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Best Vacuum for Hardwood Floors (2024)

Written by James Hall |

A guide to the best vacuums for hardwood flooring

If you have hardwood floors in your home, choosing a vacuum that cleans them effectively and safely is vital. In this article, we’ve listed our five best vacuums for hardwood floors.

Top Pick: Miele C3 Cat & Dog

Miele C3 Cat & Dog

Miele C3 Cat & Dog

The Miele C3 Cat & Dog is our top pick if you need a vacuum cleaner for hardwood floors. This is one of our top-rated vacuums, due to its strong suction power, excellent cleaning performance, and great value for money.

The Cat & Dog comes with a turbo tool for carpets, but it’s Miele’s Universal floorhead that you’ll want to use on hardwood floors. This tool doesn’t include a rotating brush bar and is highly effective at removing dust and dirt without scattering it.

Many vacuums struggle to clean hardwood floors. Hardwood provides less friction, which can cause vacuums push dirt and dust around (we call this “snowploughing”). Gaps between floorboards also challenge many vacuums, as strong suction is needed to pull out dirt.

Additionally, some vacuums with rotating brush bars risk scratching less durable hardwood floors. This shouldn’t happen if the brush bar can be switched off, but it is a concern for cheaper vacs or those with a fixed brushbar speed.​

For these reasons, we’ve compiled a list of the best hardwood floor vacuum cleaners. Each of these models are excellent all-round vacuums and can clean almost any floor – but are particularly effective for cleaning wooden floorboards.

5 Best Vacuums for Hardwood Flooring

Now you know what to look for in a hardwood vacuum, here are five of the best options. We’ve found that each of these vacuum cleaners provides strong cleaning performance on hardwood – but they aren’t one trick ponies either. So, if you have a mixture of floor types in your home, these models provide excellent all-round cleaning performance.

Miele C3 Cat & Dog
Miele C3 Cat & Dog
Dyson V10 Absolute
Dyson V10 Absolute
Shark HandVac CH950UKT
Shark HandVac CH950UKT
Shark NZ801UKT
Shark NZ801UKT
Henry HVR200-11
Henry HVR200-11
Price Range£££££££££££££
TypeCylinderCordlessHandheldUprightCylinder
Bag TypeBaggedBaglessBaglessBaglessBagged
Dust Capacity (L)4.50.770.450.89
Weight (kg)7.32.61.396.58
Hose?
HEPA Filter?
Pet Tool?
Overall Rating
View Rating Breakdown
4.4
4.3
4.1
4.4
3.5
VIEW PRICE
VIEW PRICE
VIEW PRICE
VIEW PRICE
VIEW PRICE

Our Top Pick for a Hardwood Vacuum

1. Miele C3 Cat & Dog

4.4

SV RATING

VALUE

4

EASE OF USE

4.5

CLEANING PERFORMANCE

4.5

FEATURES

4.5

TOOLS

4

Type: Cylinder | Bag Type: Bagged | Price Range: £££ | Dust Capacity: 4.5 litres | Weight: 7.3kg | Pet Tool: Yes | HEPA Filter: No

WHAT WE LIKED

  • Excellent dirt pickup on hardwood floors
  • Great for sucking up dust between floorboards
  • Effective for removing pet hair

WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE

  • Not as convenient as a cordless vacuum
  • Sometimes pushes around larger debris

We think the Miele C3 Cat & Dog is one of the best vacuums for hardwood cleaning. This powerful cylinder vacuum provides excellent dust pickup and is great for pet hair. It’s also available for a very reasonable price considering the strong performance.

The Cat & Dog received one of our highest ever ratings and we found that it excels on hard floors. In fact, with its large 4.5 litre capacity, Active AirClean filter, and turbo brush for deep cleaning cat and dog hair, there are very few tasks the C3 isn’t suitable for.

When it comes to cleaning hard floors, we found that Miele’s EcoTeq floorhead does a great job. It has no motorised brush bar, so you don’t need to worry about scratching or scattering, and it provides excellent dirt pickup. This floorhead is also useful for carpets – although for stubborn dirt or pet hair in carpets you’ll want to switch to the turbo tool with a powered brush bar.

As you would expect from a Miele vacuum cleaner, the C3 Cat & Dog is well-designed and durable. We like the automatic cord rewind function on this vacuum, along with the large 12-metre cleaning radius and on-board tool storage.

