Rug Doctor Pet Portable Spot Cleaner Review

Known for their high quality carpet shampooers, Rug Doctor also has a powerful portable carpet cleaning device. In the auto detailing world, a portable carpet cleaner is a very useful tool to have.

There are many pros and cons to the Rug Doctor Pet Portable Spot Cleaner, and we will often compare it to the Bissell SpotClean Pro. Why? Because the SpotClean Pro is widely used by mobile detailers. It has most certainly proved to be one of the best portable carpet cleaners you can purchase without spending $500+.

Auto detailing with the Rug Doctor Pet Portable Spot Cleaner

This portable carpet cleaner is a great machine, but the head and handle design is odd. The head is wider than other portable cleaners on the market. This makes it hard to get into tight areas, and the entire point of detailing is to get every crack and crevice of the vehicle clean.

With that said, the machine is still great for cleaning and performs well. It will get out deep stains that have been sitting for years if you know what you’re doing. The bristles on the head are very stuff, so scrubbing is difficult to do without damaging the fabric. Make sure to pull with the head and avoid pushing. Use a drill brush or other carpet brush if you need to do any heavy scrubbing.

Filling up the clean water tank is a little tricky due to the triangular shape of the tank. This is what many would call a design a flaw, and hopefully Rug Doctor will change this in a future model.

Cleaning the dirty water tank is difficult as well, so make sure to clean it as soon as possible before filth starts to stick.

More Powerful than a Bissell SpotClean Pro

Not to turn this into a Rug Doctor Portable Spot Cleaner versus Bissell SpotClean Pro article, but the RD is way more powerful. Suction is noticeably greater, and the overall build quality of the device is superior. It’s impressive, since both units are in the same price range.

For auto detailing, the RD is a beast when it comes to cleaning large surfaces, such as floor mats and floors. It works great on seats too, but you will want to use something with a smaller head to get into the tight area between the top and bottom part of the seat. Also cleaning the sides of a seat can be difficult depending on the size of the seats you’re cleaning.

Regardless of the head size, you can typically use a wet/dry vac to get into all the tight areas once the large surfaces have been cleaned. So yes, you can still do a complete detail with the Rug Doctor Portable.


The Bissell SpotClean Pro has a better head and handle, but the Rug Doctor Spot Cleaner has more power. More power means a quicker detail if you have to get rid of some nasty stains. As mentioned at the beginning of this article, there are many pros and cons. It comes down to personal preference, as both machines are great for auto detailing.

Both machines are sold for around $150, and the Rug Doctor is usually about ten bucks cheaper. See the current price on Amazon now. Need to save more money? Check out our review on the Bissell SpotClean ProHeat, which is about $35 cheaper.

Here’s a video comparing the Rug Doctor Portable Spot Cleaner to other popular machines in the same price range. The model in the video is a little older and the color scheme of the machine has changed recently, but it’s essentially the same device.