Cleaning your home is tiresome but unavoidable.
If you get the right tools for the job, a tough task gets a great deal easier.
For homes covered with expanses of hardwood floors, it’s doubly important to get a vacuum expressly designed for bare surfaces.
Luckily, we are here to help you!
Getting the most suitable vacuum cleaner for your needs can seem like something of a minefield. With so many different styles and manufacturers, it can feel like there is almost too much choice.
Today, we will give you the 5 best vacuum for hardwood floors reviews so that you can analyze your options and get the best fit for your cleaning needs.
Before that, we will walk you through the things you need to think about before purchasing a new vacuum. Take your time at this stage and avoid any costly mistakes.
Table of Contents
- The Basics: 5 Types of Vacuum Cleaner
- Bagged Vaccum or Bagless?
- Corded or Cordless?
- Weight and Storage
- Attachments and Extras
- All About Hardwood Floors
- What To Look For When Buying a Best Vacuum For Hardwood Floors
- Top 5 Best Hardwood Floors Vacuum Reviews
The Basics: 5 Types of Vacuum Cleaner
If you have spent any time at all looking for a vacuum, you’ll know that they come in 5 main styles:
Although not really suitable as a primary vacuum cleaner, handhelds are fantastic for dealing with awkward spots and hard-to-reach corners.
Whether you want to clean up an unexpected spill indoors or head outside to buff up the inside of your car, the versatility of handhelds is tough to beat.
Trying to clean large areas of floor is not advisable with a handheld. You’ll get the job done but it will take far too long.
Handhelds come in a wide range of shapes and sizes. Prices differ considerably as with any product. Overall, though, this style of vacuum is relatively inexpensive and a great addition to your cleaning arsenal.
Canister vacuums have the power of an upright married to a slim frame similar to a stick.
The general form is a lengthy wand attached to a central canister unit.
Canisters are flexible cleaning solutions whether you have carpets or hard floors. You pay the price for this multi-purpose functionality and cutting edge technology as canisters are fairly costly.
Arguably the most common and popular type of vacuum, uprights are powerhouses capable of generating the extreme suction needed for efficient cleaning.
They are usually extremely easy to operate and will switch quite happily from thick carpet to bare floors without missing a beat. This is normally accomplished with the flick of a switch.
Uprights range from the extremely cheap to the eye-wateringly expensive.
Stick vacuums fall down on power but they make up for this with extreme maneuverability.
From hardwood floors through to carpeting and rugs, sticks make light work of most dust and debris and work well in confined spaces.
The design of sticks makes storage a breeze.
Autonomous or robot vacuums are continuing to increase in popularity.
Everyone is time-poor these days and the idea of having a machine act like a maid is very tempting.
These robot vacs differ considerably in terms of functionality. Research these closely if you are in the market for a labor-saving cleaner.
The significant drawback of robots is their hefty price tag.
Now you’ve leaped the first hurdle and decided on what category of vacuum will best fit with your cleaning regime, it’s time to think about whether to go bagged or bagless…
Bagged Vaccum or Bagless?
As with most aspects of cleaning, you need to focus on what works best for you rather than expecting to encounter a one-size-fits-all solution.
Having decided whether you want the power of an upright or the flexible nature of a stick, you need to double down on the issue of bags.
All bagged vacuums come supplied with a dirt bag. These come in an array of shapes, sizes and materials.
The cheapest bagged vacuums will offer little more than an oversized paper bag while the higher-end models make use of layered fiber and foil. They play the part of an effective first-stage filter.
Changing the bags frequently is the key to efficient cleaning. Once the bag begins to fill up with dust, you’ll notice a distinct drop in suction. Many bagged vacs come with a handy indicator so you can monitor the state of play quickly and easily.
Many experts advise emptying your bag when it’s just over half-full. This is sound in principle and will lead to getting the very best out of your vacuum. The problem is, these bags are expensive so if you follow this rule strictly, you’ll end up spending twice as much on replacement bags. Be sensible and try to empty it before it overfills and impairs performance.
