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Bissell Adapt ION XRT Cordless Stick Review

Bissell Adapt ION XRT 2-in-1 cordless stick vacuum

The Adapt ION XRT (Model#2387) is a 2-in-1 cordless stick vacuum that’s great for quickly cleaning up small messes and touching up your floors.  It is recommended for hard floors or low-pile carpet and has the freedom to turn off the brushroll or adjust the suction power to low or high.  The detachable handheld vacuum can be used to clean furniture, vehicle interiors, or anywhere you can reach.

Pros
  • Brushroll On/Off Controls
  • 2 speed settings
  • Power On/Off and other controls are conveniently located at the top of the handle
  • The detachable handheld vacuum makes this a versatile stick vacuum
  • Washable Filter
  • Swivel Steering
Cons
  • Some reports of battery failure within 3 to 6 months (we’re still testing our unit)
  • Very small dustbin – 0.16 liters to Fill line
  • Weak suction compared to Shark and Dyson cordless stick vacuums
  • Emptying the dustbin is a little more work than other cordless vacuums we’ve tested
  • The attachments can’t be stored onboard the vacuum, which is common with cordless vacuums

You’re In The Right Place

If you’re interested in looking at how other vacuums from Bissell perform, then check out our Bissell Vacuum Overview for a summary of all Bissell vacuums and links to our other reviews.

Important Note: As of June 2019, we are continuing to test the Bissell Adapt ION XRT 2387 Series for regular home use to determine how reliable the battery is for our model.  We will update this review if we experience trouble with the battery.

Battery duration of first use on carpet: 17 minutes and 22 seconds


You may be familiar with the Bissell Bolt Series, which is one of Bissell’s popular 2-in-1 cordless vacuum lineups.  The Adapt ION XRT follows a similar design; in fact, you’d have a difficult time telling them apart.

One of the big problems with some of the lower-end Bissell Bolt models was that they had a nickel-metal hydride battery.  These types of batteries are very cheap and require some effort to charge correctly to maintain the battery properly.  Thankfully, the Adapt ION XRT has a lithium-ion battery.  Everything is fine then, right?

Well, the biggest complaint from customer reviews about the Adapt ION XRT is the battery life and battery failure.  Even though we tested the vacuum ourselves, we always like to see what experiences other people have had, especially when it comes to long-term use of the vacuum or quality concerns.

The Bissell Adapt models also have some instances where users reported a complete failure of the battery to hold any charge.  The Bissell Adapt ION XRT has a 1-year warranty, so if you do decide to purchase, be sure to register and take advantage of the warranty.

Another small problem…

The vacuum doesn’t stand up on its own when sitting on carpet with the handle folded back.  This seems to be true on all but the lowest pile carpet, which you probably don’t have in your home.   The reason for this is when you fold the handle down it moves the center of mass of the vacuum toward the back, and the soft carpet gives it enough room to tilt backward and fall.

To be clear, it can stand up on its own when on hard flooring or carpet as long as you don’t fold the handle down.  When the handle is fully extended, and it’s sitting on carpet it’s extremely easy to knock over, so be mindful.

Specifications

Battery Run time20 minutes
Charge Time9 Hours
Brushroll Control
Folding Handle
Swivel Steering
Attachments Crevice Tool, and combination Upholstery and Dusting Brush Tool
Dustbin Capacity0.16 liters to Fill line
Washable Filter
Recommended forHard floors or low-pile carpet
Weight5.8 lbs
Warranty1-year Limited
Model#2387

Design

All pieces of the Bissell Adapt ION XRT 2387 Series out of the box
Bissell Adapt ION XRT 2387 Series

Bissell’s 2-in-1 cordless vacuums are mostly a handvac with a stick vacuum body built around it.  This style of cordless vacuums was one of the earliest with the 2-in-1 style becoming very popular along with the likes of the Hoover Linx and Shark Rotator Freestyle.

The 2-in-1 style has evolved to the popular and powerful Dyson V-Series and Shark ION design where the handheld portion of the vacuum is in the user’s hands instead of being housed in a miniature upright vacuum frame.

