carpet drying (where it was by far and away the winner among the three). It literally dried carpets in about half the time of the WidePath and in about 2/3rds of the time of the Power Scrub. An additional feature we loved (that was also present in the Power Scrub) was the ability to add the detergent to an additional compartment kept separate from the hot water tank. This allowed us to control whether or not we wanted to use detergent (because sometimes we wanted to simply rinse parts of the carpet), saving our cleaning solution and our time. In terms of cleaning, the Max Extract 60 did the best job of the three, even though it wasn’t a situation where it ran away from the field. On regular stains (coffee, milk, wine, etc), all three cleaners did an equally good job, but when it came to pet care, we preferred how the 60 left our carpets and furniture.
Pros and Cons of the Hoover Carpet Cleaner Max Extract Dual V WidePath Carpet Cleaner Machine (F7412900)
Finally, we also took great pleasure in using the WidePath. However, it was by far the heaviest of the 3 carpet cleaners (it weighs 27 pounds, compared to a typical 22 pounds for the 60 and a svelte 18 pounds for the Power Scrub). Depending on how much you value portability or whether you have any weight restrictions, this could be a deal breaker. However, if you’re in good health and want a bit of a workout, you’ll get one with the WidePath. Its main advantage over the competition is the fact that it takes a bit less time to cover the same ground due to the wider cleaning surface it attacks. Like the other two Hoovers, it also features a two tank system, but unlike the other two, it unfortunately doesn’t feature a heated drying system.
Conclusion – what’s the top carpet cleaner under $200?
Under $200, we feel these three carpet cleaners do a better job than any other full-sized or portable cleaners on the market right now. The best will depend on your needs. In the end, most of us either preferred the Power Scrub or the Max Extract 60, depending on whether we prioritized portability or drying time and cleaning ability.
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