Laminate floors add a sleek touch to the room they’re in, but do you know how to keep them pristine? Did you know that not all vacuums are suitable for laminate floors? Some may even damage or ruin them.
So you have to select a vacuum carefully. Your pick should meet specific criteria to adequately preserve the condition of your laminate floors. We’re going to help you choose, but first, we have some explaining to do.
Here’s everything you need to know about the best vacuums for laminate floors. Follow these guidelines to save your floors from scratches, swelling, cracks, and other unsightly damage.
What You Need in a Laminate Vacuum
For the most part, the type of vacuum you use on your laminate floors doesn’t matter. The important thing is what your machine is capable of. You don’t want a vacuum so harsh it wrecks your floors, or so gentle it won’t make a difference.
So we’ve got some pointers to keep in mind. The following will ensure that you’re buying an appropriate vacuum that won’t destroy your laminate finish.
1. Make Sure That It’s Specific
The best place to start would be to check that your vacuum cleaner specifies use on laminate floors. Not everyone realizes that “laminate” and “hardwood” are two different things. Just because a machine can clean the latter, it doesn’t mean it will be kind to the former.
The difference is that laminate floors are made with synthetic wood. Though it looks (and behaves) as wood does, it doesn’t contain natural wood fibers.
In comparison, engineered hardwood is made from different sources of wood, while solid hardwood is all-natural, straight planks (1).
However, if the vacuum you want doesn’t list laminate floors, check if it’s for use on “hard floors.” This is a general term that typically includes all three types of wood finishes, as well as tiles and ceramic floors too.
2. Does It Have a Soft Brush?
Vacuums suitable for hard floors should have (or come with) a soft brush roll. Bristled brushes are great for removing dirt from carpets, but they can — and will — scratch laminates. The softer your brush roll, the safer your floors will be.
Some vacuums may not sport a soft brush as their primary tool but could have a backup brush, especially for hard floors. Make sure that your vacuum has multi-floor or multi-surface capabilities.
With some vacuums, you’ll have to manually switch the brushes out. Whereas, more sophisticated models have auto-adjusting heads that use a soft brush on hard floors without intervention.
Choose whichever is most convenient for you, so long as it won’t erode your floors.
3. Check Its Features
Many vacuums out there have some cool features that will help you keep your floors pristine. Besides having auto-adjusting heads, certain vacuums also polish your floors as they clean.
Another useful feature you may want to consider is suction control. Some models have automatic suction adjustments. Others could offer different modes you can control with a switch. However, laminate floors won’t need as much suction as, say, a high pile carpet will.
If you go for a multi-floor machine, though, suction control is even more important. It’s unlikely that you’ll ruin your floors with forceful suction, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
4. Don’t Use Water
You may think that since laminate floors are shiny, water won’t do much damage. In reality, though, it’s one of the fastest ways to destroy your floors (2).
Laminate flooring may be synthetic, but it’s made to mock wood. So it has the same weaknesses, and water damage is a common complaint. It’s perfectly fine to use a little bit of water on your floors, but you shouldn’t soak or steam them.
For this reason, don’t get a hydraulic vacuum cleaner. But if you can’t resist one, make sure it has a dry capacity as well. Avoid steam cleaners entirely.
5. Have a Look at Its Wheels
This applies to canisters and uprights. If you’re getting a stick, backpack, or handheld vacuum, you don’t have to worry about this.
A vacuum’s wheels can scratch your laminate floor, or leave frustrating skid marks in its path. Vacuum machine wheels aren’t exactly a wonder of the modern world, but you should pay attention to them.
Hard floor compatible models might list soft wheels in the specs, but not all manufacturers do. So if this information isn’t immediately apparent, delve deeper to be sure.
If at all possible, arrange a demonstration of the machine so that you can get a feel for it, and gauge how smoothly it travels. This won’t always be possible, so do as much research as you can.
Types of Laminate Vacuum Cleaners
So long as your vacuum has a suitable brush and attachments, the type shouldn’t matter too much. That said, different builds suit different needs, so it’s worth considering. We put some thought into this and settled on the types that should be the most effective.
