Barbara Bellesi Zito is a freelancer with more than 18 years of experience as a writer, editor, and social media consultant for regional and national brands, including Health.com, Forbes Advisor, BELLA Magazine, Apartment Therapy, The Motley Fool, Martha Stewart Living, and Insider. Barbara specializes in real estate, home improvement, and lifestyle topics. She graduated from Emerson College with a Master of Fine Arts, Creative Writing and from Wagner College with a Bachelor of Arts, English and Theatre.
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There’s nothing like the look of hardwood floors, but maintaining them can be quite the chore. They don’t take kindly to spills, and they are easily scratched by day-to-day foot—and paw!—traffic. Plus, hardwood floors are often pricey to install.
It’s no wonder, then, that vinyl plank flooring is such a hit with homeowners. Vinyl plank flooring, or VPF for short, is a much more durable and affordable option to create beautiful interior spaces for the home.
Depending on your needs, you’ll need to choose between regular vinyl flooring or luxury vinyl, says Stacy Lewis, owner and interior designer at Eternity Modern. Luxury vinyl is the heftier choice, and you usually have many options for color and style. Then, there’s the floor’s finish.
“For heavy foot traffic areas such as living rooms and kitchens, I recommend getting vinyl plank flooring with an enhanced urethane finish,” Lewis says. “They have a high-gloss look and are damage-resistant.” However, for lower traffic areas, no-wax finishes are best, she says.
We researched dozens of vinyl plank flooring types, considering factors like type, length and width, wear layer thickness, durability, and range of finishes. In addition to Lewis, we also talked to Todd Saunders, CEO of FlooringStores; Shoshanna Shapiro, owner and principal designer at Sho and Co.; and Ben Gold, founder of Recommended Home Buyers.
Our top choice overall is the Shaw Primavera Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring, a good long-term choice that is 100% waterproof and scratch-, skid-, and mark-resistant. Plus, it has easy click lock installation and is available at a good price.
Here are the best vinyl plank flooring choices for your home.
Why You Should Get It: It’s appropriate to install in any room in the house.
Keep in Mind: Order samples, as colors online might differ in person.
Just because you see the word “luxury,” doesn’t mean you have to treat this vinyl plank flooring by Shaw with kid gloves. The Primavera Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring has the look of real hardwood, but with a sturdy 20-mil wear layer, it can prevent scratches, scuffs, and even skids, making it our overall pick for the best vinyl plank flooring. (Mil means "one-thousandth of an inch" and is the measurement of the vinyl plank’s thickness.)
Shaw Primavera can easily be laid down over wooden or concrete subfloors. It features an Armourbead finish that offers up to six times scuff resistance, so you can install it in just about any high-traffic area in your home. Choose matching or coordinating trim and molding to create seamless spaces.
Even better? This luxury vinyl plank flooring has a Soft Silence acoustical pad attached, which cuts down on noise while upping the comfort level you’ll feel with every step. It’s also FloorScore certified, meaning that any emissions released by the installed floor planks will not affect the air quality in your interior spaces.
Price at time of publish: $5 per square foot
Type: Luxury vinyl | Plank Dimensions: 7 x 48 inches; 5/16 inch thick | Wear Layer Thickness: 20 mil | Number of Colors/Wood Species: 10
Why You Should Get It: It offers superior resistance to mold and mildew.
Keep in Mind: It’s not as scratch-resistant as other options.
This rigid core click lock luxury plank flooring from Home Decorators Collection will really make the look of your space click (pun intended). It has an authentic wood look, but it’s 100% waterproof, so you can install it in high-traffic areas, like the kitchen. It’s not quite as effective as other choices when it comes to preventing scratches, stains, and slips, but for a lower-cost pick it does a good enough job, making it our choice for the best vinyl plank flooring on a budget.
It offers mold and mildew resistance, making it a good option for your basement. But with a sound-reducing layer that comes attached, you might also consider this for the upper floors in your home to manage noise levels. With a wear layer thickness of 12 mil, it feels as good underfoot as it looks.
The click-and-lock installation method—which means it can be added to any subfloor—makes this a good project for DIYers to tackle.The brand also makes coordinating trim pieces, including end caps, stair noses, T-moldings, and reducers that make it even easier to create a beautiful space.
