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Works Like a Vacuum Cleaner, Sounds Like a Racing Car!
Bissell Easy Vac
Member Name: MizzMolko
Bissell Easy Vac
Advantages: Cheap, does a good job of cleaning (most of the time) and is quick to use.
Disadvantages: Noisy, lots of design faults and perhaps too light weight for heavy duty use.
A couple of years ago, my Grandparents decided to buy my Mum and Dad a vacuum cleaner for their Wedding Anniversary. It wasn't what you'd call a special gift (for more than one reason) but after thirty odd years of marriage, my folks were more concerned with practicalities than sentimentality! Max the Vax, as he's known as, is a complete and utter waste of space in my opinion: heavy, cumbersome and with a poor suction, I find him more-or-less impossible to use. We've had a feeling that he's been dying for some time so we wanted a cheap back up hoover just in case he goes to appliance hell down below anytime soon. At £40 from Asda, the Bissell Easy Vac was a good choice: the price tag might make it a bit of a gamble for some but, considering Max was quite an expensive vacuum cleaner by all accounts, we threw caution to the wind. After all, the Bissell couldn't be any worse than its predecessor...
SPECIFIC FEATURES OF THE BISSELL EASY VAC
For £40, you aren't going to get the most extravagant vacuum cleaner ever or indeed one that will do the cleaning for you. The Bissell Easy Vac won't astound you with new and interesting features but the fact that it's a light weight hover was one of the main selling points for us: my Mum has problems with her shoulders and the idea that this vacuum weighs less than 4.6 kg's according to the box was another good reason for purchasing this particular model. The power output of this vacuum cleaner is 800 watts whilst we're on the subject of figures. The Bissell Easy Vac is an upright, bagless hoover, meaning that the dust is simply collected from the rotating brushes at the bottom of the machine and stored in the dirt container until it's emptied by hand. The hoover comes with an attachable crevice tool to help you clean the difficult to reach areas of a room, such as the space between your bedside table and your bed, and also a dusting brush to aid you when you're hoovering flat surfaces in your house, including tables.
This Bissell vacuum cleaner boasts about its Hepa Media Filter which is designed to capture really fine dust particles such as pollen. I have to say that I wouldn't have noticed this specific feature if it wasn't for the fact that the name of this design feature was sprawled across the front of the dirt container cylinder but it's a handy feature to point out if you do suffer from hay fever or any other allergies and want to give this vacuum a try for that reason. The user's guide also boasts about the hoover's 'extra long' cord. Being the lazy type, if Mum makes me hoover the living room, kitchen and utility room all at the same time, I like to be able to plug the appliance into the middle room between the three so that I don't have to keep changing plugs. The cord, I'm pleased to say, it long enough for me to do those three rooms comfortably, but only just: sometimes I do have to unplug the hover to clean all three rooms fairly effectively but overall the cable is a good length, just not exceptionally long.
ASSEMBLY AND APPEARANCE
First things first: how easy is it to put the Bissell Easy Vac together? Well, being me, I didn't have anything to do with that aspect of the hoover. My Dad on the other hand had to assemble the vacuum and he said it was very easy: all you need to do is put the handle into the main part of the vacuum itself, making sure your hear it click and lock into place, before wrapping the power cord around the two handles above and below the dusting brush. Simples. The instructions manual comes with text and a couple of diagrams to help even the most DIY shy of people put the hover together in no time at all. If my Dad could put this together, anybody can!
The instructions manual itself is fairly useful: it explains the task of emptying the hoover very poorly but its diagrams for assembly I thought were very practical and easy to follow.
Looks-wise, there isn't much to say about the Easy Vac: it's a pleasant royal blue colour with some black and white detailing but again, nothing striking or overtly unique. One of the best things about the appearance of this cleaner is the fact that the dirt container is made of clear plastic: that way, it's easy to see when it needs emptying. The dirt container also has a 'full' mark along the right hand side so it's a good, albeit rough, guide for the user to know when the cylinder needs emptying.
The hoover is mainly made out of plastic which is light weight but doesn't necessarily feel that durable. In fact, the Bissell is so light that you can mistake it for a children's toy! In the short space of time we've owned it, our Bissell hasn't got so much as a scratch on it and whilst that's only a slight cosmetic concern, it makes me believe that the hoover is tougher than we all think, at least on the outside. The hover isn't very tall, which is good because I'm not either, so it's probably ideal for your older children who're sat on their backsides watching TV at this moment in time because it's the school holidays. Just as a friendly piece of advice to your grumpy, chore shy kids, the handle on top of the cylinder is the one you use to transport the vacuum from place to place, not the main manoeuvring handle, and I was pleasantly surprised with how effortless it was to get this hoover up and down stairs. I believe it would be a good appliance for older people or anybody for that matter that doesn't have very much upper body strength as it's not a very heavy vacuum to move around.
HOW EASY IS THE BISSELL EASY VAC TO USE AND DOES IT DO A GOOD JOB?
