Suck it, upright vacs -- here comes the backpack!
Traditional upright vacuums are bulky and awkward — and they can make your back hurt. Switching to a backpack model can take the strain off and make vacuuming a breeze.
Backpack vacuum cleaners are more comfortable and ergonomic, so you can work longer with less pain. Plus, you can clean hard-to-reach areas more easily than with an upright vacuum. Since backpack vacuums are easy to maneuver, there’s no more straining and twisting!
We’ve put together a list of the 6 best backpack vacuums to make your cleaning job easier.
|Best Carpet Cleaners of 2021|
Hoover Commercial Backpack Vacuum
ProTeam CoachVac Backpack Vacuum
Atrix Backpack Vacuum
Milwaukee Cordless Backpack Vacuum
Prolux 2.0 Lightweight Backpack Vacuum
Powr-Flite Pro Backpack Vacuum
Yes, backpack vacuum cleaners are great tools for many reasons.
Professional cleaners are at risk for musculoskeletal disorders because their work requires them to remain in awkward positions for extended periods of time (1). The ergonomic design of backpack vacuum cleaners means that you don’t have to bend, push or strain as you would with a traditional canister or upright model.
And since the vacuum is on your back, you can stand upright. This means that the weight of the vacuum is evenly distributed across your frame, and you can move naturally.
The frame of the backpack itself is also designed to be lightweight. And it has an adjustable harness. By adjusting the straps, you can make the vacuum sit comfortably on your back so that your spine is in a neutral position.
Finally, because you’re in a more natural position, you don’t need to make as many exaggerated movements, like arm and leg extensions.
This is especially useful if you’re cleaning somewhere like a cinema or an auditorium, where a traditional vacuum wouldn’t fit.
In addition to the vacuum cleaner itself, the way you work is more efficient than with a canister or upright machine. Because the weight of the vacuum cleaner is evenly distributed over your frame, you’re able to move more easily and naturally.
Thanks to this freedom of motion, productivity increases when you use a backpack vac.
The leading trade association for the cleaning industry, ISSA, did a study comparing two similar vacuums — one was an upright and one was a backpack. The upright machine cleaned 3,240 square feet per hour, and the backpack vacuum cleaner cleaned 7,407 square feet per hour. That’s more than twice as efficient (2).
And if you have a cordless model, you don’t have to worry about working around a power cord. This also increases mobility and productivity.
And since they don’t have any wheels, you won’t accidentally damage a floor or baseboard.
That means that with a commercial backpack vacuum, you’ll save money in the long run because there are fewer parts that will get jammed, wear out, or break down.
There are two questions to ask yourself when buying a commercial backpack vacuum. First, do you want it to have a power cord? And second, do you want it to have a bag?
Because they are plugged into a socket, they can reliably run for hours at a time and they have great suction power. This makes them an excellent choice for industrial use or large areas, particularly with carpets.
Although the cords tend to be quite long on these models, these vacuums must be plugged in to run. You need to make sure not to trip over your cable, and you may need to move the plug if you change rooms.
A great example of this type of vacuum is the ProTeam Super CoachVac.
Because these vacuums use batteries, your run time is limited. Additionally, you may lose suction as your battery runs down.
This Makita backpack vac uses lithium-ion batteries instead of a cord
Since the debris is in a sealed bag, they’re more hygienic than bagless models. And you don’t need to clean the vacuum’s filter as often.
But since you need to keep replacing your bags, this adds a bit of an extra cost. Plus, these models are not as environmentally friendly as the bagless ones.
This Oreck vacuum uses disposable bags for sanitary efficient cleaning.
Since you don’t need to buy bags, there are no extra costs associated with the backpack vacuum cleaner. And you can see into the canister, so it’s easy to know when to empty the debris.
Unfortunately, the dirt is not sealed in a bag. So dust and allergens can be released into the air or onto your hands when you empty the canister.
For example, this Hoover commercial lightweight backpack vacuum can hold 6.4 quarts of debris. And it has a clear, domed lid so that you can see when the canister needs to be emptied.
Here are the key features to consider when finding the best backpack vacuum.
We recommend opting for a smaller backpack vacuum, such as a 6-quart machine — it will be powerful. But it will also be more comfortable and easier to handle.
Make sure you choose a model with a high CFM to ensure you’re removing as much dirt as possible. Some vacuums have lower CFM, like this Makita, which runs at 70 CFM. This ProTeam, however, is much stronger and runs at 150 CFM.
