Do you need a special vacuum for your tile floors?
Tile floors are notoriously difficult to clean with traditional vacuums and often require both vacuuming and mopping to truly get them looking fresh. Here, you might use a robot mop and a vacuum set, or a 2-in-1 vacuum and mop model to make your tiles look as fresh as new. And although there are no vacuums specially designed for tile floors, some vacuums do a much better job of cleaning tile than others.
Whether you need one of these vacuums depends entirely on what debris you expect to be cleaning, how frequently you plan to clean your tile floors, and whether you have other types of flooring and only want a single vacuum that can clean them all. If you have a large area of tile that gets scuffed easily, a wet and dry vacuum can be a huge help, whereas if you have a mix of flooring types a dry vacuum with a variety of attachments and a versatile brush head can be the better choice. A robot vacuum can be a life-changing vacuum for people who don’t have time to clean, whereas some people prefer to more thoroughly target what areas get cleaned and how thoroughly. If you have pets, also consider how well the vacuum you choose performs at picking up pet hair and how prone the brush head is to becoming tangled.
In general, a good vacuum for tile floors needs to have a rolling, non-motorized brush head, or the ability to turn off the brush rotation for heads that are motorized. This is because motorized brush heads tend to scatter debris all around your tile floors.
What to look for in an ideal vacuum for tile floors?
The fact that there are no vacuums specially made for tile floors can make it difficult to know what features to look for in a vacuum that you plan to use on tile. In general, the most important features of a vacuum come down to your preferences – and our top nine vacuums cover the gamut of different feature sets.
What kind of vacuum do you need?
The first choice you need to make in choosing a vacuum for tile flooring is what style of vacuum you want. Upright vacuums are the most commonly used type of vacuum and offer a lot of versatility for both tile and other floor types. If you are short on storage space, stick vacuums are much lighter and smaller alternatives – but they often have less suction power than larger upright vacuums. Canister vacuums offer the most suction power for serious cleaning, but they can be a hassle to carry throughout the house, since you have to tow the canister along behind you. Finally, robotic vacuums are becoming increasingly popular, especially among very busy homeowners, since they will clean the house with little oversight. However, robotic vacuums also provide relatively manual control if you want to vacuum a specific area rather than the whole house.
Also, consider whether you need a handheld vacuum for cleaning hard to reach places. 2-in-1 vacuums typically have the suction unit built into a handheld vacuum, which is then integrated into a larger wheeled brushroll to provide the construction and utility of a traditional vacuum. Vacuums with a lift-away feature, on the other hand, allow you to pull the entire canister and a flexible hose away from the brushroll and often provide more power.
You should also consider whether you prefer a bagged or bagless vacuum. Bagged vacuums line the canister with a disposable bag, which makes cleaning the canister extremely fast but requires you to have bags on hand whenever you want to clean. Bagless vacuums, on the other hand, store debris directly in a sealed canister and require a little more manual cleaning.
Finally, consider whether you need a cord or cordless vacuum. Cordless vacuums provide much more flexibility in that there is no need to keep switching outlets as you move throughout the house, but they are limited in cleaning time by battery power. Traditional cord vacuums are limited in their range from the wall, but you can clean for hours without the vacuum shutting down on you.
The brush head is one of the most important features of vacuums for tile floors, since it largely determines what debris the vacuum will be able to clean. The best brushes for tile floors are non-motorized brushes that simply roll as you move the vacuum along the floor. Different vacuums also employ unique brush types to increase the vacuuming efficiency or specificity for different types of debris. For example, Black+Decker’s vacuum above uses a rubberized brush that is excellent at picking up larger pieces of debris that traditional brushes struggle with, but suffers when it comes to pet hair and small dust particles. Shark’s DuoClean line, on the other hand, uses two brushes to collaboratively roll dust into the suction zone and then lift it up into the vacuum, which provides better targeting for small and large debris particles alike and is designed to work well on both hard and carpet floors.
Dust bin capacity
Another feature to consider in a vacuum is the size of the canister, whether it is bagged or bagless. A larger canister will allow you to clean larger areas of your house before having to stop and empty out the collected debris. If you have a large house, having a vacuum with a large capacity can save a lot of time and energy. However, if you only plan to clean a few rooms with your vacuum, the canister capacity may not be of huge importance.
How powerful your vacuum’s suction needs to be to clean tile floors varies widely depending on the efficiency of the brush head and the type of debris you are picking up. In general, more suction power is typically better, since the suction won’t hurt your tile floor like it might carpet. Picking up large debris, such as big crumbs or pet food, typically requires more suction power than picking up dust and pet hair. If you feel you need more suction power, you will want to look towards heavy-duty upright vacuums or even canister vacuums.
Chances are, you won’t use your tile floor vacuum only on your tile floors, so it helps if your vacuum is capable of providing adequate cleaning power on carpets or on upholstery. Vacuums that are designed as 2-in-1’s with a handheld vacuum or that have a lift-away feature can be a huge help for cleaning hard to reach places as well as upholstery on furniture. Other vacuums come with a built-in hose that can be activated and a set of accessory tools to mount to the hose. These accessory tools can be a huge help with cleaning odd floor types or furniture as well as for reaching into crevices and corners.
Another important consideration with respect to versatility is maneuverability. Every vacuum manufacturer uses a different style of wheel base and steering control for their vacuums, which leads to significant differences in how easy or difficult vacuums are to push across floor types. This is especially important if you will be operating on both carpet and tile floors or transitioning between the two. In general, vacuums that are easy to steer and have smaller turning radii on the tile floor will be easier to use and save you a large deal of frustration over the life of the vacuum.
Also, consider whether you need a cordless vacuum. If you have few power outlets in your house, or none in the rooms you plan to clean, battery-powered vacuums can be a huge help. Cordless vacuums also save you time by eliminating the need to switch power outlets as you move from room to room. On the other hand, if you have a large area to clean, cordless vacuums can be more of a curse than a help, since they often suffer from relatively short battery life. Cordless vacuums also typically provide less suction power than traditional vacuums as a result of the battery-powered motor.
Filtration systems are an important component of every vacuum, although it is hard to make a poor choice of filtration system given advances in vacuuming technology. Many vacuums now come with HEPA-rated filters, which provide the highest level of dust capture to keep the air around your vacuum allergen-free. Filters that are not HEPA-rated are also common and are typically sufficient for anyone who is not especially sensitive to dust, although they may allow slightly more particles through the filtration system. If you are particularly sensitive, you may also want to consider a vacuum that comes with multiple filters or a pre-filter in addition to the primary HEPA filter.
The other distinction in filtration systems between vacuums is whether or not the filter is washable. Washable filters can be advantageous, since they are easy to remove and clean and last for years with proper care. Being able to clean the filter on the spot also means you’ll be able to restore suction if the filter is becoming clogged.
Disposable filters typically last longer between cleanings but must be replaced once the filter becomes clogged – a cost that can add up over the life of the vacuum.