The Best Hardwood Floor Cleaner Machines for a Sparkling Home, Tested

The best hardwood floor cleaning machines preserve the classic luster of hardwood floors while removing dust, grime, and allergens from your home environment.

Best Overall

Teal Shark WD101 HydroVac XL hardwood floor cleaner on white background

Shark WD101 HydroVac XL

See It

Best Bang for the Buck

White and blue Bissell PowerFresh Scrubbing and Sanitizing Steam Mop on white background with accessories

Bissell PowerFresh Scrubbing u0026amp; Sanitizing Steam Mop

See It

Upgrade Pick

Bissell 2554A CrossWave Multi-Surface Wet Dry Vacuum with accesories and sample cleaners on white background

Bissell 2554A CrossWave Multi-Surface Wet/Dry Vacuum

See It

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn More ›

Hardwood floors lend an aura of classic elegance to a home, adding to its real estate value. However, the job of keeping hardwood floors clean while preserving their attractiveness can present challenges, which is where a hardwood floor cleaner machine can come in.

For maximum effectiveness, many hardwood floor cleaners offer vacuum-suction action to remove dust, dirt, and debris from floors and allow users to mop wood floors, clean sticky messes, and produce a shine. Aaron Christensen, vice president of growth at the house-cleaning service platform Homeaglow, recommends that shoppers look for vacuum/mop combos with gentle roller heads. He also advises, “If you’re using mops on hardwood floors, it’s more about control of liquid.” Models that use low amounts of moisture or have on-demand cleaning solutions are ideal.

In order to achieve our mission to find the most efficient method for cleaning hardwoods, we researched 16 popular floor cleaning models and tested the top 10. Ahead, learn about the optional features and attributes that are offered with some of the best hardwood floor cleaner machines for timeless and tasteful floors.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Shark WD101 HydroVac XL
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Bissell PowerFresh Scrubbing & Sanitizing Steam Mop
  3. UPGRADE PICK: Bissell 2554A CrossWave Multi-Surface Wet/Dry Vacuum
  4. BEST LIGHTWEIGHT: Shark S7001 Steam & Scrub Mop
  5. BEST SPIN MOP: Bissell 2039A SpinWave Hard Floor Spin Mop
  6. BEST VACUUM: Dyson V12 Detect Slim Vacuum
  7. BEST ROBOTIC: iRobot WiFi-Connected Braava Jet M6 Robot Mop
  8. BEST FOR PETS: Bissell 2306A CrossWave Pet Pro Wet/Dry Vac
  9. BEST CORDLESS: Tineco Floor One S3 Smart Wet/Dry Vacuum Cleaner
  10. BEST MULTISURFACE: Bissell 1785A CrossWave Multi-Surface Wet/Dry Vac
Person cleaning hardwood floor with gray Bissell crosswave wet/dry vacuum
Photo: Katie Barton for Bob Vila

How We Chose the Best Hardwood Floor Cleaner Machines

Hardwood floor cleaning machines are able to get out tough stuck-on grime, grout haze, and dirt, and some models can even kill 99 percent of bacteria and germs. To narrow down the top hardwood floor cleaner machines on the market, we searched for functionality, ease of use, and versatility for a variety of cleaning tasks.

We tested a combination of 10 wet/dry mop and vacuums, steam floor cleaners, robotic vacuums, spin vacuums, and classic vacuums. The wet/dry mops and vacuums were convenient for all-in-one cleaning, while the steam mops, spin mops, and regular vacuums tackled task-specific mopping or vacuuming.

We wanted to see how well each machine could perform, so we put them through a series of tests. We rated vacuum-and-mop combos on how well they could suction wet and dry messes and remove dried-on food. We used steam mops, spin mops, and robotic mops to clean our floors from regular dirt, dried-on marinara sauce, and sticky dried-on Pepsi. To test vacuums, we suctioned up everyday dirt and littered our floors with rice, flour, and M&Ms to test cleaning power.

We kept track of the results in a rubric, rating each hardwood floor cleaner machine on a scale of 1 to 4 based on ease of use, efficiency, assembly, and ability to clear stuck-on messes.

