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 105 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 premium bagged canister vacuum feels amazingly well-built, with dense plastic construction and rubber-like wheels that enable it to roll smoothly over obstructions. It's fairly compact, making it easy to maneuver in tight spaces, and is remarkably easy to maintain.
This vacuum delivers exceptional overall performance on bare floors, easily cleaning pet hair and various kinds of solid debris. It has a seven-level suction power adjustment feature that enables you to adapt to different surface types. There are a handful of other conveniences, including onboard storage for its attachments, automatic power cord retraction, and a HEPA filter for improved air filtration performance.
However, this vacuum's hose is a little short, making it hard to clean far-away areas when cleaning in a semi-handheld configuration. Otherwise, its excellent build quality, superb performance on bare floors, and a wide array of quality of life features 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. This cordless vacuum easily clears small and bulky debris as well as pet hair. Its primary floorhead has a brushroll with angled plastic fins meant to reduce the incidence of hair wraps.
This vacuum's lightweight construction and pivoting vacuum head make it easy to maneuver, even in cluttered areas. You can easily reconfigure it into a handheld vacuum to deal with debris in tight spots, and it comes with a crevice tool, upholstery tool, and hard-bristle dusting brush for dislodging stuck-on debris from surfaces. Since it doesn't have a dirtbag and uses washable pre-motor and HEPA filters, recurring costs shouldn't be a major concern either.
Unfortunately, while this vacuum's maximum battery life of roughly 40 minutes should be sufficient for cleaning most spaces, running it continuously in its "MAX (BOOST)" mode can cause it to run out of charge in just over 10 minutes, meaning you need to work quickly when dealing with stubborn messes. Otherwise, its maneuverable design and strong performance make it an excellent option for vacuuming hardwood floors.
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 but delivers a similar, fantastic performance on bare surfaces like hardwood, easily cleaning pet hair and other types of debris. 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 does an exceptional job of cleaning pet hair as well as small and bulky debris on bare surfaces. It can automatically adjust its suction power and brushroll height depending on the surface that it's on, which is handy if you have any rugs around your home. You can expect roughly anywhere between one to two hours of continuous runtime on a single charge, which should be sufficient for cleaning most spaces.
This vacuum feels impressively well-built and is fairly compact, allowing it to maneuver around obstructions with little difficulty. You can use its companion app to start cleaning jobs, set up a cleaning schedule for its coverage area, or even remote-pilot the vacuum if it gets stuck. There's a dedicated edge-cleaning mode, where the vacuum makes another pass around the perimeter of the room to clear any debris it may have missed on its initial cleaning session.
Unfortunately, unlike some other pricier robot vacuums, you can't use its companion app to set up virtual boundary markers to keep the vacuum out of certain areas. It also has demanding maintenance requirements and incurs high recurring costs since many parts need regular replacing. Otherwise, its exceptional bare floor performance and excellent maneuverability make it one of the best laminate floor vacuums that we've tested.
The best handheld vacuum for hardwood floors that we've tested is the Hoover ONEPWR Cordless Hand Vacuum. This handheld vacuum delivers exceptional performance on bare, even surfaces like hardwood floors. Suction performance remains consistent even as its relatively large dustbin fills up with debris, which is good if you have a couple of messes to deal with.
While this vacuum's battery life of roughly 15 minutes isn't especially long, it does charge remarkably quickly. Its compact, lightweight design makes it easy to pick up and carry around. It feels decently well-built and doesn't have that many parts that need regular cleaning. This vacuum doesn't incur many recurring costs since its filter is the only component that requires periodic replacement.
Unfortunately, this vacuum doesn't have a HEPA filter to trap allergens as you clean. It doesn't have very many attachments, as its only included attachment is a crevice tool to clear debris in tight corners. Still, if you're looking for a cordless vacuum that's well-suited to spot-cleaning hardwood floors, this is a great option.
The Eureka Whirlwind Bagless Canister is the best budget vacuum for hardwood floors that we've tested. This compact cordless vacuum delivers exceptional performance on flat, even surfaces like hardwood, easily cleaning pet hair as well as small and bulky debris. Its primary floorhead has bristles that you can retract, which helps vacuum the occasional rug or low-pile carpet.
This vacuum's compact size and lightweight construction make it easy to maneuver in cluttered spaces. Its bagless design and washable filters result in a near-total lack of recurring costs. The vacuum itself has a simple design that allows you to access any parts that need to be cleaned regularly without too much effort.
Unfortunately, this vacuum doesn't have a HEPA filter to trap allergens as you clean, which could be an issue if you have a pet that sheds heavily. Its power cord is short, so you may need to swap outlets when cleaning larger spaces. Its hose isn't very long, either, making it hard to clean hard-to-reach areas. Still, its maneuverable design, affordable price point, and versatile overall performance make it one of the best vacuums under $100 that we've tested.
Dec 20, 2021: Ensured that all main picks are still in stock and represent the best choice for their given category.
Dec 02, 2021: Moved Hoover ONEPWR Cordless Hand Vacuum from Notable Mentions to new 'Best Handheld Vacuum For Hardwood Floors' pick. Removed 'Handheld Alternative' category, moved Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+ to Notable Mentions.
Nov 05, 2021: Ensured that all main picks are still available and represent the best choice for their given category. Added Hoover ONEPWR Cordless Hand Vacuum and Wyze Cordless Vacuum to Notable Mentions.
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.
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.