Your hardwood floors are an investment, and you want to take care of them. Using the proper cleaning tools will go a long way toward keeping your floors beautiful for years to come. The best vacuum for hardwood floors can help you do that.
A number of vacuums for hardwood floors are on the market today, and they were narrowed down based on a variety of factors, such as maneuverability, whether they’re corded or cordless, the type of dustbin, and more. This list includes the best vacuums for hardwood floors, so you’re sure to find one that suits your needs and budget.
- BEST OVERALL: Shark NV352 Navigator Lift Away Upright Vacuum
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Bissell Featherweight Stick Bagless Vacuum
- BEST WET & DRY: Bissell Symphony 2 in 1 Vacuum and Steam Mop
- BEST CANISTER: Bissell Deluxe Canister Vacuum
- BEST CORDLESS: Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute Cordless Vacuum Cleaner
- BEST ROBOT: iRobot Roomba i7+ Robot Vacuum
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Vacuum for Hardwood Floors
Before you search for the best vacuum for your hardwood floors, consider the options that matter most. Start by determining the type of vacuum you want, then look at the features, such as dustbin, filtration options, attachments, and more. This list of options can get you started in making the right choice.
Choosing the right type of vacuum for hardwood floors can be tough. The most common type is the upright vacuum, which stands up straight when not in use and tilts back when you press a button or switch on the handle, allowing for easy movement across the floor. Another common type of vacuum is the canister vacuum, which has a long hose that attaches to the head, and the canister moves along the floor beside or behind you as you move across the room.
Other options include handheld vacuums, which are smaller and often better for tough-to-reach areas or tight corners, and robot vacuums, which do all the work for you after proper programming. There are also wet/dry vacuums for hardwood floors that use water or a cleaning solution to get the tougher spots but can also be used as a simple dry vacuum. Within these types are options such as corded or cordless, different styles of dustbins, and more.
Corded vs. Cordless
If you have a lot of floor space or fewer outlets than you’d like, going with a cordless vacuum for your hardwood floors might be the best bet. Simply put the vacuum on the charger and use it when needed. Many vacuums offer at least 30 minutes of run time per charge. The lack of a cord means a much higher level of maneuverability, but it might mean more weight, thanks to the battery.
Corded vacuums have their place as well. You don’t have to worry about issues with batteries, such as replacing one when it wears out (certain batteries can be hard to find). Though you sacrifice easy maneuvering and you might have to plug the cord into different outlets along the way to get full coverage for your floors, you never have to worry about run time.
If your vacuum is cordless, it will have a battery to keep it going. You’ll store the vacuum on the charger; most chargers are compact and can work with any typical wall outlet. You can expect at least 30 minutes of full run time per battery charge for most models on the market.
The battery life over the long term matters as well, especially when it comes to price. You want a vacuum with a reputation of carrying a long-lasting battery. Some manufacturers offer warranties on their batteries, while others simply offer warranties on the machine itself. Look over the fine print carefully when choosing any vacuum, but especially when choosing a battery-reliant model.
The difference in maneuverability between corded and cordless models of the best vacuums for hardwood floors has already been discussed. But there are other factors to consider as well.
The handle plays a big part in helping you maneuver; a handle that is too long can make the machine feel cumbersome, but one that’s too short means you’re not using a good posture to clean, and that can lead to other problems. How much does the vacuum weigh? That’s a consideration if you’re going to be lifting the vacuum over thresholds or lugging it up and down stairs.
A movable head can be helpful, as can wheels that roll in any direction. An overall ergonomic design matters when you’re emptying the dustbin, using attachments, or simply moving the vacuum across your hardwood floors.
Most vacuums today have a dustbin that can be easily removed, opened up, and dumped straight into the trash without worrying about bags. Simply shake the debris out of the dustbin into the appropriate trash container and close it back up before putting it back on the vacuum. But that dustbin can also come with options, such as a top button to open the bottom, or a top that must be lifted up or off to empty—the choice depends upon how much ease of use matters to you.
Some vacuums still use the bag system, where debris is collected in a bag over time. Once that bag is full, simply remove it from the vacuum and drop it into the trash with no fuss. Attach another bag and you’re ready for more cleaning. The bags do add on ongoing expense, but they might work better for those who want ultimate convenience.
Filtration matters for those who suffer from allergies and other ailments that are exacerbated by dust and fine particles. HEPA filters are standard on many vacuums these days, and user-friendly models allow for easy changing of the filter on a regular basis. Some might be permanent filters that you remove for cleaning now and then.
Look at the manufacturer specifications on filters to determine if a particular model is right for you and your home. Keep in mind that while filtration is important, it matters much more for carpeted areas, where dust and debris cling; some of the top picks have simple filters that don’t clear the air but still do a great job of keeping your hardwood floors clean as a whistle.
