Hardwood floors are a pretty nasty beast. Sure, they add elegance to a home that linoleum can’t replicate, but they’re one of the most high-maintenance types of flooring. One of the best tools you can use to take care of hardwood floors is a floor vacuum and mop combo tool.
In this guide, we’ll go talk about the best hardwood floor vacuum and mop tool, as well as how you to shop for one. This buying guide is all you need to make the right purchase decision.
Buying Guide of the Best Hardwood Floor Vacuum and Mop
Most people don’t give floor maintenance a second thought. After all, a quick vacuuming and mopping will pick all of the dirt off of your floors, right? Though this may be true, if you have hardwood floors in your home, you actually might be causing more damage than you think.
Vacuum and mop combo tools are great for hardwood floors, simply due to their ability to perform both wet- and dry-cleaning tasks with just one tool. Plus, many of the top vacuum and mop models are designed specifically to do so without leaving gashes in floorboards.
Please continue scrolling through this guide if you’re interested in finding the best hardwood floor vacuum and mop for your home.
Types of Hardwood Floor Vacuum and Mop Combos
While shopping for a vacuum and mop combo tool, you’ll come across two very distinct types: uprights and robots.
Upright Vacuum and Mop
Upright vacuum and mop combos look pretty much like the traditional upright vacuum cleaner, except that it also has built-in compartments to store clean and dirty water. This type of vacuum and mop combo tool typically comes with a pretty powerful motor that spins a soft brush roll to pick up any debris residing between floorboards. So, as it removes floor contaminants, it also gently massages and slightly buffs your hardwood floors in the process.
Handheld Vacuum and Mop
Vacuum and mop combo tools also come in the shape of handheld units. Their smaller build is great for spot-cleaning fresh spills. We wouldn’t recommend cleaning entire floors with a simple handheld vacuum and mop for obvious reasons.
Robotic Vacuum and Mop
Robotic vacuum and mop combos are a pretty modern piece of technology. They don’t “mop” in the traditional sense, but instead, they drag around a slightly moistened cloth, usually microfiber, to pick up any residual particles that the vacuum cleaner may have missed.
DID YOU KNOW? Robotic cleaners have come a long way from being clunky, undependable bots. The latest models have advanced sensor technology and can even store multiple maps or floors. This allows them to vacuum and mop more efficiently with minimal assistance!
Although wet/dry vacs aren’t technically vacuum and mop tools, they do deal with splashes of liquid as well as they deal with dried bits of dust and debris. Some wet/dry vac models can even go as far as picking up wet cement off of floors—a handy feature if you’re a DIY-er who works with concrete.
What Type of Vacuum and Mop Should I Choose?
From the two main types of vacuum and mop combo tools—uprights and handhelds—neither of them are perfect for every task.
Uprights are great for those handling large messes, thanks to their wide vacuum heads. They’re also considerably lightweight, even when their tanks are filled with water, so maneuvering the tool around sharp furniture legs and other obstacles won’t pose a problem.
Handheld models are nearly the polar opposite of uprights. They’re incredibly small, great for spot-cleaning tiny stains, and hardly hold onto any water. This would make for a great backup vacuum and mop tool, especially for cleaning auto interior.
As for robots, these are great if you absolutely dread the thought of vacuuming and mopping after yourself. They do the heavy lifting, allowing the owner—you, in this case—to chill at home and make a mess for your robot to clean up.
Wet/dry vacs are generally considered a must-have tool for craftsmen. They’re not quiet, so they’ll wake up any sleeping pets and children when used indoors. However, their motors are incredibly powerful, and they will pick up wet concrete and wood chips.
Finding the Right Hardwood Floor Vacuum and Mop
Choosing a vacuum and mop combo isn’t as easy as it may seem, especially if your goal is to maintain hardwood floors without them warping or becoming scratched. In this section, we’ll cover the most important factors you need to take into account when shopping for the best hardwood floor vacuum and mop.
Soft Brush Roll
First and foremost, you absolutely need to pay attention to the design of the vacuum and mop’s brush roll. The brush roll should be soft so as to not scratch your hardwood floors, and they should highly absorbent to prevent piddles from ruining your floor’s finish.
Steam Mop Option
Some vacuum and mop combos have a steaming option that lets you sanitize your floors. They use tiny amounts of water to produce high quantities of steam to get in between floorboards, and the steam dissipates almost instantly, so there’s hardly a risk of it seeping into your floorboards and ruining the texture.
FOR YOUR SAFETY. Steam is an excellent sanitizing agent that doesn’t require chemicals, but it can burn you if you’re not careful. Even though modern vacuum and mop combo tools have built-in protection to keep the steam from leaking out, you should always exercise caution when activating the built-in boiler.
Water Tank Capacity
The size of the water tank will affect how many refills it’ll take to vacuum and mop your entire floor. A larger tank that holds more water can clear wide floors without as many refills, but it can also affect the tool’s maneuverability with the added weight of the water.
Corded vs. Cordless
Upright and handheld vacuum and mop combos can be corded or cordless. Corded-electric vacuum and mops offer uninterrupted, high-speed cleaning performance at the cost of maneuverability and a heftier build. Cordless vacuum and mops are lighter in weight and can also vacuum above-ground surfaces, but their battery life is pretty limited—typically around 45 minutes.
