Strap it up, strap it in, it’s time to begin our rankings of the six best backpack vacuums. Become immersed in the diverse world of portable backpack vac systems and prepare to learn how cleaning times can be cut nearly in half, arm and shoulder fatigue can be nearly nixed, and ninja turtle-style cleaning methods can go through the roof.
Backpack straps, on-belt tool harnessing, and portable, lightweight canisters provide easy, mobile dirt decimation capabilities that allow users to get up close and personal with the enemy and eliminate debris invaders on contact.
Corded and battery-powered options are available. However, he freedom of cordless operation comes at a cost. Cord length always matters. It’s never been more important in the debris disposal realm as it is with this portable, low-profile, mobile means of dirt destroying.
These handy, easy-to-maneuver vac-packs provide varieties of tool attachments. That furthers the diversity of these portable, backpack-style suction systems, allowing users to nab the best tool for the job.
|#1||Atrix VACBP1 HEPA Backpack Vacuum||10.3 lbs||8 quart||Corded||Read Review|
|#2||ProTeam Super CoachVac Backpack Vacuum||11 lbs||10 quart||Corded||Read Review|
|#3||GV 10 Quart Commercial Backpack Vacuum||11 lbs||10 quart||Corded||Read Review|
|#4||Hoover Commercial Lightweight Backpack Vacuum||9.2 lbs||6.9 quart||Corded||Read Review|
|#5||GV 8 Quart Cordless Backpack Vacuum||18 lbs||8 quart||Cordless||Read Review|
|#6||Power-Flite BP6S Comfort Pro Backpack Vacuum||12 lbs||6 quart||Corded||Read Review|
Become One With The Vacuum
There’s really no better way to get down and dirty with the dust, dander and debris than to strap a vac on your back and aggressively pursue the microscopic invaders.
A backpack vacuum allows users to effortlessly flit about the room without worrying about heavy upright handles and power heads, or awkward maneuverability.
Hitching up to the harness of a quality backpack vacuum unlocks access to optimum mobility. It also gives you the freedom to sufficiently suck dirt and debris from the deepest corners and crevices.
- In what kind of cleaning applications will you be utilizing the backpack vacuum?
- How much weight do you want to carry around?
- It’s All About The Upgrades (And Accessories)
In what kind of cleaning applications will you be utilizing the backpack vacuum?
Mid-size to big jobs call for a specialized cleaning tool designed to allow users to quickly and efficiently move throughout a room with optimum maneuvering capabilities.
A backpack vacuum allows operators to bob and weave through a room, or even a whole house, with ease while sucking up dust and debris, and in most cases, cleaning the air, too.
With all the attachments and tools included with backpack vacuums, users can tackle nearly any job with their mobile shell of a vacuum. Ceiling fan blades and curtain rods can be easily reached with the extension wand and dusting attachment.
Returning stairs to their formerly dirt free selves is attainable. You can do it without having to drag a suction device awkwardly along every literal step of the way.
Backpack vacs might not be quite the best tool for small, quick pick ups in tight quarters. The time it takes to get harnessed up and ready to suck is probably not worth it for a job that a small upright can handle.
How much weight do you want to carry around?
Vacuum users with limited mobility or lifting/weight restrictions usually find a backpack vacuum to be just what they need to get back into the house cleaning saddle, as most vacs weigh less than 20 lbs., and once in their proper position, offer users the ability to extract dirt, pet hair, and dust more efficiently than they ever could with a traditional upright vacuum.
A well-positioned backpack vacuum is one of the best ergonomically friendly options. A traditional upright vacuum can put major strain on arms, shoulders and even lower backs.
However, a backpack vac provides a lightweight, center mass-supported suction experience. It leaves most users comfortable and fatigue free during and after a session of debris decimation.
It’s All About The Upgrades (And Accessories)
There are variety of functional upgrades and added features to be had when ponying up to the serious suction device that is a backpack vacuum. Of course, there are the crevice tools and the extension wands, powered brushes and floor tools.
