Hardwood flooring is often chosen over carpet flooring for its ability to maintain color and sheen for decades. With proper care and periodic refinishing, a good hardwood floor will last a generation or longer. Hardwood flooring is also somewhat easier to clean than carpeted floors, and yet it can be deceptively difficult to find the right vacuum for a hardwood floor cleaning job.
Many vacuums promise an all-in-one solution for homeowners that have both carpeted and hardwood flooring. These devices can work to some extent, but the “best of both worlds” mentality can lead to a vacuum that ends up being the master of none. At the same time, these vacuums aren’t always as all-encompassing as they promise to be. For instance, vacuums with brush rolls that fail to turn off will spew dirt and debris all over smooth surfaces. For particularly sensitive homeowners, these vacuums provide little in value and a lot in heartache.
Shark vacuums are known for consistent quality, and the DuoClean Rocket upholds that standard. The Shark Rocket DuoClean HV382 is billed as an upright, but can’t actually stand on its own. This upright/stick hybrid attempts to split the difference between the power of an upright with the versatility of a stick, and generally manages to do so.
Despite our earlier criticisms of brush rolls on hardwood flooring, the DuoClean’s dual brush rolls manage to pick up dirt and debris without making a mess. The bristles should be soft enough for most wood, but if you’re worried about the long-term effects, they can just as easily be turned off.
The litany of attachments and accessories also add to the DuoClean’s all-in-one approach to cleaning, so anything from hardwood to carpet and sofas can benefit from this product. However, the bin can be a bit small for tackling larger messes, and emptying it out may require some poking and prodding.
The suction power is powerful—but isn’t quite as strong as some of our other models. If you should face issue with your product over time, the warranty might not cover every issue to satisfaction. Luckily, owners of the Shark Rocket DuoClean HV382 report no loss of suction and little maintenance seems to be required to keep this vacuum running for years to come.
Stick | Battery 40 min | Bagless | HEPA Filters | 5.75 lbs | ✓Brushroll |
The undisputed king of raw power and suction, Dyson’s cordless stick vacuum does one job and one job well. Anyone looking for versatility, cords, or even a long-lasting battery may need to look elsewhere, as the Dyson V8 Absolute Cordless Stick makes no apologies for skirting or skipping these features entirely.
- Powerful suction
- Quick transition to handheld
- Soft brush roll good for hardwood
- Easy-to-empty bin
- Battery drains quickly
- Uncomfortable operation
- HEPA filtration
- Max power mode
- Dirt Ejector
- Attachments: soft brush roll, crevice tool, motorized pet tool
- Warranty: 2-Year Limited
There may not be another cordless vacuum quite as powerful as the Dyson V8. Offering a max power mode that would rival any corded vacuum, this V8 cordless can utilize a firmer brush roll for carpets and an included soft brush attachment for hardwood floors. While carpets remain an option, hardwood seems to be the focus for this stick vacuum—that is, when not used in handheld mode.
That power comes at a cost, however. The Dyson V8 doesn’t often last longer than 20 minutes when using a tool, and since a trigger needs to be pulled to operate the vacuum, there’s a certain amount of fatigue that can come from extended use. Dyson is not afraid to admit, even on their product page, that some settings drain the battery in under 10 minutes. Once drained, you’ll need to wait for a little under four hours before heading out for a second cleaning.
For a vacuum that costs twice as much as many of our other options, these issues, alongside the limited warranty, can seem worse than they actually are. If you’re a Dyson fan who can take the pros with the cons, then the V8 is second to none in quality and power. For those who need different features or a longer-lasting battery, purchasing this unit can be a hard pill to swallow.
Fans of the V8 should also consider the Dyson V10, which promises a few extra minutes of battery and features a unibody design with a larger bin for bigger rooms and pet hair. The price jump from the V8 to the V10 is a bit steep, but with several of the minor issues with the V8 worked out in the premium model, it may be worth the extra expense.
Stick | 20ft cord | Bagless | Foam / Corrugated Filters | 7.5 lbs | X Brushroll | X Hose
Our only choice that’s hardwood-exclusive, the Bissell PowerEdge Pet offers an interesting design and focus on pet hair that’s effective as it is unique. Fans of attachments or homeowners with carpets, however, won’t be satisfied to discover that this vacuum offers no features for them.
- Little maintenance required
- Gentle on hardwood
- No attachments
- Clogs easily
- Suction loss
- V-shaped design for corners
- Removable dirt cup
- Attachments: N/A
- Warranty: 1-Year Limited
Bissell’s stick vacuum, designed exclusively for hardwood floors, seems to perform far beyond its low price tag. Instead of utilizing a soft brush roll like the Dyson V8 or Shark DuoClean, the Bissell PowerEdge 81L2A opts for a unique V-shaped design that works larger debris closer to the center while making corner cleaning far easier. Because of this, the PowerEdge Pet is as gentle as a vacuum can be on hardwood floors. This design also allows the PowerEdge Pet to run with few moving parts, so there’s less maintenance required and, as the name implies, it excels at pet hair removal.
