Best Backpack Vacuum Cleaners
Backpack vacuum cleaners are vacuums that are carried as backpacks, enabling the user to easily traverse on foot from one area to another, clean large surfaces quickly, regardless of potential floor obstacles, like furniture, stairs, walls, etc.
Smaller models of backpacks can be carried on the shoulder, too. Both backpack and shoulder vacuums can be carried via padded straps, making the use rather comfortable, even when used for a longer period of time.
Updated: December 2, 2020.
Backpack Vacuums Features and Specifications
Main features of backpack vacuums include:
- good air filtration: many backpack vacuums come with true HEPA air filtration and are capable to filter 99.97% of 0.3 microns or larger particles, which is great for everyone, not just allergy and asthma sufferers. However, true HEPA air filtration causes certain air pressure drop within a vacuum, leading to slightly less efficient vacuums.
The actual level of air filtration is a very important feature for determining the actual quality of the air filtration. Most manufacturers of vacuum cleaners claim that their units feature HEPA air filtration, but they don't always clearly state the actual HEPA level.
The following comparison chart lists various classifications of EPA/HEPA/ULPA filters according to the EN 1822 standard:
|Filter Group||Filter Class||Filtration Efficiency||Penetration|
|Efficiency Particulate Air (EPA) Filters||E10||85%||15%|
|High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) Filters||H13||99.95%||0.05%|
|Ultra-Low Penetration Air (ULPA) Filters||U15||99.9995%||0.0005%|
Note: In the European Union air filtration is defined by standard EN 1822, which defines several classes of EPA/HEPA/ULPA air filters according to their ability to retain(!) the Most Penetrating Particle Size (MPPS) particles that are in the 0.1 and 0.3 micrometers range.
However, commonly in the US 'true HEPA' air filtration means the ability of the vacuum cleaner to retain/capture at least 99.97% of 0.3 microns or larger particles. Thus, 'true HEPA' is between H13 and H14 filter classes.
Note: the size of the most common pollutants are:
- bacteria: 0.3-10.0 micrometers,
- pollen: 10.0-100.0 micrometers,
- pet and human hair: 30.0-200.0 micrometers,
- dust mites: 90.0-600.0 micrometers,
- sand particles: 50.0-1000.0 micrometers, etc.
As one can see, it is very important that manufacturers state the size of the retained dirt, too, since some particles can be smaller even than 0.3 microns.
In order to keep energy efficiency high, some models are labeled as 'HEPA' vacuums, but they actually filter out 99.9% of 0.3 microns or larger particles. This is allowed due to different HEPA standards. Nonetheless, 99.9% of 0.3 microns or larger particles is still very good air filtration.
- longer cleaning hoses and telescopic wands: backpack vacuums are carried on the back and in order to clean both floors and elevated surfaces, they come with flexible hoses and telescopic wands, very similar to hoses and wands found at canister vacuums and at uprights with hoses, except that backpacks often use larger hoses and wands in order to increase suction and airflow and to decrease energy loses and to avoid possible clogs as much as possible.
- additional cleaning attachments: since backpacks are used to clean various surfaces, they often come with one main cleaning nozzle designed to clean various floor types (carpets, hard floors, hardwood floors, etc.) and several cleaning attachments suitable for cleaning various elevated surfaces like furniture, stairs, bookshelves, windowsills, etc. Most common cleaning attachments are crevice tool and dusting brush, but other attachments are also often available.
- adjustable suction power: maximum suction power depends on the main motor's strength. Commonly, backpack vacuums come with motors in the 8-12 Amps range. However, in order to clean delicate surfaces, suction strength can be reduced electronically.
- airflow is often used as the measure of the actual vacuum's strength. Backpack vacuums come in various dimensions, thus their airflow varies. Some established and very popular commercial backpacks come with 120-150 CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) airflow, although there are even stronger backpacks on the market.
