Sometimes, you need to vacuum. Sometimes, however, you need to get the floor absolutely clean.
In the first scenario, any old vacuum might do. In the second scenario, you will likely need an upright, wet-dry vacuum–one capable of loosening and breaking up ground-in dirt and soil before sucking it up, leaving your floor new once again. Additionally, you will likely require a vacuum capable of soaking the weaves and cleaning your carpet rather than one that vacuums between the weaves.
That said, since there are so many wet-dry vacuums on the market, you need to be able to quickly identify the best ones. For instance, the best ones are not simply ones the manufacturer claims are the best. Instead, the best vacuum is the one that best suits your needs. Additionally, it will likely receive consistent four- and five-star rave reviews because other customers will have found it capable of meeting their own needs.
1. BISSELL CrossWave
With the CrossWave floor-and-carpet cleaner from Bissel, you can vacuum and wash your floor at the same time. This multi-surface floor cleaner delivers 4.4 amps of power to quickly and easily tackle a variety of messes that can end up on your hard floors, such as spills on your sealed hardwood, stains on your laminate, and mud all over your tile. The CrossWave is also a perfect match for deep spills on your area rugs.
The innovative, dual-action, brush-roll design incorporates a nylon-microfiber brush that efficiently vacuums up a variety of things like debris, dirt, and hair while at the same time mopping the floor clean. Additionally, it can easily handle a variety food spills, including spaghetti, cereal, and raw eggs. In terms of raw eggs, it will even handle all the broken shells.
To ensure your cleaning solution never mixes with your dirty water, the CrossWave includes a two-tank technology. The clean water is deposited onto your floor and scrubbed into the carpet. Following the cleaning session, the vacuum sucks up the dirty water and deposits it in the reservoir. Because of this design, you can be sure that you are always using a mixture of fresh water and cleaning solution.
In terms of ease of use, the smart-touch controls are conveniently located on the handle to allow you to easily switch between different types of floors. For instance, with the push of a control, the unit can raise to tackle your rugs. For hard floors and tile, it will lower. You also have access to a control that delivers solution when you need it.
Because this is a two-in-one cleaner, time spent cleaning the system and ensuring it is maintained is that much easier and quicker. For instance, with the easy-clean storage tray, you can simply slide it out when it is full, dump the debris in your trash, and slide it back into place. When it is time to replace the dual-action brush roll, the Easy-Remove Brush Window allows you to access the removable brush roll and quickly replace it with a new one.
- cleans hard floors and area rugs
- dual-action brush roll
- smart-touch controls on handle
- super easy to replace brush roll
- use of cleaner other than Bissel may void warranty
- not for use with wall-to-wall carpets
2. Tineco iFloor
You can simplify your life and make cleaning your floors a breeze with the iFloor wet-dry vacuum from Tineco. With this wet-vac, there is no need to sweep particles or sop up liquid beforehand because the iFloor vacuums and washes at the same time, allowing you to handle different types of messes at the same time.
Great for use on a variety of floors, such as marble, sealed wood floors, and linoleum, this wet-vac allows you to easily move from the kitchen to the bathroom without having to switch between cleaning tools.
One of the stand-out benefits of this wet-dry vacuum cleaner is its portability. Because it weights just 6.5 pounds, moving from room to room is simple. Additionally, it is light enough that you can manage the stairs easily and safely.
The iFloor is also cordless, eliminating the need to switch outlets and watch for potential areas that might tangle the cord. Additionally, in terms of maneuverability, the brush head pivots, making hard-to-reach areas and tight spaces much more accessible.
Another highlight of this wet-dry vacuum is its ability to self-clean. You can simply press and hold the self-cleaning button for just three seconds. The brush roll immediately enters the self-cleaning mode, removing such things as debris, dirt, and food. The self-cleaning mode also shuts off automatically. This innovative feature ensures you are ready to tackle any new mess and clean the vacuum in such a way that it does all the hard, dirty work.
Stubborn, stuck-on dirt is no match for the Spot Mode feature. For instance, the spot mode provides you with 50 percent more speed, delivering superior scrubbing ability to tackle the most stuck-on, stubborn messes. In addition to this extra power, the iFloor also expertly cleans pet hair, pollen, and even mold. In terms of design, the dual tanks help keep the cleaning solution separate from the dirty water.
Finally, because all the parts are washable and detachable, maintenance and storage are simple. It is recommended that you place the wet-dry vacuum on the provided storage tray when you are finished cleaning. Doing so will ensure your floor is dry and spot free.
- lightweight at 6.5 pounds
- not for use on rugs or carpets
3. Hoover FloorMate Deluxe
You will never leave any dirt behind with the FloorMate Deluxe wet-dry vacuum from Hoover. This wet-dry vacuum safely and gently scrubs a variety of sealed floors, including vinyl, tile (including grout), and hardwood. The patented SpinScrub brush technology does all the work for you, making even the most stubborn spots a breeze to clean. The counter-rotating brushes effectively wash and scrub your floors from every angle, delivering a deep-sheen clean.
