Vacuum Cleaner Vs. Carpet Cleaner: What’s the Difference?

Vacuum cleaner and carpet cleaner are two terms that are often used interchangeably, but they actually refer to two different things. Buyers and general users often don’t know the difference and use them interchangeably.

A vacuum cleaner is a device that uses suction to remove dirt, dust, and other small particles from surfaces. It usually has a bag or canister that collects the debris. A carpet cleaner, on the other hand, is a machine that cleans carpets and upholstery. It uses water and detergent to lift dirt and stains from the fabric.

We’ve all seen those commercials where they show a before and after of a carpet that’s been cleaned with a carpet cleaner. The before is usually a dark, dingy-looking carpet, and the after is a bright, clean-looking one. It is because vacuum cleaners only remove surface dirt, while carpet cleaners actually clean the carpets from deep within.

Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the key differences between vacuum cleaners and carpet cleaners.

What is a Vacuum Cleaner?

Vacuum Cleaner Vs. Carpet Cleaner

Basically, a vacuum cleaner is a common household appliance that is powered by electricity to allow you to remove and clean a variety of surfaces by sucking and eliminating dust and tiny particles. There are different types of vacuum cleaners serving different cleaning needs efficiently.

Suction performance is perhaps one of the most significant components of a vacuum; therefore, selecting the best suction vacuum is essential. Another thing that is beneficial to know about the vacuum cleaner is the airflow and wattage.

Professional cleaners and cleaning enthusiasts can use the device in homes and commercial businesses.


  • Lightweight for easy maneuverability
  • Numerous attachments for easy cleaning 
  • Has a compact design for easy storage
  • Strong suction power for optimal cleaning results

What is a Carpet Cleaner?

Carpet Cleaner

A carpet cleaner is an equipment that uses water and a cleaning solution to deeply exfoliate your carpet, removing dirt from the bottom to the top. To add more, it comes with vigorous scrubbing brushes, a water tank for storage of water, and vacuum suction.

Luckily, these carpet cleaners are designed to suit your household and commercial business.


  • Easy to handle due to its compact.
  • Lightweight body for easy maneuverability
  • Excellent stain removal due to powerful vacuum suction
  •  Numerous specialized attachments for optimal cleaning results

Vacuum Cleaner Vs. Carpet Cleaner (Comparison Points)

Regardless of the difference between these two, both house cleaning appliances function almost equally. What’s even more is that both are extremely beneficial. Below are the common features of a vacuum and carpet cleaner.

Easy to Use

First and foremost, vacuum and carpet cleaners are easy to use due to their lightweight design that allows you to clean hard-to-reach areas.

Impressive Suction Power

The most important feature that these appliances share is the super suction power. It helps these devices to eliminate dirt and debris on the carpet. For instance, the suction power is measured in Watts (W) and ranges from 250 to 450 W for single-motor machines.

Amazing Portability 

Another impressive feature of these appliances is that they feature a compact design for easy maneuvering and storage hence convenient for easy cleanup. Indeed, you can use them both indoors and outdoors without worrying about moving them, thanks to the portable design.

Numerous Specialized Attachments

The best carpet cleaners and vacuum cleaners in the market now include a variety of excellent attachments. Add-ons like dust brushes help to remove stressful dirt.

When should I use a carpet cleaner or a vacuum?

First of all, your answer is determined by a number of factors in your household or living space. As mentioned earlier, a vacuum cleaner is used to eliminate debris and dust, while a carpet cleaner is used to remove stains and pet messes.

For instance, if you are alone in the house, then vacuuming the carpet once a week won’t hurt. 

However, if you have enthusiastic kids, furry companions, busy families, or high traffic carpet areas, then carpet cleaning thrice a week is important. This helps to prevent allergies and a messy environment in your place.

Do carpet cleaners vacuum?

Yes, they do. Suctioning is the last stage used by carpet cleaners.

Unlike typical vacuum cleaners, which eliminate dry, loose dust, hair, and grime from carpets, carpet cleaners use water, a cleaning solution, and suction to dissolve stains and remove stuck-on debris that regular vacuuming cannot.

Do I need a vacuum if I have a carpet cleaner?

Yes, vacuuming the carpet before washing it is critical. Your carpet attracts dirt particles, soil, pet hair, fungi, and other contaminants due to constant foot traffic, which can be eliminated by vacuuming.

Vacuuming will aid in the extraction of loose dirt particles, allowing for thorough cleaning afterward. Make sure you get the best vacuum machine for your carpet’s fabric to ensure that no dirt is left behind.

Whatever method you use to clean your carpet, the first and most important step, according to experts, is to vacuum it.

Read Next: How to Clean Carpets with Vacuum? Get Rugs and Carpets Shiny Again

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