Vacuum Cleaner vs Mop | Appliance Comparison Guide

Mop vs Vacuum

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Mops and buckets are staple tools when it comes to cleaning homes. However, some experts have proven that vacuum cleaners are more efficient in cleaning hard surfaces.

So which of these cleaning tools is best for cleaning your floors and home is the reason why we’ve created this mop vs vacuum debate.

To help you make the right purchasing decision, we’ll delve into the vacuum vs mop debate to explore their features and advantages so you'll know which is better for you.

So let’s find out the differences between a vacuum and a mop.

What Are the Main Differences Between A Vacuum and A Mop?

The main difference between a vacuum cleaner and a mop is in their mode of operation.

A vacuum cleaner is an electrical appliance that sucks in dirt, dust, and small particles from floors, rugs, drapes, and other surfaces. While a mop is a piece of equipment (usually wooden) with strings of twisted cotton or synthetic sponge that’s used for wiping floors.

To better understand the difference between these two cleaning equipments, let’s look at them more in-depth.

What is a vacuum? A vacuum, also known as a vacuum cleaner or hoover, is an electrical apparatus that collects dirt, dust, and other small particles from floors, and other surfaces by means of suction. Vacuum cleaners can also get rid of tiny particles such as pet hair, pollen, and other allergens.

Basically, a vacuum cleaner has an electric motor that powers the appliance’s fan blades. The fan then creates negative air pressure and sucks in air and other small particles toward the exhaust port. This makes vacuum cleaners better suited to cleaning dirt and tiny particles in cracks and corners especially on grouted floors: thereby improving your indoor air quality.

Unlike brooms that aren’t capable of removing fine dust, vacuums can remove the fine dust particles from hard floors. Vacuuming also makes mopping easy as first removing soil with a vacuum cleaner prevents moist residual dust and dirt from turning to mud. And since you'll have little mud to clean up, you won’t exert much energy when mopping.

Vacuums do more than remove dirt from floors, there are also wet vacuums that dry and wet clean floors, walls, and windows.

What is a mop? A mop is a tool consisting of a stick or pole attached to a mass of absorbent material such as yarn or sponge for soaking up liquid and cleaning floors, walls, and other cleaning purposes.

While mops can pick up dirt, they’re better suited to getting rid of the grease. Hence, they're best for cleaning sticky, muddy, and greasy floors as they’re great at. While mops are mostly mechanical, there are electrical models.

What are the advantages of a vacuum cleaner over a mop?

The advantages of cleaning with a vacuum cleaner, when compared to a mop, are that it’s a hygienic, deep cleaning solution that prevents slip hazards and doesn’t create mud when cleaning floors.

Better deep cleaning

When compared to mopping, a vacuum cleaner is more efficient at cleaning floors.

Vacs have an electrical system that allows them to suck up dirt, dust, and pet hair even in corners, crevices, rugs, and under the furniture: leaving your floor spotlessly clean. The yarn on mops, on the other hand, may not be able to reach these spaces. And when you clean dirty surfaces with a mop, you're mostly wiping dust, and this leaves some particles hanging in the air as opposed to vacuum cleaners that eliminate dust. So mops are not as efficient as vacuums in cleaning dust and dirt.

Also, vacuuming is great for wood floors, bamboo, laminate, or cork floors as using large amounts of water on these materials can damage them.

That said, according to a study, vacuuming has been shown to reduce the need for burnishing by 60% when compared to dust mopping.

Does not create mud

When you try to clean soil, dirt, and dust from your floor with a damp mop, this dirt may become mud. Vacuuming your floor saves you from soiling your floor.

Studies show that vacuum cleaners can remove 99% of soil from floors while mops can leave 30 – 60% of soil behind.


When you try to clean tight spaces such as crevices by damp mopping, moisture or water may collect in these spaces and lead to mold and mildew buildup. Vacuuming, on the other hand, doesn’t lead to the buildup of mold or mildew.

Also, vacuuming leads to better indoor air quality than mopping, and it will extend the life of your air filtration systems.

Prevents slip hazards

When you clean the floor with a mop, the floor becomes wet and could lead to accidents such as slipping and falling. A dry and wet vacuum cleaner can wet clean and dry your floor simultaneously, making it safe for people to walk on.

What are the advantages of a mop over a vacuum cleaner?

