Opting for hard flooring in a home comes with many benefits. Vacuuming dust off a hard surface is easier than it is off carpet, for example, since it doesn’t become stuck in any fibres. But keeping hard floors in tip-top condition can be a chore.
Below, our guide to the best hard floor cleaners will help you find the most suitable kit to keep your floors looking sparkling. Or you can look at our guide to the best vacuum cleaners for more.
“Surely, that’s the job of a mop,” we hear you say – but there are two reasons that a mop might not be the best option. First, mopping can leave a floor very wet, which isn’t ideal if you have wood floors, as they could eventually become warped as a result of the regular soaking. Second, if you don’t keep your mop super-clean, and don’t change the water multiple times each time you tackle a floor, then the process could result in you actual spreading dirt and germs around your home. See, can a steam cleaner kill the coronavirus? for more information on the downsides of mopping.
All of the hard floor cleaners here work using a clean water tank, so only clean water and detergent makes it onto the floor. We’ve covered a variety of cleaners, too, with some that vacuum up dirty water and germs, and others that use microfibre cloths to achieve the same thing. In all cases, less water is used than with mopping, so floors dry faster with less chance of damage.
Finally, a word on steam cleaners. Steam cleaning can be a great way to manage some hard floors, particularly tiled floors in kitchens, disinfecting and removing dirt without chemicals. However, the high temperatures can damage the coatings on timber floors, so use with caution. For more on getting a steam cleaner for other jobs, check out our guide to the Best steam cleaners.
Finally, before we start, for any hard floor cleaner that uses detergent, make sure you buy the right type for your machine and flooring. You can typically use any type of floor cleaner in most machines – just follow the instructions for use, ensuring you dilute the fluid at the right ratio.
For convenience, we’ve listed our best hard floor cleaners in the list below, but keep reading to get the full lowdown on each appliance – and click through to the full reviews for greater details.
- Best overall hard floor cleaner: Karcher FC 5 Hard Floor Cleaner
- Best hard floor cleaner for convenience: Vax ONEPWR Glide
- Best hard floor cleaner and polisher: AirCraft PowerGlide
- Best steam hard floor cleaner: Bissell Vac & Steam 1977E
- Best vacuum cleaner and mop: Samsung Powerstick Jet With Spinning Sweeper
How we picked the best hard floor cleaners
Unlike many other websites that simply list best-selling models, we get in and review all of the products we recommend. Key to this is testing our hard floor cleaners in the same way:
We test our hard floor cleaners on real floors to see how well they pick up dirt. We examine before and after cases.
We test how easy a cleaner is to use and how quickly it does its job, scoring the models that make quicker work of picking up mess more highly.
We test special cases, too. For hard floor cleaners that can also vacuum up liquid spills, we see how well they cope with wet spills.
1. Karcher FC 5 Hard Floor Cleaner
The most powerful hard floor cleaner
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.
Floor cleaner type: Hard floor cleaner; Size: 1220 x 270 x 320mm, 4.6kg; Provided heads: Dual microfibre rollers; Detergent capacity: 0.4-litres; Bin capacity: 0.2l
Read our full Karcher FC 5 Hard Floor Cleaner review
2. Vax ONEPWR Glide
A neat, cordless all-in-one vacuum and hard floor cleaner
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.
Floor cleaner type: Hard floor cleaner and vacuum; Size: 1110 x 290 x 250mm, 4.9kg; Provided heads: Motorised floor head; Detergent capacity: 0.63l; Bin capacity: 0.28l; Run-time: 30 minutes
Read our full Vax ONEPWR Glide review
3. AirCraft PowerGlide
A handy cordless replacement to a traditional mop that can also polish your floors
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.
Floor cleaner type: Hard floor cleaner and polisher; Size: 1110 x 290 x 250mm, 4.9kg; Provided heads: Dual microfibre spinning heads (cleaning and polishing); Detergent capacity: 0.35l, Bin capacity: N/A; Run-time: 30 to 40-minutes
Read our full AirCraft PowerGlide review
4. Bissell Vac & Steam 1977E
Uses steam to clean and vacuums up mess all in one
The Bissell Vac & Steam 1977E is a handy all-in-one hard floor cleaner for use in bathrooms and kitchens, in particular. This model works much like any other steam mop, pushing steam through the microfibre cloth to provide the cleaning action.
There are more powerful steam cleaners that will make shorter work of some stains, but the Bissell Vac & Steam 1977E has one advantage over its rivals: this model is also a vacuum cleaner.
Sucking up dirt and cleaning as it goes, the Vac & Steam tackles two jobs in one, making it ideal for anyone short of time. For high-traffic areas that get dirty often, the Bissell Vac & Steam 1977E is a great tool.
Floor cleaner type: Steam mop and vacuum cleaner; Size: 1168 x 280 x 250mm, 4.8kg; Provided heads: Microfibre pad; Detergent capacity: 0.4l (water); Bin capacity: 0.95l
Read our full Bissell Vac & Steam 1977E review
5. Samsung Powerstick Jet With Spinning Sweeper
A great cordless vacuum cleaner that comes with a handy mop attachment
The Samsung Powerstick Jet With Spinning Sweeper is mostly a cordless vacuum cleaner, producing a high amount of suction for an excellent overall clean. This isn’t the reason it’s listed here, though. It’s because this model also comes with a mop attachment.
Using two spinning microfibre cloths, this machine spins and buffs hard floors to remove dirt . There’s no detergent tank, so you have to either spray the floor where you want to clean or pre-soak the cleaning cloths (Samsung also sells cleaning wipes that attach to the mop heads).
As a result, for larger areas we’d recommend some of the other models in the list. However, for cleaning smaller areas – say, a kitchen and bathroom – the Powerstick Jet takes the hard work out of mopping and does a great job of removing stubborn marks. If you’re looking for a versatile vacuum cleaner with plenty of attachments that can also mop, look no further.
Floor cleaner type: Cordless vacuum cleaner and mop; Size: 250 x 1136 x 215mm, 2.8kg; Provided heads: Dual-spinning microfibre pads; Detergent capacity: N/A; Bin capacity: 0.5l; Run-time: 60 minutes
Read our full Samsung Powerstick Jet review
Hard Floor Cleaner Buying Guide
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.