BISSELL versus Rug Doctor

What is the best carpet cleaner rental? In this post, I compare Rug Doctor vs Bissell with side-by-side photo results. The Bissell Big Green was a Lowe’s carpet cleaner rental. Info in the post will direct you to a carpet cleaner rental near you as well as the option to purchase the recommended unit. 

BISSELL vs Rug Doctor - Which Did a Better Job?

Carpet cleaning is one of those tasks that sometimes I put off.  Like, for years. I know it's not right but I am not thrilled about having a professional company clean my carpets. I've tried it and the results were less than what I expected plus it was expensive.

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*This post may contain affiliate links and I'll earn a commission if you shop through them. You can read my full disclosure here

I have my own carpet cleaner, a Bissell ProHeat 2x. It's a home unit that I used to use all the time when we had our dog. When she was sick she, unfortunately, had a lot of accidents and the home unit was a sanity saver but as much as I like my home carpet cleaner, I knew that the professional unit would probably do a more thorough job so I decided to not only rent one but rent the top two and determine which of the two is the best rental carpet cleaner.

Rug Doctor Rental in store photo

In order to answer the question of which machine did a better job, I rented a Bissell Big Green Professional Carpet Cleaner Machine, 86T3, and a Rug Doctor and I've done a side-by-side test for you. Below are my results along with my recommendations.

Size and Ease of Transportation

BISSELL Rental in trunk

Both units folded up easily and fit into the back of my Nissan Murano crossover. They also fit into the trunk of my son's car, a Toyota Corolla.

I do recommend you use a tarp or other similar item to protect your car as there was some minor drippage from both units.

Rug Doctor versus Bissell - Head to Head

BISSELL Rental and Rug Doctor Comparison

Once home, we started our test.

Prepping the Bissell Rental and the Rug Doctor - Getting Ready for Use

The BISSELL Rental was easy to fill and prepare for use.  

The machine is in four parts. The front section has three components.  The bottom plastic area is where you'll add water and the cleaning solution. It easily lifts off of the machine platform and fit into my laundry tub for filling. 

It also easily fit into one side of my kitchen sink so if a laundry tub is not available, a kitchen sink or bathtub is a viable alternative.

I added hot water, two caps of cleaning solution (per the instructions on the bottle).  I placed the water reservoir on the bottom of the machine, snapped the dirty water receptacle on top of that and then added the lid.  Everything fit together very easily.

The Rug Doctor was a little more cumbersome to fill up.  I had to mix a gallon of hot water and the cleaning solution in a bucket and then pour the bucket into the bottom of the unit.

Start Your Engines

Cleaning with the Bissell Rental

Both were plugged in and the cleaning began.  

The BISSELL Rental had a much longer plug which was a real bonus. The longer plug meant fewer cleaning stoppages and the ability to cover wider areas of carpeting.

Cleaning with the Rug Doctor

My husband did almost all of the actual cleaning - I supervised 😉 and he was able to leave the BISSELL plugged into a receptacle in the living room while he cleaned it (the living room), and almost all of the hallway.  

The Rug Doctor had a very short cord which was not convenient.  When moving from room to room it had to be unplugged and another plug found.  While this was not a major issue, we preferred the longer cord on the Bissell.

The Cleaning Process- Ease of Use


  • Can be pulled and pushed.  This is a huge plus as it feels like a more natural process similar to vacuuming.
  • The handle is a bit higher and it was easy for my husband (6 foot 5 inches tall), my middle son (5 foot 7 inches tall) and myself (5 foot 2 inches tall) to use.  We all were able to comfortably push and pull the machine without stretching or being hunched over.

The Rug Doctor:

  • Can only clean while pulling slowly backward.  
  • The handle is small, lower to the ground, and not very comfortable for taller users.  I was fine because of my short stature but it was a bit uncomfortable for my husband as he had to hunch over.

The Nitty Gritty

The battle of carpet cleaners Rug Doctor versus BISSELL Big Green - get the results at

Both pulled ample amounts of dirt from the carpeting but the BISSELL Big Green definitely pulled the most...more than I expected (gross).

What is the best carpet cleaner rental?

Answer. Hands down, in our testing, the BISSELL Rental did a much better job.

When we compared one half of the carpet to the other it was clear that the side done with the BISSELL was much cleaner and fluffier and the carpet had a bounce again once dry.

While the side done with the Rug Doctor was cleaner than it was originally it was not as clean as the BISSELL side.  There was such a difference, in fact, that my husband redid the Rug Doctor side with the BISSELL.

An added bonus of using the BISSELL was that we were also able to do our entryway stairs because of the cleaning tool attachment and they, too, look so much better.

Trying to clean the carpets yourself can be a soggy mess, but with a little elbow grease and the magic of pro dry carpet cleaning, your carpets will be as fresh as your last batch of cookies. It's like a spa day for your floors!