The advantages of cleaning with a mop, when compared to a vacuum, is that it’s an affordable cleaning solution that’s easy to maintain and great for cleaning sticky and greasy floors without leaving scuff marks

Best cleaner for sticky floors

When hard floors get sticky, vacuuming may not be able to clean the grease, and this could pose a bother for your feet. However, mopping the hard floor can get rid of the stickiness, grease, and mud, and make the floor more comfortable to walk on.

No scuff marks

When compared to vacuuming, mopping a hardwood floor doesn’t scuff the flooring.

Vacuum cleaners have beaters with brushes on them that can scratch your floor and leave scuff marks or damage the finish of your hardwood floor. Aside from these, damp mopping is the best method of cleaning ceramic tile.

Doesn’t make noise

Vacuum cleaners are electrical appliances with powerful filtration systems and electrical motors: hence they make a bit of noise when running. Mops, on the other hand, have no electrical components, so they afford you a noise-free cleaning. This also makes mopping a better cleaning method than vacuuming in commercial centers or office settings as staff and customers will not be disturbed by the noise.

More affordable

Mops cost less than vacuums. The price of a mop alongside a few accessories range from $19 to $95 while a vacuum cleaner costs between $25 and $400. Robotic vacuum cleaners cost more.

Easy to use and maintain

Vacuum cleaners have several moving parts and when they get broken, you may need to replace the whole equipment or get a technician to fix them. Mops are easier to use and maintain (even for the electrical mops). You don’t necessarily need to read a manual before using a mop. Plus they’re cheaper to replace.

difference between mop and vacuum

Which One is more Usable in the Kitchen between A Vacuum and A Mop?

Vacuum cleaners are more versatile in the kitchen than mops. Vacuum cleaners can suck dirt, dust, pet hairs from floors and furniture as well as crevices that mops can’t reach. Also, there are wet vacuum cleaners that can wet clean floors and other surfaces and dry them immediately as you clean.

And if you’re asking, “Is a vacuum cleaner the same as a mop?” No, they’re different cleaning tools.

A vacuum is an electrical appliance for cleaning dirt, dust, and other tiny particles from floors and other surfaces. While a mop is mostly a manual apparatus that consists of a stick and yarn or other absorbent materials for cleaning floors using liquid.

What surfaces can you clean with a vacuum cleaner?

You can clean the following surfaces with a vacuum cleaner;

  • Hardwood floors
  • Mattresses
  • Laminate floors
  • Carpets
  • Sofas
  • Under the bed
  • Upholstery
  • Velveteen furniture
  • Blinds and curtains
  • Inside drawers
  • Windowsills

Here are some of the other uses of a vacuum cleaner.

What surfaces can you clean with a mop?

You can clean the following surfaces with a mop;

  • Vinyl tile
  • Laminate floor
  • Stone floor
  • Ceramic tile
  • Hardwood floor
  • Linoleum
  • Marble floors

Can you pair a vacuum cleaner and a mop together in a kitchen?

Yes, you can pair a vacuum cleaner and a mop together in your kitchen as the combination will lead to a cleaner home.

Vacuum cleaners are better at getting rid of dirt, dust, pet hair, and allergens. They can also suck dirt from spots that are difficult for mops to reach. After cleaning with your vacuum, mops, on the other hand, can then clean mud and grease off sticky surfaces as well as easy clean around obstacles such as furniture.

What are the instances where you can use a vacuum cleaner and a mop together?

Vacuum cleaners are great for deep cleaning dirt, dust, and pet hair. And mops are great for cleaning sticky and greasy surfaces. So you can first clean your floor with your vacuum before mopping mud and grease off sticky floors.

Here's how to use a vacuum cleaner.

What are the instances where a vacuum cleaner and a mop should never be used together?

You should not use a vacuum cleaner and a mop if you own a wet vacuum cleaner as it can do both tasks of a vacuum cleaner and a mop. Also, you shouldn’t use a mop alongside a vacuum cleaner if you have wood floors as mopping may damage such floor types.

What to Consider When Buying A Vacuum Cleaner and A Mop?

Both a mop and a vacuum cleaner are great for cleaning multiple surfaces in the home. However, different vacuums and mops perform different functions, and one may be better suitable for a floor type than others. 

So here are the top factors you should consider when buying a vacuum cleaner or mop.

What type of vacuum cleaner or mop should I get?

