December 3, 2022

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We updated this article in July 2022 to add more information about each featured product based on extensive testing done by the Good Housekeeping Institute. Older models from Bissell, Dyson and Miele were replaced with top-tested newer models, and we added a new model from Kenmore as our best for pet hair.


Hardwood floors make any space look a little nicer, but they do require some special care specific to hardwood to keep them looking new. That means a good cleaning regimen including hardwood floor cleaner, a gentle microfiber mop and, importantly, a great vacuum for hardwood floors.

In the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab we know what makes a vacuum cleaner a great one, having tested hundreds of vacuums and other major home appliances since our experts began evaluating consumer products in 1900. We’ve had our hands on robot vacuums, cheap vacuums, cordless stick vacuums and vacuums engineered for pet hair, among many others. But what makes a vacuum great for hardwood floors? For starters, you’ll want a vacuum with soft bristles that won’t scratch wood — and you can even get away with a vacuum with no brush roller at all since you’re not digging deep into carpet fibers. A good hardwood vacuum will also have strong suction to do a better job getting into the crevices between the planks of wood. All of our experts’ picks have these features and more.

Our top picks:

At the end of this guide, you’ll find more information on how we test vacuum cleaners as well as how to shop for the best vacuum for hardwood floors. Our cleaning experts also answer commonly asked questions about getting dirt and dust off your hardwood floors.

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    1

    Best Overall Vacuum Cleaner for Hardwood Floors

    Boost CX1

    • Wand attaches to canister for neat storage
    • Four suction modes
    • Some reviewers had a hard time pushing it on carpet

    Miele vacuums consistently perform well in all of our tests, and the Boost CX1 is no exception. With a sleek, compact design and flexible rubber hose, this canister vacuum impressed our experts in both the looks department and, more importantly, the performance department. It picked up dry oats from all of our test floors and carpets with no problem and showed no signs of pushing debris forward instead of suctioning, which is a common complaint with other vacuum models.

    Thanks to a universal floor head that only requires the flip of one switch, there’s no need to change attachments when going from carpet to hardwood floors. But if you want to ensure your hardwood floors are getting the best treatment, the Miele comes with a parquet floor brush attachment for even better performance on hardwood flooring. The Boost CX1 is bagless, but with a Hygiene AirClean filter that keeps even the smallest particles in the canister. Allergy sufferers can rest assured that they aren’t releasing dust back into the air with this canister vacuum.

    Weight: 13.8 lbs.
    Cord Length: 22 ft.

    2

    Best Value Vacuum for Hardwood Floors

    Hard Floor Expert Canister Vacuum

    • Air-powered soft brush helps protect floors
    • Multiple levels of filtration
    • Heavier than other canister vacuums

    We love this vacuum’s unique, air-powered soft brush that’s gentle on wood floors yet effective at removing dirt and debris from crevices. The brush sweeps away particles in deep creases so they can be vacuumed up without scratching the floor. Its compact design also makes it easy to carry from room to room. Though we haven’t tested this model, Bissell vacuums always do well in our Cleaning Lab tests and have impressively innovative features, so we expect this one to perform to the high standards we set for vacuums.

    Weight: 13.8 lbs.
    Cord Length: 18 ft.

    3

    Best Cordless Vacuum Cleaner for Hardwood Floors

    V15 Detect Cordless Vacuum Cleaner

    • HEPA filter
    • Debris sensor automatically increases suction

    The Dyson V15 was a winner in our 2021 Good Housekeeping Cleaning Awards and for good reason! Our consumer product testers gave this stick vacuum an overall rating of 4.9 out of 5 with one tester simply saying, “Obsessed.” It has three powerful suction modes and a runtime of up to sixty minutes, perfect for cleaning your whole home in one short session. Plus, you can keep track of just how much time you have left in the battery with an easy-to-read LCD screen that also calculates how much debris is picked up as you go.

    Our experts were blown away by the laser beam on the bare-floor brush that made every last speck of dust and hair visible in this Dyson’s path. The V15 Detect automatically senses the floor type and amount of debris you are dealing with and increases the suction as needed.

