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HARDWOOD FLOOR VACUUMS
Hardwood floors have special requirements to consider when choosing a vacuum. Many hardwood floors are made of woods that can be damaged or scratched by using the wrong type of vacuum head or with wheels and other parts that are too small or hard to keep from creating scratches or gouges while using the vacuum. The following are some features to look for in choosing a vacuum for hardwood floors:
For hardwood floors, suction power is less of a priority depending on the surface characteristics of your floor. If your floor is smooth, then less suction is needed. If your hardwood has lots of irregular surfaces like grooves and bumps, then you will need more suction to keep these surfaces clean.
Softer materials or padding on wheels is something that will be helpful in avoiding scratches while pulling or pushing the vacuum across the floor. Whether a canister or an upright, look for larger wheels with softer tread materials. Also pay attention to the materials on the underside and sides of the vacuum and look for softer pads that will help avoid creating scratches. Generally speaking, canister models will tend to have larger and softer wheels, where uprights tend to have smaller and harder wheels. Models do vary and there are exceptions, so take a look and decide whether this is a concern before you buy.
LONG AND FLEXIBLE HOSE
Whichever type of vacuum you choose, you will want a long hose for reaching all the places you will want to clean with your vacuum. This is especially true when cleaning larger floor areas with a canister vacuum where you will need to move your vacuum a lot when restricted by a shorter hose.
For hardwood floors you will want a good variety of attachments to deal with the varying conditions around your floor. Keep in mind you will also want to use you vacuum on furniture and not just your floor.
You will want a reasonably lightweight vacuum if this will be the primary vacuum cleaner for your home. This is especially true if you are also cleaning multiple floors with stairs. A lighter weight vacuum will also tend to scratch the floor and moldings less as you use it.