best vacuums for hardwood

Best Vacuums for Hardwood Floors

Do you get tired of trying to keep your hardwood floors clean? You sweep and sweep and sweep – only to find that you’ve missed a spot (or several).

It almost seems as though your hard floors collect more dirt than carpet. (Actually, carpet gets really dirty too – you just can’t see it as well.)

If only it were as easy to clean hardwoods as it is to clean carpet.  You know, just run a vacuum over the floors.

But your vacuum doesn’t reach low enough to pick up the dirt on your hardwood floors. Or, you may have one that doesn’t work at all on hardwoods – and could actually damage them!

The good news is that there is a solution – vacuums designed specifically to work on your hardwood floors.

And we’ve narrowed down the field to the best vacuums for hardwood flooring on the market today. Here are our top picks:

Showcase: The 3 Best Vacuums for Hardwood Floors

We’ve put together a comprehensive list of ten vacuums for hardwoods that address different needs.

Let’s start with our three top choices.

Our top three best vacuums for hardwood floors are the Shark Navigator Liftaway Pro, the Kenmore Elite 31150, and the Dyson Elite V8 Cordless.

Let’s look further at why these three made the top of the list.

Top Pick: The Shark Navigator Liftaway Pro

best vacuum for hardwoodsWhile there are many great vacuum options for cleaning hardwood floors, the Shark Navigator Liftaway Pro is the best overall choice.

And we aren’t the only ones who loved this vacuum. It is one of the top-selling ones on the market today – for good reason.

It is well constructed with solid, durable materials – so you can expect it to last awhile.

Plus, it cleans – really cleans your floors. This vacuum can help your hardwoods look as beautiful as they did before your family began trampling over them every day.

Read our full review of this vacuum below.

Best for Pets: The Kenmore Elite Pet-friendly Upright

best hardwood vacuumKids aren’t the only thing that can wreak havoc on your beautiful floors. As much as you love your furry critters, they can leave a trail of pet hair, dirt, and dander.

That’s why we love the Kenmore Elite Pet-friendly Upright.

This vacuum powerfully cleans your floors, plus it has special features to remove that pesky pet hair from both your floors and furniture.

And if that’s not enough reason to love this vacuum, it is also certified by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation – so it is great for allergy sufferers too.

Best Cordless Pick: Dyson V8 Cordless

vacuum cleaner for hardwoods

Is it possible to have a top list without including a Dyson vacuum? Perhaps, but not this one.

The Dyson V8 Cordless is both lightweight and powerful. How could it not be powerful with a V8 motor?

It gets your floors clean and sparkling with very little hassle, and you can even use it on your stairs. Just be prepared to pay a “Dyson” price for it.

Read our full review to find out more about this great cordless vacuum.

What to Look for in a Vacuum for Hardwood Flooring?

When it comes to vacuums for hardwood flooring, you have lots of options. So, what is the best?

Much of that depends on your home, your needs, and your budget.

If your home is all or mostly hardwood flooring, then it may be best to choose a model specifically designed for that flooring. We’ve included some of those options in this review.

However, if your floors are a mix of hardwoods and carpet, then you may want to consider a vacuum that transitions well from one floor to the next.

Some of the top features to look for in hardwood flooring vacuums include:

  • Power and suction to effectively pick up the dirt and debris from your floors.
  • Cleaning brushes that are gentle and won’t scrape or damage your floors.
  • A durable vacuum that stands the test of time.
  • Attachments and hoses that help you reach hard to get areas where dirt can collect.

Each of these vacuums has its pros and cons. So, look for the one that best suits you.

What to Expect When Spending More?

Vacuums come in all shapes, sizes, and price ranges. You can literally spend anywhere from $50 to over $1000 on a vacuum for your hardwood floors.

With such a varied price range, how do you choose? And is a $1000 really worth it?

There are a few things to consider. Are you looking for something to really deep clean your floors or do you need a vacuum for everyday quick cleaning?

If you don’t need a lot of power and you don’t mind replacing it every few years, then a vacuum on the less expensive side is fine.

However, if you want one that really cleans and doesn’t blow dirt and dust back into your home, then you may want to look at a pricier model.

In this review, you will find that there are some great, hard-working vacuums that also provide great value for the money.

