Best Vacuum for Hardwood Floors Reviews of 2020
BISSELL 2306A Crosswave Pet Pro Vacuum Cleaner and Mop for Hard floors
Best vacuum-mop for hardwood floors
A versatile machine designed to vacuum and wash your hard floors at the same time.
1 BISSELL 2306A Review
The BISSELL 2306A is the best vacuum for hardwood floors, a versatile machine designed to tackle all household chores. Its CrossWave function combines the cleaning power of a vacuum with the utility of a floor mop, helping you finish all your tasks faster.
A dual tank technology keeps clean and dirty water separate, so you’ll always be cleaning your floors with a mix of fresh water and detergent.
It has a smooth action that will not scratch your expensive floors. Furthermore, it’s also compatible with a pet brush roll that can get rid of pet hair and messes, including cat litter.
What we like best is that the pet brush roll is also gentle on delicate surfaces, so it won’t damage hardwood floors, while also doing an excellent job on the carpets.
Then, the innovative microfiber and nylon mop can wash your floors and pick up dry debris at the same time. Powerful enough to get rid of stubborn messes yet delicate, this hardwood floor vacuum is the best you can find.
Shark Navigator NV356E Lift-Away Professional Vacuum
Best for the entire house
Its two-in-one design lets you lift the canister for easier cleaning of stairs and hard-to-reach areas.
2 Shark NV356E Review
If you’re looking for the best vacuum for hard floors and not only, know that the Shark NV356E brings outstanding value for money. It doesn’t have a fancy mop feature, but it’s more than powerful and versatile enough to help you finish your chores quickly and easily.
Its best feature is the Lift-Away button that lets you lift the canister for easier cleaning of stairs, curtains, and hard-to-reach areas.
Its gentle bare floor cleaning function can suit anyone with hardwood floors. Not only it’ll help you get rid of all messes, it also protects hardwood from scuffs and scratches.
This beast also comes with a deep brush roll for the carpets, and we truly like the anti-allergen complete seal technology that traps almost all dust.
Moreover, all these features come at a great price, all you need if you want to clean your whole house in all peace of mind.
Shark HV301 Rocket Bagless Vacuum for Carpet and Hard Floor Cleaning
Best combo hard floor vac
This vacuum turns from upright to handheld in a blink of an eye, for versatile cleaning of all surfaces.
3 Shark HV301 Review
Weighing under 8 pounds, the Shark HV301 is a versatile upright vacuum designed to convert into a hand vac. It’s great for cleaning all surfaces in your home, especially the hardwood floors thanks to its gentle clean function.
Furthermore, this versatile unit is also compatible with car cleaning nozzles and accessories, so you can use it for overall house and car cleaning.
The accessories are not included in the box but are readily available from the manufacturer for a small extra cost.
This vacuum is not only perfect to use on bare hardwood floors, thanks to the swivel steering, it’s also very easy to maneuver around furniture. It doesn’t have the suction power our top picks are praised for, but it’s an excellent choice for anyone looking for an all-around vacuum to use at home or on the go.
Bissell 81L2A PowerEdge Pet Hardwood Floor Stick Vacuum
A cheap yet high-quality alternative
An inexpensive vacuum designed for hard floors and households with pets.
4 Bissell 81L2A Review
The Bissell 81L2A might not have all the bells and whistles of the other vacuums on this list, but it’s a great choice for homeowners looking for a cheap alternative. It can clean hard floors only but impresses with a large suction path.
Its V-Shape head design boosts both maneuverability and performance. It captures small and larger debris alike, and it’s even powerful enough to clean hardwood or tile floors from pet messes. But the true value of this design is that you’ll be able to clean the corners in all peace of mind.
The unit is also easy to clean and maintain, but pay attention to do it regularly, or it may clog. All in all, though, this is a cheap machine that can serve you well if you only need a vacuum for hard floors and don’t care about versatility.
What type of vacuum do I need?
Brands tend to categorize their vacuums based on their principal function even if they actually serve more purposes. Here’s what you should consider based on the type of floor or messes you want to clean.
