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Choosing the Best Vacuum for Hardwood Floors—No More Scratches

Hardwood floors are beautiful and aesthetically pleasing. But they’re also delicate—perhaps more delicate than most floor types. Cleaning hardwood flooring can pose a bit of a challenge and may even become ruined, especially when the wrong type of vacuum cleaner is used to clean them.

Finding the best vacuum for hardwood floors is not as easy as choosing a model for other floor types. This guide recommends 10 gentle but powerful vacuums suitable for hardwood floors. It also explains what you need to look for when buying a hardwood vacuum that won’t leave your radiant floors with scratches.

Miele Complete C2 Hard Floor Canister

Miele, the German manufacturer, is a leading name in the industry, and its Complete C2 Hard Floor model exemplifies the brand’s commitment to producing high-quality vacuums.

Miele equipped this cleaning machine with a soft parquet brush that’s gentle on sensitive floors. Yet, its powerful 1,200-watt vortex motor with six different suction controls is powerful enough to pick up any stuck-on dirt and debris.

Miele Complete C2 Hard Floor Canister

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Particles have no chance of escaping the dust bag. Even when the bag is emptied, it prevents trapped dust from getting back into the air. The foot pedal feature ensures that winding the cord after vacuuming is effortless. Slightly push the foot pedal and the cord winds into a separate compartment.

Complete C2 is not meant for cleaning hard floors only; it works excellently for wall-to-wall carpet, furniture, drapes, and more. As you’ll expect, the vacuum features several attachments for each of these purposes.

What We Like About this Vacuum

  • 1,200 watt Miele motor delivers powerful suction
  • Motor protection filter prevents dirt accumulation
  • Many integrated tools, including dusting brush, crevice tool, upholstery tool, and more
  • Ergonomic handle for easy transportation
  • Air clean filter system traps dust

Pros

  • Highly versatile vacuum
  • Floor brush with wider head can clean up to 20% faster
  • Automatic cord winding with foot pedal
  • 3-year warranty

Cons

  • Premium price

 

Bissell Zing Bagless Canister 2156A

If you have a small home with hardwood flooring, the Zing Bagless Canister 2156A from Bissell might be the right model for you. Compared to other canister vacuums, this one is as light as a feather. Plus, it features two large wheels that glide effortlessly on floors.

Bissell Zing Bagless Canister 2156A

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This rather smallish vacuum uses cyclonic action to generate powerful suction for spotless cleaning. Although it can clean carpets, it works exceptionally well on hard floors.

It has a fairly low price (the most affordable on this list), but that doesn’t make it an inferior option. As you probably already know, Bissell is famous for manufacturing only high-quality vacuums.

This model is hardly the overall best vacuum for hardwood floors, but if lightweight tops the list of the things you want in a canister vacuum, there’s no better option than the Canister 2156A. If you like the Canister 2156A but prefer a bagged version (at the same price, of course), check out the purple-colored Bissell Zing Canister 2154A.

What We Like About this Vacuum

  • Cyclonic technology for continuous suction across all floor types
  • Automatic cord winding rolls cord back into place
  • Swivel steering for easy maneuvering
  • Multi-surface button for switching between surfaces
  • The easy-empty lid on removable dirt cup for quick and mess-free emptying

Pros

  • Very lightweight (less than 8 lbs)
  • Highly affordable
  • Strong cyclonic suction
  • Completely sealed dirt bag prevents dirt particles and dust from escaping
  • Washable filters

Cons

  • 15-foot cord too short for larger rooms

 

Bissell Deluxe Canister Vacuum—1161

If you’re in the market for a canister vacuum that combines performance with affordability, you should definitely take a look at the Deluxe Canister from Bissell. It comes with useful attachments that won’t cause problems for your hardwood flooring while delivering excellent suction.

The unit is fitted with non-marking rubber wheels, so you won’t have to bother about scratches on your delicate floors.

Bissell Deluxe Canister Vacuum - 1161

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Included with the vacuum is a crevice and dusting tool that lets you clean your entire home with ease. The unit is compact and lightweight, so carrying it around during cleaning is painless.

You can easily power the unit and control the suction all with one finger, thanks to its convenient fingertip controls. Emptying the dirt tank is as effortless as pushing a button.

