In an ideal world, our vacuum cleaner would have the same effective cleaning power on every single surface with no need for fancy gadgets but those of us with hardwood floors often find we need something more specialized for the best result. Finding the ideal vacuum cleaner for our hard surfaces can be tricky; we want something that has the power and suction to collect all the dust and the finest particles from the wood but it also needs to be designed in a way that will not do any damage to the floor and will not compromise on ease-of-use and other conveniences. The following 2017 list of the best vacuums for hardwood floors looks at nine of the top rated models, from cordless sticks to bagless canisters and other powerful uprights, to compare the different features available for tackling these surfaces more efficiently and ultimately help you make your final choice.
Top Hardwood Floor Vacuums with Power and Suction
1. Hoover Corded Cyclonic Stick Vacuum SH20030
The number one purpose of any vacuum is to get the dirt from the surface into the dirt canister in the most effective manner. For many brands the secret to this in their hard floor models is to ensure that the machine has plenty of power and the ideal design to attack the dirt in the best way possible.
The Hoover Corded Cyclonic Stick Vacuum SH20030 is a maneuverable stick model that has received plenty of praise from users for the way that it can switch to a hard floor mode and still offer the same great suction and results. As this is one of Hoover’s cyclonic models, it promises a much more vigorous suction to some of their other devices and this performance is enhanced by the wide mouth for collecting lots of dirt at once and shortening the cleaning time. Overall, buyers are very impressed with what it can do but just mark it down slightly on the smaller design features, like the awkward positioning of the buttons.
There really is a vast choice in hardwood floor models and they do not have to be upright, stick vacuums.
2. The Eureka 3670G Mighty Mite Canister Vacuum
Upright cordless or corded vacuums are becoming more fashionable with homeowners at the moment because of their sleeker, space-saving designs and the convenience and maneuverability they can offer but this does not mean that people looking for the best vacuum for hardwood floors should completely avoid the more old-fashioned canister vacuum with their round bodies and long hoses.
The Eureka 3670G Mighty Mite Canister Vacuum is currently the #1 best seller in canister vacuums on Amazon and as well as being highly rated for its quiet nature and the design of the power touch handle, it has plenty of extra features that apparently make it ideal for use on hard floors. These include the “deluxe” floor brush and the bare-floor nozzle.
3. BISSELL Zing Bagged Canister Vacuum 4122
This Eureka Mighty Mite machine may have been ranked the highest at the time of writing this guide but there are other examples of this style that have just as much potential. The fetchingly purple BISSELL Zing Bagged Canister Vacuum 4122 is another of those multi-surface vacuums and unlike some of the previous models that focused a little to heavily on the hardwood floor mode and fell short on carpets, this machine is said to be a good on one as the other.
Buyers especially like the use of the variable suction and many have said that the power provided on its highest setting is much more intense, and therefore more effective, than they had expected from a machine of this type. The only let down here is in the build quality as some users have noted cracks and breaks appearing with time, especially on the hose.
4. Hoover Air Cordless Series 3.0 Bagless Vacuum BH50140
This use of cyclone technology for a more effective clean is clearly an important development within Hoover vacuums as it is one of the key features of another of their models – the Hoover Air Cordless Series 3.0 Bagless Upright Vacuum BH50140.
Like its corded stick cousin, this machine has an impressive power – partially enhanced by the use of the three channel suction – and has a brush roll included to make lighter work of hardwood floors; where they differ is that this is battery-powered machine and the cleaning head is much smaller, meaning a longer cleaning period. Thankfully, the life of this product is pretty long at 50 minutes a session and there is also praise for the use of other little details like the LED lights for illuminating underneath furniture and in other dark crevices.
5. Dirt Devil Accucharge Cordless Stick Vacuum BD20035
Moving over to a different brand with the Dirt Devil Accucharge 15.6V Cordless Bagless Stick Vacuum BD20035RED, we are again given a cordless model that tries to provide power and convenience for hardwood floors. The unique selling point here is not so much the ability on hardwood floors – although it does have a nice little automatic shut-off for the brush roll – but rather the “Accucharge” technology.
