Thread Number: 17132
Bissel vacuums Good or bad
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Post# 183801   6/2/2012 at 09:34 (2,860 days old) by gsheen (Cape Town South Africa)        

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Why does it seem like bissel has such a bad name in the states . well amoungs vac guys any how. 


I own a proheatx2 and am pretty impressed with its cleaning abilityI also own a healthy home and the lift off. 

The healthy home is a big big machine it works well, has a vet agressive brushroll . It doesn't filter aswell as they say it does so the hepa gets clogged fast and its non washable so you have to keep replacing them but for the price I thoughtit was not bad.


We are Bissel repair agents but only sell the carpet cleaners. 


What are your guys thoughts on them 

Post# 183811 , Reply# 1   6/2/2012 at 10:43 (2,860 days old) by sensotronic (Englandshire)        

I think Bissell vacuums are OK if they're looked after and maintained well, but if you're a regular user who expects a vacuum cleaner to keep performing well without routine maintenance then they are prone to an early death.

I've had several Bissell carpet washers and a couple of uprights and found that they performed well. I had a Proheat 2X which was excellent at cleaning with it's two aggressive brushrolls, but it didn't extract as much water from the carpet as my Vax Oasis (Hoover Steamvac) or Vax Dual V. I liked the fact that it was considerably quieter than the Vax models though. My Proheat stopped spraying solution as it got clogged up inside but I managed to fix it. The Bissell shampoo tends to leave a residue inside the machine so it really should be flushed out with clean water after every use, but most people wouldn't bother, hence the common problem of the spray not functioning. The parts for Bissell cleaners seem to be widely available in the UK and reasonably priced, so if a problem did occur, I knew I would be able to fix it without spending a fortune.

I have owned a Lift off, Momentum and Easy Vac. The Easy vac was more like a toy and the filters got dirty really quickly. I think the concept of the Lift Off is a very good one, but without a decent cyclonic system the filters needed regular cleaning. The Momentum was really effective at cleaning and I enjoyed using it, but again the bagless system needed regular cleaning. What I like about Bissell uprights it their aggressive brushrolls. In the UK most brushrolls have very soft brushes these days and I prefer a stiffer brush. The Vax Mach Air for example has a much softer brushroll than the Hoover Windtunnel Air.

Bissell only has a small range in the UK compared to the States and I think they are more known here for their carpet washers. Their best selling upright is probably the Powerforce bagless which currently sells for 45 ($69) at Asda Walmart and would mainly attract consumers who want to spend as little money as possible on a vacuum cleaner and don't care who makes it as long as it picks up the dirt. Unfortunately these people tend to be the ones who don't read the instructions or bother to maintain the cleaner and wonder why it doesn't pick up as well as it did when they bought it a few weeks ago. It will get returned to the store who will just refund the money so they can buy another cheap vac that will clog up and the whole cycle will start again.

So as I said earlier, even when you're spending only 45 on a Bissell upright, it is possible for it to last two or three years at least, providing it is looked after. Obviously, the best vacuums are the ones that last even when they are not maintained correctly, but even a reliable make like Sebo or Numatic will perform better if simple regular maintenance is performed on them.

Post# 183818 , Reply# 2   6/2/2012 at 11:09 (2,860 days old) by gsheen (Cape Town South Africa)        

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We have a tiny range here in SA, 3 upright vacuums 3 carpet washers and 3 canisters. lots of chemicals that are great.

We do not get the vax or hoover range in SA, just really poor made machines badged as hoover.


Post# 183850 , Reply# 3   6/2/2012 at 12:31 (2,860 days old) by Vinvac (Dubuque IA)        

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When I have someone looking for a cheap vacuum I will always send them to a Bissell bagged machine. I am not fond or would I ever recomend a bagless machine to anyone.

I find that the 39.00 version of the Bissell bagged machine, cleans well, has a good brush roll. The attachments are less than desirable, but for people who live in small apartments, college students, I find it to be a very practical machine.

I have allergies and a bagless machine defeats the purpose. Empting the container sets my allergies into a tail spin. I have found that the normal consumer doesn't take care of a bagless machine, They dont' check the filters, they don't keep them clean. The price of filters verses much cheaper.

Just my thoughts.

