Top 12 Best Hard Floor Cleaners in 2019: Buying Guide

Hard floors made of materials like wood or tile enhance the appearance of a room in a way that wall-to-wall carpeting cannot do. Plus, hard floors are easier to keep clean, making it the flooring choice for people who have pets or children.

Best Hardwood Floor Cleaning Machines

One downside to hard-surface floors is the time it takes to mop them. You don’t have to resign your weekends to mopping, scrubbing and drying your floors if you use a hard-floor cleaner. This type of appliance looks similar to a vacuum or small residential carpet shampooer, and it’s equipped with brushes and a suction mechanism.

Whether you’re ready to buy or simply want to learn more about hard-floor cleaners, our buying guide has all the information you need. We also included a FAQs section that provides detailed care instructions and more for every kind of hard-surface floor.

Hardfloor Cleaners


Hardwood and Laminate Wood Floors

How Can I Tell If My Floors Are Hardwood or Laminate Wood?

A visual inspection of your floors will help you determine if they’re made of hardwood or laminate wood. Start by looking at the grain pattern. Genuine hardwood floors have a random grain pattern, but artificial hardwood floors repeat the same pattern. While both varieties are susceptible to scratches, only hardwood floors will have nicks and gouges. Watermarks, staples and nails are other signs that you have the real thing.

What Is Engineered Wood?

A hardwood floor plank is constructed from wood from the top surface to the bottom. On the other hand, laminate wood consists of a resin and fiber core with a photographic top layer that mimics the appearance of wood. Engineered wood uses the same type of top layer found on laminate wood, but the core is constructed from genuine hardwood, and engineered wood floors are thicker than their laminate counterparts.

How Do I Take Care of Hardwoods and Laminate Floors?

For hardwoods and laminates, you can add a couple of drops of hardwood-specific detergent to water. Alternatively, 1 cup of white vinegar to 1 gallon of water will do the trick. Abrasive cleaners such as ammonia can damage the wood. If the floor is waxed, stick with soapy water or detergent designed for hardwoods. Make sure to immediately dry the floors to prevent water from seeping under the planks.

Best Hard Floor Cleaners

I Have Unsealed Wood Floors. What’s the Best Cleaning Solution to Use?

Since unsealed wood floors aren’t covered by a protective coating, excessive water will make the wood swell and warp. Instead of soapy water, it’s best to use mineral spirits or linseed oil to clean your unsealed wood floors. To prevent scratches, use a broom with soft-bristles to sweep.

How Do I Clean Bamboo and Cork Floors?

Although they look different that hardwoods with traditional grain patterns, you can use the same cleaning solutions on bamboo floors as you would on hardwoods. Diluted vinegar with a small squirt of soap works best for cork floors at dissolving dirt and grime buildup.

What’s the Easiest Way to Remove Scuffs and Stains?

Baking soda works wonders. Wet some baking soda to create a thick paste. Then, rub it on the stain until the baking soda dries. The stain should be gone when you clean up the dried baking soda. For scuffs, rub the paste into the scuff with a clean sock until the mark is no longer visible. Then, rinse and dry the area.

Why Do My Laminate Floors Look Streaky?

Streaks are unsightly, and there are several possible causes. Using the wrong detergent-water ratio may leave behind soap residue. Washing your floors with an unclean brush or cloth will spread dirt, leaving streaks behind.

Best Cleaner for Hardwood Floors

BISSELL Crosswave Pet Pro All in One Wet Dry Vacuum

The BISSELL cross wave pet pro is a revolutionary, all-in-one, Multi-Surface cleaning system that vacuums and washes floors at the same time. With a Multi-Surface… More

Hoover FloorMate Deluxe Hard Floor Cleaner, Moondust

Discover the ultimate hard floor cleaner that gets the dirt mopping leaves behind, with the Hoover FloorMate Deluxe. SpinScrub Brushes do the scrubbing for you… More

BISSELL Spinwave Powered Hardwood Floor Mop and Cleaner, 2039A

Tired of scrubbing your floors let the Bissell spinwave powered hard floor mop do it for you. Safe for cleaning sealed, hard-surface floors like tile, linoleum… More

Natural Stone Floors

What Should I Use to Clean My Natural Stone Floors?

Acidic cleaners such as vinegar and lemon juice are natural stone’s worst enemies. Opt for a diluted, mild detergent to clean sealed natural stone. Stone is porous, and chemical-based cleaners will destroy unsealed stone over time. For unsealed stone floors, you should only use water.

How Do I Remove Stains on Natural Stone Floors?

Many people reach for bleach to get rid of stains, but chlorine bleach will discolor the stone. Instead, rub a baking soda paste into the stain. After the paste sits on the stain for 24 hours, wipe it off and wash the area. You can repeat this process if necessary.

Best Hard Floor Cleaners Guide

Is It Okay to Wax Natural Stone Flooring?