Their innovative designs have allowed Shark and Dyson to create cordless vacuums with fantastic battery life and dustbin capacity that blows away the competition.  However, it is more costly than the Bissell Adapt or Bissell Bolt Series.

The Handheld

Bissell Adapt ION XRT handheld
The handheld detached from the stick vacuum body

The handheld is about 18 inches long and houses the motor, filters, and dustbin.  The motorized brushroll on the cleaner head is powered by the battery on the handheld.  There is a power button on the handheld itself and the stick vacuum body so you don’t have to bend over to turn it on when using the vacuum in stick mode.

 

Detaching the dustbin from the handheld

Emptying the dustbin requires you to remove the handheld from the stick vacuum body, detach the dustbin from the handheld, and remove the filter from the dustbin itself.  It’s a little more work than we’re used to with cordless stick vacuums, like the Dyson V10 or Shark ION F80, but it works.

Removing the filter housing from the dustbin
Mesh guard and washable filter

The metal mesh that looks almost like a reusable coffee cup filter is the first line of defense for keeping large debris and dust out the vacuum’s exhaust.  Both the washable filter and metal mesh filter should be cleaned when it’s time to clean the filter.  As with all washable vacuum filters, you should let it dry for 24 hours after washing it.

 

The Dustbin

The dustbin on the Adapt ION XRT is small, really small.  Bissell says the dustbin capacity is 0.45 liters.

Hold up.  There’s no way that’s right.  At least not up to the “Fill” line.

To test this, we filled the dustbin with water up to the “Fill” line and measured it to be 162 grams, which is about 0.16 liters of water.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a manufacturer claim a volume that is something higher than the volume marked off by the Fill line.  If the Fill line is meant to be ignored, then why put it there in the first place?

The suction pulls debris through the opening at the bottom of the dustbin, and the flap closes when the vacuum is turned off to prevent debris from falling back out.  You do get a slightly more effective volume since debris tends to pile up around the opening.  The problem we noticed is debris does tend to get stuck between the flap and the opening, so debris does occasionally fall out if you turn the vacuum off while it’s overfilled.

Debris enters the dustbin through the opening covered by this flap

Here’s a quick look at how the dustbin on the Bissell Adapt ION XRT compares to some other cordless vacuums.

Bissell AirRamDyson V10Dyson V8Shark ION F80Bissell Adapt XRT Pet
0.6 liters0.75 liters0.53 liters0.3 liters0.16 liters
7.75 lbs5.9 lbs5.75 lbs8.7 lbs5.8 lbs
View at AmazonView at AmazonView at AmazonView at AmazonView at Amazon

Using the Adapt ION XRT in Stick Vacuum Mode

You may be used to seeing the Dyson V-series or Shark ION cordless vacuums where the handheld is the part of the vacuum you hold and the rest of the vacuum extends from it.  Below you can see the handheld attached to the stick vacuum body.  There’s no long pipe between the handheld and the cleaner head, so this design is more like a miniature version of a traditional upright vacuum.  

Handheld attached to the stick vacuum body

Conveniently, you can power on the vacuum, turn the brushroll on or off, and adjust the vacuum power from low to high using buttons on the handle.  Turning the brushroll off when vacuuming hard floors is sometimes needed if you see debris getting thrown around instead of suctioned up, and some cordless vacuums don’t have this feature.

Obviously, you can use the low power setting to preserve battery life, but you’ll probably want to get all the suction power you can.

Bissell Adapt ION XRT controls on handle
Bissell Adapt ION XRT controls on handle

The cleaner head is just shy of 2 inches tall so it can easily fit under most furniture.  The vacuum body does tilt back all the way flat so you can get to those hard to reach places.  You do have to be careful not to knock the handheld loose from the stick body when vacuuming under furniture.  If it does come loose the brushroll will turn off and you just need to lock the handheld back into place.  It’s not too easy to knock off, but it did happen while vacuuming under our dining room table.

