The 9 Best Backpack Vacuums
We spent 45 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. If you're always struggling to clear out the grime, dirt, and dust bunnies that gather in ceiling corners and on top of door frames, try one of these handy backpack vacuums. Portable, light, and strong, they offer a greater reach than traditional uprights or canisters, and are suitable for both household and commercial use. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best backpack vacuum on Amazon.
Simplify The Process Of Busting Dust
One common application for many backpacks is the transportation of objects from one place to another.
One common application for many backpacks is the transportation of objects from one place to another. After all, it's convenient for Timmy to store his schoolbooks in something that can be zipped up, easily strapped to his shoulders, and carried off to school with minimal effort. Keeping this image in mind, the practical use of a backpack can also be applied to situations that you wouldn't immediately consider, such as vacuuming the tops of the bookshelves in your bedroom.
Comfortably strapped to an operator's back and shoulders, the ultra-portable backpack vacuum is specifically-designed to clean all those hard-to-reach spots in any commercial, industrial, or residential setting. Consider the concept of Ghostbusters, but instead of using Spengler's proton pack to save the city from creepy apparitions, you're busting dust and messes to save your home and family from allergens. Unless you clean haunted houses for a living or you're acting out a scene from Luigi's Mansion, I'm not sure how much luck you'll have using one of these vacuums to eliminate that pesky poltergeist. But should you attempt such a paranormal feat, you'll have to let us know how it goes!
The backpack vacuum contains several parts, including an intake port, responsible for sucking up debris; a rotating brush, which typically sits just inside the intake port and directs dirt particles into the device; a wand and hose, used for flexing and accessing hard-to-reach places; and an electric motor, working in conjunction with an internal fan to create the necessary suction power to pull air through the vacuum's intake port. Depending on their design, many backpack vacuums are also equipped with both bags and HEPA filters that collect the dust and clean the air prior to its release back into the environment.
So what is the ideal setting for a vacuum like this? The beauty of its portability is that it can access tight spaces and locations that are more difficult for a traditional upright vacuum to reach. Granted, there are situations when an upright model would be equally useful, especially when it comes to cleaning deep carpets. The backpack category fills a different niche with respect to cleaning heavily-traveled and dirty areas, which include airplane cabins, movie theaters, busy hallways, dusty shelves, ceilings, drapes, and especially staircases.
A backpack device typically has fewer moving parts than its traditional upright counterparts, hence one of its major benefits. When considering long-term costs and maintenance, there is less to go wrong over time with a backpack vacuum, making it an ideal companion for daily use in industrial environments. Ergonomics is another key advantage, as the vacuum's straps are easy for an operator to adjust, while the overall design helps to promote good posture and minimize user fatigue that would otherwise be caused by constant bending or stretching. Finally, its freedom of motion eliminates the headache of a power cord getting in the way, increasing your cleaning efficiency and overall productivity.
It's All About Power, Portability, And Convenience
Because a backpack vacuum is designed to access locations that are more difficult for upright models to reach, having a powerful motor and lightweight design are key ingredients. Since the device is dedicated to facilitating quick cleanups and minimizing fatigue while doing so, there is little sense in purchasing a heavy option with a motor that lacks adequate suction power to get the job done. Ideally, your device of choice should have a canister no heavier than 10 to 15 pounds with a motor that delivers a minimum power output of 1,000 watts.
Additional conveniences like padded shoulder straps and integrated sternum clips provide superior comfort and stability when you have to clean all over the house. A telescoping wand and flexible hose come in very handy if you find yourself vacuuming ceilings, walls, curtains, or multi-tiered bookshelves with lots of nooks and crannies.
A good backpack vacuum will often have a reliable HEPA filter for removing as many allergens from the surrounding environment as possible.
A Brief History Of The Backpack Vacuum
The earliest vacuum cleaners evolved from the carpet sweeper as early as the 1860s. The sweeper device was manually operated and made use of both a bellows and a rotating brush to create suction. By 1869, Chicago inventor Ives W. McGaffey patented his non-electric Whirlwind vacuum cleaner, which used a hand-cranked, belt driven fan to operate.
In addition to producing suction from an electric fan in order to blow dust into a soap box, this device also made use of a rotating brush to collect debris.
British engineer Hubert Cecil Booth is credited with developing one of the first powered vacuum cleaners in 1901. Commonly known as the Puffing Billy, Booth's design took the form of a large, horse-drawn, combustion engine and depended on both the suction and pumping of air through a cloth filter.
The first domestically-marketed vacuum cleaner was released in 1905 by British manufacturer Walter Griffiths. In 1907, Canton, Ohio resident and department store janitor, James Murray Spangler, invented the first portable electric vacuum cleaner known as the Electric Suction Sweeper. In addition to producing suction from an electric fan in order to blow dust into a soap box, this device also made use of a rotating brush to collect debris. By 1908, Spangler sold his original patent to William Henry Hoover, who further refined the design of the unit to include a metal casing with wheels and attachments, leading to the eventual founding of the Hoover Company in 1922. Additional innovations for the Hoover Company included disposal filter bags by the 1920s and the first upright vacuum by 1926. However, the device was considered a luxury item up until the end of World War II, when it became more common and affordable for the middle class.
The latter part of the 20th century experienced a wide distribution of vacuum technologies, including backpack, self-propelled, and the first robotic vacuums by the early 2000s.
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