Hardwood floors tend to be easier for vacuums to clean than carpets, as they don't have small crevices or shaggy surfaces to trap debris. Still, some do a better job of cleaning on this surface than others, with the best excelling at sucking up all kinds of debris, whether pet hair or stray pieces of cereal. That said, cleaning performance isn't the only important thing. The best vacuum for wood floors should be fairly maneuverable, configurable, and come with at least a few attachments to help you clean underneath, around, or on top of furniture and shelving. A retractable bristle brush is a nice bonus to keep you from scratching up your floor.
We've tested over 100 vacuum cleaners, and below are our recommendations for the best vacuums for hardwood floors to buy. These picks are selected not only based on their performance on bare floors but also their feature set, design, and price. For more options, look at our lists of the best vacuums, the best vacuums for high-pile carpet, and the best cordless vacuums.
The best vacuum for hardwood floors that we've tested is the Miele Complete C3 Alize PowerLine. This corded canister model delivers exceptional performance on bare surfaces like hardwood floors, as it sucks up pet hair, small debris like rice, and bulky material like cereal without any issue. Performance remains consistent as its spacious dirtbag fills up, so you shouldn't have to change it too often.
The vacuum itself is incredibly simple to maintain, with the very few parts that need periodic cleaning being easy to access. It's very well-built, courtesy of its high-grade plastic construction and dense rubber wheels, which enable it to roll over obstructions like electrical cords or high-pile rugs. It has a seven-level surface adjustment feature that makes it easier to clean messes on varying floor types on the fly.
Conversely, this vacuum's dense construction makes it quite heavy, so it can be hard to pick up and carry it up or down staircases or to a faraway room. While it doesn't have many components that need regular cleaning, some parts need frequent replacing, so recurring costs are high. Otherwise, its excellent build quality, easy-to-maintain design, and versatile overall cleaning performance help make it one of the best canister vacuums that we've tested.
The Shark Rocket Pet Pro with MultiFlex IZ163H is the best vacuum for hardwood floors with a stick/handheld design that we've tested. It's remarkably effective in cleaning pet hair and debris like cereal or rice on bare, even surfaces like hardwood floors. There's no significant loss in suction power as its reasonably spacious dustbin fills up either, which is good if you have several large messes.
The pre-motor and allergen-trapping HEPA filters are washable, so as long as they're regularly cleaned, recurring costs are very low. Its lightweight construction makes it easy to maneuver, and you can quickly reconfigure it into a handheld vacuum for spot-cleaning tight spots. Depending on your choice of suction power mode and usage habits, you can expect anywhere between 10 to 40 minutes of runtime on a single charge, which should be sufficient for cleaning most rooms.
Unfortunately, this vacuum has many parts that need regular cleaning. It also doesn't come with a motorized turbo brush for easier cleaning of fabric-lined surfaces when using it in a handheld configuration. Otherwise, its maneuverable design, strong suction performance, and onboard HEPA filter make it one of the best bagless vacuums that we've tested.
If you want a vacuum that doesn't need as much regular maintenance, try the Miele Triflex HX1. This reconfigurable cordless vacuum has a smaller dirt compartment and a shorter maximum battery life than the Shark Rocket Pet Pro with MultiFlex IZ163H; however, it has fewer parts that you need to remove and clean regularly. It's a bit heavier than the Shark but delivers a similar, fantastic performance on bare surfaces like hardwood, easily cleaning pet hair and debris like rice and cereal. You can reconfigure it as a handheld or upright vacuum, and it comes with a few different tools that can help with cleaning jobs, like a crevice tool for getting into tight corners. However, it doesn't have an allergen-trapping HEPA filter.
If you want a somewhat lighter vacuum with longer maximum battery life, go for the Shark. Consider the Miele instead if you want something better-built with less demanding maintenance needs.
The iRobot Roomba 981 is the best robot vacuum for hardwood floors that we've tested. This robot vacuum is very well-built, with a dense plastic body and durable rubber wheels. It's also fairly compact, letting it easily clean under low couches and tables. It's also capable of cleaning around low-lying obstructions like electrical cords without getting stuck on them. You can also use its companion app to schedule cleaning sessions or pilot it remotely.
