Factors to consider in comparing upholstery cleaning machines include cleaning features like water heaters and a rinse-only mode, tank size, weight and attachments offered. Warranty, cost, cord length and user reviews are also helpful.
Consumer Reports and Good Housekeeping suggest identifying the type of cleaner you need. Consider the layout of the area and size of the carpet or upholstery to be cleaned. Identify your budget and the most essential features you need. Review warranty information for each machine and read customer reviews as well as expert comparisons.
Smaller portable cleaners work well for spot treatment but not for large pieces of furniture. Professional grade deep cleaners are more expensive than home cleaning machines, but often feature built in water heaters, longer hoses and larger capacity water tanks. Professional cleaners generally deep clean better over larger surfaces and leave less residual dirt. If you have pets, you may need a deep cleaner capable of heavy stain and odor removal.
Once you identify the type of cleaner for your needs and budget, you can more easily compare different features. If you choose an upright home cleaner, not all models have separate tanks for water and detergent. Some include multiple brush heads, hand tools or additional cleaning nozzles.