The attachments you want will depend on your home and which ones you need to use on a regular basis. Standard attachments include crevice tools and dust brushes, which can be used on a variety of surfaces in the home. Small beater brushes can work well on upholstery. Those with pets might want a vacuum that includes a dedicated tool to handle pet hair. Telescoping tools, like a telescoping duster, can help you reach otherwise hard-to-reach places, such as light fixtures or the blades of your ceiling fan.
Our Top Picks
Consideration was given to the features most people would appreciate, such as a variety of attachments, the filtration system, corded versus cordless, and more. The following are the top picks.
At only 14 pounds, this vacuum from Shark is an ideal upright model for cleaning your hardwood floors. A powerful brush roller can be shut off with a single touch, protecting your hardwood floors when you move from a carpeted area. Swivel steering helps move this Shark around furniture and tight spaces, and the ability to remove the top pod means you can use it on stairs and furniture.
Anti-allergen technology and a HEPA filter help trap dust and allergens inside the vacuum where it belongs, and emptying it is a snap. The vacuum comes with a 5.5-inch crevice tool, a long-reach 24-inch crevice tool, and a dusting brush.
This versatile machine offers three vacuums in one: a stick vacuum, a handle vacuum, and a stair vacuum. Convert the vacuum easily with the touch of a button. The dirt cup is small but gets the job done when cleaning smaller rooms. Efficient on any hardwood or tile floor, this budget model weighs only three pounds, which is light enough to be lifted up and used on countertops.
There is no roller brush, so no worries about scratching your hardwood finish. The crevice tool works well for furniture when you’re done with the floors and want to get the rest of the house sparkling clean. The 15-foot cord might make it tough to get into the middle of a large room, but works well for smaller spaces; speaking of space, the compact size makes it easy to store.
With a cleaning path of 11 inches, this powerful wet/dry vacuum from Bissell allows you to pull up debris and steam the floor at the same time, rolling two jobs into one and saving you time and effort. Steaming with just water in the 12.8 ounce tank is enough to destroy 99.9 percent of germs and bacteria found lurking on your hardwood floors. Easy-touch digital controls and a quick-release mop tray make the job faster, while the five-way adjustable handle aids in maneuverability.
Plug in the 25-foot power cord and expect the heater to warm up in a mere 30 seconds. There is no easy-scrubber feature, so you might have to do some hand cleaning on tough spots. There are four mop pads included with your purchase of this model.
At 16 pounds with a 1-liter dirt cup, this canister vacuum from Bissell works wonders on hardwood floors. In fact, you can rest assured this won’t damage surfaces, with felt on the wheels to protect your finish and two heads, one specifically for hardwood floors, helping ensure no scratches from a roller brush. The powerful suction is controlled with a fingertip, and it can be strong enough to pick up any debris on your floor or gentle enough to clean the hanging drapes.
There are numerous tools on board that help reach into crevices and small spaces, such as the telescoping extension wand, dusting tool, crevice tool and low-pile carpet tool. The dirt tank opens from the bottom of the vacuum for mess-free emptying. When you’re done cleaning, this canister vacuum folds up well for storage in small spaces.
Dyson’s patented cyclone technology goes to work with this vacuum to keep your home clean while you enjoy the ease of a lightweight, cordless model. Charge the battery for 3.5 hours before first use; keep it charged for 60 minutes of run time with no motorized tools, 40 minutes of use with the soft roller cleaner head, and 20 minutes with the more powerful torque drive cleaner head for carpets.
The instant-release trigger cuts battery power the moment you stop using the machine, conserving energy. The digital motor V10 model uses 14 concentric cyclones and transforms instantly into a handheld vacuum for use in your vehicle, on furniture, and anywhere else you need to remove dust and fine debris.
This is one of the latest iterations of the popular Roomba by iRobot. Ideal for hardwood floors, this also works well on carpets. It uses Wi-Fi to keep moving, works with Alexa, offers smart mapping to help ensure the entire surface is cleaned, and even empties itself with automatic debris disposal.
This “set it and forget it” machine will recharge itself when the battery runs low, respond to a command to do a quick cleaning of one spot, and even suggests cleaning schedules. It works great on pet hair with a high-efficiency filter that traps 99 percent of allergens.
FAQs About Vacuums for Hardwood Floors
If you need more help choosing a vacuum for hardwood floors, these questions and answers can help. If you already have the perfect vacuum from the list of top picks, this additional information can still be quite useful.
Q. Can a vacuum scratch hardwood floors?
If you have a vacuum with a brush to tackle carpet, that brush might scratch your hardwood. Make sure to choose a vacuum that allows you to turn the brush off, saving your floor from unsightly scratches.
Q. How often should I vacuum hardwood floors?
A good rule of thumb is to vacuum the floors weekly. If you have pets or heavy foot traffic, consider vacuuming them more often. Expect to wet clean the floors every month or so.
Q. What is the difference between a bagged and bagless vacuum system?
A bagged system has a bag that attaches to the intake of the vacuum, which can be removed and thrown away when it becomes full. A bagless vacuum deposits lint, dirt, and other debris into a canister, which you empty when full and reuse again and again.