Cleaning hard floors, such as wood and porcelain tiles, usually means cleaning them twice — or even thrice.
You have to sweep or vacuum away all the dust, grit, dirt, hair, and debris. Then you get a mop and bucket to wash the floor. Not only is the process exhausting and time-consuming, but you also have to worry about slips due to a wet floor. Prolonged moisture exposure damages your expensive wood floor overtime as well.
What you need is a vacuum cleaner that can do both jobs at the same time. Let us introduce the Karcher FC5 Floor Washer and Bissell CrossWave Multi-Surface Wet/Dry Vacuum Cleaner. These compact yet powerful machines promise to give you pristine, gleaming floors without the need for your soggy mop and heavy bucket.
Read on to find out which product is the most suitable choice for your home. Our Karcher FC5 vs. Bissell CrossWave comparison explains not only how these two brands differ but also why they are the best in the market.
Table of Contents
Karcher FC5 in a Nutshell
Karcher is a global market leader specializing in cleaning equipment. Recently, the company decided to bring its commercial tech to the masses with the FC5.
So instead of sweeping or vacuuming, then mopping or scrubbing, this machine will do all jobs all at once. Whatever hard floor you have in your home, it is up to the task!
Best of all, the FC5 doesn’t leave your floors soaking wet since it cleans up after itself. Less than 85% of the cleaning solution is dispersed. Combine that with the suctioning away of dirty water, and your floors will dry in two minutes or less.
The unit also impressed us with the position of the brushrolls. With a center drive, the FC5 can clean dust and stains right up to the edge of your walls.
- power rating: 460 watts
- brushrolls spin at 500 rpm
- sweeps, vacuums, and mops bare floors simultaneously
- uses a two-tank system to separate the cleaning solution (0.4-liter capacity) and dirty water (0.2-liter capacity)
- the rollers’ position means it cleans right up to the line where walls or baseboards and floors meet
- floors dry within 2 minutes or less
- 7-meter power cord
- 5 – 16.5 dB quieter than its competitors
- can’t stand alone
- can’t wash rugs, unlike the Bissell CrossWave
- the strength of the unit’s self-advancing motion isn’t suitable for older folks or physically challenged individuals
- faltered at picking up large debris
Bissell CrossWave in a Nutshell
The Bissell CrossWave came out in 2016, and four years later, it is still one of the most difficult multi-surface cleaners to beat.
This model boasts of a unique design, which makes it a versatile device that can sweep, vacuum, and mop at the same time.
As a dry vacuum, its performance is at par among the best upright vacuums in the market today.
The CrossWave will vacuum up dirt and debris on hard floor surfaces. Likewise, this unit is powerful enough to get rid of mud tracks and dried spillage on floors.
Aside from hard floors, Bissell claims that their product can tackle area rugs, as well. In fact, two settings correspond to each surface.
The unit’s multi-surface brushroll comes with nylon bristles with medium firmness, so it can extract embedded dirt and pet hair effectively without damaging your beautiful area rugs.
The Bissell Crosswave will be a great addition to your household if you love the idea of having a vacuum cleaner that can also wash your rugs in a jiff.
- power rating: 560 watts
- brushroll spins at 3 000 rpm
- sweeps, vacuums, and mops bare floors simultaneously
- washes area rugs
- uses a two-tank system to separate the cleaning solution (0.8-liter capacity) and dirty water (0.4-liter capacity)
- 7-meter power cord
- has user-friendly controls
- the suction and scrubbing power justify its high price
- the brushroll gets tangled often and may wear out fast because of the high rpm rating
- unsuitable for carpets, only area rugs
- struggles with spills against skirting boards
- faltered at picking up large debris
What are the Similarities Between the Karcher FC5 and Bissell CrossWave?
Sweeps, Vacuums, and Mops — No Pre-Cleaning Required
Both the Karcher FC5 and the Bissell CrossWave aim to sweep, vacuum, and mop floors in one step.
These versatile devices cut your cleaning time in half!
