Best vacuum for hard floors 2024: tested by experts

These are the very best vacuums if you have hard floors throughout your home.

The best vacuum for hard floors cut through dirt. A close up of a vacuum cleaning a hard floor
(Image credit: Getty Images)
Best vacuum for hard floors 2024: Jump Menu

A vacuum cleaning a hard wooden floor

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The list in brief ↴
1. Best overall: Dyson Omni-Glide
2. Best value: Shark Vertex Pro
3. Best value Dyson: Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute
4. Best vacuum and mop: Dyson V15s Detect Submarine
5. Best upright for hard floors: Shark Stratos
6. Best robot for hard floors: Shark AI Ultra 2-in-1
7. Meet the team
8. How we test
9. FAQs

Buying a vacuum should be pretty straightforward. You buy the best you can afford. Simple, right?

However, if you have hard floors in your home, there are a few things to consider. Almost no matter the material, a vacuum can scratch it. The best vacuums have stiff brushes spinning at hundreds of miles an hour, which can easily cause scuff marks on wood, linoleum, and vinyl. Even the wheels on a heavy vacuum might damage your floor. 

What works well for carpet might not work well for your home. That's why we've assembled this list of the best vacuums for hard floors. After going through our gauntlet of tests, we found that these vacuums are best suited to cleaning hard floors. 

These vacuums have soft brush heads, are lightweight, and have mopping features that make them well-suited to hard floors and won't scratch them. 

The quick list

Best vacuum for hard floors

dyson omni-glide square

(Image credit: Dyson)
Best vacuum for hard floors

Specifications

Dust Bin Capacity: .05 gal
Power: N/A
Weight: 4.18 lb.
Run time: Up to 20 minutes
Max dB: 71 dbA

Reasons to buy

+
Lightweight and easy to handle
+
Continuous battery mode
+
Moves in any direction

Reasons to avoid

-
Only functional on hard floors
-
Shorter battery life
-
Very small dustbin

Some readers will be wondering why a vacuum with an imperfect 80% score comes in at number one. That's because the Omni-Glide is designed for – and excels at – cleaning hard floors. If you have any rugs or carpets, steer well clear of this model. If, however, you have hardwood, linoleum, vinyl, tile, or stone flooring throughout your home, this is the best vacuum you can buy. 

That's because it uses two motorised fuzzy brush heads that rotate at high speeds to pick up dirt. These are both velvet-soft, so there's no chance that the vacuum will scuff or scratch wooden floors. On test, we found it incredibly effective. It easily picked up dirt, dust, and dander. 

Because the brush heads are so soft, the vacuum can glide in any direction. You aren't limited to the usual forwards-and-backwards motion, so this machine is a lot more efficient than other models. It has the narrowest floorhead of any Dyson, so it's easy to store and it easily slips between furniture and under tables. It's comfortable, too - it's one of the lightest Dysons on the market. Unlike other Dysons, you don't need to hold down a trigger button as you use it. Unlike other Dysons, it's a fair price, retailing for around $300 depending on sales periods.

The biggest drawback is obvious. It doesn't work on carpet. That's not us saying that it isn't very good on carpet. It literally doesn't work - we ran it over a low-pile area rug to check and the sensors switched off the vacuum. If you have an area rug – which, let's face it, is most of us – you won't be able to clean it. That's why it has the 80% score. The hard floor cleaning is exceptional, but it's near-useless for anything else. 

What's more, the the 20-minute-runtime is enough for an apartment, but not long enough for cleaning a house. That's also true of the of the dust bin. One of our testers found that .05 gallons was barely enough to vacuum a two-bed apartment in a single use. 

Our full Dyson Omni-Glide review has more details.

Best value vacuum for hard floors

Shark Vertex Cordless

(Image credit: Shark)
Best value vacuum for hard floors

Specifications

Dust bin capacity: .34qts.
Weight: 9.04lb
Power: 281W
Noise: dBA
Battery life: Up to 60 minutes
Warranty: 2 years

Reasons to buy

+
Easy to fold down for storage, and compacts down to less than 3 feet for closet storage
+
Super lightweight
+
Easy to remove dust cup
+
Does not require a charging hub and charges through a removable battery
+
Anti-allergen seal traps dust and allergens

Reasons to avoid

-
Cumbersome to unfurl back up from storage mode
-
Top-heavy
-
Small dustbin

If you have a mixture of floor types in your home, I think your best bet is the Shark Vertex Cordless. For a similar price to the Dyson above, you get a capable vacuum that's effective on both carpets and hard floors. 

