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Your Best Vacuum for Hardwood Floors: Reviews and Comparisons

Updated on February 3, 2013

Best Vacuum for Hardwood Floors

Are you trying to decide which is the best vacuum for hardwood floors in your house? I've done a lot of the research for you and have winnowed down the list to the best five vacuums for you to choose from.

When you start looking for a vacuum that handles hardwood and tile floors, the options can be dizzying! You'll find canisters, uprights, corded, and cordless versions. Some have rotating brushes, some have stair tools, some have easily replaceable batteries...the list goes on and on.

Here I'll explain the features of the top-rated vacuums for solid floors and how to decide what matters for your particular home. If you've been struggling to work through the options, this is the site for you.

Dyson Multi-Floor
Dyson Multi-Floor

How I Prepared My List

One week of data gathering

Choosing the right vacuum for your hardwood floors depends on many factors. When I started my research I decided I wanted to understand which vacuum best fits these scenarios:

  • Quick Touch-ups or Small Floor Spaces
  • Large Floor Spaces
  • Vacuuming Stairs
  • Some Carpet

Choosing a vacuum isn't a glamorous shopping trip, and isn't nearly as fun as doing Christmas shopping. But since we're going to use a new vacuum for many years it's worth taking a couple minutes to find the right 'fit' for our needs.

I started my research by searching Amazon for vacuums designed to work with hardwood floors. I eliminated any products that didn't average at least 3.5 based on reviewer ratings.

Much to my surprise there were still more than 10 to choose from! I had my work cut out for me.

I pored through feature lists, product websites, buyer reviews, and consumer comparisons. Along the way I learned about warranties, cleaning head width, lighting, battery replacement and more.

In the end I developed a spreadsheet that listed over 20 different vacuum features to consider and ranked each vacuum for those features. It took a lot of reading and researching to find the right information. Some manufacturers put the details right in their product descriptions. For a couple vacuums I had to download the owner's manual from their Customer Support website and pore through the pages to find what I needed.

When I was done I had a solid ranking for the top ten vacuums for hardwood floors. I learned along the way that the 'best' vacuum for someone with just a couple smaller spaces might be a different recommendation -- those homes can more easily make do with a cordless vacuum than homes with larger spaces.

The recommendation in this write-up is for homeowners wanting the most flexibility (touch-ups, stairs, and larger floor spaces). I have also written a lens specifically ranking cordless vacuums for those of us with smaller spaces. A side note: while this lens is for hardwood floors, the recommendations apply equally well for linoleum or tile floors.

Key Vacuum Comparison Information

Model

Dirt Devil Power Reach Multi-Cyclonic Canister

Dyson DC25 Ball All-Floors Upright Vacuum

Miele S2121 Olympus Canister Vacuum

Dyson DC44 Animal Digital Slim MK2

Ergorapido Ion Cordless Stick and Hand Vacuum

Bagless?

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Warranty Years

2

5

7

2

2

Style

Canister

Upright

Canister

Cordless Stick

Cordless Stick

Weight

10.7

16.12

16

5.07

5.5

Base Height

Mid-Profile

Higher

Low Profile

Low Profile

Low Profile

Nozzle Width

13

11

10.5

8

10


More Comparison Points for Hardwood Floors

Model

Dirt Devil Power Reach Multi-Cyclonic Canister

Dyson DC25 Ball All-Floors Upright Vacuum

Miele S2121 Olympus Canister Vacuum

Dyson DC44 Animal Digital Slim MK2

Ergorapido Ion Cordless Stick and Hand Vacuum

Charge Time

N/A

N/A

N/A

5 hours

4 hours

Stairs

Use the Power Head

Has a Stair Tool

Floor tool with 29' reach

Remove the Wand

Has a Hand Vac

Runtime on battery

N/A

N/A

N/A

20 minutes

30 minutes

Headlight

Yes

Yes

No

No

Yes

Replaceable Battery

N/A

N/A

N/A

Yes

No

Recline

Yes

Yes

Very Well

Very Well

Yes

Floor Mode

Yes

Yes

Yes

Must Buy Floor Head

Brush Continues


Dirt Devil Power Reach Multi-Cyclonic Canister

SD40030

Amazon.com

Dyson DC25 Ball All-Floors Upright Vacuum Cleaner

Amazon.com

Miele S2121 Olympus Canister Vacuum Cleaner

Amazon.com

Dyson DC44 Animal Digital Slim MK2

Amazon.com

EL1030A Ergorapido Ion Bagless Cordless Stick and Hand Vac

Amazon.com

This little vacuum is the top choice for cleaning up your hardwood-filled home! It's designed for hard floors and low-pile carpets. The price doesn't break the pocketbook yet it can clean as many rooms as you need. Reasonable weight, wide nozzle, bagless, and more! Read on to understand why.

