best vacuum for wood floors

Looking for the best vacuum for wood floors? I’ve compared the best vacuums based on features, prices, and reviews. But first, let’s discuss some tips on preserving floors.  To start, when you have a wood floor, a general stick vacuum might do. But it would be best if you had a more powerful vacuum to get all the dirt & grit out of your floors.

Yes, a regular vacuum might do. But an upright vacuum cleaner or even canister will do it better. To be clear, having a floor vacuum that suits hardwood, will tell on your floors in the long run.

It’s true that hardwood floors can be stylish and add some necessary character to your home.

But did you know adding an extra coat of polyurethane can give an added coating of protection from scratches and make it pop?

And to help get the word out, you can easily do this yourself or hire a professional.

Want to know my final tip? Stop using steam mops on hardwood floors

Also, did you know vapor can get between the cracks of your flooring and haze up the finishing?

So while keeping those tips in mind, let’s get to my recommendations for the best vacuum cleaner for hardwood floors.

best vacuum for wood floors

Best Overall: Shark Rocket Ultra-Light Hand Vacuum HV320

Shark Rocket Ultra-Light Hand Vacuum HV320
  • Weight: 8.6 lbs.
  • Style: Stick/Corded
  • The Good: Price, Versatile, Easy to store, Multi-stage filtration
  • The Bad: Top heavy, can tip, Inconsistency in attachments included in box, Cord can be tedious to manage, Needs regular maintenance to maintain suction

The Shark Rocket Ultra-Light HV320 Vacuum is super lightweight. It sports a sleek body style. That allows it to bob and weave in and out of tight spots and under low-lying furniture. You can convert it to a hand vac and just about anything in between.

The adjustable roller speed control allows users to slow the brush rotation when operating on hard floors. You can also increase the speed to better handle carpeted or upholstered surfaces.

This means transitioning to an area rug or two can be done with the flick of a switch. You won’t need to make any other necessary adjustments. Bright LED headlights illuminate the path of both the floor head of the vacuum and, when in operation, the handheld variation.

The option to convert the Shark Rocket Ultra-Light to a super versatile hand vacuum adds to the value packed into this little floor-cleaning powerhouse.

The extendable wand can reach ceilings and stay tight to baseboards. It attacks the debris that has convened under the oven. Car upholstery and furniture are also no match for this portable hand vac.

What Reviewers Say

A few users report that the Rocket Ultra-Light Vacuum’s filters are easy to remove and clean. Some owners recommend purchasing additional filters. That way, you can still use the vacuum while the other filters are being washed and air dried.

Some frustration can be found in dealing with the rollers when excess hair gets wrapped around them. There are reports of users spending quite some time cutting tangled hair from the tight confines of the roller and its bristles.

This Shark vacuum gets mostly rave reviews when it comes to handling pet hair and messes. The suction seems to be so powerful at times that it compacts the dirt and debris in the dustbin. That allows users to extend dumping sessions.

Multiple reports cite the swivel function of the vac to be almost intuitive. It anticipates the next move of the user. Then, it slides right into the best position to keep the cleaning session flowing.

Features & Considerations

Things can get a bit tippy when it comes to standing the Shark Rocket Ultra-Light Vacuum up, if even for a second. The placement of the controls and most other operational parts and pieces at the top of the vac can create an unbalanced center of gravity. That causes the vac to hit the floor anytime it’s left to stand on its own.

There are a wide variety of tools and attachments for the Shark Rocket Ultra-Light Vacuum. Some are included with the vac and others are available as add-ons.

The microfiber hard floor attachment may just be worth the purchase if it’s not already included with this snappy, sucky machine. The pad attached to the floor head is washable. It grabs fine dust and dander during the vacuuming process. It provides a “buffed” effect when you are done.

The vacuum’s power cord measures at a lengthy 30 feet. This can be extremely convenient when bopping around the house while doing some serious dirt sucking. However, it can also be a bit difficult to manage when it comes time to reign everything back in when the job is complete. When not fully extended, the cord can also add some added bulk to the vacuum.

The vac’s soft roller brush can do a great job of capturing all types of tiny tidbits of crumbs and debris. However, it can also get itself into quite a bind when encountering long hairs or large clumps of fur. To help expedite a remedy to the situation, the brush roll indicator light turns red if a jam is detected.

Best Mid-Range Option: Bissell Hard Floor Expert Multi-Cyclonic Bagless Canister Vacuum

Bissell Hard Floor Expert Multi-Cyclonic Bagless Canister Vacuum
  • Weight: 13 lbs.
  • Style: Canister / Corded
  • The Good: Wide cleaning path, Price, Quiet, Lightweight and compact
  • The Bad: Short power cord, Can require extra space from storage, Attachments could be better, Wheels can be hard to move at times

The Bissell Hard Floor Expert Canister Vacuum is extremely lightweight, especially for a vacuum of its type. It can be transported relatively easily. The brush roll adjustment switch makes it simple to transition from hard floors to carpeted surfaces.

The specially designed turbine hard floor tool is gentle on hardwood floors. It doesn’t leave scratches or scuffs behind. The low-profile floor head and swivel handle can allow operators to have easy access to areas under beds and other furniture.

