Your browser is not supported or outdated so some features of the site might not be available.

BISSELL PowerForce Helix Vacuum Review

Tested using Methodology v1.1
Review updated Apr 19, 2023 at 12:44 pm
Latest change: Writing modified Apr 19, 2023 at 12:44 pm
BISSELL PowerForce Helix Picture
6.8
Bare Floor
7.7
Low-Pile Carpet
7.3
High-Pile Carpet
6.8
Pets
5.7
Stairs
6.2
Cars
4.5
Workshop

The BISSELL PowerForce Helix is a bagless upright vacuum, only available from Walmart stores. It sits near the bottom of BISSELL's extensive product lineup, below pricier, better-equipped models like the BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser Turbo and BISSELL CleanView Swivel. While it's somewhat sparse in terms of convenience features, it has a floorhead with five levels of height adjustment, rare for a model in this price range, enabling it to adapt to a multitude of surface types on the fly.

Our Verdict

6.8 Bare Floor

The ​BISSELL PowerForce Helix 2191 is an okay option for bare floors. While it can pick up pet hair without a problem, it tends to push around small and bulky debris rather than suck them up. Since it doesn't have a rotating floorhead, it can also be hard to maneuver in tight spaces. Since there's no dedicated brushroll off switch, you also need to ensure that its brushroll is set to a sufficient height when cleaning bare floors if you want to avoid scratching delicate surfaces. It also feels fragile in places and has several parts that need regular cleaning. On the upside, its bagless design incurs minimal recurring costs.

Pros
  • Easily picks up pet hair on all floor types.
  • Low recurring costs.
  • Good-sized dirt compartment.
  • Fairly long power cord.
Cons
  • Pushes around small and large debris.
  • No rotating floorhead.
  • Cheap build quality.
  • No brushroll on/off switch.
7.7 Low-Pile Carpet

The ​BISSELL PowerForce Helix 2191 is good for low-pile carpet. It has little trouble picking up pet hair and most fine and large debris. However, it has disappointing maneuverability, and despite its five-level brushroll height adjustment, it can still drag around some lighter rugs. It also feels cheaply built and has many parts that need regular cleaning.

Pros
  • Easily picks up pet hair on all floor types.
  • Picks up most small and large debris.
  • Low recurring costs.
  • Good-sized dirt compartment.
  • Fairly long power cord.
Cons
  • No rotating floorhead.
  • Cheap build quality.
  • No brushroll on/off switch.
7.3 High-Pile Carpet

The ​BISSELL PowerForce Helix is decent for high-pile carpet. It can easily deal with pet hair and clears a relatively impressive amount of large and fine debris, thanks in part to its five-level brushroll height adjustment function. However, build quality is mediocre, and several parts need periodic cleaning. Since its floorhead doesn't pivot, it can also be hard to maneuver in tight areas.

Pros
  • Easily picks up pet hair on all floor types.
  • Picks up most small and large debris.
  • Low recurring costs.
  • Good-sized dirt compartment.
  • Fairly long power cord.
Cons
  • No rotating floorhead.
  • Cheap build quality.
  • No brushroll on/off switch.
6.8 Pets

The ​BISSELL PowerForce Helix is an okay option for picking up pet hair. It can easily deal with this kind of debris on everything from bare floors to low and high-pile carpet. However, it lacks an upholstery tool or turbo brush to easily clean pet hair on furniture. There's also no onboard HEPA filter to trap allergens as you clean, and as a result, it does a terrible job of sealing in fine allergens like pet dander. It has a plasticky build quality, and accessing its brushroll to clear out any tangled hair requires that you remove a couple of screws. It isn't very maneuverable, making it hard to clear pet hair under tables or chairs. It isn't the quietest vacuum on the market either, which isn't ideal if your pet is sensitive to loud noises.

