This week we will be putting the Crosswave through the Modern Castle performance tests to determine how well this unit can perform as both a vacuum and mop.
Continue reading below to discover if the Bissell Crosswave is the right choice for you.
- Design 97% 97%
- Performance 98% 98%
- Quality 95% 95%
- Usability 96% 96%
- Value 94% 94%
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- Incredible cleaning performance on both hard surfaces and area rugs.
- Surprisingly easy to use and maintain (annual costs not too high).
- The Crosswave cannot be used on carpets, only areas rugs.
- This Bissell struggles a bit with liquid when it is up against baseboards or walls.
The Bottom Line
The Bissell Crosswave is a versatile wet dry vacuum that gives users the ability to vacuum, sweep, and mop at the same time. The Crosswave dominated our cleaning tests, removing nearly 100% of all dry and wet debris types. The only major con is it cannot be used on carpets, so it’s not a whole home cleaner. That said, for all hard surfaces and area rugs it provides exceptional cleaning performance. Highly recommended.
The Bissell Crosswave is designed with somewhat of a stick vacuum styling, with a few extra additions. As a wet dry vacuum, the cleaning head of this unit contains a multi-surface brushroll that is able to help agitate dirt and debris, in addition to mopping hard floors or wash area rugs.
BRUSHROLL | Several strands of cloth make up the brushroll. By using cloth, the brushroll is able to absorb the cleaning solution and water in order to properly clean the floors. Additionally, the cloth is soft enough to avoid scratching your more delicate floors.
CLEANING TANK | There are two separate tanks on this Bissell. One is used for the clean water and cleaning solution and the other is used to store the dirty water and debris that is sucked up by the unit.
On the clean water tank is two fill lines; one for small area messes and one for large messes. These lines are clearly marked to show how much water should be added, followed by how much cleaning solution should be added to the water. By following the measurements provided on the tank, users are able to create the right amount of solution to clean the floors with, without wasting any water or cleaner.
DIRTY TANK | The dirty water / debris tank is 0.4 L and can easily be removed from the unit. A small lip on the front of the tank acts as a handle, allowing the user to quickly release the tank from the Crosswave itself.
OPERATING | Along the handle of this Bissell are the cleaning mode knobs. The two buttons indicate the floor type the user is cleaning on; rug and hard floor. Once the Bissell Crosswave is turned on, the mode can be quickly changed by pressing one of these two buttons.
The trigger that supplies the water and cleaning solution to the brushroll is also located along the handle and can be squeezed once the unit is powered on.
A 25′ cord powers the unit and can be wrapped along the back side of the Crosswave.
How Bissell Crosswave Cleans
The Bissell Crosswave cleans in a few different ways. Since this unit operates as both a mop and a vacuum, the way in which it cleans can vary.
VACUUMING | First off, when used as a vacuum, the Crosswave works to sweep and suck through the suction path and brushroll. The brushroll will spin, sweeping dirt and debris into the suction path of the unit. From there, the suction power of the Crosswave works to lift the dirt and debris into the dust bin.
MOPPING | Next up, the Bissell Crosswave can be used to mop hard floor surface types, such as tile or hardwoods, in addition to washing area rugs. As the Crosswave is placed into hard floor mode, the brushroll will begin to spin. Once this occurs, users can press the trigger on the inside of the handle, which will dispense the cleaning solution onto the brushroll.
Now that the solution has been dispensed onto the brushroll, it can be used as a mop. Yet, it is still going to suck like a vacuum as well. This combination allows users to clean messes that contain both dry and wet debris all in one. For example, cereal and milk – the Bissell Crosswave will suck up the dry debris like a vacuum while also mopping up the liquid.
AREA RUGS | If you are cleaning an area rug, the unit needs to be placed into “area rug” mode. This is completed by pressing the appropriate button on the handle of the unit. The area rug mode works in a similar fashion to the hard floor mode, except four times the amount of cleaning solution is dispensed. This process allows the brushroll to clean deeper.
