Adam holds a Bachelor's and a Master's degree in Linguistics, and creative writing has always been his greatest passion. For more than 25 years he's been working for several well-known automobile and travel magazines as an editor and expert consultant, but when Adam started his writing path here, at WisePick, it turned out that he's capable of writing practically anything about everything.
Initially being an engineering specialist, Tom has never stopped learning and acquiring other knowledge and skills. Now he’s involved in technical support for a well-known household appliances manufacturer, so no wonder he knows everything about almost everything you buy for your home.
Last updated: January 11, 2021
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Backpack vacuums provide a convenient way to make any space clean whether it’s a commercial place or your own house. They are popular for their portability, maneuverability, and efficiency in removing dust, debris, and pet hair in the tightest spots. After researching these cleaning appliances, we have collected the best backpack vacuum models on the market.
Among the features we considered are motor power, if it’s corded, the cord length, capacity, stages of filtration, and dimensions. The motor rating is a good indicator of the suction power, airflow strength, and energy efficiency of your prospective model. Since backpack vacuums are either corded or powered by batteries, we have included both types in our review to give you a variety of options. We also factored in the cord length that will provide more mobility for an extended range of coverage. Next, we evaluated the capacity of the dust cup to ensure it is well-equipped to handle consistent suctioning without requiring frequent emptying. Lastly, we checked the stages of filtration and selected the backpack vacuums which can effectively tackle the different types of pollutants that infiltrate our homes and offices, and the ones that come in compact sizes that will not be tedious to carry around when cleaning.
Our one-stop review comprises of a comparison table which ranks the models that have been rated as the best backpack vacuums by buyers and expert reviewers. We have reviewed each of these products in detail, taking the individual features, pros, and cons into account. In the buying guide, you will learn more about multiple benefits and capabilities of backpack vacuums, the key features to prioritize before buying one, and how to maintain your unit for optimal performance and durability.
ProTeam partners with The American Lung Association to sensitize the public on how to improve indoor air quality and lung health. It also provides a cleaning solution for every form of the surface with this model which is one of the best-rated backpack vacuums on the market when it comes to cleaning versatile surfaces and purifying the air in our homes and other commercial facilities.
ProTeam Super CoachVac 10-quart Backpack Vacuum features a 1,108-watt motor, spacious dust capacity of ten quarts, an extra-long 50-foot cord, two HEPA microfilters and four levels of filtration which eliminate up to 99.67% of dust mites, pollen, bacteria and small particles that are at least one micron in size.
Customers like the shortened cleaning time, powerful suction, versatile functions, and the easy access to narrow areas that this backpack vacuum provides. They also like the belt integrated into the harness for convenient storage of accessories.
When you buy the ProTeam Super CoachVac 10-qt Backpack Vacuum, you will also get an instruction guide, a two-piece extension wand and a commercial cleaning kit which cleans hardwood floors made with linoleum and tiles, low-pile carpets, stairs, furniture, air vents, and ceiling fans. However, the manufacturer does not recommend using the floor tool to clean delicate surfaces or floors that scratch easily. A number of customers are also displeased with the workmanship of the hose which breaks off after a few uses.
If you are looking for the best commercial backpack vacuum cleaner with powerful output and substantial capacity, then GV 10-qt HEPA Commercial Backpack Vacuum would be the most suitable choice for you.
It comes with a motor which generates 110 CFM and 120 inches of water lift and additional cleaning tools which include a crevice tool, duster brush, upholstery tool with slide off brush, deluxe floor tool, and an air-driven power mini head with brush roll.
The 11-pound unit also features three levels of filtration, a sealed HEPA filter, six HEPA filtration bags and a spacious 10-quart collection bag made of a washable cloth which saves you money on replacement.
GreatVacs uses this model to clean their 13,000 square foot warehouse, and customers have used it for their dusty woodworking shops, overhead shelves, and stairs, 4000 feet of hardwood floors, closet door tracks, and even a 20,000 square-foot church.
Buyers are impressed by the stellar customer support, the assortment of accessories including a pet tool, and the tremendous suction of this unit which they bet can suck a golf ball through a garden hose. It may just be possible since this vacuum cleaner even picks up heavy nuts and bolts. We also like the convenient handle, and the 30-day money back guarantee.
Reported issues include the hose which keeps coming off the wand or breaking and the short cord which requires an extension cord for broader coverage without constant unplugging.
