What spec carpet extractor do you need to get professional results?

A common misconception:

“The more you spend on a carpet cleaning machine, the better the results you will get”


Noooooo! Wrong.

The good news is:

You don’t need to spend thousands on a machine to start cleaning carpets professionally.

All you need to get top notch cleaning results is an entry level professional machine. With an entry level machine, you can clean just as well as the next carpet cleaner, even if the next cleaner’s using a £20,000 truck mount!

In fact, a carpet cleaner with the right training and attitude will get much better results with an entry level machine than someone with an expensive machine who doesn’t know (or care) what they are doing. You don’t need a top-of-the-range machine to get top-of-the-range results.

So, what is an entry level professional machine?

Good question!

Entry level professional machine spec

It’s generally accepted in the industry that to get professional results you need a machine with minimum spec:

  • 100psi water pump
  • 2 x 3-stage vacuum motor system

This is classed as an entry level professional extractor.

If you buy a machine with less power than this:

  • You will struggle to get the results your customers will be expecting
  • It will be difficult not to over-wet heavily soiled carpets
  • Drying will take a long time
  • Cleaning will be painfully slow, which will make it difficult to get enough work done to make it pay as a business
  • You won’t be able to run extension hoses, so you’ll have to keep moving the machine around and empty and refill the machine to take it upstairs
  • If your machine can’t get the results your customers expect, they probably won’t use you again (or recommend you to their friends and family)

If you don’t have the cash for an entry level professional machine?

My advice is to get saving up and wait until you can. If you buy a machine that’s not up to the job, you will soon wish you hadn’t and want to upgrade it – buy cheap, buy twice!

But that’s it: As long as you have at least an entry level professional machine, you can clean to just the same standard as someone using a much more expensive machine, even a £20,000 truck mount!

So why would you invest in a more expensive machine?

You can clean to the same standard with an entry level machine, but there are obviously benefits to spending a bit more if you can stretch to it:

Mid range portable machines

A mid-range machine will normally have the same 2 x 3-stage vac motor system as an entry level machine. But the mid range machine’s have bigger water pumps. This means you can move the wand/clean more quickly, with less passes of the wand needed to get the carpet clean, and with less effort needed by the operator. The bigger 600 and 800psi pumps can also be used for power cleaning hard floors.

With a mid-range set-up, you could also include a water heater, which can speed things up again, especially when cleaning greasy or heavily soiled carpets.

Top-of-the-range portable machines

A top-of-the-range machine (like the Airflex Storm or Miniflex HX) will normally have a bigger water pump like the above mid-range machines, but also have much more powerful vacuum motors (as in double the vac power!).

This more powerful suction means you can clean more quickly (move the wand up to 4 times faster than an entry level machine). You’ll also get faster drying times, so your customer’s carpets are dry and back in use more quickly.

The massive suction also means you can run very long hoses, so some top-spec machines can be run direct-from-the-van. This means you can save a lot of time setting up and packing away by having the machine stay on the van, even automatically filling and emptying from on-board water tanks and operated by remote control.

Can entry level machines be upgraded?

One of the advantages to Airflex Pro and Miniflex machines is that they are upgradable. So if you are on a budget, you can start off with an entry level spec machine and upgrade to a higher spec later on, when funds allow.

Don’t forget, as well as the machine itself, you will need to budget for other items like machine tools, hoses and possibly some other equipment, not forgetting the chemicals and accessories you will need.

If you need any help or advice choosing a machine or starter package, please get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.


Thinking about starting a new carpet cleaning service?

Here’s how we can help:

  • Get trained on one of Professional carpet & upholstery cleaning courses
  • We can help you spec a professional carpet cleaning machine to match your budget and business needs
  • We can help you put together a complete start-up equipment package
  • We can provide top notch on-going support and supplies as your business grows