Tuesday, May 27, 2014

How to Select a Backpack Vacuum Cleaner

This article was originally published in ISSA.

If you’re considering a backpack machine, the following guidelines about what to look for might come in handy:

  • Cost. Backpack vacuums will range in price from under US$300 to as much as $1,000. Just as when purchasing other equipment, buyers should not base their decision solely on price or think that a less expensive machine cannot perform as sufficiently as a more expensive machine. Instead, closely examine each machine’s features and benefits in various cost categories. Make note of some of the key features you are most interested in, such as comfort, effectiveness, and air filtration characteristics—all of which we will discuss next—and then see which machine meets your requirements and is most cost effective.
  • Comfort. Wear the machine and even use it at a job location if that is possible. A more comfortable backpack is typically one that is relatively light, weighing about 10 pounds. It should also feature a padded harness, contoured shoulder straps and waist belts to better distribute the machine’s weight and make it more comfortable to wear, and noise suppression for quiet operation.
  • Air filtration. Backpack vacuum cleaners have led the way when it comes to improved air filtration systems. Many had HEPA filtration systems as standard equipment long before many uprights. With multiple air filtration systems, along with HEPA filters over the exhaust, a backpack should be able to capture and hold up to 99.97 percent of allergens and impurities, preventing them from becoming airborne.
  • Ease of use. Comfort and ease of use go hand-in-hand. If a machine is bulky, too large, or poorly designed, it can be uncomfortable to use, especially for a user of small stature and regardless of the ergonomic or comfort features incorporated in the backpack. Two options are to continue looking for the right machine or consider selecting a smaller backpack, such as a six-quart machine.
Cleaning professionals have many options when it comes to selecting a vacuum cleaning system. And many backpack manufacturers also offer other types of vacuum cleaners, including canisters and uprights. However, those in the market for a new machine owe it to themselves to take a fresh look at modern backpack systems. Very likely, they will be in for a surprise.

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