Pros: Portable, strong suction, easy to operate, long cord.
Cons: Problematic if not very well-maintained, short hose, sounds like a LearJet.
It seems that the concept of a portable wet-extractor appeals to a narrow market, which I imagine is why they all seem pretty similar. If I hadnt been able to get this with Air Miles, I probably wouldnt have. Lets hit the meat and potatoes.
The Bissell is narrow enough to slide into most closet spaces, not too tall to fit under a standard-height shelf, and surprisingly light. Unlike some slightly smaller units, the Bissell manages to incorporate separate, relatively large solution and bilge containers. I find this very useful as one often requires changing before the other.
The unit itself feels quite sturdy, in white plastic that you could probably bang against a wall a few times without damaging it too significantly. The hose is slightly stiff, but this is to be expected otherwise the suction would cause it to collapse. The hose length is a bit of a downside for me, as it is almost long enough for every job, but not quite. For example, if the machine is sitting on the floor and I am cleaning a sofa, it wont reach the upper twelve inches or so of surface. I end up holding the machine in one hand and cleaning with the other, which is possible thanks to its relatively light weight.
You get two: one which is a standard 3 straight-suction spray nozzle (with a row of soft brushes) for average or delicate upholstery, and one suction-powered 4 mini-turbine brushroll with spray for sturdier surfaces. The brushroll is clever rather than the turbine running all the time, there is a switch that turns it on for scrubbing, which you can then turn off before sucking water out of the textiles in order to make all possible suction available for extraction.
The attachments detach easily from the wand, which integrates the spray control and suction stream through a single handpiece rather than dealing with separate hoses everywhere.
The solution tank is straightforward, with delineations on the outside to indicate how much water/detergent to add without using messy measuring cups. A full load of solution usually provides me about 15-30 minutes of continuous cleaning, depending upon the absorbency of the surface being cleaned. The bilge tank has a shut-off float that kills the suction if the water or suds get too enthusiastic, and empties through a built-in pouring spout at the top. Rinsing the bilge tank is very easy.
This little machine works well on pretty much everything I have had to clean with it namely, chair upholstery, car interiors and moderate floor-spot cleaning. The unit doesnt have enough power for big-time carpet cleaning, or for deep-pile carpet extraction.
As usual, one cannot expect a mini-sized device with strong suction to be quiet, however this unit does emit a particularly painful shriek. I wouldnt use it around babies or dogs as it would drive them insane.
Im not sure just how much of a benefit the ProHeat feature provides as compared to units without it the unit cant heat up the entire tank of solution, which means that the heat probably comes from some kind of flow-through circuit. In that case, I dont know that the water would be heated sufficiently from its already-hot temperature to make a significant difference. Its a toss-up for me.
If you dont want to carefully clean the appliance after each use, do not buy this machine. I have had one major complaint with the solution feed line to the sprayer:
If the unit is not rinsed with clean water and then run with clean water in the solution tank to thoroughly rinse all leftover detergent out of the sprayer system, the detergent left behind dries into little granules that clog up the entire spray system and prevent it from working. I have had to take apart the wand, disconnect the feed line and run clean water through it to rinse out these granules after making this mistake.
I also have to clean out the tanks thoroughly and let them dry before storing the unit. This makes perfect sense: dirt + water = dirty water. If the unit is poorly rinsed, or put away wet, the leftovers will rot and stink and it will be your own fault, not the manufacturers.
Also, the brushes on the straight-suction attachment seem to wear out very quickly.
A satisfactory machine. Not overwhelmingly fantastic, and definitely has its quirks, but it does what it is supposed to so long as youre very attentive to its needs. Probably good for light users who will not expect miracles and are willing to perform the preventative maintenance required to keep it working.
~The Domestic God~