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If you’re shopping for the best vacuum without a beater bar, there’s a good chance that you either have hardwood floors, high-pile carpeting, or live in an environment where long hair is part of your everyday debris. While effective, beater bars are known to scratch hardwood floors and can easily get jammed or clogged when frequently exposed to long hair.
Whichever category you fall into, know that there are plenty of powerful vacuums that can still deliver on powerful suction without damaging your flooring.
The first thing you’ll want to consider is the type of flooring you have and determine whether you’re simply managing routine dust and dirt or need a vacuum designed for deep cleaning. Also, think about whether you want a combination vacuum that mops and vacuums simultaneously. And of course, you’ll need to decide on a vacuum style as you can find canister, upright, and stick vacuums that lack a beater bar.
Keep reading our guide to find the best vacuum without a beater bar. And if you’re not sure where to start with your vacuum search, check out our guide to our picks for the best vacuums on the market.
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: It is great for use on all types of hardwood floors and comes with two separate water tanks to separate dirty and clean water.
The Hoover FloorMate FH40160PC is an upright hard floor cleaner that weighs slightly less than 14 pounds and has two water tanks to keep dirty and clean water separate. The cleaner will readily deal with both wet and dry messes and is ideal for scrubbing different types of hard floors that include sealed wood, vinyl, tile, and grout. It uses counter-rotating brushes to make cleaning convenient and comes with one set of attachments that are ideal for dealing with tile and grout and another that is designated for wood floors. However, some might find it challenging to use when cleaning corners or narrow spots since its brush head cannot swivel.
This hard floor cleaner is pretty easy to store since once its handle is removed, it doesn’t take up too much space. It also uses what the manufacturer calls Clean Boost technology, where users have the chance to release additional solutions when dealing with stubborn stains. This is one of its two modes of operation, and the second one is when it is solely used as a vacuuming machine. Its suction force is not as strong as that of other specialized vacuum cleaners. For this reason, the manufacturer recommends that users use this function only when vacuuming larger debris.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: It is great for users who need to clean a lot of above-floor surfaces and can be used for a long while before its large 2.83-liter dust cup needs to be emptied. It is also considerably light in weight, and it’s brush roll can swivel for cleaning around corners.
The Shark NV352 is a popular upright vacuum cleaner that offers quite a lot of convenience when cleaning different surfaces thanks to its Lift-Away feature. The vacuum cleaner is designed so that owners will be able to easily lift its detachable pod and areas such as the stairs and furniture. The upholstery tool, dusting brush, and two crevice tools that it comes with will help a lot in doing so, and its included wand will make it very easy to deal with hard-to-reach areas. Its brush head also has swivel steering, so users will easily be able to clean tight corners or around furniture. Still, some have complained that it gets quite hot after as little as twenty minutes of cleaning.
This vacuum cleaner’s brush roll can also be shut off so that owners can switch from carpet to hard floor cleaning, and since it comes with a 2.83-liter dust cup, owners will be able to clean up large floor areas before they need to empty it. It has also been praised for its high suction force, and weighing only 12.5 pounds, it is pretty easy to handle. The vacuum cleaner has a 25-foot cord for easy maneuverability and a completely sealed HEPA filter that is ideal for getting rid of pollen dust, mildew spores, and dust mites.
Award: BEST FOR VERSATILE USE
WHY WE LIKE IT: It weighs only 8 pounds and has an automatic cord rewind function to prevent any entanglements during cleaning. It also has a relatively large dust cup and offers three suction power levels depending on the surface being cleaned.
The Eureka WhirlWind is a bagless canister vacuum cleaner that weighs only 8 pounds and is thus very easy to handle. Its suction power can also be adjusted based on the surface type being cleaned for best performance. It has three levels suited for carpet, upholstery, and hard floor cleaning, making it a versatile option to consider. The vacuum cleaner has a decent-sized 2.5-liter dust cup container that is pretty easy to empty and filters that are both washable and easy to remove. Unfortunately, previous owners have argued that it has a limited brush and toolset.
This vacuum cleaner is very easy to maneuver around the house since it comes with a 16 ft cord and an automatic cord rewind function that prevents any unnecessary entanglements when cleaning. When attached, all its accessories can securely lock into place, and since it does not require any assembly, the vacuum cleaner is ready for use immediately after delivery. It is great for both high and low pile carpets and is pretty easy to maintain.
Award: BEST FOR EASY MANEUVERABILITY
WHY WE LIKE IT: It weighs only 2.7 pounds and is cordless, so users will be able to move with it anywhere. It will also take only 25 minutes to get to a full charge and is of impressive build quality.