Measuring the Bissell Adapt ION XRT cleaner head height with ruler

Lastly, the brushroll is very easy to remove for cleaning.  You twist the screw to the unlock position and pull it out.  You’re going to want to keep the brushroll clean and clear of hair to get the best vacuuming performance.  The suction isn’t the strongest with this vacuum and it relies heavily on the brushroll to pick up debris when on carpet.

removing the brushroll from the Adapt ION XRT
Removing the brushroll

Battery Life

Run time:

20 minutes

Charge Time:

9 Hours

To test the battery, we vacuumed an 1100 square foot apartment with medium-pile carpet and tile, and the battery lasted 17 minutes and 22 seconds.  This was the first use after fully charging the vacuum after unboxing it.  If you primarily have hard floors, then you certainly can get the 20-minute run time Bissell states since you don’t need to run the brushroll.

In the table below, you can see how the battery life of the Adapt ION XRT compares to some other popular vacuums.

Bissell AirRamDyson V10Dyson V8Shark ION F80Bissell Adapt XRT Pet
40 minutes40 minutes25 minutes50 minutes20 minutes
View at AmazonView at AmazonView at AmazonView at AmazonView at Amazon

Performance

Our vacuum tests are done on 4 types of flooring: bare floor (concrete or tile), low-pile carpet, medium-pile carpet, and high-pile carpet.  

To be clear, Bissell states that this vacuum is meant for bare floors and low-pile carpet.  We couldn’t agree more.  The performance was great for a cordless vacuum on those tests.  The Adapt ION XRT lacks the suction power to be truly effective on thicker carpet.  We think the Adapt ION XRT is a great vacuum for quickly refreshing your floors between regular deep cleaning with a more powerful vacuum.

Test Debris

oats
Oats

Oat pieces come in a variety of sizes and shapes.  Their rough texture causes them to cling to carpet fibers, which makes for a great way to test a vacuum’s suction and brushroll agitation.

rice
Rice

Rice is relatively heavy and smooth.  It tends to sink down into carpet which helps us judge a vacuum’s suction.  Additionally, when rice goes flying behind a vacuum on bare floors, we know we’ve got a failure.

dog food
Dog Food

Large pieces often get pushed around instead of suctioned up, so dog food is a great way to test the limits of what size debris a vacuum can handle.

Bare Floor Test

Partial Pass

It’s important to make sure you turn off the brushroll when vacuuming on hard floors. We had no trouble picking up the rice and oats, but the larger dog food didn’t quite fit under the front of the cleaner head. This is a partial pass since it’s trivial to detach the handheld and pick up any larger debris.

The surprising part about this test was how easily the Adapt ION XRT picked up the oats and rice.  We also tried this test with the brushroll on, but that resulted in the oats and rice getting thrown around everywhere.  Turning the brushroll off allowed the suction to take over and pick up all the small debris with no trouble.  

Most of the dog food was left behind after the first couple passes, but you could keep going and eventually get it all up, or you could simply detach the handheld and pick it up in a few seconds.  This test is meant to be a demonstration of the cleaner head’s ability to pick up debris, as that’s how most people intend to use a vacuum. 

The added versatility of the 2-in-1 feature allows this cordless stick also to pick up debris that the cleaner head otherwise can’t.  This type of functionality isn’t something you get with stick vacuums like the Hoover Linx or the Bissell AirRam.

 

Low-pile Carpet Test

Pass

Given the trouble the Adapt ION XRT had with the dog food in the last test it is surprising to see how easily it picked it up on this test. Instead of sliding forward, the carpet provides enough friction for the cleaner head to roll over the dog food and pick it up.

Before Low-pile Carpet Test
After Low-pile Carpet Test

We usually see an improvement between the bare floor test and carpet.  There is a small gap in the front of the cleaner head that does allow for larger debris to get through, but the extra friction from the carpet is enough to let the cleaner head pass over debris instead of pushing it forward.

