Are you tired of dragging around a bulky vacuum? Do you have back problems, or find that constantly bending down with a traditional one is taking its toll? A backpack model might be your solution.
This type of vacuum is excellent in many ways. While they’re great if you have a commercial cleaning business, we also recommend them for home use. Today you’ll learn everything there is to know about buying the best backpack vacuum.
Why Invest in a Backpack Vacuum?
Backpack vacuums have gained immense popularity in recent years and are taking their spot as an essential tool for homes and offices. We’re all for them because when compared to many traditional machines, they make cleaning faster and more efficient.
Here are some reasons why you should buy a backpack vacuum. We’ll also give you a few cases when it might not be the best choice for you.
1. Make Cleaning More Efficient
One of the worst parts about using a canister or upright vacuum is how bulky they are to maneuver. Then there’s the power cord that keeps getting in the way.
Portability is an obvious advantage of backpack vacuums. It’s one of the main reasons we find them so attractive. You place it on your back, with the cord behind you, and get a lot more freedom of movement.
They’re made to be as lightweight as possible without compromising on power. The average weight is approximately 9 pounds — providing ample maneuverability.
Because your ability to move has improved, you automatically increase the efficiency of your cleaning. There’s also no cord to lift, which is less time-consuming. The hands-free nature of the backpack makes dusting chores easier as well.
2. Better Filters and More Power
Most backpack vacuums include HEPA filters. Even the ones that don’t still generally come with superior filtration systems. Most backpacks annihilate harmful microbes and dander, which other vacuums fail to eliminate.
They were originally produced for commercial use. So in most cases, this means that they are extremely powerful.
3. Better for Your Posture
If you work in the cleaning business or have a large house, you’ve probably experienced an aching back after vacuuming. Although it isn’t considered a dangerous activity, it’s a task that can lead to injuries. Actions like lifting a heavy machine or unconsciously hunching due to a short shaft can leave you sore.
The ergonomics of backpack vacuums are superior to those of upright or canister machines. They require less extreme leg and arm extensions, thus reducing your chance of injury.
There’s also not as much bending down, and the weight is balanced on your back. This allows you to maintain a healthier, more natural posture.
1. Can Be Pricey
Backpack vacuums, in general, sit on the pricier end of the spectrum. This is particularly so if you prefer high-end brands or those with lots of added features. So, make sure that you’ve got enough room in your budget. It also helps to think ahead about which accessories and add-ons you really need.
2. Commercial Vacuums Can Be Bulky
As we’ve said, backpack vacuums were originally made for commercial use and some can be quite large. Today, however, you’ll find many that are geared toward homes. So, as you do your research, double check measurements and weights to find one that’s right for you.
3. Can Be Noisy
Again, because many are produced for professional purposes, some lack noise restrictions. If this is a concern, be sure to check the decibel rating and look for one on the lower end of the scale.
Considerations When Buying a Backpack Vacuum
To make the best purchase, a few points are worth considering:
1. Your Cleaning Area
Because of the increased maneuverability, a backpack vacuum is great for nearly any big cleaning job. Its powers and abilities are best utilized in large rooms or whole homes. The addition of specialized tools will maximize its efficiency.
Many have attachments to let you tackle various jobs. For example, extension wands allow you to reach ceiling fans and curtain rods. A backpack is also the perfect choice if you have lots of stairs. It will be easier than carrying a bulky canister up and down.
However, spending money on this type of vacuum might not be worth it if you have a smaller space. You’ll likely be better off with a traditional machine instead. Remember, backpacks can be pricier than many uprights or canisters.
Also keep in mind that getting it set up on your back isn’t necessarily quick. It may not be worth your time if you only have a small area to clean.
2. How Much Weight Can You Carry
Even though backpack vacuums are better for your posture, it’s crucial to think about how much you can carry. Most of these machines weigh less than 20 pounds — some as little as 9 pounds. But if you do have lifting or mobility restrictions, make sure you can handle the weight.
3. Features and Accessories
Backpack vacuums often include useful features and accessories. You get the usual crevice tools, extension wands, floor tools and powered brushes. Many manufacturers, however, like to include a little extra beyond these.
Some have blower functions, meaning you can use your backpack vacuum to blow things out from the garage. It’s also common to find ones with HEPA filtration systems, providing multi-layer protection.