- noise levels: backpack vacuums should be strong, but also noise levels must be at acceptable levels. Backpack vacuum cleaners are designed with noise in mind, and they often have additional sound insulation around motors, combined with adjustable suction power, including special 'Silent Modes'.
For example, both ProTeam Super CoachVac HEPA Commercial Backpack Vacuum and Hoover C2401 Commercial Lightweight Backpack Vacuum feature only 66 dB of noise during operation, which is more than acceptable even for vacuuming hotels in the morning and office buildings during working hours.
- large dirt capacity: in order to clean large areas quickly without interruptions, backpack vacuums come with large dirt bins with or without vacuum bags. However, too large dirt bins often require larger and heavier backpack vacuums, with more padded straps.
Cordless or Corded Backpack Vacuums
Backpack vacuum can be powered via a power cord or can be cordless, while some models can be used as both corded or cordless vacuums.
Cordless backpacks are almost exclusively powered using lithium-ion batteries (strong, lightweight, tend to be expensive). Their autonomy depends on the battery capacity, but also the way the vacuum is used - when operated at full power, operating time is reduced significantly. But, when operated in 'Eco' or similar modes, cordless backpacks can operate for 30-60 minutes, depending on the model.
The autonomy of the corded backpacks depends on the length of the power cord - 45-50 feet (~14-15 m) long power cords being common. Some models come with a so-called 'pigtail' power cord - the user must provide an extension cord of the required length to be able to use the backpack vacuum.
Bagged or Bagless Backpack Vacuums
In order to decrease operating costs as much as possible, some of the backpacks are designed as bagless vacuums - they store vacuumed dirt in onboard dirt bins and when required, dirt bins are emptied quickly and easily.
However, due to the possible amount of vacuumed dirt, emptying of such vacuums can create a mess, no matter how careful the user is. Bagged backpacks store the dirt in a vacuum dust bag, allowing quick and clean emptying of the units. Also, vacuum bags provide an additional air filtering layer.
Some backpacks can use vacuum bags, but they are not required and can be used as both bagless and bagged vacuums.
Wet-Dry Backpack Vacuums
Wet-dry backpack vacuums are designed for vacuuming both wet and dry dirt, often including smaller spills.
In most situations, wet-dry vacuums are bagless units, although there are models that can be used as wet-dry vacuums in bagless mode, and as normal vacuums in bagged mode.
Best Home and Commercial Backpack Vacuums
Most backpacks are used in commercial applications, some of which can be very specific. Also, owners of larger apartments and homes prefer doing regular cleaning tasks using backpack vacuums, and quick cleanups using convertible stick or upright vacuums.
Thus, deciding which backpack vacuum is actually 'the best', can be a hard decision to make - You can agree with us, or not, it is up to You. After all, what is good for us, doesn't have to be good for other users.
Here is the list of some of the best and most popular backpack vacuums:
1. ProTeam Super CoachVac HEPA Commercial Backpack Vacuum
It is powered with a 1200 W (10 Amps) motor providing plenty of suction and maximum airflow of 150 CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) with maximum suction pressure of 100 inches (static lift in inches of water). Although very strong, ProTeam Super CoachVac is also a very quiet vacuum cleaner, producing only 66 dB of noise, making it suitable for cleaning during working hours.
The empty unit weighs 11 pounds (~5 kg) which is not much for a unit of this size and strength. Maximum dirt capacity is ~9 liters, enabling the unit to clean a large area without interruptions. In order to avoid the buildup of smells and to carry it around more easily, it is recommended to empty the dirt bin after each longer vacuuming.
This backpack vacuum comes with adjustable straps: two straps are on the front of the unit and one is around the user's waist. Straps are comfortable and they hold the unit firmly while in use.
Also, ProTeam Super CoachVac comes with numerous cleaning attachments, allowing the unit to clean various surfaces from the floor to the ceiling.