Advantages of the Dirt Devil Power Reach

It's Bagless - Never buy vacuum bags again with this easy to clean bagless system.

Hepa Filter - Protect your family from 99.9% of common allergens

Motor with 12 Amps - Power matches uprights with less weight and better reach

13" Nozzle - A wide path for faster cleaning, a full 2 inches wider than many competitors

Power Floor Nozzle with 6 Position Height Adjustment - Adjust easily to clean any rug you've put on your hardwood floor.

Canister Style with 9.5 Foot Reach - Easily vacuum stairs and other locations.

On / Off Brushroll Switch - Vacuum hard floors with the flick of a switch.

Disadvantages of the Dirt Devil Power Reach Canister

Not as good with deep pile carpets - This vacuum does well on low pile rugs and hardwood floors. Based on reader reviews it is not as strong a candidate for lots of wall to wall carpeting.

Hepa filter needs to be washed - All vacuums with hepa filters have the same issue. You have to clean the filter occasionally - but if your family has allergies isn't it worth it?

Headlight turns off when brushroller is off - I would prefer to have the headlight always be on.

Dyson vacuums are known for their cool factor (and their price!). Dyson is the originator of cyclonic bagless vacuums, and has a loyal set of fans. It's worth considering how this Dyson vacuum could help you care for your hardwood floors.

Pros to consider for the Dyson Ball All-Floors Upright

It's Bagless - Dyson originated the bagless cyclonic vacuum. Never buy a vacuum bag again.

Washable Hepa Filter - Protect your family from 99.9% of common dust allergens

Five-Year Warranty - The second-longest warranty on our list. Know that your vacuum will last.

Ball pivot head - Swivel to maneuver the vacuum into tighter spaces.

Telescopic Wand - Extends to 16 feet to reach corners and cobwebs.

On/Off Brushroll Switch - Vacuum hard floors with the flick of a switch.

Stair Tool - Ease the challenge of vacuuming stairs.

Sounds good so far, now here's the downsides:

Highest Price - Do you really want to spend over $600?

Highest Weight at 16.1 Pounds - The heaviest of the finalists in this review. The weight can be tiring.

Particularly strong on deep pile carpet - While you can turn off the brushroll to vacuum on hardwood floors, the Dyson shines best on carpet.

I hadn't heard of Miele before this research and almost passed it up -- I'm very glad I didn't. The Miele brand is known internationally for high quality vacuums with powerful suction. It has the best warranty of the bunch, and boasts a 29 foot reach radius.

Why you should consider the Miele S2121 Olympus

7 Year Warranty - Miele gives the best warranty, coming in at 7 years!

29 Foot Cleaning Radius - Long electric cord combines with telescoping wand to let you clean more from a single plug location than any of the rest.

Excellent suction power - Reviewers on Amazon consistently praise the suction.

Easy pulling - Even though this weighs in at 16 pounds reviewers rave about how easy it is to pull this vacuum. The four swivel wheels allow the Olympus to move with you easily.

Optional HEPA Filter - Remove most allergens if this is an issue for your home.

No Rollerbrush to Turn Off - This vacuum is meant for hardwood floors and low pile carpets, coming with Miele's standard floor tool -- you never have to worry about remembering to turn off a rollerbrush.

Cons for Miele S2121 Olympus Vacuum

No Rollerbrush - Not as good for homes that have both wall to wall carpeting and hardwood floors.

Not a Bagless Vacuum - The Miele uses vacuum bags. They're not as easy to find in your local stores, so you may need to order them from Amazon.

16 Pounds - While the vacuum FEELS light when pulling around the floor, it's still on the heavy side. You'll notice then when lifting the vac to carry it up stairs.

Now let's look at something different: The Dyson DC44 Animal Digital Slim. This battery-operated cordless is a great option for touch-ups and smaller floor spaces. Do note that you'll need to buy the optional hardwood floor tool to make this the vacuum you want for your hardwood floors.

Why you should consider the Dyson DC44:

It's Cordless! - No more worrying about how long your electric cord is. Go anywhere, vacuum anything your arms and the long-reach wand can reach.

Replaceable Battery - Some cordless vacuums don't give you a way to replace the battery when it fades (which all rechargeable batteries eventually do). Who wants to throw away their vacuum when the battery dies -- not me! Dyson offers replacement batteries and makes them easy to change out.