The strap design and options for adjustments are not always included but are good add-ons to consider. Plus, the range of harness and strap styles is broad. For example, they may be thin or thick and padded like a pillow.
When carrying a vacuum on your back, directly behind your ears, it’s essential to consider the noise level. While you shouldn’t need to wear hearing protection, it’s still important to ensure the sound doesn’t cause damage to you or pets (1).
Some backpack vacuums fall within the 60-decibel (dB) range. However, others do reach 70 decibels or higher. If you’re sensitive, be on the lookout for one at the lower end of the scale (2).
How to Choose the Best Backpack Vacuum
To make an informed purchase, it’s essential to know what to look for. Backpack vacuums are available in all shapes and sizes. Here are some things to be on the lookout for:
Some low-profile models with small width make up for it in height. This means that although the backpack is narrow, it may tower from 20 to 31 inches high.
But if your home has low ceilings or short door frames, for example, a tall backpack model could be a problem. You don’t want a backpack that will get stuck in small places.
It also may be physically easier to carry a wider vacuum as opposed to a taller one. Too much height can easily throw you off balance when bending down. On the other hand, a broad one would likely level you out.
If the vacuum doesn’t sit comfortably, you won’t gain many of its benefits. The ideal fit is one where the wearer almost forgets what’s on their back. To achieve this, it’s essential to look for one that’s adjustable.
The harness should be fitted according to the length of your torso. The straps going over the shoulders should sit a little loosely.
The most crucial part, however, is the belt that goes around your midsection. A backpack vacuum should rest on the hips and not the lower back. This fit is not only safer but ensures maximum comfort while cleaning.
3. Cord or Cordless?
Productivity can soar with a lightweight backpack vacuum eliminating any dirt that crosses its path. Some people manage to cut their cleaning time in half, while still keeping energy exertion at a minimum.
Still, having to unplug and replug your vacuum can be tedious and time-consuming. Not only is it a hassle having to bend over, but what if you can’t find a new outlet? So, if you choose to go with a machine that plugs in, a long power cord is essential.
Most backpack machines are equipped with a cord of at least 20 feet, and many exceed this. If you’re lucky, you may find one with a power cord length of close to 50 feet. If not, there’s always the option of extension cords, which you buy separately.
Cordless, battery-powered backpack vacuums are also available. These offer even more freedom by eliminating your dependence on outlets altogether. Depending on the model, you can get 45 to 60 minutes of vacuuming time from a fully loaded battery.
Need more power? It’s possible to buy a spare backup battery that you keep charged and switch out as needed. However, be aware that they aren’t cheap, and you’ll need to find one compatible with your vacuum.
A good filter leaves the floor and air cleaner by preventing dander and particles from shooting out the exhaust. Without one, you may simply be rearranging the dust and dirt.
Fortunately, powerful filters are almost considered a standard on backpack vacuums. With a HEPA filtration system, the sucked-up dirt and dust go through several stages. Each layer catches a specific size of microbes and dander, meaning there’s no escape for even the most microscopic particles.
5. Suction Power
Because most backpack vacuums were designed for professional use, many models provide a strong suction power. However, you should be aware that this generally means higher decibels and energy consumption. Also, if you choose a battery-powered machine, ensure the cleaning time from a fully charged battery will suffice.
6. Bagless or Bagged
Backpack vacuums come as bagged or bagless — both have their pros and cons. Many recommend bagged vacuums since they eliminate any direct contact with the contents. This might be best if you suffer from allergies or asthma (3).
On the other hand, buying replacements for disposable bags can be a hassle. Keep in mind that with a bagless machine, you must empty the canister and run the risk of releasing those notorious dust bunnies yet again. Also, they need periodic cleaning.
The Best Backpack Vacuum Reviews of 2020
There are lots of great reasons to buy a backpack vacuum. Now that you know some of them, it’s time to look at our top seven. We found these by researching their specs and manufacturer information as well as reading customer reviews.
1. ProTeam Super CoachVac Backpack Vacuum
The Super CoachVac backpack vacuum from ProTeam is a powerful appliance equipped with a super filtration system. It’s capable of tackling even the hardest jobs in less time.
A great feature is the extra long power cord. Measuring 50 feet, it allows you to clean a large radius from a single power outlet.
