Best Vacuum for Hardwood Floors - 2019 Reviews and Test Results
We've spent more than 180 hours researching and testing hardwood floor vacuum cleaners since we started reviewing them in 2014, and the Shark Duo outshone the competition over and over again in our testing. The soft rolling brush on the front of this vacuum does a great job gathering all sorts of messes from hardwoods without damaging them. This vacuum is an amazing multitasker, so you don't have to buy a separate unit to clean your carpeting.
This vacuum solves the problem that most uprights have when cleaning hardwoods – getting close enough to the bare floor to collect debris without scattering messes or scuffing the floor. The DuoClean incorporates two types of brushes to thoroughly clean.
Eureka Mighty Mite
This is an ultralight model that could easily become a portable and practical second vacuum cleaner for upstairs or the shop. It also does a great job of maintaining hardwood flooring.
The Dyson V7 offers strong suction and cord-free convenience. The battery life is relatively short and the sound level is high but this vacuum works great.
|Product||Price||Overall Rating||Performance||Convenience & Design||Design Extras||Warranty & Support||Cleaning & Suction||Suction Control||Brush Roll Shutoff||Cleaning Path||Ease of Use||Weight (pounds)||Cord Length (feet)||Noise (decibels)||Capacity (ounces)||Cordless||Bagless||Rubber Wheels||Dusting Brush||Crevice Tool||Warranty||Phone & Email Support||Video Tutorials||Service Centers|
|Shark DuoClean NV800||View Deal||4.5/5||10||8||10||8.3||100%||✓||✓||10||90%||15.3||30||82||32||-||✓||✓||✓||✓||5 Years||✓||-||✓|
|BISSELL Hard Floor Expert Deluxe 1161||View Deal||4.5/5||9.3||8.8||10||8.3||95%||✓||-||11||85%||11.4||16||73||33.8||-||✓||✓||✓||✓||2 Years||✓||✓||✓|
|Dyson V7||View Deal||4.5/5||8.8||10||7.5||8.3||100%||-||-||10||100%||5.2||N/A||81||16.9||✓||✓||-||✓||✓||2 Years||✓||✓||✓|
|Miele Swing H1||View Deal||4.5/5||9.5||10||2.5||10||100%||-||✓||11||90%||10.4||28||79||83.2||-||-||-||-||✓||7 Years||✓||✓||-|
|Shark IONFlex IF251||View Deal||4.5/5||8.8||9||10||8.3||85%||✓||✓||10||85%||8.7||N/A||78||9.6||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||5 Years||✓||-||✓|
|Hoover React BH53210||View Deal||4.5/5||8.5||8.5||10||9.3||90%||-||✓||10.5||75%||7.3||N/A||79||20.96||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||3 Years||✓||✓||✓|
|Eureka Mighty Mite 3670G||View Deal||4.5/5||8.8||9.5||5||7.5||95%||-||✓||10||85%||8.4||20||84||96||-||-||-||✓||✓||1 Year||✓||✓||✓|
|Hoover Platinum Collection LiNX BH50010||View Deal||4/5||8.8||9||5||8.3||92%||-||✓||10.5||80%||6.6||N/A||81||32||✓||✓||✓||-||-||2 Years||✓||✓||✓|
|BISSELL Multi Reach 2151A||View Deal||4/5||7.5||9||10||8.3||90%||-||-||9.5||85%||5.3||N/A||81||13.5||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||2 Years||✓||✓||✓|
|Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away NV650W||View Deal||4/5||6.8||9.5||10||8.3||52%||✓||✓||11.5||85%||16.4||30||81||105.6||-||✓||✓||✓||✓||5 Years||✓||-||✓|
The Shark DuoClean Powered Lift-Away solves the problems that occur when cleaning hardwood flooring with average upright vacuums. While carpeting holds debris in place until the vacuum gets to it, the slick surface of hardwoods can mean that lots of messes just get blown out of the way by the vacuum’s exhaust or get flung out of the way by its rotating brushes.