Bissell does recommend that if a mess is extremely sticky on a hard floor surface, users should place the unit in area rug mode. The added amount of cleaning solution will help lift the sticky substance off of the floor.
Overall, there are a few different ways that the Bissell Crosswave cleans.
How big is the Bissell Crosswave?
The Bissell Crosswave is 46″ tall, 12″ wide, and 10.6″ deep. Additionally, this Bissell weighs 11 pounds.
- Length – 46″
- Width – 12″
- Cleaning head Depth– 10.6″
- Weight – 11 pounds
The Bissell Crosswave is a multi-surface wet dry vacuum that includes a few different parts and accessories.
The Bissell Crosswave includes the following:
- Multi-surface: The multi-surface solution can be used to clean wood, area rugs, and tile.
- Wood: As the name suggests, the wood formula should only be used on your hardwood floors.
- Area rug: The area rug cleaner should be used strictly on area rugs, not carpeted surfaces or hard floor types.
- Multi-surface Pet: The Bissell Crosswave can also be used top clean up pet messes, which is where this cleaning solution comes in handy.
- Variety Pack: Alternatively you can grab a variety pack,, which includes the multi-surface, wood floor, and area rug cleaning solutions.
- Make Your Own: If you’d prefer to make your own Bissell Crosswave cleaning solution alternative, you can! Check out our DIY homemade recipe below.
Each of these cleaning solutions offers a different scent. Therefore, users have even more variety when choosing which smell they would like to enjoy while cleaning the floors.
We tested the Crosswave as a mop on tile flooring, spreading three different debris types across the floor and attempting to mop them up over the course of three passes.
Next, we tested the Bissell Crosswave as a vacuum on an engineered hardwood floor. For this test, we spread four different debris types across our testing lane and attempt to suck each of them up.
- Dirt / Mud 100% 100%
- Honey 100% 100%
- Soda 99% 99%
- Cereal 100% 100%
- Kitty Litter 100% 100%
- Sugar 100% 100%
- Rice 100% 100%
- Dirt / mud
Each of these debris types offer a different level of stickiness and consistency, allowing us to test the Bissell Crosswave against a light, heavy, and liquid substance. All three debris types are spread across our testing lane in three separate sections.
Throughout our mopping tests, we try to give real life examples and be as consistent and fair as possible. The mopping test procedure goes as follows:
- Measure out 3 oz of soda and spread the soda across the back of the testing lane.
- Squirt honey in the middle of the testing lane, covering a majority of the width of the lane.
- Create a muddy substance from dirt and water then spread the mud with a shoe.
- Make a pass across the testing lane and compare the amount of each debris type mopped up on pass one to the untouched debris.
- Make pass number two across the lane and analyze the amount of each debris type mopped up.
- Make a third pass, if necessary.
OVERALL | The Bissell Crosswave did an excellent job mopping up each of the three debris we spread across our testing lane. After making one pass across all of the debris, the mud was removed 100% of the way, the honey was removed 90-95% of the way, and the soda was mopped up at a level of at least 95%.
As less of a sticky substance, the dirt posed no issues for the Bissell Crosswave. On the other hand, the honey and soda were not entirely mopped up after one pass.
CLEANING HONEY | The honey is quite a thick, sticky substance that requires a little bit of extra pressure from the user, in addition to 2-3 passes to completely remove it. After our second pass, the honey was virtually non-existent. One final pass left the area where honey was spread, spotless.
CLEANING SODA | Soda was a bit different than both the mud and honey. The Bissell Crosswave did not have any problems mopping up the soda, except when it came to mopping it away from the baseboards of our testing lane. When easily accessible, the Crosswave mopped up the soda with ease.
However, as we tried to mop the soda that was up against the baseboards, it seemed as if the inch or so of plastic casing around the multi-surface brushroll prevented this Bissell from getting close enough to the baseboard.