The only downside to the Miele C3 Cat & Dog is that we don’t think it’s the best model for cleaning up larger debris, such as cereal or cat litter. It can still do a decent job, but we found you sometimes need to lift up the floorhead and place it on bigger debris.

Overall, the Miele C3 Cat & Dog is one of the best vacuum cleaners we’ve ever reviewed – and its hard floor pickup is outstanding. If you want a cylinder vacuum that’s versatile enough for any flooring, yet excels on wooden floors, this is the one to get.

Best Cordless Vacuum for Hardwood Floors

2. Dyson V10 Absolute

4.3

SV RATING

VALUE

4

EASE OF USE

4.3

CLEANING PERFORMANCE

4.1

FEATURES

4.5

TOOLS

4.5

Type: Cordless | Bag Type: Bagless | Price Range: ££££ | Dust Capacity: 0.77 litres | Weight: 2.6kg | Pet Tool: Yes | HEPA Filter: No

WHAT WE LIKED

  • Excellent all-round cleaning performance and a dedicated hard floor floorhead
  • Great suction for a cordless
  • 60-minute battery life provides plenty of cleaning time

WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE

  • Expensive vacuum cleaner
  • Not as powerful as the corded Miele C3 series

The Dyson V10 Absolute is our top pick for a cordless hard floor vac. During our testing, we found that it’s one of the most powerful cordless vacs on the market, and it does a brilliant job on all types of hard floors when using the Soft Roller floorhead. We also liked the upgraded emptying system, which helps prevent clumps from getting stuck in the dust canister.

With an upgraded floorhead and a more powerful motor than the V8, the V10 Absolute improves on what was already an effective vacuum. It’s expensive – but there’s little doubt it’s one of the best cordless vacuums on the market at the moment. Most importantly for this article, the Absolute version of the V10 comes with Dyson’s “fluffy” Soft Roller floorhead that we found is great for cleaning hardwood floors (see our V10 model comparison for more information.)

Like all Dyson cordless vacuums, the V10 features a long, rigid tube that can be detached to turn it into a powerful handheld. It has a 60-minute maximum run-time (although this is only on the low power mode) and comes with Dyson’s excellent filtration system.

During our testing, we found that the vacuum only provides around 5-7 minutes of battery life when in the highest power mode, so this should only be used as a “boost” function for the most stubborn dirt. On the medium setting, the V10 lasts around 25-minutes and still provides ample suction power for most tasks.

One of the best features of the V10 Absolute is the Motorbar floorhead. This is a motorised tool that’s great for carpets, tiles or laminate. It has a more powerful brush bar than previous Dyson cordless vacuums, so it digs deeper into carpets for a more thorough clean.

Clean dyson soft roller
The Soft Roller features a large soft brush bar which is great for hardwood floors.

For the best hard floor performance, we recommend using the Soft Roller cleaner head though. During our tests, we found that the large roller is brilliant for picking up small dust particles, hair, and larger debris without pushing it around. The soft design also prevents scratching, which is vital for hardwood floors.

Additionally, we found that the V10 has the suction power to rival many corded vacuums, so it’s capable of cleaning between floorboards. Plus it comes with a miniature motorised tool for pet hair.

In short, the combination of a powerful motor and Soft Roller floorhead makes the Dyson V10 Absolute great for hardwood floors. The lightweight cordless design and handheld mode also make it a versatile model. The biggest drawback is the price, but we think it’s worth the money.

Note: It’s worth noting that the Soft Roller cleaner head is also available on other Dyson cordless vacuums, including the V8 Absolute. The V8 series isn’t as advanced as the V10, but it is cheaper and still provides excellent hard floor performance.

Best Handheld Vacuum for Hardwood

3. Shark HandVac CH950UKT

4.1

SV RATING

VALUE

5

EASE OF USE

3

CLEANING PERFORMANCE

4.25

FEATURES

4

TOOLS

4

Type: Handheld | Bag Type: Bagless | Price Range: £ | Dust Capacity: 0.45 litres | Weight: 1.39kg | Pet Tool: Yes | HEPA Filter: No

WHAT WE LIKED

  • Powerful suction for a handheld vacuum
  • Lightweight and feels balanced to hold
  • Excellent value for money

WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE

  • Rigid design makes it hard to use in tight locations
  • Messy bin emptying system

The Shark CH950UKT is a handheld vacuum cleaner that’s considerably cheaper than others on this list. It doesn’t have the suction power or size to rival corded vacuums, but if you need a convenient vacuum for small cleanups, our testing showed that it was great for hard floors.

