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Bissell CrossWave HydroSteam vs CrossWave HF3

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In this review, we’re going to be comparing two of Bissell’s newer wet-dry vacuums: the CrossWave HydroSteam vs the CrossWave HF3. They’re both premium electric vacuum-mop combos with plenty of impressive features, but they also have some differences. 

Bissell CrossWave HydroSteam

BIssell CrossWave HydroSteam

Bissell CrossWave HF3

Bissell CrossWave HF3

Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve put them both through all sorts of tests. We’ve been reviewing a lot of robot vacuums and upright vacuums lately, and it was nice to change things up a bit. In this review, we’ll go over the results and see which one comes out on top.


About the features they have in common: both of these wet-dry vacuums work in pretty much the same way. First, you fill up their clean water tanks with water and the solution that comes with them. Then, you turn them on and start vacuuming back and forth, just like you would with a regular vacuum. 

They’re designed to handle hard floors and pick up any debris lying around, but the difference is that they can also mop your floors simultaneously. 

…both vacuums performed extremely well in most of our pickup tests, and they each have their own features that make them both impressive and a good buy…

They both have a self-cleaning mode where you can place them in their dock, push a button, and it will run clean water over the brush and through the system. The debris and dirt are then moved to the dirty water tank to be cleaned and emptied.

Testing Self-Cleaning Bases - Bissell CrossWave HydroSteam vs CrossWave HF3
Both Bissell models on their charging docks which have a self-cleaning mode. © Vacuum Wars


The CrossWave HydroSteam has LED lights on the floor head, which helps to see any debris that might have otherwise gone unnoticed. The HF3, on the other hand, has a few features that really make it convenient to use. 

Rather than using a manual trigger to release clean water, the CrossWave HF3 automatically releases clean water and pulls in the dirty water. It’s also cordless, which makes it convenient to use and maneuver. 

Steam vs Cold Water - FLIR - Bissell CrossWave HydroSteam vs CrossWave HF3
The HydroSteam (left) leverages steam whereas the HF3 (right) does not. © Vacuum Wars

The HydroSteam is corded, but that makes sense because it needs more power than a cordless vacuum because it uses steam, which takes a lot of energy. And the steam feature is probably the biggest difference between these two vacuums. 

For more great matchups and reviews of powered wet/dry mops check out our Tineco Floor ONE S5 Pro 2 vs S7 Pro showdown, our Shark HydroVac Cordless Pro Review. Sold on Bissell? See how the Bissell CrossWave Pet Pro fared in our tests!

When the trigger is held down, the HydroSteam heats up and produces steam, which is supposed to make it better at cleaning dried-on stains. It probably makes it more sanitary as well, because it’s essentially using hot water, whereas the HF3 and all other CrossWaves, for that matter, are not.

CrossWave HydroSteam vs CrossWave HF3 Performance

For bench tests, we tested their sealed suction numbers at each vacuum’s base in their suction-only mode and found that the CrossWave HydroSteam had the highest score that we’ve seen so far—more than double the average for this category. 

The HF3’s sealed suction was decent, but it was no match for the HydroSteam’s, which is often the case when it comes to corded versus cordless vacuums. The HydroSteam also has a bigger clean tank. 

Dried Stain Cleanup Test - Bissell CrossWave HydroSteam vs CrossWave HF3
Testing the CrossWave HF3 and HydroSteam against dried-on-stains side-by-side. © Vacuum Wars

An area where the CrossWave HF3 definitely wins is weight. It’s one of the lightest wet-dry vacuums we’ve tested, while the HydroSteam is one of the heaviest. This, coupled with it being cordless, makes it much easier to use overall. If ergonomics is important to you, it’s definitely the winner.

Hard Debis Pickup Testing - Bissell CrossWave HydroSteam vs CrossWave HF3
Testing hard debris pickup. © Vacuum Wars

Pickup Tests

We started with dry debris in our pickup tests, and both Bissell CrossWave models performed pretty much the same. They were equally good at picking up dry material from hard floors and rugs. These vacuums have soft rollers that are great for collecting debris on hard floors

The story was pretty much the same when we tested them with wet debris. We tried them out with a variety of items, and they both did a fantastic job. There were no obvious streaks or leftover debris.

However, when it came to larger debris, the CrossWave HydroSteam model didn’t perform as well. The HydroSteam model has a closed front roller because it uses steam, making it a bit more challenging to handle big pieces of debris. On the other hand, the HF3 model has an open front roller, so it still did great with larger debris. However, both vacuums still performed well overall.

Wet Debris Pickup Testing - Bissell CrossWave HydroSteam vs CrossWave HF3
Testing wet debris cleanup side-by-side. © Vacuum Wars

We also conducted wet, glow-in-the-dark tests to see if the vacuums left anything behind when dealing with large amounts of water. Both models performed better than average here and effectively handled a lot of wet debris. Honestly, we couldn’t find much difference between them.

RELATED: In the market for a carpet cleaner? Check out our reviews of the TurboClean DualPro Pet and Revolution HydroSteam Pet.

For dried-on stain tests, we used glow-in-the-dark stains and grape juice stains dried over 24 hours. While both models did well, the HydroSteam did outperform the CrossWave HF3 here. As expected, its use of steam makes it better at cleaning dried-on stains, and the extra heat gives it more sanitizing power.

Bissell CrossWave HydroSteam vs CrossWave HF3
Purchased for this Bissell CrossWave HydroSteam vs CrossWave HF3 review. © Vacuum Wars

Our Conclusions

In conclusion, both vacuums performed extremely well in most of our pickup tests, and they each have their own features that make them both impressive and a good buy. We’re really excited to see the new steam feature that Bissell has added to the CrossWave lineup with the Bissell CrossWave HydroSteam


Bissell CrossWave HydroSteam

BIssell CrossWave HydroSteam

Bissell CrossWave HF3

Bissell CrossWave HF3

The Bissell CrossWave HF3, on the other hand, is perfect for someone who values ease of use, high performance, and a lower price. It’s lightweight and cordless, making it a great grab-and-go option, and it even outperformed the HydroSteam when it came to picking up larger debris. At the end of the day, the best choice here comes down to personal preference because both of these vacuums are great buys.

CrossWave HydroSteam vs CrossWave HF3 Comparison Chart

Bissell CrossWave HF3Bissell CrossWave HydroSteamAverage Wet/Dry Vacuum/Mop
Vacuum TypeElectric Wet/Dry Vacuum/MopElectric Wet/Dry Vacuum/Mop
Battery TypeLithium Ionn/a
Charge Time4.5 hoursn/a
Run Time25 minutesn/a
Cord Lengthn/a25 ft.
HeadlightNoYes, LED
Swivel HeadYesYes
Self-Cleaning ModeYesYes
Water ControlAutomaticManual
SteamWash ModeNoYes
Unsealed Suction (Max Power)* 0.84kpa3.0kpa1.14kpa
Clean Water Tank0.52L / 0.55 qt.0.83L / 0.88 qt.0.71L / 0.75 qt.
Dirt Cup Capacity0.42L / 0.44 qt.0.4L / 0.42 qt.
Weight3,992g / 141 oz.5,669g / 200 oz.5,252g / 185 oz.
Where to BuyAmazonAmazon
* Results from Vacuum Wars’ independent testing.
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