Back to Top

Rankings & Reviews

The following vacuums are our top picks for use on hardwood floors. We will share the best features of each one, what people who’ve purchased them think, and where each one could improve.

Because while these are great, there’s always some room for improvement, right? These vacuums vary by style and price and are ranked in order starting with our #1 pick.

Our #1 Pick: Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional with Dust-Away & 2 Microfiber Pads (NV356E)

best vacuum for hardwoods

  • Key Feature #1: Dust-away hard floor attachment
  • Key Feature #2: Powerful suction
  • The highs: Easily picks up dust, grime, and allergens – even in hard to reach places.
  • The lows: It’s heavy to haul and sometimes falls over while using.

The Shark Navigator Lift-Away is the best of the best hardwood floor vacuums for its uncompromising ability to remove dust, grime, and allergens from floors. Its powerful suction is second to none.

Since its canister is removable from the base, you can reach places that a normal vacuum can’t, making cleaning easy. You can hit stairs, curtains, baseboards, and corners with this vacuum.

Plus, it has a HEPA filter with seal technology to help trap allergens, which is great for any family members who suffer from allergies.

This Shark is constructed well using high-quality materials. It is not cheaply designed, turns on a dime, and is easy to maneuver – saving you time.

What reviewers say about it

The reviews of this Shark vacuum have been mostly positive.

The number one reason so many people love this vacuum is its powerful suction. And when you have hardwood floors that show lots of dirt and debris, this is important.

The biggest complaint was that it is heavy. It weighs 13.7 pounds, which could be too much for some people.

What’s good?

Hardwood floors, especially those in darker grains, tend to show every speck of dust that’s on them. So, the best part of this vacuum is its ability to truly clean them.

Its dust-away hardwood floor attachment comes with two microfiber pads that pick up virtually anything.  Plus, you can remove the attachment and even get into super hard-to-reach places.

Not only does it have the microfiber pads to grab dust particles and debris, this vacuum has excellent suction power.

So, the best part about this vacuum is that it will get your floors sparkling clean – at least until the dog or kids come running through again.

What could be better?

This vacuum claims to be lightweight, but 13.7 pounds simply isn’t lightweight for everyone. However, the weight of the vacuum is clearly stated in its description.

The Shark Navigator also has some balance issues. It tends to fall over frequently.

Customers have commented that it falls while rolling or unrolling the cord. It falls when using the attachment, and sometimes simply when setting it down.

How does It compare in value?

Overall, this vacuum is an excellent value for the money – which is one of the reasons it tops this list.

The Shark Navigator Pro has the powerful suction of a Dyson vacuum, but without the hefty price tag.

And while it’s not the cheapest vacuum on the market, it leads the pack in best overall value.

How has it improved?

The Shark Navigator Pro first came on the market in 2011 and was an instant hit. And it has remained one of the top-selling vacuums on Amazon.

Over the years, the look of this vacuum has improved, becoming sleeker in design. Plus, the newer one comes with the microfiber pads.

It is also heavier than older models. However, part of this is due to its larger capacity canister.

Back to Top

The Next Best: Kenmore Elite 31150 Pet Friendly Upright Vacuum

best hardwood vacuum

  • Key Feature #1: Ideal for families with pets.
  • Key Feature #2: Great for allergy sufferers.
  • The highs: Not only does it pick up dust and dirt well, it contains them.
  • The lows: Tough to maneuver and too heavy for some people.

The Kenmore Elite 31150 is a bagged upright vacuum that comes with a HEPA filter. It is extremely powerful on hardwood floors, picks up pet hair and dander with ease, plus it is certified by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

It comes with all the attachments you need to thoroughly clean your floors and home, including a pet hair attachment and a telescoping wand. This vacuum also has an LED light for better vision.

With five-position height adjustment, not only does it work well on hardwood floors, but you can easily clean any carpeted areas as well.

While many other vacuums tend to release particles back into the air, this one keeps them well contained, which is great for allergy sufferers.

But along with the power and useful features comes a big, bulky machine. The Kenmore Elite is rather heavy and may be hard to maneuver for some people.

What reviewers say about it

This vacuum has received great reviews on Amazon & other online review portals.

People love how well it removes the dirt and grime from their hardwood floors. And the pet attachment really helps to pick up all the hair and dander.