If the bristles of the rotating brush are too coarse or positioned too close to the floor, they can even damage the hardwoods. The DuoClean has a soft rotating brush right out front that gently gathers debris from any surface and moves it into the path of this Shark's powerful suction. It outcleaned competitors in our tests and was able to remove all sorts of messes quickly.
This vacuum cleaner also tied for being the easiest to use – while cleaning and also while performing routine maintenance tasks. It was easy to see how to get the settings where they needed to be and to clean this vacuum, when needed. This is one of the bigger and heavier ones we tested, so if you are just looking for a lightweight second vacuum to clean a small hardwood floor on occasion, this is maybe more vacuum than you want. Instead, it is a comprehensive solution for cleaning all types of flooring – with the higher weight, stronger suction and bigger price that reflects that.
Best Canister Hardwood Floor Vacuum
If you would like something compact, portable and easy to move to different parts of the house, the Eureka Mighty Mite is a great option.
It has a ton of suction, especially considering how small it is. It outperformed most others in our laboratory tests for suction. This machine can also double as a blower for some shop vac applications. Also, it has a relatively long hose and a really long cord so you can cover a lot of ground unimpeded. We like that you can turn off the brushroll to lower the risk of damaging your hardwoods. We also like the relatively large dust bag, which means you won't have to empty it very often.
One drawback is the noise level. None of the vacuums are quiet, but this one is especially noisy. It also has a cleaning head that is sort of tough to maneuver, especially with the bristles down. It's not like the uprights that just glide over any surface or even like other canisters that are easier to move around. There is no suction control on this one either – you get what you get. The suction is good, though, so you won't generally have the urge to turn it up. A short warranty of just one year is one other drawback with this unit.
Best Stick Hardwood Floor Vacuum
This stick vacuum cleaner from Dyson offers superb suction and the convenience of cordless operation that can be especially helpful in maintaining hardwood flooring.
It is perfect for quick daily pick-ups. It is also good at deeper cleaning. In our tests it did a pretty good job of everything but was especially good at cleaning up flour, which was meant to simulate the fine dust that collects in a home. It struggled somewhat with cleaning up sawdust; it tended to blow it out of the way. Lots of the vacuum cleaners struggled with that, though, and it was able to clean all the sawdust eventually.
This machine tends to be a little loud. While no vacuum cleaner can be expected to operate silently, this one tied for the most noise, and that might be tough if you live in an apartment or like to clean at odd times. It also has a rather small dust cup and relatively short battery life, so you will have to stop pretty often. This might work best for quick cleanups as opposed to maintaining a home. It is lightweight, but even a little weight can get old if you are carrying it for long periods of time. Canister vacuums are easier in that regard because most of the weight is in the body, supported by the wheels.
Best for Quiet Operation
Bissell Hard Floor Expert is one of the few vacuums we tested that is specifically designed for cleaning hard floors and it really showed in our results.
It tied for the second best performance score overall and offers more customization than most of the units we tested – you get to choose the level of suction. It’s also quieter than most and that is not easy on hardwoods. The other canister that was in the running was the loudest vacuum we tested so the Hard Floor Expert really stood out for how quiet it was, and it still had impressive suction. This one produced only 73 decibels of sound which is pretty quiet for a vacuum cleaner. There are some drawbacks with this unit, including a short power cord, which means you will have to find an outlet more often on longer cleaning jobs. The hose is nice and long so you will have added reach in that regard.
The Miele S194 Quickstep had a sort of odd, top-heavy design that was less convenient in some ways, but it had a nice long warranty that made it stand out in a good way.
Miele covers this product for 7 years, so you can invest with confidence knowing you won't have to worry about paying for repairs if anything malfunctions. The same cannot be said of similar products that have just a year or two of coverage. This vacuum also was excellent in our tests tying for the best performance score. The suction was strong on all types of debris. The Quickstep was a little inconvenient in some ways because it tended to crash to the floor if it was not perfectly positioned against a table or wall. That was annoying when compared with the freestanding hardwood floor vacuums we tested, but it was great in important ways – strong suction and long warranty.
Why Trust Us?
