If you’ve never owned one, you’ve most probably seen them being used at a hotel, departmental store or any other business. I believe you admired the ease with which the cleaners seemed to vacuum dirt off the floors and other surfaces. Backpack vacuums are versatile, powerful, and highly mobile cleaning machines. In spite of them being marketed as suited for commercial places, you can use backpack vacuums anywhere. In your home, they will clean faster and more comfortably than the conventional stand-ups. Because you wear them on your back, you can vacuum for extended periods as well as clean every part of your home. The hard-to-reach areas will be a breeze to vacuum, plus tasks won’t tire you as much as they do when using your regular vac. With the best backpack vacuum cleaner, your vacuuming activities will improve so much that you may never go back to using the push and pull types.
Backpack vacuums have been around for quite some time. Their features have been improving over the years, with manufacturers focusing on increasing their suction power while making them more compact. As a result, the backpack vacuum of today is a power-packed machine that’s small-sized and weighs less than what you would imagine. Many of the popular manufacturers are making these vacuums as more and more homeowners embrace the efficiency and versatility of cleaning with a vacuum you can hold on your back.
- 1 The benefits of Using a Backpack Vacuum – are they any good?
- 2 Best 6 backpack vacuums to buy
- 3 The Pros of Backpack Vacuums
- 4 The Cons of Backpack Vacuums
- 5 Buying Your Backpack Vacuum
- 6 Corded Vs. Cordless Backpack Vacuums
- 7 Closing Thoughts
The benefits of Using a Backpack Vacuum – are they any good?
Back vacuums are quickly moving to the household setting, and for good reasons. Having one in your home saves you time. There’s no pulling or pushing a massive vacuuming machine that sometimes refuses to budge when cleaning carpets. You also do not need to worry about transitioning from one floor to another. Making trips to the trash can to empty the vacuumed dirt becomes a story of the past as these vacuums come with huge containers to hold dirt. Backpack vacuums are also lightweight, which means cleaning activities that are less tiring. The mobility they allow you is also unrivaled, and serves to make cleaning easier and more fun.
If you’ve never used a backpack in your home, it could be that you don’t have adequate information about what cleaning advantages they offer. Or, it could be that their price puts you off. Whatever the reason, read on to discover more about these little-known types of vacuums, their pros and cons. We will also see how you can choose the best backpack vacuum for a reasonable price.
Best 6 backpack vacuums to buy
|Vacuum||Air flow (CFM)||Motor (Amps)||Dirt capacity (qt.)||Cord length (ft.)||Weight (lbs.)||Noise (dBA)||Warranty (years)||Price|
|ProTeam Super CoachVac||150||10||10||50||11||66||3||$403.49|
|Sanitaire Quiet Clean||120||8.5||6||50||11.5||69||2||$247.30|
|Hoover Commercial C2401||120||8.5||6.4||48||9.2||74||2||$232.33|
|Hoover PortaPower CH30000||100||7.4||2||35.5||8.3||71||2||$101.72|
|Oreck Commercial BB900DGR XL Pro 5||64||4||1||30||5||72||1||$121.44|
|Bissell BigGreen Commercial BGPR010A||122||5||10||50||12||61||1||$398.99|
ProTeam Super CoachVac 10 Qt.
ProTeam backpack vacuums are possibly the best on the market. This extremely quiet (comparable with some of the best low-noise vacuums from my top) Super CoachVac weighs only 11 lbs, yet packs a lot of power. The 1200 W (10 amps) motor delivers 150 CFM, mote than enough for any cleaning problem. It has a 4-layer filtration system, making it more efficient than regular HEPA vacuums. The dirt bag can accommodate 10 quarts of debris. The power cord is 50 ft. long, allowing you to cover a lot of ground. The accessories are all there. You get a soft dusting brush, a claw nozzle, a crevice tool, a multi-surface floor tool and a telescoping wand.