Most backpack vacuums have multiple filtration systems to keep dust and particles out of the air. Vacuums with a higher number of filtration stages, such as those with four-stage systems, will keep more debris out of the air than those with fewer.
Also, keep an eye out for the HEPA filtration system. These HEPA filters are highly efficient at preventing particles from becoming airborne by capturing 99.97% of allergens.
For example, this Prolux battery powered backpack vacuum comes with two batteries that last 30 minutes each. In contrast, this Makita comes with only one battery. But it will last for 116 minutes on the normal setting and 33 minutes on the “Max” setting.
If you need to work for a longer period of time, you’ll either need to invest in additional (or more powerful) batteries. Or you should consider a corded vacuum.
And remember, the suction power of the vacuum may decrease as the battery begins to run down.
If you’re cleaning bigger spaces, ensure you have enough length to move around the entire room without needing to plug and unplug the vacuum.
If you’re prone to dust or allergies, using a bagged model will be better. For example, when emptied, this GV Backpack Vac will keep more debris out of the air than a bagless vacuum.
On the other hand, bagless models like this Prolux are cheaper because you don’t need to keep replacing the bags.
Keep an eye out for models that advertise a “comfort-fit.” These vacuums will have a padded, adjustable shoulder harness. And also belt to fit securely and comfortably on your body.
Some harnesses will also come with tool belts, so you can conveniently carry everything with you and increase your productivity.
Ergonomically-designed backpacks will help you work for longer with less pain. This one from Hoover was even designed by a chiropractor.
Make sure you take a look at all of the accessories offered. And see which ones will be most useful to you based on the type of cleaning you’re doing.
This Atrix, for example, comes with a lot of tools, including a crevice tool and an upholstery tool.
Look for vacuums that produce about 70 dB of sound or lower, as these will cause minimal discomfort.
According to HealthLink BC, a regular vacuum cleaner produces around 75 dB of sound (3). However, some models produce less — for example, this one from ProTeam has a quiet mode where it only produces 51 dB.
Remember, you can always wear earplugs, too.
Warranties usually cover problems with the material, construction, or workmanship of a backpack vac. However, they may not include damage from improper use, drops, or normal wear and tear.
Always check the warranty length and details on the manufacturer’s website. It’s also a good idea to make sure you have the manufacturer’s contact information in case something goes wrong.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, here’s our list of the top 6 backpack vacuums. We’ve spent hours comparing different brands and models to help you find the perfect one.
This backpack vacuum is extremely comfortable because the harness was designed by a chiropractor. This means you can work for long periods of time without back pain.
Weighing under 10 pounds, this vacuum is a comfortable size to carry. But that doesn’t mean it’s weak — with 120 CFM it has great suction power for its size.
It also comes with a 48-foot extension cord so you don’t have to interrupt your work to search for outlets.
|Included Accessories||Locking hose, crevice tool, turbo floor tool,dusting brush, and upholstery tool|
|Extra Features||HEPA filter|
|Sound Level||66 dB|
|Air Flow||120 CFM|
|Cord Length||48 feet|
|Ideal for||Hardwood floors, Pet hair & pet dander, Dusting|
With a 10-quart large capacity and 6 accessories, this ProTeam model is great for cleaning large areas. Thanks to its multi-surface floor tool, you can clean any surface, from carpets to wood and tiles.
The four-stage filtration system, which includes a HEPA filter, ensures that your air quality remains excellent.
Like the Hoover model above, this backpack vacuum also has a 50-foot extension power cord to make sure you can reach every nook and cranny you need to.
|Included Accessories||Professional flexible hose, 2 Intercept micro filter bags, Xover performance floor tool, crevice tool, two-piece wand, soft dusting brush, upholstery tool|
|Extra Features||HEPA filter|
|Sound Level||66 dB|
|Cord Length||50 feet|
|Ideal for||Convention centers, Meeting halls, Stadiums, High traffic areas|
This comfortable backpack can be converted for right-handed or left-handed people, so if you need to share it around, anyone can use it.
The HEPA filter keeps your air sparkling clean.
The Atrix is a great multi-purpose tool because it quickly converts into a blower — and comes with three extra blower nozzles.
|Included Accessories||6’ vacuum hose, blower adapter, exhaust filter cover, extension wand, multiple nozzle sets, crevice tool, 2 brushes, shakeout bag, filter sets, set of 3 hose and filter plugs.|
|Extra Features||Belt loop storage, HEPA filter|
|Air Flow||106 CFM|
|Cord Length||Approximately 2 feet|
|Ideal for||Stairs, Draperies,Blinds|
This cordless backpack vacuum can be worn on your back, held in your hand, placed on the ground, or hung from ladders or railings.