Uses a Brushroll, instead of a Mopping Pad
Nevertheless, the FC5 and the CrossWave have no difficulty picking up dust, pet hair, and fine debris.
Each model uses a brushroll that directly agitates and scrubs the most hardened stains off floors, including mud tracks and dried spillage.
More impressively, these units polish floors like commercial buffers.
Uses a Two-Tank System
Moreover, the FC5 and the CrossWave features a two-tank system. There is a separate tank to hold the cleaning agent, as well as the dirty water.
The vacuum itself keeps the brushes relatively clean. Dirty water will never touch your floor!
Dries Floors Immediately
Unlike steam floor cleaners, they don’t leave smears or streaks, but rather, they dry your floor almost instantly.
What Makes the Karcher FC5 and Bissell CrossWave Different?
The Karcher FC5 measures 8 x 12 inches and stands at 48 inches high.
You can carry the unit upstairs/downstairs without difficulty, as it only weighs about 10 pounds.
Meanwhile, the Bissell CrossWave measures 12 x 10.5 inches and stands at 46 inches high. Regarding the weight, it weighs a pound heavier than the FC5.
Cleaning Head and Brushroll
The Karcher FC5 comes with two forward-rotating microfiber brushrolls. Each brushroll measures six inches in length, giving you a total of 12 inches of coverage. The wide floorhead of the FC5 runs at a 60-degree angle from the ground and offers a side-to-side action.
You can’t get the rollers wrong when installing because they are color-coded. Likewise, you can take off both brushes easily for washing. You may clean the brushrolls in its dock or toss them into the washing machine.
However, the fibers of the brushrolls are fairly shallow. Thus, the FC5 might not reach into deep grooves or cracks, which is a problem if you have rounded-edge travertine tiles with wide grouting. On the bright side, the position of the rollers means it cleans right up to the line where baseboards and floors meet.
The Bissell CrossWave, on the other hand, uses a multi-surface brushroll, which consists of cloth strands and nylon bristles.
This type of brushroll is suitable for various surfaces, including area rugs. While the cloth absorbs liquids, the bristles agitate stubborn dirt and dried spillage.
The cleaning head of the CrossWave also gives you 12 inches of coverage.
On a side note, you need to keep spills within the bounds of the brushroll; otherwise, it will stick to the sides.
Watts, Decibels and Revolutions Per Minute
The two forward-rotating brushrolls of the Karcher FC5 rotate at 500 rpm. As a result, the machine propels itself forward, making it easy to push around. At 58 decibels, it is as loud as an air purifier.
The Bissell CrossWave, on the other hand, spins at a whopping 3 000 rpm.
As for the power output between the Karcher FC5 vs. Bissell CrossWave, the latter has the upper hand at 560 watts. The FC5 is 100 watts less.
However, the CrossWave makes a noise that is quite a concern if you vacuum when there are anxious pets or sleeping toddlers. The sound the unit makes ranges from 62 to 68 decibels, depending on the mode.
Operation and Maneuverability
Likewise, the button that prompts the detergent to the brushroll is located along with the ergonomic handle.
On a side note, you need to let the brushes spin for five seconds inside the stand’s trough before you start cleaning. Doing so gets the rollers to optimum wetness. You also have to place the FC5 back to its dock after cleaning because it is not a self-standing machine.
While the forward-rotating brushrolls make the FC5 easy for you to push around, it is a challenge to pull backward. You have to fight the roller’s rotation, particularly on heavily textured surfaces. I would compare it to walking a Belgian Malinois heading to the park after a day shut in the house.
The Bissell CrossWave isn’t a complicated unit to operate, either. There are cleaning mode knobs along with the handle of the machine, which indicates the type of surface you are cleaning on: hard floor and rug.
The CrossWave also has a swivel head, but despite this, it can only turn to a limited radius of -25°. Nevertheless, cleaning open spaces shouldn’t pose a problem for this model. What’s more, the CrossWave has a set of wheels that make gliding a breeze.
On the subject of water tanks, both the Karcher FC5 and the Bissell CrossWave have a dual tank system. The first tank is for containing the cleaning solution and the other for storing dirty water and debris sucked by the unit.
