Bissell 1984 Air Ram Cordless Vacuum


Avg. consumer rating = 86/100 

The Bissell 1984 Air Ram vacuum is a cordless, bagless upright.  Its extreme light weight and swivel steering make it very maneuverable and easy to lift.  It is designed for carpet and bare floors and most owners are pleased with the suction power.  The dust canister is easy to empty and also has a feature to push dust/debris out.  It has a respectable run time of about 30 minutes on a charge.  It is not great on deep pile carpet however and it does not come with a HEPA filter.  Also, the Air Ram is compact and it may be better suited for a small home, dormitory or apartment.


Quick Specs
Type Upright
Bagged/Bagless Bagless
Best for... Hard Floors & Carpet
Pet Hair Features No
Approx. Weight 7.75 lbs
HEPA Level Filtration No
Power Cord Length Cordless
Motor Driven Brushbar Yes
Warranty 2 Years


Consumer Ratings
Consumer ratings were found on a number of quality sites and are recorded in the table below.  When averaged these ratings result in an overall score of 86/100 (or 4.3 stars out of 5).  You can compare this score to that of other uprights in our upright vacuum ratings table.  You can also see all vacuum ratings in our vacuum cleaner finder.

Source Consumer Rating #Ratings
Amazon 4.0 stars out of 5 68
Best Buy 4.3 stars out of 5 50
Walmart 4.5 stars out of 5 31
Kohl's 4.5 stars out of 5 30
HSN 4.8 stars out of 5 13
Costco 3.0 stars out of 5 2
Consumer Reports 4.0 stars out of 5 1


Bissell 1984 Air Ram Cordless

Pros & Cons
A thorough review of owner comments has provided the following likes and dislikes:

- Lightweight
- Very easy to use
- Nimble and maneuvers well
- Decent battery life
- Easy maintenance
- Fast and simple assembly
- Impressive suction
- Works well on low pile carpet, bare floors and pet hair
- Low profile helps clean under furniture

- Some say the build quality is suspect
- No HEPA filter
- Performance not great on deep pile carpet
- Small dust canister

What are Owners Saying?
There are a myriad of consumer comments praising this machine.  The most popular aspects of the Air Ram are its light weight, maneuverability, and strong suction.  Owners repeatedly comment on how easy this machine is to move around furniture or to carry up and down stairs.  The head pivots well and the whole machine just feels nimble, which is also great for folks with mobility issues.  In addition, most people (most but not all) report being surprised at the level of strong suction provided by this unit – especially as it is compact and cordless.  It is capable at pulling up dirt, debris, and pet hair from carpet, bare floors and area rugs.

Another popular facet of the Bissell 1984 Air Ram is its run time.  Owners are, for the most part, pleased with the vacuuming time they get from the battery.  This in itself is something of an accomplishment as we usually see quite a bit of frustration in this area with most cordless machines.  It also appears that some owners are getting longer run times than that published by Bissell which is a nice surprise.

Other positive experiences highlighted by consumers include that the dust canister is easy to empty, that the vacuum is really great for picking up dog hair, cat hair, and kitty litter, and that the low profile nozzle makes it easy to clean under beds and furniture.  In addition, some owners are pleased there is no need to adjust nozzle height when moving from carpet to bare floors or vice-versa.  The LED headlights are also quite handy when vacuuming under furniture or in dimly lit areas.

AirRam LED Headlights

On the negative side, there are comments (albeit very few) that the bristles in the brushroll will scrape some hardwood floors.  There is an option to remove the brushroll but this then limits the vacuum’s effectiveness.

There are unfortunately recurring comments related to build quality.  Several owners feel that the handle is cheap feeling and worry that it will break easily (some report that it has already broken).  Others worry that the dust canister has flimsy plastic parts that will break over time.  There are complaints that the overall feel of the machine is just too “plasticky”.  There are also comments about batteries that won’t hold a charge and battery chargers that do not work.
Another area of some contention is the availability of replacement or backup filters.  There appear to be supply chain issues and people have reported that the filters are hard to find and in some cases are simply not available.  This can be troublesome if you are looking for a backup filter (so you can continue vacuuming while the other filter is drying), but this can be disastrous if your filter needs to be replaced.  The vacuum cannot be run without the filter.

Other issues and concerns highlighted by owners include the following:
- doesn’t work well on shag carpet – the brush just stalls.
- the dust canister needs to be emptied frequently as it is small.
- the machine isn’t designed for allergy sufferers as the filter is not HEPA.
- it really isn’t designed to replace a full size vacuum and will struggle to clean heavy traffic areas.
- some people complain of poor suction (not a majority, but some).
- many people wish this was a 2-in-1 vacuum (could convert to a handheld) but it does not.  

You can see more Air Ram owner reviews on Amazon.