Pros
  • Easily picks up pet hair on all floor types.
  • Low recurring costs.
  • Removable brushroll.
Cons
  • Cheap build quality.
  • No HEPA filter.
  • No turbo brush or upholstery tool.
5.7 Stairs

The ​BISSELL PowerForce Helix is sub-par for vacuuming stairs. While it's lightweight for an upright vacuum, it has a very short vacuum hose, making it hard to clean stairs when using it in its semi-handheld configuration. The vacuum can also easily tip over if you aren't holding it upright, and it feels very cheaply built. That said, it still performs very well on carpets and does a decent job of dealing with debris on bare floors.

Pros
  • Low recurring costs.
  • Fairly long power cord.
Cons
  • Short vacuum hose.
  • Cheap build quality.
  • No turbo brush or upholstery tool.
6.2 Cars

The ​BISSELL PowerForce Helix is an upright vacuum without a dedicated handheld configuration and therefore isn't designed for cleaning cramped environments like the inside of your car.

4.5 Workshop

The BISSELL PowerForce Helix is a poor fit for workshop cleaning. It tends to push around household debris on hard floors and isn't meant for tackling heavier-duty debris like wood or metal shavings. You also can't use it to deal with liquid spills.

Pros
  • Good-sized dirt compartment.
Cons
  • Cheap build quality.
  • Not wet-compatible.
  • 6.8 Bare Floor
  • 7.7 Low-Pile Carpet
  • 7.3 High-Pile Carpet
  • 6.8 Pets
  • 5.7 Stairs
  • 6.2 Cars
  • 4.5 Workshop
  1. Updated Apr 19, 2023: We've updated the text in the review to account for the new tests and scoring methodology in  Vacuum Test Bench 1.0  and  Vacuum Test Bench 1.1.
  2. Updated Oct 13, 2022: We've included a link to the Dirt Devil Endura Max vacuum review in the 'Dirt Compartment' section to provide an example of an alternative with a greater debris capacity.
  3. Updated Sep 06, 2022: This vacuum's suction force has been retested with a more accurate manometer. The test results for the 'Maximum Suction' and 'Normal Suction' fields have been updated. All relevant scores and text have been updated.
  4. Updated Jul 29, 2022: Converted to Test Bench 1.1.
  5. Updated Mar 18, 2022: Converted to Test Bench 1.0.
  6. Updated Feb 16, 2022: Updated review for accuracy and clarity.
  7. Updated Aug 26, 2020: Review published.
  8. Updated Aug 20, 2020: Early access published.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The ​BISSELL PowerForce Helix is currently available in two color variants: 'Blue' and 'Purple'. We tested the 'Blue' variant, and you can see its label here.

If you come across another variant of this vacuum, let us know in the discussions, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Vacuums

The ​BISSELL PowerForce Helix is a corded upright vacuum that you can use in a half-handheld configuration. While it doesn't perform as well overall compared to more expensive bagless uprights like the Dyson Ball Animal 3, doesn't come with as many tools or brushes, and feels very cheaply built, it still delivers strong debris-pickup performance for a vacuum in this price bracket.

If you're looking for an alternative, take a look at our list of recommendations for the best vacuums under $100, the best upright vacuums, and the best bagless vacuums.

BISSELL CleanView/CleanView Swivel Pet Rewind

The BISSELL PowerForce Helix and BISSELL CleanView each have their own strengths. The PowerForce Helix has better performance on low as well as high-pile carpet, it's lighter, and its dirt compartment is bigger. It's also easier to maintain and there are fewer recurring costs. However, the CleanView has significantly better performance on bare floors, and it comes with a couple more tools and brushes than the PowerForce.

BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser Turbo Plus [Turbo, Turbo Rewind]

The BISSELL PowerForce Helix is a better overall upright vacuum than the BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser Turbo. The PowerForce has a larger dirt compartment, it's lighter, and it has better overall performance on bare floors as well as low-pile carpet. It's also easier to maintain and there are fewer recurring costs. However, the Pet Hair Eraser is better built, it comes with an upholstery tool as well as a turbo brush, and it's more maneuverable on carpets thanks to its brushroll off switch.

