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 that be 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 45 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 on their feature set, design, and price. For more buying recommendations, take a look at our list 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 canister model delivers incredible performance on surfaces like hardwood, linoleum, and tile, where it clears various kinds of debris without an issue. Performance remains consistent as its dirtbag fills up, and it's equipped with a HEPA filter, which is good for pet owners who don't want allergens to spread.
It's very well-built, as it features a dense plastic construction and rubberized wheels that allow you to navigate in tight areas smoothly. It's also remarkably easy to maintain, with components that can be quickly accessed and replaced when needed. It features a couple of thoughtful design touches to make your cleaning tasks a little simpler, including a seven-level suction adjustment feature that allows you to quickly adapt to different surface types, not to mention a handle-mounted LED light that you can use while cleaning dark areas.
Unfortunately, it has a couple of recurring costs, as the dirtbag needs to be disposed of when full, while the pre-motor and HEPA filter needs to be replaced semi-regularly. Other than that, thanks to its outstanding performance on bare floors and sturdy, easy to assemble design, it's one of the best vacuums for hardwood floors that we've tested.
The best stick/handheld vacuum for hardwood floors that we've tested is the Shark Rocket Pet Pro. This cordless model delivers outstanding performance on bare hardwood floors, easily picking up pet hair, fine debris like baking soda, and even larger foreign material like cereal and sand. Its readily accessible controls and lightweight cordless design make it easy to maneuver, and it can be quickly changed into a handheld configuration to clean messes on shelves and tables.
Because of its bagless design and cleanable filters, it doesn't have any recurring costs. It's also decently well-built and fairly simple to take care of, though a few parts need regular maintenance. It has a HEPA filter, which is useful if you're a pet owner and don't want to leave any allergens behind. Battery performance is decent, as it can provide just over 40 minutes of runtime in its low-power setting.
That said, if you need more power, be aware that you can completely drain its battery in just 12 minutes if you leave it in its "MAX (BOOST)" mode. It also lacks onboard storage for the included brushes and tools, which means you'll have to find extra space for them. Overall, this is still among the best cordless vacuums for hardwood floors we've tested because of its superb bare floor performance.
If you worry about running out of charge halfway through a cleaning job, take a look at the Shark APEX UpLight. This corded stick/handheld vacuum isn't as maneuverable as the Shark Rocket Pet Pro and doesn't have the same virtually limitless cleaning range, but it does offer a theoretically indefinite runtime as well as a broader selection of tools and brushes. Performance on hardwood floors should be exceptional, as it can easily suck up pet hair as well as small and large debris, like rice or cereal, on bare surfaces. Like the Pet Pro, it has a bagless design and washable pre-motor and allergen-trapping HEPA filters, so it incurs practically no recurring costs. You can detach its wand to reconfigure it as a handheld, which should be useful if you need to clean behind a shelf.
Get the Pet Pro if you want a cordless vacuum that offers outstanding cleaning performance no matter how far away you are from an outlet, but consider the Apex UpLight if you don't want to deal with the hassle of charging times.
The best robot vacuum for bare floors that we've tested is the Roborock S6. It performs incredibly well on bare floors, as it easily clears everything from pet hair to chunks of cereal. It also comes with a mop attachment that can be used to clean sticky messes on bare floors, though it should be noted that we don't test that particular feature.
This robot model uses an advanced LIDAR navigation system to create a map of its cleaning area and plot out battery-efficient cleaning routes or detect obstructions. Using its companion app, you can set up virtual boundary makers and schedule cleaning times for specific rooms. Battery life ranges from nearly two hours to over three hours, depending on what suction mode the vacuum is set to, which is outstanding overall.
While it's quite well-built, it has a somewhat complicated design that's tricky to maintain. There are quite a few parts that require regular servicing, not to mention a few sources of recurring costs that can add up over time. Still, this is an excellent option if you're looking for a robot vacuum that can deal with a wide variety of messes on hardwood floors.
The best budget vacuum for hardwood floors that we've tested is the Eureka Mighty Mite. This canister model can easily pick up pet hair as well as cereal and rice on bare floors. It also has a manual surface type adjustment so that you can extend its bristles to better clean hard floors.
Although it has a plasticky build quality that makes it feel a little cheap, this material helps keeps it lightweight, which is good if you want to move it to another room or floor. It has good maneuverability, too. Its dirtbag is quite large as well, and maintenance is outstandingly easy. It also comes with a combination brush so that you can clean upholstery as well as an extension wand, which helps you clean hard-to-reach places.
Unfortunately, it's quite tall when stored due to its hose. Its dirtbag also needs to be replaced when full, which can add up. That said, if you're looking for a budget vacuum that can tackle messes on your hardwood floors, it's a suitable choice.
If you're shopping for a more portable vacuum that can spot clean your hardwood floors, try the HoLife HM036E. While it has a significantly smaller dirt compartment than the Eureka Mighty Mite and is less suitable for tackling larger areas overall, it's a cordless handheld model that can be used to clear smaller messes around the home. It feels well-built, is easy to store, and is more lightweight. It also offers outstanding performance on bare floors as it can pick up pet hair as well as small and large debris without a problem. It even comes with a liquid nozzle attachment that can be used to clear wet messes like spilled water. However, we don't currently test this feature, and the manufacturer notes that it needs to be cleaned immediately after. That said, it also offers over 20 minutes of continuous battery life, which is quite long for a handheld vacuum.
Check out the Eureka if you're looking to clean large areas of hardwood flooring on a budget. However, check out the HoLife if you're mostly concerned about portability or spot cleaning.
11/09/2020: Replaced the Eureka Whirlwind Bagless Canister with the Eureka Mighty Mite as the pick for 'Best Budget Vacuum For Hardwood Floors'.
10/20/2020: Added HoLife HM036E to recommendations.
09/29/2020: Replaced Miele Classic C1 with Miele Complete C3 Alize PowerLine as the pick for 'Best Vacuum for Bare Floors'. Moved Miele Classic C1 to 'Notable Mentions'.
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.