Customer Reviews: BISSELL SpotBot Hands-Free Compact Deep Carpet Cleaner, 1200B
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VINE VOICEon July 8, 2007
Hundreds and hundreds of reviews below this one, so here's a summary of all of the three hundred or so reviews below this one:

1. Almost everyone is a fanatical lover of this product. Sometimes it takes two or even three applications, but it seems to work except on some red stains, which any carpet cleaner will tell you are difficult. Otherwise, pet stains, and even very old stains are gone without a trace (we've tried this on a couple of *ten year old stains* and it pulled them right out), even after trying other devices and solutions that did not work. (My note for vomit or other stains of similar consistency, first clean as much as possible using the back of a knife, held at a 45 degree angle and scrape towards the center of the stain, cleaning the knife frequently or you'll just push the vomit into the carpet, though most report not doing this and it being completely clean anyway). People really like that you just start it and walk away, you don't have to monitor it.

2. The product cleans so well, used on a dirty carpet, you'll see circles that are cleaner than the rest of the carpet. Using the manual wand to soak up the solution when it is done will help, by spreading the cleaning solution into the non-cleaned area as you soak it up. Otherwise, you may have to use a regular machine to clean the entire carpet after you use this on a very dirty carpet.

3. People also report that it leaves the carpet VERY wet. But again, the manual wand used afterwards will take up the excess water. Tilt the wand so that the hose is up at about a 45 degree angle and run it slowly with medium pressure downward and most of the water will be sucked up. You can see the water getting sucked up from the side of the wand.

4. The best technique is to use a spray bottle of cleaning solution, diluted as directed for the machine, spraying the affected area, and using only water in this machine. It will use less of the expensive solutions, is just about as effective, and will not leave an excess of soap on the carpet. If you don't use the spray bottle technique, and instead you put the soap in the tank, 6 months later, the soap residue that is left on the carpet will attract its own dirt and so you'll have to reclean, but the spray bottle technique doesn't have this problem. So spray, turn the machine on, and wand up the excess water.

5. Some people report that the two included solutions work the best, others say that with the spray bottle technique it doesn't matter and others say using Costco carpet cleaning solution in the gallon jug works as well but is cheaper. One reported that vinegar and water worked and didn't smell when dry, but I don't think I'm gutsy enough to try that. Citrus based solutions and probably vinegar will damage the inside of it.

6. Some have reported that it may take some effort to get it to work at first. Check to make sure the containers are pushed all the way in. If that doesn't fix it, look at the FAQs on the Bissell web site in the support section for more detailed instructions. And note, don't do what we did at first, which is to put the water in the wrong tank. You put the water in the tank at the BACK of the unit. The other tank is where the dirty solution goes. You fill the tank that has a screw cap on the bottom of it. No screw cap? You've got the wrong tank.

7. Don't leave the tanks full, they leak. Run the unit on manual with *no* water in the tank for a few seconds to suck the solution out of the hose between uses or it may get moldy.

The product is every bit as good as what is written here. We've used it a couple of times. Don't put soap in it, the soap only goes in a your own separately purchased spray bottle used before you use the machine: nothing but water in the machine, and empty both tanks between uses. I just saved you hours of reading the remaining 300 reviews.

We bought the remanufactured version and haven't had any problems. Thumbs up.

Finally, when you have put your toe in the carpet cleaning waters, look at the Hoover F5914-900 SteamVac with Clean Surge for a full room carpet cleaner. It doesn't spot clean as well as this one, but you can do a whole room in under an hour, and it sucks the water back out of the carpet so thoroughly, the carpet dries in about an hour - faster if you blow it with a fan. Worth every penny. That one needs to be cleaned between uses (about 15 mins), so it takes a little more time to use. The Bissell is just a load and go product. The Hoover is more of an event.

