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on August 14, 2012
Bissell Powerforce 71Y7W Black

I purchased the Bissell to replace an old Hoover Encore. The Hoover
(made in USA) still runs just fine but despite being field stripped and
cleaned, it still produced a puff of dust when first powered on. The
Hoover lacks any kind of pre/post-motor filters so dust gets in the
motor housing, the one part you can't disassemble and clean. It was
also used in an old house with lots of plaster dust.

I first looked at bagless vacuums since they dominate the market. I
decided against them for several reasons:

* I didn't want to handle the dirt the vacuum just picked up.
* I didn't want the airbourne cloud when I empty the dirt cup.
* Bagless vacs have to many parts to leak and filters to clean.

Bagged vacuums are difficult to find these days. I looked at several
other brands (Hoover, Dirt Devil) before choosing the Bissell.
Unfortunately we live in a throw-away world and everything is cheaply
made (in China) these days. The cheaper they make it, the shorter life
expectancy of the produce and the sooner you'll have to replace it. It's
all about getting you to spend your money.

The Bissell seemed to be the best constructed bagged vacuum for under
$100 US. If it lasts a year I think it will have paid for itself.

Pros:
+ Cheap; $39 at the local Walmart (Jan 2012 price);
Walmart offers a 1 yr replacement plan for $3 that kicks in after
the 1 yr manufacturer's warranty.
SAVE THE ORIGINAL BOX (in case you need to return it).
+ Bagged; all dirt collected in the bag, easy to change, no mess.
+ Bags have a rubber seal in the cardboard sleeve where bag attaches;
this seems to provide a better seal than just the cardboard alone.
+ Fast, easy assembly; just 3 screws.
+ Great suction, does a really good job cleaning. As others have noted,
after the first use, check the bag. I was surprised at how full the
bag was after first running it. It picks up a lot of dirt.
+ Five floor height levels, easy to adjust.
+ Handle adjusts to completely flat to get under furniture.
+ Good cord wrap and cord clip in handle to keep cord out from under
the wheels.
+ Rocker style power switch; easy to use, good location.
+ Only 10 Amps so uses less power.
+ Very light weight.
+ Has both pre- and post-motor filters. Use a can of compressed air
to clean them. If they're really dirty, wash with soap and water and
let them dry completely before re-installing.
+ It is not too loud for those that prefer a quieter vacuum.
+ Easy belt replacement, just 4 screws on bottom cover.
+ Easy carry handle on back of unit.
+ Comes with a bag already installed and a coupon for 12 bags for $9.99
and free shipping (bissell.com/bags)

Cons:
- Initially it ran REALLY HOT; motor area and cord were very hot
after only brief use. It still runs hot but doesn't seem as bad as
it was when first new, maybe I'm justed used to it now.
- It also produced a smell when new, almost like the belt was burning
up but it wasn't (at least not yet).
- Motor probably won't last a year given excessive heat produced.
How do you get 12 amps of power out of a 10 amp motor? You drive it
faster, and it probably won't last as long.
- Made in China.
- Post-motor filter area will hold a HEPA filter but not recommended.
The thicker HEPA filter will probably cause the motor to burn up
faster as it prevents heat from exiting the motor housing.
- Cord is only 20 ft long but I think that's a safety feature. Since
you have to unplug the vacuum to move it, it allows time for the
motor to briefly cool down. The vacuum would probably burn up if you
ran it non-stop to clean every room in even a small apartment.
- Hose is short; you need to lift the entire vac body to clean anything
up high. This is typical for upright vacuums.
- Bag door lacks a rubber gasket. It would probably give the vacuum
even better suction and would help contain any dirt that passed
through the bag in the bag area. Using the thicker allergen filter
bags and changing the bag often will keep the bag area clean.
- Short bristles on the dusting brush attachment. It works but would
do a better job with longer softer bristles.

I've used the vac for about 8 months since purchasing. After about
4 months of occassional use (about once/week in an apartment), it
started making a sound is if the roller is dragging when you shut it
off. Tipping the vac on it's wheels so the front end is off the ground
before shutting it off eliminates the noise. The vacuum seems to
operate normally otherwise. I use the allergen filter bag and change
it about once/month just to keep the dust to a minimum.