The brand offers a lifetime warranty for residential installations, protecting homeowners from product defects as well as wear and tear over time. The 7-inch wide planks come in a variety of neutral wood-grain colors, ranging from light to dark, so it’ll fit in with any wall and cabinet colors.
Price at time of publish: $3 per square foot
Type: Luxury vinyl | Plank Dimensions: 7 x 48 inches; 5 millimeters thick | Wear Layer Thickness: 12 mil | Number of Colors/Wood Species: 10
Why You Should Get It: It’s sturdy enough for commercial applications.
Keep in Mind: You might have to wait for availability.
Armstrong has a long-standing reputation in the flooring industry, and it continues on with more modern applications like vinyl plank flooring. Armstrong Rigid Core Essentials Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring stands out because its rigid core technology is a solid choice for busy households. It can ward off scratches, stains, and scuffs—so well, in fact, that it can also be used for commercial applications.
This rigid-core vinyl plank flooring from Armstrong is also waterproof, so you can install it in just about any room in the home, including high-moisture areas like the kitchen, bathroom, and even the laundry room. Another advantage of the rigid core technology is that it allows for an easy, click-in installation over any type of subfloor.
These planks are thick, tough, and built to last—you’ll feel the support with every step. They come in a variety of colors, so it’s easy to find the right look for your home’s floors. And being that they are able to hold up to moisture and heavy foot traffic, you can feel confident to install it anywhere in your home.
Price at time of publish: $3 per square foot
Type: Rigid core luxury vinyl | Plank Dimensions: 6 x 48 inches; 5 millimeters thick | Wear Layer Thickness: 12 mil | Number of Colors/Wood Species: Nine
Why You Should Get It: It offers a different aesthetic from others on the market.
Keep in Mind: It’s better for larger spaces.
Many of the best vinyl plank flooring options on our list feature planks that are around 6 or 7 inches wide. If you want a bit of a different look for your flooring, you could choose a wider plank, like the 9-inch Cali Longboards flooring.
This option features a variety of wood grain pattern options for an authentic look but with added strength for high-traffic households. The hefty 20-mil wear layer wards off human and pet traffic, plus it’s 100% waterproof. If you thought you were limited to tile in the kitchen and bathroom, you’ll be happy to know that this vinyl plank flooring from Cali is a beautiful option.
This one is among the wider VPFs on the market, and at 9 inches, it’ll offer a bold look for your floor. It’s a great option for flooring in expansive, open-concept spaces like the basement—if you’re looking to put a floor in a smaller space, you may want to instead opt for a plank that’s regular width or perhaps even narrower to make the space look bigger.
Installation is made quick and easy thanks to interlocking pieces that can stay as a floating floor or be glued down to the subfloor.
Price at time of publish: $6 per square foot
Type: Luxury vinyl | Plank Dimensions: 70 x 9 inches; 8 millimeters thick | Wear Layer Thickness: 20 mil | Number of Colors/Wood Species: Eight
Why You Should Get It: It can make small spaces seem larger.
Keep in Mind: It’s not billed as skid-resistant.
A narrower plank offers a different aesthetic and can even make a smaller space appear much bigger. This vinyl plank flooring from Smartcore, an exclusive Lowe’s brand, comes in a 5-inch width that is slimmer than many of the other options on the market.
If you want the look of real hardwood but you live in the real world that your household traffic needs something stronger underfoot, Smartcore is a good choice. The luxury vinyl plank flooring comes in more than 10 colors, all featuring a realistic wood look thanks to beveled plank edges. But it’s also 100% waterproof, so you can install it in any areas at high risk for moisture and spills, including the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room. It’s also easy to clean.
The planks have a padding attached, making it easy to install right over a subfloor. For additional soundproofing, protection against moisture, and increased comfort, the manufacturer recommends adding an additional Smartcore Soft and Sound layer underneath during installation—not a bad idea for upper floors or the basement.
This vinyl plank flooring has GreenGuard Gold certification because it meets the strict air quality emissions for indoor spaces. The brand also offers a five-year limited residential installation warranty.
