Best Vacuum For Hardwood Floors: Buyer’s Guide and Reviews

By Carol Flores

Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional (NV356E)

Hardwood floors can be a pain to clean. Some vacuum cleaners that use a brush roller are amazing on carpet, and advertise as being suitable for all floor types, but on hard floors they fail to perform as you would like, or can scratch the floor surface. The right product can reduce or eliminate the need for other cleaning methods such as mops, and can save you time and effort. There are many models on the market which allow you to switch between brush roller and straight suction, to do a better job on hard surfaces, and some are designed specifically for this purpose.

There are a wide variety of vacuum cleaners on the market, which can make choosing a new one a daunting prospect. They can be a reasonably expensive addition to the home, so you are likely to have to live with your choice for some time. In this article I am going to help you to make an informed decision when shopping for a vacuum cleaner. I will be covering different types of machines, the most common brands found on the market, and the top rated products. Some will be best suited to a particular type of flooring, so here I will be focussing on helping you find the best hardwood floor vacuum. Not all vacuum cleaners are ideal for this task, even the pricey ones. Some are better at cleaning large floors areas, or deep pile carpets, but with such a range of products out there, with a little knowledge it is possible to get one which accurately suits your particular needs.

Vacuum Comparison Table

Different Types of Vacuum Cleaner

Since the carpet sweepers of the 1800’s, and the introduction of a motorised vacuum cleaner in 1899, devices for household floor cleaning have evolved into one of the most popular, labour saving cleaning gadgets on the market. To begin with they were considered luxury items for the wealthy, but they are now found in nearly all modern homes and have become a part of everyday life. Gone are the days of dragging your carpet outside for a good beating, and very grateful we are too!

There are several types of vacuum cleaner on the market, each with their own pros and cons. They vary in style, power and technology, making it difficult to choose the one that is best for you and your home. Here I will give you a breakdown of each type.


This is the first style of vacuum cleaner to be designed, and they remain the most popular. They work using a rotating brush bar to sweep up dirt, which makes them effective at removing debris such as hair from carpets, but they may not be the best vacuum for wood floors. They generally have a larger dust capacity than cylinder vacuum cleaners, and are better on large areas due to their cleaning power and large heads. However, they tend to be harder to manoeuvre and get into small areas, although, some models do have attachments to make this easier.


This type of vacuum cleaner has a suction head connected to a separate main body by a flexible hose. They are normally lighter and easier to control than an upright, making them ideal for awkward areas such as stairs. They are compact and easy to store, and are the best multi surface vacuum. Their downfall is their lower dust capacity, and their lack of efficiency on large areas compared to upright vacuums.


Stick vacuum cleaners are lighter weight, less physically demanding to use, and easier to store than other types. They are normally less noisy, more affordable, and work well on hard floors as well as carpet. However, they are not ideal for large areas, have relatively small dust capacities, and don’t work too well on thick carpets.


These are very handy little vacuums, ideal for areas such as inside cars, or for cleaning up small messes which aren’t worth getting the big machine out for. They can be corded or cordless and are light and portable, but lack the dust capacity found in the larger types of vacuum.


Vacuum cleaner manufacturers have made use of the development of new technologies, bringing about machines that use rechargeable batteries, cyclonic dirt separation, and even autonomous robotic technology.

Relatively new on the market, these futuristic vacuum cleaners offer a time saving, space age way to clean your home. As well as being a popular perch for cats (we’ve all seen the videos!), they have taken modern technology to a new level, and allow for minimal input housework by being completely independent. Once switched on they make their own way around the house, quietly and cleverly navigating around obstacles, and finding their way back to their docking station to recharge. Some models now even empty themselves, schedule cleaning, and have built in Wi-Fi and video cameras. I can only hope that one day they will also be able to make a cup of tea! Although the technology is evolving and improving, robotic vacuum cleaners currently still lack the power and capacity of their counterparts.

Upright, cylinder and stick vacuum cleaners are available as bagged or bagless, and corded or cordless, each with their own advantages and disadvantages.


Bagged vacuum cleaners can be more hygienic as dust is sealed in the bag which is then disposed of, making them more suitable for households with asthma sufferers. They tend to be cheaper than bagless models, but this cost can be offset by the fact that you have to buy replacement bags. They may also have reduced power once the bag gets near full, and it can be hard to tell when the bag needs replacing unless it is a model which has an indicator light.


These tend to be more expensive, but you don’t need to spend extra money on bags for them. The container where the dust is collected is normally see-through, allowing you to easily see when it needs emptying, thus avoiding reduced performance. Their drawbacks are that you may get exposed to dust when emptying them, and their filters might need more regular cleaning than a bagged vacuum cleaner.


A vacuum with a cord plugs directly into the mains electricity supply, making them more powerful than a cordless machine, and without the worry of the battery running out. Their main drawback is the fact that their area of use is limited by the length of the cord, so you’ll have to plug it in near to the where you are using it. Having a cord draped around the house is also a trip hazard.