This vacuum does a fantastic job cleaning various kinds of debris from bare, even surfaces like hardwood. It easily sucks up pet hair, small debris like rice, and bulkier material like cereal with very little difficulty. Better still, suction performance remains consistent as its dustbin fills up. Depending on your choice of suction power mode and usage habits, it supplies roughly one to two hours of continuous runtime, which should be sufficient for cleaning most spaces, though this can vary in the real world.
That said, like many robot vacuums, it incurs high recurring costs because of the many parts that need periodic replacing. You also need to clean several components regularly, but thankfully they're easy to access. It's also worth mentioning that this vacuum doesn't support virtual boundary markers, which could be inconvenient if you want to keep it out of certain areas. Still, this is a great option if you're looking for a robot vacuum that can deal with messes on bare floors.
The Eureka Whirlwind Bagless Canister is the best budget vacuum for hardwood floors that we've tested. This budget-friendly bagless canister vacuum delivers superb performance on bare, even surfaces like hardwood floors, easily cleaning pet hair as well as debris like cereal or pet hair. Its primary floorhead has bristles that can be extended or retracted depending on the floor type that you're on.
Thanks to its lightweight, compact design, it's easy to pick up and carry to another room or maneuver in cramped spaces. Its lack of a dirtbag and washable filters results in a near-total lack of recurring costs, and it's easy to take apart and reassemble the vacuum for periodic maintenance. Its dirt compartment is decently large too, so it shouldn't need emptying very often.
However, its short power cord and vacuum hose can make it tricky to clean large rooms without swapping outlets or reach out-of-the-way areas. It also lacks a HEPA filter, which could be an annoyance if you have a pet that sheds heavily. Overall, however, its exceptional performance on bare floors and compact, lightweight design make it one of the best laminate floor vacuums that we've tested.
If you're looking for something better-suited to spot-cleaning, consider the Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+. Its cordless design means that it doesn't have the virtually indefinite runtime of the Eureka Whirlwind Bagless Canister, but its compact size makes it far easier to vacuum hard-to-reach areas far from any electrical outlets. It also delivers similarly exceptional performance on bare floors, easily cleaning pet hair as well as small and bulky debris like rice or cereal. It also comes with a motorized turbo brush for cleaning fabric-lined surfaces, which has a self-cleaning brushroll that's advertised to reduce the incidence of hair wraps. It also has a hard bristle brush for dislodging stubborn debris and a crevice tool for tackling messes in tight corners. Unfortunately, the vacuum's roughly 10-minute battery life could be insufficient for some larger messes, though this can vary in the real world. It also lacks a HEPA filter trap allergens as you clean.
Get the Eureka if you want to clean larger areas on a budget, but consider the Shark if you prioritize portability.
Oct 08, 2021: Ensured that all main picks are still available and represent the best choice for their given category. Removed Shark ION F80 from Notable Mentions due to current availability. Added Dyson Micro 1.5kg to Notable Mentions.
Sep 09, 2021: Replaced Roborock S6 with iRobot Roomba 981 as 'Best Robot Vacuum For Hardwood Floors' pick due to current availability. Replaced HoLife HM036E with Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+ as 'Handheld Alternative' pick due to current availability. Removed Roborock S5 from Notable Mentions due to current availability.
Aug 13, 2021: Verified the availability of all main picks and ensured that they still represent the best choice for our users.
Jul 16, 2021: Added Shark Rotator Lift-Away ADV to Notable Mentions.
Jun 18, 2021: Ensured that all main picks are still in stock and represent the best choice for their given category.
Our recommendations are based on what we think are currently the best vacuums for hardwood floors. We don't just base our results on overall performance, but also factors like availability, price, and reader feedback.
If you would like to do the work of choosing yourself, here is the list of all our vacuum reviews, ranked by their performance on bare floors. Be careful not to get too caught up in the details. While no vacuum is perfect for every use, most are good enough to please almost everyone, and the differences are often not noticeable unless you really look for them.