Product Review: Bissell or Hoover?

This past summer, I decided it was time for a new shampoo vac.

After doing a deep dive on the internet and lurking in areas where people passionate about vacuuming talk about their favorites, I decided this vacuum was the one for me:

Hoover Shampoo Vacuum with attachments

The Hoover Power Scrub Deluxe upright with attachments. And, for the record, the attachment feature is not to be overlooked. Those who love cleaning things are pretty uniform in their passion that the extension hose is more than worth it when it comes to cleaning furniture and other non-carpet items.

So I put it on my list for Black Friday and watched to see if it would go on sale.

Then a funny thing happened.

When Black Friday came, I searched for my choice and Amazon results came back and were like, Based on what we know of you, we’re pretty sure this is what you’re looking for.

The Bissell Turboclean Powerbrush Pet Upright.

After reading several reviews, seeing that the suggestion was $50 less than my personal choice, AND designed for pets, I decided to trust them and give the Bissell a try.

It arrived two days ago and I’ve had a chance to use it.

Do I have Buyer’s Remorse?

In short: Yes.

But the reasons this vacuum isn’t for me could be the reason it might be perfect for you.

For example, if you have a small apartment with little storage and not much carpet to clean, this little Bissell is about half as wide as the Hoover and capable of moving into narrower spaces.

I’d guess the Bissell is about perfect to clean a 10X10 space (as directed) before it needs a refill. And it was so slow-going that I only did one session before stopping to debate whether to do more or just return it because the before/after was nothing worth having a conversation unless that conversation was about upgrading.

Trust me, the Hoover (which I borrowed to try) is SO much better when it comes to patting yourself on the back for going through the effort of a deep cleanse. This little Bissell feels more like a light-weight for people who start with great carpets then shampoo them weekly.

I, on the other hand, have a rental with carpet that has seen many people before me. The borrowed Hoover spruced it up. This little Bissell did not.

But it could be perfect for you if you’re looking to maintain what’s already good in a small space.

Otherwise, you may want to be like me and upgrade to the Hoover while taking advantage of the attachment features.

Round 2

After writing the above review, I decided I hadn’t really done my due diligence when it came to writing a truly thoughtful review.

So I pulled it out again and did a different room while accepting the fact that I would have to empty and refill halfway through.

The other main difference between Round 1 & Round 2 is that in Round 2 I slightly overfilled with the sample cleaner that comes with the vacuum, but went with it to see if having a bit too much would be noticeable in the end result.

It was. I discovered that if you overfill the soap it will start blowing bubbles of tank water in happy little bubbles back onto your carpet, which leads to my recommendation:

Don’t overfill the solution. Because soapy bubbles of tank water popping where you just cleaned is ew.

Other that that, I used as directed and let the carpet dry in the afternoon sun. When I returned, the carpet didn’t smell any different. Maybe that’s the whole OXY thing, but I would say if you’re one of those people who likes the room to have a signature scent after a shampooing, the sample it comes with the vacuum may not be for you.

I wasn’t a huge fan, which was why I decided to do one more round of cleaning before finishing my review.

Round 3

For Round 3, I re-did the room from Round 1 using the Bissell Pet Pro formula.

Two rounds of using the sample had convinced me that it wasn’t the cleaner for me, but would I be happier with Bissell’s solution for pet owners?

I decided to find out.

Bissell Pet Pro formula

How did it go?

My first thought when I smelled the Pet formula at work was that it probably didn’t remove pet odors so much as overpower them. One whiff of the scent and my dog was quite content to wait outside while I vacuumed (and stay outside until dinnertime).

The Pet Pro formula is definitely different from the non-pet formula. I have no idea where to find an ingredient list, but I would guess the pet version has some citronella oil mixed with some other stuff that leaves behind more of a scented residue.

Do I love it? No.

Would I buy it again? Maybe. Because the one thing this more “oily” formula does is allow the brushes to pull pet hair out of the carpet more thoroughly.

So gross, but so necessary when you have family members with fur.

So while I don’t love the Pet Pro scent and would vote for an improvement, the selling point to me on the formula was how much more thoroughly it stripped the carpet of fur — especially when Round 1 got next to no fur out when there was every reason for it to get more.

Round 2 (with the sample cleaner) also didn’t leave much fur in the brushes and left only one blob of scrubbed fur in its wake.

Round 3, with the Pet Pro formula, the vacuum left more than one little turd of swirled dog fur in its warpath. And the fur that made it up into the tight areas of the disposal tank are the reason I no longer feel it’s ethical to return the vacuum.

We’ll see.

Maybe I’ll be ambitious and give it a thorough cleaning tomorrow. Depends. Because the clean-ability the machine leads to the main reason I prefer the Hoover over the Bissell:

The Hoover is easier to rinse and clean. It’s like they got all the good patents first. With the Hoover, all you need a screwdriver and you’re set, but I’m not even sure the Bissell comes apart for a thorough cleaning. The tank looks like connected plastic that isn’t meant to ever be in pieces again.

If it does come apart and clean easy, I’ll come back and let you know.


The same thought came to me all three times I used the Bissell: it seems very strategically designed for small-space living. It’s a compact device with a collapsible handle that is designed to fit in smaller storage spaces. For the person who just doesn’t have room for a large shampoo vac, it is such a great solution, which leads me to the final recommendations:

If you have a big house or multiple rooms, something like the Hoover will likely be a better fit.

If you have a small space that you clean regularly, this Bissell might just be perfect!

Also, the Pet formula goes on strong, but its scent fades quickly and it seems to clean much more thoroughly. I’m almost certainly going to do a Round 4 with the pet formula in Round 2’s room.

Now that I know the difference, I can’t not.