Just like the Dyson Omni-Glide, it uses a soft brush head that lets it glide across hard floors without scratching them. Like the Dyson, it also cleans fantastically well on hard floors, easily picking up dust and small crumbs. 

Unlike the Omni-Glide, however, the performance on carpet is just as good as it is on hard floors, with a motorised brush that digs into the carpet fibres to pull out hair and pet fur. Best of all, it has a self-cleaning brush roll that actually works, stopping hair from catching in the brush and saving you from the gross job of picking hair out of the bristles.

However, we're not convinced by all the bonus features of this vacuum. While the 'Multi-Flex technology' means you can fold down the vacuum for storage, the wide floor head means it still takes up a fair amount of floorspace. You'll also need both hands to unfurl the vacuum back up to full height, which can be a little frustrating. On test, we also found it very top-heavy, so it can be tricky to use to clean curtains and the corners of ceilings. 

Our Shark Vertex Pro Lightweight Cordless Vacuum review goes into more details

Best value Dyson for hard floors

Dyson Cyclone V10

(Image credit: Amazon)
Best value Dyson for hard floors

Specifications

Type: Cordless
Power: 151 air watts
Dust bin: 0.2 gallon
Weight: 5.71 lb
Max dB : Not disclosed

Reasons to buy

+
Best value Dyson 
+
Great on all floor types 
+
Excels with all debris types 
+
Point-and-shoot emptying
+
Agile

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Poor runtime on max power
-
Have to hold down trigger

The Cyclone V10 Absolute is half a decade old by now, but it still held up when we revisited it a couple months ago. It's great on every floor type, but it was flawless on linoleum and wood flooring, easily picking up dust, crumbs, and hair for spotless results. Thanks to a soft roller, it slides across every surface with no resistance or difficulty. It's lightweight, relatively quiet, and easy to use. 

If you live in a small apartment with mixed flooring, and want to spend a little more on quality, I think this is the best choice. It lacks the gadgetry of more recent Dysons but it costs hundreds of dollars less. Only cleaning obsessives will notice the difference between this vacuum and premium models. 

While we think this is the best value Dyson you can get, maintaining excellent performance at a fair price, it's still much more expensive than the competition. We also aren't fans of the fact that you have to keep your finger on the trigger to keep the vacuum running. All of our testers are able-bodied in their hands, but all of us found it uncomfortable to hold down the trigger for more than a few minutes. I can't comment definitively, but I think it could be painful if you have arthritis or a similar disability in your hands. You should also note the very poor 6 minute runtime on maximum power, which is barely enough to clean a room. 

There's more detail in our full Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute review.

Best vacuum & mop

A Dyson V15s Detect Submarine on a white background

(Image credit: Dyson)
Best vacuum & mop for hard floors

Specifications

Type: Cordless vacuum & mop
Battery life: Up to 70 minutes
Dust bin: 0.2gal
Water tank: 300ml clean water tank / 360ml dirty water tank
Weight: 8.3lbs
Power: 240 AW

Reasons to buy

+
Combined vacuum and mop
+
Doesn’t leave floors too wet
+
Mop head is easy to clean
+
Top performing vacuum

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Trigger has to be held in while cleaning
-
Doesn’t mop all the the way to the edge
-
Mop can mark baseboards

The Dyson V15 Detect was once the best vacuum we've ever tested (that is, until the Gen5detect came along), and it used to have a position in this list, although we felt it was slightly overkill to be getting such a premium machine for hard floors - as they're notoriously easy to clean.

We now recommend the newer Dyson V15s Detect Submarine instead for hard floors. It's essentially a mop upgrade to the Dyson V15 Detect, featuring the same, incredible suction power with the added bonus of wet cleaning. It's Dyson's first wet and dry vacuum, and an effective one at that, with our reviewer noting that many of the vacuum/mop combos she's tested are limited at either and rarely exceptional at both.

