A Common Sense Guide to Selecting the Best Vacuum for Hardwood Floors! (Updated for 2018)
A well-cared for Hardwood Floor adds such beauty and warmth to any home. Real Estate professionals affirm that hardwood flooring adds value to your home. It represents a significant investment that needs to be protected and maintained. 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 average cost of installing hardwood flooring in a 200 sq. ft. room is $400. That represents a significant investment to most of us. The number one enemy to that investment is D-I-R-T! For the most part dirt is gritty and if it’s left on your wood floors, it’s like rubbing it with sandpaper every time you walk on it.
For the last 5 decades manufactures have been designing their floor care appliances to address the wall-to-wall carpeting trend that started back in the 60’s. Vacuums with motor-powered brushes work great for digging dirt and debris from carpet but it can be problematic for hardwood floors.
Finally some inspired innovations, designed to address the unique dynamics of cleaning hardwood floors, have become accessible to the consumer. Upright, Canister, and Stick Vacuums are now available to fit almost any budget and any flooring combination.
Contents at a Glance
Because everyone’s situation is unique and every home has a different combination of flooring materials, I have assembled a list of each type of vacuum cleaner to that I believe are the best for hardwood floors. Each vacuum has specifically designed features for hardwood floors and each one is safe to use and won’t scratch your floors. I have carefully assessed and reviewed each model to make sure you will end up with a winner!
Best Upright Vacuum for Hardwood Floors
Price: MSRP $349.95 , Currently ON SALE @ Amazon, FREE Shipping w/ prime
Who it’s Made For: The homeowner who has a combination of low to long pile carpet and hardwood floors and wants the power of a lightweight upright vacuum.
Why I Recommend the Shark DuoClean Powered Lift-Away (NV803): I have been particularly impressed with the DuoClean feature. As the name suggests it incorporates two motorized rollers that are designed to deal with multiple cleaning issues.
A soft roller in front deals with common dust, dirt, and large debris typically found on hardwood floors. It acts as a mop and it rolls over the Large Debris (instead of plowing it in front of the machine) so it can be sucked into the vacuum. This works incredibly well on hardwood floors!
Located to the rear is a traditional stiff-bristle brushroll to deal with deep down dirt and hair embedded in carpet.
Another feature that makes a whole lot of sense is the Powered Lift-Away capability that enables you to disengage the Dirt Canister/vacuum motor module from the chassis. This idea is not new, but it but it expands the usefulness and versatility of the NV803 as a portable vacuum with a motorized brush for cleaning stairs or upholstery.
- Powerful Suction
- DuoClean Technology – Dual powered brushes remove all types of dirt from all types of floors.
- Above-Floor Cleaning Mode – Detachable telescoping wand and handle enables you to clean ceiling fans and all above-floor surfaces.
- Powered Lift-Away Mode – Converts to a handy portable vacuum to easily clean stairs and upholstery or extend the reach for low-clearance cleaning tasks.
- Anti-Allergen HEPA Level Filtration – Traps up to 99.99% of allergy-causing dust.
- Bright LED Headlights – Lets you see where the dirt is.
- 5 Year Manufacturer’s Warranty (When Purchased at Amazon – See Attached PDF )
You really must see the Shark DuoClean Powered Lift-Away Speed (NV803) in action to appreciate what this exciting upright vacuum cleaner can do!
Watch this Cool Demonstration VIDEO!
The DuoClean feature is what sets the NV803 apart as an outstanding performer on hardwood floors. The versatility and whole-house cleaning capabilities deliver what most customers expect from a quality upright vacuum.
The lighter weight of only 15 lbs. does not diminish the performance but the relative small capacity of only 0.9 dry quarts could be an issue if your home is large with pets. In that case a better choice would be the Shark TruePet NV752 Rotator Lift-Away. It doesn’t have DuoClean but it does have the Genie Hardwood Floor Attachment which works great on hard and smooth flooring.
Of all the products I have reviewed the Shark DuoClean Powered Lift-Away (NV803) is the best upright vacuum for hardwood floors.
Best Canister Vacuum for Hardwood Floors
Price: MSRP $449.00, Currently ON SALE @ Amazon, FREE Shipping w/ prime
Who it’s Made For: The person who has a home with mostly hardwood floors with some area rugs or short pile carpeting.
