What is the best vacuum for hardwood flooring?

Home Builder with The Flooring Girl

Did you know you're supposed to use a DIFFERENT vacuum for hardwood floors than for carpet?  Did you know that your current vacuum may be scratching your hardwood?  Most people don't realize this.


Originally posted in full here:  What's the best vacuum for hardwood floors?  (Please note that there are some pictures/links I was not able post on ActiveRain, but you can read the article in its entirety by following above link).


best vacuum for hardwood flooring


Hardwood flooring is the preferred flooring choice as it adds beauty and elegance to your home.  Wood flooring is stylish and long lasting.  And, hardwood floors can add value to your home.  Maintaining your hardwood floors is important, and one of the most important aspects is keep your floors clean (dirt and debris can scratch and wear down your hardwood floors).  Vacuuming can definitely help in this pursuit, but you do want to be careful about the vacuum cleaner you pick.  Believe it or not, some vacuums can actually damage your hardwood floors.


But, with the right vacuum, you'll be able to properly care and maintain your floors for years to come.  You'll have a clean home and keep the luster of your new hardwood flooring.  When you have the right tools at hand, cleaning hardwood floors becomes a breeze.


Please note that this article may include affiliate links.  You can read my full disclosure in the right side bar (scroll down a bit).


The Mistake of using ordinary vacuums on hardwood floors

What is the best type of vacuum for hardwood floors I understand the reluctance to buy a new vacuum, especially if your current vacuum still works. But, this can be a mistake, as most top rated vacuums are designed to clean CARPET. Your new hardwood floors needs more care.


Here are the 2 big issues:

  • First, most traditional vacuums have roller brushes with thick bristles and these can leave scratches on your hardwood floors. In addition, the beater brush can also scatter dirt and debris, making it even more difficult to clean.


  • Vacuums designed for carpets tend to have plastic wheels, and these can easily scratch up wood surfaces. (see my article on how to prevent scratches in hardwood floors...you'll see that wheels can be one of the worst things for hardwood floors). Additional these vacuum wheels also lack the padding needed to further prevent damage.


By the way, choosing the best vacuum cleaner does not mean choosing the most expensive one. In fact, you'll see from the recommendations in this article that most of the best vacuums designed for hardwood floors are very reasonably priced (several around $100). And, beware that many review sites such as consumer reports, don't separate out vacuums for hardwood floors.  



Tips for Picking the best hardwood vacuum cleaner:

best type of vacuum for hardwood flooringThese principles should help guide you to find the best hardwood flooring vacuum for your home.

  • Avoid rolling brushes – Rolling brushes are designed to lift dirt, hair, and debris that hide inside carpets. For hardwoods, this isn't an issue. And, the brush will actually do more harm than good as they will scratch the wood. If you can't find a vacuum without a rolling brush, then choose one that allows you to switch off the brush to prevent it from spinning.


  • Padding and rubber wheels – Rubber wheels and extra rubber padding will help prevent scratches, digs and other damages. Also, as a general rule, check the wheels before you start vacuuming to remove any extra dirt.


  • Compact and lightweight – Lightweight models are easy to carry around and easily glide across the floor for effortless cleaning. The less pressure you apply to floor, the better. Your back will also thank you for this.


  • Good suction power – Superior suction quality and power are a must (and a feature you would look for anyway). This ensures that no dust, dirt or debris is left behind.


Canister vs upright vacuum cleaner models

There's debate whether upright or canister vacuums are better when it comes to hardwood flooring. They each have pros and cons, so it does depend on your preference.   If I had to choose between the two, I'd go with canister as they are generally lighter and easier to maneuver without scratching the floor. In addition, if you have a two story home, canisters are usually easier to carry up the steps and vacuum the steps.  


My top recommendation

When it comes to getting the best value for your vacuum (i.e. balancing quality and price), I'd recommend the BISSELL Hard Floor Expert 1161. I'd encourage you to read the reviews on this product as well as the suggestions below.  


This vacuum is compact and lightweight and compact, so it's easy to maneuver and easy to store. It's specially made for hardwood floors with rubber wheels and felt treads. It has powerful suctions, yet delicately cleans to protect your floors.


Other Recommended vacuums for hardwood flooring:

Unfortunately, I can't post the options on ActiveRain (the plugin won't work here), but if you'd like to see the other options, you can see them on the original post here



What about robotic vacuum cleaners?

Most people don't enjoy vacuuming, and that’s why the idea of a robotic vacuum cleaner is appealing. Robotic vacuums save time and energy, and it's no wonder that they are growing in popularity.  


When it comes to robotic vs regular vacuums, the automatic vacuums are not as powerful as the standard types. Instead, they are designed to be used much more often. As a result, they can keep your home very clean with minimal effort on your part. (Note: these are usually used in conjunction with a standard vacuum, and the combo seems to work very well). Please note that robotic vacuums are not the best choice for carpets.  



Best robotic vacuum for hardwood floors:

The most well-known robot vacuum brands currently in this industry are iRobot (which includes the Roomba and Neato Robotics. Note: several name brand names are starting to enter this segment with cheaper options, but they don't seem to work as well (and may be more likely to scratch your floors).   When it comes to getting the best robot vacuum for the money, iRobot is still the number one choice, both in terms of quality and customer satisfaction. Here are some great choices.