Shark Navigator Lift-Away Deluxe [NV360, UV440]

The Shark Navigator Lift-Away Deluxe is better than the BISSELL PowerForce Helix. The Shark feels sturdier, is slightly easier to maintain, has a longer range, and is easier to maneuver thanks to its pivoting head. The Shark's 'Lift-Away' design also makes it easier to maneuver, and the onboard HEPA filter results in significantly better allergen-sealing performance. However, the BISSELL weighs less, has a height-adjustable floorhead, and does a better job of handling pet hair on bare floors.

Hoover WindTunnel 2 Whole House Rewind

The BISSELL PowerForce Helix is a better upright vacuum for low and high-pile carpet than the Hoover WindTunnel 2 Whole House Rewind. The BISSELL has significantly better performance on carpet, it's lighter, and it has a slightly bigger dirt compartment. However, the Hoover performs a bit better on bare floors, it's easier to maintain, and it has virtually no recurring costs. The Hoover also has an automatic cord rewind feature.

Dirt Devil Endura Max

The BISSELL PowerForce Helix is better than the Dirt Devil Endura Max for most uses. The BISSELL weighs less, performs better on carpeted floors, and makes slightly less noise. On the other hand, the Dirt Devil has a bigger dustbin that won't need emptying as often, as well as a longer overall range.

Hoover WindTunnel Tempo Bagged

The BISSELL PowerForce Helix and Hoover WindTunnel Tempo Bagged each have their own strengths. The BISSELL has a lighter bagless design that incurs lower recurring costs and it clears more debris on both low and high-pile carpets. That said, the Hoover is better-built, more maneuverable, and is easier to maintain. It also comes with more tools and does a better job on bare floors.

Shark Navigator Lift-Away Speed

The Shark Navigator Lift-Away Speed is better than the BISSELL PowerForce Helix. The Shark feels better built, incurs virtually no recurring costs, has an allergen-trapping HEPA filter, and delivers significantly better performance on bare floors. It's also much easier to maneuver, with a 'Lift-Away' design that enables you to pick up and carry its canister body independently of its upright portion to clean countertops and shelves with its wand and selection of attachments. Conversely, the BISSELL has a larger dustbin and weighs less. Its floorhead also offers five levels of height adjustment, unlike the Shark's fixed-height head.

Miele Dynamic U1 PowerLine

The Miele Dynamic U1 PowerLine is a better upright vacuum than the BISSELL PowerForce Helix. The Miele is more effective at clearing all kinds of debris on bare and carpeted floors, much sturdier-feeling, easier to maintain, and offers greater maneuverability in tight spaces. It also comes with more specialized cleaning brushes. That said, the BISSELL is cheaper to maintain and much lighter.

Kenmore Intuition Bagged

The BISSELL PowerForce Helix and Kenmore Intuition Bagged have different advantages, and one may suit you better depending on your needs. The bagless BISSELL has lower recurring costs, a lighter design, and performs better on low and high-pile carpet. Meanwhile, the Kenmore is better-built, easier to maintain, and performs better on bare floors. It's also a little more maneuverable thanks to its 'Lift-Up' design and pivoting floorhead.

Sanitaire PROFESSIONAL Upright

The BISSELL PowerForce Helix is a better upright vacuum than the Sanitaire PROFESSIONAL Upright. The BISSELL is better built, incurs lower recurring costs since it doesn't use disposable dirtbags, and is more portable. It also offers significantly better performance on all surface types. However, the Sanitaire has a better range and is easier to maintain thanks to its bagged design.

Dyson Ball Animal 2 Total Clean/Origin

The Dyson Ball Animal 2 is a better upright vacuum than the BISSELL PowerForce Helix. The Dyson has a better performance on all surface types, it's more maneuverable, it's easier to maintain, and it has virtually no recurring costs. It has a longer range and comes with more tools and brushes. However, the BISSELL is lighter and has a slightly bigger dirt compartment.

+ Show more

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
6.0
Design
Build Quality
Vacuum Type
Upright

Build quality is mediocre. The vacuum's mainly hard plastic construction flexes and creaks while in use and has a couple of obvious weak points, like its floorhead wheels, brushroll cover, and dirt compartment.

Out-of-the-box assembly isn't too difficult, though you do still need to attach the handle to the vacuum's body with a pair of screws.

