Choosing the best vacuum for your hardwood flooring

Best vacuum for hardwood floors

I get this question all the time:  “What is the best vacuum for hardwood floors?”  I also have people ask whether they can use a vacuum cleaner on hardwood flooring.  So I thought I would provide guidelines for selecting the best vacuum for wood flooring as well as some specific recommendations.


Hardwood flooring is the preferred flooring choice as it adds beauty and elegance to your home.  Wood flooring is stylish and long lasting.  And, hardwood floors can add value to your home.  Maintaining your hardwood floors is important, and one of the most important aspects is keep your floors clean (dirt and debris can scratch and wear down your hardwood floors).  Vacuuming can definitely help in this pursuit, but you do want to be careful about the vacuum cleaner you pick.  Believe it or not, some vacuums can actually damage your hardwood floors.


But, with the right vacuum, you’ll be able to properly care and maintain your floors for years to come.  You’ll have a clean home and keep the luster of your new hardwood flooring.  When you have the right tools at hand, cleaning hardwood floors becomes a breeze.

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The Mistake of using ordinary vacuums on hardwood floors

What is the best type of vacuum for hardwood floors I understand the reluctance to buy a new vacuum, especially if your current vacuum still works.  But, this can be a mistake, as most top rated vacuums are designed to clean CARPET.  Your new hardwood floors needs more care.  Here are the 2 big issues:

  • First, most traditional vacuums have roller brushes with thick bristles and these can leave scratches on your hardwood floors.  In addition, the beater brush can also scatter dirt and debris, making it even more difficult to clean.
  • Vacuums designed for carpets tend to have plastic wheels, and these can easily scratch up wood surfaces.  (see my article on how to prevent scratches in hardwood floors…you’ll see that wheels can be one of the worst things for hardwood floors).  Additional these vacuum wheels also lack the padding needed to further prevent damage.


By the way, choosing the best vacuum cleaner does not mean choosing the most expensive one.  In fact, you’ll see from the recommendations in this article that most of the best vacuums designed for hardwood floors are very reasonably priced.  And, beware that many review sites such as consumer reports, don’t separate out vacuums for hardwood floors.


Tips for Picking the best hardwood vacuum cleaner:

best type of vacuum for hardwood flooringThese principles should help guide you to find the best hardwood flooring vacuum for your home.

  • Avoid rolling brushes – Rolling brushes are designed to lift dirt, hair, and debris that hide inside carpets. For hardwoods, this isn’t an issue.  And, the brush will actually do more harm than good as they will scratch the wood.  If you can’t find a vacuum without a rolling brush, then choose one that allows you to switch off the brush to prevent it from spinning.
  • Padding and rubber wheels – Rubber wheels and extra rubber padding will help prevent scratches, digs and other damages.  Also, as a general rule, check the wheels before you start vacuuming to remove any extra dirt.
  • Compact and lightweight – Lightweight models are easy to carry around and easily glide across the floor for effortless cleaning.  The less pressure you apply to floor, the better.  Your back will also thank you for this.
  • Good suction power – Superior suction quality and power are a must (and a feature you would look for anyway). This ensures that no dust, dirt or debris is left behind.


Canister vs upright vacuum cleaner models

There’s debate whether upright or canister vacuums are better when it comes to hardwood flooring.  They each have pros and cons, so it does depend on your preference.


If I had to choose between the two, I’d go with canister as they are generally lighter and easier to maneuver without scratching the floor.  In addition, if you have a two story home, canisters are usually easier to carry up the steps and vacuum the steps.


My top recommendation

When it comes to getting the best value for your vacuum (i.e. balancing quality and price), I’d recommend the BISSELL Hard Floor Expert 1161. I’d encourage you to read the reviews on this product as well as the suggestions below.


This vacuum is compact and lightweight and compact, so it’s easy to maneuver and easy to store.  It’s specially made for hardwood floors with rubber wheels and felt treads.  It has powerful suctions, yet delicately cleans to protect your floors.



Recommended vacuums for hardwood flooring:

What about robotic vacuum cleaners?

Most people don’t enjoy vacuuming, and that’s why the idea of a robotic vacuum cleaner is appealing.  Robotic vacuums save time and energy, and it’s no wonder that they are growing in popularity.


When it comes to robotic vs regular vacuums, the automatic vacuums are not as powerful as the standard types.  Instead, they are designed to be used much more often.  As a result, they can keep your home very clean with minimal effort on your part.  (Note: these are usually used in conjunction with a standard vacuum, and the combo seems to work very well).  Please note that robotic vacuums are not the best choice for carpets.


Best robotic vacuum for hardwood floors:

The most well-known robot vacuum brands currently in this industry are iRobot (which includes the Roomba and Neato Robotics.  Note:  several name brand names are starting to enter this segment with cheaper options, but they don’t seem to work as well (and may be more likely to scratch your floors).


When it comes to getting the best robot vacuum for the money, iRobot is still the number one choice, both in terms of quality and customer satisfaction.

Here are some great choices.


So there you have it.  My top recommendations on vacuums for hardwood flooring.  Choosing the right hardwood flooring vacuum can make a big difference on keeping your floors clean and helping the last longer.


Related Articles for Hardwood Flooring Maintenance:

Did you find my advice helpful? If you’d like to help support me and my blog, here’s an easy and FREE way. If you are buying anything from Amazon and use my affiliate link, at no additional cost to you, I may get a small commission (just click here) if you buy within 24 hrs. Below are some products that can help you with your flooring. Thank you for your support.

Complementary products that will prolong the life of your hardwood floors

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6 Secrets of Refinishing hardwood floors ebook

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