A Common Sense Guide to help you select the Best Vacuum for your Hardwood Floors (Updated for 2018!)
A well-cared for Hardwood Floor adds such beauty and warmth to a home. But taking care of it requires a commitment of time, effort, and a Vacuum Cleaner that is designed to work best on Hardwood Floors.
The problem is, most of them are designed to work well primarily on carpet, with wood floor cleaning performance as a secondary consideration.
Why Hardwood Floors Require a Vacuum with Special Features!
The Three Types of Dirt Challenge!
Although the same kinds of dirt ends up on hardwood flooring as it does in carpeted floors, a different set of dynamics come into play when it comes to removing dirt.
Generally speaking, there are three types of dirt that accumulate on any type of floor surface.
- Clingy Dust – Fine dust particles tend to cling to hard floor surfaces because of spilled juices, oils, and even static electricity. Clingy Dust requires mechanical agitation from a stationary or a rotating brush to break it loose so it can be sucked into the vacuum.
- Loose Dirt – The most common offender is small granules of loose dirt, typically tracked in by our shoes. Almost any vacuum cleaner with strong enough suction can lift and remove it.
- Large Debris – The type of dirt that presents the greatest challenge for cleaning hardwood floor sufraces is Large Debris such as cereal, kitty litter, and dry pelletized pet food. Whether you are using a canister vacuum with a smooth floor brush, or an upright vacuum, the large debris tends to get pushed along in front (Snow Plowing) of the vacuum. So this means you must rock the Floor Brush back in order to make enough clearance for the debris to pass under. This technique works great with a canister vacuum but with an upright vacuum that incorporates a motorized brush roll (rotating brush with bristles) it will fling a large percentage of the Debris out the back of the machine before getting sucked up.
On some uprights, you can disengage the brushroll when you transition from carpet to hardwood floors. This arrangement works OK for the large Debris but compromises the cleaning performance of Clingy Dust and Loose Dirt.
Vacuum Manufactures are Rising to the Challenge!
Innovation and Competition to the Rescue!
Because of the huge popularity of hardwood flooring and the tremendous competition between manufactures of floor care appliances, new innovations are being introduced on a growing number of vacuum cleaner models to give top performance on hardwood flooring.
Models are now available with special tools and accessories, sensors, and even dual brush rolls designed to work for best performance on wood floors as well as carpet and other floor surfaces.
Respiratory Issues and HEPA Filtration are Important to Consider!
One of the reasons hardwood flooring has become so popular is it is assumed that it is more Asthma and Allergy-Friendly than Carpet. The truth is studies have shown that the same amount of allergy-causing particulates accumulate on hardwood floors as it does on carpet.
The difference is that carpet tends to act as a giant filter holding dust mites, dust mite feces, pet dander, pollen, mold spores, and other allergy-triggering particulates in arrest until they are removed.
Hardwood floors, on the other hand, accumulate those same allergy-triggering particulates on the surface where they are easily stirred up into the air we breathe.
So, good filtration is just as important when it comes to cleaning hardwood flooring as it is for carpet, especially if you suffer with respiratory issues.
Choose a Vacuum Cleaner with a Sealed HEPA Filtration System
Don’t be misled by vacuum cleaner ads that claim 99% effective at removing allergens. It may be true that the air that actually passes through the filter removes that percentage of allergens, but it doesn’t mention the dirty air that leaks around the filter that gets blown back into the room.
No matter how large a HEPA Filter is, it’s of little benefit if dirty air leaks around the filter.
Economy vacuum cleaners tend to have filter compartments that don’t seal around the filter allowing leakage. Mid-range to high end models tend to have better fitting injection molded parts and filter compartments that utilize gasketing to prevent leakage.
Some top-rated vacuums can trap up to 99.9% of all the particulates it sucks up, and the exhaust air is actually cleaner than the air in the room.
All of the vacuum cleaner models recommended in this guide have the level of filtration noted so you can make the best choice.
Choose a Vacuum that fits your Unique Flooring Combination and Lifestyle!
Obviously, a large home with a family of 5 plus 2 pets that shed their fur are going to require a different level of vacuum cleaner than a smaller home with two people.
Most homes have other floor surfaces besides just Hardwood Floors – including Carpet, Area and Throw Rugs, Tile, Vinyl, and Laminate flooring.
So it makes sense to purchase a model that will perform well on each floor surface in your home.
