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Best Upright Vacuum for Hardwood Floors in 2023

Whether yellow pine, Brazilian walnut, maple or hickory, hardwood floors are gorgeous. Many varieties can last decades, even a lifetime, if cared for properly and refinished about once a decade.

Best Upright Vacuum for Hardwood Floors

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As you probably know, the word “hard” in hardwood is a misnomer. Hardwood floors are delicate, especially if they have a low rating on the Janka Hardwood Scale. Scratches and gouges can happen if you aren’t careful. Plus, dust and hair show easily.

For What Reason Can’t I Use The Same Vacuum That I Use To Clean Carpets?

Obviously the surfaces are totally different. The suction power and technique a vacuum needs to pull dirt from carpets is not the same as what is needed to get dust and fluff from a hardwood floor.

Beater bars and roller brushes are very effective in collecting dust and debris from carpets. This, as well as the close proximity of the vacuum head to the carpet allows the vacuum to effectively suck up the dust caught in the carpet.

This setup could however not work quite as well on a large, flat surface like a hardwood floor. Similar to a cyclone moving across open territory, the flat and hard surface needs some space to have a satisfactory suction force on the floor. An excessive amount of force can latch the vacuum cleaner tight onto the surface, closing the suction power and eradicating the suction power of the cleaner.

If you have the option of setting suction power and brush roller speeds for the different surfaces, it would really be to your advantage. It could then be set to a higher setting for carpets and a lower setting for hardwood floors.

If the brush rollers have beater bars fitted as well, it would not be advisable to use it on hardwood floors. The brush rollers running at high speed can damage surfaces and also cause the dirt to be spread and not really assisting the unit in sucking it up.

Our Recommended Upright Vacuums for Hardwood Floors in 2023

5) Eureka PowerSpeed NEU280

The Eureka NEU280 is more feature-packed than one might expect from an inexpensive upright vacuum cleaner. What makes the NEU280 a great vacuum for hardwood floors is the adjustable brush height with five settings. This vacuum can transition from area rugs to low-pile carpets to hardwood and tiled floors and back with minimal adjusting.

Eureka PowerSpeed NEU280 Upright Vacuum
Eureka Upright Vacuum

Along with the NEU280, you’ll get three cleaning attachments—a crevice tool, a dusting brush, and an upholstery brush—which connect to a stretchy yet slightly stubby suction hose for above-ground cleaning. The 12.6-inch floorhead sucks up more debris with each pass, which stays inside of the XL dust cup with a washable filter.

Eureka Lightweight Powerful Upright Vacuum...
  • Upgraded Cyclone System: The Eureka PowerSpeed is now upgraded with new cyclone technology...
  • Powerful pick-up: Penetrates deep into the carpet to extract embedded dirt, dust, and...

4) Eureka PowerSpeed Turbo NEU188A

Eureka’s NEU188A is an affordable yet super-powerful upright that can clean both hardwood floors and carpets. The five-setting height adjustment dial lets you choose how low the beater brush hangs, allowing you to provide a suction-only clean on smooth floors. Plus, the LED lights on the floorhead will illuminate any dust bunnies hiding underneath furniture.

Eureka PowerSpeed Turbo NEU188A
Eureka PowerSpeed Turbo NEU188A

An 8-foot hose with three cleaning tools (crevice tool, dusting brush, motorized pet turbo brush) makes cleaning every surface from your floors to your ceilings a breeze. The XL dust cup has a max capacity of 4.1 liters, which is more than enough to hold onto several days’ worth of debris.

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3) Hoover MAXLife Pet Max Complete UH74110

Hoover’s MaxLife Pet is an incredibly versatile upright that delivers as much power as its size would indicate. The humungous dust cup has enough space for several sessions’ worth of cleaning, reducing how frequently you need to empty it out.

Hoover MAXLife Pro Pet UH74220PC

With built-in LEDs that are twice as bright as those on most uprights, users will have an easier time locating and removing dust from hard-to-reach areas. The brush roll can turn on and off with a press of a button, allowing for easier transitioning from smooth floors to carpets and back. The 13-foot suction hose and extension wand allow for effortless ceiling and drape vacuuming.

Hoover MAXLife Pet Max Complete, Bagless...
  • PERFECT FOR PETS: Multi-purpose pet tools tackle stubborn pet hair and dirt on furniture,...
  • ALLERGENBLOCK TECHNOLOGY: Captures 97% of pet dander, dust and pollen particles and blocks...

2) Shark Rotator Professional NV501

The Rotator NV501 from Shark doesn’t offer much in terms of aesthetics, but performance-wise, this upright vacuum cleaner does it all. First, it comes with an anti-allergen HEPA filter that retains microscopic particles with near-100% efficiency. What makes this unit stand out is its Rotator swivel neck that allows it to glide easily around obstacles for more proficient cleaning.

Shark Navigator Lift-Away Rotator NV501
Shark NV501

Another thing that makes the NV501 so special is its Lift-Way module. This upright converts into a handheld canister for spot-cleaning above-ground surfaces, hard-to-reach crevices, and auto interior. The five included attachments will let you clean every nook and cranny of your home with ease.