Let’s start with the basics though. The CH950UKT is a lightweight handheld vacuum cleaner designed to clean up small dry spills. It has a 0.45 litre dust capacity, around average for a handheld, and can last for approximately 10 minutes on a single charge, taking around 4 hours to recharge.

We found that the Shark performed well on hard floors. ​It provides strong suction for a handheld, making it great for spot cleaning. It can even handle larger debris such as cereal or cat litter. We were also impressed by its pet hair and carpet performance, due to the brush bar on the pet tool.

All tools included with the CK950UKT
The Shark CH950UKT comes with a range of tools, including a pet tool with a rotating brush bar

A useful extra is the addition of both a crevice tool and a dusting brush. We found that the crevice tool is shorter than we would like, but it’s still useful in some situations.

It’s important to have realistic expectations of the Shark CH950UKT. It’s a small and inexpensive handheld vacuum cleaner, so it doesn’t match the suction power of corded models. We also found that it has a messy bin-emptying system and that the rigid design can make it hard to clean in awkward locations.

For small cleanups, however, the Shark CH950UKT a great option that’s handy to have in the house. We also think it’s one of the best handheld vacuums for hardwood floors.

Best Upright for Hardwood Floors

4.Shark Lift-Away NZ801UKT

4.4

SV RATING

VALUE

4

EASE OF USE

5

CLEANING PERFORMANCE

4

FEATURES

5

TOOLS

4

Type: Upright | Bag Type: Bagless | Price Range: £££ | Dust Capacity: 0.8 litres | Weight: 6.5kg | Pet Tool: Yes | HEPA Filter: No

WHAT WE LIKED

  • Excellent suction power and great for hardwood floors
  • Lift-away design for cleaning stairs and high areas
  • Comes with Shark's excellent DuoClean floorhead

WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE

  • Relatively short power cord
  • Average carpet cleaning performance
  • Small dirt capacity

The Shark NZ801UKT is one of our favourite bagless vacuums due to its strong cleaning performance. It features Shark’s powered Lift-Away technology, which allows you to detach the cylinder for greater manoeuvrability, along with useful extras such as LED lights and anti-hair wrap technology. We also found that the NZ801UKT is great for cleaning hardwood floors, mainly due to the excellent DuoClean floorhead.

With its Lift-Away function and swivel steering, we found the NZ801UKT easy to move around the house – especially compared with most upright vacuums. We also like the addition of LED headlights, as they make it easier to see patches of dirt or dust on hard floors that might have been missed.

One of the best things about the Shark is its powerful suction. We found that the vacuum can clean dust and dirt in floorboard cracks, plus it performs well on debris of any size. We also like the DuoClean floorhead, which has two brush bars to pick up debris of different sizes and types.

A downside is that the Shark only comes with an 8-meter power cord. We found this quite restrictive, especially when cleaning larger homes. It’s also not the best vacuum for carpets, although it does a decent job.

In summary, we think the Shark NZ801UKT is the best upright vacuum for hardwood floors. It’s powerful, easy to use, and provides great cleaning performance.

Alternative Pick for a Hardwood Floor Vacuum

5. Henry HVR200-11

3.5

SV RATING

VALUE

4

EASE OF USE

3.5

CLEANING PERFORMANCE

3.7

FEATURES

3

TOOLS

3

Type: Cylinder | Bag Type: Bagged | Price Range: ££ | Dust Capacity: 9 litres | Weight: 8kg | Pet Tool: No | HEPA Filter: No

WHAT WE LIKED

  • Large capacity and a long power cord
  • Strong suction power that's brilliant for hard floors

WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE

  • Bulky and heavy
  • Not great for cleaning carpets

If you’re looking for a no-nonsense vacuum that doesn’t cost a fortune, then the Henry HVR200-11 is one of our top picks. It’s a cylinder bagless vacuum cleaner that generates excellent suction and has a huge dust capacity. Most importantly for this article, we found that it does a fantastic job of cleaning hardwood floors.

One of the best features of the Henry is its large dust capacity. It can fit up to 9 litres of dirt and debris before changing the bag, which is around double the Miele C3 series. If you have a large home, or want to minimise maintenance, then the Henry is a vacuum we highly recommend.