Bagged vacuums are cheaper than bagless alternatives but the cost of replacing the bags needs to be factored in. Also, if you are concerned about the environment, these bags are not biodegradable so think about that as well.
Emptying the bags is nice and easy with all the dust and debris contained safely within. If you suffer from any sort of allergy, bagged vacuums are probably your best bet.
Bagless vacuums are often the most expensive. You’re paying for the technology needed to make this happen.
While early bagless vacuums left a lot to be desired, the models on the market today are highly proficient cleaning machines. The suction has improved considerably and the quality of filters has also picked up.
Unlike with bagged vacs, all the dust and debris remains inside the dust container. Cyclonic technology keeps large particles in the bin while smaller particles are trapped in the filter.
Bagless vacuums are more expensive from the outset but you then save money over time with no need to buy any replacement bags. These can be expensive and the cost mounts up over the years.
Emptying bagless is where things can get uncomfy if you have asthma or any other allergy. Dust can escape and become an irritant. It will also normally have less capacity to hold dust so you’ll need to empty it on a regular basis. The transparent container makes keeping an eye on this straightforward.
Corded or Cordless?
Another straight-up choice you’ll need to negotiate when looking for a vacuum cleaner is whether to go for a corded or cordless model.
This really is purely a matter of personal preference and specific cleaning needs.
Cordless vacs are battery-powered. They don’t pack the power of their corded opponents but they are extremely lightweight and maneuverable. The main things you need to look out for with cordless vacs is how long you’ll get before needing to charge the unit and how long the charging process lasts.
Vacuums with a cord are usually more durable. You’ll be restricted by the need to be close to a power outlet but in return you’ll enjoy superior performance.
Think about what you will clean and for how long. Take stock of the available power points in your home. Think about your own preference.
Vacuum cleaners suck up air containing dust and particles of dirt. This air is then filtered and expelled through the exhaust back into the room.
A more efficient filter leads to cleaner air in your home.
Basic vacuums have stage filters. These range from 2-stage through to 7-stage and obviously increase in effectiveness the more stages to the filter.
A 4-stage filter, for example, might be comprised of a double-skinned bag, a filter between the motor chamber and bag then an additional filter. This type of filtration will dramatically reduce the number of microscopic allergens blasting back into the air.
S-Class filtration means HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters. These are the gold standard of vacuum filters. Watch out for vacuums endorsed by the British Allergy Foundation if you are sensitive to airborne irritants.
Charcoal filters come into their own if you have pets in the house. The charcoal cuts through the unpleasant odors you can get from animals and neutralizes them nicely.
Price plays an important part in every buying decision but it should not be the only factor.
Think about overall costs rather than the price tag alone.
Take any replacement bags you might need into account when working out which vacuums best fit your budget.
Once you have narrowed down what you have to spend, your choice will become a lot simpler and you can focus on those models in your price range that meet all your requirements.
Weight and Storage
The type of vacuum you go for will largely dictate whether it will be light and portable or a heavyweight upright unit.
Think honestly about your own physical capabilities. Analyze what cleaning duties you’ll be performing and how easily you can cope with lugging a vacuum around.
It also pays to give due diligence to how you’ll store it when it’s not in use. If you live in a small apartment with limited space to stash things, it might not the best idea to get a sizeable upright.
Attachments and Extras
Vacuum cleaners come with a differing number of attachments and accessories bundled in.
You will usually get the basics of a crevice tool, dusting brush and a small turbo brush.
The key with attachments is that they are useful for you. It’s senseless to prioritize a heavily-bundled vacuum if you won’t have call to use most of the extras. Think about which ones would improve your cleaning.
If you have a particularly large home, you might want to pay close attention to the dust capacity of the vacuums on your shortlist.
Uprights boasting large storage capacity are the smart choice for sprawling homes. The last thing you need is to be constantly changing bags or emptying the dirt container.
As with any appliance, if you look after your vacuum cleaner, it should last you for years on end without letting you down.
