When we first moved into our home, we rented a Rug Doctor carpet cleaner from the grocery store and used the Rug Doctor carpet cleaning chemicals to wash all of the carpets in our house. Fast forward to several years later. There has always been a spot in the playroom that the cat sniffs and rolls around on, our cat has made a messes of multiple kinds, things have spilled, we’ve trekked to the laundry room wearing shoes more times than we can count, and whatever cleaning chemicals might be left in the carpet, along with dust mites and all manner of other debris, aren’t making our house any healthier. We decided it was time to wash the carpets again. And that maybe we should wash them more often from now on.
I searched through carpet cleaner reviews on multiple sites and settled on decided on a Bissell Big Green. This carpet cleaner has all of the features of the ones commonly seen in big box stores, but is consistently rated higher for its solid construction, ease of use, and cleaning ability. Its most direct competition is the rentable Rug Doctor carpet cleaner, due to its commercial nature. It’s available to rent at various locations across the country, and can be purchased in either the commercial version with a one-year warranty, long extension cord, and no stair/upholstery tool or in the home version which boasts the exact same model, but with a five year home-use-only warranty, shorter power cord, and included stair/upholstery tool.
Opening up the box, I noticed the strong fragrance of included bottled cleaning chemicals that were hiding in the water tank. We stuck those in the garage as soon as possible, and it doesn’t seem like much smell lingered. Aside from the obvious packaging materials, there was a piece of cardboard and some tape in the bristle area of the machine on the bottom. The two tanks are nicely sized, and the power cord was long enough for our purposes with almost no stopping to move the plug. Any longer and we’d be running over it all the time. The machine is just under 50 lbs, but it’s only an issue when moving it between floors, and you can always move the tanks separately if they have water in them.
Cleans on forward and backward passes – The weight of the unit matters a lot less when you don’t have to lift or tip it during use. The fact that it cleans moving both forward and backward means fewer passes and faster cleaning.
Rotary brush bar, like a vacuum cleaner – This is common on most home carpet cleaners (save a few), but is different from the Rug Doctor’s brush bar that vibrates back and forth. The rotating bristles mean less fuzz left on your carpet and better cleaning.
Hot air drying – Another common feature, the unit vents its hot air under the deck and onto the carpet, helping to dry it faster.
Two motors – The carpet cleaner has one motor for the suction and one for the brush, allowing each feature slightly more power.
Folding handle that tilts from the base of the cleaner – The unit’s handle folds down for easier storage and the rotary brush doesn’t spin unless the handle is tilted down. The handle tilting from the base makes both pushing and pulling easier.
Commercial quality – The pieces of this cleaner feel solid. I can’t imagine this thing breaking easily.
Stair and upholstery tool – The removable stair/upholstery tool and hose are probably the least durable parts on the entire unit, if I had to choose something to complain about. Even then, it is a standard tool with stationary bristles, a spray trigger, and suction.
Removable tanks – Both the clean and dirty water tanks are removable, making for easier filling, emptying, and moving of the carpet cleaner.
Flow indicator – A spinning dial on the top of the unit lets you know that water is flowing from the clean water tank. If the dial stops spinning, you’re either on suction only mode (not pulling the trigger) or the clean water tank is empty.
The clean water tank has a measuring cup lid for easy measurement of cleaning solution. It was a bit hard for my husband to close confidently while holding up a full tank, but it was solid and closed well while sitting on a flat surface. The tanks were really easy to load, as they just set in place.
The dirty water tank lid (place for attaching the hose) occasionally popped open during use, but that didn’t spill water, it just caused a loss of suction that increased noise and let you know you needed to close it again. The flow indicator was very helpful, as it’s not easy to see the water level in the clean tank during use. The trigger that controls spraying clean water got a little bit hard on the hand after a while, but everything functioned as it was supposed to.
As noted with other carpet cleaners, there was occasionally dirty water droplets where the machine last cleaned, but the only place this ended up being a problem was when cleaning a rug on a hard floor and stopping on the hard floor. No water drops were left on the carpet when we were done.
The carpet and upholstery tool, as noted, is a bit flimsier, though it worked as expected. Since it has only stationary bristles, it doesn’t clean down into the fibers as far, and requires some elbow grease. The sprayer and suction worked well. I expected the sprayer to spray water just behind the bristles, but it actually seems to spray into and through the bristles a bit.
Our carpets weren’t visibly dirty to start with, in most places. Other than one pathway and our front hall carpet, we don’t wear our shoes indoors, and try to clean up messes when they happen. Even then, a fair amount of dirt was extracted, leaving a cleaner looking carpet, though not as obvious as the online demos show. Our front hall rug received a very thorough clean and a huge amount of dirt was extracted. The stairs, though they receive as much traffic as the area in front of the laundry room, didn’t get quite as clean as the other areas using the included stair tool.
The carpet cleaner’s spinning bristles loosen up dirty fuzz from the carpet. Some is sucked up and some ends up left as balls of fuzz on the carpet that then need to be picked up by hand. This was more of an annoyance than a problem. Regardless, there were no stains, trails, dark places, or marks left on the carpet, only a bleach spot from a previous hand cleaning gone awry, and a few paint drops. A squished and dried on black spot of who-knows-what came off of the front hall rug beautifully. The carpet dried to the touch within a few hours, though the stairs took longer to dry.
I feel like the Bissell Big Green worked better and more easily than the Rug Doctor we used before. I really like the ease of use of the tanks, the tilting handle, and the speed at which it cleans both pushing and pulling. The Bissell’s upholstery tool is a little weak, but it seems to be of the same design as other home carpet cleaners’ upholstery tools, so I can’t expect to have gotten better. My carpet looks clean, all spots are removed, and the carpet dried well. Overall, I’m happy with my purchase.
I was not paid or compensated in any way for this review.