    Weight: 6.8 lbs.
    Battery Runtime: 60 mins.

    4

    Best Vacuum Cleaner for Hardwood Floors and Pet Hair

    Pet Friendly Pop-N-Go Canister Vacuum

    • Hardwood floor brush stored in canister
    • HEPA filter

    Every accessory you could ever wish for with your canister vacuum is included with the Pet Friendly Pop-N-Go Canister Vacuum from Kenmore. The hardwood floor brush on this vacuum lives right on the canister and is easily accessed with the press of a button and snaps on hands-free. Our experts found this vacuum easy to maneuver over both carpet and hard flooring thanks to its large wheels and super flexible rubber hose. It picked up dry oats from all of our test floors quickly, leaving very little, if any, behind after just a few passes.

    With the motorized Pet PowerMate attachment, you can go from floor clean-up to couch cleaning with just one appliance. The Pop-N-Go is a bagged canister, meaning very little dust can escape the vacuum and wind up in the air of your home again.

    Weight: 6 lbs.
    Cord Length: 28 ft.

    5

    Best Compact Stick Vacuum for Hardwood Floors

    Omni-Glide Vacuum Cleaner

    • Lays flat to clean under low furniture
    • Converts to handheld vacuum
    • Doesn’t stand on its own

    When we tested this Dyson stick vacuum at home, we were impressed with how well it worked on wood floors. In our ease of use tests, it maneuvered around small and big obstacles alike, going in any direction (even sideways) and it was the perfect size for stair treads, the edges of the room and around area rugs. With two soft, fluffy rollers, the Omni-glide picks up both large debris and fine particles with ease, all without scratching hardwood floors. Plus, it’s lightweight and rechargeable.

    Our experts loved how easy it was to transform the Omni-glide into a hand vacuum with just one click. Its hygienic, easy-to-use ejection mechanism empties the dust bin quickly. Other impressive features include a washable filter and a sealed whole-machine filtration system that traps 99.9% of dust and allergens- ideal for allergy sufferers.

    Weight: 4.5 lbs.
    Battery Runtime: 20 mins.

    6

    Best Robot Vacuum Cleaner for Hardwood Floors

    Roomba S9+

    • Can map multiple floor plans
    • Automatically empties itself

    For maintenance cleaning you barely have to think about, there’s the iRobot Roomba S9+. The top performer in our most recent test of 15 robot vacuums on the market, the S9+ earned the highest scores cleaning hard floors, spot cleaning and overall performance. It has a charging base that also acts as a large dust bin for the robot, meaning less frequent emptying. The rubber brush rolls are self-cleaning too, minimizing annoying hair tangles that compromise the cleaning power of lesser vacuums.

    With the app you can set your robot to clean on a schedule of your choice, clean a specific room of your home or use a double pass feature for extra cleaning performance. The S9+ will stop cleaning if the battery is running low but pick up right where it left off after it’s done charging. For busy homes with little free floor space, the iRobot S9+ expertly avoids obstacles in its path.

    Weight: 8.2 lbs.
    Battery Runtime: 75 mins.

    7

    Best Combo Vacuum and Mop for Hardwood Floors

    CrossWave X7 Cordless Pet Pro

    • Suctions dirty water and diluted cleaner from floor
    • Button controls how much water is dispensed
    • Hardwood floor brush roll needs to be purchased separately

    A vacuum that suctions dry debris and mops at the same time? Yes, please! This two-in-one vacuum and wet mop from Bissell is a cordless version of a corded model we previously tested and featured in this round-up of best vacuum cleaners for hardwood floors. In our recent category test for combo vacuum mops, the Crosswave earned great scores in dry debris pickup tests of cereal, coffee grounds and baking powder. A bowl of cereal and milk was history in just one pass forward and back and with a 30-minute runtime, you can get through plenty of cleaning on just one charge. Impressively, this vacuum mop has a self-cleaning cycle you can easily run with the click of one button when you’re done cleaning.

