what is the best backpack vacuum

Portable Power: Best Backpack Vacuum 2018

A backpack vacuum can be one of the most convenient, powerful, and portable cleaning tools to add to your arsenal—especially if you have a large, multi-level home. Because they’re more often used in commercial applications, you might not think of them when you’re shopping for a vacuum cleaner, but the best backpack vacuums can efficiently clean your home from top to bottom.

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You might think a backpack vacuum is well out of your price range once you hear they’re mostly used by businesses, but you might be surprised by how affordable some of them are. The models on this list all cost less than most robot vacuums, to give you a comparison, and can clean your ceiling fans, stairs, and other places many vacuums simply can’t reach.

We’ve picked out some of our favorite backpack vacuums on the list below. All of them will bring you an industrial-strength clean, in a package that can fit comfortably into any home. Check out the full reviews to help you figure out which one’s the right one for you.


Comparison Table


Best Backpack Vacuum Reviews

Rubbermaid Commercial Executive Series Backpack Vacuum Cleaner

Rubbermaid Commercial Executive vac review

Older-style backpack vacuums were notoriously uncomfortable to wear and use. This version from Rubbermaid is designed not only to clean well but to feel good while you’re using it, meaning you won’t have to suffer to get a great clean.

At just under twenty pounds, the Rubbermaid backpack vacuum is relatively lightweight—at least enough that it shouldn’t feel like a strain on your shoulders, even when the dustbin is full. It’s also designed with the comfort of the user in mind. The relatively quiet operation means you won’t have the motor whirring in your ears the entire time you’re using it, saving your ear drums and making it perfect for cleaning in relatively quiet spaces. The design of the frame prevents any heat generated by the motor from reaching your body while allowing more air to flow through, two things that combine to keep you cooler.

This Rubbermaid vacuum is also very easy and efficient to use. The swivel hose makes it easy to maneuver around whatever obstacles are in your way. It’s also highly flexible, letting you clean at any angle and in any direction. Along with the hose you’ll get aluminum extender wands and an assortment of useful accessories, including crevice tools, upholstery tools, and other nozzles that make it suitable for any kind of floor.

With a combination of superior suction power and maximum user comfort, this Rubbermaid backpack vacuum is one of the most universally functional and versatile devices that you’re likely to find. It’s a great all-purpose option for any home or situation.

PROS

What we like:

  • Frame designed to prevent heat transfer
  • Surprisingly quiet operation (66 dBA)
  • Flexible swivel hose is easy to use
  • 40-foot cord with hard-mounted restraint
  • Can use on both hard floors and carpets
  • Relatively lightweight and comfortable to use and carry

CONS

What we didn't like:

  • Attachments may come loose and fall out of the hose during use
  • Wand length isn’t easily adjustable

ProTeam ProVac FS6

ProTeam ProVac FS6 review

The ProVac from ProTeam was designed to handle commercial kitchens and other businesses in the hospitality industry—and that means it certainly has the power to handle whatever messes you make at home. You will have to pay a bit more for this, of course; at over $400, this is hardly your most affordable option for a home vacuum cleaner, but it’s well worth it if you have tricky messes to get rid of.

The ProVac comes in two sizes: a 6-quart version and a 10-quart version. Home users should find the 6-quart model plenty sufficient for their needs. You can also get it with a variety of different tools designed for different cleaning situations.

Everything about the ProVac is designed to let you comfortably use it for long cleaning sessions. It has a well-padded and adjustable harness, with an open-weave fabric that encourages better air flow. It also has a 50-foot cord that will let you clean almost any residential space without changing outlets.

Aside from sheer power, the most impressive thing about the ProVac is its filtration system. It uses four levels of filtration to ensure your air quality. This HEPA-certified filtration captures over 99.9% of all particles that pass through it, down to a size of .3 microns. In other words, you know no allergens or dust will escape once you’ve sucked them up.

For a commercial vacuum cleaner, this is also both very lightweight and relatively quiet. In many ways, it gives you the best of both worlds, with the power to handle a business and the ease of use for a home.

 

PROS

What we like:

  • Industrial-strength airflow of 159 CFM
  • Breathable, padded, and adjustable harness
  • Impressive four-level HEPA filtration
  • Variety of tools and accessories available
  • 50-foot cord and 6-quart dustbin mean no stopping during cleaning
  • Quiet and lightweight

CONS

What we didn't like:

  • High price
  • Carpet attachment not as efficient as its hard floor cleaning

Hoover Commercial Lightweight Backpack Vacuum (C2401)

If you’re looking for the lightest possible option in terms of weight, this model from Hoover is the best backpack vacuum for you. At less than ten pounds, you’ll hardly even notice it’s there after you’ve put it on, letting you clean in complete comfort.

