What's the difference between truck mounted and portable carpet cleaning equipment?

If you’re considering having your carpets cleaned, you may have seen carpet cleaning services advertising the type of cleaning equipment they use, truck mounted cleaning units or portable cleaning units. So, what's the difference between truck mounted and portable carpet cleaning equipment?

Truck mounts

Truck mounted carpet cleaners are what they sound like, carpet cleaning machines that are mounted to the floor of a truck, van, or trailer. Due to the high cost and power of these machines, they’re sold commercially to professional carpet cleaning services. These machines clean carpeting and upholstery using water or steam.

The benefit to this type of carpet cleaning equipment is its power. Truck mounted units provide the deepest, most effective clean for carpets. One drawback, however, is that by nature, they’re limited in range. Some areas will not be accessible when using a truck mounted unit, like the seventh story of an apartment building, because the hoses connecting the cleaning heads to the mounted unit are not long enough to reach that far, and would pose a trip hazard.

Portable units

Portable carpet cleaning units are likely what you envision when you think of carpet cleaning equipment: a bulky, vacuum-like unit that uses water to clean your carpeting. While portable units are not as powerful as truck mounted units, they do provide a thorough, professional clean.

Portable units are used in applications where truck mounted units are not suited, such as the seventh story of the apartment building mentioned in the last section. There may be other reasons such as building or room size, location, or unique circumstances which may require the use of a portable rather than truck mounted cleaning unit.

Portable units are often available for rent by the hour from retailers such as Walmart or Lowes to people interested in cleaning their own carpets, rather than hiring a professional carpet cleaning service. Know, however, that these units are often not the same commercial grade as those used by professional services, and that cleaning your carpets yourself, rather than having them cleaned professionally, can in some instances void your carpet’s warranty.


Ultimately, the right type of carpet cleaning equipment depends on the job: for most applications, truck mounted units are preferred, but for situations where the area to be cleaned is less accessible, portable units may be preferred. A professional carpet cleaning service will be able to assess the needs of your space, be it your home, an apartment building, or office space, and determine the best cleaning method and equipment for the job.

Rug Rover has both portable and truck mounted cleaning units to meet the needs of any job. Contact us today for more information on our carpet cleaning services.

Josh Olsoncarpet cleaning