Mini Tool for Stairs and Upholstery - Remove the telescoping wand and you have a short vacuum perfect for up-close touch-ups.

20-Minute Battery Life - Dyson-quality suction with a power head for an average of 20 minutes. Enough time to vacuum a small carpet or touch up a larger one.

Ball-Swivel Head - Easily vacuum in hard to reach locations.

Reclines Flat - Low-Profile head reclines flat to let you vacuum under most chairs and beds without having to move them.

Why you might not want a Dyson DC44:

You'll Need to Buy the Hardwood Floor Head - You're reading this review because you want to vacuum hardwood floors, right? The Dyson DC44 doesn't have a way to shut off the rollerbrush, and doesn't come with the hardwood head. You'll need to buy the articulating hard floor tool separately (currently $59.25).

Not Meant for Whole-House Cleaning - This vacuum runs for about 20 minutes (8 on "boost" mode). That's good for a cordless, but may not be enough for you to get a full vacuum of all your floors. I recommend cordless vacs for smaller spaces or if you only plan to vacuum a little of your home at a time

No HEPA Filter - If allergens are a primary concern cordless vacs are probably not for you.

If you want a longer-running cordless vac for touch-ups and small spaces the Ergorapido Ion Bagless is worth considering.

Why you should consider the Ergorapido Ion.

It's Cordless! - No more worrying about how long your electric cord is. Go anywhere, vacuum anything your arms and the long-reach wand can reach.

30-Minute Run Time - With an average runtime of 30 minutes you have a better chance of finishing a couple rooms before you lose power.

Built-In Handheld Vacuum - Need to vacuum the stairs or furniture? Grab the built-in handheld vac and go. When you're done connect it back to the main vacuum stick and vacuum again as normal.

Reasonable Price - At a medium price point (currently $169) it becomes more reasonable to have a cordless stick vacuum for touch ups and smaller spaces.

5.5 Pounds - Lightweight and easy to carry around the house.

Tools Included - Comes with dust brush and crevice tool that store in the charging unit.

LED Headlight - See what you're vacuuming (or missing) more easily.

180 Degree Swivel Head - Easily maneuver around furniture and into hard to reach locations.

Challenges to be aware of:

Rollerbrush Doesn't Turn Off - While the rollerbrush is rated for hard flooring many flooring experts recommend not using them on hardwood floors.

Battery Not Replaceable - All rechargeable batteries fade in a few years. Be aware there isn't an easy way to replace the battery when that time comes.

Should You Choose a Cordless or Corded Vacuum?

Cordless vacuums are all the rage, yet if you look at the reviews above you see I've rated "old-fashioned" corded vacuums higher. Does that mean you should ignore cordless vacs? Absolutely not! I researched hardwood floor vacuums keeping in mind someone who has hardwoods throughout their entire home. Your needs may differ.

How long do you vacuum?

If you have a thousand square feet of tile or hardwood you need a vacuum that can run as long as you do. If (like me) you have only two rooms with solid flooring, your needs are a little different.

Sit back and think for a minute.

  • How much time do you spend in one session vacuuming your hardwoods?
  • How long do you wait between vacuuming sessions?
  • Health: do you have any weight restrictions you need to honor?

Corded or Cordless: Which is right for you?

Cordless: If you only vacuum your hardwood floors 10-20 minutes at a time, cordless vacuums will last long enough for your needs. If you don't need to vacuum again for at least four or five hours, cordless vacuums will recharge fast enough to be ready for you.

Corded: If you do all your vacuuming at once and are running it for over a half hour at a time, you'll do best to look at corded vacuums. The longest battery life I saw was 40 minutes, and most cordless vacs are rated more in the 20-30 minute range. With a cord you can vacuum as long as you like.

Corded: If you only vacuum for 10-15 minutes at a time but are doing that several times a day, you should still look at a corded vacuum. Most cordless vacs need 3-5 hours to do a full recharge; you don't want to grab your vacuum and have it stop running before you've finished your work.

Cordless: If you need to avoid lifting much weight, consider cordless. Most cordless vacuums only weigh 5 - 8 pounds. If your back or other health needs require low weights, cordless vacuums are the way to go. The relatively short battery life acts as another protector since it won't let you vacuum for hours and hours.

Cleaning Hardwood Floors - Five tips to help you maintain the beauty of your floor

More Vacuum Reviews for Hardwood Floors

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    • theinformationguy profile image

      theinformationguy 4 years ago

      Nice lens , I will be needing a new vacuum soon as ours is old and on the way out. You have put together some nice choices here for sure