5.5
Design
User Maintenance

The BISSELL PowerForce Helix can be a bit of a hassle to clean.

  • Dirt compartment/Cyclone: The dirt compartment can be easily clipped or unclipped from the vacuum. The cyclone is attached to its top cover, and you can twist it free of its housing, though you can also access it from the bottom of the dirt compartment. The dirt compartment needs regular emptying. You can clean the cyclone with warm water and a mild detergent if necessary, though the manufacturer doesn't give a specific maintenance interval.
  • Brushroll: Accessing the brushroll is a bit of a hassle, as you need to unscrew six screws to take off the brush guard; you'll have even more trouble accessing the roller if you accidentally strip any of these plastic screws, so avoid applying too much torque when removing them. While you can pull away any tangled hair by hand, it's a lot easier to use a pair of scissors since longer strands of hair tend to get wrapped pretty tight around the roller. It's also worth noting that it's somewhat hard to properly line up the brushroll so that it fits properly within its housing. You can also remove the brushroll belt if you want to check for damage or to see if it's been stretched out.
  • Pre-motor filter: The foam filter is located in the dirt compartment's top cover. You have to wash it with warm water when necessary.

You must air-dry any part that's washed with water for 24 hours before putting it back into the vacuum.

7.5
Design
Recurring Cost
Bag Part Number No bag
Filter Part Number 1608225
HEPA Filter Part Number No HEPA Filter

Recurring costs are low.

  • Pre-motor filter: This part needs to be replaced every six to eight months, depending on your usage and maintenance habits. A replacement can be purchased here.

7.1
Design
Storing
Height
43.50" (110.5 cm)
Width
13.39" (34.0 cm)
Depth
14.76" (37.5 cm)
Cord Storing
Manual
On-Board Tool Storage
Yes
Vacuum Rack/Station
No

The BISSELL PowerForce Helix is decently easy to store. While it takes up a bit of space, you can store its tools directly on the vacuum's body. You'll have to wind up its cord manually, which can be a bit of a nuisance considering its length.

8.0
Design
Dirt Compartment
Bagless
Yes
Volume
0.40 gal (1.50 L)
Full Indicator
Yes
Bag Included
No Bag Needed

The dirt compartment is great. It's made of clear plastic, and there's also a clearly visible max fill line, so you can easily tell how full it is at a glance. Although it's advertised as holding up to 1L of debris, its actual measured capacity is closer to 1.5L. If you want a budget-friendly bagless vacuum with an even larger dustbin, you could consider the Dirt Devil Endura Max.

Design
In The Box

  • Main body
  • Vacuum handle
  • Dirt compartment
  • Inner cyclone
  • Crevice tool
  • Extension wand
  • Soft bristle brush
  • Turbo brush
  • Lower cord wrap
  • Filter cover
  • Pre-motor filter (foam)
  • User guide

6.1
Design
Range
Cordless
No
Cord Length
22.97 ft (7.0 m)
Hose Length
3.48 ft (1.06 m)
Minimum Wand Length
1.25 ft (0.38 m)
Maximum Wand Length
2.92 ft (0.89 m)
Total Range
25.89 ft (7.89 m)

This vacuum has a mediocre range. While the power cord is fairly long, its hose is very short, even when stretched out, which makes it difficult to clean hard-to-reach spots like shelves.

8.0
Design
Portability
Total Weight
10.36 lbs (4.70 kg)
Weight In Hand
1.63 lbs (0.74 kg)
Carrying handle
Yes

This vacuum is pretty portable. Despite its somewhat bulky size, much lighter than other full-size bagless uprights like the BISSELL CleanView Swivel. It also has a built-in carrying handle, which makes transporting from room to room even easier.

