Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.
Hardwood floors can last a lifetime but require the right care—and frequent cleaning. Everything from pet hair to dust and crumbs show up on hard surface floors, including wood, laminate, and tile. A vacuum designed for hardwood floors is an essential cleaning tool for keeping your floors spotless and scratch-free.
While many vacuums have a brush roll with stiff bristles designed to work up dirt hidden deep within carpet fibers, a hardwood floor vacuum will take a softer approach. Some hardwood floor vacuums have a brush roll with super soft bristles, while others omit the brush roll altogether. At the same time, you’ll want to make sure that the vacuum offers enough suction to capture dirt and debris without scattering it over a wider surface.
Regardless of whether you’re shopping for an upright vacuum, an easy-rolling canister vacuum, or a cordless vacuum for hardwood floors, these top options offer plenty of power, efficient operation, and features designed with bare floors in mind.
Best Overall: Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional NV356E
Easy to assemble
High-capacity dust cup
Can't reach under low furniture
Make your hardwood floors smooth and debris-free with a top performing vacuum cleaner, like the Shark Navigator Lift-Away. This versatile vacuum offers plenty of suction, a bagless design for easy dirt disposal, and the option for brush roll shut-off to preserve the finish and feel of your hardwood floors. When used as an upright model, you’ll easily be able to cover plenty of square footage pushing this lightweight vacuum along. If you need to vacuum stairs or other elevated areas, it offers a lift-away canister vacuum option.
The advantage of the Shark Navigator Lift-Away for hardwood floors is the fact that it’s gentle enough for vacuuming hardwood floors while offering substantial suction for deep carpet cleaning. Just be sure to turn the brush roll off before gliding over bare floors. The transition from one floor setting to the next is quick and simple—you literally just flip a switch.
"One of the vacuum’s biggest advantages is its high-capacity dust cup—an impressive 2.2 dry quarts—which is almost double the capacity of other Navigator Lift-Away models. This means you don’t have to empty the vacuum as frequently."—Sage McHugh, Product Tester
Best Robot: Eufy RoboVac 30C
Effective at cleaning pet hair
Automatically adjustable suction
App freezes occasionally
Difficult to connect to Wi-Fi
Bare floors tend to readily show hair, dust, and dirt, and a robot vacuum for hardwood floors is an effortless way to keep your floors clean and tidy. With 1500Pa of suction power, the eufy 30C suctions up the crumbs, pet hair, and debris with ease on wood, laminate, tile, and even low-to-medium pile carpeted floors. It offers self-charging capabilities and while it doesn’t map your home like some smart robot vacs, its multiple cleaning modes get the job done.
The eufy 30C offers 100 minutes of runtime on bare floors, which is great if you’re shopping for a hardwood floor robot vacuum. Even when it makes the step up to clean carpeted areas, the extra boost in power offered by this model ensures that it has enough suction to give a deep clean while only reducing battery power to about 45 minutes. At the end of its run time, the eufy robot finds its way back to its dock and juices up for its next run. You can manually start the robot using the included remote control, by scheduling set run-times in the eufy app, or with compatible smart home assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
"The vacuum didn’t have any problems moving from hard floors to medium-pile carpet, transitioning smoothly to heights up to 1/2 inch. And, when I activated the BOOST IQ technology, suction automatically increased on the carpet. Dirt filled the dustbin after each cleaning, so it needed to be emptied after each scheduled cleaning."—Stacey L. Nash, Product Tester
Best Cordless: Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute Lightweight Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner
Converts to handheld vacuum
Limited run time on max power mode
A cordless vacuum for hardwood floors makes it quick and convenient to capture messes wherever they happen—no cords to wrangle or outlets to find. At the same time, you want a vacuum designed with hardwood floors in mind to avoid stiff or damaging bristles. The Dyson Cyclone V10 combines superior suction and a soft roller head meant to effortlessly clean bare floors at a moment’s notice. A separate head with a motor-driven beater bar is included for carpets and deeper cleaning where agitation is needed, but you won’t be needing that for cleaning your hardwood floors. All of the Dyson Absolute’s attachments dock on a wall-mounted charging station that makes it simple to swap accessories and get to work cleaning quickly and easily.
