In this Vacuum Wars head-to-head matchup we’re comparing the Bissell CrossWave Pet Pro and the Shark HydroVac XL. Both of these are hard floor wet/dry cleaners that can vacuum and mop your floors at the same time.
The Bissell CrossWave was the pioneer in this hard floor combo product category and it’s been a bestseller for Bissell ever since. But recently, Shark released their competitor to the CrossWave, which they call the HydroVac XL.
Bissell CrossWave Pet Pro
Notable and unique features of the Bissell CrossWave Pet Pro:
- Tangle-free brush roll
- Pet Hair strainer
- Multi-surface cleaning
Shark HydroVac XL
Notable and unique features of the Shark HyrdoVac XL:
- Vacuums, mops and cleans itself
- Antimicrobial brushroll
- LED headlights
First we’ll cover who these wet/dry vacuum mop combos are for and what the best way to use them is. We think the people that would benefit the most from these types of machines are people with mostly hard floors in their house with maybe a few small rugs here and there.
We believe that they’re best used for normal vacuuming and mopping jobs. That is to say, you need to vacuum your hard floors but you also need to mop them. So, why not do both at the same time?
…they’re both incredibly good hard floor vacuums. We also extensively tested them with large wet messes. As far as pickup with no streaks goes, they were both flawless
Vacuuming Hard Floors
And the Bissell CrossWave and Shark HydroVac XL are unusually good vacuums for hard floors as they both have soft brushes which are amazing for dust and fine debris. They can also easily conform to larger debris, too. So, it’s the best of both worlds when it comes to hard floor vacuuming.
Both Shark and Bissell say that you can use these for vacuuming and even washing small rugs, too. But, in our opinion, that’s not the best way to use them. There’s nothing about their brushes or water distribution that seems beneficial to us for use on rugs. But technically, they can be used that way.
As we work our way through this review and comparison, we’ll go over their features, bench tests, and finally, we’ll look at how each vacuum performed in a few torture tests.
Related: See our Tineco Floor One S3 review and how it compares to the cordless Bissell CrossWave!
Corded and Cordless Options
Starting off with the features, one similarity that we should mention off the bat is that the HydroVac XL and CrossWave Pet Pro are both corded products. Both manufacturers produce a cordless version as well (see our HydroVac Pro XL Cordless review). And, while cordless options are more convenient, they aren’t always better. In fact, in a recent hard floor cleaner test we did, we found that the corded Bissell CrossWave outperformed pretty much every cordless competitor we tested.
One big difference between the Bissell and Shark is in the way they operate. The Bissell CrossWave uses a trigger that dispenses water when it’s held down and doesn’t when it’s not. The Shark HydroVac’s water is automatically dispensed when you turn the vacuum on. Which approach is better really comes down to preference. If you don’t want to think about it, then the Shark is better. On the other hand, the Bissell’s trigger system gives you far more control over when and how much water to dispense.
Another big difference is the cleanup process. They both have methods for separating solids from the dirty water tank which is nice, but the filter on the Bissell is much more difficult to clean. The Shark’s filter is more of a sponge type and easier to clean.
Also, while they both have trays that you can set them in to run their self-cleaning mode, the Shark HydroVac is the only one that can self-clean automatically with a push of a button. With the Bissell CrossWave, you need to physically be there to hold the handle the whole time since it won’t run by itself in the upright position.
The HydroVac XL and CrossWave Pet Pro both have quality swivels on their floorhead which makes them very maneuverable, but the Shark swivel is better designed and has more range. When using the Shark it just feels more agile with less wrist movements needed.
Other Notable Features
They both have LED lights on the floor head though the Sharks are placed nearer to the floor and are more useful in our opinion. They have almost identical cord lengths and cleaning path widths. They also weigh about the same, with the Shark being just a little bit lighter. The Bissell does have a larger water tank and though they are in the same basic price range, the Shark is about 20% cheaper.
Suction and Noise
Moving on to the bench tests, according to the sticker on the back of the units, the Bissell CrossWave has almost double the power that the Shark does. In both the sealed and unsealed suction tests that we do, that difference was more or less confirmed.
The Bissell CrossWave Pet Pro had quite a bit more raw power than the Shark. It did come at a cost of the noise level though, where the Bissell was significantly louder than the Shark. But while bench tests like this are helpful, they don’t often tell us how good a product is at its actual job.
Cleaning Wet Messes
So let’s move on to the pickup tests. As we said before, they’re both incredibly good hard floor vacuums. We also extensively tested them with large wet messes. As far as pickup with no streaks goes, they were both flawless. One note on the Bissell did have a shorter front gate, so larger piles of stuff would be more likely to get the floor head dirty on the Bissell than the Shark.
Stain Torture Tests
With the glow-in-the-dark test, we really tried to give them a torture test, and this is where it was a pretty interesting result. With the dried-on tests, where these difficult-to-remove stains had been there for days, we think that the Shark did better than the Bissell, but not by all that much.
Maybe the Bissell required one extra pass than the Shark to fully clean the stains. But in general, they were both incredibly impressive for such a difficult test.
However, when we attempted to overload them with wet material, the Bissell seemed to do better than the Shark. Probably because the Shark’s brush is a bit thicker, so you could say that the Shark HydroVac was slightly better with dried-on stains, whereas the Bissell was better with not streaking large amounts of wet material.
To recap, the Shark HydroVac XL is cheaper, it has an auto mode and a better self-cleaning mode, with generally better features, and it’s really good at its main job of vacuuming and mopping floors at the same time. But, the Bissell CrossWave Pet Pro is just as good at vacuuming and mopping hard floors. And, while it’s louder and a little less feature-rich, it’s much more powerful and better at picking up lots of wet material without streaks. It also gives you more control with its trigger mechanism.