October 14, 2020

Rug Doctor Review (With Alternatives)

An in-depth review of the Rug Doctor, along with alternatives that might be better for your cleaning needs.

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The Rug Doctor gets deep into carpets, but some features might leave you wondering if you should buy this heavy-duty cleaner.

The Rug Doctor is a well-known carpet cleaner that gets deep into thick carpets. It is very efficient for removing tough stains. However, a few of its features might leave you wondering if you should buy it. 

Well, with this in-depth review of the notorious Rug Doctor, you won’t be scratching your head any longer. 

After reading this review, you’ll know the good and the bad of the Rug Doctor; and other powerful vacuums that are better cleaners with a lower price tag. 

Since there aren’t many in-depth rug doctor reviews, we made one that’ll help you decide whether or not it’s right for you.

So, let’s dive right in!

How to Use a Rug Doctor

Using a rug doctor is fairly simple to use.

Here’s a short and detailed video that will show you how to use a rug doctor and get your carpets cleaned quickly:


Weight: 25 lbs

Tank Capacity: 1 gallon

Product Dimensions: 17.5 x 11.5 x 43.5 inches

Cleaning Path: 12 inches

Hose Length: 7.8 feet

Cord Length: 28 feet

Warranty: 2 years 

What’s Included: Machine, small storage container, and upholstery tool

Setup: Simple and Surprising

The Rug Doctor is ready to go right out of the box-which is big. Simply plug it in, then fill the tank with a cleaning solution of your choice. 

Read our review for a list of the best carpet solutions to use with your Rug Doctor. After this quick setup, start cleaning right away. 

Many customers say it is easy to setup.

Performance: Deeply Cleans Carpets

The Rug Doctor gets deep into carpets and removes embedded dirt and grime. 

With stiff bristles that clean the rug from every angle, this heavy-duty cleaner takes out a lot of dirt from carpets filled with bacteria and particles. 

Despite its powerful performance, customers say they had to go over the carpet in our office three times to remove all of the dirt that was deeply embedded. 

This carpet cleaner also has an optional “Super Boost” feature, which is built mainly for high-traffic areas. Using this feature is quite simple: flip the switch, press the normal trigger, and let the stream of fluid do its job. 

This feature seems like it would deliver extra cleaning to the dirty area. However, it’s not designed well. Since you must pull the Rug Doctor backward to use it; combined with the liquid stream that’s located on the machine’s back, the Super Boost feature will not reach the front parts of the dirty rug.

You’ll have to awkwardly maneuver the Rug Doctor to get the Super Boost feature to actually work. We recommend just using the hand tool because it’s much easier and hassle-free. A common theme with the Rug Doctor is that it cleans well, but can be a big hassle to use, especially with the “Super Boost” feature.

Stain Removal: Removes Set-In Stains

To see if what the Rug Doctor Deep Carpet Cleaner claims to be is true, we read reviews on Amazon and saw what customers said about the vacuum. Some customers say that after the stains have some time to dry, they used the Rug Doctor to try to get rid of them, and that it works well.

Going over each stain 2-3 times with the Rug Doctor hand tool, customers said they wanted to see how many passes it would take to fully remove the stains. 

The carpet cleaner did a fairly good job of removing the stains. The majority of the sauces, coffee, dirt, and condiments were removed. What was left would only be visible if someone was laying down on the carpet and looking at the faded stains.

Design: Simple With Odd Features

The Rug Doctor has some features that might leave you scratching your head-and your floor. The process of filling the water tank is fairly awkward. 

Since the twist-off cap is built to be on the side of the tank, customers also said they had to hold it horizontally under the faucet to fill the tank up. We recommend to put the cap back on to carry it; since if you pick up the tank by its handle, it will tilt and spill resulting in lost effort and time.

We also noticed that the water port leaks enough to leave a trail of water on the floor as you get ready to clean with the machine. Despite this design error, customers say they liked that the cap allowed us to measure the soap without a separate measuring cup prepared. 

Most important of all is that you can’t use the Rug Doctor like other carpet cleaners. Users need to pull it backward, release the trigger, tilt the machine up in the front, and then do another pass on the carpet. 

This process is very awkward and for people who don’t enjoy using bulky and hard to move vacuums, we don’t recommend the Rug Doctor for you. 

However, there are a handful of alternatives that are lightweight, versatile, and much easier for your back and bank account.

Rug Doctor Deep Carpet Cleaner, Large and Portable, Red

The Rug Doctor Deep Carpet Cleaner deeply cleans to remove dirt. It doesn’t need any setup, and is efficient for removing stains embedded in your carpets. However, it has a small water tank and the “Super Boost Spray” feature could be improved and built better. 

When we tested it on our carpets, it did well on removing the dirt and grime. It did take around 4 hours to completely dry after we finished cleaning. 