The Milwaukee has both a HEPA filtration and a dust extraction adapter. So it will keep most debris out of the air.
Designed for job sites, this backpack vacuum has a powerful motor and cyclonic design. It provides two times more power than traditional job site vacuums.
Some users also opt for higher Ah batteries, which will give you a longer run time.
|Included Accessories||8.0 Ah battery, rapid battery charger, flexible hose, telescoping extension wand, floor tool, crevice tool, dust extraction adapter|
|Extra Features||HEPA filter, removable harness|
|Sound Level||76 dB|
|Air Flow||55 CFM|
|Run Time:||25 min on “high” mode, 40 min on “low” mode|
|Ideal for||Job sites, Hard floors|
This Prolux model only weighs 9 pounds, but it’s still 40 times more powerful than standard vacuums.
This lightweight backpack vacuum has a HEPA filtration to keep the air clean, and it also has a “vortex chamber” to keep dust away from the filter. This means the filter won’t clog easily.
|Included Accessories||Hardfloor tool, carpet tool, upholstery tool with removable bristles, crevice tool, dusting brush, telescopic wand, tool adapter, 1.5” diameter hose|
|Extra Features||HEPA filter|
|Sound Level||70 dB|
|Air Flow||125 CFM|
|Cord Length||35 feet|
|Warranty||5 year motor, 3 year body|
|Ideal for||Home use,Janitorial service|
This backpack vacuum operates at only 62 dB, which is much quieter than other models.
The harness is specially designed by Deuter, a hiking and backpacking company, so it is extremely comfortable. It’s also made with a breathable mesh so that you don’t overheat while cleaning.
This model has not only a HEPA filter, but also a 5-stage filtration system to keep particles out of the air.
|Included Accessories||50’ power cord, 2 HEPA filter bags, standard vacuum bag, 2 section bend wand, 4’ crush-proof hose, 14” carpet tool, 14” Power-Glide carpet tool, 14” hard floor tool, 5” upholstery tool, 3” dusting tool, 17” crevice tool|
|Extra Features||HEPA filter|
|Sound Level||62 dB|
|Air Flow||130 CFM|
|Cord Length||50 feet|
|Ideal for||Indoor commercial cleaning, Hard floors (hardwood floors),Upholstery,Dusting|
|Product||Capacity||Weight||Sound Level||Air Flow||Cord Length||Extra Features||Ideal for|
|Hoover Commercial Backpack Vacuum||6.4 quarts||9.2 pounds||66 dB||120 CFM||48 feet||HEPA filter||Hardwood floors, Pet hair & pet dander, Dusting
|ProTeam CoachVac Backpack Vacuum||10 quarts||11 pounds||66 dB||N/A||50 feet||HEPA filter||Convention centers, Meeting halls, Stadiums, High traffic areas
|Atrix Backpack Vacuum||8 quarts||10.3 pounds||N/A||106 CFM||Approximately 2 feet||Belt loop storage, HEPA filter||Convention centers, Meeting halls, Stadiums, High traffic areas
|Milwaukee Cordless Backpack Vacuum||1 gallon||15.25 pounds||76 dB||55 CFM||N/A||HEPA filter, removable harness||Stairs, Draperies,Blinds
|Prolux 2.0 Lightweight Backpack Vacuum||N/A||9 pounds||70 dB||125 CFM||35 feet||HEPA filter||Stairs, Draperies,Blinds
|Powr-Flite Comfort Backpack Vacuum||6 quarts||16 pounds||62 dB||130 CFM||50 feet||HEPA filter||Stairs, Draperies,Blinds
When you spend a lot of time cleaning, you want your experience to be as comfortable and efficient as possible. Traditional upright and canister vacuums are awkward to maneuver and can even cause long-term health problems.
Backpack vacuums, however, are more efficient and easier on your body. They are also low-maintenance.
When comparing backpack vacuums, remember the four options: corded, cordless, bagged, and bagless. Also, think about how much power you need and how much weight you can carry. And don’t forget about extra details like HEPA filters, all the accessories, and warranties.
There’s a lot to think about, but with our list of the best backpack vacuums, we know you’ll find the perfect one to improve your cleaning experience.
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