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Friday, September 30, 2022

Bissell SmartClean Pet review

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In a world increasingly populated by portable stick vacs, the standard vacuum cleaner has slipped to the wayside. Popular vac brands like Dyson and Shark have gone all-in on the portable design, but regardless of advancements in technology, they’ll never be quite as powerful as fully wired variants.

That’s where the Bissell SmartClean Pet comes in; it’s a wired cylindrical vacuum cleaner with the most powerful suction we’ve experienced in a long time – a key factor when digging down into pile carpets to reach that tangled pet hair and dander, which the SmartClean Pet specialises in

Design and features

  • Large dimensions can make it hard to store
  • Motorised brush head with an anti-tangle design
  • 3-litre bin is perfect for bigger homes

Being a traditional wired cylindrical vacuum cleaner, the Bissell SmartClean Pet is hefty and that can take some getting used to if you’re transitioning from a portable stick vacuum.

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It weighs in just shy of 10kg, which does sound heavy on paper, but it’s offset by large wheels that allow the body of the cylinder cleaner to roll around – even on thick pile carpet – with relative ease. The only time I noticed the weight of the SmartClean Pet is when I was carrying it from room to room – on the floor, movement is smooth and near-flawless.

That’s thanks to the impressive reach on offer, with the combination of a very long 9m power cord (which retracts at the press of a button), a 3m hose and wand providing around 12m of reach.

I found that more than enough to vacuum the majority of rooms in my house with very little movement from the body of the vacuum itself, and even when I did need to move around, all it took was a light tug to bring it closer.

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The cylindrical body of the vac is home to a handful of controls including an auto button to automatically adjust suction and manual suction controls if you need more power.

Handily enough, these controls are large and close enough to floor level that you can use a foot to press them mid-vacuum, making it easy to adjust suction without having to put the wand down or bend over. It’s a small touch, but it’s small elements that make a big difference to the overall experience on offer from the SmartClean Pet.

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The cleaning wand offers a unique design compared to much of the competition, with a dedicated handle that allows the wand to pivot from side to side to get better angles when cleaning awkward spaces without the need to twist your wrist as much.
The wand also houses several other controls for the motorised brush head, including the ability to disable the rollers if you’re cleaning a hardwood floor, and a vent to adjust suction. There’s also an easy way to extend the length of the hose, making it not only more comfortable to clean floors but it means you can easily get rid of those pesky cobwebs in high-up places too.

The SmartClean Pet comes with a fairly large motorised floor brush that’s wide enough to cover a good area in a single sweep and sports four bright front-mounted LEDs to help light the area that you’re cleaning and help spot any dirt or debris you might’ve missed.

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What’s most impressive is that, despite the ability to remove the roller for cleaning, the SmartClean Pet brush has an anti-tangle design that means the roller doesn’t get tangled and clogged with hair like most other vacs.

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If you’re in a house with pets or people with long hair like I am, it’s the ideal motorised brush, requiring no awkward tools to free your roller of hair and debris – something I find myself doing every few weeks with my regular vac.

Aside from the motorised floor brush, you’ll get both a dusting brush and a crevice tool in the box, making it easier to clean smaller spaces. The only disappointment is the lack of a mini motorised brush, which is better for cleaning smaller surfaces like stairs and car seats – especially when the main motorised brush is so large.

Part of the reason why the SmartClean Pet is so large is down to the bin, which at 3 litres, is big enough to hold plenty of dust, dirt and other detritus without having to constantly empty it.

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That’s especially true when compared to stick vacs where bins can be as small as 600ml and require regular emptying. It’s easy enough to empty when required though; the bin lifts out of its enclosure easily enough, and the bin flap will open with the press of a single button. You may need to shake the bin to get all the excess dirt out, but you won’t need to remove anything by hand.

Aside from suction power, large capacity bins are arguably one of the strongest benefits of a traditional vacuum cleaner like this.

