Carpet Cleaner Face-Off: Bissell ProHeat Pet vs. Bissell DeepClean Pet
Bissell dominates the carpet cleaner market, but CR's tests find that not all the manufacturer's machines perform the same
If you’re shopping for a carpet cleaner, you’re likely to encounter a ton of models from Bissell. And if you buy one, you’re in good company. Bissell models account for 60 percent of all carpet cleaners sold in the U.S., according to Kelly Moomey, Consumer Reports’ floor care market analyst.
Given Bissell’s dominance, we wondered: Do its models perform similarly? To find out, we compared two that cost roughly the same, around $250 at most retailers, and whose names suggest they’re made for homes with pets: the Bissell ProHeat 2X Lift-Off Pet 15651 (at left, above) and the Bissell DeepClean Deluxe Pet 36Z9.
Bissell recommends using its own brand of detergents with its carpet cleaners, but at CR, we don’t test using brand-specific cleaning solutions because some detergents are stronger than others and can skew the test results.
Bissell ProHeat 2X Lift-Off Pet 15651: The Lift-Off Pet has two options for cleaning: a main upright cleaner and a smaller portable pod that you can remove for cleaning, say, stairs or your car. It weighs 24 pounds when empty and 30 pounds when full, and covers about 15 square feet of carpet on a full tank of solution.
In our cleaning tests, we use carpet soiled with red clay to see how well each carpet cleaner performs. Our test engineers run four wet and four dry cycles per carpet cleaner, to simulate how you would clean a particularly dirty spot on well-trafficked carpet at home.
Here, the Lift-Off Pet earns a Very Good rating, and gets more clay out of the carpet than the Deluxe Pet, which earns a Good rating.
Aaron Griffith, Bissell’s associate director of engineering, says that differences in design may explain the disparity. The Lift-Off Pet’s tanks for dirty water and the cleaning solution sit right above its brush rolls, lending extra weight to force its brushes into the carpet and pick up dirt.
The Deluxe Pet doesn’t have as much downward force over the brushes, Griffith says, so despite its “DeepClean” name, the Deluxe Pet’s brushes might not get as far into the carpet as the Lift-Off Pet’s. For cleaning performance, the Lift-Off Pet has the edge.
The removable pod on the Lift-Off Pet makes it easier to carry and use on stairs or to clean your car. That’s helpful, considering its hose is a mere 61 inches long, compared with the Deluxe Pet’s 108 inches.
But the Deluxe Pet loses points for its tank design. It has a removable hard plastic tank with two plastic bladders inside that hold the dirty water and cleaning solution. When it comes time to empty the bladders, you have to lift each out of the hard plastic tank, which can be tricky to do without spilling. The Lift-Off Pet, meanwhile, has two hard plastic tanks.
“This bladder system is harder to clean than the two hard plastic tanks,” Ciufo says. “It’s heavier when it’s full and more difficult to use.”
Despite its short cord length, the Lift-Off Pet earns a Very Good rating for overall convenience, whereas the Deluxe Pet receives a middling Good rating. Once again, the Lift-Off Pet beats the Deluxe Pet.
The biggest difference between the two models is how dry they leave carpet after cleaning. You want your carpet to be as dry as possible because dampness can lead to mold or mildew, which causes an even bigger cleaning headache.
The Lift-Off Pet is among the best models we test for leaving carpets dry, earning an Excellent score in that test. On the other end of the spectrum, the Deluxe Pet is among the worst, receiving a Poor rating. Here, the Lift-Off Pet trounces its brandmate.
Carpet cleaners are generally pretty noisy. And these two Bissells are no exception: They both earn a rating of Fair for noise. That’s loud enough that you may want to wear hearing protection when you’re cleaning your carpets.
It’s no contest: The Bissell ProHeat 2X Lift-Off Pet beats the Bissell DeepClean Deluxe Pet in every test category except for noise, where the two tie. The Lift-Off Pet cleans and dries better, and is easier to use overall. It’s the only machine in our tests that has a removable pod, making it more versatile for cleaning smaller areas.
In fact, the Deluxe Pet not only lags behind the Lift-Off Pet but also is the lowest-scoring model in our ratings.