The 7 Best Backpack Vacuum Cleaners

Are you a commercial cleaner that works in large buildings where getting the job done efficiently is just as important as the final finish? Perhaps you live in an apartment where storage space is limited, and you’re tired of dragging your bulky vacuum up and down the stairs on a daily basis?

In either case, traditional vacuum cleaners are not always the best solution.

Luckily, there’s a smart alternative in the form of backpack vacuums whether it’s for residential or industrial use.

Since these are designed to fit snugly on your back, you won’t need to keep bending down to adjust the controls or change the attachments.

Not only does this help your posture, but the portability of these carry-on cleaners lets you work in tight spots with more maneuverability.

If you find the weight of a regular vacuum and the trailing cord restrictive, think about one of these space-saving alternatives to help you get more work done in less time.

These backpack vacuums may also help reduce back strain; an issue that often accompanies the near-constant bending down when using regular vacuum cleaners.

If you find the sheer breadth of choice overwhelming, we’re here to help…

We’ve put in countless hours of research for you, combing through hundreds of reviews to make sure you can quickly and easily find the most effective backpack vacuum for your specific needs.

Before we get down to business with concise reviews of the leading products available, we’ll briefly explore the upsides and drawbacks of these nifty appliances. Below, is a list of the best backpack vacuum in 2020.

Why Should You Buy a Backpack Vacuum?

Pros

  • Exceptional freedom of movement allowing you to power through your cleaning unencumbered, cutting down on housework time without compromising results.
  • Very easy to store away, even in limited spaces.
  • Enables you to work upright, so it’s great for your posture and also a sound way to ward off back pain if you clean for a living.
  • First-class filtration cuts back on the amount you’ll need to empty the dust container while also promoting superior air quality.
  • A lot of backpack vacuum cleaners are extremely lightweight and suitable for home use, so choose in line with your needs.
  • Perfect for cleaning stairs without needing to drag a heavy upright or canister up and down.
  • Most models come with an impressive range of attachments, tailor-made for cleaning tight, awkward spots.

Cons

  • Some models can be quite pricey, so you’ll need to keep a close eye on your budget.
  • Many backpack vacuums come with limited functions. As such, think twice if you want something with multiple features.
  • If you opt for a purely commercial backpack vacuum, you could end up with something too bulky for home use. Do your research and find the best backpack vacuum for your specific requirements.
  • When used in restrictive areas, you and your backpack vac unit can get stuck.
  • Depending on the model, the suction can be somewhat lacking if you need to clean deeper pile carpets.

After reviewing the best backpack vacuum cleaner, we’ll walk you through on what to look out for when you’re in search of the perfect one.

Now, let’s get straight down to business with those reviews.

Best Backpack Vacuum Reviews

Hoover C2401 Lightweight Backpack Vacuum

If you’re looking for a commercial backpack vacuum from a brand you can rely on, the C2401 from Hoover is an efficient and cost-effective way to get more work done in less time.

Whether you’re cleaning an industrial building or a large home, the cord is long enough to make things convenient. As well, you won’t need to worry about battery life for this over the shoulder lightweight vacuum.

The hypercone HEPA filters traps even the finest allergens and pathogens. The dust bag is reusable, eliminating the ongoing expense of bags. However, do keep in mind that both filters should be removed and cleaned weekly.

You’ll get a crevice and floor tool, a dusting brush and an upholstery tool to make sure you end up with a gleaming finish. While an impressive set of attachments, using these could be easier to use. Unfortunately, the manual isn’t particularly helpful.

Most users praise this hepa backpack vacuum for its lightweight nature, lengthy cable and its suction power, especially on hard floors.

Product Image of Hoover C2401

Specifications

  • Weight: 9.2 lbs
  • Dust Cup Capacity: 6.4 dqt
  • Hose Length: 5 ft
  • Warranty: 2 Years

In several reviews, there are complaints that the dust bag is rather delicate and prone to ripping. Therefore, handle it with care when cleaning it or emptying the contents in the trash can.

The lack of a brush roll means this lightweight backpack vacuum doesn’t cope so well on carpets, but it’s easy to use for hard floors.