Many vac manufacturers are sweetening the deal, though. They are adding features like blower functions. In addition, they are adding multi-stage HEPA filtration systems.
Strap design and adjustability don’t necessarily seem like variables that would fall under an “upgrade” category. However, in the backpack vac realm, they do.
There’s a wide range of strap and harness styles. Padding levels range from thin to pillow-y thick.
Harness quality can make or break a user’s experience with a backpack vac. Certain manufacturers have put a lot of efforts into ensuring their strapping systems will provide a comfortable and function vacuuming experience.
How We Ranked the Best Backpack Vacuums
There are some key variables that come into play when zoning in on the best backpack vacuums. Harnessing qualities, suction capabilities, weight and physical dimensions are all heavy contenders in the ranking process.
Accessories cannot be ignored when weighing out the options, as generally, more tools and attachments bring more versatility. While excessive functionality can be a detriment to a product’s core function, it appears that within the backpack vac realm, most tools and additional functions only improve a user’s experience.
Weight and Mobility
When it comes to zoning in on the best backpack vacuums, lightweight and low-profile body styles tend to, ironically, carry the most weight when ranking. The main purpose of this harnessed canister of super suction is to create a ultra-mobile device that operators can strap on and get sucking without having to consider furniture and other obstacles.
There are two factors that are equally important in the size/mobility category. Actual weight of the vacuum is important, and most backpack vacs weigh in between 10-18 lbs.
The physical dimension of a vac is also an important consideration, as some vacs make up for low-profile widths and depths by adding some height to the canister. Vacuum canisters can range from 20” high to a towering 31”, so smaller suction operators may feel a bit top heavy with vacs that reach towards the upper end of that scale.
Range of Motion
With a reasonably lightweight vac strapped to the back, dirt-eliminating productivity can soar. Cleaning times can be cut by half in some cases, and energy exertion is still at a minimum.
However, there’s nothing that can cut productivity short like a power source. Backpack vacuums can come corded or battery powered, and like anything power related, there’s a wide range of offerings and expectations to be had between them.
Most of the corded backpack vacuums come with a short, 24” or less power cord that’s designed to be plugged into an extension cord of the users choice (this means it’s not included with the vac). A 50’ extension cord can easily be added to the mix to extend the power source range so users can get at it without worrying about getting cut short mid-suction.
There are also a variety of battery-powered backpack vacuums out there that allow operators to traipse all around their dirt-destroying domains, with no limitations to the length they can go to completely obliterate debris and dust bunnies.
The catch with this blissful battery-powered binge is that the charge will eventually die and suction will stop. Most users report getting 45-60 minutes from a fully charged battery, and many have purchased a second (not cheap) battery to keep charged as a backup, just in case.
When strapping a suction device directly behind one’s ears, noise level is definitely a concern. While it’s recommended to wear hearing protection when operating most residential and commercial upright vacuums or the backpack variety, noise levels are still an important factor when comparing backpack vacuums.
On a decibel scale, some vacs range in the low 60’s, while others reach into the mid to high 70’s. This range can make a world of difference when it comes to general noise levels and household upset when the backpack vac is fired up.
Price vs. Features
As always, price is an important factor when ranking products. Warranties and upgrades also factor in to the equation.
With HEPA filtration systems being an almost standard feature among the backpack vacuums on the market, zoning in on the details of each HEPA filtration system has come into play with the rankings.
With these multi-stage systems, the allergens need to stop resisting, because they’re coming with us. There’s no escape for these microscopic invaders and most backpack vac manufacturers consider their filtration systems to be equally as important as their suction functions.
Attachments always increase a product’s overall value and some backpack vacuums really go over the top with the variety of tools that accompany their vacs. And with all these attachments comes the need for, that’s right, tool management.
Not only does a backpack vac transform its user into a wand-wielding dirt-nixing ninja, but some incorporate a tool holster right into the vac’s belt, so the right tool is never out of reach.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- What features come with more expensive models?
- How do I store the backpack vac?
- Why do I want to wear a dirt sucking device on my back?
