Product Reviews

Wet-Dry Vacuums Are the Cleaning Tool I Can’t Live Without—Here’s My Review of 3 Popular Picks


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best wet-dry vacuums"
best wet-dry vacuums
Graphics by: Caitlin Schneider
Graphics by: Caitlin Schneider

In a statement that will surprise no one, kids are messy. As a mother of four, I clean up a lot of messes. It’s rare for a day to go by when I don’t need to vacuum up my kids’ snack crumbs, art project debris, and the occasional left-behind LEGO (shhh, don’t tell them). For years, I relied on a good vacuum and spot-cleaning my floors between mopping. This cleaning system worked but was time-consuming and imperfect. Until I discovered my household MVP: a wet-dry vacuum.

Getting a wet-dry vacuum—AKA a vacuum mop—saved me time and kept my house cleaner. When I had guests coming over, it was easy to take out my new gadget and do a quick pass over my floors to give my house a quick glow-up. Not to mention, I felt better knowing my little ones were crawling or playing on clean floors.

Over the years, my first wet-dry vacuum got so much use that I started looking for an upgrade. I recently tried three of the best wet-dry vacuums, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. A cordless wet-dry vacuum was essential for me, making it easy to vacuum and mop without having to unplug or worry about a child tripping over the cord.

I should mention that while I cannot live without a wet-dry vac, none of the models I tried were a complete substitute for mopping. Even with the most powerful wet-dry vacuum, I found I still had to do some spot-cleaning for sticky spots and stubborn stains. Nevertheless, a wet-dry vacuum cut my cleaning time down significantly. Read on to get the full scoop on three of the best wet-dry vacuums currently on the market.

Review of the Best Wet-Dry Vacuums

BISSELL Crosswave Cordless Max Review

best wet dry vacuums
Amazon | BISSELL
Crosswave Cordless Max
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Pros: Lower price point

Cons: Heavy, hard to clean

The first wet/dry vacuum I tried was the BISSELL Crosswave Cordless Max. I was very impressed with how well the vacuum picked up dry debris like crumbs while simultaneously washing my floors. A great feature of the Crosswave is that it’s easy to switch between modes for hardwood and rugs. It is also simple to give yourself a little more cleaning power by pushing a button to release more water when needed. Though I’d definitely place it as one of the best wet-dry vacuums, the Crosswave isn’t perfect. I still needed to hand-clean some spots while using it, but it was a big improvement. While using the Crosswave, I often referred to it as a lifesaver. 

Where the Crosswave falls short

However, I found the Crosswave to be heavy and cumbersome. I also did not like cleaning the dirty water container and filter. Much of the dry debris that the Crosswave vacuums get caught in a small filter that needs to be hand-cleaned. While the vacuum is effective, I found the clearing process needed to keep the vacuum functional to be cumbersome and a little gross.  

Nevertheless, this is a great entry-level wet-dry vacuum. If you aren’t sure if you will use a wet-dry vacuum much or can’t invest in a higher-end model, the Crosswave Max is still a great wet-dry vacuum that will get the job done. It packs a lot of power at a lower price point than other popular models.

Tineco S7 Floor One Review

best wet dry vacuums
Amazon | Tineco
S7 Floor One
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Pros: Light, powerful

Cons: Small water tank

The Tineco S7 Floor One is a traditional vacuum and steam mop in one. As far as the best wet-dry vacuums go, I was struck by how much lighter it is than the BISSELL Crosswave. As much as I used the BISSELL, I found myself reaching for the Floor One even more often. The Floor One also has a self-propulsion system that I’ve come to like. It took a little while to get used to the slight pull the Floor One gives while cleaning, but once I became accustomed to it, I found that it helped me vacuum and mop more efficiently. 

