Vacuuming the floors is a chore most people simply dread.
It doesn’t matter if you’re cleaning the floors in your own home or tidying up a large industrial space, no matter what type of flooring is used, it’s crucial to keep it clean.
Generally, when people think of vacuums they think of the traditional upright or canister models. These variants are typically enough for homeowners but will be almost useless in a larger setting.
One alternative that is often overlooked is a backpack vacuum…
Backpack vacuums are most often used in commercial settings but they can be pressed into commission in the home as well. There are many benefits to rolling with a backpack vacuum instead of a more popular canister or upright model, and today we will be discussing some of these along with reviewing some of the best models available.
First thing’s first, then…
What is a backpack vacuum?
- What Is A Backpack Vacuum?
- Why Should You Use A Backpack Vacuum?
- What to Look for When Buying the Best Backpack Vacuum
- What Can Backpack Vacuums Do?
- Top 5 Best Backpack Vacuums and Reviews
- Best Backpack Vacuum Brands
- Wearing Your Backpack Vacuum
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What Is A Backpack Vacuum?
A backpack vacuum is basically a canister vacuum that you wear on your back as opposed to pulling around the floor on wheels.
These vacuums have been engineered to be extremely lightweight and ultra-portable. Most of the backpack vacuums available will come with back supports and ergonomic pads, allowing you to comfortably clean for a longer period of time without feeling the strain.
Just like a regular backpack, this style of vacuum is worn on the body with a harness that is connected to the machine. This harness goes over your shoulders allowing you to keep the vacuum right with you as you clean but without the hassle of dragging around a clunky traditional vacuum.
Why Should You Use A Backpack Vacuum?
Traditional upright and canister vacuums can be cumbersome. They are heavy and not at all easy to maneuver. It can be difficult to get under furniture or into tight areas that need to be cleaned. And don’t even think about all the time you’ll spend being wrapped up in the power cord, a cord that’s often cut too close for comfort anyway and completely restrictive.
Using a backpack vacuum will help you or your staff to clean more efficiently whatever the application. Since hands are not required to move the vacuum around the area being cleaned, you’ll be able to push furniture out of the way, wield the vacuum wand or make sure things don’t get tangled in the power cord.
Some of these backpack vacuum cleaner models have the ability to be changed from a vacuum cleaner into a blower instead. This is a smart approach for anyone who needs both tools but is operating on a tighter budget.
Most of the time, backpack vacuum cleaners are used in commercial areas. Whether it’s cleaning offices, restaurants, hotels, warehouses or schools, these nifty vacs take some beating.
When cleaning such an enormous amount of space, using a traditional vacuum is impractical. If you opt for a backpack vacuum, it’s much more convenient, you can maneuver it far more easily, it’s highly versatile and, generally, very lightweight into the bargain. This style of vacuum is an across-the-board winner when it comes to heavy-duty projects.
That being said, don’t think that there’s no place for a backpack vacuum in the typical home…
If you choose this style of vacuum to use in your house, you’ll enjoy all the cleaning power you need and then some. Whether it be tile, laminate, carpet or wood, all flooring needs to be vacuumed to remove dust and debris and this adaptable cleaning solution should not be overlooked.
What to Look for When Buying the Best Backpack Vacuum
As with any large purchase, you should always carry out plenty of research into different products to make sure you are getting the best option to meet your needs.
We’re here to help you and take the sting out of that research.
Some things you should take into consideration when choosing a backpack vacuum are budget, brand preferences, the weight of the vacuum, how much power the vacuum has, the cord, the suction hose and the overall ergonomics.