It also comes with a Xover multi-surface telescoping wand and a tool kit that provides attachments for each task. It’s excellent for carpets, rugs, hard floors, and furniture — you can even reach the ceiling fan.
Another huge advantage is how quiet it is. This model operates at a mere 66 decibels.
Why We Love It
Powerful yet Quiet
The Super CoachVac packs a punch in terms of power despite its relatively low 1,188-watt motor. Many users praise its efficiency at eliminating dirt and dust.
We love the lower sound level — an operating sound of just 66 decibels. The vacuum is great for homes with kids or pets, or public spaces such as schools or offices.
It comes with a Xover Tool for floors or low-pile rugs. This allows you to move smoothly from carpeted floors to other surfaces such as tile, linoleum, and hardwood floors. And thanks to the long telescopic wand, you can use it to clean air vents, stairways, and ceilings.
You also get a kit full of all the essentials. These include a soft dusting brush, a slim crevice tool, and upholstery tool. It even comes with a belt to hold the attachments, so you don’t have to run back and forth.
Advanced Filtration System
A strong filter is vital for a thorough clean, and ProTeam knows how to provide it. The backpack vacuum includes a four-level advanced filtration system with HEPA. It practically extracts all the dust bunnies and pet dander from the atmosphere.
It’s been certified Gold by the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI). Also, the 10-quart tank means it has three times the capacity of a traditional upright vacuum.
ProTeam uses a mountaineering-style backpack to ensure this vacuum is comfortable. Instead of carrying the weight on your upper and lower back, the load is primarily concentrated on your hips. This will minimize the chances of injury.
Keep In Mind
The Hose Snaps off Easily
There have been a few reported incidents of the hose snapping off. While this can be time-consuming to replace, there is a three-year manufacturer’s warranty on this model.
|Cord||50 feet cord length|
2. Hoover Lightweight Commercial Backpack Vacuum
This is from a renowned vacuum manufacturer. Hoover specializes in lightweight machines for personal and professional use. The Commercial C2401 represents all the best of Hoover. It’s super lightweight, coming in at just over 9 pounds.
The vacuum is also compact, excellent for fitting through doorways and other small spaces. Yet it can carry a large capacity — up to 6.4 quarts to be exact. A great feature is the clear dome lid which allows you to see your productivity first hand.
What’s more, you get an incredible 48-foot power cord equipped with a Quick Change feature. It also comes with all the tools required for a thorough clean.
Why We Love It
Lightweight with a Comfortable Harness
Hoover has always been a favorite manufacturer in the vacuum sector. And they certainly pulled out all the stops with this backpack. They brought in a team of chiropractors to assist with it, in order to make it as comfortable as possible.
The harness was specifically designed to reduce pressure, limiting any chance of strains and injuries. It consists of two shoulder straps and a full padded belt focusing the weight on the hips. Plus, it only weighs 9.2-pounds.
Large Bagged or Bagless Canister
The vacuum can hold 6.4 quarts of dirt and dust. If you’re struggling to choose between a bagless or bagged vacuum, Hoover has a solution. This vacuum offers both options.
It comes with a cloth liner dust bag, which you remove, empty and then replace. Or you can choose to use disposable ones instead.
This choice provides ample flexibility for various jobs. For example, as an everyday vacuum, use the cloth liner. If you’re cleaning pet hair or dusty materials, on the other hand, switch to a paper bag.
You can avoid bad odors and damaging particles getting stuck, without compromising the practicality of a bagless.
Hoover doesn’t hold back when it comes to added features and accessories. In the bundle, you get a 60-inch locking hose and a set of metal wands. It also includes a turbo floor tool, crevice tool, dusting brush and an upholstery tool.
This model comes with a HEPA filter — a plus if you suffer from allergies or asthma. It annihilates 99.97 percent of particles down to 0.3 microns. This ensures that nothing escapes through the exhaust.
Quick Connect Power Cord
The Commercial C2401 has a 48 feet power cord extension, which you attach using the quick connect system. This also lets you quickly attach it to a longer cord if needed.
Keep In Mind
No Height Adjustments
The wand does not allow for height adjustments. This means that if you’re tall, it can be challenging to align the floor brush for the best suction.