Price at time of publish: $3 per square foot
Type: Luxury vinyl | Plank Dimensions: 5 x 48 inches; 6.5 millimeters thick | Wear Layer Thickness: 12 mil | Number of Colors/Wood Species: 11
Why You Should Get It: Microban technology keeps mold and mildew at bay.
Keep in Mind: It’s pricier than other options.
One of the reasons homeowners are in love with wood flooring is because of the rich, glorious grain. The Adura Max flooring from Mannington is vinyl, but it looks like the real deal with saw marks and knotholes.
The best part of this beautiful luxury vinyl plank flooring is that it is waterproof thanks to the hydroloc core, which means you can install it in the kitchen or bathroom where moisture and spills happen on a daily basis. It also has Microban technology to keep mold, mildew, and odors caused by moisture away, making it our choice for the best vinyl plank flooring for bathrooms and kitchens.
The Adura Max is also a great choice for moisture-prone rooms because it offers slip resistance. It has a pre-attached under-layer that absorbs sound (up to 30%) and can be easily installed over concrete, wood, or vinyl subfloors.
The wear layer is made of ScratchResist urethane with aluminum oxide, so you won’t have to worry about dropping that hairbrush when you’re getting ready in the morning or that kitchen utensil when cleaning up after a meal. With a wear layer of 20 mil, this vinyl plank flooring from Mannington can withstand heavy foot traffic from humans and pets.
Price at time of publish: $7 per square foot
Type: Luxury vinyl | Plank Dimensions: 6 x 48 inches; 8 millimeters thick | Wear Layer Thickness: 20 mil | Number of Colors/Wood Species: 15
Why You Should Get It: It lives up to its name and is truly “life-proof.”
Keep in Mind: It’s a bit difficult to install compared to other click-lock flooring.
Lifeproof’s Sterling Vinyl Plank Flooring is ready to take on the wear and tear of everyday life in your home, which is why we named it our choice for the best vinyl plank flooring for homes with pets and kids.
This vinyl flooring checks off all the boxes that you’d want for high-traffic areas: It’s waterproof, has anti-microbial protection, and stands up to scratches, stains, and even dents. It’s an especially good vinyl plank flooring choice for households that see foot traffic of all kinds, from high heels to little sneakers to multiple paws and claws.
Lifeproof features a rigid core with a 6-mil wear layer. The under-layer is already attached to the planks, which interlock for installation on any subfloor, be it concrete, vinyl, tile, or plywood. Though it offers the look of real wood—and other products in the Lifeproof brand resemble marble and other stones—this vinyl plank flooring is skid-proof, making it safe for kids and their furry friends to run and play on safely and without damage to the floor.
Lifelock comes in a variety of colors and styles, so it’s easy to find the right match for your home’s aesthetic. This brand of vinyl plank flooring is exclusive to Home Depot, and the brand stands by its product—there’s a lifetime warranty for residential installations.
Price at time of publish: $4 per square foot
Type: Luxury vinyl | Plank Dimensions: 8 x 48 inches, 7 millimeters thick | Wear Layer Thickness: 6 mil | Number of Colors/Wood Species: 21
Why You Should Get It: It has an easy peel and stick application and is very budget-friendly.
Keep in Mind: The 4 mil layer is a bit thinner than other VPF on the market.
Add another vinyl plank flooring option to the category “lives up to its name.” With this luxury plank flooring from TrafficMaster, you can have the best of both worlds in your home—the look of real wood floors with the strength of vinyl.
The surface has a coating of ceramic beads that forms a barrier against scratches and stains, so sharp heels and scratchy claws are welcome. It’s water-resistant, so it’s a good option for kitchens and baths, and it’s easy to install over any subfloor—no underlayer is needed.
The GripStrip installation makes this floor’s installation a no-brainer for DIY warriors—just peel and stick. The TrafficMaster vinyl plank flooring is easy to clean and maintain with just a dust mop or vacuum. It comes in more than a dozen colors, all of which offer the authentic wood grain look you’re aiming for in your home.
It’s backed by a 30-year warranty, so you're guaranteed to enjoy the look of your new floors for a very long time.
