Most people associate vacuums with carpet, but they can be a convenient, quick alternative to brooms and dust mops when it comes to cleaning hardwood floors, too. Of course, you’ll need to make sure your vacuum is optimized for wood floors before putting the broom back in its closet.
Features to check for include non-marking wheels – rubber is better than plastic, for instance – and a revolving brush that can be turned off so that it doesn’t scratch the floors. Even better are attachments... specially made for hardwood floors with softer bristles or microfiber that can easily grab dust.
Here are some of our favorite wood-floor-friendly vacuums:
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If you’ve got mostly wood floors and want a vacuum that delivers superior cleaning power for a fair price, reviewers say you can’t go wrong with the Shark Navigator Lift Away Professional NV356E. Standout features include a dust-away hard-floor attachment and two washable microfiber pads that can easily grab dust and grime. Experts say it’s top-notch on bare floors, but don’t worry if you have carpet – it’s also great on that, too, they say.
This Shark is a 2-in-1 model, allowing the canister to... be removed from the base so you can tackle cracks and crevices impossible to clean with a traditional vacuum. There is complete-seal technology and a HEPA filter to grab dust and other allergens, though experts note you’ll still have to manually empty the bin, which can release dust into the air. The vacuum weighs 13.7 pounds and also comes with a dusting brush, crevice tool and pet power brush. Reviewers say suction is great and the Shark is easy to maneuver, and many report happily switching from pricier brands. There are a few durability complaints, however, and customer service gets mixed reviews. It’s backed by a one-year warranty.
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If you prefer a smaller, lighter canister vacuum to an upright, the Bissell 1161 Hard Floor Expert Deluxe is optimized for wood. The rubber and felt wheels won’t mark up the floors, and the hard-floor tool has soft bristles that are also gentle on wood but effective at loosening and grabbing dirt and debris.
Other features on the Bissell 1161 include an easy-empty tank that opens from the bottom: Simply hold it over the trash; no need to scrape stubborn bits of dust and hair out with your... hands. There is a convenient automatic cord rewind, fingertip suction control, and an 8-foot hose. A dusting tool, crevice tool, telescoping extension wand, and low-pile carpet tool come standard. Owners love how lightweight this model is at just 9 pounds, saying it’s easy to move from room to room and around obstacles. Some complain that it started losing suction over time, however, and others say the 16-foot power cord is too short (the Shark, in comparison, has a 30-foot cord). It’s backed by a two-year warranty.
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A limited budget doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself to a broom and dustpan. Inexpensive stick vacuums like the Dirt Devil Power Air SD20505, optimized for quick touch-ups of wood and other hard floors, can add a little oomph to your cleaning routine. And at 6.7 pounds, this model is a breeze to take anywhere in your home.
You won’t get a ton of features or attachments at the Dirt Devil’s sub-$50 price, but it does the basics. A 10-amp motor powers through messes, the canister opens easily... from the bottom with the touch of a button, and a 20-foot power cord is long enough for users not to have to switch outlets too many times. Reviewers love how easy it is to grab and use this Dirt Devil compared with a heavy upright, and they say the suction is surprisingly good. However, some say it blows too much air to the front of the vacuum, which can pose a problem when trying to grab pet hair or dust. Others warn that it’s loud. It’s backed by a two-year warranty.
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If you want the convenience of a cordless vacuum without sacrificing power, the Dyson V6 Cord Free Vacuum could be for you. Experts give its performance on both bare floors and carpet top marks, so it would be a great pick for homeowners with a mix of hardwood floors and area rugs. Got pets? It also earns raves for its ability to suck up pet hair. Finally, it’s under 5 pounds, making it the lightest model on our list.
You’ll get about 20 minutes of cleaning power from the V6 Cord Free before... needing to charge the lithium-ion battery, and it comes with a convenient charging dock that can be mounted on the wall of a utility room. The wand detaches from the vacuum so that it can convert to a handheld model ideal for hard-to-clean areas like stairs or car upholstery. However, if you want included attachments like a crevice tool or dusting brush, you’ll need to upgrade to a pricier Dyson like the V8 Animal or Absolute. Owners say the suction on this model is hard to beat, and they love the cord-free convenience, but some report issues with quick-draining batteries. It’s backed by a two-year warranty.Continue to 5 of 6 below.
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The relatively new iRobot Roomba 690 picks up where its well-loved predecessor, the Roomba 650, leaves off, but it adds smartphone compatibility and can even be voice controlled by the Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. More importantly, it’s ideal for all floor types, including a mix of hardwood, rugs, carpet, tile – just about anything your home can throw at it – and it runs for up to an hour before it needs to dock and recharge.
Experts with PC Magazine say the Roomba 690 is a cinch to set up,... schedule, and control with voice commands or your smartphone, but more importantly, suction was impressive during testing. And since it’s only 3.6 inches tall, it can easily maneuver under beds and furniture to grab those hard-to-find dust bunnies. It comes with a virtual wall that lets you block off certain areas or rooms, or users can choose “halo mode” to protect certain items in a wider area that needs to be cleaned. Users love the convenience of this “set it and forget it” robotic vacuum, and while they note that the dust bin needs to be emptied frequently, most say it’s still far easier than using a traditional model. It’s backed by a one-year warranty.
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If you need a powerful vacuum that can handle your hardwood floors without making you sniffle and sneeze, check out the Kenmore 31150 Elite, a bagged upright with a HEPA filter that is certified by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Experts say its power can’t be beat on bare floors, but it also gets great marks for power on carpet, too. Unsurprisingly, it also nails emissions testing, meaning it won’t spew particles of dust, dander or other allergens.
Features on this Kenmore Elite... include an LED headlight, a telescoping wand, a pet-hair attachment, and four-position height adjustment to handle all floor types with ease. Experts say it’s easy to turn the brush on and off, lessening the chance of scraping wood or other hard floors. On the downside, this is a heavy vacuum at 20 pounds, so some users may find it difficult to maneuver. Some reviewers also wish for a longer attachment hose. It’s backed by a one-year warranty.
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