Best Vacuums for Hardwood Floors

Considering getting new hardwood floors put in? Or maybe you’ve had some floor upgrades recently and want to get a suitable vacuum to use on it.

Hardwood flooring can be delicate and prone to damage and scratches. This means that whatever vacuum you use will need to be able to preserve the quality of your floors. Luckily, some vacuums are great for the job and can even restore them to their old shine.

That being said, you’ll need to make sure the vacuum you choose is suitable for your floors.

Vacuuming Hardwood Floors

Your local department store probably offers a variety of different vacuums. The key is understanding which vacuums are made for cleaning hardwood and how they differ.

Its common practice to try to protect hardwood flooring with a layer of wax or protective spray. This is intended to preserve the floor’s shine and health.

The issue with this layer is that fine dust and dirt can be attracted to it and adhere to the surface. Vacuuming might be able to get rid of normal debris, but it might leave behind these smaller particles that dull your floor.

Removing these tiny bits of dust requires that you agitate them before suctioning them away. This means you need a special attachment for your vacuum.

Another thing to be aware of is that vacuums meant for hardwood don’t always have strong power and can do with just mid or low range power. Hard flooring doesn’t need as much suction power as carpet.

The fragility of hardwood flooring is also important to keep in mind. Scratches can leave obvious marks, so vacuums and their attachments need to have rubber or foam components that won’t hurt the floor.

Despite this, homeowners often enjoy having versatility in their appliances, so some vacuums can clean both types of flooring. However, there are still some vacuums that are designed exclusively for hardwood.

Types of Vacuums for Hardwood Floors

Most vacuums include more than one attachment made for hardwood floors. Some of these are superior to others.

Stick Vacuums

Stick vacuums are pretty great on hardwood floors. They tend to be light and easy to maneuver.

Their low suction power isn’t a problem for hardwood floors. They’re also more compact, providing ease of storage, access, and maneuverability.

The most common stick vacuums will be power operated, but you can also get cordless ones for a bit more money. The cordless ones eliminate worry about tripping over the cord while vacuuming, but you’ll be trading that concern for worrying about battery life instead.

A key disadvantage of stick vacuums is that they won’t include attachments, so the lack of a crevice tool might make cleaning along baseboards or narrow spaces more difficult.

Pros

* Portable.

* Lightweight and compact.

* Easy to store.

Cons

* Most won’t come with attachments (narrow spaces and baseboards).

Handheld Vacuums

Handheld vacuums are great for touching up, tidying spills and incidents, or cleaning staircases. Their major limitation is their inability to clean bigger surfaces.

These vacuums are usually very light and cordless. Some stick vacuums are also able to turn into handheld vacuums.

You’ll need to note the power rating of any handheld vacuum you consider since their suction power can sometimes be too low, even for hardwood floors.

Pros

* Most compact vacuum available.

* Cordless.

* Great for spot cleanup.

Cons

* Often very low in suction power (not good for carpets).

Canister Vacuums

Canister vacuums have two main components. The first is the wand, which is connected to the cylindrical engine using a flexible hose. This hose lets you get to narrow spaces with ease.

These vacuums tend to include some attachments to make cleaning specific areas easier. They also come with wheels that can handle flat areas with ease.

Pros

* Good for hard-to-reach areas.

* Often includes attachments.

* Portable.

Cons

* Non-rubber wheels can harm hardwood floors.

Upright Vacuums

Upright vacuums might be the worst option on this list for hardwood floors. They feature stronger power that isn’t needed for hardwood.

They’re also heavier than average, which increases the chance of scuffing the floor. They are also difficult to use in narrow spaces unless they can turn into a canister vacuum.

The only reason you’d consider an upright vacuum for hardwood would be if you happened to also need to clean carpet regularly. If you end up getting an upright vacuum to use on hardwood, make sure the brushes can be deactivated. The hard bristles on common upright vacuum floor heads can harm your floor.

Pros

* Strong suction power.

* Multi-surface capabilities.

* Can easily cover large surfaces.

Cons

* Heavier than other vacuums (reduces maneuverability).

* Larger footprint.

