Backpack vacuum cleaners aren’t exactly known for their usage at home, but with the right product, a backpack vacuum cleaner can put a real dent in dirt and debris. Backpack vacuum cleaners, like the name implies, avoid the uncomfortable weight of an upright or the need to lug around a canister by building both motor and debris receptacle into a wearable backpack.
The side and shape of the backpack mean that backpack vacuum cleaners often hold far more debris than their canister and upright cousins and, depending upon the make and model, can even produce better suction power and deeper cleaning.
A long hose and a host of attachments allow the user to vacuum up dirt and debris without stooping over to pick up any heavy bins or canisters. This portability makes them prime targets for any business setting and can prove to be a vital asset in any janitor’s arsenal.
We’ll be breaking down the top four backpack vacuum cleaners in the market today. After examining each of the product, we’ll go over what you need to know about backpack vacuum cleaners as well as the features and problems to look out for. Ultimately we’ll crown one of these excellent products as what we believe is the best backpack vacuum cleaner.
50ft cord | Bagged | HEPA filtration | 11 lbs | 4.5ft Hose | X Brush Roll | 10 Quart Capacity
This simple-yet brilliant backpack vacuum cleaner from ProTeam features the very best in features, attachments, and raw power to work best in any business setting. The steep asking price and minimal attachments for the home limit this product to commercial environments only, but if you have a big room and lots to clean in a short amount of time, the Super CoachVac might be your best option on our list.
- High capacity
- Strong suction power
- High efficiency
- Excellent filtration
- Tools struggle to stay on the end of the wands
- No swiveling attachments
- Attachments can feel cheap
- Four-level advanced filtration with HEPA
- Low 66dB operation volume
- Attachments: Upholstery tool, crevice tool, Cover Multi-Surface Floor tool, telescoping wands
- Warranty: Lifetime molded parts, 3-year limited motor, labor, and other parts
The ProTeam Super CoachVac might be a familiar sight to those who have already worked with backpack vacuums in the past. The versatility and quiet operation of most ProTeam products makes them highly-sought after in the office and particularly in locations with low-pile carpets, like schools or office buildings. Working a career in sanitation often means running into a ProTeam product—and for a good reason.
The ProTeam Super CoachVac is a high capacity backpack vacuum that’ll lift rugs with its suction power and clean a room far faster than any upright or canister vacuum cleaner. That speed is well thought of when it comes to the length of the cord. At 50 feet, we cannot think of many scenarios in which you’ll need to pull out another extension cord. Office spaces and white-collar work seems to be the focus of the ProVac, which operates at a low 66 decibels. For reference, talking falls somewhere between 70-80 decibels.
The lifetime molded parts and 3-year motor warranty are also some of the best on this list. These come in handy in particular with the attachments, which can feel a bit cheap, considering the asking price on this product. Otherwise, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better vacuum cleaner for commercial settings, which is why we’re making the ProTeam Super CoachVac our HowtoHome Pick.
50ft cord | Bagged | HEPA filtration | 11.5 lbs | 5ft Hose | X Brush Roll | 6 Quart Capacity
The Sanitaire EURSC421B Quiet Clean lives up to its name as one of the quietest vacuums on our list. The canister is built like a tank, and the included hip belt makes attachment transportation a breeze, but the heavy weight of the product feels frustrating given the poor quality control on attachments. Likewise, questionable quality control on the filtration system leads us to worry about the laundry list of approvals that come with this vacuum. Otherwise? You won’t be breaking this motor anytime soon.
- Sturdy canister quality
- Hip belt helpful for carrying attachments
- Excellent hose quality
- Good suction power
- Questionable filtration and certification
- Flimsy attachments
- Small capacity
- CRI green seal at 69 dB
- UL/CUL/CSA approved
- Attachments: Extension wands, brush tool, crevice tool, 2 floor tools
- Warranty 2-year limited
The Sanitaire EURSC412B is a very unassuming backpack vacuum cleaner but comes with an outstanding build quality. With a tank-like canister on your back and a hip belt holding the usual attachments close to you, the Quiet Clean can quickly transform any sanitation worker into a walking, talking cleaning machine. That canister does come at the cost of some weight, and with 50 feet of cord reach the 6-quart capacity does make us a little worried about having to constantly switch out bags.