A coat of wax can make stone floors slippery, creating a safety hazard. The wax may also make your stone floors appear dull. If you want to achieve a high-gloss look, you can polish the floor instead of waxing it.

Should I Seal My Stone Floor?

Yes. A properly sealed stone floor stops water from reaching the subflooring. With repeated moisture exposure, the subfloor will soften, which will cause it to swell and rot. This irreversible damage may even split the flooring, leading to costly repairs.

Best Cleaner for Natural Stone Floors

BISSELL PowerFresh Steam Mop 1940

The BISSELL power fresh steam mop provides superior steam cleaning with a fresh scent. For those tough, dried-on messes we all experience on our floors and… More

Gladwell Cordless Electric Mop

Keeping your house clean shouldn’t be a hassle. With the Glider, you can power wash in minutes and get on with your day. Just add water and your favorite… More

Gloss Boss Mini Floor Scrubber and Polisher

Floor cleaning just got easier with the first-rate Gloss Boss floor scrubber and polisher. Made by Pullman-Holt, a U.S. company well-known for commercial-quality… More

Ceramic and Porcelain Tile Floors

What Cleaner Should I Use on My Tile Floor?

One of the benefits of tile is that it’s a low-maintenance flooring material. To clean a tile floor, you can use specialized detergent or a vinegar-and-water combo.

Are There Specific Care Instructions for Glazed Tile?

Glazed tile is even more durable than non-glazed ceramic tile. The glaze keeps dirt and water from damaging the ceramic, making it the ideal tile for busy homes.

Hard Floor Cleaners

Can I Use a Hard-Floor Cleaner If I Have Heated Tile Floors?

It’s perfectly safe to wet mop heated tile floors. The only problem you may encounter is streaking. You can prevent this issue by turning off the heating mechanism before you mop.

Is There Anything I Can Do to Brighten the Grout?

Although grout is available in an array of hues, white is the most popular choice. However, white grout becomes dingy after years of water, dirt and chemical exposure. A mixture of water and hydrogen peroxide can restore the brilliance of your once-white grout. To prevent grout discoloration, refrain from using harsh cleaners.

Best Cleaner for Porcelain Tile Floors

Shark Steam Pocket Mop (S3501)

The Shark Steam Pocket Mop turns ordinary water into super-heated steam to remove everyday dirt and grime that other mops leave behind.20’ power cord and a… More

LIGHT ‘N’ EASY Steam Mop Floor Steamer

No more messy mops and heavy buckets about 3.5 pounds,an easier way to carry your mop around the room while cleaning. With the help of instant heating, it could be… More

Bona Stone, Tile & Laminate Floor Premium Spray Mop

The next generation Bona Stone, Tile & Laminate Floor Mop is a premium spray mop that combines the quick & easy Bona Stone, Tile & Laminate Floor Cleaner… More

Marble Floors

What Is a Safe Cleaner to Use on a Marble Floor?

Marble is a stunning yet delicate flooring material. Acidic cleaners are an absolute no-go as they will etch the marble, causing the stone to lose its luster. A one-half cup of dish soap or ammonia combined with a gallon of water is an excellent, pH-neutral cleaner. Be sure to dry the floor immediately so that the water won’t stain the marble.

Best Cleaner for Marble Floors

SKG 1500W Steam Mop, Floor Steamer

The lightweight shoulder strap allows the user to clean without getting tired, while the snap-on carpet glider works to refresh your carpet, deep cleaning… More

Gloss Boss Mini Floor Scrubber and Polisher

Floor cleaning just got easier with the first-rate Gloss Boss floor scrubber and polisher. Made by Pullman-Holt, a U.S. company well-known for commercial-quality… More

BISSELL Spinwave Powered Hardwood Floor Mop and Cleaner, 2039A

Linoleum and Vinyl Floors

Are Linoleum and Vinyl the Same Material?

While a lot of people interchange the terms, linoleum and vinyl are different types of materials. Linoleum is manufactured from natural substances, including tree resin, wood flour and ground limestone, that are pressed onto a jute backing. Vinyl is a synthetic material that’s chlorine and petroleum-based.

Hard Floor Cleaners Guide

Linoleum and Vinyl Look Alike. How Do I Know What Type of Floor I Have?

It’s not always easy to figure out if a floor is made of vinyl or linoleum without ripping it up to see the backing or trying to melt it with a match (linoleum doesn’t burn). If the floor has been in place for a while, look for signs of wear. The pattern on vinyl fades with time in high-traffic areas.

How Do I Take Care Vinyl Flooring?

Vinyl is a tough material, and it can stand up to a lot of moisture. Feel free to wet mop your vinyl floors with soapy water and let it air dry. You don’t need to apply a sealant. Vinyl should not be waxed as the wax will ruin the coloring of the vinyl.