The vacuum’s canister body style provides users with featherlight operation. In addition, the rubber wheels on the canister are designed to slowly roll along during a cleaning session.

It is compact in size. However, the Bissell Hard Floor Expert Canister Vacuum still sports many of the heavy-duty features of vacs twice its size. The dustbin is quite large. It is capable of containing the debris collected over the course of at least one average cleaning session.

What Reviewers Say

Reviewers mention the lightweight nature of the vac in quite a few reviews for the Bissell Hard Floor Expert Canister Vacuum. However, this feathery nature can also cause some tipping issues. That can happen if you pull the vacuum too hard during operation. Some users also report having trouble with wheels moving freely during a cleaning job.

Various users rave about the Bissell Hard Floor Expert Canister Vacuum’s ability to grab just about any type of debris. Those range from pet hair to sand and varying levels of grit and grime.

The compact and portable style of the canister and its durable handle makes it simple to move the vacuum up and down stairs, according to a few reports. And while you can transport it with ease because of them, users say that vacuuming stairs can be quite tedious with the Hard Floor Expert Canister Vacuum.

Features & Considerations

The power cord length comes up a little short. It has a somewhat short length of just 18 feet. That can strain the range of the vac. The cord rewind feature makes for easy cleanup when the work is done.

The dustbin is emptied from the bottom of the container. You can dump it with relative ease. Minimal contact with collected dirt is needed to get the bin back to an empty status.

Users can also enjoy hands-free operation when it comes to using some of the controls. The power button and automatic cord rewind switch are on the canister. They allow users to make adjustments with the tap of a foot.

The Bissell Hard Floor Expert Canister Vacuum comes with a multi-stage filtration system. It does a great job of cleaning the air as it’s cleaning the floor. The bagless design will require some maintenance. Filters should be rinsed and air-dried monthly.

Best Budget-Friendly Pick: Bissell Power Edge Pet Vacuum

Bissell Power Edge Pet Vacuum
  • Weight: 7.5 lbs.
  • Style: Stick / Corded
  • The Good: Easy to assemble, Compact, A budget vacuum price, Washable filter Easy to store
  • The Bad: Short power cord, Can have some clogging issues, Loud, Small cleaning path

The non-conventional shape of the Bissell PowerEdge Pet Hardwood Floor Stick Vacuum is designed to allow the vacuum head to fit into tight corners and around chair legs. The V-shaped head helps to funnel debris to the vacuum.

Rubber squeegees on the floor head attract fine dirt, debris, and dander. There aren’t any brushes to clean and no worries to be had about scratched floors.

The Bissell PowerEdge Pet Hardwood Floor Stick Vacuum was engineered to clean hard floor surfaces. Therefore, no additional suction settings have been incorporated. The vac will have little to no success on most types of carpeted floor coverings.

It has an extremely competitive price point. So the Bissell PowerEdge Pet Hardwood Floor Stick Vacuum can be easy to add to the cleaning tool arsenal. However, while the price may be right, the product may not be as durable or have the lasting power of other hardwood floor vacuums on the market.

What Reviewers Say

Lots of users report the Bissell PowerEdge Pet’s ability to aggressively vacuum pet hair. They find most pet-related messes to be easy and efficient to remove. They note that there is minimal need to revisit a spot more than once to entirely eliminate debris.

A few owners enjoy the vacuum’s swivel function. They claim that it seems to help cut cleaning times down and ease the entire vacuuming process.

The V-shaped vacuum head has required some users to adapt their angles and plans of attack in certain applications. Some report struggling along baseboards. They find it necessary to sweep dust and debris from along walls before vacuuming. That saves time and frustration when maneuvering.

Some reviewers recommend purchasing additional foam filters. The vacuum requires regular filter maintenance and the foam material can take a few days to air-dry thoroughly.

Features & Considerations

The power cord is pretty short at 20 feet and can be a bit confining. The shorter than average cord is easier to manage, though. That can be helpful since the vacuum doesn’t offer an automatic cord rewind feature.

Dirty filters can quickly compromise the suction power of the Bissell PowerEdge Pet Hardwood Floor Stick Vacuum. It may be necessary to remove and clean all filters after every few cleaning sessions. That can help it to maintain maintain full suction function.

The dustbin is decently sized in proportion to the vacuum’s compact stature. It’s easy to remove and dump. However, some interaction with the debris may be involved during the process.

This uniquely styled stick vacuum is easy to assemble. It can be up and running in a matter of minutes.

The small, compact body style makes it comfortable for almost any user to operate. Its simple but adequate functionality makes it the ideal replacement for a traditional broom and dustpan.

Most Versatile: Dyson V8 Absolute Cordless Vacuum

Dyson V8 Absolute Cordless Vacuum
  • Weight: 5.75 lbs.
  • Style: Stick / Cordless
  • The Good: HEPA filtration, Converts to hand vacuum, Easy to store, compact, Super lightweight
  • The Bad: Price, Power button has to be held during operation, Issues with service, repairs, and customer service, Battery longevity

The Dyson V8 Absolute Cordless Vacuum is exceptionally lightweight and easy to operate in just about any application. The vac converts to a hand vacuum. You can use it in tandem with one of the attachments to easily clean tough to clean spots like stairs, ceilings, and under beds.

