we purchased the Bissell Big Green Machine Professional Carpet Cleaner so our expert reviewer could put it to the test on the dirtiest carpets she could find. Keep reading for our full product review.
Tired of shelling out money to rent a carpet cleaner or hire professional cleaners every few months? You might consider buying a product like the Bissell Big Green Machine Carpet Cleaner. Carpet cleaners are extremely handy if you have lots of rugs in your home, as they allow you to pull out dirt your vacuum might miss and wash the fabric to remove odors.
The Big Green Machine is a high-end model that costs a pretty penny, but it could be a worthwhile investment if you like to wash your rugs regularly. To see if it truly delivered professional-grade results, we put it to the test on the dirtiest carpets we could find. Read on to see how it performed.
Setup: Nothing to it
The Big Green Machine is essentially ready to go right out of the box. It comes pre-assembled, so we didn’t have to worry about screwing anything together—always a plus. All we had to do was fill it with water and soap, and it was ready to go.
Design: Straightforward but oh-so-heavy
This carpet cleaner gave us a workout as we drove it around our home. It weighs in at a hefty 40 pounds, so it’s not the easiest tool to maneuver. Luckily, you really only need to drag it back and forth in straight paths, which we found to be manageable. However, if you miss a spot or need to maneuver it in some other way, get ready to put some muscle into it.
Beyond that, the Big Green Machine has a fairly straightforward design. It has an on/off switch on the back of the handle, which you can release for easier pushing and pulling. There’s a trigger on the grip that, when pressed, dispenses soap; we thought it was in the perfect spot and very easy to use.
We were blown away at the amount of dirt it pulled out of seemingly clean rugs.
There are two water tanks on this carpet cleaner—one for fresh water and soap and another for the dirty water. The dirty water tank is on top of the clean water tank, and to release it, you have to swing the handle over the top. This movement is a little awkward at first, but after a few times, we got the hang of it.
Another plus with this machine is that you can use it with a variety of Bissell cleaning products, depending on your needs. It comes with 24 ounces of the BISSELL 2X Professional Deep Cleaning Formula that we used during testing, but a few of the other options include Pet Stain & Odor, Allergen Cleansing, and Spring Breeze.
Want to take a look at some other options? See our guide to the best carpet shampoos.
If you’re looking for the most powerful, deep-cleaning machine to get your carpets looking like new again, you definitely want the Bissell Big Green Machine.
This carpet cleaner has extra-large “PowerBrushes” that get deep into fabric. We were blown away at the amount of dirt it pulled out of seemingly clean rugs—you can watch the grime get sucked up through the tunnel on the front of the appliance, which is quite satisfying. It even managed to remove a lingering wet dog odor, and we didn’t need to refill the clean water tank while cleaning a medium-size rug, unlike with many other carpet cleaners.
The only downside in terms of performance is that this carpet cleaner doesn’t handle pet hair particularly well.
Further, the Big Green Machine has incredibly powerful suction, so it pulls the vast majority of water out of your carpets after washing them. We used it on a medium-pile rug, and it only took an hour or so until the rug was dry to the touch again. With other machines, the drying process can take several hours, so this is a big bonus in our book.
The only downside in terms of performance is that this carpet cleaner doesn’t handle pet hair particularly well—it even says in the manual that pet hair may be left in clumps on the surface of your rug. As such, Bissell recommends you vacuum your carpets after washing them, which makes for another step. That might bother you, or it might not.
In that regard, take a peek at some of the best vacuums for pet hair you can buy.
Stain Removal: Makes it look easy
In addition to general cleaning, this model claims to remove stains from carpets, so naturally, we wanted to see if it could handle tough food stains. We smeared some mustard, chocolate, salad dressing, coffee, wine, dirt, and permanent marker on an old rug to see how well the Big Green Machine would fair.
The Big Green Machine has incredibly powerful suction, so it pulls the vast majority of water out of your carpets after washing them.
We let the stains dry before attacking them with the Bissell, and after two scrubbing sessions with the included 6-inch “Tough Stain Tool” the majority of the chocolate, salad dressing, coffee, and dirt stains were gone. The mustard and wine left faint shadows, but we think these could be removed with a spot treatment. On the other hand, the permanent marker was faded slightly, but ultimately still visible.
Our only complaint about the hand tool is that the hose is very long and very stiff, making it a bit unwieldy to work it. However, the 9-foot length would be beneficial if you were using it on carpeted stairs.
Storage: Needs its own closet
When you’re done cleaning, you have to empty out the dirty water before you stash the machine away. Because the dirty water tank is on top, we found it easy to remove and dump; it splits in half to make wiping out lingering dirt easy, and you could even spray it with a hose if you wanted.
As for storage, you’re going to need a pretty large space to put this carpet cleaner. The handle does fold down to take up less room vertically, but the Big Green Machine is still, in fact, quite big. One thing we didn’t like is that there’s no bag or caddy to help you store the hand tool and hose. We ended up looping them over the handle of the cleaner, but this is a less-than-ideal storage solution, in our opinion.
Price: Top of the line
This carpet cleaner is one of the most expensive options in terms of at-home rug cleaners. At around $470, it’s definitely a big investment, but its superior performance makes it worthwhile, especially if you regularly pay to have your carpets professionally cleaned.
Don’t forget a top-notch vacuum to go with it. Read reviews of the best Dyson vacuums you can buy right now.
Bissell Big Green Machine Professional Carpet Cleaner vs. Rug Doctor Deep Carpet Cleaner
One of the most similar products in terms of size and abilities is the Rug Doctor Deep Carpet Cleaner, which retails for around $275. We also tested the Rug Doctor and found that it does a similar job pulling up dirt that’s hidden deep in carpets, but it doesn’t leave rugs as dry as the Big Green Machine. Plus, the Rug Doctor has a few awkward features—such as a small water tank and ill-planned “Super Boost” spray—that make it just OK to use. If you’re going to spend this much on a carpet cleaner, we’d say splurge and go for the Bissell.