What We Like About this Vacuum

  • Rubber wheels with felt treads
  • Fingertip controls for quick settings
  • Telescopic extension wand
  • 74 dBA quiet operation

Pros

  • Extremely lightweight and compact design
  • Easy to empty the dirt tank
  • Comes with a crevice tool and dusting tool
  • 2-year warranty

Cons

  • Canister capacity not suitable for whole-home cleaning, especially for larger homes

 

Bissell Hard Floor Bagless Canister Vacuum—1547

If you’re looking for a canister specifically designed for homes with hard flooring, this Hard Floor Bagless model from Bissell might interest you. Infused with a multi-cyclonic technology, this vacuum provides powerful suction for longer periods.

Bissell Hard Floor Bagless Canister Vacuum – 1547

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The unit is fitted with a hard floor turbine foot that is excellent at picking up dirt, debris, and pet hair without causing any damage or scratches to your delicate floor. It also comes with attachments suitable for cleaning homes with multi-surface flooring.

It comes with a canister cup capacity large enough for most households. Emptying the tank is as simple as pressing a button, and dirt will be released without creating a mess.

What We Like About this Vacuum

  • Multi-cyclonic technology for increased suction
  • 18-foot power cord to cover a lot of ground
  • 67.6 fluid ounces canister cup

Pros

  • Gentle on hard floors
  • Lightweight design for easy carrying
  • 2-year limited warranty

Cons

  • Location of power button is not very convenient
  • Regular maintenance required to prevent clogging

 

iRobot Roomba i7+ (7550)

In the world of robotic vacuum cleaners, the iRobot Roomba i7+ is one device that stands tall. Equipped with automatic dirt disposal capability, the premium vacuum can make you forget about vacuuming for up to 60 days at a time. Its suction is 10 times more powerful than its predecessor.

iRobot Roomba i7+ (7550)

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However, the most important consideration (for the purpose of this guide) is whether this high-tech device is suitable for hardwood.

The answer to that is definitely yes. In fact, as far as robot vacuums go, the iRobot Roomba i7+ is arguably the best vacuum for hardwood floors as well as other floor types. The smart device easily transitions from carpet to hardwood to tiles and everything between.

The robot comes with a smart mapping feature that allows it to gather more than 230,000 data points in your home per second. This allows it to “know” where to clean and how to steer clear of objects.

What We Like About this Vacuum

  • HEPA filtration
  • Automatically empties the dirt compartment
  • vSLAM navigation for intelligent home mapping
  • Highly efficient filters that can trap up to 99% of pet allergens
  • Customizable app for personalized cleaning

Pros

  • Pet-friendly option
  • Powerful suction with up to 2 hours runtime
  • Self-emptying capability
  • Cleans up messes when they happen with voice assistant
  • 1-year limited warranty

Cons

  • Premium price
  • Loud noises due to higher suction power, especially during self-emptying

 

BoostIQ RoboVac 11S

If you want a robot vacuum that gives you all the clean you want without the fancy features of more expensive versions, you might want to take a look at the BoostIQ RoboVac 11S.

BoostIQ RoboVac 11S

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As one of the most affordable robot vacuums, it doesn’t come with all the bells and whistles in the iRobot Roomba series, but it’s specially engineered to clean hardwood floors for up to 100 minutes on a single full charge.

It delivers up to 13,000 Pascal of suction power to leave your floors spotless. If it ever runs low on battery during vacuuming, the device returns to its charging base to juice up its battery. Equipped with infrared and drop sensors, the robot vacuum can operate without supervision.

Eufy’s BoostIQ is an incredibly popular vacuum cleaner and if you want the newer features, a few extra dollars will get you the latest version.

What We Like About this Vacuum

  • Remote control
  • Automatically detects low power and returns to charging base to recharge
  • Drop-sensing technology to avoid falls
  • Infrared sensor to avoid obstacles
  • BoostIQ technology to automatically increase suction power when needed

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • Slim design can fit into tight spaces
  • Up to 100-minute runtime on hardwood floors per charge
  • Quiet operation at 55 dBA noise level (similar to a microwave)
  • 1-year warranty

Cons

  • Lacks fancy smart features such as Wi-Fi, voice assistant, and no-go lines
  • Might not be suitable for smaller homes with tight spaces because the charging base requires a wide-open space for installation

 

Dirt Devil Razor UD70355B

A clean home can be difficult to maintain if you have a pet that sheds on your floor, upholstery, and other surfaces. Staying on top of your cleaning routine will require a vacuum with powerful suction but gentle enough for cleaning sensitive floors. That’s where the Dirt Devil Razor UD70355B excels.