Shark NV501 Rotator Professional Lift-Away...
  • LIFT-AWAY FUNCTIONALITY: Detachable pod for cleaning under furniture or detach the nozzle...
  • ANTI-ALLERGEN COMPLETE SEAL TECHNOLOGY: Works with a HEPA filter to trap dust and...

1) Bissel Crosswave 1785A

The Bissell Crosswave 1785A is a special upright vacuum cleaner that also serves as a spray mop. The detachable microfiber brush roll gently massages hardwood floors and tiles while also loosening and removing pet hair, dander, and spills. According to users, this wet/dry upright vacuum provides enough suction power to pick up dry and wet pet food, as well as cereal bits and even pasta.

Bissell 1785A
Bissell 1785A

Don’t worry about getting your carpets wet; with this wet and dry vacuum, you have full control over whether to dispense a cleaning solution while you vacuum/mop and how much of it to spray. Make sure you clean the brush roll after each use to prevent the fibers from crusting over.

BISSELL CrossWave Floor and Area Rug Cleaner,...
  • EVERY PURCHASE SAVES PETS. BISSELL proudly supports BISSELL Pet Foundation and its mission...
  • VACUUM & WASH AT THE SAME TIME, BISSELL CrossWave multi-surface floor cleaner cleans...

What Features to Look for in a Hardwood Upright Vacuum?

Vacuuming is the most efficient way to keep your hardwoods clean, especially if you have a lot of square footage to cover. Many people use an upright vacuum for this task, but what features make an upright suitable for vacuuming hardwood floors? Here’s what to look for.

Brushroll Control

All upright vacuum cleaners are equipped with a brushroll. The brushroll’s ability to reach the to the backing of a carpet is one reason uprights are so popular. However, a brushroll is a hardwood floor’s worst nightmare. The bristles can scratch the floor, and the spinning motion will scatter debris.

We suggest an upright vacuum that lets you turn the brushroll off. You can turn it back on when vacuuming area rugs and carpeted rooms.

6 Best Hardwood Vacuums

Height Adjustment

An adjustable floor head has become a standard for upright vacuums. This feature is crucial if the vacuum you choose lacks a brushroll control. Although the knob may say bare floor, put the head on a higher setting to prevent the brushroll from grazing the floor.

If the vacuum cleaner does have a brushroll control, choose the bare floor setting for the nozzle’s height. Doing so will allow the suction inlet to get close to the floor, so it can efficiently lift debris. Some models automatically adjust to the height of a floor with the use of sensors.

Powerful Suction

Powerful suction may seem like an obvious necessity, but the suction can make a huge difference as to how well an upright cleans without the brushroll in motion.

The air watts and the airflow, which is measured in cubic feet per minute, of a vacuum cleaner, are good indicators as to its suction performance. The higher these figures, the better since you can’t rely on the brushroll for extra dirt-lifting power.

Best Vacuums for Hardwood Floors

Allergen Filtration

Dust and debris leave micro-abrasions on hardwood floors that dull the finish after time. To make sure the dust, hair and other allergens don’t escape the vacuum, you need a HEPA filter. A HEPA, or high-efficiency particulate air, filter captures 99.97 percent of particles as small as 0.3 microns.

At best, non-HEPA filters only trap 99 percent of 2-micron particles. Since a single speck of dust can range from 0.3 to 6 microns, only a HEPA filter will do.

Dirt Collection

Uprights are either bagless or bagged. Bagless upright vacuums with a top-opening cup are becoming a thing of the past and for a good reason. These cups release a lot of dust into the air. Cups with a bottom-opening door are much better.

Upright vacs with a bag do an excellent job of keeping dust from becoming airborne as long as you’re careful not to overfill the bag.

Soft Wheels

Wheels on an upright vacuum cleaner are either made of plastic or rubber. Plastic wheels are too hard and will scratch your hardwoods – we cannot stress this enough.

Instead of an upright with plastic wheels, look for one with rubber wheels, which are soft enough to prevent scratches.

Upright Vacuum Cleaners for Hardwood Floors

Vacuum Weight

There are heavy upright vacuums out there. Some models weigh as much as 20 pounds. These vacuum cleaners are not for you. Stick with one that ranges from 12 to 15 pounds. Lightweight uprights are better suited for hardwood floors.

The lighter the weight, the less pressure put on the floor. In turn, there will be a decreased likelihood of the wheels leaving scratches and marks.

Cushy Padding

Manufacturers are finally taking notice of the unique needs of those who use uprights on hardwood floors. We are starting to see more upright vacuums with padding under and around the head. Bumper strips have been around for a while to keep people from dinging their baseboards.

Now, some uprights have padding on the bottom of the floor head to keep the housing from scratching delicate floors. If you do end up with a heavy upright, you’ll need one with this kind of padding.

LED Headlights

The grain pattern and the rich color of hardwood floors are a major part of their appeal. However, these features tend to conceal dust and dirt. This debris is harder to spot if the hardwoods are dark or the room had dim lighting.

