What is a Backpack Vacuum?

Ken Black

A backpack vacuum is a vacuum cleaner that has a canister designed to fit on the back of a person, usually the person doing the vacuuming. It is one of the most maneuverable types of vacuums simply because the user does not need to worry about where a pull-behind canister may go or deal with the bulk of a canister on the cleaning unit itself. Thus, the backpack vacuum is a good choice when there are tight areas or stairs.

Woman with hand on her hip
Woman with hand on her hip

For those who have problems carrying weights of ten pounds (4.5 kg) for prolonged periods of time, the backpack vacuum may not be a good choice. This mainly applies to those who have physical disabilities or the elderly, whose bone and muscle structure may make a backpack vacuum especially hard to deal with. There are other vacuums that may work better for these people, including the more traditional models or even a central vacuum.

In a backpack vacuum, the dust and dirt are collected in the canister on the back. The canister also holds many of the cleaning tools and also the motor that creates the suction to pull the dirt through the tube. In effect, the vacuum canister holds everything a traditional pull-behind canister would hold.

In most cases, the backpack vacuum is powered by a cord that is attached to the canister. The cord is usually longer than that which may be available on standard vacuums. This helps in terms of convenience and accessibility. When done, the cord may wrap around a portion of the canister or be stored inside a compartment on the canister, depending on the model.

A backpack vacuum is usually a little more expensive than traditional vacuums. Most units cost between $250 US Dollars (USD) and $400 USD. However, similar high quality pull-behind vacuums will be priced very similarly. The explanation for the higher price is primarily due to the fact that backpack vacuums are a little bit higher in quality, generally speaking.

The best place to find a backpack vacuum is at a specialty vacuum shop or online. Though they may be available at some general merchandise stores, the selection there will generally be very limited. Further, because those types of stores appeal to the consumer based strictly on price, the quality found there may not be as high as that at specialty stores. Things to consider when looking at the vacuums are the cord length, power and weight.

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