The most common complaint of the Dyson Cyclone V10 is that it has a trigger you must hold down for operation. The design saves battery power—it only operates when the trigger is engaged. But also means that if you have a lot of square footage to cover, you may get tired of having to hold down the trigger. Even still, the freedom and flexibility of having a cordless vacuum for hardwood floors eliminates any excuses or hesitancy to pick up the vacuum for messes small and large. At the same time, this vacuum is capable enough to handle daily cleaning duty with a 0.2 gallon dust bin and a 40-minute run time.
"The filtration system traps bacteria so that it expels clean air no matter what you’re sucking up through the nozzle. Engineered to absorb vibrations and keep sound levels down, this vacuum was quieter than any we’d ever used."—Deanna McCormack, Product Tester
Best Stick: Shark Rocket Self-Cleaning Brushroll Corded Stick Vacuum
Louder than expected
If you're looking for a lightweight vacuum that can still handle big-time messes on hard surface floors, the Shark Rocket should be your first pick. Weighing less than 9 pounds and equipped with a 25 ounce-capacity dust cup, this model can tackle serious messes despite its diminutive size. Its swivel steering head, and the fact that it can convert into a handheld vacuum, means it can reach those messes even if they land in hard-to-reach areas.
Thanks to its self-cleaning brushroll, which is designed for continuous hair removal with no risk of tangling or hair wrap along the way, this nimble vacuum is great for cleaning up shedding, dander, and anything else that would otherwise clog up a vacuum's brush. And while most stick vacuums are battery powered and need to be recharged every 30 to 45 minutes, this pick comes with a 30-foot cord, so you can clean for as long as you need.
Best Canister: Bissell Bagless Hard Floor Expert Deluxe Vacuum
Limited dirt tank capacity
Tools are locked in at a fixed angle
Canister vacuums offer the convenience of easy rolling across hardwood or bare floors. While carpets typically benefit from the pushing and pulling motion of an upright vac, the Bissell Hard Floor Expert canister vacuum offers targeted suction from the hardwood floor attachment head without scattering crumbs and debris. Another floor-friendly feature is the felt tread on each wheel, which prevent scuffs and scratches as you wheel this vacuum from one room to the next.
You'll definitely be impressed by what this model can do on hardwood in terms of performance and function. However, if you do have carpet or area rugs to vacuum as well, you’ll be happy to know a separate floor attachment for carpeted surfaces is included along with the Bissel Hard Floor Expert vacuum. While the vacuum’s performance is typically judged on its outstanding ability to clean bare floors, it will get the job done on soft surfaces as well.
"At the max level, the suction is powerful and could compete with any carpet-specific vacuums. On the lower setting, which we used on more delicate surfaces like blinds, you still get good suction. This vacuum handily removes hair, dust, and dirt on hard floors and leaves you with a clean surface."—Deanna McCormack, Product Tester
Best for Pets: Bissell ICONpet Cordless Vacuum
Effective at cleaning pet hair
Converts to handheld vacuum
Tendency to clog
Living with a pet that sheds means being on constant alert for piles of fur accumulating around the house. Luckily, Bissell's ICONPet cordless vacuum is designed with shedders in mind and capable of removing hair wherever it might turn up. Simply switch between the "Everyday Cleaning" and "Max Cleaning" settings when transitioning between hard floors and carpets—and convert it into a handheld model when the time comes to tidy up the car.
Whether you're working across hardwood or carpet, the ICONPet features designs specifically intended to prevent hair from tangling or clogging up its inner-workings before reaching the dirt tank. No amount of hair will trip up this model, no matter how much your furry friend leaves behind.
Best for Allergies: Miele Compact C1 Pure Suction Powerline Canister Vacuum
Extremely powerful suction
Steeper price point
The sealed filter system in the Miele Compact C1 ensures that, once dust and dirt goes in, it's not coming out—at least, not until you replace the 3.5-liter dust bag, which is an easy process that doesn't entail exposing yourself to allergens. In addition to its AirClean system, this canister vacuum comes with a floorhead designed with hardwood floors in mind. Its rubberized wheels save your floor from scratches, while the metal plate helps it glide cross the floor's surface, enabling powerful suction.