Post# 183897 , Reply# 4   6/2/2012 at 14:34 (2,860 days old) by sebo_fan (Scotland, UK, member AKA ukvacfan, & Nar2)        

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That is one annoying aspect of Bissell UK - they don't sell a bagged upright version of the Powerforce. I didn't like the Easy Vac at all either, the bin was always difficult to remove and put back (and I agree about the filter removal too) but not only that, it wasn't so easy to push unless you remove the squeegee strip on the underside by the roller brush. A few people I know who have had Powerforce bagless uprights tend to have hose breakages early on, but the points made by Sensotronic & Vinvac are spot on - many buyers who buy the bagless vacs seldom look at the after care or maintenance and more so if they have pets, they may well tidy up the mini turbo brush, but not the main roller brush - but that can be applied to any brand who offer a cheaply priced bagless vacuum. 

This post was last edited 06/02/2012 at 15:11
Post# 183949 , Reply# 5   6/2/2012 at 16:48 (2,860 days old) by gsheen (Cape Town South Africa)        

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Oh trust me I know all about cheap bagless vacuums. I have tons of them in my back rooms , I always tell customers if you want bagless get the best one, dyson in my opinion if you can't afford it then stick to a bagged vacuum. We do sell the Electrolux powerglide and airspeed , while not perfect they seem to not clog up as easily as other cheap bagless vacuums

Post# 183952 , Reply# 6   6/2/2012 at 16:59 (2,860 days old) by vintagerepairer (England)        

Gary I too would say stick to bagged if not a Dyson bagless, but certainly in the UK there are now very, very few bagged cleaners to choose from, which I find a bit sad.

Post# 183956 , Reply# 7   6/2/2012 at 17:39 (2,860 days old) by sebo_fan (Scotland, UK, member AKA ukvacfan, & Nar2)        

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VR - so true! The UK once had a lot of bagged uprights and if you visit you'll see there's more bagged cylinder vacs than uprights, but far more bagless. I fear that Argos may well limit bagged uprights to just their value range and then the Miele vacs before long. 

Post# 183960 , Reply# 8   6/2/2012 at 18:00 (2,860 days old) by gsheen (Cape Town South Africa)        

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Unless you are choising a Miele sebo or vorwerk there are no bagged upright vacuums in SA anymore. those Electrolux powerglides are actually very good, customers rave about them even after a year or two of ownership. Most people come in and buy a new filter once a year, and they cost less than one pack of bags that would only last you half the year. 

Bags are also hard to find, most stores don't stock them any more and theer are very few vacuum repair shops here these days, people prefer to just buy a new vacuum, its less hassle , no waiting for a repair and easier too. 


In fact the only reason we sell sebo's is my commercial trade, home owners here do not want bags at all. 


Post# 183961 , Reply# 9   6/2/2012 at 18:04 (2,860 days old) by vintagerepairer (England)        

I wouldn't like to say whether or not the UK is totally wanting bagless cleaners or not, as I just don't know. I have heard that sales of Numatic cleaners are high though. I think much of that is because they make few promises and do what people buy them to do. The bags are widely available and not hugely expensive. Panasonic bagged uprights were always a very popular choice here too.

Post# 184072 , Reply# 10   6/3/2012 at 15:17 (2,859 days old) by sebo_fan (Scotland, UK, member AKA ukvacfan, & Nar2)        

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Yes they were, but they seem to appear seasonally at Comet, Currys et al. Panasonic haven't really updated them, only putting new colours and then raising the "watts" 100 at a time and their later one now is 2000 watts I think. Last one I tried was a 1700 watt but they're too over priced for what you're getting. They're okay for what they do but I'm not a fan of Panasonic's bagged uprights now - the tools are really poor quality, the noise level is too high, too much hot air out the front, hose isn't protected at the back and the 2 drive belt principle is too old fashioned. Single belt drive would be simpler. I had a few of the bagless uprights during the 1990s, like the Twin Bin ones. Panasonic could really do with bringing back the on/off brush roll feature that their older bagged uprights had. The Electrolux Powerlite is another good upright but it too suffers from poor plastic. Brands are obviously happier to do the bagless route using better quality plastics in some cases compared to the not-so-durable plastic on offer for the older bagged models.


Effectively then what the brands are doing is moving away from bagged uprights, pushing buyers to sway to other brands with products at higher prices like the Miele S7, Sebo X1.1/X4 or consider the bagged cylinder route - and I don't think that's necessarily a good idea.


