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Best hard floor cleaners 2021: Keep your floors clean the easy way

Hard floors look great but they can be time consuming to keep in the best shape. Well, unless you buy one of our recommended hard floor cleaners.

All of these models are built to take care of hard floors, with dedicated cleaning heads and detergent formulated to clean up dirt and leave a streak-free finish.

Here, I’ve selected the top four cleaners, with both plug-in and battery-powered models. I’ve chosen a selection of cleaners, too, including polishers, vacuums and roller systems, so that you can find the right type for your home.

Every product has been fully tested in our lab, so you can trust that I’ve recommended only the best products.

How we test

Learn more about how we test hard floor cleaners

We put all of our cleaners through a standard set of tests, so that we can compare and contrast the performance of them. We use real-world testing with real dirt, so that we can accurately depict the kind of performance you can expect in real life.

You can find out more in our how we test hard floor cleaners guide.

Karcher FC5 Hard Floor Cleaner

A super-powerful hard floor cleaner that leaves a streak-free finish
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Pros

  • Serious hard floor cleaning
  • Easily removes dried-on mud
  • Floor only gets damp (not wet)
  • Streak-free finish
  • Works on variety of floor coverings

Cons

  • Takes some man-handling
  • No tilt action on floorhead
  • Small waste water tank
  • No cleaning fluids supplied

For tough stains and the best performance, the Karcher FC 5 Hard Floor Cleaner is hard to beat. This plug-in model automatically dispenses cleaning detergent onto the two microfibre rollers beneath the machine. These spin at high speed, buffing out stains and almost pulling you along with the rolling action.

As well as cleaning quickly, and even coping with tough, ground-in dirt, the FC 5 has a vacuum action that sucks up dirty water from the floor and puts it into a tank at the back of the machine. The result is that you don’t just get a visibly clean floor, but that you physically remove dirt and bacteria from the floor.

This machine has a variety of cleaning fluids available, although you can use it with most floor cleaners – and it’s safe to use on sealed wood floors, too. Once done, the rollers can be easily removed and put through the washing machine, prepping them for the next time you need the cleaner.

A touch heavy in the hand, the FC5 Hard Floor Cleaner is a great tool for any house with a lot of hard flooring, particularly those homes with mixed hard floor surfaces.

Reviewer: Richard & Jackie Stevenson
Full review: Karcher FC 5 Hard Floor Cleaner review

Vax ONEPWR Glide

A simple cordless way to vacuum and clean at the same time
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Pros

  • Vacuums and cleans
  • Removes dirt and grime from the floor
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Has to be emptied often

Most hard floor cleaners require you to vacuum your floor before you can clean them. Not so, the Vax ONEPWR Glide. This model is a proper vacuum cleaner and hard floor cleaner in one – and it’s cordless, too.

To use the Glide, you just turn it on and start moving it over the floor. It vacuums up anything in its way, and can even tackle wet spills. Depress the handle  and water from the detergent tank soaks the roller at the front, letting it clean. And, cleverly, the vacuum then sucks up the dirty water, removing filth from the floor and depositing it in a separate tank.

There’s a comparatively small detergent tank, so you may need to fill it multiple times to tackle a large area. Neatly, Vax’s detergent is formulated for all floor types – although you can use your own cleaner if you prefer.

You can self-clean the roller by running the Glide on its dock. But if you buy from Vax direct then you’ll get a spare roller, so you can clean one in the washing machine and still be ready to tackle a hard floor.

The replaceable battery is rated to last for 30 minutes on a single charge. Or, you can buy additional batteries to increase run-time – which you may need to do if you’ll be cleaning large areas.

Excellent cleaning performance makes the Vax a pleasure to use, although a vacuum cleaner may still be required to get into the edges.

Reviewer: David Ludlow
Full review: Vax ONEPWR Glide review

Shark Steam & Scrub Automatic Steam Mop S6002UK

Powerful, automatic steaming and scrubbing
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Pros

  • Exceptionally easy to use
  • Automatic steam control
  • Deals with tough stains

Cons

  • Can’t get into corners

As good as many steam cleaners are for tackling your hard floors, they can all take a bit of manual work to scrub up. Not so with the Shark Steam & Scrub Automatic Steam Mop S6002UK, which uses two spinning microfibre cloths to do the hard work for you.

Pumping steam out automatically via the two settings (High for tiles and other hard surfaces, Low for wood and laminate), this mop steams and scrubs at the same time.

