Well, look who threw their hat in the ring.
Known for their high end (and very heavy) professional rental machines, Rug Doctor seems to be going into a more affordable home version of their popular steam cleaning equipment. Will the downsize (and lower price) affect its cleaning capability?
The timing couldn't be more perfect, as the Bissell SpotClean Pro that was pretty amazing, died a horrible death from a severed suction hose only a year into using it (I swear I don't beat these things, or swing it by the hose, or do anything other than suck up foul dog mess) but the general time of death for these things seems to run about a year.
I happened to find the Rug Doctor Spot Cleaner on Amazon and bought it... along with a two-year warranty... just in case.
Right off the bat, who designs the containers? Most people are only born with two hands, so creating containers that don't stand up on their own makes filling with water, pouring the cleaner in, then screwing the top on a task that even circus performers would have difficulty with. The clean water/soap container is pretty large, holds a lot. The dirty water container has two holes at the top, so don't tip it when you walk to dump it out. Let me repeat that in bold DON'T TIP THE DIRTY WATER CONTAINER IN ANY DIRECTION WHEN WALKING THROUGH THE HOUSE TO DUMP IT.
The bottom of the dirty water container unscrews for easy cleaning. The instructions say you can stick your whole hand in there... if you have small hands. I have small hands... I'm not sticking my hand in there, so use a bottle brush to scrub it out (and make sure you store that someplace else so you don't wash your bottles and glasses out with it... euw).
There are two "on" switches. The top switch turns the suction on. The switch on the wand turns on the little massaging brushes that will massage the ick out of your carpet. You use the wand like any other spot remover wand, squeeze to spray, slowly back up to suck. For dog people, the massaging brushes really do pull up that fur!
For convenience, the machine has a handle to carry it, but it also has wheels and a telescoping handle (like for luggage) to drag it around if you can't carry it. The cord is pretty long, and the wand and hose loop around the handles easily and stay in the cradle nicely.
I've used it for new "spills" and it only takes one or two swipes to suck everything up. I've used it on more set in stains and it takes a few more swipes to get it up, but overall it does a great job spraying and sucking up the liquids. I'm using the Bubba's Steam Cleaner fluid in it.
If I had a choice between the Bissell SpotPro and the rug doctor, I would probably go for the Rug Doctor, even though the SpotPro had better flat bottom containers. Of course, if the hose rips or it dies in a year, I may change my mind. Cost is about the same for both, so I guess I have to wait to see just how long it lasts for a full review, but right now, based on the pros and cons, I'd still give it:
4 Paws up.