EDIT: May of 2016, it's lasted 9 years. I ran it probably two dozen times per year. It's just started giving me problems where it makes a grinding noise and stops turning until I bang on it. Apparently, the problem is fixable by replacing some plastic ball bearings. If I can figure out how, I'll report back.
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on November 1, 2005
I highly recommend this product. The negative reviews made a few valid points, and I will comment on them so that future buyers know what they are getting. But first things first, this thing gets out stains, even old set-in stains, and you dont need to scrub it, rub it, or do anything except press a button. That is worth 5 stars right there. I have a dog who does her best not to make a mess in the house, but still has accidents. As a single guy, sometimes I may do a poor job of cleaning it. Over the last two years there have been a few stains that were absolutely set in. I tried special shampoo from the pet store, as well as every thing else. I tried steam cleaners. Nothing got the stains out....nothing except spot bot. These are stains that have been there probably months now! Please note the product's drawbacks are accurately portrayed (perhaps overstated a bit) by some of the negative comments above. These include:

1) yes, it is true, the area is still fairly wet after spot bot is done. (steam cleaners are the same way)

2) there can be a very clean circle with a little area of dampness around the circumference. If the stains are bigger than the circle, it may look a little uneven after and require spot bot to be placed over a large spot several times.

3) true, the directions say there is a storage tray, which was not included. Customer service was very courteous when I brought this up to them.

4. It goes through the carpet cleaner VERY quickly.

Hope I haven't discouraged you to buy the product. Just want to give a fair review. It is definitely deserving of 5 stars despite the minor issues discussed above. If you have tough set in stains, or you are tired of endlessly cleaning up after your dog or your kids - then you should get this product. If you work hard to keep your place clean, treat yourself, you deserve it.
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on October 26, 2005
This thing may work a little too well. Within 10 minutes of opening the box, I was cleaning black grease stains that had been ground into my carpet by workers over a year ago. Just fill the fluid tank. Set it on a spot, push one button, and six minutes later, the stain is gone. The trouble is, now I have six-inch clean circles all over my apartment. I'm going to have to clean the entire place once I get rid of the set-in stains. But I'm loving it. Who would have thunk it? I can clean my carpet without the addition of elbow grease!
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on January 22, 2006
I debated over buying the SpotBot (now known as Rosey in our house, after the Jetson's maid who did everything for them!) for several weeks, and did as much research as I could before taking the plunge. I even went to the store intending to buy the less expensive little green machine, but my husband (if you can believe it!) wanted the SpotBot. I gave the machine her maiden run today on several set in stains of various origins that have grown lager over the last 6 months as they've attracted dirt. I was very impressed with the results. I used the "set in stain mode" and the Little Green Fluid only (no OxyGen), for the cleaning I've described in this review. Also, the instructions are unspecific about whether one is supposed to use distilled water or tap, warm or cold. I used warm tap water with no trouble.

The Spot Bot was pleasing from the moment I opened the box because it came already assembled, preventing me from having to do work in order to use a product that is supposed to do the work for you. The unit is entirely self contained-another plus! I was able to pull it out of the box, read the easy to understand, short instructions, and I was on my way within a matter of minutes. It even comes with a trial size of cleaning solution--enough to fill the tank once with the water/cleaning solution mixture.

I turned Rosey on and she was on her way. She is noisy, I suppose, but no more than any other carpet cleaner or vacuum I've ever used. I wouldn't list the noise among her faults--in fact I'd have been quite surprised if she wasn't noisy!

She cycled through, and given that I selected the "set in stain" option, she was completed in about 6 minutes. When I moved her to see the results, I was delighted to find that my carpet in the spot she had worked on looked as new! My carpet was clean and stain free, but thankfully not discolored or "bleached" looking. It was damp to the touch, but I don't think that it was excessively wet, and the moisture was definitely confined to the treated area. I'll know tomorrow how quickly the spots dry.

The water in the dirty tank was the color of coffee (and lacked in opacity like coffee, too)! And given that my carpet is light tan, I know that what I saw was dirt and not dye. I was quite pleased (and embarrassed!) to see how much grime it picked up.

I think one of the reasons this machine is so effective is that, on hands free cycle, it spends far more time on a spot than I in my impatience ever would, the set in stain cycle is about 6 minutes, and according to the manual, the surface stain mode is 3 minutes long. 3-6 minutes are spent cleaning one area, and the results look it!

My favorite feature is that, aside from the fact that you have to turn it on and off, it truly is hands free. However, it also offers the flexibility of a manual mode, which I also used, and which worked quite effectively. I used the manual mode to both clean and to suck up excess water from the hands-free treated areas. I was also pleased that the cleaning solution does not have a strong scent, as I am sensitive to them.