The Dyson V15s Detect Submarine switches between vacuuming and mopping using the included attachments. The wet roller head is cleverly attached to the water tank, so that when using it, no water gets up to the main part of the vacuum. Our reviewer found that, even with its limited water tank capacity offering 16 minutes of cleaning, it was efficient enough to tackle multiple rooms in that time, cleaning everything except for the grout lines between the tiles.

For dry cleaning, vacuums don't really get much better than this. It can illuminate dust that can't be detected by the naked eye on hard floors, and there's an auto mode that that detects dirt and increases power when necessary (this is helpful if you have any rugs).

Our Dyson V15s Detect Submarine review goes into more detail. 

Best upright vacuum for hard floors

A Shark Stratos upright vacuum against a white background

(Image credit: Shark)
Best upright vacuum for hard floors

Specifications

Type: Upright
Power: 1344W
Dust bin: 1.48 quart
Weight: 17.2lb
Max dB : Not disclosed

Reasons to buy

+
Powerful suction
+
Versatile design
+
Easy to maneuver
+
Odor-neutralizing cartridge
+
Self-cleaning brushroll

Reasons to avoid

-
Quite bulky
-
Small dust bin

Upright vacuums are rarely a good choice for hard floors, because their powerful motorised stiff brushes can easily scratch wood and vinyl. Shark's Stratos upright, however, has a soft brush roll that means it can be a good choice for hard floors. 

As an upright, it's incredibly powerful, and our tester Camryn found that it lifted enough fur and dirt from a single 9x6 area rug to fill up the vacuum in one go. Camryn has wood floors throughout her home and this vacuum did a good job of lifting dust, hair and crumbs from inbetween the floorboards, which is a sign of a great hard floor vacuum. 

Outside of its hard floor performance, it has excellent anti-hair wrap tech so you won't have to pick hair out of the brush roll, and it also comes with an odor-neutralizing cartridge which stops that that gross hot fur smell. 

On of the best features is that you can remove the canister and hose from the bulk of the vacuum, converting it from a heavy upright to a lightweight handheld. That makes it easy to clean the stairs and ceilings. 

However, most vacuums for hard floors are designed for apartments, as apartments tend to have slightly cheaper vinyl or linoleum flooring throughout rather than carpet. That means they tend to be cordless, like the vacuums above. This vacuum is simply too big for an apartment. We tested this vacuum in a homestead, which proves it's good for larger homes, but I couldn't imagine dragging this around my small two-bed apartment. At 17lbs, while the brushes won't scratch the floor, the wheels might leave an impression on vinyl, simply due to the weight. 

Camryn's Shark Stratos upright vacuum review has more details. 

Best robot vacuum for hard floors

Shark AI Ultra 2-in-1 against a white background.

(Image credit: Shark)
Best robot vacuum for hard floors

Specifications

Navigation: LIDAR
Dust bin size: 1.95qt. for the base, .26qt. on robot
Dimensions: 12.9 x 12.6 x 3.5 inches
Noise level: N/A
Compatibility: Alexa/Google/Apple-Siri

Reasons to buy

+
Bagless Self-Emptying base holds up to 60 days of dust
+
Highly customizable map
+
Multiple vacuum settings
+
Able to work around obstacles
+
Impressive mopping abilities

Reasons to avoid

-
Mopping isn’t self-sufficient
-
App can be confusing
-
Can't track progress as it cleans

This robot is a good choice for hard floors because not only do you have the option of vacuuming all the dirt, but you can also mop, which is perfect for surface stains. On test, it powered through rice, soil, and dog fur. It wasn't a perfect performance by comparison to the vacuums above, but very good by robot vacuum standards. However, the mopping performance was excellent, cleaning up a stain left on a wood floor from a snowy boot.  

One of the best features is the grandly titled but ultimately simple 'CleanEdge Technology'. The robot uses blasts of air to loosen dirt from baseboards and push it into the path of the vacuum, so can clean right to the edge of your floors. 

The battery lasted nearly two hours, and when cleaning bigger rooms it will return itself to its dock if it needs to charge. The dustbin can hold 60 days worth of dirt, so in theory it can clean your floors without you having to lift a finger for two months straight. 

