The 9 Best Commercial Vacuums

Updated September 04, 2017 by Daniel Imperiale

9 Best Commercial Vacuums
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 45 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. If you need more power than a standard household cleaner can produce for your premises, try one of these commercial vacuums. They are designed specifically for frequent use and are available with a number of features to meet the individual needs of hoteliers, restaurants, offices and shops. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best commercial vacuum on Amazon.

9. Sanitaire SC679J

The Tietex fabric shake-out bag is the primary feature that separates the Sanitaire SC679J from its competition, making for easy maintenance. It received a bronze rating from the Carpet and Rug Institute for soil removal and indoor air quality.
  • 18 dry quart capacity
  • 78 db sound level
  • challenging belt replacement
Brand Sanitaire
Model EUKSC679J
Weight 14.4 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

8. Hoover CH30000 PortaPower

If you don't like the idea of using disposable bags in your vacuum cleaner, the Hoover CH30000 PortaPower comes with a reusable commercial cloth container you can use in lieu of the paper option, which is also available with this model.
  • reverse blower function
  • great size to suction ratio
  • poor performance on wood floors
Brand Hoover Commercial
Model CH30000
Weight 13.4 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

7. Sanitaire SC3683B Canister

The Sanitaire SC3683B Canister comes with a two-piece plastic wand that extends far enough to reach almost any height or out-of-reach surface. It's ideal for cleaning into deeper pile carpets that other vacuums can't handle without struggling.
  • crevice tool included
  • 2-year warranty
  • very loud motor
Brand Sanitaire
Model SC3683A
Weight 14.6 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

6. Hoover CH50400 Hush Tone Lite

If you need a vacuum to work quietly in a sensitive environment, the two-speed motor on the Hoover CH50400 Hush Tone Lite allows you to select a lighter suction mode for much quieter daytime operation. A patented sensor helps to prevent belt damage.
  • self-sealing hepa bag
  • automatic brush shutoff
  • comes with a stiff inexpensive cord
Brand Hoover Commercial
Model GIDDS-292217
Weight 19.2 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

5. Oreck U2000R-1

With a wide, 12" cleaning path, the Oreck U2000R-1 drastically reduces the amount of time you'll have to spend vacuuming a given space. Its helping hand handle has received a commendation for ease of use by the Arthritis Foundation.
  • runs at 5000-6500 rpm
  • simple fingertip controls
  • too tall for shorter customers
Brand Oreck Commercial
Model U2000R-1
Weight 13.6 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

4. Carpet Pro CPU 2

The Carpet Pro CPU 2 is extraordinarily loud to the eye, but exceptionally quiet to the ear, thanks in part to its bypass motor design and its sealed brushrolls, which also serve to keep debris from getting caught up in the head and dangerously raising the temperature.
  • stiff gold bristles
  • foam-gripped metal handle
  • unmanageable power cord
Brand Carpet Pro
Model CPU-2
Weight 19.9 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

3. Oreck XL2100RHS

A unique top-fill bag design keeps the Oreck XL2100RHS at its highest power even as the bag approaches capacity. In its fully extended position, it lies almost completely flat, allowing you access to all the nooks and crannies beneath your furniture.
  • side-edge brushes
  • non-marring exterior bumpers
  • no available attachments
Brand Oreck Commercial
Model 2100RHS
Weight 12.2 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

2. Oreck BB900DGR XL Pro

The four-amp, two-stage motor on the Oreck BB900DGR XL Pro generates more power and vacuuming capability than typical single-stage motors, all while pulling dust and debris directly into the bag. It's very lightweight and can easily be carried around by its shoulder strap.
  • includes seven tools
  • made in the usa
  • one-year guarantee
Brand Oreck Commercial
Model BB900DGR
Weight 11 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

1. Hoover C2401 Shoulder Vac Pro

The Hoover C2401 Shoulder Vac Pro allows you to carry a bagless canister on your back with the help of two shoulder straps and a clipping waist strap that puts the bulk of the unit's weight on your hips, greatly relieving any strain on your back.
  • weighs less than 10 pounds
  • carries over 6 quarts of debris
  • great for narrow passageways
Brand Hoover
Model GIDDS-131670
Weight 21.7 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

Know Your Vacuum

When asked to imagine a vacuum cleaner, most Americans likely picture the upright models popular in the United States. But this design is actually quite uncommon in much of Europe, where canister models that separate the motor and the dust collector dominate the market.

Upright vacuums pull debris into a bag or cylinder that is frequently attached above the dust collector. Canister models feature a flexible hose, and boast maneuverability that many upright models lack. For this reason, a number of commercial vacuums bear a heavy duty canister configuration known as the drum model. Larger drum models are powered by compressed air, and can store in excess of 50 gallons.

