Two Bissell carpet cleaners side-by-side.

In the world of carpet cleaners, Bissell and Hoover claim most of the market—with Bissell representing 60 percent of all carpet cleaners sold, according to Kelly Moomey, Consumer Reports' floor care market analyst.

Given Bissell's dominance, we wondered: Do all Bissell models perform similarly? To find out, we compare two that cost roughly the same, around $250, 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. 

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Instead, we use the same detergent with each machine. “We want to see the actual mechanical action of the machine and how that removes the soil,” says Larry Ciufo, CR's test engineer who oversees our carpet cleaning tests

And in the case of these Bissell carpet cleaners, the test results vary. “Bissell makes machines for certain needs, based on the chemical solution that they’re developing,” says Ciufo. “But when we test Bissell machines with the same detergent, these two machines showed very distinct differences in how they clean."

So does the Bissell ProHeat 2X Lift-Off Pet 15651 best the Bissell DeepClean Deluxe Pet 36Z9—or is it the other way around? Read on to see how these two match up in CR's rigorous carpet cleaner tests.


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Specs

Bissell ProHeat 2X Lift-Off Pet 15651: The Lift-Off Pet has two options for cleaning: a main upright cleaner, plus 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.

Bissell DeepClean Deluxe Pet 36Z9: The Deluxe Pet is a single unit with one tank that holds up to 10 pounds of solution—it's 26 pounds when empty, and 36 pounds when full. Our tests found that a full tank of solution can cover about 32 square feet of carpet.

Quick Take

Bissell ProHeat 2X Lift-Off Pet 15651

Price: $280

Cleaning
Convenience
Dryness
Unlock Carpet Cleaner Ratings
Quick Take

Bissell DeepClean Deluxe Pet 36Z9

Price: $300

Cleaning
Convenience
Dryness
Unlock Carpet Cleaner Ratings

Test-by-Test Results

Cleaning
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, explains Griffith, so despite its "DeepClean" name, the Deluxe Pet's brushes may not get as far into the carpet as the Lift-Off Pet's. For cleaning performance, the Lift-Off Pet has the edge.

Convenience
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 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,” says Ciufo. “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. 

Dryness
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, scoring an Excellent in that test. On the other end of the spectrum, the Deluxe Pet is among the worst, earning a Poor rating. Here, the Lift-Off Pet trounces its brand-mate.

Noise
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.

The Winner

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, not only does the Deluxe Pet lag behind the Lift-Off Pet, it is also the lowest-scoring model in our ratings.

To find out more about these and other carpet cleaners, check our full carpet cleaner ratings and recommendations.