Adapter Needed for the Tools
Some may find it frustrating that an adapter is needed to attach the tools. Although it’s included in the package, the accessories become useless if you ever misplace it.
|Warranty||Two-year commercial warranty|
3. Hoover CH30000 PortaPower Commercial Canister Vacuum
Canister vacuums are practical in many ways. They can reach under low furniture or above for ceiling fans. Pack those benefits into one you can carry, and you’ve got the Hoover PortaPower vacuum.
It comes with everything a canister machine would, and you can wear it on your shoulder. Plus, it’s lightweight and very reliable, with add-on features to reach small, tight spaces. The vacuum is also equipped with a blower option for your garage.
Hoover doesn’t stop there. It includes a reusable cloth bag, but you can opt for a disposable instead. The power cord stretches 33 feet, and it’s fitted with a 900-watt motor.
Why We Love It
This portable, canister vacuum defines the word “versatile.” It comes with add-ons for every task. You’ll find two different suction heads, an upholstery tool, crevice tool and dusting brush.
We also love that Hoover gives you the option of switching between a reusable cloth bag and a disposable. Depending on the task at hand, you can apply the option that’s most appropriate.
Lightweight and Easy to Carry
The canister shoulder vacuum weighs less than a school bag. It comes in at only 8.3 pounds, making it super comfortable to carry with you.
The strap is long enough to be used across your body or just over one shoulder. However, it’s preferable to use the cross-body option to make sure that it doesn’t slip off.
Excellent Suction Power and Reach
The humble 900-watt motor may sound small, but it does provide ample suction. It works well on carpets and is great at getting rid of pet hair. You control it all from the convenient button located on the canister handle.
The 33-foot long power cord isn’t the longest but is more than enough for smaller spaces or homes. It’s also great for curtains and blinds thanks to the wand and extendable hose.
Keep In Mind
Not for Thick Carpets
This isn’t the ideal machine for use on thick carpets. Although the suction power is strong, it isn’t great on deeper-pile rugs. If you have lower-pile carpets or uncovered flooring, this is still an excellent choice
No Hook for the Cord
It seems that Hoover missed a step since there’s nowhere to place the 33-foot power cord. Instead, you must wrap it around the handle when it’s time to store the vacuum cleaner. A hook to hold it in place would’ve been nice.
|Cord||33 feet cord length|
4. Powr-Flite Comfort Pro BP6S Backpack Vacuum
If you’re prone to back issues, it’s essential to choose a backpack vacuum that won’t cause more damage. As the name suggests, this Comfort Pro from Powr-Flite is specially made for comfortable usage.
This, however, doesn’t mean that they’ve compromised on performance. This is a strong machine that operates quietly. It has a 1,200-watt motor and a sound rating of only 62 decibels – perfect for sensitive ears.
What’s more, the five-stage HEPA filter makes it an excellent vacuum for allergy sufferers. It ensures no dander and pollen is let back into the room. Plus, it comes with high-performance tools for each cleaning task.
Why We Love It
This backpack vacuum is all about making your experience as comfortable as possible. It’s got a unique harness with several adjustment points, making it suitable for different sized bodies. It’s also very light, weighing only 8.26 pounds.
The straps are conveniently made from a mesh material. This allows your skin to breathe underneath, optimizing your comfort even during hot summer months.
The vacuum earned the Gold Seal of Approval from the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI). It’s engineered to provide superb cleaning power as well as productivity and dependability.
With a powerful 1,200-watt motor providing plenty of suction power, this machine is raring to go. It’s even great at getting rid of pet hair and dander. Thanks to the five-stage HEPA filtration system, the surrounding air is kept clean as well.
Powr-Flite made sure to keep the noise level to a minimum – it operates quietly at only 62 decibels. This low rating meets the U.S. Green Building Council LEED-EB as well as the CIMS-GB noise level requirements.
Plenty of Tools
Before going into battle with the dust bunnies, you need the right tools. With the Comfort Pro, Powr-Flite has included accessories for crevices, carpets, hard floors, upholstery and dusting. You also get an extendable, crush-proof hose and a two-section bending chrome wand.
Keep In Mind
Takes Time to Adjust
While the harness is excellent for comfort, it’s not that easy to adjust. This isn’t a quick up-and-go tool for minor spills. Rather, it’s for those times where you truly need a thorough clean.