Pros

  • HEPA-filtration is ideal for allergy sufferers
  • Excellent pack of attachments for those finishing touches

Cons

  • Doesn’t work so well on carpet
  • The bag is rather messy to empty and clean

Atrix VACBP1 HEPA Backpack Vacuum

Whether at home or in a commercial setting, this 10-pound backpack vacuum cleaner from Atrix is a pocket-friendly powerhouse.

This 1400-watt beast has a lot of suction power, for even the most challenging commercial cleaning jobs. It also works well at home if you prefer the hands-free convenience and heavyweight performance offered.

With a broad spread of attachments and a telescopic wand, you’ll be able to get rid of every last crumb from even hard-to-reach areas.

As an added bonus, you can convert this backpack vacuum into a blower. By purchasing separate nozzles, you’ll have yourself a real multi-purpose tool.

The vast bulk of satisfied users are won over by the efficiency and raw power of this backpack vacuum, particularly on wooden flooring.

There are a few straps that can feel uncomfortable depending on your height and weight.

Product Image of Atrix VACBP1

Specifications

  • Weight: 10.3 lbs
  • Dust Cup Capacity: 8 dqt
  • Hose Length: 6 ft
  • Warranty: 1 Year

Because of this, it may throw off your center of gravity. As such, assess how well you can carry weights of this nature before committing to this purchase.

While the power cable is cut far too close for comfort, you can use an extension cord to maximize your reach so it’s not a deal-breaker.

Pros

  • Nice, comfortable fit with belt loops to store accessories
  • 4-stage filtration included HEPA filter to make light work of large debris and fine particles
  • Expansive range of attachments included

Cons

  • Needs an extension cord as power cable is far too short
  • Beater bar needs regular cleaning or it clogs up

Pro Team Backpack Vacuums

This substantial backpack vacuum from Pro Teams comes in 3 variants according to the nature of your cleaning needs.

With a large 10-quart filter, you’ll need to empty the bag far less frequently than if you were using a conventional upright vacuum. This 4-stage filter is HEPA-rated to ensure the best air quality whether in your home or business.

The winning combination of power offset by a very subdued motor lets you clean aggressively without disturbing anyone.

As well as enjoying more time before the hepa backpack vacuum needs emptying, the extremely long power cable reduces the need to keep plugging and unplugging as you clean.

Business-owners and homeowner alike are delighted with the time saved cleaning larger areas using the pro backpack vacuum.

Product Image of ProTeam Backpack Vacuum

Specifications

  • Weight: 11 lbs
  • Dust Cup Capacity: 10 dqt
  • Hose Length: 4.5 ft
  • Warranty: 3 Years

Complaints are few and far between. This is not the smallest backpack model on the market, though, so make sure you’re comfortable shouldering the load.

Pros

  • Super-powerful motor for outstanding suction
  • Extremely quiet in use, kicking out just 66 decibels

Cons

  • Attachments tend to come loose too easily
  • Slightly bulky for shorter people

Makita XCV05PT Backpack Vacuum

Part of Makita’s LXT lithium-ion range of rechargeable appliances, this cordless carry-on will give you 60 minutes of use on 2 batteries. Their claim that it lasts 90 minutes on low is ambitious.

If you already have these batteries, you can opt to buy the bare tool or the full kit.

As with most backpack vacuums, the Makita’s strength is cleaning bare floors.

With a potent and highly capable brushless motor, everything stays cool without carbon brushes. As such, you’ll get longevity and performance rolled into one.

The 2-stage HEPA filtration gets rid of even the finest particles and irritants.

Users rave about the sheer time saved using this hepa backpack vacuum when cleaning, especially when working with larger areas.

Product Image of Makita XCV05PT

Specifications

  • Weight: 9.4 lbs
  • Dust Bag Capacity: 2 dqt
  • Hose Length: 3.25 ft
  • Battery: 18V X2 LXT Lithium-Ion (36V)
  • Warranty: 1 Year

The harness can be problematic, but this is rather subjective. For its intended purpose, it works great, though some feel it should be more comfortable.