Upright vacuums have their limits, but they are excellent for cleaning laminate floors. They have a wide range, strong suction, and you can easily control their movement. If you’re looking for a floor-specific option, one of these might just be your best bet.
They’re affordable and popular and often considered the original and best. One drawback, though, is that they aren’t as versatile as other types. But this won’t be a problem if you’re not looking to clean furniture, fabrics, or high spots.
- User controls the vacuum’s path.
- Powerful suction.
- Wide cleaning range.
- Better for your posture.
- Easy storage.
- Heavier than other kinds.
- Not versatile.
- Limited in attachments.
Stick vacuums will give you the most versatility. They’re designed for ease of use and some are even cordless. Plus, they’re lightweight, convenient, and are usually made for a wide variety of surfaces.
Most stick vacuums can also convert into handhelds. They’re great for cleaning both floors and high spots. They’re the best for stairs and work well on car interiors, upholstery, and other fabrics too.
We love that there’s no hassle when it comes to storage as they’re not bulky or heavy. Keep in mind, however, that they’re not as efficient as traditional vacuums. But they will do a fine job on general household dirt.
- Most versatile.
- Less space used in storage.
- Not as durable as others.
- Less power and range.
These are popular because they’re affordable, efficient, and usually come with useful attachments. They’re also lighter and easier to use than upright vacuums are, but they aren’t as stable.
Canisters are the best option if you’re looking for the full cleaning experience. They are powerful and effective and can be used for all sorts of tasks.
Although they’re more versatile, one problem is that the canister trails behind you. So, if you’re interested in one for laminate floors, you’ll have to double-check its wheels and maneuverability.
- Can be modified through accessories.
- Powerful suction.
- Larger dust capacity than others.
- Wheels could potentially mark laminate floors.
- Assembly required.
- Storage is inconvenient.
Like upright vacuums, these are limited to flat surfaces only. Thankfully, their sophisticated technology makes up for it. Robot vacuums eliminate manual operation, so they save you time and effort.
Depending on the model, you can schedule your robot vacuum to clean unassisted. They’re self-charging and usually feature auto-adjusting brushes. Most are also designed to seamlessly move from carpets to hard floors.
Some robot vacuums work with virtual assistants like Alexa or can be operated through mobile apps. They fit under furniture with ease and are normally quieter than other vacuums.
They’re not perfect, though, and have a few drawbacks. For one, you can’t control what it sucks up, so extra preparation is necessary. Plus they can’t clean stairs and they could miss a few spots while working.
- No manual effort needed.
- Can be scheduled.
- Fit under furniture.
- Typically multi-floor machines.
- Make less noise.
- Can’t clean stairs.
- They have blind spots.
- Not versatile.
Don’t forget that there are variations of the models we have listed above. For example, backpack vacuums are based on canisters, while most commercial machines are uprights. Besides their specs, commercial vacuums are not that different from traditional ones.
You could also go for a handheld vacuum if you’re looking for a simpler machine. Regardless of the style you use, though, make sure that it has the necessary specs.
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How to Choose a Laminate Vacuum
Since almost any machine will suffice as long as it’s compatible with hard floors, buying a laminate vacuum isn’t complicated. Still, there are a few things to keep in mind before you purchase one:
- Other requirements: As you can see with the types we recommend, not all vacuums are multi-purpose. Ask yourself if you will only use your vacuum for your floors. If you want to deep clean your whole home with one machine, uprights and robots won’t do.
- Size of your home: The more space you have to clean, the wider range your vacuum should have. Plus, if you have stairs in your home, you’ll want a lighter, versatile machine.
- Regular use: If you plan to use your vacuum daily, you should consider two things — its capacity and electricity usage. Higher capacity means less maintenance. Battery operated machines will save you money, but they won’t always be ready for use when you need them.
- Pets in the home: Remember that laminate vacuums should have soft brushes, which won’t always be effective on pet hair. So, check a vacuum’s specs before you buy it, to make sure that it’s suitable for pet-friendly homes.
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How to Clean Laminate Floors
Vacuuming is great for laminate floors, but if you really want them to shine, try these tips:
- Vacuum first: Before you mop your laminate floor, get the vacuuming out of the way. This will ensure that dirt and debris aren’t dragged around by the mop, which could scratch your floor.
- Vacuum often: The more you vacuum, the more you’ll reduce the build up of dirt and grit. Trust us, the effort of cleaning more frequently beats repairing damaged floors.
- Keep your floor dry: We mentioned that water and laminate don’t mix, so when mopping, don’t drench your floor. Use as little water as possible. Don’t apply water directly to your floor either. Instead, use a damp cloth or mop to get the job done.
- Use microfiber tools: When wiping or mopping your floor, use microfiber materials. This will prevent degradation of your floor’s sheen.
- Vinegar works: A small dab of a water and vinegar solution applied to a cloth or sprayed from a bottle will work wonders. It will disinfect your floors, help moisture evaporate faster, and help remove tough dirt.
The Best Vacuum for Laminate Floors of 2020
Are you ready to go shopping? We have five models we think you’ll like, ranked according to efficiency and capabilities. We’ve also taken customer satisfaction and value for money into account.
Here are the machines that we think are the best for laminate floors.
1. Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional
We like the features built into this vacuum. It’s got Shark’s unique Lift-Away technology for portability, swivel steering for versatility, and a 30-foot cord. You have more range and control with this model.
It’s a multi-floor machine suitable for carpets and all types of hard floors. Plus, it includes Anti-Allergen Complete Seal Technology and a HEPA filter for better air quality. Also included is the Wide Pet Upholstery tool — a favorite for pet owners.
This machine is far more maneuverable than other uprights and can be used to clean spots that are out of reach. So, we recommend it to those who have larger homes with laminate and carpeted floors.
Why We Love It
Great for Pet Owners
This model is a great choice for pet owners. It includes the Wide Pet Upholstery brush for easy removal of pet hair and comes with a HEPA filter. If your pet is shedding all over your home, this vacuum will have your back.
If you have a large home, definitely put this one up for consideration. The cord is 30 feet long, meaning you’re not as restricted as you would be with other upright vacuums.
The Wide Pet Upholstery Brush and the lift-away canister are further testament to how much you can clean with this one.
Upright vacuums have a downside — they’re not that easy to move around. This model incorporates swivel steering, making it one of the easiest uprights to control. It’s certainly one of the most maneuverable upright vacuums on the market.
Keep In Mind
Some customers have mentioned that this vacuum, for all its updated technology, is tricky to operate. Feedback points out the awkward positioning of the cord and controls. The vacuum may get in its own way.
Customers also point out that this vacuum’s weight dynamic causes it to topple over if left unattended. Since most of its weight is at the top, it can’t balance on its own. This doesn’t affect its cleaning efficiency, but can be frustrating to deal with.
|Dimensions||15 inches by 11.4 inches by 45.5 inches|
|Special Features||Swivel Steering, Lift-Away technology, 25-foot cord,|
|Accessories||Wide Pet Upholstery Tool|
2. Shark Apex Upright Vacuum
We have to give another spot to Shark. This model has an array of useful features that will protect your laminate floor and the machine itself. It’s affordable too, which we love.
Like our first choice, this model has Lift-Away technology. It takes it a step further, though, with Shark’s DuoClean technology — a system that shines your hard floors, and deep cleans carpets. Also included is an LED light, for precise cleaning in low-light conditions.
It’s not missing excellent filtration. Plus it has the Advanced Anti-Allergen Complete Seal Technology in addition to a HEPA filter. It also has the Zero-M self-cleaning brush roll to prevent hair from clogging the vacuum.
Why We Love It
This feature will protect, and perhaps even restore, the condition of your laminate floors. Dual-rotating brushes deep clean carpets and polish hard floors, adding extra shine. Customers are pleased with the efficiency of this technology.
