The Best Vinyl Plank Flooring Brands, Products, & More
December 9, 2020
Looking for information on the best vinyl plank flooring brands, products, prices, and more? You’ve come to the right place!
Vinyl planking flooring is the fastest growing market in the fake wood flooring universe, and it’s easy to see why.
Vinyl plank is durable; it’s waterproof; it’s beautiful—and it can mimic the look (and *texture*)of just about any other flooring material.
But there are also tons of questions when it comes to the best vinyl plank flooring. How is it installed? How much resale value does it offer? What’s the difference between LVT, LVP, and WPC?
And most importantly, what are the best vinyl plank flooring brands to buy from?
That’s why we’ve put together this comprehensive (and we mean comprehensive) guide to the best vinyl plank flooring brands, products, prices, warranties, reviews, and beyond. It contains everything you could ever need to know about vinyl plank flooring.
Below, we’ll explain all the different types of vinyl plank flooring on the market. We’ll show you how they’re installed, the cost to install them, and more. Then, we’ll dive into the pros and cons of all these vinyl plank flooring options. Finally, we’ll dive into the 20 best vinyl plank flooring brands (in detail) and explain exactly why each of these brands is so amazing.
We’re going to cover a lot of information here, so as always, feel free to reach out to us with any specific questions! We’re here to help.
Vinyl sheet flooring debuted as a waterproof alternative to linoleum back in the 1940s. That’s the material you probably remember from your grandma’s kitchen or from your childhood bathroom.
Vinyl plank flooring, on the other hand, is something totally different. It’s a high-tech, multi-layer material that usually resembles a wood plank (though it can mimic anything).
But instead of being made of wood, it’s primarily made of—you guessed it—vinyl. Have you heard of PVC (polyvinyl chloride)? It’s the same thing. Good ol’ plastic!
What is Vinyl Plank Flooring Made Of?
Most commonly, vinyl plank is made of three layers. From the bottom, they are:
A core or base layer that provides structure.
A design layer that looks (and feels) just like wood, tile, or just about anything else.
A transparent wear layer that protects the plank from damage.
Some vinyl plank products are rigid, some are flexible, and many of the top vinyl plank brands add an additional topcoat over the wear layer.
Vinyl Plank, LVP, LVT, WPC, and SPC: What’s the Difference?
You’ve probably read these initials before and wondered what the heck they meant. What’s the difference between vinyl plank and LVT? Where does WPC come in? We know, it’s a lot.
Here’s the easiest way we can explain it. “Vinyl plank” is a catch-all phrase that differentiates it from the vinyl sheet flooring of yesteryear.
Things that fall under the “vinyl plank” category include LVP, LVT, WPC, and SPC. But to make things even more confusing, people sometimes use the terms “LVT” and “vinyl plank” interchangeably.
For our purposes, we’re calling all modern vinyl products (aka not vinyl sheet) “vinyl plank” or “LVP”.
LVP vs. LVT
Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP) and Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) are marketing terms designed to elevate modern vinyl flooring above the decaying stuff in the kitchen of your first apartment.
The significant differences between them are the design layer and shape.
LVP is generally wood-inspired and comes in the same dimensions as other wood or fake wood planks.
LVT is typically stone-inspired and often comes in 12×12 and 12×24 inch tiles. The best vinyl plank flooring brands will attach prefabricated mock-grout for ease of installation.
WPC vs. SPC
Wood Polymer Composite (WPC) and Stone Polymer Composite (SPC) are two popular types of rigid vinyl plank (or tile) flooring. The “wood” and “stone” in WPC and SPC refer specifically to their core layers.
WPC incorporates fine, filtered sawdust called “wood flour” into its core layer to increase soundproofing, comfort, and insulation. Generally, WPC is better for domestic use. And you don’t need to worry about waterproofing—the sawdust is encased in the vinyl.
SPC has the same idea, but the core contains limestone instead of wood. SPC is thinner and more rigid, making it great for high traffic areas and commercial applications. Think an SUV on a showroom floor, or a retail cart laden with books—SPC is perfect for uses like that.
Let’s put it this way. Have you looked into the cost of installing carpet vs. laminate? Vinyl plank is cheaper than both. In fact, vinyl can be more affordable most other types of flooring—it just depends on which product you choose.
Average Vinyl Plank Flooring Costs (for Materials)
Vinyl plank flooring can cost anywhere from just over $1 to $10+ per square foot.
The average cost per square foot is $4, though we advise you to lean on the side of caution with any product under $3/sq. ft. (like the stuff at box stores like Lowe’s or Home Depot). They wear out super fast and might off-gas VOCs that could make you and your family sick.
The Average Cost to Install Vinyl Plank Flooring
Most vinyl planks are DIY friendly. If you decide to use a professional installer, though, the price will largely be dictated by your location and needs.
Vinyl plank is some of the easiest flooring to install. Most of the best vinyl plank flooring brands offer products that can be installed in a number of ways. These include:
Click-together floating floors. What is a floating floor exactly? It’s a surface that’s made of planks that snap together like a jigsaw puzzle. These surfaces are held in place by friction and pressure and “float” on top of the subfloor.
Glue-down floors. These surfaces are attached to the subfloor using industrial-grade adhesive.
Peel-and-stick floors. These are probably the easiest to install from a DIY standpoint—all you need is a utility knife, measuring tape, a chalk line, and patience. Think of them like a vinyl version of peel-and-stick carpet tiles.
By and large, the majority of vinyl plank flooring is either clicked together as a floating floor or glued down to a subfloor.
What’s the Best Way to Install Vinyl Plank Flooring?
That depends on you! The function of the space usually decides the installation method.
For instance, glue-down could be beneficial for retail areas that see heavy traffic, while click-together floors are preferable for homes and apartments. As long as it’s flat, dry, and clean, you can install vinyl over anything.
Stacked from top to bottom, vinyl planks feature a wear layer, a design layer, and a core layer. So how do you identify high-quality vinyl plank flooring? There are a few different ways.