With bagged vacuums, keep a close eye on when the bag needs changing. You may have a light indicator to alert you to this. If not, check manually and make sure you don’t let it fill up too much.
Ideally, you should empty a bagless vacuum every time you use it. Little and often means that there’s never much to tap out and your vac will perform at its very best.
Looking after your filters will keep the suction levels of your vacuum where you want them. If you let the filters clog, you’ll notice your vacuum losing power.
Most filters need replacing every year.
If hair accumulates on the brush roll, either remove it manually or use a comb to pull it away.
Vacuum maintenance is very rudimentary and if you keep on top of the dirt container and filters, you should have no problems at all.
All About Hardwood Floors
More and more homes these days have bare floors.
The 2 most popular types of hard flooring are hardwood and laminate.
Hardwood flooring is made from natural woods like hickory, maple and oak. This type of flooring is extremely durable. If you look after it properly, hardwood floor has a great lifespan.
Laminate flooring is composed of a synthetic fiberboard with a laminate finish. This type of floor is cheaper but less durable than hardwood. Laminate floors are much less sensitive to scratches, stains or moisture.
Hardwood floors come in a number of cuts. Wide planks and parquet are 2 common styles.
Since it’s made from real wood, you’ll enjoy the aesthetics of natural tones and grain. Hardwood can be anywhere from light brown through to a deep red-bronze.
Hardwood floors are very durable.
How long they last depends on a few factors:
- The type of wood
- Are the floors finished or unfinished?
- The location of the room
- Levels of moisture
- Ongoing maintenance (polishing, waxing, cleaning)
A common mistake is to try to save money by not finishing the floor. Unfinished flooring will not last as long. It will also be prone to warping and swelling. It’s false economy to skip this important stage.
If you have your hardwood floor properly installed, finished and then maintain it properly, it should keep going for decades.
The Cost of Hardwood Flooring
As with the issue of bags in vacuums, you need to consider the cost of hardwood flooring beyond the initial price tag.
There is no doubt that hardwood floors make a better long-term bet than laminate but the upfront cost can be prohibitive for some.
If you want hardwood floor but you’re on a tight budget, check out the more affordable options like oak, American cherry or maple.
Hardwood Floor Maintenance
If you keep your hardwood floor clean and don’t treat it too harshly, it will increase its lifespan considerably.
Using rugs in rooms with large areas of hardwood flooring is one way to save on wear and tear. Think about putting pads on the feet of furniture to reduce the chance of unsightly scratches.
You should keep your floors swept clean then vacuum them with the best hardwood floor vacuum you can find. Using a wet mop on hardwood floors is not recommended. ( For wet-dry vacuum, click here )
Make absolutely certain that you use the correct type of cleaners. If you try applying cleaner meant for vinyl or lino floors, for example, you might ruin the protective finish on your nice new floor.
In the event of any water spillage, mop it up promptly as hardwood floors don’t respond well to moisture.
Hardwood Floor Installation
Hardwood floor is trickier to install than laminate and you should seriously consider calling in a professional.
Although some hardwood floor comes in planks that are tongue-and-grooved to snap into position, it can also come in the traditional form which means you’ll need to saw and hammer the planks.
Unless you are a DIY veteran, installing your hardwood floor is best left to the pros.
Now we’ve had a look at some general points to consider when buying a vacuum and some specifics about hardwood floors, it’s time to examine both together…
What To Look For When Buying a Best Vacuum For Hardwood Floors
There are a few things to watch out for in general when you are looking for a vacuum for hardwood floors.
No Beater Brush
The heads of some vacuums have thickly-bristled rotator brushes. These beater brushes are designed to work their way into the fibers of a carpet.
Avoid beater brushes when looking for this type of vacuum. The brush can inflict real damage to hardwood floors.
With some models, you can switch the beater brush on and off. If you have a vacuum like this and hardwood floors, be sure to deactivate the brush or you risk a scored surface.
Whether you have carpets or hardwood floors, a vacuum with powerful suction cuts your work in half. There’s nothing worse than laboring away with a device unfit for purpose.
