Best Backpack Vacuum Cleaner of 2018 & Buying Guide

Backpack vacuum cleaners are cool. No doubt about that. They can also be tricky to shop for, because they’re small and there are a lot of different features that can be packed into them.

Backpack vacuums are notably different than the other styles of vacuums, mostly because you wear them on your back. This provides a whole bunch of different benefits, but also a number of drawbacks that can make or break the deal. We’re going to provide for you a guide to making a good purchase of a backpack vacuum cleaner.

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#1

Hoover C2401 Shoulder Vac Pro

99/100

#2

Rubbermaid Commercial Executive Series Backpack Vacuum Cleaner

97/100

#3

ProTeam Backpack Vacuums

96/100

#4

GV 10 Quart Commercial BackPack Vacuum

94/100

What’s the deal with backpack vacuums?

Backpack vacuums – contrary to what the name suggests – aren’t actually made for cleaning backpacks. They’re vacuum cleaners that you wear on your back. They usually have a hose or nozzle that you use to vacuum. These hoses will have a number of different tools that you can attach and detach as needed for different cleaning situations.

Most backpack vacuums include enough tools for cleaning all sorts of surfaces. Some of them even have tools for cleaning surfaces above the ground, such as tables, desks, and soft furniture.

What can a backpack vacuum clean?

A backpack vacuum is very competitive in terms of its cleaning ability.

  • Backpack vacuums can clean rugs and carpets by using a traditional vacuum-like attachment. The user will hold the hose, or a handle on the hose, and sweep the vacuum attachment over the carpets as if they were using a stand up or a canister vacuum.
  • Backpack vacuums can be used to clean furniture or vehicles, with smaller attachments that minimize the suction power.
  • Backpack vacuums can easily access hard-to-reach areas, like corners, and even ceilings.

Just about the only thing a backpack vacuum isn’t going to be able to clean is thick hairy carpets, like shag rugs. You need a special kind of vacuum to clean those anyways.

Why would I want a backpack vacuum instead of a regular one?

Backpack vacuums carry a number of benefits that you won’t find with other types of vacuums. Standup vacuums are great for sheer suction, canister vacuums are good for portability and ease of use. Backpack vacuums are particularly appealing for the following reasons.

  • They aren’t as portable as a handheld vacuum, but they’re more movable than a stand-up vacuum. Since you’re wearing the vacuum on your back, you can move them allowing yourself to access hard-to-reach areas.
  • They’re lightweight, particularly when compared again with standup vacuums. Most of them weigh less than ten pounds, which is a pretty reasonable weight for most homeowners to carry on their back.
  • Backpack vacuums, naturally, aren’t great for elderly people or for very young children.
  • They’re versatile and can clean all sorts of floors and surfaces.
  • Their capacity is huge! They can often fit more debris than a canister vacuum, and they’re usually quite easy to empty or change.
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What should I keep in mind when buying a backpack vacuum?

There are a couple things you’ll want to consider before you shell out the cash for your new backpack vacuum.

  • Your setting is important. If you live in a house that’s completely carpeted with shag carpets, then a backpack vacuum is just going to get clogged up and you’ll have to buy another one.
  • If you live in a house with varying types of floors at different heights, backpack vacuums are a good idea. They can be moved from floor to floor, and clean stairs, with relatively little hassle.
  • If you live in a house with lots of soft surfaces, backpack vacuums are also ideal. You can clean the hair off your couch at the same time you’re cleaning your floor, with no need to switch vacuums.
  • Your budget, as when buying anything, plays a big factor. Backpack vacuums vary in price, and are generally more expensive than your average stand up vacuum cleaner. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t budget options available, though. You’ll see some of the cheaper options in our “Best Of” list down below.
  • If you’re buying a backpack vacuum for the office, consider if it can be used at home, or vice versa. It’s much better to buy a single vacuum for multiple use than it is to buy two separate, expensive models.
  • The weight is an important consideration, especially if you’re going to be wearing the backpack to clean awkward areas. It’s no fun bending and leaning and strange angles if you’re wearing something heavy on your back.
  • The features should be decided upon by you. For example, you’re not going to need a ceiling-cleaning attachment if you live outside.

So which one’s the best?

Again, this depends on your personal needs and preferences. Office cleaners might not need the same backpack vacuum as homeowners. You’ll need to look at the following entries and determine which one is best for your personal needs, based on its size, price, and the features available.


1. The Hoover C2401 Shoulder Vac Pro

This is a great vacuum that’s fully functional for both home and light commercial use, like in offices. It’s not a bad price, directed towards the budget of a homeowner or someone with a budding business.

Like many backpack vacuums, it’s lightweight, coming in at less than ten pounds. This means that it won’t be much of a hindrance, even for extended cleaning sessions. The small weight comes with another bonus – a small size, making this unit small enough to store away without being unsightly.

The Hoover C2401 comes with an accessory pack. These tools can help you clean large areas quickly, clean small areas accurately, and reach other hard-to-get-to areas. These all attach to the canister so you can access them easily. Included tools:

  • A 60 inch locking hose
  • Two straight metal wands, like normal vacuum cleaners
  • A crevice tool
  • A turbo-floor tool for cleaning big areas
  • A dusting brush
  • A upholstery cleaning tool

The harness is designed by a chiropractor and is meant to support your back during use. This prevents spinal related injuries or damage to your posture from repeated use. This also makes it a heck of alot more comfortable.

