Robotic Vacuum Cleaners for Hard Floors: Everything You Should Know

Sam Harris
written by Sam Harris
part of Robot Vacuums
created on April 26, 2019
updated on December 16, 2019

One part of today’s update reviewed three popular hard flooring options. Another part of today’s update unveils one INGENIOUS way to keep up with routine maintenance on woods, tiles, and laminates. Also included is additional information relating to hard floors and robot vacuums you may find helpful. Let’s get started.

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Solid wood vs. tile vs. laminate

The similarities and differences of wood, tile and laminate floors is to be examined under this subtitle.

Applications/functionality

Wood floors are vulnerable to humidity, traffic burden, and mileage. As a result, they don’t come as strongly recommended for high traffic areas as say a tile or laminate. 

Wood floors have the best applications in hallways, staircases, dining rooms, and master bedrooms. Tiles and laminates are best for kitchens, playrooms, foyers, bathrooms, living rooms, and family rooms.

That mentioned woods and laminates may not be ideal for bathrooms and laundry rooms.

Comfortability

Although dependent on variables such as the underlayment, installation, and maybe humidity level–tiles and woods can be noisy. Laminates are much quieter given the same circumstance. Moreover, tiles and laminates are hard on the feet and can be cold, especially in the winter. Hardwoods, which isn’t as hard as tile or laminate, is gentler to walk in and also warmer.

Cost-effectiveness

Cost-effectiveness, as it relates to hard floors, depends on what you’re looking at and how you’re looking at it. Solid woods have a higher cost of ownership. Tiles and laminates, unlike solid woods, can’t be refinished, repaired, or renewed when they wear out–they usually get replaced, which can make them a less cost-effective choice in perpetuity.

Durability

Laminate flooring would easily last three decades with the least maintenance. Tile floors, five decades or more. Solid wood flooring should last about as long as tiles, but that would mostly depend on the installation and floor thickness. 

As that, wood flooring can be refinished, plus damaged floors can be swapped out. Damage to tile and laminate is permanent and difficult, if not impossible, to fix.

Installation

I spoke to Eric Elford of Habidex. Eric is an installer with over 25 years of experience. Here’s Eric’s description of the details that go into the installation of wood and tile floorings.

Eric’s take on wood flooring installation:

Hardwood flooring installers are much more technical, requiring extensive floor leveling, disassembly of doors, for example. More extensive tools, skill sets to do stairways, and such. Installation on the same size area could take several days, depending on the product, plus leveling plus furniture moves plus stairways. It also requires baseboard work.

Eric’s take on tile flooring installation:

Tiles require the most technical work, including consideration for in-floor heating, leveling, waterproofing, patterning, and multiple product integration. Much different tools and skills that other trades. Time to complete a whole apartment would take over a week.

Installation cost

According to Home Guide, laminate flooring installation averages $3 – $8 per square foot. Homeadvisor estimated the cost of installing hardwood at $6 – $22 per square foot. Tile flooring installation cost is between $13.50 – $85 per square foot.

If it helps to mention, the materials selected, floor size, and labor are the most significant determinants of the installation cost of most floorings.

Looks

All three flooring options have very appealing looks that come in different colors, styles, and designs.

Wood:

wood floor

Tile:

Tile floor

Laminate:

Laminate floor

Although tiles and laminates can imitate the look of wood flooring and very excellently too– but because they’re mass-produced, chances are some details may get missing, translating to not having as much natural, welcoming look of a wood floor.

Maintenance

Regular sweeping will do for any of the floors, and maybe some wet mopping for spills.

Because hard floors don’t have a fiber that retains debris like the carpet, they’re a far healthier floor option, plus they’re easier to care for. 

Repairability

Crack on tile, a dull to a laminate floor, dent or dryness on hardwood… After some time, it’s typical for most floorings to show signs of wear, particularly in intensely dealt regions. 

Only, while hardwoods can be sanded down, waxed, or varnished to get it back to an acceptable condition. Tiles and laminates can not.