However, if you want to mop with this vacuum you have to manually switch out the dustbin with a water canister. That's no hard task in the grand scheme of things, but it's hardly autonomous. Don't expect this vacuum to scrub your floors and vacuum the carpet by itself. It can do one or other autonomously, but not both. Mopping isn't quite autonomous, either, because you have to empty the water tank yourself. 

The app is also a little glitchy (though in fairness this may have been patched since our review) and it also can't track progress as it goes. Sometimes this robot doubles up and cleans areas it has already vacuumed or mopped. That's not great if you're working from home and want to run a quick half-hour program in between meetings, because you might find this robot is still whirring away as you pick up the call. 

All the detail is in our full Shark AI Ultra 2-in-1 Robot Vacuum and Mop review.


Meet the team

Headshot: Dan Fauzi
Dan Fauzi

Dan is our home tech editor, covering everything from vacuums and floor care to sound and air purifiers. They've been testing and reviewing home products for years now, and can offer expert insight into what makes a product great.

Alex David author profile photo
Alex David

Alex has tested vacuums, including most of the vacuums in this guide, ever since he started reviewing. With hundreds of hours spent testing dozens of vacuum cleaners, he's an expert in the best vacuum cleaners for your home. 

Camryn Rabideau
Camryn Rabideau

Camryn Rabideau is a freelance writer and product reviewer who has been testing home goods, including cleaning tools, for several years. She tested the Shark Stratos Upright and Shark AI Ultra 2-in-1 Robot Vacuum from her small homestead in Rhode Island. 

Jaclyn Turner photo
Jaclyn Turner

Jaclyn was an eCommerce editor for Homes & Gardens, where she oversaw sleep content including mattresses and bedding. She tested a number of vacuums including the Dyson Omni-Glide and V15 Detect. 

How we test vacuums for hard floors

At Homes & Gardens we like to get hands-on experience with all the products we feature. You can learn more how we test products in our dedicated guide, and there's a more specific rundown of our vacuum test process in how we test vacuums.

All of our vacuums are tried and tested in our test centre and in our own homes. When in the test centre, we assess each vacuum on carpet, linoleum and wood flooring, two of the most common types of hard floor. We test them with flour and sugar, which is a common kitchen spill but also a good proxy for dust and dead skin; cereal, which shows how well it picks up larger debris like crumbs and small stones; and most of all on old hair extensions, which demonstrates how well a vacuum can pick up hair, and whether or not hair gets stuck in its rollers.

Testing flour and sugar on linoleum with the Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute. It has removed a clear path of flour and sugar

Testing flour and sugar on linoleum with the Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute.

(Image credit: Future)

Specific to vacuums for hard floors, we note any fluffy heads designed to stop scratches, and any features designed for hard floors. We take care to note each vacuum's weight and agility, because these are the traditional drawbacks with these models. We note whether each vacuum can fit under sofas and into corners and how easy they are to use to clean stairs. 

We test the vacuum cleaners for a number of weeks so that we know our tests aren't a one-off. In some instances, we are also fortunate enough to keep the vacuum cleaners after writing up the review so we can continue to learn about them over months or even years and share our findings with you as the vacuums pick up wear and tear over time. 

Vacuuming hard floor FAQs

Can I clean hard floors without a vacuum?

You can trust Homes & Gardens. Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing the latest products, helping you choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Yes, you can clean hard floors without a vacuum, but the job will only be half done. Mopping is crucial for removing stains from hard floors, and it can get up some dust. However, mopping can't pick up crumbs and hair - you should vacuum first and then mop for the best results. 

Do vacuums damage wood floors?

Vacuums won't damage wood floors if you use the right setting. If you use a carpet setting you can damage the floor, as the fast-spinning, hard bristles might scratch the floor. If you have hard floors in your home it's smart to get a vacuum with a soft head, which makes it incredibly unlikely that your vacuum will scratch the floor. 

Can I use an upright vacuum on hardwood floors? 

Yes, but make sure you have a model where you can turn off the motorised brush bar. These bars have pretty stiff bristles and move at very high speeds, so they can easily scratch some wood floors if you aren't careful.


All of the vacuums listed here are great for hard floors, but you may have other needs, too. It's always worth considering the best vacuum for pet hair if you have dogs or cats.