Cleaning attachments include 17 inches (~43 cm) crevice tool, floor tool, claw nozzle, 3 inches (~7.6 cm) wide soft dusting brush, 42-59 inches (~107 - 150 cm) adjustable telescopic wand, etc.
Note: there are several options regarding available attachments, allowing the user to choose according to the individual requirements and preferences.
ProTeam Super CoachVac cleaner comes with a 3-year warranty.
For more reviews and recommendations, check ProTeam Super CoachVac HEPA Commercial Backpack Vacuum Amazon link (link opens in the new window).
2. Hoover C2401 Commercial Lightweight Backpack Vacuum
It weighs only 9.2 pounds (~4.16 kg) and can be easily used as both shoulder or backpack vacuum cleaner. Straps are padded and the use of a unit as a backpack vacuum is strongly recommended.
Hoover C2401 is powered with an 8.5 Amp motor, powered by 48 feet (~14.7 m) long power cord. It has very good suction and 120 CFM airflow. During operation, it is a very quiet vacuum cleaner with noise levels of only 66 dB, making it one of the recommended models where both performances and low noise levels are important.
Hoover C2401 uses both cloth and paper bags - it is up to the user to choose according to individual needs and preferences.
Hoover C2401 Commercial comes with various cleaning tools and attachments, including 52 inches (~1.32 m) flexible hose, 38 inches (~96.5 cm) two-piece metal wand, and several additional cleaning tools including 6 inches (~15 cm) crevice tool, 11 inches (~28 cm) turbo floor tool, 2 inches (~5 cm) dusting brush, and 4 inches (~10 cm) upholstery tool. This is more than enough cleaning tools to clean practically all surfaces from the floor to the ceiling.
Unit is advertised as a true HEPA vacuum cleaner - such filtration requires some maintenance, but it is very important for people having issues with asthma and allergies.
Hoover C2401 comes with a two-year warranty.
For more reviews and recommendations, check Hoover C2401 Commercial Lightweight Backpack Vacuum Amazon link (link opens in the new window).
3. ProTeam ProVac FS 6 HEPA Backpack Vacuum Cleaner
ProTeam ProVac FS 6 weighs only 11.6 pounds (~5.26 kg) and thanks to its adjustable 'Flex-Fit' harness, the unit is easy to carry around and work with.
Unit is powered by 1108 W (~9.5 Amps) motor providing an airflow of 159 CFM and the water static lift suction of 98 inches.
During operation, noise levels are ~65.8 dB, which is more than acceptable.
ProTeam ProVac FS 6 features a multilayered air filtration system, ensuring thorough air filtration. Air filtration system is based on a combination of paper and cloth dust bags, pre-motor air filter, and HEPA exhaust filters, ensuring the capture of 99.63% of dust, pollen, pet dander, and other allergens and air pollutants 0.3 - 0.5 microns in size per ASTM F3150.
The total air filtration area is ~1054 sq. inches, ensuring thorough air filtration and almost negligible air pressure drop.
Dirt capacity is 6 quarts (~6.6 liters).
What's in the box? When the unit arrives, the box contains a backpack vacuum cleaner with a harness, 50 feet long extension cord, two intercept micro filter bags, a crevice tool, a gas pump handle (with an electrified hose), a soft dusting brush, soft upholstery tool, two-piece wand, and power nozzle.
ProTeam ProVac FS 6 comes with a 3-year warranty for parts, labor, and motor and a lifetime warranty for molded body parts.
For more reviews and recommendations, feel free to check ProTeam ProVac FS 6 HEPA Backpack Vacuum Cleaner Amazon link (link opens in the new window).
4. Atrix Ergo VACBP1 HEPA Backpack Vacuum
It weighs 10.3 pounds, with physical dimensions of 12 x 9 x 20 inches (~30.5 x 22.9 x 50.8 cm) - it is a very compact unit, allowing the user to move around easily.
It can be quickly adapted to right- or left-hand users.
The belt strap contains storage for additional cleaning tools, allowing quick transition between cleaned surfaces.
