Bissell Multireach Active 21V review: An affordable cordless vacuum cleaner with good cleaning ability

Our Pick

Bissell Multireach Active 21V review: An affordable cordless vacuum cleaner with good cleaning ability

Vacuum cleaners

Andy Shaw

14 May 2021
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Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
179
inc VAT

The Bissell Multreach Active 21V has a good balance of features for the price, and performed well in our tough cleaning tests

Pros 
Good price
Did a decent job of cleaning during testing
Charging wall mount
Cons 
Heavy
Light on accessories
Non-replaceable battery
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The Bissell Multireach Active 21V sits at something of a sweet spot for cordless vacuum cleaners, costing just under £200. While you can certainly pay more for a model with all the bells and whistles, at this kind of price you can still expect a competent cordless stick with enough power and accessories to get your essential cleaning jobs done.

The Bissell gets this just right, with decent cleaning ability, battery life and the right mix of accessories to cover most of the vacuuming jobs you’re likely to encounter. There are a few areas of compromise but for the price it’s an attractive option.

Bissell Multireach Active 21V: What you need to know

The Bissell Multireach Active 21V is a 2-in-1 device. This means it can operate as a standard stick vacuum using the included extension pole and motorised head. Alternatively, you can remove the extension and use it as a handheld cleaner. All the tools are interchangeable, so you can use the extension pole with non-motorised attachments to help reach into difficult corners.

The main unit is 2kg, which is a little hefty for a handheld. Add on the pole and motorised head and it tops out at 3.6kg, which is a lot of vacuum to push around.

The motorised head has a tangle-free brush to clear long hairs without getting in a knot, and there’s a bank of LED lights on the front so you can see into dark places as you’re cleaning.

Bissell Multireach Active 21V: Price and competition

The Multireach Active is competitively priced, so there’s plenty of stiff competition. The obvious choice is the Vax Blade 3, which did a good job of cleaning in our tests and only costs £169. The Bissell is another 500g heavier than this already weighty 3.1kg model, although I found the flexible joint between the motorised head and the extension pole helped make the Bissell more manoeuvrable.

For a leaner alternative, the Eufy HomeVac S11 is an attractive option. It’s significantly more expensive, at £279, but is often available heavily discounted at less than £200. It only weighs 2.5kg and its suction is higher than the Bissell’s.

For the ultimate vacuum cleaner we’d still recommend Dyson. The Dyson V11 Outsize is a hefty model and carries a high price of £699 but it’s worth considering for its cleaning prowess if you’re prepared to pay for it.

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Bissell Multireach Active 21V: Design and accessories

We’ve already mentioned the cleaning accessories that come in the Multireach Active 21V’s box but there’s one other item included that’s worth noting: the wall mount. This is a plastic holster you can screw to the wall and comes with an attachment holder that can store both the crevice tool and the brush, as well as the vacuum cleaner itself.

If you locate it near a wall socket, the charging cable can also be clipped into the holster, so that when you return the vacuum after a cleaning job, it will charge automatically.

As for the vacuum unit itself, it’s a traditional pistol-grip arrangement with the dust collection bin located at the front, the handle to the rear and the control buttons mounted on top of the grip, under your thumb.

The collection bin is relatively small at 0.5l, so you’ll need to empty it fairly regularly and it’s a bit of a fiddly process, too. First, you have to unclip the collection bin from the stick, then remove the filter from the top. Only then can you upend the bin into your waste.

For more significant servicing, both of the unit’s filters can be disassembled and washed in water, as long as they’re left to dry naturally for 24 hours before reassembling them.

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Bissell Multireach Active 21V review: Cleaning performance and battery life

The suction on the Bissell Multireach Active 21V is about average for a vacuum of its size and class. On low power we measured it at 7kPa, which is reasonable for a lower setting.

On full power it reached 10.9kPa, which is perfectly adequate but falls short of rivals. The Eufy HomeVac S11 Infinity, for example, pushes up to 24kPa at max settings, while Dyson’s V11 range gets up to 30kPa.

However, while powerful suction and good cleaning ability usually go hand in hand, there are plenty of other factors at play, so we put the Multreach Active to our usual suite of tough cleaning tests where the Bissell performed admirably.

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Although the front lip of the motorised head is relatively close to the ground, it has a gentle funnel shape and a significant gap moulded into the middle for letting through larger particles. As a result, cleaning a measure of Cheerios from short-pile carpet proved a simple task and it collected almost all of them in a single pass.

A couple of Cheerios must have caught the brushes at an awkward angle and were propelled out of reach, but it was less than 1g of a 26g spillage and was nothing a second pass couldn’t deal with.

It struggled with the cereal on hard floor, however, with the particles proving too large to pass through the funnel without the added traction of carpet. It only gathered 8g of Cheerios with the motorised head and we had to convert it to handheld mode and rely on the brush attachment to scoop the rest up.

It was better at collecting flour from hard floor, where it gathered 43g of a 50g spill on the first pass. This is more than it sounds with only a light residue left behind. However, I did need to use the brush attachment to finish the job off.

On carpet, the motorised head collected 45g of a 50g spillage of flour, again leaving only a light residue on the floor from a single pass. This time, the motorised head picked up more on subsequent passes but, again, I needed the brush attachment to get the last of it up.

The Bissell has two power modes, with the higher power designed to cope with carpet and the lower designed for hard floors, although I found it produced the best results on both surfaces with the higher setting.

Battery life is middling in this mode, lasting 18mins 43secs, although dropping to the lower power setting didn’t bring about a revelatory extension in stamina, upping it to around 30 minutes. Charging takes about five hours, which is pretty slow, and the battery is built into the device so can’t be swapped out.

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Bissell Multireach Active 21V review: Verdict

The Bissell Multireach Active 21V is a good balance of power, accessories and price. There’s a lot of competition at around this price bracket, but the Multireach Active holds its own, doing a good job of cleaning our test spills.

However, it isn’t perfect. Its motorised head failed to pick up larger particles on hard flooring and it’s pretty heavy. It has surprisingly good manoeuvrability for its weight, though, thanks to the flexible joint between the head and the extension pole.

If you have the money to spend, I’d recommend a Dyson over this, even though the excellent V11 Outsize costs three times as much. For a more modest budget, particularly if you’d prefer a lighter model, the Eufy HomeVac S11 is an excellent choice and although its list price is higher than the Bissel, it’s often on offer for a similar price. The Vax Blade 3 is also worth considering – although it isn’t quite as manoeuvrable.

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