    While the included brush roll isn’t specifically for hardwood floors, it uses a soft brush roll with a few stiff bristles throughout to vacuum up dry and wet debris from hard floors and area rugs. You control how much water and cleaner are dispensed, which is especially important for wood floors that can be damaged with excessive water. And, it leaves floors only slightly moist to the touch after cleaning.

    Weight: 10.2 lbs.
    Battery Runtime: 30 mins.

    8

    BEST UPRIGHT VACUUM CLEANER FOR HARDWOOD FLOORS

    Power Series Pro Cordless Stick Vacuum

    • Can remove canister and hose to vacuum hard-to-reach places
    • Automatically adjusts suction for floor type
    • Some debris can get stuck in wheels

    We love that this combo two-in-one vacuum has a removable canister and hose that make it convenient to vacuum hardwood floors, stairs, ceilings and other hard-to-reach places. Plus it’s foolproof to use because it automatically adjusts suction for bare floors or thick carpets. Our testers liked that it has touch controls, a 34-minute run time and a compactor for dust which means less frequent empties. During our Lab analysis it picked up almost 99% of debris, but a few bits got stuck on the wheels. The canister can be used with attachments, including a three-in-one nozzle, a crevice tool and an upholstery brush that all clip-on so you always know where they are.

    Weight: 8 lbs.
    Battery Runtime: 60 mins.

    How we test vacuum cleaners

    Here at the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab, we continually test all types of vacuums, from canister vacuums to robot vacuums and handheld vacuums, following the ASTM International industry standard test methods. Our performance tests include evaluating how well each vacuum cleaner removes dirt deeply embedded into pile carpet and simulated pet hair evenly spread on a carpet’s surface. We attach vacuums to a custom-built, automated machine that makes the same number of passes over the same test carpeting. We also look at how well vacuums remove large and small debris from hard flooring like wood, tile and linoleum; how well they clean along floor edges and how effective their suction is.

    Our second set of tests, called the ease-of-use tests, include testing each vacuum for ease of cleaning, maneuverability, maintenance, weight, battery run-time for cordless models and the clarify of the owner’s manual. In addition to our in-Lab tests, we recruit our colleagues to try the vacuums for themselves and share their opinions.

    What to look for in a hardwood floor vacuum

    There is no one-size-fits-all vacuum for hardwood floors. Different vacuums will suit different needs. Here’s what to look for when shopping for a hardwood floor vacuum:

    ✔️ Attachments: Brush rollers are great for cleaning plush carpeting, but can cause fine scratches on wood flooring. For safety, make sure your hardwood vacuum either has multiple brush rolls, attachments for carpet vs. hardwood or an option to turn the brush roll off. Look for soft brush rollers or attachments specifically for hardwood floors. These soft brushes will sweep away debris from the cracks and crevices between wood floorboards and nab the finest dust particles for a more thorough cleaning. Brush attachments are also usually low enough to get to hard-to-reach places like under furniture.

    ✔️ Suction Power: Strong suction power is important in a good hardwood vacuum. Not only will good suction power pick up large debris, but it will also pick up pet hair and fine dirt or dust, and it will do a better job of nabbing particles lodged between the planks of wood.

    ✔️ Vacuum Type: Each style of vacuum will suit different needs. Cordless vacuums are ideal if you switch rooms frequently while vacuuming. Canister vacuums are extremely versatile and do a great job cleaning floors, stairs, furniture, lampshades and more. A robot vacuum will do the vacuuming for you with the push of a button. Stick vacuums are often convenient to store, take up little space and tend to be lightweight.

    ✔️ Weight: Be sure to check the weight of the vacuum and take into consideration how much weight you’re willing to push around while vacuuming or carry around the house.

    Why trust Good Housekeeping?

    As Executive Director of the Good Housekeeping Institute’s Home and Cleaning Lab, Carolyn Forté has tested and reviewed hundreds of vacuum cleaners, carpet cleaners, dishwashers, washing machines and other major home appliances for over 40 years. She is an active member of the ASTM Committee on vacuum cleaners and chairman of the consumer information sub-committee.

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