Instead of having to vacuum and then mop your floors, wouldn’t it be nice if you could do it all in one step? Wet-dry vacuums allow you to complete both chores at once, making them an excellent option for those with limited storage space and hard floors. "Wet-dry vacuums are extremely versatile and help to safely clean liquids and dirt in and outside your home," says Leanne Stapf, COO of The Cleaning Authority. We tested and researched the top wet-dry vacuums, evaluating their effectiveness, ease of maintenance, and maneuverability.
The BISSELL CrossWave Floor and Area Rug Cleaner is our top choice because it can clean both hard floors and area rugs, and features an easy-to-use and maneuverable design.
Here, the best wet-dry vacuums for picking up every kind of mess in your space.
Best Overall: BISSELL 1785A CrossWave Floor and Area Rug Cleaner
Works on hard floors and area rugs
Lightweight and easy to maneuver
Separate tanks for clean and dirty water
Includes docking tray
Pet owners may need to upgrade to Pet Pro model
Several steps to clean after use
The Bissell CrossWave was one of the first mainstream wet-dry vacuums, and to date, it’s still one of the best options in terms of performance, versatility, and overall value. The CrossWave is designed to vacuum and wash your floors simultaneously, and unlike many other products, it can be used on area rugs and floor mats, as well as sealed hard floors. The vacuum weighs just 11.5 pounds and is equipped with swivel steering, making it easy to handle, and it comes with a number of accessories, including two brush rolls, multiple filters, and a sample-sized bottle of cleaner.
The CrossWave has separate tanks for clean and dirty water (similar to a carpet cleaner) to ensure it doesn’t leave any dirt streaks on your floors or carpets. The appliance’s brush rolls are made from microfiber and nylon, which help them to pick up dry debris and absorb liquids, and the brush rotates at 3,000 RMPs, allowing it to remove more dirt and grime from your floors. The design is powered by a 25-foot cord for unlimited runtime, but if you’re cleaning a large area, you may need to refill its clean water tank.
There are a few downsides to this appliance that you’ll want to consider before you buy. First, it’s not as effective on pet hair as the CrossWave Pet Pro—this pet-specific model has a special brush roll and strainer to more efficiently capture pet hair. Additionally, there are several steps required to clean up after using the CrossWave, making it more time-consuming to use than a standard vacuum. However, it does come with a convenient docking tray that makes it easier to store.
Best Budget: Craftsman CMXEVBE17250 2.5-gallon Wet/Dry Vac
Functions as blower
Hose is stiff
Not the best suction
For an affordable vacuum that can handle wet messes, your best option is a compact shop vac like this one from Craftsman. The lightweight vacuum can be carried around your home using the top handle (it doesn’t have wheels), and can hold up to 2.5 gallons of debris in its body. The tool includes a 5-foot hose with a 1.25-inch diameter, as well as a crevice tool and utility nozzle, and on-board accessory storage makes it easy to keep all the pieces in one place.
This shop vac has a 10-foot power cord, and it operates at 1.75 peak HP. The debris you suck up will be captured inside a filter bag, and the unit can also be used as a blower, making it versatile for use around the house, your garage, or even a workspace. This wet-dry vacuum doesn’t have the most powerful suction, and is likely better for spot-cleaning opposed to whole-house cleaning, but it can be used to clean up debris on pretty much any surface. It's also significantly more lightweight and compact than traditional shop vacs.
Best Splurge: Dreametech H11 Max Cordless Wet Dry Vacuum Cleaner
Dual, high-capacity water tanks
Self-cleaning brush roll
Smart LED display
Voice assistant can be irritating
If you’re willing to spend a little more on a wet-dry vacuum that makes it quick and easy to clean your home, the Dreametech H11 Max is a worthwhile investment. This cordless vacuum can run for up to 35 minutes per charge, and you’ll be able to see exactly how much battery power you have left on its large LED display. The vacuum has separate tanks for clean and dirty water, and there’s even a special water-absorption mode that will help you clean up spills and suck up any lingering moisture from your floors.
The Dreametech H11 Max is surprisingly quiet during operation, yet it still offers powerful suction that will pick up debris, dust, and even pet hair from your floors. The vacuum comes with a convenient charging base that doubles as a dock, and one of the product’s best features is its self-cleaning brush roll. Once you’ve finished cleaning your floors, you can dock the vacuum and press the self-cleaning button. The machine will use clean water and powerful suction to clean any lingering dirt and gunk off the brush roll, saving you from having to wash it by hand. From there, you simply have to empty the dirty water tank, and the vacuum is ready to be used again.