Advantages of the Floor One

The Floor One uses auto-mode to detect how dirty your floors are and then switches to steam mode for heavy dirt and boost steam mode for very heavy dirt. It’s also possible to manually switch between modes if the Floor One doesn’t recognize automatically that more power is needed. The Floor One does a better job at cleaning sticky spots on the floor, such as spilled milk, than more basic models. However, I still need to spot-clean some particularly dirty spots by hand. 

Maintenance is very easy. Unlike the Crosswave, not much debris gets caught in the filter, so very little cleaning is needed. I also like that Floor One prompts me to use the vacuum’s self-cleaning mode every time I put it on the charging base. This helps keep the brush in good shape. 

One downside of the Floor One is that its clean water tank is very small. I often found that I needed to stop mid-cleaning to refill the clean water tank to keep going. Filling the tank doesn’t take very long, but it interrupts my flow. 

Dyson V15s Detect Submarine Review

best wet dry vacuums
Amazon | Dyson
V15s Detect Submarine
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Pros: Extremely powerful, versatile, light, and easy to use

Cons: High cost, mop attachment is hard to clean

I have two Dyson vacuums that I absolutely love, so I was intrigued when Dyson released a wet/dry vacuum, the V15s Dyson Detect Submarine. Dyson sets the standard for vacuums, so I had high hopes for this V15s despite the high cost. 

The V15s is very different than the other two wet-dry vacuums I tried. Of the best wet-dry vacuums, V15s is a high-end, multi-purpose vacuum. It comes with a variety of attachments, including one that converts the vacuum into a wet-dry vacuum. That makes this a much more versatile machine than the BISSELL or Tineco, which can only be used like a traditional upright stick vacuum with a mop feature.  

Vacuuming versatility and convenience with the V15s

For example, I used the attachments that came with the V15s to convert the vacuum into a hand-held that I used to clean my car and sofa. This isn’t possible with the other wet-dry vacs I tried. The V15s is also unparalleled when it comes to usability. It’s light and easy to maneuver. This vacuum also does a great job getting into hard-to-reach spaces, such as spots close to baseboards where crumbs always accumulate in my kitchen. Then, when I wanted to mop, I switched out the head on the V15s for the “submarine” mop attachment. This attachment contains a clean water tank and reservoirs for dirty water and dirt, whereas the other models have these tanks built into the body of the vacuum.

The head on the V15s is big, making it easy to cover a lot of ground with fewer passes. The head also swivels, which makes it easier to get into some hard-to-clean spots. For example, in my house, there is a space several inches wide between the arm of my sofa and the wall. It’s not big enough for me to push a vacuum into, but it is large enough so that dust and other debris that gather there are visible. The V15s swivels to fit into awkward spaces like that one, making cleaning much easier.

Limitations of the V15s

The V15s has a smaller water tank than the other two models I tried. I worried the water would run out quickly. However, because of Dyson’s efficient engineering combined with a bigger brush head, I found that I was able to cover a large area before the tank ran out. One tank of water was more than sufficient to clean my entire first floor with some leftover. 

Unlike the other wet/dry vacuums I tried, there is no way to change the amount of water that comes out of the mop attachment for deeper clearing. Even the basic BISSELL model I tried has a button users can press to get more water to come out when passing over harder-to-clean spots. I missed this feature when using the V15s, especially when trying to clean some stubborn stains I thought would have come out with a little more power. 

Another downside to the Dyson is that it’s hard to clean. The other two wet/dry vacs I tried both had tanks to collect dirty water. Dirty water and debris in the V15s go under the brush head. Dirty water goes into a small tank that is dumped out, and solid debris goes into a different small section. I found that a lot of dry debris got caught on the brush head, making it hard to clean. The process of maintaining the V15s is a little more complicated than the other models.

Final thoughts on the Dyson V15s Submarine

Given how much more functionality the V15s offers over other wet-dry vacuums, it was my choice as it could replace other tools in my cleaning arsenal. If it’s in your family’s budget, it’s an ideal vacuum for busy parents who want one of the most powerful vacuums with the ability to vacuum and mop at the same time between deep cleanings. 

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