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Old 05-22-2011, 11:57 AM
2,186 posts, read 7,682,412 times


Bissell 3106 - 3 Way(TM)/FeatherWeight(TM) Vacuum Cleaner

Rating: 4 out of 5
  • Currently 4.0/5.0

The Bissell 3 Way(TM)/FeatherWeight(TM) Vacuum Cleaner definitely lives up to its name. It is so extremely lightweight a young child would have little difficulty maneuvering it. Despite this, it has good suction and does a remarkably good job, particularly on wood floors and tile floors. I could not believe it was picking up all the hair and dust the first time I used it because I wasn't exerting any effort at all, and I actually got down on my hands and knees to check. The 3 Way does a fair job on low pile area rugs and throw rugs, but don't expect it to pick up all the lint and dirt you see on these surfaces in one or two passes. A repeated back and forth motion is required. Even then, don't expect it to pick up anything but surface dirt on carpets.

As the name implies, this Bissell product functions in three different ways: as a floor vacuum, as a hand vacuum, and as a multipurpose vacuum. Converting from one mode to another is a simple task. The handle is removed merely by pulling out on a release tab and then pulling the handle off the unit, which transforms the unit from a floor vacuum to a hand vacuum, which I find is the most convenient form for vacuuming stairs. A floor nozzle and a crevice tool, both of which can be used in either the floor vacuum or hand vacuum mode, come with the unit, making it "multipurpose" since the floor nozzle is used to vacuum wide areas and the crevice tool works in tighter spaces. Each is easily attached to the dirt container by inserting it into the bottom of the container and pressing firmly.

The power cord on this model is about 16 inches (40.6 centimeters) long, which is long enough for me to vacuum a large room without needing to plug and unplug. The unit handle has two hooks around which the cord can be wrapped for convenient storage. The 3 Way/FeatherWeight is a bagless unit and utilizes a small filter that attaches to the bottom of the main body of the machine, at the point it connects to the dirt container. The dirt container is removed for cleaning by depressing a latch on the front of the unit and pulling. Its contents can then be emptied into a trash can, and the filter can be removed and shaken out as well. Both the dirt container and the filter can be washed in warm water with a mild detergent if necessary. I usually just rinse off the filter (letting it dry completely prior to replacing it) and wipe out the container with a dry cloth unless I've used the vacuum for a really dirty task, such as cleaning the fireplace. Additional filters can also be purchased for $3.95 for a two-pack at this writing.

On the negative side, the Bissell 3 Way/Featherweight does not have a motorized head and works only via what the manufacturer refers to as "cyclonic action," which is probably one reason that it doesn't perform well on carpeting. That being said, I owned a hand-held vacuum that had a motorized head attachment, and it performed no better on carpeting than this Bissell product. There is no light on the 3 Way/FeatherWeight, which makes vacuuming in dimly lit areas a challenge. I would also prefer one more attachment--something that is not as wide as the floor nozzle and not as narrow as the crevice tool. As noted earlier, the Bissell 3 Way/Featherweight is corded, which makes it a bit less convenient to use than its cordless cousins, but the cordless feature comes at a price. All in all, price-wise, this unit is hard to beat, especially given its performance and versatility. Similar corded, stick vacuums offered by Hoover and Dirt Devil sell for $30 to $50. The MSRP of the Bissell 3 Way/FeatherWeight is only $19.99.

Review by professional reviewer, Oct. 2, 2010
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