With its chunky, well-built body and anti-tangle floorhead, the Bissell MultiReach Active 21V is a handy cordless vacuum cleaner, particularly for pet owners. Relatively short battery life, a fiddly bin to empty and the lack of a high-power mode take the shine off somewhat, making the MultiReach a better addition to a plug-in vacuum than a tool that can do everything.
- Anti-tangle floorhead
- Built-in crevice tool
- Chunky and well built
- Comparatively short battery life
- No high-power mode
- Fiddly to empty bin
- Review Price: £199.99
- Cordless stick
- 1190 x 270 x 240mm, 3.63kg
- Motorised floorhead, crevice tool, dusting brush
- 0.5-litre bin
One of the most annoying things about a vacuum cleaner with a motorised floor brush is having to cut away hair that’s wrapped around it. The Bissell MultiReach Active 21V joins the growing rank of cleaners that offers anti-tangle technology to stop this.
A relatively low price, good performance and a decent build make this vacuum cleaner appeal – but battery life is a little low and charge times are long.
Bissell MultiReach Active 21V design and features – A chunky, well-built vacuum cleaner
- Hard-wearing design
- Clever crevice tool is built into the design
- Basic array of accessories
The Bissell MultiReach Active 21V is a rather chunky vacuum cleaner, but that at least means it feels robust and hard-wearing. And, while it isn’t the lightest vacuum cleaner, this model isn’t too large or heavy (1190 x 270 x 240mm, 3.63kg).
There’s no trigger on this cordless stick cleaner; instead, there’s a button to turn the vacuum cleaner on and off, and another to toggle between the two power modes. The vacuum turns on at its highest power mode, but you can toggle it down to Eco mode for lighter jobs and to extend battery life.
Bissell has done a decent job of balancing the vacuum cleaner. It’s a little heavier in the hand than some models, but sits nicely and didn’t push against me. From cleaning floors to cleaning up high, I found this model easy enough to move around.
A motorised floorhead is included in the box. Its bristles are arranged in a comb pattern to prevent tangling; it worked well, and I didn’t have to cut away any hair at the end of testing. It has a set of LED headlights, too, to help highlight where you’re cleaning.
A crevice tool and a dusting brush are also included, but there’s no mini-motorised tool for cleaning stairs or sofas, which is a shame. Cleverly, Bissell has built a basic crevice tool into the handheld unit and the end of the wand, so you can quickly zip around edges without having to attach an accessory.
You can feed the charging adapter into the wall mount, so you can drop in the MultiReach for charging. There’s storage for the accessories, too, so they’ll keep neat and tidy out of the way. A wand clip for at least one of the tools would have been welcome, to make carrying them around easier.
The Bissell comes with a standard 0.5-litre bin, which is likely to need emptying after most cleans. The bin pulls out easily enough, but to empty it you need to remove the washable filter by pulling it up and out. There’s a rubber seal to prevent dust from leaking out, which works well until the last minute of removing the filter, when it pops out and sprayed dust out. Emptying this bin neatly is tricky.
A second washable filter sits underneath the main vacuum cleaner and is easy to access for cleaning purposes.
Bissell MultiReach Active 21V performance – It’s good, but lacks a high-power mode
- Performance in general is decent
- It has only two power modes; it lacks a high power setting
- Battery life is a little short
To test the Bissell MultiReach Active 21V, I first measured it to see how powerful it is in AirWatts (AW) – a measure of suction and airflow. There are only two power modes here.
On Eco mode, I measured the vacuum at 26AW, which is sufficient for lighter spills. The regular power setting delivered 72AW, which should be powerful enough for tougher spills. You miss out on a higher-power Boost setting, though, for super-tough spills.
This was evident in real-world testing. Starting out, I spread an ‘X’ of flour onto my test carpet, then ran the vacuum through the mess with a single sweep on standard power. Although it left behind a clean strip, you can see a faint outline towards the edges of the cleaning head where the dirt wasn’t collected.
I then ran the vacuum cleaner through the remaining dirt, using Eco power for the bottom and standard power for the top. Eco power left a fair bit of mess behind, while Standard managed to clear nearly all of it. A few extra sweeps on Standard power was good enough to clean up everything, although a Boost mode could have done the job faster.
Next, I moved to the edge test, sprinkling flour up against the skirting board. The MultiReach didn’t have enough power to collect all the flour, with a fair amount of dirt left behind. I had to use the crevice tool to clear it all, but a higher power mode would have helped.
I moved onto my pet hair test, combing cat hair into the carpet. This time, Standard power was sufficient to pull the hairs out of the carpet.
Finally, I sprinkled a teaspoon of rice onto a hard floor to see how well the Bissell MultiReach Active 21V could collect the mess. On Standard power, a single sweep left a clean area, but a few grains dropped out at the end.
Battery life is rated at up to 30 minutes on Eco power, although I found that Standard mode lasted for only 18 minutes. This is very short, particularly since the vacuum cleaner takes five hours to charge. As such, the Bissell MultiReach is best suited as an additional cleaner to accompany a plug-in model.
At 69dB on Eco power and 71dB on Standard power, the Bissell MultiReach Active 21V is one of the quietest vacuum cleaners I’ve tested. It’s so quiet that you can easily hold a conversation while it’s running.
Bissell MultiReach Active 21V conclusion
Well built with some neat features, the Bissell MultiReach Active 21V is easy to use and generally performs very well. Battery life is a little short and this cleaner lacks a high power mode for dealing with tough spills. Given the price, this is a useful addition to anyone who has a powerful plug-in model already. However, if you want great cleaning power, more accessories and better run-time then try a different cordless vacuum cleaner.