Quality control overall seems to be a struggle for this specific model, since many have noted gaps in the HEPA filtration or canister that seem less than intentional. Thankfully, you’ll be safe so long as you give your product a once-over, as the 2-year limited warranty should keep you covered for the majority of manufacturer issues. The attachments struggle much like the ProTeam Super CoachVac in that they feel a bit weak for the price, but the EURSC412B stays strong enough to circumvent the worst of the issue. Provided you’re an experienced backpack vacuum user and have the back to prove it, this Sanitaire backpack vacuum feels as if it could make it through anything.
48ft cord | Bagged | HEPA filtration | 9.2 lbs | 4.33ft Hose | X Brush Roll | 6.4 Quart Capacity
This Hoover backpack vacuum is probably the prettiest product on our list—but backs up that aesthetic choice with strong accessories, a good filter, and just might be the lightest and most comfortable to wear. Overall suction power and an ability to clean carpets are somewhat questionable, but for residential use and operation in smaller (hardwood) locations, this vacuum offers a great amount of potential with none of the back pain.
- Lightweight and ergonomic design
- Strong accessories
- Great filter and positive lock hose design
- Not so great with carpets
- Questionable quality on the manufacturer paper bags
- Below-average suction power
- Extra-long 3-wire Quick Change cord
- Chiropractor-designed harness
- Attachments: Extension wands, crevice tool, turbo floor tool, dusting brush, upholstery tool
- Warranty: 1-year limited
The Hoover Commercial Lightweight C2401 is Hoover’s solid foray into the backpack vacuum market, and they boast an impressive clear bag canister. Hoover’s more well-known for their upright vacuums and professional products, but their lightweight commercial vacuum is affordable and light enough to be recommended in homes as well. What is more, they keep the whole assembly well under 10 pounds, making this the lightest vacuum on our list.
Combine that weight loss with the heavily padded shoulder restraints and chiropractor-designed harness, and you’re left with an incredibly comfortable cleaning experience. Plus, there’s a fair amount of accessories that clip on well and cover a large range of hardwood solutions, so for hardwood floors at home, this might be the product to replace your current upright or canister.
“Hardwood” is the operative word in this scenario, as unfortunately, the suction quality and lack of brush roll attachment make this a less than perfect choice for carpeted homes. While high-pile carpets have never then the strong suit of a backpack vacuum cleaner, the overall diminished performance can make even low-pile carpets a challenge. In addition, with questionable quality control on the Hoover proprietary bags, you might be thankful you’re not tackling bigger messes with this 6.4-quart canister.
Still, the Hoover Commercial Lightweight comes with some of the strongest accessories and best design choices on the entire list. Their choice in these departments makes this Hoover vacuum just as acceptable in the office as it can be in the house.
2ft cord | Bagged | HEPA filtration | 10.3 lbs | 6ft Hose | ✓ Brush Roll | 8 Quart Capacity
The Atrix VACBP1 HEPA Backpack Vacuum is affordable and comes with more than enough attachments and power to warrant use in any commercial and residential setting. The addition of a brush roll is especially helpful and makes this the best option on our list for carpets, but the build quality and confusing assembly can turn off many from rushing out to buy this one. If price and carpets are your main focus, the Atrix beats our other choices by a considerable margin.
- Comes with a suction-powered brush roll for carpets
- Good canister capacity
- You’ll need a separate extension cord
- Weak overall canister quality
- Assembly directionless and confusing
- Four level advanced filtration with HEPA
- Ergonomic backpack vacuum
- Attachments: Blower adapter, extension wand, 3 blower nozzles, furniture nozzle, crevice tool, round brush, floor brush, turbo brush
- Warranty: 1-year limited
You may have already noticed this, but backpack vacuum cleaners are more for low-pile carpet and hardwood flooring than they are for thick carpets. This comes mostly from a focus on commercial application—but this Atrix product defies expectations and remains one of the few vacuums of its kind to offer carpet application.