We've spent more than 180 hours comparing the best options for bare floor vacuum cleaners since 2014. We've also spent many more hours comparing all types of vacuum cleaners, so we have a broad idea of what matters for this type of flooring specifically. While you do not need a vacuum cleaner that is specifically designed for hardwood floors, you do need one that has the features to protect and clean them most effectively. There is more than one type of vacuum that is effective for cleaning hardwoods, including uprights, canister and stick designs. We looked for the ones from each of those categories that will do the best job of cleaning your floors without damaging them.
We also interviewed experts in the field to get an idea of what to look for when selecting the best of the best. Keith Quimby is a Utah-based vacuum dealer and repairman with more than 30 years of experience. He said quality vacuum cleaners now are so well designed that they can take good care of even the most delicate wood flooring so there is no need to do the extra work of sweeping – just glide over it all with a good vacuum cleaner.
"I don't ever use a broom," Quimby said.
He strongly recommends bagged vacuum cleaners for anyone with allergies, and investing in the best possible unit you can afford. "Cheaper is never better," he said.
How We Tested
We put equal amounts of sawdust and flour on hardwood flooring to see how each vacuum cleaner would respond to different types of messes in your home. We counted passes to gauge suction power. The fewer the number of passes, the better the score. We also emptied dustbins or bags and located and cleaned filters on each vacuum cleaner. We used our observations about those tasks, along with general notes on our experience, to score overall ease of use for each unit. We also made note of things that can impact convenience and cleaning capability, including weight, cord length and bag capacity. We used a sound meter to evaluate noise levels, too, which can impact overall convenience.
You might be unaware that some waxes and hardwood floor restorers can actually damage your floor in the long run. The Readers Digest has a great article on tips and tricks to cleaning and maintaining your hardwood floors. If your hardtop floor is laminate as opposed to actual hardwood, take a look at this Good Housekeeping article on maintaining your laminate floor.
There are few vacuum cleaners designed and marketed for hardwood floors specifically, but we found a few that make those claims, ranging in price from about $80 to $350. The best-selling hardwood floor vacuum cleaners average about $80 on popular sites like Amazon. Generally, the more expensive units had better suction – the ones that got a perfect score in our testing cost $200 or more.
Key Features to Look For
In addition to strong suction, the best vacuum cleaners for hardwood floors have features designed to protect flooring. Look for units that let you turn off the rolling brush when you are on your hardwood flooring. Those brushes are designed to coax hair and other embedded debris out of carpeting. On hardwoods they scatter debris and even scratch flooring, in some cases.
Convenience & Design
Look for long cords so you don't have to keep finding a new outlet. Also try to find a lightweight device you can easily carry to different areas of your home. And since most manufacturers list the decibel level for each vacuum cleaner, be sure to find one that is relatively quiet.
Look for wheels that are not plastic. Some plastic wheels can damage delicate wood flooring. It is also worth noting what accessories you get with each vacuum cleaner. The more there are, the easier it is to clean your whole house with just one machine.
Help & Support
A long warranty is a good sign that the manufacturer has confidence in the vacuum cleaner. Look for a manufacturer that you can contact in lots of different ways, too, in case you have problems with your vacuum.
Tips for Allergy Sufferers
Vacuuming dust from your floors seems like a good idea for allergy sufferers, until you realize it can actually make your indoor air quality worse. To ensure you kick up the least dust possible, follow these tips:
1. Go for Bags – Vacuum cleaners with dust cups are better than ever at filtering out particles as they clean, but they still create a dust cloud when you empty them. Bagged models contain the dust better when you empty them.
2. Be Picky About Filters – Look for HEPA filters that have been certified as meeting the U.S. Department of Energy standards for eliminating 99.99 percent of dust. A true HEPA filter on a bad vacuum is not a perfect solution, but it will help.
3. Keep Up on Maintenance – Empty the dust cup or bag often and clean and replace filters so your vacuum works at its best.
4. Empty Bag or Dust Cup Outside – That way, you don’t release dust back into your home.
5. Slow Down – Going a little slower in your passes gives the vacuum time to pick up as much dust as possible. Also, get into corners as often as you can – dust can hide there.
6. Consider Wearing a Mask – The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America recommends wearing a mask when you dust or vacuum to lessen the likelihood of an asthma attack.