We’ll break those down in a little more detail right now…
- Budget: While most people have a fixed budget and few are averse to saving a few bucks, make sure that price is not your main deciding element when choosing a backpack vacuum. There is truth to that old saying “You get what you pay for”. Backpack vacuums are a solid investment and you certainly don’t want to be shelling out a lot of money for repairs (or even worse, purchasing a new vacuum) after a matter of months. Price is a factor but should not be the determining factor
- Brand: There are many brands selling backpack vacuums and many people are loyal to brands they know and trust. You certainly want to buy from a reputable with a solid reputation and excellent customer service. Also, make sure you look at the company’s warranty as an indication of how they stand behind their products
- Weight: Most backpack vacuums will be much lighter that traditional vacuums but they’re still large pieces of machinery. Make sure the one you purchase is comfortable to wear and use and not too bulky for your requirements
- Power: Because of the way these vacuums are made, they tend to be far more efficient than traditional vacuums. To achieve this added grunt, they need powerful motors. Also, the stronger the motor on your vacuum is, the better the suction power will be. If this vacuum is being purchased for use in a commercial application, you want to be sure you buy one with plenty of oomph so you can get more work done in less time
- Cord: To make sure the backpack vacuum will be as portable as possible, make sure you purchase one with a cord sufficiently lengthy for your needs. Most vacuum cords are far too short to finish the job is one sweep. This forces you to stop, unplug and plug the cord back in too often. There is nothing efficient about that tiresome process. Check the cord length on the vacuums as well to ensure you get one that’s man for the job at hand
- Hose: This model of vacuum does not roll along the floor suctioning up all the dirt and debris. Backpack vacuums use hoses to get the job done instead. Look for a hose long enough to reach the floor. This will prevent you from getting fatigued or strained tire as you won’t need to continually bend down to clean the floors. Make certain you purchase a vacuum that has a suitably long hose or consider buying extensions to enhance its functionality
- Filter: Since the filter is what keeps the debris that’s been vacuumed from pouring back out into the room, these are a key component. Some vacuums use bag filters while others pack cartridge filters. Make sure the vacuum you choose has a strong filter and, depending on the job you are using the vacuum for, make sure the filter is good for clearing allergens. The very best filters are HEPA-rated and wick away 99.97% of all airborne contaminants and pollutants
- Ergonomics: Your back can easily become injured so you must take very good care of it. Strapping a large piece of machinery to your back and carrying it around for long periods of time can quickly cause damage if you aren’t extremely careful. Consider taking into account how comfortable you or your workers are using the vacuum. You will want one with cushioned shoulder straps so they don’t dig in and cause discomfort. Look for supports on the back to alleviate some of the stress to your muscles. Make sure the cord and hose are of an ample length
What Can Backpack Vacuums Do?
As previously stated, backpack vacuums are generally used for large industrial style jobs like construction or other commercial cleaning projects.
However, they can also function well in the home.
For cleaning up after construction jobs, the best backpack vacuum for construction is the Electrolux Commercial Backpack Vacuum. We’ll review that for you shortly.
If you have pets, you know only too well how quickly their shedding can get out of hand. To clean up all the mess, hair and pet dander left behind, the best backpack vacuum for pet hair is the ProTeam Super CoachVac.
If you’re looking for the best backpack vacuum for home use rather than in a commercial setting, look no further than the GV 8QT HEPA Backpack Vacuum or the more affordable Atrix VACBP1.
The ProTeam Super CoachVac is going to come into play again here as the best backpack vacuum for hardwood floors. Hardwoods are easy to keep clean as long as you keep on top of them by cleaning frequently. Using a backpack vacuum is one of the most efficient ways to do that.
When it comes to the best backpack vacuum for commercial use, almost all models work well a good choice but our pick is the Prolux 2.0 Bagless Backpack Vacuum.
The Powr-Flite BP6S Backpack Vacuum is a sure bet as the best backpack vacuum for carpet cleaning.
Now that you know the fundamentals of backpack vacuums, what they are, their benefits, and what they can do, let’s take a look at our top 5 picks for the best backpack vacuum overall.
Read on to make your buying decision a walk in the park…
Top 5 Best Backpack Vacuums and Reviews
1 Powr-Flite BP6S Comfort Pro Backpack Vacuum
For over 30 years, Powr-Flite has been a highly respected supplier of commercial cleaning products. The company manufactures their vacuums in the United States to give you added confidence.
