The majority of homes in the United States have multiple types of flooring. You might have hardwood floors in your kitchen, entry way, or dining room, while your bedrooms, living rooms, and studies may be carpeted. This presents a problem for cleaning since you need a vacuum that will work for both hardwood and carpet. In this article you will learn all about the best vacuums for hardwood floors and carpet.
Before discussing the types of vacuums that will work in homes with mixed flooring types, we need to define the most common types of flooring.
If you’re in a hurry and don't have time for the details, here are our best picks Vacuums for Hardwood Floors and Carpet:
- All about carpet
- All about hardwood floors
- Other types of flooring
- Cleaning considerations for hardwood floors vs. carpet
- What to look for in a vacuum for hardwood floors and carpet
- Top 5 Best Vacuums for Hardwood Floors and Carpet 2020
- Comparison table
- Top 5 Best Vacuum for Hardwood Floors and Carpet Recommendations
- Tips and tricks for vacuuming a home with multiple types of flooring
- Final Words
All about carpet
So, what is carpet? Carpet is a thickly woven fabric that can be used in the form of a rug or a wall to wall covering. Carpet has been a part of human existence for thousands of years. But, it is only since the Industrial Revolution in the mid-19th century that carpets have become so ubiquitous.
Before the Industrial revolution, carpets were made solely from wool and were hand-woven. This changed once machines were made that could weave the fabric themselves. Advances in science has also made the introduction of new carpet fibers a possibility. This has led to the rise in carpets made from synthetic materials. Bother the industrialization of carpet making and the use of synthetic materials have made carpets more affordable than ever before.
Different types of carpet
Carpets come in many different shapes and sizes. You may have just a small rug or two in your home, or you could have wall-to-wall carpets in each room. Most people have a combination of carpets in their home. Here are a few of the most common carpet fabrics, pile lengths, and pile types.
Today, carpets are made form a wide variety of materials. Wool is still a top choice for many people. But, wool comes with its own cleaning concerns and is quite expensive. So, if you don’t want to worry about wool carpet, a synthetic material like nylon, polyester, or olefin may be right for you. You can also find carpet made form exotic materials like leather or feathers.
Pile—the loops of fabric the make up your carpet—generally comes in three different lengths: low, medium, and high. Low pile carpet typically stands less than ¼ inch tall. Medium pile carpets have a length of ¼-1/2 inches, while anything length over ½ inch is considered high pile. Each pile length comes with its own cleaning and maintenance requirements, so you should research them specifically before you choose one over the other.
Pile type is also important when picking out a carpet. Typically piles come in one of two ways: cut or looped. All carpet begins with looped piles, as the fabric is looped over itself and attached to the backing when the carpet is being made. If that loop is cut off at the top, the carpet has a cut pile. If the loop is left, the carpet is a loop pile type.
All about hardwood floors
While carpet has never been cheaper or more common in American homes, it is not the only type of flooring available. Wood floors have also been around for thousands of years. Any hard floor is considered a wood floor if it is made from timber. Most of the time this timber is cut into planks.
Hardwood floors have planks that are made from just one piece of timber. These types of floors were originally created to help support structural aspects of the home because their thickness makes them a strong base for support beams and the like. The thickness of hardwood floors helps them wear better, which is why they have remained so popular throughout the years.
Different types of hardwood floors
Unlike carpet, if you have hardwood floors in your home, they likely stretch from one wall to another. There is no equivalent to the rug with hardwood floors. But, some aspects of the hardwood floor can be changed, especially the design of the planks and the type of wood used.
Not all woods are created equal when it comes to hardwood flooring. Some woods are naturally softer than others and some react to humidity or other environmental factors differently. Additionally, wood comes in a variety of colors. The most common woods used in hardwood flooring is red oak, white oak, maple, American cherry, birch, walnut, and yellow pine.
Other types of flooring
We may only focus on vacuums for hardwood floors and carpet in this article, but that does not mean there are not more flooring types out there. Another extremely popular flooring type is tile. You will also find linoleum, stone, vinyl, and laminate floors.
Each flooring type comes with its own cleaning and vacuum requirements. However, if you have a good vacuum for hardwood floors and carpet, you should be able to use it on the other flooring types as well.
Cleaning considerations for hardwood floors vs. carpet
Both hardwood floors and carpet can improve the look and comfort of your home. But, because the two surfaces are so wildly different, they come with pretty different cleaning requirements. If you want to use a single appliance on both surfaces, you need to ensure that you pick a vacuum for hardwood floors and carpet.
There are many different types of vacuums on the market. Some vacuums are for laminate floors, while some vacuums are for only hardwood floors. It’s also quite easy to find a vacuum cleaner for carpet. But, to find a vacuum that performs all of these functions can be tricky.
Below we’ve listed some of the cleaning requirements that make hardwood floors and carpet unique.