0
Design
Battery
Minimum Battery Life
N/A
Maximum Battery Life
N/A
Recharge Time
N/A
Recharge Dock
No
Battery Life Indicator
No
Removable Batteries
No
Design
Quality Of Life Features
Rotating Head
No
Power Adjustment
No
Self-Propelled
No
Headlights
No
Easy On/Off
Yes
Head Surface Type Adjustment
Manual

This vacuum has a few quality-of-life features. There's an on/off switch at the bottom of the vacuum as well as a body/head release latch so you can place the head in a more convenient position. There's also a five-level surface-type adjustment dial on the floorhead. These surface settings range from 'I', best suited for bare floors and low pile carpet, to 'IIIII', intended for very dense high-pile carpet. You can easily adjust the dial if you're having a hard time pushing the vacuum.

Note: The brushroll keeps spinning, even when the vacuum is upright, and it can damage delicate, easily scratched surfaces if you don't raise it.

Design
Tools And Brushes
Brushroll
Yes
Brushroll On/Off
No
Removable Brushroll
Yes
Turbo Brush
No
Crevice Tool
Yes
Upholstery Tool
No
Soft Bristle Brush
Yes
Hard Bristle Brush
No
Extension Wand
Yes
Ceiling Fan Tool
No
Pet Grooming Tool
No

The BISSELL PowerForce Helix comes with a couple of extra tools. You can store the crevice tool inside the extension wand, and there's also a soft-bristle brush for cleaning more delicate objects like lampshades.

Design
Alternative Configuration
Blower Mode
No

You can clean hard-to-reach areas using the vacuum's hose in its semi-handheld configuration.

Performance
6.8
Performance
Bare Floor Performance (Hardwood, Laminate, Tiles)
Setting Used Dial Setting "bare floor I"
Large Debris at 0 gal (0L) 87%
Large Debris at 0.07 gal (0.25L) 87%
Large Debris at 0.2 gal (0.75L) 87%
Large Debris at 0.4 gal (1.5L) 88%
Large Debris at 0.8 gal (3L) N/A
Large Debris at 1.6 gal (6L) N/A
Small Debris at 0 gal (0L) 88%
Small Debris at 0.07 gal (0.25L) 88%
Small Debris at 0.2 gal (0.75L) 89%
Small Debris at 0.4 gal (1.5L) 89%
Small Debris at 0.8 gal (3L) N/A
Small Debris at 1.6 gal (6L) N/A

Performance on bare floors is okay. The vacuum clears away the majority of bulky debris like whole pieces of cereal and smaller material like rice. However, since the vacuum's brushroll is always spinning, it can send debris scattering everywhere, so it might take a couple of extra passes to fully clean a mess. If you want an upright vacuum that performs better on this surface type, consider the Hoover WindTunnel 2 Whole House Rewind.

8.8
Performance
Low-Pile Carpet Performance
Setting Used Dial Setting "bare floor I"
Large Debris at 0 gal (0L) 86%
Large Debris at 0.07 gal (0.25L) 86%
Large Debris at 0.2 gal (0.75L) 86%
Large Debris at 0.4 gal (1.5L) 86%
Large Debris at 0.8 gal (3L) N/A
Large Debris at 1.6 gal (6L) N/A
Small Debris at 0 gal (0L) 93%
Small Debris at 0.07 gal (0.25L) 92%
Small Debris at 0.2 gal (0.75L) 91%
Small Debris at 0.4 gal (1.5L) 89%
Small Debris at 0.8 gal (3L) N/A
Small Debris at 1.6 gal (6L) N/A

Debris pickup on low-pile carpet is excellent. It won't take more than two or three passes to clear away fine material like baking soda or larger debris like sand. Suction performance remains fairly consistent as its dustbin fills up, which is good if you have several large messes to deal with and don't feel like emptying the dustbin frequently.

8.0
Performance
High-Pile Carpet Performance
Setting Used Dial Setting "III"
Large Debris at 0 gal (0L) 63%
Large Debris at 0.07 gal (0.25L) 63%
Large Debris at 0.2 gal (0.75L) 63%
Large Debris at 0.4 gal (1.5L) 63%
Large Debris at 0.8 gal (3L) N/A
Large Debris at 1.6 gal (6L) N/A
Small Debris at 0 gal (0L) 76%
Small Debris at 0.07 gal (0.25L) 75%
Small Debris at 0.2 gal (0.75L) 71%
Small Debris at 0.4 gal (1.5L) 65%
Small Debris at 0.8 gal (3L) N/A
Small Debris at 1.6 gal (6L) N/A

The BISSELL PowerForce Helix is great on high-pile carpet. It can clear away fine debris like baking soda and larger debris like sand on high-pile carpeting within two or three passes.

