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Tineco Carpet One review: Powerful, efficient cleaning

The Tineco Carpet One cleans a dirty floor.
Tineco Carpet One
MSRP $499.00
“The Tineco Carpet One Smart Carpet Cleaner is your gateway to cleaner floors.”
  • Powerful cleaning
  • Sensors show dirt and debris invisible to the eye
  • Included accessories make it easy to clean stairs and furniture
  • Auto-shutoff features prevent damage and messes
  • One of the only options on the market at present
  • The app lacks functionality
  • The water tank could be bigger
  • No easy storage for accessories when not in use

I pride myself on clean floors. After all, I review a lot of vacuums — both robot and stick — for a living. But there’s just something about a carpet cleaner that gets your floor dramatically cleaner.

I’ve always associated carpet cleaners with rentals: a heavy, specialized device you didn’t actually need in your home. Tineco sent its Carpet One Smart Carpet Cleaner to me to try out, and it’s changed my entire perspective on the devices. Now, I consider it just as vital as a regular vacuum cleaner.

Powerful cleaning for the stinkiest messes

Let me start by explaining why I needed a carpet cleaner so badly. My cat, cute as she is, suffers from a few GI issues. That means there are often accidents on my carpet. While I always get the stains out, it usually involves scrubbing the floor with a fabric spray and a brush.

The Carpet One reduces the time it takes to pull a stain out of the carpet to only a few seconds. No wasted paper towels, no toxic cleaning material, and no placing a trash can over the newly cleaned spot to keep the cat away until it dries.

The Carpet One sensor describes how dirty the floor is.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The Carpet One has built-in sensors (Tineco’s proprietary iLoop Smart Sensor) that detect how dirty your floor is. An LED rings the top of the cleaner. It’s usually blue — but the appearance of red means more dirt and debris have been detected. The greater the length of the line, the more dirt there is.

There are four cleaning modes to tackle the mess:

  • Auto Mode adjusts the amount of spray used depending on how dirty the floor is.
  • Max Mode cranks the spray up to as high as it can go. This mode burns through the water tank faster, but I found it most effective.
  • Dry Mode disables any water spray and instead blasts warm air to help dry the carpet after you’ve finished.
  • Accessory Mode is self-explanatory: It’s activated when you use the included hose attachment to clean your stairs, furniture, or other areas.

The Carpet One uses hot air on every mode, roughly between 160 and 180 degrees Fahrenheit. This heat is used to ensure a more thorough cleaning; according to Tineco, it helps dissolve dirt and activate the cleaning solution.

The user experience

I’ve used the Carpet One on a near-daily basis since it arrived. Though I haven’t tried cleaning the entire living room with it, I have cleaned large portions of the floor with great success.

The Carpet One reduces the time it takes to pull a stain out of the carpet to only a few seconds.

First off, it’s a rather heavy device when the water tank is full, especially as it vacuums up dirty water. If you’ve never used a carpet cleaner before, you will probably be horrified at what color the water turns after passing through your carpet; in my case, it looked like dark grey milk.

Yuck, right?

Keep in mind that this is after frequent vacuuming. The fact is, most vacuums just don’t penetrate deep enough to clean on the same level a carpet cleaner does, and the proof is in the gross carpet-pudding that fills the dirty water tank.

There are two tanks you have to concern yourself with: the clean water tank, which sits about midway up the vacuum body, and the dirty water tank just above the intake. The clean water tank is easy to refill — just flip up the lid and fill to the mark — but it doesn’t go far on Max Mode. Auto Mode is appropriate for most messes, as it will automatically spray more water if needed.

Most vacuums just don’t penetrate deep enough to clean on the same level a carpet cleaner does.

The dirty water tank looks larger but only fills up about 3/5 of the way before it’s considered full. Once full, the Carpet One will power down until you empty out the tank. You should empty it after every cleaning cycle, though, and the Carpet One’s automated voice reminds you of this. It’s not simply a matter of cleanliness — if you forget to empty the tank, that water begins to stink.

Enough air is pulled through the Carpet One that a full dirty water tank will spread an awful smell throughout your house when it’s turned on, so take the time to dump out the tank when you finish cleaning your carpet. I suggest doing it in the toilet and flushing it afterward.

As for the app, I find it to be largely unnecessary. The best smart features are located on the device, like the dirt sensor. The app keeps track of how long you’ve cleaned on any given day, which I suppose could be useful if you want to check if someone is actually cleaning; keeping track of children’s chores, maybe?

The only other benefit I found to the app was the Settings menu. The Carpet One’s built-in voice can be quite loud, and there’s no way to turn it down on the carpet cleaner itself. You can adjust the volume through the app or completely disable the voice. The app also provides the ability to download a digital version of the product manual, perform firmware updates, and change the voice package.

The majority of the negative experiences I had with the Carpet One were user error. The results of the cleaning can’t be argued with — it removed any trace of stain from my carpets with the exception of one small area. A year ago, I accidentally stepped on the carpet with a muddy boot, and anyone that knows Georgia knows the red clay leaves stains that are practically impossible to remove.

Though the Carpet One didn’t completely clean that stain, it’s much harder to see now.

What’s in the box?

The Carpet One comes largely disassembled, but it isn’t hard to put together. It took me less than 10 minutes to set up the carpet cleaner. Inside the box, you’ll find:

  • Carpet Deodorizing & Cleaning Solution
  • Cleaning Tool
  • 2-in-1 Nozzle
  • Sponge Filter
  • Accessory Hose

The accessory hose is attached on an as-needed basis, and it was my main pain point with the Carpet One. Figuring out exactly how the hose attached to the cleaner took several attempts before the diagram made sense, but I later learned there was a video I could watch that would better explain it.

The Tineco Carpet One with hose attached.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The included cleaning solution is a must-have. I tried cleaning the carpet with only water, and it did a noticeably worse job than when I added the solution to the water reservoir. It’s just two capfuls per tankful of water, and the solution itself claims to be non-toxic for children and pets. I didn’t test it, obviously, but it’s good to know Tineco acknowledged those worries.

The cleaning solution appears to be largely water, with less than 5 percent of a variety of other chemicals (none of which sounded particularly safe.)

Our take

The Tineco Carpet One Smart Carpet Cleaner is an absolute necessity for sanitizing your carpets and removing hard-to-clean stains. Though the companion app doesn’t lend much functionality, it’s better than nothing and the smart features are mostly on the device itself.

Is there a better alternative?

Simply put: no. The lack of a smart carpet cleaner is something I have long lamented. There are some devices that call themselves smart, like the Hoover Smartwash+, but these don’t have any real smart capabilities. The Tineco Carpet One Smart Carpet Cleaner is one of the only options I’ve ever seen.

How long will it last?

The majority of components within the Carpet One can be replaced should they break, which definitely extends the device’s longevity. If something does go horribly wrong, Tineco offers a two-year warranty for manufacturing defects.

Should you buy it?

No question about it. If you want your floors cleaner than anything vacuuming could ever achieve, you’ll want to invest in this smart carpet cleaner.

Patrick Hearn
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Patrick Hearn writes about smart home technology like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, smart light bulbs, and more. If it's a…
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