The FC5 has a detergent tank with a generous 0.4-liter capacity, which you will find at the front.
Conversely, the dirt tank at the back is more compact with a 0.2-liter size.
As for the CrossWave, you will find its tanks with the order reversed.
The detergent tank has a 0.8-liter capacity, while its dirt tank has a 0.4-liter capacity.
We like that the dirt tank is transparent, so we can tell when it needs emptying. Likewise, the detergent tank has two fill lines to show how much cleaning solution should be added to a small mess and a large one.
The Karcher FC5 and the Bissell CrossWave have similar ways of cleaning. Both cleaners can tackle various hard floor surfaces, including the following:
- parquet linoleum
- PVC/sealed/oiled/waxed parquet
- stone floor
However, the CrossWave can tackle low-pile area rugs. The said unit also has an advantage when it comes to viscous spillage. During the “Area Rug” mode, the amount of cleaning solution being dispensed to the rollers is increased four times. The suction power increases as well, causing a lot more noise.
We put the Karcher FC5 and the Bissell CrossWave to the test to see how many passes each model makes to clean a specific area without any residue.Dry Vacuum Test For this test, we made separate piles of debris using crushed eggshells, rice, pet hair, and Cheerios.
The Karcher FC5 had no problem picking up the rice and pet hair we scattered. However, it took a few passes to vacuum all the crushed eggshells. We also had to remove the Cheerios from the test surface since it wasn’t able to pick any of it up.
The Bissell CrossWave was able to vacuum all of the crushed eggshells, rice, and pet hair in one swipe. Unfortunately, it also faltered with the Cheerios because the debris was almost the exact size as the gate of the cleaning head.
Wet Pick-Up Test For this test, we used ¼ cup of milk, ½ cup of honey, and a bowl of yogurt.
The Karcher FC5 wiped off the milk without any problem.
However, the center drive prevented the unit to wipe off all the honey and yogurt in a single pass. Thus, it took a total of two swipes to wipe off the honey and four swipes to ensure there was no yogurt residue left.
The Bissell CrossWave was able to wipe all the milk on the first pass. But for more viscous fluids, like honey, you have to move the CrossWave slowly to give it time to vacuum, wipe, and dry the floor. Otherwise, you won’t be able to wipe it all off in a single pass. And because we purposely made a huge spill with the yogurt, some of it got stuck on the sides and caused more of a mess with each wipe. As a result, it took three swipes to get rid of all the yogurt we had spilled.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use hot water with Karcher FC5 and Bissell CrossWave?
Can Bissell CrossWave perform dry vacuuming?
How long do hard floors dry after wet-dry vacuums?
Can I add special solutions to my Karcher FC5?
Bissell CrossWave vs Karcher FC5: what is a more affordable option?
Karcher FC5 vs. Bissell CrossWave: Which One to Buy?
When it comes to two-in-one floor cleaners, the mass market has two leading brands to choose from: the Karcher FC5 Hard Floor Washer and the Bissell CrossWave Multi-Surface Wet/Dry Vacuum Cleaner.
With these devices, you don’t even have to pre-clean your floors. The rotating brushes of each model will scrub muddy footprints, vacuum all the crumbs, and wipe spillages.
Therefore, you have more time to run other errands or complete essential projects.
But if you have to choose between the Karcher FC5 vs. Bissell CrossWave, which product should you choose?
If you have waxed wood floors, you are probably better off with the Karcher FC5 since the unit offers the fastest drying time. Also, the detergent of the FC5 comes out in a very regulated way, so this unit is perfect for hardwood and other surfaces with oil or hard wax finishes. Otherwise, too much water or prolonged moisture exposure will cause your floors to lose its sheen fast. My only gripe is that it is quite an untamed beast to use, as you have to fight its forward-drive momentum. Not to mention that its dirt tank needs frequent emptying.
So, if longer drying time is not a concern and you have a lot of area rugs to wash, it is the best option to stick with the Bissell CrossWave. At 560 watts and 3 000 rpm, it is quite the monster!