Cordless vacuums have a battery. This means they are less powerful and have the inconvenience of needing to be charged, and may run out while being used. They also tend to be more expensive than corded vacuums. However, they are much more portable and handy for using outdoors, and they remove the possibility of tripping over the cord.

Best Vacuum Cleaner Brands

There are many vacuum cleaner manufacturers on the market and several have become household names. For instance, in some countries such as the UK, Hoover has become interchangeable with the term vacuum. Here I will briefly outline the main vacuum cleaner brands.


The emergence of the Hoover brand of vacuum cleaner began in 1907, when an inventor and janitor, Murray Spangler, came up with an idea for sweeping up dust without aggravating his asthma. The patent for this invention was bought the following year by W H Hoover, the owner of a leather goods manufacturing shop, and the rest is history. Today, Hoover continue to make high quality, reliable vacuum cleaners for both home and commercial use. They own the patent for WindTunnel technology, which uses three air tunnels to lift dirt from the floor surface, and prevent it from blowing back out.


Shark is a family run company and part of Euro-Pro, a home appliance manufacturing company which began over one hundred years ago. Originating in Europe, the company now operates out of the US, but also has offices around the world. The secret to Shark’s success is their marketing strategy, providing high quality cleaning appliances at competitive prices. Their team has done its homework, and they know that customers’ needs and requirements vary hugely, so they make an effort to create a wide range of products suitable for a variety of households. No matter what type of vacuum cleaner you are looking for, Shark will have one to suit your needs.


Born in 1947 in the UK, James Dyson has produced some of the most high tech, best-selling vacuum cleaners of all time. Inspired by the use of a giant cyclone to remove wood dust in a sawmill, the invention of cyclonic technology meant the first ever bagless vacuum cleaner. This technology has evolved over the years, with the introduction of two tiers of cyclones, and balls to increase manoeuvrability. Dyson vacuum cleaners have a tendency to be expensive and noisy, with small capacity dust collectors, but they are extremely powerful, and there is no doubt they are one of the most popular brands on the market.

Top 5 Best Vacuum for Hardwood Floors

There is an overwhelming choice of vacuum cleaners on the market, making it hard to make a decision when buying a new one. There are many important factors to consider, such as price, power, size, ease of use and convenience. For this reason I have used hardwood floor vacuum reviews to put together this list of the best machines available, and hopefully answer the question ‘what is the best vacuum for hardwood floors?’

1. Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional (NV356E)

Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional (NV356E)

At 16lbs this upright, bagless, corded vacuum cleaner is the heaviest on this list, but is still lighter than most upright machines and has a longer cord than average.

It has adjustable suction power, attachments, a reusable filter and a brush shut off capability for going between carpet and hard floors. It features Anti-Allergen Complete Seal Technology and an HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter, which catches fine particles from the intake air and traps them inside the vacuum.

This makes it ideal for home owners with allergies, asthma conditions, or pets. It has swivel steering for easy maneuvering through the home, and a Dust-Away, hard floor attachment with 2 microfiber pads. This merges powerful suction with a soft pad, enabling you to vacuum large particles and dust hard floors in one go.

This product’s most interesting feature is its large capacity, ‘lift-away’, portable canister which, unsurprisingly, ‘lifts away’ from the main unit, making it easier to use for above floor cleaning. This vacuum is definitely a candidate for the best vacuum cleaner for hardwood floors.

2. Hoover Linx Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner, BH50010

Hoover Linx Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner, BH50010

This model is bagless and cordless, with an LED battery indicator which tells you how much life it has left. At 7.3lbs it weighs a little more than most stick vacuums, but is still around half the weight of an upright, making it easier to carry around, especially being cordless.

You can switch between suction and brush roll for carpets, and suction only for cleaning hard floors. It has decent suction power, using WindTunnel technology, edge cleaning bristles for dirt around room edges, and a low profile head to fit under furniture easily. The dirt cup releases at the bottom for easier emptying, but you may still have to use your hand to pull out stubborn dirt such as hair.

Drawbacks would be a lack of accessories, which need to be bought separately, and a limited battery life of around 10-20 minutes, so it would be worth buying a backup battery.

3. Bissell PowerEdge Pet Hard Floor Corded Vacuum, 81L2A

BISSELL PowerEdge Pet Hard Floor Corded Vacuum, 81L2A (Same as 81L2T)

This corded stick vacuum is unique in its V shaped swivel head design which directs dirt to the centre. It is one of the better performing vacuums on hardwood floors due to being designed for this purpose, as well as doing a good job of sucking up pet hair.

Weighing 7lbs it is reasonably lightweight, and at 20ft its cord is long for a stick vacuum. This little machine has decent suction, but a downside to the V-shaped design is that it makes it awkward to get into edges and corners, and to use on stairs.

It is also reported to clog up fairly often, and it does not have HEPA filtration so probably isn’t suitable for allergy and asthma sufferers.