Overall, this vacuum received a four-star rating.  While there were few complaints, most were about how heavy this machine is.

What’s good?

This vacuum is powerful, adjustable, and loaded with great features.

It comes with 20 percent more air power than your standard upright vacuum. Plus, it literally has everything you need to get your floors cleaner than they’ve ever been before.

There’s a telescoping wand for hard to reach places. A pet hair attachment that allows you to remove hair and dander from your floors and furniture while you are cleaning.

And it even comes with an additional attachment to get in those hard to reach corners and crevices.  Plus, you can adjust the height to go over rugs, carpet, tile, or any other surface.

What could be better?

While pushing a 20-pound vacuum may be a breeze for some, it’s not for everyone. If you have had an injury or you are older and need to be careful with the amount of weight you handle, then this vacuum is not for you.

It is heavy, and it can be difficult to operate. And sometimes it tips over.

Some customers felt that the attachment cords could be longer. So, if you need a hose that can reach farther, you may want to consider a different vacuum.

How does It compare in value?

Given the amount of power, its certification from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation, and its great features, this vacuum is an excellent value for the money.

There are some vacuums in this review that are cheaper, and there are certainly some that cost more. But this moderately priced vacuum will keep your floors clean at a price that won’t break the bank.

How has it improved?

The Kenmore brand has been around since the early 1900s and has been selling vacuums for the past 70 years. It is one of the most popular brands on the market today.

The 31150 boasts a marked improvement on the 31140 model. Some of the features that were improved include a longer power cord, the LED lighting, and the more powerful motor.

Back to Top

Our Next Favorite: Dyson V8 Absolute Cordless Vacuum

vacuum cleaner for hardwoods

  • Key Feature #1: Powerful V8 motor.
  • Key Feature #2: Lightweight, cordless vacuum.
  • The highs: Cleans hardwoods spotless while expelling cleaner air.
  • The lows: Battery can run down quickly.

Dyson has set the bar for other vacuums to try and beat. The name means greatness when it comes to vacuums.

So how does this one stack up?

There is a whole lot of power in this five-pound cordless vacuum. It’s light and easy to maneuver.

And it does a fantastic job cleaning floors. With its HEPA filtration system, even the air in your home will be cleaner than before.

But make sure you clean fast because the battery doesn’t last long. You have about 20 to 40 minutes before it needs another charge.

What reviewers say about it

For the most part, people love this vacuum. They view it as money well spent.

There’s no cumbersome cord to contend with, plus it transfers to a handheld, so you can clean your stairs too.

While most reviewers loved how easy it is to use this vacuum, the number one complaint is that the battery will run out. So clean quick if you go with this one.

What’s good?

The best part of the Dyson V8 is that it allows you the freedom to clean your floors spotless without the hassle of a big, bulky, corded vacuum.

It has extremely powerful suction and you can easily turn the bristle bar on or off to move from your hardwoods to carpet.

Additionally, its HEPA filtration can’t be beat. It captures allergens and expels cleaner air leaving your home much cleaner than it was.

What could be better?

The trade-off with a cordless vacuum is that batteries simply don’t last forever.

This Dyson vacuum comes with lithium metal batteries, but you must remember to charge them for at least four hours before use.

And when you do, you could get up to 40 minutes of cleaning time, depending on whether you use the floor tool.

How does It compare in value?

The Dyson V8 is not cheap. You may pay a hefty price for this lightweight vacuum.

But looks can be deceiving. For the price, you get a whole lot of power and convenience (for around 40 minutes).

However, if hassle-free cleaning is one of your priorities, then this vacuum is well worth the money.

How has it improved?

This vacuum is a definite improvement over the V6. It is more powerful, and its battery does last longer.

Plus, Dyson has included some much-needed attachments with this model making it the only vacuum you’ll need for cleaning your hardwoods.

Back to Top

#4: Bissell 1161 Hard Floor Expert Deluxe Canister Vacuum

bissel hard floor expert deluxe

  • Key Feature #1: Gentle on hardwood floors.
  • Key Feature #2: Easy to maneuver
  • The highs: Designed specifically for your hard floors.
  • The lows: Doesn’t have a very long cord.

What is great about the Bissell 1161 is that it is specifically designed for hardwood floors. Its wheels are made of felt and rubber, so it won’t leave marks on your floors.