- What type of maintenance/usage requirements can I expect?
What features come with more expensive models?
The freedom of cordless vacuum operation is the main feature that is introduced with a higher price tag. The price bump to get to a battery-powered backpack vacuum is a lofty one, but it affords full range of motion and the maximum in mobility.
Warranty lengths and terms tend to increase a bit, in some cases jumping from the common 1-year warranty to a full coverage 3-year warranty.
While it’s not guaranteed within a higher price-point product, consumers can expect to find slightly higher-quality materials and attachments in a vacuum that reaches a bit higher on the price spectrum.
How do I store the backpack vac?
The backpack vac design makes it a bit tedious to store. Straps, tall and narrow canisters, extension cords, and oodles of tools combine to create a jumbled mess of an octopus-like, top-heavy suction system.
While some manufacturers offer storage bags as “add-on” purchases, others leave it to the user’s own creativity.
Some users have devised dual-hanger storage setups to accommodate the vac and its tools and cords. Other options include totes, heavy-duty wall hooks, and just the corner of a closet.
Why do I want to wear a dirt sucking device on my back?
Crossing over to the backpack vacuum realm unlocks ergonomic, lightweight vacuuming like it’s never been experienced before. Most users are hooked after the first use and can’t bear to return to the drudgery of the push-pull relationship with a traditional upright vac.
Really, the user becomes the vacuum, carrying the bare essentials required to power a suction system. Once this transformation has occurred, there’s no limit to the levels you can reach with a feather-light wand or a dusting brush. You are able to diminish cobwebs quickly as a dust bunny scurrying across a hardwood floor.
Most vacs utilize disposable bags, which are easily replaced without encountering particles previously occupying area in the surrounding living space. HEPA filtration systems keep allergens under wraps and clean the air while eliminating dirt and debris.
What type of maintenance/usage requirements can I expect?
The usual vacuum maintenance and usage requirements can be expected with backpack vacuums. Filters need to be removed and replaced or rinsed occasionally, and collection bags need to be emptied or replaced.
Because of the multi-stage filtration systems, users should expect multiple filters to contend with at times. While the maintenance required isn’t excessive, it can’t be ignored. These high-quality filtration systems are only as good as their filters, so proper maintenance is key.
Brushes and other attachments may need to be cleaned and cleared of hair and debris that will accumulate over time.
Rankings & Reviews
After back-breaking research and hours of weighing the weights, dimensions, decibel levels and filtration systems, we’ve zoned in on the six best backpack vacuums.
Price, consumer feedback, and range of mobility have been factored into the rankings to help determine the best fits for the job.
Our #1 Pick: Atrix VACBP1 HEPA Backpack Vacuum
- Weight: 10.3 lbs
- Dimensions: 12” wide x 20” high x 9” deep
- Blower adapter converts vac to blower function
- Tons of attachments included
- Low-profile design
- Cord is short, requires 3-prong extension cord (not included)
- Loud, should wear earplugs during operation
- Durability issues (hoses, attachments, motors failing)
The Atrix VACBP1 HEPA Backpack Vacuum is a lightweight, low-profile, affordable suction device that comes with a variety of tools and attachments.
The VACBP1 comes with an extension wand that adjusts from 22”-37”, allowing users to customize their reach. Tools include a furniture nozzle, a crevice tool, round brush, and a powerful air-driven turbo brush.
The vac’s exhaust comes out from the back of the vac, so it doesn’t push debris away from the path of the vacuum hose. This means no more scrambling for the debris sent further into the abyss by a rogue exhaust puff.
Even during a rigorous cleaning sessions, the Atrix VACBP1 remains cool to the touch, so operators can stay cool and comfortable for the duration of the job.
The low-profile, lightweight design allows for easy range of motion, and users don’t have to worry (as much) about backing into tight corners or cabinets housing precious china.
What Reviewers Say
Atrix VACBP1 HEPA Backpack Vac owners report strong suction capabilities, so strong to the point that some users have had to really put some muscle into breaking the suction at times.
