The Bissell PowerForce Helix was middle of the pack in most ways, but it does offer a longer warranty than most vacuum cleaners of this price, and it is below average for the price of the best deep clean vacuum cleaners (opens in new tab). It was rather bulky and it lacks a swiveling head, but it was able to get our test floors clean.
Its strongest showing was on our pet hair removal test. We took dog hair and ground it into medium-pile carpeting, the type most common in homes, and then counted the passes each vacuum required to remove it. The number was quite low in the case of the Helix – almost the lowest – so that was impressive.
Bissell PowerForce Helix: Main features
The Bissell PowerForce Helix is designed for heavy-duty use, with a larger-than-average capacity dirt cup and turbo-brush tool to tackle pet hair. We found this worked really well, even when compared to more expensive models.
It was also quite good at removing flour, which we used to represent the fine dust that collects on flooring. It required very few passes to get rid of it completely. One problem task for this vacuum was denser debris, including cereal. It tended to fling it out of the way rather than cleaning it up on the first few passes. That was a pretty common problem on the lower-priced vacuum cleaners we were comparing, but it was still annoying.
The Helix also had one very common problem for bagless models – it creates an epic dust cloud. It was easy to figure out how to empty it, but the cloud that it created in the process wouldn’t be fun for allergy sufferers. If you prefer a bagged model, consider the Miele Dynamic U1 (opens in new tab).
This Bissell is a relatively big and bulky model, comparable to many of the heavy duty vacuum cleaners we reviewed, but its larger proportions and lack of a swiveling head made it less maneuverable than other comparable models. At least the cord is longer than average, at 25 foot. That means less plugging and unplugging, even if you are cleaning a big space. Another time-saver is the 15 inch wide cleaning path, which will make easy work of large spaces but may struggle with corners and tight spaces. For these, consider a handheld vacuum (opens in new tab) or use the hose.
The warranty also is above average, which was a nice surprise. Most units offered just one year of coverage, but you get double that with the Helix at two years.
Should you buy the Bissell PowerForce Helix?
The Bissell PowerForce Helix struggled a little to clean dense debris like kitty litter and cereal from our test floors, but it was good at removing flour, so if dust is your primary concern this is worth a look. It is a little bulky and lacks a swiveling head, but it boasts a long warranty and relatively low price.