The Makita XLC02R1B cordless vacuum cleaner is an easy to maneuver device that is quite popular for its quick 25 minute charging time. This will have it run for up to 15 minutes, but its lack of a motorized brush means that it won’t be able to deal with medium or plush carpet. Weighing just 2.7 pounds, it is one of the lightest alternatives in the market, and it also features a built-in mechanism that helps prevent overcharging and will have it operate for long durations of time. However, its 15 minutes run time may be too short for owners who need to do a lot of frequent cleaning.
This vacuum cleaner also comes with a fan that helps prevent any instances of overheating, and with a suction force that creates an airflow speed of up to 46 CFM, it should have no problems picking up both large and small debris.
Award: BEST FOR COMMERCIAL USE
WHY WE LIKE IT: It has a sizable 10-liter dust cup capacity for cleaning large areas and is very quiet during operation. It also weighs only 12 pounds and is therefore pretty easy to move around.
This ProTeam Canister Vacuum Cleaner is designed for users who have a lot of cleaning to do thanks to its 10-liter dust cup capacity. It is intended for commercial use and has an extra-long 50-foot power cord for easy maneuverability. Weighing only 12 pounds, it is also pretty easy to handle, and with a sound output that is not more than 66 decibels, it doesn’t get too noisy. Still, some users might not be impressed that its dust cup is not transparent so that users can get an idea of how full it is.
This vacuum cleaner also comes with a wide variety of attachments that owners can use. They include a soft dusting brush, an upholstery tool, a flexible hose, a hard floor tool that comes with a nylon brush, a crevice tool, a two-piece wand, and a scalloped carpet tool. Its build quality is also top tier, so buyers should expect to keep using it for a very long while after purchase.
Award: BEST FOR GENERAL USE
WHY WE LIKE IT: It comes with five different dust bags and two sets of washable filters that are both washable and easy to remove.
The Bissell 2154A is a lightweight, bagged canister vacuum cleaner with an easy-to-remove dust bag and a set of premotor and post-motor filters for more effective filtration. The vacuum cleaner has a relatively large 2.5-liter capacity dust bag that allows users to deal with both large and small messes and an automatic cord rewind that prevents any form of entanglement during cleaning. The vacuum cleaner has a suction control tool that allows users to switch between different suction forces, and weighing less than 8 pounds, it is very easy to maneuver. Still, some may not appreciate the limited flexibility offered by its 6-foot long hose.
This vacuum cleaner also comes with a crevice tool to use when cleaning tight spaces and a dusting brush that will be ideal for cleaning soft surfaces. It is pretty easy to maintain since it also comes with a set of five easy-to-remove dust bags, and both its motors are washable and easy to remove.
A vacuum without a beater bar is exactly as it sounds — it lacks a beater brush. Beater bars are the roller brush heads that usually sweep dirt to be suctioned into the vacuum’s main compartment. While they’re a standard feature on most vacuum cleaners, there are many scenarios where a beater bar can do more harm than good.
As we mentioned in the introduction, beater bars can often damage hard floors — especially hardwood and tile — by causing scratches from the brush head. Similarly, depending on the force behind the spinning bar, debris and dirt can get flung back out onto surfaces.
At a minimum, this means that you’re not effectively cleaning the floors. Worse still, for allergy and asthma sufferers, this means that you’re potentially slinging debris onto the floors or into the air which can make symptoms worse. Additionally, high-pile carpeting such as shag carpets, Berber, or even frieze carpeting, can sustain damage over time from beater bars. The brush can break the carpet fiber, eventually leading to uneven wear or even damage. For those thicker carpets, it’s recommended that you opt for the best vacuum for thick carpet so you don’t damage the fibers.
Likewise, if you live in a home where hair is frequently left on the floor (think a house full of long-haired people or pets), you may end up clogging the beater bar over time. And while you can clean it, not all vacuums are designed in a way that makes this undesirable task easy to accomplish.
The biggest difference between a vacuum with a beater bar versus other types of vacuums is the presence or absence of a beater bar. A beater bar is a standard component on a conventional vacuum because it’s designed to agitate carpeting to help lift dirt so that it gets sucked into the vacuum. And for most low or medium-pile carpeting, it’s an effective design concept.
But as we mentioned, the beater bar can be problematic for hard floors and high-pile carpeting. Likewise, if long hair is a common component in your regular floor debris or dirt, a beater bar can become a serious pain that needs to be routinely cleaned — usually manually.