Since its inception, Hoover has clocked a decade and become synonymous with vacuum cleaners. The company manufactures the best commercial backpack vacuum cleaners, canisters, carpet washers, and heavy-duty cleaning equipment for various industries.
Hoover Commercial Backpack Vacuum C2401 is a workhorse rated as the best backpack vacuum for hardwood floors. It comes with a chiropractor-designed harness and a sternum clip to secure shoulder straps to reduce strain and a long 48-ft three-pronged cord which covers a broad area and lets you clean continuously without stopping to switch power outlets.
The collection bag has a capacity of 6.4 quarts and a clear dome-shaped lid which allows you to monitor the dust collection so you can know when the bag is due for emptying. You can also opt for a disposable paper bag insert or a cloth liner, giving you a myriad of disposal options.
To fit in narrow spaces such as air vents and shelves, the compact 9.2-pound model is complemented by a cleaning accessory pack of a 60-inch hose which swivels at 360° degrees, two 38-inch metal wands, a six-inch crevice tool, an 11-inch turbo floor tool, a two-inch dusting brush and a four-inch upholstery tool for cleaning drapes. It is also available with a HEPA filter which eliminates up to 99.97% of dust, dust mites, pollen, and other harmful allergens.
The ETL and UL-rated unit also runs relatively quietly, producing 65 decibels of sound, which is the equivalent of normal laughter or a running shower.
This model by ProTeam comes with advanced features which are designed to clean carpets, fit in tight corners and filter the air in areas which are prone to dust and allergens. It comes with an 1108-watt motor with airflow output of 159 CFM and 96-inch static lift, four levels of advanced filtration, and two HEPA micro filter bags which prevent the captured particles from escaping back into the air. Coupled with the long 50-ft cord which limits the need to switch outlets, this unit is capable of covering a total of 1,054 square inches for quick cleaning.
To increase your comfort and protect your posture, the portable six-quart ProVac FS six backpack vacuum has upgraded the FlexFit harness design by incorporating thicker pads for your back and shoulders and an adjustable sternum strap for lumbar support. Other convenient additions include the open-weave fabric which keeps you cool as you clean and the built-in tool belt which holds the accessories in the Restaurant Tool Kit. These accessories are a 14-inch hard floor tool with a nylon brush, 14-inch carpet tool with scallops, five-inch upholstery tool, three-inch dust brush, 11-inch crevice tool, 56-inch two-piece aluminum wand with button lock, and a hose.
It is the best-rated backpack vacuum cleaner by customers who are impressed by its motorized nozzle with the beater brush which suits high-pile carpets and mats. The price may be a bit high for some, but the performance of this model makes it a worthy investment.
A key feature of the best backpack vacuum cleaners is portability which allows you to clean without cramping or straining. This bestselling canister vacuum excels at that with a maneuverable weight of 8.62 pounds and a comfortable shoulder harness designed by Deuter, the German Sport Company that has been making backpacks, knapsacks, and belts for the military since 1910 as well as other products for hiking and trekking.
Powr-Flite BP6S Backpack Vacuum is powered by a 1,200-watt motor with an output of 130 CFM and 110 inches of water lift (the measurement for a motor’s suction force). The long cord of 50 feet connects the unit to a power outlet for wide coverage.
Among the cleaning accessories you will receive with this vacuum are a wand that bends into two pieces for convenient storage, a four-foot hose, a five-inch upholstery tool, a three-inch dusting tool, a 17-inch crevice tool, a 14-inch hard floor tool with felt glides and soft bristles on both ends to protect hardwood floors and marble from contact with the head which may limit airflow, and a carpet tool and Powr-glide carpet tool which both measure 14 inches.
You will also benefit from four stages of filtration facilitated by two HEPA filter bags which improve your air quality. Filters include the pre-motor filter, a micro-cloth filter, and an exhaust motor filter which should be cleaned after every three months and replaced after a year.
This 70-decibel unit complies with LEED’s requirement for noise level and has been certified gold by the Carpet & Rug Institute for efficiency in dust containment.
This cost-effective model comes with a powerful motor, compact design, adjustable fit, a HEPA filter, and multiple accessories to clean every nook and cranny in your home without costing you a fortune.
