Best Vacuum for Hardwood Floors

Updated: Feb 21, 2024 6:35 PM
best vacuum for hardwood floors featured image that shows the top three best vacuum cleaner models

The best rated vacuum for hardwood floors, and our #1 pick, is the Hoover Hardwood Floor Cleaner FloorMate ($125.49). This is a model that comes packed with features designed specifically for hardwood and tile floors, including a SpinScrub brush roll, the ability to scrub floors with a washing stage, and a drying option to make sure there’s no residue left over after you’re finished cleaning. Add in options for floor wipes, a collapsible design and easy cleaning options, and it’s easy to see why this FloorMate nabbed the top spot as the number one hardwood floor vacuum cleaner. To check other alternatives on the market that can service your needs, open our best vacuum cleaner guide.

After all, to truly clean wood floors the top models in this field shouldn’t just suck up dust on bare floors, and help with allergies (e.g. Hepa filters), but give you features to help clean stains and vacuum around furniture – while making sure that no damage is done to your beautiful hardwood flooring.

Best Vacuum for Hardwood Floors

Hoover Hardwood Floor Cleaner FloorMateBissell PowerEdge Pet 81L2ABissell 1161 Hard Floor Expert Deluxe
Rank#1 – Editor’s Choice/Best Upright Vacuum Cleaner for Hardwood Floors#2 – Best Vacuum Cleaner for Hardwood Floors and Pet Hair#3 – Best Vacuum Cleaner for Carpet and Pet Hair
Amazon Ratingfour-stars4andhalf-starsfour-stars
Brush RollSpinScrubV-ShapedSoft Bristled
Dust TrappingNoneCyclonicMulti-Level filtration
Water LiftNoneNoneNone
Weight16.5 pounds7.5 pounds9.1 pounds
Cord Length20 feet20 feet20 feet
ContainerDual TankDirt CupDirt Tank
On Board AccessoriesN/AN/ADusting, crevice and low-pile carpet tools
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How We Choose the Best Vacuum for Hardwood Floors

What is the best vacuum for hardwood floors, anyway? How do we choose? How do you vacuum hardwood floors properly? What features must the best vacuum cleaners have? Vacuum cleaners need several factors to excel at cleaning hardwood floors – including features that not all standard vacuums cleaners have. One of the most important factors we studied, for example, was the brush roll. To effectively clean hardwood, vacuum cleaners need brushes that 1) Are low to the ground to increase suction and deal with dust, and 2) Have bristles that are soft enough to avoid damaging coatings, but still strong enough to clean up serious messes. We also gave extra points to vacuums in our reviews that included extra options for water or steam cleaning abilities, like you’ll find in the highly-rated cordless vacuums for hardwood floors.

Just like you’d see in a beater bar vacuum, suction power is also important and can be measured in many ways. Water lift, which is measured in inches, shows how high a vacuum can suck water and is an easy way to judge the power of the vacuum. For example, 100 inches is an excellent rating, and anything above that indicates one of the most powerful residential vacuums. Airflow, typically measured in cubic feet per minute, indicates both power and surface area covered – how much air a vacuum can draw in at a time, which shows how much dust it can deal with. Air watts is an alternative measurement that combines both figures in one general rating number – say, 30AW.

Ease of use is also important, so we looked for vacuum cleaners that hold dust well and are easy to empty. Bottom-release dirt cups and bagless canister vacuums are great for quick trips to the trash can. Closely related is how easy the vacuum cleaner is to carry around (preferably without crashing it into any walls or furniture), so we take a look at weight, taking special note of vacuums that are around 10 pounds or less, which are lightweight enough to zoom around hardwood floors. Cordless stick vacuums are a fantastic lightweight option, however, corded upright vacuums can offer superior suction power.

Finally, we know that you’re looking for a vacuum cleaner at an affordable price, one that makes cleaning easier but doesn’t bite into your budget too much. We gave more weight to hardwood vacuum cleaners that not only did an excellent job, but were under $200 and so it’d be an affordable vacuum for the average family.

Why You Should Buy a New Vacuum Cleaner for Hardwood Floors

We want to emphasize a few tips off the bat: you probably should not use your old vacuum on hardwood floors, especially new floors that were recently installed. Carpet vacuum cleaners, even the best vacuums for carpet, aren’t always designed to clean hardwoods and may not work reliably as a hardwood floor vacuum cleaner. At best, they may not do a very good job of picking up dust in the cracks and tight corners. At worst, they can scratch your floor and cause permanent damage. So if you have a lot of hardwood and would rather not sweep it all, you need to look for a vacuum cleaner that’s specifically designed for wood floors (or the best vacuum for tile floors, etc., depending on what other surfaces you’re dealing with).

The models we’ve chosen have features – from V-shaped brush rolls to mopping modes – that are specifically designed to take care of wood floors without causing any damage. To take a closer look at the best-rated vacuum cleaners for hardwood floors, read on in our guide for 2019! What about laminate floors? Here are the best vacuums laminate floors options.