Robot Vacuums

We’ve all heard of robot vacuums. Often seen as novelties, these high-tech vacuums can sometimes be activated remotely. So, you can select where to clean from afar and watch it do the work. Most are capable of steering themselves around obstacles.

Just like any other vacuum, robot vacuums need to have soft enough bristles that won’t harm your hardwood floors.

Pros

* They do the work for you.

* Can clean all surfaces.

* Can avoid obstacles.

Cons

* Smaller dust container.

Steam Vacuums

Need a vacuum that can do a bit extra? Steam vacuums can clean off more than just debris by using steam to blast old stains and bacteria on your floor.

The heat of these vacuums actually eliminates most moisture from the floor after cleaning. They also shouldn’t do damage to hardwood floors with protective sealants.

However, it’s important to note that steam vacuums CANNOT be used on unsealed hardwood floors! Make sure you know whether your floor has sealant before attempting to use a steam vacuum.

Pros

* Provides a deep clean.

* Versatile (floors and carpets).

Cons

* Often has lower power than average.

Things to Consider Before Purchase

Here’s what you need to think of before shelling out for that new vacuum:

Personal Needs and Usage

It goes without saying that you need to understand what you want to use your vacuum for. This involves understanding both your present and future needs.

Even though you might be buying a vacuum for your hardwood floor, most homes also have carpets, rugs, a couch, etc. This is a good case for a multi-surface vacuum, which would save you money in the future.

Likewise, if you have a stairway in your home, you’ll want to consider how portable or light your vacuum is.

Convertible vacuums are also good options. Some upright vacuums can convert into canisters, and some stick vacuums can convert into handhelds.

Filtration System

Your first line of defense when it comes to filtration is usually a dust bin or bag. When bags need to be replaced, you just need to take them out of your vacuum and put them in the trash. People with allergies will be relieved to know that most bags prevent dust from exiting and becoming airborne.

Dust bins, unlike dust bags, are cost-effective and green. Bins don’t require that you pay for replacing a new bag.

The second line of defense is usually next to the air exit point and filters out what the first layer misses. This is usually a “HEPA filter.” These can trap and filter up to 99.99% of air passing through. Some vacuums include sealants to stop any air from escaping the filter.

HEPA filters can be more expensive than those without and can also be expensive to replace. Still, the filters can be great for those with allergies.

Cleaning Brushes

It’s mandatory to make sure your cleaning brush is appropriate.

Most vacuums will have brushes built in, even if they’re very small. The problem is that stiff-bristled brushes work well on carpets but can wreak havoc on hardwood.

Vacuums with beater brushes need to also have an option to turn them off. These are sometimes located very close to the bottom of your vacuum and require that you turn them off with your foot.

Power

As mentioned earlier, hardwood floors don’t require a ton of suction power and can do with just medium or lower power levels.

Dirt can be driven into the air on hard/flat surfaces if you use high power, making it airborne and prone to irritating your sinuses.

Floors with deep cracks will require stronger power to remove debris that ends up stuck in between.

Padding

Padding is what stops your vacuum from destroying your floor, especially on heavier vacuums or upright ones.

Rubber padding is most often used on the floor head or wheels on hardwood floor vacuums. This cushions the floor from the metal or plastic device parts, preventing them from interacting directly with your floors and causing damage.

Maneuverability

Vacuums need to have good maneuverability and ease of use. Light and compact vacuums tend to fare better in this department.

Handles that are ergonomic and easy to hold are also helpful, especially those with swiveling functions for changing direction without any lifting.

Attachments

When you need to clean large surface areas, vacuums with bigger floor heads will be helpful. Also helpful are brushes that can dislodge dirt from the floor prior to suctioning it. As always, soft bristles avoid damaging floors, so make sure you don’t use any hard bristles on hardwood.

Crevice tools make it easier to clean narrow areas, extending the range of your vacuum. You can also use these to clean between carpet lines.

Similarly, extension wands extend range by letting you reach farther.

Cord Length

It’s best to get a power cord that is at least 25 feet in length, enough to cover a meaningful surface area before needing to unplug and re-plug.

For longer cords, pick something with a cord rewind system to save time when putting your vacuum away.

