Bissell AirRam Review
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|Pros||Very easy to use, solid performance on hard floors, battery lasts a long time||Convenient to use, great at cleaning||Inexpensive, convenient||Great value, good at cleaning hard floors||Decent at cleaning hard surfaces, inexpensive|
|Cons||A little pricey, heavy||A bit loud||Lackluster carpet cleaning, struggles with edges||Not terribly convenient, more difficult to use||Harder to use, loud|
|Bottom Line||This middle-of-the-road vacuum performed well in our tests and would be a good value pick if you can find it on sale||If you are looking for the absolute best of the best when it comes to stick vacuums, this is one of our all-time favorites||This vacuum delivered a middle-of-the-road performance that failed to make much of an impression||This vacuum provides excellent value, offering a solid performance at a fraction of the price of the top models||This inexpensive model cleans decently, especially when it comes to hard surfaces|
|Rating Categories||Bissell AirRam||Shark Rocket Pet Pro||Eureka RapidClean Pro||Shark Navigator Fre...||VonHaus 600W 2-in-1|
|Hard Surface Cleaning (30%)|
|Ease of Use (20%)|
|Carpet Cleaning (15%)|
|Specs||Bissell AirRam||Shark Rocket Pet Pro||Eureka RapidClean Pro||Shark Navigator Fre...||VonHaus 600W 2-in-1|
|Weight||8.1 lbs||7.8 lbs||5.1 lbs||7.1 lbs||4.5 lbs|
|Cordless Battery Life||34 min 52 sec||20 min 37 sec||23 min 12 sec||13 min 53 sec||n/a|
|Maximum Corded Reach||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a||21 ft|
|Measured Charge Time||200 min||150 min||270 min||355 min||n/a|
|Noise Level||74.2 dBa||73 dBa||64.5 dBa||75 dBa||77 dBa|
|Measured Cleaning Path Width||10.75"||10.25"||9.75"||9.75"||8.75"|
|Variable Suction Control||No||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Brush On/Off Switch?||No||Slows the brush for hard floor||No||Slows the brush for hard floor||n/a|
|Storage||Stands up; retractable handle||Freestanding in MultiFLEX storage mode||Wall mount only||Stands up||Stands up; falls over easily|
|Swivel Head?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes; very limited||No|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Bissell AirRam is good but not great, and its price point is inching toward too high for the performance level. It would be a great vacuum if its price were reduced to compete with other budget-minded models, but there are definitely better top-ranked stick vacuum alternatives on the market for now.
The entire point of a stick vacuum is to provide a more convenient option than even top-ranked vacuum cleaners with a more traditional design. Because of this, our convenience metric accounts for the largest portion of the overall score at 35%. We based the score for each product on how well it could clean other parts of the home besides the floor, how much it weighed, whether or not it was corded or cordless — and correspondingly, its maximum reach or battery life — and how convenient it is to store each vacuum. The AirRam gave a solid showing in this category.
The AirRam is restricted to vacuuming floors, hurting its score slightly. While other models can transform into a handheld vacuum, this one lacks any transformative abilities. It is also a little on the heavier side, costing it a few more additional points. However, it is stable enough to stand on its own, and the handle retracts to make it even more convenient to store.
This cordless stick vacuum distinguished itself by having an exceptional battery life, lasting for a total of 35 minutes before calling it quits in our tests. It also charges relatively quickly, only taking about 3 hours and 20 minutes to top off the battery completely. These stats are among the best in our entire lineup.
Hard Surface Cleaning
Next, we assessed how well the AirRam cleaned hard flooring. To do this, we spread out rice, flour, cereal, oatmeal, and pet hair on a section of laminate wood floor, then evaluated how well everything was picked up. The AirRam started with a rather unimpressive performance in our rice test, flinging a non-trivial amount of rice about the room as it cleaned. However, it did a much better job at collecting flour, only taking two passes to get all of the flour — even stuff between the cracks in the boards, an area that many vacuums miss. The strong performance continued in our pet hair and cereal collection challenges, with the AirRam sucking up all of the debris without any sign of a struggle. This metric finished out with a solid performance at collecting oats, though some inadvertently got flung across the room.
Ease of Use
This metric, worth 20% of the total score, ranked each vacuum on how easy it is to use, focusing on its noise level and cleaning options and how well each product cleaned close to the edges of a room and under furniture. The AirRam scored very well here.
This vacuum did an average job cleaning along the wall, leaving some debris along the edge and in front of the vacuum.
The AirRam also did exceptionally well at cleaning under furniture, satisfactorily cleaning under our simulated sofa in its entirety, reaching over 37 inches. Very impressive.
This vacuum has swivel steering, though it isn't the most agile when it comes to maneuvering. Additionally, it only has a single cleaning mode, with no option to adjust it for different floor types.
Accounting for the remaining 15% of the total score, this metric assessed each vacuum at how well it could keep soft floors sparkling. We again used rice, oats, flour, cereal, and pet hair, this time testing on both low-pile flat carpet and medium-pile fluffy carpet.
The AirRam had a similar problem to the hard floor metric when collecting rice from a flat carpet, flinging some of it around. However, it did much better on fluffier carpet, collecting all of the rice without issue.
The AirRam didn't particularly impress us at collecting flour, leaving behind a decent amount. However, it redeemed itself by doing an excellent job at collecting Cheerios, requiring minimal effort on both flat and fluffy carpets, with no noticeable residue. It sucked up oats quite well also, only launching a few flakes across the room. However, this vacuum delivered a poor performance at picking up pet hair, leaving tons behind on the carpet. This performance will undoubtedly be a deal-breaker if you have pets, and you should probably consider an alternative product.
Should You Buy the AirRam?
Possibly. This vacuum offers solid performance in most metrics but is somewhat pricey for what you get. We suspect if you can find it on sale, it could be a good choice. However, with the premium price, we think there are better-performing options in this review. Depending on your goals, we can see this vacuum being a potential option if the price is right.
What Other Stick Vacuum Should You Consider?
Most of the competition is either far more expensive than this vacuum or significantly cheaper. This puts it in a weird position if you are primarily driven by budget. If your budget is small, we like the Moosoo XL-618A which is less expensive and has better performance than the AirRam overall. We like the Shark Rocket Pet Pro if budget is less of a concern. This vacuum earned one of the highest overall scores n the group, with a high for convenience and better than average cleaning prowess for both flat and carpeted surfaces.
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