A few years ago I did buy the Argos bagged upright vacuum - they're basically Vax machines under the Argos label - and I found it to be pretty good on performance, not bad on the noise level and simple to push but obviously very plasticky. Really annoyed that it didn't come with a dusting brush but soon found a Dyson round upholstery brush could be stuffed at the top of the crevice tool for storage and use whenever required.


The downside to this model apart from looking like a toy is that there's a lot more assembly that you just wouldn't believe (you have to screw in 4 screws into the dust chamber together to the main body, then both that to the motor head, then the handle to the machine, then a single clip to hold part of the hose at the back in as well as a clip for the single extension nozzle !) The other major downside of course being Argos Value is that the bags can only be purchased from Argos. It would be good if Vax had their own version out like Bush have done which is the same model but with a H filter, different colour and mini turbo brush.

Post# 184078 , Reply# 11   6/3/2012 at 16:10 (2,859 days old) by Trebor ()        
My favorite Bissell...

is the Pro-Lite Multi-Cyclonic Bagless. Center dirt path, extendable hose, bendable wand, more complete attachment kit. Not bad at $149.99

Post# 258968 , Reply# 12   12/8/2013 at 15:31 (2,306 days old) by director12 ()        

I had my Powerforce for a little over 2 years. Never had any problems.

Post# 258993 , Reply# 13   12/8/2013 at 16:37 (2,306 days old) by sebo_fan (Scotland, UK, member AKA ukvacfan, & Nar2)        

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I see a lot of them being turfed away at the local dumping site. Mostly, the Powerforce's main problem seems to be the hose and handle, either coming away from the hose itself or splitting. It isn't uncommon to find that the sole plates shatter or are cracked, too or broken wheels off the base chassis. The smaller cleaning tools seem to last longer than anything else.

It's not always like that of course. In the UK where Samsung's Propel uprights are similar to the Powerforce by Bissell, the handle on the Powerforce has a better quality feel in my experience than the hollow feeling of the Samsung.

Post# 259027 , Reply# 14   12/8/2013 at 21:52 (2,306 days old) by fan-of-fans (USA)        

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I have to say I don't think the Bissells are too bad. I used a basic bagless Powerforce once and was quite impressed. It was lightweight so I could push and carry it easily. It also groomed the carpet well. It seemed to be quiet, but that could have been the acoustics of the area I was cleaning. The only thing that I saw that could be better was the cord length.

Of course, cleaning the filters is a messy, and as mentioned often overlooked part of these. I think the bagged Powerforce would avert this issue, yet have all of the good things of the Powerforce.

Really, for the price, they don't seem bad. I probably would not buy one to use as an everyday machine for myself, but I could recommend one to someone needing a basic and cheap vacuum.

Post# 259059 , Reply# 15   12/9/2013 at 09:18 (2,305 days old) by director12 ()        

You know, you're right.

Post# 259071 , Reply# 16   12/9/2013 at 14:49 (2,305 days old) by ultralux88 (Denver, Colorado)        
I can only speak for myself on this, but...

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The reason I tend to dislike Bissells and other similar machines is the fact that they are typically poorly built in comparison to other better machines. Set it next to something like a Miele, Sebo, or Riccar/Simplicity and you'll see what I mean. I also don't car for bag less machines other than water filter vacs all that much. They tend to be very dusty to empty and clean out compared to just tossing a bag out when its full.

Post# 259095 , Reply# 17   12/9/2013 at 16:09 (2,305 days old) by gmerkt (Edmonds WA)        

I work with vacuums in the, ahem, secondary market. I only "do" a couple of Bissell models. By far and away the more numerous is the Lift-Off. Due to their rather unique capabilities courtesy of the design, they are very popular and easy to sell. The other model I do occasionally is the Healthy Home. The latter are not as numerous as the Lift-Off. Once in a while, I've done a Cleanview or a Rewind IF they were in unusually good condition as a core to be refurbished.

When I sell a Bissell bagless, I carefully go over the filtration system with the customer and emphasize the importance of keeping it clean. I point out that Bissell foam filters are some of the easier to clean, but require it more often. The Bissell foam filters used in bagless products are less than adequate unless the consumer doesn't mind the frequent cleanings that are necessary.