While buying the batteries increases the cost of this vacuum significantly, if you’re already into Makita’s lithium-ion series of tools, this makes a great budget buy without compromising suction power.

Pros

  • Impressive run-time using a pair of batteries
  • Brushless motor runs cool and built to last

Cons

  • Hose seems slightly too small for opening
  • Weak for cleaning carpets as no beater brush

Shop-Vac 2860010

While marketed as an industrial appliance, the Shop Vac is also very well suited for home use.

Suction power should be more than good enough for most reasonable needs at home, but you might struggle if you buy this vacuum intending to clean large industrial messes.

The shoulder harness with tool belt supplied is comfortable enough and distributes the load of the Shop Vac evenly.

Many happy customers embrace the convenience of the Shop Vac in the home.

If you’re looking for a sturdy vacuum for purely industrial purposes, you might be better off exploring a more rugged model.

You’ll get little by the way of extras with the Shop Vac, yet the pair of metal extension wands help you to clean in tight spots.

Product Image of Shop-Vac 2860010

Specifications

  • Weight: 8 lbs
  • Dust Cup Capacity: 6.5 dqt
  • Hose Length: 4 ft
  • Warranty: 1 Year

Pros

  • Substantial tank to hold 4 gallons of dry waste
  • Disposable dust bags for fuss-free cleaning
  • 6HP motor for very capable suction

Cons

  • 25-foot power cord can be restrictive
  • Cost of replacement bags can add up

Sanitaire EURSC412B Backpack Vacuum

Sanitaire products are manufactured by the legendary Electrolux. This affordable over-the-shoulder vac is a bargain considering its functionality.

Whether you’re cleaning commercial premises or your house, the 4-stage HEPA-rated filter system does its job to remove 99.97% of pathogens down to a size of 0.3 microns leaving you with superior air quality at work or home.

Kicking out just 69 decibels, the Sanitaire delivers all the suction you need, without the noise.

The 2-year-limited warranty is a nice bonus.

Many customers are pleasantly surprised with the way this backpack vacuum cleans carpets. This is a notorious weak point with most carry-on sweepers.

Small complaints concerning the attachments failing to stay in place and overall build quality.

Product Image of Sanitaire EURSC412B

Specifications

  • Weight: 11.5 lbs
  • Canister Cup Capacity: 6 dqt
  • Hose Length: 5 ft
  • Warranty: 2 Years

While the canister is pretty small and you’ll need to empty your vacuum frequently, the overall time saved with the Sanitaire still leaves you in profit.

Pros

  • 48-foot cord and 4-foot wand extends your cleaning zone nicely
  • Budget-friendly option
  • HEPA filtration for cleaner air

Cons

  • Capacity is limited
  • Can be awkward to affix attachments

Powr-Flite BP6s Backpack Vacuum

If you have a flexible budget and you’re looking for a backpack vacuum that will keep going for prolonged periods under vigorous use, the Powr-Flite BP6s is a smart bet.

Equipped with a comprehensive 4-stage filtration system, the Powr-Flite guarantees better air quality as well as cleaner floors.

The Deuter harness ensures weight is distributed to the knees and hips for a comfier hands-free experience.

Most satisfied customers enjoy the superb suction and time-saving element of this backpack vacuum cleaner, especially at such a reasonable price.

There are few complaints about the Powr-Flite, although some users have stated the cord works its way loose when being stored.

This is not the lightest backpack vacuum cleaner up for grabs. However, the way in which the harness has been designed by Deuter more than compensates for the few extra pounds.

Product Image of Powr-Flite BP6S

Specifications

  • Weight: 10.5 lbs
  • Dust Cup Capacity: 6 dqt
  • Noise Level: 68 dBa
  • Warranty: 3 Years

Pros

  • Harness system extremely effective
  • 50-foot power cable perfect for cleaning large spaces
  • Ultra-quiet at 62 decibels without sacrificing cleaning power

Cons

  • Rolled up cord can come loose when being stored

Backpack Vacuum Buyer’s Guide

Overall Weight

There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to the optimum weight.

Know your own limits, and look for something less than 10 pounds for the least physically taxing experience. Most of the models we review are in this weight range.

