The Bissell Model 71Y7 Power Force Upright is not only an inexpensive full size upright vacuum, but it is also debatably the best amongst machines currently being sold through major big box store chains around the U.S, even when compared to high end models. With the quality of appliances being distributed throughout the country dropping at an alarming rate, the 71Y7 still offers consumers a good machine at an exceptional price.
Most shoppers are not familiar with this vacuum for three reasons. Bissell hasn't dumped thousands of dollars into marketing it. At $39.00, there isn't enough mark-up to do so. Secondly, the vacuum market has been pushing consumers into believing bagless vacuums are the latest and greatest thing, which simply isn't true. And lastly this is a vacuum sold exclusively by Wal-Mart.
Maintenance on the machine is much easier and cheaper than most of the machines on the market, but here are a few of hints to save even more money. It is much cheaper to buy genuine Bissell "style 7" 2 ply bags, because they are about half the price of the Arm & Hammer bags seen in stores. The belts are "style 7" too, and should be changed every six months to insure proper cleaning efficiency. The exhaust and secondary filters can be cut out of filter sheets. DVC is one of many brands that offer this inexpensive solution to replacing filters. All these products should be available online or at local independent vacuum retailers.
The machine comes with a 20' power cord, on board tools, and a 1 year limited warranty. Bissell is one of the better vacuum companies when it comes to taking care of a warranty claim, but saving the purchase receipt is the most important thing a consumer can do to insure that their product will be covered.
This is a tried-and-true vacuum cleaner. Although it has a recent model number update, Bissell has been making similar machines for years. This isn't something new to the market that hasn't been properly field tested.
Although this is great buy, there are two weaknesses to point out. The brushroller has metal ball bearings surrounded by plastic roller ends. Although manufactures continue to produce rollers like this, when they get hot, the plastic ends can melt. Running the machine for extended periods of time can cause this, but this is sadly the case with most vacuums on the market. The hose is weak. It may collapse and it pops off the back of the machine. Of course, the latter is easily remedied with some imaginative ingenuity.
Although it is always in a consumer's best interest to consult an independent dealer when making an appliance purchase, the Bissell 71Y7 is a no brainer for a person trying to get the most out of their money. This vacuum cleaner isn't going to last you 25yrs like some of the high end dealer exclusive models, but there's a good chance it will outlast everything else on the shelves, even the high end units.