Why I Recommend the Miele Complete C2: A canister vacuum is the traditional choice for cleaning smooth and hardwood floors. The operator has only to support the weight of a telescoping wand and hard floor brush while cleaning. The lighter weight makes it especially suitable for cleaning delicate area rugs.
With a canister vacuum the chassis is pulled along by the whole body making it very easy to maneuver. This is why I recommend a canister vacuum for my elderly customers or persons who are physically challenged.
Miele has established itself as the premiere European manufacturer of canister vacuum cleaners. Headquartered in Gütersloh, Germany with facilities in the US, Miele is renowned for building floor care appliances that last for decades.
The most striking characteristic of this vacuum is the high quality German Engineering. The Miele Complete C2 Hard Floor Canister Vacuum was especially designed for the homeowner who wants a high end canister vacuum for cleaning their hardwood and smooth floors as well as delicate area rugs, and low-pile carpet such as Berber or area rugs.
Weighing only 13 lbs. the new Miele Complete C2 Hard Floor Canister Vacuum has proven to be the best performing lightweight canister vacuums for hardwood floors.
Although a lightweight, it packs the punch of a heavyweight with its High Performance 1200 Watt Vortex Motor that draws 140 cubic feet of air per minute. Amazing power and yet quiet as a whisper, you can adjust the speed using a rotary dial for optimum performance.
Use the SBD 285-3 Combo Rug and Floor Tool for cleaning hard smooth floors or your expensive area rugs as well as short-pile carpet including Berber. Its nylon bristles are specially designed to safely clean Hand-Knotted, Silk, or Wool Area Rugs.
Or, use the SBB 300-3 Swivel Parquet Floor Brush that has natural horse hair bristles for even greater performance on hardwood floors. The alternating long/short bristles sweep sticky dust while at the same time allows larger debris to pass into the suction zone.
When it comes to Filtration the Miele Complete C2 Hard Floor Canister Vacuum comes equipped with the 4.76 Quart Capacity AirClean 3D Efficiency Dust Bag that traps 99.9 Percent of dangerous particles. A HEPA AirClean SF-HA 50 Exhaust filter captures 99.95 dangerous particulates as small as 0.3 Microns.
Accessories include a Dusting Brush, Crevice Tool, and Upholstery Tool that are conveniently stored in the vacuum body.
Miele backs this vacuum with a 7 Year Warranty on Motor and Chassis and 1 Year for components,
If you are the type of person who has learned that it usually makes the most financial sense to own the best, the Miele Complete C2 Hardwood Floor Canister is the model you should consider. You won’t find a better performing canister vacuum for your wood floors and area rugs. Despite the German quality it is very reasonably priced. And you can expect this vacuum to last for 20 years or more with proper care.
I believe the Miele Complete C2 is the Best Canister Vacuum for Hardwood floors available!
Best Corded Stick Vacuum for Hardwood Floors
Price: MSRP $299.00, Currently ON SALE @ Amazon, FREE Shipping w/ prime
Who it’s Made For: Anyone who wants superior hardwood floor cleaning performance and the versatility and convenience of a Stick Vacuum.
Why I Recommend the Shark Flex DuoClean Ultra-Light (HV391): SharkNinja has incorporated their revolutionary feature, DuoClean to make this model an outstanding option for cleaning hardwood flooring and carpet.
Just like the Shark (NV803) Upright, the DuoClean feature excels at cleaning dust, dirt, and large debris from hardwood floors. It performs just as well on low to medium pile carpet also.
Stick vacuum with this type of motorhead design offer amazing versatility. Simply replace the motorized floor brush with one of the attachments and use the HV391 to easily clean areas overhead. The light weight of only 9.8 lbs. means you won’t feel like you have had a workout when you’re done cleaning. Swivel steering lets you easily maneuver around obstacles just by a slight turn of the wrist.
Click off the Flex Wand and use the (HV391) as a powerful handheld vacuum for taking care of dirt, dust, hair, and crumbs on furniture or shelves. Snap on the Pet Multi-Tool and remove hair from upholstery.
Another feature that distinguishes the Shark (HV391) over similar looking models it the ability to park it without the assistance of a stand or wall bracket. This proprietary feature also allows you to easily clean under low-clearance furniture without having to bend over.
Watch this Brief Demo VIDEO!
