The Bissell 86T3 / 86T3Q continues to be one of the most popular carpet cleaners money can buy (it has many glowing reviews on Amazon), and for good reason: it does a great job! However, it’s not the only deep cleaner in town; the Rug Doctor X3 has a dedicated following (even if it has fewer reviews) and we know plenty of parents who swear by the. If you haven’t used both, you might be wondering if the grass is really greener on the other side of the fence (or more bluntly, if one will do a better job cleaning up after your pets than the other). We’re here to tell you yes, there is a difference!
1. The Bissell is less foamy.
We realize a description like “less foamy” isn’t the most scientific, but it’s the most direct way to get the point across: we’ve consistently noticed that while both machines start out with roughly the same amount of bubbly goodness, after a few minutes, the Rug Doctor starts foaming at the mouth (perhaps because it realizes the Bissell is doing a better job). Whatever the reason, the Bissell brings less drama to your carpets, as less foam means less drying time, which means you get to use your carpet again sooner.
2. The Rug Doctor is harder to fill.
At the risk of sounding like we’re picking on the Rug Doctor (we aren’t; we promise), the fact is that it’s a pain in the you-know-where to fill up. As if that weren’t bad enough, it’s also significantly easier to spill when you’re filling it up, which means you end up spending even more time filling it up. Add that to the fact that it’ll take longer to dry your carpets due to turning them into a foam-a-topia (see the point above), it’s another strike for the Rug Doctor and another point in favor of the Big Green.
3. The Rug Doctor is allergic to shag rugs and tall people.
The Rug Doctor is a fine, fine machine, but there are some things it just doesn’t do very well, and shag rugs are one of them. Of course, no carpet cleaner will tackle every kind of carpet equally well, but you’ll definitely notice the difference if you try to use a Rug Doctor on a shag carpet compared to a Bissell 86T3. The Bissell won’t make you want to pull your hair out. And on top of that, it has much better ergonomics if you’re tall, which means you’re less likely to get back pain when using it (good luck when moving these things from room to room; neither will save you there).
4. The Big Green Uses Less Water and Formula.
Finally, the Bissell is a more economical choice, in terms of the amount of water you use while operating it and the amount of cleaning fluid you’ll need. We never really notice how much we’re pouring into the Rug Doctor until we’ve gotten our monthly utility bills, and then it sinks in: we literally use twice as much water and formula when filling up the Rug Doctor as we do when filling up the Big Green. It’s like driving a giant pickup truck. In your house. As fun as this might sound in theory, it’s not really a good idea.
In conclusion, are we saying you shouldn’t ever buy a Rug Doctor? No way. There are plenty of people who like them, and we’ll gladly use one in a pinch when the dogs decide they’re tired of using the bathroom outdoors. However, when we’ve got the choice, we reach for the Big Green over the Big Red for the reasons outlined above. It’s already enough work cleaning an entire carpet; there’s no need to make it harder than it needs to be.
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