Small particles become easily engrained in the cracks of hardwood floors and dust builds up quite easily. A vacuum with potent suction is essential to keep things looking spick and span without breaking into a sweat.
Many vacuums are designed with rubberized padding to minimize the chance of any damage to your floor.
Kiss goodbye to accidental scratching and keep your floors pristine.
By opting for a vacuum that’s nimble and lightweight, you’ll lessen the likelihood of unwanted bumps and scratches caused by struggling with a bulkier machine.
Scuff marks and dings are more likely to happen if you are trying to lug a very large vacuum around and you find it hard going.
Think about your own strength and ability to move around when considering the weight and style of vacuum you plan to buy.
Top 5 Best Hardwood Floors Vacuum Reviews
BAG OR BAGLESS
Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional (NV356E) - Our Choice
We’ll kick off our look at the best vacuum for hardwood floor reviews with a superb upright.
The Navigator Lift-Away Professional is heavily promoted through TV advertising and it’s the flagship model in Shark’s impressive range. A corded bagless model, the Professional certainly lives up to its name.
It serves as a 2-in-1 cleaner. You can detach the canister at the click of a button.
Weighing in at 13.7 pounds, this is a solid upright but the swivel steering makes it surprisingly neat and easy to move around.
Shark prove with the Navigator that you can get a heavy upright vacuum that’s also highly versatile. The detachable canister means that you can vary your cleaning repertoire without needing to buy a separate device. Whether you want to blitz the stairs or the inside of your car, maybe give the upholstery a once-over, the canister is a great touch.
The 1100W motor results in superb suction power. If you have any area rugs on your hardwood floor, you can vacuum them in place without needing to move them around.
There is a beater brush on the Navigator but you can switch this off for your hardwood floors.
Shark’s patented Anti-Allergen Complete Seal Technology combined with a HEPA filter means that this bagless vacuum keeps pretty much all the dust and allergens trapped inside. If you have asthma or other allergies, Shark has made provision for this.
Although it’s corded so you will need to remain close to a power supply, the cord itself is a generous 30 feet. This at least gives you decent room for maneuver. The advantage of a corded model is that you don’t need to think about running out of power or waiting for it to charge up.
The 9.5-inch cleaning path means you won’t need to make too many passes for great results.
Since it’s bagless and the filter is washable and re-usable, you’ll have no ongoing costs with a Navigator as long as you look after it.
The Never Loses Suction Technology sees the dirt and debris kept in continual motion rather than being catapulted into a filter. This is a nice element of Shark vacuums.
The dust capacity is 2.2 dry quarts. This is pretty generous. With a bagless vacuum, you should really empty it every time you use it anyway so the capacity should do the trick for most cleaning needs.
Most Shark products are bundled with a worthwhile pack of attachments. The Navigator is no exception. You’ll get an 8-inch crevice tool, a dusting brush, a pet power brush and a dedicated hard floor attachment with a pair of microfiber pads. You’ve got everything you need to keep your hardwood floors tip-top. You even get an accessory bag to make sure you have everything you need to hand.
If you’re looking for a robust and affordable upright that’s perfect for keeping your hardwood floors clean, the Shark Navigator is worth a place on any shortlist.
2 Miele S2121 Olympus Canister Vac
Sometimes products almost create their own niche. That’s exactly what Miele have done with the S2121.
This is a high-end canister vac marketed exclusively for use on hardwood floors and low-pile carpets.
It seems absurd to see reviews complaining that the S2121 fares badly on thick carpet. That’s not its intended use. When it comes to bare floors, the Olympus canister delivers in fine style.
The Olympus is fairly expensive but doesn’t come with a wide range of features. Miele products don’t come cheap so you are paying for the brand heritage.
Weighing just 13 pounds, you’ll get wonderful cleaning power without sacrificing portability. To put this into perspective, this is about half the weight of most canisters.
3 casters mean you can wheel the Olympus around easily and it won’t tip over or catch on the furniture.