- DuoClean Technology for unsurpassed performance of hardwood floors and deep cleaning carpets
- Active-Glide Steering Technology for smooth maneuvering on floors and carpet
- LED Running Lights reveal the dirt
- Handheld Feature for Floor-to-Ceiling Versatility
- Anti-Allergen Complete Seal Technology traps up to 99.9% of harmful dust and allergens as tiny as 1 micron.
- MultiFLEX Technology enables Free-Standing compact storage and flexibility to clean under furniture.
- Includes: Pet Multi-Tool, MultiFLEX Under-Appliance Wand, and Accessory Bag
- 7 Year SharkNinja Warranty
The Shark Flex DuoClean HV391 Hard Floor Stick Vacuum represents the epitome of vacuum cleaner technology. The DuoClean feature has proven itself as the best hardwood floor cleaning innovation since the flat mop.
The ability to Free-Stand is another feature that distinguishes the HV391 from other Stick Vacs.
The Anti-Allergen Complete Seal Technology makes this a wise choice for the allergies suffer in the family. And, if you have any four-legged family members you will appreciate the Pet Multi-Tool for dealing with pet hair.
The only caution I would mention is the Dirt Cup capacity of only 0.4 dry quarts is somewhat limiting. This should not be an issue if you clean often but if you have a large home with pets and lots of carpet this might mean a Stick vacuum isn’t right for you.
With a 7 Year Warranty you should be able to sleep at night and a moderate price tag won’t break the bank.
I believe the Shark Flex DuoClean Ultra-Light (HV391) is the best corded stick vacuum for hardwood floors!
Best Robot Vacuum for Hardwood Floors
Price: MSRP $899.00, Currently ON SALE @ Amazon, FREE Shipping w/ prime
Who it’s Made For: Anyone who prefers a cleaner house without the drudgery of everyday cleaning.
Why I Recommend the iRobot Roomba 980 Robot: A few short years ago I viewed robotic vacuums as nothing more than a novelty. Robotic technology has evolved to the point that they really are practical products for keeping the floor clean. It’s all about time and convenience!
The reason I chose the iRobot Roomba 980 is because it represents state-of-the-art Robotic technology.
iRobot was established in 1990 by Mass. Institute of Technology roboticists with the vision of making practical robot vacuums a reality.
The iRobot Roomba 980 Robot Vacuum has all the bells and whistles to make it the time and work saver you would expect from a robot.
- iRobot HOME App Wi-Fi connected lets you manage the 980 from anywhere with your smartphone
- Works with Alexa for enhanced control
- iAdapt 2.0 Navigation with Visual Localization enables it to Clean an entire level of your home
- Up to 120 minutes runtime, then Automatically Recharges and resumes cleaning to complete job
- AeroForce Cleaning System with up to 10x more air power loosens, lifts & suctions dirt from hardwood floors and low pile carpet
- Clean Map Reports lets view where the 980 has cleaned; turn on notifications for status updates
- Drop-Off Detection prevents it from falling off stairs or other high places
- Multi-Room Coverage for seamless cleaning from one room to another
- Auto-Adjust Cleaning Head automatically adapts to effectively clean carpets and hard floors
- Includes: Home Base Charging Station, 2 Dual Mode Virtual Wall Barriers (4 AA Batteries Included), 1 Extra Filter, 1 Extra Side Brush, Owner’s Guide and Documentation Package, and Manufactures Warranty
Watch the iRobot Roomba 980 Robot in Action!
There’s no doubt, a robot vacuum is a luxury item. But what’s it worth if it save you a couple hours per week or month? It can mean more time with your family or doing more productive things. We have become adapted to managing our lives with our smartphone so it only makes sense to be able to take control of one more thing.
The iRobot Roomba 980 Robot is a top-of-the-line model so it’s not cheap. But your hardwood floors are not cheap either. It helps preserve your expensive hardwood floors by removing damaging dirt, so in reality the Romba 980 is a practical and justifiable investment.
Once you get use to this over-grown hockey puck roaming around your home you will wonder how you ever managed without it!
There are cheaper models available but I believe the iRobot Roomba 980 is the Best Robot Vacuum for Hardwood Floors.
