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In today’s competitive environment one of your primary concerns is likely finding ways to lower your cleaning costs. In the average facility, vacuuming can represent 15-25% of the total cost of cleaning your building, thus lowering the cost of vacuuming can significantly reduce overall cleaning costs.

Improving the efficiency of your vacuuming procedures can be accomplished by utilizing backpack vacuums. They are designed to reduce cleaning times while providing your custodial staff with a more ergonomic and versatile piece of equipment.

Backpack vacuums typically cost more than the standard upright or canister machine, which may cause you to dismiss the idea of purchasing one. However, to offset the high upfront cost, commercial backpack vacuums can provide a quicker payback and have fewer repair parts when compared to other machines. 

Payback on a backpack vacuum can be achieved in as little as six weeks. A quicker payback can be achieved through shortened cleaning times and increased worker productivity.

In some cases, backpack vacuums can boost worker productivity by as much as 230% when compared to upright vacuums, according to ISSA’s 612 Cleaning Times & Tasks Calculator.

For example, many facilities use a standard 12-inch upright vacuum which can clean about 2,200 square feet an hour. But, the backpack equivalent, a corded backpack vacuum with a 14-inch orifice carpet tool, would be able to clean approximately 7,400 square feet an hour, increasing productivity by 230%*.

Have an EBP Specialist calculate the payback period and productivity boost you can experience by switching to a backpack vacuum today.

Below, we will review how you and your staff can enjoy increased productivity by utilizing a backpack vacuum over the traditional canister or upright model.

Increased Versatility

Backpack vacuums are lightweight and more versatile than upright or canister vacuums.

Backpack Vac StairsOperators are able to more easily maneuver backpack vacuums in a variety of settings without having to use multiple machines. Backpack vacuums easily transition from different floor types like commercial wood flooring to carpets or even stairways.

Unlike bulky canister or upright vacuums, backpack vacuums easily maneuver around furniture and fixtures. Your custodial staff won’t have to spend time moving desks, chairs, or other fixtures.

Further increasing productivity, a wand extension allows backpack vacuums to easily reach high places such as vents, light fixtures, ceiling fans, and window casings where the typical upright or canister could not.

For maximum productivity, backpack vacuums can be battery powered and paired with advanced tools. Battery powered backpack vacuums eliminate the hassle of cords, improving safety and efficiency even more than corded backpack vacuums.

A cordless backpack vacuum increases efficiencies by saving approximately 1-1.5 hours per 4 hour vacuum shift. The operator will be able to move more freely without having to backtrack and search for an outlet or unsnag a cord from underneath office furniture and fixtures. Additionally, cordless vacuums eliminate the caution an operator must take to maneuver around the cord so they don’t trip over it.

Pro Tip: With the integration of a battery powered backpack vacuum, staff eliminate the risk of building occupants tripping on the electrical cord, allowing them to perform daytime cleaning procedures.

Better Ergonomic Design

Backpack Vac ClassroomWhen worn properly a backpack vacuum greatly reduces operator fatigue. Reduced stress on the body lowers worker fatigue, allowing them to clean more area in a shorter amount of time.

Today, most backpack vacuums are lightweight and evenly distribute the equipment’s weight across the user’s back and hips. There is typically a strap or harness that is easily adjustable to the user’s height, allowing the machine to sit comfortably on the user.

Due to the position of the backpack as well as the user’s increased ability to walk in a natural motion, backpack vacuums reduce hunching over as well as the repetitive motions typically associated with an upright vacuum.

The neutral and more natural posture reduces bending and excessive vigorous movements like arm and leg extensions. This enables backpack users to extend their endurance, meaning more energy and productivity while on the job.

Canister vacuums require the user to drag the heavy body of the vacuum, hose, and cord while uprights must be pushed back and forth with one arm, both increasing stress on the operator’s body.

Improved Safety

In addition to increased operator comfort and reduced stress on the body, backpack vacuums, which are battery operated, provide an even safer alternative.Yellow Cord

Battery powered backpack vacuums eliminate the risk of cleaning staff and building occupants tripping over cords.

Traditionally, cords can stretch across lobbies or down stairs, creating a hazardous situation that requires the area to be closed to occupants. When the cord is eliminated so is the hazard.

Removing this safety hazard can allow your staff to perform daytime cleaning procedures more easily.


Backpack vacuum cleaners generally have lower maintenance costs.  A traditional upright vacuum has about 50 parts that can wear out or break down. A backpack vacuum can have just a few “wear and tear” parts.

They don’t have multiple parts like belts and brush rolls which can break or get jammed, reducing the chance of broken equipment, unexpected downtime, and repair costs.

Reduced Damage

A final way backpack vacuums increase productivity is by reducing the damage that can be done by upright or canister vacuums.

Backpack vacuums go where the user goes, allowing the user to move more naturally, freely, and quickly. The user doesn’t have to worry about pulling the canister into furniture and fixtures or bumping into objects with an upright.

Additionally, upright and canister model vacuums have wheels which can easily scuff floors or scrape baseboards. This requires the operator to be extra cautious when maneuvering the machine, taking more time to complete standard vacuuming procedures.

Backpack vacuums do not have wheels, eliminating the risk of damage as well as having to perform corrective measures to fix accidental damages to the floor, baseboards, or other fixtures.

Final Thoughts

Backpack vacuums provide janitorial staff with a range of benefits including increased range of motion, improved safety, reduced fatigue, and improved cleaner comfort that ultimately allows workers to complete more work in less amount of time. Increased worker productivity will result in a better bottom line.

Vacuuming is critical to the appearance and health of your facility and protection of your facility’s floors but it doesn’t have to be a challenging and time-consuming task. Allow your custodial staff to enjoy shorter cleaning times and increased comfort with a commercial backpack vacuum.

Imperial Dade has a wide range of commercial vacuums to help you keep your facility’s floors looking their best.

If you’re located in the United States, Puerto Rico, or the Caribbean, contact an Imperial Dade Specialist today to calculate the productivity and overall cost savings your facility could experience by switching to a backpack vacuum today.

*based on ISSA’s 612 Cleaning Times & Tasks study compiled by Ben Walker.

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