This is one of the most reasonably-priced offerings on this list with impressive versatility and high-level specification.

Dirt Devil Razor UD70355B

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The appliance delivers high suction without losing power and works well for all floor types, including hardwood. At only 12 pounds, it is quite easy to move the machine around the home. Plus, a swivel head that can turn at 180-degrees allows for easy steering around furniture and corners.

This model features a handful of useful accessories, including the TurboClaw pet tool for efficient pet-hair removal and a 10-foot wand for reaching high surfaces. The UD70355B is worth considering if you want a vacuum that gives you lots of bang for your cash.

What We Like About this Vacuum

  • Easy to handle due to light weight of only 12 lbs
  • Swivel steering head for easy maneuverability
  • Detachable wand for up to 10-foot cleaning reach
  • Spin4Pro premium pet brush roll for multi-floor cleaning performance
  • TurboClaw pet tool for getting rid of difficult-to-clean pet hair and dirt

Pros

  • Three-stage filtration system
  • Versatile unit
  • User-friendly controls
  • Highly affordable
  • Excellent set of accessories
  • Excellent for cleaning pet hair
  • Comes with a 1-year warranty

Cons

  • Cable not long enough for larger cleaning areas or homes
  • Might not be easy to find a replacement filter
  • Dirt cup capacity of 1.5 liters might be small for larger homes

 

Dyson Ball Multi Floor 2

The beautiful and practical Dyson Ball Multi Floor 2 vacuum takes the lead when it comes to uprights that are easy to maneuver. Navigating corners and difficult spaces as is a breeze with its unique ball design.

Dyson Ball Multi Floor 2

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It ‘s a multi-floor vacuum, making it suitable for homes with different flooring, including hardwood, carpets, and tiles. The cleaning head automatically adjusts to clean various surfaces with immense suction.

The dust cup is completely sealed so that emptying it won’t release dust back into the air. Dyson equipped this model with a push-button release feature for hygienic bin emptying. Simply push the button to release the dirt.

In addition to being one of the few suitable uprights for hardwood floors, its long hose and wand allow for cleaning high surfaces and provides easy reach under furniture.

What We Like About this Vacuum

  • Ball technology turns on a dime
  • Washable lifetime filter
  • Self-adjusting cleaner head to seal in suction on all floors
  • One-click emptying capability for hygienic bin emptying
  • Long hose of up to 40-foot reach and a 31-foot cord

Pros

  • Lightweight model compared to other Dyson uprights
  • Powerful suction across all floor types
  • Extra-long hose and wand for cleaning high surfaces and under furniture
  • Comes with an impressive 5-year limited warranty

Cons

  • Cleaner head might struggle with large debris
  • Doesn’t feature a suction release valve

 

Eureka Stylus Lightweight Cordless Vacuum Cleaner

Vacuuming a room with lots of obstacles can be tiring, but not when you have a stick vacuum designed with a flexible neck. The Stylus Lightweight vacuum features a low-profile head with swivel steering that can clean hard-to-reach corners and tight spaces.

Eureka Stylus Lightweight Cordless Vacuum Cleaner

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The dust cup is positioned at the front of the stick to allow the vacuum to lay flat for maximum reach under furniture and beds. Plus, the bright LED light ensures you don’t miss anything when cleaning dark corners and under furniture.

This model comes equipped with a powerful 350W motor for powerful suction and cleaning capability. The rechargeable lithium-ion battery allows up to 45 minutes of uninterrupted and convenient cleaning on a full charge.

Stylus’ motorized floor nozzle seamlessly cleans all floor types, including hardwood, carpet, and tile. The product comes with a few useful attachments, including a crevice tool, a wall mount, a 2-in-1 dusting brush, and a rotating brush nozzle.