Dirty, dusty debris-stricken hard surface floors are no match for the VACBP1, according to a lot of owners. The vac’s powerful suction grabs dirt from quite a distance and sends it through the HEPA filtration system.
Some reviewers report a welcome lack of the oh-so-familiar freshly vacuumed dog hair smell. The air returned to the room is fresh, clean, and free of the doggy dander aroma to which so many pet owners have become so accustomed.
Features & Considerations
This ultra-mobile vac can conquer most household suctioning assignments and also provides a convenient tool holster built right into the belt strap of the harness, so the right tool for the job is always within reach.
HEPA replacement filters are readily available through online retailers and come in affordable packs to keep the vac operating at its optimum air filtration capacity.
The cord length is extremely short. The Atrix VACBP1 HEPA Backpack Vacuum is designed to be used with an extension cord of the user’s choosing…the perk is that sometimes cords can add quite a bit of weight to a system like this, so if a lengthy cord isn’t necessary in certain applications, users can adapt and utilize cords that best fit the job.
The Next Best: ProTeam Super CoachVac Commercial Backpack Vacuum
- Weight: 11 lbs
- Dimensions: 8.5” wide x 25” high x 8.5” deep
- Comes with 50’ extension cord
- Lots of attachments
- Canister capacity holds up to 3 times more than a traditional upright vac
- 3 Year Warranty, with Lifetime Warranty on molded parts
- Price is a bit high for the residential market (though a fraction of the cost of many commercial vacs)
- Telescoping wand doesn’t always stay attached to accessories
- Can be a bit awkward to move in tight spaces
The ProTeam Super CoachVac Commercial Backpack Vacuum is a serious, heavy-duty vac designed to handle a broad spectrum of tasks.
Quiet operation is ideal for household and office applications, and earplugs are optional in most cases with this vac. It rates on the lower end of the vacuum noise ranges, coming in at around 66 dBa.
A heavy-duty flex hose connects to the canister and wands and you can attach tools as needed. The ergonomic wand provides the ideal angle for floor vacuuming efficiency, allowing a slight air gap to help maximize flow on the floor surface.
Attachments come with the ProTeam Super CoachVac Commercial Backpack Vacuum and include a crevice tool, telescoping wand, upholstery tool, multi-surface floor tool, and a soft dusting brush.
A tool belt and cord hook provide easy access to tools and help manage the power cord, so the cleaning fun doesn’t have to stop.
What Reviewers Say
As noted previously, the noise levels of the ProTeam Super CoachVac are noticeably low. Users report being able to carry on meaningful conversations while eliminating dirt and debris from their living spaces.
Multiple users report the vac to be extremely time saving, cutting cleaning times by 30% or more. In the process, people report that physical fatigue is minimal if any, and spaces are cleaner than ever.
Some owners report having good experiences with warranty issues, noting responsive customer service and timely repairs. They referred some users to local repair shops to resolve product malfunctions.
While this seems to be a user-friendly way to fix issues, some users aren’t fortunate enough to live close to servicing dealers and have had to drive quite some distance to get their backpack vacuuming buddy back up and running.
Features & Considerations
The 4-stage HEPA filtration system is thorough at cleaning air and capturing allergens and microscopic asthma-inducing dust particles.
The cylindrical, low-profile canister design provides a contoured, streamlined body style that seems to help with its lightweight, easy-to-maneuver abilities.
Because the ProTeam Super CoachVac is technically designed for commercial applications, its forte isn’t high-pile carpeting. While it can make a dent in debris removal on these surfaces, they are primarily designed to handle hard surfaces.
Our Next Favorite: GV 10 Quart Commercial Backpack Vacuum
- Weight: 11 lbs
- Dimensions: 9” wide x 26” high x 9” deep
- Lightweight aluminum canister
- Washable cloth collection bag
- Lots of attachments
- Attachments don’t lock in place
- Short power cord, needs additional extension cord
- Back support could use more adjustability
The GV 10 Quart Commercial Backpack Vacuum packs a lot of canister capacity into a relatively small footprint.