How Should I Clean Linoleum Flooring?

As with vinyl flooring, you can safely wet mop linoleum. However, water can curl the edges of linoleum flooring, and vinegar can damage it, so you need to dry the floor after you mop it. Unlike vinyl, you can wax your linoleum floor.

Best Cleaner for Vinyl Floors

Shark Steam Mop Hard Floor Cleaner

Effortlessly clean with the power of steam. With just water, quickly cut through stuck-on messesβ€”no chemicals and no residue. Designed with ease in mind, the Shark… More

Tineco iFloor Cordless Wet Dry Vacuum

Cordless and lightweight, easy to lift and carry, even up and down stairs. Much better maneuverability in corner and tight space, makes easy for your daily… More

Bissell PowerEdge Pet Hardwood Floor Bagless Cleaner, 81L2A

Poweredge pet hard floor vacuum helps you capture both large and small debris with powerful suction and its unique V-shaped design. The shape of the base also allows… More

Hard-Floor Cleaner Buying Guide

The brushes, the tank configuration, the size – There are a lot of features to consider when shopping for a hard-floor cleaner. We’ve broken down our buying guide into the ten most important features and functions to look at on any hard-floor cleaner.

Best Hard Floor Cleaners

Brushes

One of the two components that make hard-floor cleaners more efficient than standard wet mops is their rotating brush in the nozzle. The more individual brushes on the apparatus, the better. They usually counter-spin, and most bristles are made of nylon. However, some configurations consist of a soft, cylindrical brush.

Depending on the hard-floor cleaner’s wattage, the brushes will spin at a rate of 500 to 3,000 rpm. Faster brushes tend to loosen stuck-on dirt quicker.

Suction

The suction function is the other component that lends efficiency to hard-floor cleaners, making floor cleaning a one-pass deal. Ideally, you want a cleaner that suctions as it washes to prevent pools of water from being left behind on the floor.

Many models also have a dry-only mode that lifts and stops the brushes. Other models may also be equipped with a squeegee that leads water into the suction inlet. Look at the cleaner’s amperage to get an idea of its suction strength.

The best floor cleaner

Detergent Sprayer

The release of water and detergent is an automatic function. However, sometimes you need extra detergent to clean nasty messes. If you have pets or children, consider buying a hard-floor cleaner with a detergent sprayer. To activate this function, all you need to do is press a button or hold a trigger, and the cleaner will disperse one measured dose of detergent onto the floor.

Controls

Don’t forget to see where the controls for the sprayer and wash/dry modes are located. The most convenient location is on the handle, so you don’t have to break stride while you clean. Secondary to the location is the type. Digital touch buttons and triggers are the easiest to work.

Tank Setup

Hard-floor cleaners that release and remove water must have one area to house clean water and another to store dirty water. To separate clean and dirty water, the manufacturer will either put two tanks or one tank with a divider on the cleaner. You’ll never have to worry about clean-water contamination with a two-tank model.

Take note of each tank’s capacity. Large-capacity tanks of 1 quart or more mean fewer trips to the sink. Other important features to consider are the ease of emptying, refilling and removing the tanks.

Top 10 Hard Floor Cleaners

Maintenance

Hard-floor cleaners are not maintenance-free appliances. Thankfully, caring for a cleaner doesn’t take much effort beyond rinsing the tanks and cleaning the brushes. If the dirty-water tank has a filter, you’ll need to rinse the dirt off it occasionally. To save yourself time, get a cleaner that requires no tools to remove the brushes.

The Floor Head

It can be a real pain to steer any floor-cleaning appliance in a room packed with furniture. For frustration-free navigation, the floor head should swivel. On a similar note, a slim head is more likely to fit between table legs and other obstacles. The width of the typical hard-floor cleaner’s head ranges from 11 to 13 inches.

Wheels

Some flooring materials are more durable than others, but none are completely resistant to scratches. To maintain the integrity and luster of your hard floors, the cleaner you choose should have soft, smooth plastic wheels or non-treaded rubber wheels. Steer clear of those made of rigid, cheap plastic, especially if they’re textured.

Best Cleaner for Wood

Power Cord

If you have large, open rooms in your house, you’ll want your hard-floor cleaner to have a long power cord of 25 to 30 feet. Shorter cords are okay if the rooms are small. Winding and unraveling a power cord is a cumbersome, inevitable task, but a quick-release cord hook that turns will at least eliminate the need to unravel the cord.

Size

The weight of the cleaner matters if you have stairs or you plan on making your children use it when doing their chores. Hard-floor cleaners in the 10-to-15-pound range are easy for almost anyone to push, pull and carry.

What is the Best Hard Floor Cleaner?

Before you buy, decide where you’re going to store the cleaner. If storage is prime real estate in your house, you’ll want a space-saving model with a slim floor head or a folding handle.