Bissell Symphony Review
Pros: Top-notch cleaning performance, user friendly, easily maneuverable, combines vacuum and steam clean functions
Cons: Slight mopping gap on one side, no attachments
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|Pros||Top-notch cleaning performance, user friendly, easily maneuverable, combines vacuum and steam clean functions||Powerful, maneuverable, great scrubbing brush, reasonably priced||Tons of attachments, great handling, good spot cleaning, versatile for more than just the floor||Great for narrow spaces, plenty of accessories, solid cleaning performance||Double-sided mop head, hands-free pad changing, straightforward|
|Cons||Slight mopping gap on one side, no attachments||No hands-free cleaning pad changing, few accesorries||Switching between attachments isn't convenient, tank fills on side||Top heavy, doesn't stand up alone, poor cord management||Loose head is hard to steer, no scrubbing brush|
|Bottom Line||Exceptional steam cleaning and great vacuuming performance from one relatively compact device||The best, most effective model we've tested at an impeccably fair price||Tons of attachments offer unique, high-quality cleaning options for all throughout your home||One of the best options for getting in tight spaces and narrow openings||A high quality but bare-bones mop that has a few nice user friendly features|
|Rating Categories||Bissell Symphony||Bissell PowerFresh...||Bissell PowerFresh...||Bissell PowerFresh...||Shark Genius Steam...|
|Cleaning Performance (40%)|
|Ease of Use (25%)|
|Specs||Bissell Symphony||Bissell PowerFresh...||Bissell PowerFresh...||Bissell PowerFresh...||Shark Genius Steam...|
|Water Tank Capacity||385 ml||474 ml||399 ml||349 ml||350 ml|
|Water Fill Opening Diameter||1"||1"||0.75"||1.25"||1.25"|
|Pad Attachment||Elastic||Elastic||Elastic||Elastic||Hands Free|
|Additional Accessories Included||Vaccuum||Built-in scrubber||Built-in scrubber, squeegee, hose, medium cleaning head, small cleaning head, grout tool, small scraper, precision power nozzle, 3 small scrubbing brushes, microfiber cloth||Hose, medium cleaning head, small cleaning head, grout tool, small scraper, precision power nozzle, 2 small scrubbing brushes||None|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Bissell Symphony Pet is a combination steam mop and vacuum cleaner with a 385ml water tank capacity topped by a 1-inch diameter opening and accompanied by a 25-foot cord. Its two included mop heads attach with elastic. Other than the vacuum, this unit has no scrubbing brushes, hoses, or additional features.
As a mop, the Symphony Pet comes with two cleaning pads, one standard and one for scrubbing. We found both to be quite effective when used with one of the mop's two steam cleaning settings. The standard pad makes quick work of standard messes, and the scrubbing pad managed to cut through the most stubborn stains we threw into our testing. Even without a scrubbing brush of any kind, this mop cleans up messes with impressive consistency. It releases an even, consistent flow of steam that does a great job cleaning even some of the more resilient stains just by letting it sit for a few seconds longer. Of course, without any sort of bristles, it does fall behind slightly when pitted against really dried-on, stubborn messes. The small wheels on the back of the unit are also a bit clunky on certain deeply grooved floors, but they still get the job done.
The built-in vacuum makes the Symphony Pet impressively unique and an incredibly versatile cleaner. You can use it as a standard steam mop, use it as a standard stick vacuum on both hard and carpeted floors, or use both at once to clean wet and dry messes from your hard floors simultaneously. When doing the latter, dry tank technology keeps the debris being sucked into the vacuum tank dry, regardless of the steam. This makes it easy to empty the vacuum canister of its contents. When used solely as a stick vacuum, the Symphony also performs quite well. While there are certainly better stick vacuums on the market, we think this one still holds its own.
Ease of Use
Unlike some others we tested, the Symphony Pet feels solid and well made; maneuverable without feeling loose. We had no problems getting aggressive with our cleaning without worrying we were going to break it. Though the small wheels can catch a little on certain tile grout grooves, this doesn't impact cleaning performance. Importantly, the Symphony Pet can stand upright on its own — an important feature while filling the water tank, stepping away to hand scrub a small spot, or just keeping things neat in the storage closet. Additionally, the control buttons are simple and clearly labeled, making it easy to select the setting you need for the job at hand. Both elastic cleaning pads are easy to put on and remove with simple, effective elastic straps. One is softer while the other is more textured; both are thick and well made for plenty of use.
The water tank has a good-sized 1-inch wide opening that flips open on top, allowing for easy refilling. Its 385ml capacity is on the lower side of the average volume we tested, but we didn't run out of water for most cleaning jobs of a few rooms at a time. The tank is also clear, making it easy to keep an eye on the water level as you go along. Our only complaints about the user experience are rather minor. The Symphony does not offer hands-free pad changing, meaning you need to stop and bend over to change pads (not a dealbreaker, but notable). Luckily the pad doesn't sit right against the steam source, so you don't have to wait very long before it is cool enough to touch.
To double as a vacuum, the Symphony Pet has wheels — a rarity for steam mops. Despite those wheels, we found the glide to be surprisingly smooth and easily controllable. The rolling of the wheels is noticeable — particularly over wider gaps and larger bumps in the floor, like the space between tiles — but they don't hinder the ability to mop at all. They're also small enough to be delicate on the floor, never leaving scratches or marks. With a 25 foot cord, this steam mop is right up there with the farthest-reaching models we tested.
The side of the mop pad wraps completely around the edges of the mop head, making it easy to clean right up against those baseboard edges. However, the front of the mop head is preceded by the vacuum portion. While this makes the Symphony very effective as a vacuum, it leaves a sizeable margin along the front of the mop that simply can't reach all the way to the wall when pushed straight forward. It's simple to turn the whole thing 90 degrees and get that last little strip (much like you might with your regular vacuum cleaner), but this still adds an extra step. And as much as we love the ability to vacuum and mop all at once, it's notable that the Symphony Pet maneuvers like a vacuum — that is, it pivots in only one direction (forward and backward), leaving the side to side motions to be achieved through repositioning the device.
The unique ability to both vacuum and steam clean your floors is difficult to understate. It takes the hassle out of needing to sweep or vacuum before busting out the steam cleaner, saving you significant time in your cleaning routine.
The Symphony Pet comes with two different textures of mop heads for regular cleaning and for when you need a bit more grit. Beyond that, though, it has no additional features — no hose, detachable tank, or extra accessories — just its face-value combination of vacuum and steam mop.
The Symphony Pet is pricey. However, considering it combines both a vacuum and a steam mop into one highly effective cleaning tool, we think it's a great value for the convenience and cleaning powers. Of course, if you've already got a stick vacuum you love, this model may be overkill. But for anyone who loves things with multiple purposes, this one is well worth what you'll pay.
The Bissell Symphony Pet offers stellar steam cleaning and effective vacuuming in one device, making it a great choice for those that like to multitask. It lacks the accessories to clean more than just the floor, but if the floor is what you're looking to clean, you'll save time with this high-quality combination unit.
— Michelle Powell and Maggie Nichols
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