There were some rice and oats left behind after the first two passes, but it was quickly picked up.

This vacuum is good for low-pile carpet as it doesn’t need to reach deep down into carpet fibers to pull up debris.

Medium-pile Carpet Test

Partial Pass

The vacuum easily picked up 99% of the surface debris, but it really struggled to get the rice and oats from deeper within the carpet. It took 11 passes before we were satisfied with the carpet. This 0.5-inch pile height carpet pushes the limits of the Adapt ION XRT’s suction power.

Before Medium-pile carpet test
After Medium-pile carpet test

The rice tends to fall down into the carpet fibers on this test and it pushes the vacuum’s suction to its limits.  There was some rice still left behind, but the Adapt ION XRT was able to pick up 98% of it after many passes.

For thicker carpet, you can’t expect the Adapt ION XRT to do any more than surface cleaning.  We ultimately had to use our Shark ION 2x DuoClean to finish cleaning up this mess as there was some rice that it Bissell just couldn’t pick up.  

Additionally, you can usually tell when a vacuum has been across carpet due to the agitation and suction on the carpet fiber that aligns them after you pass.  That was not the case with the Adapt ION XRT which further shows the suction and agitation was relatively weak on carpet this thick.

High-pile Carpet Test

Partial Pass

This test further demonstrated that thick carpet doesn’t get more than a surface cleaning with this vacuum. It took over 10 passes to get the carpet to the point you see in the “After” picture. Most newer homes don’t have carpet this thick, except rugs, so this test shouldn’t deter you completely. Just be aware that this vacuum shouldn’t be the only one you own if you have thicker carpet.

Mess before the high-pile carpet test
Before High-pile carpet test
After the high-pile carpet test
After High-pile carpet test

This test was much more difficult than the medium-pile test.  There was oats and rice still deep within the carpet fibers in the “After” image and we had to use our other vacuum to finish getting it clean.

The Adapt ION XRT would be a good vacuum for touching up your carpet throughout the week, but you will need to use a more powerful cordless or full-size upright to get the deep cleaning that high-pile carpet needs.  

Comparison Table

Bissell AirRamShark ION 2x DuoCleanDyson V10 AbsoluteBissell Adapt XRT Pet
Model#1984IF251180846-012387
StyleCordless StickCordless 2-in-1Cordless 2-in-1Cordless 2-in-1
Brushroll Control
Dustbin Capacity0.6 liters0.3 liters0.75 liters0.45 liters
Carpet Run Time40 minutes30 minutes20 minutes18 minutes
Hard Floor Run Time40 minutes40 minutes40 minutes20 minutes
Charging Time4 Hours3.5 Hours3.5 Hours9 Hours
FiltersSingle, washableDual, washableDual, washableSingle, washable
Weight7.75 lbs8.7 lbs5.88 lbs7.9
Warranty2-year Limited2-year Limited2-year Limited1-year Limited
View at AmazonView at AmazonView at AmazonView at Amazon

Final Thoughts

The battery life and recharge time are the main pain points with this vacuum.  It’s performance on hard floors and low-pile carpet were great and we certainly recommend it for that.  The brushroll controls are what make the difference as without it this vacuum would be useless on hard floors.  

From our experience, you should be able to completely vacuum a 1200 square foot area with time to spare.  We could see how using this cordless vacuum to touch up your floors would be very convenient and a good bargain at the price we paid.  Our concerns still lie with the battery and its longevity.

Bissell has a good record for honoring their warranty, from what we can tell from user experiences.  We are going to continue using the Adapt ION XRT regularly to see how the battery stands up to normal use.  

If you’re seriously considering a cordless stick vacuum, we highly recommend the Shark ION F80 or Shark ION 2x DuoClean.  They have more powerful suction, longer battery life, versatile cleaner heads, and the MultiFLEX wand that makes vacuuming under furniture even easier than the Bissell Adapt.  Shark has an overall better selection of cordless vacuums than Bissell, so consider checking out our Shark Vacuums Overview if you want to see everything they have to offer.