Filling the tank once treated 2 spots on automatic mode, in the "set in stains mode." I also had a little fluid left to manually treat a few areas (which uses less fluid because you can control the output). There was still a little liquid left in the tank but I wasn't sure if it would make it through an entire third cycle and so I refilled the tank to continue cleaning.

When I was done, I easily removed the solution tank and the dirty tank and rinsed them out in the sink. The manual does not specify whether or not the tanks are dishwasher safe, and thus I did not attempt it. However, cleaning them by hand was easy. As of yet, the brushes have not needed cleaning, and, aside from being wet, look new, even after 6 heavy cleanings.

If you are at the store buying this and plan to come home and use it to treat more than a few stains, be sure to buy a bottle of fluid (Bissell's Little Green Fluid for most stains, and OxyGen II for dye based stains) while you're there at the store.

In the same breath, if you only have one stain to clean, you may find some other minor spots you can clean or a way to mix only half the mixture required because treating only one stain will leave you with about half a tank of wasted cleaning solution. As I said, I was able to treat 2-3 stains, all on the "Set in Stain" mode, with one cleaning solution/water mixture.

The fact that, after the cycle is completed the unit beeps until turned off, is obnoxious, but hardly a flaw enough to shake a stick at when considering the unit's other virtues. My other critique is the amount of cleaning solution it consumes on automatic mode. Given that the fluid is about $5 per bottle, frequent usage could become costly.

I searched high and low for a good deal. Sears, Walmart, Amazon, LinensNThings, and Best Buy all wanted about $125 for it. I purchased it at LinensNThings with a 20% off coupon so I was able to save a little bit of money there.

Though I've only cleaned a total of about half a dozen stains, so far, I've been quite pleased with the results. The up-front cost is no small matter, but it is not so outrageous as to be prohibitive either, and is, in my opinion well worth the investment, especially when you combine the quality of the job done with the amount of labor saved.

UPDATE: I've now used the "surface stain" function several times. It removes the spot, but I do notice a difference in the effectiveness of the two modes. (Then again, I don't know what Bissell qualifies as a "surface stain" so it may be possible I was using the wrong mode on the wrong stain).

UPDATE 2: Be sure to empty the dirty tank when the water reaches the "Full" mark. Even though the tank looks like it still has plenty of room, it does not. The machine will leak and will stop sucking up water in both manual and automatic modes if the tank is full.
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on November 17, 2005
I like mine -- not crazy about it but it does work. It cleans the hell out of 8in diameter circle where its "mouth" is, making a very noticeable white circle (I have white carpet). Then you move the mouth and make another clean spot. Eventually you blend the clean circles with the hand held device. It is best for doggy accidents: you just blot and 'bot. (The bot takes 6min to complete a full clean cycle.)

Also, you will go broke if you use Bissell's cleaners. I have found a tablespoon of oxy-clean per fill-up (a $15 tub should last many months) works better and costs a few pennies.

Net review: it does work, it is more labor intensive than they want you to think (but you do not have to scrub) and it is pricy but, I hate to say, probably worth the money for most.
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on December 12, 2006
The Good: It gets out set-in stains, with virtually no effort on your part. The SpotBot works as advertised, but comes with some serious caveats...

... Like the Bad. Yes, it removes the stain, but it also fuzzes out your shag carpets in a nice little 9" circle that never goes away, and sticks out like a sore thumb. Therefore, you need to have a way the fluf the carpet in the surrounding area, such as an upright cleaner or a really good vacuum like a Kirby...

...and then it gets UGLY. The SpotBot is terrible at sucking out its own soap... about three months after you treat an area, the little circle carpeting will start to turn black as the soap collects dirt, even if you use the "rinse" option twice. So... ya gotta clean it again, and again...

CONCLUSION: The SpotBot is great for spot-treating spills and set-in stains that you simply don't have the patience to clean with an upright cleaner... but you MUST also own an upright, to fix the damage that it causes. Don't get me wrong: I like the thing, but its very much a buyer-beware product, since it may cause more problems than it fixes.
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on April 20, 2006
SpotBot works great! No complaints about its cleaning and ease of use, ONCE YOU GET IT STARTED. When I first tried to use the machine, I couldn't get the thing to spray the cleaner. I had to call customer service, since the instruction booklet and the FAQ page online were not completely helpful. The FAQ concerning the problem said to hold the lever on the hose/manual brush for 1-2 minutes while the machine is on, but that didn't work. Ken at customer service knew right away what the problem was, and he gave me the following instructions:

1. Turn the machine OFF.

2. Hold the spray lever on the hose down for 30 seconds.

3. Let go of the lever and turn on the manual setting.

4. Hold the lever again, for 1-2 minutes if necessary.

Within 10 seconds after turning the machine on and holding the lever, the hose was spraying cleaning solution out at me! I reconnected the hose and have had no problems since!