Not only that, with wood floors, affected area planks can be removed and replaced with new ones with proper finishing. Needless to mention that this option isn’t readily available for tile and laminate floors, or where possible, aren’t as practical since they come in varieties making it difficult to find new pieces years after (keeping in mind the fickle state of tech) that match perfectly.

Safety

Carpet is the best for anti-slip. Laminate and tile can be slippery in socks, but tiles tend to be better for grip unless it’s wet.

Versatility

Solid wood flooring works with all styles of decorating. It has many combinations of color and patterns and can be bought pre-stained or stained to fit many different color pallets. Tiles and laminates, not so much.

Vulnerability

Any of the hard floors considered in this guide is vulnerable. 

Crack (when heavy objects come in contact, specific to tiles) is one. Moisture is another. For woods, water allowed to sit in for long will dull the finish and can cause the wood to bend, expand, contract, or warp.

Unlike solid and engineered woods, though, tiles and laminates with their thick-coated surfaces mean they’re water-resistant. However, the spaces between the planks of tiles and laminates aren’t. 

Another vulnerability of wood floors is fading and dryness (when exposed to strong sunlight). Perhaps it’s also worth mentioning that wood floors are prone to scratches.

scratches-on-wood-floorBest robot vacuums for hard floors

Do you want to be able to walk barefoot on your hardwood floor and not get irritated from litter sticking to your feet? 

Here are capable, durable, and affordable robotic vacuum cleaners you can use to automate cleaning on wood, tile, and laminate.

eufy 11S–Best affordable hard floor vacuum robot

Watch the eufy 11S floor robot vacuum review:

eufy BoostIQ RoboVac 11S (Slim), Robot Vacuum Cleaner, Super-Thin, 1300Pa Strong Suction, Quiet, Self-Charging Robotic Vacuum Cleaner, Cleans Hard Floors to Medium-Pile Carpets
  • "Best Robot Vacuum of 2018" by Digital Trends.
  • All-New RoboVac: Re-engineered to be the slimmest* RoboVac (2. 85'') but with quiet operation and increased suction power at 1300Pa.
  • BoostIQ Technology: Automatically increases suction power within 1. 5 seconds when extra vacuuming strength is needed to get the best clean.
  • A Quiet Clean: Vacuums for up to 100 minutes** on hardwood floors with consistent, powerful suction at a volume no louder than an operating microwave.
  • Premium Features: Anti-scratch tempered glass-top cover for protection, infrared-sensor for evading obstacles, and drop-sensing tech to avoid falls. Automatically recharges so it's always ready to clean.

Roborock s4–Best hard floor robot cleaner

Watch Roborock s4 smart vacuum review:

Roborock S4 Robot Vacuum, Precision Navigation, 2000Pa Strong Suction, Robotic Vacuum Cleaner with Mapping, Ideal for Pet Hair, Low-Pile Carpets & Most Floor Types
  • A high-precision laser navigation system scans your room at 300RPM, creating a real-time map of your home that is accurate to up to +/- 2cm.
  • Comprehensive Roborock app control, including map saving, selective cleaning, no-go zones, and power setting, give you total control of S4 no matter where you are.
  • Intense 2000pa Suction, enough to lift AA batteries, easily picks dust off floors and can even drag trapped dirt from deep inside low-pile carpets. Do not suggest to use it on high-pile carpets.
  • Supersized 5200mAh LiPo battery, good for over 150 minutes of non-stop cleaning, is more than enough to clean most homes in one session.
  • An elegant transparent design adds a touch of style, and also makes checking the dustbin easier. A glance through the shell is all you need to do.

Roborock s5–Best hard floor robot vacuum and mop

Watch Roborock s5 hard floor robot and mop review:

