With its huge bin, automatic power modes, powerful suction and tangle-free motorised floor brush, the Bissell SmartClean Pet is one of the best cylinder vacuum cleaners we’ve reviewed. It’s quite large and heavy, but since you’ll mostly be pushing it around, this shouldn’t be a problem for most people. A few more accessories would have been welcome, but overall this is the most powerful cylinder vacuum cleaner you can buy right now.
- Very powerful
- Adjusts power on the fly
- Excellent dirt pick-up
- Large bin
- No mini motorised tool
- Review Price: £249.99
- Cylinder vacuum cleaner
- 1270 x 300 x 480mm, 9.98kg
- Motorised floor head, crevice tool, dusting brush
- 3-litre bin
Cylinder vacuum cleaners seem to have fallen slightly out of favour, particularly bagless ones. That’s a shame, since the Bissell SmartClean Pet demonstrates that there’s plenty of life left in the format yet.
Big, bold and powerful, the SmartClean Pet makes short work of pretty much every job, plus its huge bin means you won’t need to empty it often. A mini motorised tool would have been a useful addition, but this is otherwise a vacuum cleaner that’s hard to fault.
Design and features – Big and bold, but the Bissell SmartClean Pet is easy enough to push around
There’s no escaping the fact that the Bissell SmartClean Pet is a rather large vacuum cleaner, weighing in at a hefty 9.98kg. Arguably, this is less of a problem in a cylinder cleaner than it is with an upright, as you won’t have to pick it up often; for much of the time you’ll be able to simply wheel the vacuum around with you.
What’s important is the vacuum’s reach and in this regard the SmartClean Pet excels offering 12m. Thanks to the 9m power cord, and 3m hose and wand combination, you’ll be able to cover a huge area without having to move the vacuum around too often. For most jobs, then, you’ll be carrying only the weight of the wand and hose in your hand.
The Bissell comes with a standard motorised floor brush, which is wide and covers a good area in a single sweep. Since it’s attached to the wand only, you’re able to get around most obstacles with ease.
For comfort, you can extend the wand length to match your height. And such flexibility makes it easier to clean up high, too, as you can extend to reach right up to the ceiling.
By default, the vacuum cleaner turns on in Auto mode, adjusting the power on the fly to match the surface on which the cleaner is sitting. You can override this, in order to choose between three power levels. You can also turn off the brush bar if you want to tackle hard floors and are finding that dirt is getting pinged around.
In operation, the floor head’s four powerful LEDs really light up the area you’re cleaning, helping you to spot dirt that you might otherwise have missed.
You can remove the brush for cleaning, although note that its anti-tangle design means the roller here doesn’t become clogged with hair – a common issue with regular vacuum cleaners.
In the box you get a dusting brush and crevice tool. There’s no mini motorised brush, which is a shame, since these are great for tackling stairs, pet beds and other furniture.
Storage can be something of a problem with large cleaners, but Bissell makes it relatively easy. There’s a T-shaped clip at the back of the cleaner for storing the wand and floor head while cleaning. You can stand up the vacuum on its back and use the second T-shaped clip for long-term cupboard storage.
It’s a shame that there’s no storage for the tools on the body of the vacuum cleaner; it means you’ll need to carry these around separately.
Part of the reason for the vacuum cleaner’s size is its huge 3-litre bin, which means it shouldn’t need emptying too often. And when you do, the bin lifts out completely, after which you press the button at the bottom to open the flap so that the contents fall out. Note that might need to give the bin a bit of a shake to get all of the dirt out, though.
Inside the bin is one washable filter, although Bissell thoughtfully provides a second one in the box, allowing you to continue cleaning while the first one is drying. There’s a second post-motor filter at the back of the cleaner that can easily be removed, although you shouldn’t have to clean this one as often as you tackle the main filter.
Performance – The Bissell SmartClean Pet is extremely powerful
To measure how powerful a vacuum cleaner is, we evaluate its level of suction and airflow, calculating a figure in air watts (AW). The Bissell SmartClean Pet is one of the most powerful vacuum cleaners I’ve tested, producing 185AW in its lowest power mode, and up to 227AW in maximum mode.
And the proof is in the real-world tests. Starting out on carpet, I sprinkled a teaspoon of flour right up to the skirting board of the room. Running the SmartClean through this mess on Auto mode, parallel to the skirting board, cleared absolutely everything. That’s super-impressive.
Likewise, with pet hair, only a single swipe of the vacuum cleaner was required to pull up even the most stubborn hairs caught deep in the pile. In addition, throughout testing, the SmartClean remained free of clogged hair, which surprised given I live with multiple cats and people with long hair.
Moving to a hard floor, I turned off the brush bar and swept the vacuum through a teaspoon of spilled rice. The Bissell picked up every last grain – and didn’t expel any of the grains out of the floor head at the end, either.
Dusting around the house was easy, too, with the combination of the crevice tool and duster picking up dirt sat on the top of my skirting boards easily enough.
When it comes to noise, the Bissell produced 78.2dB on its lowest power settings and 79.9dB on max – there’s very little difference in volume, but the pitch changes. These figures are about average for a vacuum cleaner.
If you’ve been looking for a new cylinder vacuum cleaner then the choice of late hasn’t been very wide. There’s the Hoover Telios Extra TX50Pet, which is a bit smaller than the Bissell and comes with onboard storage for tools, but it isn’t as powerful and requires bags for dirt collection.
However, for a super powerful vacuum that won’t become clogged with hair, the Bissell SmartClean Pet is an excellent cleaner at a decent price. If you’re after something else, check out my guide to the best vacuum cleaners.