Bissell PROlite Review



Avg. consumer rating = 64/100 

The Bissell PROlite (17G5 series) gets a wide range of consumer ratings.  It is a bagless, upright vacuum cleaner with automatic height adjustment.  It is liked for it’s stylish looks, easy assembly and strong suction while detractors indicate that the attachments do not stay in place, the power switch does not always work and the power cord is too short.


Ratings Updated March 2016
 Source  Consumer Ratings  #Ratings
 Amazon  2.7 stars out of 5  96
 Target  3.6 stars out of 5  14
 Best Buy  1.8 stars out of 5  6
 Walmart  4.2 stars out of 5  46
 Overstock  5 stars out of 5  2


The PROlite is powered by a 12 amp motor and, like a Dyson, it uses multi-cyclonic suction.  Multi-cyclonic suction essentially uses cyclonic action to “spin” dirt out of the air-path.  This is done before dirt reaches the vacuum filters thereby leaving them much cleaner and able to pass air more freely.  This approach limits loss of suction over time.

This is also a bagless vacuum cleaner.  Bagless vacuums use a dirt container that you remove when full, empty and re-attach.  This approach has gained in popularity over the years.  With a bagless machine you do not have to buy vacuum bags but emptying the dirt canister can be a messy affair.  Some people empty the canister outside or inside a garbage bag to limit the release of dust/debris into the air.  The dirt container on the PROLite 17G5 has a capacity of 2.0 liters.

The Bissell PROlite has an automatic height adjustment feature.  This helps when transitioning from one surface type to another.  On most vacuums this is done manually.  Consumer comments related to this feature extol both its virtues and its drawbacks.  It appears that for most typical carpet and hard surfaces the feature works well but for rugs (for example) it has a tendency to drop too low and the vacuum “sticks” to the rug.  The ability to manually lift the vacuum nozzle higher in some cases would be advantageous.

The PROlite comes with a number of tools and attachments:

· Unique Bendable Wand (for getting into difficult to reach areas – however some consumers find this an awkward tool)
· Dusting Brush (for delicate surfaces)
· Crevice tool (for getting into tight areas)
· TurboBrush (typically used for stairs and upholstery)
· Floor tool (uses a pivoting lint brush bar)
· Extension Wand

There is also and extendable hose that stretches out a good 8 to 9 feet.  The hose is wire re-enforced but a number of consumers still feel that it is a bit flimsy.  It also has a tendency to pull the vacuum over if it is stretched too far, although the reach is quite long.

Filtration for the Bissell PROlite consists of a washable pre-motor filter and a HEPA post-motor filter.  A HEPA filter is useful for individuals with allergies or asthma.  HEPA filtration is capable of removing the likes of pollen, ragweed, pet dander, fine dust, dust mites, – this level of filtration removes 99.97% of airborne particles 0.3 microns (in diameter) or larger.

Other features on this vacuum include a 25 foot power cord (no auto-cord rewind) – which in our opinion is a little short, a tool bag (the tools are not stored on-board and are simply stored in a bag that comes with the vacuum), and a 13.25 inch wide cleaning path.  Also, the brushroll on this unit is motorized and can be turned on and off.  The vacuum weighs in at 16.7lbs and while marketed as "lightweight" and perhaps lighter than some uprights, we would not consider this particularly lightweight.  The Bissell 17G5 also has a dirt sensor, clean filter indicator, edge-cleaning ability and it carries a lengthy 5 year limited warranty.

A review of consumer comments from several quality sources indicates the following common Bissell PROlite likes and dislikes:

- Dirt canister is easy to remove and empty
- Fairly compact unit
- Not too loud
- Appears well-constructed (durable)
- Long hose
- Strong suction
- Easy assembly
- Stylish

- Attachments not stored on vacuum
- Short power cord
- Attachment hose feels flimsy (and can pull vacuum over when stretched)
- Attachments do not “lock” into place
- Some comments that suction can be too powerful (for throw rugs or curtains, etc.)
- Folding wand can be awkward to use
- Some consumers have had trouble with the Power Switch failing

Vacuum Videos
There is a good customer video on Amazon regarding the Bissell PROlite which is worth a watch if you wish to learn more about this vacuum. Bissell PROlite Video.




0 # Jacqui 2013-10-16 18:28
I have a number of area rugs. The two rugs I have in the hallway are a problem to vacuum. The pro lite vacuum doesn\'t want to run smoothly. The vacuum sticks to the rug making it almost impossible to vacuum.
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0 # MP 2013-04-11 18:30
Small plastic piece under footplate has chipped and now the whole bottom of machine is unstable, can\'t figure out how to tighten or replace piece. Bottom of machine drags on floors now and leaves marks on the vinyl floor. Any ideas? We have had this vacuum for a few years and have loved it til now!
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0 # Al Barbito 2013-01-24 19:21
Spinning has stopped in bagless canister making the vacuum inoperable as there is no suction
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0 # Bonnie 2013-03-10 18:57
Has great suction, but blows dirt out allover machine and air. Bad investment!
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0 # Dave 2011-01-20 10:00
I had the same problem with the unit. It ran once and would not start again. Ralphs post was the solution. At the point where the top of the canister connects, the handle was loose. I secured the handle and tightened the 2 screws. Problem solved. Thanks Ralph.
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0 # Ed 2011-04-04 18:00
The screws are tightened into the front half of the upper handle. Yet it slides back and forth.
Is this planned to break the upper handle in time.
Can somebody tell me how to secure the handle firmly.
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0 # Deb W. 2010-11-14 10:22
Everytime I plug in the vacuum it draws a large spark. This happens even when the unit is turn off before pluging it in.
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0 # Gail Fogelson 2010-08-30 15:40
I am sooooooooooooo frustrated in trying to start this vacuum. It honestly can take several minutes of constant pressing of the power switch. And turning it off? I\'ve give up trying the conventional way. I\'ve been reduced to yanking the cord out of the wall. I\'m so disappointed. I feel like there\'s nothing I can do.
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0 # Ralph 2010-10-11 05:10
Had same problem. Handle wasn\'t firmly attached. Squeeze and make sure handle is pushed all the way forward into the base. Then tighten the screws.
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0 # Fern Doc 2012-04-03 18:33
Hey Ralph,
The manual was useless for this problem but your advice was exactly right. Thanks.
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About Me


I'm Nigel Russco, a 50 year old professional engineer originally from the west coast of Canada.  I love to review vacuums and I’ve been doing just that since 2008.  

I make every effort to write unbiased, intelligent vacuum cleaner reviews and I provide average consumer ratings for each and every vacuum cleaner I investigate.  My ultimate goal is to ensure you find the best vacuum for your cleaning needs.