Hope this helps you enjoy your machine!
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on November 23, 2005
I read the previous reviews and ordered a SpotBot, which arrived last week. I cannot believe how good it works! It took care of (excuse my candor) cat vomit stains from an off-white and a mauve carpet, with no problem. (We have three cats with stomachs that must be more delicate than the garden-variety kitty, because it seems like they do it alot....)

We also used the SpotBot to remove a dark stain that was left on the mauve carpeting by the leg of a brass bed - it was really deep and imbedded. I was amazed!

This cleaner isn't for all-over carpet cleaning. But it is wonderful for little (and not so little) spots and stains, without using elbow grease! And the price from Amazon (with $$$ off and free shipping) was about $25 less than I could buy it for from our local Wal-Mart)

I'll never put off cleaning up those stains again!

I am so satisfied!
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VINE VOICEon August 15, 2007
The other night my dog got into the cat's litter box (I use Fresh Steps crystal - those crystals don't sit well in a dogs stomach) and she must have had a really fancy feast. I awoke to her vomiting all over my freshly dry cleaned comforter, and when I got up saw piles of diarrhea and more vomit in two bedrooms and two bathrooms. I'm thinking to myself, "This girl planned this," because just three days ago I had my carpeting professionally cleaned.

I didn't have time to do anything more than wipe up as much of the diarrhea and vomit as I could (and to tend to Joon's stomach, of course), as I was running late for an appointment. While I was out, I remembered seeing a commercial for this product, so on the way home, I picked it up.

When I had finished collecting any of the refuse that had dried while I was out, I approached this with skepticism. After all, it is a little difficult to believe that all you have to do is set the unit down over the stain, press a button, and then walk away.

But that's all you have to do. I was amazed at the simplicity of the design, and how easy it is to disconnect the collection and solution tanks. On the solution tank, Bissell has two sets of markings: one for use with their OxyGen2 product (which I haven't used yet), water, and formula; and another for water and formula alone. Those markings are very clear, and are a welcome design. There are three buttons to press: one for regular surface stains; another for set-in stains, and another to allow for manual use with the hose. When I pressed the surface stain button, I watched for a while as the unit switched between spray, suction, and brush functions. I have to say that watching the product work through the "Hands Free Cleaning Window" was pretty, er, cool. (Yeah, so I'm a dork. <grin>)

I walked away for a moment, and then heard the unit beep, indicating that it was done. I'm hearing impaired, and have a difficult time with high tones. I wasn't expecting to hear this, but I did - as clear as a bell - and I was at the opposite end of the apartment. I approached the unit with skepticism, but when I lifted it off the spot, the stains were gone. I proceeded to set the unit down on all of the spots throughout the apartment, coming back to it every time it beeped. It cleaned every spot.

This was by far the most pleasant, and the least physically exhausting experience I've ever had with a so-called steam cleaner - and that "least physically exhausting" part is a big one for me.

Still skeptical, though, I thought to myself: Just see when it dries; the stains won't really be gone. This morning, however, every single spot had dried, and there wasn't an issue with the carpet feeling stiff due to soapiness.

This thing works! It's easily the best unit I've ever owned.
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on October 31, 2005
Between my kid, my cat, and my wife, I've got little spots and spills all over the carpet. I set SpotBot to work on stain after stain (stains I'd sprayed and scrubbed many times in the past, with no/poor results), and the little SpotBot cleaned them successfully. So far, it's removed Koolaid, cat stains, ink, soup, and spag. sauce, most of which were several months old.

Yes, the beeps get pretty annoying, so you'll want to shut it off as soon as the cycle completes, AND the detergents are a little steep (but just about anything works in this thing, even the less expensive detergents). Be sure you buy the accessory kit.

Yes, this is a very cool and fun item to add to your carpet cleaning arsenel.
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