The solution? Get an upright with headlights. The LED bulbs in the headlights will help you spot hidden dirt.

Best Vacuums for Hardwood Floors

Brush Attachment

Wood expands when it’s humid and shrinks when it isn’t. Dust and dirt can build up in the expansion gaps even if they’re covered by shoe molding. A brush attachment comes in handy for coaxing out these particles.

Most uprights come with a selection of attachments, including a brush. The brush should have soft bristles so as not to scratch your hardwoods.


A hose or a wand will help you vacuum between the planks of your hardwood floors and along the baseboards. It’s almost unheard of for newer upright vacuums not to have a hose.

The hose should be flexible and long – at least 6 feet when fully stretched. Some models also have a detachable wand. With a wand, you can vacuum your baseboards without bending your back.

Smooth Handling

Every time you struggle to turn the vacuum cleaner, you risk damaging your hardwood floors. Several features can make moving an upright easier. A swiveling head lets you turn without pushing and pulling back and forth.

A looped handle with a palm grip helps you maintain control over the vacuum, and a wide head provides greater stability.

Best Uprights For Hardwood Floors

Cord Length

Cord length applies to all corded vacuum cleaners no matter where they are used. Due to its universal importance, we felt the cord length was worth mentioning here.

It’s inconvenient to switch to a different electrical outlet while vacuuming. Many uprights have cords that are 25 feet or longer because manufacturers understand the length can make or break a sale.


Can Upright Vacuum Cleaners Be Used On Hardwood Floors?

On the off-chance that your home essentially has hardwood floors, you may be worried about how to approach cleaning them without leaving scratches. It is possible to use a vacuum cleaner to clean your hardwood floors without damaging it.

Just ensure that your unit has some features that would make it capable of cleaning the floor gently. If it has a height adjustment, different settings for suction, softer wheel-types and even a milder cleaning head it would go a long way in preventing damage.

Would It Be Better To Sweep Or Vacuum Hardwood Floors?

While it is harder work to sweep the floors, the likelihood of damaging the floors is significantly less. That being said, sweeping your hardwood floor is at times essentially just moving dust from one spot to the next without properly cleaning the floor.

That is where the tremendous advantage of using a vacuum comes in. While vacuuming the floor, the dirt will be sucked up and not moved to another spot.

The primary piece of equipment on a vacuum cleaner that is likely to would harm your hardwood floor are the beater bars fitted to the roller brush. When considering a vacuum cleaner, it would be wise to check if it has a beater bar or not.

If you decide not to buy a vacuum cleaner for your wooden floors, using a mop (microfiber) would also do a very good job, as it’ll do a much better job than a broom of picking up dirt from the floor.

Would It Be A Good Idea For You To Dust Before Vacuuming?

Indeed, it would. Always start of higher surfaces like blades of roof-mounted fans, shelves and door frames. You’ll need to try and catch the dust before it falls to the ground, but since you are going to vacuum next you will get it anyway.

Once you’re done vacuuming you could always dust again just to make sure. There will be quite a bit less dust than before you did the vacuuming. Notwithstanding, see this as the last step just to get the last dust your vacuum may have missed.

How Frequently Should I Vacuum Hardwood Floors?

A good guideline would be to vacuum the floors every week. Depending on the amount of pets or people traffic, you could always consider vacuuming more frequently. Maybe also consider using a wet wash for the floors about once a month.

Bag- Or Bagless Upright Vacuum?

An upright vacuum cleaner fitted with a bag means that the bag (when full) can be taken out and discarded. A bagless vacuum stores the vacuumed dirt in a canister, which you can empty and clean, and then use it repeatedly.

Our Recommended Upright Vacuums

Our Pick The Bissell 2252 CleanView gives you the outstanding performance you’d expect from an expert floor care company at a great price. It has specialized pet tools and features, so you know it’s designed for homes with pets.

Budget Pick The Eureka Airspeed NEU100 is an affordable, lightweight, and good upright vacuum for cleaning small apartments. With a 10.5-inch wide cleaning path, it gets the job done quickly.

Best of the Best The Bissell 2998 is a well-balanced, convertible, bagless upright vacuum intended as a cleaning solution for larger homes and apartments.

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If you have any questions or comments, please add them below in the comment section. Similarly, please let us know if you spot any mistakes or omissions. Thanks!

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HouseholdMe: Best Upright Vacuums in 2023
PopSci: Best Upright Vacuum for Carpets
RetailMeNot: Best Upright Vacuums with Bag
HSN: Best Upright Vacuums with HEPA Filter
Rover: Best Vacuums for Allergy Sufferers

Last Update: 2024-06-23 | Affiliate links/Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

About the author

Hi I’m Alex, founder of HouseholdMe.com and I’d like to say thank you for dropping by. Like most of you, the first thing I look at before buying something online is reviews or buying guides. By reading what other people say will help me gauge whether or not a product is good or not.  I am trying to help people find answers, solve problems, and get inspired.

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