In terms of hard-to-clean, stuck-on dirt, the Clean Boost control gives you easy access to an extra shot of cleaning power. For instance, Clean Boost allows you to push a button and expertly direct cleaning solution to stubborn stains in high-traffic areas.
As soon as the extra solution is deposited, the wash-dry mode gives you the option to use the brushes to scrub the floor. Additionally, it allows you to suction water even when the vacuum is in wash mode.
In terms of cleaning and maintaining this appliance, the nozzle, brush, and dual tanks are easy to remove for cleaning and rinsing. The result is a frustration-free cleanup.
- dual-tank technology
- wash-dry mode
- SpinScrub technology
- separate brush for delicate floor
- 13.8 pounds may be too heavy for some users
Why wet-dry vacuums are superior to traditional vacuums
As you know, a typical vacuum cleaner vacuums up dirt. In doing so, it removes dirt that is lying on the top of the carpet or floor. Some powerful vacuums can suck up dirt stuck down between the weaves of a carpet, but none of them actually clean a carpet. For instance, cleaning involves applying a cleaning agent, such as water and soap, to a dirty surface. A wet-vacuum actually cleans a carpet because it applies a cleaning solution to the rug or floor surface. Then, it sucks up the solution much like a typical vacuum sucks up dirt.
However, even when it sucks up dirt, it still out-powers a typical vacuum because in order to suction water from a floor, the seal must be tighter against the floor, and the amount of negative pressure must be much more intense. Sucking up loose dirt is one thing. Sucking up gallon after gallon of water is something entirely different.
Because wet-dry vacuums are able to clean a surface then suck up water–in addition to the dirt and debris–a regular vacuum can never actually measure up to a wet-dry vacuum. Simply put, if you need something clean, you need a wet-dry vacuum.
Wet-dry vacuum buying guide
The primary components to look for in any wet-dry vacuum cleaner have to do with the appliance’s ability to get at the dirt, clean it, and suck it up. The components that make this possible include the following.
If you have a small area to clean, ranging from 100 to 200 square feet (sf), a vacuum capable of holding two to five gallons of water will suffice. Because smaller wet-dry vacuums are also quieter, you will enjoy being able to clean carpets or just about any surface without annoying others.
For slightly larger areas or additional rooms, you should look for vacuums capable of holding at least eight gallons. In fact, some mid-range models hold up to 14 gallons, allowing you to clean up to 1,000 square feet without the hassle of re-filling the cleaning tank.
Of course, larger areas require more water. Commercial-grade models or models for larger homes can hold up to 14 to 18 gallons.
Please note: extra water capacity also allows you to clean smaller areas more thoroughly. For instance, with a larger tank, you can soak and vacuum a rug or other floor surface then do so again without having to empty the water and re-fill the tank.
This ability to provide additional cleaning and vacuuming to an area can help when you need to vacuum pet hair or dander out of the floor, making breathing easier for people with asthma or allergies.
Any vacuum that can lay down lots of water must, by definition, be able to suck that water back up. That reality, however, is not always the case. As such, you should look for vacuums with enough horsepower (hp) to suck up the water you need.
Units up to 4.5hp can handle small spills while mid-range vacuums up to 6hp can handle standard indoor cleaning requirements for multiple rooms.
In terms of large areas that require deep cleaning, you will need a unit that offers in excess of 6hp. Only these types of wet-vacs can handle or commercial-grade messes or dirty carpets of entire houses. Finally, for carpets with thick padding, 6hp motors are are the only ones powerful enough to clean ground-in stains and spills until everything looks, once again, brand new.
Dual-hose fittings allow you to more easily connect water hoses, and such features as hose locks will be able to withstand the pressure of the water and keep your hose connected to the vacuum.
If you find one with wall-hanging attachments, you can hang your vacuum off the floor as you store it. Additionally, accessories might include a narrow wand as well as a scrub brush that can help you reach in corners or under furniture. One of the most useful accessories is a squeegee, which can help you clean tile or linoleum.
Finally, a vacuum with a built-in pump will allow you to empty the tank much more quickly and cleanly than if you have to tilt the machine and dump it.
Often, you will need to move the unit upstairs or downstairs while it is filled with water. Consequently, you will want to ensure you pick one large enough for your needs without getting one that is too large. Many gallons of water can often weigh more than the vacuum. Purchasing one that is too large can create an uncomfortable situation as you attempt to lug a wet-dry vacuum upstairs.
A power cord that can reach up to 18 to 24 feet will ensure you do not have to unplug the unit just as you reach the far end of a room. Additionally, one that auto-retracts will save you the hassle of rolling it up.