What We Like About this Vacuum

  • Swivel steering
  • 350W BLDC motor delivers immense suction capability
  • Up to 45 minutes runtime on a full charge
  • LED headlights for clear visibility
  • Three cleaning mode controls on a single button

Pros

  • Extremely lightweight with large wheels for easy maneuvering
  • Comes with Easy Rest feature for safely propping the device against furniture or countertops
  • Can convert to a handheld vacuum for above-floor cleaning
  • Emptying the dust cup is easy with the one-click release

Cons

  • Battery charge level indicator not present; features only half and full charge indicator

 

WOWGO Cordless 4-in-1 Stick Vacuum Cleaner

WOWGO Cordless 4-in-1 Stick Vacuum Cleaner features a relatively quiet 20 Kpa motor with strong suction. It pulls in nearly everything on its path in the first pass, reducing wear and tear of sensitive flooring.

WOWGO Cordless 4-in-1 Stick Vacuum Cleaner

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One of the unique things that put this vacuum on the list of the best vacuum for hardwood floors is its lightweight. No other vacuum in this guide beats the lightness of this model. At only 3.9 pounds, moving it around during cleaning is a breeze.

But that’s not the only reason for including the 4-in-1 vacuum here. It features a hard floor-specific soft bristle that is gentle on hardwood floors and other sensitive surfaces. A fully-sealed filtration system ensures efficient dust capture and minimizes allergens.

Flexible brush head allows for 180-degree to clean hard-to-reach areas. Plus, an adjustable tube extends the vacuum’s reach when cleaning high surfaces.

What We Like About this Vacuum

  • Up to 40 minutes runtime on a full charge
  • 20 Kpa motor with powerful suction
  • 3-speed setting for cleaning
  • HEPA filter
  • Flexible brush head is highly maneuverable
  • Hard and soft bristle brush for multi-surface cleaning
  • Wall mountable storage

Pros

  • Extremely lightweight
  • Very affordable
  • Comes with a soft bristle brush specifically for delicate floors
  • Tube can extend to 41 inches for above-floor cleaning

Cons

  • Emptying the dust cub is not as easy as some other models

 

Canisters, Uprights, Sticks, and Robots: Which is Best for Hardwood Floors?

First, canisters are your best bet when choosing a vacuum for sensitive floors. They generally have lighter weight and deliver powerful suction. Some sticks can work well for hardwood flooring, too, particularly lightweight models for smaller cleaning tasks.

While upright vacuums are excellent for cleaning various floors, they’re generally heavy appliances and not suitable for sensitive flooring. Usually, uprights feature brushes with rotating bristles that are too aggressive for delicate surfaces.

Although you can turn off the beater brush in some upright models, the weight of these appliances can dent hardwood floors. By the way, it can be a costly mistake to rely on a vacuum cleaner with an automatic off feature for its beater brush. The appliance can leave scratches on your delicate floor when you climb stairs or move from between rooms.

Lastly, there is the robotic vacuum. These models are now gaining more traction, and for good reasons. Robots can take the unpleasantness out of vacuuming and make your life easier. However, are they suitable for sensitive flooring and surfaces?

That’s a resounding yes. Robotic vacuums can clean hardwood floors, but you must research them carefully to pick models with decent runtime, suction power, filtration level, and other important features.

Features to Look for When Buying the Best Vacuum for Hardwood Floors

The market is packed full of vacuum designed to clean carpets or rugs. Usually, these models have components that aggressively excite dirt and debris to be sucked and cleaned out. While these designs are excellent for many floor types, they’re not suitable for sensitive surfaces such as hardwood floors.

If your home has mostly hardwood flooring, it’s essential to know the right features to look for when choosing a vacuum. Here are some of the most important things to look for:

Soft Wheels that Don’t Scratch

One of the first things to look for in a hardwood vacuum is soft wheels. Vacuum cleaners feature wheels of various materials and designs, with rubber and plastic being the most common.

You want to avoid models with plastic wheels as the material can easily scratch up delicate floor types. Apart from the possibility of defacing floors, plastic wheels are noise when rolling on hard floors. They’re most suited to carpets with dense fibers.

It’s best to choose a vacuum fitted with soft rubber wheels. Rubberized wheels will glide smoothly on the hardwood floors without leaving unsightly scratches or producing irritating noises.

The wheel’s design and size are not too important since hardwood floors don’t present significant resistance while moving the machine around. Your primary concern should be to prevent possible damage to your floor. The best way to do that is to buy a vacuum with soft rubber wheels.

