Top positive review
Very Effective, Functional and Light Weight and Love the Retractable Cord
September 21, 2018
I have several vacuums in my home. The very best vacuum, of those is a very expensive corded Miele canister vac. I also have a Dyson V6 pet vac (which I hate because it only lasts 15 minutes on a battery charge and never completes a job before running out of juice...extremely overpriced and over-hyped), and a Eureka battery operated stick vac, which is great for quick jobs don't warrant hauling out larger vacuums, as well as an "old school" Eureka upright which works very well, but is a bit on the clunky side.
So, I have a broad range of vacuums to compare to. Why so many? I have a tri-level home and like having a vacuum on each floor, so we don't have to haul them up and down stairs. I do like this vacuum very much and deducted one star for some minor considerations which I will explain later.
To start out new, I chose a 10x15 area of carpet in the center of my living room, which had been vacuumed previously a couple weeks before. I have attached pictures showing the amount of debris from that one small task, beginning with the brand new vacuum with clean, empty canister. I was quite surprised, considering that it was not an area that had been neglected for a period of time, and we don't have a lot of traffic in this room, between my wife and I. Also shown is a pre-filter sponge like screen and the amount of pre-filter dust from running the vacuum over the 10x15 area, which took only about a minute or two to traverse. This thick pre-filter sponge can be cleaned under running water. So you get an idea of what the vacuum really does, in use, insofar as collecting dust and debris.
Things that I like, as far as features go, is number one, its light weight and maneuverability. It has a ball swivel like action like a Dyson, which allows you to turn the vacuum head with the twist of your wrist. I deducted one star because it presents some glide resistance when turning the vacuum head on plush carpet (but not so on hard floors). Not much resistance, but one does notice the need to exert a little bit more in the way of forward force or arm exertion when doing so. Again, not enough to dislike the vacuum. Just an observation. I did notice that the height of the brush roller head was such that it did not get under my sofa more than about an inch (as it slopes up from the front edge, to its maximum height), so the head could be a bit shorter/flatter to navigate under furniture. Its clearance is 3". So any furniture front openings that are shorter than 3" will not allow the vacuum to go all the way under. I also noticed it will not go all the way back into the toe kick plate recess on my kitchen cabinets where they join the floor. Again, the 3" height of the head prevents that.
One thing that impressed me, unlike many other vacuums, was that when I run parallel to and along the wall, this vacuum sucks up every bit of debris, all the way up to the baseboard where the wall meets the floor. In addition, there are what I call little "cat whisker" brushes that stick out on each side of the brush roller head, which undoubtedly help in pushing dirt away from the baseboard so that the vacuum can suck them up. Good feature and well executed.
Another huge positive is the retractable cord. I hate having to wind cords onto the exterior clips on most upright vacuums, when done vacuuming. This one has a foot button that you depress, which quickly and firmly reels in the cord to a slot on the bottom of the vacuum. It is not necessarily aggressive but there is no hesitation in this spring loaded action of reeling in the cord. There is a retention clip at the top of the vacuum handle, which can be used to suspend the cord while vacuuming, so it does not drag across the floor (pretty standard feature).
I found the canister removal for dumping debris, to be very straightforward and easy to remove and put back into place, with a handle at the top of the canister that facilitates its removal and reinsertion. And the canister can hold a substantial amount of debris (unlike the Dyson V6 which fills quickly and clogs when full, requiring a stick or screwdriver to be inserted into its canister to dislodge debris from its narrow clearances at the top of its canister).
There are 5 height settings for thick carpet all the way down to hard floors. And I ran my first cleaning experiment with the vacuum on the middle setting, for my 40-50 ounce plush carpet. In total, there are 3 foot activated switches or actions. One releases the upright handle from a locked upright (for storage) position, to allow it to go into action mode for handle angle and head swivel. A second activates the cord reel retractor. And the third is a red button that is the on/off button.
There are 3 tools which are stored onboard, which can be interfaced directly with the flexible vacuum hose, or in conjunction with a straight extension tube to increase your reach. The 1st is a triangular corner crevice tool with vacuum ports running along each of its 2 triangular edges, along with soft short "capture" brushes for crumbs etc. There is no action necessary for use of the 3 tools, beyond simply removing the end of the flex hose from its mounting post near the bottom of the vacuum upright. A 2nd tool is a small oval head brush tool, which I guess is for upholstery and hard surfaces. Although I have always questioned the value of such brush tools in most vacuum offerings, thinking that the brushes just move debris around instead of allowing suction to interact with it. But it is there if you use something like that. And the 3rd tool is a rotary brush tool which can be used on stairs or upright surfaces possibly, like drapes, and on sofas etc. I really like the idea of this tool, BUT, for some reason Bissell decided not to use brushes in the rotary, instead going with flexible rubber like plastic "flaps" which are segmented. The problem with these flaps is that when they come into contact with carpet (i.e. on stairs), the carpet caused them to bog down and stall the vacuum head so it no longer creates suction. I think the flaps, when they stop turning, due to carpet friction resistance, end up blocking any suction coming from the hose. So, if you press down much at all, on the carpet surface, the suction stops and the rotary flaps stop turning. You have to glide over the surface with a very light hand to keep this tool working the way it should. Too bad that Bissell didn't just use brushes instead, bit maybe, with no actual electrical power being supplied to this small rotary head, it requires the plastic flaps to be turned by suction, which works both for it and against it. All in all, I can live with this shortcoming, since I can still use the other hand tools to get suction to areas, off the main floor, where needed. Thus one other minor reason for a one star deduct.
Out of the box assembly is very simple, with this arriving in only 2 parts, in order to keep the shipping box a bit shorter. The only thing needed is a phillips head screwdriver to attach the upper black plastic handle to the entire main assembly. Two screws inserted into guide holes and you are done. The flex hose and onboard tools also come loose and have to be mounted (very easily and intuitively) onto the posts and ports on the vacuum so everything is stored and easy to use in a well thought out manner.
No reason not to give this vacuum very strong consideration, in its price range. It has no real weak points beyond the aforementioned rotary hand tool which bogs down with the slightest hand pressure, on carpet.