Cleaning Hardwood Floors
The vacuum for hardwood floors that you use should not have a beater bar attachment. Or, at the very least, it should have one that can be turned off. Beater bars can damage your hardwood floors.
You should vacuum regularly, as dirt and grime can build up easily and shows well on hardwood floors.
You should also plan on regularly washing your hardwood floor with soap and water.
The intensity and frequency of your cleaning schedule for your carpet will depend on what type of pile you have. The longer the pile, the more frequently you will need to vacuum.
A good rule of thumb is to vacuum your carpet at least once per week and carpet clean at least once per year.
You will need to clean up any spills or potential stains immediately.
What to look for in a vacuum for hardwood floors and carpet
When you attempt to find an appliance that needs to clean two completely different types of surfaces, close attention to detail is required. To get the most out of your vacuum for hardwood floors and carpet you should look for the features listed below.
The amount of suction that you need to properly clean hardwood floor is not the same as the power needed to clean carpet. Thus, to get the most for your money when buying a vacuum for hardwood floors and carpet, you need to find one with multiple power modes.
At least two levels of power is preferable, but some vacuum models will have three or more. The more variability in power modes, the better you will be able to clean different surfaces.
Many vacuum manufacturers now make products that have different types of filtration systems. However, the industry standard is a HEPA filter. HEPA (high efficiency particulate air filters are standardized by the United States government. These filters have to remove 99.97% of particles of a certain size or larger.
When you buy a vacuum for hardwood floors and carpet that uses a HEPA filter, you know that the product will get your home as a clean as possible. If your vacuum does not have a HEPA filter that doesn’t make it a bad model, but its efficiency in cleaning is not measured to the industry standard.
Carpets with high piles and hardwood floors should not be vacuumed with the brushroll on. The movement of the roll and the intensity with which it spins can damage these types of floors. For high pile carpet, a brushroll can pull the fibers out of the backing. Hardwood floors can be scratched by the brushroll.
Any vacuum for hardwood floors that you purchase should always contain a brushroll that can be turned on and off. This allows you to use the brushroll for floors—like low and medium pile carpets—that need it while protecting your other, more sensitive floors.
Size and Weight
Vacuums that are extremely large and heavy may have a lot of power, but they can be hard to move. Heavy vacuums also struggle to work properly on high pile or dense carpets. So, if you have a variety of pile lengths in addition to multiple types of flooring in your home, you need to go with a lighter and more compact vacuum model.
Type of vacuum
When you are looking for a vacuum for hardwood floors and carpet, many different vacuum varieties will work. Whether you choose an upright, drum, cordless, hand, or robot vacuum will depend on the layout of your home and most importantly your preferences. Each type of vacuum comes with some major pros and cons. Below we’ve listed some of the most important features of each type of vacuum for hardwood floors and carpet that you will find on the market.
Upright is the most famous and traditional vacuum shape. It has the motor and suction head in the same unit, and you push the vacuum to clean the floor. Upright vacuums are popular for a reason, but their efficiency is very dependent on their weight and size.
Canister vacuums are rising in popularity because they are lighter and easier to move on any flooring type. In this type of vacuum the cleaning nozzle is at the end of a long hose and the motor is in the canister. Canister vacuums come with the most variety of attachments, so any surface or crevice in your home can be cleaned properly.
Cordless vacuums do not have a cord, but instead run on battery power. These types of vacuums are very popular for spot cleaning, since they can be taken immediately to the mess and used. Therefore, they are extremely convenient to have around, but they don’t have the power to run a long time. So, it is hard to make a cordless model your only vacuum.
Robot vacuums are different than every other type of vacuum, since they do not need a human to operate them. Most robot vacuums are programmable. They will start themselves, clean all of your floors, and return to their charger without your help. But, as with any piece of elaborate equipment, robot vacuums tend to break far easier than their manual counterparts.
Do you have pets? If so, you will likely need to purchase a vacuum for hardwood floors and carpets that includes a pet attachment. While this is not necessary for properly cleaning homes and pets, it is extremely helpful. As an added bonus, you with a pet attachment, you will never have to worry about pet hair clogging up the other accessories.
If you want as many attachments and extras as possible with your vacuum for hardwood floors and carpets, then your options may be more limited. Many vacuums now come with a few accessories. But, each manufacturer includes different tools as extras.
We recommend having a specific set of accessories in mind as you begin researching vacuums for hardwood floors and carpets. This will help you narrow down your options and ensure that you receive only the tools you need.
Top 5 Best Vacuums for Hardwood Floors and Carpet 2020
Pet Power Brush, Dusting Brush, 8-in. Crevice Tool
Multi-level Filtration System with Washable Filter
TurboBrush Tool, Dusting Brush, Crevice Tool, Extension Wand
3-Stage, Odor Trapping Filter
No, Spin4Pro Premium Brushroll
2-in-1 Crevice & Dusting Tool, Powered Stair/Upholstery Tool, Turbo Claw Pet Tool
Triple Filtration Bag System
No, but Bare Floor Tool Included
Crevice Tool, Upholstery Nozzle/Dusting Brush, Carpet/Bare Floor Nozzle, 2 Extension Wands
Under 9 lbs.
