Pros: Small and portable, affordable, and effective. Great for vehicles.
Cons: Spray nozzle too high and spray pattern much too wide.
A full size upright machine makes a thorough cleaning faster and easier, but our issues are limited to spots left by pets and children. We also only have one room with carpeting. Numerous people that we know have touted their love for the Little Green Machine, and now that we own one, I can see why.
Cost of Operation
First of all, it's really not all that expensive. At approxiamately $75, it seems priced right. It is high enough that, combined with the brand, it suggests reasonable quality, yet low enough you don't have to save pennies.
Size and Portability
This thing is small enough to store just about anywhere and take just about anywhere. It's great for those little accidents, since you can just whip it out and tackle it right then and there. It is also small enough to haul it outside and use it on your vehicle's interior.
There's not much to say here. I had to snap on the flex hose storage bracket and secure it with a screw. While I retrieved a screwdriver, our 4 year old son managed to attach the hose to the body and the attachment to the hose. That little stinker.
Then it was simply a matter of filling the tank with solution, just up to the first line on the jug, and adding water - preferably hot water. Then spray, scrub and vacuum away.
Movie night with young kids comes with some dangers, at least when it is "Dinner and a Movie" and dinner involves ketchup is some way. When using the old spray cans, this task would have included drenching the area, spotting it with a cloth, mushing the ketchup deeper into the carpet, until it was finally diluted enough that you no longer could see it (or barely see it.)
We had a recent incident, albeit very small, involving ketchup again. Since the LGM doesn't rely on some false hope of towels dabbing up or sucking up the mess, it cleaned up the ketchup almost instantly.
We have an old ketchup stain that I tried the LGM on. Unfortunately, this age old stain was something beyond saving. So, a miracle worker, the LGM is not. Had to try though. I rented a commercial carpet cleaner in the past, and that didn't work either, so its no failing of the little guy.
As a car nut, I was probably more excited about this proposition than anything else. Spray cans are messy in cars, getting all over the upolstry, whether you mean to or not, and a strong chemical odor lingers for days. If it's hot, it dries too quickly.
The carpet in my truck is black, but nonetheless filthy. It's about 8 years old now. I have used a rented machine before, with a hand tool attachment, so I had an idea of what to expect. It had been about 2 years since the last cleaning. The LGM appeared to work just as well as that machine did, although with a much lower capacity. Getting a little overzealous with cleaning, covering the seats and floors, I did have to refill midway through my endevour. I was very pleased with the results. Fair warning - the LGM does suck up most of the water, but the fabric and carpet obviously remains somewhat damp. I left the windows up and parked the truck in the garage. Boy was it steamy in there a few hours later!
Of course our sedan has black carpet as well, plus leather seats. It's still clear that the LGM is working, evidenced by the muddy water collected, but I'm afraid I can't say much about removing stains from black carpet. It does, however, restore much of the newness to the carpet. And I've seen evidence of LGMs working miracles on automotive forums.
This seems to be a common complaint. The angle of the spray is much wider than the vacuum head. It probably covers a good 10 inch wide area. That's fine for carpet, but it makes it more difficult to use in tight areas or on small surfaces. We cannot use any water based solvents on our furniture in the house, so it has not be a huge issue for us. It is the one unexpected disappoinement however. It makes it tricker to use in vehicles that it should be, but at least this overspray is preferable over the overspray from the aerosol cans.
Depending on what you've collected, this can be a little tricky. After dumping the collection tank, you may find debris caught inside, which in our case is usually gobs of cat hair. I find that I generally have to fill the tank partially with water, shake it around a bit to dislodge the crud, and dump it again. Usually takes a couple attempts. This can of course be minimized by vacuuming before using the LGM, but this is something I'm not always so inclined to do, nor would you want to if the enemy is something like ketchup.
For cleaning the wand, I pick as much cat hair out as I can and rinse it out. I honestly don't usually bother unless it looks dirty. On one occasion, I filled a sink with some water and sucked the water out with the LGM. This rinsed out the inside of the wand, the hose and filled the collection tank with relatively clean water, while also dislodging some of the debris mentioned above. Seems effective and mildly entertaining, relatively speaking.
It is a simple device that is equally simple to use. It is very effective at cleaning carpet, even if only small areas at a time. It isn't exactly inexpensive, but I do feel that it is affordable and that it will last us a good long time. It's almost as convenient and as easy to use as a standard vacuum, 'though this will have you crawling around on the ground at times obviously.
Besides the unusually wide spray pattern, I see no serious flaws. My only regret may be that I do sometimes wish we opted for a "Pro Heat" model and perhaps one with more attachments (e.g. there's a small crevice type attachment on some models.)