On the upside, this vacuum has a high capacity dust cup which is easy to remove and empty, easy to store and it is one of the more reliable vacuums on the market.

4. Hoover Corded Cyclonic Stick Vacuum, SH20030

Hoover Corded Cyclonic Stick Vacuum, SH20030

At 8 lbs this machine is a little heavier than most stick vacuums, but its swivel steering means that it is still easy to maneuver. It has a low profile base and extreme recline handle to assist in cleaning under furniture, and edge cleaning bristles to pick up dirt from those nooks and crannies.

Its brush roll can be turned off, making it work well on hard floors without scratching the surface.

As with the Hoover Linx, this vacuum also has WindTunnel technology, using multi-cyclonic suction to make this a powerful machine for its size.

As with most stick vacuums it is bagless, and has an easy to empty dust cup. Cons of this vacuum are its lack of HEPA filtration, an absence of accessories, and a cord which has to be manually wound onto the hooks after use. However, this model repeatedly scores highly in reviews, so it is a popular choice for many people.

5. Miele S2121 Olympus Canister Vacuum Cleaner

Miele S2121 Olympus Canister Vacuum Cleaner

As the only canister vacuum cleaner in this top 5 list, this machine stands out from the crowd. It varies from the upright and stick vacuum cleaners in that it requires a replaceable large capacity cloth dust bag which has an auto-seal feature making it hygienic to change, and a dust-bag change indicator.

It comes with three accessories: a natural bristle dusting brush, upholstery nozzle and crevice tool, making it extremely versatile. While it struggles on deeper pile carpet, its design and accessories mean that it might just be the best vacuum for stairs and hardwood floors.

This is the most expensive vacuum cleaner in this list, but it does seem to have enough benefits to make that extra cost worthwhile. It has a retractable cord, extendable wand, and a power selector featuring six suction levels. What it does lack is a motorized brush roll, making it less effective on fine dust and dirt, but with its array of features and quiet operation, this is a contender for the best hard floor vacuum.

The Next 5 Best Vacuums for Hardwood Floors

Here are the next 5 vacuums to consider for your hardwood floors.

Dirt Devil SD20000RED Simpli-Stik Lightweight Bagless Stick Vacuum

This lightweight, 3-in-1 vacuum can be used as a stick, handheld or detail vac, and comes with a crevice tool.

Eureka Mighty Mite Canister Vacuum, 3670G

Equipped with a triple filtration bag system and a six piece attachment set, this portable vacuum cleaner is a good all-rounder.

Hoover FloorMate SpinScrub with Bonus Hard Floor Wipes, FH40010B

This 3-in-1 bagless vacuum also washes and dries hard floors.

Bissell 1161 Hard Floor Expert Deluxe Canister Vacuum

This powerful vacuum is compact and lightweight, with adjustable suction control settings and several cleaning tools.

VonHaus 600W 2-in-1 Corded Upright Stick & Handheld Vacuum Cleaner with HEPA & Sponge Filtration

Ideal for all floor types, this machine can be used as a stick or handheld vacuum cleaner.

Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide

Here are a list of things to consider when choosing a new vacuum cleaner:

· Type. The style of vacuum cleaner that will best suit your needs will depend on the type of cleaning you want to do, your floor size and variety of flooring. Cylinder vacuums tend to be more versatile and are handy for fiddly areas such as stairs and corners. Being lightweight and convenient, sticks are ideal for small houses and light tasks. Uprights are best suited to large floor areas and thick carpets.

· Bagged vs bagless. This is a personal choice as both have their pros and cons. Bagless vacuums can be messy to empty, but bagged models mean the extra expense of buying bags. Cordless vacuums tend to be more expensive, but you are paying for the convenience of being able to use them anywhere. Corded machines have the advantage of never running out of battery.

· Power. More wattage doesn’t necessarily mean more power, as suction also depends on the efficiency of the design. The cleaning power of a vacuum depends on how well it converts watts into ‘air watts’.

· Price. Vacuum cleaners vary a great deal in price, and you don’t always get what you pay for. A vacuum cleaner could cost the earth, but might not be the best for hardwood floors or pet hair. In general, upright vacuum cleaners are usually cheapest, then cylinder, robot, handheld and stick models.

· HEPA filter? High Efficiency Particulate Air filters remove and trap 99.97% of harmful allergens such as mold, smoke and dust, which may not be a huge consideration for some people, but for households with asthma or allergy sufferers this would be an extremely beneficial addition.


With such a huge array of products on the market, choosing a new vacuum cleaner can be difficult and overwhelming, and you may be stuck with your choice for a long time. I hope this guide has helped you to make a decision about the best vacuum for hardwood, and has assisted you in finding a machine that will suit your budget, floor type, house size and physical requirements. It is important to pick one based on your own personal needs, and not be guided by price or clever advertising. The recommendations made in this article were based on hardwood floor vacuums reviews, opinions of real people based on their experiences with the various model.

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