Porcelain. Slate. Ceramic. Travertine. Marble. Granite.
There are many different types of tile flooring. What are the characteristic features?
- Unevenness from grout joints and crevices.
- Tile itself is often textured and not smooth.
- Vacuums with motorized brushrolls tend to throw more dirt around than they pick up.
These 3 points play a huge role in the performance of vacuums on tile, and other bare flooring.
Why? And what vacuums solve these problems?
That’s why you’re here.
When vacuuming carpet the vacuum head stays flush with the carpet fibers and the brushroll agitates dirt, hair, and other debris loose from the carpet fibers. The further away, the cleaner head is from the floor, the less effective the suction is, which is why on tile you often see debris getting thrown around by the brushroll rather than sucked up.
So the next logical thing to do is turn off the brushroll and simply rely on suction to pick up most of the debris on the floor. That generally works fine, but dust, hair, and other smaller debris isn’t picked up by suction alone.
Why is that?
One reason fine dust and hair tends to stick to things around your home is static electricity. Vinyl Composite Tile (VCT) is notorious for generating static charge. Ceramic tiles don’t produce static electricity, so for that it’s more of a suction power issue.
On carpet, the wheels on an upright vacuum sink down into the carpet and leave the vacuum head mostly flush with the carpet fibers. This creates strong suction within the cleaner head, and along with the agitation from the brushroll, dust and hair easily gets pulled out of the fibers.
Suction power rapidly decreases the further away you get from the vacuum head. No surprise there. But for tile, this is a problem.
Best Canister Vacuum for Tile Floors
Miele builds some of the best canister vacuums available. Canisters are generally more suited for tile floors and other bare flooring types. This brush head is one reason.
The Parquet Twister allows you to agitate stuck-on dust and dirt while also getting the suction close to the floor. There’s no spinning brush to knock around dirt.
Miele Blizzard CX1 Turbo Team
The Parquet Twister is one approach to cleaning tile. Being able to brush between tiles and knock super-fine dust and dirt loose from your floor is a significant advantage over vacuums that merely let you turn off the brushroll and hope for the best.
Truthfully, we chose the Blizzard CX1 because it’s Miele’s new line of bagless vacuums and they are truly well designed. However, you could be just as well served by Miele’s bagless vacuums that have some of the best filtration available. The Parquet Twister brush is compatible with all Miele canisters, so it really comes down to the other features that you want.
The Miele Compact C2 Electro+ is versatile and has Miele’s HEPA AirClean Sealed System. You get the Parquet brush and the SEB228 Electro+ motorized cleaner head. It’s the best of both worlds with one of Miele’s best carpet attachments and the best hard floor attachment.
Now, if canister vacuums aren’t your style, then there’s another convenient alternative to the Miele. The cordless stick vacuum.
Specifically, the Dyson V6 to V10 Series of stick vacuums.
Best Cordless Stick Vacuum for Tile Floors
This cleaner head by Dyson is used on its popular V6, V8, and new V10 cordless stick vacuums. Instead of turning off the brushroll, they’ve engineered a cleaner head that takes advantage of a spinning brush to more effectively clean bare floors such as tile.
The brushroll sits flush with the floor and gets trapped in the channel of air flowing into the vacuum. The rear pad allows the back of the cleaner head to rest on the floor as you push forward, so there’s nowhere for the dust and dirt to go except into the vacuum. This is a great design that is so much more effective than merely relying on raw suction power to lift everything off the floor.
Dyson V10 Absolute
The V10 Absolute is Dyson’s latest version of their popular cordless stick vacuums. It’s our favorite product by Dyson and offers incredible performance for a vacuum its size.
- 60-minute Runtime when not using a motorized tool; 40 minutes with Soft Roller Cleaner Head.
- Great performance on carpet as well.
- Hygienic Bin Emptying
- Fully-sealed Filtration
The cordless vacuums from Dyson are consistently on our top performing lists. If you were to ask me to recommend an upright or canister vacuum, then Dyson would not be my first choice. However, the performance and convenient design they’ve put together with the latest iteration of cordless stick vacuums is unmatched.
With zero uncertainty, I can say the Dyson cordless vacuums are expensive, but they do perform.
Best Corded Stick Vacuum for Tile Floors
If you like the Dyson cordless style, but don’t want to lose the cord, then consider the Shark Rocket DuoClean.
