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Bissell HydroWave Review

If you're looking for an everyday carpet cleaner that's easy to use and easy to store, the Bissell HydroWave may just be for you.


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A very compact carpet cleaner that you can quickly grab and use when you need it, the Bissell HydroWave is a convenient way of keeping your carpets in order. The lack of handheld tools makes it tricky to tackle some deeper spot stains or stairs, but that's the trade-off of having such a compact cleaner. In regular use on carpets, the HydroWave tackles everyday stains with ease and a few swipes over more stubborn stains can clean them out, too.


  • Stores neatly
  • Easy to use and clean
  • Quickly picks-up regular dirt


  • No handheld tools

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £249.99
  • Upright carpet cleaner
  • 1120 x 380 x 250mm, 10.2kg
  • Rotating PowerBrush
  • 1.7-litres detergent capacity
  • 0.6-litres bin capacity
  • Mains powered

Many carpet cleaners are behemoths that are bulky and difficult to move around. Not so with the Bissell HydroWave, which is around the same size as a regular upright vacuum cleaner.

While this model misses out on handheld tools for spot cleaning and in-depth stain removal, it’s a more practical and easy-to-use carpet cleaner for dealing with day-to-day stains, meaning you’re more likely to use it often to keep your carpet in the best condition.

Design and Features

  • Self cleans at the end of use
  • Easy to fill up and use, and the cleaner packs down for storage
  • It’s heavy, but this upright is easy enough to push around

The Bissell HydroWave is designed for easy storage, with its telescoping handle sliding down to make it easier to put the carpet cleaner into a cupboard. With the handle down the cleaner is just 870mm tall; with the handle out the full size is 1120 x 380 x 250mm. There’s a fairly hefty 10.2kg weight, although as this is an upright cleaner, you should only have to lift it occasionally to get it upstairs or over the odd obstacle.

Bissell has mostly done a great job making the HydroWave simple to use and store. It ships with a hard plastic stand, which prevents any damp still on the bristle roller brush from leaking out onto the floor. Plus, you can use the machine in the stand to give the brush a clean at the end.

Bissell HydroWave in stand

Both the brush and the cover are removable for easy cleaning and, if you buy spares of each, you can store these in the stand, too.

The 6m long power cable is just long enough to let you cover a room at a time, and it winds around the handle when you’re done. The retaining clip at the top spins round to make it easier to release the power cable, although you can’t move this clip far enough if the water tank is inserted.

Bissell HydroWave cable tidy

The 1.7-litre water tank has handy markings on it for adding the right amount of water and concentrated Bissell cleaning fluid. There are marks on there for hard floor and carpet cleaning, although this is really a carpet cleaner. Certainly, I’d be careful about using this product on hard floors with the thick and hard bristles.

Bissell HydroWave detergent bottle

At the front is the used water tank, which takes up to 0.6-litres. There’s a handy float in there that blocks off suction when it’s full, so you can’t overfill this. Even so, on a general clean, you’re going to have to empty this bin at least three times for every full tank of detergent. The bin comes apart easily, letting you clean it and the integrated filter out.

Bissell HydroWave waste water holder

Controls are also exceptionally simple. There are two cleaning modes: express clean and deep clean. These adjust how much cleaning fluid is dispensed when you press and hold the trigger under the handle. Bissell says that Express mode should result in carpets drying within 30 minutes.

Bissell HydroWave cleaning controls

Regardless of the mode, Bissell recommends that you press and hold the trigger for a single forward and backwards pass, then repeat the motion without the trigger held down to prevent overwetting the area. For tough stains, you can use the spray button on top to saturate a stain with cleaning fluid, too.

Bissell HydroWave squirting cleaning solution

With the body fixed to head, the HydroWave is not as flexible as a regular vacuum cleaner, so has to be used to forwards and backwards strokes, gently moving the entire body at an angle to cover new ground. It takes a little getting used to, and you need a methodical approach to cover ground.

This model doesn’t have a removable hose or any other attachments, so you can only clean with the main head. If you need to tackle a smaller stain or want a cleaner that you can also use on upholstery, you may want a different product.

For stairs, you can pass the cleaner horizontally across stairs, but it’s a bit of a faff to get it right, so I’d only approach this job occasionally.


  • Works well on mud and other stains
  • A lack of handheld tools makes spot cleaning or really getting into mess hard

To test out the HydroWave, I ran it across a couple of test stains on my carpets. First, I started with some dried in mud, rubbed deep into the carpet fibres. For this test, I used the cleaner on Express mode and gave it two sweeps: once with fluid and once dry. This picked up the mud with no effort and left the carpet completely clean.

Mud test: Dirty carpet (left) vs Clean carpet (right) – move slider to compare

Switching to a tougher stain, I put a teaspoon of ketchup on the carpet and left it to dry. As this is a deeper, harder stain to remove, I, first of all, treated the area with a stain remover, and then used the HydroWave in Deep Clean mode. A single sweep was enough to remove most of the mess, but there was a clear outline of it left. In the end, I had to clean the area for a good few minutes, switching between using fluid and dry strokes to remove the stain. It worked, and the end result was a clean carpet. If you knew where the stain was and peered closely at the fibres, you might detect the faint remnants of the ketchup.

Ketchup test: Dirty carpet (left) vs Clean carpet (right) – move slider to compare

This is the kind of stain where having a handheld tool to agitate and get into the mess would really help pick up the last small bits of mess.

I measured the cleaner at a maximum sound of 78.6dB, which is pretty much in line with a standard plug-in upright vacuum cleaner.

You should buy it if…

  • You want a powerful carpet cleaner

Mains-powered, this upright cleaner has two cleaning modes and full control over detergent, letting it deal with tough stains

  • You want a carpet cleaner that’s easy to store

You can remove the handle, cutting down on bulk, letting you easily store this carpet cleaner when it’s not in use. The same cannot be said for much of the competition.

You should not buy it if…

  • You need handheld tools

This is a floor cleaner only and lacks a hose and handheld tools for dealing with spot stains or really getting in to agitate dirt.


Can you use any detergent with the Bissell HydroWave?

You should only use Bissell detergent approved for use with this machine.

What is the capacity of the Bissell HydroWave?

It has a 1.7-litre wet water tank and 0.6-litre dirty water tank.

What accessories does the Bissell HydroWave have?

It has a Rotating PowerBrush floor cleaner only.


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