Sanitaire Quiet Clean EURSC412B
Sanitaire has a long tradition in building backpack vacuums. The Quiet Clean EURSC412B is a great vacuum for the money. It packs consistent suction and a good set of accessories. The ham is easy to grab and place on your back. The cord is long enough to satisfy most consumers. Materials are of good quality, and the sound produced is moderate.
Hoover Commercial C2401
Hoover entered the commercial vacuum market many years ago. Its experience allowed them to build the C2401 backpack vacuum. It’s light weight, relatively cheap (for a commercial backpack vacuums) and has good specs. The suction is rated at 120 CFM, the bin capacity is 6.4 qt and the weight is 9.2 lbs.
Hoover PortaPower CH30000
A good lightweight bag/backpack vacuum is the PortaPower CH30000. It’s attachments, it power and its versatility recommend it, especially for multi-floors and above-the-floor cleaning. Although it is the ideal choice for people don’t want to spend a fortune, and yet who need reliability and flexibility.
Oreck Commercial BB900DGR XL Pro 5
Very similar to the Hoover PortaPower, the Oreck Commercial XL Pro is a great small vacuum, weighing only 5 pounds. It comes with a good set of accessories, a decent suction and 30 fr of power cord, enough for households under 2000 sq ft.
Bissell BigGreen Commercial BGPR010A 10 Qt.
Bissell produces many commercial grade cleaning products. Among them is the best seller Big Green carpet cleaner. Big Green became a brand in the industry, and it is now used for other products, such as the BGPR010A backpack vacuum. This uses a high quality motor which consumes only 5 amps, produces an incredible low noise (61 db) and delivers an astonishing airflow of 122 CFM.
The Pros of Backpack Vacuums
Because they’re meant to be carried on the back, these vacuums are designed to be as light as possible. It’s unlikely that you will find a backpack vacuum that weighs more than 15 pounds, with most of them weighing between 6 and10 pounds. The low weight makes them less tiring to carry around when cleaning the different places in your home. You can actually walk up the steps of a staircase with this vacuum on your back and not feel fatigued. Try that with an upright or canister vacuum of similar cleaning power, and you will have something to complain about.
Backpack vacuums are primarily made for commercial use. These are places that are high-traffic and, therefore, likely to have more dirt to be cleaned than homes. As a result, manufacturers use powerful motors in these vacuums. They also use technologies that create an efficient and strong airflow. It’s the reason these vacuums perform so well on a variety of floors and different levels of soiling. The powerful suction is also necessary because the vacuums usually do not come with a beater brush. It ensures efficient pick-up of dirt even without the agitation of a brush. It is not uncommon to reach airflows of more than 100-120 CFM.
The vacuums are meant to be used for cleaning places that are frequented by different people. They’re, therefore, equipped with excellent filtration systems to ensure dust and the various other allergens don’t escape. The vacuums feature efficient, multi-filtration systems that trap allergens at different levels. It’s commonplace for manufacturers to use filters that are HEPA in these vacuums. The filters are capable of ensuring that 99.97 of the allergens picked up by the vacuuming head are trapped.
Backpack vacuums don’t come with the mechanical parts of conventional vacuums such as swivel heads and wheels. As a result, their durability is higher since they’re not likely to break down. Having fewer moving parts also means they’re easy to maintain as there are not many parts breaking down and requiring repair or replacement. Although initially costly, backpack vacuums offer more value for money in the long run. They don’t cause as many maintenance expenses as regular vacs which helps to offset their initial cost.
Higher Cleaning Rate
Studies show that backpack vacuums enable you to clean up to three times faster. The vacuum is strapped to your body, so your mobility when using them is better than when using other types of cleaning machines. You move faster and easier, whether from one room to another or up a long staircase. It’s an advantage if cleaning large areas or several rooms. Also, if using it to clean a business premises and you have limited time to spend on the task.
You do not need to bend when using a backpack vacuum. Because of this, you can clean for extended hours without worrying that you will experience back pains. The upright posture these vacuums accord you is essential if bending causes you complications. It also allows you to clean large areas without feeling fatigued. That should be good news if you have a large home and vacuuming activities always leave you tired to the bone or with an uncomfortable backache.