On a full charge, the Dyson V8 Absolute can typically run for about 30 minutes on a battery with a full charge, though that time drops down to about eight minutes when operating in the MAX mode. This turbo suction mode is specifically for use on carpeted surfaces, so if a user is primarily utilizing the V8 Absolute on a hard floor, you will probably rarely need to use this mode.

The dustbin is a reasonable size and it includes a dumping system with a great design, keeping most of the particles intact and greatly eliminating the chance of users coming in contact with the dirt they are dumping. The vac’s bagless design means that it’s very susceptible to lack of maintenance, so you should clean and/or replace filters often.

What Reviewers Say

Reviewers rave about the Dyson Vacuum’s sleek shape and size. Storing it is easy, and most owners utilize the wall-mounted docking station to keep the vac up and out of the way during idle times. A few users mentioned that the only downside to the docking station is its inability to contain all of the additional tools and attachments that come with with the vac.

While the battery’s 30-minute run time may seem a bit low, some owners claim that due to the small and mobile nature of the vac, cleaning session times are dramatically reduced. Users report being able to cover more ground in substantially less time than they could with a traditional upright vacuum.

Lots of V8 Absolute Vacuum reviews reference the soft roller and its ability to achieve a shiny and smooth-looking floor once the suction task has been completed. Even the finest of dust particles are lifted, leaving a glass-like feel to the floor. Pet owners seem to be big fans of their versatile vacs; cat litter granules and pet hair of all shapes and tangles are reported to be easily conquered by the powerful suction.

Features & Considerations

The wall-mounted docking station doubles as a charging station, simplifying the stowing and charging process. In most situations, the battery takes about 3-4 hours to fully charge from a drained status.

The mini motorized tool that is included with the V8 Absolute Vacuum is useful for carpet and upholstery applications, and the crevice tool can be helpful when attacking tight spots. A soft roller head also comes with the vacuum and is designed for hard surfaces. Its soft but clingy makeup draws fine dust and dander particles into the vac while also capturing larger dirt and debris.

To conserve battery life, the power switch needs to be held to maintain operation. Not surprisingly, this ongoing holding position can get to be quite uncomfortable and can cause blisters and skin abrasions. A buffer material may help to alleviate this situation.

Best For Pet Hair: Miele Complete C2 Canister Vacuum

Miele Complete C2 Canister Vacuum
  • Weight: 19.5 lbs.
  • Style: Canister / Corded
  • The Good: Six suction settings, Retractable power cord, Super suction, Relatively quiet
  • The Bad: Price, Can be bulky to move, Can be a bit difficult to store

The Miele Complete C2 Canister Vacuum is equipped to handle a variety of floor covering materials. With six suction settings and an added foot control on the floor head to further customize the power, this vac is user-friendly and even utilizes pictures to help operators zone in the best setting for their current situation.

The canister carries the bulk of the vacuum’s weight and has wheels that allow it to “follow along” as the cleaning session ensues. This design also lets users appreciate nearly weightless operation during the bulk of the vacuuming time.

The extra large floor head spans a large floor surface area which can help cut down on cleaning times. The low-profile design makes it simple to navigate under couches, dressers, and base cabinets.

What Reviewers Say

Many users report needing to dial back the suction setting by at least one notch due to the vac’s powerful suction supply, and quite a few owners appreciate the ability to vary the levels. There have been a couple of reports of struggles when cleaning certain types of area rugs; this might be due to an issue users reported separately that the vacuum has such powerful suction that it could hold a bowling ball.

Even though most Miele Complete C2 owners purchased the vac to primarily use on hardwood floors, they reported that the optional power nozzle attachment makes the vacuum extra versatile and can easily convert the vacuum over to efficiently cleaning carpeted floors and stairs.

A few owners rave about the attachments and tools that come with the Miele Complete C2 Hard Floor Vacuum. They seem to be functional and useful, and operators report being able to reach into tight corners with ease.

Features & Considerations

Attachments that come with the vacuum include a crevice tool, dusting brush, and upholstery tool. The onboard tool storage makes it easy to access the right tool for the job at hand.

The Twister floor brush is extremely flexible and rotates a full 180°, allowing almost fluid functionality when in use. To add to the versatility of the system, the vacuum’s handle is made of durable but lightweight stainless steel and is telescopic. This allows the vac to reach far under furniture and to capture debris from the floor to the ceiling.

There are replacement bags available for purchase, in various quantities and types. A HEPA filter is available for this Miele Hard Floor Vacuum, though it doesn’t come as a standard option.

The power switch and the cord rewind button are located on the canister body and can be operated by a foot tap. Being able to automatically draw the cord back into the vac when the job is complete is convenient and makes the long power cord much more manageable.

Best Robot Vacuum: Pure Clean Robot Vacuum PUCRC25

Pure Clean Robot Vacuum PUCRC25
  • Weight: 3.53 lbs.
  • Style: Robot / Cordless
  • The Good: HEPA filter, Low profile, Price, Quiet operation
  • The Bad: Small dustbin capacity, No docking port, Needs help with its navigation at times

We’ve moved on to the bot vac portion of the rankings. The Pure Clean Robot Vacuum PUCRC25 is a super compact cleaner, measuring in at less than 3” tall and less than 12” in diameter. This little bot can sneak into just about anywhere and can easily scoot under most low-lying furniture.

The Pure Clean PUCRC25 Robot Vacuum is more manual and doesn’t offer as many bells and whistles as other models on the market. However, it is still one of the most well-reviewed robot vacs in terms of its ability to clean a hardwood floor.

There are three cleaning pattern modes, including auto/random, spiral, and edge. This allows users to customize the plan based on the task at hand. There aren’t any elaborate programming features offered with PUCRC25 Robot Vacuum; it’s more of a push-the-button-and-go type of functionality with this slim and simple debris destroyer.

While the vac is designed to handle hard surface applications, it can also have success on low-pile carpets and area rugs. This little bot struggles in a plush carpet scenario, and it will probably spend more time spitting out particles than it will clearing them from the floor.

What Reviewers Say

One reviewer reports that the Pure Clean PUCRC25 Robot Vacuum is great for barefoot walkers who like to feel the smooth, dirt-free floor below their feet. The vac captures all of the little grimy and gritty debris while this happy owner sleeps. Various reports express satisfaction over the vacuum’s ability to grab pet hair of all shapes and sizes, even in the hardest-to-reach places.

Fringy rugs can cause trouble for the Pure Clean PUCRC25. These stringy-edged floor coverings may need to be part of the bot-proofing regimen that most reviewers report performing before unleashing the bot beast.

The vacuum seems to be quieter than most traditional vacuums, though one reviewer reports having to turn the TV up from time to time while the vac is doing its thing…oh, the struggles.

Features & Considerations

The robot vacuum’s side sweeper brushes grab debris from beyond the vacuum’s reach, drawing it close enough to fall into the path of the vacuum’s ferocious suction stream.

While the PUCRC25 Robot Vac doesn’t have as many features as some of the other flashy vacs on the market, it does have anti-fall sensors built in that allow the vac to live on the edge, without going over it. The vac does not have object sensors, though, which means it will forever bump into the same chair without diverting from its path. The vac will adjust upon impact and usually doesn’t get stuck.

There are not any remote or wireless control capabilities; all controls are located on the vacuum. And the vac doesn’t have a docking station or the programming to tell it to return to a location when the battery gets low, so users may need to go on a little bot hunt if the vacuum was out during the overnight or working hours.

The vacuum operates for up to 55 minutes on a full charge, and when nearing a low-battery status, the vac will beep so a user knows where to find it.

The Complete Hardwood Vacuums Buyer’s Guide

  • The Hard Facts About Solid Surface Suction
  • How We Ranked the Best Vacuums for Hardwood Floors
  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

The Hard Facts About Solid Surface Suction

  • Are there additional floor covering materials to be cleaned in addition to hardwood?
  • What is the vacuum’s primary purpose?
  • What types of features might be beneficial?

You have ripped up the carpets and exposed the hard floors. Now what can be done when the debris piles start to grow?

Chances are that the trusty traditional vacuum that resides in the hall closet won’t be the best candidate for the job. It’s time for some new talent, a vac that’s been tailored to deliver superb suction without scratching or scuffing the handsome grooves and grains of the solid floor.

In order to zero in on the best hardwood vacuum for the job, it’s important to consider the features and functions that may be important and even vital to achieving smooth and shiny flooring bliss.

Are there additional floor covering materials to be cleaned in addition to hardwood?

Most of the vacuums in our rankings are designed specifically for hardwood floors and have features that are geared towards efficiently removing all types of debris from a hard surface.

If a floor cleaning application has additional floor coverings that will also require attention, such as area rugs or a nearby carpeted room, it may be important to focus on the vacuums that offer adjustable suction and roller speed settings, and automatic level adjustments. These features can help users customize the vac’s functionality to cater to the different variables that apply to different surfaces.

Lower levels of suction tend to help in creating air movement on flat and solid surfaces, drawing dirt and dust to the source while high powered suction settings combined with rotating brushes allow for effective deep-down debris removal from carpet fibers (note: consider investing in a carpet steam cleaner after deep-vac’ing to get a true clean). Using the wrong suction settings or brush speeds can heavily impact the performance capabilities of a vacuum, and at times, create more damage.

What is the vacuum’s primary purpose?

To clean the floor. While this answer seems obvious, it’s important to dig a bit deeper into the true function desired when considering the different hardwood floor vacuum options.

Many hardwood floor vacuums are lightweight and versatile, with features like hand-vac convertibility, and extendable handles to allow users to reach in tight spaces with targeted suction. You can usually easily store these vacs and even mount them on a wall to allow for quick and easy access.

People often refer to these as stick vacuums. These sleek systems can replace a standard household broom. Their footprint is similar and their functionality can far exceed the old wooden stick.

Canister vacuums can help take some weight off, too, allowing users to spend the bulk of the cleaning session utilizing the typically featherlight handle and floor attachment while the heavy motor and dirt containment system is housed with the canister. This style can be a bit tedious to manage at times, especially when transporting up or down stairs. However, it can provide the same heavy-duty performance of a traditional upright vacuum while minimizing physical exertion during active vacuuming times.

Robot vacuums have whirled their way into the modern household cleaning market and can really take the pressure off busy or low-home-maintenance-motivated individuals who’d prefer to leave the dirt decimation to a friendly and faithful automated assistant. These zippy little bots can take a big bite out of the cleaning needs of an average dirt-laden residence; however, they may not quite cut it as the sole suction system.

What types of features might be beneficial?

Companies have incorporated some pretty nice features into many of the hardwood floor vacuums on the market. While suction power is the primary goal, some of the add-ons can really aid in the debris removal process.

Flashy LED headlights can expose fine debris and pet hair. They are great for spying elusive particles under furniture, beds, and other places where the sun doesn’t shine.

Subtle but significant tweaks to brushes and roller materials can help protect floor surfaces. They cut down on the maintenance and general headaches associated with nylon brush bristles combined with fluffy puffs of pet hair.

In some of the hardwood vacuum models, the brushes have been completely eliminated. Companies have devised other techniques to assist in drawing debris into the sucky section of the vacuum.

Handy features like foot-pedal power switches and cord rewind systems can provide a bit of added convenience. They cut down on some of the minor but often mentioned headaches that come with operating a vacuum.

How We Ranked the Best Vacuums for Hardwood Floors

  • Mobility and Versatility
  • Storage and Maintenance
  • Power Source
  • Consumer Reviews
  • Price

We focused on a few variables when determining the rankings for the six best hardwood vacuums. Suction power and ease of use carried the bulk of the rankings’ weights, but other factors definitely come into play.

Price is always a top consideration, especially when comparing the features and functions gained with an uptick in a product’s price tag. Consumer reviews are also a factor in the process, and often, there can be recurring rants and raves unearthed when comparing reports from various sites and sources.

Upgraded options and general product design ingenuity also play a role, along with added versatility features that can come in the form of attachments and tools or convertible vacuum capabilities.

Stick-style bagless vacuums dominate the list primarily due to their light weight and versatile nature. However, other more traditionally styled vacs can hold their own on the rankings. You can’t overlook their dirt containment capacities and superior cleaning capabilities.

Mobility and Versatility

Hauling a hulking vacuum around to do the dirty work is less than ideal. It almost goes unsaid. Almost.

There’s even a real possibility that, due to the daunting task of wrestling a massive vacuum out into circulation, debris may have a fighting chance to take up long-term residency.  The ability to whip out a lightweight vac for a quick pick-up job or wheel out the ever-ready canister for a heavy-duty situation can help to increase cleaning frequency and support a rapid decline in accumulating particles.

Sometimes the straight-up floor suction function just isn’t enough. The corners, the baseboards, the ceiling where the cobwebs like to live — they all need attention, too. A vacuum’s ability to reach these tight and tough spots with the simple attachment of a tool and the release of an extension wand can turn an often dreaded task into a quick and simple cleaning session.

Storage and Maintenance

An often overlooked consideration when scoping out a vacuum, or really any other household maintenance tool, is where the item will reside when it’s not actively pursuing the demise of dirty, dusty debris. Tools, hoses, and other accessories can pile up fast, and suddenly you may need an extra room to contain all of the devices.

You can usually mount stick vacs and other low-profile vacs to a wall. They are small enough to take up about the same amount of space as a broom and dustpan.

Canister vacuums can result in the opposite effect, and while they can provide some serious results in the debris demolition realm, they may require two to three times more storage space than a smaller (less heavy-duty) vacuum.

The overall maintenance required to keep a vacuum up and sucking can vary from vac to vac, though most generally involve keeping filters clean and dirt containment bags and bins free from overload and blockage.

A bagged vacuum system usually incorporates the primary filter into the disposable bag. That means that every time you replace the bag, you are also replacing the filter.

This means you will need to do minimal maintenance to keep these vacs up and running. However, replacement bags will be a recurring cost through the life of the vacuum.

Bagless systems, while cost-saving when it comes to replacement bags, will require some user interaction at every step of the particle-removing process. Dust or dirt bins capture the debris the vacuum suctioned, and you will need to empty them often.

There are usually multiple filters within a bagless vacuum. Their ability to breathe freely directly impacts the vacuum’s ability to provide superior suction levels.

Most filters are washable. You should rinse and air dry them at least once per month.

Power Source

Until the vacuum industry releases a power supply source fueled by the friction of Cheerios and cat hair meeting a vacuum’s rapidly rotating rollers, vac users will continue to have the option to pick between their power source tethers.

battery-powered vacuum can enable an operator to move freely and without restraint…until the juice runs out. So while there are not physical cords limiting mobility, the cleaning clock is ticking from the first suck.

Battery life is a key factor when comparing cordless vacuums for hardwood floors. Most cordless vacuums should be able to supply enough power to get through a reasonable amount of cleaning, and the lack of a cord can help shave minutes of a vacuum session.

When it comes to corded vacuum cleaners, there is a delicate balance to be found in power cord lengths. The longest cords can provide the most freedom while cleaning, however, with this convenience comes added cord bulk and weight when not fully extended. It seems that a length of 25’-30’ tends to blend a comfortable level of extended reach while keeping weight within a manageable status.

Consumer Reviews

The valuable and sometimes volatile world of consumer reviews and reports can help to paint a picture of what real-life vacu-lationships are all about. Helpful tidbits, interesting insight into product design, and recurring issues can really assist in the ranking process, especially when it comes to assessing a vacuum’s true worth in various applications.

As always, consumer reports and reviews can be a bit of a jungle when it comes to sorting through the vapid and vague reviews that are among the true, real-world reports of what it’s like to live with the vacuum.

However, you can rest easy knowing that we picked through the reviews with precision, and the results have been factored into these hardwood vacuum rankings.


The price tag of a hardwood vacuum is a pretty large factor in determining its rank. When considering all the above factors and applying the final factor of cost, it becomes clear which vacuums rise to the top of the value category.

Finding the balance of both upfront and long-term costs of ownership with features, functions, and add-on accessories can be a bit challenging, but we’ve attempted to sort through these key factors to establish a sort of…suction order within the hardwood floor vacuum market.

Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide

A comprehensive guide that will give you all the information you need on how to buy a new vacuum.

Getting Started

Deciding on the perfect vacuum for your home can be tricky. There are a lot of styles, functions and high-tech features to choose from. So which one is right for you? This guide has been created to make your vacuum shopping experience as easy as possible. So let’s dive in!.Shop Vacuums


There are a few different types and styles of vacuums that we are going to address in this buying guide. We are sure you will find just the one to fit all of your cleaning needs.

Upright Vacuums


This style of vacuum is going to be the most popular type of vacuum that can be found in many households today. It’s the best go-to vacuum for removing dust and dirt from carpeting, and is able to clean large areas of carpet quickly. They also work well on area rugs and hard floors.However, it is good to note that not all upright vacuums can be used on hard floor surfaces, since doing so might cause damage to some floors and vacuums. If this is an important factor it’s smart to do research on the brand of vacuum you are looking into, to make sure it works well on hard floors too. A brush on/off switch is recommended, as it will help protect the finish on bare floors.Some other things to look for when deciding on your upright vacuum are onboard attachment, bag-less or not, and the weight of the unit. Upright cleaners come in a variety of styles and sizes, each varying in weight. Some uprights include edge cleaning, which picks up dirt under the entire area of the head. This is a helpful feature especially when cleaning wall-to-wall carpeting. Suction control is another useful feature to look at when cleaning draperies and upholstery.Shop Upright Vacuums

Canister Vacuums


Canister Vacuums are portable and easy to use. They are well suited for people who clean a variety of surfaces but are most popular for those who have little carpeting and like to vacuum their hard surfaced floors. They tend to be lighter than other vacuum designs, plus they have a highly maneuverable power head that can reach tight spots with ease.Canister vacuums have the motor and bag in a separate unit, which is usually mounted on wheels to help with maneuvering. The canister itself is connected to the vacuum head by a flexible hose. By using a revolving brush system or brush agitator, it can dislodge dirt particles from the carpet so they can be picked up easily; this comes in handy when picking up things like pet hair. Without a built-in revolving brush, canister vacuums use straight suction to clean. Most canister vacuums have a bag that needs to be replaced, however there are bag-less models available, which eliminates the additional cost of buying dust bags.Bottom line, this style is perfect for vacuuming hard-to-reach spots and furniture; it’s also great for cleaning cars and drapes as well.Shop Canister Vacuums

Handheld & Stick Vacuums


These types of vacuums are the smallest and lightest options available, they are often cordless and operate on batteries. They also offer lots of convenience when it comes to a variety of cleaning tasks around the house.Handheld vacuums are perfect for cleaning closets, vents, blinds, upholstery or car interiors, and made mostly for above-the-floor cleaning. They’re best used for tasks such as cleaning up small spills, getting cobwebs out of corners or vacuuming dirt out of windowsills.Stick vacuums are very similar to upright vacuums. The design is the same, but stick vacuums tend to be a lot lighter in weight and usually do not come with any attachments. If you have a multilevel home, a stick model vacuum is great to keep on the second floor and eliminate the need to carry your main one up and down the stairs. Not to mention, there are certain models out now which have been designed with handheld features, making it easy to clean stairs, ceiling fans and more.Shop Handheld & Stick Vacuums

Robot Vacuums


Robot cleaners are completely hands-free, battery-operated vacuums. They seek out and suck up dirt, debris and dust from carpets and hard surface floors. They are a great choice for light, daily cleanings and extremely popular with pet owners, allergy sufferers, busy households, or just anyone who wants their floors to stay constantly clean.A robot vacuum is self-propelled and programmable, so you don’t have to do any extra work when it comes to vacuuming. These nifty gadgets use sensors to avoid obstacles and stairs, while smart enough to still easily clean underneath furniture. If you’re someone who simply does not have enough time to vacuum regularly, a robot vacuum can help you solve this problem.Shop Robot Vacuums