It features a 1,400-watt motor with an output of 106 CFM, four levels of infiltration including an eight-quart HEPA filter bag which safely captures bacteria and other small harmful particles, and an adjustable belt loop which doubles up as storage for the accessories included in the package. These multipurpose cleaning tools consist of a six-inch hose, blower adapter, exhaust filter cover, 22 to 37 inch extension wand, a set of three blower nozzles, furniture nozzle, crevice tool, round brush, floor brush, air-driven turbo brush, extension cord strain relief, a HEPA bag, a shakeout bag, pre-motor and exhaust filter set, a set of hose and filter plugs, and a two-foot cord.
Additionally, you can easily switch this 10.3-pound corded vacuum to right or left operation according to your handedness.
The Atrix VACBP1 HEPA Backpack Vacuum Cleaner is a versatile unit with a wide range of cleaning attachments to tidy up different surfaces, access hard-to-reach areas and purify the air around you to keep bacteria and microbes at bay, making it the best backpack vacuum cleaner on a budget. The only disappointing thing is the short cord which requires a three-prong extension cord that you will have to acquire separately to increase the extent of coverage.
The convenience of cordless backpack vacuum cleaners lies in their unlimited range, quiet operation and their compact design which can be easily maneuvered into tight areas and overhead places like AC vents and ceiling fan blades.
One such model is the Makita XCV05Z Backpack Vacuum which is powered by two 18V LXT 5.0Ah Lithium-Ion batteries which are purchased separately and a durable brushless motor which generates 53 CFM and 28.5-inch water lift. The efficient motor is optimized to run up to 50% longer on a single charge. With this unit, you won’t have to worry about adding extension cords to increase the operational range, tripping over pesky cables or putting up with roaring noise when cleaning. You will also like the light portable weight, with onboard batteries, of only 9.4 pounds.
Padded shoulder straps and an adjustable waist belt ensure a comfortable fit while the handheld controller which is operated with a push button offers you an hour of cleaning time on high setting and up to 90 minutes of uninterrupted cleaning on low setting.
Upon purchase, you will also receive a flexible 39-inch hose with a telescoping wand which extends to an extra 20 to 34 inches to reach narrow and distant areas and a HEPA filtration mechanism which effectively captures most of the pollutants in our homes.
The downsides you will have to contend with are the small capacity of two quarts and the narrow hose which has a tendency to clog.
What we liked:
Compact and light
Adjustable wand and waist belt
What could be better:
Low dust capacity
Hose clogs rather easily
Things to Сonsider
Choosing an ineffective vacuum cleaner which is incapable of getting rid of harmful particles or which leaks the captured contaminants back into the atmosphere can expose you to health risks. To avoid this, we break down the most important features to consider before buying the best backpack canister vacuum and the role they play in improving air quality in residential and commercial facilities.
What a backpack vacuum is capable of and why you need it
You can get the best backpack vacuum cleaner in corded and cordless versions.
Majority of these cleaning appliances have multiple filtration stages to effectively remove the different types of contaminants that invade our immediate environment.
As you may have deduced from our review, these units are portable yet potent with powerful suction. The GV 10-qt HEPA Commercial Backpack Vacuum which even picks up heavy nuts and bolts has impressed customers so much that some are convinced it can suck a golf ball through a garden hose!
Compact design a perfect combination of comfort, convenience, and efficiency.
The best-rated backpack vacuums are equipped with an adjustable harness and waist belt and for comfort and a snug fit.
Backpack vacuums come with multipurpose add-on attachments and accessories to clean versatile surfaces and areas, including narrow crevices, distant spaces and underneath furniture.
To save time, these vacuums come with waist belt storage for the accessories so you can quickly interchange the heads. Corded units save time with long cords for broader coverage without switching outlets, and cordless models feature variable settings to extend the battery’s charge for a longer runtime.
Lastly, backpack vacuum cleaners generally have an excellent price-performance ratio.
Features to consider while choosing a backpack vacuum
The following features are the key parameters you should prioritize when shopping for the best-rated backpack vacuum that will cater most to your cleaning and health needs.
Backpack vacuums come in corded types which are plugged into power outlets and cordless models which are powered by batteries.
Manufacturers indicate power consumption in wattages, horsepower, and amps so you can establish the power and energy efficiency of your prospective model. Wattage rates the motor’s power consumption whereas amps rate the total consumption of power by all the vacuum’s electrical components, including the motor itself and motorized brushes.
While the above measurements calculate energy consumption, suction force, which is indicated in cubic feet per minute (CFM), is where the real power of the motor lies because it shows the cleaning performance of the motor. CFM measures the resultant airflow of the motor, with a higher number translating to more power to clean dirt and debris. Ideally, you should look for a backpack vacuum with a minimum output of 100 CFM. The Powr-Flite BP6S and the ProTeam ProVac FS 6 have the highest CFM in our list, with outputs of 130 and 159 CFM respectively.