Look for Attached Underlayments or Topcoats
Many of the best vinyl plank flooring brands will add extra layers to their products to increase comfort, durability, etc.
For instance: you might find an attached cork underlayment on a product for a better underfoot feel. This can give you the springiness of cork (which is great for sore joints) without any of the disadvantages of cork flooring on its own.
Look into these extra layers—they’re often a sign that the manufacturer is trying to do away with the inherent disadvantages of vinyl plank flooring (which we’ll mention below) and offering a superior product.
Look for a Thicker Wear Layer
You only need to know two measurements when shopping for vinyl floors:
Millimeters measures the entire board’s thickness, and
Mil, which measures the thickness of the wear layer. (For our fellow nerds out there, mil equals a thousandth of an inch).
The thicker the wear layer, the more durable the floor—although this advice is the same no matter what type of flooring you buy.
If you have an active home, we’d recommend a wear layer of 20mil or thicker. For gentle souls or low-key spaces (like a second home or guest room), 12mil should be fine. Anything lower will last you about as long as a t-shirt from H&M.
For comparison sake, factories, hospitals, and schools use 30mil–40mil wear layers. The odds are good that the same LVP can handle your hyperactive Tibetan Mastiff!
The Advantages of Vinyl Plank Flooring
There are tons of reasons to gravitate towards vinyl plank flooring. On that note, let’s have a look at some advantages the best vinyl plank flooring brands have to offer.
Even The Best Vinyl Plank Flooring Brands are Relatively Affordable
Sure, high-quality vinyl costs more—even as much as certain hardwood species. But by and large, vinyl plank flooring is very affordable.
For example: if you wanted to install mahogany or tigerwood floors, you would be paying nearly $20/square foot without installation. And we’re not even talking about buying from the best hardwood floor brands here, either.
On the other hand, you could get tigerwood or mahogany-look vinyl from one of the best vinyl plank flooring brands at $10/sq. ft. And those floors feature a 30mil-40mil wear layer, a lifetime warranty, and an impeccable design.
High-Quality LVP is Stunning
You can buy vinyl planks to mimic almost any material—and high-quality vinyl plank is gorgeous. Quality wood-look LVP, in particular, is amazingly accurate. Even experts have a hard time telling products from the best vinyl plank brands apart from the real thing!
It’s all thanks to 3D printing and a fancy industry technique called EIR (or Embossed-In-Register). EIR is a manufacturing technique that uses actual wood or stone to stamp textured patterns into vinyl planks for maximum realism.
But at the end of the day, the fact is this: 100% waterproof wood floors do not exist. Not from the best hardwood floor brand, not from Home Depot, not from the guy named Jimmy selling wood out of the back of his truck down the street.
But don’t despair: vinyl plank can do it all—and more. Unless you want to opt for concrete flooring that looks like wood, luxury vinyl plank is, hands down, the best waterproof wood-look option there is. That’s just a fact.
It’s Cheap and Easy to Install (for Pros and DIY-ers)
As we mentioned above, LVP is cheap and easy to install. That’s because click-together and peel-and-stick setups are friendly both for the pros and for seasoned DIY-ers. Plus, many of the best vinyl plank flooring brands offer built-in underlayments to make installation even easier.
Why is this important? Well, aside from saving you money (and who doesn’t want that), the flooring industry is currently facing a monumental installer shortage. This is driving up prices and making it harder and harder to find reputable flooring installers.
That’s why it’s more important than ever to have an easy-to-install product—especially if you’re shopping on a budget.
And if you need that product to be waterproof, installation becomes even more important! Tiles need to be properly grouted (even snap-together tile flooring), and if they aren’t, goodbye waterproofing!
It Offers Endless Versatility
Vinyl plank can look like anything, and you can install it anywhere in the home. Translation: you can have your cake and eat it too!
Do you want the look of pine in your kitchen? If you know anything about the pros and cons of pine flooring, you’ll know that’s a terrible idea. Pine is way too soft to be a good kitchen floor. But with LVP, it’s possible! The top vinyl plank flooring brands have plenty of pine inspired choices.
Vinyl lets you get any look you want, wherever you want it. No looking up “the best hardwood floor brands for humid climates”, no searching “can I put maple flooring over concrete”. Just endless versatility!
Rather than opting for a wood, bamboo, or tile product, just put in vinyl. All you need to do in order to keep it clean and long-lasting is a regular sweeping and vacuuming routine. You don’t even need a no-shoes policy!
Fun fact: tedious upkeep like refinishing, waxing, and polishing will actually damage your vinyl floors. The same goes for specialty chemical floor cleaners. A dollop of mild dish soap is all you need to protect your floors.
Just beware of vacuums with a rotating brush, or “beater bar.” These can scuff up your wear layer!
Vinyl Plank Feels Great Underfoot (Especially WPC)
If you can’t decide between carpet or hardwood in the bedroom, you’re probably looking for something cozy underfoot and pleasing to the eye. If so, vinyl could be a good compromise.
And if standard LVP is a good compromise, WPC is a great one.
As we mentioned earlier, WPC has a core that contains wood flour. Most vinyl has a bouncy feel underfoot, but WPC takes that cushion factor to the next level. This is a huge bonus for people with joint pain.
It Also Improves Insulation
The same qualities that give WPC vinyl its softer feel also improve its insulation. Your run-of-the-mill vinyl plank will maintain room temperature. But WPC will actually insulate your floor! It can even be safely installed over radiant heating systems.
Your utility bill will thank you.
Some of the Best Vinyl Plank Flooring Brands Offer Sound-Dampening Products
That’s right—many of the best vinyl plank flooring brands offer products that dampen and reduce sound throughout the home.
WPC products, in particular, excel at this. Just another reason vinyl is a great choice for children’s playrooms, 2nd-floor bedrooms, music rooms, home offices, or any other place you want to manage noise levels.
Luxury Vinyl Plank Offers Unlimited Style Options
We know we’ve been over this. But vinyl can seriously look like anything. Anything.