Our Top Picks

Our top picks for the best hardwood floor cleaning machines are high-quality products from reputable manufacturers. We picked a variety of mops and vacuums to suit individual needs, and we put each model through extensive testing. The recommendations consist of both corded and cordless options for wet/dry mopping and vacuuming, as well as a vacuum-only model. A robotic wet/dry floor cleaning machine is included, demonstrating how technology facilitates convenient automated cleaning.

Best Overall

Shark WD101 HydroVac XL

See It

Product Specs 

  • Type: Wet/dry vacuum and mop
  • Corded vs. cordless: Corded
  • Weight: 10.27 pounds


  • Suctions up big and small debris, including dropped food and dirt particles
  • Vacuums and washes the floor at the same time, cutting cleaning time in half
  • Easy, mess-free cleaning cycle doesn’t require manual rinsing


  • Brush roll cover easily dislodges when machine hits cabinets or furniture
  • Can’t be used as a vacuum only; machine is always suctioning and mopping

The Shark HydroVac is a three-in-one machine that vacuums, mops, and self-cleans. It’s safe for all sealed hard floors and has a setting for area rugs. It comes with a 12-ounce bottle of HydroVac multisurface concentrate and an antimicrobial brush roll that prevents bacteria growth and bad odors.

Upon receiving the HydroVac, we assembled it, which was easy. The handle locked into place, and all we had to do was fill the clean water tank and add the cleaning solution. The HydroVac had two buttons on the top handle: a power button and an area rug button. When we hit the power button, it began vacuuming and mopping simultaneously. There was no cleaning solution trigger to pull; everything was automatic.

The HydroVac did a great job suctioning debris from our floor. We repeatedly used it to clean up after-dinner messes, and it was nice to be able to suction up dropped food as well as household dirt with one machine.

To see how the HydroVac fared against bigger messes, we smeared ¼ cup of pasta sauce on the floor and dribbled a soft drink on our hardwoods. We let both substances dry and then used the HydroVac to clean them. The machine cleaned the soft drink in just a couple of passes, but it took about six back-and-forth swipes before the HydroVac cleared the pasta sauce. We also poured a bowl of cereal (milk and all) on the floor, and the HydroVac cleaned it with no problem.

The clean-out process for the HydroVac was simpler than the other mop/vacuum combos we tried. All we had to do was empty the dirty water tank, make sure the clean water tank was half full, place the HydroVac on its docking station, and hit the power button. The machine then ran a self-cleaning cycle.

Read our full review: Shark WD101 HydroVac XLGet the Shark HydroVac hardwood floor cleaner machine at Amazon or The Home Depot.

Best Bang for the Buck

Bissell PowerFresh Scrubbing u0026 Sanitizing Steam Mop

See It

Product Specs 

  • Type: Steam mop
  • Corded vs. cordless: Corded
  • Weight: 6.2 pounds


  • No cleaning solution is required, so users save more money over time
  • Eliminates 99 percent of germs and bacteria found on a home’s floors
  • A 16-ounce tank capacity means water heats up quickly for steam-cleaning
  • Easy to maneuver; fits around toilets, beneath cabinets, and under furniture


  • No cleaning attachments are included with this floor cleaner machine, limiting its functionality

Combine the money-saving value of a modestly priced floor cleaning machine with the environmentally friendly option of using steam power to lift away dirt and messes. The PowerFresh steam mop from Bissell does not require a cleaning solution, so there are no chemicals involved in the cleaning process. As a bonus feature, the steam eliminates 99.9 percent of germs and bacteria found on floor surfaces.

After unboxing the Bissell PowerFresh, we assembled it, which took less than a minute. We filled the 16-ounce-capacity tank and plugged the model in. It heated up in about 30 seconds, allowing us to choose one of the steam settings, which included low, medium, and high. For regular cleaning of our hardwood floors, we chose the low setting. It emitted plenty of steam to tackle everyday messes, the slim swivel head fit under cabinet edges and furniture, and it maneuvered well around toilets.

Wanting to see how well the Bissell steam mop could handle messes, we trickled marinara sauce and a soft drink on our hardwoods, giving the substances several hours to dry. Then we plugged in the PowerFresh and put it on the high setting. In only a few passes, the steam broke down the mess, and the microfiber pad absorbed it, leaving our floors clean.