For cordless models, consider a battery that can last long on a single charge for extended cleaning sessions. Cordless models like the Makita XCV05Z feature variable settings for different durations. Its handheld controller which is operated with a push button offers you an hour of cleaning time on high setting and up to 90 minutes of uninterrupted cleaning on low setting.
If it’s corded
Corded backpack vacuums offer you unlimited power while cordless models provide an unlimited range. The limitation of cordless vacuums is they need an electrical power outlet to operate.
Although all the models we have recommended can fit in the tightest spots due to their compact sizes, cordless models like the Makita XCV05Z take it to the next level because they are not restricted by cords. They can maneuver multi-level surfaces, hard floors, upholstery, stairs, and clean crammed spaces such as air vents and closets.
A long power cord covers a more extensive range for faster cleaning and gives you more room to maneuver into distant areas. The corded ProTeam Super CoachVac 10-qt Backpack Vacuum and the Powr-Flite BP6S come with an extra-long 50-foot power cord that eliminates the need to repeatedly plug and unplug the unit to switch power outlets or incur additional costs for an extension cable.
Dust collection bags require regular emptying to avoid overfilling and clogging which can compromise the performance of your backpack vacuum. The dust capacity enables you to evaluate how long you can clean before interrupting your session to dispose the accumulated dust and debris. Most models on the market hold six to ten quarts of dirt.
The Hoover Commercial Backpack Vacuum C2401 is another excellent choice which offers you three disposal options; a collection bag with a clear dome-shaped lid to monitor the dust collection, a disposable paper bag insert or a cloth liner.
Stages of filtration
The key determinant of the effectiveness of a backpack vacuum cleaner is its ability to clean, a role mainly attributed to filters. Subsequently, the type and power of the filtration system becomes the most important factor to consider when shopping for the best backpack canister vacuum since some filters are only suited to remove particular pollutants or are only compatible with specific units.
A model with multiple stages of filtration is ideal in removing a wider range of contaminants like dirt, dust, dander, airborne microbes and other allergens that could cause breathing difficulty or aggravate respiratory issues, such as asthma. Such models also safely contain the captured contaminants to prevent them from escaping back into the air.
All the backpack vacuums we have reviewed feature multiple levels of filtration, including HEPA which is considered the ultimate gold standard in improving air quality because it removes up to 99.97% of harmful particles that are one micron or larger in size.
As well as powerful cleaning, you also need the best commercial backpack vacuum cleaner that can be operated without disturbing or distracting your colleagues, employees or customers.
Consider the decibel rating of your intended model to determine the expected noise output. This is particularly important for backpack vacuums because any noise produced will be closer to your ears since you will be carrying the unit on your back.
Vacuums must have noise levels of less than 70 decibels (dBA) to be certified by LEED, the acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design which is a global rating system established by the United States Green Building Council. The Powr-Flite BP6S Backpack Vacuum meets this requirement and has also been approved by the Carpet & Rug Institute. The Hoover Commercial Backpack Vacuum C2401 is also an ideal choice because it has a noise output of 65 decibels.
Dimensions and weight
Dimensions and weight matter the most when choosing backpack vacuums because you will be carrying these cleaning appliances on your back. Buying the best backpack vacuum for hardwood floors will turn the tidying task into a tedious exercise if you end up with a cumbersome canister unit.
Factors that may affect the size and weight include a large motor, a spacious dust collection bag which becomes heavier as it fills up, and the number of attachments you will be using during your cleaning session.
Fortunately for you, all our featured products are compact and light – highest weight of only 11 pounds – to improve portability and maneuverability on multilevel surfaces like stairs, upholstery, overhead areas like ceiling fans and narrow spaces such as air vents, shelves, and closets.
They also come with detachable cleaning heads and extension wands which fold in two halves to reach distant places like cleaning underneath furniture and for convenient storage.
Warranty insures you against any future defects and offers you free repair and replacement depending on the brand and model. Consider a long warranty as well as the availability of spare parts and the customer support. This is why it is important to check buyer feedback and authoritative review sites which offer valuable insight into the performance and durability of the best-rated backpack vacuums in the market.