 

This Hoover backpack vacuum is perfect for people with back problems, and not just because of its low weight. The harness was designed by chiropractors to be as comfortable as possible, with a minimum of strain on your muscles and joints. In many ways it’s even easier on your back than more traditional upright models that require you to bend, stretch, and push.

In terms of portability, the Hoover is similar to other backpack vacuum models. It has a 48-foot cord and a 6.4-quart dustbin, which together mean you’ll be able to clean everything in one pass without stopping to empty the bin or move the plug. The dustbin has a bit more of a sophisticated design than other options. The clear lid makes it easier to monitor how full your bag is, so you know when it’s time to change it. You also get the option of a disposable paper bag or a re-usable cloth liner—a choice that the majority of vacuums don’t offer you.

The included accessories are also generally better than what you’ll find on most options. This includes a two-piece metal wand along with dedicated tools for crevices, dusting, and upholstery, and a turbo floor brush for particularly tricky tasks. The attachment hose is positive locking so you know you won’t lose suction mid-session.

PROS

What we like:

  • Weights less than ten pounds
  • Harness designed for minimum strain and effort
  • Portable and convenient thanks to large cord and dustbin
  • Can use either re-usable or disposable bags
  • Positive locking hose guaranteed to stay in place
  • Useful array of accessories

CONS

What we didn't like:

  • Not the best option for rugs
  • Long wand can be tricky to use for shorter people

GV 10 Quart Commercial BackPack Vacuum

GV 10 Quart review

The unique, slim design of this backpack vacuum is the first thing that will catch your eye. It is far sleeker and more stylish than the majority of backpack vacuum models—and while cleaning power is certainly more important than looks, this attention to detail carries through the rest of the design.

As with other options on this list, you get your choice of accessory packages when you shop for the GV BackPack Vacuum. There’s over a hundred dollar price difference between the least and the most expensive option, so deciding which accessories you need will have a significant impact on the price. Buying the highest-end option will give you the power nozzle, which allows the vacuum to clean even high pile carpets—a must-have accessory for those with plush carpeting.

Whichever version of the accessories you go with, the vacuum itself will be the same. It uses aluminum for the construction, making it both very durable and impressively light-weight, along with three-stage HEPA filtration to ensure air quality. The dustbin capacity is one of the largest on the list at ten quarts, and you have the option of using disposable or reusable bags. This combination of factors puts the GV at the top of the list when it comes to versatility.

PROS

What we like:

  • Choice of accessory packages at different price points
  • Light and durable aluminum construction
  • Can handle even high-pile carpet with the power nozzle
  • LED headlights let you see into tight spaces
  • Large dustbin

CONS

What we didn't like:

  • Heat from the motor not completely insulated, can get uncomfortably warm after extended use

Bissell BigGreen Commercial (BG1006)

Bissell BigGreen review

Bissell is another leading name in cleaning, and their backpack vacuum is a heavy-duty and convenient commercial backpack vacuum. Its main strength is in its ability to clean at any height, and it’s designed to work effectively on ceiling fans, high air vents, and other places dust likes to accumulate. The swivel cuff on the wand makes it easy to maneuver both up high and down low.

The BigGreen uses both shoulder and waist straps to distribute the weight more evenly. It’s not that heavy, either, at less than ten pounds—impressive considering the motor generates over 1,000 watts of power. That’s enough suction to easily take care of pet hair and large particles like spilled food.

 

Even though it has the power for commercial use, the operation isn’t overly complicated. It’s designed so you can turn it on and off without removing the backpack. There’s also a sensor that detects when the bag is full, cutting off the motor to protect it from damage. Emptying is a breeze, too, with just a simple twist-off lid to contend with.

 

In terms of other stats, the BigGreen is on par with other options in the price range. It has a 6-quart bin capacity and a 50-foot cord for extended cleaning sessions. The main shortfalling users report is with the attachment set, which can be awkward to use and aren’t always as effective as the main head.