Speaking of suction, this model features six different suction settings, depending on the location and severity of the mess at hand. The accompanying dust brush, upholstery tool, and crevice tool will come in handy for cleaning jobs that lie beyond your hardwood floors.
"The entire machine is well designed, but the handle and the telescopic extension wand are the real ergonomics superstars. The brushed stainless steel wand adjusts its length in 2-centimeter increments, so the tallest and the shortest users will find a comfortable, custom fit."—Joy Merrifield, Product Tester
Best Budget: Bissell FeatherWeight Lightweight Stick Vacuum
Three cleaning tools in one
Somewhat flimsy design
Whether you're cleaning your floors, stairs, or even countertops, this wallet-friendly vacuum converts to suit your needs. The whole model tidies up hard floors and area rugs alike; the hand vacuum insert works on above-floor surfaces and furniture; and the hand vacuum attaches directly to the floor nozzle to dust off steps (at 3 pounds, it's light enough to carry up and down multiple flights). The crevice tool helps clean nooks and crannies.
The dirt tank empties from the bottom and the cord wraps around the stand without risk of tangling, making storing the FeatherWeight as easy as it is to use. Where it lacks in bells and whistles, this model makes up for in simple cleaning power.
If you want to keep your hardwood floors dirt- and scratch-free, the Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional vacuum (view at Amazon) is your best option. With the flip of a switch, it transitions from deep carpet cleaning to gentle hardwood floor vacuuming, without sacrificing suction or maneuverability. Those seeking a great deal should also consider the Bissell FeatherWeight Lightweight Stick Vacuum (view at Amazon), a nimble three-in-one machine that cleans with ease and won’t break the bank.
What to Look for in a Hardwood Floor Vacuum
No matter what style of vacuum you prefer, there’s probably a version specially designed for hardwood floors. Options include canister vacuums, which are easy to empty, cordless vacuums, which are incredibly portable, robot vacuums, which require little effort on your part, and even more. There are benefits to every type, so it’s a matter of which features work best with your lifestyle.
Depending on how you plan to use your vacuum, you may want to prioritize certain attachments. Some popular options are dusting, crevice, upholstery, and pet attachments, all of which can come in handy around the house.
Many people don’t think about weight when purchasing a new vacuum, but this is a key factor that can impact whether you ultimately like the product. A vacuum that’s too heavy will be a burden to push around your home, but one that’s too light may get knocked over easily.
Are vacuums safe for hardwood floors?
If your home primarily has hardwood floors, you might be concerned about how to go about cleaning them without leaving a trail of scratches along the way. Rest assured—you can clean your hardwood floors with a vacuum without running the risk of damaging them. You just have to make sure your vacuum has a few key features that will ensure gentle (but effective) cleaning, including adjustable height and suction settings, felted or rubberized wheels, and, in some models, a softer cleaning head.
When is it better to vacuum, rather than sweep, hardwood floors?
Sweeping is an excellent way to clean up large debris, but if your hardwood floors are particularly dusty or covered in small debris, you should opt for a vacuum instead. Thanks to their suction power, vacuums can pick up fine dirt and dust particles that brooms might not be able to. If you want a thoroughly cleaned floor, opt for a vacuum over sweeping.
Will a robotic vacuum clean hardwood floors?
As noted above, using a robotic vacuum is one of the least labor-intensive ways to keep your home clean. And, as long as your robotic vacuum of choice has the ability to adjust its height and suction settings (some models can do this automatically, while others may require you to change the settings remotely or via an app), you can count on it to clean hardwood and tile as effectively as it cleans carpeted areas.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was edited and updated by Sara Coughlin, a freelance writer and The Spruce’s small appliances expert. From canister models to dustbusters, she’s researched what it takes for a vacuum to stand out in a vast and broad market—and what to look for in up-and-coming models.