Noise Level

Vacuums tend to make noise no matter what, but quality devices have built-in interior padding to muffle sound. Those with sensitive neighbors, small children, and pets might want to consider those models.

Bissell PowerEdge Hardwood Floor Stick Vacuum

Best in Design Hardwood Floor Vacuum

This vacuum was specially designed to work on hardwood floors with its rubberized floor head and V design.

As a bagless design, you’ll save money not needing to replace dust bags. When your vacuum is full, you can rinse and return the cup. As a compact stick vacuum, it’s convenient to store no matter how limited your space is.

Why We Love It

Rubberized Squeegees

With rubberized squeegees located under the floor head, this vacuum won’t damage delicate hardwood floors. They can also capture tiny dust particles as you clean.

Weighs Only 7.5 Pounds

Hardwood floors need vacuums that are mindful of weight. With this light weight, it’s easy to maneuver this vacuum. The vacuum handle also increases its user-friendly function.

Swivel Steering

Swivel steering makes this vacuum even safer for hardwood since you won’t need to lift your vacuum to steer. This limits how many times you bump your vacuum back down on the ground. It should also save time on cleaning in general.

V-Shape

The design of the floor head is V-shaped and comes with a few unique perks.

Firstly, this design is more effective for cleaning along baseboards than rectangular heads because it moves around angles better.

The shape also provides a cleaning area of 11.35 inches, funneling dirt on the floor into the middle of the head. This is efficient because it encourages dirt into the path of suction rather than away from it.

Keep In Mind

Short Cord

Unfortunately, the 20-foot cord of this vacuum has been reported as a limitation for some customers. Cordless vacuums tend to work a bit better on hardwood.

Not for Rugs

Although this vacuum excels on hardwood, it won’t perform well on carpets and rugs.

Kenmore Pet & Allergy Friendly Upright Vacuum

Best for Large Surfaces Hardwood Floor Vacuum

Need a heavy-duty vacuum? This vacuum features a cleaning path almost 13 inches wide and includes an incredible 355-foot cord.

The extra features on this vacuum also help ensure its efficiency. It includes a HEPA filter, an LED light sensor, and an assortment of attachments. Its two motors should also make it effective on non-hardwood surfaces.

Why We Love It

Lights and Dirt Sensor

The two front lights on this vacuum will make sure you don’t miss any dirt. If the sensor detects that you’ve missed something, you’ll be notified.

A blue LED light can also stay on until you’ve finished cleaning an area thoroughly. This is a rare and novel feature that isn’t widely available.

HEPA Filter

The Kenmore vacuum has your allergies covered with its triple filtration system. It’s also been certified by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, giving it some serious credibility.

Included HEPA filters can deal with 99.97% of dirt and pollen, cleaning your indoor air. Customers with respiratory concerns have had positive reviews about this device’s air filtration.

Five Floor Adjustments

Floor adjustments let you customize the suction power on your vacuum according to what kind of surface you’re cleaning. This actually makes a device safer to use on hardwood floors because you can reduce the power as needed.

You can still use this vacuum on carpets by turning it up to 12 amps of suction power, provided by the vacuum’s dual motors. This provides a whopping 20% more air power than its competitors.

Multi-Use

Not only can this vacuum clean multiple surfaces, but it also includes four different attachments for specific use.

Combination tools let you dust areas lightly. Crevice tools let you vacuum small and narrow areas. The “Pet Handi Mate” attachment is custom made to remove pet hair from upholstery.

Finally, a telescoping wand can be attached to the side hose to extend your reach by up to ten extra feet. This can also be used in conjunction with the other three attachments for even more versatility.

Keep In Mind

Dust Bags Required

Dust bags mean that you’ll need to pay an extra cost to replace them when they’re used. HEPA dust bags can be even more expensive. While these are great for people with allergies, customers complain that this unexpected expense is annoying and significant.

Bulky and Heavy

If a device is more powerful, it might have the drawback of a bigger footprint. Unfortunately, the Kenmore vacuum has a rather bulky design, reducing its convenience in terms of maneuverability and storage.