The Bissell is a good bagged vacuum without spending a lot of money.
11 comment13 of 13 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 11, 2011
I purchased the Bissel after purchasing one of the name brand bagless ones. The competitor's brand clogged brand new out of the box at the top and bottom and blew more dust and debris around than it picked up. I decided I would go back to the old way, an upright vacum with a bag; so I purchased the Bissel Powerforce upright.I have owned other Bissel products and have always been satisfied. I received the new Bissel upright; I was skeptical because it doesn't look like your grandmother's vacum; but it had a bag so I gave it a try. I love it so far; I have even used it with my dryer cleaner kit and the suction was great. it pulled the clogged lint right out and my dryer was hot again and my carpets are clean again.
0Comment21 of 23 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 26, 2012
I bought this along with a budget canister vac for my spring cleaning this year. I love this upright for carpets. The brush roll is height is manually adjustable...much better for different cleaning surfaces than a model that is supposedly automatic.

Carpet performance is great...one pass and typical light soil is GONE. Pet hair performance is wonderful...I have a dark brown commercial mat at my front door that I despaired of getting clean. A couple of passes and it looks like new. The vacuum is very lightweight, and, if properly adjusted, very easy to push on heavier carpet and rugs.

The hose is permanently attached, so on board tools are ready to use. Hose suction is okay, not fantastic, but still enough to clean the corners and vacuum the couch. The vacuum comes with a combination dusting/upholstery brush, crevice tool, and one extension wand for taller places. The only quibble I have here is that there is no suction control valve to vacuum lighter weight items for the tools. However, that is a quibble.

Noise level is actually reasonably quiet for an upright...I was surprised after using some other brands that literally roar. This one isn't bad.

Overall, I like this vacuum a lot. One tip....this particular model is made for a big name retailer that is known for "rolling back" prices. You might want to check there first...the prices are much better than the models for sale on here.
11 comment6 of 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 19, 2012
I purchased this vacuum on 12/17/2012 and used it for the first time today. I am very pleased with it's performance especially for the price I paid -- $42 from Walmart. Since the prior vacuum died, I had not vacuumed in three months and found the suction to be very good considering that; and the crevis tool suction was excellent. The vacuum is 10 amps. It was really nice to have clean carpets again. It did pick up everything on one swipe, however, since I hadn't vacuumed for quite a while, I felt the need to vacuum my carpet about four times... that just made me feel better overall. The handle on the crevis tool is a nice bonus. I feel the quality of the unit is good. I originally thought that only 23 feet of cord might be too short but the longest room I have is 27 feet and plugging it in in the middle of the room worked out perfectly. It is lightweight (13 or 15lbs)... that was one of my biggest concerns when trying to choose a vacuum. I don't know what manufacturers are thinking making vacuums so incredibly heavy. This unit is very easy to manuever. I'm really happy with this particular model... we'll see how well it holds up over time. I have not tried it on the floor yet, but when I do, I will write another review.
0Comment6 of 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 25, 2013
I recently realized that this vacuum cleaner has served us well for 5 years. So I thought a quick review might help some folks.

5 years back, I bought this at local walmart for $40. Well worth the money I spent. Suction power is not like Dyson and likes. But is reasonable enough for normal household mess. if the suction power is coming down, change the dirt bag and works like new.

I lived in small rented apartments 1000 sqft or less. With 2 small kids at home, the carpets are messy all the time. So we use it almost daily.

Other than the dirt bags, I have not spent any money on this one so far. Twice or so, the tubes were clogged with dirt, so i had to unscrew a few screws and clean it well and put it back.