Aside from the lack of a beater bar, you’ll find that vacuums without them come in a variety of configurations and can be similar to beater bar vacuums. For example, many beater bar-free models still allow you to adjust suction, come with attachments, and can be found in stick, upright, robotic, and canister formats. Our list of the best robot vacuum for hardwood floors can provide the options you’re seeking.
Vacuums without beater bars operate similarly to those that do have beater bars. However, their functionality can vary slightly. In the strictest definition, a vacuum without a beater bar will lack one entirely. Many canister vacuums are designed without a beater bar, relying simply on a suction nozzle instead. For example, some of the best vacuums for vinyl plank floors are those without beater bars.
But in some cases, you can have vacuums that allow you to toggle the beater bar on and off — which can be ideal for homes with multiple flooring surfaces. Similarly, many vacuum cleaners come with multiple brush heads or rolls. While the default brush head will be one designed for low or medium-pile carpeting and laminate hard floors, you can easily replace it with a soft-fabric brush head which is designed to gently clean specialty hard floors or high-pile carpeting.
Depending on your flooring, you might even want to consider a robotic vacuum. While these usually won’t rival the more traditional vacuum style in terms of suction power, they’re significantly gentler on hard floors. And because many of them are incredibly thorough and can be programmed to follow customized map paths you create through an app or website, you can be sure that the floors will be spotless.
Whether you have delicate flooring or carpets or dislike the dreaded task of having to clean a beater bar that’s clogged with hair, there are plenty of reasons for picking a vacuum without a beater bar.
Of course, individual mileage will vary. But on average, you can expect to have a vacuum last for roughly eight years before you need to replace it. This figure assumes that you routinely use your vacuum and aren’t abusing it on certain types of floors that it’s not meant to clean. However, factors such as how often you replace the filters, the type of dirt you’re cleaning, and whether or not you’re running your vacuum for extended periods will all impact real-world lifespans.
Also, keep in mind that quality also influences a vacuum’s longevity. Opting for a vacuum from a trusted brand like Dyson, Bissell, Hoover, or LG will usually ensure you reach that quoted timeline as opposed to a cheaper vacuum brand that might rely on lower quality components. Speaking of trusted brands, our Bissell PowerEdge pet hardwood floor bagless cleaner review further details just what you’ll get out of a quality vacuum.
Some vacuum shopping criteria are always going to be the same regardless of whether or not there’s a beater bar present. For example, you’ll need to decide which vacuum style is preferable, how much suction power you need, and if you want other features like attachments or even other beater bar styles.
The first step in finding the right vacuum for your home is to start by confirming your flooring. Beater bars are great for low- and medium-pile carpeting and some hard flooring styles. Meanwhile, high-pile carpeting, like shag or Berber, and hard floorings that are easily damaged, such as hardwood floors and certain tiles, are better off with a beater bar-free vacuum.
If you’re primarily concerned with dust, dirt, and small debris, a beater bar might be beneficial, assuming it’s compatible with your flooring. But if long hair is part of the equation, it can be a problem. Also, think about this if you have a pet that also happens to have long hair. An alternative designed to tackle fur is the best corded stick vacuum for pet hair.
Beater bars are a fairly standard vacuum cleaner feature. But if you have delicate flooring, you can find vacuum cleaners with multiple beater bars. Instead of using the default option, which might be too intense for your floors or carpeting, you can swap it out for a gentler alternative that isn’t as aggressive on hardwood or carpet, such as a great vacuum for hardwood floors.
Like the multiple beater bar styles, you can also consider vacuums with a beater bar on-off switch. This is especially useful for homes with multiple flooring styles. When you need that extra agitation for low-pile carpeting or other hard floorings, you can easily toggle on the beater bar. Alternatively, you can turn this feature off when you’re working on delicate flooring.
Think about your home’s layout and which areas require more frequent cleaning when answering this question. A multi-level home may not be as compatible with a heavy-duty upright vacuum which can be more challenging to bring up and down the stairs. Conversely, if you have a smaller home or apartment, you might find that a cordless vacuum is sufficient for your needs. Thankfully, vacuums without beater bars are available as upright, canister, cordless, robotic, and even combination models (i.e., mop and vacuum simultaneously). You can even find the best vacuum with a retractable cord that lacks a beater bar.
If you have a true beater bar-free vacuum, you would essentially have a vacuum where the suction power would ideally not be obstructed — unless something large got lodged into the hose. But you’ll still want to pick a vacuum with strong suction that’s powerful enough to ensure that you’re not endlessly vacuuming over the same bit of flooring to collect small debris and dust particles.
Depending on your cleaning needs, you might want a vacuum with attachments, such as angled crevice tools, an upholstery tool, or a brush head that can clean drapes or blinds.