BISSELL PowerForce Helix Vacuum Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Reviewed Aug 26, 2020 at 08:02 am
BISSELL PowerForce Helix Picture
6.8
Bare Floor
7.7
Low-Pile Carpet
7.6
High-Pile Carpet
8.7
Pets
5.5
Stairs
6.5
Cars
Vacuum Type
Upright
Bagless
Yes
Cordless
No
Anti-Allergy Filter (HEPA)
No

The BISSELL PowerForce Helix 2191 is a corded upright vacuum. It has excellent performance on carpet and it's pretty decent on bare floors. For an upright vacuum, it's also quite lightweight, which makes it easier to carry to different rooms in your home. However, it doesn't have a rotating head, so it can be difficult to maneuver around tight spots, and its range is disappointingly short. It has a mediocre build quality, and it has a few parts that need ongoing maintenance. That being said, it has a half-handheld configuration that can help you get into crevices or hard-to-reach areas, which makes it a little more versatile overall.

Our Verdict

6.8 Bare Floor

The ​BISSELL PowerForce Helix is okay for bare floors. While it can pick up pet hair without a problem, it tends to push around small and large debris. Since it doesn't have a rotating head, it can also be difficult to maneuver around the room. It also has a plasticky build and several parts that need regular maintenance. On the upside, only its pre-motor filter needs to be replaced once every few months, depending on usage.

Pros
  • Easily picks up pet hair on all surface types.
  • Only one recurring cost.
  • Good-sized dirt compartment.
Cons
  • Pushes around small and large debris.
  • No rotating head which makes it difficult to maneuver.
  • Plasticky build with a few parts that require ongoing maintenance.
7.7 Low-Pile Carpet

The ​BISSELL PowerForce Helix is good for low-pile carpet. It can pick up all pet hair and most small and large debris without a problem. However, it has disappointing maneuverability, and if you're cleaning a rug, you could lift and displace it just by rolling the vacuum over it. It also has a plasticky build, and there are a few parts that need to be maintained regularly. That being said, there's only one recurring cost, and the dirt compartment is a good size.

Pros
  • Easily picks up pet hair on all surface types.
  • Picks up most small and large debris.
  • Only one recurring cost.
  • Good-sized dirt compartment.
Cons
  • No rotating head which makes it difficult to maneuver.
  • Plasticky build with a few parts that require ongoing maintenance.
7.6 High-Pile Carpet

The ​BISSELL PowerForce Helix is good for high-pile carpet. It can pick up all pet hair, and while it struggles a bit with small and large debris, it still cleans up a good amount of it. It also has a mediocre build quality, and several parts need ongoing maintenance. Unfortunately, as it doesn't have a rotating head, it can be difficult to maneuver in tight areas.

Pros
  • Easily picks up pet hair on all surface types.
  • Picks up a good amount of small and large debris.
  • Only one recurring cost.
  • Good-sized dirt compartment.
Cons
  • No rotating head which makes it difficult to maneuver.
  • Plasticky build with a few parts that require ongoing maintenance.
8.7 Pets

The ​BISSELL PowerForce Helix is excellent for picking up pet hair, as it's able to easily clean it up on all surface types. However, it has a plasticky build quality and several parts need regular maintenance. It's also not very maneuverable, so if your dog or cat is in the way, it may be a bit of a hassle to swerve around them. On the upside, there's only one part that needs to be replaced over time.

Pros
  • Easily picks up pet hair on all surface types.
  • Only one recurring cost.
  • Removable brushroll.
Cons
  • No rotating head which makes it difficult to maneuver.
  • Plasticky build with a few parts that require ongoing maintenance.
5.5 Stairs

The ​BISSELL PowerForce Helix is disappointing for stairs. While it's lightweight and it has a handle to make it easier to carry, it has a short range, which means you may have to swap electrical outlets to fully vacuum your stairs. If you're using it in its half-handheld configuration, there's a chance you could tip the vacuum over, and since it has a flimsy plastic build, you might crack the dirt compartment if it's dropped. That being said, if you take your time cleaning each step, it has great performance overall on any surface type.

