Most vacuums are designed for carpeted floors. If you have hardwood floors, you know they too get soiled. Here's where vacuums designed for hardwood floors come in. Unlike regular vacuums, they don't damage or scratch delicate hardwood floors. If you have pets, no problem. These specially designed vacuums take care of dander, fur, and other allergens and leave your floors shiny and clean.
Like regular vacuums, there are different types to choose from: robotic, stick, upright, and cordless. Our buying guide is here to simplify the buying process with what to consider when purchasing, including our top recommendations. Our top pick by eufy is a robotic vacuum that cleans your hard floors with zero effort on your part.
Considerations when choosing vacuums for hardwood floors
Why use a hardwood floor vacuum?
Cleaning hardwood floors comes with a unique set of challenges. Conventional vacuums with brush rollers and thick bristles can scratch your floors. Because dirt and debris stay on the surface of hard floors, suction is the primary cleaning method for hardwood floor vacuums. This way, they pick up dirt without damaging your hardwoods.
Types of hardwood floor vacuums
Canister vacuums tend to have a large dust capacity and include a flexible hose attached to the unit. The hose can reach into nooks and crannies that other designs can't. Be sure the unit's wheels aren't metal or plastic, which may scratch your floors -- opt for rubber wheels instead. Canister vacuums can be bulky and more difficult to store.
Upright vacuums have the strongest suction and the advantage of standing upright in a one-piece unit that won't tip over. They often come with attachments. They can be quite heavy. Be sure the head doesn't have brush rollers.
Stick vacuums are streamlined versions of upright vacuums. They are upright but skinnier and lighter, making them well-suited for smaller spaces. They are usually only designed for hard floors, so if you need a multi-floor vacuum, this isn't your best bet. They are generally cordless.
Robotic vacuums work on their own and have sensors to work around obstacles such as walls and stairs. They can be scheduled to run, and some people like using them daily, especially in households with pets. Be aware their dust capacity isn't as great as other types. Some models can get stuck or may have limited battery life.
Pets: If you have pets, select a vacuum with powerful suction to make up for the lack of bristles to pick up pet hair.
Capacity: For larger floors and homes, consider a vacuum with greater canister size to collect dust and debris without having to empty the unit frequently. Robotic vacuums have the smallest canister size.
Cordless: Cordless models operate on rechargeable battery power and are highly convenient. They also tend to be quieter than models that have to stay plugged in. Be aware they don't provide as much suction and have limited running time.
Attachments: Attachments are used more on carpeted floors if you're using a vacuum with multi-floor capability. Attachments may include a roller brush, though this is not for use on hardwood floors.
Mop and sweep: Mop and sweep is a feature that robotic vacuums offer to thoroughly clean your hardwood floors.
Hardwood floor vacuum prices
Prices for hardwood floor vacuums range from $70 to $800, depending on vacuum type. Cordless stick vacuums are available for under $150. Upright models can cost twice that. Robotic types are the most expensive, ranging anywhere from $200 to $800.
Q. Why not just sweep my hardwood floors?
A. You can definitely sweep your hardwood floors, but sweeping takes more time and effort than vacuuming. For localized messes sweeping can be quick and effective, but for entire floors vacuuming is faster. Vacuuming also doesn't spread dust and allergens back into the air, which sweeping can.
Q. Can I use a hardwood floor vacuum on my carpets?
A. Your best option is to select a hardwood floor vacuum that comes with a roller brush attachment that you can use on your carpets, then detach when vacuuming your hard floors.
Vacuums for hardwood floors we recommend
Best of the best: eufy BoostIQ RoboVac
Our take: An affordable robotic vacuum considered hands-down the best vacuum users have owned.
What we like: Can be scheduled. Very quiet. Self-guided and pivots intuitively around stairs, walls, and other obstacles. Sizeable dust capacity.
What we dislike: Scheduling not as flexible as some users desire.
Best bang for your buck: Bissell PowerEdge Pet Hardwood Floor Bagless Stick Vacuum
Our take: A stick vacuum that's the top pick for pet owners.
What we like: Vacuum head's unique V-shaped design tackles corners and edges. Rubber squeegees pick up pet hair. Also great for households with kids -- can suck up glitter!
What we dislike: Cord is on the short side.
Our take: A cordless stick vacuum from a trusted name brand.
What we like: Small, lightweight design stores easily. Stick handle leans back to vacuum under furniture. Also works on carpets.
What we dislike: Dust canister is small.
Ana Sanchez is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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