I also can't post these options on ActiveRain (the plugin won't work here), but if you'd like to see the other options, you can see them on the original post here.




So there you have it. My top recommendations on vacuums for hardwood flooring. Choosing the right hardwood flooring vacuum can make a big difference on keeping your floors clean and helping the last longer.  


Related Articles for Hardwood Flooring Maintenance:



Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Debra Leisek 07/17/2017 01:17 AM
  2. Margaret Goss 07/18/2017 06:46 AM
Home Improvement

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Dorie Dillard
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.346.1799 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good morning Debbie Gartner ,

So glad to see this post featured! Another excellent post to share with my clients..you always have the best information and that is why you are Flooring Girl!! Bookmarked!!

Jul 17, 2017 04:43 AM #18
Sham Reddy
H E R Realty, Dayton, OH - Dayton, OH

Great blog, thanks for sharing!!!

With the right vacuum, you'll be able to properly care and maintain your floors for years to come.  You'll have a clean home and keep the luster of your new hardwood flooring.  When you have the right tools at hand, cleaning hardwood floors becomes a breeze.


Jul 17, 2017 05:17 AM #19
Corinne Guest, Managing Broker
Barrington Realty Company - Barrington, IL
Barrington, a Luxury, Country Suburban Lifestyle.

It's hard work going round a house changing heads all the time but the Dyson Animal cordless makes it much easier. I dropped my corded vac years ago, much easier now. I have a soft head for HW floors. No bristles, it's like a velvet pad.

Jul 17, 2017 05:41 AM #20
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

We are in a world within worlds within worlds. In the flooring world seek Debbie

Jul 17, 2017 06:10 AM #21
Luke Acree
ReminderMedia - King of Prussia, PA
Making Agents Memorable

So does that mean that hardwood settings on conventional vacuums are not to be trusted?

Jul 17, 2017 06:42 AM #22
Nick & Trudy Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtors, Philly Main Line

Great post and something people don't necessarily think about when buying a vacuum. 

Jul 17, 2017 07:19 AM #23
Rosalind Nicholas
RE/MAX Condos Plus Corporation, Brokerage - Toronto, ON
Toronto Condo Real Estate Agent, Toronto ON

Thank you for sharing. This is a very informative post ........ Now, I know what to look for ...... when purchasing a vacuum cleaner, for the hardwood flooring.

Jul 17, 2017 08:44 AM #24
Jeffrey DiMuria 321.223.6253 Waves Realty
Waves Realty - Melbourne, FL
Florida Space Coast Homes

This is a really nice blog post. I think so many of us (with Hardwood floors) never know what to do to keep them looking new.

Jul 17, 2017 08:46 AM #25
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad

Hi Debbie

Thanks for all the great information for hard floor care - this is a terrific resource for homeowners who need to care for both hardwood flooring and carpet.


Jul 17, 2017 09:12 AM #26
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Debbie- What a perfect topic for you to post about. When we moved into our home in Leesburg VA and some of the floor refinished, I remember our flooring person giving us the warning you did. I'm glad he did too!  We also made sure that our dog's nails were always trimmed because they really can damage the floor. 

Jul 17, 2017 09:40 AM #27
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Hi Debbie - something I never thought about.  I do have one with a beater beater bar.  My family have a throw rug on top and the hardwood still looks great. 

Jul 17, 2017 01:16 PM #28
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

What a great article and so informative. I hadn't really thought about this but we have hardwood throughout our home.

Jul 17, 2017 03:33 PM #29
Beth Atalay
Cam Realty and Property Management - Clermont, FL
Cam Realty of Clermont FL

This is a great post Debbie, most of us don't even pay attention to what type of vacuum cleaner we use.

Jul 17, 2017 06:29 PM #30
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

I just swiffer. Well not the carpet of course, but I dry swiffer and they floors stay in great shape

Jul 17, 2017 09:40 PM #31
Laura Filip
RE/MAX UTOPIA , Serving all of Texoma - Whitesboro, TX
What can we do for you today?

Great post with alot of information in it. A reblog is in order on this one for sure. Have a blessed day. 

Jul 19, 2017 01:30 PM #32
Lou Ludwig
Ludwig & Associates - Boca Raton, FL
Designations Earned CRB, CRS, CIPS, GRI, SRES, TRC


The post has great information on the best vacuum for hard wood floors.

Good luck and success.

Lou Ludwig

Jul 20, 2017 07:51 PM #33
Lou Ludwig
Ludwig & Associates - Boca Raton, FL
Designations Earned CRB, CRS, CIPS, GRI, SRES, TRC


Congratulations on a gold star feature for an outstanding post.

Good luck and success.

Lou Ludwig

Jul 20, 2017 07:52 PM #34
Michael J. Perry
KW Elite - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster, PA Relo Specialist

Very Timely post ! As we speak I am removing 11 yr old carpet for two more rooms we are having hardwood installed in !

Aug 15, 2017 10:48 AM #35
Ben DeHaven
Haven Realty & Investments - Winter Haven, FL
Proudly serving Winter Haven & Lakeland, Florida

I need a vaccum that our dog can pull around behind him as he paces back and forth. Any suggestions! 

Aug 15, 2017 12:15 PM #36
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

Ben - lol maybe try a cat.

Aug 15, 2017 01:08 PM #37
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