The Bissell Easy Vac is very easy to use although there are a few design flaws that stop this particular hoover from being fantastic. Starting off with the positives and I have to say that this hoover really knows how to collect dirt! In fact, it really puts our old Vax to shame: you can hear stones and other objects being collected into the dirt container and it literally takes no time at all to get the container full. This is largely down to the fact that the container is quite small at only 23cm in height but I can't fault just how quickly this machine collects dust. The machine is also easy to move from one room to another, largely because of the two good sized wheels at the back of the device, and the hoover is even easier to control when you press the detent lever down, allowing the handle to lower and the hoover to skim effortlessly over most floor types.
We have a mixture of laminate, tiled and carpeted floors throughout our house and I have to say that this hoover performs best on the carpeted floors. Although it's not always able to pick up dust and whatnot with just one glide, it only takes a couple of back and forth motions to really collect everything and that's another big plus in my books. With the old Vax, it would take literally ten minutes to hoover the rug in our living room but it's a two minute job with this Bissell (thank goodness for that!). Another advantage of the lowering handle means that the vacuum can reach some hard to get places, such as underneath the television stand and right up against the skirting boards, and I was pleasantly surprised with the speed and efficiency of this machine: I didn't expect it to collect some dust from the difficult to reach areas of the kitchen, such as the bases of the cabinets, but it managed to do so successfully and in no time at all.
However, the cleaning capabilities of this hoover are let down slightly when the hose is used independently to clean some of the more difficult to reach spaces within the house. The dusting brush and crevice tool do a respectable job of collecting dust and dirt, without marking your furniture at least, but nowhere near as good a job as the brushes underneath the vacuum. The hose itself is just not long enough in some circumstances which does let this hoover down significantly: with it being very light weight machine anyway, one harsh tug of the hose and the hover topples over! This hoover is a nightmare to use when it comes to cleaning stairs because of how easy it is to fall over in some cases so it's a good idea to be careful whilst using this vacuum in such situations. Yes, old people may benefit from it being a light weight machine, but another pair of hands would definitely come in handy and stop any nasty accidents from happening too.
One of the biggest disadvantages of this hoover is without a doubt the noise is creates: it sounds as if an aeroplane is about to crash into your house! The noise is borderline deafening but the saving grace is that the power is only on for a very short space of time because of just how quick and easy the hoover is to use in most circumstances. Speaking of power, the red on/off button is quite small and can be quite temperamental: sometimes the hoover will switch on with no problems at all, other times it's a struggle to get it started. The extra long power cord is also a disadvantage in some ways with this machine: it's good that I can plug it into one room and hoover another without having to keep switching it on and off and so on but you have to hold the excess cord while you're hoovering areas closer to the socket or else you find yourself running over the cord quite a bit...
In fact, Bissell's determination to make this a very compact machine has in some ways hampered its usability, not only with the power cord, but with the location of the levers and attachable devices. Sometimes, the power cord seems to get wrapped around the detent lever and also the power button which can be inconvenient when you're hoovering in a hurry. I can't help but think that if Bissell's design department had been a little savvier when it came to making this machine, such as situating the power cable on the opposite side to the all important levers, than it would have been an even simpler hoover to use.
Discarding of the dust in the dirt container is also problematic with this hover. In order to get rid of the muck the vacuum has o so successfully collected, you have to be some sort of a magician by pulling the release handle and then lowering the dirt cylinder at the same time. You almost certainly have to kneel down in order to do both of these actions at once so perhaps this hoover isn't the greatest thing in the world for anybody that suffers from lower back or knee complaints. As I mentioned, the dirt container is on the small side so you have to be prepared to empty this machine quite a lot to make sure it stays working coherently. Having said that, when it does come to getting rid of the dirt, the hoover is very efficient: the dirt seems to just fall out very easily into the bin and the space between the hole where the dirt goes into the container and the wall of the container is just about wide enough to wipe any excess dirt off using a piece of kitchen roll.
However, the durability of this machine's insides is somewhat questionable to me: after only a handful of uses, the drive belt had snapped in half and thus needed replacing. At the time, the hoover was vacuuming a few specks of dirt on a tiled floor so that shouldn't have caused the belt to snap completely. Although it was easy to change the drive belt, largely down to the fact that my Dad can read the instructions booklet and the box contains an extra drive belt, it certainly shouldn't have been cut after only a couple of uses. If it happens again with the second belt, we shall be returning the machine to the shop but...
WOULD YOU WANT A REPLACEMENT OR YOUR MONEY BACK?
As you can tell from this review, I have very mixed feelings about the Bissell Easy Vac. Yes, it's a light weight, easy to store and easy to use cleaner that does its job very well considering how little money we paid for it. Yet, there are many design faults and hiccups that make the positives of the hoover seem negative in some situations. My Mum loves this hoover and finds it really quick and efficient to use and happily puts up with the noise that the machine creates for those reasons. I, on the other hand, think that the design could have been better but I do agree that its suction is very good which is a pity as it means that I don't have an excuse for not hoovering anywhere anymore because of how burdensome the Vax was to use!
Overall, I think I can just recommend this hoover as long as you can put up with its design faults and have an extra pair of hands at the ready when you're cleaning stairs and other areas where the hose on its own might not be long enough. Although it's only really an Easyish Vac to use in many scenarios, for £40 I think the Bissell Easy Vac is a reasonable buy, in spite of some annoying niggles along the way.
Summary: A good hoover that could have been so much better!
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