The simplicity of the machine, however, and the affordable cost came at the sacrifice of a few significant features considered standard for this type of vacuum, as well as features other products on our list have universally. For instance, there are zero attachments to be found with the product. The simplistic design also lends itself to clogging, and consistent check-ups may be required to make sure suction isn’t lost over time.
Still, it is a hard product to beat in this price range. Bissell PowerEdge 81L2A is a quiet, effective product that’s designed for the budget-savvy in mind.
Upright | 35ft cord | Bagged | HEPA Filters | 20 lbs | ✓Brushroll | ✓ Hose
HEPA filters and a bagged design makes the hypoallergenic Kenmore Elite Pet & Allergy the premiere choice for sensitive noses. The weight, size, and cord might chase off the more aesthetically-concerned, but this vacuum has enough tricks up its sleeve to tempt many hesitant buyers into returning to a bagged product.
- Best vacuum for allergen removal
- Long cord
- Powerful suction
- Recurring bag cost
- Bulky design
- Short hose
- LED lights
- HEPA filtration/hypoallergenic
- Attachments: telescoping wand, dusting brush, crevice tool, pet handi-mate
- Warranty: 1-Year Limited
For the severely allergic or those with several pets, there’s almost no use in recommending any other vacuum than the Kenmore Kenmore Elite Pet-Friendly 31150, which provides an experience that’s perhaps as hypoallergenic as possible for a vacuum. Its user manual notes to the user that height adjustments and a two-motor system will maintain powerful suction whether cleaning high pile carpet, low pile carpet, or hardwood. Other attachments round out a feature list that’s long enough to tempt anyone who’s sworn off going back to bags.
Those features are not without drawbacks in design. TheKenmore Elite Pet-Friendly 31150 is not only the heaviest vacuum on our list, but it also is the least focused on cleaning hardwood floors. The vacuum performs well on hardwood floors but can cause some wear and tear that may scare off a few that lack carpet in the home.
If a vacuum that doubles as a workout is not a problem for you, or if your home manages several types of flooring and carpeting, the Kenmore Elite Pet-Friendly 31150 will stop the sneezing that comes from a good cleaning. If those categories don’t apply to you, however, it is more difficult to suggest the Kenmore Elite Pet-Friendly 31150 over some of the other vacuums on this list.
Hardwood floor vacuums have a very difficult range of jobs to accomplish. Their suction power needs to be strong, but they need to be maneuverable around furniture and other objects. They need to pick up the finest of dirt and debris, but also need to be light and gentle on wood. Some of the most important considerations to keep in mind include:
Like we’ve mentioned previously, brush rolls and hardwood floors generally don’t mix. Brush rolls are designed from hard nylon and firm materials that are designed to beat carpet fibers and release deep-seeded dirt. On hardwood floors, these hard bristles strike wood hundreds if not thousands of times per minute. Using these rolls constantly on hardwood floors will diminish their quality. As a result, any vacuum marketed as a hardwood vacuum with a brush roll either needs a soft brush attachment or a way to turn the roller off completely. Hard plastic wheels and a heavier product also spell disaster for your hardwood floors over time. Lighter upright or stick vacuums work best to minimize their weight on the ground, as do vacuums that come equipped with floor paddings like felt strips or malleable rubber pads.
Corded versus Cordless
Perhaps the biggest concern many have when going for a hardwood-focused vacuum is whether to select a corded or cordless model. Cordless models come with the advantageous ability to maneuver about the home without any regard for entangling either the furniture or yourself, and they make a great choice for smaller apartments without a lot of floor area. Likewise, powerhouse products like the Dyson V8 seem to show consumers that a cordless model can pack a vacuuming punch without needing the extra oomph from a wall outlet. This doesn’t mean, though, that the cordless models can consistently surpass corded versions. Cordless vacuums will quickly become sapped of power, so if you have a larger home that is all-hardwood, all-carpet, or a mix of both, cords work best.
Hardwood Vacuum Accessories
Hardwood-only vacuums are the most affordable and least likely to come with accessories, but such attachments might be necessary if you have pets or furnishings that are prone to dust. Stick vacuums, and standard uprights, are more for those who have more than one place in their home that requires special attention. Crevice attachments help you get behind entertainment systems and furniture that’s too heavy to move alone, and pet-hair attachments can be a lifesaver for when spring pollen is at its peak. Generally, even if you’re focused exclusively on the maintenance of your hardwood floors, attachments can come in handy. They can transform a brush roll on a product like the Dyson V8 and turn it into a safe cleaner for your floors.
The right vacuum for hardwood floors is one that maintains suction without beating up the floor unnecessarily. Many options in the market meet these needs, but not everyone works best for every family.
We are confident that any of these vacuums for hardwood floors would be an asset for cleaning your living space, but the final decision requires you to consider what type of cleaning you need. Each model has its advantages and disadvantages, so you’ll need to weigh these factors to determine how best to keep your hardwood floors clean and consistently cared for.