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15 Jan 2021

Vax Platinum SmartWash: does it really make carpet cleaning effortless?

Vax says its newest carpet cleaner is its best yet - so we tried it out on some tired carpets and old stains to see if it makes sprucing up your floors simple
Vax Platinum SmartWash

The Vax Platinum SmartWash is claimed to make keeping your carpets fresh 'effortlessly simple', thanks to automated detergent dispensing and a speedy 'one-hour dry' setting.

It costs just shy of £300 though, which might cause your commitment to cleanliness to waver.

It comes with plenty of bells and whistles, including the motion-sense dispensing technology, a dedicated drying mode, and a flexible hose with two extra mini tools for tackling stains on things like stairs and smaller spaces.

But you'll want to know it will leave your floors pristine at this price, rather than sad and soggy, so we put it to work on some tired-looking carpets to see if it lifted dirt and grime effectively, and how well it dealt with tricky stains.

Read on to see how this model compares on spec to big brand rivals from Bissell and Rug Doctor, or skip straight to the full Vax Platinum SmartWash first look review to get our expert first impressions.

Vax Platinum SmartWash: how does it measure up to rivals?

Vax Platinum SmartWash

Vax makes some big claims about the Platinum SmartWash - including that it's the brand's 'best ever' model, and the first in the UK to have a triggerless design.

It uses motion sensing technology to automatically dispense solution when you push the cleaner forwards, and suck it back up as you pull back.

It comes bundled with two 250ml bottles of Platinum Antibacterial Solution, as well as one 250ml bottle of Pre-Treatment Solution. Vax says using the antibacterial solution will kill off over 99% of bacteria, and the brushes are treated with an anti-microbial coating too.

SpecVax Platinum SmartWashVax Platinum Power MaxBissell ProHeat 2X Revolution Pet ProRug Doctor Deep Carpet Cleaner
Water tank capacity (L)
Cord length (m)
Weight (kg)*
Trigger typeAutomaticManualManualManual
Quick clean mode1 hour**1 hour30 minutesNone
Suitable for hard floors?NoYesNoNo
*Stated weight without water in the tank. **The Platinum SmartWash has a water-only rinse mode and a dry-only mode which claims to dry carpets in around one hour. This figure is a manufacturer claim.

It's not the only model to offer 'quick-dry' or 'quick-clean' modes - handy if you want to do lighter cleans more regularly and not be tiptoeing around a damp room for days. Bissell has this feature too, and some rival models also let you clean hard floors.

But it's not all about the jazzy features, you'll also want to be sure it will leave your carpets clean. We've found some carpet cleaners really struggle with this basic ask - some scored as little as 46% overall in our tough lab tests, while our Best Buy carpet cleaners achieved a sparkling 80%.

Carpet cleaner reviews - compare models from Vax, Bissell, Rug Doctor and more with our independent reviews

Carpet cleaners: should you rent or buy one?

Hairy dog on a carpet

For some, owning a carpet cleaner is a good investment, but it depends on your lifestyle - and your commitment to clean carpets.

When it's wise to buy a carpet cleaner

The relatively low cost of renting a carpet cleaner can be a false economy if you intend to clean your carpets semi-regularly.

If you have children or pets, you might find yourself wanting to give your carpets a light going-over more often (if you can find the time).

Pet hair, pet messes, muddy paw prints and unknown sticky food or drink spillages can quickly make a fresh carpet look rather uninviting.

If this is the case then having a home carpet cleaner to hand can be cost-saving - as long as you can find the space for it in your cupboards.

Best vacuum cleaners for pets - we explain what features to look for and which models are best for fur and fluff

When it's wise to rent instead

Rug Doctor being used on a surface

If you have noticed that it's been a while and the carpets in your home are looking tired, but you don't feel inspired to go over them regularly, or have a relatively low-traffic home (read - your carpets aren't under attack from toddlers, pets or outdoor shoes being traipsed around) you might prefer to rent a carpet cleaner as a one-off instead.

Rug Doctor - the biggest UK rental brand - offers 24-hour rentals starting from £23 and 48 hour rentals starting from £29. You can pick up and drop off a rental at supermarkets including Sainsbury's, Tesco and Morrisons, and other participating retailers.

Rentals are still available in some stores during lockdown, but this is subject to change as lockdown rules do. Rug Doctor also offers home deliveries for 48 hour rentals with a £15 standard delivery charge in England, Wales and Scotland.

If you don't fancy the hassle, you can also hire professional carpet cleaners to come and clean your home for you.

Are you trying to remove tough stains from your carpet without the machine? Read our expert guide on the best carpet stain removers.