With no motorized brush roll, the S2121 will keep your hardwood floors looking good as new. It will not work well on deep-pile carpets so stick to bare floors and you won’t be disappointed. The lack of brush roll means the Miele relies on straight suction so it’s tailor-made for hard floors.
A powerful motor and 6-stage dynamic suction control means that even stubborn mess comes flying up and into the bag. You can alter the power according to the surface you’re cleaning.
You’ll get a dusting brush, crevice tool and upholstery tool so you have your main bases covered with attachments.
The Miele is fitted with disposable dirt bags. These are pretty roomy and will hold perhaps half a gallon of dust and debris. You will need to think about the ongoing expense of buying these bags. If you are sensitive to dust and dander, the Olympus is a great choice.
This model does not come with HEPA filtration. You will get an Auto-Seal filter bag, though.
Not only are you limited by the corded nature of the Olympus, the cord itself is rather short.
Some vacuums kick out an incredible racket. The Miele is almost unnaturally quiet. The sound also ramps up so that you can get used to the noise before it increases to the normal operating level. If you have neighbors in close proximity in an apartment or a baby in the house, this is a real bonus.
The telescopic tool means that you can access even awkward spots without overstretching. This extends out to a full 4 feet so you can take care of any above-floor cleaning or blast underneath your furniture or inside your car.
The wand has Dual Wand Parking so it sits in nicely then locks making storage a cinch.
Watch out when you are cleaning stairs. For some reason, the vent blower becomes less effective at certain angles. If you run into problems, bear this in mind and angle away differently.
If you want the security of a vacuum from a brand you can trust without needing a bank loan, the Olympus could be just what you are looking for. It’s a truly versatile vacuum perfect for hardwood floors.
3 Dyson 206900-01 Upright
No list of the best vacuums would be complete without an offering from the legendary Dyson.
Innovators with cyclonic technology, this British company continues to dominate the upper ranges of the vacuum market with incredibly forward-thinking products.
This bagless upright weighs in at just 17 pounds. The ball technology makes it simple to steer into tight spots. You’ll get surprising maneuverability for an upright.
HEPA filtration throughout means that allergy sufferers are in safe hands with the Dyson.
Although it’s a corded vacuum, you’ll have plenty of leeway with a 30-foot power cord.
The wand and hose release quickly and easily. You can make light work of cleaning up on high or down under your chairs and couch.
The bin releases with the push of a button. The dust capacity is just over half a gallon so you can take care of cleaning large areas without needing to empty it. When you do get rid of the dust, none will find its way back out to irritate you.
The powerful suction deals with messes on carpets or hardwood floors fuss-free.
The cloth filter gets rid of dust and any other possible allergens. This is easy to wash and re-usable. You can enjoy a healthier living environment while also being kind to the environment.
Although the Dyson is not the cheapest of vacuums, you really do get great overall value for money. The company are champions in the field and their vacuums are at the bleeding edge of technology. A Dyson is impeccably engineered and built for durability and performance.
You won’t get much by the way of extras with the Dyson. A combination stair tool comes in handy and you’ll get a tool holster thrown in.
The self-adjusting cleaner head will take the guesswork out of cleaning different surfaces. Whether you want to clean carpets or bare floors, let the technology do the work for you. This flexibility is not found in many other vacuums for hard floors. With the Dyson, you can enjoy the best of both worlds.
If you want a conventional upright with a twist, this Dyson is a great way to keep your hardwood floors in shape while also working well on other surfaces.
4 Miele Classic C1 Olympus Canister
As we near the end of our vacuum for hardwood floor reviews, another outstanding canister vacuum from Miele.
The Classic C1 is another Olympus model and slightly more expensive than the S2121.
As always with Miele, you get an appliance that’s engineered to perfection and built to last. You may pay a slight premium but you get awesome value for money.
The variable speed 1200W motor kicks out plenty of raw power. The power selector lets you choose from 6 speed settings according to the kind of surface.
This is a bagged model. The dust bags hold around 1.2 gallons which is pretty generous. The layered construction of the bags and the electrostatic charge means that even the tiniest airborne particles are dealt with.