The same goes for stone, textiles, ceramic, psychedelic patterns, pictures of your pet llama, and yes: even vinyl.
The Disadvantages of Vinyl Plank Flooring
While we absolutely love vinyl plank flooring, it does have a few disadvantages. But the same can be said for any type of flooring. There are tile disadvantages, carpet disadvantages, even engineered wood disadvantages.
That said, issues like resale value, longevity, and environmental impact are essential to keep in mind when choosing the best vinyl planks for your application. So let’s have a look at some disadvantages of vinyl plank flooring:
Even the Best Vinyl Plank Flooring Brands Aren’t Particularly Low in VOCs
Why? Vinyl made of plastic—and almost all plastic can off-gas VOCs!
However: the flooring industry is really improving when it comes to indoor air quality. And these days, there are a number of low-VOC vinyl flooring choices available that are FloorScore-certified, CARB2 compliant, andphthalate-free. These certifications can help you guarantee that you’re getting a healthy, non-toxic product for your household.
Our advice? Always check for third-party environmental certifications. Or better yet, ask your local flooring store for their top low-VOC flooring picks.
Plastics like vinyl are hard to reuse. And the majority of vinyl plank flooring brands use adhesives and hardening agents that make their products impossible to recycle. So they often end up in landfills after you remove them from your home.
Plus, plastics are created using crude oil—which isn’t the most environmentally-friendly thing either.
Some environmentally conscious vinyl plank flooring brands like Cali Bamboo and Forbo are taking extra steps to make vinyl easier to recycle. But these manufacturers are a fraction of the market.
Some Recycled Vinyl is Bad For Your Floors
Why is it a bad thing to put recycled vinyl in new products? Because there’s no way to be sure of the VOC levels in recycled content.
Even worse, rumor has it that vinyl with recycled content can crumble and break.
As a result, many of the best vinyl plank flooring brands advertise the absence of recycled content—marketing their products as containing “100% virgin vinyl” (aka pure plastic). Which is—let’s face it—a bit of an oxymoron for anyone with sustainability at the top of their priority list.
Cheap Vinyl Planks Can Create Health Risks
We’re all familiar with VOCs at this point. Buying from the best vinyl plank flooring brands is a simple solution to avoid contaminating your home.
Again, It’s challenging to find safe vinyl planks in big box stores like Lowes or Home Depot. We get it: the price and convenience are tempting. But the benefits may not outweigh the risks.
If you want to make sure the vinyl planks you buy are safe, check the box. Just like non-toxic laminate flooring, your vinyl planks should be FloorScore-certified as low-VOC. Better yet, contact the manufacturer and ask them to back up their claims.
You can also check the EPA website, a useful source for technical information and statics. They even have a brand-specific database.
Just remember: when it comes to flooring, you get what you pay for. So if you want the safest, most highly-tested, highly-certified product… it’s going to cost more than the stuff you buy off the street. Or at the box store.
Vinyl Can Fade in the Sun
Sun fading is a potential problem to be aware of, but not an issue to lose sleep over. The truth is, most floors are susceptible to sun fading. Wood floors get sun-bleached, as does laminate, and discoloration can be one of the most significant issues with cork floors.
Depending on the quality, vinyl ranks somewhere between laminate and cork when it comes to UV susceptibility. Maybe LVP isn’t the best choice for sunroom flooring, rooms with floor to ceiling windows, or big skylights—but it can pretty much go anywhere else.
Of course, it all depends on the specific product. Many top vinyl flooring brands offer wear layers with built-in UV protection!
You Can’t Refinish Vinyl Planks (and They Can Be Hard to Remove)
Unless you’re willing to live with an eyesore, you have to replace damaged vinyl planks. There’s no way to sand down and refinish plastic!
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to remove glue-down or click-together vinyl planks. Glued-down planks need to be chiseled out without damaging their neighbors—which is no easy task.
And click-together floors need to be unclicked, plank by plank, all the way from the wall to the damaged plank! That can be a hassle.
Most how-to videos on vinyl plank repair will assure you the process is easy. Then, they show you a video of a professional effortlessly replacing the damaged plank. The reality is, for most people, floor repairs aren’t easy. Unless you’re a committed DIYer, finding a top-rated flooring expert is a comparatively stress-free option.
Flexible LVP Needs A Flawless Subfloor
What is subflooring? It’s the wood or cement surface beneath your floors. An ideal subfloor is clean, dry, and level.
The list of potential problems associated with wonky subfloors is long. All you need to know is this: cheap vinyl is going to show any imperfections underneath. This is especially true when it comes to flexible vinyl planks, since they will mold themselves to the surface below.
Fortunately, many of the best vinyl plank brands have built-in underlayments to improve comfort and hide minor subfloor imperfections (which we’ve already mentioned).
Cork underlayment also allows you to lay your new vinyl plank over existing floors, saving you time and money on tearing out the old stuff.
That said, vinyl is way easier to maintain once installed. And it can come with a lifetime warranty. But if you’re looking for a floor that will last generations, you might want to look into solid hardwood. Something to keep in mind if you just bought your dream home!
DIY Vinyl Installation On Intricate Floor Plans Takes Nerves Of Steel
If an easy DIY installation led you to choose vinyl, it’s a good idea to evaluate your floor plan. Tons of little nooks and crannies can drive you nuts. And notching out a bunch of corners or undercutting a maze of doorways just plain sucks.
If your house looks like a bad game of Tetris, and you’re determined to push forward anyway, most pro installers recommend you buy extra materials and lay them out before installation.
Other Flooring Options May Offer Higher Resale Value
No matter how gorgeous your floors look, some potential buyers might turn up their noses at vinyl flooring. Although most people recognize the benefits (and value) that the best vinyl plank flooring brands have to offer, others don’t.
On one hand, vinyl plank flooring has been shown to increase resale value—on average. But like anything else, this is on a case-by-case basis. And first-time buyers have yet to lose sleep over a hardwood refinishing bill or watch in horror as their kid’s soccer team stomps through the house in cleats.
