Bissell 9200 Carpet Cleaner Vacuum: a good carpet cleaner for the average household

Jun 10, 2009
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Rollers work, easy to use, heats water, easy to clean.

Cons:suction and spray arn't as powerful as some canister units.

The Bottom Line: A great carpet cleaner that works well with pets and general cleaning.


I got this out of anger. I was watching two other dogs as well as our new Labrador puppy (this one is a pure breed.) Well the puppy poops in places and that was annoying, but what was really annoying is one of the adult dogs I was watching that weekend (that is supposedly house trained) pooped everywhere also. Man was I angry. So I went down to Kmart (you know I’m mad if I’m going down to the local Kmart) and bought this for 2 Benjamin’s.
I got Bissell because I don’t trust Hoover. I have had two of their wind tunnel vacuums and both sucked compared to my (and other family member’s) Dyson. They also broke fast, about the time the warranty expired. So the only other choice I had was Bissell and from the reviews I quickly read it seemed like most people were pleased with Bissell carpet cleaners. And so far I’m one of them.


Assembly
It comes in two major pieces, the top and bottom. You have to first insert the top to the bottom, then grab the three screws and screw these two pieces together. It is important that you do this before clipping the other part because it cannot come off once it is placed. So next you grab the bottom part of the hose holder and permanently clip that into place. Then wrap the hose around the two back pieces to secure the hose. The power cable wraps around some side clips.

How to fill it up
The bottom contains two containers. The back one is filled with pure carpet formula (or hard floor fluid if you have the accessory.) The nice thing is you do not have to measure and add water. Just add the pure detergent into the back container and pure water in the front bladder container. Having the detergent separate is a feature that I think should be an absolute must in this day.
The front compartment is a plastic compartment with a bladder in it. You will fill the bladder with water and that is what you use to clean the carpet with (plus the detergent if you have that set to low, medium, or high.) The liquid sprays on the carpet and is picked back up and deposited outside around the bladder, but in the same compartment as the bladder. In no time does the pure water mix with the dirty/soapy water.

There are several formulas Bissell has put out. Some examples are pets and odor, fiber cleansing, multi-allergen, wood floor, and hard floor. I have the pets and odor and it has worked pretty well. The aroma is not overpowering or very long lasting, which is what I want. I don’t want my house smelling like a perfume factory. I also have had no traces of poop odor after using this machine. But believe me, when you pick up poop with this thing you need to clean the dirty water compartment out immediately. My wife left it for 24 hours and the machine started to really smell. Thankfully a good long spray in my kitchen sink took care of that (but it was still gross).

How it works
After plugging it into an outlet, there are two switches to turn on. The first one is power but the second is a heater function. This heats the water an additional 25 degrees Fahrenheit.
You have a trigger on the top of the handle that shoots out the solution. You have 4 setting for the detergent (high, medium, low, & off (water only)). This allows you to control how much detergent is used. This is optional on some models, standard on the 9200.

You now treat it like an underpowered vacuum. You quickly spray the solution as you push the vacuum then you go back over the wet part 3 or 4 more times slowly to get out as much water as possible. Then it should dry in 30 minutes or so. If you use an external sprayer and really get the carpet wet then you might need to put a fan on it to get all the moisture out. While the machine’s suction is great, it isn’t as strong as some of the more expensive models out there. You may also have a recurring stain. In this case you will have to go over the stain multiple times. Always start off with water if you are unsure of what the stain really is.
Using the attachment
Just like in a vacuum, you have an attachment hose to clean furniture or other hard to reach places. The attachment both sprays and sucks. You have a dial on the bottom of the main unit that controls if the attachment is in use or the bottom component is spraying. You cannot use both at the same time.
There are also several hose head attachments you can buy on the internet depending on your needs.

How to dump it
You take this front compartment off and carry it to the sink. The entire take comes off the front end. Then you flip a latch and dump out the soiled liquid. I dump this in my sink and turn it upside down. While upside down I spray it with the sink sprayer to get any last remnants of carpet and dirt off the outside of the bladder. The inside of the bladder should only have water so it will not need cleaning.

Main features
Heater
First thing you will notice from other units is this unit heats up the water. It will heat it 25 degrees higher up to 190 degrees max. Nice feature but not absolutely necessary.

“Dual DirtLifter PowerBrushes”
This is something else that makes this unit unique. You have two sets of brushes that work gently to agitate the carpet so that certain spots come out. I was really surprised at how easily the poop residue was picked up by the machine and I know it was due to this feature. I can remember days as a custodian using a brush and elbow grease to get some fresh stains out. So this is a welcome addition, they did it right.

Materials
It is mostly inexpensive plastic with flexible polymers for the hoses. It will break if abused or transported improperly. I already broke one of the back pieces that holds the hose together because I improperly put it on and used too much pressure to take it off, which resulted in breaking 2 or the three hooks. Completely my fault for not looking at the install directions first. Needless to say, I am not impressed by the cheap plastic and a little concerned.

Ergonomics and ease of use.
Unless you are in a walker or rely heavily on a cane, anyone can use this. You treat it just like a vacuum with the exception that you go over the wet spot 3 or 4 times slowly (or until you do not see any water being sucked up. The front is clear plastic so you can easily see how much water is being sucked up.) I didn’t even need to look at the instruction on how to operate it, it’s that easy.

Does this really dry in 30 minutes?