That said, there was a minimal portion remaining on our testing lane after everything was said and done. We were able to use a small rag and clean up the rest of the mess.
Area Rug Cleaning Test
As one of the more versatile mops we have tested, the Bissell Crosswave also has the ability to wash area rugs. During this test, we took a high pile shag rug that has not been washed in 6 months. The rug sits in a high traffic area of a home and is in a house with one dog and two cats.
From there, we used the Bissell Crosswave to clean half of the rug and compare to the other half. After doing so, we found that the Crosswave was able provide a deep cleaning for the rug. It removed a sizable portion of dog and cat hair (in addition to other dirt / debris) from deep within the fibers of the rug.
While the Bissell Crosswave was able to remove lots of hair, dirt, and debris, it wasn’t able to restore the carpet’s white stripes back to their original vividness. To erase the stains from a rug like this one, you will more than likely need a more powerful carpet cleaner or perhaps a stain remover like this.
Our cleaning process consisted of three total passes over the dirty area of the rug. During these passes, we saw the carpet get cleaner each pass. By the final (third) pass, the carpet still had some slight discoloration, but there was a definite improvement in smell, aesthetic, freshness, and overall cleanliness.
Probably the most interesting trait about using the Bissell Crosswave on the area rug was its ability to suck down deeply into the rug.
After priming the unit for 10 seconds, I began pushing the Crosswave. Once I got moving, I found that this Bissell was sucking so deeply into the rug that it was difficult to actually push and pull the unit. If you’re able to move quickly, the Crosswave is not as hard to handle, but if you are taking slower passes across the rug, some users may find it a bit harder to push on a thicker rug.
On the positive side, this strong degree of suction allowed the unit to remove dog hair and debris that was deeply grounded into the rug.
Vacuum Cleaning Tests
The Bissell Crosswave performed flawlessly as a vacuum during our tests. After spreading the rice, kitty litter, cereal, and sugar across our testing lane, the Crosswave was able to vacuum up 100% of each debris. There were no issues with this Bissell when it came to vacuuming on hardwood floors.
Keep in mind, the Bissell Crosswave is not designed to vacuum on carpeted surfaces, therefore we did not test this unit, as a vacuum, on any carpets.
Overall, the Bissell Crosswave had an impressive level of performance with regard to vacuuming on hardwood floors. Combining this high level of vacuuming performance with the strong mopping performance makes for a an extremely well-rounded wet dry vacuum.
The Bissell Crosswave is not a complicated unit to use, but it can be confusing to operate your first time. That said, Bissell does offer a user guide with clear instructions on how to operate / maintain the Crosswave.
CLEANING MODES | First things first, there are two cleaning modes that determine how this Bissell should be used; hard floor and rug. These two modes are controlled by labeled buttons located on the handle of the unit.
Each of these modes can be used to vacuum or mop / wash your floors. If you decide to use the Bissell Crosswave as a vacuum, the only requirements are plugging in the unit and choosing a floor type. The rest of the work, aside from actually pushing the Crosswave, is controlled by the vacuum.
PREPARING TO CLEAN | As you move on to mopping, the process become a little more intuitive, but nothing over the top. For example, if you decide to mop your tile floors, the process is as follows:
- Remove clean water tank from back side of Crosswave (be sure unit is not plugged in before doing so)
- Choose floor size and fill water / solution to their respective lines
- Replace the tank into the Crosswave
- Plug in unit
- Choose floor type
- Once powered on, press and hold the trigger on the handle for 10 seconds to allow for priming of the water / solution
- Begin cleaning
The more you use this unit, the easier it gets. Filling the water tank is not difficult and is quick to complete. Once you actually power the Bissell Crosswave on, mopping is simple, as long as you are consistent with squeezing the trigger that releases the cleaning solution.
Some users may find that the unit does not clean its best if the brushroll is not primed before cleaning, or if they are not holding down the trigger while making passes back and forth across the mess.