10
Performance
Pet Hair Floor Performance
Bare Floor
100%
Low-Pile Carpet
100%
High-Pile Carpet
99%

This vacuum does a fantastic job of handling pet hair on bare floors as well as low and high-pile carpet. Unfortunately, its brushroll tends to collect a lot of pet hair and can be a bit of a hassle to access.

3.3
Performance
Suction
Maximum Suction
1.0 inH₂O (0.24 kPa)
Setting Used For Maximum Dial Setting "bare floor I"
Normal Suction
1.0 inH₂O (0.24 kPa)
Setting Used For Normal Dial Setting "bare floor I"
Hose Diameter
1.4" (3.5 cm)

This vacuum exerts little in the way of suction force at its floorhead, which is too high above the ground to generate a tight seal. Thankfully, its height-adjustable brushroll helps provide a good amount of surface agitation to most surfaces, so its lack of suction output isn't too noticeable when deep-cleaning surfaces like high-pile carpeting.

7.4
Performance
Noise
Bare Floor
81.5 dBA
Low-Pile Carpet
78.6 dBA

This is a pretty noisy vacuum, as it can easily mask nearby conversation if it's running within the same room. The bulk of the noise comes from the vacuum's brushroll, which is always spinning.

5.5
Performance
Maneuverability

The BISSELL PowerForce Helix has sub-par maneuverability. Since it doesn't have a rotating head like the Kenmore Intuition Bagged, you need to make larger-radius turns to navigate around obstacles. It can be difficult to get underneath tables or chairs due to its bulky dirt compartment. While it's easier to clean furniture if you're cleaning with the hose, the vacuum can still tip over or have its brushroll catch on carpets and rugs. Unlike the Hoover WindTunnel Tempo Bagged, which has a brushroll you can turn on and off, rug tassels can get stuck in BISSELL's brushroll, forcing you to turn the vacuum off to clear any obstructions.

The vacuum's brushroll continuously spins when upright. The head has to be placed in a higher setting to avoid damaging bare floors like hardwood or vinyl. Changing the head levels can be a little inconvenient as you need to crouch to reach the dial.

7.0
Performance
Pet Hair Furniture Performance
Sofa Pickup Post Test

This vacuum is decently effective when clearing pet hair on furniture. Its soft-bristle brush is somewhat effective when collecting pet hair on fabric, though hair does tend to collect in its bristles very easily, forcing you to clean it periodically. A turbo brush or a straight-suction upholstery tool would be more efficient for this kind of task.

Performance
Air Quality
Anti-Allergy Filter (HEPA)
No

This vacuum does a terrible job of sealing in allergens. It lacks a HEPA filter and doesn't have a sealed construction, so fine particles can escape from its exhaust and gaps in its body.

5.0
Performance
Cracks
Wood Cracks Post Test

This vacuum does a poor job of cleaning cracks. It doesn't generate enough suction power to draw out debris from crevices, and its brushroll is a little too high to scrape out material in deeper cracks. Use the vacuum in its semi-handheld configuration with its crevice tool for this kind of task.

1.0
Performance
Stains
Stain Pickup Post Test

This vacuum has no impact on dried-on stains.

0
Performance
Water
Wet Compatible
No
Water Pickup Post Test
Automation
0
Automation
Physical Automation
Automatic Recharging
No
Automatic Bag Emptying
No
Pathing Algorithm
No Pathing Algorithm
Physical Boundary Markers
No
Scheduled Start Buttons
No
Cycle Control Buttons
No
Navigation Control Buttons
No
0
Automation
Companion App Automation
App Name
No App
iOS Availability
No
Android Availability
No
Software Boundary Markers (No Go Zones)
No
App Scheduled Start
No
App Cycle Control
No
Navigation Control within App
No