Best Cord-Free Stick Vacuum for Hardwood Floors
Price: MSRP $699.99, Currently ON SALE @ Amazon, FREE Shipping w/ prime
Who it’s Made For: The person who seeks the ultimate in convenience cord-free stick vacuums has to offer for managing their hardwood floors and carpet.
Why I Recommend the Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute Stick: If you have been considering a cordless stick vacuum for a while it should come as no surprise why I picked the Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute to recommend.
The Cyclone V10 Absolute represents Dyson’s latest generation of cordless stick vacuums. They have tweaked the older V8 digital motor to be the most powerful suction of any battery-powered stick currently available – Up to 25% more powerful than its V8 predecessor. Whether you are cleaning wood floors or carpet, strong suction is always an important feature.
The feature that makes the Cyclone V10 Absolute the best choice for cleaning hardwood floors is that it comes with a Soft Floor Brush specially designed for that purpose.
The Soft Brush works like a spinning mop that easily cleans the common dirt and dust from hard floors. But where it really makes the difference is its ability to gobble up large debris such as cereal or dry pet food without scattering it all over the room.
The Cyclone V10 Absolute also comes with a stiff bristle Floor Brush that powers out embedded dirt from low to medium pile carpet.
Experience the full versatility of a cord-free stick vacuum when you click off the floor brush and clean overhead with the mini dusting brush for cleaning ceiling fans or book shelves. The Cyclone V10 Absolute only weighs 5.88 lbs.! Or snap on the Mini-Motorized Tool and you have the most effective hand vacuum for cleaning stairs.
Another reason I like the Cyclone V10 Absolute is the easy-empty Dust Cup that is 40% larger than the V8 Absolute.
If you or someone in your household suffers with allergies the Cyclone V10 Absolute has Advanced Whole-Machine Filtration captures microscopic particles including pollen, dust mites, and bacteria – into the .2 Gallon dirt bin.
- V10 Digital Motor generates most Powerful Suction of any battery-powered stick vacuum
- Soft Roller Cleaning Head for excellent hardwood floor cleaning performance
- Stiff Bristle Floor Brush for deep cleaning low to medium pile carpeting
- Advanced Whole-Machine Filtration eliminates 99.97% of dangerous microscopic particulates
- Up to 60 minutes of fade-free suction without motorized tool and up to 20 minutes with Torque drive cleaner head
- 3 Power Modes for just the right suction for any job
- 3.5 Rapid Recharge
- Includes: Combination tool, crevice tool, mini soft dusting brush, mini-motorized tool, Charger & Wall mount
- 2 Year Dyson Warranty when purchased through Amazon
Watch this Cool Non-Sponsored Review VIDEO!
Dyson is the recognized pioneer in cord-free vacuum technology and the Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute is as good as it gets!
This exciting product is the answer to anyone who wants the most convenient tool for managing their hardwood floors, area rugs, and carpeting. Once you experience how easy it is to maneuver and its versatility you will find yourself looking forward to vacuuming.
The only criticism I have of the Cyclone V10 is the battery is not removable, however it is replaceable. I prefer a removable battery pack which allows you to purchase a 2nd optional battery to upgrade the runtime.
I am fully confident the Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute the Best Cord-Free Stick Vacuum for Hardwood Floors bar none!
Frequently Asked Questions about Purchasing a Vacuum for Hardwood Floors!
I occasionally receive questions from my customers regarding vacuums for cleaning their hardwood floors. Some of these questions are from folks who have lived with hardwood floors in their home for years and are seeking guidance for buying a new and better vacuum cleaner. While some have recently moved into a home with hardwood floors and want some info and recommendations for dealing with this unfamiliar flooring material.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions along with answers. I hope this helps! If you have question that is not answered here please contact me by filling out and submitting the form below. Thanks, Will
Question: What qualifies you to give advise on purchasing a hardwood floor vacuum cleaner?
Answer: That’s a fair question everyone visiting this website should ask. My first experience with floor care happened back in 1983 helping my dad with his carpet cleaning service which I eventually took over when he retired. During my years in the business I acquired training to become IICRC Certified as a Floor Care Technician. I underwent training for hardwood floor care as well as other courses. The first operation of a really great carpet cleaning job is to thoroughly vacuum the carpet. The many hours I have spent behind a vacuum cleaner has given me insight as to what works best on different floor types. Also, to be able to view a customer’s vacuum cleaner and the condition of their floors has given me some unique perspective. A sincere interest in helping people make a good decision when buying a floor care product and the willingness to do the research is probably the best qualification of all!
