Reviews

Shark HydroVac Review: Is This Vac/Mop as Good as a Bissell CrossWave?

Pick up everyday dirt, fallen food, and even liquid spills with the Shark HydroVac XL—a quality multipurpose machine that vacuums wet and dry messes while washing the floor, cutting cleaning time in half.
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A person using the Shark HydroVac with LED lights to clean hardwood floors.
Photo: Katie Barton for Bob Vila

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I value a clean house, but as a working parent with three active kids, cleaning our floors at the end of a long day can feel like torture. Lugging out a vacuum and then a mop is a challenging chore that seemed to be the only way to stay on top of tidying up. Naturally, then, I was eager to try out the Shark HydroVac XL.

In fact, I recently tested 10 of the best hardwood floor cleaner machines, which included a variety of spin mops, steam mops, vacuums, robotic mops, and vacuum/mop combos. The Shark HydroVac, a vacuum/mop combo, was one of my favorites. It sucks up wet and dry messes, making it perfect for cleaning whatever kind of food that kids may drop. It also vacuums and mops simultaneously, allowing me to clean my floor in one step and with one tool.

I’ve used the Shark HydroVac for a month, cleaning all floors in my home, which include hardwoods, vinyl, ceramic tile, and area rugs. I’ve also tested similar vacuum/mop models, including the Bissell CrossWave Multi-Surface and Bissell CrossWave HydroSteam, giving me a good idea of how the Shark HydroVac stacks up against the competition.

Shark WD101 HydroVac XL: At a Glance

A person using the Shark HydroVac with LED lights to clean hardwood floors.
Photo: Katie Barton for Bob Vila

Rating: 7.5/10

SPECS

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

PROS

  • Vacuums and mops at the same time, cleaning floors in a single step
  • Suctions wet and dry messes, making it ideal for cleaning spilled drinks and food
  • Self-cleaning cycle and antimicrobial brush roll keep the machine clean and free from odors

CONS

  • No vacuum-only mode; always wet mopping when on hard-floor setting
  • Clean water tank may not be big enough to handle large expanses of flooring without refilling
  • Brush roll cover easily dislodges when it hits a cabinet or piece of furniture

Get the Shark HydroVac XL at:

What is the Shark HydroVac XL?

The Shark HydroVac XL is a wet/dry vacuum and mop combo safe for all sealed hard floors. It features separate clean and dirty water tanks and comes with a 12-ounce bottle of the HydroVac Multi-Surface Concentrate.

One of my favorite things about the HydroVac is that the brush roller has an antimicrobial coating. This coating helps prevent odors and bacterial growth so the machine doesn’t get stinky. The HydroVac has two settings, which include hard floors and area rugs. When it turns on, it’s automatically on hard floor mode and begins to vacuum and mop. There’s an area rug button on the top of the handle next to the power button, making it easy to switch between settings.

This Shark vacuum/mop combo also features a debris filter in the dirty water tank, which separates large debris from the water, making it easy to dump. Other notable features include a storage tray to dock the HydroVac, an easy-to-run self-clean cycle, LED lights that help illuminate messes, and an LED display.

A person using the Shark HydroVac with LED lights to vacuum up spilled cereal.
Photo: Katie Barton for Bob Vila

Works Well Even on Tough Messes

When I received the Shark HydroVac XL, I was ready to put it to the test. Assembly was easy; the handle locked into place, and all I had to do was fill up the clean water tank. Fortunately, the tank has clear lines indicating how much water and multisurface concentrate solution to add, taking the guesswork out of the process.

I hit the power button and the machine vacuumed and mopped simultaneously. Unlike similar models I’ve tried, there was no trigger release for the cleaning solution. As long as the HydroVac was on, it was mopping.

I used the HydroVac for regular cleaning, and it picked up every little piece of dirt and hair on my floor. I loved that the LED lights helped illuminate dirt I might otherwise miss.

After regular cleaning, I kicked things up a notch to see how well this machine could tackle tougher messes. I smeared about a quarter of a cup of marinara sauce on my floor and dumped the same amount of cola on the ground. I let both substances dry before trying to clean them with the HydroVac. It only took two swipes to clean up the soda, but the marinara sauce proved harder. It took me about six passes to remove it, which wasn’t bad considering the size of the mess.