Upright and canister vacuums can cause tripping accidents, either from the vacuuming unit itself or the cord it pulls along. This doesn’t happen with backpack vacuums. Apart from the fact that the unit is not on the ground, some backpack vacuums are cordless. They allow you to move all over the area you’re cleaning without encountering tripping obstacles.
Higher Dust Capacity
The ample space to hold dirt that characterizes backpack vacuums is impressive. Mainly meant to be used for the cleaning of highly soiled commercial places, the vacuums feature large capacity dust bags, usually several liters. They’re capable of storing dirt from several vacuuming sessions before filling up. It is not uncommon to have capacities of 10 quarts. This can be of much benefit if your house is large or if you have pets and kids. It means fewer emptying rounds, and if it’s the disposable type of bag, fewer replacements. It saves you time and the hassle of the emptying process. For the bagged vacuum type, you will spend less money buying new bags.
You can imagine what a nuisance a backpack vacuum would be if it roared heavily on your back for the whole time your cleaning sessions took. Manufacturers understand this, and is the reason a lot has been done to bring down the noise these vacuums produce. It’s rare to find a backpack vacuum that goes above 72 dB. They mostly range between 60 dB to 70 dB. Such levels are tolerable and allow you to use the vacuum for extended periods without feeling stressed out or fatigued.
You can clean both bare and carpet floors with your backpack vacuum provided the carpet is not high-pile. Because these vacuums don’t usually feature a powered brush roll, carpets such as the shag type may not be efficiently cleaned. The list of the surfaces and places you can use a backpack on does not end there. You can use it to clean mattresses, couches and other fabrics. They come with the appropriate tools and attachments to allow for that, just like your regular vacuum. You can even use your cordless backpack vacuum to clean your car. You don’t push or pull them on the floor, which means they’re easier to use when cleaning the challenging areas of your home such as congested rooms and ceilings.
The vacuums are made to be small-sized and allow you to squeeze through spaces when necessary. You will enter the narrow areas of your home with the vac strapped to your back and vacuum every nook and cranny. In addition to the compactness of these vacuums, your hand is always free to remove obstacles on the way as you go about vacuuming congested areas. It makes backpack vacuums suitable for the cleaning of homes that are not too large such as apartments. They have the versatility of handhelds, but with superior vacuuming power and capabilities.
Adequate Cord Length
Once again, this feature that backpack vacuums come equipped with is attributable to the commercial settings they’re made to be used in. Most of them feature cords that measure approximately 50 feet. Now, this is the kind of cable that would make your home’s cleaning activities so easy and less annoying. You won’t need to keep changing outlets, plus the cleaning radius would be impressive. For the average home, you won’t require an extension cord when using these cleaning machines. What’s more, some backpack vacuums come with a power cable that can be detached from the unit. It allows you to use a cord whose length suits your requirements. This can be so if your home is large and with fewer power outlets. Also, if you have long staircases to vacuum, and the 50-foot power cable is not long enough.
Apart from these vacuums allowing you to move into areas you couldn’t with a regular vacuum, they come with longer hoses and wands. Some models feature a wand that’s telescopic and that allows you to remove the dirt that’s stuck to ceilings, corners, and other hard-to-reach spots.
The Cons of Backpack Vacuums
Backpack vacuums offer many benefits, all of which make your cleaning activities enjoyable, more comfortable, and more efficient. However, they also come with a few disadvantages. You need to be aware of when or before purchasing one to so your decision to acquire one is an informed one. The downsides include;
When looking to buy a backpack vacuum, one of the limitations can be their cost. Some models and brands can be quite expensive, with prices ranging from as low as $150 to as high as $1000. But then, some of the conventional stand-up vacs that are considered high-end sell for prices that are within this range-or even higher. Compared to the backpack vacuums, they may not be as versatile or easy to use. Also, they may not be capable of improving the cleaning rate as much as backpack vacuums do.