The Atrix VACBP1 HEPA backpack vacuum comes with a large number of attachments and is the only product on our list that openly recommends residential use. The included turbo brush roll attachment isn’t motorized, but it leagues ahead of the competition regarding focus on carpet and proves itself to be fairly effective.
This Atrix vacuum is also one of the most affordable on our list—making this our Budget Choice for a backpack vacuum. Unfortunately, the focus on affordability does mean sacrificing a few key features. First of all, the lack of included extension cord can be frustrating for some. The canister is uncomfortable to wear, and the vacuum surprisingly doesn’t even come with clear instructions.
Provided you can make it through assembly and don’t mind a little bit of a cheaper feel, you may come to love the attachments and cleaning quality of the Atrix VACBP1. The canister capacity is good, the nozzle is effective, and the price is certainly right.
Like we’ve mentioned before, backpack vacuum cleaners are focused on commercial cleaning solutions. Their longer cords and bagged design makes them prime for picking up simple messes without leaving behind a trail of debris. Using a backpack vacuum for your home—especially if you’ve never owned one before—is going to mean going through a bit of a learning curve regarding capacity and feature set. For reference, consider the following pros and cons before choosing to go for a backpack vacuum cleaner:
A few of the backpack vacuums on our list make a note of ergonomics, and for a very good reason. Since backpack vacuums are designed for commercial use as a whole, customers are looking for a vacuum that can be worn for hours at a time, several days per week. As such, getting a backpack vacuum with an ergonomic design and heavily padded shoulder pads is going to be important.
Keep in mind that a heavier vacuum or one with less padding might not feel bad at first. Only after several weeks of use will you really “break-in,” your product, so be sure to splurge a little bit if you’re concerned about comfort.
Remember also that backpack vacuums are only the weights listed above when empty. After picking up several rooms of debris, you might wish you had opted for the more comfortable option over the more affordable one.
Commercial versus Personal
Commercial operation is a focus for backpack vacuums, but that hasn’t stopped users from honing in on residential applications. With some of these vacuums coming down below $300, it’s sometimes cheaper to pick up a backpack vacuum for your home than any of the leading alternatives.
Whether you’re cleaning the apartment or the office, remember that backpack vacuum cleaners are best for hardwood cleaning solutions. The Atrix VACBP1, for instance, comes with more features for the house so that it might be your go-to choice for residential use. Likewise, the ProTeam Super CoachVac is going to outperform the Atrix in commercial environments easily.
If you’re going for either a solely commercial or personal vacuum, be sure that your backpack vacuum cleaner is equipped for the job. If you’d like to split the difference, however, keep a close eye on things like reach, sturdy design, and enough capacity to suit both environments.
Volume and Allergies
You’ll also notice that our top backpack vacuum picks focus heavily on HEPA filtration and noise reduction. None of these backpack vacuums are particularly loud, but each focuses on this due to the commercial application of the product.
When vacuuming in businesses, it’s often improbable or downright impossible to clear out staff before getting the cleaning done. A quieter vacuum is going to allow you to clean the sales floor or classroom while others are still inside without disrupting workflow or learning.
If you plan to use your vacuum with others around, pay close attention to the decibel ratings before choosing what might look like an excellent choice. Likewise, HEPA filtration and bags both need to be effective to make sure you don’t need to go back over your floors a second time.
As with any vacuum, the best backpack vacuum cleaner is going to depend upon your specific situation. If you’re unsure of whether or not you’ll be using your new investment in a commercial setting or a residential setting, the Hoover Commercial Lightweight and the Sanitaire Quiet Clean are both worth considering. The budget and carpet-friendly Atrix HEPA backpack vacuum is going to be your go-to pick for a residence, and the ProTeam Super CoachVac is the go-to for commercial use.
If you’re looking for the best all-around backpack vacuum, then there’s no debating that the ProTeam Super CoachVac has the versatility, capability, and raw suction power to more than back up their price tag. Whether you go for the CoachVac or one of our other great picks, we hope that you find the best backpack vacuum cleaner that meets your needs and lasts for years to come.