#1 Pick Hoover Hardwood Floor Cleaner FloorMate

Hoover Hardwood Floor Cleaner FloorMate
Switch between vacuuming, washing, and drying with this 3-in-1 vac!

Award: Editor’s Choice/Best Upright Vacuum Cleaner for Hardwood Floors

Price: $125.49 | Brush Roll: SpinScrub Brush | Dust Trapping: None | Container: Dual Tank | On Board Accessories: None | Weight: 16.5 pounds

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Vacuuming, scrubbing with cleaner, and drying – all in one easy-to-use package.

This Hoover FloorMate is an example of a vacuum cleaner built from the ground up to clean hard floors, especially wood floors and all their unique cleaning needs. The brush roll is no typical row of bristles – instead, it’s a line of counter-rotating little brushes that act like mini mops for your flooring. You can easy take the brush roll out and clean it, too, which is useful if things get a little muddy. But what’s really impressive here is the three-stage setting. The first stage provides typical vacuuming capabilities. The second stage is a washing feature that scrubs the floor with water. The third stage is a drying option so that water doesn’t have to linger. Together they form one of the best hardwood cleaning systems in the non-commercial vacuum market. Since this isn’t a cordless model, you won’t have to worry about charging batteries or the battery life running low to get started cleaning.

There are two tanks on this model, one for clean water and one for dirty water, which helps keep your floors shiny but does make emptying and rinsing slightly more complicated. However, thanks to the plug-in canister design, it’s never too much of a burden. Note that the model comes with both surface wipes and floor cleaner, along with options for more advanced bundles – augmented by the Clean Boost Control, a fingertip button for squirting detergent on especially dirty areas. This also makes the Hoover one of the best vacuums for laminate floors or tile floors.

Finally, the price, which is extra affordable for such a feature-packed model. The only downside we found here is that the FloorMate is so focused on cleaning hard flooring, it doesn’t have much left to offer for carpets or upholstery. So if you want a vacuum that’s great for hardwood along with everything else, you might be better off going with our #3 pick instead.

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#2 Pick Bissell PowerEdge Pet 81L2A Vacuum

Bissell Poweredge Pet 81l2A
Clean up pet messes the easy way.

Award: Best Vacuum for Hardwood Floors and Pet Hair

Price: $58.99 | Brush Roll: V-Shaped | Dust Trapping: Cyclonic | Container: Dirt Cup | On Board Accessories: None | Weight: 7.5 pounds

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: A lightweight vacuum with an effective V-shape brush for getting around furniture.

Bissell provides a smaller, more nimble option for those who want to save as much time as possible cleaning their own wood floors. The most distinctive feature here is the V-shaped brush roll, which is especially well-suited for picking up stray bits of pet food in the corners or underneath chairs – something that few vacuums excel at and that pet owners yearn for, and which Bissell wisely advertises for the PowerEdge.

The vacuum uses “cyclonic” technology (as seen in the best Dyson vacuums) which can be a bit confusing until you know what it means. The cyclone refers to spinning air flow around the vacuum canister so that it spits out all the dust, meaning that less dust escapes back into the air. It’s not multi-stage filtration, but it does do a great job of cleaning dust in one pass-through. There’s also a dirt cup that we found exceptionally easy to empty.

Combined, these features are not only affordable, but make one of the best rated vacuums for hard floors and pet hair, a combination that typically leaves a lot of dust bunnies lying around in hard to reach corners.

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#3 Pick Bissell 1161 Hard Floor Expert Deluxe Vacuum Cleaner

Bissell 1161 Hard Floor Expert
Bissell’s surprisingly light canister vac is made for hardwood floors.

Award: Best Canister Vacuum Cleaner for Hardwood Floors

Price: $119.99 | Brush Roll: Soft Bristled | Dust Trapping: Multi-Level filtration | Container: Dirt Tank | On Board Accessories: Dusting, crevice and low-pile carpet tools | Weight: 9.1 pounds

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: A versatile canister model with settings designed for hardwood flooring.

Canister vacs have a longer reach, extra power, and larger containers that make them ideal for large floors or commercial spaces. If you prefer a canister vacuum for your hardwood flooring, the Bissell 1161 has just what you need. Notably, this unit is very lightweight for a canister model and easy to tug along with you, similar to the convenience of a handheld vacuum but more suited for deep cleaning with that powerful suction that you can’t get out of robotic vacuums. Fingertip controls also allow you to switch between different suction speeds, making this one of the best vacuums for hardwood floors and carpet combined.

Like our other picks, the wheels are made of rubber to avoid scratches, but Bissell goes an extra step and adds felt treads as well. The multi-filtration also helps keep that dust away, although remember to clean out your filters regularly! That is good advice for any best vacuum cleaner.

