Are Canister Vacuums Better For Hardwood Floors?

The truth is that hardwood floors are quite difficult to maintain over a long period of time. On top of their difficult maintenance, you still have to clean them and be very cautious so you don’t ruin the sheen or the beauty that they hold. Various home care guides will tell you to vacuum your floors at least once a week, regardless of what type of floor you have – especially if you have a wood floor. However, you can’t use any type of vacuum cleaner; as a wrong choice of vacuum cleaner will ruin your beautiful floors.

Just to clarify, we aren’t trying to persuade you into choosing a hardwood floor vacuum that’s effective, but rather to answer the question of whether canister vacuums are good for your hardwood floors, or whether you should be looking at upright ones (a commonly asked question in many forums).

The answer to this question is not straightforward, as you need to understand the pros and cons of each. When you’re done reading, you’ll know exactly which is a good choice for you.

Canister Vacuums

Canister Vacuum

Canister vacuums are the ultimate combination of versatile suction ability and easy transportation, since they are less likely to disperse debris and dirt, making them a good choice for bare floors in general. However, they do have some disadvantages as well.


  • They can fit almost anywhere you want them in terms of cleaning abilities. In fact, many of them will have a variety of attachment heads to help you when you want to clean the floor under or around your furniture, as well as tight corners along the baseboard. This makes cleaning so much easier. Many of their attachments are also highly specialized to take care of specific surfaces, including hardwood.
  • They are perfectly designed for transportation and are typically lightweight, since most of the weight is focused in the canister. You will find it very easy to use and store, and they won’t take up tons of space that you could use for something else. This makes it easier to keep them near your kitchen or any other storage area once you are done using them.
  • They’re a great cleaning option if you happen to suffer from asthma or allergies, as well as for homes that have pets that shed fur everywhere. Everything is stored in the canister, and when emptying the bin, you can easily ensure that none of the vacuumed particles escape back into your air.


  • This might seem minor, but you might not like the idea of dragging a canister vacuum behind you the entire time you’re cleaning. If you’ve been using an upright vacuum or a different type most of your life, you might feel like this transition is a pain. Because of this, they’re troublesome when you’re trying to clean areas of your house with high traffic, like your kitchen.
  • They also have less power in their motors. Something to keep in mind about cheaper canister cleaners is mainly that you’re trading less space with suction power – the less space the cleaner takes up, the less suction it’ll have. This eventually leaves the floor feeling gritty after you clean, and this wears away their finish. The advantage of upright vacuums though is that they’ll have more power to finish the job, but they are heavier and more cumbersome.

Upright Vacuums

Upright Vacuum Cleaner


  • They get the job done, and they always do it well. This makes them quite the popular choice for people with busy households, as well as commercial spaces that accumulate a lot of dirt or dust quickly.
  • They also make easy transitions between hardwood floors and your carpets, because you only have to press a switch in most cases, instead of using tons of attachments. Since they also have less attachments, it makes it easier to clean a house with them, because they feature universal cleaning for various surfaces.


  • They’re heavy, and that can get discouraging. If you’ve ever tried to carry an upright vacuum cleaner up a staircase, then you’ll understand how frustrating, difficult, and cumbersome it can be.
  • They also take up a lot of space, unlike canister vacuum cleaners. This makes them difficult when it comes to transporting them around, as well as storing them – it mainly boils down to portability vs power issues.
  • Their beater bar is probably the worst disadvantage when you’re handling wood floors. This beater bar damages the floor severely; even though your cleaner has a switch that turns it off, you might forget to do so and cause permanent damage to your floors.

Final Thoughts:

For hardwood floors, canister vacuums are the best choice for cleaning them thoroughly without risking damaging them.

You can move around with them easier, get them into tighter corners, and the risk of damaging the floor is very low, which helps keep your floors pristine and last longer. You don’t have to worry about a beater bar potentially scratching them either.

If you’re looking for something more unique and still gives your floor a great cleaning without damaging them, you might want to consider backpack vacuum cleaners, as they are very easy to carry and are still powerful enough to give your floors a deep cleaning.


Laura Smith is an author and philanthropist; runs several trust funds and teaches people in different forums the importance of developing actionable solutions, to help in the conservation of energy while limiting environmental degradation. She is passionate about everything tech and has written different reviews on a myriad of electrical gadgets. Technology and environmental degradation are a major challenge around the globe today, and many companies produce gadgets without a guideline on how to dispose of, after they have served their purpose. Laura has thus dedicated her life to finding eco-friendly solutions in the disposition of electrical gadgets in the middle of technological advancements.

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