What is the Bissell Vac & Steam 1977E?
Vacuuming hard floors and steam cleaning at the same time, Bissell’s Vac & Steam 1977E is an all-in-one hard-floor cleaning timesaver. We loved Bissell’s last Vac & Steam model, and the new 1977E benefits from a light update and blue makeover.
The 1977E isn’t going to win any awards for its steam power or vacuum suction, and it’s fairly hefty in the hand. Yet, the light vacuuming and steaming action are ideal for dusty or dirty floors, and the Bissell is easy to use. It isn’t without its foibles, but the Vac & Steam effectively lives up to its name.
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Bissell Vac & Steam 1977E – Design and features
If you have messy kitchen floors that are regularly mucked-up by kids, pets and keen gardeners that are less keen to remove their wellies, the floor is likely to need two-stage cleaning. The first is a vacuum all over to remove the dust, dirt, fur balls and those little bits of chopped vegetables that seem to multiply overnight. Dust suitably cleared, you can then steam-clean the sticky stains and mud, leaving a fully buffed floor.
Bissell’s Vac & Steam 1977E aims to do all that in just one combined clean. Combining a 400W bagless vacuum with 1100W steam heater, a vacuum channel runs across the floorhead just in front of the steam mop. Small particles are vacuumed up just before the microfibre pad steams the floor and lifts stains. That could more than halve your floor cleaning time.
The Vac & Steam’s 400W cyclone vacuum is never going to suck the pattern off your lino, but it produces just enough suction to lift light dirt from hard floors. It’s either on or off, controlled independently from the steam function. The dust empties into a small cyclone bin through a washable filter.
The bin simply unlocks on a slider and pops off the front of the machine. It has a flap for emptying and, using a pull-up plunger at the top, the whole bin and filter assembly comes apart for thorough cleaning.
At a push, you could use the Vac & Steam 1977E as a hard-floor vacuum cleaner alone, but it isn’t overly impressive in that singular role. It works much better in conjunction with the steam mop.
The steam is provided by a 1100W heater fed by a small 0.38-litre tank. Heat-up time is said to be less than 30 seconds. You get two levels of steam and the option to run the vacuum at the same time. A replaceable water-filter cartridge allows you to use normal tap water too.
Controls are positioned near where your thumb lands on the handle, but are rather awkwardly angled downwards. That makes them quite difficult to see, especially if the machine is in an upright position.
There are no detail cleaning tools, so the 1977E’s steam-cleaning duties are focused purely on mopping floors. The design reflects this with few extra nooks and crannies to clean out. The mop carrier pops off the floor head with ease, and the head itself unclips so you can wash it off in the sink. The cyclone bin, vacuum tubes from the floorhead to the bin, and the vacuum filters are all easily removable and fully washable.
The package is supplied with a measuring jug, two different mop pads covering delicate cleaning and more aggressive scrubbing, and a couple of Bissell’s Fragrance Discs. These slot into a pocket on the inside of the mop pad, right in front of the steam outlet, and are designed to infuse the place with the delicate aroma of spring flowers. Well, more like synthetic air freshener, but it makes cleaning a nice experience.
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Bissell Vac & Steam 1977E – What’s it like to use?
Setting up the 1977E out of the box is straightforward, with the handle, pole, body and floorhead clipping together in seconds. The mop pad simply pulls over the carrier and the carrier clips onto the large rectangular floorhead. The decently long 7.5-metre cable can be wound up on hooks on the body and handle to keep things tidy for storage.
Being a combination vacuum and steam cleaner means the Bissell can’t compete with the lightest steam mops for weight. Tipping our scales at just over 4kg empty, not including the cable, means it will be around 4.4kg with a full water tank. That will take a bit of pushing and pulling effort. This isn’t helped by the floorhead’s tilt-only neck, meaning steering is quite heavy on the wrist.
Filling the vertical tank is aided and abetted by a pull-down flap and well-designed pouring jug. There’s no actual max-fill line on the clear tank, so you need to use the measuring scale on the jug from empty and judge top-ups by eye. We didn’t have too many spills or drips through testing.
Plugged in and powered on, heat-up was comfortably less than 30 seconds, accompanied by a clicking-pumping sound. A light on the handle’s switch cluster illuminates, but it’s all but impossible to see when the machine is upright as it faces the floor. Tilt the machine over and the steam begins to rush into the mop pad. Press the vacuum start button, and off you go.
The 1977E hasn’t got the most powerful steam heater and, compared to beefier steam-only models, it takes a little while to moisten the mop pad enough so that you can start cleaning.
Once the mop pad is saturated, it lays down a fairly frugal amount of steam. You certainly aren’t going to turn your kitchen into a sauna whilst cleaning. The advantage is that the floor is barely wetted, meaning it dries very quickly thanks to the steam’s inherent heat.
The 1977E hasn’t got the most powerful vacuum suction, either. The 400W motor makes a lot of noise to deliver suction that we’d describe as ‘asthmatic’, had it been a pure vacuum cleaner.
Yet, the Bissell’s party trick is combining both systems to deliver a clean that is greater than the sum of the parts. While neither the mopping or vacuum cleaning are great, the two together more than halve the time it takes to clean floors.
The bagless vacuum sucks enough to pull up light dust and pet hairs, and the steaming is enough to shift stains in a few passes. The Bissell’s manual recommends three passes over dirty areas, and that worked well.
In our kitchen – the house’s main entrance, thoroughfare and home to two dogs – vacuuming is essential before you mop the floor. The Bissell turns two processes into one and does a very passable clean on both counts. Also, subtract the time it takes to get out, set-up and clean two individual machines, and the Bissell saves a significant amount of time and faff.
If you’re only looking to steam-clean, we found the Bissell’s limited steam production didn’t really have the stain and grime-shifting power we’d have liked. Nor did it produce the best of finishes, with some light smearing left on both laminate and tile surfaces. On the plus side, it did mean a tank of water lasted some time. Even constantly steaming, the Bissell was good for 15-20 minutes on the highest setting.
Emptying the bagless bin is straightforward and its ability to come apart completely is a classy design touch.
Excluding the down-facing controls, Bissell’s long-standing history and experience in the floor-cleaning market shines through the design, so it’s difficult to criticise the 1977E functionally. It vacs and steams in one, saving you time. Job done.
Why buy the Bissell Vac & Steam 1977E?
If you need to vacuum your hard floors before you mop, Bissell’s Vac & Steam will more than halve the time it takes to do the job.
Neither its vacuuming or steaming abilities are up there with best in class, it’s quite weighty, makes a lot of noise, has tricky controls and the tilt-only head doesn’t make it the slickest mover around the kitchen. However, the 1977E is generally effective at vacuuming and steaming floors in one go, making for a super-speedy clean.
Our performance-driven reviewing suggests Bissell’s Vac & Steam 1977E shouldn’t be walking off with such a high cluster of Trusted Reviews stars, but if there was ever a gadget that delivered more than the sum of its parts, Bissell’s Vac & Steam is it.
Bissell’s Vac & Steam is a super time-saving appliance, effectively delivering light vacuuming and basic steam mopping in a single pass.