Those looking for a steam mop can’t go wrong with the PowerFresh. It’s easy to maneuver, cleans well even on its lowest setting, and has a slim head that fits around and under obstacles. It also comes with a washable microfiber soft pad, washable microfiber scrubby pad, two spring breeze fragrance discs, and carpet glider.

Get the Bissell PowerFresh hardwood floor cleaner machine at Amazon, Walmart, or Bissell.

Upgrade Pick

Bissell 2554A CrossWave Multi-Surface Wet/Dry Vacuum

See It

Product Specs 

  • Type: Wet/dry vacuum
  • Corded vs. cordless: Cordless
  • Weight: 11.5 pounds


  • A long 30-minute runtime allows users to clean larger portions of their homes
  • Suitable for a variety of hard floors as well as area rugs and carpets
  • A dual-tank system keeps clean water and dirty water separate
  • Self-cleaning cycle removes need to clean the device frequently


  • Expensive price point compared with other hardwood floor cleaning machines
  • Hair balls sometimes form in the roller brush while vacuuming

Forget the hassle of manipulating a power cord while cleaning floors. The rechargeable 36-volt lithium-ion battery in this wet/dry vacuum from Bissell delivers 30 minutes of cordless cleaning power. As an added bonus, it provides efficient performance on both carpet and wood floors. Laminate flooring, rubber mats,

tile floors

, rugs, and linoleum also benefit from the cleaning power of this cordless hard floor cleaner.

We used the Bissell CrossWave in a 1,000-square-foot apartment. We filled up the clean water tank, added the cleaning solution, and powered on our machine. With the push of a button, we could switch from vacuuming area rugs to cleaning hardwoods. The CrossWave was easy to maneuver, and the 30-minute battery life lasted long enough to clean the entire home.

With the pull of a trigger on the back of the handle, we could release the cleaning solution, letting us customize the amount. The on-demand solution was also helpful when we needed to clean up messes, like pasta sauce that splashed on the floor the day prior. We were impressed by this machine’s suction power. Many vacuums we’ve tried in the past scattered kitty litter across our floor, but the Crosswave suctioned up every little particle.

Once we finished cleaning, we emptied out the dirty water tank and returned the CrossWave to its three-in-one docking station. The docking station can store the machine, recharge the battery, and run the self-cleaning cycle, all at the same time.

Get the Bissell 2554A hardwood floor cleaner machine at Amazon, Best Buy, Target, or Bissell.

Best Lightweight

Shark S7001 Steam u0026 Scrub Mop

See It

Product Specs 

  • Type: Steam mop
  • Corded vs. cordless: Corded
  • Weight: 7.8 pounds


  • Produces steam and spinning action to quickly scrub floors clean
  • 3 settings allow users to adjust the level of steam for light and deep messes
  • No need for cleaners; can kill up to 99.9 percent of bacteria using steam


  • Steam-cleaning is not suitable for all hardwood floors; check manufacturer’s recommendations
  • Mop pads feel rough after machine washing and drying them

The Shark Steam & Scrub mop combines the dirt-lifting power of steam with the scrubbing power of a spin mop for a squeaky-clean floor. The mop features three settings, including light, normal, and deep, and produces steam within 60 seconds. It comes with two sets of Dirt Grip soft scrub pads and a filling flask.

After receiving the Shark Steam & Scrub, we used the flask to fill the water tank and powered it on. The mop pads started spinning, and steam emitted from around the pads after about a minute. The mop was easy to maneuver, thanks to the swivel steering and the spinning motion that helped self-propel it.

The steam and spinning combo turned out to be an absolute powerhouse, and the cleaning ability of this mop was unrivaled. We used it to power through our test substances of dried pasta sauce and a soft drink, and it only took a couple of passes to clear each.

The mophead was slim enough to fit under cabinet overhangs and low-to-the-ground furniture. Since the mop pads extended on each side, we could clean along baseboards and other obstacles. We also used the mop on our ceramic tile, and it picked up all the dirt, leaving the floors clean and sanitized.

