Need advice on box/tank extractor


New Member
Sep 16, 2022
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I’m not a professional carpet cleaner. I came to this forum because you guys know professional cleaning equipment. I’m considering buying a commercial carpet extractor for personal use and would appreciate some advice.

I live on a farm and several animals have run of the house. Fortunately, only four of the rooms (1200 sqft) are carpeted with standard 3/8" carpet. My main problem is that one of my dogs is 16 years old. Carpet incidents have been happening and I need a decent spot cleaner.

None of the “residential” upright cleaners or hand held spot cleaners are worth a crap (dog or otherwise). They have no pressure or lift. I was initially considering a commercial wand style spot cleaner, but a small box/tank cleaner (5-10 gallon) probably fits my overall needs better. It could be used to clean all of the carpets when needed. I don’t plan to buy a new or expensive unit just for occasional home use. But, I’ve seen reasonably priced box/tank and self contained cleaners at local auctions. Of course their condition and performance is questionable. That’s why I’m on this forum.

Based on your experience, what brands are reliable (or unreliable) and what typically fails or wears out on the machines? What minimal specs would be acceptable for my use (pressure, flow, lift, heater watts, etc.)? Do you suggest I get a unit with integral, external or no heater? Is there anything else I should watch for? I don't mind buying a used machine and making repairs, but I don't want to buy something that won't do the job. Otherwise, I'd just buy a rug doctor.

Any thoughts or recommendations would be greatly appreciated.