- Best vacuum for hardwood floors: Hardwood floors are quite delicate; you can scratch or scuff them easily, that’s why it is essential to get a vacuum designed specifically for them. These vacs usually have a smooth microfiber roll, and some even boast a mop feature, for quick and easy cleaning of all debris and messes. Luckily, you can pick from a wide range of types, from the canister to robotic.
- Best vacuum cleaner for carpet: Carpets require a stiff brush roll that can dig up dirt. If you have different types of carpet in your home, such as shag carpet, thick carpet, or high pile carpet, the best option is a canister or upright vacuum with motorized head attachment, which delivers more suction. A height-adjustable brush roll may also help you clean your floors faster.
- Best vacuum for pet hair and messes: Cat and dog hair, cat litter, and other pet messes require outstanding suction power, especially if you have carpeted floors. If your pet is allowed on furniture, you may also need upholstery attachments. An upright, stick, or combo vacuum could be your best bet.
- Best vacuum for stairs: A canister or upright vacuum that turns into a canister is ideal for stairs, as it’s easier to carry up and down. What type of nozzles and attachments you need depends on whether your stairs are carpeted or hardwood.
- Best vacuum for tile floors: Tile floors have more or less the same requirements as the hardwood, and you can pick the unit following the same criteria.
- Best vacuum for laminate floors: Laminate floors are as delicate as hardwood, but they don’t pair well with water. A dry vacuum would be best in this case, but you can still choose your preferred type from the canister to robotic.
- Best vacuum for car: A handheld vacuum is undoubtedly your best bet. If you aim for more power, know that some stick vacuums turn into a handheld, and there are also some combo upright units you could check. Regardless of the model you choose, make sure it comes with a variety of nozzles and accessories so that you can access all awkward spaces and corners in your vehicle.
- Best vacuum for allergies: If you or anyone in your family suffers from allergies, invest in a vacuum cleaner with HEPA filter. Wet-dry vacs also tend to trap more allergens than standard vacuum cleaners.
Types of vacuums for hard floors
You have hopefully decided which vacuum you need. Now, it’s time to decide which type of hard floor vacuum to go for. You can essentially choose between the following six types:
- Canister vacuums: Have a traditional design and consist of a nozzle that attaches to the main unit via a hose. These models are the best if you have stairs or if you want to clean curtains and harder-to-reach spots, as the flexible hose is easier to maneuver in tighter or awkward areas. You will also be able to carry the canister in one hand while vacuuming with the other.
- Upright vacuums: Don’t have a hose, but a rigid body that looks similar to a floor sweeper. They still have a generous dust container but are harder to maneuver on stairs or hard-to-reach areas. Most upright vacuums let you switch from brush roll to gentle cleaning, but their head is usually fixed, so you won’t be able to replace it with nozzles or accessories.
- Stick vacuums: Are compact, lightweight, and easy to maneuver, but are not as powerful as canister or upright. Their bin is also rather small. They are a great choice for a smaller home though.
- Robotic vacuums: Are robots designed to clean the house for you. There are many robot hardwood floor vacuums cleaners that will not only suck dust, will also wash your floors thanks to an incorporated mop function. However, they will never provide the deep-cleaning level you can achieve from all other types of vacuums.
- Wet-dry vacuums: Also called shop vacs, are ideal for hard floors but typically too cumbersome for domestic use. However, they can suck both dry debris and wet spills, a great advantage over all other vacuums. Due to their versatility, we have already dedicated wet-dry vacuums a complete buying guide.
- Combo vacuums: These are either upright or stick vacuums that convert to the handheld. Perhaps the most versatile on the market, you can use these vacs to clean your floors, tables, upholstery, stairs, and even your car in all peace of mind.
Corded vs. cordless hardwood floor vacuum
All domestic vacuum cleaners are electric, but some come with a cord while others are powered by batteries. Both types can output outstanding performance, and the choice usually gravitates between run time and mobility.
Cordless hardwood floor vacuums have a rather bad reputation in terms of run time. Batteries usually drain in minutes and recharge in hours, so the cleaning process won’t be the smoothest if you have a big house.
Luckily, some brands do provide their units with more reliable batteries, and these may give you up to an hour of continuous vacuuming per charge.