Great news for pet owners — this vacuum’s brush roll removes pet hair from itself. You’ll save time and effort on maintenance, and you’ll protect your machine from blockage.
A little maintenance will still go a long way, but this model demands less attention from you.
HEPA filters are always a bonus, and the advanced anti-allergen features complement it. So if you’re a pet owner or someone with allergies or sensitivities, this machine’s filtration should ease some of your symptoms.
Keep In Mind
Customers say that the placement of certain components and controls is odd. Although it’s an efficient machine with a range of beneficial features, it takes some getting used to.
There are a few complaints that this machine shuts down without warning, and isn’t too stable in its power. Users who say this generally compliment the machine overall. It’s frustrating, but it shouldn’t deter you too much.
|Dimensions||11.2 inches by 12.2 inches by 46 inches|
|Special Features||DuoClean technology, Advanced Anti-Allergen Complete Seal technology, Powered Lift-Away technology, Zero-M brush roll, LED light|
|Accessories||Crevice tool, upholstery tool|
3. Roborock S5 Robot Vacuum
If convenience is what you’re after, have a look at this little robot vacuum. It will simultaneously vacuum and mop your laminate floors. This vacuum dries as it goes, so you don’t have to worry about unpleasant streaks or water damage.
It comes with six modes of suction: quiet, carpet, mopping, balanced, turbo, and max. It’s self-charging, scheduling-enabled, and will last for two and a half hours of run time.
This wonderful vacuum has pre-programmed safety to prevent falls and crashes. It can climb up to 0.78 inches, and can be controlled through a useful app. It also includes washable filters and a self-adjusting brush head.
Why We Love It
Your laminate floors are bound to stay safe with this vacuum’s self-adjusting brush head. It’s a convenient cleaning solution if you have different floors in your home. You won’t have to worry about the vacuum damaging any of your surfaces.
Bionic Mopping System
It’s great that this machine mops floors too. It’s engineered to protect laminate and other hard floors from water damage, so you won’t get streaks or dull spots. Think of all the time you will save in using this machine to do your dry and wet tasks.
Not all robot vacuums can cross barriers on your floor. Some even struggle to travel over doorway tracks. Not this bad boy. This machine is in the lead for its adaptability and will travel from floor to floor seamlessly.
Keep In Mind
Some customers complain that this vacuum’s dust and water capacities are too small for large homes. But it is, after all, a robot vacuum. So as long as you’re willing to maintain it fairly often, it remains an excellent choice.
A few users have mentioned that this model is louder than they were expecting. It’s not unbearable, but it can be bothersome if you were hoping for a peaceful cleaning session. Remember, though, that it has a quiet mode to compensate.
|Dimensions||13.8 inches by 13.7 inches by 3.8 inches|
|Special Features||Bionic mopping system, advanced climbing ability, self-charging, self-adjusting brush|
|Accessories||1 washable E11 filter, 4 water tank filters, water tank, water tank pad, 2 mopping cloths, cleaning tool, charging dock|
4. Bissell PowerEdge
The unique V-Shape design of this vacuum is effective in removing pet hair from hard floors. It works wonders while cleaning corners, under and around furniture, and on carpets too. We recommend this model if you’re looking for on-the-go cleaning.
You can use the Bissell PowerEdge to clean up debris, food pellets, and larger messes. And the angled head easily pulls up fine dirt and dust. There are also rubber squeegees under the head, for better hair and dander removal.
We like that this machine is lightweight, and has a lot of reach with a 20-foot cord. It’s built for convenience in both cleaning and maintenance. Finally, it includes an easy-to-empty dirt cup for quicker, cleaner dirt disposal.
Why We Love It
The V-Shaped head may seem alien at first, but it’s genius in its design. It makes cleaning around corners and tight spots a breeze. You’ll be surprised at how well it works on larger debris too.
It’s the perfect dynamic for laminate floors — for all hard floors, in fact. However, this vacuum does well on carpets too, in case you’re in a multi-surface home.