For particularly wet commercial applications, there is the wet/dry vacuum cleaner, a variation on the drum model that is designed to intake dry and wet debris alike. A number of these wet/dry models also feature reverse flow functionality, making cleaning the vacuum and clearing clogs easier.

A variation on the wet/dry model is the pneumatic cleaner, which is attached to compressed air and frequently used in industry. Also popular in commercial applications is the backpack vacuum, which allows for supreme maneuverability and rapid movement.

Other designs include the robotic vacuum, the portable cyclonic vacuum made popular by Dyson, the central vacuum system built into some buildings, and the vacuum truck, which is essentially a giant cleaner mounted on a vehicle.

Portable vacuums in particular are much more likely to be found in the West because of the popularity of carpeting.

How Vacuum Cleaners Work

Vacuum cleaners generate suction by creating a difference in pressure between the air outside the vacuum, and the air inside it. An electric fan is used to reduce pressure inside the cleaner, creating a suction that forces air and debris through the dust collector.

Filter technology is an important part of modern vacuum safety. Because vacuums pull dust up from the ground into the air, it is critical that the air they exhaust be cleaned of potentially harmful dust. The safest of all vacuum systems in this regard is the central vacuum system, which vents dirty air outside of the room where the cleaning takes place.

Vacuum cleaners secure debris in a variety of ways, the most common of which is with a bag. A fabric or heavy paper bag that is permeable by air can trap a high percentage of dust and debris.

Bagless models feature a filtered, removable container or utilize cyclonic separation, which spins the dirty air so fast that dust is forced out of the air and into a collection bin.

Many early models used water to filter out debris, but this required vigilant maintenance, as dirty water was a breeding ground for bacteria and mold.

With effective filtering, vacuuming is especially useful for eliminating fleas, killing 96 percent of adults.

Make certain the vacuum cleaner you choose is appropriate for the job you intend to do. For instance, even commercial grade models with advanced HEPA filters are not appropriate for cleaning asbestos.

A Brief History Of Commercial Vacuums

The modern vacuum cleaner descends from a mechanical device known as the carpet sweeper. Sweepers feature a series of rolls and brushes that, when pushed along the floor, pick up debris and pull it into a surrounding box. This design was patented in 1876 by Melville R. Bissell, whose company became one of the largest manufacturers of vacuum cleaners.

The first powered cleaners appeared near the end of the 19th century, although most early variations pushed air, rather than pulled it. One such system used an internal combustion engine, and was transported by horse-drawn wagon when used by cleaning services.

In 1899 and 1900, the first patents for an air blowing system using an electric motor were secured by Corrine Dufour of Savannah, Ga. Then, in 1901, powered vacuum cleaners that used suction were invented independently by American inventor David T. Kenney and British engineer Hubert Cecil Booth. Booth is credited with coining the phrase "vacuum cleaner." Both designs were massive. Booth's required a horse-drawn combustion engine, while Kenney's was based on a 4,000 pound steam engine. These primitive cleaners were mostly used in commercial settings.

The first domestic vacuum cleaner quickly followed when, in 1905, British manufacturer Walter Griffiths revealed "Griffith's Improved Vacuum Apparatus for Removing Dust from Carpets." Unlike its predecessors, Griffiths' invention was large in name only. This portable model relied on a manual contracting bellows to suck up dust, was easily operated by a single person, and could be stored in a standard closet. Competing models from the era used water to separate dirt, and were challenging to clean.

Finally, in 1907 the first portable electric vacuum cleaner was invented by Canton, Ohio department store janitor James Murray Spangler. This model combined the best features of early vacuums with the rolling brush of carpet sweepers in a design that loosened debris and sucked it into what was initially a pillow case. Unable to bring the innovative design to market himself, Spangler sold the patent to leather goods manufacturer William Henry Hoover, whose name would become synonymous with vacuum cleaners.

The Hoover Company's first vacuum, called the "Model O," sold for $60 in 1908. Among Hoover's subsequent improvements were the upright vacuum cleaner in 1926 and disposable filter bags in 1920.

After the World War II, vacuums moved from extravagance to commonplace in the American middle class.

Advances in suction technology and improved manufacturing techniques have improved both the effectiveness and durability of vacuum cleaners. Modern commercial vacuum cleaners combine high power with portability.

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Last updated on September 04, 2017 by Daniel Imperiale

Daniel is a writer, actor, and director living in Los Angeles, CA. He spent a large portion of his 20s roaming the country in search of new experiences, taking on odd jobs in the strangest places, studying at incredible schools, and making art with empathy and curiosity.

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