Commercial & Garage (Wet & Dry) Vacuums

Wet & Dry

Commercial and garage vacuums are often referred to as shop vacs. They offer extra power when it comes to professional-sized messes. These vacuums are the perfect type when it comes to cleaning up things such as sawdust in basements, dirt and water in garages, or any other mess, wet or dry. Many labor workers use them on job sites as they can handle that kind of debris. To choose the right commercial or garage vacuum, one must think about how they will use it and where it will be stored.Smaller models will be easier to move around, but they will not be able to handle larger messes.Shop Commercial & Garage (Wet & Dry) Vacuums

Carpet/Steam Cleaners

Carpet/Steam Cleaners

Carpet cleaners come in a variety of different styles ranging from uprights to portable spot cleaners, even smaller handheld carpet cleaners, all of which are capable of cleaning and disinfecting furniture, drapes or rugs.Even if you vacuum your carpets pretty regularly things such as dirt, pet dander, bacteria and dust mites remain deep in your carpet’s fibers. To fix this issue, carpet cleaners use moisture and heat to loosen the dirt and stains that a regular vacuum can’t suction. Not to mention, they can also disinfect carpets by killing unwanted germs. If you’re looking for a deep clean, a carpet cleaner is your best bet.Steam cleaners have become very popular in recent years because they are considered the healthy and “green” alternative to cleaning. Many steam cleaners look like upright vacuums, they have a large tank that dispenses hot water with a cleaning solution, while another tank holds the dirty water. If you or anyone in your home suffers from allergies and chemical sensitivities, a steam cleaner is a healthy way to deep clean a variety of surfaces without aggravating allergy symptoms. You and your family can live healthier and breath better by using a steam cleaner on a regular basis.Shop Carpet/Steam Cleaners

Central Vacuum Systems

Central Vacuum Systems

Central vacuum systems are the most durable options available. Although they may be a bit more expensive up front, the lack of maintenance and longer lifespan often make up for the cost and then some. Unlike traditional vacuums, the motor and collector of a central vacuum system is installed into the home, typically in the basement or garage. From there, vacuum piping runs through walls, crawlspaces, or other out of the way areas of the home to floor or wall-mounted inlet valves in a handful of locations around the house. By attaching a hose to these inlets, like those used by canister vacuums, you’re able to vacuum all of the areas of your home without lugging around a heavy canister or upright vac. The hoses are typically 30 feet long, allowing you to vacuum multiple rooms from a single inlet. These systems also offer all the same kinds of attachments you’d find on traditional types of vacuum cleaners, from wands to crevice tools to pet brushes.Installing a central vacuum system offers a number of benefits over traditional models. In addition to their longer lifespan, central vacuum systems also provide far greater suction capabilities when compared to other types of vacuum cleaners. More powerful motors translate to greater cleaning potential, allowing you to pull more particles out of thick carpets or upholstery.

Central vacuum systems are also significantly quieter than their portable counterparts. Without the motor roaring next to you as you clean, the only sound is that of fast-moving air. Additionally, central vacs promote cleaner air quality by extracting and containing dust particles, allergens, and other contaminants, whereas other types of vacuum cleaners can end up releasing their smaller particles back into the air, often when being emptied.There are a handful of qualities to look for when deciding between central vacuum systems. First and foremost, you want to be sure to use a trusted brand. While you may save a few dollars opting for a cheap system, you’ll likely end up paying more in the long run with service calls and/or a shorter lifespan. For the best indicator of suction strength look at the Air Watts specification, with higher numbers signifying stronger suction. You also need to make sure the system offers enough suction to cover every corner of your home. Choosing a model that boasts a coverage area greater than the square footage of your home is a good idea as these numbers are calculated with perfect conditions in mind.Lastly, you’ll need to decide between bag systems, those that use filters, a hybrid of the two, or a cyclonic system.

Bagged systems use a bag inside their collector canister to contain debris. Although they don’t require outside venting, using a vent will reduce noise and odor. Filter systems similarly don’t require venting but benefit from it. These systems use one of a handful of filter types to protect dirt from contaminating clogging the motor, filing a canister or bag that needs to be emptied every three to six months. Cyclonic systems are the only ones that require outside venting. Most of the dirt is captured with the canister with a small percentage of tiny particles venting outdoors. Hybrid systems, those that use filters and bags are a great choice. They help keep the motor running clean and offer an easy to dispose of container for debris.Shop Central Vacuum Systems

Useful Features to Consider

Before settling down and picking a vacuum that will work best for you, take a look as some additional features that may be important or become important long-term:


Bag-less designs probably offer the utmost convenience by allowing you to simply detach the container unit from the vacuum. You can then quickly dispose of any dirt inside, without having to pull out and replace a bag. However, bag designs are still nice because they can usually keep dust contained a lot better, since the bag itself seals the dust away. This prevents any further messes from occurring when cleaning out your vacuum. Not to mention, if allergies are a concern the bag is definitely a smarter choice.

Multi-Surface Flooring

If you have a combination of hard surfaced floors and carpets, or lots of hard floors, a multi-surface vacuum is the best way to go. Multi-surface vacuums allow you to turn the brush roll on and off, so you can avoid scratching your hard floors when transitioning from carpets.