For less weight and improved portability, backpack vacuums have to sacrifice some of the features that are found on regular vacuums. Or, it could be a case where some features are unnecessary since the vacuums don’t move on the ground. They’re mostly a tank, the motor’s housing, the regular hose, and the cleaning wand. No fancy features that uprights and canister vacuums come equipped with. While this may make backpack vacs lack some of the functionalities found on the other vacuum types, it doesn’t affect their ability to clean. Their efficiency, versatility, and cleaning power remains superior. And that’s in addition to them allowing for increased mobility and enhanced rate of cleaning.
Not Suitable for High-Pile Carpets
Backpack vacs do not perform as superbly when cleaning dense carpets. They usually don’t feature a motorized beater brush to agitate dirt, which makes them good on a variety of floors but not high-pile carpets. However, the vacuums will do well if the carpet is low-pile. They’re also suitable if your carpets are the sensitive types that cannot be cleaned with a powered vacuuming head. On hard floors, these vacuums perform superbly.
Not Advisable if You’ve Back Problems
These vacuums are not suitable if you have back problems as they’re worn on the back. Although lightweight, carrying them around for long hours when you have health issues with your back could cause complications. Besides, some can be heavy or poorly designed with no proper distribution of weight.
Buying Your Backpack Vacuum
I believe you can now weigh the two sides of backpack vacuums to decide if you need one or not. In the case you’ve made up your mind to make a purchase, you may want to know how to pick the right brand and model. While buying the regular stand-up vac may not be a challenge, finding the best backpack vacuum cleaner can be another story. You may not have owned one, only having seen them being used in various places such as hotels, schools, departmental stores and other premises. If that’s the case, use the guide below for the features to look out for.
Backpack vacuums come with powerful motors. However, different brands and models have the motors rated differently. You will find most of them rated 8 amps and above. An 8-amp backpack vacuum makes a powerful engine that suits the cleaning requirements of the average home. It also indicates an energy efficient device. You may go for a vacuum that’s rated higher than this if your cleaning is heavy-duty, such as when your floors are carpeted or if you have kids and pets. Apart from choosing a vacuum whose power rating or amperage is high, the strength of airflow also matters a lot. It’s what provides the power to lift dirt off surfaces and, therefore, a vacuum’s cleaning ability. Some manufactures indicate suction power and airflow strength of their vacuums while others don’t, only showing the amperage or wattage. If that’s the case, you can still use the wattage and the airflow technologies used to estimate the suction power.
Despite these vacuums being light, different models will have different weights. Here, balancing the weight of the vacuum and its suction power is required. Don’t compromise one to get a higher value for the other. Go for a vacuum that’s not too heavy, while not forgetting about its cleaning ability. Backpack vacuums that weigh 10 pounds or below are more advisable. Almost anyone in your family can use these, plus you can clean with them for long periods without exhaustion or danger of injuries. A lightweight backpack vacuum is essential if you have to vacuum a long staircase while carrying it on your back. Also, if your house is large and you take time to finish your planned vacuuming activities. If your home is not too large or if your vacuuming sessions don’t take long, the issue of weight shouldn’t be your main focus when choosing the best backpack vacuum. That’s because the vacuums are already lightweight and made to be as comfortable as they can be on your back.
Still on the issue of weight, its distribution in the vacuum’s construction is important. The unit should be top heavy as opposed to having the weight concentrated at the bottom. If you’re a hiker, you understand how packing the lightest items first before filling the top of a backpack with the heavier ones helps to lower the perceived weight. The same principle applies to backpack vacuums, and you need to consider that when selecting the model to buy.
Level of Comfort
The vacuum’s level of comfort encompasses a number of features such as its weight and size. However, it’s the harnessing that contributes to comfort the most. The right strapping can make these vacuums easy on your body while a poor one can make it weigh heavily on your back or cut into your shoulders. Look for the one that features adequately cushioned straps. Also, those that are adjustable to different fits. A harness that can be adjusted allows you to strap the vacuum to the most comfortable level of tightness or hold. It also means different people in your home can wear it. With the right harnessing, the vacuum’s weight is well-distributed for improved comfort.