Details & Specifications
The Air Ram is a compact, cordless upright.   It has a 22 volt lithium ion rechargeable battery that, according to Bissell, provides up to 30 minutes of fade-free power.  Remarkably, most folks report that this is indeed the case and in a number of instances owners are getting upwards of 40 minutes from the machine.

When you buy the Bissell 1984 Air Ram you get the following:

- Air Ram vacuum
- Rechargeable battery
- Battery charger
- Washable filter
- Brushroll hole plug*
- User guide
- Manufacturer's 2-year limited warranty
*This is used, with the brushroll removed, when cleaning delicate loose-pile rugs or carpets, rugs with tasseled edges, or damaged carpets with exposed threads.  In these instances it may not be a good idea to use the brushroll - and it cannot be turned off.

There are power indicator lights located on the removable battery.  When one green light on the battery flashes then it is time to recharge the battery.  You can charge the battery while it is in the vacuum or remove the battery for charging. 

Bissell AirRam Battery

When 4 green lights appear on the battery then it is fully charged.  A fully depleted battery will typically charge-up in 4-5 hours. We have read of instances where owners have found their battery not charging as it should.  Bissell provides the following video that may help:

The vacuum is designed for carpet, hard floors and area rugs.  The nozzle has no height adjustment and moving from carpet to bare floors and back doesn’t require any settings or fiddling.  The brushroll is “multi-surface” and is made to clean carpets as well as smooth surfaces.  The brushroll is supposed to be hard-floor safe and indeed most folks find that it does not mar or scratch their flooring – but we have read of a case or two where the brushroll apparently did scratch hardwood floors (we cannot confirm the accuracy of these comments however).  It should also be noted that the brushroll on this vacuum cannot be turned off.  If you want to vacuum without the brushroll you will have to remove it, which is fairly straightforward.

When first looking at the vacuum one may wonder how it is turned on and off.  The handle is smooth and has no buttons or switches.  Power is turned on/off via a foot button that is built-in on the left side of the nozzle.  The button is flush with the nozzle surface.

The vacuum uses a cyclone which is the most common technology today behind bagless vacuums.  It involves rapidly spinning the air pulled into the vacuum thereby throwing the dust and debris out of the airpath and into the dust canister (perhaps a simplistic explanation but more or less how it works).  This technology helps to keep the filter clean and is also noted for its sustained suction while the dust canister fills.

Most folks are very pleased with the strong suction generated by this cordless vacuum, however there are some that say it is not particularly powerful.  Bissell provides the following video related to potential issues with suction:

The dust canister is on the small side and has a capacity of 0.6 liters.  This is indeed small for an upright vacuum but not too bad a size for a stick vacuum (the Dyson V8 stick vac has a 0.53 liter dust canister for example).  The dust canister is easy to remove from the vacuum and to empty. 

Bissell Dust Canister

It also has an “Easy Empty Slider” that pushes the dust and debris out of the canister (image below).  This works well and is, quite frankly, a good idea. 

Air Ram Easy Empty SliderWe are starting to see this concept on a number of bagless machines now as it can be quite a frustrating and messy experience trying to get hair/dust/dirt out of the inside of a canister.

The vacuum has only one filter and it is located inside the dust canister.  The filter is washable and Bissell recommends cleaning at least once a month.  This is not a HEPA filter and as such it does not provide the kind of air cleaning that some folks with allergies or asthma may want.  

This machine does not come with any tools or attachments.  There is no hose so you cannot use a device (such as a crevice tool) to get into tight corners, or a turbo tool for cleaning upholstery.  Also, this is NOT a 2-in-1 vacuum cleaner.  It does not have a handheld component.  It seems that some folks expect the vacuum to convert to handheld – it does not.

The Air Ram 1984 is indeed a lightweight upright (although it is really something between a stick vacuum and an upright).  It weighs in at 7.75 lbs where most uprights are closer to twice that.

Bissell 1984 Low Profile

Coupled with swivel steering and a handle that can lay flat to the floor, the vacuum is very maneuverable.  It is also quite compact and it comes with a collapsible handle that makes storage even easier.

Additional vacuum features include LED lights on the front of the nozzle (a popular feature), a soft bumper to limit mars or scratches on walls or furniture, and a cleaning path width of 10.5 inches (small for a full size upright). In addition, it carries a 2 year limited warranty.

Vacuum Cleaner Manual
The manual is basic and much of the operation and maintenance of this machine is fairly intuitive but there is some good information in the document.  You can find it here: Bissell Air Ram 1984 Vacuum Manual



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About Me


I'm Nigel Russco, a 50 year old professional engineer who loves to review vacuums, and I’ve been doing just that since 2008.  

I strive to write unbiased, intelligent vacuum cleaner reviews and I provide a score for each and every vacuum I investigate.  My goal is to help you find the best vacuum for your cleaning needs.

Also, watch my video reviews on the Vacuum Cleaner Advisor YouTube Channel.