The Shark DuoClean Powered Lift-Away Speed wood floor vacuum did an amazing job of cleaning up different types of messes on multiple types of flooring, including all bare floors. Our favorite hardwood floor vacuum cleaner does such a good job on all surfaces that you won't have to buy a separate unit for your hardwoods. It is designed with two types of rolling brushes – a soft one right out front and a more traditional bristled brush behind it. The brushes work together to clear bigger debris and finer particles even on the barest of flooring. This vacuum cleaner is impressive but if you were hoping to get a cordless unit, check out the Dyson V7.
The problem with many vacuum cleaners when they get on hardwood flooring is that they don't get close enough to the surface to really clean or they blow the mess out of the way before they can suck it up. Or, the rolling brush is too harsh on sometimes-soft hardwood. The DuoClean solves those problems with a smart set of features that works together to clean on hardwood flooring and carpeting without harming either.
We spread some sawdust on hardwood flooring in our test lab to see how quickly each vacuum could clean it up. The DuoClean made it very easy to clean both the sawdust and the flour we spread out on the flooring to simulate fine dust particles. All of the vacuum cleaners we tested blew the sawdust out of the way at least a little before sucking it up, but the DuoClean did this the least. It made quick work of the cleanup, even of the flour, much of which was left behind by the competing units. This was the only one that left a clear path in its wake.
You have some control over how this unit functions at any given time. There is a switch on the handle that lets you adjust a few settings to optimize for thick carpet, low carpet or bare floors. There is not a specific button or knob for adjusting how far away the cleaning head is from the flooring the way there is with some competing units, but the adjustments we could make were more than sufficient. We found it performed well on all surfaces even when we forgot to switch the settings for different floor types. The suction was great the whole time, even on the bare floor, which is naturally farther away from the cleaning head on normal settings.
This hardwood floor vacuum is quite intuitive to use. It was easy to find the controls we wanted when we wanted them. The DuoClean is also rather quiet in its operation, which is nice. It only generated 82 decibels in our tests. It also tied for the longest cord in our bare floor vacuum reviews, so you know you won't have to stop to find a new outlet often even if you are cleaning a rather large area.
The only design aspect that is less than ideal is a rather large dust cloud that forms whenever it is time to empty the dust bin. The cloud is temporary but is still disconcerting, especially if you have allergies. All of the vacuum cleaners with dust cups create a cloud, but this one was bigger than those. This particular dust cup has a few tight corners, so the finer debris was caught in those corners before we got a chance to empty the bin. When it all came loose there was a cloud. This only happened when the bin was close to full, though.
The DuoClean has an integrated hose and extension wand that offer an impressive amount of reach. You can use them in conjunction with the crevice tool and dusting brush to clean a truly wide variety of surfaces effectively, including draperies, ceiling fans and furniture. The hose and all of the attachments are seamlessly integrated into the body of the vacuum, so it is easy to remove them when needed and then snap them back into place and go back to normal upright vacuuming mode.
Shark has an impressively long warranty that covers this vacuum for five years. Only the Dyson model in our comparison beats that. Shark customer support is relatively good, too; we received an email reply quickly. The website is very informative and includes helpful information about this model.
Many of the vacuums we reviewed in this category are just good at wood floors, but the DuoClean is great at cleaning everything, including wood floors. That makes its relatively high price worth it. There is no need to buy a separate unit for your bare floor areas when this one can clean them plus the rest of the house. The initial investment is significant, but the long warranty offers a lot of peace of mind and so does the impressive feature set. The soft rolling brush at the front is great for treating even delicate wood flooring right – cleaning it without scratching it. This vacuum works on the largest and the smallest particles, on carpeting and wood flooring, making it a solid investment.