If durability is your top priority, keep it classic to protect resale value. Or if the room is low-traffic, opt for a floating floor. And if a new buyer balks at your vinyl, you can explain how easy it is to remove.
Fun fact: a common disadvantage of hickory flooring is that some buyers don’t like its grain pattern. So, it’s sometimes said to “decrease resale value”. But we think that’s crazy—hickory is gorgeous and the most durable American hardwood there is. It just goes to show that personal preference can play a huge role in determining resale value.
Floating Floors Can Present Accessibility Concerns
Rolling loads like wheelchairs, mobility devices, home office chairs, and skateboards (seriously, this happens) can cause floating floors to shift and rigid boards to snap. Wheels can get stuck in grooves. And most warranties won’t cover these issues.
Thankfully, accessibility concerns don’t rule out vinyl. A glue-down installation is the best solution, but make sure to investigate VOC levels in whatever adhesive you choose.
The Best Vinyl Plank Flooring Brands (Plus Products, Pricing, Warranties, & Reviews)
Now that we’ve mastered the pros and cons of vinyl plank flooring, let’s have a look at the best vinyl plank flooring brands on the market.
For quality’s sake, we won’t list any products that have a wear layer under 12mil. That said, if a 12mil+ wear layer isn’t in your budget, we won’t leave you hanging—the “Notable Brands” section below lists more affordable options.
The Darling Of Professional Installers | $3–$8/sq. ft.
Karndean, based in the UK, distributes to Australia, New Zealand, the US, and (obviously) the United Kingdom. They focus solely on vinyl, and they do it well. Really well.
Karndean has an excellent reputation with pro installers (always a good sign). Sure, Karndean is a little pricey for vinyl, but their products are gorgeous and last for decades.
Karndean’s LooseLay format is also well respected amongst the flooring community. LooseLay has a rubber backing that relies on friction to stay in place—an excellent option for set designers, party planners, or DIY fanatics because LooseLay is ridiculously easy to install and remove.
Karndean’s Vinyl Plank Offerings
Karndean offers 11 collections in three formats: rigid click-lock, glue-down, and LooseLay. All styles are either wood or stone inspired.
Korlok, at $5/sq. ft., is their mid-range offering and sought after for a mix of value and durability.
Art Select and Da Vinci are their high-end lines, typically selling for $8/sq. ft., but you can find deals online for $6/sq. ft. or less.
Karndean is classy-not-stuffy. They create timeless wood and stone varieties alongside bold, yet tasteful patterns.
Karndean Vinyl Plank Flooring Construction
Karndean LVT comes in a variety of dimensions to suit any space. Their rigid planks use a vertical click locking system (instead of a horizontal system like tongue-and-groove) that makes installation easy. They also offer glue-down or LooseLay installation.
An attached acoustic underlayment adds comfort and sound-dampening properties, so go ahead and rock those heels whenever.
Karndean Vinyl Plank Durability
The Knight Tile collection has a 12mil wear layer. Midrange collections like Korlok are 20mil, and the Art Select and Davinci lines sport a commercial-grade wear layer of 30mil, which is tough stuff.
Karndean’s Vinyl Plank Warranties
Karndean’s warranties, like most companies, fall in line with their durability standards.
Knight Tile has a generous 10-year warranty for commercial applications. Da Vinci and Art Select commercial warranties cover you for 30 years. Everything else is 15 years.
Karndean Safety Rating: 10/10
Karndean advertises “100% pure virgin PVC” in their products to assure customers of low VOC content. They also use adhesives without solvents to keep emissions low.
Which Karndean Product Provides the Best Value?
Korlok has a competitive cost-to-durability ratio, but the Art Select and Da Vinci collections look fantastic if you can find a deal online.
Brand Of All Trades. Master Of Many. | $5‑$10/sq. ft.
Fifty years ago, Shaw got their start dominating the carpet game. Now they make every hard surface covering you can imagine. Shaw isn’t just a big name in vinyl; they’re a trusted source for nearly all of the most durable wood flooring alternatives. They even make low-VOC carpet!
Duratru sheets are old school vinyl with a new school image. The majority of styles sell for under $2/sq. ft., but only two have a 12mil wear layer.
The Floorte and Floorte Pro collections are geared towards high-end residential or light commercial applications. Styles are priced ($5–$10/sq. ft.) according to the wear layer’s thickness (12mil‑30mil).
The significant difference is in the core construction.
Shaw’s Vinyl Plank Construction
The Floorte line has a WPC (wood polymer composite) core, and Floorte Pro is SPC (stone polymer composite). Both options are finished with a wire brush to add texture.
Shaw specs their plank dimensions in a way that allows you to mix and match sizes to create a custom look—a unique feature among the best vinyl plank flooring brands. You can also use more than one color to add a little extra flair.
Shaw’s Vinyl Plank Durability
Be aware that only two styles in the Duratru line have more than a 12mil wear layer: Ares (12mil) and City Park (20mil). Again, 20mil is the baseline for commercial use.
As we mentioned above, the Floorte and Floorte Pro lines are 12mil–30mil (30mil is nearly bulletproof). As is the case with all vinyl plank flooring, the wear layer determines the price.
Shaw’s Vinyl Plank Warranty Coverage
Just as the wear layer reflects the price, the price reflects the coverage.
Generally, anything with a wear layer thicker than 12mil will be covered for 30 years (for residential products) and 5 years for commercial products.
Styles with 20mil wear layers or thicker will include a lifetime residential warranty and 10‑20 years for commercial installation.
Shaw’s Vinyl Plank Safety Ranking: 9.5/10
Some Shaw vinyl is purchased overseas. If you decide on one of their budget styles, it doesn’t hurt to contact the company and investigate VOC emission standards.
Which Shaw Product Provides The Best Value?
Anything in the Floorte lines between 12mil–20mil will give you the best durability-to-value ratio.
The Inventor of WPC | $6‑$12/sq. ft.
COREtec was formerly a subdivision of USFloors, which was bought out by Shaw in 2016. As a result, many critics compare COREtec Plus, their most famous line, to Shaw’s Floorte Plus.
To be fair, COREtec vinyl planks feature elevated design layers and attached cork underlayment. Cork underlayment is one of the big clues pointing to the best vinyl plank flooring brands.
The main difference is value. COREtec’s vinyl plank will cost $1–$2/sq. ft. more than Shaw’s vinyl plank for the same wear layer thickness.
COREtec’s Vinyl Plank Offerings
COREtec One is the company’s budget-friendly line, sold at $5‑$6/sq ft.
COREtec Plus and COREtec Pro can set you back anywhere from $6‑$13/sq. ft. $13/sq. ft. is the extreme high-end for vinyl flooring.
COREtec’s Vinyl Plank Construction
COREtec developed and patented the first waterproof WPC core. They’ve since expanded their production to include solid vinyl construction and SPC.
All three collections are 100% waterproof and feature an attached cork underlayment.
COREtec Plus and COREtec Pro both have a commercial-grade, 20mil wear layer. Expect a 12mil wear layer from COREtec One.
You can buy all of COREtec’s collections in a DIY friendly, angled click-lock design.
COREtec’s Vinyl Plank Safety Ranking: 9.5/10
Since Shaw manufactures COREtec, you can expect similar safety standards.
Compared to other vinyl plank flooring brands (all of whom have terrific reputations), COREtec’s reviews are exceptional. But their Plus and Pro lines are a bit on the pricier side.
Most online critics will recommend the Plus line, but we think COREtec One shines as a decent value for vinyl planks with a 12mil wear layer and cork underlayment.
Where Size Equals Value | $4‑$7 sq. ft
In terms of the sheer size of production, Armstrong is a beast. They’re the largest vinyl flooring producer in North America.
There’s quite a bit of hype surrounding Armstrong’s Diamond 10 Technology. Real diamonds (synthesized in a lab, of course) are infused into the topcoat of their premium products—a unique perk even among the best vinyl plank flooring brands.
Armstrong’s website is not for the digitally challenged, and they only sell through local retailers. But not to worry! That’s why we’re here. We’ll do our best to give you the information you need before contacting a flooring store near you.
Armstrong Vinyl Plank Offerings
Armstrong offers three collections in various constructions:
PRYZM is their newest collection. It’s available in 20 styles and comes with an attached cork underlayment.
Luxe and Vivero are the remaining two collections. Three durability tiers are available in each one: Good, Better, and Best.
Armstrong Vinyl Plank Construction
Diamonds are the hardest substance on earth. And Armstrong’s Diamond 10 Technology infuses cultured diamonds into their products’ topcoats. Theoretically, this protects the wear layer of their vinyl planks and adds durability.
Construction options are Rigid Core, Luxury Vinyl Tile, Engineered Tile, Vinyl Sheet, and Vinyl Tile. If you’d like further clarification of how these categories differ, we recommend contacting a local flooring retailer. The same goes for pricing.
Installation options are click-lock or glue-down.
Armstrong Vinyl Plank Durability
Armstrong uses a durability rating created to test laminate floors, so this one’s a bit difficult to gauge. Most vinyl intended for commercial use is 20mil or more. To get the exact thickness of Armstrong’s products in “mil” (a unit of measurement commonly used for vinyl flooring wear layers), again, a local retailer is your best bet.
Armstrong Vinyl Plank Warranty Coverage
Most residential products come with lifetime coverage. Vivero Best includes a 20-year commercial warranty.
Armstrong Vinyl Plank Safety Ranking: 9/10
Armstong vinyl is made in America using domestic and globally sourced material. 28% of their vinyl is recycled content. Because recycled content can harbor VOCs, it’s a good idea to check with the manufacturer for emission ratings.
Which Armstrong Product Provides The Best Value?
Due to production size, Armstrong’s Vivero Best is just as durable as Shaw Floorte Plus (as far as wear layer thickness is concerned) but costs less.
But you’re in luck. Mohawk isn’t just one of the best engineered wood flooring brands. It’s also one of the best vinyl plank flooring brands too!
Mohawk is pushing 150 years in the flooring business. All of their manufacturing is done in the US, and they’re proud of their environmental credibility.
All Pet Protection, their pet-specific warranty, covers “all pets, all accidents, all the time.” This is cool because most of the best vinyl plank flooring brands exclude pet-related mishaps in their coverage.
Mohawk Vinyl Plank Offerings
Mohawk Solidtech comes in two collections: Solidtech and Solidtech Plus. Both have beautiful, understated wood and stone-inspired designs with hand-scraped texture. All at the accessible price of $2‑$5/sq. ft.
Solidtech Plus has three times the scratch-resistance of the basic Solidtech and over 200 style choices. Their products are only available through local retailers.
Mohawk Vinyl Plank Construction
All Solidtech is rigid-core with attached foam underlayment. Their vinyl plank is 100% waterproof and free of odor. Uniclic, their proprietary click-lock system, guarantees a seamless install. Planks need to acclimatize for two days at 55‑85 degrees before installation.
Installation options also include traditional glue-down and Unidrop, a proprietary vertical locking system. It’s actually one of our favorites, as far as click-lock systems go!
Mohawk’s Vinyl Plank Durability
Solidtech’s wear layer is a respectable 12mil. Solidtech Plus breaks into the commercial-grade category at 20mil.
Mohawk’s Vinyl Plank Safety Rating: 10/10
Like most of the best vinyl plank flooring brands, all Mohawk’s products are FloorScore certified as low-VOC.
Mohawk’s Vinyl Plank Warranty Coverage
As we mentioned before, Mohawk is the only company to offer a warranty specific to your pets. A no-gap guarantee backs up Uniclic, so you’re covered if the seams come apart after installation.
Solidtech Plus shares the same limited lifetime residential coverage and extends the commercial warranty to 15 years.
Which Mohawk Product Provides The Best Overall Value?
Mohawk’s Solidtech and Solidtech Plus represent excellent value for their price, styling, and durability. Both collections function as a useful baseline when comparing other brands.