Pros
  • Only one recurring cost.
Cons
  • No rotating head which makes it difficult to maneuver.
  • Short range.
  • Plasticky build with a few parts that require ongoing maintenance.
6.5 Cars

The ​BISSELL PowerForce Helix is an upright vacuum and it isn't recommended for cleaning your car.

  • 6.8 Bare Floor
  • 7.7 Low-Pile Carpet
  • 7.6 High-Pile Carpet
  • 8.7 Pets
  • 5.5 Stairs
  • 6.5 Cars

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
6.0
Design
Build Quality

The BISSELL PowerForce Helix has mediocre build quality. It's made of hard plastic, but it feels flimsy in a few places like its two wheels or brushroll plate. The dirt compartment also seems fragile and could break if dropped. You need to also attach the handle to the vacuum's body with two screws before you can use it, which isn't very convenient.

Unfortunately, the brushroll doesn't stop spinning when the vacuum is on, so if you want to have it in the upright position and the head isn't high enough, it may damage your floor. Luckily, there's a head adjustment dial on the vacuum head.

6.5
Design
User Maintenance

This vacuum is fairly easy to maintain.

  • Dirt compartment: The dirt compartment can easily be clipped or unclipped from the vacuum. Its cyclone is attached to its top cover, and it twists off. You can also reach it through the bottom of the dirt compartment if you don't want to remove the top cover. The dirt compartment needs to be occasionally emptied and cleaned, depending on use. The cyclone can be cleaned with warm water and a mild detergent if needed.
  • Brushroll: You can remove the brushroll by removing six Phillips screws and the brushroll plate. From here, you can pull or cut out hair tangled around the brush if needed. You can also remove the brushroll belt if you want to check if this part has been damaged.
  • Pre-motor filters: There is one foam filter located in the dirt compartment's top cover. It can be washed with warm water when necessary.

You must air-dry any part that's washed with water for 24 hours before using it again.

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

The BISSELL PowerForce Helix Bagless has one main recurring cost: its pre-motor filter. This part needs to be replaced every six to eight months, depending on your use and how often you clean it. The pre-motor filter also comes in a Febreze-scented variant. You can buy a replacement belt drive if it becomes damaged or breaks, which is nice.

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

The BISSELL PowerForce Helix has decent storage capabilities. While it takes up a bit of space, you can store its tools directly on the vacuum's body.

7.8
Design
Dirt Compartment
Dirt Compartment Volume
0.40 gal (1.50 L)
Full Dirt Compartment Indicator
Yes
Bag Included
No Bag Needed

The BISSELL 2191 has a good-sized dirt compartment. It's made of clear plastic and there's also a line to indicate when it's full, but it feels a little flimsy overall. Although it's advertised as holding up to 1L of debris, we measured 1.5L when it's filled with rice.

Design
In The Box

  • Vacuum head/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

5.5
Design
Range
Cord Length
22.97 ft (7.0 m)
Hose Length
3.48 ft (1.06 m)

This vacuum has a disappointing range. While the power cord is fairly long, its hose is very short, even when stretched out.

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

The BISSELL PowerForce Helix has great portability. It's lighter than the BISSELL CleanView Swivel Pet and it has a carrying handle, which makes transporting it 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

This vacuum doesn't have a battery.

Design
Quality Of Life Features
Rotating Head
No
Power Adjustment
No
Self-Propelled
No
Headlights
No
Easy On/Off
Yes
Surface Type Adjustment
Manual

The BISSELL PowerForce Helix has a couple of extra features to make cleaning a little easier. On the vacuum's bottom back, there's an on/off switch as well as a vacuum body/head release latch so you can place the head in a more convenient position. There's also a surface-type adjustment dial with five settings ranging from 'I' (which is best suited for bare floors and low pile carpet) to IIIII for high-pile carpet. You can easily adjust the dial if you're having a hard time pushing the vacuum.

Note that the brushroll keeps spinning, even when placed upright, and it may damage your floors if it's not raised.

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 to help you clean more effectively. The crevice tool is stored inside the extension wand and there's also a soft-bristle brush for cleaning more delicate objects like lampshades.

Design
Alternative Configuration

This vacuum can also be used in a half-held position with the wand and the soft crevice brush attached.