Filters are a must-have for anyone who is sensitive to dust or pet hair, as well as allergic to pollen. HEPA filters are considered to be the best because they remove particles such as dust, dander and allergens from the air. Some vacuum models feature a filter that needs to be replaced regularly, while some have started to include reusable filters that allow you to remove, clean and replace the same filter as necessary. Reusable filters would be the ideal kind to use, as they are a great money-saving option.Shop Vacuums

Vacuum Accessories & Attachments

If you’re looking to do more than just vacuum the floors around your home, you may need to consider certain vacuum accessories and attachments. In order to properly clean drapes, sofas and chairs, dust shelves, and get to all the nooks and cracks in your home, you’ll need the right attachments.A crevice tool is great for cleaning corners and tight spaces. A dusting brush can be used to gently dust shelves and tables, as not to scratch them. An upholstery tool is perfect for vacuuming your furniture without causing any damage. Turbo brushes can offer a deeper clean for longer carpets.

The Main Vacuum Types

There are five primary shapes of vacuum cleaners, each performing a slightly different function, although some combine those forms in order to provide more bang for your buck. Being aware of the expectations you have of your vacuum cleaner can help you more intelligently and decisively pick one of the following.

1. Handheld

Handheld vacuums are perfect for getting those painfully hard-to-reach areas that desperately need a cleaning. The most common example for use is in vacuuming cars, since, as the name suggests, this model can be held in only one hand. Its versatility makes it a dream for suctioning up dirt and debris in a variety of tight places, but it would not serve well for general flooring cleaning, which would take a long time to clean with a handheld. This type of vacuum cleaner comes in all sorts of different forms with equally different price tags.

2. Canister

Canister vacuum cleaners are a happy medium between the upright model and the stick model. They are powerful like the upright cleaners, but feature a slender frame, like the stick cleaners. In this case, a separate canister is attached to a long wand which can be used to maintain not only carpeted areas but also bare flooring as well. This style of vacuum cleaner tends to be one of the most expensive options, given its technologically-forward and multi-functional design.

3. Upright

These cleaners are perhaps the most popular and sought-after forms of vacuum cleaners. When you imagine a vacuum cleaner or see one advertised in media, the image you picture is probably that of an upright machine. These models provide the most powerful clean-up for your house, and offer the comforting benefit of usually easy-to-understand functions and accessories, since most people have used an upright vacuum cleaner at least once in their lifetime. Most models provide settings that allow these vacuum cleaners to be used not only on carpeted surfaces but also bare floors.

4. Stick

While perhaps the least powerful of the vacuum models, stick vacuums have a knack for getting into narrow places and doing a tremendous job on hardwood floors, area rugs and light carpeting. This type of vacuum features a long stick-like handle and a slender construction. The slimness of this model makes it a perfect addition to any closet space, as it tucks neatly into most corners after its purpose has been served.

5. Autonomous / Robot

Robot vacuum cleaners have gained a lot of popularity in recent years, mainly due to the fact that they require little effort on your end. These vacuums are able to roam freely around your home, sucking up any small mess in its way. They not only save you time, but they are also able to reach places that larger vacuums wouldn’t be able to, such as under the couch. One main drawback of robot vacuums is that they typically come at a steep price.

Vacuum Cleaners

Location, Location, Location

Do you have primarily hardwood floors throughout your house? Are these floors covered with area rugs, or are they bare? Is your home filled with wall-to-wall carpeting? These are considerations you must make before taking the leap and purchasing your very own vacuum cleaner.

Bare Floors:

If you have bare floors, you’re better off with models that provide a number of attachments and which don’t have quite as much heft as some of the others. Using a regular upright vacuum on flooring like hardwood poses a number of problems, which includes scratching your smooth and coveted floors and being counterproductive by scattering debris across their surfaces. Some upright vacuums do provide settings that function better on non-carpeted areas, but for the most part your best bet would be with a model like the canister vacuum, which can also take care of your area rugs if you have any. These vacuums usually come with a bare-floor brush, which makes keeping your floors squeaky clean and scratch-free a piece of cake.


On the other hand, if you have wall-to-wall carpeting, it’s definitely worth considering a model with different advantages than a vacuum cleaner suited for hardwood flooring and tiling. You won’t need to worry about scratching the surface of your carpet, and in fact, you’ll want something powerful that pulls up all the lingering debris from the carpet strands. In this instance, an upright cleaner is a great way to go. There are all sorts of extra conveniences that upright vacuums have recently come out with, including a dirt sensor which makes sure you get that last speck of grime.

Know the layout of your flooring and what sorts of surfaces you’ll be dealing with to ensure your needs will be met with your new vacuum cleaner.

To Bag or Not To Bag

The general consensus is that, whether you have a bagged vacuum or a bagless vacuum, your house will be clean either way (as long as you keep using it). However, there are a few small differences that may make or break your decision to buy one or the other.


If you or any of your family members are sensitive to allergens or have asthma, the bagged vacuum is probably more for you. Dust exposure is minimized when the bag is emptied and most bags are guaranteed to trap all but .03% of the dust and pollen in your carpeting. You do have to replace the bags on a regular basis, although these are typically available at most supermarkets.


If you are environmentally-minded and prefer to not have to deal with replacing bags, the bagless vacuum is more for you. These vacuums usually have a see-through canister which gives you perfect access to seeing how full the vacuum is, which can help you determine when you need to empty it out.

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