Which accessories are included: The best backpack canister vacuums come with multipurpose kits with add-on attachments and accessories for efficient and convenient cleaning of versatile surfaces, carpets and hard-to-reach areas like air vents and ceiling fans. The most common accessories are extension wands, hoses, upholstery tools, crevice tools, dust brushes, and floor brushes. Other models feature extra nozzles for navigating narrow corners and edges as well as cleaning cushions and a pet power brush for cleaning fur and dander.
Examples of models with diverse cleaning attachments are the GV 10-qt HEPA Commercial Backpack Vacuum which includes a crevice tool, duster brush, upholstery tool with slide off brush, deluxe floor tool, and an air-driven power mini head with brush roll, and the ProTeam ProVac FS 6 which comes with a Restaurant Tool Kit consisting of a 14-inch hard floor tool with nylon brush, 14-inch carpet tool with scallops, five-inch upholstery tool, three-inch dust brush, 11-inch crevice tool, 56-inch two-piece aluminum wand with button lock, and a hose.
CFM: It calculates the speed of airflow through a vacuum, from the surface you are cleaning to the dust collection bag, by factoring in the motor’s power and the resistance created by fans, filters, and dust bags. A higher Cubic Feet per Minute value indicates greater suction power.
Hose length: Consider a long, swiveling hose for convenient access to distant areas and tight spots. The best backpack vacuum for hardwood floors with a long hose is the Hoover Commercial C2401 whose 60-inch long hose also swivels at 360° degrees. Alternatively, you can make use of the extension wand included with most units to increases the length of the hose for hard-to-reach areas.
Shoulder straps and waist belt features: To make backpack vacuums safer and more comfortable to carry and clean without strain or fatigue, manufacturers incorporate different methods. The most common is an adjustable harness design which distributes your body weight evenly and is easily modified for a snug fit. These harnesses typically include an integrated waist belt that also provides convenient storage for the accessories. The cordless Makita XCV05Z Backpack Vacuum comes with padded shoulder straps and the ProTeam ProVac FS 6 features an upgraded FlexFit harness design with thicker pads for the back and shoulders, an adjustable sternum strap for lumbar support as well as a cooling open-weave fabric.
Reusable/Washable filters: Using clean filters prevents clogging and improves airflow to optimize filtration for total protection from allergens and other toxic airborne particles.
Washable and reusable filters are an eco-friendly and low maintenance option which saves you extra costs on a replacement. You can wash and dry them or simply tap them into a dust container to remove loose dust and debris before reusing them.
You could also buy filters in bulk so you can alternate them between washing and drying. Better still, you should grab the GV 10-qt HEPA Commercial Backpack Vacuum 11-pound unit which boasts of three levels of filtration, a sealed HEPA filter, a spacious ten-quart collection bag made of washable cloth and six HEPA filtration bags.
How to maintain a backpack vacuum
Always confirm there is a filter before operating any backpack vacuum.
Examine the filters after every use for clogging or blockage which may cause the motor to overwork.
Rinse the HEPA microfilters weekly and let them air dry before reusing them.
Always use the right cleaning tool for the specified surface to protect your carpets and flooring. For example, the Hoover Commercial C2401 is the best backpack vacuum for hardwood floors, but it may not be suitable for delicate floors.
This will mainly depend on the model and the type of filter. For instance, Powr-Flite BP6S features a pre-motor filter, a micro-cloth filter, and an exhaust motor filter. The washable micro-cloth filter can be reused for several years without replacement as long as you rinse and air dry it weekly, but the exhaust motor filter should be replaced after a year.
All the models we have recommended as the best backpack vacuum cleaners limit their noise level to a maximum of 70 decibels, which is quieter than a dishwasher, and within LEED’s requirement for certification.
Our Editor’s Choice is the ProTeam Super CoachVac 10-qt Backpack Vacuum by ProTeam, a partner of The American Lung Association in promoting indoor air quality and lung health. It is among the best-rated backpack vacuums on the market which come with ample capacity, an extra-long cord, four-stage filtration system and an adjustable belt for customized fitting.
At the second position is the GV 10-qt HEPA Commercial Backpack Vacuum, which is also our choice for the best commercial backpack vacuum cleaner. It has an extensive coverage matched by a powerful motor with impressive suction force to speed up your cleaning time. We also like the versatile cleaning arsenal, including several filtration bags and the famous HEPA filter.
Our third pick is the Hoover Commercial C2401, which is the best backpack vacuum for hardwood floors. It features an ergonomic harness design, a long swiveling hose, varied dirt disposal options, and approval of UL and ETL.