I was so impressed with the BISSELL Rental and the next time we clean our carpets that's what we'll be renting. *Since doing this review I have decided that I will be purchasing a BISSELL Big Green for my home it was that impressive.

The cost to purchase is not that much more than purchasing a smaller home unit but the results make it worth it in my opinion. 

You can rent the BISSELL Big Green at locations nationwide.  Check out the BISSELL Rental homepage to find a location near you or purchase your own.

I found the best prices at the current time (September of 2018) to be from Amazon and you can find that option here

If you prefer to just head to Lowe's for BISSELL rental, head to the page here and then enter your zip code from the drop down available next to the Lowe's logo.

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  1. I live in an apartment but my daughter bought their house 13 years ago this August and, at the time, their children were barely two and almost six years old. Ten and a half years ago they got two six-week old puppies who grew to be 135 anf 142 pounds dogs. They still have the same very light-colored carpet so you can imagine the abuse it has seen. Plus my daughter has since become allergic to the dogs because they have very long fur and shed everywhere. If anyone could use a really good carpet cleaning it would be them. I would love to be able to gift them the Bissell Big Green carpet cleaner rental. What better gift than letting them have really clean carpets for the first time in over a decade?

    Thanks for a chance at the giveaway!

    1. Mary Beth says:

      It definitely sounds like your daughter could use it - thanks so much for entering the giveaway!

  2. cindy scheidt says:

    I will faithfully clean my very dirty carpets if I win. As a matter of fact your posting inspired me to clean my carpets so I will clean them no matter what!

    1. Mary Beth says:

      Thanks for letting me know you were inspired. 🙂 If you decide to rent before the giveaway winner is announced remember to use the coupon for $10.00 off Thanks so much for stopping by!

  3. Patty Rusin says:

    I have five boys and a dog, besides a husband who can't seem to master removing his shoes when he comes in from mowing the lawn or doing yard work. Honestly, my dog probably wipes his feet more often than the rest of the males I live with. Would love to be considered for the free rental coupon! Love your blog.

    1. Mary Beth says:

      Thank you so much, Patty! I feel your pain 😉 I have 3 boys and a husband - I don't know how you do it with 5. You are a Super Woman!

  4. Coco in the Kitchen says:

    Loved your comparison charts/pics, etc. Made it so quick & easy to get your opinion.

  5. I want to try it because it sounds easy to use and effective.

    1. Mary Beth says:

      It really is, Kristen, and you'll be thrilled with how awesome your carpets look!

  6. I bought my house two years ago, and it has WHITE carpet throughout the house. Well, it used to be white. Now, it's sort of a, let's say beige/sand color with an abstract zodiac of stains throughout! Sounds artsy, but it's really not. I've used my Bissell carpet cleaner with vinegar and I think the results are pretty good, until I lift up the area rug and realize the error of my assumption. I'd LOVE to try to big heavy-duty rental to see if I can limp these babies along until I can afford about 2000 sq ft of new carpet.
    Thanks for the demo and comparison!

    1. Mary Beth says:

      White carpeting! Oh my goodness I can only imagine what it would look like in my house - it would be awful. I hope you get a chance to try the Bissell Big green for yourself. 🙂

  7. Vivian Nichol says:

    Thanks for the comparison. I didn't even know Bissell made a rental unit, but have never been impressed with the Rug Doctor for all the reasons you mentioned.

    1. Mary Beth says:

      You're welcome, Vivian. I'm glad I had the chance to check both out - now I know which one to rent next time I do my carpets and I won't be wasting my money.

  8. Leigh Anne Borders says:

    I would love to try the Big Green to help me combat the damage that is being left with two furbabies and four young kids. With summer coming up, goodness knows how much wear and tear will happen to the my carpets in the living room. I am really glad to see this post by the way. I have used the Rug Doctor before and was not impressed. A friend of mine used the Big Green once and she raved about it! Love that this reaffirms what she told me!

    1. Mary Beth says:

      I'm so glad your friend had the same results as me! p.s. Furbabies and young kids are my favorite source of messy 🙂 xo

  9. My husband and I were just talking about how we need to clean the carpets! Between a geriatric cat that "misses", my two hurricane children and a neurotic dog there are always new stains! 😉

  10. Laura Ari says:

    The rug in front of our sliding glass door where the dogs go in and out is absolutely filthy.

  11. My carpets are so filthy! I never knew there was another choice to rent besides Rug Doctor! I appreciate your suggestions and look forward to having clean carpets soon!

  12. Marcia Sillyman says:

    I was about to call a pro to clean my carpets after a bathroom remodel but after reading your excellent blog article I am going with Big Green. I wasn't even aware they were available! Thank you for your good help.

    1. Mary Beth says:

      You're welcome, Marcia!

  13. Thank you so much, Mary Beth! We're thrilled to have won the giveaway! It will definitely be put to good use.

    1. Mary Beth says:

      I am so glad to hear that, Dani! Thanks for entering the giveaway. 🙂