My own personal opinion is that the materials used in most Bissell products aren't as robust as some competing price point makes. The Lift-Offs come from Korea but aren't any improvement over Chinese product. However, some of the bodies and a few small parts are made of ABS which is pretty sturdy. Handles, not so much. Sometimes part design in light of materials used is lacking. Motors are tinny little things but don't start screaming any sooner than Hoover or Kenmore.

Bissell products serve their purpose in their price point. Personally, I'd rather have a Hoover Tempo made in Mexico for $100 than just about any new Bissell bagless.

Post# 259135 , Reply# 18   12/10/2013 at 05:21 (2,304 days old) by director12 ()        

You know, I'd take the Tempo.

Post# 259159 , Reply# 19   12/10/2013 at 16:23 (2,304 days old) by ultralux88 (Denver, Colorado)        

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I would completely agree with that very detailed explaination. If you mean Hoover Tempo then that is a very decent machine for the money. I prefer Hoover's low cost offerings over pretty much anyone else's.

Post# 259377 , Reply# 20   12/13/2013 at 13:32 (2,301 days old) by vacuumman206 ()        

I like to say Bissells are sneaky. Even with routine maintenence, they will have a shortened lifespan compared to what how long the motor could last. For example, even if you never cleaned your pre motor filters, no dirt(at least visible, or up to say 95%)should get past the filters. However, I have seen one too many near new/broken in Bissells that had hepas and the motor cases covered in dirt, pet hair and such even with the filters properly installed and once even with them cleaned regularly. The hepa filters do the dirty work for Bissell and the like; you think your vacuum is working perfectly because it's not spewing dust out or making noises(yet) but every time you use it the motor sucks in more dust. So maybe they need to revise their filtration system, or put in stronger pre-motor filters. Either way, this has been going on for years, and I'm sure everyon in manufacturing at Bissell is aware of what's going on in their machines, but they don't give a darn because sales of their junk are good.

Post# 259385 , Reply# 21   12/13/2013 at 15:18 (2,301 days old) by sebo_fan (Scotland, UK, member AKA ukvacfan, & Nar2)        

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Is this the same with their bagged uprights too? We dont have them in the UK, although I think Bissell would have a good market if they did sell bagged uprights, here.

Post# 367686 , Reply# 22   2/28/2017 at 22:45 (1,128 days old) by Buster1849 (Chattanooga,TN)        

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I would say that Bissell is a brand of cheap but great vacuums. here are my reasons.
1.They are easy to maintain
2.They are easy to find parts for.
3.If anything goes wrong with it they are easy to work on.
4.They agitate carpets(especially plush pile carpeting like mine) really well
5.They will last a long time.

Post# 367723 , Reply# 23   3/2/2017 at 06:41 (1,126 days old) by kenkart ()        
And then

There are a few of us like me who think most anything made after 1970 is junk...LOL

Post# 367819 , Reply# 24   3/4/2017 at 04:14 (1,124 days old) by tolivac (Greenville,NC)        

Bissel---find lots of dead and dying ones in the vac shop dumpster.Not interested in them.

Post# 367838 , Reply# 25   3/4/2017 at 13:55 (1,124 days old) by rainbowvacfane2 (tracy ca)        
my powerforce experience

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i do both move out and move in cleanings. I have used quite a bit of vacuums both commercial and residential and i always keep coming back to the good old powerforce i really prefer the newer bagged one over the newer bagless one just because they seem to keep there cleaning performance longer and they seem to have more air flow but i love all powerforces they are great cleaners they are easy to maintain and they seem to hold up until your able to get a higher end vacuum they are not as good as the the older 12amp ones (there 8 amps now) but they get the job done and then some. A little tip put a miele air clean filter before the motor they keep the motor looking like brand new even after 2 years of heavy use not to mention it helps the filtration all and all there amazing little vacuums but they really excel on medium pile carpet

Post# 367899 , Reply# 26   3/5/2017 at 20:32 (1,123 days old) by michvacguy (Michigan)        

I've been impressed with the Powerforce as well for their price range. My only qualm would be for better filtration. @rainbowvacfane2... could you please expand on installing the Miele filter to improve the Bissell's filtration? Or maybe post a few pics of such a setup? Would love to try on my vac to make it bettrr. Thanks!

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