As we mentioned, we found the Henry to be an excellent vacuum cleaner for hardwood floors. It generates plenty of suction power, so it can pull dirt from between floorboard cracks. The floorhead is also much better on hard floors than on carpets, as it glides smoothly and doesn’t have a brush bar that could damage the surface.

A downside to this vacuum is that it’s not the most convenient model on the market. The standard Henry is a relatively heavy vacuum cleaner that weighs approximately 8kg, making it far bulkier than most of the other options on this list. It’s on castor wheels but still isn’t the easiest to move around the home.

On the plus side, it has a wide cleaning radius, so you can clean more of your home between changing plug sockets. We also like how easy it is to empty the Henry.

So, if you want a full-size corded vacuum but are on a tight budget, the Numatic Henry is a solid alternative to the Miele C3. It’s not the best on carpets, but it’s brilliant for cleaning all types of hard floors.

What Makes a Great Vacuum for Hardwood Floors?

A vacuum on a hardwood floor

An effective hardwood vacuum cleaner isn’t necessarily the same as a great carpet vacuum. While many considerations are the same – such as weight, price and reliability – there are additional factors you need to be aware of, such as:

  • Suction Power. All the best vacuum cleaners have strong suction power – but this is especially important if your hardwood floorboards have gaps between them. Stronger suction also makes a vacuum more effective at picking up larger debris, such as cereal. For hardwood flooring without gaps, however, suction power isn’t quite as vital.
  • Powered Brush Bars. Powered brush bars are designed to dig deep into carpets to remove more dust and dirt. This isn’t necessary for hardwood flooring – and can potentially scratch the surface. A powered brush roll may also scatter debris rather than suck it up. For this reason, look for a model either without a powered brush bar or one that can be switched off. Some models, like the Dyson V10 Absolute, also come with a separate hard floor tool.
  • Attachments. Unless your home only has hardwood floors, the vacuum will need to clean a variety of flooring types. Hard floor floorheads are a great way of making sure the vacuum performs on hardwood without sacrificing the power of a regular floor tool. Some vacuums also come with combi floor heads with settings for various floors.
  • Cordless or Corded. The choice between cordless or corded mainly depends on the size of your home and personal preference. If you need a vacuum for long cleaning sessions or with maximum performance, a corded model is the best choice. For convenience and lightweight design, however, it’s difficult to beat a cordless.

Aside from these considerations, you also need to think about your personal requirements.

For example, do you have pets? If so, a pet hair attachment for getting hair out of upholstery and stairs might be useful. What other floors do you have in your home? Will the vacuum clean effectively on all these surfaces? And does anyone in your household suffer from allergies? By answering these questions, you’ll be more likely to get a machine that does everything you need.

What About Laminate?

Keep in mind that the best vacuum cleaner for hardwood floors is not necessarily a great machine for cleaning laminate. While there’s often an overlap, the two types of flooring present slightly different challenges.

If you have a laminate floor – or a combination of laminate and hardwood in your house – we recommend either the Miele C3 Cat and Dog Powerline (which excels on almost any floor) or the Dyson V10 Absolute if you want a cordless. Both these models are great on both laminate and wooden floors. We also have a full guide to the best vacuums for laminate flooring.

Summary

Hardwood floors present a difficult challenge to many vacuum cleaners. Aside from being easier to scratch, it’s common for a vacuum to push dirt across the floor rather than suck it up. Fortunately, the best vacuum cleaners for hardwood floors avoid these problems while providing excellent cleaning performance.

Our top recommendation for this type of flooring is the excellent Miele C3 Cat and Dog Powerline. The Universal floorhead is great for hardwood and the vacuum ​excels at cleaning hair, dust and dirt. If you’re looking for a cordless, we think the Dyson V10 Absolute is the best option (although it’s expensive).

Do you have any questions about choosing the best vacuum for hardwood floors? Or do you have any other questions about cleaning wood floors? Let me know in the comments!​

Page Update History

18th September 2023

Updated to the new Spotless Vacuum design. Added several new vacuum cleaners:

  • Dyson V10 Absolute (replacing the Dyson V11 Absolute)
  • Shark HandVac CH950UKT (replacing the Vax Gator H85-GA-B10)
  • Shark DuoClean Lift-Away NZ801UKT (replacing the Shark NV681UK)
  • Henry HVR200-11 (replacing the Dyson Big Ball Multi Floor 2)

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