When searching for the best vacuum for hardwood floors we considered over a hundred different vacuums. We included upright, canister, stick, and robotic vacuums on our list. We even took a look at some industrial models. From there, we narrowed our list down to the top 20 vacuums. After getting feedback from owners and some in-home tests, we’ve narrowed down our top picks – the Shark Navigator Lift-away Pro with Dust-Away.
Best Vacuum for Hard Floors
Why vacuums for hardwood floors?
Hardwood floors are timeless. They’re natural looking, versatile, and if they are well maintained they can last for generations. Whether your floors are newly installed or are older than you are, you’ll want to take care of them.
Hardwood floors present particular challenges to your everyday vacuum. Many vacuums rely on a combination of suction and bristles to remove dirt, dust, pet hair, and other allergens from the floor. This combination works great for rugs and carpet because the bristles can get below the surface level and clean deeply. For bare floors like wood this method of cleaning isn’t as effective.
Bristles don’t work well on hard wood – often they just push dust and dirt around instead of actually picking it up. It’s much closer to a broom than a vacuum. Because of this, the vacuum relies on the suction power to clean dirt and debris. When things like pet hair get stuck between the planks of your wood flooring and everyday vacuum will struggle. Small dust particles will be left behind – with a standard vacuum, you may end up having to sweep your floors after you’re done vacuuming.
What’s worse is that hard wood floors are much more delicate than carpet or tile. Vacuums with stiff bristles may scratch your floor or wear away the finish, leaving your wood floors looking dull and worn. If the vacuum has hard plastic rollers, or any jagged points on the vacuum head, you could accidentally do permanent damage to your flooring.
Because of these unique challenges, it helps to buy a vacuum that’s designed specifically for wood flooring. When buying the best vacuum for hardwood floor, there are specific features that you should look for:
- Strong suction power to clean between the wood planks
- No beater brushes or stiff bristles
- Rubber or felt lined wheels to avoid damage
- Compact, lightweight and maneuverable
- Versatility – you want a vacuum that is fantastic for hardwood but will still get the job done in the rest of the house
Best hardwood floor vacuum
Top Pick – Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional
The Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional Pro with Dust-Away is the best hardwood floor vacuum. We think it stands out among the competition for a few key reasons.
It has the strong suction required to remove dust and grime from the spaces between the planks in your wood floor. This Shark vacuum has a sealed system with a HEPA filter that traps 99.9% of dust and allergens. The bagless collection system is means there is no ongoing cost to run your vacuum cleaner. And the 2.2 quart capacity means you won’t have to dump your dust cup halfway through the job.
The thing that makes this the best vacuum for wood floors is the Dust Away attachment with Microfiber pads. Many vacuums skim the top of bare floors with spinning bristles that push the dirt and debris around without collecting it.
The Dust Away attachment has a powerful suction nozzle in the front to collect any dirt and then is followed by a microfiber cloth to pick up any fine dust that might not have been captured from suction. No dust, dirt, or allergen is left behind – you’ll be shocked at the difference compared to your normal vacuum. This makes the Shark Navigator Lift-Away Pro great for hardwood floors, tile, or any other bare floor.
There are other vacuums that work well for hardwood floors, but they often come at a cost. This specific Shark model is our top pick because it is exceptional for cleaning wood, but it’s also incredibly versatile. The standard vacuum head (or floor nozzle) has traditional bristles and works great for cleaning rugs or carpets, so it works well as a traditional upright vacuum.
On top of that, the canister detaches from the floor nozzle so you can take the vacuum anywhere. Toss in the included attachments and everything is within reach. You can easily vacuum stairs, clean ceiling fan blades, collect the dust from your curtains, or vacuum the interior of your car.
We love the Shark Lift-Away Pro. It’s maneuverable, it does the job well, and it’s a workhorse that should last you for years. does have a cord, so you’ll need to plug it in, but we’re willing to deal with that in exchange for the amount of suction provided. Our only complaint is that it’s not as attractive as a Dyson vacuum or some of the cordless models. But for under $200 we’re okay sticking it in the closet when we’re done!
Runner up – Bissell Hard Floor Expert Multi-Cyclonic Bagless Canister Vacuum
This particular Bissell vacuum cleaner has been designed to specifically clean hardwood floors. The canister design gives you powerful suction in a lightweight, maneuverable package that makes vacuuming quick and painless. It features a specialized turbine foot to pick up dirt, dust and pet hair. It’s designed specifically for hard floors – the soft bristles will preserve your hardwood floors but still make this vacuum effective when cleaning area rugs or rooms with carpet.