We were surprised at how much dirt the Rug Doctor pulled out from our rug that seemed fairly clean already. However, it didn’t do the best job at sucking up pet hair. The pet hair mostly got stuck in the suction head or was left behind. 

For those with long-haired pets, vacuum thoroughly before using the Rug Doctor Deep Carpet Cleaner to ensure a complete clean. It took out a majority of stains, but left some. For a Rug Doctor, it’s one of the most affordable options. But for carpet cleaners as a whole, this is on the higher end of the price tag.

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Bissell Big Green Professional Carpet Cleaner Machine

This 48 pound heavy duty carpet cleaner has a tank capacity of 1.75 gallons, an extra large dirt lifter power brush for deep scrubbing, and heavy duty suction power aids for fast drying. 

It dries faster than the leading competitive rental carpet cleaners. Also, it has two large tanks for full room cleaning, and comes with a trial size BISSELL professional cleaning formula. 

With a power cord length of 25 feet, there is a 5 year limited warranty on this heavy duty cleaner. Its maximized hose length gives you extra reach for hard to reach areas. Made of durable and high quality materials, this cleaner is sturdy from top to bottom.

This machine sprays carpets with a water and formula solution that helps the PowerBrush scrub loosen and remove dirt from the carpet fibers. Then, it removes the loose ended dirt, along with the solution that was used. This cleaning process leaves you with fresh carpets that look brand new. 

Overall, a powerful, heavy duty carpet cleaner that is highly recommended for people who want to leave their carpets feeling, looking, and smelling brand new after each clean.

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Hoover PowerDash Pet Compact Carpet Cleaner

Being Amazon’s Choice for “carpet cleaner”, the Hoover PowerDash has 2x more cleaning power than competitive lightweight carpet cleaners and is one of the best vacuums for pet hair. Delivering powerful carpet cleaning while an even faster drying for any space, it is easy-to-use for efficient cleaning.

On top of that, it is great for small spaces, weighs less than 13 pounds, and has a 0.5 gallon tank size. It picks up a large amount of deeply imbedded debris, dirt, stains, and hair. At $99.99 with free shipping, it will save you lots of time by allowing you to clean your carpets yourself.

This is the ideal carpet cleaning machine for apartment-dwellers with pets and carpets. It is very easy to assemble once you get the parts out of the box. The clean water tank is fairly small. You might have to empty and refill it a couple of times. The dirty water tank can be hard to clean.

However, it is small enough to fit in your closet for easy storage. So, if you’re looking for one of the best vacuums for pet hair, the Hoover PowerDash is a great option.

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Hoover Power Scrub Deluxe Carpet Cleaner Machine

Being Amazon’s Choice for “hoover carpet cleaner”, the Hoover Power Scrub is one of the most popular and used cleaners. Its spinscrub brush system safely and deeply cleans carpets.

With powerful 360 degree brushes, it evenly cleans surfaces with equal distribution. Weighing at 18.5 pounds, it is not too heavy. Included in your purchase will be stair, upholstery, and crevice tools.

On top of that, you will receive a sample bottle of cleaning solution. Your carpet will smell very fresh after using the Hoover Power Scrub to clean. At $129.00 with free shipping, it is budget-friendly.

Considering how much carpet cleaning services cost, this will save you lots of money in the long run by using it to clean carpets yourself. So, if you are looking for a lightweight and easy to use carpet cleaner, the Hoover Power Scrub will get the job done.

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McCulloch MC1275 Heavy-Duty Cleaner

Being Amazon’s Choice for “wagner steamer”, the McCulloch Heavy-Duty Cleaner is backed by a 2-year hassle-free warranty. With chemical-free cleaning, it deeply cleans and sanitizes without the use of harsh chemicals. Weighing at just 12 pounds, it is easy to carry and use.

With hot pressured steam, it eliminates grease, grime, stains, and everything in between. It has a large capacity tank that heats up in under 8 minutes and provides up to 45 minutes of steam. With a 48 ounce water tank, it allows for fewer refills and continuous steam.

The McCulloch has a fairly small reservoir for water, but is not “constant-on”. Also, it quickly heats up to readiness in about 8 minutes. The steam comes out at a high volume. At an affordable price of $139.99 with free shipping, the McCulloch Cleaner is certified, safety-tested, and warrantied for use only in the United States.

On top of that, it is equipped for steam cleaning jobs in and around your home. So, if you’re looking for a lightweight and affordable carpet cleaner, the McCulloch Heavy-Duty Cleaner is a great choice.

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Wrapping Things Up

Don’t buy the Rug Doctor Deep Carpet Cleaner for the features. Even though it will get the job done for medium to high-pile carpets, it’s definitely not a carpet cleaner with useful features. There are many less expensive alternatives that are much easier to use and hold. 

In fact, we have reviews on the best lightweight vacuums, upright vacuums, and even a list of stain removers that will remove tough carpet stains deeply embedded in your carpets. 

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