Overall, the Dreametech H11 is a well-designed model that prioritizes convenience and ease of use, but some users might find that the vacuum’s voice assistant can be irritating. The good news, however, is that this feature can be turned off.
Best Upright: Roborock Dyad Cordless Wet Dry Vacuum
Multiple brush rolls
Can be used with floor cleaner
Multiple cleaning modes
Not ideal for pet hair
The Roborock Dyad is a fairly new wet-dry vacuum, and it offers a variety of useful features that help it stand out from other upright models. For instance, it has not one, but two brushrolls that help it pick up more dirt, dust, and liquid from your floors. One of the brushes offers edge-to-edge cleaning, allowing you to get closer to baseboards. It has a self-propelled design that’s easy to maneuver around your home, and its head rotates up to 180 degrees, allowing you to clean around obstacles like table legs.
The Dyad has three different cleaning modes, including auto, max, and floor drying, which is ideal for soaking up water spills. The cordless design can run for up to 35 minutes per charge, and it has a digital display that shows how much battery life is remaining. The vacuum features separate tanks for clean and dirty water, and you can mix the brand’s floor cleaning solution into the clean water tank for a more thorough clean. This high-end model even has a self-cleaning button that removes dirt and grime from the brush roll, sucking it up into the dirty water tank. However, the brush rolls can get tangled with pet hair, which can make maintenance fairly challenging and this model not particularly suitable for those with pets.
Best Cordless: Shark VM252 VacMop Pro Cordless Wet/Dry Stick Vacuum
No-touch pad disposal
LED headlights reveal dust and dirt
Holds limited amount of waste
No option for reusable pads
If you’re looking for a lightweight, cordless vacuum to clean up small messes around your home, the Shark VACMOP is a worthwhile choice. This vacuum works a bit differently than other products on this list—instead of having a dedicated dust bin, it sucks dirt and debris into a disposal pad, which you can simply throw away at the end of your cleaning session. We tested this product in The Lab, and our tester gave it 5-star ratings for both effectiveness and maneuverability, noting that the lightweight design slides easily across hardwood floors and the spray leaves behind a fresh scent after you finish mopping.
The VACMOP can run for around 20 minutes per charge, and it actually has little LED headlights that help illuminate dust and dirt on your floor. You don’t even have to touch the cleaning pad to dispose of it, but keep in mind that you will have to stock up on the pads, as they can only be used for a single cleaning session. Our tester also mentioned that the dirt chambers on the pads are quite small, so the wet-dry vacuum is best suited for smaller messes.
Best Shop Vac: Vacmaster VBV1210 12-gallon Wet/Dry Vacuum with Detachable Blower
Doubles as a blower
Large drainage port
On-board accessory storage
Short power cord
For a vacuum that can handle more rugged tasks, such as cleaning up your workshop, the Vacmaster Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum is the way to go. It has a large, 12-gallon capacity and 5 peak HP. The vacuum is mounted on caster wheels, making it easy to tow around your home, and it’s equipped with a 7-foot hose made from durable polypropylene. It can be used to suck up water—and just about anything—and there’s a large port at the bottom of the unit that allows you to easily drain out liquids you’ve collected.
This shop vac comes with a variety of attachments, including a utility nozzle, crevice tool, and concentrator nozzle, and can also be converted into a detachable blower that offers speeds up to 210 mph. There are storage ports on the casters and power head, allowing you to store all the accessories right on the base, and there’s even a noise diffuser that makes the vacuum quieter during operation. However, the vacuum only has a 12-foot power cord, so you might need to employ an extension cord if you don’t have an outlet nearby.
Best Handheld: BLACK+DECKER Dustbuster AdvancedClean Cordless Wet/Dry Handheld Vacuum
Easy to rinse in sink
Includes wall mount
Not great at picking up dust
The BLACK+DECKER Wet/Dry Handheld Vacuum can be used to quickly suck up spills and other wet and dry messes around your home. It’s extremely lightweight—just 2 pounds—and it offers a modest 15 minutes of runtime per charge. The design is slightly smaller than classic dustbusters from the brand, but it has a washable filter and squeegee attachment that allow it to be used on liquids.