When I was done washing my floors, running the self-clean cycle was a breeze. First, I dumped out the dirty water tank and returned it to the machine. Then, I ensured the clean water tank was at least half full and, with the HydroVac on its storage tray, I hit the power button to run the self-clean cycle. That was it.

The Shark HydroVac XL vs. the Bissell CrossWave

I tested both the Bissell CrossWave Multi-Surface Wet/Dry Vac and the Shark HydroVac XL. These machines work similarly, sucking up wet and dry messes and washing the floor in one step. Both have two modes—one for hard floors and one for area rugs—and separate tanks for dirty and clean water.

The most significant difference is that the Bissell CrossWave has a solution spray trigger. Because of this, it’s possible to customize the amount of cleaning solution the machine uses. When I used the CrossWave, I could release extra moisture to tackle tough messes with the pull of a trigger. I could also use the CrossWave as a vacuum only if desired.

The Shark HydroVac releases a cleaning solution automatically, which has pros and cons. On nights when I’m tired, I might zone out and forget to pull the trigger on the Bissell, which means my floors only get vacuumed and not washed. The Shark is constantly vacuuming and mopping, so there’s nothing to think about. The drawback, however, is that users can’t customize the amount of moisture that hits the floor.

While the Shark HydroVac and Bissell CrossWave have self-cleaning features, the Shark’s is better. To self-clean with Shark, all I had to do was empty the dirty water tank, make sure the clean water tank was half full, place the machine in its tray, and hit the power button. For the Bissell Crosswave, I first had to empty the dirty water tank and, because there was no filter to separate the large debris from the water, it was a gross process. Then, I had to dump water in the storage tray, run the machine for 10 to 15 seconds, and hand rinse the brush roll, filter, and tank. After rinsing, I had to leave them to air dry for 24 hours.

The last thing I want to do is clean a machine after I wash my floors. The Shark HydroVac doesn’t require manual rinsing or air drying of its brush and filter.

Is the Shark HydroVac XL worth the money?

The regular price for the Shark HydroVac is $299.99, and it sometimes goes on sale, especially around major holidays. Since the HydroVac is a multipurpose tool that can replace a vacuum and mop, $300 is reasonable. It’s also in line with similar vacuum/mop combos from other brands.

Ongoing costs will include purchasing more HydroVac cleaning solution, filters, and brush rolls. Shark recommends replacing the filter and brush roll every 6 months and sells a bundle with two filters and one brush roll for $24.99. The company also sells multisurface and disinfectant concentrate. One 33-ounce bottle of their multisurface concentrate costs $21.95 and provides 19 refills.

A person using the Shark HydroVac to clean hardwood floors.
Photo: Katie Barton for Bob Vila

Should you buy the Shark HydroVac XL? 

I used the Shark HydroVac for a month, and it’s been a valuable asset, making it much faster for me to clean up in the evenings. I love that I can run this vacuum/mop combo after dinner without worrying about picking up the random green bean or pile of macaroni on the floor. I just run the HydroVac, and it sucks it all up and washes my floors at the same time.

I still, however, pull out my regular vacuum and mop to deep clean every week or two. The Shark maintains my floors but doesn’t get them quite as clean as my favorite steam mop.

The HydroVac is an excellent option for buyers looking to save time on cleaning or tackle pet and kid messes, like spilled food or scattered kitty litter. Those looking for a mop/vac combo may alternatively be interested in the Bissell CrossWave, which allows control over the cleaning solution, or the Bissell CrossWave HydroSteam, which has a steam mode to tackle tough messes. Both work comparably to the HydroVac, although I prefer the self-cleaning feature in the Shark model.

Folks looking for very specialized tools, like a mop that gets right up to baseboards, may fare better with a separate vacuum and mop.

Where to Buy the Shark HydroVac XL

Get the Shark HydroVac XL at:

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 a variety of popular home and finance websites. She takes an unbiased approach to product testing, using each product multiple times or for several days to determine efficacy. Her goal is to help readers decide which products are worth their hard-earned money and which fall flat.

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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.

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