The BP6S backpack vacuum is a professional backpack vacuum cleaner made to handle rugged and sustained commercial jobs. The manufacturer has focused not only on the performance of this vacuum but also placed the comfort of the user uppermost.
The vacuum harness is supplied by Deuter, a company known for their backpacking products. Powr-Flite’s backpack vacuum harness uses a Variquick system so the user can adjust the vacuum to fit them well. The material used helps to reduce perspiration by 25%.
The vacuum features a 5-stage HEPA filter as well as a shakeout bag. There are also filters before and after the motor as well as an exhaust filter for a real belt and braces approach to filtration.
This vacuum excels when it comes to getting things truly gleaming. This is the best backpack vacuum for carpet cleaning - just ask the Carpet and Rug Institute which awarded the ComfortPro their Gold Certification for cleanliness.
This backpack vacuum has a capacity of 6 quarts while weighing in at only 12 pounds. This means you’ll get fantastic capacity without being burdened by a bulky unit.
The power cord is 50 feet long which is absolutely ideal. There’s a 4-foot hose and all the necessary tools for just about any job.
Additionally, Powr-Flite provides a 3-year warranty on the machine.
We’d really struggle to come up with any serious downsides to this backpack vac except the fact it’s pretty damn expensive. Check one out today and you will not be disappointed.
Solid 3-year warranty allows you to buy without a headache.
- More expensive than other backpack vacs but still outstanding overall value
2 Electrolux Commercial Backpack Vacuum
When working in construction, not only are things very messy but there are many different applications for which you will need a vacuum. Most backpack vacuums are only dry vacuums so finding one that also clears up wet spills is not straightforward.
Electrolux identified that problem and they brought an industrial model backpack vacuum to market to solve it. This specific model is the best backpack vacuum for construction.
This vacuum is lightweight and highly maneuverable, clocking in at just 11 ½ pounds.
The padded harness system has been designed to be ergonomic and comfortable allowing you to work for longer periods without needing to rest.
The HEPA filtration system is top-notch so you won’t get any of the airborne dust and contaminants belched back into the atmosphere.
Capacity is an impressive 1.5 gallons of dirt and debris.
The Electrolux is very quiet in operation which is perfect if you’re cleaning up in an office building with workers around.
The accessories are generous so you’ll have all main bases covered. You’ll get a telescopic wand, floor tool, brush suitable for the walls and floors, crevice tool and upholstery tool which is quite a package.
With a 5-foot crush-proof hose and 50-foot power cable, you won’t be endlessly scouring for power outlets or constantly plugging and unplugging.
The Carpet and Rug Institute has awarded this Electrolux backpack vacuum their Bronze award for cleanliness.
Electrolux provides a 2-year warranty for parts and labor giving you total peace of mind when purchasing the product.
- Lightweight for such a hard-hitting backpack vac weighing in at less than 12 pounds
- Ultra-quiet in use rated at just 69 decibels so clean away without disturbing anyone
- First-class range of accessories included free of charge
- Ideal for dealing with both wet and dry spills making it tailor-made for the job site
- Outstanding build quality and durability
- Better suited to industrial applications than home use.
3 ProTeam Super CoachVac
ProTeam was one of the first backpack vacuum creators on the scene and they’ve stuck around for very good reason. Their backpack vacs might not be exactly cheap but you get a great deal of bang for your buck.
As we stated above, this backpack vacuum is a sterling choice for nearly any application you can think of. In our opinion, this is the best backpack vacuum for hardwood floors and also the best backpack vacuum for pet hair.
ProTeam has worked diligently with the American Lung Association to educate people on how important air quality is and they don’t just talk the talk. The CoachVac features a 4 Level Advanced HEPA filtration system that will clean up to 99.97% of asthma triggers and allergens (like pet hair).
The Carpet and Rug Institute has awarded this CoachVac their Gold Certification for cleanliness which is a trustworthy benchmark of quality
This backpack vacuum is incredibly maneuverable and able to clean a variety of flooring surfaces such as tile, carpet and hardwoods. You can also press it into action for cleaning vents, light fixtures, fans and furniture.