Just be sure to fit the harness correctly. Otherwise the machine can feel quite heavy.
|Cord||50 feet cord length|
5. Sanitaire Quiet Clean EURSC412B Backpack Vacuum
Bare floors require a special vacuum to prevent damage. The Quiet Clean from Sanitaire is great for all types of uncovered flooring and easy on your back. It packs a 1,400-watt motor with immense power for tough carpets or smooth tiles.
The vacuum comes with the CRI Seal of Approval and is equipped with a four-stage HEPA filtration system. It’s capable of removing 99.97 percent of particles down to 0.3 microns.
Additionally, the 12-inch wide cleaning path gives you optimal productivity. We also love the 50-foot power cord. It allows you to cover a large radius to clean before switching outlets.
Why We Love It
Great for Bare Floors
Cleaning uncarpeted flooring isn’t as straightforward as it may seem. Because they’re smooth, dust and dirt tend to spread everywhere. This vacuum comes with a specialized attachment for bare floors.
Don’t worry though, you still get all other necessary attachments — including one for carpets. It also comes with crevice and upholstery tools as well as a dusting brush, extendable wand and flexible hose.
HEPA Filtration System
If you’re sensitive to dust, a good filtration system is crucial. HEPA filters are generally recommended for people who suffer from allergies and asthma. Fortunately, Sanitaire has included one with this vacuum.
It’s fitted with a four-stage HEPA filter, capable of keeping the floors as well as the atmosphere clean. Nothing is let through to the exhaust, and since it utilizes disposable dust bags, no dust or debris will escape.
Wide Cleaning Path
The broad 12-inch cleaning path optimizes your productivity. There’ll be no need to go over the same spot several times. Add in the 50-foot power cord, and you could cut your cleaning time in half. This is without a doubt a very efficient vacuum cleaner.
Keep In Mind
Attachments Require Some Effort
The attachments aren’t easy to place on the wand. A few users have commented that it takes a bit of strength. Similarly, they won’t come off too quickly either.
But maybe this isn’t really a bad thing. No one needs to have tools falling off in the middle of their cleaning jobs anyway.
Some users have found the instructions in the owner’s manual to be incomplete. A few steps are missing, particularly with regard to attaching the tools. Fortunately, not much assembly is required to use the vacuum.
|Cord||50 feet cord length|
6. ProTeam ProVac FS 6 Backpack Vacuums
When faced with stubborn messes, a few tools are required. This backpack vacuum from ProVac comes loaded with accessories to help you conquer any job. You can use it on hard floors to carpets, chairs, and stairs.
One feature we appreciate is the padded harness. It allows you to use the vacuum for extended periods without feeling the ache.
There’s also the adjustable FlexFit, which is suitable for people of all sizes. Additionally, ProVac made it from a breathable mesh fabric to keep you from overheating on warmer days.
This backpack vacuum comes with a 50-foot power cord, providing an ample cleaning radius. It’s also equipped with a HEPA filter for a more thorough clean.
Why We Love It
To get the most out of your backpack vacuum, it must feel good to wear. Harnesses can sometimes cause discomfort. ProVac eliminated that risk by adding extra padding to the shoulder straps, making them ultra-comfortable.
The harness also includes an integrated tool kit belt with room for all the accessories. It’s particularly useful if you’re cleaning a larger area and don’t want to run back and forth for tools.
Plenty of Extra Tools
ProVac included an army of tools you can bring to battle — there’s one for each task. You get an upholstery tool, two-piece wand, crevice tool, carpet attachment, hard floor attachment and a soft dusting brush.
The manufacturer recommends this mode for use in the food service industry. This would include restaurants, bars and school cafeterias.
This backpack vacuum gives new meaning to the term “productive.” The 50-foot long power cord allows you to clean a large area without having to continually stop and change outlets. You can easily move from the kitchen to the dining or living room.
It’s also relatively lightweight, weighing 11.6 pounds. This makes it relatively easy to carry around on your back without feeling like you’re lugging a heavy load.
The vacuum comes with a 1,108-watt motor and users are delighted with its suction power. It has an incredibly strong pull. You can be sure it will draw out the tiniest dust particles from your carpet or hard floor.
Keep In Mind
Attachments Aren’t Universal
This is a common concern with ProVac. Instead of producing attachments you can use across several of its products, each different model requires its own. This means if you’re upgrading from an earlier one or plan to do so later, you’ll need a new set of accessories.