Atrix Ergo VACBP1 is a true HEPA vacuum cleaner, trapping at least 99.97% of 0.3 microns or larger particles. Air filtration is based on a combination of 8 quart HEPA disposable bag, cloth shakeout bag, HEPA pre-motor filter, and exhaust air filter.
Cleaning attachments and accessories include 6 feet (1.83 m) hose, blower adapter, exhaust filter cover, 22-37 inches (~56 - 94 cm) telescopic extension wand, set of 3 blower nozzles, furniture nozzle, crevice tool, round brush, floor brush, air-driven turbo brush, extension cord strain relief, 2 HEPA bags, shakeout bag, pre-motor, and exhaust filter set, and set of hose and filter plugs - more than enough cleaning tools to clean almost any possible surface and dirt (dry dirt!).
Atrix VACBP1 is powered with 1400 watts (12 Amps) motor providing 106 CFM airflow and a very good suction. Thanks to the unit's design and a set of 3 blower nozzles, the unit can be easily converted into a blower unit.
The power cord is 2 feet long, requiring the user to have his own extension cord that supports at least 12 Amps for a longer period of time.
For more reviews and recommendations, check Atrix Ergo VACBP1 HEPA Backpack Vacuum Amazon link (link opens in the new window).
5. Prolux 2.0 Lightweight Commercial Bagless Backpack Vacuum Cleaner
Prolux 2.0 weighs only 9 pounds (~4.1 kg) and is a very easy and comfortable backpack to carry and use, allowing the user to cover and clean large areas without causing fatigue.
Dirt bin capacity is 48 ounces (~1.4 liters), which is enough for most quick cleanup tasks - this is the capacity of a typical full-size residential upright or canister vacuum cleaner.
Unit is powered via 35 feet (~10.7 m) long power cord. Suction is very good and is provided by 11 Amps (~1300 watts) motor. Prolux 2.0 features 125 CFM airflow and 84 inches of water lift suction, ensuring thorough cleaning regardless of the surface or dirt type.
Prolux 2.0 comes with the following cleaning tools and accessories included: Wide Floor Tool, Dusting Brush, Crevice Tool, Upholstery Tools, High-End Vacuum Hose, Adjusting Telescopic Wand, Commercial Grade 1.5 Tool Kit, and 35 Foot Power Cord.
Prolux 2.0 comes with a 3-year limited warranty.
For more reviews and recommendations, feel free to check Prolux 2.0 Lightweight Commercial Bagless Backpack Vacuum Cleaner Amazon link (link opens in the new window).
6. Makita XCV05Z Cordless HEPA Backpack Vacuum
Makita XCV05Z is powered using 2 (two) lithium-ion 18V LXT batteries. Since batteries are not cheap, this model is recommended for users that already have required batteries and chargers or that they really need such a model.
Two 5 Ah batteries can provide 60 minutes of operation at a higher setting or 90 minutes on a lower setting. Note that Makita chargers can charge 18V 5 Ah LXT batteries in around 45 minutes - users just need two sets of these batteries for continuous operation with spare time for cooling the batteries.
Dirt capacity is 0.5 gallons (disposable filter dust bags), with true HEPA air filtration.
Brushless motor provides 53 CFM airflow and 28.5 inches (~72.4 cm) of water lift suction. The unit's controller attaches to the waist belt. Also, the vacuum cleaner comes with the 39 inches (~99 cm) flexible cleaning hose with a telescopic (20 – 34 inches; ~50.8 - 86.4 cm) extension wand.
With a pair of batteries, Makita XCV05Z weighs only 9.4 pounds (~4.26 kg).
For more reviews and recommendations, check Makita XCV05Z Cordless HEPA Backpack Vacuum Amazon link (link opens in the new window).
Long Story Short: there are many more different models of backpack vacuums on the market, and these few are just our attempt to show You how different they can be.
Which one fits You perfectly is up to You and your individual needs are preferences.