Comparison of Portable and Truck Mount Carpet Cleaning Machines

There are two types of carpet cleaning machines that professionals use to clean your carpets with the hot water extraction method — the portable and the truck mount.

The portable hot water extraction machine is just that: portable.  They are small enough to be wheeled around and carried.  Professional carpet cleaners use portable carpet cleaning machines in hard to reach places.  They also use them in high rise buildings where hoses from a machine outside cannot reach.

Portable hot water extractors have a tank that is filled with water and cleaning solution.  Some portable machines also have a built-in heater, which can heat the rinse water to high temperatures.  The portable machine has fairly short hoses.  So, your professional cleaner has to move the machine with them as they move throughout your house.

When a professional carpet cleaner uses a portable machine to clean your carpets, it is definitely effective.  However, there are some drawbacks to portable carpet cleaning machines.

First, the tank on the portable machine is fairly small.  Your carpet cleaning professional will have to refill the tank with clean water and solution and empty the waste tank several times throughout the cleaning.  The portable hot water extractor usually holds about 10 gallons, which will on average clean 1-2 rooms.

Second, some portable carpet cleaning machines do not come with a built-in heater.  This means that the water in the machine will only be as hot as it was when it came out of your tap.  As the water sits in the tank of the portable carpet cleaning machine, it will cool down.  So, the professional cleaner must work quickly to maximize the hot water temperature.  They may need to refill the tank frequently to maintain the water temperature as well.

Third, portable carpet cleaning machines leave your carpet more wet than more powerful machines.  Because they are portable, these machines are limited in their heft and power.  Because of this, they are also limited in the amount of suction they provide.  Less suction means more moisture from the cleaning process stays in your carpet.  More moisture means your carpet will take longer to fully dry.

Again, when a professional cleans your carpet with a portable hot water extraction machine, it is effective.  However, there are drawbacks to the portable machines.

The other type of hot water extraction carpet cleaning machine is a truck mount machine.  Truck mount hot water extractors are the best tools in carpet cleaning.  Truck mount machines are just that: mounted in your carpet cleaner’s truck.  The machine stays in the truck throughout the cleaning process.  Your carpet cleaner connects hoses to the machine and brings these clean hoses into your house to clean your carpets.

There are two major advantages to the truck mount hot water extraction machines.

First, truck mount machines have the ability to heat the cleaning water up to 230º and keep it at that temperature throughout the cleaning!  The truck mount machine uses an extremely powerful gas engine to heat the water.  This hot water is absolutely crucial to achieving a heavy-duty clean!  The difference between cleaning with water that is 230º and with water that is, let’s say 120º (your hot tap water temperature), is incredible.  Properly heated water is one of the keys to a super clean carpet.

The second major advantage of truck mount carpet cleaning machines is their incredible suction power.  Your professional carpet cleaner will use the high powered vacuum hose to remove the cleaning solution, water, and soils from your carpet. The truck mount machine deposits all of this in the recovery tank inside the carpet cleaning truck. This strong suction, again provided by the powerful gas engine, helps remove as much moisture from your carpet as possible.  Removing this moisture cuts down on the drying time for your carpet.

The truck mount carpet cleaning machines provide a deeper clean and a faster drying time than the portable hot water extraction machines.  In the hands of a skilled professional carpet cleaner, both types of machines are effective.  However, if you have a choice between hiring a cleaner with a portable machine and hiring a cleaner with a truck mount machine, the truck mount is the way to go.