IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

5 best vacuums to help clean your hardwood floors

When cleaning hardwood floors make sure you have a soft brush, experts say.
There are four different types of vacuums: upright, canister, robot and cordless.
There are four different types of vacuums: upright, canister, robot and cordless.Dyson; Amazon

Keeping hardwood floors clean is a tedious task. Dust and other debris can quickly settle on the surface. Sweeping may sound like a viable option, but the mess can fly elsewhere in the home. A quality vacuum for hardwood floors is essential for any household, and it’s important to pick one with a brush head that won’t scratch the surface.

“A soft floor brush is the best solution for hardwood floors and parquet because the bristles are flexible and they don’t tend to grind into the surface,” Malcolm Berman, owner and founder of Green Clean NYC, says.

To help you pick a vacuum that’s right for your household, we spoke to cleaning experts to find out what kind of technology and specifications work best for hardwood floors. We also got recommendations on the best types to buy.

SKIP AHEAD How we picked the best hardwood floor vacuums | The best vacuums for hardwood floors in 2024 | What are the different types of vacuums?

Selected.Our top picks

How we picked the best vacuums for hardwood floors

Cleaning hardwood floors can be tricky. It’s important to choose a vacuum gentle enough that it will not scuff or knick wood. There are many types to choose from, but our experts gave us the rundown on what to look for when shopping.

  • Vacuum head: Look for vacuums with a soft brush head or bristles to protect hardwood floors from damage.
  • Canister vs non-canister: Canister vacuums are not as common compared to stick vacuums or robot options. Canister options generally provide more powerful suction than other types of vacuums.

The best vacuums for hardwood floors in 2024

Each vacuum recommended below has key details our experts highlighted that safely clean hardwood floors. 

Best overall vacuum: Miele Complete C2 Hardfloor Vacuum

Both of our experts spoke highly of Miele vacuums. “When I talk to vacuum experts they always recommend a Miele, which can be a little more expensive, but I think it’s one of those things where it’s worth it because you’re just getting such quality,” says Jill Koch, a cleaning expert. “And a lot of those are really designed for hard floors in general.” This canister vacuum has a 16-inch soft parquet brush, which provides a gentle clean that won’t scratch and gets hard-to-reach spots thanks to the swivel flexibility. Its suction power is 1200 watts and has six settings that make the most of its vortex motor. It comes with multiple attachments like an upholstery nozzle, crevice nozzle and dusting brush for specific needs. This vacuum also has a three-tier filtration system for capturing more than 99.9% of dust particles with its AirClean Plus filter, HyClean bag and motor filter that automatically seals, according to Miele.

Type: Canister | Run time: Corded | Dustbin capacity: 3.5 L  | Weight: 19.5 lbs

Best budget vacuum: Eureka Whirlwind Canister Vacuum

This Eureka vacuum is an affordable option with a canister, similar to a Miele. It has a specific setting for hard floors for gentle cleaning, along with carpet and upholstery functions. A brush head comes attached, while a crevice tool easily locks into the nozzle for cleaning under sofas and narrow spots. The automatic rewindable cord is 16 feet long, which makes this ideal for navigating large rooms. It’s simple to clean the filter, dust cup and separator by washing them with water, according to Eureka.

Type: Canister | Run time: Corded | Dustbin capacity: 2.5 L  | Weight: 8.15 lbs

Best cordless stick vacuum: Dyson V12 Detect Slim

Dyson is a top pick when choosing a high-tech cordless vacuum. I adore the lightweight V12 Detect Slim for vacuuming hardwood and tile floors, especially in the kitchen where crumbs collect. It’s also efficient at picking up hard-to-see hair, dust and other debris with its built-in illuminating laser. “I personally love it if you can get an LED light in a vacuum because on hard floors, especially, it really shines so you can see the dirt a lot better,” says Koch. The Fluffy Optic cleaner head attachment glides across floors without leaving a scratch, while anti-static carbon fiber filaments do the work of picking up dust, according to Dyson. The LCD screen displays the run time and how full the dustbin is. It may only be 5.22 pounds, but the size doesn’t sacrifice its powerful motor. It uses Root Cyclone technology to suction any dust in the surrounding airflow. It also has other attachments like the Motorbar cleaner head, hair screw tool, crevice tool and combination tool.