A noise level that’s not more the pan 70 dB is tolerable, and the best backpack vacuum shouldn’t go past this. However, you should go lower than this if you’re not looking for a vacuum that’s overly powerful such as one that cleans carpeted floors. A noise level of between 60 and 70 decibels would then be suitable for you. But that’s not to say that every backpack vacuum that runs quietly isn’t powerful enough. Some manufacturers employ innovative insulation that dampens motor vibrations and the noise of airflow to comparably low levels without reducing the suction. Others use brushless motors and reduce the noise further. Backpack vacuums are even known to be quieter than uprights and canister types, so you know the level of quietness to expect if you buy one.
Exhaust Air Direction
The direction towards which your regular vacuum discharges air may not matter much. Not so with the backpack vac. These vacuums are held high up in the air which means the exhaust air can cause you discomfort if not properly directed. Some of the vacuums will discharge the air straight down. These are not suitable as the air constantly hits your legs causing your cleaning activities to be uncomfortable and stressful. Some discharge the air at an angle. While these may not disturb your legs, they could cause things near you such as papers to fly about. In the worst of cases, the stream of air could blow dust and cause problems. The best backpack vacuum is the one that discharges air upwards as well as away from you. No dust, hair or papers will be blown about, plus your legs will not be disturbed by the hot stream of air coming out of the unit.
Dust Bin Capacity
Backpack vacuums usually feature dirt bags that are many times larger than those of regular stand-ups. However, the sizes are varied. Because large dirt containers offer you more convenience, ensure the one you buy has a capacity large enough to make emptying trips fewer. A large dirtbag is also essential to assure you of consistent suction. That’s because a dirt holder that’s almost full causes suction to drop, and you will get many of these occurrences if the bag is not large enough. Many brands and models feature 4 to 5-liter dustbags. These are adequate if you usually clean heavily soiled areas.
The design of the vacuum is an essential factor to consider when selecting the best backpack vacuum. Some models are more ergonomic than others, with some units hugging your back better than others. The ergonomic design also stretches to the harness. Ensure the straps are broad and thick enough so they don’t cut into your shoulders and cause injury or discomfort. The hip girdle should be broad and padded, too, so you’re able to wear the vacuum for extended hours without fatigue.
Backpack vacuums come with different levels of filtration. There are those whose filtration is low, while others offer as many as four or five levels of filtration. The efficiency of the filtration serves to show you how well the vacuum will trap particles and make your home or commercial place allergen-free. Excellent filtration also improves suction and makes it consistent throughout the vacuuming sessions. While most backpack vacs come with HEPA filters, it’s good that you confirm that the one you buy has one, or a filter that can hold back 99.97% of particles. Still on the issue of filtration, ensure the vacuuming unit is adequately sealed to prevent vacuumed dust and allergens from escaping through the casing.
Different vacuum brands and models are sold with different accessories. They include an upholstery tool for fabrics and pet hair, a crevice tool for tricky corners or narrow places, and more. The kind of attachment you will need depends on the surfaces and areas you will clean. Don’t worry, though. Many of the backpack vacuums currently being sold feature all the tools and accessories necessary for convenient and thorough cleaning.
There’s no doubt that backpack vacuums are highly priced, and you would need to be prepared to pay a lot to acquire one. The prices vary though, with different manufacturers setting different prices for their vacuums. It’s therefore prudent to ensure the price matches the cleaning ability of the vacuum. There are those brands that sell at a reasonable price and that perform superbly. They’re the kind of vacuums to go for. Most of the time, a high price doesn’t mean higher cleaning power. Another factor to consider is your vacuuming requirements. Choose the vacuum that meets those needs rather than one that costs the highest.
Some brands are known for quality and durability. Backpack vacuums are expensive appliances, and you cannot afford to buy yours from just any manufacturer. You want a vacuum that will be efficient at cleaning a variety of surfaces. A vacuum that will last for long, among other features. To help you find the top brands and the best backpack vacuum models, you can use my list from the beginning for this article.