On Sale −13%
Roborock S5 Robotic Vacuum and Mop Cleaner, 2000Pa Super Power Suction &Wi-Fi Connectivity and Smart Navigating Robot Vacuum with 5200mAh Battery Capacity for Pet Hair, Carpet & Hard Floor (White)
  • Best-in-class technology of smart navigation maps your house, plans route and schedules. It can cross over things lower than 2cm, clean without omission and self-recharge, but avoid falling down the stairs, hitting and scratching your furniture, or being stuck by obstacles.
  • Synchronous sweeping and mopping: Sweeping system is designed to increase the wind utilization and draw all the dust into the dust bin with nothing left. Mopping system prevents the hemming, leaving no water streak and water stain at rest. Work once, thorough clean.
  • Smart APP control: use the Mi Home App for scheduling, map saving, setting no-go zoned& barrier tape, zoned cleaning, spot cleaning, direction control, real-time monitor and customization. Compatible with Android, IOS, support Alexa voice control. 12-month warranty provided.
  • 2000Pa strong suction and multi-mode system: Carpet, Quiet, Mopping, Balanced, Turbo & Max mode, switching among different modes flexibly to meet request of different floor types. Enjoy your cleaning time.
  • Ultra-high 5200mAh battery capacity: 150 minutes of constant working, ideal for big house and multi-room. Note: Suggest not use on dark or long-pile carpet. Note: this is US version and the plug of US version differs from European version. Authentic products from ROBOROCK TECHNOLOGY CO. LTD enjoy 1-year warranty, Any questions, 9 hours customer service from 20:00-5:00 Eastern Time at 1-831-217-6425.

Braava Jet m6–Best hard floor robot mop

Watch Braava Jet m6 robot mop review:

Roomba i7+–Best fully automatic hardwood floor robot cleaner

Read: Roomba i7+ robot vacuum review

On Sale −9%
iRobot Roomba i7+ (7550) Robot Vacuum with Automatic Dirt Disposal- Wi-Fi Connected, Smart Mapping, Works with Alexa, Ideal for Pet Hair, Carpets, Hard Floors
  • Capacity volume - .42 liter. Empties on its own - you don't have to think about vacuuming for months at a time. Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal with AllergenLock bag holds 60 days of dirt, dust and hair.
  • Power-Lifting Suction delivers 10X the air power* for improved pick-up performance. Premium 3-Stage Cleaning System cleans the dirt and pet hair you see and the allergens and dust you don't. *(Compared to Roomba 600 Series)
  • Intelligently maps and remembers multiple floor plans to clean your entire home. Patented iAdapt 3.0 technology with vSLAM navigation actively captures thousands of precise measurements each millisecond to optimize coverage.
  • Imprint Smart Mapping enables the robot to learn, map and adapt to your home, allowing you to choose which rooms are cleaned and when. Keep Out Zones offer added control to actively avoid specific areas and objects in your home.
  • Ideal for homes with pets. High-Efficiency Filter and AllergenLock bags trap 99% of pollen, mold, and dust mites so they don't escape back into the air.

Hard floor robot vacuum buying guide

Because hard floors don’t have embossing or layers like carpets, even the worst robotic vacuums would do a decent cleaning. This, however, doesn’t mean most robotic cleaners will meet your needs. Here are a few things to keep top of mind when choosing robotic cleaners for your hard floors.

Robot vacuum vs. robot mop vs. robot vacuum & mop

Vacuuming and mopping usually suffice for wood, tile, and laminate floors. And it makes sense since automation is involved. 

That, plus the technology behind cleaning robots, offers the most protection for hard floors–that is, in the unlikely event of defective products or the device dragging tracked in rocks, robotic vacuum cleaners are safe for your hard floors. Also, and in my experience, automatic mopping is just as efficient–and keeps getting better (check out the offerings of the new Roborock s5 max)–therefore there’s no chance for water to settle in, which otherwise can cause wood floors to warp and show other signs of abuse. 

It doesn’t matter whether you’re getting the more common 2-in-1 robot vacuums or striking a Roomba – Braava partnership. All that matters is that you’re careful in your choice of products while taking necessary precautions when cleaning.

Controls & settings

Three common ways to perform operations and give commands to a robotic vacuum include through a remote, app, or voice assistant. 

Now there are several reasons why you might not want to have an app- or voice-enabled robot vacuum. While there isn’t a surplus of robot cleaners with remote control, you can’t go wrong with the eufy 30C

Degree of automation & user-friendliness

A robot vacuum is user-friendly when it can complete a cleaning job with little or no human intervention.