You won’t have to worry about runtime with a corded vacuum, but the length of the cord could put serious limits. We recommend a cord of at least 20 feet if you want to have some flexibility.
Hardwood floor vacuum suction
The main specification to look for when assessing your hardwood floor vacuum suction power is the airflow, typically expressed in cubic feet per minute (CFM). This number will tell you how much air goes from the head to the bin in one minute, and most domestic vacuums have airflow from 50 to over 100 CFM.
When buying a vacuum for hard floors you don’t need a unit with a very high CFM. Things are slightly different if you have pets or also want to clean rugs or carpeted areas; in this case, you might need a higher CFM that can pick up debris embedded in the carpet piles.
Vacuum for pets vs. hard floor vacuum
If you have a pet, you probably know by now that your fur baby’s hair sticks to everything, including your handsome hardwood floor. Because getting rid of it requires strong suction power, the best thing is to get a hard floor vacuum cleaner with adjustable suction.
This function will let you switch from low to high suction as needed. The best vacuum for pets must also have a variety of nozzles you can use to clean cat litter, other pet messes, and your upholstery.
Best vacuum for carpets and hardwood floors
In case you have both carpeted and hard floors, get a vacuum cleaner with adjustable suction and a brush roll.
Accessories and cleaning capabilities
If you want to make the most out of your vacuum for hard floors, get a unit that has multiple cleaning capabilities or that adapts to multiple uses.
Regarding cleaning capabilities, you must decide if you want a dry vacuum alone or one that also comes with a mop function.
- Dry vacuums: Will only suck in dirt and debris, but they can’t provide deep cleaning. However, they are ideal for laminate floors and other types of floors that can’t get damp.
- Mop function vacs: Can both vacuum clean and wash your surface, and some of the best vacuums for hard floors even perform both functions at the same time. These are great for tile and hardwood floors.
Regarding accessories, some vacuums come with different nozzles you can use to clean tighter spots, upholstery, and even your car. If you aim to vacuum clean curtains, maybe you should check if the vacuum comes with extension wands.
Hardwood floor vacuum filters
One of the most important components of a vacuum cleaner, the filter traps dust into the unit and prevents it from escaping back into your room. There are three main types of filters:
- Auto-cleaning filters: Are built into the vacuum and clean themselves periodically. These are the best if you don’t really like maintenance, but vacuums with auto-cleaning filters are usually expensive.
- Washable filters: These filters don’t clean themselves, but you will have to wash them periodically. They are less expensive than the auto-cleaning kind, and you won’t have to buy new ones.
- Replaceable filters: You can’t clean or wash these filters; instead, you will have to replace them periodically. While these are the cheapest, they are also a constant cost.
Most filters in all three categories do their job wonderfully, but if you’re suffering from allergies, you should get a vacuum cleaner with HEPA filter. Standing for high-efficiency particulate air, HEPA filters remove up to 99% of dust and allergens with a size of 0.3 microns or higher.
Beware of vacuums that come with HEPA-like or HEPA quality filters. These are not certified and may not remove allergens effectively. Make sure the label says Certified HEPA if you want to get the real deal.
Other important features
Besides all the above, here are a few important features to consider when choosing the best vacuum for hard floors.
- Maneuverability: A vacuum with swivel head will improve maneuverability around furniture and other obstacles. A canister type could be more suitable if you also want to clean the floor area under the furniture.
- Weight: Lightweight vacuums are easier to maneuver but also easier to carry if you want to clean stairs or hard-to-reach areas.
- Bin capacity: The capacity can vary massively, depending on the type of vacuum you want. Stick and handheld models have smaller bins with a capacity of around 0.1 gallons; canister and upright vacuums can have bins with a capacity of around 1 gallon.
- Noise level: Vacuum cleaners are usually quite loud, but you should still aim to get the quietest possible.
- Storage: Also consider the storage space before deciding upon a unit. Stick vacuums are the easier to store, whereas canister is the bulkiest.
Best Vacuum for Hardwood Floors for the Money
Shark Navigator NV356E Lift-Away Professional VacuumBest for the entire house
Its two-in-one design lets you lift the canister for easier cleaning of stairs and hard-to-reach areas.