The more features a vacuum cleaner is equipped with to cope with multiple floor surfaces, usually the more complex, heavier, and more expensive. There’s no point in paying for features you probably will never need.
Keeping it Simple!
To make this Guide as simple and fast as possible I have divided it into Five (5) Different Options based on Flooring Combinations.
The vacuum models recommended in this Guide have design features specifically suited to give excellent cleaning performance on hardwood floors as well as other types of flooring.
UPDATE April 2018: As Heraclitus, the pre-Socractic Greek philosopher, is quoted as saying “Change is the only constant in life” it would seem that he foreknew what the vacuum cleaner industry would be like at this time in history. As a society our preferences tend to change but when it comes to floors, the two most popular materials are still Hardwood and Carpet. There have been essentially 2 advancements or features that I consider significant:
- Smart technology that enables the vacuum to detect variations in floor surfaces, to automatically adjust the brushroll speed to optimize cleaning performance.
- Soft Brushroll technology that is designed to roll over and embrace large debris such as cereal or dry pelletized pet food, presenting it to the suction zone.
Both of these features work well and eliminate the age-old problem of vacuuming hardwood floors with a spinning brushroll that typically flings debris all over the room instead of vacuuming it up.
You will find vacuum models included in my Recommendations that have these latest features.
Select the OPTION BELOW that best describes your home’s Flooring!
Option #1 Best Vacuum for HARDWOOD FLOORS ONLY (SEE BELOW)
Option #4 Best CORDLESS Vacuum for Hardwood Floors
Vacuums for Hardwood Floors ONLY!
CORDED STICK Vacuums Rated Best for Hardwood Floors
If you’re home has only one room with hardwood flooring a Corded Stick Vacuum may be your best option.
They offer good cleaning performance in a small, easy-to-handle package.
Below you will find the most current top-rated Corded Stick Vacuums.
Not only will these models perform well on hardwood flooring and other smooth floor surfaces, they can also be used for area rugs, mats, and for light cleaning of carpet.
MAINTENANCE TIP – Stick vacuums are light-weight and slender. They do not have the larger vacuum channels as found in full-size uprights. Also, the filters are smaller. This means they are more prone to clogging which diminishes suction performance. These handy floor care vacuums need to be cleaned more often to maintain maximum performance. Be sure and read the Owner’s Manual before using.
NOTE: The Stick Vacuums listed BELOW have Good filtration but probably not adequate if you are an allergy sufferer.
Introducing the NEW Shark Rocket Complete with DuoClean (HV382) Corded Stick Vacuum by SharkClean Euro-Pro!
In keeping with Euro-Pro’s tradition of producing excellent vacuum cleaners by listening to their customers, the New Shark Rocket Complete with DuoClean (HV382) is designed to not only thoroughly clean hardwood floors, but also low to lush pile carpet, stairs, and above-floor areas.
DuoClean Technology is their latest engineering triumph that has changed the way hardwood floors should be cleaned.
Generally speaking there are three types of dirt found on hardwood floors – large chunks like Cheerios or Kibble & Bits, small particles that get trapped in cracks, and fine clingy dust.
A typical vacuum cleaner with a spinning brushroll works great at removing the small particles from hardwood floors and especially carpet. It will even clean fine dust if it has the right kind of bristles.
But when it comes to the large chunks of dirt, a brushroll will usually sling it all over the room instead of picking it up. With ordinary vacuums it’s often necessary to use a mop or broom to clean up the mess left behind.
Shark’s DuoClean Technology has solved that problem with and exclamation point!!
DuoClean Technology utilizes two spinning rollers. The front roller is composed of soft thick bristles that grab the large chunks and hold them until they are sucked up into the vacuum nozzle. At the same time the soft bristles remove the fine stubborn clingy dust.
The rear roller is like a standard brushroll. It has the longer stiffer bristles that dig out the small dirt and debris stuck in cracks or in carpet pile.
The cleaning performance on hardwood floors and on carpet is very impressive! It is equally adept at cleaning area rugs and all floor surfaces. And for above-floor cleaning it quickly converts to a versatile Hand-Held Vacuum.
Watch this Cool Shark Vacuum Demonstration VIDEO!