Smart navigation, evacuate & resume, no-go lines, app & voice control, auto-dirt emptying, scheduled cleaning & room cleaning, quick charging, etc. All these are features of the premium robotic vacuum cleaners, seeing they offer increased automation, which translates to efficient & effortless cleaning, joined with improved user experience. 

In truth, all those features are great to have. Except you may not have live-in pets or active kids, or it could even be a personal choice so that you see yourself doing just fine emptying the dirt bin a couple of times. In which case, the Roomba i7 comes in handy. 

The i7 spot all of the above features except the auto-dirt emptying, which is yours for the taking (i7’s clean base is available as a standalone item) at a later date if you change your mind.

Handpicked related content: Best Roomba for Hard Floors

Price

Hands-free cleaning is one of the offerings of the Roomba i7 but this convenience comes at a cost. Perhaps I should mention that robot vacuums in general fall into the beginner, intermediate, and advanced categories. Apt to mention the Roomba i7 falls into the advanced group, of which price is a major con. 

Beginner and intermediate robot vacuums, on the other hand, are easier on price, but in terms of performance or usability, and maybe quality, too, they’re lacking.

Hard floor robotic vacuum cleaners frequently asked questions

All your questions about cleaning robots and hard floors will be answered under this subheading.

Are robot vacuums good for hard floors?

Robot vacuums are suitable for most floor surfaces but are super amazing on hard floors. That’s because the surface of woods, tiles, and laminates allow for quick cleaning and as such lesser suction is often required.

Can robot vacuums go from hard floors to soft floors

Robot vacuums are able to sense changes in the flooring. That way, through adapting its brush heights your clean bot is able to detect and remove dirt on both hard and soft floors.

How often should you vacuum hard floors?

How often you should be vacuuming will depend on many factors few of which include floor type, traffic volume, weather conditions, and the presence or absence of pets and kids.

Regardless, hard floors are much easier to vacuum because they don’t hold as much dirt, therefore cleaning a little less frequently (2, 3 days apart) is fine.

Summary

1. With a renovation underway and as obtained from the article, all three flooring options make allowance for hygiene, creativity, and style. Tile had the best application in water prone areas to include bathroom and laundry room while wood floors stand out in terms of versatility and serviceability. Laminate flooring is the overall value winner. Your floor choice will ultimately be influenced by what’s important to you.

2. As with maintenance, vacuuming and mopping very well suffice seeing hard floors lend themselves to easy cleaning. The ONLY problem has to do with keeping up with the routine. Or maybe this isn’t EXACTLY a problem, but that’s if you’re smart enough to automate this task with a robot vacuum. That way, you don’t have to worry about grimy, dull floors, and can instead relish gorgeous and clean floors while freeing up some time you can use for other things of interest. 

3. The eufy 11S is one of the hard floor robot vacuums that received a mention in today’s article. The eufy 11S clean hardwoods, tiles and laminates admirably well with some spare suction for carpets. It’s the cheapest of the featured products in this list, has simple settings and controls, plus it’s attractively stylish. Its navigation is dumb, though, plus it doesn’t perform well on dark surfaces.

4. Next is the Roborock s4, which best the eufy in every way possible. From its no-go lines and specific room cleaning ability to its ability to clean under low light conditions while running 150+ mins without compromising on performance. And because of the degree of automation available, the Roborock s4 is very user-friendly, rarely demanding any human intervention, especially when it runs frequently. The Roborock s4 doesn’t have a mopping function though (see Roborock s5, s5 max, and s6) coupled with the fact it isn’t very sharp on carpets. If you don’t have mats and don’t mind the mopping function (if you do the s6 comes strongly recommended), the Roborock s4 as of the time of this writing is the best hard floor robot vacuum for the money.

5. With the Roomba, you get an impeccable cleaning and real intelligence so that your life is a bit easier. The Roomba i7+ is the best fully automatic hard floor robotic cleaner considering it vacuums and empties its bin into a disposable dirtbag that keeps dust and dirt contained. A god sent for people with allergies and pets.

6. Mopping function is perfect for wiping after track in dogs’ paws on (dark) wood floors. If you’re looking for a super-smart, dynamic robot mop, look at the Braava Jet m6.