It also comes in at 21 pounds, further reducing its maneuverability. You might want to think twice before buying this vacuum if you plan on hauling it up and down flights of stairs or if you have limited space for storage.

Bissell Zing Canister Bagless Vacuum

Budget-Friendly Hardwood Floor Vacuum

The Bissel Zing Bagless Vacuum is compact while offering decent suction power for all surfaces. It comes with a convenient foot switch that can deactivate brushes to preserve hardwood floors.

A triple filtration system comes with removable post-motor filters and dirt cup filters. These filters can be washed and reused.

This model doesn’t require dust bags and relies on filters to deal with dust.

Finally, it has a sleek design that includes a see-through dust bin. This vacuum comes with a one-year manufacturer warranty.

Why We Love It

Portability

Weighing only 10 pounds, this vacuum shouldn’t be too much to handle. It’s also very compact, making it easy to store.

The wide carrying handle makes carrying a breeze, a feature that customers have appreciated in reviews.

Easy to Store

Emptying and storing this particular vacuum is fast and easy.

All you need to do is remove the cylinder from the canister when the dust bin is at capacity. The contents can be emptied at the touch of a button, a hands-free and mess-free process.

This vacuum also comes with an auto-rewinding cord for easy storage, another much-lauded feature in customer reviews.

2 Liters Dust Bin Capacity

Don’t let the compactness of this vacuum fool you – this vacuum actually has a dust bin capacity of 2 liters. This makes it a competitive option in larger homes too. Most customers have had no complaints about the capacity of this vacuum.

All-Purpose

You’ll be pleased to learn that this is a multi-purpose vacuum intended to work on large surfaces. Its cleaning path comes in at just over 10 inches.

Notably, this vacuum is perfectly safe on hardwood flooring. Carpeted flooring and rugs will simply require that you activate the brushes with the foot switch.

The attachments – a combination brush and crevice tool – included with this vacuum give it incredible diversity and practicality.

It also has a 4.8-inch flexible hose that you can use to extend the wand even more.

Keep In Mind

Short Power Cord

Despite this vacuum offering decent maneuverability, some customers still want a longer power cord. This is understandable given that its 16-inch power cord is one of the shortest on the market.

Customers will need to unplug their vacuum often, which can be time consuming and annoying.

Product Guide & FAQs

Is Vacuuming Better Than Sweeping?

Sweeping can get rid of a lot of dirt. However, vacuums are still more efficient, and here’s why:

Dust can accumulate on the outer part of hardwood, where it can’t be dislodged by brooms. Brooms also can’t tackle baseboard edges and corners the way a vacuum can.

Debris collected by brooms can also be easily upset and become airborne before you can dispose of it.

Finally, cleaning dust accumulated in cracks is difficult with brooms. This is because the bristles in brooms pass over these cracks and might never touch the dust. By contrast, all the attachments and power offered by vacuums can deal with these areas with ease.

Sure, vacuums might cost more than a broomstick, but they’re worth the extra efficiency.

How Do I Clean a Vacuum Filter?

Maintaining a vacuum filter is probably easier than you think.

If you have access to an outdoor area like a yard or balcony, consider doing this outdoors. If you have allergies or are sensitive to dust, try wearing a dust mask or covering around your nose and mouth to minimize contact.

First, tap on the area around the filter to dislodge anything that’s collected there. You can rinse filters with cold or lukewarm water, but forgo using brushes on filters because this could damage the filter. Similarly, don’t use any cleaning solutions since the ingredients could be abrasive or cause damage.

Finally, filters need 24 to 48 hours of air drying before returning to your vacuum. Remember that vacuums need regular cleaning as well as filters!

Vacuuming Out

There are many hardwood-friendly vacuums available on the market. Still, some vacuums are just better at preserving hardwood than others.

If you’re trying to pick the best possible vacuum for your hardwood floors, you should always be mindful of your specific needs.

It can be helpful to make a checklist of all the areas you expect to vacuum. This can help you can spare yourself any unpleasant surprises or unexpected costs in the future.

Do you have a favorite vacuum on this list? Considering a vacuum specifically for your hardwood floors? Let us know your thoughts and feedback in the comments.

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