The Warby Parker of Vinyl Plank | $2.75‑3.95/sq. ft.
To put it mildly, flooring companies aren’t exactly well-known for the simplicity of their business models. Flooret breaks the mold. They openly adopt the direct-to-consumer strategy of eyeglass giant Warby Parker.
In other words, you buy their vinyl flooring directly through their website. No wholesalers or distributors take a cut. And you save money.
All of Flooret’s energy goes into one collection: Modin, which is sold directly to residential and commercial buyers.
Until recently, Flooret has flown under the radar, but their reviews are stellar. It’s only a matter of time before word gets out.
Flooret’s Vinyl Plank Offerings
Floorets’s exclusive collection, the Modin line, comes in 5 styles and 49 colors. Two durability tiers (Base and Signature) cater to residential and commercial buyers alike. You’ll pay $2.75/sq. ft. for Base and $3.95/sq ft. for Signature.
Flooret’s Vinyl Plank Construction
A UV-protected ceramic bead topcoat protects the Modin line. All planks have four-sided beveled edges. The core layer is SPC (stone polymer composite) with an aluminum oxide topcoat.
Imaging is EIR (embossed in register), meaning the texture perfectly matches the image layer.
Flooret’s Vinyl Plank Durability
Modin Base has a 20mil wear layer.
Modin Signature weighs in at 40mil, which is like the Incredible Hulk of vinyl flooring.
Flooret is FloorScore-certified and CARB2 compliant across their entire product line.
Which Flooret Products Provide The Best Overall Value?
Flooret’s Modin collection at both durability levels is an excellent value. Savvy shoppers will love the direct-to-consumer savings.
The Best Commercial Selection | $4‑$6/sq. ft.
Mannington, as the world’s largest producer of LVT, is a flooring juggernaut. Like Mohawk, they’ve been in business for over 100 years. In 2012 they bought Amtico, a British LVT manufacturer with an excellent reputation.
Innovation defines Mannington’s brand, and its commercial line shows it. Whether you need flooring for a barbershop or an airport, Mannington has you covered.
Not to suggest their residential lines are lacking. Mannington’s quality extends to both commercial and residential markets. Their Adura line alone has four different collections with varying design tweaks to suit every room in your home.
Mannington’s Vinyl Plank Offerings & Construction
All Mannington’s residential LVT sells under the Adura brand name:
Adura Rigid is their newest offering with an SPC core designed for superior dent resistance. Styles come in either 12”x24” stone inspired tiles and 6”x48” or 7”x48” wood inspired planks. The price for both is roughly $4/sq. ft. without installation.
Adura Max has a WPC core that’s ideal for sound dampening and insulation. The expanded polymer core is thicker and more rigid, allowing installation over existing floors. Adura Max shares the same dimensions, pricing ($4/sq. ft.), and styling as the Rigid line.
Another WPC collection, Adura MaxApex, features large plank dimensions up to 72” in length. MaxApex is your source for eye-catching patterns if you’re looking to make a statement. Constructed of the same WPC core as the Max line, you can expect to pay $5-$6/sq. ft.
Adura Flex is their traditional glue-down luxury vinyl tile or plank. The only difference in dimensions from the other Adura lines is an 18”x18” stone inspired tile. As the name suggests, tiles and planks are flexible and will set you back just over $3/sq. ft.
Mannington offers 22 commercial collections in a variety of stone, wood, and abstract designs. Three choices cross over from their Amtico brand, which is still 95% manufactured in Britain.
Mannington has every design, color, and durability level you could ever need. Trust. From corner markets to industrial factories, you’ll have plenty of options.
Retail pricing at Mannington is competitive. How much you pay will depend on your durability needs.
Mannington’s Vinyl Plank Durability
Mannington’s residential Adura line includes a 20mil wear layer.
Commercial wear layers range from 12mil (decent) up to 40mil (incredibly strong).
Commercial warranties are vast. Thankfully, Mannington has excellent customer service. Amtico’s commercial contracts are 15–25 years.
Mannington’s Safety Rating: 10/10
All Mannington products, from hardwood to carpet to laminate to vinyl, are FloorScore certified as low in VOCs.
Which Mannington Product Provides The Best Value?
Both Adura Max and Adura Rigid are pretty excellent deals. Among the best vinyl plank flooring brands, it’s uncommon to find waterproof luxury vinyl for $4/sq. ft. that also has a 20mil wear layer and beveled edges.
The Leader In Sustainability | $5‑8/sq. ft.
Forbo, the only Swiss manufacturer in our “best vinyl plank flooring brands” lineup, specializes in sustainable flooring for commercial and residential applications. As the world leader in linoleum (an ultra-sustainable floor covering), Forbo does their best to bring an environmental ethos to their vinyl.
To do so, Forbo focuses on green production, because there’s not much you can do to make plastic floors better for the environment.
For starters, green energy powers the manufacturing process. And they make a concerted effort to reduce transportation and cutting waste, which is recycled back into their products.
As a result, Forbo is proud to claim the honor of the “most sustainable alternative in LVT.”
Forbo’s Vinyl Plank Offerings
Forbo’s only residential line, Allura, comes in 100 stone and wood-inspired styles and eight installation choices; each installation method has a different wear layer thickness. Like all vinyl products, the cost depends on the wear layer. You can expect to pay anywhere from $5–$8/sq. ft.
Forbo breaks up their commercial products into “homogeneous” and “heterogeneous” categories. Not the catchiest descriptors, but accurate.
Homogeneous is Forbo’s one-layer vinyl sheet construction. It comes in tons of color options and has a uniform design pattern that you might recognize from a high school auditorium or the DMV.
Forbo’s Heterogeneous line is a multi-layered vinyl sheet that can look like anything from Hungarian Oak to the surface of Pluto. Who says vinyl floors have to be boring?
The Hetero line features a variety of functional purposes like slip-resistance, sound-dampening, or vinyl sheet loose-lay—on the odd chance you might need to improvise a quick floor covering for a large space or cover a damp cement floor.
