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Bissell’s 21R9A Versus Bare-Floor Cordless vacuum is a little unusual looking, to say the least. It’s seemingly all handle, and you could even say it looks like one of those roller-cleaners that don’t even have sort of motor. But it’s obviously sold as a vacuum…let’s figure out what’s going on here.
For only having 7.2 volts, the Versus has a surprising amount of suction! When I heard 7.2 volts I scoffed, thinking that’s more of a handheld level of power, but experience proved me wrong. It’s what actually happens when you turn it on that counts!
Part of what makes this vacuum work so well (besides that startling suction, of course) is a unique vacuum head design. Channels in its unusual V-shape help to pick up both larger debris and smaller dust without having to use a brushroll. They push debris towards a central suction, while fine dust is picked up by the V’s arms. Interestingly, the Versus can actually clean somewhat well on carpet despite being designed for bare floors because it doesn’t have an underpowered cordless-style brushroll to get caught on anything – the trick is to run it over the carpet lightly and let the strong suction do its thing.
Ease of Use
The angled arms and swiveling head of the Versus help with corners and around furniture legs, but it takes a little practice to clean along baseboards well with it. A foot-activated power switch is a somewhat unusual for a cordless vacuum, but it’s a welcome addition.
Battery Life and Charging Time
Bissell made sure this vacuum has a great runtime: a full twenty minutes. It does admittedly take fifteen to twenty hours to charge because it uses a NiCad battery, but I didn’t expect such a long runtime from something so spindly-looking.
Speaking of spindly, the Versus weighs about the same as a handheld at only four pounds – it’s pretty much literally about as much a “stick” vacuum as a vacuum can be, with a long handle and the head at the bottom. That really does work for it, however – it’s lightweight and easy to maneuver.
Bissell designed this vacuum with a pretty standard kind of three-stage foam and paper filter – it’s that common kind that’s worked well enough for decades in many vacuums.
The dust bin is right on the back of the vacuum head. I really can’t find an actual size for it on Amazon or Bissell’s website or otherwise, but in use it seems fairly small. It is transparent and I can see how full it is, so there’s that.
The Versus doesn’t come with any accessories – of course, however, most cordless stick vacuums don’t. Replacement filters and parts are easy to find, however, and affordable.
The simple design of the Versus works well to its advantage – there’s no brushroll to clog or breakdown, and really not that much to the entire vacuum itself that could possibly be defective. NiCad batteries have their issues, but this vacuum doesn’t have more or less change of having NiCad issues than any similarly equipped vacuum.
A one year limited warranty is less than the average for cordless vacuums, but in the context of the price range the Versus is sold at, it’s reasonable enough.
If you’re purely going by visual appearance, you might wonder why the Versus is at a slightly-above-average price – it doesn’t look like there’s much going on there. Like I said above, though, it’s the performance that counts, and that’s where the Versus really has it going on.
- good suction
- unique vacuum head with special channels
- longer runtime
- agile and great around furniture
- smaller dustbin
- older style NiCad battery
Appearances are definitely deceiving with the Versus. Going by performance alone, it does great on bare floors, is lightweight, and has a great runtime. The unusual appearance seems to be Bissell using some clever thinking to get the most out of a minimalist design – look a little deeper than a first glance, and you’ll find a great vacuum.