Customer Review

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mostly Great but with a few Flaws, April 22, 2011
This review is from: BISSELL Healthy Home Upright Vacuum Cleaner, Bagless, 12 Amp, 16N5 (Kitchen)
We bought the Bissell Healthy Home 16N5 a year ago. I wanted to wait to review it until I could comment accurately on long-term performance and maintenance issues, but I am a compulsive pre-purchase researcher and chose this vacuum only after researching, comparing and testing almost everything else available (including the Dysons).

First, the essentials. The vacuum has worked great: great suction, not overly noisy, easy to empty, and no breakdowns. And while some reviewers of Bissell vacuums have said the front floor light is purely cosmetic, I disagree; it's saved me from sucking up Legos and Barbie shoes more than once. But it is heavy (the specs say 29 lbs; mine weighs in at 23.4 on our home scale), thus it is hard to lift and awkward to haul up stairs, even for a man. The hose uses diverted power to work, and must be plugged back in (which takes some pressure and getting used to, especially for kids) in order for the floor vacuum to suck--which I like, because you don't have to worry about accidentally sucking up something with the floor intake while you're using the hose. The floor brush also shuts off automatically when the hose is used (even if you forget to turn off the brush power switch--which is another important feature, by the way), which prevents carpet burns--this lack of this essential feature eliminated from our shopping list many brands and models, like cheaper and better-rated (by CR) Hoovers, etc. The included accessories work with mixed results (see below). Lastly, the canister is easy to empty, but contrary to some user comments does not have much capacity: it LOOKS big, but most of the internal space is lost to a clear internal intake cylinder, so plan on emptying it frequently, usually after vacuuming a couple of rooms.

Now for the problematic aspects. While the hose, crevice tool, and even the power brush work great (which surprised me, because the pet hair power brush is powered by hose suction and not an electrical feed), the upholstery brush has bristles so long that it doesn't suck well at all. This may be fine for delicate drapery, but for nothing else. Which is a real annoyance. The extension wand collapses and stores in a clever fashion, with the crevice tool slipping inside it, but since the wand is collapsible and doesn't lock or twist tight, it often collapses while you're using it. Another annoyance. But the biggest problem with this vacuum is that those are the only four attachments: there is no bare floor or under-bed attachment available--not even as a separate purchase. Since the vacuum is big, it will slip a few inches under beds and furniture, but it doesn't fold flat to the floor (and is too high even if it did), so you literally cannot vacuum under beds, dressers, coffee tables, etc., with this machine. To make matters worse, the designers have made the hose and tube to a size that (intentionally, no doubt) prevents you from using aftermarket attachments or attachments from other vacuums. This might make sense (though it would still be a cheap shot) if you could at least buy such an attachment from Bissell, but you cannot. I have had to resort to duct-taping the floor attachment from our old vacuum to the hose of this one whenever I clean under low-clearance furniture. The engineers responsible for that decision ought to be hung.

In short, a (mostly) great performer, with the exception of the non-power brush and especially the lack of a bare-floor type tube attachment. (And we bought ours at Bed and Beyond with a 20%-off coupon.)
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