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What to Look for When Buying the Best Vacuum for Hardwood Floors

  • Protection for Your Floors: We’re going to reiterate protection once again. The models we’ve chosen have features like rubberized wheels with felt protectors to make certain that no damage occurs to wood floors or their protective coatings. These features are very important, especially on more delicate floors like bamboo or engineered wood flooring that tend to scratch more easily.
  • The Proper Cleaning Path: The cleaning path refers to how wide the brush roll is. Because vacuuming wooden floors usually means navigating around chairs and tables, you need a brush roll that can pivot easily and duck under furniture. The best rated upright vacuum cleaner for hardwood floors will have a cleaning path smaller than the width of your chairs, and will be able to turn on a dime.
  • Modes for Tough Stains and Dirt: The mopping and drying modes that our Hoover pick has are an excellent example of these features: if your hardwood floors tend to get very dirty (pets and kids can help with this), then you should look for a model that comes with sprays or mopping modes that can really dig in when necessary.
  • Hardwood Accessories: Our Bissell Hard Floor Expert model includes accessories that can tackle tiny corners, upholstery, and other jobs that you may need to complete while you’re cleaning your hard flooring. These accessories can make the vacuum more adaptable if you suddenly need to switch to a different surface.
  • Easy Storage: Lightweight and collapsible features allow you to easily store a vacuum unit in a closer or even in a cupboard without wasting any space. Remember, if you aren’t sure that a vacuum cleaner product will fit somewhere, then you need to measure before you buy.
  • Suction for Carpets, If Necessary: Modes that can reduce or increase suction are very useful if you are looking for the best vacuum for both hardwood and carpet. You may want to decrease suction over carpet, especially carpets with thicker piles, and increase over hardwood floors.
Feature/AspectBest Vacuum for Hardwood FloorsGeneral Vacuums
Floor ProtectionSpecialized wheels and protectors for hardwoodMay lack hardwood-specific protection
Cleaning PathNarrow, maneuverable brush rollWider paths, less agile
Modes and AccessoriesMopping modes, tools for various surfacesStandard modes, general accessories
Storage and PortabilityLightweight, collapsible designBulkier, more storage space needed
Suction AdjustmentAdjustable for hardwood and carpetsFixed suction settings
Smart/Cordless FeaturesSmart integration, cordless options like Dyson V6Traditional, some smart features
Hardwood Floor Vacuums VS Regular Vacuum Cleaners

Mistakes to Avoid

Not Checking Your Floor’s Recommended Cleaning Options: Surprisingly, not all hardwood floors do well with water or all cleaners. Some cleaners or mopping solutions can wear away protective coatings, and ultimately do more harm than good over the long term even if you have a hardwood vacuum. It’s worthwhile to look up the kind of hardwood floor you have and see what manufacturers or experts recommend when it comes to cleaning options.

Considering Only Your Floors: Remember that you have furniture, drapes, and other surfaces to clean as well. Hardwood floor vacuums are very dedicated devices – they may struggle at cleaning other surfaces unless you get a model that can handle multiple scenarios or includes accessories for side projects like a crevice tool for the dust bunnies in the hard-to-reach corner too.

Assuming All Vacuums Have Filters: Many do – but not all. Our Bissell PowerEdge pick, for example, has cyclonic suction to help remove dust, but no actual filters. If you need a vacuum that can reduce allergens while making sure they don’t escape back into the air, look for high quality filter models instead.

Forgetting Cord Length: Not all vacuum cords are equal! Cords may vary between 20 to 30 feet (usually), which can make a big difference in large rooms. It’s something worth paying attention to, especially if you find that current vacuum cords just aren’t long enough for you. You can also opt for a cordless vacuum which is a convenient option if you need to move around easily, but corded vacuums don’t have a cleaning time limit (battery life) and have consistently strong suction power.

cordless vs corded vacuums table

Thinking the Vacuum Cleaner Will Take Care of Everything: There will probably still be some stain-removing and polishing tasks that a vacuum cleaner just can’t handle. In other words, don’t be afraid to break out the mop or rag if you need to.

What Else You Should Think About

After looking at the best vacuum for hardwood floors, why not check out our pick for the best vacuum cleaner for carpets, the best stick vacuum, as well or the best robot vacuum? The best robot vacuums will offer compatibility with smart home integration through either Alexa or Google Assistant, programmability, different cleaning modes, extensive run times, self-charging capabilities, and more. Also, keep in mind that robot vacuums – Roomba, Xiaomi vacuum 2, and the Shark ION robot vacuum – now come with mopping units that are designed for hard floors and can take a lot of the work out of cleaning if you want to invest in one: Video reviews and demo of the Shark Duoclean.  If you’d prefer a standard model from Shark, check out the Shark Navigator LIFT-AWAY PRO NV356E and the Shark Rocket HV300. You can also check out pricing and specs on

Note that all of our vacuum cleaners on the list currently have cords. You don’t need to buy a corded vacuum cleaner – and if you are looking for the best cordless vacuum for hardwood floors, we suggest taking a look at the Dyson V6 Fluffy model, which is expensive but one of the greatest cordless vacs around, and designed specifically for both hardwood floors and upholstery. A cordless stick vacuum can get pricey, but they’re a type of vacuum cleaner that’s worth the convenience they provide.

Finally, we briefly mentioned HEPA particle filters, but if you want to learn more about how to prevent dust from building up and circulating around your home.

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