Pros: Good job with cleaning the carpet
Cons: Dated looking style
Let me start this review off with my comment that I love my Dyson DC15. What you ask? This isn't about the Dyson product, it's Bissell's. Indeed it is, but just wanted to set the stage as to what I'm comparing the Bissell against. As I'm sure you all know, the Dyson is a relatively expensive vacuum. On sale the Dyson is $399, I managed to snag a great deal on it well below that. By comparison, the Bissell is a $79 vacuum; you could by 5 of the Bissell's for the price of the Dyson. You can read about the Dyson and it's features here on Epinion. So how good is the Bissell?
We purchased the Bissell for our son in college, 2 years later it's still almost a new machine (if you know what I mean, college student didn't seem to use said vacuum too regularly). As he's now graduated we have the Bissell (as well as several other items) now stored in at our place. Being curious as to how good the Dyson really performed I started early one Saturday to do a show down between Dyson and Bissell. The results? They might surprise you, read on.
With a Black Lab now a recent addition to the family and a reason to really make sure we have a high quality machine to suck up his fur and dander, he provided plenty of material to do my compare. I started my compare by taking the Bissell and vacuuming the main level of our house. I covered the entire area with the Bissell, when I finished I noticed there was quite a bit of Lab hair and other crud found in the canister. I was quiet impressed with what I saw from a $79 vacuum (and after only a week since our last vacuuming of the floors).
I then set off with the Dyson, surely I knew in my heart that the more expensive Dyson would snatch up even more from the floors. After covering the same area, with my usual vacuuming pattern I turned off the Dyson and peered into its canister. Indeed, the Dyson had managed to snag some additional material from the carpets, but surprisingly it was only very little. Score 1 for the Bissell for the quality of the job it did.
Now it was time to turn the tables, this time the Dyson went first as I vacuumed the second floor. The Dyson turned over it's usually amount of gunk being lifted from the floors as evidenced by the results in the canister (and yes, I cleaned out the Dyson's canister before using). It was now time for the Bissell to be tested again. Away I went with, covering the same area as I had covered with the Dyson. Turning off the Bissell I removed it's canister and looked at the results. Sure enough, the Bissell had managed to find additional gunk on the floor that the Dyson had left. I'd say informally that the Bissell did as well as the Dyson with its second pass test. Score another for the Bissell for its power and performance.
After I finished the areas I noticed a couple of aspects about both vacuums. First, on higher pile carpet the Dyson seemed to give a better look to the carpet after vacuuming the area. By comparison however, the Bissell seemed to make lower pile carpet look better after cleaning. I'm guessing it has to do with the level of setting of the vacuum head and beater bars. While the Bissell let's you adjust the head, the Dyson level sets itself.
The Bissell comes with a mini-turbo attachment (that costs extra for the Dyson). The mini-turbo did a great job on the stairs, the Dyson with its standard attachments didn't do as good of a job on the stairs (I have a mini-turbo attachment coming for the Dyson, great deal found on one of the biggest auction sites). It will be interesting to see how the two compare. But it's nice to know that for $79 you get the attachment included with the Bissell and it does a nice job. 1 more point to Bissell.
The hose on the Bissell is quite bulky, but it is easier to use than the hose on the Dyson as it's longer and more flexible. However I found that the hose kept coming off the attachment on the back of the vacuum as it was moved around, so that was a bit annoying. The Dyson has telescopic wand, stores the hose nicely. Let's just call this a draw.
Both machines are about the same weight, pushing each was about the same effort. The Dyson with its "ball" movement was easier to maneuver. 1 point Dyson.
Where the Dyson appears to shine is clean-up. The Bissell always seems to leave a dust around the vacuum, nothing like this with the Dyson. The canister on the Bissell is easy to remove and dump. The Dyson though keeps the dirt away (may be a positive for people with allergy's) by keeping the canister closed until you press the button to dump the contents into the garbage (the bottom pops open). Similarly, the filter system on the Dyson stays relatively clean and is much simpler to clean when necessary. The Bissell's filter starts to look really nasty and dust all flies in the air as you clean it. Another point for the Dyson.
Additionally, the Dyson has a more solid build to it, and with 5 year warranty the company seems to stand behind the product, Bissell has only a 1 year warranty. And the Dyson is a beltless cleaner, while we haven't had to replace the belt on the Bissell yet that is something that needs to be considered. 1 point for the Dyson.
The last compare is looks. I know, it's superficial but the Bissell looks like something styled in the 80's compared with the contemporary style of the Dyson - squeak one more point for Dyson.
Overall, for $79 the Bissell does as good as a job as the Dyson based on my informal testing. I can't say how long the Bissell will last, but at current price you can buy 5 Bissell's now and have 4 in the closet should yours break. Score one for the Bissell. Score the final point for Bissell.
If you've been keeping score, then you are more interested that I am in the scoring, but we seem to have a tie game. I'd still yet prefer the Dyson to the Bissell, maybe it's the styling, and maybe it's just because I got a great deal on my Dyson purchase. However if you are on a limited budget I don't think you can go wrong with the Bissell for keeping your house clean.