The vac’s low-profile, lightweight aluminum canister is one of the largest in its class, capable of holding 30-50% more dirt than other vacs.
Attachments are plentiful and provide specific functions to further the cleaning abilities of the GV 10 Quart Backpack Vacuum. Tools include a crevice tool, dusting brush, upholstery tool, deluxe floor tool, and power mini-head.
The power mini-head attachment is ideal for pet-related applications and can really dig in and extract stubborn pet hair embedded in floors and upholstery.
A suction relief valve helps control suction forces when cleaning lightweight items like curtains and area rugs.
What Reviewers Say
Owners love the super suction power and the large capacity of the GV 10 Quart Commercial Backpack Vacuum. Many report that the added canister size makes a huge difference when conquering larger projects.
Some heavier-duty commercial jobs can take a toll on the attachments and hoses. While the vac itself seems to hold up well under…pressure, the accessories don’t always fare as well, per the reports of a couple owners.
The GV 10 Quart Commercial vacuum is reported to do exceedingly well with power dusting jobs. The dusting tool goes to work and helps to capture dust and debris that’s accumulated on ceiling fans, curtains, and hard-to-reach door and window trim surfaces.
Features & Considerations
The GV 10 Quart Commercial Backpack Vacuum has the bases covered when it comes to filtration and dirt collection. Six HEPA filtration bags come with the vac, along with a washable cloth bag for applications where HEPA filters aren’t necessary.
- Weight: 9.2 lbs
- Dimensions: 13” wide x 30” high x 13” deep
- Long 50’ power cord included
- Clear lid on top of canister to monitor bag level
- HEPA filtration
- Super lightweight
- Tall canister, may be a bit bulky
- Cloth bag can be messy to empty
- Tool attachments can be difficult to work with
Cord is king with the Hoover Commercial Lightweight Backpack Vac. With an included 50’ power cord, users can reach far and wide to achieve optimum cleaning mobility.
The Hoover Commercial Lightweight Backpack Vac features a chiropractor-designed harness system to provide ergonomic weight displacement and offers various adjustment options to customize the fit.
The vac’s weight is one of the lightest on the market, and the price is reasonable for the all the features and flexibility that the vac provides.
Attachments with the vac include a 38” metal wand, a dusting brush, an upholstery tool, a 6” crevice tool and a wide 11” turbo floor tool. While not the most extensive spread, they designed these tools to conquer the majority of suction tasks that cross the path.
The manufacturer added a clear canister lid to allow users to sneak a peek at the status of the dirt and dust levels within the vac.
What Reviewers Say
The cord length is a hit among Hoover Commercial Lightweight vac owners. While the cord is long, users report it is manageable. However, it does seem to add a bit of weight when you do not fully extend it.
Users love the floor attachment and claim it to be superior to most other methods when used on hard floor surfaces. The vac doesn’t do the best with high-pile carpet situations, though, and some users don’t recommend the vac for this application.
The cloth shake-out bag can be extremely messy when you are emptying it, and some owners have devised a strategic method for using it. It involves being outdoors, a large trash bag, and lot of shaking.
From what the reviews report, if this is done any other way, you will probably not like the results (and it may require a second suction job).
Features & Considerations
Disposable bags are available for dirty jobs, or when wrangling the cloth liner is less than desirable. There have been a couple reports of the disposable bags ripping prior to being full, so that may add to replacement bag costs over time.
While the Hoover Commercial Lightweight Backpack Vac is super lightweight, it also has a smaller dirt containment capacity. It’s definitely a good option for small to midsize household areas, but may start to get a bit inconvenient in larger applications.
- Weight: 18 lbs
- Dimensions: Exact specs not available, est : 13” wide x 26” high x 12” deep
- Cordless operation
- Blower/inflator port with accessories
- Air driven power nozzle can be used on higher pile carpets
- 4-Stage HEPA filtration system
- Battery usage time
- Price is high
- Bulky (battery adds weight and bulk)
The GV 8 Quart Cordless Backpack Vacuum frees users from the cord and provides the ultimate in range of motion. Charge up the battery, strap on the pack, and you’re ready for a free-moving, super sucking situation.