An appliance that you will use frequently needs to come with a warranty, and your backpack vacuum should be no exception. A warranty that goes for two years isn’t too bad. However, a longer one would be more welcome. It would give you peace knowing that you’ve somewhere to run to should anything wrong. It’s also a sign that the manufacturer has trust in their vacuums. The likelihood that the products from such companies are sturdy and durable is, therefore, higher. I would advise to go for a warranty of 2 years of more.
Corded Vs. Cordless Backpack Vacuums
When buying your backpack vacuum, you will have the option to buy either a corded or battery powered unit. But which one is better than the other? It depends on your requirements, the level of convenience you’re looking for, and your budget. Each type comes with benefits as well as drawbacks, and understanding the pros and cons of both types would help you make the best buying decision.
Corded backpack vacuums offer you more cleaning power. They can run on any power rating which means units with powerful motors and great airflow are possible. Because the power doesn’t run out, corded backpack vacuums can clean large areas nonstop. These vacuums are suitable if you have a large home or if you have carpeted areas that require powerful suction and extended vacuuming sessions.
The downsides of the corded types include the limited mobility they accord you. Backpack vacuums are known to be highly movable, but you won’t move them beyond the length of the power cord they come with. However, using an extension cord would improve the reach. Alternatively, you could choose a model that features a detachable cable and allows you to use a different one of adequate length.
These offer unlimited mobility which is desirable for the cleaning of any home or commercial place, whether big or small. When using them, you’re able to reach the otherwise unreachable areas. You can even use your cordless backpack vacuum to clean your car outside. Unlike the conventional handheld, this one doesn’t tire you out quickly since you don’t carry it in your hand. That means vacuuming large areas with ease.
Cordless backpack vacuums score low in some areas, though. They eventually run out of power when the battery finally runs out of charge. It can inconvenience you, especially if it happens in the middle of your cleaning. You can avoid such occurrences by selecting a unit that comes with a battery that offers a long enough runtime. There have been many developments in this area, with some powerful backpack vacuums featuring batteries than run for as long as 45 minutes or even an hour. Such time lengths are adequate for the typical cleaning needs. Apart from decent runtime, the best backpack vacuum would be one whose battery takes a short time to reach full charge.
One good example of a commercial cordless backpack vacuum is the new Hoover Hushtone. It weights 20 lbs., has a dust collector of 6 qt. and can produce an airflow of 94 CFM. The motor makes a noise which measures 66 dB. Other interesting metrics you should know about are the 40V of the Li-ion batteries, the HEPA filtration and the price of one of the best deals for this unit: $375.99.
While more popular for cleaning commercial places than homes, backpack vacuums are highly efficient and convenient. They bring the mobility and great suction power they’ve always offered when used in commercial establishments. Granted, they’re pricier when compared to the regular stand-up vacs. But vacuuming shouldn’t be an activity that’s hampered by the limitations of the appliance being used. Given the option of unhindered movement when cleaning and low price, I bet you would choose a vacuum that offers you the freedom to move about. Backpack vacuums, unknown to many, come with features that manufacturers packed in them for enhanced cleaning abilities. From suction, filtration, freedom of motion, weight to large dust capacities, these vacuums are better than the canister, upright, and handheld types by far. When shopping for one, ensure you’re careful with your selection. The best backpack vacuum for you is the one that matches your needs, whether in your home or business. Look to see, too, that its price is within your budget. There are many backpack vacuums out there that are budget-friendly and that perform impressively. I think I’ve managed to list here the best ones, but if you have another opinion, please share it below.
Latest posts by Jason Roberts (see all)
- 10 best vacuums for tiles – A sincere 2019 overview - January 13, 2019
- Shark ION F80 MultiFLEX review – pros, cons and comparison charts - December 22, 2018
- Miele Compact C2 Electro+ PowerLine vs Miele Complete C2 Hard Floor - December 19, 2018