Once the mop pads were sufficiently dirty, we threw them in the washer and dryer. We liked that they’re machine washable, but they did come out feeling a bit rough after going through the wash.

Get the Shark S7001 hardwood floor cleaner machine at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Target.

Best Spin Mop

Bissell 2039A SpinWave Hard Floor Spin Mop

See It

Product Specs 

  • Type: Spin mop
  • Corded vs. cordless: Corded
  • Weight: 9.5 pounds


  • Control how much cleaning solution is dispensed with on-demand spray system
  • Extra value with 2 bottles of multisurface cleaning solution included
  • Swivel steering system makes this spin mop easy to use


  • At 9.5 pounds, this model is heavier than many other floor cleaning machines
  • May not be capable of pulling stains from grout between tiles

Bissell’s corded SpinWave electric floor mop features two spinning mopheads that perform a scrubbing action to keep sealed hardwood floors and tile floors in spotless condition. It safely brings out an attractive shine on hard floors as the spinning pads scrub away soils and spills.

Bissell’s on-demand spray system gives users precise control over the quantity of cleaning solution released onto the floor. The included multisurface floor cleaning formula provides sanitizing action with the help of two included soft-touch pads and two included scrubby pads.

The Bissell SpinWave gently scrubbed dirt from our floor and buffed it to a shine. The spinning action helped self-propel it, and it took little effort on our part to control the mop. We easily maneuvered it around obstacles, and thanks to the protruding mop pads and slim head, it was able to clean up against baseboards and the edge of cabinets. The on-demand spray was ideal for our hardwoods, allowing us to damp mop and increase moisture for stuck-on messes.

The SpinWave performed well on our stain tests, removing the pasta sauce and soft drink in only a couple of passes. We’ve used the SpinWave dozens of times, and the mop pads have held up well after several washes. It’s a gentle mop suitable for all floor types, including moisture-sensitive flooring like hardwoods and laminate.

Get the Bissell 2039A hardwood floor cleaner machine at Amazon or Walmart.

Best Vacuum

Dyson V12 Detect Slim Vacuum

See It

Product Specs 

  • Type: Vacuum
  • Corded vs cordless: Cordless
  • Weight: 5.22 pounds


  • Comes with a motorbar cleaning head and a fluffy optic cleaning head for hard floors
  • Does an excellent job of illuminating invisible dirt; LCD screen shows dust particle counts
  • Battery lasts up to 60 minutes, and LCD screen always displays remaining battery life


  • Relatively expensive compared to other hardwood floor vacuums

Vacuums are ideal for quickly clearing dirt and debris from floors. However, users must be careful, as carpet vacuums with stiff roller brushes can scratch delicate flooring like some wood types. The Dyson V12 Detect solves this problem by providing two cleaning heads, including a motorbar cleaning head with a brush roller and a fluffy optic cleaner head made of soft nylon and carbon filament fibers. The V12 also comes with a hair screw tool, crevice tool, combination tool, wand clip, and wall-mounted docking station.

What really sets this vacuum apart is its ability to illuminate invisible dirt. We couldn’t believe the amount of dust that the V12 revealed on our floors. Its angled green light highlighted even the tiniest of particles, which allowed us to get our floors incredibly clean. As we suctioned the dirt, the LED screen on the top of the vacuum showed us how many and what size dust particles it had picked up.

At only 5.22 pounds, the V12 felt lightweight and was easy to maneuver. The slim swivel head fit under all our furniture and tight cabinet overhangs. As we vacuumed, it automatically increased and decreased its suction power based on the level of dirt it detected. Unlike many other Dyson models, the V12 doesn’t have a trigger. It powers on and stays on via the press of a button.

The point-and-shoot bin made emptying the Dyson a breeze. The attachments were also helpful for cleaning furniture and tight spaces. The V12 is relatively expensive but is a powerhouse for those wanting a safe and effective vacuum for their hard flooring surfaces.

Get the Dyson hardwood floor cleaner machine at Amazon, The Home Depot, Target, or Best Buy.