REPLACING PARTS | Each of the water tanks and the brushroll can be removed easily as well. Simply pull on their respective handles and each section will pop off. Be sure you hear a click when replacing each piece, as this ensures everything is snapped into place correctly.
Overall, the Bissell Crosswave is not hard to use, but you may want to give the directions a quick read before using it for the first time.
The Bissell Crosswave contains a swivel head, but this is not a highly maneuverable swivel head. The head is only able to turn ~25°.
The inability to turn could be an issue for some users, depending on the layout of your home. If you are only trying to mop or vacuum open spaces, the Crosswave’s maneuverability won’t be an issue.
The following table indicates the frequency at which you will likely want to replace the various parts and components of the Bissell Crosswave. However, your individual experiences may vary.
|Accessory / Part||Replacement Frequency||Replacement Cost|
|Filter||6-12 months||Check Price|
|Brushroll||12-18 months||Check Price|
|Cleaning Solution||As needed||Check Price|
- Wash / change the filter – The Bissell Crosswave only has one filter, but it should be washed after every major cleaning session. As a washable filter, the replacement frequency is a bit less than most other filters. After cleaning the filter you’ll want to let it dry 24 hours before using it again.
- Empty / clean the dirty water tank – Emptying the dirty water tank is crucial. If the water tank is full, the Crosswave will stop cleaning entirely. It is extremely important to empty / rinse out the dirty water tank after every use.
- Clear / clean brushroll – The brushroll is another major player in the performance of the Bissell Crosswave. There will be times where the brushroll is dirty or contains tangles from hair, strings, etc.. To clean the brushroll, place the unit on the cleaning tray and run the brushroll on top of some water / solution. Freeing the brushroll of any tangles can be completed with scissors or by hand.
However, if you make your own at-home cleaning solution you can reduce your annual maintenance costs to around $20 / year.
Around 50% of the on-going maintenance costs for the Crosswave will be the cost of your cleaning solution. You’ll save yourself at least $20 / year if you make your own homemade cleaning solution.
Bissell Crosswave Cleaning Solution for Multi-Surfaces
- White vinegar, 16 ounces
- Essential oil, 20 drops (optional, use your preferred scent)
Simply mix your vinegar and essential oil together. Add the appropriate amount of water and cleaning solution to the cleaning tank. That’s it!
Bissell Crosswave Cleaning Solution for Hardwood Floors
- White vinegar, 16 ounces
- Olive oil, 2 tablespoons
- Essential oil, 20 drops (optional, use your preferred scent)
Mix the vinegar, olive oil, and essential oil together. The olive oil acts as a protectant for your wood floors. Then add the appropriate amount of cleaner and water to the tank.
Bissell Crosswave Cleaning Solution for Multi-Surfaces (deep clean)
- White vinegar, 16 ounces
- Liquid castile soap, 2 tablespoons
- Essential oil, 20 drops (optional, use your preferred scent)
Mix the vinegar, liquid castile soap, and essential oil together. This recipe is similar to the first one, except the castile soap adds an additional cleanser. Use this recipe to clean extra dirty floors with the dirt removing power of castile soap. As with the other recipes, add the appropriate amount of water to this cleaning solution alternative in the Crosswave water reservoir.
PRO TIP: If you find that the castile soap and vinegar don’t mix very well, try mixing the castile soap with about 3 times as much hot water. Once it’s fully disolved, then mix it with the vinegar (thanks to Modern Castle reader, William M. for this tip!).
Bissell Crosswave vs. Bissell Crosswave Pet
|Bissell Crosswave (Original)||Bissell Crosswave Pet Pro|
|Brushroll||Multi-surface brushroll||Tangle free pet brushroll|
|Cleaning Solution||Multi-surface (generic) version||Multi-surface pet version|
|Warranty||2 years||3 years|
|Price||Check Price||Check Price|
When we take a look at the brushrolls included with these two units, the Bissell Crosswave Pet is going to include a multi-surface brush designed specifically for pet hair. Bissell claims that this brush is tangle free for hair up to 8″ long.