Bissell took extra care in designing this canister vacuum for hardwood floors. The large rear wheels will glide over the cracks in your floors with ease, so the canister won’t get stuck while you’re moving about the room. And the wheels themselves are covered with rubber so you won’t have to worry about the vacuum scratching or denting your flooring.
The Shark Lift-Away Pro is still a more versatile option because of the specialized attachments and its portability. The Shark also features a HEPA filter making it the better choice for people with allergies or who those with pets. But the Bissell Hard Floor Expert Multi-Cyclonic Bagless Canister Vacuum is a great choice if you are looking for a lower cost option than our top pick and don’t require as many bells and whistles.
Budget pick – Bissell PowerEdge Hard Floor Vacuum
If you are running on a tight budget the Bissell PowerEdge is the best option for you. It will help you get rid of fine and large particles on your wood floor. It does not use a brush roll, so no worries about scratches or marks from hard bristles. The Bissell PowerEdge features V-shaped wipers that remove large debris while fine particles are cleaned by the arms. The V-shaped foot makes the vacuum incredibly easy to use when working around furniture or trying to get into tight corners. It’s a bagless vacuum with a similar cyclonic suction system as our runner up, so it will work great for pet hair.
The downside here is this hard floor vacuum is just that – it will work great on hardwood or tile, but will not be very effective for carpet. That being said, we’ve seen it on sale for under $50. At that price point the Bissell PowerEdge Hard Floor Vacuum makes a great entry level vacuum or a viable alternative to a broom and dustpan.
Miele Complete C2 Limited Edition
Miele has a long tradition of delivering high quality, durable and dependable vacuum cleaners. The Miele Complete C2 is a corded vacuum that is great for cleaning hardwood floors, and the limited edition yellow model makes a cheery addition to any chore. It has a Deluxe handle grip that has electro brush control. The suction control is adjustable and its hose locks in place to enable easy storage. It has built-in tool storage and this is one of the reasons why it is a great option. This model from Miele features 6- power setting that are controlled with rotary dial. It is versatile and can work on various surfaces. When operating, this model quieter than most models on the market today which makes cleaning much more pleasant. It lacks the dedicated hardwood features and the versatility of our top pick, but it is by far the most stylish choice and might actually outlast your hardwood floors.
Best Stick Vacuum for Hardwood Floors
Shark DuoClean Rocket Corded Ultralight Vacuum
The Shark DuoClean Rocket Corded Ultralight Vacuum is the best stick vacuum for hardwood floors. It features the DuoClean Technology which combines a system of dual brush roll in a single head. As a result, this model provides unbelievable carpet and hard floor cleaning. It also has Triple Particle Cleaning feature which enables it to pull large, stuck on and small particles from carpets and hard floors. To enable you to clean surfaces above the floor, you can easily convert the vacuum to a weight of 4.6 lb. This is through its ultra lightweight feature that enhances its versatility. This option is bagless hence, eco-friendly and convenient. However, this Shark model could not be the top pick because its versatility cannot match that of this guide’s top pick. Nevertheless, this must be the best stick vacuum for hardwood floors.
Best Robot Vacuum for Hardwood Floors
The Ecovades DEEBOT N79 Robotic Vacuum
This is a small but powerful automatic cleaner. Robotic vacuums work well for people who have mobility issues, lots of cleaning to do (in the case of small children or pets), are short on time, or just like the novelty of having an automated helper. They also tend to work much better in single level homes – sending a robotic vacuum on a trip down the stairs is the easiest way to break it.
We like the DEEBOT N79 for a few reasons. First, it can be controlled with a smartphone app, which makes it much easier to set up and control. There’s need to guess whether or not you’ve entered the right sequence of buttons. The DEEBOT N79 has a big lithium ion battery that lets it run for nearly two hours on a single charge. It can also find its charging dock and recharge itself automatically, so you won’t have to worry about it dying mid-clean. With three types of sensors, the DEEBOT N79 can detect drops as low as 3.1”, so you won’t have to worry about it accidentally diving down the stairs.
There are two reasons why the DEEBOT N79 is the best robot vacuum for hardwood floors. First, the small brushless motor allows for very powerful suction relative to its size, which is important to thoroughly clean hard floors. Second, the “direct suction mode” allows you to disengage the rotating brush under the robotic vacuum which will help protect your floors.
