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Best hardwood floor vacuum cleaners

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. 

Best Overall

Shark DuoClean

Shark DuoClean

The soft rotating brush at the front gently cleans without damaging floors.
It has strong suction on different types of debris, including sawdust and flour.
An extra-long cord means you don't have to stop to find a new outlet as often.
This vacuum is more expensive than most in our comparison.
The DuoClean created a rather large dust cloud when it was time to empty it.
It is lightweight and portable for an upright, but it will seem heavy if you are used to a stick vac.

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.

Read the full review

Best Canister Hardwood Floor Vacuum

Eureka Mighty Mite

Eureka Mighty Mite

Strong suction means you can clean up different types of debris with ease.
The blower feature makes it handy for use in the shop.
A large dust bag means you don't have to stop to change it out very often.
This is a relatively loud vacuum that might be annoying for neighbors.
You cannot adjust the suction on this vacuum cleaner.
It has a relatively short warranty.

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

Dyson V7

Dyson V7

The cordless operation is convenient, especially for spot cleaning.
This one was amazing at picking up flour, meant to simulate fine dust in our testing.
The long wand makes it easy to clean draperies and other things besides floors.
A small dustbin means you have to stop and empty more often.
This one is relatively loud so it might be annoying to housemates and neighbors.
The battery life is pretty short so you will have to stop and recharge periodically.

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

Bissell Hard Floor Expert

This was the quietest hardwood floor vacuum we tested.
A relatively short power cord means you have to stop and find a new outlet on larger cleaning jobs.

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.

Best Warranty

Miele S194 Quickstep

Miele S194 Quickstep

Miele covers this unit for seven years, so you don't have to worry about potential repair costs.
The freestanding units are more convenient than this one for storage.

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.

Quick Tips

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.

How Much Does a Hardwood Floor Vacuum Cleaner Cost? 

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.

Design Extras
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.

ProductPriceOverall RatingPerformanceConvenience & DesignDesign ExtrasWarranty & SupportCleaning & SuctionSuction ControlBrush Roll ShutoffCleaning PathEase of UseWeight (pounds)Cord Length (feet)Noise (decibels)Capacity (ounces)CordlessBaglessRubber WheelsDusting BrushCrevice ToolWarrantyPhone & Email SupportVideo TutorialsService Centers
Shark DuoClean NV800View Deal4.5/5108108.3100%1090%15.3308232-5 Years-
BISSELL Hard Floor Expert Deluxe 1161View Deal4.5/59.38.8108.395%-1185%11.4167333.8-2 Years
Dyson V7View Deal4.5/58.8107.58.3100%--10100%5.2N/A8116.9-2 Years
Miele Swing H1View Deal4.5/59.5102.510100%-1190%10.4287983.2----7 Years-
Shark IONFlex IF251View Deal4.5/58.89108.385%1085%8.7N/A789.65 Years-
Hoover React BH53210View Deal4.5/58.58.5109.390%-10.575%7.3N/A7920.963 Years
Eureka Mighty Mite 3670GView Deal4.5/58.89.557.595%-1085%8.4208496---1 Year
Hoover Platinum Collection LiNX BH50010View Deal4/58.8958.392%-10.580%6.6N/A8132--2 Years
BISSELL Multi Reach 2151AView Deal4/57.59108.390%--9.585%5.3N/A8113.52 Years
Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away NV650WView Deal4/56.89.5108.352%11.585%16.43081105.6-5 Years-