Included with the standard Bissell Crosswave is a similar brushroll, minus the extra pet featured tangle free design.
Additionally, the purchase of a Bissell Crosswave Pet will contain the multi-surface pet cleaning solution instead of the standard multi-surface cleaner included with the original Crosswave.
The last major difference between these two Bissell Crosswave units is the warranty. The Pet includes a 3-year warranty, as compared to the 2-year warranty offered on the standard.
CLEANING | During our cleaning tests, there were hardly any issues. As a vacuum, the Crosswave was flawless. As a mop, it was on the brink of flawlessness. The only area where we saw a problem was having the unit try to mop up liquid that was up against a baseboard. While the Crosswave was not able to clean up 100% of the liquid, its performance with other messes with perfect.
MANEUVERABILITY | Maneuverability is perhaps my biggest complaint. The Crosswave has a limited turning radius of ~25°. That said, it does have a 25′ cord, which is a nice feature.
MAINTENANCE | Maintenance isn’t too bad considering the cleaning performance. The cleaning solutions could get pricey, however, those are easy enough to make at home. Beyond that, it’s simply replacing the filter and brushroll as needed.
Warranty and returns are about average with the Crosswave. Bissell offers a 2-year warranty and a 30-day return policy (via Amazon.com).
RELATED – More excellent value vacuums in our cheap vacuums guide.
Below is a complete list of important specifications and features included on the Bissell Crosswave:
|Floor Type||All (indoor)|
|Dust Bin Capacity||0.8 L & 0.4 L|
|Cordless||No - 25' cord|
|Returns||30 days via Amazon. Varies by retailer|
|Check Price||Check Price|
The Bissell Crosswave is a well-rounded unit that has the ability to sweep, vacuum, and mop all at the same time. If you’re looking to knock out all of these, plus wash your area rugs, then the Bissell Crosswave could be a good addition to your household.
I would recommend the Bissell Crosswave if you’re looking for the following features in a wet dry vacuum:
- Want a wet dry vacuum – As a wet dry vacuum, the Bissell Crosswave offers the ability to vacuum, sweep, mop, and wash. On hard floor surfaces, the Crosswave will vacuum up dry debris while also mopping the floors. As you move to area rugs, the Crosswave will work to deep clean your rug through its multi-surface brushroll.
- Want serious deep cleaning – The Bissell Crosswave dominated our cleaning tests, both wet and dry. However, even more impressive, it was able to even clean grout lines fairly well. Even with just a couple of quick passes I could already see my tile grout lines becoming visibly cleaner.
- Like the idea of washing your rugs – If you like the idea of being able to mop your floors and wash your area rugs with the same Bissell unit, the Crosswave could be a great option. Performance on both of these floor types is solid.
One last note, please remember that the Crosswave shouldn’t be used on carpets. Area rugs are fine, but not regular carpets.
For more information on the Bissell Crosswave visit Amazon.com.
Last Updated - August 6, 2018
- August 6, 2018 – Updated the review score as part of our site-wide 1.0 scoring overhaul. Score increased from 92% to 96%.
Wet mess? Dry mess? No problem
- Design - 97%97%
- Performance - 98%98%
- Quality - 95%95%
- Usability - 96%96%
- Value - 94%94%
The Bissell Crosswave is a multi-surface floor cleaner with a great level of versatility paired with strong performance. This specific Bissell is able to suck up dry debris while also mopping and cleaning up wet substances on your hard floors. Additionally, the push of a button allows you to wash you area rugs easily. All things considered, the Bissell Crosswave is a great option for users who want to sweep and mop in one pass.
Derek Hales is the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of ModernCastle.com. He is a passionate perfectionist when it comes to testing and reviewing products for the home. When he is not testing new products, Derek enjoys golf, tennis, and PC gaming. Derek lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with his wife, Samantha, son, and poodle, Tibbers.