Best Robotic

iRobot WiFi-Connected Braava Jet M6 Robot Mop

See It

Product Specs 

  • Type: Robotic
  • Corded vs. cordless: Cordless
  • Weight: 4.85 pounds


  • Comes with both mopping and dry-sweeping pads for added versatility
  • Can clean pet waste, mud, or spills as well as everyday messes
  • Smart mapping and Roomba app control are both included with purchase


  • Requires vacuuming before use for the best results
  • Took several attempts to map our closed-concept layout
  • More suitable for recent messes; couldn’t power through dried-on food

While this one isn’t exactly a Roomba, it’s certainly in the family. Meant for use on wood, tile, or stone floors, the M6 is perfect for cleaning spills, pet waste, and other messes. Similar to iRobot’s vacuums, this automated M6 mop features smart mapping and coordinated app control. Users can pair the app to voice-control devices to direct the bot quickly to clean up specified areas. Sensors allow it to navigate obstacles easily and avoid stairs.

For a true hands-off cleaning experience, this bot can connect to select Roomba models to trigger mopping automatically after a vacuum cycle. It comes with dry-sweeping as well as wet-mopping pads. The robot will automatically adjust its cleaning cycles to whichever type of pad is attached.

We tested the M6 over a period of several weeks, allowing it to mop regular messes and attempt to clean dried-on food. But first, we had to set it up. After receiving and charging this robot mop, we downloaded the app and allowed the Braava to map our floor. Unfortunately, it took four attempts to get the Braava to make it into every room, which could be due to the closed-concept 5-room layout of our first floor.

Once we succeeded with mapping, we used the wet-mop mode to clean our hardwoods. The Jet M6 was thorough and tackled regular dirt build-up like a pro. Unfortunately, it didn’t have enough scrubbing power to remove the dried marinara sauce and soft drink. Instead, we had to scrub them by hand afterward.

The M6 is a good choice for those who have a compatible Roomba model and are looking for an everyday cleaner. Spot-cleaning bigger messes, however, may still be required.

Get the iRobot hardwood floor cleaner machine at Best Buy, Target, or iRobot.

Best for Pets

Bissell 2306A CrossWave Pet Pro Wet/Dry Vac

See It

Product Specs 

  • Type: Wet/dry vacuum and mop
  • Corded vs. cordless: Corded
  • Weight: 11.5 pounds


  • Includes a tangle-free brush roll, which is ideal for trapping pet hair
  • Dual-tank system keeps clean water and cleaning formula separate from dirty water and debris
  • Suitable for a wide variety of hard floors as well as area rugs


  • Expensive price point compared with other hardwood floor cleaning machines

For those with small homes or limited storage space, owning multiple floor cleaners for different surface types may not be an option. That’s where the Bissell CrossWave Pet Pro vacuum cleaner comes in. It functions as both a mop and vacuum and is suitable for tile, sealed wood, laminate, linoleum, and vinyl flooring as well as area rugs and more. Like other models in the Bissell CrossWave line, this one features two tanks to keep clean and dirty water separate.

What sets this model apart, however, is that it’s designed specifically for pet owners. It comes with a tangle-free brush roll, which is perfect for picking up long pet hairs, as well as a pet hair strainer and a multisurface formula that masks pet odors.

We used this machine to wash our floors and remove pet hair. It was able to pick up a lot of hair, and thanks to the multisurface formula, it also helped eliminate odors. When it was time to empty the dirty water tank, the pet hair strainer helped keep the larger debris and hair from mixing in with the water. We could dump the larger debris in the trash and the dirty water in the toilet or sink.

Get the Bissell 2306A hardwood floor cleaner machine at Amazon, Walmart, or Target.

Best Cordless

Tineco Floor One S3 Smart Wet/Dry Vacuum Cleaner

See It

Product Specs 

  • Type: Wet/dry vacuum and mop
  • Corded vs. cordless: Cordless
  • Weight: 17.64 pounds


  • Automatically adjusts suction power and water flow based on smart functionality
  • Features a self-cleaning cycle so users don’t need to clean the device frequently
  • Quiet operation means users don’t need to worry about disturbing other household members


  • Expensive price point compared with other hardwood floor cleaning machines
  • Must manually rinse the brush roll after running the self-clean cycle

Cordless models ultimately make cleaning the floors in smaller spaces quicker and easier. The Tineco Floor One S3 is one of the best options on the market because it’s lightweight, powerful, and functions as both a mop and vacuum. It detects messes and automatically adjusts suction power and water flow accordingly.