Question: How do I know if a vacuum cleaner is safe to use and won’t scratch my expensive hardwood floors?
Answer: This is probably the greatest concern most customers have, is whether or not the vacuum they select will cause damage to their wood floors. The truth is that any vacuum cleaner can cause damage if a hard object becomes lodged in the floor nozzle or wheels. Or, if a screw or metal cover comes loose, that could cause damage also. That’s why its important to do a visual inspection periodically to make sure everything is OK. Virtually all the models recommended in this article have wheels that are made with rubber-type tires so they won’t scratch wood floors.
Question: What is the best type of vacuum to use on hardwood floors, Upright or Canister?
Answer: It all depends on the operator and the home. I generally recommend an Upright for my customers who have a lot of carpet in their house. The weight of the machine maintains a constant force on the floor surface which is important in maintain the right clearance between the nozzle and carpet. This maximizes the suction and cleaning ability of a spinning brush role to dig out embedded dirt. If the upright is equipped with a speed control that enables the operator to slow the brush down it can also work well on hardwood floors. Upright vacuum can present a problem if you have a multi-level home. Although a full-size upright may weigh as much as a full-size canister vac, it’s awkward to carry.
I generally recommend a Canister vacuum for my customers with mostly hardwood floors and some area rugs and low pile carpet. If the canister vacuum is equipped with a hard floor brush with natural bristles such as horse hair it will perform wonderfully on hardwood floors. If the canister vacuum is equipped with a detachable motorized floor brush it can also work well on low to long pile carpet. A canister vac is easier to operate because the operator is only supporting and maneuvering a wand and floor brush. This only requires the strength of the hands, arm, and shoulder. The bulk of the weight is pulled along with the whole body. This is why I recommend a canister vacuum to anyone who is physically challenged or elderly. Also, a canister vacuum is easier to carry up or down stairs.
Question: What is the difference between a vacuum cleaner that is designed for carpet and one that is designed for hardwood floors?
Answer: The only things in common with hardwood flooring and carpeting is they both get walked on and they both get dirty. Carpeting requires a “Get Tough” approach to remove the dirt and hardwood flooring requires a “Gentle” approach.
When the idea of wall to wall carpeting came into vogue with medium to long lush pile it demanded a different vacuum cleaner technology than the familiar old canister vacuum.
Engineers had figured out that for a vacuum cleaner to work best on medium to long pile carpet it requires a rotating brush to agitate the carpet pile – freeing the trapped dirt and debris allowing it to be lifted by suction into the vacuum nozzle and into the air channel system to be deposited in a bag or dirt bin.
In fact once dirt or debris has been set in motion it actually requires relatively little suction force to lift it into the vacuum system.
This old technology works wonderfully on carpet but it is a disaster for trying to vacuum hardwood flooring or other bare floor surfaces.
The spinning brush flings much of the dirt and most of the debris away from the vacuum head. This is why a Canister Vacuum Cleaner always worked best for hardwood floors, because they typically didn’t have a rotating brush.
Fortunately for all of us times have changed; now you can purchase different types of vacuum cleaners including Upright, Canister, Stick, Battery-Powered, and Robotic that work great on hardwood floors.
Question: How important is Filtration when choosing a hardwood floor vacuum?
Answer: Please Read “Filtration -Allergies and other Respiratory Issues”
Question: Which type of dirt collection system is best, Bagged or Bagless?
Answer: Please Read “Bagged VS Bagless, Witch One is Best for You“
Question: How important is maintenance to maintain maximum performance from my vacuum cleaner?
Answer: Please Read “Maintaining Your New Vacuum“
Question: What about extended warranties? Are they worth the money?
Answer: Extended warranties can be a worthwhile investment. It depends on the company offering them and the product. Even the best products are prone to flaws in workmanship and materials and premature failure. The extended warranty plans offered by Amazon when you check out are excellent. I have never had a customer complain about non-performance. After all is said and done, it boils down to what you feel comfortable with. If an extended warranty helps you sleep better at night then go for it!
Question: How helpful are Customer Reviews?
Answer: Please Read “Utilize Customer Reviews and Professional Reviews…Cautiously!”