The adjustable metal wand assists in reaching floors, walls and ceiling fans, and an air driven power nozzle zones in on plush carpets to extract hidden particles and debris. The floor attachment allows operators to adjust suction settings when transitioning from vacuuming carpet to hard surfaces.
The high quality Lithium Ion battery takes about two hours to charge and allots about 45-60 minutes worth of usage. Most jobs can be handled in this span, but extra batteries are available for purchase if users want a back up.
Attachments are easy to lock into position and they tend to stay put once in place. Tools include a dusting brush, a crevice tool, upholstery tool, and a turbo floor attachment with brushroll.
The GV 8 Quart Cordless Backpack Vacuum is quiet. You can usually use it without needing hearing protection.
What Reviewers Say
Multiple reviewers noted the low noise levels of the GV 8 Quart Cordless Backpack Vacuum. They reported operating the vacs during TV time, homework sessions, and in the presence of pets.
The vacuum seems to hold up well in commercial applications and most reviewers report satisfactory durability with both the vacuum and its attachments.
Bags seem to last quite a while, usually carrying owners through 15-20 residential vacuum sessions before needing to replace it.
The powered brush gets some rave reviews, though some users note that it tends to clog quickly, especially with pet and long strands of human hair.
Features & Considerations
The battery-powered freedom of the GV 8 Quart Cordless Backpack Vacuum come at a cost, both in the product’s price tag and in the vac’s weight. The battery adds a bit of bulk to the overall profile and handling of the vac, but its cord-free benefits might justify this heavy shell.
The vac furthers its versatility allowing users to it set up for right-hand or left-hand use. There is also a blower/inflator port that converts this super sucker into a powerful inflation and blower device.
Blast cobwebs from porches, stubborn seeds from sidewalk crevices, or quickly inflate a kiddie pool or beach ball with this multi-purpose tool of a vac.
- Weight: 12 lbs
- Dimensions: 16” wide x 31” high x 12” deep
- Easy to adjust harness and straps
- Tools are easy to attach and remove
- Long power cord
- HEPA filtration
- Can be difficult to switch from left to right handed operation
- Durability issues with motors failing, attachments breaking
The Powr-Flite BP6S Comfort Pro Backpack Vacuum is lightweight, with a multi-point adjustable harness designed to provide a custom, comfortable fit.
It includes a lengthy 50’ power cord. That allows users to stretch the suction sessions for as long as possible. While the cord is conveniently long, when not extended to its furthest potential, it can weigh the vac and the user down a bit.
On-belt tool storage makes accessing the right tool at the right time a cinch. Plenty of accessories come with the vac, including a 17” crevice tool, a 5” upholstery tool, 3” dusting tool, 14” power glide carpet tool, and a 4’ hose with bendable wand.
The four-stage HEPA filtration process involves a pre filter, a post filter and an exhaust filter. There’s nearly no way microscopic allergens will make it back out into the room from which you just removed them. The air will be a bit cleaner, while diminishing dust and debris.
The harness design allows for users to adjust at seven different points. It is made of a material that reduces perspiration and keeps operators cool.
What Reviewers Say
The Powr-Flite BP6S backpack vacuum seems to hold up to frequent use. Reviewers report that it’s durable and can take a few wall bumps (ah, the life of a backpack vac).
Various reviewers noted the power behind the suction of the Powr-Flite. Sometimes, the suction can get a little too intense, especially in the cases involving area rugs. The vac seems to do best on hard floors and you should not use it as a primary vac for carpet.
The Powr-Flite BP6S is extremely quiet, according the multiple users. The vac can be actively sucking while you have phone conversations and watch TV.
Features & Considerations
You can purchase disposable bags through online retailers at reasonable rates. You can buy them in bulk or just a few at a time.
Multiple variations of the Powr-Flite BP6S are available. Some feature attachments geared toward commercial jobs and other options including residential-friendly tools.