The best vacuums for hardwood floors of 2023
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Updated Jan 18, 2023 3:13 PM
Hardwood floors are easier to clean than carpet, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need regular attention. A high-quality vacuum can make quick work of hardwood floors, but what exactly is the best vacuum for hardwood floors?
There are more variables than you might think for a vacuum cleaner. A good, high-quality vacuum needs to be able to suck up debris efficiently and effectively, retain that debris inside, maneuver around corners and obstacles, keep working for years, and pick up everything from pet hair to dust to spilled food. And there are so many types of vacuums that claim supremacy at hardwood floor cleaning! There are cordless stick vacuums, powerful canister vacuums, upright vacuums, vacuum-mop combos, and, lately, robot vacuum cleaners that zoom around all by themselves. Which one is right for you? Our guide should help you decide.
The best vacuums for hardwood floors: Reviews & Recommendations
Best robot vacuum: Eufy BoostIQ RoboVac 30
This fairly low-priced Eufy robot vacuum can automatically sense when it needs more power to suction up extra dirt, and will return to its docking station to charge when the battery is low. It’s also very slim, while still backing a 0.6-liter capacity for dirt. You won’t get the fancy room-mapping or voice-control capabilities, but you won’t miss them at this price.
Best cordless: Dyson V11 Torque Drive Cordless Vacuum Cleaner
The stylish and extremely lightweight Dyson V11 packs a surprising amount of suction into its 6.68-pound body. And with a 60-minute runtime, you’ll be able to clean a reasonable-sized hardwood-floored home on a single charge. It also has some three-level advanced filtration systems, which make it ideal for removing allergens and other nasty particles from your home. The tradeoff? Well, Dyson vacuums certainly aren’t cheap.
Best pet hair vacuum: Dyson Ball Multi-Floor 2
Another great offering from Dyson is this upright vacuum, larger and more powerful than the company’s cordless stick models. The ball design allows for easy maneuverability, even into annoying corners, and this vacuum can handle hardwood floors, carpet, tile, or any other material floors are made of. Users say it does an admirable job as a pet hair vacuum, though it is a little large to squeak under chairs and couches. It does, though, come with attachments that can get into those hard-to-reach spots.
Best vacuum-mop combo: Tineco iFLOOR
An innovative dual tank system on this vacuum-mop combo separates dirty water from clean, which means you’re always cleaning with fresh water. It’s cordless and even has a self-cleaning mode: it uses its own cleaning water to scrub its roller. The downside is that the battery is only rated for 22 minutes.
Best lightweight vacuum: Shark Rocket DuoClean Ultra Light
The soft brushroll on this vacuum is perfect for hardwood floors; it doesn’t just sweep, it actively scrubs even sticky messes. At under 10 pounds, it’s light enough to easily carry, and you can also remove the extended arm to use it as a handheld dustbuster.
Best under $100: Eureka WhirlWind Canister
This bagless corded canister vacuum has a 16-foot cord, which is plenty long for most use cases, and it has an automatic rewind feature so you don’t have to neatly wrap the cord yourself. It has a massive 2.5-liter compartment for dust storage, and you can easily disconnect the brush head to use the long wand to get hard-to-reach spots, like under the couch.
What to look for when buying the best vacuums for hardwood floors
Deciding which vacuum works best for you relies on a few different factors. Do you live in a home with stairs? If so, a heavy canister vacuum will be cumbersome, and you’ll either need multiple robot vacuum cleaners or to pick a single one up each time you clean; neither is ideal. Do you have one or more pets? Pet hair can get everywhere, but there are specialized vacuums to cope with our shedding friends. Read on for the best of each category and how to clean your hardwood floors.
Do you need a robot vacuum that does the job for you?
Just a decade or so ago, the idea of an affordable robot vacuum cleaner would have seemed nuts. But these days, robotic vacuums are both more effective and cheaper than ever before. Modern life has delivered robot cleaners that do our dirty house chores for us. Robotic vacuums vary slightly in how they work but, generally, they will move back and forth across the house, sweeping dust and debris into internal containers without any help from us pitiful humans.
More advanced (and expensive) robotic vacuums will map your home to more quickly avoid furniture, stairs, and other obstacles. They might automatically deposit swept-up debris in a docking station, or respond to voice commands. Our pick, though, is a fairly basic model: it does the most important thing any vacuum can do—picking up dirt—extremely well.
Looking for the convenience of a cordless vacuum?
With the benefits of increased suctioning power and improved batteries, cordless vacuums have come a long way. There’s nothing more convenient than not worrying about a cumbersome power cord and just going where the dirt is, whether that’s outside to a car, down into the basement, or into that corner of the house where there’s no outlet for 50 feet in any direction.
The downsides are that cordless vacuums generally aren’t quite as powerful as corded models, and the battery life is never as long as you’d like it to be. That said, the best cordless vacuums for hardwood floors should have at least a 30-minute operation per charge; any less than that, and too many jobs will have to be paused halfway through.
Do you need a vacuum to clean up after a pet?
Whether you have a cat, dog, or any other furry pet, there’s one near-universal fact about our animal friends: they leave hair behind. And pet hair can be a real pain to clean up, not just because it somehow gets everywhere, but because it also can irritate those with allergies. There are some specific “pet hair vacuums,” but we don’t think you really need one: a good quality regular vacuum will be able to handle pet hair as well as other dirt and debris.
Do you need a vacuum that mops as well?
If you’re looking for a great combo appliance, a vacuum-mop—vacuumop?—will save you time and energy. With a vacuum-mop combo, your hardwood floors won’t just be free of dust; they’ll glisten. Plus, they save space, because you can hopefully ditch your mop and bucket.
Need a vacuum that’s super lightweight?
Vacuums of the past were often bulky, heavy, and inconvenient to move around. Designs have greatly improved since those days, and vacuums now come in super lightweight options, without having to sacrifice too much power. The best lightweight vacuums for hardwood floors are typically bagless, which makes for minimal maintenance, and can be carried around the house easily, even up and downstairs.
Looking for a vacuum under $100?
When you’re looking to save money on a vacuum, there are some great budget options that are available under $100. In this price range, we recommend a corded vacuum: you’ll get a lot more power for your cash, and that’ll make for a better vacuum experience. Canister vacuums, too, are a great option here: in exchange for a slightly cumbersome system, you’ll get an absolute ton of suction and storage.
Q: Will robot vacuums scratch my floors?
Robot vacuums will not, under normal circumstances, scratch your floors. They’re typically made of soft-touch plastics, which are not nearly as hard as hardwood flooring. The only possible risk is if some kind of scratchy debris gets caught in the wheels, but that’s true of any vacuum.
Q: How often should you vacuum hardwood floors?
Ideally, you should vacuum your hardwood floors about twice a week, but, look, we’d understand if that seems overwhelming. If you don’t have the time or desire to vacuum quite that often, look into a robot vacuum—you can set them and forget them.
Q: How do professionals clean hardwood floors?
Professionals most often use super-powerful canister vacuums, but that’s just one of several steps: they’ll also mop, use cleaning solutions, and maybe even polish hardwood. That said, you can get by quite well with any of our recommended vacuums. Think of yourself as a talented amateur.
Related: Looking for a car vacuum? Check these out.
Keeping your floors clean can seem like a never-ending job. How, you might think, is it possible that so much dust, hair, and debris keeps finding its way to the floor? The best vacuums make it so much easier to keep your floors clean and allergen-free (plus free of fur if you get a pet hair vacuum). They might not be cheap, but you won’t regret buying one.
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