What Vacuum is Best For Hardwood Floors?


Hardwood floors are great to have and the variety of designs and styles can make it tedious and complicated to choose one for your home. Equally difficult is cleaning hardwood because the material can be ruined easily with the wrong vacuum. This begs the question of what vacuum is best for hardwood floors.

Generally, any vacuum should be able to clean hardwood floors as long as certain important features are integrated into the design. In other words, deciding the best vacuum for hardwood floor comes down to the features or functions that are absolutely essential.

These features are basic to the best vacuum for hardwood floors. A compromise in any of them would most likely result in damage to the hardwood floor before getting value for your investment.

In general, when it comes to hardwood floors, actions that scratch or introduce scuff marks on the surface must be avoided. Also, using cleaning fluids that diminish the shine or varnish of your floor are definitely out of the question.

So the best vacuum for hardwood floors has two basic purposes: to clean the floor of dust, debris, and dust; and to maintain the pristine nature of the surface for as long as possible.

What Vacuum is Best for Hardwood floors?

Again, most modern vacuums are designed to clean hardwood floors and other surfaces. This makes versatility one of the top criteria manufacturers focus on when making vacuum cleaners.

Apart from being able to clean all types of floors including hardwood, the vacuum must be versatile enough to quickly clean difficult, narrow and tight spaces.

7 Key features of the best vacuum for hardwood floors

The Power vs. Suction Question

The power of a vacuum pump is one of the features that is used to differentiate the best vacuum from the mediocre units. Strongly related to power is suction. The relationship is simple, more power under the hood means better vacuum suction.

Without a powerful suction, the vacuum is more likely to push dirt and dust around instead of sucking them in. Vacuums like these are practically useless as you would have to sweep the floor afterward to remove the dirt and dust.

Vacuums with very strong suction are highly recommended for natural hardwood floors that have not been treated. If the hardwood floor has deep lines and groves, all kinds of small debris and dust would find a home in these lines and groves. So it would need a vacuum with strong suction to remove them.

However, in most cases, a vacuum with medium power and suction would be adequate for a hardwood floor. If you can’t afford high-powered vacuum, get a medium powered one as it has enough suction to do a decent cleaning job.

To brushroll or not to brushroll

In an ideal world, the best vacuums for hardwood floors should be a brushroll-free in terms of design.

Hardwood floor vacuums are primarily designed to clean not damage the floor while at it. Spinning brushrolls are awesome for carpet rugs as the agitation of debris and dirt the spinning brushes cause in the carpet is necessary for the vacuuming process.

But the very thing that makes the brushes good for carpets is what makes them bad for hardwood floors. Fact is, spinning brushes can leave scratches on the surface of the hardwood especially if the bristles are hard.

Since most of the best vacuums are designed to handle multiple floor types, it is hard escaping from one with a brushroll. The choice now is between getting a vacuum with soft brush rollers or one with the option of switching off the brushroll.

This goes back to the suction question above. If you opt for a vacuum without brush rollers (or a vacuum with the on/off brushroll button) then you’d need it to have enough suction power since there are no brushes to push debris and dirt into the suction area.

Height adjustability in multiple floor apartments

Installing hardwood floors throughout the home or apartment is rare. The common feature is a different floor type in different spaces. Modern living room designs even include carpet rugs to cover certain sections of the hardwood floor.

In shopping for a vacuum for your hardwood floor, it is best you get a single unit that can handle different floor types with ease. What to look for in this case is the height adjustable feature.

Generally, vacuums are designed to have reasonable clearance for high pile carpets. But when transitioning from carpet to hardwood, the gap created between the floor and the underside of the vacuum diminishes the suction rendering it ineffectual on hardwoods.

Adjusting the vacuum head to reduce the gap and consequently improve suction is what this feature seeks to address.

Some vacuums, though, come with auto adjustable suction settings for hardwood floors. In this case, adding the height-adjustability feature to the vacuum head is simply a way to cover all bases. For instance, some rugs/carpets need different height settings depending on the height of the pile for effective cleaning

Wheels on Hardwood floors

When selecting a vacuum for your hardwood floor you have to be careful about the type of wheels installed in the vacuum.

Some models come fitted with wheels made with hard plastic material. Plastic wheels are okay on carpet rugs. But you don’t want to have had them spinning on your hardwood floor. They would damage your floor with scuff marks or scratches.

The best option is wheels made with rubber material or covered with rubber. These are soft and would not damage the beauty of your hardwood floor with ugly scratches or scuffs.

You might also want to consider that rubberized wheels roll silently over the floor almost like a gliding motion. Plastic wheels, on the other hand, produce a grating, harsh sound while rolling across the floor. This can be irritating if not annoying.

Padding is very important

Like wheels above, vacuums made of hard plastic or even harder materials would do a lot of damage to hardwood floors when they are pushed or dragged around.

The ideal vacuum for hardwood floor must, therefore, have felt padding or is rubberized around the sides and the bottom of the vacuum.

The weight of canister vacuums vs. The convenience of upright vacuums

One of the most persistent questions from people relates to the canister vs. upright vacuum conundrum.

First off, both types of vacuums can clean your hardwood floor very well since there are good models designed to meet the cleaning demands of hardwoods.

However, if you have a choice between canister and upright, the canister is recommended as the best for hardwood floor. This is why.

By design, canister vacuums tend to be lighter. Weight is important when cleaning floors using a vacuum since you won’t get tired easily with lightweight vacuums.

Besides, you might need to move the vacuum from one room to the next or even up and down the stairs. A light vacuum would be in your best interest in both scenarios

Also, the lighter weight of the canister vacuums means they glide easily across the floor without exerting too much weight on the nozzle and wheels.

This also has a positive effect on the hardwood floor. The lightweight implies reduced stress on the hardwood. This reduces the chance of damaging the floor.

However, you can get the best of both worlds with some vacuum models that combine the best features of both upright and canister vacuums. These dual-type vacuums are primarily upright vacuums. But they come with a button or lever that allows you to easily detach the canister from the unit instantly turning the vacuum head into a light cleaning wand.

Versatility: all-purpose vacuum

Okay, you are mighty proud of your hardwood floor and naturally, you want the best vacuum for it. But, it is very likely you have other floor types in your home apart from hardwood.

Since it’s not practical or economical to have multiple vacuum cleaners, you need a vacuum that would be able to handle all types of floors as well as other surfaces since your cleaning chores would include upholstery, furniture, curtains, rugs and much more.

The vacuum must have long extension wand for above-floor cleaning, flexible wand to clean under the furniture and crevice device for hard-to-reach places.

The general rule is, even though you want the best vacuum for your hardwood floor, to go the whole way and invest in a vacuum that can also clean multiple surfaces.

Hardwood Floor Cleaning Tips


The best vacuum for hardwood floors can be found in different models from manufacturers like Bissell, Dirt Devil, Dyson, Eureka, Hoover, iRobot, Miele, Orec, and Shark. They come in different shapes and styles. Whether it is a canister, upright, stick or robot vacuum, some features are essential to make them suitable for hardwood floors.

Compromising on certain features to save money would do more harm than good to your expensive hardwood floor.

You want the hardwood floor to look good for as long as possible? Then the question of the budget must take a back seat. The good news is, there are many good vacuums that are not pricey and tick all the boxes for the best vacuum for hardwood floors.

So regardless of the model or manufacturer you decide to go with, only one question needs to be satisfied: is this vacuum hardwood-friendly?


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Best Vacuum For Hardwood Floor And  Carpet

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How To Clean Laminate Wood Floors Without Streaking

5 Most Durable Flooring For Your Home

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