Yes it actually does. It is essential for carpets to dry quickly or mold can set in. And once that is in you're done for. Now this isn't a big issue for a Southern California home that has plenty of air circulation, but for extreme circumstances and stagnant rooms (closets?) this is an important factor. Inner rooms, basements, or humid places will appreciate this feature.
But I suspect one of the reason it does this is because the pressure on the sprayers is not as strong as they could be (comparing this to industrial cleaners and my old canister that is). The stronger the sprayers the deeper the water can go. Since my carpet has not had any major recurring stains, I can’t test this feature. But I suspect that if you have a deep rooted stain then this machine will not perform a miracle and get rid of it. My suggestion is to go over the stain with this machine, wait to see if it comes back. If it does then put the cleansing solution and water in a spray (hand pumped or outdoor 2 gallon sprayer can work) and spray the stain so the solution gets deep. The suck up as much water as possible (go over 10 or more times.) and the stain may be taken care of this way. As a custodian I remember spraying many stains and scrubbing the heck out of them just to get them out. Some came right out with a lot of elbow grease and some just wouldn’t go away and I ended up bleaching the stain instead of cleaning. Some examples of these products are high acid liquids like coffee or orange juice.
When I placed it on its side and sprayed water it sprayed between the rollers, behind the suction gap. The stream was not strong and only gets the top fibers of the carpet itself. So that little test confirmed my suspicion.
This machine also will not get out gum or something equally sticky. You will have to do that with something hard and a lot of elbow grease. This machine did not get out some glue residue on my tile floor. While I’m on that note…

How well did it work on my tile without the attachment

I have ordered an attachment designed for hard floors so I’ll review that separately. But I went ahead and used it as it is on my tile floor and I am moderately pleased. It cleaned up water soluble stains easily enough and did not leave a lot of water on the tile. It is as good as a dedicated tile cleaner? No way. But it can be used as one if you have to. But a mop and bucket will work better than this one will, the brushes are just not hard enough for my tile floor with a seriously sticky mess.

How long will it last? Capacity.
You can expect to do two medium-large rooms before having to put in new water. The cleaning solution lasts 5 plus cycles.

Who is this for?

I recommend this to any that need a carpet cleaner that works. I have not experienced the complaints that other people have stated on older models, so I’m quite happy with my purchase.

My analysis and score

I want to first state that I used a 4000 dollar machine when I was a custodian over ten years ago. So I have cleaned a lot of carpet in my time. I also owned a canister style carpet cleaner in the past that did the job in my current home. Both of these machines worked great. I have not bought one of these upright vacuum like machines because they have gotten bad reviews and I was keeping a look out for another canister version since I trusted the design more. Well when I bought this I could careless what I got because I was so angry. The only reason I got Bissell was because I don’t like Hoover and there really wasn’t any other option available to me at Kmart or Costco. It was also the same price at both stores but I’m not sure if there was any extras bundled in with the Costco version though.
After using this I am very happy with the purchase. I am glad I bought it. The addition that works is the brushes. Apparently the previous generations did not work that well. Guess what, these brushes work. There is also a better spray and better suction that you could only really get with a canisters up to this point in time. That is the reason I liked canisters is because you don’t have the limitations of an upright. You just drag a light hose and wand. The main unit could really be any shape you wanted. Now Bissell has figured it out and produced a good product they can be proud of.
As for the score, I would give it a 4 because this will not hold up to a lot of abuse. As in the abuse one could receive if this was used on a daily basis by a custodian. But I decided not to take that into account for my score because this is a residential model, so I’m giving it a 5. It also is only $200 which I think is a good price for something that works.

Cleaning
First off, one of my complains is it does not break down enough in the front bottom suction area (I can already start so see a build up of fibers that will only be removed by a long thin piece of metal.) So far this build up does not seem to affect the machine’s effectiveness. But that is a minor complaint from a perfectionist. You can break down the hose and wash those pieces separately and you can break down the tank and clean the bladder and inside of the tank very easily. The bladder can be removed so you can get to the ports themselves. So other than the long front port, everything else is easily cleaned.

also the very bottom of the cleaner need to be cleaned regularly, especially if you have animals. The bottom has varying amounts of stuck hair. It comes off easily enough though.
The base of the unit that holds the clean water bladder and the waste water comes out easily. Just unclip a back clip to open it up. I just use the sprayer in my kitchen sink to clean out the unit. Very simple

To clean the hose I just reconnect it and turn on the suction. Now take some sink water and suck it through the hose. This should clean out anything left in the hose. Then just dump it out like before.

Problems
My biggest problem with this unit is it leaks on the floor a little bit as soon as you turn off the suction. So I have to place it over a towel if I am storing it on my tile floor to take care of that problem. When I have left the unit for a couple of days all of the water has evaporated and a stain is left. Thankfully the machine cleans it off immediately. So far I haven’t had anything permanently damaged because of it.
The second problem is it cannot be tipped over because liquids will spill out of it. Not a common problem but if you are going to transport this you will need to have it completely empty of all liquid before hand.

What I like.
It is heated.
It has a wand.
Plenty of accessories you can buy.
The brushes work.
Descent suction.
It’s not a Hoover

What I do not like.
Suction and spray power not up to professional standards.
It leaks a little when turned off.
Made of flimsy plastic

Weight and dimensions
Weight (with water): 32.5 lbs
Length: 19.5 inches
Width: 12.5 inches
Height: 44 inches

Summary
This is a consumer friendly carpet cleaner. It is easy to assemble and easy to use. Most importantly, it cleans very well. While not as good as its industrial breatheren, it is far far cheaper in price. For me personally, I have very happy with my purchase. No regrets.

© Common Loon Productions

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