If you have a cleaning business that requires various types of vacuum cleaners, they won’t be able to share the attachments.
|Cord||50 feet cord length|
7. GV Commercial Backpack Vacuum
The GV Commercial Backpack Vacuum is an excellent pick for pet owners. It’s powerful but reasonably light, great for use on hard floors as well as carpets. It’s aluminum construction makes it durable without adding unnecessary weight.
It comes with all the tools required for a thorough clean, including a pet tool. What’s more, the integrated HEPA filter will ensure all dander and odors leave the room. Plus, it’s a three-level system, sufficient for domestic use.
The vacuum comes with padded waist and shoulder straps for extra comfort. These are fully adjustable and can fit whether you’re tall or short. The canister can hold a 10-quart bag for dust and debris.
Why We Love It
This vacuum has immense power. Users have nothing but praise — you could practically suck flies right from the air.
The large capacity also means that bigger jobs will get done more quickly. You can finish everything in no time without needing to replace a bag.
While this isn’t the heaviest vacuum cleaner on the market, it’s definitely not the lightest either. With a weight of 11 pounds, good straps are essential. GV fitted them with extra padding on the shoulder and waist, making it extremely comfortable to carry.
They are also fully adjustable to ensure a proper fit regardless of your size. As always, though, make sure that the weight rests on your hips not lower or upper back.
Perfect for Pet Hair
Thanks to the incredible power and a mini turbo nozzle, this vacuum will become pet hair’s worst nightmare. This attachment consists of a small spinning brush that loosens the hair from the carpets and floors. It’s extremely easy to attach and can be used on carpets, stairs or upholstery.
However, the mini turbo nozzle isn’t the only accessory that GV included. There’s also a crevice tool, dust brush, deluxe floor tool and an air-driven mini head.
Keep In Mind
Hose Not as Durable as Some
Users have occasionally reported that the hose bends easily and sometimes detaches. This can be quite inconvenient in the middle of vacuuming.
|Cord||10 inches cord length (extension cord is required)|
|Product||Best For||Power||Cord Length||Weight||Warranty|
|ProTeam CoachVac||Overall||1,188 W||50′||11 lbs||3-years|
|Hoover Lightweight||Commercial||1,000 W||48′||9.2 lbs||2-years|
|HooverPortaPower||Canister||900 W||33′||8.3 lbs||Limited|
|Powr-Flite Comfort||For Sore Backs||1,200 W||50′||8.62 lbs||N/A|
|Sanitaire Quiet Clean||For Bare Floors||1,400 W||50′||11.5 lbs||1-year|
|ProTeam ProVac||For Stubborn Messes||1,108 W||50′||11.6 lbs||3-years|
|GV Commercial||For Pet Hair||N/A||10″||11 lbs||2-years|
Backpack Vacuums FAQs
Are Backpack Vacuums Good on Carpets?
Backpack vacuums are similar to canister types, except that the machine sits on your back. So just like more traditional vacuums, not all are equally great at getting carpets truly clean.
If you’ll be using your machine on thicker rugs, make sure it has the right settings or additional tools that can help.
Roller brushes, for example, sit underneath the head near the entrance. As you use the vacuum, they spin and create turbulence on the surface, releasing embedded dust and dirt.
Are Backpack Vacuums Good With Pet Hair?
As any pet owner knows, shedding hair can seem to be smothered in glue; it sticks to everything. But again, with the right tools and settings a backpack vacuum can help with this. If you’re lucky, you may be able to find a specialized attachment.
How Much Do Backpack Vacuums Cost?
One of the drawbacks of backpack vacuums is their higher price tags. Of course, it varies between brands and depends on added features and filters.
Where a reasonable price point for traditional vacuums can fall around $70 to $100, backpack machines are closer to $200 to $300. If this suits your budget, it can be a great investment toward more efficient cleaning. Keep in mind that these are mid-range costs.
Backpacks for Life
Backpack vacuums are excellent choices for maximizing your efficiency while cleaning. They’re also much better for your posture and can prevent sore muscles. It’s essential to find the perfect fit. So, look for adjustable harnesses, appropriate weight, and sufficient cord length.
Is a backpack vacuum cleaner right for you? Please let us know in the comments below. And feel free to ask any questions you may have.