It’s capable of running for up to 35 minutes at a time on a single charge and features a self-cleaning cycle that flushes out dirt, hair, and debris after each use. Despite its powerful functionality, this model operates quietly, allowing users to clean while other members of the household are working or sleeping. It’s suitable for cleaning sealed hard floors.

The suction on the Tineco was adequate to clean large debris like bits of cereal and small dust particles. We used it in auto mode, and its suction increased and decreased depending on the level of dirt it was cleaning. The Tineco was very easy to maneuver, and its head was slim enough to fit under all of the low furniture in our house.

After cleaning, we placed this wet/dry vac back on its charger, and the voice assistant instructed us to empty the dirty water tank and run the self-clean cycle. We followed the prompts and then manually rinsed the dirty water tank and brush roll, leaving the brush roll to air-dry for 24 hours.

Get the Tineco hardwood floor cleaner machine at Amazon or Tineco.

Best Multisurface

Bissell 1785A CrossWave Multi-Surface Wet/Dry Vac

See It

Product Specs 

  • Type: Wet/dry vacuum and mop
  • Corded vs. cordless: Corded
  • Weight: 11.5 pounds


  • Includes a multisurface brush roll made with microfiber and nylon construction
  • Swivel steering makes it easy to maneuver around obstacles and under most furniture
  • Suitable for a variety of surfaces, including most types of hard floors and area rugs
  • Capable of vacuuming and mopping various types of floors simultaneously, saving time


  • Expensive compared to other hardwood floor cleaning machines
  • Clean out process requires manually rinsing brush roll and filter after each use
  • Dirty water tank doesn’t separate the large debris from the water

Vacuum and wash sealed wood floors in one easy step with this dual-action wet/dry vacuum mop from Bissell. There’s no need to vacuum floors before wet mopping. Instead, this machine does both at the same time. It safely and effectively cleans sealed wood floors as well as


, rubber floor mats, linoleum,


, and area rugs.

This Bissell CrossWave features a dual-tank system that keeps the cleaning solution separate from the dirty water to ensure optimal efficiency. We appreciated this during testing, as it makes cleaning the machine much easier. The clean water tank also featured lines indicating how much water and concentrate to add, which took the guesswork out of filling it.

We tested the CrossWave on hardwood floors, allowing it to clean everyday dirt from a family of five. When we powered it on, the brush roll began to spin, and the machine started suctioning. We used the trigger to release the cleaning solution, which let us control how wet our floors got. This feature allowed us to increase the moisture when dealing with sticky messes.

This CrossWave did an excellent job cleaning a dried soft drink and pasta sauce from our hardwoods. It only took a couple of passes on each item before they were completely gone. We also spilled a bowl of cereal (milk and all) on the floor, and the CrossWave had no problem clearing it from the floor.

Our least favorite thing was the clean-out process. After emptying the dirty water tank (which doesn’t filter out the large particles from the water) and running the cleaning cycle, we had to manually rinse the brush roll and filter and then leave them out to dry before reassembling. While the process wasn’t difficult, having to clean out a floor cleaning machine after each use is a bit of an inconvenience, especially if used daily.

Get the Bissell 1785A hardwood floor cleaner machine at Amazon, Target, or Sam’s Club.

Jump to Our Top Picks

What to Consider When Choosing a Hardwood Floor Cleaner Machine

Manufacturers offer an abundance of viable options for machines that preserve and clean hardwood floors. Some models provide wet-mopping as well as vacuum-suctioning actions to produce spotless results. Others use only dry-suction vacuuming. Some utilize rotating mopheads that perform a scrubbing action.

Robot floor-cleaning machines offer cutting-edge technology to automate household chores and allow users to clean their floors remotely. According to Angela Brown, host of the Ask a House Cleaner show, “When selecting an electric mop, it’s a good idea to try it out in-store if possible or read user reviews to gauge how easy it is to use and whether it meets your specific needs. Ultimately, prioritize safety and comfort to make the cleaning process more manageable.”