Buyers greatly appreciate the way that this cordless model charges up very quickly and provides a long life but some have warned prospective buyers about diminishing returns in this area over time and others would prefer it didn’t make that high-pitched noise. One of the other benefits to this Dirt Devil vacuum over some of the other models is the ability to provide all-surface cleaning, which leads nicely to our next category of vacuums.
Alternatively, the best vacuum for hardwood floors may be one of these multi-surface models.
6. BISSELL BOLT Lightweight Cordless Vacuum 1313
For some buyers, it is more important that a vacuum can perform well on multiple surfaces around the home than solely on hardwood floors – no matter how powerful it is or how effective it is on those surfaces. BISSELL BOLT 2-in-1 Lightweight Cordless Vacuum1313 aims to be able to work on hard floors and carpets and has a simple on/off switch for the brush to let users alternate between the two with ease.
This versatility continues in the inclusion of the removable hand vacuum and the design of the folding handle but some buyers would say that while the brush makes short work of their hardwood floor, its performance on carpet is not comparable. Furthermore, it only claims to offer around 15 minutes of power so really is better suited to quick jobs than an all-surface clean.
7. Fuller Brush Spiffy Maid Bagless Broom Vacuum Cleaner
By comparison, the Fuller Brush Spiffy Maid Bagless Broom Vacuum Cleaner seems to fulfill this aim of multifunctionality with greater ease and efficiency. There are many users that would still say that the Fuller Spiffy Maid is not ideal for the multi-surface cleaning promised, mainly because the lack of a brush seems to make it far more effective on hardwood floors than on carpets, but the use of variable suction really does seem to help a lot.
Another bonus to this Broom model is that as a corded model rather than a battery operated one, there are no concerns about time limits when cleaning. In addition to this, buyers are very happy with the length of the cord and say that the dirt receptacle is pretty easy to empty out.
8. Dyson DC65 Multi Floor Upright Vacuum Cleaner
Having a button on the hoover to change the function and increase the capabilities over different surfaces is a great idea for owners that do not want to switch machines part way through cleaning, especially if it is a simple, convenient button that they barely have to think about, but some of the fancier machines have gone even further with their designs.
The Dyson DC65 Multi Floor Upright Vacuum Cleaner has a self-adjusting base plate that adapts, by itself, to different floor types to maintain a smooth performance, give users less to think about and ensure there is the most efficient suction for the surface. This should mean that it is as beneficial on hardwood floors as carpets and buyers also like the fact that it has a long cord for better portability and is pretty lightweight. The only aspect of the design that most would change is the narrow canister, but even then they appreciate that a smaller design means less available space.
9. Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional Upright NV356E
The last machine to be mentioned in this comparative guide of the best hardwood floor vacuum cleaners is not another of these canister vacuums but another upright model that has proved that we do not have to lose the potential power and impact of these old-fashioned machines just because we have switched to neater, smaller upright models. Like the Eureka Mighty Mite, the Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional Upright NV356E is at the top of its class – number one in the commercial indoor upright section of Amazon – and has achieved this wealth of 5 star reviews through its impressive power and ability to perform well on hardwood floors.
This is another product that claims it “never loses suction” but its is the amount of dirt that gets sucked up and the fact that the brush feel self-propelled that have really impressed users. It seems that if it wasn’t for the performance on the edges and the short cord, this would be seen as the ultimate machine.
Choosing the Best Vacuums for Hardwood Floors
This is a guide to choosing a good vacuum for hardwood floors. What should you look for in a vacuum when you have most hardwood floors instead of carpets?
Canister Versus Upright Vacuum Cleaners – Does It Make a Difference?
Canister vacuums are in general better for hardwood floors than upright vacuums, since the rotating bristles of the brush on the upright vacuum cleaner that pulls in debris can scratch up your hardwood floors. However, you can consider an upright vacuum cleaner if it allows you to turn off the rotating bristles. This is an essential feature if your upright vacuum cleaner is designed with heavy duty brushes to pull pet fur and heavy debris out of thick carpet. Either buy a canister vacuum that lacks these rolling brushes or take care to only get a vacuum cleaner that lets you turn off these brushes. And don’t purchase a vacuum cleaner that is supposed to turn off the beater brush automatically after height adjustments or you’ll risk scratching up floors when you transition between rooms or come up the stairs.