Worked well for normal household use for me and worth much more than the $40 I paid !
0Comment5 of 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on September 14, 2011
After being let down by my last couple bagless vacuum's I decided to go back to a bagged variety. I am so happy with this Bissell Powerforce.
I liked the reviews and the price of this unit.
This vacuum seems quieter than my past vacuums. It is light and easy to use, even my 7 year old says she could do it.
My carpets look better than they have in a while. This vacuum really does well with edges/baseboards as well, gets close!
My only complaint is that the cord is a bit short, but all in all, I love it!
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on January 5, 2015
Did not purchase from Amazon but just want to say that I'm glad I chose this bagged vacuum over a bagless one. This is more powerful, less expensive and does not affect my allergies. I was actually smiling while I was vacuuming. The extension is powetful too. I vacuumed my couch cushions with ease. The only negativity is that my little dog is intimated by it and barks his head off but I'm sarcastically speaking and am happy with my new vacuum!
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on November 26, 2014
When we moved out of the country we had to get rid of our Bissell Powerforce vacuum. A year later when we returned back to the states decided to buy this again because it had worked just fine for us before and it was only $40 at Walmart (we were dirt poor).

At the time, I figured I would be happy if it lasted a year or two. Well, that was four years ago and it is still working great and gets used almost everyday. It has great suction and a simple design (simple design means simple solutions when trouble shooting).

TIPS:
1. Don't be afraid to really get to know the workings of this vacuum. I have taken this completely apart two to three times and have loved the feeling to be able to understand its mechanics. About once a year you should give yourself an hour to do a complete tune-up of this vacuum. Like most high quality things, if you take care of it, it should take care of you.
2. When suction performance drops, I begin the process of checking for clogs at the base and the hose and also the entry area of the vacuum bag. At all times I have discovered a simple clog (usually paperclip or Christmas tree needles or toddler sock). Unscrew the bottom of a standard broom and use that to clear any hose blocks.
3. About once a year you should take off the bottom that covers the roller and completely clear any hair/string that is twisted around the roller.
4. You can hand-wash all filters (I think there are two) and let air-dry and re-use. I am not sure if Bissell recommends this but we do this and it has not affected its performance.
5. Do not buy the vacuum bags from your local super store. They are much cheaper here from a seller on Amazon and they do free shipping: search "Bissell Style 1 and 7 Upright Vacuum Bags" and get 9 bags for $7.41 and this has lasted us at least a year. URL is: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000YYVK7Y/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Typical cost of upkeep: Buying bags, filters, and belt.

Our cost of upkeep: Buying bags only. We haven't had to buy any filters because we hand wash ours. We also haven't had to replace the belt yet, but the last time I gave it a tune-up I noticed some wear and tear on the belt. (To be fair to Bissell, this was right after my child accidentally vacuumed up a cloth so large it clogged at the roller part and caused stress to be put on the belt while my child just stood there like a deer in headlights until I stepped in).

Comparison to other products: I have used other people's vacuums before (Eureka, Simplicity, Dyson) when visiting their homes, and still prefer our own.

Complaint #1: I really wish that this vacuum could vacuum bare floors. If it could do bare floors with the same reliability that it does carpets I would give it a five star rating.

Complaint #2: The foot release on ours broke in the first year after some rough use. We have just stored in a place where we can lean it on a wall.

In summary, this vacuum cost us $40 and has lasted us four years (and is still going strong) and has performed just as well as other major brands. It is a true workhorse, and I think that it is so reliable because of its simple design and construction. If Bissell is still using the same durable parts to construct this, I would say that you can buy with confidence!
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on May 30, 2015
Although this vac performs well for the money (I've owned several over the years), it has a critical design flaw: the front wheel assembly is attached only by two very small, thin plastic pins, which are broken very easily. This makes the vacuum extremely difficult to push or renders it inoperable (depending upon whether only one or both pins break) until the part is replaced. Although the replacement part is easily obtained on Bissell's website, I find it exasperating having to constantly be replacing parts on my vacuum because of poor design. The convenience of the onboard tools and its relatively light weight (in addition to it's cheap price) are the reasons I have used this model in the past, but this design problem has become a dealbreaker for me.
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on May 9, 2013
Do not buy this vacuum, I wanted a good vacuum at a reasonable price and bought this piece of s#@t. It worked fine for a year and then it started spewing dust out all over the place everytime I vacuumed. I tried researching online and did every other thing possible ( cleaning the filters, checking the bag, unclogging the pores....) but nothing works. It clogs every single time I use it and I can still see dirt and particles on the carpet. It takes more time to vacuum. The worst part is it fills the air up with dust and we cough badly after vacuuming. Please do not buy this!!!!!!!
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