Convenience & Design
Warranty & Support
Best Hardwood Floor Vacuum Cleaners
Why Buy a Hardwood Floor Vacuum?
Hardwood floors are not only aesthetically pleasing – they can also increase the property value of your home. While they add beauty to the room they are in, hardwood floors can be difficult to clean without damaging the surface. They can also be more complicated to clean. A broom and mop are effective but time consuming, and most vacuum cleaners are designed to clean carpeting. In order to clean hardwood quickly and without damaging it, you need a vacuum specifically designed to clean wooden floors, or at least one that can multitask.
Your best bet is the Shark DuoClean Powered Lift-Away Speed, our Top Ten Reviews Gold Award winner. This hardwood floor vacuum cleaner obliterates two types of messes – high piles of larger debris and the low-lying fine dust. There is a soft rolling brush right out front as well as a bristled brush roll inside the cleaning head that helps get both kinds of mess on different kinds of flooring, including hardwood. You can switch the bristled brush off if you are cleaning older hardwood floors that might be more susceptible to scratching.
Another wonderful option is the Bissell Hard Floor Expert Deluxe, which adjusts height and suction settings to clean all your hardwood flooring effectively but gently. Our Top Ten Reviews Silver Award winner is a good choice if you like the convenient portability of a canister for taking up and down stairs, or to other areas of the home. It is also nice for cleaning draperies and upholstery.
Rounding out the top three wood floor vacuum cleaners is another Shark, the Rotator Powered Lift-Away TruePet. This too is a multifunctional unit that is powerful enough to clean fine dust out of carpets but gentle enough to clean your hardwood flooring effectively. Our Top Ten Reviews Bronze Award winner allows you to switch the brush roll on or off to protect delicate flooring.
The Hardwood Floor Vacuum Cleaner Difference
Many hardwood floor vacuums have the same design and power as a standard vacuum, but weigh significantly less, and you can adjust the features to make them safer to use on wooden floors. The best vacuums for hardwood floors have suction control settings that you can adjust for the surface you are cleaning. They also have either an automatic or a manual height adjuster, so you can change it to the most effective height for cleaning your hardwood.
The ability to turn off the brush roll on your vacuum is one of the most important features when working with wood. Unless the bristles are made of fine material, they could scratch your hardwood as you roll your vacuum across the floor. Rubber wheels can also help you avoid scratching the wood while you vacuum.
In order to provide the fairest comparison of products, we evaluated vacuums, whether they were stick, canister or upright, that are designed to clean hardwood floors for less than $300. There are more expensive options out there, but we found some outstanding options in that price range.
Several other review categories detail other types of vacuums and even more brands if you need different features than those compared in our hardwood floor vacuum reviews. We have comparison lineups for standard upright vacuums, robot vacuums, stick vacuums (electric brooms) and shop vacuums.
Hardwood Floor Vacuum Cleaners: How We Tested, What We Found
The amount of dirt the vacuum picks up, as well as the noise level, serve as two key attributes of hardwood floor vacuums. Manufacturers promote the effectiveness of products but exclude specifications based on collection levels and noise. We carried out our own tests to assess the effectiveness and quietness of each hardwood floor vacuum.
In order to test how well the vacuums lift particles off a bare floor, we scattered a fixed amount of sawdust and evaluated how much of the distributed dust was lifted and how many passes it took to do so. For the most part, the vacuums lifted 90 to 100 percent of the sawdust off the floor, with the exception of the lower-ranked models that struggled to pick up everything. Regardless of how much debris was lifted off the floor, the best vacuums required minimal passes over the sawdust to pick it all up. These figures helped us determine which vacuums had the best suction power and the most effective cleaning performance.
While the amount of dirt the vacuum picks up is important, the noise level also figures in as a determining factor. For each vacuum, we recorded the noise level directly above the motor. There were no major differences between the vacuums, but if you need to clean up your living space while a baby is napping in the next room a little bit less sound can make a big difference. Cordless models produced the least amount of noise.
What Else Is Important in Selecting a Hardwood Floor Vacuum Cleaner?
While the vacuum’s effectiveness should serve as a leading consideration when purchasing a hardwood floor vacuum cleaner, other features and capabilities should factor into your choice as well. Here are a few key questions you should ask when considering what features you need:
Brush Roll Shutoff: Will You Be Using the Vacuum on Multiple Floor Types?
With hardwood floor vacuums, you have to be aware of what type of material the brush roll is made of. If the bristles are soft, the brush roll is safe for hardwood and you can use your vacuum with peace of mind. However, vacuums that work on carpets in addition to hardwood require a stiff brush roll in order to work effectively on carpeted areas. In those cases, the vacuum requires a brush roll shutoff that lifts the brush off the ground and turns it off while you vacuum bare floors. In some models, the vacuum does not have a brush roll at all and relies solely on the suction.
Each of these types of vacuums has its advantages, but some of the brush rolls can scatter messes instead of cleaning them. Also, a few are prone to scatter messes when they are just on suction mode, blowing the mess out of the way first. We tested all of them in order to know for sure.
Premium Features: Do You Want a Corded or Battery-Operated Vacuum?
Like standard vacuums, you can purchase hardwood floor vacuums that rely on either electric or battery power. For small cleanups or little rooms, a battery-operated vacuum effectively picks up the floor without the hassle of a cord. Some of these vacuums have the same amount of power and suction as corded models but weigh less and are easy to maneuver. However, the average life of a hardwood floor vacuum battery is only 15-20 minutes, and it usually takes between three and six hours to recharge it. These types of models also tend to limit how many attachments you can use with the vacuum.
With corded models, you do not have to worry about recharging your battery. You can vacuum multiple levels and entire homes; however, the length of the cord limits you to vacuuming one room at a time and then plugging it in again. Corded hardwood floor vacuums also come with a hose and cleaning tools to help you reach difficult areas like corners and edges.
Our comparison chart details other important features to look for with hardwood floor vacuums. Whether the vacuum uses batteries or electricity, you will want a high number of volts or amps. Most vacuum motors range from seven to twelve amps on the corded models, providing a sufficient amount of power and suction to clean your floors. You also should consider the size of both the cleaning path and the dirt collector. Large cleaning paths reduce how many times you have to pass over the carpet. A high-capacity dirt container, whether it is a bag or cup, allows you to finish your vacuuming session before emptying the dirt out.
We also detail the differences in warranty and support for each product. While most offer standard customer service, companies differ in the warranties on their models. Models with at least a two-year warranty indicate quality.
Hardwood Floor Vacuum Cleaners: Our Verdict & Recommendations
A hardwood floor vacuum can be helpful for cleaning your bare floors safely and effectively. Using a vacuum cleaner designed for carpets on your hardwood flooring will just lead to frustration, and possibly even damage your floors. The best hardwood vacuums give you more power than a broom and can do the same cleaning job more quickly than a broom. With various attachments and tools, you can even vacuum hard-to-reach areas. Additionally, they are gentle enough that they will not harm your floors as you clean, whether that means turning off the brush roll completely or using only soft bristles. A well-designed hardwood floor vacuum cleaner can save you time and effort as you maintain your home.