Price at time of publish: $4 per square foot
Type: Luxury vinyl | Plank Dimensions: 6 x 36 inches; 3.8 millimeters thick | Wear Layer Thickness: 4 mil | Number of Colors/Wood Species: 13
The best vinyl plank flooring for most people is the Shaw Primavera Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring. It’s 100% waterproof and is scratch-, skid-, and mark-resistant, making it ideal for long-term use in high-traffic areas. Plus, it’s available at a nice mid-range price and boasts easy click lock installation for the DIYer.
There are three main types of vinyl plank floors: luxury vinyl plank, rigid plank flooring, and waterproof flooring. While all three types have similar characteristics—most will tout some degree of water resistance—you’ll want to make sure that you’re getting the type that’s appropriate for a particular area in your home. For the kitchen, bath, basement, and other areas prone to moisture and spills, you’ll want to go with vinyl plank flooring with excellent waterproofing capability.
The length and width of the planks will vary by brand and your personal choice, but there are some considerations for homeowners. “Generally speaking, smaller planks are going to be more labor-intensive to install,” says Todd Saunders, CEO of FlooringStores, though he notes that they’re “easier to get a clean look with, especially in rooms with lots of awkward corners to work around.” He also says they’ll likely be slightly more expensive per square foot, so keep this in mind for your budget.
Keep in mind that the thickness of the plank is in millimeters (mm) while the wear layer thickness is in mil—these are two different measurements, and they’re not measuring the same thing at all. Plank thickness measures the thickness of the actual plank, while wear layer thickness measures the clear layer of vinyl that’s applied to top of the plank to protect it. When it comes to durability, you’ll want to pay attention especially to the wear layer thickness—the thicker the better when it comes to high-traffic areas in your home.
“It's best to go with a blended pattern that incorporates multiple colors from the rest of the room in a way that will effectively hide scratches, scuffs, and dirt,” Saunders says. While there is a wide selection of colors and finishes on the market, he notes that there are some manufacturers who will even print custom planks with your choice of wood grain pattern.
As for choosing between light or dark colors, here’s Gold’s advice: “Lighter coloring always makes the area feel bigger, but it's harder to maintain cleanness because the dust is more visible.” His suggestion is to put darker areas in high-traffic areas like the kitchen and save the lighter colors for less-frequented rooms in your home.
Laminate and vinyl flooring are both more affordable and durable alternatives to hardwood floors. Vinyl flooring is made up of multiple layers to create a durable, waterproof finish. A vinyl core is topped by a wear layer and a printed vinyl layer that features the wood grain look.
Laminate flooring is made up of layers of synthetic material; an inner core board has a photo image layer—this provides the wood grain look—and is topped with another layer for protection. However, not all laminate floors are waterproof. When deciding which of the two is best for your space, you’ll have to consider the level of moisture for those particular rooms, especially when deciding on flooring for the kitchen and bath.
Mil (one-thousandth of an inch) is the measurement of the vinyl plank’s thickness. The thicker the plank, the more protection you’ll have against damage. “For the average house, 12 mil is a perfect choice,” says Ben Gold, founder of Recommended Home Buyers, who has more than five years of experience with remodeling homes. He mentions, though, that if you’ve got pets or heavier foot traffic, look for VPF that has 20 mil.
If you plan to place heavy furniture and appliances on top of vinyl planking, it’s better to use adhesive rather than a floating installation to ensure better stability.
“LVP may be wipeable, but it is thin, hard, and buckles at pinch points,” says Shoshanna Shapiro, owner and principal designer at Sho and Co. She notes that a floating floor installation will likely be damaged if you try to put a heavy appliance like a refrigerator or a kitchen island on top of it.
Stick On Floor Tiles This article was written by Barbara Bellesi Zito, who writes about home and garden topics for various lifestyle publications. To write this article, she researched dozens of vinyl plank flooring types, considering factors like type, length and width, wear layer thickness, durability, and range of finishes. Barbara also consulted Stacy Lewis, owner and interior designer at Eternity Modern; Todd Saunders, CEO of FlooringStores; Shoshanna Shapiro, owner and principal designer at Sho and Co.; and Ben Gold, founder of Recommended Home Buyers.