Miele have an AirClean filtration system that works brilliantly to minimize any irritation from stray dust particles.
The handle is comfortable and designed to help you access remote spots with ease. The stainless steel wand is telescopic and allows you to vacuum in a radius of just under 30 feet.
In common with many vacuums in this price range, you get little more than the bare bones provided as attachments. The crevice tool and dusting brush are standard and both useful. Keep on top of cleaning your furniture with the upholstery tool. And that’s your lot.
The FiberTeQ tool works wonders on smooth flooring and low-pile carpeting. Manipulating the rocker switch allows you to transition efficiently from one type of surface to another.
As with all Miele vacuums, you can zap up your dirt and debris without raising the roof. The vac is extremely quiet for such a capable cleaner.
If you are on the trail for the best vacuum for hardwood floors, the C1 Olympus is a canister well worth checking out.
5 Hoover Linx BH50010 Cordless Stick
We’ll round out our vacuum for hardwood floor reviews with a cordless stick from Hoover, another star in the vacuum industry.
In the UK, vacuums are universally referred to as Hoovers regardless of manufacturer. That’s how much this brand has insinuated itself into the consciousness of the buying public.
Not everyone wants the hulking weight that comes with an upright vacuum and this is where the stick model steps neatly in.
This cordless stick is one of only two such models in Hoover’s range that tends toward corded uprights. It weighs a fraction over 7 pounds which is remarkably lightweight for a stick this tall.
The Hoover is very easy to operate and all the power controls are within easy reach on the handle.
Recording noise output of just 75 decibels, you can keep things sparkling without needing to reach for the ear defenders.
The power will keep coming until the battery cycle is 90% complete. At this stage, you’ll notice a gradual loss of power until you need to recharge the stick.
By removing the 18-volt lithium-ion battery, you can be back up and running again within 3 hours. This is extremely rapid for a rechargeable vacuum.
The run-time is not quite so impressive. You’ll only get 10-15 minutes of cleaning at full tilt so if you have a larger home, this might not be the best vacuum for you. The fuel gauge shows you when you’ll need to think about recharging.
Although it works well on carpets, the main performance claim made by Hoover is for bare floors…
The Hoover does not disappoint.
The Hoover sucks up fine dust and debris most effectively. It can struggle with larger chunks.
You won’t clean deep carpets with the same effectiveness as using an upright but you can do a serviceable job if you have the patience to make a few passes.
With stiff side brushes, you’ll be able to clean edges reasonably well.
Unlike some vacuums designed for hardwood floors, the Hoover does come with a motorized brush roll. This allows you to deal with any stray hair if you have pets in the home. You can deactivate the brush roll with the flick of a switch and clean your hardwood floors without causing them any damage.
The low-profile design lets you clean under counters or furniture without a hitch.
Hoover’s Wind Tunnel technology lifts up both surface dust and also dirt that’s deeply embedded with real efficiency.
The filter on the Hoover is something of a letdown. It’s made of foam and does not do the best job of trapping dust. It can also be messy and fiddly to remove and clean.
There’s no such problem with the dirt cup. Simply release it and dump the dirt without needing to get your hands dirty.
You can buy with complete confidence knowing you’re covered by Hoover’s 2-year limited warranty.
For a dependable, reliable stick that gives you the freedom of a cordless and the power of an upright, think long and hard about this Hoover. You can keep those hardwood floors in peak condition without needing to spend a fortune.
We hope you have found these vacuum for hardwood floors reviews useful and informative.
Every home has different cleaning requirements. For anyone with large expanses of hardwood floors, getting the right vacuum for the job is crucial. If you pay attention to the pointers above and take your time researching, you can get a great appliance without breaking the bank.
The one thing to reiterate is to be careful of vacuums with a motorized brush roll. Several of the models we look at have an easy on/off switch so you can suck up stubborn debris from carpets and then switch to bare floors by releasing the brush roll. Don’t forget to hit the switch or you risk damaging your floors.
Please feel free to get in touch if you have any queries or feedback. We will respond promptly and we’re always delighted to help.