Plus, it has soft bristles that gently, yet powerfully, remove the dirt and debris from your hardwoods.

What reviewers say about it

Most online reviewers give this vacuum 4 or 5 stars (out of 5). They love how effectively it cleans and how easy it is to use.

The main complaint is that over time this vacuum may lose some of its suction power.

What’s good?

If most of your floors (or all of them) are hard surface floors, then this is a great choice in vacuums.

It is specifically designed for hard surfaces and is extremely gentle on your hardwood flooring.

What could be better?

Compared to other corded vacuums, this one does have a pretty short cord. It is only 16 feet compared to other models with cords that are 30 feet or longer.

So, make sure there are plenty of plugs in your home, or pair it with an extension cord.

Back to Top

#5: Miele Complete C3 Marin Canister Vacuum Cleaner

miele complete c3

  • Key Feature #1: Very durable.
  • Key Feature #2: Powerful and easy to use.
  • The highs: It comes with all the “bells and whistles” you could ever need.
  • The lows: This vacuum has a hefty price tag.

The Miele C3 canister vacuum is built to last. And while it is an investment, like other Miele products, it is one that you can depend on for many years to come.

This vacuum is extremely powerful and easy to use. Plus, it comes with all the attachments you could ever need to get your floors, furniture, and even your draperies sparkling clean.

What reviewers say about it

Even though this vacuum is expensive, it’s extremely well-reviewed. Customers say that it is worth every penny.

It is well-constructed and really gets the job done when it comes to cleaning.

What’s good?

This vacuum is powerful and top-rated for cleaning hardwood floors. Plus, it comes with attachments to clean your other areas too.

It is also very easy to use and maneuver. Plus, the bag is very easy to empty.

What could be better?

This vacuum is expensive. Very expensive.

But then again, it is a Miele, which has an excellent reputation for high-quality products. You’ll tend to get what you pay for with quality vacuums, and Miele is no exception.

Back to Top

#6: Dirt Devil Power Air Corded Stick Vacuum

dirt devil power air corded stick

  • Key Feature #1: Lightweight.
  • Key Feature #2: Easy on the budget.
  • The highs: High powered 10-amp motor.
  • The lows: Design could be better.

If you are looking for a lightweight, inexpensive vacuum for your hardwoods, then this Dirt Devil Stick Vacuum may be the one for you.

It is easy to use and easy on the budget.

What reviewers say about it

Most people who purchased this vacuum find that it is great for the price.

Buyers love how easy it is to use compared to heavier models. The main complaint with this one is how noisy it is.

What’s good?

This lightweight vacuum cleans your floors well. It has great suction and a 10-amp motor.

Plus, it is very easy to open and empty.

What could be better?

The cord is 20 feet long, which is okay, but not great.

And the design could be improved upon. It tends to blow air out of the front of the vacuum, which can stir up pet hair and dust.

Back to Top

#7: Hoover Linx Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner, BH50010

hoover linx cordless stick

  • Key Feature #1: Cordless.
  • Key Feature #2: Multi-floor cleaning features.
  • The highs: Can hit hard-to-reach areas.
  • The lows: It tends to blow dirt and dust around.

If you’d like a cordless stick vacuum that is easy on the budget, then the Hoover Linx is a good choice. It works extremely well on hardwood floors, but you can also use it for carpet and other surfaces.

It won’t scratch or mark your floors. And it comes with windtunnel technology that is extremely effective in removing dirt and dust from your floors.

What reviewers say about it

This is very popular vacuum cleaner, with over 9,000 reviews on Amazon at the time of this review.

People love how well it works on hardwoods, and how well it picks up pet hair. A few customers were disappointed with customer service when they had issues.

What’s good?

This vacuum is lightweight, easy to use, and it can get into hard-to-reach places. Plus, it is cordless, which makes it very convenient.

It also comes with a fade-free lithium-ion battery system, so you can change out the batteries when they run low and keep on cleaning.

What could be better?

While this vacuum can powerfully pick up dirt and grime, because of the air blowing out of it, it can also blow it around.

Longer pieces of hair from pets and people can get twisted and caught in this vacuum’s brush. So, you may need to check it and clean it before using again.