Forbo’s Vinyl Plank Construction
In terms of installation, Forbo leaves no stone unturned. In addition to the basics like click-together and glue-down, they offer a variety of loose-lay formats.
Allura Decibel, a sound-dampening loose-lay, stays in place with a tacky backing that doesn’t permanently adhere to the floor, allowing the planks to be pulled up and re-used—another nod to the environment.
Forbo’s Vinyl Plank Durability
Both Allura and their commercial wear layers range from 20‑40mil.
Forbo’s Vinyl Plank Warranty Coverage
The Allura line has a lifetime residential warranty with 10 years of coverage for commercial applications. With so many choices for commercial products, it’s best to contact the manufacturer for more details.
Forbo’s Safety Rating: 10/10
Pretty much all the best vinyl flooring brands are low-VOC. Forbo sources all its recycled material in-house, so safety standards are never compromised. They’re also FloorScore certified, and they guarantee all their products to be phthalate-free.
Which Forbo Product Provides The Best Value?
Anything Allura is going to have reliable quality and a great price. Forbo’s commitment to green manufacturing is a valuable investment for everyone.
The Best Vinyl Plank Flooring Brand You’ve Never Heard Of | $3‑$4/sq. ft.
That’s because Cali was initially conceived as Cali Bamboo. The idea came to the owners while on a surf trip to Hawaii, where they took a job hacking down rogue bamboo for some extra cash. These days, Cali manufactures fencing, decking, lumber, and—you guessed it—floors.
So why the heck is a bamboo flooring company showing up on the best vinyl plank brand list? Simple: they figured out how to replace sawdust with more sustainable bamboo in WPC. This clever little backdoor into the vinyl industry spawned Cali Vinyl.
Oh, and by the way, Cali has the best product videos in the flooring industry by far.
Cali Vinyl Plank Offerings & Construction
All of Cali’s vinyl plank flooring comes in coastal-inspired wood patterns. Pricing is between $3 and $4/sq. ft. for the planks alone, but the company encourages you to contact them for a more realistic estimate based on the entire scope of the project.
Cali Vinyl Pro Classic is their SPC line, boasting superior dent resistance and a sturdy rapid locking system to make installs fast and secure.
Large format planks are currently on-trend in flooring circles. And Cali delivers with their Longboards line—a nod to their surfing roots. Longboard planks also feature an attached cork underlayment.
All offerings use a proprietary EIR (embossed in register) imaging system called “Hifi” that creates an authentic wood appearance and doubles grain pattern variety for a more realistic look.
Cali Vinyl Plank Durability
All Cali’s vinyl products feature a very respectable 20mil wear layer.
Cali Vinyl Plank Warranty Coverage
Cali Bamboo is a family-owned business. They don’t offer a “lifetime” warranty, but we think 50 years is pretty generous for a 20mil wear layer—the industry standard for commercial durability.
Cali Vinyl Plank Safety Rating: 10/10
Their website doesn’t post any third-party certifications, but we’re willing to bet a company embedded in the green building sector is low-VOC. Feel free to contact Cali for reassurance. Their customer service is top-notch.
Which Cali Product Provides The Best Overall Value?
All of Cali’s vinyl products offer a great value. Which collection you choose is determined by your individual needs.
Notable Vinyl Plank Flooring Brands
Below is a list of brands that just missed the cut in our lineup of best vinyl plank flooring brands. Many of them shine in most categories, but lack in others. Some just don’t have that 12mil wear layer cutoff we mentioned earlier.
NuCore is sold exclusively through Floor & Decor. Some styles come with attached cork underlayment and a 20mil wear layer. Warranties cover lifetime on residential and 15 years for commercial applications. Not bad for under $3/sq. ft.
Home Decorators Collection
Home Decorators Collection is manufactured and sold exclusively at Home Depot. Expect average quality, weak warranties, and prices in the $2–$3/sq. ft. range.
Lifeproof is another brand exclusive to Home Depot. Wear layers range from 6mil–22mil. Home Depot includes a lifetime residential warranty on all Lifeproof products. Even the 6mil stuff!
Pergo is well respected as one of the best laminate brands around—they invented the stuff back in the 1970s. And that’s a reputation that carries over to Pergo Extreme, their vinyl line.
It’s no surprise that Pergo Extreme reviews are super solid. These popular waterproof rigid core planks sell for $4–$6/sq. ft. Pergo claims their Extreme line is 100% dent-proof, waterproof, kid-proof, and pet-proof.
COREtec makes Smartcore, and COREtec, as you know, is owned by Shaw. Good heavens. Anyways, their Pro line is SPC, and the Ultra collection is WPC. Lowe’s sells Smartcore Ultra for about $3.50/sq. ft. Smartcore Pro is 50 cents more.
LL, formerly known as Lumber Liquidators, is a GIANT of a flooring company. Some of their cheaper laminate stuff has a bad rep for not having the best safety standards. If you’re interested in one of their styles, it’s a good idea to check with the manufacturer for VOC content. They’ve had some issues with that—and with honesty—in the past…
Miseno sells classically styled, premium vinyl flooring in the $4–$8/sq. ft. range. You can access a group of online retailers through their website. As Miseno’s pricing and selection improve, you can expect to see them on our roster of best vinyl plank flooring brands.
Dekorman is a wholesale waterproof flooring brand. Their wear layers range from 12mil–28mil, and their planks average about $3/sq. ft.—a decent value for the durability.
For less than $3/sq. ft., you can buy Montserrat rigid vinyl planks in both WPC and SPC core construction. All installations are click-lock, and their vinyl products are FloorScore certified for low VOCs.
Congoleum technically doesn’t even make vinyl floors. They only use 15% vinyl in their predominantly limestone products. Which is cool because their resilient flooring has virtually zero VOCs.
Resilient flooring without the plastic? Yes, please. They also make 16-inch-wide sheets, so even substantial residential spaces can be covered without seams.
Last and quite possibly least, TrafficMaster is another Home Depot offspring. Buy at your own risk. It’ll cost you a little more than $1/sq. ft. and will undoubtedly end its short life in a landfill.