- Swivel Steering
- No-Loss Suction
- LED Headlights
- Converts to a powerful Handheld Vacuum
- Easy-to-empty Dirt Cup
- DuoClean Multi Floor Cleaning Technology
- Washable Lifetime Filters
- XL Dust Cup
- 30 ft. Long cord
- Won’t stand up by itself. You must lay it down or against a piece of furniture, or return to dock
- Somewhat heavy @ 9.9 lbs
The NEW Shark Rocket Complete with DuoClean (HV382) is currently one of the best Corded Stick Vacuums for hardwood floors, as well as whole-house cleaning. Although the Dust Cup capacity has been increased from previous Shark Rocket models it does limit its use as a Primary Vacuum if you have carpeting – especially if you have pets.
If this type of stick vacuum makes sense for your needs but you don’t like the idea of the cord and prefer a lighter weight you should check out the Dyson V8 Absolute Cord-Free Stick Vacuum.
The new Dibea 600W Lightweight Corded Stick Vacuum Cleaner, 2 in 1 Bagless represents one of the best values when it comes to an inexpensive and effective option for cleaning wood floors.
Dibea is 10 year old Asian company that has been making domestic floor care product manufactures nervous lately. Their well-designed vacuums are being marketed with amazingly low prices and are competing favorably with the familiar industry giants. If you’re like me, you want the most value for your hard-earned money and some strong completion should force US companies to work harder at providing better products at lower prices.
The Dibea 600W Lightweight Corded Stick Vacuum delivers 600 Watts of powerful 15KPA suction that easily sucks up all types of dust, crumbs, pet hair, dry pet food, and cat litter from hard floor surfaces.
Although it does not have a brush roll it’s very effective on low pile carpet. It has a Slide Adjustment to reduce the suction for cleaning light area rugs.
Watch this Brief Demo VIDEO
The 2-in-1 feature enables you to deal with small messes around the house using it as a powerful handheld vac. (Also SEE: Top 6 Best Cordless Handheld Vacuums )
HEPA Filtration prevents allergy-causing mold, pollen, dust mites, and pet dander from being blown back into the air you breathe.
Super lightweight at only 4.6 lbs. and Swivel Steering make it easy to maneuver around obstacles and under low clearance furniture. It even has an LED headlamp so you can see the dirt in dark areas.
A large 1.0 Liter Dirt Cup a 19.7 foot long cord lets you vacuum most large rooms without stopping.
The Dibea 600W Lightweight Corded Stick Vacuum comes with a Crevice Tool for cleaning tight areas and 2 washable Filters.
This is a well-made stick vacuum that is backed by a One Year Warranty.
If you are searching for a secondary vacuum designated for your smooth or hardwood floors, and for maintenance cleaning low pile carpets, the Dibea 600W Lightweight Corded Stick Vacuum is an option you should consider. The price will make you smile!
The Dirt Devil SD20000RED Simpli-Stik Bagless Stick Vacuum (Corded) may be the answer to your hardwood floor needs!
If you’re shopping for an inexpensive lightweight vacuum for your hardwood floors the Dirt Devil SD20000RED Simpli-Stik is an outstanding option.
This is a 120 Volt Corded Bagless vacuum that actually serves as 3-in-1 vacuum. Use it as a Stick vacuum for your hardwood floors, mats, and throw rugs. Use it as a handy Hand-Held vacuum for a quick clean-up, or as a Detail vacuum for cleaning difficult to clean areas.
The Dirt Devil Simpli-Stik is just right for cleaning the kitchen or any room with smooth or hard flooring. It isn’t as powerful as the Bissell 81L2T or the Hoover Corded Cyclonic Stick Vacuum, SH20030 which are more of an intermediate vacuum.
It features an On-board Crevice Tool, a 16 foot long cord, and it comes with a 1 Year Warranty.
Not only does it do a good job of sweeping up dirt and debris from hardwood, tile, Vinyl, and Laminate flooring it works great for a quick maintenance cleaning on low pile rugs and carpeting.
It works fine for picking up surface dirt and debris like cereal off of carpet. It DOES NOT have a beater brush like the Hoover Linx or a powerful enough suction to deep clean medium to deep pile carpet. It’s not a substitute for a full-size 120v corded upright or canister vacuum.
It has become a Best Seller on Amazon and one of the reasons is its incredibly LOW PRICE!
Oh yea, I forgot to mention it comes in THREE Designer Colors!
Check Out this Cool VIDEO Demonstration!