The vacuum is very quiet and ideal for use in any high-traffic areas.
The harness straps are fully adjustable allowing you to get a custom fit without a custom price tag.
The kit comes with a commercial tool kit and a telescoping wand. You also get an integrated tool belt to hold these tools so they are ready at a moment’s notice along with a cord hook to keep the cable from trailing behind on the floor.
The vacuum weighs only 11 pounds, and has a 50-foot cord in common with most backpack vacs.
- Light and nimble at just 11 pounds making it ideal for use in a commercial setting
- Among the quietest available commercial backpack vacs
- HEPA-filtration ideal for anyone with allergies or sensitivities
- Generous power cord minimizes inconvenience while cleaning
- Certified for hygiene by The Carpet and Rug Institute
- Suited to commercial rather than residential use
- More expensive than some competing backpack vacs
4 Atrix HEPA Backpack Vacuum
If you are looking for a backpack vacuum better suited to home use instead of purely industrial applications, this model from Atrix is quite simply the best backpack vacuum for home use.
Atrix has been providing cleaning products for over 30 years and they pride themselves on producing quality equipment propped up by excellent customer service.
This vacuum is more affordable that most other options but don’t let the lower price fool you. This is a powerful little backpack vacuum. The 1400-watt, 12-amp motor runs on 120 volts and has an output of 106CFM.
The Atrix vacuum features a 4 stage HEPA filter that promises to capture pollen, machine dust, hair and other particulates as small as 0.3 microns.
The vacuum weighs in at just 10 pounds and comes with a variety of tools from furniture nozzles to crevice tools.
The vacuum has a capacity of 8 quarts and the hose is 6 feet long.
Also, this backpack vacuum can easily convert from a vacuum into a blower. 3 blower nozzles are thrown in for good measure.
The harness includes a tool belt to store all your accessories.
Atrix provides a 1-year warranty as well so you truly can’t grumble with this top-tier commercial backpack vacuum.
- Reasonable price-point for a backpack vac
- Ideal for light use on the job site or your home so multipurpose and adaptable
- Extremely light and easy to use at just 10 pounds
- Serves double duty as a blower with 3 blower nozzles included
- HEPA filter to make light work of all airborne contaminants
- Short cord is something of a disappointment
- 1-year warranty is hardly class-leading but understandable with a cheap backpack vac
- Not the best for some more hardcore commercial applications
5 Prolux 2.0 Bagless Backpack Vacuum
Prolux has brought to market the very first bagless backpack vacuum. This means that you’ll save money over time since you won’t be endlessly rushing out to buy expensive replacement bags that are just as bad for the environment as for your pocket.
The manufacturer also harnesses pioneering technology that allows this vacuum to be 40% more powerful than other bagless vacuums or backpack vacuums. Where the majority of bagless vacs generate less than 80 cubic feet per minute of cleaning power, the Prolux is rated at a jaw-dropping 125CFM.
Whether you want to undertake demanding commercial cleaning jobs or simply restore your home to its former glory, you’ll get raw power and performance without a savage price tag to match.
This vacuum is the best backpack vacuum for commercial cleaning applications such as office buildings or schools but that doesn’t mean it won’t do a stint at home as well.
The Prolux 2.0 boasts a HEPA filter for maximum efficiency and awesome suction power.
At a mere 9 pounds, it is lightweight in the extreme. The harness is ergonomic and padded for your comfort and the straps are fully adjustable.
It also comes with an integrated tool belt to hold the variety of tools and accessories that you’ll get along with the backpack vacuum.
The hose is 5 feet long and the power cord is 35 feet long. This is less than ideal but just about makes the nut.
Prolux guarantees their technology will ensure their vacuum never loses suction, and the company provides a 5-year warranty on the vacuum.