Performance
7.2
Performance
Bare Floor (Hardwood, Laminate, Tiles)
Pet Hair at 0 gal (0L)
100 %
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
Setting Used Dial Setting "bare floor I"

The BISSELL PowerForce Helix is decent on bare floors. It's able to pick up all pet hair and most small and large debris. However, since the vacuum's brushroll is always spinning, it can send debris in different directions, which means that it may take you a couple of extra passes to fully clean a mess.

8.9
Performance
Low-Pile Carpet
Pet Hair at 0 gal (0L)
100 %
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
Setting Used Dial Setting "bare floor I"

The BISSELL PowerForce Helix is excellent on low-pile carpet. Just like its performance on bare floors, it can pick up all pet hair. It can pick up most small and large debris with relative ease.

8.3
Performance
High-Pile Carpet
Pet Hair at 0 gal (0L)
99 %
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
Setting Used Dial Setting "III"

The BISSELL PowerForce Helix is great on high-pile carpet. It easily picks up pet hair, and although it doesn't pick up as much small or large debris in comparison to its performance on low-pile carpet, it still picks up over half of this debris. That said, you can also adjust the vacuum's surface-type to better suit your carpet level, which may improve its high-pile performance, but your mileage may vary.

5.5
Performance
Maneuverability
Under The Couch
Bad
Under Low Table
Bad
On Furniture
Good
Rug With Tassel
Bad
Electric Cord
Ok

The BISSELL PowerForce Helix 2191 has sub-par maneuverability. As it doesn't have a rotating head, you need to make larger motions to navigate around your space. It can be difficult to get underneath tables or chairs as its dirt compartment is bulky and can get in the way. While it's easier to clean furniture, if you're using the hose, the vacuum can tip over or its brushroll can catch on the carpet. Tassels also get stuck in the vacuum and if you have a rug, it can get sucked up and move around.

Note that the vacuum's brushroll continuously spins when upright. The head should be placed in a higher setting to avoid damaging your floor. Changing the head levels can be a little inconvenient as you need to crouch to reach the dial.

Automation
0
Automation
Automation (Robot Vacuum)
Remote Controller
No
Automatic Bag Emptying
No
Automatic Recharging
No
Schedule Programming
No
Boundary Markers
No
Random Pathing
No
Smart Pathing
No
App Name
No App

The BISSELL PowerForce Helix doesn't have any automation features.

Differences Between Sizes and Variants

The ​BISSELL PowerForce Helix 2191 is advertised as the updated and improved version of the ​BISSELL PowerForce Helix 1700. However, since the manufacturer hasn't publicly listed the updates to this version of the PowerForce Helix, we don't know if the 1700 variant performs differently from our test unit. If someone comes 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 can be used in a half-handheld configuration. While it doesn't perform as well overall as the upright Dyson Ball Animal 2 vacuum and it doesn't come with as many tools or brushes, it can deliver excellent performance on low as well as high-pile carpet.

BISSELL CleanView Swivel Pet
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The BISSELL PowerForce Helix is a better upright vacuum for carpets than the BISSELL CleanView Swivel Pet. The PowerForce Helix has better performance on low as well as high-pile carpet, its 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.

Dyson Ball Animal 2
SEE PRICE
BestBuy.com

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

BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser Turbo Plus
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The BISSELL PowerForce Helix is a better overall upright vacuum than the BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser Turbo Plus. 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 less 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.

Hoover WindTunnel 2 Whole House Rewind
SEE PRICE
BestBuy.com

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 automatic cord storage.

Miele Dynamic U1 PowerLine
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

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 in the hand.

+ Show more

LOG IN

JOIN RTINGS.com

Be part of the most informed community and take advantage of our advanced tools to find the best product for your needs.
Join our mailing list:
Become an insider
EARLY ACCESS

Gain early access to all tests results for new products

Early Access UI
PRICES LISTED

Prices will now be listed directly in reviews and tables

product prices UI
MORE VOTES

Have 5 votes per product category to choose which product we’ll review next

Additional votes UI
UNLIMITED ACCESS

Gain unlimited access to detailed test results in tools and results (no blurred results)

test table UI

Create Post