There are 11 types of vacuum cleaners. However, the 5 most popular types of vacs include; canister, upright, handheld, stick, and robotic vacuum cleaners

Canister vacuums are great for cleaning multiple hard surfaces such as floors, curtains, upholstery, and stairs. They come with an attached canister which makes them bulky to store.

Upright vacuum cleaners are great for deep-cleaning hardwood floors and large areas covered with carpet, but they’re not as versatile as canister vacuums.

Handheld vacs are lightweight and portable and are great for cleaning spots that are hard to reach like underneath your bed and cars. But they’re not as powerful as canister models and aren’t great for general house cleaning.

Stick vacuums are lightweight and the least powerful of these vacs, but they’re great for cleaning hardwood floors and small and narrow spaces. Also, they’re quite noisy.

Robotic vacuum cleaners are cordless machines that map your room and clean it while you relax. You can control them with your smartphone and they’re easy to store due to their small size. However, they’re not as powerful as full-sized models, and they’re expensive.

There are also 11 types of mops. But the 5 most popular types include; flat, sponge, microfiber, steam, and dust mops.

Flat mops are great for vinyl and hardwood flooring because they use a little water, so they won’t damage your floor. They’re good for wet and dry-cleaning small spaces, and aren't great for cleaning large areas.

Sponge mops are highly absorbent and can be used for all types of spills. They’re also good for spot cleaning dirt, and they come with extendable handles to reach difficult-to-reach places. However, they become heavy as they absorb liquid.

Microfiber mops are very absorbent mops that can be used for wet and dry-cleaning surfaces. They’re built to last long. However, they’re not good for scrubbing stubborn stains.

Steam mops are electrical mops that are great for cleaning stubborn spills and stains from hard floors and carpets. They have reusable cloths that you can wash in the washing machine. However, you’ll have to vacuum your floor before using a steam mop so it doesn’t collect dust.

A dust mop is like a broom that’s specifically designed for cleaning dust, so they’re not really great for cleaning floors. However, they can prepare floors for wet cleaning.

Which of these cleaners will be good for my flooring?

Generally, mops are not good for hardwood or vinyl flooring: however, flat mops have been designed to work well with these kinds of floors. Although vacuum cleaners are better suited to these kinds of floors.

Also, chemicals aren’t good to use on stone tiles, so a vacuum cleaner or a microfiber mop is advisable.

If you’ve got a large carpeted area, you should consider an upright vacuum. But if you’ve got a low-tile carpet or a space with a little rug, a canister vacuum cleaner will suffice.

What kind of filtration system should my vacuum have?

If you’ve got allergies, you should consider going for a vacuum cleaner that features HEPA filtration as it also cleans the air and improves the air quality of your house as you clean.

How much noise does a vacuum make?

Vacuums make noise because they’re motorized appliances. Although there are quiet vacuums that make sounds of 60 dB. If yours make too much noise, you can either get a quieter model or a mop.

How much should I pay for a vacuum cleaner or mop?

Vacuum cleaners are usually more expensive than mops. So you can expect to pay around $19 to $100 for a cleaning mop while a vacuum will cost you between $25 and $400.

What Are the Best Brands for Vacuum Cleaners?

The five best brands making the best vacuum cleaners include Dyson, Miele, Bissell, Shark, and Black + Decker.


Dyson is a British company making some of the best vacuum cleaners. Their vacs are colorful, lightweight, and usually bagless. Dyson’s vacuums are distinct in that they have a patented digital cyclone motor design.


Miele is a German company reputable for making some of the best home appliances. They mostly make a range of premium canister vacs. However, they have a robotic vacuum and a few stick vacuums. Their products are durable and easy to maintain.


Bissell is also one of the best American brands making the best vacuum cleaners. Their vacuums are budget-friendly and lightweight since they’re made of plastic. However, their vacuums don’t usually have HEPA filtration.


Shark is an American company that makes some of the best vacuums and mops. Their vacuums have self-cleaning brush rolls for detangling hair that get stuck. Shark makes a lot of bagged or bagless models as well as corded or cordless vacuum cleaners.

Black + Decker

Black + Decker is one of the best brands making some of the best home appliances. Their vacuums are mid-priced but don’t compromise on quality. They’re easy to use and they have models that you can use as both upright and handheld vacuum cleaners.

What Are the Best Brands for Mops?

The best brands making the best mops include O-Cedar, Beldray, Libman, Bissell, and Swiffer.

comparison of vacuum and mop

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