Padding at the Bottom of the Vacuum

Similar to soft wheels, it’s crucial for the bottom of any vacuum you choose for hardwood floors to have some form of padding. Padding prevents the machine from accidentally scratching or even denting the hardwood floor when you set it down.

Rubber padding or felt stripes on the bottom of the vacuum should do the trick. Although a lightweight vacuum cleaner is preferable, a padding feature is more important than the weight when it comes to protecting a hardwood floor.

Lightweight Vacuums

You want to avoid using heavy vacuums on hard floors, as they can damage the floor’s coating or dent it. A lightweight unit is the best option for hardwood floors.

Lightweight vacuums don’t put too much pressure on delicate surfaces. Instead, they glide with ease when you push them across the floor without causing any damage to the planks. As an added bonus, other family members can help with floor cleaning chores, as lightweight models are easy to use.

Excellent lightweight options to consider include canisters and sticks, with the former capable of delivering powerful suction. Although upright models can also do a great job of cleaning floors, they are mostly heavy appliances. Besides, many uprights are not suited to delicate floors.

Versatility

Many homes don’t have only one type of flooring. But buying separate vacuums for different floors and surfaces in your home is usually not a convenient thing to do. It definitely doesn’t help cleaning, either.

A better approach would be to buy a model that can work well for different floor types. You also want to choose a vacuum that can clean surfaces such as ceilings and shelves in addition to floors. Some vacuums are not only suitable for hard floors but also great picks for cleaning fur, dander, and hair.

Look for models with attachments and detachable components such as a removable handheld feature. This will allow you to more conveniently clean a specific surface or floor type.

Good Suction Power

As much as you want a gentle vacuum for cleaning hardwood floors, the unit will not clean efficiently if it doesn’t have a strong suction level.

Ideally, the appliance for your delicate floor shouldn’t come with a beater bar. If you have upright vacuums with an on/off beater bar switch, it’s best not to use it on hardwood, as it can scrape and damage the floor.

Without a brush for aggressive agitation, the only way to remove stuck-on dirt is to use airflow. For this reason, you need to carefully research the suction level of a vacuum before you make a purchase.

Vacuum Exhaust

Some vacuums are only good at cleaning the dirt in front of them but blow off any other particle at an angle. These types of appliances can trigger issues of allergy, especially when cleaning hard floors.

You want to avoid models that leave behind fine dirt after picking up bigger debris and crumbs. It doesn’t make sense to buy a vacuum that will require you to sweep your floor right after vacuuming it.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

How often do I need to clean hardwood floors?

Different areas of the home have different cleaning needs. Consider vacuuming the family room, kitchen, entryway, and other high foot traffic areas at least twice weekly. It’s OK to clean areas that receive moderate to light foot traffic once a week.

How many vacuum strokes are best for hardwood floors?

As a general guideline (and maintaining a regular cleaning schedule), six to seven vacuum strokes will ensure a thorough clean, especially for busy areas. Low foot traffic areas will need about three to four strokes.

Is it OK to use steam appliances on hardwood floors?

Generally, we don’t recommend cleaning hardwood floors with steam vacuums or steam mops. The heat and moisture level can cause the boards to separate or cause irreparable damages to the floor’s finish.

Using any steam appliance on hardwood floors may void the warranty on the floor. A microfiber mop would be a better option.

Are HEPA vacuums better?

Vacuum cleaners with High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) offer the best filtration. HEPA filters trap the most particles from the appliance’s exhaust and are best for allergy-free vacuuming. Non-HEPA vacuums might clean excellently but kick up allergens and possibly cause adverse health reactions.

Final Thoughts

Buying a powerful but gentle vacuum for your hardwood floor is the best way to keep your flooring in good shape for a long time.

The challenge lies in choosing a suitable model from an abundance of options in the market. Hopefully, the recommendations in this guide will remove that challenge and help you in your buying decision.

Keep in mind, though: buying the best vacuum for hardwood floors is just a first (and important) step in caring for your floor. Designing and sticking to a regular cleaning schedule is where the rubber meets the road. The only thing worse than not having the right floor-cleaning tool is having one and not using it.

Check out this post to find out the 4 keys to hardwood floor maintenance and recommended cleaning schedules.

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