Back to Top

#8: Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away Canister Vacuum (NR96)

shark rotator powered liftaway

  • Key Feature #1: Power-packed hardwood floor cleaning.
  • Key Feature #2: Easy fingertip controls.
  • The highs: Anti-allergen technology.
  • The lows: It can be a heavy piece of equipment to drag around the house.

Shark’s Rotator Powered Lift-Away Canister Vacuum is a powerful cleaning machine. It has dynamic swivel steering and a powered lift-away mode to make cleaning your whole house easy.

Plus, its easy fingertip controls allow you to effortlessly switch gears from your hardwoods to carpet or rugs.

What reviewers say about it

This Shark vacuum received stellar reviews. Most of the 1,300+ Amazon reviewers (at the time of this review) give it five stars.

People love its versatility and its power.

What’s good?

This canister model vacuum is a great value. It is powerful, can get just about any spot in your home, and it even comes with an attachment for picking up hard-to-clean pet hair.

And with its anti-allergen technology, it traps 99.9% of dust and allergens in the vacuum.

What could be better?

The Shark is powerful but heavy. Especially top-heavy.

It would also be easier to use if you could adjust the height of the stick.

Back to Top

#9: Hoover CH30000 PortaPower Lightweight Commercial Canister Vacuum

hoover ch30000

  • Key Feature #1: Lightweight.
  • Key Feature #2: Extra-long cable for convenient cleaning.
  • The highs: Includes extendable hoses.
  • The lows: Less longevity than other models.

The Hoover CH30000 is a lightweight canister vacuum that can be easily adjusted to your cleaning needs. It has long cords and extendable hoses.

So, you can clean your home from top to bottom with this vacuum.

What reviewers say about it

This Hoover vacuum received excellent reviews across many online review sites.

People love how easy it is to use and adjust to reach different areas of their homes.

What’s good?

The price of this vacuum is great. For a little money, you get a lot of features.

The cord is long, the hose can be extended, and getting to those tough corners and areas is easy with this vacuum.

What could be better?

While this vacuum is not expensive, it also doesn’t appear to be built to last.

After extended use, the motor could begin to smell, and it may not last more than a few years.

Back to Top

#10: ILIFE V5s Pro Robot Vacuum

ilife v5 robot vacuum

  • Key Feature #1: Self-cleaning vacuum.
  • Key Feature #2: Automatically adjusts to your floor type.
  • The highs: Has smart-sensors that detect dirt.
  • The lows: It could get stuck if there are objects lying around on the floor.

If you have hardwoods and are considering a robot vacuum, this one is a great buy. It is less expensive than some of its competitors but still gets the job done.

The ILIFE V5s Pro is powerful, plus it has smart sensors that can find where your dirt is hiding. And its powerful motor picks up all sorts of dust, debris, and even pet hair.

What reviewers say about it

This self-cleaning vacuum rated well across over 1000 Amazon reviews, and is reviewed highly elsewhere online.

People were amazed at just how well this little robot works on hardwood floors.  They found it a great buy for the money.

What’s good?

The best part about this vacuum is that it does all the work for you. It vacuums, sweeps, and damp mops – all in one little machine.

And when it is done, it automatically docks and recharges so its ready to go next time you need it.

What could be better?

If you want this vacuum to last a while, be prepared to hunt for a new battery.

The one that comes with the ILIFE is rechargeable, however, replacement batteries could be a challenge to find once your battery dies.

Back to Top

Wrap Up

So, which vacuum is the BEST overall pick for hardwood floors? Despite some tough competition, the Shark Navigator Lift-Away still takes the cake.

Yes, you have to operate it yourself (unlike the ILIFE V5s). And yes, it can be heavy to lift.

However, it is a powerful cleaning machine that truly gets the job done. And at a price that won’t break the bank.

Now, you could go with a vacuum from a long-standing brand that has been around for years, like the Kenmore Elite 31150. Or the more expensive, yet lightweight Dyson V8.

They are both great options too. It really boils down to what you are comfortable with and what you are willing to spend to get your floors clean.

Back to Top

Jennifer Lester

About Jennifer Lester

Jennifer Lester is a freelance writer, blogger, and home improvement finatic. She loves to write about things that will transform your house into your dream home. Jennifer is a graduate of Texas A&M University. LinkedIn.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *