Most vacuums use a HEPA filter to remove dust, but vacuums using water do an even better job. Plus, they can absorb spilled glasses of merlot! We’ve scoured the internet to find the best water filtration vacuums for your home. Once you get your hands on one, you’ll see why other vacs … well, you know.
A vacuum cleaner may seem like one of the more straightforward pieces of cleaning equipment you can buy. However, there’s something beyond the basic dust buster: Water filtration vacuums are the way to go if you really want a thorough clean. While most vacuums use a removable filter to catch dirt, water filtration vacuums rely on old fashion H2O. All you do is add water into the tank, and then watch the magic happen. Unlike other vacs, they can suck up wet messes, and reduce allergens in a room. In short, no home should be without one. Although they can be on the heavier side, there are some awesome lightweight models that tackle big stains. Before we reveal our favorites, here’s the dirt on why vacuums that use water can be better than their waterless counterparts.
Are water filter vacuums better than regular vacuum cleaners?
If vacuums were like sweaters, a water filter vacuum would be made of cashmere. It performs a basic job (cleaning), but does it more efficiently than traditional ones. While it uses air suction, it utilizes water to absorb dirt instead of a filter. Once you add the water you can actually see it becoming dirty with the gunk being removed from floors. It’s a surprisingly satisfying experience. If you want to see one in action, check out this demo video with the Quantum X Upright Vacuum. (Tip: Speed to minute 4:25 to the full water tank).
One of the reasons people find water filtration vacuums to be the best is because they can suck up liquid mishaps. There’s virtually no dry time, and most transition easily between different types of flooring.
Another reason these vacuums are notable is because they don’t kickback dust. In a study published by the Journal of Air and Waste Management Association, water filtration vacuums did a better job at capturing particles in comparison to conventional ones. Additionally, researchers found that less contaminates escaped during cleaning. They can also hold more dirt, are easier to empty, and are more energy efficient.
Continuing my sweater analogy, a regular vacuum is like your basic cotton cardigan. It gets the job done — sort of —. However, if you want to be warm you go for the cashmere. In short, vacuums using water offer the deepest clean.
Best Water Filtration Vacuums
- Best Overall water filtration vacuum : Tineco iFLOOR3
- Best quality water filtration vacuum : Sirena Vacuum
- Best Quantum water filtration vacuum : Quantum X Upright Water Filter Vacuum
- Best water filtration vacuum for liquid messes : Kalorik Water Filtration Canister Vacuum Cleaner
- Best water filtration vacuum for carpets : Polti Eco Steam Vac
- Best water filtration vacuum for pet hair : HYLA GST
- Best water filtration vacuum for hardwood floors : Prolux CTX Canister Vacuum Cleaner
- Best water filtration vacuum for spot cleaning : Hoover CleanSlate
Is a water filter better than a HEPA filter?
HEPA filters are one of the top purification systems available. Most of the best air purifiers for mold have them, and can even catch airborne viruses, like COVID, according to PLoS One. Similarly, water filtration vacuums also remove pathogens from surfaces, but do a better job at keeping them inside the machine.
Some of the top water filtration vacuums use two cleansing mechanisms. For example, the Sirena Vacuum includes a HEPA filter, as well as a deodorizer. It also has a compartment that separates chunkier debris (think pet hair or leaves) from the other gunk, so nothing becomes clogged when you pour the water down the drain.
Another great choice is the Poltic Eco Steam Vac. It can be used on drapes — toodles, dry cleaners! — and has a HEPA filter. In my opinion, that earns it a place as one of the best water filtration vacuums around.
How is a water filtration vacuum different than a wet/dry vac?
Many confuse water filtration vacuums for wet/dry vacuums. It’s an understandable mistake. Some wet/dry vacuums, also called wet vacs, are huge, ideal for commercial spaces, and pick up debris and wet messes simultaneously. Unlike water filtration vacs, they use a foam or paper based filter.
Another type of wet/dry vac is also known as the vacuum mop. It’s smaller, washes floors, and has a vacuum function. Like regular vacuums it uses a traditional filter. In contrast, water filtration vacuums just need a clean tank of water to absorb and retain pollutants. They help users save money on filters, and don’t put contaminants back into the house.
What is the best water filtration vacuum?
Now that you understand how water acts as a filter, it’s time to ponder which water filtration vacuum is right for you. Besides offering a deep clean, water vacs coolest feature are that they remove spills. The Rainbow Vacuum cleaner is often mentioned as a favorite for this but it’s not available at retailers. Fortunately, there are some other great water vacuums for liquid messes, like the Kalorik Water Filtration Canister Vacuum Cleaner.
This is one of best water filtration vacuums currently on the market, and a personal favorite. It has a cyclonic filtration system, which separates particles from air and liquid. The vortex-style suction not only grabs dirt deeply embedded in your carpet but moisture (and the germs inside it). With typical vacs some of these pollutants would be pushed outward during vacuuming, but the Kalorik is so quick and powerful that this doesn’t happen.
Another fantastic feature of this water vacuum is that it has a see-through canister. You can literally watch all the dirt collecting inside. The top has a huge handle, making transport easy. Customers on Amazon give it wave reviews, and shipping is free!
How do I know if my water filtration vacuum is strong enough?
One way to know the nit and grit of a vacuum’s suction power is by viewing its airflow or CFM. It’s the measure of how much a vacuum pulls up in a cubic feet per minute. Typical vacuums have a CFM of 50 to 100. In contrast, water vacs tend to be higher. Case in point, the Prolux CTX has a CFM of 130. The key thing to remember is that what sets water vacs apart from similar devices is that they don’t re-release particles. It’s this specific aspect that allows them to deliver a better cleaning job.
Many vacuum makes don’t give the CMF specifications, so another way to measure their power is by checking their air wattage. The higher the number, the stronger the suction. The average upright vacuum should use at least 80 watts. The best water filtration vacuums (like our picks below) typically start at 130 watts.
Looking for even more options? Check out our other best vacuum recommendations:
See more of our best product recommendations.
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Best Water Filtration Vacuums
Why we like it:
- Self cleaning system
- More than 16,000 reviews on Amazon!
- Two tank design
You don’t need a bulky vacuum to clean big messes. The lightweight, slim design of the Tineco iFLOOR3 easily fits in a corner or closet, and is amazing at absorbing dirt you didn’t even know was there. It has a simple touchscreen interface, and can be used cordless for 25 minutes. This vacuum is self cleaning, so all you have to do is fill the tank. This device can wash your floors – definitely a plus – but if you do, use the Tineco cleaning solution for the best results.
Promising Review: “This Tineco is a gamechanger for us because we no longer have to compromise between time and cleanliness. The battery lasts long enough for us to do the major problem areas on a single charge. Even when the floor looks “clean” to the naked eye, the Tineco’s dirty water tank tells a different story, and you will be cleaning grime you had no idea existed – especially if you have an older hardwood floor with gaps between the boards.”
Why we like it:
- Dual filtration system
- Includes vaporizer with scents
- Lots of accessories, and a built-in storage container
The sticker price for the Sirena Vacuum may seem hefty, but it’s the Rolls-Royce of its kind! Whether used on your tile or bedroom carpet, its powerful suction will grab the tiniest dust mites. It’s engineered with a 200W dual cyclonic action Italian-made motor that catches 100 percent of debris. A HEPA filter adds an additional layer of purification, and a built-in vaporizer purifies the air. If you’re feeling fancy, add an essential oil to it. Your home will be clean, and the air will smell fantastic! Switch between six different attachments to hit every nook and cranny.
Product review: “The amount of dirt and dust the Sirena gets is amazing. With my previous vacuum there would be huge amounts of dust particles floating around, and it was like I hadn’t vacuumed. After my first time with this machine I didn’t see any anything floating in the air! I dusted prior to my initial vacuum, and it was amazing what was pulled up out of the carpet… The house smells better. No one is sneezing, and I’m really impressed. It’s worth every penny.“
Why we like it:
- Automatically transition between floor heights
- Great for all surfaces
- Antimicrobial feature
The Quantum X laughs in the face of spilled milk, and IT doesn’t give a hoot about crumbs. It can handle grime from the street, pet accidents, and more. Regardless if you’re working with tiling or carpet, it will suck up all in its path like a tornado. Germs and dust particles are first caught up in its filter that’s infused with antimicrobial Micro-Silver Technology. Everything is neutralized in the water system, and nothing gross goes back into the atmosphere. It easily moves between surfaces, and the telescoping body makes it one of best water filtration vacuums for nabbing dust bunnies in hard to reach places.
Promising review: “We took the vacuum challenge and used our old vacuum and then the Quantum X. We were amazed how much dirt was left behind that the Quantum picked up. The most impressive part is there are no more expensive filthy filters to replace that introduce the dirt back into the house. The water filter basin is easy to remove and fill with water. It’s a new clean water filter each and very time you clean.”
Why we like it:
- Releases clean air
- Great for large rooms
- Long hose to reach shelves, fan blades, and other high surfaces
Don’t be intimidated by the large canister. The Kalorik Water Filtration Vacuum Cleaner is rollable, making it easy to move from kitchen to living room. Its telescopic metal tube allows you to get under beds without crouching, and the extra long hose helps to target shelves with the dust brush or crevice tool. It’s one of the best water filtration vacuums, especially for those with allergies, thanks to its air out top design. As the allergens get sucked up, the Kalorik disperses clean air. You’ll breath better, and your home will sparkle.
Promising review: “Half my house is carpet, the other half is hard wood. With my dogs and cats, I needed something that wouldn’t lose suction after a few months. I have allergies, so the idea that the water filters the air and cleans it was very appealing to me. Having this much traffic in my home, I’m also an avid carpet cleaner…The first [three uses] my Kalorik sucked up so much hair from my carpets I had to dump the water halfway through. It was disgusting, but I was happy that my new vacuum was getting it all! My allergies are much better, and I’ve noticed I’ve needed to do less dusting in our home.”
Why we like it:
- Can be used on different types of upholstery, as well as carpets
- Includes a HEPA filter
- Steamer has 5 settings that works with various surfaces
This vacuum may look spacey, and to be fair, its cleaning powers are far out. Even without the steaming function the Polti Eco Steam Vac would be one of the best water filtration vacuums money could buy, but the fact it doubles as a steamer is pretty cool. The device can heat water to 315 degrees, has five different settings, and you can use it on furniture, drapes, and even shower tiles. Your home will feel brand new.
Promising review: “Having there dogs and a myriad of surfaces to clean, I’ve used most every vacuum, steamer, mop, cleaning agent around. My husband had a Polti when he lived in Europe and kept asking me to try one. Being the ‘expert’ on cleaning, it took me years to listen to him…This Steam Vac is excellent! I love that it pulls up the dirt right after blasting it with the steam. No chemicals needed.”
Why we like it:
- LED water basin lighting
- Light on nozzle
- Great at picking up fur
Pets bring joy, but their fur balls? Not so much. If you’re through rubbing down chairs with those sticky wands or can’t deal with seeing a clump of Fido’s hair roll across the floor, this is the vacuum for you. The HLYA GST large tank prevents clogging in the filtering process, and its powerful suction means even the most stubborn strands won’t remain rooted to the rug. The machine only uses 850 watts of power, making it energy efficient. A LED light in the water basin and on the nozzle help you see dirt before its whisked away.
Promising review: “You wouldn’t believe the hair and gunk this thing picks up when I vacuum weekly (we have a chocolate lab). It works as good as it did the day we bought it. And think how many filter bags I didn’t have to buy. This thing really [works]!”
Why we like it:
- Can be used on drapes too!
- Has a UV-C light to kill bacteria
- Different speed settings to handle different types of messes
There’s so much to love about the Prolux CTX Canister Vacuum Cleaner. It pairs its water filtration system with UV-C lighting, filtering and killing dangerous contaminants. Turn it on high to attack high traffic areas. Choose low when vacuuming blinds or curtains. Its ten cleaning accessories can be stored in the canister’s base, and it even includes fragrance oils if you want to deodorize the air. The machine can tackle sauce spills, mud, and more. It’s capable of handling the grimiest carpets and floors, but if you’d like the option to shampoo, a model with a shampooing system is also available.
Promising review: “With two small kids and one very large dog, we were constantly chasing dirt, grass, and other outside junk on our wood floors and carpet. No matter how much I spent on a vacuum or how often I changed the filters, it seemed the carpet was just staying dirty. Let me tell you, this thing is amazing. The suction is incredible, the tool selection great, and it can easily go from carpet to hardwoods in a few seconds. The amount of dirt, dog hair, and small bits of grass it pulled up was both disgusting and outstanding. I love this vacuum and would suggest you take a serious look at it if you want a true professional product for your home.”
Why we like it:
- Dual chambers to separate clean and dirty water
- Multiple accessories for various surfaces
Maybe you’re satisfied with your current vacuum but have some stubborn stains that won’t budge. Trust me, the Hoover Cleanslate will make them move. This super portable vacuum has a dual water chamber, and includes three different tools to remove dirt from corners or beneath boards that regular vacuums just can’t grab. It’s cord is 18 feet, so regardless of your outlet situation, you’ll be able to move from one soiled spot to another. It can even be used to clean your car’s upholstery. I know I can’t be the only one who’s spilled a mocha frap on my drive to work.
Promising review: “With kids and lots of pets, accidents happen. Drinks get knocked over, and muddy footprints [ruin] the new rug. Want to know why I don’t stress the mess? CleanSlate! The size of this thing makes it perfect to grab and go. With so many attachments, no stain is off limits. Now my kids can play, the dogs can run, and I can relax sipping my coffee knowing my floors will still be stain free, thanks to my little buddy!”