Crevice Tool, Upholstery Nozzle/Dusting Brush, Carpet/Bare Floor Nozzle, 2 Extension Wands
Top 5 Best Vacuum for Hardwood Floors and Carpet Recommendations
The Lift-Away Professional NV356E by Shark Navigator is lightweight and walks an impressive line between upright and canister vacuum. The vacuum itself is an upright, but it lifts away to become a canister vacuum. This feature alone makes the Lift-Away Professional our top pick vacuum for hardwood floors and carpet.
In addition to being the most flexible vacuum for hardwood floors and carpet on this list the Lift-Away Professional NV356E comes with a lot of accessories including a pet power brush, dusting brush, and 8-inch crevice tool. Plus, the hose is five feet long and the power cord is thirty feet long. All of these features enable you to clean any surface or hard-to-reach area without any trouble.
#2 Bissell Cleanview Upright Bagless Vacuum Cleaner OnePass Technology, 1831
Bissell’s Cleanview is an upright vacuum cleaner. It is unique because is a bagless vacuums, which means that a container picks up all of the dirt and dust that the vacuum sucks up. Bagless vacuums are easier to clean. Plus, the Cleanview comes with a washable filter, which is another feature that makes this vacuum on of the most user friendly on the list.
The Cleanview is a great vacuum for hardwood floors and carpet because of its six-foot host, twenty-five-foot power cord, and OnePass technology. Bissell improves suction and brush design with their OnePass vacuums. These products can clean any spot of your hardwood or carpeted floors without your having to vacuum the location multiple times. This technology works on both carpet and hardwood.
#3 Dirt Devil Razor Pet Steerable Bagless Upright Vacuum UD70355B
Dirt Devil might be known for their handheld vacuums, but the Razor Steerable vacuum is powerful and flexible enough to clean your entire house. It is an extremely lightweight vacuum that can be moved on carpet easily. Plus, it comes with multiple different brushrolls that can clean any floor surface.
If you have pets in your home, you need the Dirt Devil Razor. It is a vacuum for hardwood floors and carpet dedicated to cleaning up after pets. Thus, in addition to your purchase, you will receive the Spin4Pro premium pet brushroll and TurboClaw pet tool. Both accessories make keeping your home clean even with the messiest pets a breeze.
#4 Eureka Mighty Mite Corded Canister Vacuum Cleaner, 3670G
The only canister vacuum on our list, the Eureka Mighty Mite vacuum for hardwood floors and carpet can be used in the home and garage. It is the only vacuum on this list as flexible, and even comes with a Blower Port that will help blow debris from your garage.
In the home this vacuum for hardwood floors and carpet has a Power-Touch handle, which allows you to control the entire vacuum with your fingertips. It also comes with a dedicated bare-floor nozzle. So, using this canister vacuum on both hardwood and carpeted floors is super easy.
#5 eufy Boost IQ RoboVac 11S (Slim)
For our final pick for the tip vacuums for hardwood floors and carpet we’ve gone with a robot vacuum. Eufy’s Boost IQ RoboVac has been reengineered by the company to be slim and quiet. It will fit under most furniture and runs quiet enough that you can have it vacuuming while you are home.
Eufy includes two AAA batteries with the purchase of the Boost IQ RoboVac in addition to a charging base, AC power adapter, cleaning tool, extra set of filters, four side brushes, five cable ties, and a twelve-month warranty. Essentially, this is everything you need to set up a fantastic vacuum for hardwood floors and carpet.
Tips and tricks for vacuuming a home with multiple types of flooring
In order to get the most out of your vacuum for hardwood flooring and carpet, you should follow a few steps.
Clean regularly. It doesn’t matter if you have all carpet, all hardwood, or a mixture of floor surfaces in your home, they still need to be vacuumed often. Create a routine and stick to it.
Use the correct attachments/beater bar for each type of floor. When you have a mixture of carpet and hardwood floors, it may get a little tricky to keep your vacuuming running properly. This is why you should clean room-to-room. Start in one room and then be sure you have the right attachments and have turned the beater bar either on or off before moving to the next room.
Clean the bag or canister often. Most vacuums will have a line on the canister or bag that tells you when it is full. Empty the bag/canister once the dirt reaches the line for maximum efficiency from your vacuum for hardwood floors and carpet.
Vacuums are an essential tool for any home. But, houses that have a variety of flooring types need them more than others. In order to save your money and only purchase one piece of equipment, you need to find the best vacuum for hardwood floors and carpet that money will buy.
Follow any of the suggestions on our list, and you will not go wrong. Any of the five vacuums for hardwood floors and carpets mentioned here will help you keep your home sparkling like new.