Still Undecided? Here are A Few More Brands to Consider:
HSC Woodland Creek
SFI Luxury Vinyl
Sono by InHaus
Vinyl Plank Flooring FAQs
What Is the Best Thickness for Vinyl Plank Flooring?
We’ve covered this in more detail above, but 12mil is a safe baseline for residential. That said, you can get away with thinner stuff in low traffic spaces. 20mil or thicker is best for commercial applications.
How Long Will Vinyl Plank Flooring Last?
Wear layer thickness determines the longevity of vinyl flooring. As is the case with all the best vinyl plank flooring brands, wear layers are measured in mil, a measurement unit equal to a thousandth of an inch. The warranty will also reflect the wear layer thickness. The function of the space intended for installation also plays a huge role.
Are There Different Grades of Vinyl Plank Flooring?
Absolutely. Many different kinds of core layer composites and topcoat infusions vary amongst manufacturers. But mainly, the wear layer determines the “grade,” or durability, of the product.
What Is the Best Waterproof Vinyl Plank Flooring?
All of the best vinyl planks are technically waterproof in and of themselves. However, seam construction, the addiction of underlayments, and the installer’s skill determine the overall permeability of a floor covering.
Can You Put Heavy Furniture on Vinyl Plank Flooring?
If you have to put something cumbersome on your vinyl floors, shop around for SPC (stone polymer composite). Furniture coasters are always a good idea, especially with budget products with thin wear layers.
Does Vinyl Plank Flooring Scratch Easily?
Vinyl plank flooring’s scratch resistance all depends on the thickness of the wear layer and quality of the topcoat. Any products over 12mil (like you’ll find in the best vinyl plank flooring brands above) will be reasonably scratch resistant.
Which is Better: Vinyl Plank or Vinyl Sheet?
It all depends on the intended use.
That said, vinyl sheets are usually thinner and need potentially harmful adhesives for installation. Vinyl sheets also tend to come in thinner wear layers, which explains the lower cost.
The most significant benefit of vinyl sheet is fewer seams, which can be great when you need an ultra-waterproof floor covering for applications like mudroom flooring.
Planks are generally more expensive, durable, and authentic in appearance.
Do You Need Underlayment for Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring?
It’s undoubtedly a good idea. Especially if the room is damp or you have cement subflooring. Luckily, most of the best vinyl plank flooring brands come with cork or foam underlayment already attached.
Is Vinyl Plank Better Than Laminate?
Vinyl and laminate have their respective pros and cons. One isn’t necessarily better than the other.
What Is the Average Cost to Install Vinyl Plank Flooring?
For one thing, it’s way less than the cost to replace carpet with hardwood. But you can replace that dingy carpet with vinyl that looks exactly like hardwood for about $7/sq. ft. Again, we covered this in detail above.
Can You Mop Vinyl Plank Flooring?
Yes, you can! A damp mop with mild dish soap is all you need to keep the finish on your LVP fresh.
Is LVP With A Wood Core Really Waterproof?
Yes! The “wood” (actually a filtered sawdust called wood flour) is wholly encased in vinyl, making it waterproof.
Is Vinyl More Waterproof Than Laminate?
Overall yes. Waterproof laminate does exist, but all the best vinyl plank flooring brands manufacture 100% waterproof LVP.
What Is The Best Way To Clean Vinyl Plank Flooring?
All you need to clean vinyl flooring is a broom, a vacuum without a rotating brush, or “beater bar,” and a damp mop.
Harsh chemicals and cleaning agents will damage your floors. Splash a little dish soap or shampoo in a bucket of warm water, and you’re golden.
Are Their Ways You Shouldn’t Clean LVP?
Some vacuums have a rotating brush that will scuff up LVP. Also: harsh chemicals or fancy cleaning agents could potentially damage the wear layer of your vinyl flooring.
Can You Vacuum Vinyl Plank Flooring?
Most certainly. Although, again, it can’t be the type of vacuum with a rotating brush, or “beater bar,” because they can damage the wear layer, resulting in a hazy film that obscures the design layer.
Can You Steam Clean Vinyl Plank Flooring?
Not necessary! A damp mop is all you need. And depending on the thickness of the wear layer, the hot steam could damage the wear layer or top-coat.
Some Brands Recommend “Walk-Off” Mats. What Are They And Why Should You Use Them?
“Walk-off mat” is industry jargon for “doormat.” We all know what doormats do. The idea is to keep grit off the floors to protect the wear layer.
Can Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring Be Installed Over Radiant Heat?
As long as the planks are rigid, installing them over radiant heat shouldn’t be a problem. When in doubt, check with a flooring retailer near you to make sure.
Is Vinyl Plank Flooring Green?
Yes and no. Most of the best vinyl plank flooring brands implement green production methods. And salt, a sustainable material, is mixed with polymers to create vinyl. But LVP is challenging to recycle, and the result is a plastic product that will ultimately end up in a landfill.
Can LVP/LVT Be Installed In Areas That Are Not Climate Controlled?
It all depends on the product you choose and the climate you install it in. For various reasons (like color fading), most vinyl flooring isn’t generally intended for outdoor use.
What Else Is Covered Or Excluded In LVP Warranties?
Most warranties cover manufacturer defects limited to the original buyer. Anything else—such as pet accidents or a game of s-k-a-t-e in the kitchen—is on you. However, some of the best vinyl plank flooring brands (shoutout to Mohawk!) have warranties specifically designed for pet owners.
The Best Vinyl Plank Flooring Brands: Conclusion
If you made it this far, congratulations! Your attention span soars above the current average.
Hopefully, you’ve learned all the necessary information to choose the perfect vinyl plank flooring product from the best vinyl plank flooring brand.
Danny is a semi-reformed surf vagrant and beverage nerd. Formerly a fancy-pants waiter in San Francisco, you can now find him tinkering with documents, refreshing the Ocean Beach Surfline Forecast webpage, and excessively doting on his cat.
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