The Bissell PowerClean is an affordable no-fuss carpet upright cleaner that does the job
- Easy to use
- Good at cleaning
- Great value for money
- Minimal features
If price is the key factor in your decision over whether to buy a carpet cleaner or not, the Bissell PowerClean is well worth taking into consideration. This model sits at the cheaper end of the scale and, while it doesn’t come with the range of attachments a more expensive cleaner might come with, it’s actually very good at its job.
Bissell PowerClean review: What do you get for the money?
At £160, the Bissell PowerClean sticks to the bare essentials. It’s an upright unit with two water tanks – one for cleaning water, the other for dirty water – and a motorised foot with a rotating brush to agitate the carpet.
A trigger on the handle of the device pumps water out of the cleaning water tank and onto the floor, so the brush can scour it into your carpet. Release the trigger and a suction action then pulls the dirty water back out of the carpet, leaving your floor cleaner than it was before you started.
The box also contains a 236ml bottle of Bissell Wash & Protect Pro Stain & Odour carpet cleaning solution, which you use in a ratio of 1:50 with warm water. The cleaner got through more water and solution than the Bissell HydroWave in our tests, so you may end up spending more on cleaning solution in the long term.
However, it’s not that expensive, costing £20 for a 1.5l bottle and Bissell were selling three for the price of two at the time of writing. Based on that price, it should end up costing you around 10p per square metre per clean, which is pretty reasonable.
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Bissell PowerClean review: What’s it like to use?
If there’s one very obvious place where the Bissell PowerClean feels cheaper than its pricier rivals, it’s in the quality of the build. I don’t mean that it feels like it’s going to break or fall apart – far from it.
However, the dirty water tank is held in place by two sturdy clips at the bottom, so removing and replacing it is a two-handed process. More expensive units have water tanks you can unclip and lift out with one hand. As a deliberate design decision to help keep costs down on a budget model, I have no problem with this kind of compromise.
I’m less of a fan of the power switch, which is a rocker that sits low down on the back of the cleaner, housed inside a waterproof bubble. This switches the cleaner on and starts the roller, but you need to bend down to reach it, which is a bit annoying on an upright device.
Once it’s powered on, the only control available to you is the cleaning liquid dispenser, which is operated by a grip trigger on the handle. You hold this down to cover the area you’re cleaning with the mixture of water and cleaning fluid, then release it to suck the dirty water back up again. The brush roller spins throughout this process, agitating the mixture into the carpet.
Bissell PowerClean review: How well does it clean?
I tested the basic cleaning ability of the Bissell PowerClean on a section of well-used rug. I also tested it to its limits on an area of light-coloured carpet with measured spillages of liquids (blackcurrant squash, coffee and mud) that had been left to dry for 24 hours.
I was pleased with the cleaner’s performance on the rug, where it lifted out light soiling and left the colour looking brighter and cleaner than before. It didn’t appear to work as hard at lifting the fluffiness and the underfoot feel as the Vax Platinum SmartWash but for a cleaner that’s half the price, it did an excellent job.
It also did well with the dried-in stains. Upright carpet cleaners aren’t generally designed for spot cleaning, being better at cleaning general household grime but the cleaner lifted out the dried-on mud and the blackcurrant squash effectively. There was a visible coffee stain left behind, although the PowerClean did lighten the colour of it considerably.
One thing you will need to bear in mind, however, is drying time. The suction process lifted much of the excess water out of the carpet but it remained quite damp and took a few hours to dry out.
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Bissell PowerClean review: Should I buy it
Carpet cleaners are great to have around but most people don’t need to use them on a daily, weekly or even monthly basis. As a result, they can seem like an expensive luxury. If that’s a problem, the Bissell PowerClean is a good option to consider, because it’s an affordable model that doesn’t compromise on basic cleaning ability.
However, it doesn’t have all the options and tools that some of the more expensive carpet cleaners have. If you want more control over how much water is being used, the £250 Bissell HydroWave is a better choice, including a targeted spot squirter so you can pre-soak any potentially stubborn stains before you initiate a scrub with the brush.
For even more versatility, the Vax Platinum SmartWash comes with an upholstery attachment and has two roller brushes that really get into your carpet. However, at £300, this is even more expensive.