Robot vacuums like the DEEBOT or the Roomba are still limited compared to a traditional vacuum. It’s hard to beat the versatility or overall power of a vacuum like the Shark Navigator Lift-Away Pro. But as far as robotic vacuums go the DEEBOT is by far the best robot vacuum for hardwood floors. When compared to the Roomba 980 or the Roomba 690 the DEEBOT N79 is a fraction of the cost, which makes it an excellent value.
How we picked
Vacuum cleaners are categorized into seven types:
Deciding which type of vacuum is best for you comes down to a few different considerations.
Size – Cleaning is a physical activity. Therefore, how much weight you can push around when cleaning matters. Size also determines whether or not you can work around furniture or if you must move it to clean. It’s also a consideration when determining how you’ll store your vacuum.
Level of dirt – Are you dealing with pet hair? If yes, hair is the dirt you are likely to clean up than any other. Look for a vacuum with special attachments like crevice tool and turbo brush for pet hair removal. It will make cleaning your furniture that much easier. If you suffer from allergies you’ll want to find a vacuum that is sealed and has a good filter to trap any dust, dander and allergens.
Reliability and durability – Vacuums can be expensive. Spending slightly more for a more reliable model can pay dividends. You’ll want a vacuum with a reliable motor, sturdy construction, and high quality parts. One area to pay close attention to is the vacuum foot – as the brush head spins thousands of times it’s easy for the foot to come lose or for the bearings to lock up.
Types of Vacuums to consider
Canister vs. upright vs. stick vacuums
A canister is designed to be lightweight in order to enable you to clean above the floor (upholstery cleaning, crevice cleaning, and dusting). For carpet cleaning, this type of vacuum performs deep cleaning. A canister vacuum needs to be pulled instead of pushed. Generally they make things easier when cleaning around large furniture. It easily cleans hard to reach areas and stairs as well.
Upright vacuums, unlike canister, need you to push them, so they require a bit more effort to use. They often weigh more than a canister and can be more difficult to use when cleaning upholstery or stairs. However they generally offer more suction and work very well on most types of flooring.
Stick vacuum cleaners are everyday cleanup tools for pet hair, spills and after mealtime cleaning. They often have a detachable stick and can often be used as handheld cleaners as well. However, they cannot help much with heavy carpet cleaning and often lack the suction required to thoroughly clean bare floors. The stick vacuums can be cordless or corded.
Bag vs Bagless Vacuums
Both bagged and bagless vacuums need the same maintenance level. Both of them require being emptied regularly. Bagless options free you from stocking up on vacuum bags and reduce the cost of owning the vacuum over time. However, there are still a couple of filters to clean in a bagless vacuum. The bagless vacuum is eco-friendly and it is a popular option. The downside is that you are highly exposed to allergens when cleaning.
Bagged vacuums, on the other hand, trap debris and dirt in the bag. For disposal, this bag can easily be tossed in the trash without any exposure to its contents. Bagged vacuums are hygienic and great for people with allergies. The obvious downside is the cost of the bags over time, as well as remembering to keep a stockpile of bags in your home.
Corded vs. Cordless vacuums
Cordless vacuums are lightweight and they are battery powered. They include accessories for upholstery and stairs cleaning, crevices and car cleaning. They are not restricted by the length of the cord are much more maneuverable. Proximity to power sockets is not a limitation to them either. They are easy to store because they are smaller in size. However, these vacuums come with a limitation of battery life – it can be very annoying to have your vacuum die in the middle of your cleaning routine. Their capacity is also smaller and may require you to dump the dust cup multiple times during use.
Corded vacuums, on the other hand, are more powerful as they have a steady power stream. Corded vacuums tend to be more durable, have a higher capacity, and have more options when it comes to accessories, attachments, and features. Where cordless vacuums are good for specific tasks, a good corded vacuum is usually much more versatile.
There are many types of vacuums and hundreds of different models. At the end of the day we thing upright and canister style vacuums are the best vacuums for most people. We tend to prefer bagless models because of the convenience, and we favor vacuums with sealed systems and allergy friendly filters. When it comes to hardwood or other bare floors we think suction is one of the most important factors for a vacuum, so we think going with a more powerful corded model is the right choice.
At the end of the day, the Shark Navigator Lift-Away Pro with Dust-Away is the best vacuum for hardwood floors because it has the right combination of form, features, suction power, and versatility.