This generally applies to those who are on the fence between choosing an upright vacuum and mops and a robotic cleaner. In general, robots are several times more expensive than their traditional upright counterparts, but in exchange, you get a robot that does your bidding! YOU don’t have to do the vacuuming and mopping anymore as long as a robot is busy patrolling your floors.
What Are the Benefits of Vacuum and Mop Combos?
There are plenty of advantages vacuum and mop combos have over standalone vacuum cleaners and mops. Here they are:
First and foremost, a vacuum and mop combo tool practically eliminates the need to purchase an upright vacuum cleaner and a mop. Instead, you get the to enjoy the best of both dry and wet-cleaning worlds with a single tool. If you can spend less time maintaining your floors, why would you choose not to?
Sanitizing Power of Steam
If the tool comes with a steam option, then you can have the perfect floor-cleaning tool that not only picks up dry debris and soaks up spills and dirt tracks, but it can also eradicate up to 99.99% of germs. The potential versatility of a vacuum and mop combo is virtually limitless.
No Added Chemicals
In addition, if the tool has a steaming option, then you don’t need to employ harsh chemicals to get rid of germs and bacteria. Instead, with natural, harmless (to humans) steam, your floors will be absolutely spotless without inhaling residual chemicals in the process.
Easy to Maintain
Vacuum and mop combo tools are very low-maintenance. You’ll need to wring the brush roll after each use and dump the contents of the dirty and clean water tanks out, but that’s all; no dust collection bags, no replacing microfiber pads, and it might even come with a self-cleaning device that removes particles from the brush roll’s fibers.
Works on All Types of Floors
When we say all types, we mean all types, assuming you can turn the mop and steam function off at will. Some of the models we tested we able to pick up a majority of dirt and debris in low-pile carpeting, nearly completely substituting traditional upright vacuum cleaners.
QUICK TIP: It goes without saying, but if your vacuum/mop combo tool has an option to shut off the wet-mop feature, you should do so before moving the vacuum over carpeted surfaces.
When Should You Replace Your Vacuum and Mop?
As you already know, vacuum and mop combos, like any home appliance, don’t last forever. The average lifespan of a vacuum and mop tool is usually around three years, though the manufacturer’s warranty should provide an estimate of how long they think it’ll function properly.
With that in mind, there are a couple of things you should keep an eye out for to determine when it’s time to replace your current vacuum and mop.
If the tank is leaking, then there might have been a part of the holder piece that snapped off. If this is the case, you can’t do much to salvage your vacuum and mop. If the tank is leaking due to a crack, check with the manufacturer to see if they sell replacement tanks, otherwise you’ll have to pick up a brand-new vacuum and mop combo tool.
Reduced Brush Roll Speed
Reduced brush roll speed can be caused by long pet hair that got tangled in the brush roll’s spinning axis or a worn-out motor. If removing tangled hair, and washing and drying the brush roll doesn’t restore it to its original speed, your vacuum and mop needs to be replaced.
PRO TIP: A pair of scissors works best at snipping away tangled pet and human hair from the brush roll. Make sure you don’t cut the micro fiber brushes, otherwise the tool may end up transferring grit and scratching your lovely floorboards.
Does Not Produce Steam
If the vacuum and mop tool no longer produces the same quantity of steam, then the internal boiling unit may have broken down. Replacing the boiler can cost almost as much as a brand-new vacuum and mop, so we suggest picking up a new model instead of sending it to a repairman (broken heater may void the warranty).
Regardless of whether the vacuum and mop tool has an onboard heater or not, when there’s visible smoke coming out of the motor, then it’s either time to get it fixed or replaced entirely. The best vacuum and mops are designed to last for several years beyond their warranties, which last anywhere between one and three years. If the age of your vacuum/mop tool passed the four- or five-year mark, expect quicker overheating, and consider finding a newer model to replace it.
Vacuum and Mop FAQ
Here, we’ll address the most frequently asked questions regarding vacuum and mop combos.
1. Do vacuum and mop combos beat steam mops when cleaning hardwood floors?
Yes, they do. Steam mops, as its name suggests, are mops that use large quantities of steam to sanitize the surface of your floors, regardless of which type of flooring you have. Vacuum and mop combos both dry and wet-clean floors, and some even come with a built-in boiler to steam-clean your floors for extra protection against germs and bacteria.
2. How much should I spend on a vacuum and mop?
It ultimately depends on your budget. The cost of a vacuum and mop combo tool ranges from super-cheat to incredibly expensive, with many new robot releases dominating the more expensive end of the price spectrum.
3. Which brand makes the best vacuum and mop combos?
The most popular manufacturers are Bissell and Dyson, whereas popular hybrid robot names belong to Roborock and Ecovacs. There are also several lesser-known companies that have joined in on the vacuum and mop combo fun, but we can’t really speak for how well-built they are until we’ve gotten a chance to test them out.
4. Should I vacuum first or mop first?
It’s generally a better idea to vacuum before mopping, but if you want to take it to the next level, dust all above-ground surfaces first, then vacuum, then go over your floors once with a mop. Steaming is optional after mopping to sanitize your floors, if your vacuum and mop tool has a steaming feature.
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