This handheld vacuum comes with a wall mount that makes it easy to store, and its see-through dust bin can hold up to 8 ounces of liquid. The dust bowl and filter can be rinsed right in your sink after use, but keep in mind that this vacuum is extremely loud during operation. Additionally, it’s not the best at capturing fine dust particles—it’s designed for picking up larger pieces of debris.
Best Robot: ECOVACS DEEBOT N8+ Laser Mapping Robot Vacuum and Mop with Self Empty
Docked itself on the first try
Excellent surface detection
Loud when emptying
Can only put water in mopping reservoir
Looking for a hands-off wet/dry cleaning solution? Then the ECOVACS DEEBOT N8+ Robot Vacuum and Mop combo is the pick for you. This model excelled in our lab and at-home testing because it was incredibly easy to use and effective at both vacuuming and mopping (and if you're familiar with robot mops, you know that's saying a lot). This ECOVACS machine can run for 110 minutes before docking itself to recharge, and it boasts a 14.5-inch wide cleaning path so it can suck up pet hair, crumbs, and other debris before wiping the floor clean with its mopping pad.
Our at-home tester reported that this robot vacuum and mop combo ran "perfectly," and docked and emptied itself after every cleaning, basically rendering it self-sufficient. When in cleaning mode, this device can detect what kind of surface it's on and adjust accordingly. It knows to mop when it's on hard flooring, and when it crosses onto an area rug, it will stop mopping and switch to its vacuuming function. You can even start it up from your smartphone so that you can come home to a clean space.
The only downside (besides a rather loud self-emptying suction noise) is that the mopping water reservoir only holds water. The manufacturer warns against putting a floor cleaner in the reservoir. To work around this, our tester soaked the mopping pad in her favorite floor cleaner before attaching it to the device. This ensures her floors will not just be clean, they'll be squeaky clean.
Best for Hardwood Floors: TINECO Floor One S3 Smart Wet/Dry Vacuum
Quiet during operation
Has two water tanks
Doesn’t work well on carpets
Packaging isn't eco-friendly
If you have mostly hardwood floors in your home, the TINECO Floor One S3 will help keep them looking shiny and pristine. During our testing at The Lab, we found that this wet-dry vacuum was able to pick up a variety of debris from hard floors, but isn't compatible with carpeting. The cordless vacuum can run for up to 35 minutes on a single charge, and we liked that its self-propelled design moves it across the floor with little effort on your part.
This vacuum is equipped with a variety of high-tech features, such as app connectivity and a voice assistant, but our testers thought the product would be better off without them, as these features made it harder to use. However, the vacuum does have other useful features, such as the dual-tank design to keep clean and dirty water separate, as well as a self-cleaning function that removes dirt from the brush roll after use.
If you’re looking for a wet-dry vacuum that's effective and can handle multiple surfaces around your home, the BISSELL CrossWave Floor and Area Rug Cleaner is a top choice. It’s able to clean sealed hard floors and carpets, and it’s lightweight and easy to maneuver. For a cheaper option that can handle wet and dry messes, check out the Craftsman Wet/Dry Vac. It can also function as a blower, and features a compact design that's easy to store and a large, 2.5-gallon dust bin.
What to Look for in a Wet-Dry Vacuum
There are several types of wet-dry vacuums that you may want to consider for your home. The best option for you depends on what cleaning tasks you're trying to tackle and where.
Upright models, whether corded or cordless, are popular for indoor use—they typically have a water tank or on-board cleaning solution that’s dispensed then sucked up as you operate the vacuum. On the outside, they look and feel very similar to a classic upright vacuum.
Stick models, also whether corded or cordless, are also popular for indoor use and small spaces, as they're easy to store. They're typically more lightweight and may use disposable mop pads to wipe debris off your floor, opposed to large, separate clean and dirty water tanks.
On the other hand, shop vacs are best-suited for more heavy-duty tasks, like cleaning workshops, garages, or even cars. Their durable design is able to handle debris such as sawdust and nails, and they generally have a much larger capacity. However, shop vacs don’t have any mopping abilities—they simply suck up the water and dirt.
Robotic wet-dry vacuums are also increasingly common. These units are able to mop and vacuum at the same time without you lifting a finger, providing a deeper clean than a robot vacuum could alone. However, these units tend to have a very small water tank and are often expensive.