Type: Cordless stick | Run time: 60 minutes | Dustbin capacity: 0.09 gal  | Weight: 5.22 lbs

Best robot vacuum: Shark AI Ultra Robot Vacuum

This robot vacuum from Shark has a self-cleaning brush roll with moveable silicone fins. It captures anything on a hard surface thanks to its grid-like Matrix Clean technology, according to Shark. The device is equipped with precise 360-degree home mapping that has the ability to scan an entire floor for any objects or dirt in its path. It can also be controlled through a smartphone app, which gives you the option to schedule future cleanings wherever you are. It empties itself after 60 days into a bagless base.

Type: Robot | Run time: 60-days | Dustbin capacity: 0.27 gal | Weight: 15.25 lbs

The best upright vacuum: Shark Rotator Lift-Away Upright Vacuum

This upright Shark vacuum, a favorite of Koch’s, has a hard-floor mode and a built-in LED light that shows invisible dust, crumbs and other small debris. It also has swivel-steering to make rolling over surfaces easier at a fast pace. “You want the ability to toggle back and forth,” says Koch. “You definitely want it to be more delicate.” The vacuum also has a sealed HEPA filter to keep dust from reaching the air, according to Shark.

Type: Upright | Run time: Corded | Dustbin capacity: 0.88 qt | Weight: 15.5 lbs

What are the different types of vacuums?

There are many types of vacuums to help clean hardwood floors efficiently. We distinguished each type that we recommend to narrow down which option is best for you.

  • Canister: This design involves attachments that connect to a hose through a wheeled canister. It’s one of the best types of vacuum, especially if it has a HEPA filter for capturing small dust particles, Berman says. “I recommend a canister-style vacuum because you have a hose and you can put on a zillion attachments to suit the job that you’re doing,” Berman says. If you’re someone with allergies, this type would benefit you the most.
  • Cordless stick: These types of vacuums are one of the most popular for modern-day cleaning. They’re extremely lightweight and high-tech, especially models by Dyson. I live in an apartment and in my opinion they are great for small spaces with their lean design, which means you can easily store it under a couch.
  • Robot: Smart vacuums do all the work for you, which is what makes them appealing. They can be controlled through a mobile app to schedule a cleaning of your entire floor while you’re away. These can also detect anything in their path, get in hard-to-reach spots and empty themselves.
  • Upright: Traditional upright vacuums are not the most common nowadays, but they clean efficiently with larger suction heads for covering more surface area at once. Models have wheels like canister vacuums, but these tend to be very heavy and difficult to maneuver if you have stairs.

How to shop for a hardwood floor vacuum

Certain aspects make select vacuums a better option than others for hardwood floors. The cleaning experts we spoke to gave us some tips on things to look out for.

  • Vacuum head: It’s important to choose a vacuum that doesn’t have an abrasive attachment head. “I think the best thing for hardwood floors is to have a hose with a soft floor brush attachment so that you don’t grind grit into your floor with stiff bristles,” says Berman. Vacuums that don’t have attachment heads, such as robot models, are usually equipped for hardwood floors, so it shouldn’t be an issue. These vacuums are programmed to detect dust on hard and soft surfaces, making them great multi-functional smart home appliances.
  • Canister vs non-canister: These vacuums come with bagged and bagless options, but each type has pros and cons. Bagged options keep dust secure, while bagless options with dust bins are easy to clean with water. Disposable dust bags are needed for bagged canister vacuums and need to be changed, which could be frequent depending on use. If you’re sucking up glass, however, it’s better to use a bagged canister vacuum. “Let’s say, a Dyson, which is swirling with a cyclonic action and it swirls the debris around inside the dirt canister—glass particles will over time abrade the inside of your dust compartment,” Berman says.

Meet our experts

At NBC Select, we work with experts who have specialized knowledge and authority based on relevant training and/or experience. We also take steps to ensure that all expert advice and recommendations are made independently and with no undisclosed financial conflicts of interest.

  • Malcolm Berman is the owner and founder of Green Clean NYC, which offers residential, commercial, allergy and specialty deep cleaning services. 
  • Jill Koch is a home organizing, cleaning and lifestyle writer who published DIY Cleaning Recipes for the Non-Toxic Home.

Why trust NBC Select?

Nicolette Accardi is a freelance writer whose beats include tech, home appliances and smart home devices. For this article, Accardi spoke to two experts in the home cleaning space about how to shop for the best hardwood floor vacuums. She compiled their top choices, along with top-rated vacuums that include the recommended specifications.

Catch up on NBC Select’s in-depth coverage of personal finance, tech and tools, wellness, and more, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to stay up to date.