- Bagless yet with all the suction power you’d associate with a bagged vac
- Wide range of accessories included with a tool belt for your convenience
- Electric power nozzle to deep clean carpets without straining yourself
- Ideal for cleaning all surfaces
- Fantastic, class-leading 5-year warranty
- Better suited to commercial environments
- Power cord could be longer but it’s acceptable at 35 feet
The backpack vacuums themselves are fantastic but a plain suction hose will only get you so far.
What do you do if you need more maneuverability or you need to get into corners? How about blitzing the ceiling fans or under the furniture? And what if the hose just isn’t long enough for you to get the job done right?
Luckily, the manufacturers of these vacuums took all of these factors into account and they make plenty accessories to complement the backpack vacs.
Some vacuums with come with accessories included while others need to be purchased separately.
Let’s take a look now at some of these excellent little tools and find out how they will benefit you…
- Telescopic Wand: A telescopic handle will come in handy when the wand you have is just too short. It will also be good for extending to reach those places that are too high to get to without it, air vents on ceilings for example. This type of handle can be locked in place at a shorter length or it can be extended to a much longer length depending on your precise needs
- Dusting Brush: A dusting brush is useful for cleaning hardwoods or dusting shelves and ceiling fan blades
- Upholstery Brush: If you need to clean a piece of furniture to get dirt or pet hair removed, you will want a dedicated brush for the job. Make sure you have an upholstery brush in your tool kit so you aren’t frustrated by the mediocre job other brushes do
- Carpet Tool: Carpets need different tools to properly clean than hardwoods or other hard flooring. Look for a tool with a scalloped edge and make sure the bumper is nicely rounded to protect the furniture and walls
- Floor Brush: While vacuums will come with a hose supplied, that hose is not ideal when it comes to cleaning floors. This is where a special brush comes to the fore. These brushes have bristles that will help to gather all dirt and debris from the floors without causing any damage in the process
- Squeegee Tool: If you are using a wet-dry vacuum to clean up spills, make sure you have a squeegee tool to clean up properly
Don’t forget to purchase additional filters and vacuum bags.
Double-check all tools and accessories to make sure they fit your specific model of backpack vacuum.
Best Backpack Vacuum Brands
As with any product on the market, there are some brands that dominate the space. Some of the manufacturers on our list may not be well-known to you, but that doesn’t mean they are not making quality products for this particular market. It’s not a space where Dyson or Shark dip their toes.
- Prolux is an innovator and brought the first bagless backpack vacuum to market and they offer an exceptional 5-year warranty on their products.
- ProTeam was one of the first manufacturers of backpack vacuums and they have been around for a long time. They know what they’re doing and it shows with a very contented customer base.
- Powr-Flite makes the best harness there is placing comfort at a premium and making sure you’ll be able to clean for lengthy spells without straining yourself. They also offer a sound 2-year limited warranty.
- Atrix makes inexpensive models that are great for home use and they also offer a decent warranty.
- Electrolux specialized in a wet-dry backpack vacuum which is not at all common. They take care of their customers and they also offer a 2-year limited warranty showing the confidence they place in their products.
We work hard to bring you reviews of the best available products, period. We have no affiliation to any particular brand, no vested interest.
We understand, though, that some people are simply loyal to brands they know and trust…
If this is you, rest assured knowing that most well-known vacuum manufacturers also produce backpack vacuums. You can find offerings from Hoover, Shop-Vac, Oreck, Bissell and many more. Al of these are quality products but they just didn’t make our top 5 list.
Wearing Your Backpack Vacuum
To avoid injury or pain, you want to be sure you’re wearing your backpack vacuum correctly. Back injury is bad news when you need to be working.
To properly wear the backpack vacuum cleaner you have purchased, you should slip it on with great care…
First, slide your arms through the straps. Lift the backpack with your dominant hand to ensure you have perfect control of the weight and to reduce strain at the same time.
Once the machine is on your back, lift it so it sits on your hips. Then, hook the waist strap and adjust it to fit.
Ensure the shoulder straps are tight but comfortable but, to allow for ease of