Lastly, handheld vacuums are great for cleaning up small messes around your home, car, garage, and even office. Their capacity and battery life (if they're cordless) may be limited, but they're the perfect fit for anyone looking to treat specific spills or who doesn't want to store a larger appliance.
As with any vacuum, you’ll want to consider a wet-dry vacuum's capacity as you compare different models. Most options have a dirt bin that collects any liquid and debris you suck up, but upright models typically have a separate clean water tank, as well. This allows the vacuum to dispense fresh water and cleaning solution onto your floors. Keep in mind that small water tanks may need to be refilled frequently if you’re cleaning a large area, but large water tanks will likely make your model heavier to carry from one room to another.
Ease of Cleaning
One of the common complaints about wet-dry vacuums is that they can be tricky (and often gross) to clean after use. After all, the dust, dirt, and water you suck up all gets mixed together in the collection bin, resulting in a muddy mess. To make the cleaning process easier, some upright wet-dry vacuums have a self-cleaning feature, which uses clean water to rinse off the brush roll. Others use disposable pads that can simply be thrown away after use. Similarly, some shop vacs have a drainage plug at the bottom of the canister that lets you easily pour out any liquid contents.
"If you have long-haired pets, you should consider in advance how you'll dispose of the dirty water containing clumps of wet pet hair," says Katie Berry, The Spruce's Cleaning Review Board member. "Ordinarily, you can dump the dirty water down the toilet, but with pet hair involved that's not a good practice."
Some wet-dry vacuums have a cordless design that runs on battery power, meaning you won’t be tethered to a power outlet as you clean. This makes it much more convenient to navigate around furniture and move from room-to-room without stopping. However, you’ll want to check how long the vacuum can run on a single charge. Models with a short runtime will only be useful for cleaning small areas before they need to be recharged.
It might sound a bit strange for a vacuum to have headlights, but when the lights shine across the floor, they light up pieces of dirt and dust that you may have otherwise missed. Many people like this feature, as it helps get their floor as clean as possible and give them visibility in tight nooks and crannies—say, under a couch.
Wet-dry vacuums aren’t always the easiest tool to store when not in use, despite combining two cleaning tools into one. However, some models come with handy storage solutions. Upright models sometimes have a dock that will capture any rouge drips of water once you’ve finished cleaning, and for cordless models, this area might also serve as a charging base. For shop vacs with a lot of accessories, on-board storage and a hose wrap feature help to keep everything neatly in one place. For handheld models, a wall mount offers a convenient, out-of-the-way location to store your go-to cleaning tool.
What can you use a wet-dry vacuum for?
Different styles of wet-dry vacuums serve different roles around the house. Upright and robotic models are designed for everyday floor cleaning and mess pick-up, as they do double-duty as both a mop and a vacuum cleaner. However, shop vacs are best for cleaning up debris in workshops, garages, and even cars, as they’re made from durable materials, have strong suction, and can hold a lot of debris. "Some common reasons for use are removing water from a flooded basement, drying a wet carpet, cleaning up pet hair, vacuuming up crumbs, clearing a fireplace, and removing stains from car seats," says Leanne Stapf, COO of The Cleaning Authority.
Can you use a wet-dry vacuum on carpet and upholstery?
Certain wet-dry vacuums can be used on carpeting or area rugs, serving a similar function as a carpet cleaner. However, it’s important to check whether your wet-dry vacuum is specifically designed to be used on carpeting or fabric. If it’s not, it may cause damage to your floor coverings.
Do wet-dry vacuums use and need a filter?
Just like regular vacuums, most wet-dry vacuums have some type of filter that helps to capture dirt, dust and hair particles and keep them from being recirculated back into your home. You’ll want to check your product’s instruction manual to find out how often the filter needs to be cleaned or replaced to ensure your vacuum stays in peak condition.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was written by Camryn Rabideau, a freelance writer and product tester for The Spruce. She has firsthand experience testing a wide range of cleaning products, including two of the wet-dry vacuums included on this list. In addition to researching the best wet-dry vacuums thoroughly, she also used insights from The Spruce’s team of product testers, who tested several wet-dry vacuums at The Lab in Industry City, Brooklyn.
For further insights on the benefits and applications of wet-dry vacuums, Camryn spoke with Leanne Stapf of The Cleaning Authority. Using these expert insights, she looked for products that are versatile, easy to use, and effective on multiple flooring types. She also prioritized wet-dry vacuums that are easy to clean and maintain, as this is a common pain point among buyers.