If you use a canister vacuum, choose one that has a long oval floor brush to pick up all the debris instead of scattering some of it while trying to pick up the rest. The standard narrow vacuum head on most canister vacuums will work but isn’t as good.
When your vacuum cleaner is primarily used on hardwood floors, one of the first things you need are wheels that won’t ruin the floor. Plastic wheels readily scratch up hardwood floors. You want rubber wheels at a minimum.
Some vacuum cleaners intended for a hardwood floor have padding on the bottom so that you don’t accidentally dent or scratch the hardwood floors as you set it down and then move it around. The most common types of padding are felt stripes or rubber padding on the bottom of the vacuum cleaner.
The padding matters more than whether or not the vacuum cleaner is lightweight. That said, if you have to lug the vacuum cleaner around a two story house and around furniture, the lightweight canister is the easiest to use.
In the rush to find a vacuum cleaner safe for a hardwood floor, many people forget to research the suction of the vacuum cleaner. Does it pick up all the debris on the floor? Is it powerful enough to suck up crumbs and dirt from between the floorboards?
Too many vacuum cleaners pick up the debris right in front of it but blow anything at a 45 degree angle farther away. This is a greater problem on hardwood floors than carpeted ones. When researching a vacuum cleaner, make sure it doesn’t blow away half of what you’re trying to vacuum up. Then verify that when it picks up pet hair off the floor or heavy crumbs that it doesn’t spray behind it a fine mist of dander and dirt to be swept up later.
Less Important Factors
When you’re shopping for a vacuum cleaner for hardwood floors, having a vacuum that can properly clean the floors without damaging them is the top consideration.
Less important are factors like capacity of the dirt cup, though if you live in a large home, you’ll want to have a vacuum cleaner with either high capacity or is easy to empty without making a mess.
A home full of hard floors tends to echo more than one with carpeting. A quieter vacuum cleaner is a luxury. Note though that a quiet vacuum cleaner will be around 67 decibels instead of the standard 70 to 73 decibels, and that may only be on the lower power setting. Up the power to clean up that nasty mess, and it is as loud as its rivals or takes more passes to get the job done.
If the vacuum cleaner has pads on the bottom so it doesn’t scratch up your floors, the unit’s weight only matters if you would otherwise have trouble pushing it around the house or carrying it up stairs. Handhelds work if you have a small home or use the vacuum for spot cleaning, but otherwise are not practical for whole house cleaning whether you have hardwood floors or carpets. They’ll simply last longer on a single charge for hardwood floors because not as much power is needed to clean them.
Features like a removable hand vacuum cleaner, upholstery tools and retractable cord are luxuries that are far less important when you’re shopping for a vacuum that won’t damage hardwood floors. The only tool that may become important is a crevice tool if you have older wood floors and need to clean the debris or gunk that may accumulate deep in the cracks between floorboards or the gaps along the wall.
The idea of finding a suitable vacuum for a hardwood floor may sound like a simple task at first but the comparisons and pros and cons listed above show that there is more to consider when making the choice than you imagined. The fact that there are two #1 rated models from completely different styles of vacuums shows that even though one specific design may be raved about by its users for its clever design, that doesn’t automatically mean that it is the best choice for you. The important thing to remember is to think about the different criteria of a top hardwood floor vacuum and your personal preferences.
Style is clearly an important place to start because the positive reviews show that both canister and stick vacuums can be effective tools on hardwood floors and there are as many corded models to choose from as well as cordless. Here the decision ultimately depends on which style you find the easiest to use. From there, you can then think about this separation between those machines that are best designed for quick jobs on hardwood alone and those that are “multi-surface” vacuums with a little more to offer.
The former has its limitations but is fine if you just want a simple, effective addition to your cleaning arsenal while the latter offers more versatility for a more efficient clean of the home. Eventually you will find yourself comparing all the other details like the use of brush rolls, the number of attachments, the battery life of the cordless models, maneuverability of the corded and other little features like the removal of the dirt receptacle and the inclusion of lights and filters.
When these features are listed in this way, the job of finding the best vacuum for hardwood floors does become a little bit more daunting. As long as you are careful to filter out the most important features from the secondary ones and understand exactly what it is you want from your purchase, you are sure to find a vacuum that effectively cleans your hard surfaces and offers the blend of convenience, power and clever features that you are looking for.