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The canister has a see-through lid, so you can look in and see how much stuff you’ve accumulated. It also has HEPA filters to keep your breathing air clean. The filter also helps provide you with good quality suction.

Pros:

  • See through lid makes it easy to know when to change the vacuum
  • Has a wide number of useful attachments
  • Great for commercial and residential use
  • Good price
  • Made of good materials
  • Easily accessed accessories

Cons:

  • Not good for shorter people
  • Some parts are inconveniently unremovable

2. GV 10 Quart Commercial BackPack Vacuum

This vacuum is a good quality, lightweight vacuum. It’s made out of aluminum, which is both durable and light, so you can swing it around as you wear it and not have to worry (too much) about damages.

This particular unit has changed the face of the compact vacuum market. It’s a bit heavier than the previous entry – eleven pounds – but that’s because of its intense capabilities.

It’s got a 3-stage filtration system. This keeps your breathing air clean, and also helps to get rid of dust that may be seated upon your surfaces. There’s a washable SMS bag included as part of the filter, as well as HEPA filtration bags that pull allergens out of the surrounding air.

This unit has an impressive amount of water lift – one of the highest you can find in any commercially sold vacuums. 120 inches! That gives it more sucking power than a lot of competitors, making it better for cleaning tough dirt that lies deep within carpets. It also allows you to suck things out of corners that you might not be able to actually reach.

This vacuum can be used residentially, commercially, and even industrially due to its high power capabilities. It comes with a few attachment tools, such as a tool for vacuuming crevices, a dust brush, and a upholstery tool.

Pros:

  • Extremely high quality
  • Durable make
  • Light materials make it easy to carry
  • Three stage filtration
  • More water lift than many vacuums on the market
  • Useful for many applications

Cons:

  • Not the best suited for residential use
  • Expensive

3. Rubbermaid Commercial Executive Series Backpack Vacuum Cleaner

This is a powerful unit that doesn’t give away it’s incredible suction power by being really loud. It’s quiet, but it boasts 100 degrees of water lift, which is comparable to the last model on our list which breaks records. It’s only 66 decibels, which makes it quieter than some models which are designed for the hospitality industry!

The design is meant to keep the motor’s heat directed away from the user’s body, which improves the level of comfort. It also enhances the airflow so the quality of suction isn’t hindered.

The backpack itself is lightweight. It also has a swivelling hose that lets you have fun while you clean around different pieces of furniture or obstacles. It’s a multi-purpose vacuum, good for both hard surfaces and carpets.

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The unit’s certified by the Carpet and Rug Institute, so you know it’s good quality. With this unit comes several tools, such as a hose, a tool for crevices and floors, aluminum wands, and a dusting brush.

Pros:

  • Great for commercial use
  • Quiet and convenient
  • Unique design directs heat away from the user’s body
  • Lightweight and good for extended use
  • Certified
  • Comes with an assortment of tools

Cons:

  • Difficult to put together
  • Company is known to forget to ship vital parts

4. ProTeam Backpack Vacuums, Super QuarterVac Commercial Backpack Vacuum Cleaner

This is a pretty solid entry for backpack vacuums. This one’s nifty and comes with a couple well-received features.

  • It has HEPA filters to ensure maximum filtration so you pollute your breathing air with dust or other unpleasant things
  • There’s a fifty inch cord, which would seem short compared to a typical standup vacuum’s extension cord, but does this one justice since it just needs to go from your back to your extended hand
  • The canister itself is made of lightweight materials and doesn’t’ hurt to carry for a long time
  • The tools are easy to assemble, quick to attach and reattach

This vacuum is made to clean carpets, rugs, floors and all sorts of surfaces. It does this quietly, too, operating at no more than 67 decibels (this vacuum was made for use in the hospitality industry, so it’s supposed to be quiet.

It’s certified by the CRI – the Carpet and Rug Institute – for being an effective model for carpet cleaning. It can even clean ceilings with some of the included tools. The harness is heavily adjustable so it can suit people of different shapes and sizes. It does this by adapting to your body’s center of gravity, so you use the muscles in your feet and legs to move the device – not your back.
On top of all this, it comes with a three year warranty. If you use it too much and it breaks down, you’ll be able to replace it with no hassle.

Pros:

  • Very versatile unit, can literally clean from floor to ceiling
  • Lightweight canister is ergonomically designed to not hurt your back
  • Fifty inch cord for easy usage
  • Has HEPA filters to ensure your air stays clean
  • Has a whole bunch of different cleaning tools
  • Certified by the CRI
  • Three year warranty included

Cons:

  • Sometimes ships with the wrong tools which are expensive to replace
  • Back harness can be uncomfortable

So which one’s the best?

Depends on if you need one for residential use, commercial use, or both. Our winner is the Hoover CV2401 Shoulder Vac pro, partially because it’s great for use both at home and in the office.

In addition to that, it comes with a great design that’s made to be both comfortable and lightweight. The Hoover CV 2401 comes with a whole bunch of tools for different situations, and provides an ease of use that makes it ideal for casual cleaners and the hardcore OCD cleaners.