Canister vs. Upright Vacuum For Cleaning Hardwood Floors

Canister and Upright Vacuum CleanersYou’ve just installed your hardwood floors as you set back and enjoy their beauty you start to wonder how to best protect your investment.

The finish of hardwood floors can be easily damaged.

Even the movement of dust on the floor while sweeping can over time dull the floors shine. This is why regularly vacuuming your floors is recommended by so many industry experts.

There are many ways to keep wood floors looking great, but they usually don’t mention whether a canister or upright vacuum performs better. That decision is up to the individual consumer.

Pros and Cons of a Canister on Hardwood

  • Canister vacuums have a low center of gravity. This prevents tipping.
  • They are designed for pulling.
  • Most come with attachments specifically designed for hardwood floors.
  • The head has a lower profile so it can easily fit under most furniture. This can be of great benefit for pet owners.
  • Canister vacuums tend to be smaller than uprights making storage space easier to find.

Because canister vacuums are pulled behind there is a greater chance of the vacuum getting caught behind obstacles. A perfect example of this is a kitchen with an island; the user will be cleaning away, round a corner, and be jerked to a stop.

Investigation of the issue will show that the canister portion of the vacuum did not maneuver the corner, and is therefore stuck. For homeowners that have to deal with both carpet and hardwood, these vacuums do not transition as easily as upright vacuums.

Pros and Cons of Upright on Hardwood

  • Uprght vacuum on hardwood floor

    Upright vacuums transition very easily from you carpet or area rugs to hardwood floors. The transition often involves nothing more than the flip of a switch.

  • They provide tools necessary to clean most household surfaces.
  • Upright vacuums perform well and provide exceptional suction.

The beater bar is a huge problem with upright vacuums. Although most offer the option to turn the bar off, forgetting once can cause major scratching to your floor (which takes a bit of effort to remove). Using the hose attachment for cleaning your floor presents a new set of challenges.

Have you ever attempted pulling a device that is meant to be pushed? For those who haven’t I can testify to the instability of that endeavor. Which is a nice way of saying it will tip over; I believe this is a flaw in the design as the hose is usually short, stiff, and positioned in the back of the machine.

Pulling the vacuum around backwards helps with the issue but the machine remains top heavy so spills are bound to occur.

Which is Better?

There is unfortunately no overwhelming answer to which is better. So much of the debate is dependent upon the preferences of individual consumers. The canister does seem to win the debate in the end, simply because it has less chance of actually doing damage to your floors. This is why canister vacuums tend to be the best vacuums for hardwood floors.

With that being said, an interesting fact is that when asked; most hardwood floor owners demonstrated a preference toward stick style upright vacuums. While others recommended the use of back pack style vacuums, which have the perks of a canister without any of the inconvenience previously mentioned. Just make sure vacuuming is not the only cleaning method you use no matter what type you choose to go with.

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