Equally as important as the overall weight is the structure of the straps or harness. Therefore, look for a vacuum that provides the best fit for your body in terms of both weight and weight distribution.

The more time you spend cleaning, the more the weight of the backpack vacuum becomes an issue. If you’re working all day commercially, you should consider getting a lightweight backpack vacuum, even if that means paying a bit extra.

Power Cord Length

If you’re opting for a corded cleaner, the length of the power cable is critical.

Not everyone wants to deal with how long it takes to charge a cordless model. Yet, if you’re constantly looking for a power outlet, there’s no use in having a corded vacuum.

This might seem like a minor issue but the length of the power cord will directly determine your freedom of movement when cleaning.

Anywhere from 45 feet and upwards is ideal.

In general, these backpack vacuums are designed with commercial cleaning duty in mind. And so, the cords are normally generous enough.

If you end up going for a model with a shorter cord, you’re likely to end up regretting the decision.

Backpack Vacuum Tube Length

You should consider the length of the vacuum tube in relation to your height. Since the preferred length is dependent on each user’s size and preference, there’s no “right length” when it comes vacuum tubes.

One of the advantages of a carry-on is that you can avoid the constant bending over involved with vacuuming. Don’t ruin this by needing to bend too much with a heavy weight on your back.

Even if you plan to buy your cleaner online, it can be a wise move to try out one in a shop so you can get a feel for the ergonomics. In particular, tall users should make sure that the kit makes for a nice, comfortable cleaning experience.

Included Tools

While you might think all backpack vacuums come with more than enough attachments, it’s worth checking to see if the model you have in mind comes with the extras you need.

Upholstery brushes, crevice tools, pet brushes, dusting brushes and extension wands are among the usual tools to look out for.

With attachments, it’s much better to focus on the things you really need rather than obsessing about the sheer number of accessories.

It’s also worth looking out for vacs that come with a tool belt or some system of onboard attachment storage if you want to avoid fumbling for what you need mid-clean.

Different Types of Backpack Vacuums

Now that you know what to look out for when you’re searching for the ideal model, let’s explore the various types of backpack vacuums on the market.

We’ll look now at the 3 broad categories of industrial, commercial and home cleaners.

Industrial Vacuums

The heaviest grade of a backpack vacuum cleaner, an industrial unit, works well out on site or in factories and is designed for heavy, continuous use.

With industrial vacuum cleaners, it pays to focus on the length of the power cable, especially if power outlets are scarce on site.

The filtration on industrial vacuums helps get rid of any pathogens in the air along with the dirt on the floor.

Most industrial vacuum cleaners produce a fair amount of noise since they are normally used in environments where this is not so much of an issue.

Motors are generally much more powerful, and they can cope with intensive cleaning jobs without overheating or letting you down.

Backpack vacuums were originally designed more for industrial use than residential. Do your own due diligence and determine whether or not the appliance you have in mind is cut out for your cleaning demands. For heavy-duty projects, you need a rugged, durable vacuum.

Commercial Vacuums

For cleaning offices or larger homes, a commercial-grade backpack vacuum is an ideal choice.

If you feel cheated by the lack of attachments on commercial backpack vacuum cleaners, it’s actually for your own good. Since this type of cleaner is dragged from place to place, attachments easily get lost so it’s best to focus on the pure necessities only.

Components are a combination of plastic and metal with build quality usually a notch above standard household vacuums.

Since most commercial backpack vacuums run reasonably quiet, you shouldn’t have too many noise complaints.

Related Post: Best Commercial Vacuum

A nice touch with commercial cleaners is the magnetic bar that can significantly reduce the amount of metal waste like paperclips that shoots into the vacuum.

A nice touch with commercial backpack vacuum cleaners is the magnetic bar that can significantly reduce the amount of metal waste like paperclips that shoots into the vacuum.

Look out for a lengthy power cord so you can clean large areas without endlessly hunting down a power outlet.

The majority of commercially-rated vacuums have a top-notch filtration system as these vacuum cleaners are often used in sensitive environments like hospitals.

Home Backpack Vacuums

While these backpack vacuum cleaners were designed with more demanding commercial and industrial cleaning projects in mind, the market has seen a recent increase in the manufacture of lightweight backpack vacuums ideal for use in the home.