Read on for information regarding the various types, sizes, weights, power sources, and cleaning functions of high-quality hardwood floor cleaner machines available on today’s market.


Hardwood floors exude a feeling of natural warmth in a home. Diverse types of hardwood floor cleaner machines function in various ways to keep floors clean and lustrous. Here is an overview of several types.

  • Standard vacuums employ suction to lift soil and debris from floor surfaces, but they do not use water or cleaning solutions.
  • Wet/dry vacuums dispense cleaning solution dissolved in water followed by suctioning action to lift the soil and the dirty water from the floor.
  • Robotic vacuums and mops move automatically throughout the home, performing both wet-mopping actions and vacuuming in response to remote controls, apps, or voice commands.
  • Steam mops contain heating elements that heat water to produce pressurized steam, eliminating the need for cleaning solutions or chemicals.
  • Spin mops dispense cleaning solution onto floors and scrub the surface with rotating pads on dual spinning mopheads.

Corded vs. Cordless

Although most hardwood floor cleaner machines operate on corded electricity from household outlets, the cordless models offer convenience and easy maneuvering. Cordless machines operate on power from rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. Robotic floor cleaner machines and some cordless upright models include recharging docks for storing the units and recharging the batteries.

Many corded hardwood floor cleaner machines feature cords from 20 to 25 feet long. The long cords allow users to navigate around furniture and access hard-to-reach corners.

Both types of floor cleaners perform well and display specific advantages. Corded models provide greater suction power; cordless ones tend to be lighter in weight and are more portable. Users of corded machines never need to worry about recharging times and runtimes; a cordless unit can reach places far from any power outlet.

Power and Runtime 

The power that runs corded floor cleaner machines derives from regular 110-volt household electricity. Cordless machines typically run on lithium-ion batteries, and they include specialized recharging docks designed to recharge them safely without mishap.

Runtimes for fully charged batteries vary from one machine to another. Typically, a 36-volt lithium-ion battery produces 30 minutes of runtime for an upright floor cleaner machine. Alternatively, a 2,600-milliampere-hour lithium-ion battery in a robotic floor cleaner machine usually delivers 120 minutes of runtime.

Lithium-ion batteries are environmentally safe, and they are quick to recharge. However, deterioration over time results in a quicker discharge of power, causing decreased runtime.

Cleaning Settings 

Many of the floor cleaner machines that work well for hardwood floors also function on carpets and rugs. Users can adjust the settings for carpeted or hardwood surfaces.

Brush rollers perform a vital role in cleaning carpets, but they may scratch hardwood flooring. With diverse surfaces in mind, engineers design switching systems to activate or deactivate the rotating brushes. With the flip of a switch, users can change from the hard-floor setting to the carpet setting, activating the brushes for carpet and rugs and then retracting them when moving to hardwood floors.

A steam cleaner employs steam from heated water to provide natural cleaning with zero chemicals from cleaning solutions. This type of floor cleaner machine offers low, medium, and high settings to regulate the amount of steam pressure released onto the floor surface.

Mop/Brush Head

The effectiveness of many hardwood floor cleaner machines derives from their ability to perform a wet-mopping function while simultaneously removing the dirty water (along with soil and debris) via a vacuum-suctioning action.

For the wet-mopping portion of the job, floor cleaner machines include mopheads with removable pads. Some mop pads are smooth and soft, while others provide texture for scrubbing action. The disposable pads can be replaced when they become fully saturated with dirt and debris.

As an alternative to mop pads, some machines feature nylon and microfiber brushes for the wet-mopping function. Users will want to avoid using metal brush heads on wood floors as they may scratch the surface.

For a scrubbing action, some machines offer dual spinning mopheads with pads. Due to their rapid rotations, the mopheads scrub hardwood floors, removing sticky messes and leaving behind a shiny surface appearance.

Tank Capacity 

Hardwood floor cleaner machines that perform wet-mopping functions include water tanks. Liquid cleaning solution mixed with water goes into the clean-water tank. The machines dispense the clean water onto the floor and, in most cases, suction it up with the vacuuming function.

The used, dirty water is funneled into a separate tank to keep it from contaminating the clean water. Users must empty the dirty-water tank when it becomes full. Water tanks in wet-mopping machines typically hold up to 28 ounces of water.

