The Bissell Vac & Steam is an unusual steam mop that has a built-in vacuum cleaner. That means it's heavier than either a standalone steam mop or a stick vacuum. But it makes quick work of cleaning floors because you can do both tasks at once.
It doesn't have a hand-held steam cleaner or scrubby brushes, so it's no use for curtains or upholstery, or even really ingrained stains. But it heats up quickly and gives you clean, mopped floors in record time. It's available direct from Bissell.
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At 4.4kg the Bissell isn't light. That's because it packs in a cyclonic vacuum cleaner as well as a steam mop. It comes with two machine-washable cleaning pads (one soft and one "scrubby"), a measuring cup, two fragrance discs (that tuck into a mesh pocket on the cleaning pad) and an anti-calc water filter that should prevent the cleaner getting clogged with limescale.
Look on the underside of the cleaner and you'll see a small strip across the front dedicated to the vacuum, with stiff little brushes to pick up fluff. The rest of the underside is taken up with the mop's cleaning pad, which is elasticated to fit around the mop head.
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The pad feels well-made and fits well. There's a small mesh pocket for adding a fragrance disc – which is very smelly itself, but leaves rooms with a "clean" smell.
There's no clip-on carpet glider. Instead, if you want to steam clean carpets and rugs you pop the cleaning pad off. And it's designed to vacuum and mop at the same time – although the vacuum cleaner won't tolerate very wet conditions.
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The fragrance discs give you that 'clean smell' in addition to the actual cleaning
For vacuuming, you simply press a button and go. For steam you first fill the reservoir by pulling down a flap and then pouring in water – you must pour slowly otherwise the water spills – then switch on.
It took just 24 seconds for the steam to heat up ready for use, although it was hard to tell as the indicator light is on the front of the handle, so you have to lean forward to see it. There are two steam settings: high and low. While these didn't produce huge clouds of steam, the cleaning results were impressive.
The Bissell really comes into its own when you vac and steam at the same time. As long as your floor doesn't have any really ingrained stains that require a brush or scourer, it gets them clean (and clean-smelling) very quickly. Muddy footprints on a wooden floor lifted no problem.
Downsides? The controls are easy to reach but hard to see as they're on the front of the handle (see below). There's also no "vac and steam" button, so you have to switch each on independently – this can lead to you turning the vacuum off but forgetting that the steam is still going. It's also heavier than most steam mops and the entire mop head pops off too easily, with the slightest knock.
But most of these downsides are fairly trivial considering how well it cleans. We also like the comfy and adjustable handle, which makes it easier to store is handy if you're taller or shorter than average.
Emptying the bagless vacuum is simple: detach the dust container and tip the contents into a bin. But if you want to empty unused water you must tip the cleaner up. The cleaning pad washes clean easily by hand with soap and water, but it's also machine washable. The anti-calc filter cartridge pops out easily when it's time to replace it.
If your priority is cleaning floors quickly, yes. This vacuums and mops at the same time and does a good enough job of both. Where it falls down is the lack of handheld tools for spot-cleaning grime and cleaning stuff other than floors.
At the time of writing, the Vac & Steam was available direct from Bissell at a discount and with a free Steam Shot handheld cleaner – a great deal.
Overall, it’s a great buy, though if you want a more versatile steam cleaner that cleans more than floors, consider the Polti Vaporetto GO.
The Bissell Vac & Steam is heavy but it's a speed demon when it comes to getting floors clean fast.