PROS

What we like:

  • Ergonomic design won’t strain your joints
  • Great at cleaning high places
  • Easy to use
  • Suction power high enough for larger debris and pet hair
  • Sturdy and durable

CONS

What we didn't like:

  • Accessories don’t work as well as other models

GV 8 Qt Light Powerful BackPack Vacuum Loaded

GV 8 Qt review

Backpack vacuums are already way more mobile than canister or upright models, but most of the models you find are still limited by the length of your cord. Great-Vacs fixes this problem with their Light Powerful Backpack, which comes in two versions: one with a 25-foot cord, and another that’s cordless and is powered by a lithium ion battery.

There are two main differences between these versions, other than the power source. The corded version is a bit lighter—about 10 pounds, compared to 14 with the battery. This is still lighter than any other battery-operated backpack vacuum on the market, and the straps are comfortably padded so it doesn’t feel heavy. The corded version also costs about half as much, making it one of the better values on this list, although it also has the shortest power cord.

Aside from those differences, they give you the same power and efficiency. The bags use a four-stage HEPA filtration that traps dander and allergens, and it has the suction for snagging tricky messes. The various attachments that come with the vacuum are all quite handy. Combined with the motor, they let you clean any surface, from delicate hardwoods to high-pile and even long-fiber carpets. The handy pouches on the waist let you store your tools in easy reach when you’re not using them.

PROS

What we like:

  • Both versions are lightweight
  • Storage slots for accessories on belt
  • Padded harness for extra comfort
  • Four-stage HEPA filter
  • Cordless option makes it great for vehicles, stairs, and patios

CONS

What we didn't like:

  • Cord is short on corded version (25 feet)
  • Loud motor, may require ear protection for long sessions

Sanitaire EURSC412B Quiet Clean Backpack

Sanitaire EURSC412B review

Backpack vacuums aren’t always the most affordable options. If you’re on a bit more of a budget, though, the Sanitaire Quiet Clean is the best backpack vacuum under $300. It might not give you the extensive accessory package you’ll find with other models, and the look of it is pretty basic, but in terms of performance for the value, you can’t beat it.

For convenience, the Sanitaire gets high marks. It’s 11½ pounds—not the lightest on the list, but it won’t weigh you down while you’re cleaning. It’s fairly quiet, rated at 69 decibels, an important consideration considering how close your ears are to the motor. The wide 12” cleaning head makes it a lot more efficient, especially at cleaning larger spaces, and it has a long cord, too, so there’s no stopping mid-session.

It also has some features that you might not expect to find on a vacuum in this price range. It meets LEED certification requirements, for example, so you know it’s efficient and won’t waste energy. It also uses a similar four-stage HEPA filtration system to high-end vacuums.

The trade-off is that this vacuum isn’t quite as versatile as some of the others on the list. It has the power and attachments to handle hard surfaces with ease, and can also clean low-pile carpets without a problem, but for plush and long-fiber carpets it’s not the ideal choice. Still, if you’re looking for an affordable option that will satisfy most residential needs, the Sanitaire Quiet Clean is the way to go.

PROS

What we like:

  • Relatively low price
  • Quiet operation
  • Portable and lightweight
  • Wide cleaning path for quick, efficient cleaning
  • Energy efficient (LEED certified)
  • Four-level HEPA filtration

CONS

What we didn't like:

  • Not designed for high-pile carpets
  • Slightly unwieldy, especially with the attachments

How to choose?

Aside from quantifiable features like price and suction power, the most universally desired property in a backpack vacuum cleaner is user comfort. The design of the straps has something to do with this, but so do the motor’s heat dispersal and operating volume. Some backpack vacuums get hot against your back when you use them for more than a few minutes, which can get very uncomfortable very quickly. Because the motor is right there, particularly loud vacuums will require extra ear protection—something most people don’t want to deal with when they’re cleaning at home.

Ease of use is also something you’ll want to consider. These vacuums are all designed to have a long reach with the wand extended—helpful if you’re cleaning the dust from ceiling fan blades, but this can make them trickier to use for sweeping floors, especially if you’re on the shorter side. Looking for a vacuum with an adjustable wand, or at least one that’s designed to be very maneuverable, will make it easier to take advantage of its floor to ceiling capabilities.

ProTeam ProVac FS6

If we were asked to recommend just one best backpack vacuum, our money would have to be on the ProTeam ProVac. It has a fairly quiet motor and doesn’t weigh too much, with a breathable harness for maximum comfort. It also has the tools and power to give any surface a professional clean. Having said that, though, these are all appealing options, bringing you a commercial clean that you can carry with you without a second thought.

About the Author Jason

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