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.
Updated: May 19, 2019.
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 longer period of time.
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 vacuum, leading to slightly less efficient vacuums.
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 air flow 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.
- air flow: air flow is often used as the measure of actual vacuum's strength. Backpack vacuums come in various dimensions, thus their air flow varies. Some established and very popular commercial backpacks come with 120-150 CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) air flow, 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. Commercial backpacks used for vacuuming office buildings and hotels are designed with noise in mind - they have additional sound insulation around motors and often come 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 create 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 capacities, regardless if they are designed as bagless or bagged vacuums. However, too large dirt bins often require larger and heavier backpack vacuums, leading to twofold increase in weight due to the weight of the vacuum itself and due to the large amount of vacuumed dirt.
Cordless or Corded Backpack Vacuums
Backpack vacuum can be powered via power cord or can be cordless, while some models can be used in both modes. 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 mode, cordless backpacks can operate for 30-60 minutes, depending on the model.
Corded backpacks autonomy depends on the length of power cord, with 45-50 feet long power cords being common. Some models come with 'pig tail' power cord - user must provide extension cord of 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 some mess, no matter how careful the user is. Bagged backpacks store the dirt in vacuum dirt bag, allowing quick and clean emptying of the units. Also, vacuum bags provide 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 Commercial Backpack Vacuums
Most backpacks are used in commercial applications, some of which can be very specific. Thus, deciding which one is actually 'the best', can be 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.
1. ProTeam Super CoachVac HEPA Commercial Backpack Vacuum
ProTeam Super CoachVac HEPA Commercial Backpack Vacuum is bagged, corded backpack vacuum cleaner which comes with 50 feet (~15.2 m) long power cord. It is powered with 1200 W (10 Amps) motor providing plenty of suction and maximum air flow 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 very quiet vacuum cleaner, producing only 66 dB of noise, making it suitable for cleaning during working hours.
Empty unit weighs 11 pounds (~5 kg) which is not much for unit of this size and strength. Maximum dirt capacity is ~9 liters, enabling the unit to clean large area without interruptions. In order to avoid 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 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 that there are several options regarding available attachments.
ProTeam Super CoachVac cleaner comes with 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
Hoover C2401 Commercial Lightweight Backpack Vacuum is lightweight, corded, bagged, shoulder/backpack vacuum cleaner. 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 as backpack vacuum is strongly recommended.
Hoover C2401 is powered with 8.5 Amp motor and it comes with 48 feet (~14.7 m) long power cord. It has very good suction and 120 CFM air flow. During operation, it is 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, 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. More than enough cleaning tools to clean practically all surfaces from the floor to the ceiling.
Unit is advertised as 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 two year warranty.
For more reviews and recommendations, check Hoover C2401 Commercial Lightweight Backpack Vacuum Amazon link (link opens in the new window) and/or our Hoover C2401 Commercial Lightweight Backpack Vacuum review article.
3. Atrix Ergo VACBP1 HEPA Backpack Vacuum
Atrix Ergo VACBP1 is lightweight, corded, bagged backpack vacuum cleaner designed for both residential and commercial use.
It weighs 10.3 pounds and its dimensions are 12 x 9 x 20 inches (~30.5 x 22.9 x 50.8 cm) - it is 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 true HEPA vacuum cleaner, trapping at least 99.97% of 0.3 microns or larger particles. Air filtration is based on 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 air flow and a good suction. Thanks to the unit's design and a set of 3 blower nozzles, unit can be easily converted into the blower unit.
Power cord is 2 feet long, requiring the user to have his own extension cord that supports at least 12 Amps for longer period of time.
For more reviews and recommendations, check Atrix Ergo VACBP1 HEPA Backpack Vacuum Amazon link (link opens in the new window).
4. Makita XCV05Z Cordless HEPA Backpack Vacuum
Makita XCV05Z is cordless backpack vacuum cleaner, allowing its user great maneuverability when vacuuming various surfaces.
Makita XCV05Z is powered using 2 (two) lithium-ion 18V LXT batteries. Since batteries are not cheap, this model is recommended for user that already have required batteries and chargers or that they really need such model.
Two 5 Ah batteries can provide 60 minutes of operation at higher setting or 90 minutes on lower setting. Note that Makita chargers can charge 18V 5 Ah LXT batteries in around 45 minutes - user just need a 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 air flow and 28.5 inches (~72.4 cm) of water lift suction. Unit's controller attaches to the waist belt. Also, 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 much 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 suits You perfectly is up to You and the individual needs are preferences.