Some machines utilize disposable mop pads to absorb the dirty water instead. Other machines forgo water altogether, spraying undiluted liquid cleaning solution onto the floor and absorbing it in the mop pads. Standard vacuum cleaners rely on air filters for trapping dirt and debris rather than water tanks or pads.

Weight and Maneuverability

Lightweight hardwood floor cleaning machines offer convenience, portability, and easy maneuvering. Typically, cordless machines weigh less than corded ones. In a survey of available options, corded electric hardwood floor cleaner machines range in weight from about 9 to 14 pounds while cordless models weigh from about 5 to 11.5 pounds.

In addition to the lighter weight, floor cleaner machines powered by rechargeable batteries offer enhanced maneuverability because they don’t have cords. Many users prefer to eliminate the hassle of tethering to an electrical outlet and manipulating a cord while cleaning. However, some corded machines provide increased maneuverability by offering long cords of 20 to 25 feet, allowing users to reach areas far away from electrical outlets.

Several available hardwood floor cleaner machines feature swivel steering systems. This feature facilitates maneuvering the machines around and under furniture, reaching into corners and along baseboards for thorough cleaning results.


An essential shopping consideration involves the number and types of accessories and attachments included with various hardwood floor cleaner machines. These add-ons contribute to the functionality and versatility of the machines.

Some models include liquid cleaning solution along with replacement mop pads in both smooth and textured varieties. Disposable pads accompany some machines, while others utilize washable mop pads. Additionally, some models include nylon and microfiber brushes to clean hardwood floors.

A high-quality vacuum cleaner includes a crevice tool for cleaning narrow places as well as an extension wand for reaching ceilings, walls, and light fixtures. It also features a portable, detachable-pod design that facilitates cleaning stairs and other above-floor surfaces.


Cleaning, sanitizing, and bringing out the luster of hardwood floors can pay off in preserving the value these floors add to a home. The answers to the following common questions might be helpful when beginning to use a new hardwood floor cleaner machine.

Q. Does my hardwood floor require a specific cleaner? 

Yes. Use a pH-neutral cleaner formulated for sealed hardwood floors. Do not use a cleaner made for vinyl or tile floors.

Q. Can a vacuum scratch hardwood floors?

It is possible for stiff rotating brushes to scratch hardwood floors. In many machines, the brushes that work well on carpet can be retracted or shut off by flipping a switch when the machine moves to hardwood flooring.

Q. How often should I vacuum hardwood floors?

The answer to this question depends on traffic volume and usage. In general, hardwood floors should be vacuumed at least once each week.

Q. How often should I clean my hardwood floors?

Wet mop hardwood floors with appropriate cleaning solution every 1 to 2 months. Increase or decrease frequency depending on traffic and usage.

Why Trust Bob Vila

Bob Vila has been America’s Handyman since 1979. As the host of beloved and groundbreaking TV series including “This Old House” and “Bob Vila’s Home Again,” he popularized and became synonymous with “do-it-yourself” home improvement.

Over the course of his decades-long career, Bob Vila has helped millions of people build, renovate, repair, and live better each day—a tradition that continues today with expert yet accessible home advice. The Bob Vila team distills need-to-know information into project tutorials, maintenance guides, tool 101s, and more. These home and garden experts then thoroughly research, vet, and recommend products that support homeowners, renters, DIYers, and professionals in their to-do lists.

Meet the Tester

Katie Barton has over 10 years of experience in product writing, has tested dozens of cleaning products, and has authored hundreds of articles for major media outlets. Her cleaning and organizing advice has been featured on GOBankingRates,, Yahoo!, Cabin Life, and more. She takes an unbiased approach to product testing, using each product multiple times or for several days/weeks to determine efficacy. Her goal is to help readers decide which products are worth their hard-earned money and which fall flat.

Additional research provided by Carol Benton.

Katie Barton Avatar

Katie Barton

Contributing Writer

Katie Barton is a home improvement freelance writer based out of Cincinnati, Ohio. She has been writing for the Bob Vila team since July 2022 and specializes in topics such as cleaning, organizing, and gardening.