The cleaner head uses two brushrolls that help create a seal to concentrate suction on the floor immediately below it while allowing air to flow through the corners of the cleaner head to pull in the dirt against walls and other objects.
The front brushroll looks similar to the Dyson Soft Roller and provides agitation on bare flooring as well as carpet.
Shark Rocket DuoClean
Unlike the Dyson Cordless Stick vacuums, this stick vacuum by Shark is corded and never stops going until you’re ready. Keep in mind that stick vacuums have smaller dustbins so you will be emptying them more often than a traditional upright or canister. However, the versatility and power of these stick vacuums are a game changer and that’s why they’ve become so popular.
The Shark Rocket DuoClean dustbin will hold 0.25 gallons, while the Dyson V10 Absolute will hold 0.2 gallons. Some people won’t have any issue vacuuming their entire home with either of these vacuums. However, if you have pets, you will likely be emptying the dustbin at least once depending on how often you vacuum.
Pet hair tends to be the number one thing that people underestimate when vacuuming. The best way to avoid clogs is to vacuum more often.
The good thing about these stick vacuums is that they’re much easier to use than a traditional upright or canister. Notably, the Dyson cordless. The less trouble is for you to pull out your vacuum and get to cleaning, then the more often you’ll be willing to do it.
Now, back to tile floors. The Shark Rocket series have brushrolls that perform very well on tile, especially the DuoClean. For a long time, most manufacturers handled the problem of tile and hardwood by letting you simply turn off the brushroll.
The only problem with that is there are all kinds of dust and small debris stuck on your floor that can’t get picked up by suction alone. The latest Dyson and Shark stick vacuums tackle this problem head-on and provide a brushroll that agitates dirt off your tile and hardwood but doesn’t throw dirt around like other vacuums.
Best Upright Vacuum for Tile Floors
Full-sized uprights are, of course, the most populated vacuum category. The concepts we’ve talked about above, such as the cleaner head built for brushing tile floors, are also extended to full-size uprights.
Shark’s dual brushroll, the DuoClean, is also built into their latest Lift-Away Upright vacuums. For that reason, we highly recommend these versatile uprights that also can be used as a canister vacuum for easy maneuverability to clean areas above the floor.
Shark APEX DuoClean Lift-Away Vacuum (AX951)
The Lift-Away Series has always been attractive, especially if you find yourself trying to take advantage of the hose to clean hard-to-reach places with an upright. With most uprights, it’s hard to get the hose to reach exactly where you need. The hoses typically attach to the vacuum in an inconvenient place that forces you to awkwardly move the upright around even to use the hose and attachments.
Since the APEX DuoClean has the hard floor brushroll built into it, that means you’re not having to switch between attachments when you move to your tile floors or back to carpet. The same can’t be said for the Miele, or Dyson upright below.
That brings us to our second choice in the upright category, the Dyson Ball Animal 2. The latest Dyson uprights and canisters use a cleaner head that looks almost exactly the same, and it can be used on hard floors or carpet, but you won’t see the same cleaning performance.
Dyson Ball Animal 2
The Dyson Ball Animal 2 is a multi-purpose upright that can handle carpet or bare flooring such as tile. The cleaner head isn’t as fancy as the Shark DuoClean, but it’s capable of easily transitioning between carpet and tile with good performance.from $393.97 at Amazon
An attachment that looks similar to the Miele Parquet Twister brush – mentioned above – also is included with the Dyson Ball Animal 2, but keep in mind the Animal 2 is an upright. You can’t just pop the brush on the bottom of the vacuum, it’s meant to be used with the hose.
Yes, that works, but vacuuming a large area while also dragging around an upright vacuum might not be what you have in mind.
The cleaner head built onto the Animal 2 does have a design that doesn’t throw debris around when you’re vacuuming on tile floors. That problem is primarily due to how high the cleaner head sits off the ground, but you’ll see similar performance as the other vacuums here in that regard, but the brushroll isn’t designed to brush the floor as thoroughly as the Soft Roller brush included with the Dyson Cordless Stick vacuums above.
The vacuums we’ve shown here perform well on tile floors and don’t force you to turn the brushroll off to vacuum tile.
Our top choices provide additional agitation that knocks loose fine dust and dirt that most vacuums can’t pick up. In general, we prefer canister vacuums for vacuuming large areas of bare flooring, but the Dyson V10 and Shark DuoClean stick vacuums are catching up with the competition.