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That's a tough question because it depend! ... great answer eh! but think about what matters most to YOU! Is it the looks, the durability, or if you have an old house it might be the stability... here's a few ideas.
Grainy woods like oak an ash disguise life's little mishaps more than clean, non-grainy woods like maple, cherry or birch
The non-science guy would define "density" as how heavy it is and use it as a pretty good guide on how many dents it will or will not resist. More weight equals greater density equals less dents.... but it can come with a price. Some very dense exotic woods only like humid tropical environments and can have problems when forced to live in dryer northern climates.
Many exotic woods are quite dark in natural colour, so rarely "stained" to alter their colours.. this can be a definite advantage. If the floor gets scratched you never expose a lighter coloured wood underneath... this is also true of our darkest domestic species, american black walnut. Having said that dark woods also show more dust and animal hair
Here's some information about specific species and their "goods and bads".
A common north American wood, ash makes a great wood flooring that is durable, stable and reasonable in price .... read more about white ash flooring
This is one of the prettiest "blonde" woods, as far as I'm concerned :) , but did you know why you should never use this in an older drafty home? ... find out more about Beech Hardwood Floors
The colouring of Birch flooring is much the same as Beech, with broader market distribution, thus a little easier to get bits and pieces of trim & steps to finish off the job... click here for more info about birch hardwood floors..
This is the tough guy of them all... Rich, dark and dense so even the dog has a hard time to cause any havoc. It's also the most common "exotic wood" of them all, so even a reasonable price... what more could you ask for? But it does have a faults like the rest of life... click here for more info about Brazilian Hardwood Flooring (also known as Jatoba)
OK so this is my favorite North American wood. In sunlight it darkens to the most beautiful rich russet colour, but maybe not the best choice of woods if you still have little ones at home... read more about cherry flooring
Hard Maple is for the clear cut individual that likes clean lines and solid colour, but what are you giving up? ... Hard Maple wood flooring is like a white shirt.. read more
Red Oak is definitely for the traditionalist. It never goes out of style, offers great resale value and easy to look after, but where does the black stain come from? Oak hardwood flooring
This is the one dark wood in the North America forest. It is currently experiencing a come back in favour with decorators around the north... black walnut hardwood
.. so as you can see every species has its ups and down, and now it is mostly up to you to find the one that you really fall in love with, and meets the durability challenges of your life.... have fun Karen