All you have to do is glide it effortlessly across the floor and it will do the hard work for you. Even tougher stains are dealt with, and I just had to leave the mop over the mess, letting its mop cloths do the work for me.

There’s one minor complaint: the round cloths can’t get into corners, so you’ll need to do a bit of finishing off yourself at the end. Still, for minimum effort and detergent-free cleaning, this mop is hard to beat.

Reviewer: David Ludlow
Full review: Shark Steam & Scrub Automatic Steam Mop S6002UK review

AirCraft Powerglide

A handy cordless replacement to a traditional mop that can also polish your floors
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Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Excellent cleaning results
  • Can wax and polish as well as clean

Cons

  • Remote control require additional batteries

If you’re looking for a simple-to-use hard floor cleaner that can replace an existing mop, the AirCraft PowerGlide could be for you. This battery-powered model lasts for 30 to 40 minutes per charge, but you can buy additional batteries to extend run-time.

This model uses two large spinning microfibre cloths that buff and remove dirt. To aid with this, you can spray the floor in front of you with detergent from the integrated tank (this accepts any regular floor cleaner). Just be careful how much detergent you spray; this model doesn’t have any suction capability to pick up dirty water from the floor.

In addition to cleaning, the PowerGlide can also be filled with liquid wax. You can then use the polishing cloths to give your hard floors a final protecting buff after cleaning. If you have special floors that need protecting, then the PowerGlide is a top choice.

Reviewer: David Ludlow
Full review: AirCraft PowerGlide review

Bissell CrossWave Cordless Max

Powerful cordless vacuum and mopping all in one
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Pros

  • Cleans tough stains on hard floors
  • Excellent vacuum performance
  • Does a reasonable job on carpet

Cons

  • Expensive

If you the ultimate flexibility and also want to tackle the occasional rug, the Bissell CrossWave Cordless Max is the model for you. This revamped cordless model has a 30-minute run time, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but the thick rollers and powerful suction mean that you can get over a lot of hard floors.

And, this cleaner is also certified for use on rugs and carpet that can be wet washed. You don’t get the full cleaning ability that a carpet cleaner gives you, but for regular maintenance, this model does a great job.

Hard floors are where this cleaner excels, dealing with stubborn stains with ease, leaving a nice shiny floor at the end. Impressively, the CrossWave Cordless Max is also a decent vacuum cleaner in its own right, so there’s no need to clean up with a vacuum cleaner first; in fact, the only thing you’ll need a regular vacuum cleaner for is to get into tight gaps and for edge cleaning.

Simple controls on top let you select the mode (carpet or hard floor), and there’s a trigger to push out cleaning detergent when you want to use it, letting you control the amount of fluid: more for tough stains and less where the floor isn’t so dirty. When you finish, there’s a self-clean mode, so there’s not much cleaning up.

Sure, this model is quite expensive, but if you want the flexibility of a cordless device without having to sacrifice power, this is a great choice.

Reviewer: David Ludlow
Full review: Bissell CrossWave Cordless Max review

We also considered…

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42

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FAQs

Which type of hard floor cleaner do I need?

There are three main types of hard floor cleaner: those with rollers, those with spinning microfibre pads, and steam cleaners. Roller cleaners generally have both dirty water and clean water tanks, sucking up dirt and germs to remove all traces from the floor, leaving your floor almost dry once cleaning is complete. These are a brilliant choice if you have large areas of hard floor in your home.
Cleaners that use microfibre cloths are typically more gentle than roller cleaners, gently buffing the floor clean. These models are good if you have fewer hard floors to worry about. Also, look for a model that can apply a liquid wax finish to protect your floors after cleaning, particularly if you have expensive and delicate, solid timber floors.
Steam cleaners can disinfect floors with heat, but the high temperatures make them better suited to tiled or laminate floors.

What should I look out for with detergent?

Most hard floor cleaners can be used with a detergent, but it’s important to match the type of detergent to the surface you’re cleaning. For example, if you have oiled floors, ensure you use a detergent that’s safe to use on such floors; otherwise, you could cause damage. You can use the manufacturer’s own detergent, although standard floor cleaner would work just as well in most instances. Just follow the instructions to ensure you’re using the correct amount.

Cordless or powered?

Corded cleaners are likely to be more powerful. As such, if your house is predominantly hard floors, then a plug-in cleaner will probably suit you best. If you have fewer hard floors, then the convenience of a cordless cleaner shouldn’t be overlooked.

Specs Compared

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