Perhaps, you’re advancing in years and you struggle to carry your upright or canister up and down the stairs?

Maybe, you have a sprawling house which is tiring to clean using a regular vacuum cleaner?

Certainly, between the suction strength and full flexibility of a hands-free cleaning experience, these models sound fantastic. But, when you’re buying a backpack vac for use in the home, you need to think first and foremost about what kind of flooring you have to avoid any type of damage.

Different Surfaces for Cleaning

Now, we’ll look at both carpets and hardwood floors.

Backpack Vacs for Hardwood Floors

If your home or office has hard flooring, a commercial backpack vacuum works wonders.

Usually, there’s no beater bar, so you don’t risk any scratched surfaces as you move from room to room.

The powerful suction should suck up large and small debris without issue, leaving you with a gleaming finish.

Cleaning Hardwood Floor with ProTeam Backpack Vacuum

Carpet

If you plan to clean large carpeted areas, a backpack vacuum might not be your best option.

Without a brush roll, it’s difficult for most of these units to deal with ingrained dirt.

Many of these carry-ons will work well on thin carpet, but they’ll start to have problems with deeper pile.

Do you need a vacuum for carpets? Read our full guide with the best vacuums for wool carpet.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q:

Should you buy corded or cordless?

A: This is really a matter of personal preference. Cordless backpack vacuums offer the ultimate in flexibility since you won’t be tethered to an outlet or dependent on the length of the power cord.

On the flip side, some users prefer the always-on nature of corded cleaners.

Think about the configuration of the areas you’ll be cleaning and the location of power outlets before deciding what works best for you.

In general, corded backpack vacuum cleaners are far more popular.

Q:

Is there a battery-powered option available?

A: You can invest in a battery-powered vacuum but run times are limited.

Manufacturers often stretch battery life so read plenty of user reviews to get a good idea of the realistic runtime you can expect. Consider the amount of cleaning you need to do, then decide if this will be possible on a single charge.

Q:

Can backpack sweepers/vacuums pick up pet hair?

A: If you’re a pet owner, you should consider a specialized pet hair vacuum.

That said, the powerful suction on a lot of backpack vacuum cleaners means that they do a great job of getting rid of most pet debris.

It always pays to regularly clean your backpack vacuum if you’re sucking up pet hair since it can easily clog up the filters.

Read this guide on how to maintain a vacuum cleaner.

Q:

What’s better bagged or bagless?

A: There’s really no right answer here. Although you’ll save money with bagless cleaners, you’re going to replace the filters more frequently. You want to make sure that you’re aware of the different types of filters as well.

The better question would be, is it safe for your health to go bagless? Primarily for those that have heavy allergies or asthma; you’ll want to be careful when cleaning out the dust from the filter.

Related Post: Bagged Vacuums

Conclusion

We hope you’ve now got a solid overview of using a commercial backpack vacuum cleaner at home.

Whether you live in a small apartment and need a vacuum that’s compact and simple to stash away or you want to clean your stairs without lugging a big canister, this type of vacuum is a surprisingly versatile addition to your cleaning arsenal.

Suction is invariably powerful, and filtration is first-rate.

Whether cordless or packing a 50-foot cord, these carry-ons give you total freedom of movement at work or at home.

We’ve outlined the difference between industrial, commercial, and home models. Once you’ve decided which one would suit your situation best, think about the length of the power cord along with any attachments you need. When you do, you’ll find buying the best backpack vacuum is rather simple.

In the UK, the word Hoover is used synonymously with vacuum, which shows their dominance of this industry. It’s no surprise that the lightweight Hoover C4201 with its 48-foot power cord is among the most enduringly popular backpack vacs.

We hope that our guide helped you determine the best backpack vacuum for this year.

I'm a part-time blogger, and a full-time father. Being a father of 3, my house would get dirty fast. I've done a ton of research on maintaining and cleaning my house effectively. With all the knowledge gained over the course of years, I've decided to create this site. I hope that everyone will learn a thing or two about keeping their homes or businesses clean by visiting this site!

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