Within the bin you’ll find a washable filter, and Bissell provides a second one in the box, allowing you to carry on vacuuming while you’re waiting for one to dry. There’s a second filter at the back of the vacuum that’s also easy to remove and clean, but it shouldn’t have to be done quite as often as with the main filter.

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One of the big problems with traditional vacuum cleaners is storage, especially when it comes to larger, bulkier systems like the SmartClean Pet.

Bissell has combatted this with a T-shaped clip on the back of the hose that allows the wand and motorised brush head to attach to the body of the cleaner when not in use, making it easier to store away in a cupboard. But make no mistake, you’ll still need a fairly decent amount of space to house the vac.

It’s also a little irksome that you can’t store the additional cleaning tools on the vacuum itself; you’ll have to store those separately, and that means they could get misplaced further down the line.

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Performance

  • Incredible 227AW of suction power
  • Can dig out embedded pet hair without issue
  • Power makes up for the inconvenience of a wired vac

If there’s one word to describe the Bissell SmartClean Pet’s performance, it’s “powerful”.

That’s mainly down to the 770W motor at its heart, which is slightly above average for a vacuum cleaner of this size – a big bonus considering it’s designed to pick up embedded pet hair and dander, which are usually harder to extract from carpet.

That translates to 185AW of suction power in its lowest power mode and an impressive 227AW at its maximum, among the highest around.

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As the name suggests, the SmartClean Pet comes with added smarts in the form of automatic floor type recognition. The tech uses sensors in the motorised brush head to automatically detect whether you’re cleaning carpet or hard flooring, and it’ll automatically adjust suction to compensate.

I’ve found that this works very well, especially transitioning from hardwood floor to a rug, though you’ve always got the option of overriding the suction using the manual controls on the main unit if you’re not happy with the suction on offer.

Chances are that won’t be a complaint though; in my experience, the SmartClean Pet provides incredible suction that can actually make it tough to move it across the floor, especially when it comes to cleaning thick carpet.

That, combined with the motorised brush head, means the vac can penetrate deep into the pile for a deep clean unmatched by stick vacs. In fact, I found the SmartClean Pet managed to pick up quite a lot of dust and hair from a carpet I’d vacuumed the day before using a stick vac.
Am I a wired vacuum convert? I just might be. It’s hard to ignore the convenience of stick vacs – they’re lightweight and easy to store – but the large bin, impressive suction power and flexible hose of the Bissell SmartClean Pet are more valuable in everyday use.

Pricing

Considering the benefits of the Bissell SmartClean Pet, it’s priced rather reasonably at £249.99 – less than half the price of Dyson’s top-end V15 Detect – and it’s actually just £199.99 on the Bissell website and Amazon at the time of writing, making for an even more tempting deal.
It’s also available from retailers like Currys in the UK, though those in the US are seemingly out of luck with no confirmed US availability right now.

To see how the Bissell SmartClean Pet compares to the competition, take a look at our selection of the best vacuum cleaners and, if you want to automate the cleaning, we’ve got our top pick of the best robot vacuums too.

Verdict

With stick vacs growing in popularity, it’s harder than ever to find a traditional cylinder vacuum cleaner – especially one that works as well as advertised.

The Bissell SmartClean Pet looks to fill that gap, offering exceptional power and a deep clean simply unmatched by portable alternatives, and the large bin means you won’t be making so many trips to the bin either.
There are drawbacks, like the large dimensions of the product, but if you’re on the hunt for a powerful vacuum that’ll tackle pet hair with ease without getting clogged up, the Bissell SmartClean Pet is the ideal option at a tempting price.

Specs

Bissell SmartClean Pet: Specs

  • 1270 x 480 x 300mm
  • 9.98kg
  • 9m power cord
  • 3m wand and hose
  • 12m operating space
  • 3-litre bin with easy emptying
  • 80Db operating volume
  • 770W/227AW
  • Motorised brush head with anti-tangle design and LED headlights
  • Works on carpet, hardwood, wooden floors and multi-surface
  • Automatic floor type recognition
  • Automatic suction adjustment
  • Crevice tool and dusting brush

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