Review: Bissell Crosswave Multi-surface vacuum cleaner

There are two bugbears when it comes to cleaning timber and tiled floors with a conventional bucket and mop. Firstly, the bucket of water with your cleaning solution of choice very quickly becomes dirty, so you wind up cleaning with grubby water that can leave streaks, smears and marks on your floor surface. Secondly, the same water can also spread debris caught by the mop, so that pet hair, grass, cobwebs and assorted mashed bugs cleaned from one area become deposited in another. When floor flotsam such as lego pieces and paperclips are dragged around underneath your mop, the end result can be even worse: scuffed, scored and scratched timbers.

Of course, vacuuming any floor before mopping will go a long way to eliminating both bugbears. But who in their right mind wants to clean a floor, then clean it again? 

Enter the Bissell Crosswave Multi-surface, an all-in-one vacuum cleaner and mop designed to clean hard floors, as well as rugs and carpets.

bissell-crosswaves-side-de-1What’s in the box?

With an upright ‘stick’ type vacuum design, the $399 Crosswave comprises a handle that joins with a central base unit and swivel head. Power and rug / hard floor mode controls are located on the base unit, while the head contains a brush roll with soft microfibre for mopping, and bristles for scrubbing and sweeping up dust and dirt. The roller spins at around 3500 rpm, according to Bissell, with collected debris and water sucked up and away into a ‘dirty’ tank at the front of the unit.

This tank collects and stores water separately to the liquid solution you will use to clean your floors. The ‘clean’ tank is at the rear of the main unit, and offers a guide for how much water you need to fill it with, as well as how much cleaning solution you should use. A full tank is claimed to be enough to clean and area of up to 55 m2, and Bissell provides a sample of its own cleaning solution to get you up and cleaning straight of the box.  The company claims the solution is safe for use on all sealed hardwood and other sealed hard floors.

In action

At switch-on, the biggest surprise was how speedily the brush rotates. The fast action enables quick cleaning of especially soiled areas, so we enjoyed not having to go over the same spot repeatedly. With good suction, water and debris collected in the head was whisked off efficiently too, leaving the floor somewhat drier than it usually appears after conventional sponge mopping.  What’s more, the bristles appeared to act gently on the floor surface, making the unit a potentially safer and gentler option than a steam mop for timber floorboards. 

The head of the vacuum has a wide swivel motion, so it’s pretty handy for getting into awkward places, such as under tables and stools – just as long as you’re careful to keep the Crosswave upright as you’re doing it.  Laying it down flat inhibits the water flow to the head, compromising the mop function. 

The Bissell Crosswave is not cordless, so you’ll have to tangle with a power lead as you go about your business. In our reckoning, however, this is a small inconvenience to trade for roller speed enabled by mains power. A quick turn around the rug showed the Crosswave can perform a fresh, light clean and vacuum of soft flooring too, and without any detectable moisture seeping through to the back side of the rug.

The unit comes with a Self Cleaning Tray and a Roll Drying Tray. When you’ve finished cleaning the floor, fill the Self Cleaning Tray with water and place the head on it, then simply turn on the Crosswave to allow the roller to pick up the water and clean itself. It’s quite a genius idea, and when complete, just take out the roller and pace it on the Brush Drying Tray. It will be a good idea to rinse out the two water tanks and and the filter with warm water on a regular basis too.


The Bissell Crosswave is way more expensive than a bucket and mop, but as an appliance that simultaneously vacuums and mops, it can cut the time spent on floor cleaning in half. There’s a lot to like about that.

Value for money
Ease of Use
Reader Rating4 Votes
Easy to set up; powerful brush; Simple to use
Not cordless; vacuum suction could be better