A highlight of this machine is how efficiently its rubber squeegees work on pet hair, dander, and fine dirt or dust. It complements the innovation of the V-Shaped head.
This little lightweight machine costs no effort to use and comes with a 20-foot cord. You can use it all over your home without hassle.
Keep In Mind
It Takes Getting Used To
Though its design is excellent, it can feel strange if you’re using it for the first time. You’ll have to grow accustomed to positioning and handling it. Thankfully, this isn’t hard to do.
This vacuum has a specific purpose and is difficult to use outside of that. So, it’s ineffective on rugs, upholstery, or vertical surfaces.
|Dimensions||10.6 inches by 11.3 inches by 43.3 inches|
|Special Features||V-shaped head, rubber squeegees, swivel steering, easy to empty dirt cup|
5. Bissell Zing
One of the best things about this customer favorite is how light it is. Consider it if you’re looking for a more compact canister that still packs a punch. It weighs around 10 pounds and includes cyclonic action for strong suction.
A switch controls its multi-floor brush, so you can be sure that it won’t accidentally scratch your laminate floor. Plus, it has a 15-foot cord with automatic rewind, and a convenient carrying handle.
This machine is convenient for maintenance too. It’s bagless, so it will save you some hassle, and it includes a washable, reusable filter.
Why We Love It
We like that you can switch from carpets to hard floors with a quick push of a button. If you’re worried about auto-adjusting vacuums, you’ll like the control you have with this one.
It won’t just save you effort in maintenance, it will save you money in replacements and repairs. This is a bonus to an already budget-friendly vacuum cleaner.
Even though this machine is small and light, it competes with bigger vacuums in power. If you’re looking for a traditional vacuum that you can easily lift or transport, this may be the choice for you.
Keep In Mind
Customers confirm that this machine works well on laminate floors, but it is still a canister. You will sacrifice some control and should keep an eye on it while you work. That said, it features swivel steering, so it’s better than other canisters in this regard.
A common customer complaint is that the wand and hose detach from each other while the vacuum is in use. This is a small frustration, and the majority of users are still satisfied with the machine’s efficiency.
|Dimensions||14 inches by 11 inches by 12 inches|
|Special Features||Brush control, swivel steering, cord rewind, easy empty dirt cup|
|Accessories||Multi-surface floor tool, dusting brush, crevice tool|
|Shark Navigator||Best Upright Vacuum||1200 W||15″ x 11.4″ x 45.5″||13.7 lbs||Swivel Steering, Lift-Away technology, 25-foot cord,||Wide Pet Upholstery Tool|
|Shark Apex||Best For Laminate Preservation||1350 W||11.2″ x 12.2″ x 46″||17.1 lbs||DuoClean technology, Advanced Anti-Allergen Complete Seal technology, Powered Lift-Away technology, Zero-M brush roll, LED light||Crevice tool, upholstery tool|
|Roborock S5||Best Robot Vacuum||2000 Pa||13.8″ x 13.7″ x 3.8″||7 lbs||Bionic mopping system, advanced climbing ability, self-charging, self-adjusting brush||1 washable E11 filter, 4 water tank filters, water tank, water tank pad, 2 mopping cloths, cleaning tool, charging dock|
|Bissell PowerEdge||Best For Pets||720 W||10.6″ x 11.3″ x 43.3″||7.5 lbs||V-shaped head, rubber squeegees, swivel steering, easy to empty dirt cup||N/A|
|Bissell Zing||Best Canister Vacuum||1080 W||14″ x 11″ x 12″||10 lbs||Brush control, swivel steering, cord rewind, easy empty dirt cup||Multi-surface floor tool, dusting brush, crevice tool|
Vacuuming your laminate floors isn’t as complicated as some make it out to be. Any kind of vacuum will do, so long as it’s equipped to glide gently over your floor.
It is, however, a good idea to vacuum your laminate floor regularly for best results.
We’ve shown you our picks of the best vacuums for laminate floors. Which one caught your eye? We’re eager to read your comments, so drop us one below.